House Approves Expansion Of Government Regulatory Power

House approves expansion of government regulatory powerThe House of Representatives has voted on a bill that contains provisions for far-reaching financial regulations and creates a consumer protection agency.

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 passed along party lines 223-202, and in addition to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency it will also vastly expand government powers over the financial system, including the right to break up companies that become too big and to regulate complex derivatives, which some say contributed to last year’s financial crisis.

Media reports suggest that among some of its key provisions is the requirement for big Wall Street institutions to pay $150 billion into an emergency fund that will be tapped into when a troubled company needs to be rescued.

Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine has praised the vote, saying "[the act] will make our system more stable, while reining in the irresponsible practices that nearly led to the collapse of the global financial system."

He also took aim at the GOP which refused to back the bill, accusing the party of siding with their financial industry "friends" against the interests of the American people.

Meanwhile, opponents of the legislation have said it will hurt small businesses and stifle innovation, and is yet another example of big government. .

"This house has been on a spending spree, a bailout spree and a regulatory spree that I could never have imagined in any of my prior 18 years here in Congress," complained House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio.

The Senate is expected to take up the bill early next year.

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A $261 million job, 50-year Bonds and a Saab Story

*Man, that’s a lot to pay for a job. No one was surprised that Michael Bloomberg won reelection for a third term as the mayor of New York City. But what he paid for the dubious privilege was impressive—$102 million of his own money. Add that to the $74 million he spent on his first campaign back in 2001, and another $85 million in 2005, and you get $261 million he’s doled out to be called “Your honor.” That’s a lot of money for you and me, but a pittance to a man worth $17.5 billion.

*Loan China money for 50 years? Here’s another news item that struck me as strange. Last month investors snapped up nearly $3 billion worth of 50-year bonds offered by the Chinese Ministry of Finance. The notes pay 4.3 percent interest. Why would China offer the bonds? It certainly doesn’t need the money. And why would investors tie up funds for 50 years for such a lowly return? Neither side of this trade makes sense to me.

*A real Saab story. Sorry, but I couldn’t resist the pun. Looks like the once-illustrious Swedish car maker will soon be but a faded memory. General Motors (GM), which acquired the car company several years ago, is looking for a buyer. If one isn’t found soon GM says it’ll fold the company. Estimates are that Saab will sell 10,000 cars in the U.S. this year—half as many as Honda sells in a week. Looks to me like the market has spoken.

—Chip Wood

Research: Yoga Contributes To A Healthy Heart

Research: Yoga contributes to a healthy heartAccording to a study published in the upcoming issue of the International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics, the practice of yoga may boost heart health.

Researchers at the Indian University of Technology found that heart rate variability, a proven sign of a healthy heart, has been shown to be higher in yoga practitioners than in non-practitioners.

In healthy individuals, heart rate variability, which refers to the beat-to-beat changes in heart rate, tends to be quite high. Contrastingly, low heart rate variability is commonly associated with cardiac abnormalities found in unhealthy hearts.

In their preliminary study, the researchers concluded that "there is strengthening of parasympathetic (vagal) control in subjects who regularly practice yoga, which is indicative of better autonomic control over heart rate and so a healthier heart."

Experts find that diet and exercise are the most successful ways of defending oneself against heart disease. Preventative measures include a reduction of sodium intake, a diet that is low in saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fats, as well as regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight, The New York Times reports.
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Government Set To Announce Transfer Of Gitmo Prisoners To U.S.

Government set to announce transfer of Gitmo prisoners to U.S.In an attempt to meet the self-imposed January deadline for closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the government has said it will purchase a nearly empty state prison in Thomson, Illinois, and transfer up to 100 prisoners currently held at the Cuban base.

The official announcement to buy the Thomson Correctional Center came Tuesday.

An anonymous government official was quoted by the Chicago Tribune as saying that the decision "is an important step forward as we work to achieve our national security objectives," adding that it will help remove "a deadly recruiting tool from the hands of al-Qaida."

State officials have also pointed out that the plan would create about 2,000 new jobs and bring some $1 billion in federal funds to the area. Meanwhile, administration officials put the estimated number of new jobs at 3,800.

Just days after taking office last January Obama signed an executive order to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year and to ban harsh interrogations techniques. Since its opening in 2002, the detention center has come under international criticism from governments and human rights groups alleging prisoners were held there without due process and may have been tortured.

In recent months nearly 100 of the 210 detainees at Guantanamo have been cleared to be transferred to their home countries and other nations, and five are awaiting trial in New York.
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Dissatisfaction Could Cost Democrats In 2010, New Poll Suggests

Dissatisfaction could cost Democrats in 2010, new poll suggests Looking ahead to the 2010 elections, a greater percentage of voters would now prefer to elect a Republican to Congress rather than a Democrat, according to the latest George Washington University Battleground Poll.

Of the 1,000 registered voters surveyed, a total of 42 percent said they would vote for a Republican while only 40 percent said they would vote for a Democrat. This is the first year that Republicans have led on the generic congressional ballot since 2002, according to CQPolitics.com.

It is also an abrupt change from July of this year, when respondents favored Democrats over Republicans by a 3 percent margin.

The poll found furthermore that 56 percent of voters believe the country is on the wrong track and 68 percent disapprove of the job performance of Congress members.

Barack Obama’s approval rating also took a significant dip compared to the last poll. "The economy is starting to take a toll on [the president] and his party’s image," said Celinda Lake, longtime Democratic pollster.

"Voters are very anxious about the economy and looking for solutions that will put people back to work. Democrats can point to a number of successes, yet will ultimately be judged on whether Americans see and feel the recovery in their own communities," she added.

Republican pollster Ed Goeas agreed, stating "the political landscape continues to deteriorate for President Obama and the Democrats in Congress, no matter which direction you look; generic ballot, presidential job approval or issue handling, Republicans have made gains that more than even out the playing field for the 2010 elections."
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Obama Gives Himself High Rating, Laments Unemployment Statistics

Obama gives himself high rating, laments unemployment statisticsIn an interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired Sunday, President Barack Obama gave himself a "good, solid B+" grade for his first 11 months in office.

Obama credited his administration with stabilizing the U.S. economy, winding down the war in Iraq and settling on the best possible plan for a temporary surge into Afghanistan. He also said that America has "reset" its prestige in the eyes of the world and has made progress on halting nuclear development in North Korea and Iran.

The president told Oprah that the only things standing in the way of him receiving a better grade are slower-than-expected progress on healthcare reform and the double-digit unemployment rate.

Obama also said that he was not concerned with the recent dip in his approval rating.

"It was inevitable," he said. "We have 10 percent unemployment. I told Michelle when we got here that in six months my poll numbers will start crashing, so we can’t play to the polls. I’m concerned with where we’ll be in two to three years."

Meanwhile, in a 60 Minutes interview that also aired on Sunday, President Obama spoke out against critics who called his Afghanistan deployment model confusing and contradictory due to the firm deadline of troop withdrawal.

"Forty million people watched" the speech, he said, quoted by The Los Angeles Times. "There shouldn’t be anything confusing about that. . . . That’s something that we executed over the last two years in Iraq. So I think the American people are familiar with the idea of a surge."
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Government Announces New Transfers Of Guantanamo Detainees

Government announces new transfers of Guantanamo detainees As part of President Obama’s effort to close down the controversial prison at Guantanamo Bay, the government has said two more detainees were recently transferred to France and Hungary, respectively.

The interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a review of the cases and determined that Sabir Lahmar, a native of Algeria, could be transferred to the government of France, which took place on Nov. 30.

According to the Justice Department, a federal court ruled on Nov. 20, 2008, that Lahmar may no longer be detained under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force and ordered his release from detention.

The second prisoner, whose name has not been revealed and who is originally from the West Bank, was transferred to the government of Hungary on that same day.

Just days after taking office last January, Obama signed an executive order to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year and to ban harsh interrogations techniques. To date, more than 550 detainees have departed for other destinations, ranging from Albania, Algeria and Afghanistan to Australia, Belgium and Maldives.

However, it is now considered unlikely that the facility will be closed by January 2010.
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End the Fed by Ron Paul

During a Republican primary campaign rally at the University of Michigan in October, 2007, Rep. Ron Paul was greeted by supporters who began shouting “End the Fed, end the Fed,” as he began talking about monetary policy.

The cry resonated, and soon the whole crowd had taken up the cheer and some were holding burning dollar bills as if sending a message to the central bank. Almost a year later, at Paul’s counterconvention in Minneapolis, 12,000 people started the chant before Paul even mentioned the Federal Reserve. With that, the title for Paul’s latest book, End the Fed, was written.

Paul is an 11-term congressman from Texas, and a sound monetary policy has been one of his major policy aims. He currently has a bill before Congress that would lead to an audit of the Federal Reserve. The bill has 317 co-sponsors in the 435-member House of Representatives.

The response of his supporters during his campaign and the subsequent support of his fellow members of Congress have encouraged Paul that Americans are beginning to understand the devastating effects the Federal Reserve has had on America’s economy.

End the Fed begins with Paul laying out the argument for why people should care about and question the basis for the Federal Reserve. He writes:

“…the Fed has one power that is unique to it alone: it enables the creation of money out of thin air. Sometimes it makes vast new amounts. Sometimes it makes lesser amounts. The money takes a variety of forms and enters the system in various ways. And the Fed does this through techniques such as open-market operations, changing reserve ratios, and manipulating interest rates, operations that all result in money creation.

“Given that money is one half of every commercial transaction and that whole civilizations literally rise and fall based on the quality of their money, we are talking about an awesome power, one that flies under cover of night. It is the power to weave illusions that appear real as long as they last. That is the very core of the Fed’s power.”

Paul writes that some like the illusion and just want to get back to the time when everything was good. But those “good times” were a mirage—a creation of the appearance of wealth by the Fed.

The book gives a brief history lesson of the origins of the central bank in general in the United States, and the Federal Reserve in particular. The book is also partly autobiographical, as Paul describes boyhood lessons and influences that piqued his interest in money and monetary policy.

While it was formed under the idea that it would be able to protect the monetary and financial system against inflation and violent swings in market activity, the Fed has done just the opposite. Paul quoted a statement from the Comptroller of the Currency in 1914: “…under the operation of this law such financial and commercial crisis, or ‘panics,’ as the country experienced in 1873, in 1893, and again in 1907, with the attendant misfortunes and prostrations, seem to be mathematically impossible.”

Yet Paul points out that the National Bureau of Economic Research says there were recessions in each of the following years in the 20th Century: 1918-1919, 1920-1921, 1923-1924, 1926-1927, 1929-1933, 1937-1938, 1945, 1948-1949, 1953-1954, 1957-1958, 1960-1961, 1969-1970, 1973-1975, 1980, 1981-1982, 1990-1991, 2001 and 2007, which is the current panic of which there is no end yet in sight.

And the Fed has devastated the purchasing power of the dollar, Paul writes. The goods and services you could buy in 1913 for $1 now cost nearly $21. Put another way, the 1913 dollar is now worth less than five cents. We might say the government has stolen 95 cents of every dollar, according to Paul.

Central banks such as the Federal Reserve, Paul writes, prove useful for governments wishing to fund wars. The elastic money supply of a system based on central banking allows governments to pay for their wars without worrying about where the money will come from. Without central banks, governments were forced to economize their resources and they often found diplomatic solutions to their disputes. If wars actually started, countries sought to end them as quickly as possible.

But for European governments in the late 19th Century, fiscal limits were removed because of central banks. Now, governments were free to print what they needed and governments were more willing to pick fights and pull the trigger.

“Might a diplomatic solution have been found for the struggles that led to World War I had the Germans and English not had recourse to the printing press and a lender of last resort?” Paul asks.

After laying historical groundwork of the devastation the Federal Reserve has caused to the American economy and about discussions he has had with Federal Reserve chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, Paul begins making the case for abolition of the Fed.

He makes his arguments on philosophical, Constitutional, economic and libertarian grounds. He then explains the consequences and provides a roadmap for the way out of the mess.

End the Fed provides an excellent overview of the nature, origin and result of a central banking system and also opens the doors on Paul’s fiscal views. Anyone interested in economics and monetary policy of the U.S. would benefit from reading this book.

Obama Wants Payback, Calls On Bank Heads To Boost Economy

Obama wants payback, calls on bank heads to boost economy On Monday, President Barack Obama met with the leaders of the nation’s largest financial institutions and demanded that they put forth an "extraordinary" effort to help aid the struggling economy.

Obama urged bank directors to boost lending to small businesses and curtail large bonuses for top executives. He also asked banks not to stand in the way of potential financial regulatory reform aimed to safeguard its customers.

"No one wants banks making the kinds of risky loans that got us into this situation in the first place," he said, "but given the difficulty businesspeople are having as lending has declined, and given the exceptional assistance banks received to get them through a difficult time, we expect them to explore every responsible way to help get our economy moving again."

The president had set an ominous tone for the meeting during his Sunday night 60 Minutes interview when he referred to Wall Street bankers as a "bunch of fat cats" whom he did not feel an obligation to help.

Meanwhile, Republican Party chairman Michael Steele warned Obama that he "should recognize that banks aren’t going to lend money to people who won’t pay them back. Banks can open the floodgates of cash, but you have inability of small business owners to pay back the loans."

Steele told NBC’s Today show that less regulation is what would return small businesses to profitability, according to FoxNews.com.
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Vitamin D Can Slow Cancer Progression, Study Concludes

Vitamin D can slow cancer progression, study concludesA recent study conducted by The Mayo Clinic suggests a strong link between vitamin D levels and cancer progression in lymphoma patients.

Researchers studied 374 patients who were recently diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, half of whom had insufficient levels of vitamin D.

Patients who were deficient in the vitamin had a 50 percent greater risk of cancer progression and a two-fold greater risk of death compared to those with optimal levels of the compound.

"While these findings are very provocative, they are preliminary and need to be validated in other studies," said endocrinologist Matthew Blake. "However, they raise the issue of whether vitamin D supplementation might aid in treatment for this malignancy, and thus should stimulate much more research," he added.

The study reinforces previous findings that suggest that vitamin D is critical to the maintenance of overall health. It can be found in many dietary sources including eggs, fortified milk and fish as well as inexpensive dietary supplements. In addition, some 15 minutes in the sun three times a week in the summer may help replenish vitamin D levels.

Recent studies have also found that vitamin D may provide protection from high blood pressure and several autoimmune diseases.
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Is it “Un-American” to Go Offshore? The Thin Line Between Financial Patriotism and Financial Suicide

For an extreme example of offshore phobia, take the case of White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers.

When good old Larry was President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury in 1994, he went off the deep end referring to American expatriates as “tax traitors.” He was subsequently made to apologize by his boss for that over-the-top comment.

This idea that it is unpatriotic for otherwise good Americans to have foreign bank accounts, own foreign investments and real estate and live in foreign lands has long been the unspoken policy of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other government agencies. I know this from personal experience.

Specifically, I recall a conference of several hundred lawyers and bankers in Miami. The assistant to the U.S. Attorney General took the stage and publicly stated that anytime an individual had offshore accounts, he or she was assumed—by the Department of Justice—to be engaged in something that was probably illegal.

So much for the rule of law and the presumption of innocence.

But, as they say about us humans, “Old habits die hard.”

Americans Neglect a World of Opportunity

Despite the occasional financial excursion abroad, human nature dictates that most folks prefer to make and save money at home. We tend to be comfortable with the familiar and seemingly less threatening domestic economy of our home nation, even if the government is as near to bankruptcy as America and the United Kingdom.

In 2009, only 74 million, or about 26 percent of Americans, even had passports (and another million Americans living near the Mexican and Canadian borders had "passport cards")—yet this was a historically high percentage.

To be sure, Americans are happy with their home. That happiness—or perhaps complacency—might be the biggest stumbling block when it comes to considering all the possibilities… even when it comes to a simple passport.

But the anti-offshore arguments of the America Left seem to fit into this “America First” theme, and both that and “Buy American” are wrong-headed ideas. I love my country too much to believe such nonsense.

As one who believes in the principle of free international trade and its decided benefits for all parties, the political resurgence of “Buy American” under Obama and the Democrats should concern Americans.

Harry Binswanger, PhD., of the Ayn Rand Institute writes, "According to a recent poll, 80% of Americans think it their patriotic duty to give preference to American-made products. But ‘Buy American’ is wholly un-American in both its economics and its philosophy.

"America’s distinction among all the nations of the world is that it enshrined political and economic freedom.

“Although we have departed greatly from our original laissez-faire principles, to the whole world America still symbolizes capitalism. Americanism means understanding that a free market, domestically and internationally, is the only path to general prosperity."

The Practical Reasons

But beyond the principles involved there are good, practical reasons why Americans who are aware should now “go offshore” financially, with simple financial survival being first among them.

At a time when the U.S. government is deeply in debt (nearly $13 trillion in U.S. dollars)… with Obama’s pending plans for more taxes on high income earners… capital gains and estate taxes looming… and with major and minor banks teetering on the brink, prudence dictates offshore planning and activity.

So-called “patriotism” does not require us to commit financial suicide when there are reasonable escape exits to better places.

When people open their eyes to the rest of the world they find greater asset protection, stronger financial privacy, higher returns in carefully selected markets, more diversification of investments and, among currencies, increased safety and security, both personal and financial and deferred taxes on annuities and life insurance.

In contrast to Bank of America, CitiBank and AIG, the offshore banks and insurance companies recommended by The Sovereign Society aren’t exposed to the risky investments of third-world debt and Wall Street’s esoteric derivatives.

These banks are located in politically neutral countries that don’t employ interventionist foreign policy, making them much less likely to be terror targets.

Unfortunately, relatively few Americans are taking advantage of the fruits of global diversification. I think you owe it to yourself and to your family to at least consider the advantages of global banking and financial services. At the very least, you should hold a portion of your assets offshore… just in case.

For the very good reasons I have enumerated—and for self-interest as well—none of us can afford to be xenophobic in this 21st century.

Sincerely,
Bob Bauman
P.S. You can learn all about the world’s foremost legitimate and legal offshore financial centers in my just published 4th edition of Where to Stash Your Cash Legally: Offshore Financial Centers of the World.

The Ratification of the Bill of Rights

This week should mark one of the most joyous celebrations of the year for every person who loves liberty. Unfortunately, the reason for such jubilation will barely be mentioned.

On Dec. 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights became an official part of the Constitution of the United States of America. Virginia was the 10th state to ratify the first 10 amendments, thus providing the necessary two-thirds votes for approval. (Remember, there were only 13 states back then.)

You probably remember from high school history lessons that the adoption of the Constitution was far from a sure thing. Many legislators were afraid that the framers had not done nearly enough to protect Americans from the danger that frightened them the most—the almost-irresistible tendency of government to grow ever more powerful.

The first 10 amendments were proposed as a way to keep this from happening. The first eight, you’ll recall, enumerated specific things that the new government could not do, no matter the circumstances or excuses that might be used, and specific rights the citizens would always enjoy.

The ninth and 10th amendments were then added, basically to say, "And if we forgot to include anything, you can’t do that either."

How long has it been since you’ve heard anyone refer to either amendment? Would a schoolchild today even know what you were talking about if you were to say, "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." (Amendment IX)

Or, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." (Amendment X)

Today, every member of Congress, as well as the President and all Supreme Court justices, take an oath of office swearing to "preserve and protect" the Constitution.

Too bad that not one in 100 means it.

—Chip Wood

China’s Century: The Impending Threat to America and the Dollar

“India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border”—Hu Shih, 20th Century scholar.

We are a little more than two weeks away from the second decade of the 21st century. More and more it is beginning to look like China’s century.

It’s been 60 years since the Communists seized power. According to Fareed Zakaria, the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria’s GPS, “Mao Zedong dragged the country through a series of catastrophic convulsions that destroyed its economic, technological and intellectual capital.”

But in December 1978 Mao’s successor, Deng Xiaoping, gave his famous cat speech which marked the fulcrum upon which the giant nation turned. At a Communist Party meeting he urged economic development over ideology. “It doesn’t matter if it is a black cat or a white cat,” said Deng. “As long as it can catch mice, it is a good cat.”

The question three decades later is what exactly is the Chinese cat hunting? Is it cooperation with the United States and the continued development of the global economy, or is it the relentless pursuit of global power and resource wealth? All the evidence is not yet in, but what we do know seems to indicate the latter with all its chilling ramifications.

But any discussion of China has to be first and foremost about its incredible economy, for the nation has risen towards superpower status in such little time. It is an economy that has doubled every eight years for the past three decades!

Just consider the following:

  • China has foreign exchange reserves totaling almost $2.2 trillion, double the next largest holder, Japan.
  • The number of cars driven in China doubles every three years.
  • China is the world’s largest producer of coal, steel and cement.
  • Twenty of the world’s fastest growing cities are all in China.
  • China manufactures two-thirds of all the world’s photocopiers, microwave ovens, DVD players and shoes.
  • Starbucks predicts that sometime next year it will have more cafes in China than in the U.S.
  • China is the world’s second largest defense spender (behind the USA).

It’s the final item that reveals the claws in China’s carefully crafted Panda Bear self-portrait.

A 2006 U.S. Department of Defense assessment of China was chilling. According to that report the Pentagon viewed China as the next big military threat to the U.S. “There are some real concerns about China’s military modernization,” said Adam Segal, senior fellow for China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Then in 2009 a report from the Council on Foreign Relations said that China has been steadily building up its strategic and conventional capabilities since the 1990s.

According to U.S. defense experts, in 1990 China had a “bare-bones” military: basic capabilities, but nothing sophisticated or top-of-the-line. But two decades of double-digit spending increases have completely changed that picture.

The Pentagon estimates China’s total military spending for 2007 to be between $97 billion and $139 billion, as compared to $52 billion reported by China.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations most of that spending has gone to building a sophisticated, modern military: a large, increasingly capable fleet, an air force stocked with Russian warplanes, and technical strides which have improved China’s ballistic missile arsenal, as well as satellite surveillance, radar and interception capabilities.

“(U.S.) Hawks insist that the Chinese are seeking to drive the U.S. military out of the Pacific, and make it Beijing’s lake rather than what it has been for decades, an American pond,” said Time Magazine in an April 2009 issue.

China is constructing a nuclear aircraft carrier with a lethal and global reach to support its growing fleet of technologically advanced nuclear submarines.

Why is Beijing arming itself to the teeth? Perhaps for global dominance. Perhaps just for the natural resources it needs to sustain its growth: Core among them being oil.

This year Asia will have consumed about 50 percent of Middle East exported oil. China understands it might have to count on its military to lock-in future supplies.

That could mean another arms race or worse. That is something the U.S. can ill afford.

Another Golden Empire
China is also arming itself with gold.

According to the China Gold Association, Chinese demand for gold could total more than 16 million ounces this year, up from 12.9 million ounces in 2008.

China has also become the world’s largest gold producer, having surpassed South Africa in 2007.

“China is likely to become the number-one supplier and consumer of gold this year,” said Rozanna Wozniak, investment research manager at the World Gold Council.

On Nov. 31, China’s Economic Information Daily published remarks by a senior Chinese official indicating that Dubai’s debt crisis could be a good opportunity for China to purchase gold and oil assets.

Ji Xiaonan (Chairman of the Supervisory Committee overseeing large state-owned enterprises) was quoted as saying that the Dubai debt crisis "could give China an opportunity to put some of its foreign exchange reserves into gold or oil."

Just two weeks ago Ji Xiaonan said that China should increase the amount of gold it holds in reserves to reduce potential losses from a depreciating dollar. Currently China has relatively small gold reserves, just 1,200 metric tons or about 7 percent of the world total.

But Ji Xiaonan wants to change that. He wants China gold reserves to reach 6,000 metric tons within three-to-five years and possibly to 10,000 metric tons in eight to 10 years. (Ten thousand metric tons represents 350 million ounces of gold or about four years of global gold production.)

Money is Not a Problem
China has a lot of money to invest in gold and other real assets. It has foreign currency holdings of $2 trillion which include $800 billion in U.S. Treasury debt. With that kind of dollar exposure it is little wonder that China wants to increase its gold reserves 10-fold.

This will be an unprecedented national build-up of official gold reserves (in fact for the past 50 years most nations have been net sellers of gold). China’s radical increase in its bullion reserves is likely a harbinger for much higher prices for the Midas metal. How high is anyone’s guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see gold above $1,500 by next spring.

Action to take: Don’t be surprised by a correction in the price of gold going into January. I think that over the very short-term the bull is tired. Over the long-term the bull market in gold is very much alive. I recommend you use any correction to add to your physical gold holdings in anticipation of considerably higher prices in 2010.

Yours for real wealth and good health,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

GOP 'truth Squad' Plans To Greet Obama At U.N. Climate Conference

GOP 'truth squad' plans to greet Obama at UN climate conferenceWhen Barack Obama arrives in Copenhagen, Denmark this week to take part in the United Nations (U.N.) conference on climate change, his political adversaries will be there waiting for him.

A GOP counter-delegation labeled the "truth squad" by Matt Dempsey, spokesman for Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) will consist of approximately a half-dozen Republican House and Senate members, according to FoxNews.com.

The purpose of the group’s trip is to remind other international delegations that the United States Congress needs to sign off on any binding global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"I will not be one of the sycophants that say climate change is the biggest problem facing the world and we need to do all these draconian things that cost jobs," said Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas) quoted by the Environmental News Service.

"The truth is the truth. The facts are the facts," he said. "This whole theory of man-made global warming is just that. It is a theory."

A climate bill passed the House earlier this year, but is currently stuck in the Senate and won’t be discussed until 2010.

Last Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially declared carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases a threat to public health and safety, granting itself the authority to mandate carbon emissions policy without the approval of Congress.
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Study: Most 401(k) Participants Have Made Money Since 2007

Study: Most 401(k) participants have made money since 2007The Vanguard Group, a provider of company-sponsored retirement plans, has recently announced that the typical 401(k) participant currently has more money in their account than they had before the market declined in September 2007.

According to the study, approximately 60 percent of Vanguard participants who stayed invested have an account balance that is equal or higher than it was at the market’s peak in 2007. Roughly 40 percent of continuous participants have lower balances, although the majority of them are less than 20 percent below their peak value.

The Pennsylvania investment management company said that the meaningful improvement in retirement holdings is due to continued investing, balanced portfolio construction and a sharp increase in stock prices from their March 2009 lows.

"Our evidence suggests that ongoing contributions plus improvement over time in the capital markets may restore many more of these individuals to their pre-October 2007 wealth levels, perhaps more rapidly than previously anticipated," said retirement research head Steven Utkus.

Meanwhile, Fidelity Investments released a report last month that said that their average account had increased 28 percent between March and September of 2009, the Associated Press reports.
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Gingko Biloba Improves More Than Just Memory, New Study Suggests

Gingko biloba improves more than just memory, new study suggestsIn a comprehensive review of current scientific data, a clinical neuropsychologist has found that gingko biloba not only improves declining memory, but also offers considerable benefits for other cognitive functions.

Dr. Reiner Kaschel of the University of Osnabrueck, Germany, analyzed the findings of 29 published clinical trials and found that patients who took gingko extract showed significant positive effects compared to those who took a placebo.

The study concluded that the compound improved memory, concentration, attention and executive functions of respondents showing the first signs of cognitive decline.

Kaschel estimated that those who took gingko extract were between four and eight times more likely to experience improved brain function when compared to those in the control group.

He concluded that "there is consistent evidence that chronic administration [of ginkgo extract] improves selective attention, some executive processes and long-term memory for verbal and non-verbal material."

Gingko biloba has also been used to help patients recover from eye problems including glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration.

Gingko extract has been linked to the improvement of blood circulation, which may help the brain, eyes, ears and legs function properly.
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Despite Climategate, Republicans Remain Divided On Global Warming

Despite Climategate, Republicans remain divided on global warming As the controversy surrounding the leaked emails from environmental scientists casting doubt on the validity of the data behind global warming continues, there are signs that there is substantial disagreement on the issue within the GOP.

Based on the leak, the United Nations (UN) announced a probe last week that will look into the allegations that some of its climate change research has been manipulated. Some lawmakers in Washington have called on the Obama administration to do the same, but it has so far refused to follow suit.

Among those pushing for an investigation in the United States is Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) who said the government is failing in its responsibility to "ensure that U.S. policies are not driven by corrupted science and data," quoted by TheHill.com.

However, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) has said the content of the emails has not changed her views on global warming. She added that "[scientists she consulted] tell me it does not change their own conclusions or their own research [showing that global warming is a man-made phenomenon]," according to the news source.

Meanwhile, Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd, who are both conservatives and members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, have demanded the Oscar that former Vice President Al Gore won two years ago for the environmental movie An Inconvenient Truth be rescinded.
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Obama Lays Out Job Creation Strategy, Fires Back At Political Foes

Obama lays out job creation strategy, fires back at political foesLast week, President Obama delivered a much-anticipated speech where he outlined his job creation proposal, while also taking a few shots at some of his political adversaries.

Obama proposed a one-year elimination of the capital gains tax on small business investment in an effort to promote economic expansion in the private sector. He also plans to offer business owners tax credits to boost hiring and unused Wall Street bailout money to increase lending.

Two other programs that the president discussed include a substantial investment in infrastructure and a government sponsored "green" initiative that will give people rebates to retrofit their home to become more energy efficient.

Before Obama spoke of future plans for economic growth, he pointed the finger back at those who opposed his previous recovery plan.

"We were forced to take those steps [to jump-start the economy] largely without the help of an opposition party which, unfortunately, after having presided over the decision-making that had led to the crisis, decided to hand it over to others to solve," he stated.

Meanwhile, Republicans have been fuming over the decision to take unused Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money and spend it on another stimulus program.

"Any [money] left over was meant to go to the deficit," said Congressman John Boehner (R-Ohio). "The idea of taking this money and spending it is repulsive," he added.
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Senators Make Progress On Healthcare Bill, Talk Of Discarding Public Option

Senators make progress on healthcare bill, talk of discarding public optionLast week, after months of impassioned debate and public derision, liberal and conservative members of the Senate seemed to have come closer to a compromise on the proposed healthcare bill.

Several Democratic officials said that the deal now includes a proposal that would replace the public insurance option with a not-for-profit private option that would be overseen by the federal Office of Personnel Management, according to CNN.com.

The plan would also allow people 55 years of age or older to buy into Medicare coverage that is currently only available to people who are 65 years and above.

However, Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) one of the senators working on the deal, said that he would not support any proposal that would replace the public option with a purely private insurance program.

"We need to have some competition for the insurance industry to keep rates down and save taxpayer dollars," he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) expressed concern over the idea of broadening the Medicare program to include people over the age of 55.

"I want to make sure we’re not adding a big additional burden to the Medicare program, which we need to figure out how to save, because it’s going bankrupt," said Lieberman.
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Watch Your Workouts To Avoid Arthritis

Too much vigorous exercise might hurt jointsWe often hear about the benefits of exercise, but new information from the University of California, San Francisco, indicates that an excess of physical activity might be a bad thing.

Older men and women who run or exercise vigorously on a regular basis might be harming their knees and other joints. The team learned that this increases their risk for osteoarthritis as they age further.

"Our data suggest that people with higher physical activity levels may be at greater risk for developing knee abnormalities and, thus, at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis," explained Dr. Christoph Stehling, a research fellow at the university.

Study participants had MRI scans taken of their knees, and individuals who had higher activity levels—as indicated via the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly test scores—had greater knee damage. Researchers observed knee problems such as cartilage lesions, bone marrow edema and ligament lesions in those who were most physically active.

If you enjoy exercise but want to protect your joints, it might be a good idea to look into swimming or water aerobics. Other low-impact activities like using an eliptical machine might also minimize age-related joint damage. ADNFCR-1961-ID-19487284-ADNFCR

Eggs, Butter, Whole Raw Milk, Cheese and Fatty Meats

The cholesterol myth has led the public to reject foods like eggs, butter, whole raw milk, cheese and fatty meats, and that myth is the foundation for the multi-billion dollar cholesterol (statin drug) industry. The ploy is to create a crisis and give a profitable solution.
 
The public is told that these foods are the major sources of cholesterol. What the public is not told is that these foods also carry the best antidote for cholesterol. The phospholipids and lecithins are always naturally associated with cholesterol. The loss of these phospholipids, by omitting the above foods, is more certain to cause serious trouble than any excess of cholesterol. You must have a balance of good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol for optimum heart and brain function.

The natural phospholipids in natural food which include lecithins are a part of the vitamin E complex. The E complex loses as much as 99 percent of its potency if the associated phospholipids are removed as is done with synthetic and manufactured foods.

Cholesterol is not a health issue and is not a marker for heart disease or cancer if natural foods such as those listed above are eaten. They carry their own antidote phospholipids and lecithins.