A Thanksgiving Lesson

Did you know that our Pilgrim forefathers tried communism when they first landed at Plymouth Rock?

How’s that for a dramatic beginning to a story? Years ago, when I used to give a lot of talks to high school classes, this was one of my favorites. It always got the students’ attention. And I have to admit, I also enjoyed seeing some liberal teachers get so upset with me they almost lost their lunches.

Here’s the story I told those students in those long-ago presentations.

The Pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620 were incredibly brave and hardy souls. They were motivated by the noblest of virtues. They vowed, each and every one, to be as selfless as possibleto always put the needs of the group first. They agreed to own everything in common and to share everything equally.

And their naïve piety almost killed the entire colony.

We all know how the adventure begins. A group of devout Christians, seeking religious freedom for themselves and eager to "advance the Gospel of the Kingdom of Christ" in the New World, sets sail from Plymouth, England in 1620. An investment consortium known as the Merchant Adventurers of London paid the expenses for the trip, including chartering the Mayflower and its 40-man crew.

The deal was simple: The Pilgrims agreed to establish a colony in northern Virginia where they would plant crops, fish the waters and hunt in the forests. They would return a certain percentage of each year’s bounty to London until their debt had been repaid.

Things went wrong from the start. First, the syndicate changed the deal, drastically reducing the amount they would loan the Pilgrims. The brave adventurers were forced to sell many of their own possessions, and much of their provisions, to pay for the trip. As a result, they landed in the New World badly short of supplies.

Next, the small ship they had purchased in Holland, which was to accompany them to America so they could fish the waters off the coast, had to be abandoned in England.

Shortly after they set sail, the ship, badly misnamed the Speedwell, became "open and leakie as a sieve," as its captain reported. They returned to Dartmouth, where the boat was dry-docked for three weeks as repairs were made.

But to no avail. After leaving Dartmouth, the group sailed less than 300 miles when the captain decided the Speedwell "must bear up or sink at sea." This time the ships put in at Plymouth, England, where it was decided to go on without the Speedwell. On Sept. 16, 1620, the Mayflower set out alone to cross the Atlantic.

A month later, when they had reached the halfway point, fierce storms battered the ship and threatened the lives of passengers and crew. Many wanted to turn back for England. But if they abandoned the journey, they would lose everything they had invested. The Pilgrims decided to trust in God and sail on.

Despite the storms, the hazards, the crowding and the poor food, only one Pilgrim died during the voyage, a young servant. His death was balanced by the birth of a son to Stephen and Elizabeth Hopkins, who named their child Oceanus.

There were 102 passengers on board the Mayflower50 men, 20 women and 32 childrenalong with a crew of 40. The captain set a course along the 42nd parallel, a bearing that would carry him to Cape Cod. From there he intended to swing south and follow the coast to northern Virginia.

A little over two months later, on Nov. 19, land was finally sighted and the captain turned the ship south, toward Virginia. However, they soon encountered such "dangerous shoals and roaring breakers" that they turned back to Massachusetts. It was then that the grumblings of dissent turned into a full-fledged roar. Many of the passengers insisted on landing in Massachusetts, where "none had power to command them."

The Pilgrim leaders decided to meet the explosive situation by asking each male on board, except for the crew, to sign a formal document that would lay "the first foundation of their government in this place." Thus the Mayflower Compact was born.

The Pilgrims were a diverse lot. Many of them were illiterate. Yet in creating the Mayflower Compact they showed an extraordinary political maturity. They agreed to establish a government by the consent of the governed, with just and equal laws for all. Each adult male, regardless of his station in lifegentleman, commoner or servantwould have an equal vote in deciding the affairs of the colony. Of the 65 men and boys on board, all but 24 signed the agreement. The only ones who did not were the children of those adults who did sign, or men who were too sick to do so.

The first decision made under the covenant was to abandon efforts to reach Virginia and instead to settle in New England. The first explorers landed at Plymouth on Dec. 21, 1620.

Weather delays kept the majority from seeing their new home for nearly two weeks. On Jan. 2, 1621, work began on the first building they would erecta storehouse.

Because provisions were so scanty they decided that the land would be worked in common, produce would be owned in common, and goods would be rationed equally. Not unlike the society Karl Marx envisioned of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

Unfortunately, thanks to illness, injury and attitude, the system did not work. Pilferage from the storehouse became common. Suspicions of malingering were muttered. Over the course of that first, harsh winter, nearly half of the colonists perished. Four families were wiped out completely; only five of 18 wives survived. Of the 29 single men, hired hands and servants, only 10 were alive when spring finally came.

The colonists struggled desperately for two more years. When spring arrived in April 1623, virtually all of their provisions were gone. Unless that year’s harvest improved, they feared few would survive the next winter. The Pilgrim leaders decided on a bold course. The colony would abandon its communal approach and permit each person to work for his own benefit, not for the common good.

Here is how the governor of the colony, William Bradford, explained what happened then. This is taken from his marvelously readable memoir (if you can make adjustments for the Old English spellings), History of Plimoth Plantation:

The experience that was had in this commone course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Plato & other ancients, applauded by some of later times;—that ye taking away of properties, and bringing it in communitie into a commone wealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.

For this communitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion & discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefite and comforte. For yet young men that were most able and fitte for labor & services did repine that they should spend their time & strength to worke for other men’s wives and children with out any recompense.

Once they replaced communal efforts with individual responsibility the differences were dramaticand life-saving. Men went into the fields earlier and stayed later. In many cases, their wives and even their children (some barely past the toddler stage) worked right alongside them. More acres were planted, more trees were felled, more houses were built, and more game was slaughtered because of one simple change: People were allowed to keep the fruits of their own labors.

The Pilgrims arrived deeply in debt to the London merchants who sponsored them. They worked for more than 20 years, as individuals and as a community, to pay off the crushing burden. In 1627, they borrowed money to pay off the Merchants Adventurers. By 1645, they had paid off the entire debt to the company which had advanced them the sums to pay off the Merchants.

When their debt had been paid in full (at the astronomical interest rate of 45 percent per year), the company that had advanced the sums wrote the Pilgrims:

Let it not be grievous to you, that you have been instruments to break the ice for others who come after with less difficulty. The honour shall be yours to the world’s end.

As we celebrate this coming Thanksgiving Day, some 380 years after the Pilgrims celebrated the first of this uniquely American holiday, let us remember the sacrifices they made… the devotion they showed… and the lessons they learned.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

Study: Some Strokes Preceded by a ‘Warning Stroke’

Study finds one out of eight stroke victims has a mild stroke firstA new study finds that one out of every eight stroke victims has a mild stroke beforehand.

The research, appearing in the journal Neurology, reports that 12 percent of all stroke victims identified over a four-year period in Ontario suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA)—or mild stroke. A TIA is identified as lasting less than 24 hours and resolving itself.

Those with the warning stroke were typically older than those without warning strokes. They were also more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems. Researchers say it’s possible their blood vessels were "preconditioned to the lack of blood flow, which protected them from the full result of the larger stroke."

Sufferers who did not have a TIA were more likely to have a more serious stroke than those who did have one.

Researchers say all strokes should be treated at an emergency room immediately.

Symptoms of a stroke include trouble walking or speaking, paralysis or numbness on one side of the body, vision problems and headache.

According to WebMD, controlling high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and managing stress are all things that can be done to reduce the risk of stroke.

New York City Taxes, Conservative Women, Global Warming and Loans to Uncle Sam

*Where were you on Nov. 16, 2000? Most of us would find it impossible to know for certain where we were on any given dayespecially if it were almost a decade ago. But for one hedge-fund manager, his whereabouts for four days in 2000 was worth almost $27 million. That’s how much Julian Robertson saved on New York City taxes for the year, when he and his staff could prove he was in the city for less than half of the year.

*New Calendar Features Conservative Women. Many thanks to all of you who had kind things to say about my Straight Talk interview with Michelle Malkin. Permit me to note she is as pretty as she is smartas you can prove for yourself by getting the 2010 Great American Conservative Women calendar. A fundraiser for the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, you can see the calendar at www.cblpi.org. Other women featured this time include Anne Coulter, Star Parker, Bay Buchanan and Carrie Prejean.

*What Happened to Global Warming? That’s the provocative headline over a story on the British Broadcasting Corporation website. The article notes that climatologists have not been able to confirm any global warming in the past 11 years, despite a measurable rise in carbon-dioxide, which is blamed for much of this non-existent problem. By the way, the Met Office (the British weather service) says that over the next decade, at least half of the years will be hotter than 1998so far the warmest year on earth since records were kept.

*A Rush to Loan Uncle Sam Money. The latest Treasury auction three weeks ago, for a record $123 billion in U.S. debt, was oversubscribed by nearly $250 billion. The five-year notes, which will pay just over 3.5 percent, were especially popular with central banks, foreign governments and other eager lenders. Let’s see if this remains true for the rest of this fiscal year when the profligate federales will need to borrow an additional $1.2 trillion to cover the deficits they’re accumulating.

—Chip Wood

Chicago Handgun Laws Challenged In Supreme Court Brief

Chicago handgun laws challenged in Supreme Court briefOn November 16th the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) filed its 73 page brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of McDonald v. Chicago, disputing the city’s restrictive firearm laws.

The SAF filed its suit in conjunction with the Illinois State Rifle Association and four individual plaintiffs to question Chicago’s citywide ban on handguns.

The McDonald case will be argued by attorney Alan Gura, who successfully battled federal firearm regulations in 2008 in the Supreme Court case D.C. v. Heller.

"Our filing today will help establish that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right of American citizenship no city official can violate," Gura said.

The plaintiffs not only plan to challenge Chicago’s ban on handguns, but also hope to prevent other states from outlawing citizens’ right to bear arms. Oral arguments are planned to be heard by the Supreme Court in February of 2010 and a ruling is expected in the spring.

Coincidentally, today a federal appeals court in Wisconsin overturned the conviction of a man barred from owning firearms due to his criminal record, CBS News reports.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a trial judge to take a second look at a 1996 federal law prohibiting anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence from owning a firearm.

Can Drinking Coffee Protect Your Brain?

A new study suggests coffee isn't brain foodIt can give you a boost of energy, but new research finds a cup of joe can’t help preserve brain function as you age.

According to Reuters, researchers at the University of Helsinki assessed the coffee drinking habits, as well as other social, demographic and health data of a large population of twins who were 50-years-old on average. The majority of subjects—75 percent of men and 83 percent of women—reported drinking more than three cups of coffee a day.

Participants were screened on a yearly basis starting at age 74 to measure cognitive function and dementia.

They found no association between coffee consumption and declining cognition or dementia scores in either men or women. They did find, however, that aging was linked to declines in thinking ability.

In addition, the study, appearing in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that coffee consumption wasn’t protective in preserving brain function in middle-age.

Heart disease, diabetes and depression are associated with lower cognitive function, according to the report.

Nutritional supplements that can boost brain function and memory include B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and gingko biloba.ADNFCR-2035-ID-19398484-ADNFCR

Alternative Medicine Can Alleviate Cancer Therapy Side Effects

Alternative medicine can alleviate cancer therapy side effects Researchers have been searching for a long time for ways to minimize the side effects of radiation therapy, and there are signs they may have found a natural solution that can help cancer patients tolerate their treatments better.

According to a study published in The International Journal of Low Radiation, extracts of gingko biloba may protect cells from radiation damage.

To arrive at this conclusion, researchers collected white blood cells from healthy donors between the ages of 18 and 50. Half of the cells were then treated with gingko biloba and the rest were subjected to a saline solution.

After subsequent exposure to radiation, the scientists found the cells treated with gingko biloba had a lower rate of apoptosis, or cell death.

Subsequent laboratory studies on animals confirmed the results.

The leaves of gingko biloba—which naturally grows only in Zhejiang province in Eastern China—contain antioxidant-rich compounds which are believed to protect cells from damage by free radicals and other reactive oxidizing species.

It has been used in herbal medicine for thousands of years and is one of the most popular herbal supplements in the U.S, according to the Mayo Clinic. Gingko is believed to have a host of health benefits, including preventing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other memory problems, treating altitude sickness and reducing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

The Constitution in Exile by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

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Almost since its adoption in July 1789, the U.S. Constitution—the oldest continuously effective written constitution in the world—has been under assault by presidents, Congress and errant decisions handed down by Supreme Court justices.

That’s the view of Judge Andrew P. Napolitano in his book, The Constitution in Exile.

Napolitano, the senior judicial analyst for Fox News Channel, New Jersey judge and legal professor and talk radio co-host, describes what the founders envisioned when they wrote the constitution. He explains Natural Law—that rights are endowed by a Creator, not by government—and what that idea meant to the Founders and should mean to us today. He describes Natural Law’s opposite—Positivisim—which is the idea that the law is whatever those in power say it is.

And, Napolitano lists and describes the 18 enumerated powers granted to government by the constitution and what each of them means, as well as the purpose behind the inclusion of the Bill of Rights.

He writes:

“In establishing our system of separate powers, checks and balances, and federalism, the Founders limited Congress—and thus the will of Positivists—to eighteen specific, enumerated, and delegated powers. Those three words are important. Specific means something that is definite or explicitly set forth. Enumerated refers to things that are listed individually by their identifying characteristics. Delegated refers to a power that has been assigned by one party another.

“The Founders did this to create a system of government in which power is diffused between the states and the central government and diffused further within the central government. State sovereignty is maintained; and because governmental power was not concentrated anywhere, individual liberty is protected…”

The judge takes the reader on a legal course through American history outlining the first assault that began with the Judiciary Act of 1789, passed by the Federalist-controlled Congress, and the effects the 1800 presidential election had on the makeup of the federal judiciary.

After Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams for the presidency, the Federalist-controlled Congress created 42 additional judgeships and then Adams appointed Federalist John Marshall as chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Jefferson voided the appointment of the “Midnight Judges” and one of them, William Marbury, sued directly to the Supreme Court. Two years later, after much legal wrangling over Marbury’s suit, the Supreme Court ruled that portions of the Judiciary Act of 1789 were unconstitutional and Marbury had sued in the wrong court.

That result made it appear as if Marshall was in favor of limiting Congress’ powers to those enumerated. But future decisions by Marshall and his court showed his desire was to centralize power, and Napolitano covers the individual cases and what they meant.

Napolitano also covers the Federalism of Abraham Lincoln and how his unconstitutional actions before and during the Civil War further centralized power, and how Lincoln’s actions affected the Constitution.

The next great assault on the Constitution came from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and Roosevelt’s threat and then his attempt to stack the court or alter its very makeup. And Napolitano covers that era in great detail.

Included in that era is the beginning of the use of the Constitution’s “Commerce Clause” to grant Congress the power to regulate almost everything, a ploy that continues apace to this day.

And then there is the assault on freedom known as the USA PATRIOT Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by George W. Bush while the rubble of 9/11 still smoldered.

“The PATRIOT Act is the most unpatriotic of the things that the Bush administration and this Congress could have visited upon us,” Napolitano writes. “When then-Attorney General John Ashcroft advocated before the House Judiciary Committee, he said, in effect, ‘we need the powers under this PATRIOT Act. We need them so badly—there are so many bad people out there we need to prosecute—that there isn’t enough time to debate it.’”

And without debate it passed.

Among other things, the USA PATRIOT Act effectively voided the Fourth Amendment and gave federal agents and local police the authority to write their own search warrants and serve them without the intervention of a judge. Such a thing would be anathema to the Founders.

This book is written in the plain, easy to understand language that Napolitano uses every day on Fox and on his radio show. It’s a roadmap of the assaults hoisted upon our Constitution, and hence our freedoms, throughout the 200-plus years of that great document’s existence.

Among other things, The Constitution in Exile shows that the power grab going on today is not new, but rather is the culmination of many years of assaults led by those who believe that government knows best.

Dobbs’ Departure From CNN Stirs Controversy

Dobbs' departure from CNN stirs controversy The abrupt departure of CNN anchor Lou Dobbs from his post at the network last week has given rise to intense media speculation about the reasons behind the move.

In announcing his decision, Dobbs—who has attracted controversy in recent years for vocally expressing his conservative views on the air—aid that "some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond the role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem solving as well as to contribute positively to the great understanding of the issues of our day."

However, there is no shortage of speculation that Dobbs was ousted for practicing what CNN president Jonathan Klein term "advocacy journalism."

The 64-year-old anchor has become a target of criticism for taking a tough stance on issues such as illegal immigration and for his involvement in the so-called "birther" movement, which questioned President Obama’s eligibility for the office for failing to produce his original birth certificate.

Hispanic groups have expressed satisfaction with the developments at the cable network. The Latino Policy Coalition issued a statement expressing gratitude to more than 40 local and regional civil rights organizations "that have succeeded in their efforts to draw national attention to CNN Anchor Lou Dobbs’ anti-immigrant news program, and thus ultimately end his slanted commentary show."

Monday night, Dobbs is expected to appear on The O’Reilly Factor with Bill O’Reilly, which airs on Fox News. Last summer, O’Reilly defended Dobbs’ right to free speech.


Who Among Us Doesn’t Want Law and Order?

How have we evolved into a faceless people? How did we become politically correct?

Sometimes, when I get galled and tired from the tasks of the day, I watch the national news. What do the newscasters really say? What news do they really tell us in America?

I am duly impressed by how articulate they are and how they never say anything. They are trained icons at having NO OPINION.

It’s my conclusion that to be politically correct and socially acceptable in America is to be a faceless people. Just have no opinion.

Oh yes, we can master the King’s English as long as we don’t say anything. Does this remind us of the three monkeys who “See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil?”

This is modern America, faceless and soulless. Scripture suggests that we are neither hot nor cold and that God spews us out. (Rev. 3:15-19) So how do we learn? How do we approach reality?

I have my own rules. My rule—and I have taught this to my children—is to believe just the opposite of government and political pronouncements. This is the most direct route to sobriety and a peek at the real world.

The system can thrive with no opinion. With this syndrome, “they” can milk us and shear us and keep us on the animal farm. We are as docile and obedient as cattle.  We can be intellectual giants and, as far as practical reality, be complete idiots.

But what if our inner soul begins to suspect disharmony of and disgust with the monotony of the system and the sickening conformity of the masses? The people can have literally the firepower of armies and still be under disciplined control, just so long as they believe the lies of the system.

How else can countries field multi-million-man armies that really don’t know who their enemies are, but are willing to fight to the death for some nebulous propaganda? Ignorance is not bliss. It is sorrow and death.

If we do not know reality we cannot know right from wrong. We have no moral ethic or restraints.

There is a system. Outwardly and ideally it is the rule of law and a moral order. Inwardly and secretly it has an unannounced agenda of human and population control, regardless of the name of the system or the form of government. The same secret elite rules. They have the power of life and death through and with thought control.

There can be no secret elite without thought control. Man must not be allowed to think his own thoughts, but must think the thoughts of the system. And he must not know the difference.

Mind control is used to extract wealth and human freedom without consent. The most perfect crime is when the people who carry out the will and purpose of the system do not suspect the complete shroud of thought control. They suspect nothing.

There are those who see and there are the many that are blinded. What gives us perception and vision? Knowledge is the mechanical attribute of the brain.

The world is floating in knowledge. There are thousands of universities and colleges. This is the black and white world, the rote and the mundane.

But wisdom only filters through to a very few. They are the ones who see with their souls and with their spirits. Their vision is as the colors of the rainbow. Spiritual vision cannot be known or communicated to the vain.

Words carry knowledge but words cannot carry wisdom. Wisdom is perception and spiritual discernment. It is to know God and reality.

It is the evolution of consciousness. It is the fullness of life on earth that God intended. Blessed are those who have it!

It is beautifully described in Madame Ghis’ book “Madame Ghis: Escape In Prison.” In it she wrote:

“My soul showed me that the world in which I live is made up of lies and illusions. Reality can only be perceived with the soul’s eyes. With her (my soul) help, I learned that behind the tax system and all other systems, we find slaves without chains, human beings who are ignorant and unconscious of being the property of the State.

They trust their government enough to entrust it with their children, their health, their property and their entire lives. Citizens cannot guess that the State is a mere legislator and tax collector working for the bank of Canada, and a cartel of private bankers.

When I became aware of this situation, I decided to put an end to my life as the subject of a ‘higher’ authority. How could I do this?

By doing the exact opposite of what I had been doing before. How does a slave behave? Like a domestic dog. He submits to the will of his master who uses it as he wishes. In return, the master feeds it and brings it security. The more docile is the dog, the better he gets treated.”

Madame Ghis is a prison name given by inmates to Dr. Marie Eva Sophie Ghislain Lanctot, a medical doctor who spent a few months in prison for refusing to conform to the income tax system in Canada. She has written several revealing books, “The Medical Mafia,” “The Trial of the Medical Mafia,” “What the Hell am I Doing Here Anyway,” and “Madame Ghis: Escape in Prison.” They can be bought at  www.personocratia.com.

How do we become aware of the illusory world in which we live? How do we come to understand that law, finance, politics and religion are all interconnected?

Everything turns on the individual imperative to inquire. Do you know that most people do not inquire? They ask no questions. They seek no information.

We who inquire are few. We speak of the battle for our minds. We seek freedom from lies and deception which saturates our lives. Self change and release from deception is not easy, nor is it comfortable.

It is very difficult for the ego to let go of old habits of thought and lifelong, cherished attachments. The inquiring person reaches reality according to his own level of consciousness.

What then does the fascist state not tell us? What does the state not want us to know?

They do not want us to know that we do not think our own thoughts, but those of the system. They do not want us to know that we do not have human freedom, that democracy is a myth.

They do not want us to know that we have imaginary money that transfers wealth and savings to the state.

They do not want us to know that public schools and universities are government schools. They indoctrinate us with the system so that we cannot evaluate reality.

They do not want us to know that the medical system is a front for pharmaceuticals and a marketing vehicle for their drugs.

They promote a sickness system to sell drugs. The American people are fast discovering that sea salt and water are more medicinal than all the drugs.

Party Member Denounces GOP’s Lack Of ‘substance’

Party member denounces GOP's lack of 'substance' Recent TV appearances by the woman at the center of the controversial election battle in New York’s 23rd congressional district have exposed what looks like an ongoing ideological struggle within the GOP.

Dede Scozzafava, a Republican candidate who quit the race for a House seat late last month and subsequently endorsed the Democratic candidate, told CNN she was subjected to "vicious" attacks from conservative members of the party for her alleged liberalism.

In the interview she stressed that local elections should be about local issues not big ideology and added that "hopefully a lesson can be learned [so that we] understand that there are many voices that make a party."

Meanwhile, speaking with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Scozzafava was less diplomatic and said that these days the GOP was "really not based on any sort of substance," that could enable it to work for the benefit of the American people, quoted by Politico.com.

In the run-up to the vote, GOP heavyweights such as Sarah Palin and Dick Armey, as well as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, chose to back a third-party candidate Doug Hoffman because of his more socially conservative credentials. However, he was defeated by Bill Owens who became the first Democrat to win the district in more than 100 years.

The shenanigans accompanying the final days of the campaign before the November 3 ballot brought the race to national attention and exposed divisions within the GOP between its conservative base and the party’s leadership who often back more moderate candidates.

Stakeholders Disagree On Healthcare Bill’s Impact On Small Businesses

Stakeholders disagree on healthcare bill's impact on small businessesThe passage of the House healthcare reform bill has prompted small business sector insiders to offer conflicting assessments of its impact on the sector’s fiscal burden.

Among the critics of the bill is the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) which says a report from the Joint Committee on Taxation found the provisions to increase taxes on the wealthy in order to finance the reform will translate into a big tax hike on small business owners.

SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan said this will "deprive the private sector of the capital it needs to hold onto their workers, create more job opportunities, invest, innovate and grow."

Meanwhile, several Democratic lawmakers, joined by a group of small business owners, participated in a press conference, and stressed the legislation will end the insurance industry practices of hiking premiums for small businesses when an employee gets sick or because the business hires a woman.

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa said that "[the] bill will end the practice of denying coverage based on preexisting conditions or increasing premiums based on health status, gender or industry."

The Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship says studies indicate small businesses—which employ nearly 40 percent of private labor force in the U.S.—are likely to see their premiums rise by 15 percent in the coming year, twice the rate of last year’s increase.

Unhappy Birthday to the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve System was “born” on Nov. 16, 1914. That’s the day that marks the beginning of the long, slow decline in the value of the U.S. dollar.

Although this country had managed to survive without a central bank for the first 140 years of its existence, that all changed when Congress approved the Federal Reserve Act the previous December. (For an account of the conspiratorial manipulations that led to the passage of this bill and its consequences, see G. Edward Griffin’s masterful study, The Creature From Jekyll Island.)

The Fed’s friends in Congress promised that it would be a passive institution, working behind the scenes to prevent future bank panics. Instead, it soon adopted an interventionist policy. Today, it is actually praised in many quarters for controlling interest rates and regulating (read: increasing) the U.S. money supply.

Since the creation of the Fed 95 years ago the dollar has lost 98.5 percent of its purchasing power. Sadly, most Americans have been convinced that greedy businessmen cause the steady rise in prices. Tell them that higher prices are caused by a Fed that continues to flood the world with fiat currency and you’ll be greeted with blank stares and a change of subject.

—Chip Wood

Over Some Objections, Terrorist Suspects Set To Be Transferred To U.S. For Trial

Over some objections, terrorist suspects set to be transferred to U.S. for trial Despite concerns expressed by several lawmakers, the government has announced five men suspected of coordinating the 9/11 terrorist attacks will be sent to the U.S. for trial.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who allegedly confessed to masterminding the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people, and four other Guantanamo Bay prisoners will be tried by a civilian court in lower Manhattan, just blocks from the World Trade Center site.

While some family members welcomed the decision as a chance to have their day in court, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that "bringing these dangerous individuals onto U.S. soil needlessly compromises the safety of all Americans," quoted by CNN.

He added that "putting political ideology ahead of the safety of the American people just to fulfill an ill-conceived campaign promise is irresponsible."

The announcement was made by Attorney General Eric Holder who also stated that he expected the prosecutors will seek the death penalty against the defendants.

He said, moreover, that five other detainees held at Guantanamo Bay will be sent to military commissions for trial, also in the U.S.

Commentators suggest the decisions are a step towards fulfilling the pledge made by President Obama last January to close the controversial detention facility that has attracted criticism from around the world for its harsh interrogation techniques which some say included acts of torture.

Hormone Replacement Therapy May Cause Incontinence, Research Suggests

Hormone replacement therapy may cause incontinence, research suggests Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been increasingly discredited in recent years, after being linked to a higher risk of heart disease and some cancers, and a new study has added another reason menopausal women may want to avoid it.

Researchers from Scotland have found evidence HRT could make bladder control problems worse in some women. Specifically, they indentified a type of therapy called systematic conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) as the main culprit behind incontinence in that group.

Study author June Cody says the trial also showed that even individuals who did not have bladder problems at the beginning of the study were more likely to develop the condition than those who took a placebo.

"These findings should be discussed with women who are contemplating using estrogen or hormonal therapy for relief of menopausal symptoms, particularly those who already have incontinence problems," said Dr. Charla Blacker of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

By contrast, nutritional supplements that have been shown to relieve troublesome menopausal symptoms are safe and natural. WebMD recommends menopausal women try St. John’s wort, black cohosh, evening primrose oil or flaxseed.

Poll Shows Democrats’ Popularity Slipping

Poll shows Democrats' popularity slippingDespite their strong push on climate and healthcare reform, Democrats appear to be losing ground in recently published public opinion polls.

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, only 52 percent of registered voters would like to see their representatives re-elected next year, while just over 33 percent say that most members of Congress should be returned to office. These figures are among the lowest in the last 20 years, the organization says.

In addition, voters who plan to support Republicans in 2010 are more enthusiastic than those who plan to vote for a Democrat. The survey found that 58 percent of Republican voters are very enthusiastic about next year’s elections, as opposed to 42 percent of those who plan to vote Democratic.

CNN polling director Keating Holland commented that the results are not surprising as "the party that is out of power usually gets to play on offense, while the party in power is essentially playing defense."

The poll also found that the vast majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction the country is heading as nine out of 10 consider the national economic conditions to be fair or poor. Nearly two-thirds describe their own finances that way, the highest number since the summer of 1992.

Ever more Americans are also convinced the war in Afghanistan is not going well, and a plurality continues to oppose the healthcare reform proposals, the Pew Center has found.

Finally, recent opinion polls have found that increasingly many people disagree with President Obama’s policies, although they continue to like him personally.

Clean Energy is Pure Fantasy

(Part one of a three-part series on energy)

Barack Obama must be thrilled with fellow Nobel Prize winner and former Vice President Al Gore and his just-published book, Our Choice, A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis. In it, Gore sings the liberal refrain that big government can save the world.

Gore, who is making the rounds touting his book this month, argues there are economic as well as political reasons to be green.

"There is a common thread running through the discussion of climate, (national) security, and the economic crisis, and that is our ridiculous dependence on foreign oil and coal," Gore said.

In other words, clean energy will bring us peace, prosperity and respite from that “End of Days” scenario known as global warming.

Gore thinks we can have peace because America will no longer be dependent on Middle East oil. As a result we can pull out of the region lock, stock and no barrel.

That will save hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on Arab oil. Best yet, that money can be invested into clean technologies—a super-grid to capture and transport wind and solar power.

Gore’s vision is for America to become a world leader in clean technology and export it around the world, correcting one last annoyance—our staggering trade deficit.

Gore’s utopia is green. Soon we can sleep easy in our lavish solar homes with our electric cars plugged in.

If it sounds too good to be true there is a reason for that—it is.

Jousting at Windmills
If you have ever been to Palm Springs, Calif., and driven west you can’t help but notice the forest of wind turbines that pockmark the desert landscape.

As we drove along Interstate-10 years ago my wife Angela said, “How come the windmills aren’t turning?”

“No wind,” I said.                       

That sums up the problem with wind power, a system that currently produces about 1 percent of America’s energy needs.

When the wind blows you get electricity but when it doesn’t blow you get nothing. That is because it is impossible with current technology to store alternating current. Direct current wind power can’t be stored in batteries. As a result consumers need redundant power plants.

Then there is a question of cost and space.

Last year in England, former Industry Secretary and current Labour MP John Hutton announced the British government should build a huge array of giant windmills to meet the country’s future energy needs.

The Energy Tribune said Hutton’s plan would literally change the face of Britain. That’s because Hutton wants the government to build 7,000 turbines—or one every half-mile around the entire coast of Britain.

It’s interesting that as much as the greens hate to spoil the environment they embrace wind power. Turbines not only kill tens of thousands of birds but also use up more space per unit of capacity than any other power source. According to the U.S. Department of Energy each wind turbine requires 40 acres.

Physicist Howard Hayden at the University of Connecticut sums up the situation: “Imagine a one-mile swath of wind turbines extending from San Francisco to Los Angeles. That land area would be required to produce as much power around the clock as one large coal, natural gas, or nuclear power station that normally occupies about one square kilometer.”

And wind turbines don‘t come cheap. One commercial 2 megawatt turbine costs about $3 million installed.

According to Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), “At a time when America needs large amounts of low-cost reliable power, wind produces puny amounts of high-cost unreliable power. We need lower prices; wind power raises prices.”

The Sun of All Things
My experience with solar power dates back to that time we drove past the motionless windmills. It was the early 1980s and we were buying our first house. The 1970s energy crisis was still lingering and since real estate was cheap in Spokane, Wash., we decided to spend some extra money and buy a brand new solar home.

It was a nice enough berm house if you didn’t mind dirt piled up against the sides and the back of it. As for the solar panels, they collected energy to beat the band in the summer, which was too bad since we didn’t have an air conditioner. As for its use in the winter, we were in the rainy Pacific Northwest so our solar panels were practically useless.

Nearly 30 years later solar power meets about 1 percent of America’s electricity needs. And solar is still an incredibly costly proposition. It costs up to $80,000 to put in solar technology that would meet the electrical demands of a modest home.

Green Econometrics did the math. In a 2007 article they calculated that solar energy is 10 to 20 times more expensive than fossil fuels for power generation (see graph below). You can read the story at: http://greenecon.net/understanding-the-cost-of-solar-energy/energy_economics.html.

Beam Me Up Scotty
To better understand how ridiculous the prospect of solar energy is, consider a press release sent out by Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation (PG&E) (NYSE: PCG) this past spring.

PG&E announced that it had requested approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to enter into a power purchase agreement with Solaren Corp. in Southern California.

Under the plan Solaren would deploy a solar array into space—yes space—to beam an average of 850 gigawatt hours (GWh) for the first year of the term, and 1,700 GWh per year over the remaining term to PG&E customers.

According to Solaren it has even had talks with Lockheed-Martin and Boeing to build the solar plant and the rockets needed to send it into orbit.

All of which prompted Energy & Capital to write: “The press has gushed about the ‘next frontier’ of solar power, which would collect power ‘24 hours a day’ from the far brighter solar radiation available above earth’s atmosphere from a low-orbit. The energy would be transmitted to a receiver based in Fresno, Calif.”

Meanwhile, it was revealed that the Pentagon had done its own study on space-based solar power. Their report said that a $10 billion program could create a measly 10-megawatt pilot satellite.
The scale of the PG&E project is out of this world. Their satellite would have to be hundreds of times bigger than the International Space Station, which can barely sustain itself with solar energy.

Just one final detail: nobody—not even a Nobel Prize winner—has yet figured out a technology that will actually transfer the sun’s rays.

The fundamental truth is that we will, for decades longer, continue to rely on fossil fuels.

Next week, in Part Two of this three-part series, I will touch on more earthly problems, including America’s all too real oil crisis and one rock solid industry that will help ease America’s energy pains and earn you gusher-type profits.

Yours for real wealth and good health,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

Soy May Lower Risk Of Diabetes, Study Says

Soy may lower risk of diabetes, study says Based on research conducted at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, it appears that adding soy to one’s diet may result in a reduced risk of developing diabetes and in improved insulin sensitivity.

The work of nutrition scientists at UMA led to the discovery of a molecular pathway that allows foods rich in isoflavones—bioactive compounds found in soy—to lower diabetes risk and to reduce blood sugar and improve glucose tolerance in individuals with the disease.

Study author Young-Cheul Kim says soy compounds do that by "targeting fat cell-specific transcription factors and the downstream signaling molecules that are important for glucose uptake and thus insulin sensitivity."

"These new findings help fill a critical gap between epidemiological observations and clinical studies on the anti-diabetic benefits of dietary soy," adds Kim.

Other studies have suggested soy may lower the risk of breast and prostate cancer and help manage the symptoms of menopause.

In addition to isoflavones, soy products also contain amino acids, proteins, complex carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins and minerals such as calcium, folate and iron, according to Soynutrition.com.

Popular soy foods include tofu, edamame, soy milk, meat alternatives, miso and soy protein powders.

Optimal Health is Your Birth Right

You don’t have to live in pain. You don’t have to suffer a chronic health condition that is non-life-threatening. You don’t ever need to be sick. The various pains, illnesses and diseases you “deal with” every day are not permanent fixtures in your life.

Yet, from early on, most of us are taught “to manage” or “to mask the symptoms of” and then later “to live with” our poor health conditions. This is perverse and goes against our homeostatic (self-balancing) nature. What’s more, despite lackluster results, too many people keep following the practices of a healthcare system that simply has not delivered on its promises.

Are we doing this because we don’t realize it’s not working?

What if I told you there was in place at this very moment a healthcare model to lose weight, be emotionally strong and illness free? Would you be interested in it? One would think so. But if I then explained that this same model allows 16.2 million adults to suffer from chronic asthma; that 16 percent of the followers have high cholesterol; that 25.1 million live with heart disease and 32 percent suffer hypertension; that one in every six followers of this program develop arthritis; and that a whopping 67 percent of the entire population on this program are clinically obese… would you still be interested?

I would think the fast answer is, “No.” Yet even with freedom of choice and an information superhighway available at our fingertips 24/7, we are still participating in this failed model of wellness called Western allopathic medicine. Are we insane?

Not sure that your ill health is not only not getting better with mainstream medicine but is actually getting worse? Then consider the sickening statistics.

Way back in 1996 only 77 million Americans were suffering in chronic pain. Today, that number is more than 150 million. That’s a 100 percent increase in a symptom in just over a dozen years of medical progress. Now that’s what I call Super Sizing!

Here are some of the current medical statistics from the United States, a nation that spends more resources per capita on healthcare than any other in the world.

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans, killing nearly 27 percent of the population.
  • Twenty-three and a half million Americans over age 20 develop Type 2 Diabetes.
  • More than 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 experience frequent back pain.
  • More than 25 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. And nine out of 10 Americans have other kinds of headaches each year.
  • Thirty-three percent of adult Americans lose more than 20 hours of sleep each month due to pain.
  • Each day 10 percent of adult Americans suffer from acid reflux.
  • Financially, pain accounts for 25 percent of all sick days taken by full-time workers, costing the economy $50 billion in lost work days and $3 billion in lost wages.

Each and every one of the above-mentioned “conditions” is rampant among adults, despite medical “progress.” Why? Because the medical system responsible for that progress is based on a flawed model of health.

Simply put, mainstream medicine fails to eradicate people’s everyday pains, illnesses and diseases. It fails because it is passive and reactionary and thus is unable to prevent you from experiencing chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, stress, anxiety, depression, headache, back pain, tendonitis, colitis, metabolic syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, Raynaud’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and hundreds of others.

And this model will always fall short because it uses “disease” as its basis of finding health. That is, you see your primary care physician when you are ill, the doctor diagnosis your illness, labels the disease, then prescribes a protocol for treating that disease. Your personal health issues are “managed” by prescription medication, various therapy and surgery. Such a model can never hope to cure your daily non-terminal health problems, yet these are the important issues you face and that steadily undermine your quality of life.

So, who am I and why should you believe in what I say?

I am Dr. Mark Wiley and I know how you feel. I suffered from severe chronic headaches and musculoskeletal pain my entire life. Like you, as I went from doctor to doctor, desperately hoping for relief, no one could help me. Every day was a soul-destroying battle with neck and shoulder pain, mid-back pain, hip pain and head pain. Pain, pain, pain.

Unlike some chronic pain sufferers, I was fortunate enough to have support. My parents are both healthcare professionals. Unfortunately, even with their love, direction and referral to experts in various specialty fields, the suffering was constant, unbearable and unrelenting. I was forever putting myself in front of medical doctors, osteopaths, naturopaths, chiropractors, physical therapists, psychologists, allergists, body workers, hypnotists and dieticians. No treatment or surgery had lasting results.

I became proactive in college. In addition to studying medical anthropology, I was in close contact with dozens of mind/body health practitioners around the country. I became a research assistant at Harvard Medical School, looking into how to combine various mind/body methods for pain relief and even using martial art drills as vehicles to create altered states of consciousness. Yet despite all this, the net results were underwhelming. I was finally forced to face the fact that conventional Western medicine and many of the so-called “complementary medicines” were unable to heal me. So I became the Marco Polo of pain.

I began traveling, tracking down rumors of cures for pain and suffering to be found in far away places with strange-sounding names. Reiki and qigong in Japan, tui na in Taiwan, acupuncture and traditional herbs in Singapore, faith healing and bone-setting in the Philippines, spiritualists and medicine men in Malaysia. Been there, done that, designed the tee shirt. Yes, as with Western doctoring there was some short-term relief, but the pain always returned. Always. Then one day, I had had enough and decided to make a final desperate change in my life’s direction.

What did I do?

I became a doctor of Oriental and alternative medicine to cure myself. And over the past 10 years of treating patients and lecturing worldwide, I have developed a proactive self-directed, self-cure model of optimal health and pain-free living. And I will share it with you here every Tuesday.

I know the information will change your life, as it did mine. And please, if you have a specific health concern you would like me to address, let me know and I will do so as soon as possible. Until next week…

Yours in self-directed wellness,

Dr. Mark Wiley

Garlic: A Miniature Medicine Cabinet

You probably know that cooking with garlic makes foods taste great. But garlic is almost like a miniature medicine cabinet!

Research shows garlic is helpful for:

  • Reducing heart disease
  • Preventing hardening of your arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • Reducing blood clots
  • Lowering elevated blood pressure levels
  • Curing yeast infections
  • Acting as a natural antioxidant

Garlic is also a great remedy for battling cold viruses. So be generous when you spoon out the garlic during food preparation. Or, if you worry about the strong scent—garlic capsules work well, too!

Stupak Amendment Continues To Generate Heat In Healthcare Debate

Stupak amendment continues to generate heat in healthcare debate The healthcare reform bill provision banning federal abortion funding is fast emerging as one of the key contentious issues as the congressional negotiations move forward. In fact, last week a high ranking House Democrat predicted the Stupak-Pitt amendment was likely be removed.

The amendment prohibits coverage of abortion in the public option and bars anyone receiving a federal subsidy from purchasing a health insurance plan that covers the procedure.

Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina was quoted by MSNBC as saying he believes the amendment will be dropped from the legislation when the House and Senate bills—the latter is still pending—will be fashioned into a final act. He also suggested many House Democrats voted for the amendment with the expectation that it will not be included in the final version.

In response, GOP spokesperson Joanna Burgos denounced what she called "a cruel and morally questionable political hoax" committed by the Democrats.

"The last-minute maneuvering by Democrats in Congress to strip provisions allowing for taxpayer-funded abortions was nothing more than a shell game," she stated, quoted by TheHill.com.

The news provider says that although House liberals have threatened to block the final bill if the amendment is not stripped, it is not clear how removing the provision would affect centrist Democrats’ vote.

Vitamin D Deficiency May Increase Blood Pressure In Women, Study Says

Vitamin D deficiency may increase blood pressure in women, study says According to research presented at a recent American Heart Association conference, premenopausal women who have insufficient vitamin D levels have an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure.

In their work, researchers followed 559 Caucasian women with an average age of 38 between the years of 1992 to 2007. They found that premenopausal women with vitamin D deficiency at the beginning of the study had the risk of developing systolic hypertension 15 years later that was three times higher than in other groups.

Flojaune C. Griffin, the study’s author, says the study differs from other research in this field because of its longer time span.

Vitamin D has long been known to be crucial for bone health, but recent studies have also linked a deficiency of the vitamin to decreased immunity and higher risk for some cancers.

Foods like milk, fish and eggs as well as cod liver oil are good sources of vitamin D, but it can also be found in nutritional supplements.

The vitamin is moreover produced in the body after exposure to the sun, and experts say as little as 10 minutes a day are enough to prevent deficiencies.