Should we hold onto any US dollars?

Dear Bob,

(You say) to get some money out of the U.S. while it’s still legal to, plus to exchange paper money now for much more later. How does one go about this? I’m new to this website, so I may have missed something. I’m in the process of investing in stocks, which I’m also new to. Should I be doing something else with my investing money? (I’ve stored a couple of years food, beside farming my couple of acres so we can preserve what we grow. I’ve also bought silver and pre-’65 silver coins. How much silver needs to be held? I refuse to buy gold, because I think it’s going to be harder to barter with.) Should we hold onto any U.S. dollars?

Mark Supak

Dear Mark,

Glad to have you as a reader. If you have stockpiled food and are in a position to farm a plot of land, you are more prepared that most. I and my guest writers have written a host of articles about wealth and asset protection. Click on the Asset and Wealth Protection and the Preserving Wealth links under the News and Article Categories section to access these. In a nutshell, I bought Swiss Annuities and gold and silver.

For silver, I recommend pre-1964 junk silver coins. I believe these will be easily useable for currency because they look familiar to everyone plus they contain silver. I see us devolving to a barter economy when the collapse comes, so you need to accumulate as much as possible. Be careful with stocks, as most are due for a crash in the coming year. Stocks in precious mining companies and commodities are the exception.

Best wishes,

The Art of the Lie

When my children were growing up I could usually tell when they were lying to me. A subtle fidget, a flicker of the eyes or the pitch of their voice would give them away.

That’s because they were taught from the start that lying was wrong. My wife and I drummed it into them, and they believed it. Since they knew what they were doing was wrong it was difficult for them to pull it off.

I’ve always been pretty good at spotting liars. Not as good as Dr. Cal Lightman from the Fox show Lie to Me; but pretty good. It was a gift that served me well as a reporter.

Of course it’s a lot easier to spot a lying politician today than it used to be. How do you know they’re lying? It’s cliché, but, it’s when their lips are moving.

Did you watch any of the President Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union address? I tried counting his lies but within about 15 minutes I ran out of fingers and toes. No matter, his life is a lie—from his sham birth certificate to his autobiography to his campaign promises to his pledges as President. But the amazing thing is that he does it so effortlessly. And he’s so good at it he’d probably get away with it if those nasty facts didn’t keep getting in the way.

He promised transparency during his campaign, but does everything behind closed doors. He promised healthcare negotiations on C-Span. But negotiations are done in secret. He promised everyone they could keep their doctor, but the public option would end that. He says if someone has another idea he’ll listen, but he shuts dissenters out of the process. He says the Supreme Court overturned 100 years of law, but Justice Samuel Alito says, “Not true.”

Obama also bashed lobbyists. That was right before he invited them to sit in on White House briefings. In his SOTU speech he said: “We face a deficit of trust—deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years.  To close that credibility gap, we have to take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue—to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; to give our people the government they deserve.”

Hmm. I wonder why there’s a “deficit of trust.” Maybe it’s because of things like his failure to mention that more than 40 ex-lobbyists work in his administration, as the The Washington Examiner reports.

But that’s not all. According to

The Treasury Department on Thursday morning (the day after the SOTU) invited selected individuals to “a series of conference calls with senior Obama administration officials to discuss key aspects of the State of the Union address.”

The article goes on to say:

A handful of lobbyists told The Hill on Thursday morning that they received the invitations and were planning to call in.

Some lobbyists say they are extremely frustrated with the White House for criticizing them and then seeking their feedback. Others note that Democrats on Capitol Hill constantly urge them to make political donations.
One lobbyist said, “Bash lobbyists, then reach out to us. Bash lobbyists [while] I have received four Democratic invitations for fundraisers.”

And then there’s Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). In a press release issued Jan. 27, he said, “In the upcoming elections, voters will face a choice between Republicans who are standing with Wall Street fat cats, bankers and insurance companies—or Democrats who are working hard to clean up the mess we inherited by putting the people’s interests ahead of the special interests.”

That statement would lead you to believe he opposes standing with Wall Street fat cats, bankers and insurance companies. But two days later, at the DSCC winter retreat in Miami, Menendez and 10 of his fellow senators were entertained by a long list of Wall Street fat cats, bankers and insurance companies who paid around $30,000 each to the campaign coffers of the DSCC, according to

Included in that list are insurance companies like Allstate and Aflac; pharmaceutical manufactures like AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly and Novartis; financial groups like American Bankers Association, Managed Funds Association and Sallie Mae; large corporations like FedEx, UPS, Ford Motor Co. and Home Depot; and lobbying firms like Quinn Gillespie and Associates, Podesta Group and Heather Podesta and Partners; and an assortment of other big corporations, lobbyists and special interest groups. In all, 129 of these organizations attended at $30,000 each for a total into the DSCC of about $3.87 million. Just for a one-day trip to the beach.

And who can forget that low-life former presidential candidate, John Edwards? According to Byron York in The Washington Examiner, with the National Enquirer set to break a story during the 2007-2008 Democrat presidential primary that Edwards had fathered a child with campaign staffer Reille Hunter, Edwards crafted his own lie.

He encouraged campaign worker Andrew Young to claim the child as his own. This would make it a “one-day story,” Edwards claimed, and would do minimal damage to the campaign. For two more years Edwards would cling to this lie while his marriage to his cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth fell apart and his baby was denied a true father.

It’s certain that lying by politicians is a not a recent phenomenon. We could go back to the beginning of politics and find examples. But here are some recent examples that come to mind:

There was George H.W. Bush’s 1988 proclamation of, “Read my lips. No new taxes.” The following autumn saw Bush proposing a number of tax increases, prompting a headline in the New York Post that read: Read my lips. I lied.

Bill Clinton had his own “Read my lips” moment when he said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” We learned then, for politicians, it depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is, when a lie is being investigated.

George W. Bush had his own credibility problem. He vowed after the 9/11 attacks: “My administration has a job to do and we’re going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers.”

The world apparently ended in the mountains of Tora-Bora, where those calling the shots put a halt to hostilities allowing Osama bin Laden and his surviving thugs to retreat into Waziristan, a desolate lawless region of Pakistan where al-Qaida remains to this day.

Bush’s vow to follow the enemy wherever he was went unfulfilled.

Instead, he focused his energy on Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. While a strong case can be made that there was a need to depose Hussein, placing a greater importance on going there rather seeking out bin Laden and his ghouls in the aftermath of 9/11 demonstrated he lied when he said he wanted bin Laden dead or alive.

Of course, it’s more than likely that bin Laden actually died somewhere along the way and the Bush Administration knew this but wanted to have a bogeyman handy to justify continuing the war. And now the Obama Administration, which seems to enjoy war as much as Bush did, is continuing the charade.

Suffice to say that the only safe course of action is to assume a politician is lying every time he or she speaks. Never, never take one at his word, unless you’re content to believe a lie. They can be judged only on what they’ve done.

Unlike our children, whom we teach from a young age to tell the truth, politicians apparently never learned that lesson. After all, as Seinfeld’s George Costanza character once said: “It’s not a lie if you believe it’s true.”

That’s the philosophy that has allowed politicians to elevate lying to an art form.

Obama Implores Democrats To Stay The Course, Blasts GOP For ‘Obstruction’

Obama implores Democrats to stay the course, blasts GOP for 'obstruction'While speaking at a Democratic policy committee conference last week, President Obama urged Senate Democrats to stay aggressive and press ahead with their legislative agenda. He also took several shots at Republican lawmakers, stating that they have been unwilling to compromise and have been impeding progress.

While taking questions from Democratic senators who are up for re-election in November, Obama promised to "call (Republicans) out when (Democrats) extend a hand and get a fist in return," according to CNN.

The president also chided Senate Republicans for demanding that Democrats produce a 60-vote majority on every issue, no matter how arbitrary.

"You had to cast more votes to break filibusters last year than in the entire 1950s and ’60s combined," said Obama. "That’s 20 years of obstruction packed into just one." He added that a filibuster is justified only when there is a legitimate attempt to compromise.

The president also lashed out at members of the GOP for having an "if you lose, I win" mentality, citing examples of Republican maneuvering based solely on political considerations.

In recent months, the administration has come under fire from the GOP for what the party saw as the majority’s attempt to push through healthcare reform legislation behind closed doors, without consulting the Republicans. "I take some fault for this," Obama admitted, quoted by Fox News. "Some of [the] transparency got lost and I think we paid a price for it."

Obama Edges Closer To Ending ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ Republicans Are Split

Obama edges closer to ending 'don't ask don't tell,' Republicans are split Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, the nation’s top military and civilian leaders argued for a repeal of the 1993 Act of Congress that banned openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the military.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen testified together with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and said that overturning the policy known as "don’t ask don’t tell" would be "the right thing to do."

"I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy that forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens," said Mullen.

Several prominent Republicans, including former Secretary of State and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell, have expressed their support for the overhaul.

"In the 17 years since the legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed," Powell stated after the hearing, quoted by The New York Times.

However, a significant group of GOP lawmakers, led by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), have declared themselves to be against it. McCain has been quoted as saying he was "disappointed" with the administration’s push.

The Department of Defense is putting together a working group that will conduct a year-long study on troops’ feelings about lifting the ban on openly gay people serving in the military.

More than 10,000 service members have had to leave the armed forces due to the ban.

After Liberals, Sarah Palin Calls For Sanctioning Rahm Emanuel

After liberals, Sarah Palin calls for sanctioning Rahm Emanuel White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been in the news lately with some progressives calling for his dismissal and blaming him for trying to accommodate the conservatives. However, a new revelation has railed some GOP members.

The Wall Street Journal has recently reported that in a closed-door meeting last summer, Obama’s top aide called liberal special-interest groups that wanted to run ads against conservative Democrats who did not support healthcare reform "f—— retarded," according to media reports.

When informed about the comment, Sarah Palin, whose child has Down syndrome, posted a note on Facebook alleging Emanuel’s words amounted to a "racial slur."

"Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities is unacceptable," she wrote, adding that President Obama should "show decency" by removing the Chicago politician from his inner circle.

In the meantime, Emanuel reportedly called Tim Shriver, chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics, to apologize.

Last month, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee urged its members not to support the former Illinois congressman if he runs for public office again. It said Emanuel allowed the Democrats to give up the public option, helped to put together deals with drug companies in exchange for their support and argued against a bigger stimulus package.

Obama To Increase Taxes Over The Next Decade

Obama to increase taxes over the next decadeTo help subsidize the $3.8 trillion proposed budget for fiscal year 2011, President Obama will increase taxes on some businesses and upper-income households by nearly $2 trillion during the next decade, a plan that will still leave the nation with $8.5 trillion in added debt in 2020, The Wall Street Journal reports.

By allowing the cuts introduced by the previous administration to expire, Obama will increase taxes on families with a household annual income above $250,000 by as much as 3.6 percent. Oil companies will also lose $35.5 billion in tax breaks over the next 10 years.

Some of Obama’s other initiatives include limiting the tax deductions that the wealthy can claim for charitable donations, mortgage payments and local taxes, according to Fox News.

The president’s new increases have drawn the ire of many fiscal conservatives, including several top Republicans in the House.

"This budget features too many new taxes, too much new spending and too much new debt," said Representative Dave Camp of Michigan, the lead Republican on tax-writing for the House Ways and Means Committee, quoted by the news source.

Through various programs and credits, the current administration will also cut taxes for some workers and other businesses by approximately $330 billion.

Obama’s Unjust Remarks

Is the State of the Union Address finally over?

Just kidding. I know it finally ended a few days ago. But golly, was that sucker l-o-n-g. If I were to dissect every bit of deceptive rhetoric in it, this column would be even longer. That’s not going to happen. But there was one section that I found particularly outrageous.

Before I get to it, however, I want to mention the folks who were sitting behind our Dissembler in Chief. Every time the camera showed Obama, there was Vice President Joe Biden behind his right shoulder and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi behind his left. Those two got to spend the entire evening staring at the President’s back. What fun.

I have to say Joe was the absolutely ideal audience. Every single expression that crossed his face—his smiles, his frowns, his chuckles, his glee—seemed perfectly timed to match to the script Obama was following. It was almost as though the Veep was an audioanimatronic creation of the Disney imagineers. Joe, you were perfect!

I can’t say the same thing about Madame Speaker, though. For much of the President’s speech, Nancy Pelosi looked as though her mind was elsewhere… and she wished her body was, too. I had to wonder what thoughts were troubling her stern visage. Maybe she knows that her dreams of presiding over the socialization of America are over. Maybe she realizes her record and her reputation are heading straight for the dumpster. Whatever the reason, she looked nervous to me. Good.

Now, on to the speech itself. Anyone expecting a milder, more conciliatory approach from the president had to have been disappointed. There were very few mea culpas in his 70-minute address. Instead, his basic message seemed to be that anyone who doesn’t support his programs just doesn’t understand them. So he’s going to ‘splain it all again. It reminded me of Desi talking to Lucy, but without the Cuban accent.

The weekend before SOTU (that’s an abbreviation of State of the Union, in case you saw the acronym and wondered what it meant), Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s top advisers, appeared on Meet the Press. Asked if losing a super-majority in the Senate would change the president’s strategy, she replied, “He is going to fight for what he’s always been fighting for… We’re not hitting a reset button at all.”

Even more telling was the president’s decision to bring David Plouffe, his 2008 campaign manager, into the White House. Plouffe immediately said that he’d be working to pass healthcare reform legislation “without delay.” His message for his fellow Democrats? “[Let’s] prove that we have the guts to govern. Let’s fight like hell.”

Doesn’t sound very conciliatory, does it?

It’s got to be tough to be a conservative back-bencher at one of these performances. All of the president’s allies fill the first half of the House chamber. And by tradition, they’re supposed to cheer like crazy for every rhetorical flourish that comes out of his mouth, no matter how wrong or ridiculous it is.

But the group I really felt sorry for this time were the six members of the U.S. Supreme Court who were in attendance. There they were, dressed in those flowing black robes and seated front and center, directly below the president.

By tradition, the members of this august body are supposed to sit there looking straight ahead. They are not supposed to show any expression, no matter what the president says and no matter what the sycophants in the audience do. Under the best of circumstance, it’s got to be tough to sit there for an hour-plus without moving a facial muscle.

But these weren’t the best of circumstances, because right in the middle of his speech the president lambasted them. The justices had to have been absolutely stunned to hear the president say: “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests—including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections. Well, I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.”

Even before he finished urging Congress to right this terrible wrong, hundreds of Democratic senators, congressmen and cabinet officers had jumped to their feet, cheering and applauding the president’s remarks.

Talk about being blind-sided. As law professor Randy Barnett observed in The Wall Street Journal, “the head of the executive branch ambushed six members of the judiciary, and called up the legislative branch to deride them publicly.”

But there was something worse than the president’s bad manners. It’s that his remarks weren’t true; the Supreme Court ruling had done no such thing. Yes, in a landmark case known as Citizens United, the Court had the previous week reversed a 1990 ban against political advertising by domestic corporations and labor unions. But it left standing a 100-year-old ban on foreign entities doing so.

Yes, Barack Obama—an honored graduate of Harvard Law and one-time professor of Constitutional Law—had his facts wrong. Apparently, among the several dozen people who vetted the State of the Union Address, not a single one bothered to check the facts of the matter. While that’s awfully hard to believe, it’s better than the alternative—that Obama knew what he would say was false, and he just didn’t care.

The television coverage of that part of his speech got played over and over again on national TV. In numerous broadcasts, the scene was darkened so only one face showed clearly—that of Justice Samuel Alito. As the camera slowly focused on him, he could be seen shaking his head from side to side and mouthing the phrase, “not true.”

But it could have been worse. He could have emulated Joe Wilson and shouted, “You lie!”

Oops, we’ve run out of room for this week. I’ll have to save the rest of my remarks about POTUS’ SOTU for next week. So be sure to be back here next Friday morning, when we discuss the president’s jobs-creating and deficit-fighting promises.

If you think we’ve seen some fairy-tale forecasting before, folks, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Until then, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

Robert Gates Dodges Questions Regarding The Prosecution Of Terrorists

Robert Gates dodges questions regarding the prosecution of terroristsAt a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates declined to say whether he agrees with Attorney General Eric Holder’s prosecution strategy of trying self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court in New York City.

When pressed by Senator John McCain (R-AZ.) for a "candid answer," Gates replied that Holder was better suited to make the decision and again reserved comment, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Later in the meeting, McCain continued to push for the defense secretary’s point of view, asking him whether he agreed with the Obama administration’s decision to question attempted Christmas Day airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab using civilian interrogators for only 50 minutes before reading him his Miranda rights.

Gates responded, "I think we did not have the high-level interrogators there that we now have protocols in place" to guarantee their presence, quoted by the news source. However he added: "I believe that a team of highly experienced FBI and other interrogators could be as effective in interrogating the prisoner as anyone operating under the (Army) field manual."

The defense secretary did admit that it is within the legal rights of an interrogator to delay "mirandizing" a suspect, if the person "is deemed to be a threat to national security."

Pomegranate Extract May Help Women In Labor

Pomegranate extract may help women in laborAccording to a recent study, a naturally occurring steroid found in pomegranate seed extract may be able to stimulate uterine contractions and could help women who experience difficulty during labor.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool and the Suranaree University of Technology in Thailand found that beta-sitosterol, the main constituent of pomegranate extract, was able to increase the muscle activity of tissue cells found in the uterus. The team believes that the increase is due to a rise in calcium, which is necessary for any muscle to contract.

"The next step is to investigate how beta-sitosterol in pomegranate extract could increase calcium, but it could prove to be a significant step forward in identifying new ways of treating dysfunctional labor," said lead researcher Sajeera Kupittayanant.

She added that there is only one drug that is currently being used to treat women who experience difficulty during labor, and that it only works approximately 50 percent of the time.

It should be noted that the researchers used the fruit’s seed extract, which has a significantly higher level of concentration than pomegranate juice. Further study is needed to understand whether drinking pomegranate juice will have an impact on uterine contractions.

NIA: Seniors Should Take Precautions To Avoid Hypothermia

Seniors should take precautions to avoid hypothermia, says NIA In addition to producing high heating bills, the cold weather that has gripped much of the country poses health dangers related to hypothermia, especially in the elderly. However, there are ways to protect oneself from excessive loss of body heat both at home and outdoors.

Hypothermia occurs when body temperature falls to 96 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Its symptoms include slowed or slurred speech, sleepiness or confusion, shivering or stiffness in the arms and legs, poor control over body movements or slow reactions as well as a weak pulse.

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), seniors are particularly vulnerable to hypothermia due to underlying medical conditions and because they tend to be less active than younger people and produce less body heat.

Consequently, NIA experts recommend keeping the temperature of the home at a minimum of 68 degrees. To stay warm inside it is a good idea to wear long underwear, socks and slippers. A blanket can be used to keep legs and shoulders comfortable, while a hat or cap can warm the head.

Venturing outdoors, it is important to wear a scarf and gloves or mittens to prevent loss of body heat through the hands and feet. A hat is particularly important because a significant portion of body heat loss occurs through the head.

In addition, wearing several layers of warm loose clothing can help keep warm air close to the body.

Finally, NIA advises seniors to check with their healthcare providers as some medicines may increase the risk of hypothermia.

Pro-gun Organizations Call On ACLU To Defend Second Amendment Rights

Pro-gun organizations call on ACLU to defend Second Amendment rights Citing law enforcement data that suggests murder rates have gone down while gun sales have increased, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) has sought to dispute the claims that guns cause violent crime, while the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) has called on civil rights organizations to protect access to guns in the United States.

SAF says a newly released FBI report found that in the first six months of 2009, murders across the nation dropped by 10 percent. Moreover, its National Instant Criminal Background Check System shows that in January 2009 gun sales rose 28.8 percent over the same month in 2008, February’s sales were up 23.3 percent and in March they were up 29.9 percent over March 2008.

"This shows… that gun prohibitionists are wrong when they argue that more guns result in more crime," said SAF executive vice president Alan Gottlieb.

"Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens are no threat to anyone," and increasing sales may even have discouraged violent criminals, he suggested.

Meanwhile, CCRKBA reacted to the announcement from The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which said it will monitor government response to recent police shootings in Washington State to make sure no proposals violate civil rights.

"We share the ACLU’s concern that the legislature’s reaction may be to clamp down on the rights of law-abiding citizens without accomplishing anything," stated CCRKBA chairman Alan Gottlieb, emphasizing that the right to keep and bear arms is constitutionally enshrined.

Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal by Joel Salatin

Virginia farmer Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farms, began farming as a teenager with the goal of milking 10 cows by hand. That would earn him $1,000 per cow per year, not a bad living for teenager in the late 70s.

But there was one problem. It was illegal. Virginia, like many states, had banned the sale of raw milk.

Salatin writes, “Even if we were to move forward with cheese or some milk product, we would still need a license and inspected facility. A friend who ran a Grade A dairy wanted to make cheese. But by the time he installed all the required machinery and hardware, it would have cost them (sic) $100,000 to make one pound of cheese. End of dream. He continues to struggle, barely making ends meet. I’d love to buy his cheese, even if he made it in the kitchen sink. And that’s important to understand.”

In the book Salatin laments the demise of the local farmer’s market due to government health regulations and the bureaucratic minefield that is designed to stifle innovation and benefit the large agricultural-industrial complex at the expense of the small farmer.

Continuing the story mentioned above, Salatin writes about how ideas start small and grow from there if they are good ideas. But government regulations—local, state and federal—are so onerous that the ideas are never given a chance.

“How do I know if I have a cheese that people will want unless I can experiment with a few pounds and try to sell some to folks? How do I know I have a decent ice cream until I make some and sell to taste testers? Innovation demands embryonic births. The problem is that complying with all these codes required that even the prototype must be too big to be birthed. In reality then, what we have are still-birth dreams because the mandated accoutrements are too big,” Salatin writes.

Salatin uses humor and common sense and tells his story of years of trying to figure out how to comply with the onerous regulations that have hampered his ability to farm in an ecologically sound, environmentally friendly, financially sound way. He covers all aspects of the effects of bureaucracy on his operation, including how the regulations change depending on the bureaucrat enforcing them. And oftentimes, Salatin writes, complying with the regulations not only makes no sense, it affects the quality of the food being produced.

Filled with personal accounts of Salatin’s experiences over the years, this book is an entertaining view of the life of an American farmer. It will give you a new perspective on your ideas about whether the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is looking out for the consumer, or looking out for somebody else.

Back to the Land!

In the coming months and years, self sufficiency will be the most important concept to our survival. In fact the words survival and self sufficiency are interchangeable and synonymous.

The idea of self sufficiency and survival are hard and harsh concepts to Americans who are in every way dependent on the system. I fear that most may one day be very hungry and forced to resort to stealing their food.

I have often remarked that an honest man will steal if he and his family are hungry. And if desperate enough, he may plunder or may even kill.

The only exception to this is the age group that was born in the 1930s. This small group could easily revert to the land without having a nervous breakdown.

If you have ever watched the movie, Gone With the Wind, you remember the desperate conditions people endured just after the Civil War. Prior to the war Scarlet O’Hara had the finest things that life in the Old South could give, but the war and devastation reduced her to poverty. When the war was over she still had the land. But with everything gone except the land, Scarlet was reduced to living on turnips and whatever she could grow literally with her hands.

That scene happened for real in Germany during World War I. Turnips became survival.

For more on food and water storage, and everything you need to prepare for the hard times that are coming, see my special report, How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization.

But this doesn’t have to happen to you if you take small but determined action while there is yet time.

Oh, you have trouble believing that Scarlet’s plight could happen to you? Suppose you take my suggestion and prepare, and of all horrors, nothing bad happens? Well, everything that you have done to prepare—everything you have stored—you can consume.

Plus, you will have on hand food bought before the coming inflation makes limited food available at very high prices.

Most low-income people are having trouble getting affordable food now. Look around and you will see all the people who are overweight because they only get mostly low-cost high-carbohydrate food.

Some readers have asked lately how to go about storing food and how they can prepare for when times get rough. Here are answers to some of them:

What food items to store? Try to store food that has shelf-life and always rotate it. I bought a ton of brown rice 40 years ago and I am still eating it, after raising my children on it. I used diatomaceous earth to preserve it. Diatomaceous earth dehydrates bugs in grains.

Canned goods—fruits, vegetables and meats—have an expiration date. Buy extra every trip you make to the grocery store and be sure your rotate your stock to use the oldest first.

There are food kits available online and in some survival/outdoor stores that will sustain you through emergencies. Some of these contain all you need for survival and are marked to show how many people can survive off the food included and for how long.

How much to store? That is an individual problem and a difficult question that contains no set answer. The best bet is to watch what your family eats in a week and make note of it (how many servings of meat, vegetables, fruit and grains). Then you’ll have an idea of how much must be set aside for each week you think an emergency might exist. As for water, experts say each person needs about two gallons per day for drinking, cooking and hygiene. A minimum of three days supply should be kept on hand, and more is better.

Store seeds in your refrigerator. All who want a garden should store natural seeds, not hybrid seeds. Store some each year from your crop.

(Editor’s note: For more detailed information on surviving food and water shortages and more, see my special report, How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization. I have also reviewed an excellent book on food and water storage entitled Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook. Click on the title to read the review and for a link to purchase the book.

Obama Unveils 2011 Budget, $1.3 Trillion To Be Added To Deficit

Obama unveils 2011 budget, $1.3 trillion to be added to deficitOn Monday, President Obama sent his $3.8 trillion budget to Congress for fiscal year 2011, a plan that will add $1.3 trillion to the already ballooning deficit.

The proposal includes spending approximately $100 billion on a job creation plan that will help supplement the $862 billion economic stimulus package that was approved last year. Other additions to federal spending include a $20 billion increase in education funding and a tax credit for small businesses that create jobs.

"The definition of insanity is doing the wrong thing over and over again and expecting change," said Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH.), quoted by Time Magazine. "Eight years out the president is projecting a trillion dollar deficit…that’s not acceptable."

Officials with the administration have stated that they will reduce the deficit in coming years by freezing discretionary government spending, imposing new fees on banks and allowing tax cuts on families making more than $250,000 to expire. Obama has also targeted 120 programs for termination or reduction, a plan that would save $20 billion if passed by Congress.

According to White House estimates, the budget’s deficit would fall to $700 billion in fiscal year 2013, although uncertainty surrounding Obama’s proposed healthcare bill leaves many questions still to be answered regarding future federal spending.

National Taxpayers Union Calls Obama Out On Spending Proposals

National Taxpayers Union calls Obama out on spending proposals During last week’s State of the Union address President Obama proposed a "spending freeze" on discretionary government expenses. However, the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) estimated that the president still called for at least $70.46 billion in new federal spending.

According to the organization, Obama outlined 21 proposals that have a fiscal impact, including eight that would boost spending, three that would cut it and 10 whose costs or savings cannot be predicted at the moment.

The most expensive item was the call to pass a cap-and-trade national energy tax legislation, with a predicted cost of $51.5 billion, not counting revenue increases or possible price hikes in energy bills, NTU calculated.

Other pricey initiatives included immigration reform, at $9.8 billion, and subsidies for retirement savings among low-income Americans.

Meanwhile, the proposal for student loan forgiveness and a new round of mortgage refinancing subsidies were unquantifiable at present.

"This analysis doesn’t include huge potential burdens from big-government healthcare legislation, a new ‘stimulus’ plan or greater obligations to bailed out entities like auto companies and banks," said Demian Brady, policy analyst for the NTU Foundation.

He concluded by saying that Obama failed to provide taxpayers with specifics regarding future direction of federal expenditures.

Magnesium Supplementation May Help Prevent Memory Loss

Magnesium supplementation may help prevent memory lossAccording to a new study, increasing magnesium intake may help improve memory and learning abilities while inadequate levels of the compound may impair cognitive function leading to the deterioration of memory in older adults.

Professor Guosong Liu, director of the Center for Learning and Memory at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, and his colleagues developed a new compound capable of increasing magnesium saturation in the brain.

After boosting the levels of the nutrient in lab rats of different ages, the researchers found that magnesium supplementation was associated with positive behavioral and cellular changes.

"We found that increased brain magnesium enhanced many different forms of learning and memory in both young and aged rats," said Liu.

"Our findings suggest that elevating brain magnesium content via increasing intake might be a useful new strategy to enhance cognitive abilities," he added.

The researchers noted that control rats had a normal diet, which contained a typical daily amount of the nutrient, and that the beneficial effects were associated with levels higher than those provided by a standard diet.

Study: Vitamin D May Help Prevent Crohn’s Disease

Study: Vitamin D may help prevent Crohn's diseaseCanadian researchers have found that vitamin D may be able to combat and even prevent symptoms related to Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder associated with diarrhea, intestinal pain and weight loss.

The study, conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center, was originally designed to investigate the nutrient’s ability to treat cancer cells, but scientists discovered that vitamin D had a beneficial effect on two genes associated with inflammatory bowel disorders.

Lead researcher John White and his colleagues found that vitamin D supplementation forced a reaction in the beta defensin 2 and NOD2 genes, which alert cells to the presence of invading microbes. If NOD2 is deficient or defective, the gene cannot combat microbial attacks in the intestinal tract.

"This discovery is exciting, since it shows how an over-the-counter supplement such as vitamin D could help people defend themselves against Crohn’s disease," says study collaborator Marc Servant.

The next step for the team is to conduct clinical trials with human participants suffering from the intestinal disorder.

Separate studies have also suggested that vitamin D can help prevent heart disease and certain forms of cancer.

Green Tea Extract May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids

Green tea extract may help treat uterine fibroidsA new study has found that an extract from green tea may be a useful treatment for uterine fibroids, a condition that affects 40 percent of women of reproductive age, commonly causing vaginal bleeding, anemia and fatigue.

Dr. Ayman Al-Hendy, director of clinical research at Meharry Medical College, and his colleagues found that a polyphenol in green tea known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) was capable of killing human leiomyoma cells in tissue cultures and was able to shrink fibroid lesions in lab animals.

After eight weeks of treatment with EGCG, lab mice with induced uterine fibroids experienced significantly smaller fibroid growths than control subjects who were given a placebo. In fact, one mouse showed no signs of uterine fibroids at the end of the trial.

The researchers state that green tea extract "might be particularly useful for long-term use in women with a low fibroid tumor burden to arrest tumor progression and avoid the development of severe symptoms that necessitate major surgery."

The next step for the team is to conduct controlled trials using human participants.

The Ratification of 16th Amendment and the Assault on Freedom

I don’t want to worry you, but historically this is a bad week for freedom.

Among the worst events, 97 years ago this week a progressive income tax was made possible in the United States. Prior to this time the Federal Government paid all of its bills (including the salaries of congressmen, presidents, federal judges, et al) from the levies and duties it collected. There was no tax on individual citizens.

For more than 150 years the country was spared a progressive income tax because (a) the Constitution specifically forbade one and (b) the courts upheld the Constitutional prohibition.

But neither was able to deter the domestic advocates of this plank right out of the Communist Manifesto forever, unfortunately, and on Feb. 3, 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. A federal income tax and the authority to enforce it—the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—soon followed.

Today, almost a century later, the average American toils for nearly five months to earn the money to pay the federal behemoth. It’s still not enough to balance the books, however, as the national debt is growing by $1.4 trillion a year.

—Chip Wood

McConnell: Obama, Federal Government Trying To Do Too Much

McConnell: Obama, federal government trying to do too muchThe Republican Party response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, given by Virginia Governor Bob McConnell last week criticized the current administration’s policies regarding the economy, healthcare reform and unemployment.

McConnell, a rising star in the GOP, applauded Obama on his government spending freeze proposal, but condemned the president’s response to the rising deficit and high unemployment rate.

"Good government policy should spur economic growth, and strengthen the private sector’s ability to create new jobs," said the Virginia Governor. "What government should not do is pile on more taxation, regulation and litigation that kill jobs and hurt the middle class."

McConnell also said that Americans want an affordable, high-quality healthcare system, but "do not want to turn over the best medical care system in the world to the federal government."

In his address, in front of a crowd of supporters in Richmond, Va., McConnell agreed with several of the president’s initiatives, including education reform and the decision to deploy more than 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. The governor’s oldest daughter was an Army platoon leader in Iraq, according to Fox News.

The War on Gold: A Personal Account

“Open up,” demanded a man.

I rose from the breakfast table. It was Sept. 19, 1974. I caught a glimpse of the flashing lights bouncing off the premature frost that clung to our trees.

Three cruisers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had converged on our small farm south of Calgary, Canada.

“What the hell is going on?” my father C.V. bellowed from down the hall.

I was 15 and filled with dread, fear and fascination. “The cops are here!”

My old man whipped-open the door. Five RCMP officers and a plainclothes tax agent burst into our home.

At the same moment in Calgary the Mounties and Revenue Canada raided my dad’s offices, his lawyer’s office and his bank branch.

Was my father a kidnapper or a bank robber? Hardly. Yet in the eyes of the government he was something much worse. He was a Libertarian and a gold-bug! Worst of all, he had been buying gold for his United States subscribers at a time when it was illegal for them to own it (more about this in a moment).

That morning agents were hunting down documents on my dad and his newsletter, Myers’ Finance & Energy (MFE). But they couldn’t touch his company, Interpublishing, a bona fide operation in Switzerland paying taxes in Switzerland.

Interpublishing was a legitimate offshore company set up by my dad’s accountants. Interpublishing was not a shell company. In fact it was organized the same way as the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, one of Canada’s oldest and largest public companies.

The Midas Mess
The Mounties were out to get their man. It had to do with Americans buying and owning gold and my dad acting as their agent. This had some in the U.S. Treasury Department very upset.

You see at that time it was illegal for Americans to own gold although most believed the law was unconstitutional, and indeed, the U.S. Treasury had become aware of purchases by U.S. citizens.

Meanwhile gold ownership was fully legal in Canada. So my father had started buying gold for any subscribers that could put cash on the barrelhead; charging only a small commission and storage fee.

C.V. wrote in MFE: “We don’t care if you are Chinese, Burmese, Russian or American. Gold ownership is legal in Canada; put the money on our desk and we will buy you the gold. Your account will be numbered but your corresponding identity will be kept secret in Switzerland.”

After the tax men had recorded every check which had been paid by the Americans for this gold they still did not have the owner’s names. And Washington wanted names.

It turned out they had just the instrument to get them. It’s called blackmail. You see, if the Americans couldn’t come forward to claim their gold it could be held hostage to any assessment the Tax Department might like to issue against my dad.

The hope was that mounting pressure from the gold owners would force my dad and the Swiss company to pay the assessment—right or wrong. My dad said it was like hijacking; the only difference being hijackers held third party lives while the tax men held third party money.

Americans Demand their Gold

Then good fortune shined. U.S. gold ownership became legal on Dec. 31, 1974. This meant that owners could come forward. But it meant much more. For if the claimants identified themselves, the Tax Department, having all the documents and keys, had automatically become the legal custodian to the gold and fully responsible, just as Interpublishing had been, to turn it over to the rightful owners upon demand.

The safety deposit keys and the identification list were sent via Teletype from Switzerland and turned over to the Tax Department. Now the tax men not only had the gold, they had everything, including the responsibility.

At this point they were holding a hot potato. Rentals on safety deposit boxes began coming due. Revenue Canada had to decide if it was going to bill the clients just as Interpublishing had been doing, or if it was going to pay the rentals itself? And what if an owner sent in an order to sell? Was Revenue Canada legally obligated to sell it and forward the check?

Like it or not the tax man was in the gold business.

My father advised all clients to write Revenue Canada demanding that they execute the delivery of their wholly-owned gold post-haste.

The Gold is Freed, the Gold-Bug Imprisoned
Things got pretty hot. The gold owners had to be answered. A huge counting operation was arranged. It included a representative of Interpublishing in Calgary, the company’s lawyers, the Tax Department, officials of the bank and two security guards. All boxes were opened, counted and recorded. In all there was $4 million worth of bullion!

When the count was finished it was found that every claimant’s gold was separately wrapped. Not a coin was missing. None belonged to C.V. Myers or Interpublishing.

Falling prices spurred American owners to action. Through a Calgary law firm they launched an action against Revenue Canada and the individuals they claimed had acted beyond their authority in withholding from them their rightful property.

The deadlock broke in March 1975, when the Supreme Court of Alberta admonished Revenue Canada and ordered the return of each and every ounce of gold to my dad’s clients. No damages were paid: there was not even an apology.

Norman Stone wrote a book about the case titled: Unbridled Bureaucracy in Canada, The Bizarre Case of C.V. Myers.

Stone concluded that Canada’s tax department had acted on orders, not from Ottawa, but from Washington. Furthermore wrote Stone, “The capitulation forced by the court left the taxmen (sic) red-faced, angry and vengeful. Talk among the personnel in the Department was funneled back: Get Myers!”

It didn’t take long. I was finishing up my junior year in high school. The old man and I pulled up to his parking space outside his office in late spring 1975. As we got out of the car door two plainclothes agents blocked his way.

“C.V. Myers?” asked the cop.


“You are under arrest.”

“What for?”

“For evasion of taxes. I must warn you that you don’t have to speak and anything you say may be used against you.”

The cops cuffed my old man right then and there. I was dumbfounded. As the back door on the cruiser was being closed he yelled to me, “Call my lawyers, I am under arrest and on my way to jail.”

Tale of Two Trials
The charge was evasion on $1.8 million in income, exactly the same amount which had been assessed Interpublishing eight months before.

Later that day dad got out on $100,000 bail. But the real cost of urging Americans to buy and hold gold was yet to be announced.

Over the next two years my dad would face two trials. In the first one he was fully acquitted. The second case—a trial de nova (double jeopardy, which was later eliminated by the Canadian Constitution) found my dad guilty and sentenced him to two years plus a day. He was given hard time, especially for a man who was in his 70s.

After my mother died my dad stood over her casket. He was weeping softly as he held one of her hands between his handcuffed two. Behind him stood an impatient corrections officer, telling my dad to hurry, that he had to get him back to his prison cell. He led my dad away just as a young girl started singing my mother’s favorite song: Amazing Grace. My 8-year-old nephew began to sob. Our family mourned in quiet devastation.

But all was not lost. Word of the injustice began to spread. For example the late Congressman Larry McDonald and Congressman Ron Paul urged Ottawa to release my father. And there were editorials in the press condemning the sentence and calling my dad a political prisoner. Colleagues like Richard Russell, Harry Schultz and Jim Dines began writing the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament.

After my dad was diagnosed with liver cancer he was released from Bowden Federal Penitentiary. Less than two years later he died in Loma Linda, Calif., a free but broken man.

Gold had given my dad a sterling reputation, a loyal following and a small fortune. But in the end he paid a terrible price.

What was done to just one individual illustrates what lengths government will go to shut-up its opponents and enforce its will. I know, I was there; a witness to the war on gold.

Yours for real wealth and good health,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

Pelosi, Congressional Delegation Take Heat For $1 Million Climate Summit Trip

Pelosi, congressional delegation take heat for $1 million climate summit trip Although the climate summit in Copenhagen took place in December, it has recently emerged that the large congressional delegation headed by Nancy Pelosi charged taxpayers some $1 million for the trip.

Newly filed congressional expense reports indicated that more than 150 people—including legislators, staff and even some family members—made the trip at a cost of $2,200 a day, CBS News reported.

Further CBS investigation found that 59 House and Senate staff flew commercial to the Danish capital, costing taxpayers $408,064, while the rest used three military jets, which cost $168,351 for the flight time.

This type of spending in the face of an escalating federal deficit and during a prolonged recession has spurred critics to question the judgment of the congressional leadership.

CNN‘s Jack Cafferty wrote that "we have skyrocketing deficits and national debt in this country," and asked "where Nancy Pelosi gets her sense of entitlement to simply blow hundreds of thousands of dollars of our money at Christmas time so she and her colleagues can take a little trip to Copenhagen."

According to media reports, Pelosi has refused to answer journalists’ queries about the Copenhagen expenses and explain why the congressional delegation ended up being so large.