According to a new ABC News poll, fewer than one-third of registered voters plan to back their current representatives in Congress in the upcoming November elections. This marks the greatest level of voter discontent regarding incumbents since the Republican Party took control of the House and Senate in 1994.
However, the poll also found that registered Democrats were far more likely to vote for current members of Congress than were Republicans and independents.
While most political pundits assume the Democrats will fail to maintain their considerable majority in Congress this November, the survey revealed some positive signs for President Obama and his party.
In the party-to-party measure, a total of 46 percent of Americans said they trust Democrats to handle the main problems facing the country, compared to just 32 percent who favored Republicans.
The poll also indicated that an overwhelming majority of Americans blame former President George W. Bush for the current state of the economy and the ballooning budget deficit, while just more than one-quarter find Obama to be the most culpable.
Conservative groups that fight against overturning the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy also frequently share stories of ex-gays who have found the way to socially acceptable lifestyles. Recently, some of those activists have taken Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele to task for failing to meet with members of the ex-gay community.
The group, called Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), quoted an interview Steele gave to Gentleman’s Quarterly in which he allegedly said he doubted that ex-gays exist. Since then, despite PFOX efforts, Steele has refused to meet with ex-gays and hear about stories of individual change, despite the fact that one of his predecessors, Ed Gillespie, held such meetings.
"It’s no wonder the RNC continues to lose factions of its members, such as Tea Party conservatives," said Christopher Doyle, a PFOX board member. "Steele would be better off if he extended ex-gays a place at the table rather than paying his staff to watch lesbians dance on it at strip clubs."
Meanwhile, in the sign that the fight over "don’t ask, don’t tell" is heating up, Family Research Council and the Alliance Defense Fund representatives held a news conference on April 28 to announce the release of a letter to President Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, signed by more than 40 retired military chaplains.
The letter addresses the chaplains’ religious liberty concerns against what it calls "the practice of open homosexual behavior in the military."
My, my, you are certainly a contentious bunch. Thus far, more than a thousand of you have clicked the reply button to my column two weeks ago on The Worst President Ever. Your remarks have run the gamut from the sublime (those that agree with me, of course) to the ridiculous (the worst president in history was the first one George Washington?).
I just spent the past couple of days reading every single one. Yes, even the ones that ran more than a full page IN ALL CAPS! Oh, the sacrifices I make for my loyal readers.
Hey, folks, I know you feel pretty passionate about some of these issues. And I love that so many of you enjoying commenting on what you’ve read—or what some imbecile before you said. But trying to shout in email really doesn’t work—it just makes your comments hard to read. Please, turn off the all-caps key before you start typing.
But definitely keep those cards and letters coming. Or at least the emails. The comments sections are one of the best-read parts of Personal Liberty Alerts. I wouldn’t change that for all the rice in China. In fact, I’m going to quote from several in today’s column.
What got me started on the subject was a visit my son-in-law and I made to the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. He pointed out that Franklin Roosevelt laid the cornerstone for that majestic building. I remarked, “Isn’t it ironic that one of the worst presidents in history dedicated the memorial to one of the best?”
This led Micah to ask me who else I would number among the worst presidents ever. I surprised him by saying I wouldn’t include Barack Obama—at least not yet. Let’s let him finish at least one term (hopefully his only one) before guessing what history will say.
That left the rest of my list: FDR, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton and (to the surprise of many) Richard Nixon. But the absolute worst, I said, was Woodrow Wilson. You can explore my reasons in the original column; I won’t repeat them all here. Click here to read it.
An overwhelming number of you wrote to say I had made one huge mistake in that piece—my exclusion of Barack Obama from my “five worst” list. In fact, many of you were outraged that I didn’t put him at the very top. Lee Ann spoke for a lot of readers when she said “anyone with a brain” would know that.
Interestingly, to many of you he doesn’t even deserve to be called Barack Obama. He’s B.O. Or Barry Soetoro. Or a lot worse. Thanks to a pretty tough spam filter, the most intemperate comments don’t get posted. But there sure are a lot of ways to be (relatively) polite while you say something nasty about our Teleprompter-in-Chief.
You may be surprised to hear that not everyone who reads Straight Talk can be found on the right side of the aisle. Hannington Okello wrote: “Barack Obama? You have got to be kidding yourself! He is and will be the best president America has ever had and one you wish could rule forever.”
Gee, Hanny, I think you kind of gave yourself away there, with your “rule forever” comment. How long before you demand that we serfs gently tug our forelocks as we bow to every bureaucrat and say, “yes, massuh”?
But Mr. Okeno has at least one ally in our comments section. Che King wrote to say, “President Obama will go down as America’s best president even before he finishes his second term.” Hate to rain on your parade, Mr. King, but I don’t think Obama will be in the Oval Office in 2012. Not after Jan. 21—unless he’s a guest of the new president.
Christopher Huber had a perfect rejoinder for the Obama idolaters in the audience. “Whatever drugs you are on,” he replied, “I want some.” Nicely put, Chris.
So who else did our readers nominate for the “worst of all time” list? There was a spirited debate lasting for many pages on the various demerits of Jimmy Carter vs. Bill Clinton. Bill made my original list, Jimmy did not. I will admit there was much the peanut farmer from Georgia did to embarrass me while he wore the title of the world’s most powerful leader. But being a sanctimonious, hypocritical, weak-kneed wuss isn’t enough to make my top five.
Several readers claimed that Bill Clinton wasn’t bad enough to deserve that honorific, either. But Lynette insists they didn’t know what they were talking about. Listen to this lady’s rant:
“Bill Clinton was one of the biggest drug dealers this country has ever known! He has been bringing in cocaine from Mena, Arkansas for years. While he was governor and while he was president. Watch The New Clinton Chronicles for a real eye-opener.”
I didn’t mention any of that. Or Whitewater, or Vince Foster, or even the unbridled ambition of his First Lady. All I know is that I was ashamed he was the leader of my country. I was delighted when he was impeached and sorry when he wasn’t found guilty and removed from office.
I thought my inclusion of Richard Nixon in a “worst ever” list would have many of you rushing to straighten me out. But in fact, most who commented on his appearance agreed with me.
No, the Republican president an extraordinary number of you loathe and despise is George W. Bush.
There are some of you who believe that GW personally conspired to bring down the towers of the World Trade Center. I guess the fact that 27 fanatical jihadists, armed with box cutters and other weapons, took control of those airplanes was strictly a coincidence? I like a good conspiracy theory as well as the next man. But this one is beyond absurd, as far as I am concerned.
RK denounced one contributor with the comment, “You are as stupid as the Tea Party.” (Did I mention that many of my readers enjoy insulting each other?) He then added, “The list of the worst president should read as follows: #1 George Bush, #2 George Bush, #3 George Bush.”
Apparently RK liked his comment so much, he posted it twice. Sharon added that since he only named three, she wanted to add two more: “#4 George Bush, #5 George Bush.”
At least some on the left have a sense of humor.
One who does not is Debo, who wrote that, “You might be watching too much Fox News. You and your ilk are not qualified to question the competency of the president of the United States.” Gee, do you happen to know Hanny Okello, Debo? Maybe I could introduce you.
In addition to George Bush, two other Republican presidents came in for an inordinate amount of reader-bashing. One didn’t surprise me—Abraham Lincoln. Many readers wrote at length, with eloquence and passion, about why they felt the Great Emancipator belonged on the list. Several said he should top it.
Jesse put it succinctly: “Lincoln prosecuted an illegal war against the Southern states… [that] resulted in the deaths of over 600,000 men on both sides.” This was more fatalities than we suffered in every war since then, he added.
You may be surprised to learn that many Americans consider Abraham Lincoln a terrible president. I’m not. I’ve read enough to know that these critics have some powerful facts to buttress their arguments. (See Thomas DiLorenzo’s Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed to Know about Dishonest Abe and The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War.)
So who was the other Republican a number of readers disparaged? None other than Ronald Reagan.
I have to say, the unbridled vituperation many of you exhibited against the Great Communicator did surprise me. I’ll be the first to admit that as president (and before that, as governor of California), Reagan did many things with which I disagreed. More to the point, he did not do many things he promised he would—such as abolish useless cabinet agencies, reduce the cost of government, balance the budget, etc.
But being wrong or ineffectual didn’t make him evil. On the positive side, he brought the United States a new respect around the world. He said many of the right things—and he said them more eloquently than any president since the Founding Fathers. (And unlike JFK, he wrote most of the words he spoke.)
This triggered a provocative question from one of our regular correspondents. Beberoni asked: “Once I saw for myself what Ronald Reagan did, I ran as fast as I could from the Democrat Party to Ronald Reagan’s conservative party. I now wonder why the Republican Party has run away from Reagan’s conservative party. Why wouldn’t you continue a successful thing, when he showed them how to do it?”
Maybe they will, Beberoni, maybe they will. We’ll know this November.
And with that folks, I’ve run out room for this month. So let me close by encouraging you to join this fray once in a while. Read some of the comments at the end of my columns. Or if you’re a real glutton for punishment, read them all. And then join them yourself.
Unless you do, you won’t know why at least some loyal readers want Franklin Pierce, or Rutherford Hayes or James Buchanan added to the “worst ever” list. Or why one insists the top spot must go Dick Cheney.
As I said, my readers are a contentious and cantankerous lot. God bless you, each and every one.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.
*Don’t feed this to the homeless. When a small church delivered a load of fried chicken that its members had spent hours making to the Bowery Mission in New York City, the folks running the feed-the-homeless program said “thank you very much”—then promptly threw it all away. Why? Because of a law the city passed back in 2008 banning everyone with a Health Department license from having trans fats in their food. That includes emergency food providers such as the Mission. More and more it seems the world is going crazy—and the inmates are running the show.
*These guys want their free beer. From Copenhagen, Denmark, comes news that workers at the local Carlsberg brewery have walked off their jobs to protest a new company policy restricting how much free beer they get. There used to be coolers stocked with beer throughout the plant; a worker could grab a brewski anytime he wanted. Now, free beer is available only during lunch hours in the company cafeteria. Some 800 workers walked off their jobs in protest.
*Sounds a little risky to me. A brokerage firm is running ads in The Wall Street Journal with the following pitch: Borrow from us at only 1.3 percent interest and buy stocks paying 5 percent in dividends. Not only that, you can borrow $5.6 for every $1 you have in your account (assuming you have at least $100,000 invested with them). The ads do warn that doing this “is only for sophisticated investors with high risk tolerance.” Thanks for the warning, guys.
*The sign of the week. This one was seen at a tax day protest in Manhattan on April 15: There were two columns of numbers; the one on the left was headed “Govt Takes” and had six different taxes listed below, totaling 69.825 percent. The one on the right was headed “U Keep” and had only one number underneath: 30.175 percent. Talk about a picture worth a thousand words.
Results of a recent animal study suggest that individuals who are at a high risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease may benefit from the naturally occurring antioxidants found in grapes.
For the study, a team of scientists from the University of Michigan Health System monitored the health of a group of overweight lab rats that were fed a diet consisting of high-fat foods mixed with a powdered form of table grapes.
After three months of follow-up, the researchers found rodents that consumed a grape-enriched diet had better heart function, lower blood pressure and reduced inflammation than a group of control rats that were not given the fruit powder.
"Reducing these risk factors may delay the onset of diabetes or heart disease, or lessen the severity of the diseases," said lead researcher E. Mitchell Seymour. "Ultimately it may lessen the health burden of these increasingly common conditions."
The beneficial health effects took place even while the rodents experienced no change in body weight. The research team plans to conduct a similar human trial later this summer.
According to a new University of Wisconsin study, folic acid supplements may help improve the condition of patients with severe brain and spinal cord injuries.
Using a rodent model, lead author Bermans Iskandar and her colleagues discovered that folic acid was capable of promoting nerve cell regeneration through a newly discovered molecular pathway in subjects with severe neurological injuries.
In an accompanying editorial, Matthias Endres and Golo Kronenberg, of the Humboldt University Medical School in Berlin, Germany, admit that while the findings are preliminary, they provide a basis for testing whether folic acid supplementation is worthwhile in individuals suffering from spinal cord injuries and brain trauma.
Meanwhile, a separate study has found that fewer than 24 percent of women of childbearing age are meeting the daily folic acid minimum intake recommended by the United States Public Health Service and Institute of Medicine, according to ScienceNews.org.
Mothers who do not consume enough folic acid or vitamin B9 are known to be at an increased risk of giving birth to children with neurological defects.
In the study, nearly 75 percent of women who took a nutritional supplement received at least the minimum daily allowance of the nutrient.
Just a few days after Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry vetoed two restrictive abortion measures, calling them "unconstitutional intrusions into citizens’ private lives and decisions," the state senate voted to override the vetoes, meaning the bills will become laws without the Democratic governor’s support.
One of the measures forces pregnant women to undergo an ultrasound and receive a detailed description of the fetus just an hour before deciding whether or not to have an abortion, the Washington Post reports. The second bill prohibits expectant women from seeking damages in court if their physician withholds information regarding their pregnancy.
The second measure, which was overwhelmingly supported in both the state House and Senate, is designed to prevent women from discriminating against fetuses with disabilities.
"State policymakers should never mandate that a citizen be forced to undergo any medical procedure against his or her will, especially when such a procedure could cause physical or mental trauma," Henry said. "To do so amounts to an unconstitutional invasion of privacy."
The Oklahoma governor, who vetoed similar legislation in 2008, also criticized the bills for not allowing exemptions for victims of rape and incest.
Despite the Federal Reserve’s pronouncements that inflation is under control and holding steady at just above 2 percent, some experts believe the true figure is much higher than that.
According to Jeffrey Nichols—senior economic advisor to Rosland Capital, a California-based precious metal asset firm—the consumer price index , which is the government’s main inflation indicator, is flawed and causes the actual inflation to be significantly underreported.
In his view, the true level of general price increases is between 6 percent and 7 percent.
"Recent statistics paint a rosy picture of the United States economy emerging from recession with inflation subdued," Nichols said.
However, he added that "anyone who does grocery shopping, pays the utility bills, writes a tuition check for their child’s education, uses public transportation or flies across the country knows the truth about inflation."
Nichols also said that although the price of gold fell last week after the news that the investment bank Goldman Sachs had been charged with securities fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission, "prices in the $1,130 to $1,140 range are certainly attractive entry points for long-term investors."
Chelation therapy is an artery cleanout alternative to bypass heart surgery. Since bypass surgery is the most profitable income to hospitals, a big propaganda effort by orthodox medicine against chelation therapy is ongoing and has been for many years.
Medical doctors who practice intravenous (I.V.) chelation keep a low profile because of pressure and harassment from the medical establishment.
Oral chelation is a safe and noninvasive way to boost circulation and reduce plaque and toxins in your circulatory system. It can work miracles over time. It is usually taken by mouth in capsule form. The basis of oral chelation is most often a simple acid ethylene-diamine-tetraacetic acid (EDTA).
Chelation was originally created to remove heavy metals that accumulate in the arteries from the industrial use of paints and other materials. It was discovered that workers who had heart trouble got much better while taking EDTA (chelation therapy) to remove heavy metals. The chelation therapy would bind to organic molecules and purge the arteries clean naturally, renewing the artery system. The long history of efficacy is proven and the benefits well-known, but often controversial with the conventional medical establishment.
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I.V. and oral chelation, even with medical blackout, have become strong alternatives to surgery over the past 60 years. Chelation is inexpensive and noninvasive and works all over your body.
Clogged arteries seem to come with aging. Oral chelation has been the answer for improved circulation for millions of people.
Enhanced Oral Chelation™ from Health Resources™ is a product I’ve used personally for many years. This powerful nutritional formula helps support cardiovascular health and promote healthy circulation by supplying much-needed nutrients to your circulatory system. So Enhanced Oral Chelation™ is a powerful source for heart nutrition. There is no history of risk.
The American Medical Association has approved I.V. EDTA chelation for the removal of toxic metals. But we have the history to prove that chelation helps promote peripheral circulation which is basic to life, health and longevity.
The American College of Advancement of Medicine (ACAM) estimates that at least a
million patients have received more than 10 million I.V. chelation treatments without a single fatality.
The record for oral chelation is even more exciting since it is safe, inexpensive, easy and something you can do in your own home without needles or doctors.
According to a recent study presented at the 2010 Experimental Biology meeting in Anaheim, Calif., a high intake of vitamin D may help preserve physical function in older adults.
For the study, Denise Houston and her colleagues from the Sticht Center on Aging at Wake Forest University assessed the relationship between nutrient intake, long-term health conditions and mobility in seniors.
Over a four-year period the researchers monitored 2,788 healthy seniors with a median age of 75. At the beginning and end of the study they analyzed each participant’s blood level of vitamin D and examined their physical function using a variety of strength and endurance tests.
At the conclusion of the research the investigators found that while physical function declined with every respondent, those with consistently high levels of the nutrient experienced a more gradual deterioration in strength and endurance.
"Those with adequate or optimal vitamin D status [the highest group] had approximately 5 percent higher physical performance scores and 5 percent faster walk speed on the 400-meter walk compared to those with insufficient vitamin D status at the four-year follow up," Houston told WebMD.
The pending retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens gives President Barack Obama an opportunity to shape court decisions for many years to come. Let’s hope he makes a wise decision.
Unfortunately, his radical leftist views that the United States Constitution is a “charter of negative liberties” and his prior choice of Sonya Sotamayor—who as an appellate judge ruled that the New Haven fire department’s promotion test was discriminatory because no minorities scored well enough for promotion—to the Supreme Court don’t augur well for liberty.
Liberals like to say the Constitution is a “living, breathing document,” because that allows activist judges to create “rights” out of thin air in order to advance an agenda. But what is needed are strict constructionist justices who are willing to go back and see what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote the document.
“On every question of construction,” wrote Thomas Jefferson, “carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one which was passed.”
The Founders understood that government could easily become the enemy of the people. So they wrote a Constitution that put restraints on the government.
If we are to remain free we need to watch closely the people Obama nominates for the courts—the Supreme Court most importantly. They must be people who recognize the role of government. They must understand that the Constitution was written to protect the citizens from its government, not the government from its citizens. They must recognize that all men are created equal, and that no group or class is more equal than another. If not, we must do all we can to block them.
Because, as Samuel Adams said, “[W]ithout liberty and equality [under the law], there cannot exist that tranquility of mind, which results from the assurance of this to every citizen, that his own personal safety and rights are secure … it is the end and design of all free and lawful Governments.”
Just a few days after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a historically aggressive immigration bill, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon indicated that the city may soon file a lawsuit challenging the legislation on constitutional grounds.
Gordon told Fox News the bill is not only unconstitutional, but also makes the state less safe, as police would be forced to spend an exorbitant amount of time focusing on this "unenforceable" law.
"It tramples civil rights," Gordon told the news source. "Now everyone has to show and prove that they’re a legal resident or citizen." He also warned that the new law may create "a division within the state that could lead to violence."
The Phoenix mayor also attacked the author of the bill, state Senator Russell Pearce, by comparing him to late Alabama Governor George Wallace, a well-known segregationist leader in the 1960s, KTAR.com reports. He said that Pearce is more concerned with making headlines than battling the real problems that face Arizona, such as violent crime and the drug trade.
Gordon indicated that he will ask the Phoenix City Council later this week to join him in his fight against the law.
Over the last few years nutritionists have identified many health benefits linked to the consumption of brown rice, including its ability to help control cholesterol and blood sugar. According to a new study, routinely eating brown rice may also help protect a person from high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, two important risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Through comprehensive research, lead author Satoru Eguchi and his colleagues from the Cardiovascular Research Center at Temple University discovered that brown rice contains a layer of tissue capable of combating angiotensin II, an endocrine protein partially responsible for the development of high blood pressure and the hardening of the arteries.
The subaleurone layer of brown rice, which is stripped away to make white rice, is also rich in dietary fibers and oligosaccharides.
"Our research suggests that there is a potential ingredient in rice that may be a good starting point for looking into preventive medicine for cardiovascular diseases," said Eguchi. "We hope to present an additional health benefit of consuming half-milled or brown rice [as opposed to white rice] as part of a regular diet."
The researcher also speculated that the study’s findings may help shed light on why fewer people die of heart disease in Japan than the United States.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer made state history on April 23 by signing one of the toughest immigration bills in the country into law. The legislation, while praised by many conservatives and libertarians, has met with Democratic criticism both at the local level and in Washington.
The Libertarian candidate for governor, Bruce Olson, wrote in a blog for The Arizona Sentinel that he was "proud" of Brewer for the step that is "making it tough to run against ya."
He added that other states must follow suit with similar laws, but warned that the Federal government may try to overturn the bill.
However, the new law, which will make it a misdemeanor for foreign nationals to fail to register and carry their documents with them, was heavily criticized by ethnic groups and Democratic lawmakers.
Among the critics were Hispanic state legislators in Arizona as well as members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington, D.C.
In the nation’s capital, President Obama called the bill "misguided" but said the Federal government must act on the immigration issue.
"Our failure to act responsibly will only open the door to irresponsibility by others," he said.
"That includes the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe," Obama added.
The president was referring to the part of the bill that requires police officers, if they have a "reasonable suspicion" that someone is an illegal immigrant during a lawful stop, to determine that person’s immigration status and, if necessary, transfer them into Federal custody.
In an effort to blunt the impact of the sweeping healthcare reform passed by Congress and signed by President Obama late last month, the Florida legislature has passed an act that aims to protect the state’s healthcare system from interference.
Florida’s Healthcare Freedom Act (HJR 37/SJR 72), sponsored by Florida Representative Scott Plakon and Florida Senator Carey Baker, passed the House and Senate and will appear on the November ballot.
The legislation, which was inspired by the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Freedom of Choice in Healthcare Act, blocks a state or federal requirement for individuals to purchase health insurance.
"Protecting the individual freedom for people to make their own healthcare decisions is a priority," said ALEC health task force director Christie Herrera.
She added that "the amount of support from state legislators and policy makers for this legislation has been tremendous."
ALEC’s Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act has now been introduced or proposed in 42 states.
Meanwhile, Mississippi Representatives Alex Monsour and Steven Palazzo received preliminary approval to place their Healthcare Freedom Act on the 2011 or 2012 ballot.
As people age their ability to exercise for extended periods of time slowly diminishes. Fortunately, results of a new University of California study suggest that taking daily arginine and antioxidant supplements can help compensate for the loss of exercise capacity by enhancing a person’s anaerobic threshold, which is the amount of exercise that needs to be done before lactic acid begins to accumulate in the blood.
For the study, lead author Zhaoping Li and her colleagues from the university recruited 16 active male cyclists between the ages of 50 and 73, and randomly assigned them to take either a mix of arginine and antioxidant supplements or dummy placebo tablets.
After only one week of taking the nutritional supplements, the study group experienced a 16.7 percent increase in anaerobic threshold. In contrast, the threshold of the control group did not significantly alter.
"A dietary supplement that increases exercise capacity might help to preserve physical fitness by optimizing performance and improving general health and well-being in older people," said Li.
She concluded that findings suggest "a potential role of arginine and antioxidant supplementation in improving exercise performance in elderly."
“Let China sleep, for when China awakes she will shake the world.” Napoleon Bonaparte.
American greed and extravagance has awakened China, and an eastern shadow is being cast on an indebted and divided America. At stake is our economic future.
It seems hard to believe but in just two generations, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama, America has crumpled from world kingpin to global has-been. In fact this month President Obama bowed before Paramount Leader of China, Hu Jintao, at the nuclear security summit.
Little wonder our President defers to the Chinese leader. The Treasury Department’s monthly Treasury International Capital report was just released and it shows China with $877.5 billion in long-term Treasury debt. Even worse, the Obama administration needs the Chinese government to buy part of the estimated $2.4 trillion in Treasury debt that Washington must sell off this year.
The Obama administration is praying that the Communists will waddle-up and buy hundreds of more billions of dollars in Uncle Sam IOUs. So far things are not panning out. In February China trimmed its holdings of United States Treasury debt by 1.3 percent, the fourth consecutive decline.
Unless China antes up the recovery will crash and burn. Without robust foreign demand for U.S. Treasuries, interest rates that Washington pays to keep the country solvent will soar.
Business Week reported last week that U.S.-China relations are strained on several fronts, including Chinese censorship, the value of the Yuan, the Copenhagen climate conference, even Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama. The final point underscores just how little leverage America has—the spiritual leader had to be shown out the back door of the White House, sidestepping trash, for fear that the Chinese might be angered.
Nixon’s Biggest Blunder
Short of sacrificing Taiwan and living in economic servitude, there may be no pleasing China. According to The Daily Caller, “In either public or private, China will not take orders from the U.S. or anyone else. Not only has Obama’s rhetorical magic not worked on China, he has received a public dressing down by Chinese officials. It was simply a reminder of new global realities. Ultimately, no one will tame China.”
It is a far cry from the world we knew 40 years ago. History may yet declare that Richard Nixon’s worst blunder was not Watergate but his awakening of China. When Nixon played his China card in 1972 the U.S. had no diplomatic relations, no embassy; not even an established route of communication with China. But in less than two generations the Soviet Union, America’s then rival, crumbled. Beijing has filled the vacuum. Today it is our largest creditor and it is becoming an unprecedented economic colossus.
This year China’s gross domestic product (GDP) will top $5 trillion, making it the world’s second-largest economy behind only the U.S. In fact, China has eclipsed Japan five years sooner than was forecast. According to The New York Times, China has also surpassed Japan in having the biggest trade surplus and foreign currency reserves, as well as the highest steel production. China has even overtaken Japan as the world’s largest automobile producer.
C.H. Kwan, a senior fellow at the Nomura Institute of Capital Market Research, left China in the late 1970s to capture the magic that was Japan. Today he believes he got it all wrong. Based on current growth and currency trends, Kwan forecasts that the Chinese economy will surpass the United States by 2039. And that date could move up to 2026 if China lets its currency appreciate by a mere 2 percent a year.
“We’re no longer talking about China making lots of shoes,” said Kwan. “China is about to leave everyone behind in a big way.”
In terms of wealth and power China is becoming what America use to be. China’s GDP grew a shade less than 12 percent in the first quarter of this year. Even more impressively, inflation remained low during the quarter, up just over 2 percent. Strip away food prices, which have jumped because of a major drought, and inflation would almost be flat.
What makes China’s accomplishment so remarkable is that 40 years ago the nation was impoverished. An estimated 90 million Chinese died under Chairman Mao’s rule, making him thrice as an effective killer of his people than was Joseph Stalin. China has polished up its image on the world stage with dalliances like hosting the Olympic Games, but Mao’s grand ambitions are very much intact.
According to the April 15, FX Street.com: “China is out for world domination.”
No Tickey No Money
China’s military may not yet challenge the U.S., but Beijing wields the world’s most powerful weapon—credit. China’s foreign reserves, the world’s largest, rose to a new high of $2.45 trillion at the end of March, up a whopping 25 percent from a year earlier.
It wasn’t until 2006, or 30 years after Mao’s death, that China accumulated its first $1 trillion in foreign reserves. Yet by last April that amount had doubled to $2 trillion and by the end of this year Beijing may hold in its hands $3 trillion in foreign reserves. If Obama gets his way, $1 trillion of that sum will be in liquid Treasury instruments. All that money has a lot of strings.
Last month Premier Wen Jiabao, China’s top economic official, lectured Washington to take "concrete steps" to reassure Treasury investors. Keep in mind the irony: Jiabao, a communist, is demanding that the Obama administration rein in big government spending and preserve the greenback’s integrity. While Obama bows publicly to Beijing, he appears oblivious to their demands on curbing spending. The consequences of this will be horrendous.
Our future boils down to Washington’s insatiable demand for more money. Earlier this month Commodity Online reported that seven U.S. states are in worse financial condition than Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. “Shelter may prove hard to find. With a $3.83 trillion budget, a $12.3 trillion federal government debt, a $1.35 trillion 2010 budget deficit and $63 trillion in unfunded liabilities, the fiscal condition of the U.S. has come into question and foreign interest in U.S. Treasuries has declined.”
As the graph above shows, rates on 10-year Treasuries are now touching on 4 percent, twice as high as they were 16 months ago. If China continues to withdraw from weekly multi-billion dollar Treasury auctions—or worse yet starts to sell some of its Treasury holdings—interest rates will soar. Given the vastness of America’s borrowing needs I would not be surprised to see Treasury yields double again over the next 12 months. That will damn the recovery and kill the bull market in Big Board Stocks. So far only Obama has been bowing down to China, but unless he gets a grip on federal spending, we will all have to get in the prone position.
Action To Take: Sell any and all bonds other than three-month Treasury bills. Lock in interest rates wherever possible. Don’t buy into the bull market on Wall Street. It is as hollow as a fortune cookie.
Yours for real wealth and good health,
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report
“May Day!” “May Day!” The first day in May has been a warning, a celebration and a cause for alarm for more than two centuries.
May 1 has been a time of international socialist solidarity ever since Communists seized power in their first country. Although Karl Marx was sure that his “workers of the world” would unite first in the industrialized west, instead it was a Bolshevik coup in Russia that led to the first Soviet state.
On the other hand, May 1 was a pretty good day for the end of hostilities (or at least open fighting) in the United Kingdom. Because it was on May 1, 1707, that England, Wales, and Scotland formed “the United Kingdom of Great Britain.”
But wait, there’s more. On May 1, 1961, Fidel Castro announced that (surprise!) he’d been a Communist all along. He named himself "president for life," claiming there was no longer any need to hold free elections in Cuba. Unfortunately for the Cuban people, it turned out to be a very long life.
On May 1, 1920, Babe Ruth hit his first home run as a Yankee. And on May 1, 1951, Mickey Mantle hit his first major league home run. There would be many, many more by both men.
Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s team of lawyers filed papers with a Federal judge April 22, asking the court to issue a subpoena for President Obama to testify as a witness in the disgraced politician’s upcoming corruption trial.
According to the Associated Press (AP), the motion indicates that the president has direct knowledge concerning the government’s accusation that Blagojevich attempted to sell the senatorial seat left vacant following Obama’s presidential election victory.
While no direct accusations were brought against the president, the court documents claim that the comments made by Obama at a news conference conflict with statements made by a candidate for the seat and a labor union president.
"There are two conflicting stories and the defense has the right to admit evidence that contradicts the government’s claims," said the motion, which was obtained by news sources after blacked out portions of the documents were mistakenly revealed online for several hours.
Before the "computer glitch" could be fixed, the public was able to view sealed testimony by several witnesses who reportedly said that a labor union representative spoke with Obama on Nov. 3, 2008, and that the then-Illinois senator expressed his hope that Senate Candidate B would be picked by Blagojevich as his replacement. Valerie Jarrett, a longtime friend of Obama’s and a current White House adviser, is known to be Senate Candidate B, according to Fox News.
Blagojevich’s trial is expected to begin on June 3. It is still unclear whether Obama will be forced to testify.
The Obama administration’s newly passed healthcare reform bill received more bad publicity last week, as officials with the nonpartisan Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released an assessment indicating that the legislation will actually increase spending over the next decade.
In the report, Rick Foster, CMS’ chief actuary, estimated that projected healthcare spending would increase by 1 percent over the next 10 years to $311 billion. Last month, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the new law would decrease spending to an estimated $222 billion, Fox News reports.
The report also indicated that by delaying the implementation of most of the spending provisions until 2014, the administration is hiding the true cost of the legislation, according to The Hill.
"Because of these transition effects and the fact that most of the coverage provisions would be in effect for only six of the 10 years of the budget period, the cost estimates shown in this memorandum do not represent a full 10-year cost for the new legislation," wrote Foster in the 38-page report.
He concluded that the proposed Medicare cuts may be "unrealistic," as they could force about 15 percent of healthcare providers into the red, "possibly jeopardizing access" to medical care for senior citizens.
How To Position Your Body During Sleep for Less Pain
We all know why sleep is good for you. It relaxes the body, calms the nervous system, regulates breathing and induces the relaxation response. It allows the body some down time to repair itself.
The power of restorative rest and sleep is strong and wide reaching. In fact, symptoms of diseases like fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, chronic fatigue and the flu are decreased while we sleep. But did you know that improper sleep can be a cause of pain and suffering? Poor sleeping posture is the reason for this.
While there are many ways to sleep and many products that allow us to sleep in those ways, there are actually only two healthy positions for engaging in sound slumber. Before we look at those let’s review some of the more common sleeping positions and why they are harmful to the body.
Stomach sleepers, well… sleep on their stomachs. Usually they have one or both arms extended over their heads, their face turned either to the left or right side, and one leg is generally bent.
There are so many problems with this posture. First, sleeping with the arms extended over the head raises the shoulders into the neck, causing cramping, poor circulation and pain. It also skews the trapezius muscles and skeletal system, compressing the thoracic outlet where the brachial plexus of nerves from the neck travel down the arms to the hands.
Secondly, when the arms are raised the nerves are irritated and nerve function is either inhibited or excited. It’s a neurological and vascular response that affects the brachial plexus of nerves that travels from the neck and down the arms. The effect is tingling and/or numbness in the arms or hands. Ever make up with pins and needles in the hands or a “dead” arm? This may be why.
Third, sleeping with the neck turned to one side creates unbalanced muscles, wherein one side is hypertonic (contracted) and the other is hypotonic (extended). This leads to neck strain, cramping, pain and often headaches.
Fourth, the bent leg stretches one leg and hip all night, while the other remains prone. Again, we have imbalance that can lead to hip pain and leg pain.
And last, but certainly not least, stomach sleeping offers too little support for the abdomen, allowing the stomach to fall forward and the lumbar region of the back to sag. This can make your gut seem bigger than it is, simply because of poor sleeping posture. It also created spinal compression and lower back pain.
Comfortable or not; this position has got to go.
Back sleepers are onto something. The back is one of the two best ways to sleep because it can offer solid support for your entire musculoskeletal system.
Problems arise for back sleepers, however, when they do not place pillows under their knees. If you are lying on your back and your legs are straight, there is insufficient support for the lower back allowing it to arch too high.
If you sleep on your back with one leg bent, you probably experience the same hip, lower back and/or knee strain and pain as do the stomach sleepers who sleep in this way.
You should always place two pillows under your knees for support and one pillow under your head. Keep in mind, too, that pillows are for sleeping support, and not just for comfort. Your head should be placed squarely on your pillow, and the pillow should be pulled down enough so that it touches your shoulders. If your pillow is not touching your shoulders you run the risk of not supporting the cervical vertebrae and neck muscles and pain can result from spasm or nerve impingement.
Side sleeping gets my vote for best sleeping position… if done correctly. To begin, side posture should mimic the fetal position. That is, both knees bent and with hands held close to the body. This is a normal and inherent sleeping posture.
Errors in side sleeping occur when one leg overlaps the other. This causes an imbalance in the hips that can lead to tightness and pain in the hip flexors, IT band, low back and knees.
Another common error is sleeping with hands under or over the head and scrunching the pillow so your head is elevated. Symptoms from this can include neck and shoulder pain, stiffness, headaches, tingly or numbness in the arms or hands.
Side sleeping is the best because it allows the body to maintain a proper and corrective posture for several hours. What you should do is place a pillow between your knees to create proper distance between them, thus keeping the hips in proper balance. The legs must be parallel, so the hips remain square and there is no strain on the low back. A pillow should be placed under the head and pulled to the shoulder for optimal neck support. The hands should be parallel and below the eyes.
Who knew there was so much to sleeping posture? I’ll bet if you give these corrections a try then after a while your daily neck strain, shoulder pain, headaches, hip and low back pain and arm tingling may just start to correct itself.
— Dr. Mark Wiley
Feeling stressed? Try rhodiola—an herb that is classified as an “adaptogen.” This means it can help normalize your body’s response to stress. After taking rhodiola for 10 weeks, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) study patients experienced a 50 percent reduction in symptoms such as worry, tension, fatigue and headaches. Other herbs in this mood-boosting group include ginseng and licorice.