Cramming Obamacare Down Our Throats

Well, they finally did it. By a vote of 219 to 212, the House of Representatives approved Obamacare Sunday night. By the time you read this, President Obama will have signed this monstrosity into law.

The only thing “bipartisan” about the measure was the opposition to it. Thirty-four Democrats joined every Republican in the House in voting against it. But even this doesn’t capture the nationwide opposition to the bill. Every single survey taken in the past two months showed massive public opposition to the measure.

“So what?” was the Democrats rejoinder. “Once this sucker becomes law, people will learn to like it.”

The Left thinks they have won the most important victory yet in the political wars. But they’re about to discover that, like John Paul Jones before us, we have just begun to fight.

Let’s hope that this November plenty of voters will remember what our leaders just did to us.

I’ll spare you a litany of all the “dirty deals, open threats, broken promises and disregard for democracy” that were used to shove this 2,400-page monstrosity down our throats. Even with all the last-minute vote-buying and arm-twisting, I hoped the measure would come up short. And it almost did.

In the week before the vote, Barack Obama held private meetings or telephone conversations with 64 different congressmen. At least one of them, Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), bragged publicly that he used his face time with the president to demand some “special consideration” for his Central Valley district. On March 16, the Interior Department came through, announcing that the water allocation there would be increased from 5 percent to 25 percent. On Saturday, Costa—a former no vote—said he had flipped to yes. But deal-doing had nothing to do with it, of course.

The president also hopped aboard Air Force One and flew to rallies in states where wavering House Democrats resided. He showed up in Pennsylvania (home to five uncommitted votes), Missouri (three wavering Democrats), Ohio (eight undeclared congressmen) and Virginia (four).

The president’s advance men made sure Obama would be talking to friendly crowds. And of course the local media was out in droves. So the Left could be assured of plenty of favorable coverage.

One person who would be missing from the show was the local congressman. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wasn’t about to allow members of the House to go home until a vote was taken. No Spring Break for those guys and gals! The speaker knew she didn’t dare risk letting representatives go home then. Otherwise, too many would see first-hand just how opposed most of their constituents were to the measure.

While the president used the honey of his rhetoric and the promise of government largesse to win votes, political heavies such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and used threats. Their message was short and simple: Vote no on Obamacare and we’ll find someone else to take your place in Congress.

But all of the bullying, bluffs and bluster wasn’t enough. Kimberley Strassel, who writes the Potomac Watch column for the Wall Street Journal, had been following this story for months. The day after that fateful vote, she reported, “By the weekend, all the pressure and threats and bribes had left the speaker three to five votes short.”

As it happened, there were half-a-dozen votes just waiting to be plucked. All the House leadership had to do to get them was agree to include a line in the legislation saying that no Federal funds would be used to provide abortions. The danger was that if they agreed they’d lose more than six votes among the pro-abortion crowd in the House.

I don’t know who came up with the compromise, but it was a dandy. The language of the legislation wouldn’t be changed—but the president promised to issue an executive order afterwards, stating that no Federal funds provided by the bill could be used for abortions.

That was all it took for Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) to fold like an accordion. On Sunday afternoon he announced that he and five other colleagues would now support the legislation.

Pro-abortion supporters chortled that such an executive order wouldn’t change a thing. Bart and his buddies had been duped. One pro-life congressman was so upset that he shouted out “baby killer!” during the debate on the House floor.

But, no matter. The dirty deed was done. And within hours, the most radical healthcare legislation in history had been approved by the House of Representatives.

Because the powers-that-be decided to use a sneaky parliamentary procedure called “reconciliation” to pass the measure, that was all it took. There would be no chance for opponents to stop it in the Senate, despite the victory of Scott Brown in Massachusetts. (Click here to see my tirade two weeks ago, called Hey Washington—Reconcile This)

During and after the debate I collected a basketful of quotes by people on both sides of the issue. I’ll spare you all of the gleeful smugness of the victors and most of the dire warnings from the losers. But let me share with you my favorite, which comes from Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas):

“It was truly a sad weekend on the House floor as we witnessed the further dismantling of the Constitution, disregard of the will of the people, explosive expansion of the reach of government, unprecedented corporate favoritism, and the impending end of quality healthcare as we know it….

“Of course, the most troubling aspect of this bill is that it is so blatantly unconstitutional and contrary to the ideals of liberty. Nowhere in the Constitution is there anything approaching authority for the Federal government to do any of this.”

In the aftermath of the bill’s passage, attorneys general in 13 states joined together and filed suit in Florida Tuesday to have the bill declared unconstitutional. Virginia sued separately. Officials in at least 15 other states said they are preparing legal and constitutional challenges to the legislation. We’ll see how far they get. I’m not optimistic, since most Federal judges pay absolutely no attention to constitutional limitations on the reach and power of the Federal government.

No, the only way we’re going to win back our lost freedoms is at the ballot box.
I believe that those of us who work for a living still outnumber those who vote for a living. It’s just that the other side has spent far more time and money getting their side elected.

Are we willing to do what it will take to change things? As I said at the beginning of this column, we’ll find out this November.

Until next Friday, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

Clint Eastwood, Tips From a Bankrupt Ball Player and a Disgraced Economist

*What makes Clint’s day. There’s a new coffee-table book out on Clint Eastwood’s film career, from the 1959 western Rawhide to his most recent directorial duties on Invictus. The book includes 325 photographs and movie stills and some wonderful quotes, such as this one from the time he had the romantic lead in The Bridges of Madison County. Said Clint, “This romantic stuff is really tough. I can’t wait to get back to shooting and killing.”

*Stock tips from a bankrupt ball player? Former Phillies baseball great Lenny Dykstra has hit a tough patch, financially speaking. He declared bankruptcy last year, lost his multi-million-dollar home to foreclosure and even auctioned off his World Series ring. So what’s he doing to stage a comeback? Selling investment advice. For $999, you get three weekly forecasts, a monthly conference call and a signed baseball. No thanks. I can think of lots of better ways to spend my money.

*An intellectually dishonest economist. New York Times columnist and former Enron advisor Paul Krugman penned yet another article last week in which he lambasted Republican opposition to government giveaways. He quotes Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) as saying that unemployment relief “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.” Krugman scoffs that “To me, that’s a bizarre point of view—but then, I don’t live in Mr. Kyl’s universe.” Ah, but he used to. In a textbook he wrote called Macroeconomics, Krugman said, “In other countries, particularly in Europe, [unemployment] benefits are more generous and last longer. The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job.” Seems Krugman isn’t an economist anymore; he’s an apologist for Big Government.

—Chip Wood

ACORN To Cease Operations April 1 Due To Financial Hardships

ACORN to cease operations April 1 due to financial hardships The embattled and highly controversial community organizing group known as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, announced on Monday that it will formally disband on April 1 due to declining revenues.

ACORN’s funding and reputation took a huge hit last year after a widely disseminated video showed several of the anti-poverty group’s employees giving tax advice to two conservative activists posing as a prostitute and pimp. The organization’s credibility has also been tarnished over the last 18 months following several charges of voter fraud and embezzlement.

In light of the video, which surfaced in September 2009, Congress pulled ACORN’s federal funding, while many private donors have blacklisted the organization. Officials with the group have consistently professed their innocence and have indicated that partisan attacks have forced them to close their doors.

“ACORN has faced a series of well-orchestrated, relentless, well-funded right wing attacks that are unprecedented since the McCarthy era,” said Bertha Lewis, CEO of ACORN. “The videos were a manufactured, sensational story that led to rush to judgment and an unconstitutional act by Congress.”

Although the organization will officially disband in April, several of ACORN’s affiliates broke away earlier this year and are operating under different names.

Latin America’s Chile: A Top Stock Market Performer

Headlines around the world are full of news about the aftermath of Chile taking a big hit Feb. 27 with a magnitude 8.8 earthquake, the fifth-strongest ever measured in the country. The good news is Chile’s capital, Santiago, is located about 200 miles northeast of the quake’s epicenter and avoided the worst of the disaster. The airport had resumed operations and several shops were open for business on the Monday following the weekend earthquake. In addition, the Chilean stock market was back online March 1 without a hitch.

Indeed, iShares MSCI Chile Investable Mkt Idx (ECH) jumped 4.46 percent during the week following the earthquake, as the powerful temblor barely registered as a blip on Chile’s stock exchange. Chile’s stock exchange proved to be as robust as most of Chile’s rigorously constructed buildings.

Chile: Free Market Reforms + Discipline = Economic Success
Unlike Greece or other countries on Europe’s periphery, Chile has been a model for how a small developing country should conduct its economic affairs. This country of nearly 17 million people, with an economy about the size of Alabama, is arguably the most economically successful and certainly, on a per capita basis, the wealthiest country in Latin America.

Understanding the reasons behind Chile’s economic success can help you identify other countries in the world that are getting the basics right—and, like Chile, are the source of stock market profits that put the United States S&P 500 to shame.

Despite its impressive achievements, Chile’s success has been a quiet one, with few countries seeking to duplicate the “Chilean Miracle.” Chile first introduced free market-oriented reforms with the help of the “Chicago Boys”—a group of University of Chicago-trained economists—during the bad old days of August Pinochet’s military government in the 1970s. The first democratic government of Patricio Aylwin—which took over from the military in 1990—continued with these economic reforms, as have successive governments since then. The impact of these reforms became crystal clear as Chile’s economic growth rates began to outpace that of its Latin American rivals virtually overnight.

Chart for iShares S&P Latin America 40 Index (ILF)

Chile’s growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) averaged 8 percent during the period 1991-1997, rivaling that of the Asian Tigers. Although it fell to half that level after the Asian financial crisis in 1998, Chile’s economy recovered, boasting growth rates of 5 percent to 7 percent for most of the past decade—considerably outstripping growth rates in neighboring Brazil. By 2006, Chile had the highest nominal GDP per capita in Latin America. And recently, it was the first Latin American country to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an exclusive club of “developed nations.”

What’s most impressive about Chile is that it has stuck to its reforms through thick and thin—a discipline that is sorely lacking in recent U.S. administrations. After being elected in 2006, President Michelle Bachelet took a lot of flack when she failed to succumb to pressure to spend Chile’s windfall earnings from high copper prices. The “Great Recession” of 2008 and 2009 revealed the wisdom of her policies. When the global financial crisis set in, government coffers had the cash to implement one of the world’s largest stimulus plans. The ant prevailed over the grasshopper yet again.

Skeptics point out that for all the importance of free-market reforms, Chile wouldn’t be this far along without its huge reserves of copper. Copper accounts for about one-third of the government’s revenue and, as the world’s third-biggest producer of copper, even a small stumble in Chile’s copper production due to the recent earthquake sent global copper prices soaring.

But ideas do matter. What copper is to Chile, oil is to Venezuela. Yet, Venezuela is an economic basket case. Contrast the economic fates of Latin American countries that invoked the name of Che Guevara (Cuba, Venezuela) with the economic views of Milton Friedman and the “Chicago Boys” (Chile) during the past 40 years and you can see why Chile has become a poster child for free-market reforms. As the late, great Jim Rohn observed, “People aren’t building rafts to escape to Cuba.”

Chile: Consistently Hot
While most global stock markets go in and out of fashion, Chile has been the single most consistent performer among all global markets over the past decade. It has ranked as the third-best performing market in the world for each of the last 10 years, three years and year-to-date.

Sadly, U.S investors did not have a chance to profit directly from the Chilean index’s performance until the launch of the iShares MSCI Chile Investable Mkt Idx (ECH) in November of 2007.

But had you invested $10,000 in the iShares MSCI Chile Investable Mkt Idx (ECH) on the date of its launch on Nov. 20, 2007, you’d be sitting on $12,001—a solid 20 percent gain. Had you invested that same amount into the S&P 500, you’d have only $8,685. That’s a remarkable 38 percent difference over the span of only 27 months.

iShares MSCI Chile Investable Mkt Idx (ECH)

Chile also has been a star this year among emerging markets, up 6.9 percent so far, the top performer in Latin America, even as the overall MSCI Emerging Markets Index has dropped 5.4 percent.

Bottom line? Chile may sell off briefly after the devastating earthquake but I believe that Chilean equities will recover soon and will continue to be among the top stock-market performers for the coming decade.

—Nicholas A. Vardy
Editor, The Global Guru

Repeal the 17th Amendment

If not for the passage of the 17th Amendment in 1913, Obamacare would probably never have passed. That’s because the Senate would have been more attuned to the will of the public that disapproved of Obamacare by a large margin.

As Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution of the United States says: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one vote.

During the Constitutional ratifying convention, John Jay, co-author of The Federalist Papers, said “The Senate is to be composed of men appointed by the state legislatures… I presume they will also instruct them, that there will be a constant correspondence between the senators and the state executives.”

As historian and author Thomas J. DiLorenzo writes in The Lunatic Left is Getting Desperate on “The legislative appointment of U.S. senators was responsible for the most famous declarations of the states’ rights philosophy of the founders, the nullification philosophy as expressed in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves of 1798 (authored by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison respectively).

“John Quincy Adams resigned from the Senate in 1809 because he disagreed with the Massachusetts state legislature’s instructions to him to oppose President James Madison’s trade embargo. Senator David Stone of North Carolina resigned in 1814 after his state legislature disapproved of his collaboration with the New England Federalists on several legislative issues. Senator Peleg Sprague of Maine resigned in 1835 after opposing his state legislatures’ instructions to oppose the re-chartering of the Second Bank of the United States. When the U.S. Senate censured President Andrew Jackson for having vetoed the re-chartering of the Bank, seven U.S. Senators resigned rather than carry out their state legislatures’ instructions to vote to have Jackson’s censure expunged. One of them was Senator John Tyler of Virginia, who would become President of the United States in 1841.

“In other words, the original system of state legislative appointment of U.S. Senators did exactly what it was designed to do: limit the tyrannical proclivities of the central government. As Professor Todd Zywicki of George Mason University Law School has written, ‘the Senate played an active role in preserving the sovereignty and independent sphere of action of state governments’ in the pre-17th Amendment era prior to 1913. ‘Rather than delegating lawmaking authority to Washington, state legislators insisted on keeping authority close to home…. As a result, the long-term size of the federal government remained fairly stable and relatively small during the pre-Seventeenth-Amendment era’ (emphasis added).”

When the 17th Amendment was ratified it changed the way senators were selected from appointment to popular election. Therefore senators are now more influenced by lobbyists and payoffs than they are by the constituents they are supposed to serve. Hence, the passage of Obamacare and other noxious bills.

It’s clear once again that the Founding Fathers knew what they were doing. Yet the group of socialists, and central bankers controlling government in 1913 saw a way to further strip the Constitution of its safeguards and an unwitting public went along.

It’s time to repeal the 17th Amendment. It’s not going to be easy—those senators are now entrenched and will not be amenable to relinquishing their power. But if we’re to take our country back it’s got to happen.

Because, as Madison wrote in Federalist No. 48, “The legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.”

Report: Most Infants Aren’t Getting Enough Vitamin D

Report: Most infants aren't getting enough vitamin DThe majority of United States infants are not receiving the recommended amount of vitamin D and should be given supplements, a new federal study has concluded.

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics raised the recommended daily standard of vitamin D for infants in 2008, a shockingly low number meet the 400 IU per day requirement for optimum health.

In the study, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service collected data on infants who were younger than 10.5 months. They found that among infants who were exclusively breastfed, only 5 to 13 percent received the recommended amount of the nutrient.

For babies who were breastfed and who were also given formula, a total of 35 percent were getting enough vitamin D.

“In the past, it was assumed that children receiving formula didn’t need a vitamin D supplement, because they were getting it from the formula,” said lead researcher Cria Perrine.

However, in light of the new findings, “most infants, starting at birth, will need a vitamin D supplement,” she added.

The researchers also recommended that expectant mothers take prenatal vitamins and other approved natural supplements.

Senate Rejects Earmarking Ban By Wide Margin

Senate rejects earmarking ban by wide marginThe Senate has overwhelmingly rejected a conservative Republican measure that would have temporarily banned lawmakers from earmarking spending bills with provisions for state-sponsored projects, such as roads or grants for local governments, the Associated Press (AP) reports. The final vote was 68-29 in favor of disallowing the moratorium on earmarks.

The Senate’s dismissal of prohibiting earmarks comes only a few days after the House implemented two separate, partisan bans on excess spending. Last week, Democratic House leaders announced an indefinite restriction on budget earmarks to for-profit entities.

One day later, House Republicans trumped the Democrats’ pledge by vowing to eliminate all earmarking for at least one full year.

"Republicans took an important step toward showing the American people we’re serious about reform by adopting an immediate, unilateral ban on all earmarks," said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

"But the more difficult battle lies ahead, and that’s stopping the spending spree in Washington that is saddling our children and grandchildren with trillions of dollars in debt," he added.

Meanwhile, some Democrats have criticized the decision to temporarily prohibit earmarking, including Representative Mark Schauer (D-Mich.), who referred to the move a simple attempt to score "cheap political points," according to

Acupuncture May Help Manage Side Effects Associated With Breast Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture may help manage side effects associated with breast cancer treatment Acupuncture may be an effective treatment option for breast cancer patients who are experiencing pain and stiffness due to side effects of commonly used hormone therapies, according to a new study.

Previous research indicated that nearly half of the women who undergo aromatase inhibitor therapy, which is a common treatment for early-stage, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer, experience some joint pain and stiffness.

For this reason, researchers from the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital aimed to identify a non-drug option to manage the symptoms.

In the study, the researchers randomly assigned 43 early breast cancer patients who had reported musculoskeletal pain to receive either true acupuncture or sham acupuncture twice a week for six weeks. They found that the majority of women who were treated with true acupuncture experienced significant improvement in joint pain and stiffness over the course of the study.

Moreover, a total of 20 percent of patients who had reported taking pain medication no longer needed to do so. No significant improvements were reported by those in the control group.

"To our knowledge, this is the first randomized, placebo-controlled trial establishing that acupuncture may be an effective method to relieve joint problems caused by these medications," said lead author Katherine Crew.

"However, results still need to be confirmed in larger, multicenter studies," she added.

House Passes Healthcare Reform Bill Following Obama’s Last Minute Deal-making

House passes healthcare reform bill following Obama's last minute deal-making The Senate’s version of healthcare reform legislation was narrowly passed by the House Sunday evening after President Obama struck a late deal with Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) and other pro-life Democrats, promising to issue an executive order clarifying abortion language in the bill.

After a dramatic week of impassioned debate and feverous name calling from both sides of the aisle, the Senate bill cleared the House by a 219-212 vote. A total of 34 dissident Democrats joined every House Republican in opposing the legislation.

Later in the evening, a second measure – which makes changes to the recently approved bill – was quickly passed by a margin of 220-211. That piece of legislation will now move to the Senate, which can approve the bill by a simple 51-vote majority by using the parliamentary tactic known as budget reconciliation.

A jubilant President Obama was relieved that his hallmark campaign measure, which seemed dead only a few months ago, is all but assured to be signed into law in the near future.

“We pushed back on the undue influence of special interests,” the president said. “We didn’t give in to mistrust or to cynicism or to fear. Instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things.”

Meanwhile, House Republicans leaders said that the now inevitable passage of healthcare reform legislation defies the wishes of the American people.

“We have failed to listen to America,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner. “This body moves forward against their will. Shame on us.”

Opponents Of Healthcare Bill Plan Rally In Washington

Opponents of healthcare bill plan rally in Washington As the crucial healthcare vote in the House of Representatives approaches, opponents of the proposed legislation are stepping up their efforts to stop it.

Under the auspices of the American Grassroots Coalition, various anti-tax and Tea Party groups are launching the final push before the vote by holding coordinated events, including a noon rally at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, a candlelight vigil and “virtual vigil” leading up to the vote.

Some of the speakers at the Saturday event will include Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN), actor and activist Jon Voight and Ben Cunningham, founder of the Tennessee Tax Revolt.

“All of the groups have a mutual goal — to band together to communicate the frustration of the people and demand the termination of this health bill legislation,” said Jennifer Hulsey, co-founder of American Grassroots Coalition. The coalition is comprised of dozens of organizations, including Americans for Tax Reform, National Taxpayers Union, Family Research Council and Institute for Liberty.

In the past two weeks, nearly 1,000 fiscal conservatives from across the country have been staging events around the capital under the Take The Town Halls To Washington initiative and met with some 30 members of Congress to express their frustration with the proposed reforms.

CBO: Healthcare Reform To Cost $940 Billion Over The Next Decade

CBO: Healthcare reform to cost $940 billion over the next decadeLast week, the Congressional Budget Office released a report which estimates that the updated healthcare reform bill will cost approximately $940 billion over the next 10 years.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the measure will cut the federal deficit by as much as $130 billion in the next decade, and more than $1 trillion over the following 10 years due to revenue increases and cost savings, compared to the current system.

“I think the momentum is growing for this bill,” said Hoyer. “The more and more people have looked at this bill…a greater number of people are becoming more comfortable.”

The release of the estimate may set the table for a final vote on healthcare reform in the House this Sunday. Democratic leaders plan to post the reconciliation bill online Thursday to give the public and some conservative Democrats 72 hours to review the language, Fox News reports.

The package that was considered by the budget office was the Senate bill combined with supplemental changes instituted by members of the House. If Democratic leaders decide to use the parliamentary tactic known as budget reconciliation, and all indications are that they will, Republicans will not be able to prevent the bill from getting to President Obama’s desk.

Dr. Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine

On March 26, 1953, Dr. Jonas Salk made a momentous announcement: He had invented a vaccine that would prevent a child from catching one of the most feared contagions at the time, poliomyelitis.

Today, with polio virtually unknown in the West (the last case in the U.S. occurred in 1979) it is difficult to imagine the panic that took place half a century ago when a child was diagnosed with the disease. Playmates were forbidden to visit. A swimming pool he used would be empty in the middle of the summer. Parents would worry for weeks that one of their children might become crippled for life.

I witnessed the awful consequences of the disease because a family friend was infected in childhood. For the rest of her life, Eleanor was forced to don a metal harness every morning. There was a metal girdle around her waist, with steel braces running down each leg, ending in a pair of heavy black shoes.

Wearing this device and using crutches, Ellie could make her way slowly from room to room. Without it, she was totally immobile. But Ellie was determined to have as normal a life as possible. She and her husband Ken adopted two children and did everything families did back then—go on picnics, play in the pool, participate in the PTA. In the 50-some years I knew Ellie Hawthorne, I never heard her complain about her infirmity.

Thinking back on what she endured it seems almost miraculous that, thanks to the pioneering work of Salk, Dr. Albert Sabin and their colleagues, most children today will never see a case of polio, much less be afflicted by it.

Salk refused to patent his discovery or receive any money for it. He insisted that, “like the sun,” the vaccine should be free to everyone.

—Chip Wood

Study: Purified Fish Oil May Help Prevent Bowel Cancer

Study: Purified fish oil may help prevent bowel cancer A new purified form of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid may help reduce the number and size of precancerous polyps in individuals who are at a high risk of inheriting bowel cancer, a recent study has found.

Lead investigator Mark Hull, professor at the University of Leeds in the UK, says that treatment with specially prepared fish oil appears to be as effective as Celebrex, which is prescribed to people with an elevated genetic risk of developing precancerous polyps in bowel, a condition known as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), according to Health Day News.

In the study, Hull and his colleagues monitored 55 patients who were suffering from FAP. A total of 28 patients were given a daily dose of purified omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, known as EPA, while the others were treated with a placebo.

After six months of follow-up, the research team observed a 12 percent reduction in the number of polyps in the EPA group, while the placebo group showed an increase in both the number and size of precancerous polyps.

“There is definitely a clinical need for an effective, preventative therapy that is both safe and well-tolerated, as the existing drug therapy for FAP can be associated with an increased risk of heart attack in older individuals,” concluded Hull.

Immigration Reform Supporters To Rally Against Obama’s Lack Of Progress

Immigration reform supporters to rally against Obama's lack of progressFrustrated with President Obama’s broken promise to overhaul the immigration system within his first year in office, thousands of grassroots activists rallied at the National Mall in Washington March 21 to express their displeasure with the lack of progress concerning immigration reform.

In the face of heavy criticism from supporters of new legislation, Obama reiterated his campaign promises last week, stating that he will “do everything in [his] power” to put an immigration bill in front of Congress by the end of 2010.

The president also supported a reform outline authored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), which will force undocumented workers to admit they broke the law, pay back taxes and perform community service to become legal United States residents, Fox News reports. Illegal immigrants would also need to pass a background check and an English exam before being cleared to stay in the country.

However, when asked about the administration’s current priorities, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs did not mention immigration reform and indicated that nothing would get accomplished without bipartisan support, according to ABC News.

“It’s got to be more than the president wants to get something done,” he said.

Supreme Court Case Pits Religious Versus Gay Rights

Supreme Court case pits religious versus gay rights Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Jewish Committee and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism have filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of the University of California Hastings School of Law, whose nondiscrimination policy has been challenged by a religious group.

The case was originally brought by the Christian Legal Society (CLS) whose Hasting chapter was denied official university recognition and funding because it would have violated the law school’s anti-bias policy. CLS bars gay members from joining, and as such does not conform to the public university’s policy which prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation, Inside Higher ED reported.

“Because CLS does not need to be an official student group to communicate its message effectively to the Hastings student body the group’s First Amendment interest in discriminating against non-believers and the university’s interest in ensuring that its sanctioned extracurricular activities are open to all students are not incompatible,” the brief states.

Other organizations that have filed briefs in support of the school include American Council on Education, Lambda Legal and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

Why Wall Street Hates Gold

Wall Street hates gold. In fact they hate it as much as government does.

The reason is simple: ordinary investors that count on gold don’t need Wall Street. They don’t need the slick stockbrokers, the puffed-up analysts or the aristocratic money managers. In the eyes of Wall Street gold owners didn’t contribute a red cent to the $20-plus billion in bonuses they got last year.

Twenty-billion dollars might seem like a mega-lottery, but Wall Street always wants more. Bonuses were bigger last year than the year before even though Wall Street almost hurtled the world into an economic dark age.

But Wall Street is scared. They understand they are living it up because of the Barack Obama Bonus Brigade.* Most of all they fear sanity just might be contagious; that more and more investors will be reluctant to throw their hard-earned savings into a marketplace that is overpriced and on the verge of collapse.

Little wonder that CNBC, The Wall Street Journal and the rest of the financial media hammer away at gold. They reiterate the Keynesian mantra that it is a barbarous relic and call it a vastly overpriced commodity whose bubble is about to burst.

“Talk of a Gold bubble over the past 6-9 months grows louder and louder,” writes The Market Oracle. “It is comical and a sign of desperation among those losing their grip on the levers of power and influence. I have never seen a bubble so heavily recognized and announced.”

It does seem strange that today Wall Street is clairvoyant about the billions of dollars invested in the gold market, even though a couple of years ago it was oblivious to the trillions of dollars at risk in the sub-prime lending market.

Of course gold-bashing is nothing new. I saw it when I was a kid and watched my dad, C.V., on the TV show Wall Street Week. It was 1976 and gold was trading for a little more than $100 per ounce. That didn’t stop the host, Louis Rukeyser from calling my dad a gold bug and ridiculing him for telling his subscribers to buy bullion.

But Rukeyser and the rest of the Wall Street establishment weren’t laughing near so hard four years later when the Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading at 800 while gold was fetching $800.

Dirt Cheap, But Not for Long
The last time gold was frothy you could swap an ounce of bullion for a single share in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Today it takes about 10 ounces of gold to buy a single share in the Dow.

But just how expensive is gold these days? It turns out that no matter how you measure it, gold is cheap. The reason is because the dollar buys so little. Back in 1980 when I was graduating from college I sold 10 Krugerrands and bought myself a shiny new Pontiac Trans Am right off the showroom floor. Today I would need 30 Krugerrands to buy a comparable Chevy Camaro.

In fact, if you account for the dollar’s decline in purchasing power, bullion would trade today at nearly $2,500 to have the same value it had in 1980. And even if you think gold only spiked above $800 per ounce, and a much fairer top is $700, it would still have to trade at $2,000 in today’s money just to have the same relative value.

Finally, bubbles usually burst because of inflated supply and falling demand. Not much sign of that in the gold market.

According to a recently released report by The World Gold Council, overall investment in gold was 7 percent higher last year than in 2008. It seems incredible, but gold demand actually climbed despite rampant fears of deflation and a physical shortage of gold. Moreover, in 2009 total funds invested in all forms of gold were a whopping 20 percent higher than in 2008.

Yet even as demand for the Midas metal continues to grow, production isn’t keeping pace. Output of gold from South Africa, the United States, Australia and Canada has dwindled every year over the past decade.

These countries, which produced two-thirds of global gold production through the 1980s, now produce less than half of the gold mined.

Over the past decade big gold companies have grown not through exploration but via the purchase of reserves in the form of corporate buyouts. The truth is it is getting harder and more expensive to find gold.

“In all of history, only 161,000 tons of gold have been mined, barely enough to fill two Olympic-size swimming pools,” wrote National Geographic in January 2009. “Now the world’s richest deposits are fast being depleted, and new discoveries are rare. Gone are the hundred-mile-long gold reefs in South Africa or cherry-size nuggets in California. Most of the gold left to mine exists as traces buried in remote and fragile corners of the globe.”

When I was born some 50 years ago companies could get about 12 grams of gold for every ton of rock you pulled out of a mine. Today they have to mine four tons of rock to harvest that much gold.

So there doesn’t appear to be enough gold to satisfy demand, at least not at these prices. But there certainly has been an avalanche of money. Consider this: in the past half century the above ground levels of gold have doubled. Meanwhile M3, a broad measure of money, has risen from $300 billion to $10 trillion. In other words, there is twice the amount of gold as there was in 1960. But there are 30 times more dollars.

All of which leads me to think that Wall Street has it picture perfect once again; perfectly wrong. The real bubble is with paper assets. The only silver lining in any of it is that it will blow Wall Street to smithereens—right where it belongs.

Action to take: continue to accumulate gold. I’ve been telling subscribers this since October 2000 when I was writing Outstanding Investments. My stockbroker friends thought I was dead wrong then. They think I am dead wrong now. I’ve been getting a lot of last laughs and I expect to get a lot more.

Yours for real wealth and good health,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

* Footnote: Last month New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli admitted that Washington was responsible for lining Wall Street’s pockets with billions even as the rest of the country was mired in recession. “A lot of this (bonuses) is fueled by federal money,” DiNapoli said.

Opponents Say Proposed Idaho Law Will Violate Individuals’ Rights

Opponents say proposed Idaho law will violate individuals' rights A controversy regarding patient’s rights is brewing in Idaho after the State House passed a bill that allows all healthcare professionals—including dieticians and pharmacists—to refuse to provide care that violates their conscience.

In addition to end-of-life care, SB 1353 extends the provisions to abortion and emergency contraception, permitting any licensed healthcare provider to refuse to provide a treatment or medication on conscience grounds.

“The intent of this legislation is not to restrict or limit in any way healthcare services to women or men in Idaho,” said lead sponsor Senator Chuck Winder, a Republican, quoted by The Spokesman Review.

He specified that he considered the bill as “an attempt to correct what we perceived to be an oversight,” as the current state law permits doctors or hospital workers to refuse to participate in treatments, but does not cover all licensed healthcare professionals.

However, critics have alleged it will allow providers to override a family’s or a patient’s decisions expressed in living wills or through advance directives.

“The Idaho House said it’s all right for healthcare professionals to ignore the wishes and instructions of their patients—and that’s a dangerous direction for healthcare in our state,” said Jim Wordelman, state director for AARP in Idaho.

The organization has urged Idahoans to contact the governor’s office and urge him to remove the contentious language or veto the bill.

How Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help You

I am often asked by patients, friends and acquaintances whether or not I think traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can help them with their problem. My answer is always a resounding yes. Help comes in many forms and many levels, and TCM offers health rewards in abundance. Here is how TCM can help you and why you should look into it.

To begin, traditional Chinese medicine offers, as its foundation, the promise of homeostasis. That is the understanding that the body wishes to exist in balance, that only imbalance causes pain, illness and disease, and that uncovering and balancing the imbalance is the only way to truly “cure” one’s self of anything.

Did you every wonder why ibuprofen worked for your pain yesterday but today it seems to do nothing? Have you ever wondered why sometimes you get headaches at the front of your head, while at other times it’s on top or on the sides of the head? Why last month your pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) had you buckled over with cramps yet this month there is little cramping but lots of headache pain?

That is because the imbalances in your body are different at different times, and pain and illness are born out of those imbalances. Thus, taking the same medicine for a frontal headache as one at the base of the skull is nonsensical. Treating PMS this month the same as you did last month, even though the symptoms are different, just doesn’t add up. And when you do find relief it’s only temporary and the problem comes back another day.

TCM can help you with this. Actually, knowledge of TCM theories or an examination at the hands of a qualified practitioner can help you. This branch of medicine helps by identifying the specific imbalances in your body that are allowing the health symptoms to exist. Once the imbalances are identified they are viewed and understood as a pattern. And these patterns have different signs and symptoms attached to them. What’s more, the methods used to balance the pattern of imbalance are different. And it is these specific pattern-identifiable methods that will eradicate the health concern.

You might think it is difficult, in the throws of innumerable signs and symptoms that have persisted over many years or decades, to be able to identify a pattern. I often hear the following: “I have no pattern. I watch my health and there is no pattern of why or when the symptom arises, like when it rains or I don’t get enough sleep.”

That’s not the type of pattern I am speaking of here.

For TCM, pattern means a grouping of signs and symptoms that are matched with the patient’s specific pulse and tongue geography, skin tone and complexion, etc. It’s like opening the cupboard and finding crackers, soup cans, tuna and cereal, and opening the refrigerator and finding salami, milk, mayonnaise, bread, celery, mustard and butter.

The untrained eye would say there are a lot of unrelated things. The trained eye would see a complete recipe (pattern) for a tuna salad sandwich and soup and crackers amongst the clutter. TCM practitioners are trained to identify patterns of imbalance from the clutter of signs and symptoms.

Once the pattern is identified the practitioner can be certain of the underlying cause of the health symptoms, be they hemorrhoids, osteoporosis, insomnia or PMS. Once a pattern is discerned the signs and symptoms are intellectually set aside and focus is placed on what is needed to balance the imbalance, to return the body to homeostasis. That is, to make the body healthy.

Methods of healing are then prescribed such as medicated diet therapy (knowing which foods to eat and which to avoid to help the situation); Qigong energy work (self-regulating exercises and clinically administered treatments) to balance energy in the body; herbal therapy in the form of teas and pills to balance organs, blood and fluids, resolve masses and remove obstructions from the body; stretching and strengthening exercises to correct somatic imbalances that cause pain; mind/body exercises to quiet the mind, center the spirit, induce the relaxation response, reduce stress and so on.

The main things TCM can help you with are identifying what environment within your body is allowing ill health to remain there, and what you can do specifically and synergistically to return the body to homeostasis and live at optimal health.

Yes, the theories and concepts of traditional Chinese medicine are foreign and seem odd to Westerners. Yes, it takes an open mind to listen to a practitioner of these healing systems tell you about your health in terms you may not understand.

However, if you allow yourself to listen and then do research based on what you are told, you may find that the seemingly strange-sounding syndromes espoused in TCM are actually simple paradigms of health that can be shifted and resolved toward better health.

—Dr. Mark Wiley

Idaho To Sue Federal Government Over Healthcare Mandate

Idaho to sue federal government over healthcare mandate Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter signed a bill last week to prohibit Congress from mandating that every individual in his state purchase health insurance.

The Idaho Freedom Act, which was sponsored by three Republican state representatives and a state senator, requires the state attorney general to sue the federal government if it successfully pushes through healthcare reform legislation. Similar bills are currently pending in 37 other states, Fox News reports.

"I guarantee you that not a single member of the House or Senate has a complete understanding of that legislation any more than they understood all the implications of the USA PATRIOT Act back in 2001," said the governor.

"What the Idaho Health Freedom Act says is that the citizens of our state won’t be subject to another federal mandate or turn over another part of their life to government control," he added.

However, several law experts have said the bill is mostly symbolic, as federal law supersedes that of the state. The Idaho Freedom Act is expected to cost the state approximately $100,000 to implement, according to Insurance and Financial Advisor News.

Adequate Selenium Levels Linked To Lower Diabetes Risk Among Older Men

Adequate selenium levels linked to lower diabetes risk among older menFrench researchers have reportedly found that older men who have high levels of selenium, an antioxidant found in liver and a variety of nuts, may be at a decreased risk of developing dysglycemia, a condition that leads to unhealthy blood sugar levels and is often a precursor for diabetes.

In the study, investigators from the University of Montpellier recruited 1,162 French men and women between the ages of 59 and 71. They regularly monitored their levels of selenium and any blood sugar problems that arose over a nine-year period.

Lead researcher Tasnime Akbaraly and her colleagues found that elderly males with selenium concentrations in the top third of the study group had a significantly lower risk of developing dysglycemia and diabetes. However, no such link was found in female participants.

"The reason we observed a protective effect of selenium in men but not in women is not completely clear, but might be attributed to women being healthier at baseline, having better antioxidant status in general and possible differences in how men and women process selenium," said Akbaraly.

She added that selenium, which can be found in many nutritional supplements, may have an effect on the body’s ability to regulate insulin levels.

Gun Rights Foes Hope To Stir Opposition Against Three Gun Bills In Virginia

Gun rights foes hope to stir opposition against three gun bills in Virginia Four gun violence prevention organizations have called on Virginia Governor McDonnell to veto three gun bills currently on his desk that they believe would put state residents at greater risk of gun violence.

The Virginia Center for Public Safety (VACPS), the Virginia Chapters of the Million Mom March, Protest Easy Guns (PEG) and the Angel Fund have issued a statement saying that signing SB 334, SB 408 and HB 1217 would violate the governor’s earlier declaration that "the foremost obligation of government is public safety."

SB 334 would allow concealed carry permit holders to bring loaded handguns into establishments that have a liquor license in Virginia, SB 408 would allow those without concealed carry permits to keep loaded handguns in their vehicles or boats if stored in a locked container, while HB 1217 requires the Virginia Board of Education to establish a standardized program of gun safety education for students in elementary school.

With respect to this last bill, the coalition referred to "numerous" studies that demonstrate that familiarizing children with guns makes them more likely to handle firearms when adults are not present.

"The governor talks about the importance of public safety, but in practice he has cut millions of dollars in public safety funding from the state budget and supported a number of dangerous changes to Virginia’s gun laws," said VACPS board member Lori Haas. "Commonwealth families now have one last chance to hold him to his word and insist he veto [these bills]."

McDonnell has until April 12 to make his decision.

Utilizing Oxygen

The higher the pH level above 7.2, the more available oxygen there is in the body. The term pH means potential of hydrogen and can be measured with saliva or blood tests. The scale runs from zero to 14. A very small rise in pH alkalinity in the blood provides literally thousands of times the oxygen needed for all bodily functions.

Proper pH is by itself a major factor in optimizing health and preventing disease. We want to be slightly alkaline for good health. Negative pH puts us below 7.2 and on the acid side. Cancer thrives in an acid environment.

The most important pH of all is the blood pH, because a deviation of as little as 5/10 of a point from normal can result in illness or death.

What is the simple way to determine if your body is in alkaline balance? Test your saliva with pH strips. If it is not alkaline, use an alkaline supplement in your drinking water to increase the pH. You can find one at a company that sells natural supplements. I use Alkaline Body Balance™ from Health Resources™ available here. It is like adding oxygen to your blood.

Conservatives Wary Of Financial Market Regulations Proposal

Conservatives wary of financial market regulations proposal Adhering to the principle that less government is better, the GOP and some conservatives have reacted to the financial regulation bill proposal—the former by asking that the process be slowed down, and the latter by labeling it “the next government takeover.”

Last week, Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) presented the proposed legislation that would give the government new powers to break up firms that threaten the economy, and create a Financial Stability Oversight Council that could place large financial institutions under the supervision of the Federal Reserve.

However, Republicans on the banking committee said that while they remain open to a bipartisan agreement on overhauling financial regulation, they are against trying to push the bill through too quickly, according to The Washington Post.

“Given the sheer magnitude and complexity of the financial reform package, this legislation will inevitably have a substantial impact on our financial system and overall economy,” 10 members of the committee wrote in a letter to Dodd. “Accordingly, we urge you to allow for sufficient time to review the language.”

Some commentators went even further, saying the bill would “create a vast new bureaucracy” that would have unlimited powers to control the financial industry and stymie economic innovation and growth, according to Human Events, a conservative news website.

“[It] would exert unprecedented government controls over virtually every segment of the nation’s financial system,” commentator Donald Lambro wrote on the website.