Low potassium levels may lead to an increased risk of hospitalization or death in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and heart failure, according to a new study.
"Hypokalemia, or low potassium, is common in heart-failure patients and is associated with poor outcomes, as is chronic kidney disease," said study author C. Barrett Bowling, fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham division of gerontology.
"But little is known about the prevalence and effect of hypokalemia in heart-failure patients who also have CKD," he added.
In the study, researchers examined data from more than 1,000 patients suffering from CKD and heart failure. During the 57-month follow-up period, a total of 48 percent of patients with hypokalemia died, compared to only 36 percent of individuals with normal potassium levels. The hospitalization rate was also slightly higher for those with moderate to high hypokalemia.
The researchers concluded that physicians need to be aware of the risks heart failure and CKD patients with mildly low potassium levels may be facing.
Several major food groups that are high in potassium include root vegetables, fresh fruit, dairy and white meats.
The $15 billion jobs bill that was kept alive on Monday by five republicans who crossed the aisle to support cloture, including newly elected Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.), passed in the Senate on Wednesday.
Brown and four other Republicans joined 57 Democrats in voting to block a GOP-led filibuster of the jobs bill, which was championed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
"I came to Washington to be an independent voice, to put politics aside and to do everything in my power to help create jobs for Massachusetts families," said Brown, who represents the 41st Republican vote in the Senate.
"This jobs bill is not perfect … but I voted for it because it contains measures that will help put people back to work," he added.
Brown also noted that he wished the tax cuts for businesses outlined in the bill were deeper and more expansive.
If passed, the bill will exempt businesses from Social Security payroll taxes if they hire the unemployed as well as give them another $1,000 tax credit if new workers remain on the job for a full year, according to Fox News.
*A really scary thought. Washington Post columnist Jeffrey Rosen has come up with the most frightening solution I’ve seen to Barack Obama’s increasing unpopularity. He suggests that our Teleprompter-in-Chief use the first opening on the Supreme Court to appoint (I guarantee you aren’t ready for this) himself to fill the vacancy. Think of it: In one awful move, we’d be faced with Joe Biden as president and Barack Obama making law for the rest of his life.
*What’s UUP with this? Want to see a frightening financial chart? Look up the one that tracks futures contracts on the U.S. dollar. It’s called UUP and, except for the last couple of weeks, it pretty much looks like the “down” part of the scariest roller-coaster ride you’ve ever been on. It sometimes seems as though the only thing helping the U.S. dollar is that most other currencies are worse.
*And speaking of other currencies. A friend of mine had a great comment about my column last week on the havoc that’s occurring in Europe, thanks to the financial problems facing the PIGS. “The Euro isn’t a currency,” he explained. “It’s an experiment.”
*The CFR sounds an alarm. Here’s yet another warning about our own out-of-control spending. “We’ve reached a point now where there’s an intimate link between our solvency and our national security. What’s so discouraging is that our domestic politics don’t seem to be up to the challenge.” Who’s the Cassandra who issued this dire summary? None other than Richard Haass, president of the insiders’ ultimate power club, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). When the CFR speaks, you know official Washington had better listen.
Well, once again Barack Obama’s schedule conflicts with mine. The President has announced that he will host a “bipartisan summit” on healthcare this coming Thursday in Washington.
I say “this coming Thursday,” but by the time you read this, it will have been “yesterday.” That’s because I submit this column five days before you read it. So my comments about the healthcare summit—like the one last month, on POTUS’ SOTUS—will have to wait for a week-plus after the event. (In case you’re not up on your Washington acronyms, POTUS’ SOTUS stands for the President of the United States’ State of the Union Speech.)
Every week I write three columns for Personal Liberty Alerts, the wonderful free ezine you just clicked on. Straight Talk (the one you’re reading now) is the lead column every Friday morning. Also on Friday, I write a mini-column called Chip Shots that is the last item on the page. Chip Shots, as the name implies, is a collection of interesting little tidbits from the news. (For example, in today’s effort the first item is the scariest proposal to come out of Washington in a long, long time.)
Then on Wednesday I write another mini-column called This Week in History. This one gives me an opportunity to look back over the past 200 years and select one meaningful event to share with you. For example, two days ago I wrote about “The worst-ever addition” to the U.S. Constitution. Hint: It happened 94 years ago and costs you a ton of money every year. To read it, or any of the past columns, click on the archives tab to the right of this column.
The reason I mention all of this now is that today’s column is about another event in history—the signing one year ago this week of Barack Obama’s $787 “stimulus” bill.
Yes, the White House wants to go all-out to rewrite history about the biggest spending bill in history. It has announced that Vice President Joe Biden and various Federal officials will fan out across the country to speak at numerous rallies that are being staged to “celebrate” this wonderful program.
But what the heck are they celebrating? Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) said recently that any businessman in this country who has hired one new worker has done more for jobs creation than all of Obama’s hundreds of billions.
When he signed the bill into law 12 months ago, President Obama promised that unemployment would never get above 8 percent. A few months later it passed 10 percent. And even that figure is dishonestly low. It does not include anyone who has gotten so discouraged he has stopped looking for work. Nor does it include anyone who lost a full-time job and was forced to accept a part-time job at much lower pay.
The real unemployment figure in this country is at least double the reported number. And it’s probably much higher than that. But don’t count on Obama and his buddies to tell you the truth.
And don’t expect them to tell you the truth about any jobs that were created, either. A year ago, President Obama fully promised that 90 percent of the new jobs would be created in the private sector. An analysis by The New York Times found “the data suggests that well over half of the jobs claimed so far have been in the public sector.” Isn’t that great? Your tax dollars are being used to make our gargantuan government even bigger.
And how about this? We now know that hundreds of millions of stimulus money was spent to create jobs overseas! Thousands of jobs that the White House claimed to have created are in places that don’t even exist! Plus, USA Today reported recently that billions of stimulus dollars are being spent on programs that are so inefficient or redundant that the Administration now wants to cut or eliminate them.
Please tell us, Joe: What the heck will you be “celebrating” this week?
One more rant and I’ll get off this soapbox. When he signed this odious piece of legislation a year ago, our president declared that the money would be spent on “shovel-ready” programs. Every penny would go to work promptly, we were assured, to patch roads, repair bridges, improve sanitation and otherwise fix our shaky infrastructure.
Today, one year later, only one-third of the stimulus funds have actually been spent. Did you know that? Were you aware that of all the money Congress appropriated for this pork-packed monstrosity, a little more than $500 billion remains unspent?
Barack Obama wants to send Joe Biden around the country, bragging about what a spectacular success the stimulus package has been. And the VP—who has absolutely no problem claiming that black is white, hot is cold and wet is dry, if that’s what his boss wants—cheerfully goes along with the fraud.
But the American people haven’t been fooled. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll reported that only 6 percent of the public thinks the stimulus bill has created any jobs.
Let me repeat that number: Just six Americans out of 100 believe Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill did what it was supposed to do. No wonder the White House has told its many minions not to use the word “stimulus” any more. Now it’s a “jobs creation” program. Or maybe a “jobs savings” program. At least that’s what Biden and Obama hope it will turn out to be… for them.
Before I get off my soapbox for another week, let me mention one more deceit that President Obama loves to utter. Time after time, he defends his massive deficits and budget-busting spending programs by claiming that he inherited “a trillion-dollar deficit” from President Bush.
No, he didn’t. While I’m no fan of the debt George W. piled on the backs of us poor taxpayers, his last deficit was less than half the total our Dissembler in Chief likes to claim. Here are the facts: The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports that George Bush’s deficit for fiscal 2008 was $454.8 billion. While that’s a lot of red ink, it’s less than half of the number Obama likes to use.
To get the higher number, the White House engages in some sneaky slight-of-hand. It adds $700 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to the CBO number, thus coming up with a deficit of over $1 trillion.
The problem with that particular bit of chicanery is that the Treasury only spent $400 billion of the TARP funds while Dubya was still in office. The other $300 billion was handed over to President Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner in early 2009.
And here’s one more little factoid these grand deceivers like to ignore: Most of the funds the Bush Administration paid out have been returned to the U.S. Treasury… with interest.
So if smilin’ Joe Biden comes to your town and hosts a public rally bragging about all the wonderful things the Obama Administration has done to create jobs with your tax dollars, use the information in this report to set the record straight.
After all, that’s why it’s called Straight Talk.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has criticized the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), whose recent conference he refused to attend, alleging it has departed from its conservative principles.
Speaking on Fox News last weekend, Huckabee said that CPAC has become "more libertarian and less Republican over the last few years, one of the reasons why I [did not attend the event] this year."
The former GOP presidential candidate also suggested that the popularity of the Tea Party nation movement and its events all over the country have caused the influence of the CPAC to rapidly decline, and the organization is becoming irrelevant.
"The Tea Party has taken all the oxygen out of the room, where CPAC was historically the event," he told Fox News host Geraldo Rivera.
Huckabee was partially responding to the CPAC presidential straw poll over the weekend, in which he scored only 4 percent among CPAC voters and came in sixth place.
Meanwhile, CPAC representatives responded to the former governor’s allegations by saying they were "perplexed" and denied the purported libertarian slant.
According to the American Conservative Union, the organization that has hosted CPAC for 37 years, the 2010 event drew more than 10,000 conservative activists from across the country, including more than 5,000 college students.
At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has once again called for a return to the gold standard and abolishing the Fed, and his message seems to be resonating with many conservatives. However, Paul’s growing popularity has many GOP insiders worried.
After the speech, in which he called national debt "the monster" that is keeping the economy close to the brink, the traditional CPAC presidential straw poll showed Paul winning over other potential candidates. In total, the Texas congressman garnered 31 percent of the vote, leaving former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at a distant second with 22 percent, according to media reports.
However, even though The National Inflation Association said it was "thrilled" with Paul’s anti-inflation stance, many conservatives have been wary of his growing influence within the GOP.
Politicians such as former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said it makes the party lean too much into the libertarian direction, while conservative commentator David Frum called Paul’s financial proposals "far from golden."
Writing for CNN, Frum suggested that the recession of 1929 turned into the Great Depression because political decision-makers at the time were "trapped" by the rules of the gold standard. Those rules forced them to cut spending and raise taxes during a downturn, thus "capsizing" the economy into depression.
We hear all the time about how our government is putting future generations in debt and robbing them of their wealth before they even have a chance to earn it. And then there is the death tax, which means that when you die your estate is taxed.
But a provision in the tax code makes it possible for parents and grandparents to avoid the onerous estate tax, and allows you to give a gift to your children and grandchildren to boot.
So this year, and in the years to come, think about not just giving your children and grandchildren a gift, but rather giving them the gift of wealth. And I am talking about real wealth, not paper money or some stock that can collapse in price.
When I say “real wealth,” I mean gold. Gold is a gift that has stood the test of time for 6,000 years. Gold has value today and it will have value in the future, even as paper money (fiat currency) falls by the wayside. This has been true throughout history.
The Federal Government has actually given Americans a way to give a portion of their estate to future generations without owing any taxes on the gift. As long as you stay within the IRS gifting limits, this can be an excellent way to help ensure the financial freedom of your loved ones. (And not insignificantly, it will help you and your spouse save on taxes, too.)
In 2010 the gifting limit is $13,000 per person. A married couple can give twice that much, or $26,000, to children or grandchildren, nephews or nieces, or anyone else. Many of our clients have already taken advantage of this wealth-transfer tool by giving stocks, bonds and real estate to their offspring. Today, I’m suggesting you consider the gift of gold (and silver and platinum) as well.
Imagine if you gave a child a gift of gold every year. Think about the path you will start them on toward achieving their own financial goals. You can give them a cornerstone of financial wealth—real wealth—on which they can build. If a child or grandchild owns some gold do you think they will pay attention to what government is doing to the dollar and what is happening with the price of gold? You betcha!
As Americans, we are still learning to be comfortable owning gold in our investment portfolio. After all, we went 42 years—from 1933 until 1975—when government edict made it illegal to own gold. Thus, it’s understandable that we are not in the habit of owning and giving gold.
Other cultures around the world understand the value of gifting gold and silver to the next generation. In India and the Far East, giving gold has been part of their tradition for generations. As an article in the Bombay Times observed, “From mother to daughter to granddaughter (and father to son to grandson), gold has the tendency of getting passed down from generation to generation.”
In Europe as well, the private (and often secret) ownership of gold goes back to feudal times, whether it is stored in a vault or hidden somewhere at home. More than one family has made it through the ravages of war or political upheaval thanks to those golden pieces of hope.
What to Give
You have many choices when it comes to giving gold or silver, from putting a coin in a Christmas stocking to purchasing several thousand dollars worth of metal through a Perth Mint Certificate.
There are many occasions throughout the year that are worthy of recognition. A child’s birthday. His or her graduation. Your own birthday or anniversary. Christmas or Hanukkah. You can probably think of many more.
Besides gold coins, consider the solid-gold jewelry from our sister company, First Collectors Guild. In whatever form you give it, the gift of gold can teach lessons that will last a lifetime.
And don’t forget about silver, the “poor man’s gold.” The U.S. silver Eagles are as beautiful as they are meaningful. Right now, gold and silver are the lowest they’ve been in many weeks. If you’re looking for the right time to buy, this is it. Consider buying enough now for several future gift-giving opportunities. There are many advantages to “buying in bulk.” For example, premiums, shipping and insurance costs are lower when spread over several coins. Plus, you are protected from the (likely) future price increases.
Gold Is Forever
I hope you’ll consider the many advantages of gifting gold and silver to your loved ones. Think how good you will feel knowing that you have helped provide for your children’s or grandchildren’s financial future—and their education about the value of real money.
In addition to the emotional rewards, don’t forget about the physical ones, too. The gift of gold is a great way to provide for your offsprings’ future, while you save taxes in your own estate.
What a wonderful legacy to leave—one that is “as good as gold,” because it is gold.
In a recent speech, former Alaska governor and unofficial leader of the Tea Party nation, Sarah Palin, called on its activists to join forces with one of the established political parties to boost their electoral chances in November.
Palin pointed out that since independents are such an important part of the movement and "we have a two-party system, they’re going to have to pick a party and run one or the other: ‘R’ or ‘D’," quoted by CBS.
The former vice presidential candidate’s call may appear surprising, because when she addressed the first national Tea Party convention earlier this month, she praised its decentralized nature and said it consisted of "real people, not politicos, inside-the-beltway professionals."
However, it seems that at least some members of the anti-establishment movement may be receptive to her new message. According to The Daily Citizen, a newspaper in Georgia, local Tea Party organizers hope to recruit conservative Democrats.
"We need to reach out to Democrats," said Naomi Swanson, an organizer of area chapters, quoted by the news provider. "And you know what? I think they’re ready. So let’s put that on our list."
According to a recent study, middle-aged and elderly people need as much sleep as younger people to properly function the next day. The findings dispute the common belief that people need less shut-eye as they age.
Sean Drummond, a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, and his colleagues studied sleep patterns and their impact on learning ability of 33 older and 29 younger individuals.
Both groups spent two nights in the lab while scientists monitored their sleep patterns. After the second night, both sets of participants were given memory tests and had their brains scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which monitors oxygen take-up by neurons.
Researchers found that the testing performance of the elderly person’s group was directly correlated to the previous night’s sleep.
"For older adults, the absolute number of minutes of sleep they got last night has a significant influence on brain function today," said Drummond. "Whereas in young adults, the amount of sleep they get isn’t so important."
He added that older people may need more time in bed as they commonly struggle to sleep through the night without waking up.
There are numerous herbal supplements on the market that can help with sleeping disorders, including melatonin, valerian and kava.
A recent survey of public opinion has found that regardless of their political views and voting preferences, most Americans are united in their criticism of the recent Supreme Court decision that relaxed campaign finance laws.
Citing constitutional rights to free speech, the highest court decided Jan. 21 to ease the limits on corporate campaign donations, allowing businesses, unions and advocacy groups to air political ads.
The decision came under fire from many politicians, with rivals such as Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and President Obama speaking out against it, and it now appears the majority of Americans agree with both of them.
According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, approximately 80 percent of Americans said they are against the court’s 5-4 decision in Citizens v. Federal Election Commission, The Washington Post reported.
"If there’s one thing that Americans from the left, right and center can all agree on, it’s that they don’t want more special interests in our politics," said Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), quoted by the news provider.
Schumer is spearheading the effort announced by President Obama during last month’s State of the Union speech to pass legislation that would limit the impact of the court’s decision.
Today is the day set for the televised bipartisan healthcare summit in which President Barack Obama and Republican legislators are supposed to discuss a healthcare overhaul.
In the days and weeks leading up to the summit, Republicans called on the president and Senate and House Democrats to scrap the unpopular Obamacare reform bills being discussed in conference. The House version passed by a slim majority with only one Republican vote and the Senate version passed with no Republican support and only after ridiculous multi-million dollar payoffs to a few of Democrats ensured a filibuster-proof majority.
The reform bills are widely unpopular among the citizenry—only 38 percent support them, according to Realclearpolitics.com—and are nothing more than a sop to big pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, trial lawyers and unions. And their passage led to a revolt in Massachusetts that saw Republican Scott Brown elected to a Senate seat that seemed a Democrat lock until a few days before the special election.
But while saying he was holding a summit with Republicans because he wanted to hear their ideas one minute, the president was saying a compromise bill currently being debated behind closed doors will be passed with a simple majority the next. Clearly, Democrats are hell-bent on paying off special interests and don’t care what the voters think.
In Anti-Federalist letter No. 1, Brutus (New York Judge and delegate to the Constitutional Convention Robert Yates) wrote:
“In a free republic, although all laws are derived from the consent of the people, yet the people do not declare their consent by themselves in person, but by representatives, chosen by them, who are supposed to know the minds of their constituents, and to be possessed of integrity to declare this mind.
“In every free government, the people must give their assent to the laws by which they are governed. This is the true criterion between a free government and an arbitrary one. The former are ruled by the will of the whole, expressed in any manner they may agree upon; the latter by the will of one, or a few. If the people are to give their assent to the laws, by persons chosen and appointed by them, the manner of the choice and the number chosen, must be such, as to possess, be disposed, and consequently qualified to declare the sentiments of the people; for if they do not know, or are not disposed to speak the sentiments of the people, the people do not govern, but the sovereignty is in a few.”
Democrats know the consent of the people is not behind them, yet they continue to march in lockstep, obviously bereft of integrity. If Democrats ram through the Obamacare healthcare monstrosity it should be clearer than ever that America is no longer a free republic but is now a nation ruled by a few elites.
As the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided to begin developing open Internet regulation, the Center for Individual Freedom (CIF) has unveiled a national grassroots campaign to rally conservatives in opposition to the efforts.
The Stop Net Regulation campaign was launched during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., and it encourages Americans to go online and sign a national petition, and contact their elected officials.
"’Stop Net Regulation’ will serve as the hub for the growing movement of conservatives across the country opposed to the federal government regulating the internet," said CIF president Jeffrey Mazzella.
He added that "hundreds of thousands of American jobs depend on private investment by Internet companies and these new regulations stand directly in the way of the nation’s economic recovery."
The FCC plan is intended to put in place regulations that would prevent these companies from restricting access to Internet content, applications and services offered by competitors. However, big Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast have expressed their opposition, stating that regulations will prevent them from managing Internet traffic to keep services running smoothly to all subscribers.
Analysts say that applications such as Google, Skype and Facebook would be among the biggest beneficiaries of "net neutrality."
Republican members of the House Oversight Committee have issued a new report accusing the embattled Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) of political corruption and numerous fraudulent dealings.
The 50,000 page report, titled Follow the Money: ACORN, SEIU and their Political Allies, accuses the scandal-plagued organization of voter registration fraud, improper use of taxpayer’s money and an unlawful partnership with a major labor union.
"Perceptions that ACORN is a charitable organization are simply wrong and part of ACORN’s efforts to deceive the American people," said Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the top Republican on the committee.
"ACORN is a political machine that uses a complex corporate web [and] powerful political allies to break laws in pursuit of a partisan agenda," he added.
The report also alleges that ACORN contributed to the financial collapse by intimidating banks into lowering mortgage lending standards, Fox News reports. Moreover, it accuses the organization of entering into an illegal agreement with the Service Employees International Union, a partnership that has been used to target political candidates, Republicans say.
Officials with the group are currently challenging Congress’ decision to strip ACORN of its financing in federal court.
According to a recent study, beneficial properties found in green tea may help protect against glaucoma and other common eye diseases.
Researchers have long thought that antioxidants in green tea known as catechins were capable of protecting the eye, but no one knew for sure if they could actually pass from the stomach and gastrointestinal tract into the tissues of the eye.
After conducting various experiments with lab rats, study author Chi Pui Pang and his colleagues concluded that eye structures are in fact capable of absorbing significant amounts of individual catechins. The beneficial effects of antioxidants found in green tea lasted in the eye for up to 20 hours.
"Our results indicate that green tea consumption could benefit the eye against oxidative stress," which can lead to retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma, said Pang.
Additional studies need to be conducted to confirm green tea’s protective effect in humans.
Separate studies have also suggested that antioxidants may help prevent heart disease, improve immune system function and protect against certain forms of cancer.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush told Fox and Friends last week that populist anger toward Washington could result in a political "tsunami" that sweeps many Democrats out of Congress come the mid-term elections this November.
"I think we’re living in such a complex world and our federal government just appears—and not just appears—is pretty incompetent," said Bush.
The former governor blasted President Obama for not adapting his ideology in light of populist displeasure regarding the administration’s policies. Bush also mentioned that the president and other Democrats should have learned something from Republican Scott Brown’s recent senatorial victory in Massachusetts, a historically liberal state.
"My prediction is if the administration and Congress doesn’t try to change its course, there will be huge gains for challengers to incumbents, but most particularly for conservatives, most particularly for Republicans," said Bush.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Dick Cheney told political activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday that he believes Barack Obama is a "one-term president."
Cheney noted that the recent GOP victories in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia are "enormously encouraging" for Republican prospects this fall, according to The Washington Post.
In Mitt Romney’s upcoming book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, the former Massachusetts governor blasts President Obama for continually apologizing for the United States on a global stage.
"Never before in American history has its president gone before so many foreign audiences to apologize for so many American misdeeds, both real and imagined," wrote Romney, quoted by Fox News.
The former GOP presidential candidate added that Obama’s remorseful tone often kindles anti-American fires that are burning overseas.
Romney also heavily criticizes the implementation of the Wall Street bailout, uncontrolled government spending and the "all-Democratic" stimulus package passed in early 2009.
"New expensive programs and entitlements must be off the table," he says, quoted by the news source. "If we do not bring government finances under control, our recovery will be long and slow, and we will risk another downturn precipitated by a severely weakened dollar," he added.
Many commentators believe that Romney’s book tour will set the stage for a second White House run in 2012. He plans to make a stop in 19 states, including several swing states also visited by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin on her recent book tour.
Youth is everywhere. The Barack Obama administration is packed with young academics. Big corporations enlist young people the way an army conducts a draft. Yet the greatest danger to your pocketbook and overall prosperity is the youth that invests America’s money.
According to Money Magazine, the average age of a stock fund manager is a tad over 30. Now that I am in my 50s that makes me more than a little alarmed. I remember when I was young; when I was a dumb college kid.
Years ago disaster stalked me. At the time I was in my 20s, unaware of calamity until it was sprung upon me.
My dad and I motored towards the extreme end of Idaho’s Lake Coeur d’Alene.
After several arm-aching pulls on the starter cord we had the trolling engine sputtering along. We traced the outlines of the pristine bays and points along the southern shores.
It was a lazy afternoon; the calm before the storm. Over the rhythmic cough and choke of the outboard, from a distance of at least half a mile, I heard a squirrel skipping through the turquoise pines. How strange, I thought. I glanced towards shore and noticed an absolute deadness to the lake—a motionless mass of water stretching out like a giant sheet of stainless steel.
Above the tree-line I saw a monster: colossal cumulus black clouds—swirling and spinning—compressed upon the forest hills. Within this charcoal mass was a tiny grey vortex, tipped to its side, spinning downward, as if to reach out and pull us in.
Now my father was the calmest man I’ve ever known. In fact I had never seen him excited by Mother Nature, an amazing accomplishment for a man who spent most of his life on the brutal Canadian prairies. But this day was different.
As I pointed my finger towards the horizon the old man jumped to his feet and shoved a cigarette in his mouth.
I should have been on notice. The old man never swore and he never, ever panicked. But he was cursing like a sailor and tossing gear about as though we had just been called to general quarters. Before I could manage to reel in the second line, our cabin-cruiser was up and running.
“Our best out is to outrun this,” yelled the old man above the roar of the V-8.
Moments later the rain and wind pounced on the cove we had just evacuated.
After another 20 minutes the storm was closing fast. Across the lake stretched a line. It was surreal—on one side tranquility; on the other, chaos.
Dad yelled, “Get the lifejackets!”
Now that concerned me. The old man wasn’t a life jacket kind of guy. He had never so much as worn a seatbelt.
As I jumped below deck I remembered that I had forgotten to transfer the life jackets into the new boat (remember… dumb college kid).
As I stumbled up to tell the old man about the jackets the storm had closed to within a hundred yards of us. I was shocked by its enormity. The waves were huge. Only half home and we were about to be engulfed by a typhoon.
“Where are the jackets?”
I had to say something, so I lied. “I can’t find them.”
I will never forget the look on his face. It was a combination of rage and terror. For a moment, I didn’t know what to fear more—the old man or the storm.
“You idiot,” he screamed. “You can’t find them because you didn’t pack’em!”
By this time the storm had closed to within yards of us. For a few seconds it engulfed only our stern, turning the boat into a gigantic surfboard. Then it grabbed us whole.
All hell broke loose. A tremendous wave crashed over our starboard. Inside the cabin, dishes and groceries flew across the galley. We began taking on water.
Dad switched on the sump-pump, but the up-swell was beyond its capacity. The lake opened up into a giant trough.
I couldn’t help but notice that the boat was lower. Inside the cabin there was water.
Then it hit me: we had no life raft, no life jackets, not even a two-way radio. We were trapped in this damn boat. If it sank, so would we! We were 20 minutes from the marina. I didn’t know if we could make it, and there wasn’t a thing I could do about any of it.
Then, through the grace of God, the storm began to dissipate. By the skin of our teeth we reached the marina.
Others weren’t so lucky. We saw a 21-foot ski boat sink just outside the marina. Later an old timer told us that it was the worst storm he had seen in 60 years.
Two things still stick in my mind: The utter calm before the storm, and my idiotic complacency, even after its approach.
My fear is we face another financial storm, this one from a tsunami of dollars that have been created by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department.
Yet that has created a perfect storm for rampant inflation.
Over the past year the Obama administration and Wall Street have been urging banks to increase lending. However the banks have not yet lent out much of the new reserves that the Fed has created. Rather they have left these reserves on deposit.
That means that the velocity of all this new money (how fast it changes hands) has been slow. But that will change as soon as the banks begin lending in earnest which will likely happen this year.
It is little wonder, then, that Reuters reported last week that, “the ultra-rich are increasingly buying copper, nickel and other physical commodities to shield themselves from paper-money inflation.”
According to Ronald Wildmann, who manages three Basinvest funds from Zurich: "As a wealthy person, the worst that can happen to you is not that your relationship manager gives you bad advice. What is much more worrisome is when you wake up in the morning and you look out the window and paper money is worthless."
Wildmann is in his late 40s and is one of the few money managers that even sees the potential for an inflationary storm. The majority of fund mangers are a generation younger and so busy fishing for profits that they haven’t even looked towards the horizon.
But a financial squall is approaching just as surely as that lake storm struck my dad and me three decades ago. When it does, Big Board stocks and blue chip bonds will collapse. At the same time fortunes will be made in hard assets, especially gold and silver.
Action to take: I urge you to divest out of paper in all but the most special situations and buy shares in either blue chip gold and energy companies or physical precious metals.
Yours for real wealth and good health,
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report
Ninety-four years ago this week the United States Constitution suffered its worst-ever addition when the 16th Amendment, which permits a progressive income tax, was ratified by Congress. In just one sentence, a mere 31 words long, our relationship with those who would rule over us was changed dramatically.
A graduated federal income tax became legal for the first time in our country’s history on Feb. 25, 1913, thanks to 16th Amendment. Prior to its ratification the courts had repeatedly ruled that a progressive income tax—that is, the more you earn the greater percentage the government would take—was unconstitutional.
Thanks to a virtual conspiracy among the rich and powerful and their lackeys in Congress, Americans were persuaded that a graduated income tax (a key plank in the Communist Manifesto, by the way) would “soak the rich” and shower benefits on the poor. Instead, as many warned at the time, the tax and those who enforce it have done incalculable harm to the spirit of freedom and independence that once typified this country.
Just a few days before the White House-initiated bipartisan healthcare summit is to take place, President Obama released a new reform proposal on Monday that builds on legislation that was created by the Senate late last year. However, the administration’s latest attempt at an overhaul of the healthcare system has drawn ire from many Republicans who see it as another example of the Democrats’ refusal to compromise.
Obama’s new plan is, in essence, a combination of the House and Senate bills that were created by Democrats in 2009.
The proposal still gives the federal government the power to regulate the health insurance industry by blocking or limiting substantial premium increases for consumers. It will also dramatically scale back the Senate proposal for a tax on high-cost insurance plans and will utilize a Medicare payroll tax increase to plug the revenue gap, according to The Associated Press.
In evaluating the new plan, GOP leaders have said that the proposed legislation and the bipartisan summit on Thursday are simply veiled efforts by Democrats to push through their own agenda.
"This week’s summit clearly has all the makings of a Democratic infomercial for continuing on a partisan course that relies on more backroom deals and parliamentary tricks to circumvent the will of the American people and jam through a massive government takeover of healthcare," said House Minority Leader John Boehner.
White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said the proposal is simply an "opening bid" going into Thursday’s summit.