Minor Health Problems

Dear Bob,

My child has minor health problems. How can I be sure he has the proper diet and receives the nutrition he needs?

A: My bet is that your child’s diet lacks omega-3 fats and is not on a low carbohydrate diet. Most children are on excess grain and sugar diets along with soft drinks and sugary fruit juices.

And most children who are vaccinated are exposed to toxins like mercury in vaccines. The answer to diet for all children is the Ketogenic Diet.

I most highly recommend the movie, First Do No Harm, starring Meryl Streep and Fred Ward. This is a moving and educational movie. It’s about a mother, (Streep) who had to fight her brainwashed doctor to get her misdiagnosed child help. This is the story of a serious illness that only needed the proper diet instead of drugs. It should be available in DVD or VHS format.

Best Wishes,

Actress Adopts Alternative Approach To Cure Lyme Disease

Actress adopts alternative approach to cure lyme diseaseIn an upcoming documentary, actress Parker Posey profiles her long-fought battle with lyme disease and the holistic medical approach that eventually allowed her to become disease-free.

The film follows five patients with life-altering diseases who made the decision to reject traditional medicine and adopt an alternative approach to treating their illness.

Posey originally went through the conventional treatment for lyme disease, but found that the bacteria still remained in her system.

The actress made the decision to not take antibiotics anymore and instead approach the illness holistically. She soon beat the disease and is now preaching the benefits of alternative health remedies.

"Why do we give ourselves away so easily to pharmaceuticals that deplete our system and confuse the natural healing process?" Posey asked. "Why do we think [that] we can’t play an active role in getting healthy?"

"These people [in the documentary] share with us the responsibility they were impelled to take so that others can be encouraged to follow the path of natural medicine and the healing arts," she added.

The Mayo Clinic reports that the first signs of lyme disease include flu-like symptoms, rash, joint pain and neurological problems such as memory loss and trouble concentrating.

More info about the documentary, titled Rethinking Cancer, can be found at www.rethinkingcancer.org.

Poll Finds Palin Popularity Growing

Poll finds Palin popularity growing According to a recent survey, Sarah Palin has managed to reverse the decline in popularity that followed her resignation last summer as Alaska’s governor.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, which was release on Monday, revealed that 46 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of her and the same percentage say they have an unfavorable opinion about the former vice-presidnetial candidate. After she resigned in July, her popularity dipped to 39 percent, according to CNN.

However, the poll also revealed a significant partisan and gender divide, finding that some 80 percent of Republicans hold a favorable view of Palin, while 70 percent of Democrats disapprove of her. Moreover, the mother of five has consistently polled higher with men than with women, even if the female respondents identify themselves as Republicans.

Part of Palin’s surge in the polls may be attributed to her the high-profile media tour she launched in the last few weeks for her new memoir Going Rogue: An American Life, with appearances including an interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

However, she has remained coy about her plans to run for the White House in 2012, preferring to neither confirm nor deny such rumors.

High-flow Oxygen Can Relieve Cluster Headaches, New Study Suggests

High-flow oxygen can relieve cluster headaches, new study suggestsAccording to a new study, 15 minutes of treatment with high-flow oxygen may help alleviate cluster headaches.

Characterized by bouts of excruciating pain near the eyes or temples, cluster headaches are known to last anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours when untreated. Attacks can occur up to eight times a day and may last for weeks, separated by remission periods of months or even years.

Researchers at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London conducted a controlled trial over a five-year period and found that 78 percent of patients with chronic cluster headaches who received high-flow oxygen treatment reported being pain-free or adequately relieved within 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, only 20 percent of respondents who received the placebo treatment reported a relief of cluster headache symptoms.

"To our knowledge, this is the first adequately powered trial of high-flow oxygen compared with placebo, and it confirms clinical experience and current guidelines that inhaled oxygen can be used as an acute attack therapy for episodic and chronic cluster headache," said the authors of the study.

The current pharmacological treatment for cluster headaches is a drug called sumatriptan, but frequent use is not recommended due to adverse side effects.

Obama's Ambassadorial Nominee Receives Heavy Scrutiny

Obama's ambassadorial nominee receives heavy scrutiny President Barack Obama has nominated Mari Carmen Aponte to become the next ambassador of El Salvador, a decade after she was forced to withdrawal her name from consideration for a similar post following concerns about alleged ties to Cuba, Newsmax.com reports.

A former FBI official told Fox News that Aponte’s 1998 nomination by president Clinton began receiving attention after the foreign relations panel questioned her about a past relationship with Roberto Tamayo, who was alleged to have "possible ties to the Cuban government" and made "repeated trips there."

Current White House spokesman Tommy Vietor responded, "as has been previously reported, the FBI fully investigated this issue in 1999, and Ms. Aponte received a thorough background check by diplomatic security as part of the nomination process this time around," quoted by the news source.

"Had there been any doubt, [President Obama] would not have nominated Ms. Aponte to this position," he added.

Meanwhile, the former FBI official told the news source that Aponte should not be nominated again after such a controversy.

"It shows a disrespect to the process," the official said. "Hopefully there’ll be somebody on the committee who takes a sober look at the record."

One Solitary Life

I have heard this powerful piece of poetry many times over the years—from a simple, solemn reading in a country church to the majestic pronouncement at the conclusion of the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas show—and I have never failed to be deeply moved by it.

I hope you will enjoy being reminded of it today, as we celebrate the birth of the Son of Man who was also the Son of God. Although only a few shepherds were aware of His arrival, the event was so momentous that it divided time itself.

Here is One Solitary Life.

He was born in an obscure village,
The child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until He was thirty.

He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never went to college.
He never visited a big city.

He never traveled more than two hundred miles
From the place where He was born.
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness.
He had no credentials but Himself.

He was only thirty-three
When He died.
His friends ran away.
One of them denied Him.

He was turned over to His enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While dying, His executioners gambled for His clothing,
The only property He had on earth.

When He was dead,
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend.

Twenty centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind’s progress.

All the armies that have ever marched,
All the navies that have ever sailed,
All the parliaments that have ever sat,
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that One Solitary Life.

I didn’t know the origin of One Solitary Life until I researched it for this column. It was written by Dr. James Allan Francis in 1925 and later appeared in a book he compiled, The Real Jesus and Other Sermons, published by Judson Press in 1926.

Today, there are many versions extant of One Solitary Life, but this is my favorite. I hope you enjoyed seeing it again.

Merry Christmas. And until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Thank You Sen. Bob Dole

*Honoring a man who honors our vets. Normally I use this space to send some slings and arrows toward targets that, in my humble opinion, roundly deserve them. But on this joyous holiday, I want to do something different. I want to honor a well-known American for something he does outside the spotlight.

Every month an organization called the Honor Flight Network arranges a visit to Washington, D.C., by a group of veterans of World War II. Among the activities planned for them is a visit to the granite structure on the National Mall called the National World War II Memorial.

When they arrive, there to greet them is World War II vet, former Senate Majority Leader, and one-time Republican candidate for president, Bob Dole. Here’s how Gerald Seib described a recent Saturday gathering of 108 such men in his Capital Journal column:

“To these veterans, 29 of them in wheelchairs and several toting oxygen tanks, Mr. Dole was like a rock star. They gathered around to shake hands, to have their pictures taken with him, to crack a joke about their ages.”

The journalist continued, “World War II was, after all, Bob Dole’s war too, the violence of which left him permanently without use of his right arm, and these were his comrades in arms. And the spectacular structure behind them on the National Mall is, in many ways, Mr. Dole’s memorial to them, one for which he spent years crusading in the Senate.”

By the end of this year the Honor Flight organization will have flown 42,000 such veterans, at no cost to themselves, to Washington to see the monument. For as long as his health permits, Bob Dole will be there to greet—and thank—every single one.

Merry Christmas, senator. And thank you.

—Chip Wood

Eating Fruits And Vegetables Can Improve Vision, New Review Concludes

Eating fruits and vegetables can improve vision, new review concludesThe consumption of green leafy vegetables and colored fruits can increase visual performance and may prevent age-related eye disease, according to a recent study.

Researchers from the University of Georgia reviewed various studies and discovered that the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, abundantly found in many fruits and vegetables, have a positive impact on the retina and play an important role in human vision.

Authors of the study also reported that the compounds can enhance contrast and reduce disability and discomfort associated with glare.

Lead researcher Billy Hammond concluded that "it is clear that [carotenoids can] potentially improve vision through biological means. For example, a study conducted in 2008 suggests that the pigments protect the retina and lens and perhaps even help prevent age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataract."

Carotenoids are found in many fruits and vegetables including carrots, peppers, mangoes and kiwis.

Senior citizens should have an especially high dietary intake of the compound, NaturalNews.com reports. Additional research has concluded that a high blood carotenoid level is associated with a significant protective effect against aging.

Nebraska One Of 33 States To Hike Unemployment Tax On Businesses

Nebraska one of 33 states to hike unemployment tax on businesses On the heels of a surprisingly positive national unemployment report, where the jobless rate fell for the first time in months, the state of Nebraska has announced that it will be increasing the tax levied on businesses to help replenish their dwindling unemployment insurance fund, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

Nebraska is one of 33 states that are expected to increase unemployment tax in 2010 due to the high number of people who claimed joblessness over the past year.

Although most states are required by law to build up unemployment insurance funds in prosperous times to avoid tax increases in a recession, Nebraska is one of the many states whose funds have become depleted. Additionally, Nebraska’s constitution doesn’t allow it to borrow money from the federal government to help supplement state trust funds.

The hike in the unemployment tax will be especially detrimental to small business owners, who create about 60 percent of all new jobs in Nebraska.

"This is a job killer," said small business owner Rick Poore, quoted by the news source. "This isn’t going to help anything," he added.

"Hopefully employers have been preparing for this, but it will be a surprise to some," said Ron Sedlacek, general counsel for the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, quoted by the Los Angeles Times. "It really just depends on how much they’ve been monitoring [the] situation," he added.


Columbia Loses Battle To Take Over Private Land

Columbia loses battle to take over private land A recent court decision, which says New York state cannot use eminent domain on behalf of Columbia University to help it acquire land for construction, marks a significant setback for the school’s plans to expand on the Upper West Side.

The appeals court’s ruling overturned last year’s decision giving the green light for the property takeover that would allow the Ivy League institution to implement its $6.28 billion campus expansion plan that includes 16 new buildings, among them dormitories and science facilities, according to TheUptowner.org.

The court ruled that the state’s designation of the neighborhood bordered by Broadway, Riverside Drive, 129th and 133rd Streets as "blighted,"—the main prerequisite for eminent domain—was not sufficiently proven, according to media reports.

Numerous community groups and individuals, including local business owners, opposed the expansion plans, but the decision surprised many of them nonetheless.

Nicholas Sprayregen, the owner of several self-storage warehouses in the Manhattanville area who refused to sell to the university, told The New York Times he was always "cautiously optimistic," because "I was aware we were going against 50 years of unfair cases against property owners."

Meanwhile, representatives of the Empire State Development Corporation, the agency that approved the use of eminent domain, criticized the court’s ruling and vowed to appeal the decision.

Can Eating Pistachios Help Ward Off Lung Cancer?

Can eating pistachios help ward off lung cancer? Consuming pistachios every day may help reduce the risk of lung and other cancers, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Texas at Houston have found that pistachios are loaded with gamma-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E that has been known to provide a degree of protection against certain forms of cancer.

The study followed 36 healthy participants over a six-week clinical trial period and found that, when eating just 2 ounces of pistachios per day, respondents saw a significant increase in energy-adjusted gamma-tocopherol.

"Pistachios are one of those ‘good-for-you’ nuts, and 2 ounces per day could be incorporated into dietary strategies designed to reduce the risk of lung cancer without significant changes in body mass index," said senior research dietitian Ladia Hernandez.

Other good sources of gamma-tocopherol include peanuts, pecans, walnuts and corn oils.

Meanwhile, in an earlier study, scientists were able to prove that pistachios have a positive impact on cardiovascular health by significantly reducing inflammation in the body.

"Pistachios contain many important nutrients that contribute to [a] positive effect on health," explained nutrition expert Constance Geiger. "Every new study adds another piece to the puzzle of how eating pistachios may benefit heart health," she added.

Give! Give!

As if Americans aren’t already taxed enough, the healthcare reform bill—or Obamacare bill—being discussed by the Senate contains dozens of new taxes and creates 111 new bureaucracies.

Among the new taxes:

  • a 40 percent excise tax on health coverage in excess of $8,500 (individuals)/$23,000 (families).
  • an additional half percent Medicare (Hospital Insurance) tax on wages in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 for joint filers) beginning in 2013.
  • an annual fee on manufacturers and importers of branded drugs beginning in 2010.
  • an annual fee on manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices beginning in 2010.
  • a reduction by half (to $500,000) the amount of an executive’s compensation that a health plan can deduct from its corporate income taxes beginning in 2013 and a 5 percent excise tax on cosmetic surgery and similar procedures beginning in 2010. (source: Openmarket.org)

The anti-federalist Brutus, thought by most scholars to be Robert Yates, warned in his essay No. 6 about Congress having too much power under Article 1, Section 8 (…power to lay and collect taxes, imposts, duties, and excises, according to the discretion of the legislature…) and eventually taking all authority from the states.

This power, exercised without limitation, will introduce itself into every comer of the city, and country—It will wait upon the ladies at their toilett, and will not leave them in any of their domestic concerns; it will accompany them to the ball, the play, and the assembly; it will go with them when they visit, and will, on all occasions, sit beside them in their carriages, nor will it desert them even at church; it will enter the house of every gentleman, watch over his cellar, wait upon his cook in the kitchen, follow the servants into the parlour, preside over the table, and note down all he eats or drinks; it will attend him to his bed-chamber, and watch him while he sleeps; it will take cognizance of the professional man in his office, or his study; it will watch the merchant in the counting-house, or in his store; it will follow the mechanic to his shop, and in his work, and will haunt him in his family, and in his bed; it will be a constant companion of the industrious farmer in all his labour, it will be with him in the house, and in the field, observe the toil of his hands, and the sweat of his brow; it will penetrate into the most obscure cottage; and finally, it will light upon the head of every person in the United States. To all these different classes of people, and in all these circumstances, in which it will attend them, the language in which it will address them, will be GIVE! GIVE!

Now government is trying to follow Americans into their sick beds. And just as Brutus predicted, when Congress addresses the American people it is with a common refrain: GIVE, GIVE!

Rid Your Body of Toxins and Parasites with Simple Liquid Fasting

Liquid cleansing and fasting have been an integral part of natural medicine for more than 100 years. Thousands of people have discovered restored health through fasting. Dr. Herbert Shelton was one of the founders of the American Natural Hygiene Society, and during his lifetime he supervised more than 40,000 fasts. His greatest tool for assisting patients in reversing disease was to assist them to safely go without food while drinking only water or juice for three to five days, or as long as 30 days.

Simple juice fasts are a great way to quickly purify the body and prepare it for healing. The three-day juice fast will clean mucus out the body and provide you with nutritious, vibrant foods and supplements that rebuild the system and facilitate healing.

Freshly extracted, raw, organic juices are ideal because they contain high amounts of valuable enzymes that not only help you digest the juice, but also exert a powerful healing influence on the body. If, however, you do not have access to a juicer you may use pure, organic, bottled juices that are purchased from local health food stores. Do not use frozen concentrates or juices with added sugar. Use one juice for at least three days. Choose a favorite juice (apple, carrot, citrus, tomato, barley grass, grape, etc.), but use only one for at least three consecutive days.

Do not eat anything during the three days if possible. If absolutely necessary, the matching fruit or vegetable from which you are making juice may be eaten. If you are drinking apple juice, then eat only apples if you feel the need to eat.

When you stop eating foods that contain bulk and fiber, the bowel may stop moving resulting in constipation. Toxic mucous being eliminated from your system can also cause constipation. To prevent these issues from occurring, drink 16 ounces of prune juice first thing upon arising in the morning. If you are still having problems, you may introduce colon cleansing through the use of enemas.

Dr. Christopher, noted herbalist, taught that we must eat our drink and drink our food. Chewing juice ensures proper digestion by mixing it with enzymes found in the mouth. Swish each mouthful thoroughly.

On the fourth day, introduce vegetable organic juices and raw fruits and vegetables. After the fourth day, you may also introduce steamed foods.

You will experience cleansing symptoms on your juice program. You may notice aches and pains, headaches, weakness and other symptoms as your body eliminates toxins and poisons. This is a natural reaction by your body. Be strong since these symptoms result in faster cleansing and healing.

Another powerful ingredient to aid in your detoxification is the herb milk thistle. Ancient Romans and Greeks often used milk thistle as a remedy for liver problems. Many modern medical practitioners also believe milk thistle is one of the most effective herbs for relieving liver disorders and related problems.

Your liver is like a "traffic cop" for many activities that occur in your body. For example, it eliminates or neutralizes toxins in the blood. It also plays a role in controlling infection.

Milk thistle contains a chemical substance called silymarin, which is believed to help:

  • Cleanse and detoxify your liver.
  • Relieve inflammation of liver cells (hepatitis).
  • Treat symptoms of a scarred liver (cirrhosis) from excess alcohol consumption.

Research shows milk thistle may also help protect your kidneys from damage caused by chemotherapy medications. It can even play a role in protecting your prostate from abnormal cell growth.

—By Michael Cutler, M.D.

Freshman Democrat In The House Crossing The Aisle

Freshman Democrat in the House crossing the aisleFirst term Democratic congressman Parker Griffith of Alabama has said he will join the GOP effective immediately in a possible bid to increase his reelection chances in 2010.

The 67-year-old was narrowly elected last year and has boasted some of the most conservative voting records of any House Democrat, including his opposition to President Obama’s economic stimulus package.

"I have become increasingly concerned that the bills and policies pushed by the current Democratic leadership are not good for north Alabama or our nation," Griffith said during a press conference in Huntsville earlier today.

"More importantly, they do not represent my values and my convictions," he added.

Executive director of the Alabama Democratic Party Jim Spearman told the Associated Press that he was not surprised by the switch but vowed to "[work] strongly to put a Democrat in there" during the midterm elections.

In recent years, many prominent politicians switched party affiliations, including Arlen Specter, a senator from Pennsylvania, who became a Democrat in 2009 after five terms with the GOP. In 2002, just days before filing for the mayoral race in New Orleans, Ray Nagin switched from Republican to Democrat.

With Griffith’s switch, Democrats will hold 257 House seats and the GOP will have 178.

Senators Strike Deals In Exchange For Healthcare Votes

Senators strike deals in exchange for healthcare votesThe Senate’s version of the healthcare bill took a giant step toward passage after several deals were made with moderate Democratic Senators in exchange for key votes.

Senator Mary Landrieu apparently received a $100 million Medicaid deal just for Louisiana—she bragged it was actually $300 million, according to CBSNews.com.

The deal was so disreputable to Republicans, they gave it a name. "We have new words in our lexicon, the Louisiana Purchase," said Senator John McCain from Arizona.

Joe Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut, was able to strip the bill of a government insurance program in exchange for his vote.

"And it’s a shame that the only way we can come to consensus in this country is to buy votes," said Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, quoted by the news source.

The most notorious deal may have been achieved by Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who agreed to lend his support to the Democratic cause in exchange for stricter regulations on abortion coverage in the healthcare bill.

The deal reached by Nelson would allow people to purchase insurance plans with abortion coverage, but would force them to write two premium checks—one to cover their plan and the other to cover potential abortion procedures. Individual states could also decree that no plans including abortion coverage would be offered.

The compromise has been criticized by pro-life and pro-choice supporters alike.

"It’s being attacked by both sides, not because it’s so moderate but because it’s crazy," said Richard Doerflinger, a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, quoted by the Washington Post.

Sara Rosenbaum, a George Washington University professor who thinks the language is too restrictive echoes that sentiment: "None of how this is supposed to work is even remotely in the bill, so I don’t know what people are thinking about it."

U.S. And China Broker Climate Deal In Copenhagen

U.S. and China broker climate deal in Copenhagen The U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen has ended with a nonbinding accord that some commentators see as a symbol of "a new world order."

According to the Associated Press, the accord urges deeper cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases, but it is not legally binding. Among the major polluters, the European Union has committed to cutting emissions by 20 percent by 2020; Japan to 25 percent, if others take similar steps, and the U.S. agreed provisionally to a 3 to 4 percent reduction.

Meanwhile, China offered to rein in its greenhouse gas output by 40 to 45 percent, and India, Brazil and South Africa committed to their own voluntary targets.

The deal also calls on rich nations to provide up to $30 billion during 2010-2012 to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

The Washington Post suggested that the deal — which was brokered by Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and all but rubber-stamped by other participants —may provide a glimpse of how issues from world trade to nuclear proliferation will be negotiated in the coming years.

"Coming into this conference, it was about 193 countries, and coming out of it, it clearly came down to a conversation between the leaders of those two superpowers," said Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Fund, quoted by the news provider.

Back on Capitol Hill, many Democrats stressed it was a "hopeful" sign to see China and India get on board. However, Republican Senator Robert Bennett of Utah said he didn’t think "they got anything in Copenhagen that will encourage anybody, except Jim Inhofe," in reference to the Oklahoma Republican who calls global warming a "hoax" and opposes any emissions cuts, according to TheHill.com.

Envoy Delivers Obama's Letter To North Korean Dictator

Envoy delivers Obama's letter to North Korean dictatorPresident Obama sent a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong II that was delivered by an envoy, according to media reports.

The letter was allegedly delivered when Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special envoy for North Korea, paid a visit to the country in an effort to break an impasse in dialogue. During the trip he conveyed the administration’s view that "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is [fundamental] to improving our relations."

However, the White House has refused to reveal the contents of the letter, prompting critics to accuse the administration of a lack of transparency. Fox News’ Sean Hannity even went as far as calling North Korea’s dictator the president’s "pen pal."

On taking office in January, Obama expressed a willingness to engage with the communist regime. However, since the last six-party talks—involving the U.S., UN, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea—in December 2008, North Korea’s government has pulled out of the process and tested a second nuclear device.

There is also a widespread belief that the regime is preparing to reopen the controversial uranium-enrichment facility at Yongbyon.

Study: Pregnant Women's Exposure To Bacteria May Protect Child From Allergies

Study: Pregnant women's exposure to bacteria may protect child from allergiesA study published in the December issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggests that a pregnant woman’s exposure to microbes may protect her child from developing allergies later in life.

The study found that, when exposed to environmental bacteria, pregnant mice developed an inflammatory response that rendered their offspring resistant to allergies.

As a result, the scientists from Phillips University theorize that pregnant women who find themselves exposed to common environmental bacteria may be able to reduce their child’s need for traditional anti-allergy medication and avoid the accompanying side effects.

The researchers based their work on the hygiene hypothesis, which suggests that the progressive rise of allergies over the past few decades is due to an increased tendency to keep kids too clean.

The study may also help explain why children of farming mothers are less susceptible to allergies regardless of their own exposure.

It is still unclear how the resistance is developed in the body and whether the protection applies to a wide range of allergens, including those found in food.

The Dow’s Santa Claus Rally

Where’s our Santa Claus Rally?

Back in the good old 20th century we regularly had a rally in the stock market in the days leading up to Christmas. During the last decade of the century it became such a regular part of the year end, everyone expected a “Santa Claus” rally.

Every December in the 1990s, with the lonely exception of 1997, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose during the five trading days before Christmas. In fact, the Dow rose in 13 of the final 14 sessions of 1991, climbing a total of 10.7 percent. It was called “the mother of all Santa Claus rallies.”

Christmas was not so merry for investors 95 years earlier. Because of World War I, the New York Stock Exchange suspended operations in July 1914. It resumed limited trading on Dec. 12. By Dec. 24, 1914, the Dow had fallen to 53.17—its lowest reading since 1907.

Full trading did not resume until April 1915. After the nine-month closure, a new tradition was established. Henceforth, the market would never be closed for more than three days. That is why the stock market holds a half-day session on the day after Thanksgiving.

—Chip Wood

Santa Claus

One Christmas past my eldest son Richard was furious with me.

Since he was old enough to remember, his mother and I had told him about Santa Claus. It seemed like a harmless enough fib.

He loved Santa Claus. Not only was Santa a magical character of mythical proportions, but his very existence—in the eyes of a 7-year-old—meant limitless potential. If he wanted something special, all he had to do was ask Santa Claus.

Of course Santa didn’t always bring everything he wanted; but there was always the prospect that he could, or the hope that next year he would. It was the ultimate fantasy of something for nothing.

Unfortunately Richard’s fairy tale came to an end.

“There really isn’t a Santa Claus, is there Dad?”

It is one thing to perpetuate a myth and another one to outright lie.

“No son,” I said, “Santa Claus isn’t real.”

Disappointment washed over his face. He had to get the truth from his cousin. Mom and Dad couldn’t be trusted. The whole thing, even the milk and cookies set beside the fireplace, were one big lie.

Yet for our 5- and 3-year-olds—Matthew and Sarah—the myth burned on for a few more years. They knew there was a Santa. Mom mailed letters to the North Pole every year, and there were visits to the mall to see Santa himself. Sometimes Santa even brought them exactly what they wanted.

It’s been 20 years since that Christmas and I am starting to wonder if there is a Santa Claus. It is our Federal Government, and this Santa gives the gift that lasts all year.

“If you take the government to be Santa Claus,” says economist Robert Higgs, “you naturally want every day to be Christmas; and the bigger the Santa, the bigger his sack of goodies.”

That sack is certainly getting bountiful. Today the Federal Government is not only the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer and contractor; it is also Santa Claus to tens of millions of Americans.

According to the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, roughly 47 percent of Americans either pay no tax or a negative tax (Washington sends money to some people every year through such programs as the Earned Income Tax Credit).

The Federal Government has a long list and lately it hasn’t bothered checking it twice. Since October of 2008 the Federal Government has committed $700 billion and already spent $420 billion through the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. The Feds have also set aside another $400 billion in separate bailouts to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

For companies like General Motors (GM) and AIG, which have been gifted $50.4 billion and $69.8 billion respectively, there really is a Santa Claus.

If you want to check on all the goodies that Washington has given, there is a detailed list you can see here.

Best of all, Santa wants to see all of his gifts given. On Dec. 8, President Obama unveiled plans to use some of the $200 billion in lower-than-expected spending on troubled bank assets as a fiscal stimulus. Obama claimed his proposal is aimed at alleviating the “continued human tragedy” of unemployment.

Obama said he wants to create “the greatest number of jobs while generating the greatest value for our economy.” And just like Santa, Obama is leaving the price tag off.

What we do know is that the President is calling for an extension of unemployment and health insurance benefits for the more than 15 million out-of-work Americans. According to Obama, boosting jobs—through more government spending—is the best way to tackle the deficit. That kind of deductive reasoning is every bit as magical as Santa Claus.

The list seems endless. Forty billion dollars needed in Afghanistan? Done! One trillion dollars needed for Obamacare? The Democrats are working on that. Meanwhile there is even $1.1 billion for a new agency to protect consumers. And the Greens can count on a stocking-stuffer delivered fresh from Copenhagen.

Bad Santa

There is just one problem. Santa is broke. The budget deficit is a runaway sleigh. For the year ending in September it hit a stunning $1.4 trillion. If that weren’t bad enough, the Congressional Budget Office forecasts a cumulative $9 trillion deficit over the coming decade. When I started in this business in the early 1980s some were issuing dire warnings over Reagan pushing federal debt above the $1 trillion mark. This Christmas it is $12 trillion and climbing.

“No single year’s deficit is any particular danger,” says the Dec. 8 Motley Fool, “but their accumulation quickly becomes lethal. Piling up endless sums of debt works until it doesn’t, at which time a vengeful flock of chickens comes home to roost. Those needing proof can ask Dubai, or simply refer to the recent performance of the U.S. dollar.”

In fact there may be one heck of a Christmas hangover. Moody’s is looking at the debt of both the U.S. and U.K. and might downgrade it from “Triple-A” status.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “Moody’s released the report as part of an effort, spurred by investor demand, to examine the creditworthiness of the world’s most highly rated countries.”

That’s very bad news for Treasury investors. And in the end it may mean the end of Santa Claus. Foreigners hold $3.5 trillion in Treasury debt. If they start unloading even a fraction of this debt the U.S. dollar will crash and the price of gold will soar.

So let me leave you with this Christmas wish; that you buy you and your loved ones some gold. Unlike Santa Claus, it will always be there for you.

Yours for real wealth, good health and, Season’s Greetings,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

Panel OKs Bernanke Nomination For Second Term

Panel OKs Bernanke nomination for second termDespite much criticism from across party lines, the Senate Banking Committee voted on Thursday to recommend Ben Bernanke’s nomination for the second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The panel’s chairman, Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), said Bernanke’s "wise leadership" means that "better days do lie ahead," but many others expressed their criticism of his handling of last year’s financial crisis.

Among the most vocal opponents of the Fed chairman has been the National Inflation Association, which has criticized the central bank for keeping interest rates low and increasing the risk of hyperinflation in the future.

The NIA has been particularly outraged now that Time magazine named Bernanke Person of the Year 2009, and responded with its own distinction, designating him Villain of the Year 2009.

"The U.S. economy is riding high on its last dose of stimulus before the entire financial system overdoses and collapses," NIA says, adding that "Bernanke has pushed the inevitable recession down the road while setting up the upcoming currency crisis."

The full Senate vote is set to take place in January. However, because Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced he will block Bernanke’s nomination from reaching the floor for a vote by placing it on hold, it will require a super-majority of 60 votes for him to win the confirmation.

Democrats Break Filibuster On Healthcare Reform

Democrats break filibuster on healthcare reform Early Monday morning, Senate Democrats voted 60-40 to end the debate on a package of healthcare reform revisions and advance the bill ahead of the final vote.

The vote has been touted as a show of unity and prompted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to declare that "today, the Senate took another historic step toward our goal of delivering access to quality, affordable health care to all Americans."

He added that the bill is "about people, it’s about life and death in America and human suffering. And given the chance to relieve this suffering, we must."

Meanwhile the GOP has criticized their opponents for passing the measure in the middle of the night and against the wishes of the majority of public opinion.

"Make no mistake: If the people who wrote this bill were proud of it, they wouldn’t be forcing this vote in the dead of night," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), quoted by CNN.

Monday morning’s vote was the first of three this week, and the Senate is expected to conduct the final vote on the healthcare reform bill on Christmas Eve. The final passage of the measure will require only a simple majority vote.