Obama And McCain Get Personal, Clash Over Healthcare Reform

Obama and McCain get personal, clash over healthcare reformDiscussions between President Obama and Senator John McCain became heated during Thursday’s healthcare summit, culminating with the commander-in-chief reminding the Arizona Republican that he is no longer campaigning for the nation’s top leadership position.

In the middle of the debate over healthcare policy reform, McCain slammed Democratic leaders for allowing special deals to be inserted into the Senate’s version of the bill, including special "carve-outs" that won over many moderate Democrats, convincing them to vote along party lines.

The veteran senator also blasted Obama for his of lack of transparency in creating the piece of legislation.

"In fact, eight times you said that negotiations on healthcare reform would be conducted with the C-SPAN cameras," said McCain. "I’m glad more than a year later that they are here."

Obama tried to interject more than once, but McCain went on for several more minutes.

After he had finished, Obama responded, "Let me just make this point, John, because we’re not campaigning anymore. The election’s over."

"Well, I’m reminded of that every day," McCain replied, causing an eruption of laughter in the room.

Unemployment Benefits Expire Following A One-man Filibuster In The Senate

Unemployment benefits expire following a one-man filibuster in the SenateUnemployment insurance and COBRA benefits expired for millions of U.S. citizens on Sunday after Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) single-handedly stopped a $10 billion bill that would have funded several extension programs.

In an after-hours session on Thursday, Bunning opposed the legislation because it would add to the federal deficit, which is already at an all-time high. He suggested that the money be taken from unspent Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds, but Democrats objected.

"I believe we should pay for it," said Bunning. "I’m trying to make a point to the people of the United States of America."

Meanwhile, Bunning’s opposition to the bill also blocked the extension of several federal programs, a move that has put nearly 2,000 transportation employees out of work.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood blasted the senator’s decision on Monday, expressing his disappointment that "political games are putting a stop to important construction projects around the country."

However, while praising the Bunning’s decision to temporarily block the legislation, GOP leaders have admitted that the extensions will be passed. The senator’s one-man filibuster was made to point out the hypocrisy in the Senate, said Senator John Kyl (R-Ariz.), according to Fox News.

Study: Bitter Melon Extract May Prevent Breast Cancer Cell Growth

Study: Bitter melon extract may prevent breast cancer cell growthResults of a recent study have suggested that bitter melon extract, a common dietary supplement, may help protect women from breast cancer cell growth.

"Our findings suggest that bitter melon extract modulates several signal transduction pathways, which induces breast cancer cell death," said lead researcher Ratna Ray, professor in the department of pathology at Saint Louis University. "This extract can be utilized as a dietary supplement for the prevention of breast cancer."

In the study, researchers found that bitter melon extract, which is commonly used in the East as a folk remedy for diabetes because of its blood sugar-lowering properties, was capable of decreasing cell growth and division, and even induced death in some breast cancer cells without harming healthy tissue.

Although Ray believes that the supplement will not cure cancer, she does feel that it may delay or even prevent cancer cell metastasis.

However, the researchers stress that their findings were established in a laboratory, and haven’t been tested on humans. They note that it is important to first establish the validity of their results in animal models before recommending the addition of bitter melon extract to a person’s diet.

The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley

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Each of us secretly hopes that, should we find ourselves facing a disaster, we would respond nobly if not heroically. And we certainly hope that we would never just freeze, like a deer caught in the headlights—or worse, panic.

But how we respond to crisis may be hardwired into our brain’s circuitry long before we’re confronted with a disaster situation. And while practice or preparation can help us to respond properly, we may have little actual control over what we do in a disaster.

That’s the conclusion of Amanda Ripley’s The Unthinkable, which has a subtitle: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—And Why?

Ripley, an award-winning journalist for Time magazine, has covered some the world’s biggest disasters over the course of her career. In this book she retraces some of history’s biggest calamities—from the 1917 explosion of the munitions ship Mont Blanc, to plane crashes, calamitous fires, the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, hostage situations and mass shootings—and studies people’s responses in an effort to find out why some survive the seemingly unsurvivable while others perish in situations where survival should have been assured.

She interviews the survivors to learn how they made it out, the rescuers to learn how the victims were responding, and the heroes to learn what made them different. What she learned could help you understand your response should you ever be confronted with a disaster situation.

Ripley determined that most people did not respond the way they thought they would. Whether they froze, panicked or led, many people were, in retrospect, surprised by their actions.

Her research showed that the human mind goes through three basic steps when confronted with a crisis. The steps are denial, deliberation and decision.

During the denial stage, it’s not unusual for people to continue performing mundane tasks while chaos reins around them. During this stage the brain is processing information, delaying its decision-making process and assessing the risk. But because the event is so unlike anything ever experienced before, the brain has trouble putting the situation into perspective.

From her interviews with 9/11 survivors she learned that even after hearing what had actually happened in the Twin Towers and that there was a need to get out quickly, many workers continued to talk on the telephone, put away items on their desks, gather personal effects and mill about in casual conversation.

Often it took someone shouting or speaking in a rude or demanding voice to spur people into action. Still, many assessed the risk and determined it was better to stay put than to flee.

In the deliberation phase the mind begins to put together possible courses of action. It’s not unusual for people to describe this period as having time almost stand still. They remember in great detail words or images that would not normally be significant.

It’s in this stage that training or practice can step in and influence one’s behavior, affecting the response in the third stage, the decisive moment. Some overcome their fear and take the steps necessary to escape and some help those around them.

Ripley breaks down the decisive moment into panic, paralysis or heroism.

Panic takes many forms, none of them good, and rarely is panic productive. Some see paralysis as a form of panic, but Ripley writes that researchers have concluded that paralysis is an escape mechanism that is instinctive in many animals, and humans.

For instance, a prey animal being attacked by a predator may go limp, causing the predator to lose interest before inflicting a mortal injury. Humans have used it—though it is often an unconscious action, like when a killer is shooting people at random—to remain inconspicuous and out of harm’s way.

But Ripley writes that that instinctive action often works against people in today’s society. Remaining motionless in a situation where flight is needed to save you is deadly, and has cost many people their lives in plane crashes and other situations where there was ample time to escape and doing nothing was not a rational option.

Finally, there is heroism. A relatively small number of people step into this role and fewer still know why. When asked why they responded to the crisis with heroic actions they generally respond that if they hadn’t responded that way they wouldn’t have been able to live with themselves, Ripley writes.

And they don’t think of their actions as heroic. They think of them as simply doing what needed to be done.

Ripley’s The Unthinkable is a fascinating compilation of event descriptions, interviews and research that both entertains and informs. It can help you to make sense of the actions of those around you should you suddenly find yourself facing the unthinkable.

Human Rights Organizations Uncover Evidence Of Congressional Deception In CIA Secret Detention Affair

Human rights organizations uncover evidence of congressional deception in CIA secret detention affair According to top international human rights groups there is evidence that key congressional members knew about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) interrogation and detention programs, and that the United States government covered up the details of its cooperation with Polish authorities in the so-called rendition flights.

The groups—led by Amnesty International USA (AI USA)—received the documents in response to their Freedom of Information Act litigation. Among other things, they reportedly show that in one of his first acts as chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) discontinued efforts by previous chair to implement greater oversight of CIA detention and interrogation programs, failing to fulfill the role of Congress in overseeing the agency.

"These documents reveal that members of Congress colluded in covering up evidence of the U.S. government’s torture program," said Tom Parker, policy director for AI USA. He also called for a "full and impartial investigation" as Congress could not be trusted "to properly investigate itself."

Meanwhile, Open Society Justice Initiative, an advocacy group, said that official flight records—provided by Polish Air Navigation Services Agency in response to a freedom of information request filed by a human rights group—confirm that at least six CIA flights landed in Poland in 2003.

It is the first time a Polish government agency has confirmed that CIA aircraft landed repeatedly close to a suspected CIA secret detention and interrogation site for "high-value detainees."

"These records reinforce the troubling findings of official European enquiries and global human rights groups, showing complicity with CIA abuse across Europe," said Adam Bodnar of the Warsaw-based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

Poll Shows Americans Consider Government To Be Broken

Poll shows Americans consider government to be brokenAn overwhelming majority of Americans believe that the United States government system is broken, but most also say that there is some hope for it to improve, according to a recent CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll.

The study found that a staggering 86 percent of U.S. residents hold such negative opinion about their government, an increase from 77 percent three years ago.

However, only 5 percent of them believe the government cannot be fixed, while 81 percent still hold out hope for improvement, which is 10 percent more than in late 2006.

Keating Holland, CNN polling director, said that the increase in the number of Americans who see their government as broken is the most pronounced among higher-income individuals and those who live in rural areas.

"Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but those are the groups that make up the bulk of the Tea Party [movement] today," he suggested, quoted by the news network’s website.

According to a separate CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll, activists in the Tea Party movement—which was created last year in response to the massive stimulus package passed by Congress and signed by President Obama—tend to be male, rural, upscale and are overwhelmingly conservative.

The Liberation of Kuwait

It was 19 years ago that something extraordinary in recent U.S. history took place: The United States won a war.

On Feb. 27, 1991, then-President George Bush (George W’s father) went on national television to proclaim, “Kuwait is liberated. Iraq’s army is defeated.”

He continued, “I am pleased to announce that at midnight tonight, exactly 100 hours since ground operations began and six weeks since the start of Operation Desert Storm, all U.S. and coalition forces will suspend offensive combat operations.”

Yes, you read that right. The entire war effort lasted less than a month and a half. Actual ground operations took four days and four hours, with relatively few U.S. casualties. I can still remember watching with amazement on live TV as our “smart bombs” hit such specific targets that we could watch our missiles go through windows and down elevator shafts.

Unfortunately, the aggressor—Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein—was allowed to withdraw his troops from Kuwait. He was neither punished nor pursued. Had he been, events since then in that war-torn region might be substantially different.

By the way, the next day the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 4 percent, capping a 20 percent surge during the six-week Gulf War.

—Chip Wood

GOP Condemns Obama Administration For ‘Failed’ Mortgage Assistance Program

GOP condemns Obama administration for 'failed' mortgage assistance program Republican lawmakers blasted the Obama administration’s mortgage assistance program last week, claiming that it has harmed the nation’s economic recovery.

Representatives Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) argue that the $75 billion Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which provides incentives for mortgage companies to modify loans of qualified buyers, has failed "by every empirical measure" and is a waste of taxpayer’s money.

When President Obama unveiled the program one year ago, he said that it would help 3 million to 4 million homeowners avoid foreclosure, according to ABC News. As of last month, the Treasury Department estimated that 116,000 homeowners have received permanent loan modifications.

"[The] Treasury’s own data suggests that hundreds of thousands of homeowners would receive temporary modifications but fail to qualify for permanent ones, thus ultimately leading to default," said the lawmakers. "These homeowners would have been better off if they had defaulted earlier and spent the payments on more affordable housing options."

Officials with the Treasury Department have admitted that the treatment of borrowers has been a dilemma over the past year, according to the Associated Press. They are currently working on several consumer protection provisions, including barring lenders from foreclosing on homeowners while their applications are being considered.

Commander in Chief?

“The United States needs a Commander in Chief not a professor of law.” –Sarah Palin.

I hate to be a stickler for presidential definitions especially after Bill Clinton said: “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” But given President Obama’s woeful performance as America’s Commander in Chief, I think he needs to be educated on the meaning of war.

After all, it was Mr. Obama that said “We are at war,” earlier this year at a White House state dinner.

Yet it is clear that Mr. Obama may not understand what war really means. He is certainly not cut from the same cloth as Ike, nor does he have the fortitude of Reagan.

How do I know? Well the Obama administration openly talks with our adversaries; has terminated the F-22 air-superiority aircraft and has shown a fierce commitment to cutting America’s nuclear arsenal even as impending super-power—China—rises in the east.

A recent issue of Foreign Affairs warns that the world is becoming a more dangerous place. According to the magazine, America’s enemies see war far differently than the President does. “The United States’ overseas conflicts are limited wars only from the U.S. perspective; to adversaries, they are essential. It should not be surprising if they use every weapon at their disposal to stave off total defeat.”

All the while our President is muddling through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In his State of the Union Address Mr. Obama barely made a mention of the Afghan conflict which will involve 100,000 U.S. troops in a war that has persisted for eight years.

Worst of all, the President is undermining morale in our military by putting the enemy on trial and allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

The President and his advisers have become adamant in trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four fellow Guantanamo Bay detainees in New York.

With resistance building over plans to try the accused Sept. 11 mastermind in a civilian court in New York, White House officials are lobbying lawmakers to secure funding.

Thankfully there is opposition. A bipartisan group in Congress is pushing to cut off funding to prosecute Mohammed and other 9-11 co-conspirators in civilian courts.

It is hard to believe if Mr. Obama understands the nature of war when the enemy is afforded a trial and the rights provided within the Constitution of the very nation they are trying to destroy. Imagine if President Truman had put Tojo on trial in Honolulu for planning the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Andrew C. McCarthy believes it is ridiculous to try an enemy and thus provide them with the comforts and rights therein.

“A war is a war,” declared McCarthy. “A war is not a crime, and you don’t bring your enemies to a courthouse.”

McCarthy knows a thing or two about trying terrorists. Fifteen years ago he was front and center in the nation’s biggest terrorism trial as the chief prosecutor against a group led by a blind Egyptian sheik that plotted to blow-up the United Nations, as well as the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels.

The Trouble With Gays in the Military
Recently, President Obama renewed his commitment to allow gays to openly serve in the U.S. military. As a result, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has emerged as the Senate champion for trying to scrap limits on gay and lesbian service in the military.
Last week Lieberman announced that he would introduce a bill to repeal the ‘Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell’ policy that became law in 1993.

Lieberman said: “To exclude one group of Americans from serving in the armed forces is contrary to our fundamental principles as outlined in the Declaration of Independence, and weakens our defenses…”

Not so fast Joe. There are good reasons for keeping gays out of the military, the least of which isn’t combat effectiveness.

A decade ago one of my best friends, a Gulf War veteran and now a major in the National Guard explained it to me when I questioned him on the subject.

“Keeping gays out of combat has nothing to do with sex,” said my friend who served as an U.S. Army infantry captain in Operation Desert Storm. “It has to do with love.”

He explained that leading men, whether it be a squad, a platoon or a company, meant making tough decisions; decisions that put the men under one’s command in grave danger. Such orders are not easily given under the best of circumstances but are undertaken with the knowledge that what is tantamount is the success of a mission.

My friend—who by the way is a true-blue Democrat—went on to explain that he thought gays in the military would lead to relationships in the field; the kind of relationships that would endanger a mission and compromise the lives of men undertaking them.

To underscore his point my friend the Major asked: “Would you order the love of your life into a dangerous undertaking, even if you knew they were the best person for the job?”

As the 2008 Republican Party Platform correctly stated: "Military priorities and mission must determine personnel policies. Esprit and cohesion are necessary for military effectiveness and success on the battlefield.”

For Mr. Obama not to understand this combat necessity puts into question whether he has a fundamental understanding of the nature of war; enough to be our Commander in Chief.

I am not saying that one must have combat experience to be President. What I am saying is that a good President puts the nation ahead of what he thinks is good politics or what is politically correct.

John Stuart Mill was a 19th Century philosopher, economist and academic. Yet he understood the nature of war.

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things,” said Mill. “The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

Other words about war that Mr. Obama might want to heed come from the former First Lady Barbara Bush: “War is not nice.”

Neither is it nice sitting back and watching the decline of the U.S. through weak leadership. This is especially true when it not only makes America more vulnerable to our enemies, but also accelerates our economic decline.

You may be asking, “What does any of this have to do with my financial future?” I am glad you inquired.

The U.S. dollar has been the reserve currency of the world for more than half a century. It gained this status not only because of the financial vitality of America but because the U.S. was the ultimate protector against tyranny.

But today America’s precarious economic situation, as well as the serious lack of leadership from its highest office, will only serve to weaken an already crumbling currency.

Action to take: Continue to accumulate hard assets, most important of which is physical gold, silver and platinum.

Yours for real wealth and good health,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

Can Drinking Coffee Reduce The Risk Of Stroke?

Can drinking coffee reduce the risk of stroke?According to a recent United Kingdom (UK) study, drinking coffee on a regular basis may lower the odds of having a stroke.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge in England monitored nearly 23,000 men and women over a 12-year period and found that "self-reported coffee consumption was inversely related to stroke risk."

In the study, individuals who drank coffee on a regular basis had a 27 percent decreased risk of having a stroke compared to those who never consumed the beverage. The researchers found that the results were consistent irrespective of which type of coffee was consumed, including caffeinated, decaffeinated, instant or ground.

"This association was consistent in subgroup analyses stratified by sex, age, social class, educational level, smoking status, alcohol drinking, tea drinking, physical activity, plasma vitamin C and diabetes status," said study leader Yangmei Li, an epidemiologist at the university.

Although the researchers suspect the antioxidants in coffee help lower inflammation in the blood vessels, additional studies need to be conducted to understand the perceived health benefits of consuming the beverage.

Separate studies have also indicated that drinking coffee and tea may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

Senate Extends Key Aspects Of Patriot Act For One Year

Senate extends key aspects of Patriot Act for one yearThe Senate has voted to temporarily extend several key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, the nation’s primary counterterrorism surveillance law. Lacking a filibuster-proof majority, Senate Democrats decided against adding new privacy protections to the provisions, which had been scheduled to expire at the end of February.

The bill, which was approved on a voice vote with no debate, will extend for one year three important sections of the USA PATRIOT Act.

If endorsed by the House, the legislation would continue to allow investigators to require third parties to provide them access to a suspect’s personal records without their knowledge. It would also enable the government to utilize roving wiretaps to monitor phone lines and internet accounts that a terrorism suspect may be using, according to Main Justice.

Finally, the bill would allow the government to track a suspect without advanced knowledge of the target’s affiliation with a foreign power or international terrorist organization.

Democratic supporters of the extensions believe that they may protect the Obama administration from Republican criticism that they are too soft on terrorism, according to MSNBC.

Human Rights Activists Call For Judicial Boycott As Report Clears Bush Officials Of Misconduct

Human rights activists call for judicial boycott as report clears Bush officials of misconduct The Department of Justice (DOJ) has found that Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee, then working as a DOJ lawyer, exercised "poor judgment" when he prepared legal memos regarding the use of torture on detainees in United States custody. Although the document failed to recommend disbarment, it has fueled an independent and long-running campaign to have Bybee disbarred.

At the forefront of the push is the organization called DisbarTortureLawyers.com, which last year filed a disciplinary complaint against Judge Bybee seeking his disbarment in Washington, DC. After the DOJ announcement, it has vowed to supplement that complaint with the new report.

"Until [he] resigns or is removed from the bench, we call on all lawyers of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to file motions to disqualify Judge Bybee, should he be assigned to their cases, on the basis of these official findings of poor judgment," said attorney and campaign spokesperson Kevin Zeese.

DisbarTortureLawyers has also promised to work with jurisdictions outside the U.S. to indict other top Bush administration lawyers, including John Yoo, David Addington, William Haynes, Alberto Gonzales and Stephen Bradbury, as well as former Vice President Dick Cheney, for violating the UN Convention Against Torture.

But the idea is strongly opposed by many Republicans, such as Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, who said that "it is important that future government lawyers know that their efforts to protect Americans will not be criminalized by future administrations," quoted by CNN.

Reid: GOP Should ‘Stop Crying’ Over Possibility Of Reconciliation

Reid: GOP should 'stop crying' over possibility of reconciliationAfter losing their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Democratic leaders have acknowledged that they may utilize the controversial parliamentary procedure known as budget reconciliation to pass their version of the healthcare bill.

The tactic would allow Democrats to push through major aspects of the bill with just 51 votes, rather than the 60 that are usually required to overcome a filibuster.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)and other GOP leaders have lashed out at Reid for trying to jam through a piece of legislation that is being heavily resisted by the American people. Republicans are also questioning the timing of Reid’s threat to use the parliamentary procedure on the eve of the bipartisan healthcare summit hosted by President Obama.

"It’s hard for us to quite understand why, with reconciliation being planned, we’re having a meeting which is allegedly designed to engender some bipartisan agreement," said Senater John Kyl (R-Ariz.).

Reid warned the GOP to "stop crying" over the possibility of reconciliation, as it has been used by Republicans many times in the past. He noted that the shortcut has been used 21 times since 1981.

Sugars and Grains Lead to Weight Gain and Problems With Your Bones

When leptin and insulin are disrupted with a diet of sugar and grain there is a miscommunication in the body about where to store excess fat.

Some fat will be stored in the abdomen and liver, which throws the liver function off-kilter and starts a process of breakdown of muscle and bone—causing weakness and osteoporosis. Now we have a serious problem of insulin resistance and high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.

When we see the big apple-shaped middle we are looking at insulin resistance and disease.

Congress Attacks Natural Supplements!

I spent another afternoon in disbelief, reading over a dozen emails regarding Congress’ improper use of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). They misappropriated the act to pull Ephedra from the market. And now they’re trying to oust vitamin E!

Next stop… the rest of the alphabet.

In fact, there are so many levels to this issue that I have included many valuable links for you to get the full story from all sides. And since the story is so vast, I will present it as an ongoing series. This is just the first installment.

Since the beginning of America’s founding we citizens have been avid users of natural products for health. At the same time, we’ve been clamoring for our government to keep the bad stuff off our shelves. And while the times of dishonest “snake oil salesmen” are mostly gone, the day of the government ban is on the horizon.

But this has not always been the case.

With Best Intentions…

In 1958, the FDA added the Food Additive Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (FD&C). This was done to ensure consumer safety against unsafe supplements and their untrue labeling or misrepresentation of their benefits. We Americans spoke up for the protection of our health and lifestyle choices and our cries were heard.

In 1995, former President Bill Clinton signed the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). It was another amendment to the FD&C. In essence, the Act makes sure that since natural supplements are considered “food” as opposed to “drugs,” they remain available to consumers who wish to include them as a part of their healthy lifestyle choices. And since Congress cannot control how many carrots you eat, it shouldn’t control the amount of vitamin A you consume, either.

The passing of DSHEA was thus considered a massive victory for consumers. The act was Congress’s answer to consumer concerns about their health. In fact, Clinton stated, “The passage of this legislation… speaks to the diligence with which an unofficial army of nutritionally conscious people worked democratically to change the laws in an area deeply important to them.”

With the Riches Come the Spoils

It seems the passing of DSHEA also created a loophole for non-health-friendly members of Congress and the FDA to take our health choices from us.

You see, while these bills appear to protect the public, they actually make it easier for government agencies to control supplement use… or take them off the market completely! And it seems that while it’s the FDA’s job to protect consumers from fraudulent claims being made against the guise of “studies,” it has done nothing in the case against natural herbal, vitamin or mineral supplements.

At least five bills have been introduced in Congress in recent years that would affect your right to access dietary supplements. In fact, only the Hatch Harkin Bill S.1538 proposed the FDA should support the DSHEA rather than fight against it, or merely stand by and do nothing. However, the bill recognized that the FDA requires more money to do its job. It proposed $100 million in funds be allocated for this purpose.

The most recent bill is the Dietary Supplement Safety Act S.3002, introduced in February by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). The bill would change existing mandatory serious adverse reporting regulations, requiring even minor adverse effects to be reported so that the FDA could arbitrarily pull supplements off the shelves or reclassify them as drugs, according to jbs.org.

Opponents of the bill say the regulations would be ripe for abuse, with minor, unrelated or trumped-up evidence of adverse effects leading to supplements being classified as drugs and pulled off shelves.

Trumped-up “evidence” and certainly misuse of herbals was the cause of the Ephedra ban. Ephedra, known as ma huang in traditional Chinese medicine, has been a staple in formulas used to treat asthma, bronchitis and other lung diseases. In the proper dose and for the proper use (inducing sweating to relieve damp heat in the lungs), ma huang is a strong and natural aid for health. But when formulated in much higher doses for use as a metabolism enhancing agent in weight loss supplements… serious problems occurred. And now, because of misuse, the herb is off the market in the U.S.

In fact, the Washington law firm, Hyman, Phelps, and McNamara, P.C. believes the Ephedra rule will endanger all vitamins. Read their “Legal Opinion Regarding FDA’s Ephedra Rule.”

Vitamin E is the target of a similar smear campaign. Yes, that’s right, the same vitamin E used in skin care products and as an immunity aid against free radicals. The government is now calling it “risky.” Yet the cases presented as “proof” were people who suffered pre-existing diseases.

You see, these bills include the Adverse Event Reporting (AER), which is not necessarily bad. However, AER is now being used by dishonest people (in the government and outside of it) as an excuse to bring the industry (and our rights) to its knees. Anti-vitamin stories are surfacing as “proof” that supplements should be banned. These include deaths not related to supplements, but the people happened to also be taking supplements of some kind. And this is the gist of the vitamin E situation.

United We (Must) Stand

It is imperative that we not allow Congress, the FDA, the media or unscrupulous individuals to keep us from seeking and maintaining optimal health by regulating or banning natural supplements. They are only food in another form. They are part and parcel of the daily health choices we make that come with America’s freedom.

The implementing of AER for herbs, minerals and vitamins is as nonsensical as implementing it for a turkey sandwich! The FDA is more worried about the amount of vitamin E we take than the true and severe side effects of synthetic pharma drugs. I find that disturbing. And if this passes, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people could start blaming supplements for their ailments. And the resulting class action lawsuit would be devastating not only to supplement manufacturers’ insurance costs, but to the accessibility of such supplements in the future.

Our only hope is to fight back and stand up for our health rights. Imagine, no more One A Day®, no more calcium tablets, no more B-complex.

In response to the actions of Congress, the Nutritional Health Alliance has activated the Save and Strengthen DSHEA campaign. Visit the NHA site and access the names and addresses of your Congressmen and Senators. Sample letters are there to view, as well as necessary phone and fax numbers.

We need your help. You need your help. Let’s all take a few moments and do our part before it’s too late.

—Dr. Mark Wiley

Immigration Reform Advocates Allege Jobs Bill Will Allow Employers To Hire Illegal Aliens

Immigration reform advocates allege jobs bill will allow employers to hire illegal aliens As the $15 billion jobs bill advanced through Congress last week, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) said the measure included no verification mechanism to ensure that newly created jobs will be filled by legal U.S. workers.

FAIR also alleges that the bill, which was authored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), does not prevent employers from claiming tax credits and exemptions if the workers they hire are illegal aliens.

"It is unconscionable that while some 25 million Americans are unemployed or relegated to part-time work, the Senate is refusing to include protections that would guarantee that newly-created jobs are filled by Americans who desperately need them," said Dan Stein, president of FAIR.

He accused Reid of "consistently" blocking any efforts to prevent businesses that receive government contracts or tax benefits from hiring illegal immigrants.

The bill is a package of tax credits and exemptions for employers who create new jobs. On Feb. 23, five Republicans, including the newly elected Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.), joined 57 Democrats in breaking the Republican filibuster, opening the way to the final vote.

Vitamin B3 May Aid The Brain After Stroke

Vitamin B3 may aid the brain after strokeAn initial study conducted at the Henry Ford Hospital suggests that a common B vitamin may help improve neurological function after a stroke.

Researchers at the facility have recently found that when lab rats with ischemic stroke are given vitamin B3, or niacin, their brains experience new blood vessel and nerve cell growth, which significantly improves cognitive function. Additional research is currently being conducted to investigate the effects of an extended-release form of niacin on human stroke patients.

"If this proves to also work well in our human trials, we’ll then have the benefit of a low-cost, easily-tolerable treatment for one of the most neurologically devastating conditions," said Michael Chopp, scientific director of the Henry Ford Neuroscience Institute.

Niacin is currently recognized as the most effective natural supplement for increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), or "good" cholesterol. Separate studies have found that HDL-C is abnormally low in patients who have recently suffered a stroke.

The researchers also believe that the discovery may open another avenue of treatment for patients suffering from brain injury and impaired neurological function.

NIA Predicts A Rise Of A Libertarian Third Party This Year

NIA predicts a rise of a libertarian third party this yearAlthough some conservatives appear disconcerted about the rise of congressman Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) popularity, the National Inflation Association has suggested his anti-Fed and pro-gold standard stance is striking a cord with many Americans.

NIA representatives have said they were thrilled that Paul won the past weekend’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll of potential Republican candidates in the next presidential election.

"Ron Paul’s win at CPAC demonstrates that the libertarian movement is beginning and NIA members are at the forefront of it," the organization said in a statement, adding that one of the its top predictions for 2010 was that America will see a move towards a libertarian third party.

NIA also said that out of the 534 members of Congress in Washington, Paul is the only one who understands that inflation, fueled by interest rate decisions made by the Federal Reserve and enabled by the fiat money system, is the biggest threat to America’s economy and its future.

"Without the Federal Reserve, Washington would be forced to live within its means and all Americans would enjoy a higher standard of living," according to the organization.

Plant Derivative May Reduce Resistance To Breast Cancer Drug

Plant derivative may reduce resistance to breast cancer drug A recent study has found that combining tamoxifen, the most prescribed breast cancer drug in the world, with a compound originating from the feverfew plant may help prevent initial or future resistance to the medication.

"A solution to tamoxifen resistance is sorely needed, and if a strategy like this can work, it would make a difference in our clinical care of breast cancer," said Robert Clarke, the study’s lead investigator.

Approximately 70 percent of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients are prescribed tamoxifen, although half of those individuals do not initially respond to the drug due to an aggressive resistance.

In the study, researchers from the Georgetown University Medical Center found that the purified chemical known as parthenolide, a derivative of feverfew, was able to successfully block the activity of nuclear factor kappa B (NF- κB), a protein complex that is often over-expressed in breast cancer patients, leading to the body’s resistance to tamoxifen.

Although the researchers are optimistic, they believe that it is too early to recommend the drug combination to patients as they are still unsure of its long-term benefits.

Schwarzenegger Blasts GOP For Hypocritical Approach To Stimulus Package

Schwarzenegger blasts GOP for hypocritical approach to stimulus packageCalifornia Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has accused fellow Republicans of being hypocrites for criticizing last year’s recovery act while willingly accepting stimulus money for their own state.

Speaking on ABC’s This Week, Schwarzenegger stated that the $787 billion stimulus bill was imperative and mocked members of the GOP for not working with the current administration.

"I find it interesting that you have a lot of the Republicans running around and pushing back on the stimulus money and saying this doesn’t create any new jobs," Schwarzenegger said.

"And then they go out and they do the photo ops and they are posing with the big check and they say, ‘Isn’t this great? Look what kind of money I provide here for the state.’…It doesn’t match up," he added.

The California governor also agreed that the GOP was the "Party of No," as many liberals have branded it. He said that Republican opposition to President Obama is driven by the party’s desire to win mid-term elections in November.

Study Finds Chamomile May Help Relieve Moderate Anxiety

Study finds chamomile may help relieve moderate anxiety With tax time just around the corner, many Americans may soon be looking to relieve their stress by drinking chamomile tea. A new controlled research trial has found that chamomile extract therapy can be effective in treating mild to moderate symptoms related to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

The study followed patients with moderate GAD who received either chamomile or placebo treatment. Patients who took chamomile extract were found to have a significant decrease in the severity of their anxiety compared to those who received the placebo.

These findings are significant "because many individuals who suffer from GAD do not view their anxiety as a medical condition, [so] self-diagnosis and self-medicating with alternative, over-the-counter remedies is common," said Michael Van Ameringen and Beth Patterson, who evaluated the study for Faculty of 1000, a website which assesses current scientific research papers.

They added that chamomile may be especially useful for those who are averse to conventional pharmacotherapy.

Chamomile has also been touted as a natural remedy for digestive disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and diarrhea.