What’s In Your Food?

You’re in the food store and get lost in all the claims about what is healthy and not healthy for you. So you make your way to a vitamin shop or Whole Foods and try your luck there. But when you grab a bag of this, or a bar of that and turn it to check out the label… you are just as lost. What IS all that stuff in there?

In this article I’d like to discuss the worst and the best ingredients in the so-called healthy bars and drinks. I hope you will find this information helpful in your healthful shopping adventures for the healthiest foods for you and your family.

MSG—These initials mean Monosodium Glutamate. It is the main flavor enhancer in your local Chinese take-out place. Like Mrs. Dash, MSG enhances flavor especially in frozen and processed foods… and causes people who are allergic to it to experience headaches, rashes and muscle pains. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics removed MSG from all products for infants under the age of one after injections into lab animals showed nerve cell damage!

Despite the fact that MSG has been proven a poisonous substance, it is so widely used that you might not even think where it might be. Cans of tuna? You bet! Turkey breast cold cuts? Absolutely, in some brands! And the result: an increase in neurodegerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, a serious rise in cases of asthma, Parkinson’s disease, migraine headaches and heart trouble.

Bottom line: Stay away from MSG. Check the label of everything you buy and avoid the brands that include it. And when ordering food from a restaurant, they are obligated by law to NOT include MSG if you specifically tell them you are allergic. Sounds like a plan.

Maltodextrin—Maltodextrin is essentially a powder derived from potatoes or corn and when combined with other spices and ingredients it becomes a tasty coating for snack foods. This powder food additive is found in items like flavored potato chips, pretzels and crackers.

While the FDA says this chemical is “safe,” it does not label it as being either healthy or unhealthy. That is, the content amount found in food is so low that it barely counts. Yet, in large quantities it is not healthy. So what is “non toxic” in one bag of chips may not be so healthy when one eats several bags of chips, pretzels, crackers in the course of a week, a month or a year.

And while the matodextrin processed in North America is derived from potato and corn, the Asian equivalent is manufactured from wheat and is thus not gluten free. This means that if you are prone to migraine headaches, candida or have Celiac disease… you should stay away from snacks imported from Asia.

Again, check the labels. If an item contains maltodextrin it will say so and if it contains the wheat-based form, this must also be noted on the package. In moderation, the sweet or savory aspect of this additive can be delightful. But over-consumption is unhealthy. Not just because it is a chemical but because the foods it is used to flavor are, themselves, not on the diet plan of any serious wellness program!

High Fructose Corn Syrup—This sweetener has been called the main culprit in the rise in childhood obesity in the United States… but has been given a clean bill by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Talk about bipolar! No wonder we don’t know what is going on with our health. Well, here’s the scoop…

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is corn syrup that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert its glucose into fructose. This fructose has then been mixed with regular corn syrup, which is 100 percent glucose, and the result is a sweet liquid known as HFCS.

This liquid is the sweetener found in just about every cold beverage in your local convenience store, including iced tea, sodas and energy drinks. Not only that, but it is also found in so-called healthy foods like tomato soup and yogurt, and less healthy items such as salad dressings and cookies.

Yes it’s true that the FDA did a 30-year study and found a correlation between HFCS and obesity and that it is worse for your health than plain sugar. Yet the Corn Refiners Association has launched an aggressive advertising campaign to counter these criticisms, claiming that HFCS "is natural" and "has the same natural sweeteners as table sugar.”

Well, if you have any questions, just look to two of the largest-consumed beverages, Pepsi and Snapple. Both have ditched the nasty stuff and gone back to sweetening their drinks with plain old sugar. Stay away from the HFCS, it will make you fatter than sugar!

Partially Hydrogenated Oils—Whatever you do, stay clear of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. They are unnatural and very unhealthy. You see, the original oil is subjected to hydrogenation, which changes its molecular structure. This allows the oil molecules to harden thus giving it a longer shelf life, which is why manufacturers like it. But the changed oils are actually closer to plastic than to oil, and the hydrogenation process kills the omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which are the healthy parts of the original oils.

What this means is that the body does not get the desired antioxidant affect of consuming oils, and the new hydrogenated oils are then treated in the body as fatty foods that the bloodstream can’t process. The result is fat stored in the body. Excess storage of fat in the body and arterial plaque build-up, then, are the big issues with partially hydrogenated oils.

Avoid foods containing partially hydrogenated oils at all costs. Check the labels on spreads, crackers, cookies, cakes and even some so-called fruit snacks.

The bottom line is you should eat natural foods and fresh foods and always read the labels. When in doubt, write down the ingredient and do an online search. You just might be surprised at what you find!

The ones listed above are the worst ingredients found in the foods you eat. These are the “foods” that the FDA says are okay to feed Americans. Yet, we are becoming sicker faster than ever before and suffering long, slow deaths from heart disease, obesity and high cholesterol levels.

Now I want to tell you about the best ingredients to look for in the foods you eat. These are among the best foods you can eat and should be included in your daily diet. Let’s take a look at what they are.

Whole Grain–­Before we get to whole grain, let’s first look at “enriched flour” products. These are the breads and rolls and pastas that are first stripped of their outer grain portion, removed of their nutrients and bleached of their natural color. The product is so poor and so value-less that they are “enriched” with vitamins and nutrients. Ridiculous! Forget these products, they are scams and unnatural.

What you should be grabbing for are whole grain products. These are carbohydrates that are made from the entire grain and contain the original vitamins, nutrients and fiber and are thus good for digestive regularity, normal blood sugar levels, healthy cholesterol levels and optimal brain function.

When checking out the ingredients on carbohydrate products, looks for those where the first ingredient listed says whole grain, whole wheat, whole meal or whole corn. These will be in the form of bread, pastas, hot cereals, brown rice, bulger, buckwheat, spelt and wild rice. The United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that each of us get at least three servings of whole grains every day.

Soy Lecithin—A product of soybean oil and also extracted from soya beans, soy lecithin is used as an emulsifier in prepared foods. It keeps chocolate from crumbling or splintering, helps dough rise in baked goods and keeps spreadable “butters” and cheeses from separating.

This product has passed the muster of the American Dietetic Association. It was found not only safe, but also good for you. As a result, soy lecithin also comes in supplement form. You see, it’s packed with choline, which is found in eggs and is known to boost brain development while also preventing heart disease, lowering cholesterol and helps treat dementia. Not too shabby.

The bottom line is, the USDA says soy lecithin is a safe emulsifier. And keeping your intake below 3.5 grams per day will yield no known side effects. So if you have to grab a bite of a processed food, look for this as its ‘hold it together’ ingredient. Better yet… go for whole, unprocessed foods instead.

Disodium Phosphate—The liver and gallbladder are so important to your health and wellness. They help purify blood and break down toxins and fats. As far as food preservatives go, disodium phosphate is one of the better ones. In fact, it helps maintain proper pH levels in the body as well as metabolizing cholesterol.

Disodium phosphate is found in products such as frozen hash browns (to keep their brown color), canned tuna (for buffering and chelating), poultry and pork (as a scalding agent) and potato products (as a sequestrant).

On the whole it is best to avoid preservatives in foods as they are generally toxic to the body and harmful to the liver. However, disodium phosphate actually supports liver and gallbladder function and has properties that foster good health. So, go ahead and eat limited amounts of preserved meats, fish and potato products—just be sure they are preserved with disodium phosphate and nothing else.

Riboflavin—Who doesn’t know how vital the B vitamins are to the body? Like magnesium, the B-complex vitamins are essential to so many vital functions of the body. And riboflavin (B2) is among the most important of the group.

In fact, a deficiency of riboflavin can cause nervous system disorders and lesions on the skin and digestive tract. This water-soluble vitamin helps maintain normal cell function and proper metabolism and aids in the production of energy.

Vitamin B2 is found in both plant and animal tissue. As such, if you eat a well-balanced diet there will be no need to take a supplement containing this vitamin. Riboflavin can be found in meat, green vegetables and dairy products.

In conclusion, there are many healthy and unhealthy foods out there. But even among prepared foods, there can be healthy options. The choice is yours to make. So next time you are out shopping, or running to grab a quick snack, check the labels. Look for those foods containing whole grains, soy lecithin, disodium phosphate and riboflavin. They can do a body good!

Dr. Mark Wiley

Try Legumes For Cholesterol Control

To help control your cholesterol, try adding legumes—or beans—like chickpeas, pinto, kidney, lima, garbanzo, lentil and Northern beans. Findings from Tulane University suggest eating three cups of beans a week may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. In one study of 300 men and women, patients who ate a legume-rich diet dropped, on average, 14 points in only three weeks.

Schumer And Graham Immigration Proposal Garners Praise, Criticism

Schumer and Graham immigration proposal garners praise, criticism The bipartisan immigration reform proposal unveiled recently in a Washington Post editorial has been applauded by minority groups, but despite pledged support for the system’s overhaul Republicans remain unimpressed.

Drawn up by Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the framework proposes four pillars for comprehensive immigration reform, including strengthening the country’s border security and interior enforcement; implementing a tough but fair path to legalization for those who work in the United States illegally and pay back taxes; creating a process for admitting temporary workers and requiring biometric Social Security cards to hold employers accountable for legal hiring and employment practices.

Among the supporters of the proposals was the Hispanic National Bar Association, which stressed its commitment to a comprehensive reform.

However, Republicans are divided over the issue, with many fiercely opposed to any program to give legal status to illegal immigrants. Workers’ rights advocates have also declared themselves unhappy, saying the third pillar would make it easy for those who earn graduate degrees in technical fields to get green cards, but would exclude low-skilled workers from the program.

Last month, more than 200,000 people from across the country gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to demand comprehensive immigration reform during the 111th Congress.

NIA Warns American Politicians ‘Not To Upset China’

NIA warns American politicians 'not to upset China' As American legislators are pushing for China to raise the value of its currency, the National Inflation Association (NIA) has criticized this policy, citing America’s weak bargaining position.

Administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, have been calling on China to make its yuan currency more flexible in an effort to help trim United States trade deficit with China and reduce the jobless rate, according to Reuters.

Moreover, pressure is building on the administration to name China a "currency manipulator" in a mid-April report, and lawmakers are threatening to impose tariffs on Chinese goods to counteract the effects of the country’s cheap currency, the news source further reported.

However, many economists disagree that the appreciation of the yuan would have this beneficial effect on the U.S. economy. NIA goes even further, stressing that it is China’s artificially low yuan that allows the U.S. to import cheap goods and Americans to live beyond their means.

"We should be kissing China’s feet and thanking them for allowing us to consume the goods they produce in return for a worthless piece of paper that we print," the organization’s representatives stated.

"Instead, we are blaming them for the problems that our politicians created," they added. ADNFCR-1961-ID-19703592-ADNFCR

Don’t Pin Your Hopes On The Party Of Lincoln

Republicans love to call themselves the party of Lincoln.

Up until recently—meaning most of the last 40 years while they held the presidency or while they were the majority party, and particularly while George W. Bush was in the White House and then for the first six months of 2008—they have acted like the party of Lincoln, and that’s not a compliment. That’s because Abraham Lincoln is not a model for a party claiming to be the party of smaller, limited government.

The real Lincoln—not the politically correct Lincoln taught in schools—was not a small government guy. Neither was he a friend of the Constitution or the slave.

As the historian Bruce Catton wrote in The Civil War, in 1860 Lincoln wanted to be the nominee of the Republican Party—a party that consisted of an amalgam of former members of the defunct Whig Party, free-soilers (those who believed all new territories should be slave-free), business leaders who wanted a central government that would protect industry and ordinary folk who wanted a homestead act that would provide free farms in the West.

Catton wrote, “The Republicans nominated Lincoln partly because he was considered less of an extremist than either (Senator William H.) Seward or (Salmon P.) Chase; he was moderate on the slavery question, and agreed that the Federal government lacked power to interfere with the peculiar institution in the states. The Republican platform, however, did represent a threat to Southern interests. It embodied the political and economic program of the North—upward revision of the tariff, free farms in the West, railroad subsidies, and all the rest.”

Does that sound like a small government guy?

Writing in his book, The Constitution in Exile, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano said, “Lincoln liked to think of himself as continuing the political philosophy of Henry Clay, who had been the leader of the Whigs.

“For forty years, Clay supported the creation of an American empire through measures such as corporate welfare, (which politicians like to call ‘internal improvements’); today we call them corporate tax breaks, protectionist tariffs, and a nationwide central bank. All the things that Clay favored in essence provided for a highly centralized government. And Lincoln supported them all.”

Not only did Lincoln support Clay’s policies he served as an elector for the Whig Party in the 1840 and 1844 presidential elections, according to historian Thomas J. DiLorenzo in his book, The Real Lincoln.

He eloquently defended specific Whig economic programs like a national bank, a protectionist tariff and distribution of Federal land revenues to the states to subsidize "internal improvements," writes DiLorenzo, quoting historian Michael F.  Holt.

During the Civil War the Federal government was rapidly centralized and enlarged, taxes were imposed on most manufactured goods, tariffs were increased and an inheritance (death) tax was adopted. It was during this period that the first personal income tax was adopted in direct violation of Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution, Napolitano writes.

“The most egregious violations of civil liberties that Lincoln committed were murdering civilians, declaring martial law, suspending habeas corpus, seizing vast amounts of private property without compensation (including railroads and telegraphs), conducting a war without the consent of Congress, imprisoning nearly thirty thousand Northern citizens without trial, shutting down several newspapers, and even deporting a congressman (Clement L. Vallandigham from Ohio) because he objected to the imposition of an income tax,” according to Napolitano.

Republican congressmen tampered with the Electoral College by creating the new states of Nevada, Kansas and West Virginia in order to ensure Lincoln’s re-election in 1864. In Maryland, under Lincoln’s orders, troops arrested and imprisoned without trial a mayor, a congressman and 31 state legislators. And Lincoln claimed to have taken these actions to “preserve” the union.

“It’s hard to imagine something more tyrannical than a central government that suppresses life, speech, and political expression with such drastic measures, Napolitano writes.

The party of Lincoln, and Lincoln himself, had as its main goal growing government. Only one other president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, did as much to destroy the U.S. Constitution as Lincoln.

During the last 40 years the party of Lincoln has done much more to grow government than reduce it. Both Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald Ford expanded the Great Society programs of Lyndon Baines Johnson. In 1970 Nixon imposed wage and price controls throughout the economy, imposed a tax surcharge on all imports and removed the American dollar from the gold standard: hardly small government policies.

Nixon’s policies sparked a rise in oil prices and caused the Great Inflation of the 1970s, according to Charles R. Morris, writing in his book, The Trillion Dollar Meltdown.

Morris writes that Nixon was a Keynesian through and through, as were his supposedly conservative cabinet members.

President Ronald Reagan was a believer in limited government, and took steps to reduce its size. His tax cuts stimulated the economy, but Democrats controlled the House and he was vilified by them for his efforts to reduce domestic spending while he increased military spending. While he campaigned on balancing the budget he wasn’t able to accomplish it, and deficits soared.

President George H.W. Bush was elected to continue Reagan’s policies but despite his “Read my lips. No new taxes” pledge, Bush 41 was neither a small government guy nor a believer in Reagan’s low-tax policies or trickle down economics. He immediately joined the Democrats and raised taxes and grew government.

The second President Bush, George W. (compassionate conservative), was truly a big government socialist. He expanded the Federal reach into our children’s education with No Child Left Behind, along with Senator Edward Kennedy, expanded entitlement programs like the Medicare Drug benefit and embarked on a war strategy that helped push a teetering economy over the cliff.

More egregious than that was his USA PATRIOT Act—which among other things suspended habeas corpus—and other supposed terrorism fighting provisions that intrude on the liberty and privacy of Americans. And many Republicans claiming to be conservative went along.

“I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system,” Bush 43 said, in classic Bushism fashion, as he pushed his Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

The supposed conservatives in Congress sat by and watched—if they didn’t overtly support—as Bush trashed the free market system.

Only when Americans began berating them during town hall meetings and through Tea Party rallies in 2009 did some Republicans decide they were for smaller government.

Now many Americans are looking to the Republicans to stem the Marxist redistributionist tide of the Obama, Pelosi, Reid administration as they follow through with their promise to change America.

Seriously? You’re going to pin your hopes on the Republican Party, with members already backing off their “Repeal the Bill” stance less than a month after Obamacare was passed?

Sorry, but the elites in Washington long ago crossed the Rubicon. While the Democrats are leading the charge today, the Republicans have offered no more opposition than a Civil War picket line.

You can thank the party of Lincoln, and the “Great Emancipator” himself, for getting us to where we are today.

Obama Unveils New Drilling Plan, Takes Heat From Both Sides Of The Aisle

Obama unveils new drilling plan, takes heat from both sides of the aisleJust days after announcing a proposal to expand offshore oil and gas development in a veiled effort to garner bipartisan support, President Obama was taking heavy criticism from both sides of the aisle.

The plan, which Obama said will help the nation minimize its dependence on foreign energy sources, will lift the 20-year moratorium on exploration and drilling off the Atlantic coastline, a new section in the Gulf of Mexico and the Cook Inlet in Alaska.

While receiving mild support from a handful of Washington conservatives, the proposal is being viewed as a half-hearted effort by the majority of Republicans, as no drilling will be permitted anywhere along the west coast of the continental U.S. and most parts of Alaska—two areas that were approved for exploration by Congress in 2008.

Representative Mike Pence (R-Iowa) referred to the proposal as a "smokescreen," due to the fact that it will delay new exploration until at least 2012 and is far less aggressive than the plan that was approved under the previous administration, according to Fox News.

"Unfortunately, this is yet another feeble attempt to gain votes for the president’s national energy tax bill that is languishing in the Senate," said Pence.

Meanwhile, Obama’s decision has been blasted by liberals and environmentalists alike, including Greenpeace, which called his announcement a "betrayal" of those who voted for him.

Drinking OJ With A High-fat Meal Can Help Decrease Inflammation, Heart Risk

Drinking OJ with a high-fat meal can help decrease inflammation, heart risk Drinking orange juice during or following a fast-food-style meal may help neutralize the oxidative and inflammatory stress often generated by high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods, a new study has found.

Orange juice contains a large amount of flavonoids known as naringenin and hesperidin, which are two of the most powerful antioxidants. Researchers from the University of Buffalo found that these compounds help reduce the accumulation of oxygen-free radicals contained in fast-food meals that are known to increase inflammation in blood vessel lining and contribute to the risk of heart disease.

"This did not happen when participants drank water or a sugary drink with the meal," said lead author Husam Ghanim "These issues of inflammation following a meal are important because the resultant high glucose and high triglycerides are known to be related to the development of cardiovascular events."

In the study, the researchers had three groups of participants consume a 900-calorie breakfast high in carbohydrates and fats. They discovered that respondents who drank either water or a glucose beverage had 63 percent more oxygen-free radicals in their blood after eating the meal. In contrast, those who drank orange juice only experienced a 47 percent increase after consuming the breakfast.

Nonpartisan Organization Declares ‘Disgust’ With Healthcare Legislative Process

Nonpartisan organization declares 'disgust' with healthcare legislative process The recently passed healthcare reform bill has received tremendous criticism from the conservatives for many of its provisions, but the negotiation process that led up to the vote also disappointed many.

One of those entities that expressed its disillusionment with the politics of healthcare was the organization called Get Out of Our House (GOOOH)—pronounced "go"—whose self-proclaimed goal is to "evict" career politicians from the House of Representatives.

Organization founder Tim Cox said that the process of passing the legislation was "full of deceit," and he pointed to the backroom deals and arm twisting as proof that America’s political system is broken and corrupt. In his view, the debate was divisive and lacked civility.

"Whether you are for or against the healthcare bill passed by Congress, almost every person in America is disgusted with the politics in Washington and politicians in general," Cox said.

"It is time for the politicians to go!" he added.

GOOOH representatives say that the fact the organization received endorsements from Lou Dobbs, Dennis Miller and Kimberly Fletcher, founder of the Abigail Adams Project who gave a keynote address at The Tea Party Convention last month, shows the depth of public dissatisfaction. ADNFCR-1961-ID-19702634-ADNFCR

Activist: Tea Party Has A Chance To Revitalize Conservative Movement

Tea Party has a chance to revitalize conservative movement, activists predictsAs conservatives across the country are gearing up for the November elections they are looking for the most effective strategies to defeat the Democrats. For one activist, the Tea Party movement represents the best hope to revitalize and energize ordinary people across America who are tired of Washington’s excesses.

Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, delivered a speech late last month at a conference sponsored by the Virginia-based Restore the Founders Vision. During the event he said that the movement has the potential to make the Republican Party more responsive to grassroots citizens.

"The populist Tea Party activists add an important fourth leg of the conservative coalition, to go with the social, economic and defense components," Vaguerie said.

He also stressed that the movement is not part of the mainstream political establishment, and therefore its members do not care whether conservative principles hurt some Republican incumbents.

"The Tea Party people are unfettered to the political establishment and are not part of the old network of lobbyists and special interests," he added.

ConservativeHQ.com is a web portal providing news and reviews, discussion forums, as well as free newsletters and conservative mail. ADNFCR-1961-ID-19702649-ADNFCR

A Crowd For Hire, Barbies, Airport Scanners and Hobgoblins

*Why didn’t we think of this? There’s a resourceful entrepreneur in Kiev, Ukraine, who’s come up with a great idea. The English translation for Vladimir Boyko’s new company is Easy Work. Here’s what it does. For a small sum, he’ll get as many demonstrators as you want, cheering or jeering whatever you wish, wherever and whenever you want. “Ideology doesn’t matter to us,” he explains. “It matters even less to most students. They will rally only for money.” Strange to see a former communist country become so mercenary, isn’t it?

*More nasty discrimination from Wal-Mart. Here’s the latest cause célèbre that will soon have Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and their ilk parading in front of the TV cameras. ABC News found a Wal-Mart store that is selling black Barbie dolls for half the price of white ones. After consulting sociologists, psychologists, child development specialists and other experts, ABC News offered several explanations for this nefarious discrimination. One they apparently missed, however, is that the store had too many black Barbies in inventory and wanted to sell them.

*A friend of mine avoids these airports. Mark Skousen, the producer of FreedomFest, the Las Vegas conference I’ve written about before, says from now on, he won’t go through security at any airport that uses the new full-body search machines. He calls them an outrageous invasion of privacy. I’ll add that the hugely expensive machines are also totally unnecessary. There are newer X-ray machines that are far more effective at spotting metals and other objects, without revealing private body parts. According to the Transportation Security Administration, the airports with the scanners in place are Alburquerque International Sunport, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall, Boston Logan International, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas-Ft. Worth International, Detroit Metro, Denver International, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Indianapolis International, Jacksonville International, Kansas City International, Los Angeles International, McCarran International, Miami International, Phoenix Sky Harbor International, Raleigh-Durham International, Richmond International, Ronald Reagan Washington National, Salt Lake City International, San Francisco International, Tampa International and Tulsa International.

*Great quotation. Pat Buchanan says that global warming hysteria is the hoax of the 21st century. He says it reminds him of H.L. Mencken’s classic warning, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed—and hence clamorous to be led to safety—by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

—Chip Wood

That Cornhusker Kickback Will Cost You Plenty

Remember when Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson cut a deal with the Obama Administration to deliver the 60th vote in favor of Obamacare? To the ever-lasting shame of both sides, the result was an embarrassment that came to be known as the Cornhusker Kickback.

Basically, Big Ben asked for some special help so Nebraska could cover the increased costs of Medicaid when Obamacare finally passed. Barack and his buddies said “done” and—viola!—suddenly there was an additional $100 million for Nebraska buried deep in the legislation.

When news of this sweetheart deal got out, I’m delighted to report that a mighty outcry went up around the country. No one was willing to defend this crass example of Washington payola—not the folks who arranged it or even the voters who benefited from it.

In a sane world such overt bribery would never make it past a conference committee. But fiscal sanity—or even outright honesty—hasn’t been much of a factor in Washington politics for years. Instead of slicing $100 million out of Obamacare, the wheeler-dealers in charge of spending your money decided that “the only fair thing to do” was to give the same benefits to the other 49 states.

All of a sudden a special subsidy that was going to cost us $100 million—pocket change when you’re talking about a $870-billion piece of legislation—soared to $30 billion. Even by Washington’s spendthrift standards, we’re starting to talk about some real money here, folks.

What happened next shouldn’t have surprised me: The powers that be decided to cover the costs by slapping a new tax on well-off Americans. After all, as President Obama keeps reiterating, it’s only right that the wealthiest among us pay “their fair share.”

So that’s how a brand-new tax on what the redistributionists like to call “unearned income” became the law of the land. Starting next year, if you earn more than $200,000 a year, expect to see another bite taken out of anything you’ve managed to save. The new tax will cover interest on your Certificates of Deposit and other savings accounts; any dividends you make on stocks or mutual funds, rental income on any real estate you own, and anything else our masters in Washington can classify as “unearned” income.

Excuse me for a moment while I let out a primal scream or two about the Marxist misnaming of my so-called unearned income.  I worked mighty hard to earn every penny I’ve managed to save. There were a lot of 80 and 90 hour weeks when I was younger and just starting in business. I had to do the work of two or three people every week to keep my company’s doors open. And I’ll bet a lot of you who will be hit by this new tax can say the same thing.

Even Ben Nelson is now in full retreat from the monstrosity he helped create. No sooner had the Senate version of Obamacare finally been approved in the House than he became the first Democrat in the Senate to denounce “reconciliation.” He said he was especially troubled by the new tax he helped foist on us. He also denounced all those other add-ons that have pushed “the total cost of health reform up billions of dollars.”

Gee, does anyone think the senator is trying to curry favor with the voters back home? I hope a lot of Nebraskans will remember all of this when they go to the polls this November.

By the way, while I’m on the subject, may I ask for a show of hands of all of you who feel you don’t pay your fair share of taxes? And yes, Mr. Buffett, if by any chance someone sends you this column, we would love to publish your reply. I’ve seen reports that you think you should pay more. So why don’t you? There’s no law against Berkshire Hathaway adding a zero to every check it sends Uncle Sam.

For the sake of this discussion, I’m willing to grant that every American who is worth more than $50 billion should pay more in taxes than I do. Not just more total dollars, but I’ll compromise my principles enough to tolerate the plank in the Communist Manifesto that calls for a progressive income tax being levied against them.

But for the rest of us, let’s get real, as my kids would say. The canard that well-off Americans aren’t paying “their fair share” is one of the biggest of the Big Lies that socialists have used for decades to foster the culture of envy that dominates almost all of our politics.

Let’s look at the numbers to see what the truth really is. The last year for which the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released figures is 2007, so what follows is a bit out of date. But I can’t imagine that the percentages have changed much in ’08 and ’09. Look at what the government’s own figures show:

  • The top 1 percent of taxpayers in this country pay 40.42 percent of all income taxes.
  • For the top 5 percent, the percentage is even higher. The 7.1 million taxpayers who fit this description pay 60.63 percent of all Federal income taxes.
  • The bigger the net, the greater the discrepancy. The top 25 percent of taxpayers (35.3 million of us) can take pride in knowing that we contribute 86.59 percent of federal taxes. And the top 50 percent (70.5 million of us) pay 97.11 of the total taxes collected.

In comparison, the bottom 50 percent of filers—some 70.5 million of Americans with any kind of income—pay a minuscule 2.89 percent of federal tax dollars.

By what possible rationale can anyone say that the “rich” in this country don’t pay their fare share? You tell me. If the 71.22 percent that the top 10 percent in this country pay isn’t “their fair share,” then what is? I’d really like to know how you Obamaites (and yes, there are lots of you who read this column) justify urging government to confiscate more of our earnings.

With tax-collection day now less than two weeks away (Tax Freedom Day won’t happen for nearly two more months; I’ll write about that as it gets closer), I’ve been thinking a lot about our rapacious government and what it will take to put it on a diet.

As we’ve just seen, asking nicely ain’t gonna do it. Even yelling loud and long won’t be enough.

We’ve got to run the rascals out of office. Not all of them, I’m happy to say. Get rid of the worst 10 or 15 percent and the rest of the crowd in Washington will move to the right so fast the loony left won’t know what hit them.

Remember, most legislators aren’t dedicated to making government bigger. They aren’t dedicated to making it smaller, either. They’re just dedicated to staying in office. And if sounding (and voting) like a new Sarah Palin is what it will take to protect their careers, most of them will move right so fast all you’ll see is a blur.

In this country, we can still “throw the rascals out.”  But it will only happen, as I’ve said before, if those of us who work for a living become as devoted to the battle as those who vote for a living.

Until next Friday, think about what you’ll do to make a difference. And keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

Private Sector Layoffs Expected Following Passage Of Education Reform

Private sector layoffs expected following passage of education reform Responding to the Obama administration’s education reform legislation, which was passed in conjunction will the highly controversial healthcare bill, officials with the student loan giant Sallie Mae told Fox News on Tuesday that layoffs in the private sector are imminent.

"The student loan provisions buried in the healthcare legislation intentionally eliminate valuable default prevention services and private sector jobs at a time when our country can least afford to lose them," Conwey Casillas, vice president of public affairs for Sallie Mae, told the news source.

As part of the new bill, known as the Healthcare and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, the federal government will bypass financial institutions and will begin lending directly to students, effectively eliminating a large percentage of Sallie Mae’s dwindling profits.

Meanwhile, Obama continued to express his disdain for large banks and other financial institutions, referencing the fact that Sallie Mae spent $3 million last year to lobby against the legislation.

Casillas estimated that the student loan powerhouse will be forced to layoff approximately 2,500 employees by the summer to compensate for their expected losses.

Republicans Demand Border Security Following Act Of Violence By An Illegal Immigrant

Republicans demand border security following act of violence by an illegal immigrant Responding to the murder of a well-known Arizona rancher by an alleged illegal immigrant, prominent former and current members of the GOP have called on President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to properly secure the border between the United States and Mexico.

Former Representative Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) told Fox News on Tuesday that the seemingly random act of violence is an all too common example of the lack of control that authorities have north of the Mexican border.

"There is not going to be any effective barrier on that border because there is no desire to stop illegal immigration," he said. "They’re not using any human resources effectively."

The 58-year-old rancher was found murdered at his estate on Saturday and authorities found footprints leading back to a large gap in the border fence just south of his property line.

Meanwhile, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) has said that the Homeland Security office has yet to respond to his pointed letter demanding that Secretary Napolitano send National Guard troops to help secure the area, CBS News reports.

"The people of Arizona and the United States demand and deserve secure borders," McCain wrote. "I hope that you will take a personal interest in ensuring that Arizonans can feel safe and protected on their own property and not live in fear of the increasing violence along the border."

Chocolate Consumption May Lower Heart Disease Risk

Chocolate consumption may lower heart disease risk With Easter just around the corner, researchers have discovered some great news for chocolate lovers. According to a new study, consuming a small amount of dark chocolate each day can significantly reduce a person’s blood pressure and lower their risk of heart disease.

For the research, German investigators analyzed the dietary and exercise habits of nearly 20,000 people under the age of 65 for a period of at least eight years.

After evaluating the data, the research team found that those who ate an average of 7.5 grams of dark chocolate each day had lower blood pressure and were nearly 40 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than those who consumed the least amount of chocolate.

"It’s a bit too early to come up with recommendations that people should eat more chocolate, but if people replace sugar or high-fat snacks with a little piece of dark chocolate, that might help," said the study’s lead author Brian Buijsse, a nutritional epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition.

However, he also cautioned chocolate consumption should not increase daily caloric intake or replace healthy foods.

Study: Flaxseed Lowers Cholesterol Levels In Men

Flaxseed lowers cholesterol levels in menMen who are suffering from high cholesterol and are looking for an alternative to traditional medications such as Crestor®, Zocor®, or Lipitor® may be in luck. According to a new study from Iowa State University’s Nutrition and Wellness Research Center, consuming minimal amounts of daily flaxseed lignans can moderately decrease cholesterol in men in as few as three months.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, approximately 17 percent of Americans suffer from high cholesterol, which often contributes heart disease and other significant health issues.

In the study, lead author Suzanne Hendrich and her colleagues monitored 90 people who were diagnosed with high cholesterol, but were otherwise healthy. The participants were divided into three groups and were assigned to take daily capsules containing zero, 150 or 300 milligrams of flaxseed lignans for three months.

At the point of follow-up, the research team found that consuming at least 150 milligrams of flaxseed lignans per day can decrease cholesterol levels in men by approximately 10 percent. However, the treatment did not produce any significant results in women.

"There are certainly some people who would prefer to not use a drug, but rather use foods to try to maintain their health," Hendrich said. "So this potentially would be something to consider."

Drinking Soda Linked To Increased Risk Of Pancreatic Cancer

Researchers say drinking non-diet soda may increase the risk of getting pancreatic cancerResearchers say drinking two or more sweetened soft drinks each week may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.

According to Reuters, the study that appears in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found that individuals who drank two or more non-diet sodas each week had an 87 percent higher risk of being among those who got pancreatic cancer.

Researchers studied more than 60,000 men and women in Singapore for a period of 14 years for their results.

They say that the sugar in soft drinks may be to blame for the high incidence of the cancer since the insulin the body uses to metabolize sugar is made in the pancreas.

"The high levels of sugar in soft drinks may be increasing the level of insulin in the body, which we think contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth," the study’s lead author Mark Pereira said.

Other studies have linked burned or charred red meat to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, which is considered one of the deadliest forms of the disease.

The American Cancer Society reports that there were 42,470 new cases of pancreatic cancer last year and 35,240 deaths from it.ADNFCR-2035-ID-19604233-ADNFCR

Acupuncture May Relieve Dental Anxiety

Acupuncture may relieve dental anxietyRoutine visits to the dentist can help prevent avoidable health problems, such as tooth decay, infection and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, approximately one in 20 people suffer from severe anxiety regarding dental procedures and often postpone visits to their provider.

However, a recent study has found that the ancient Chinese art of acupuncture may be capable of treating patients with dental anxiety, also known as odontophobia.

"We can offer patients a safe, fast and cheap treatment for their odontophobia," said lead researcher Palle Rosted, from the department of oncology at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield, England, quoted by Health Day News. "By offering acupuncture, the dentist has an extra tool in his bag."

In the study, Rosted and his colleagues tested acupuncture on 20 patients who had been suffering from moderate to severe odontophobia for a number of years. Each patient’s anxiety level was checked before and after treatment using the established Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) questionnaire.

The research team found that the average BAI score fell from 26.5 to 11.5 after five minutes of acupuncture. Moreover, all patients were able to complete their visit to the dentist after being treated by a licensed acupuncturist.

Buoyed By Healthcare Victory, Democrats Turn Their Attention To Financial Markets

Buoyed by healthcare victory, Democrats turn their attention to financial marketsThe focus of the nation’s attention may have been on healthcare reform in recent weeks, but on the heels of that legislative victory the Democrats are now planning to push through sweeping financial system regulations.

On March 23, the Senate Banking Committee advanced financial reform by releasing a bill sponsored by Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). The highlights of the bill include the proposal to create the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to "identify potential threats to the financial stability of the U.S." and counteract them. The agency would also have the power to break up a big financial institution that poses a "grave threat to financial stability."

Moreover, the legislation creates the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) that is independent from banks’ veto power over consumer protections, writes and enforces rules against abusive lending practices and cover all providers, including payday and auto lenders.

In contrast with the healthcare legislation, the bill has some bipartisan support. In fact, Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) commented that "Republicans want to reach a bipartisan agreement on substantive financial reform that protects taxpayers, strengthens our economy, and preserves the competitiveness of our financial markets."

He added that "over the coming days, my Republican Banking Committee colleagues and I will give chairman Dodd’s proposal the serious consideration it deserves."

The Senate action follows the vote in the the House of Representatives last December when that chamber passed its version of the financial reform bill on a party-line vote. That bill also creates a consumer protection agency, imposes new guidelines on hedge funds and on derivatives trading, and outlines procedures for unwinding failed businesses. ADNFCR-1961-ID-19697021-ADNFCR

Obama Appoints Controversial, Previously Rejected Nominee While Congress Is On Recess

Obama appoints controversial, previously rejected nominee while Congress is on recessPresident Obama appointed 15 nominees to administrative posts on Saturday without Senate confirmation. The list of appointees included Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a highly controversial choice that has spurred the anger of the GOP, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many other business groups.

Obama was able to bypass the necessary confirmation of the Senate—which overwhelmingly rejected Becker’s nomination last month—by appointing his candidates while Congress was in recess. The White House justified the move by claiming that Republicans have purposefully set up "roadblocks" to stall progress, resulting in an "unprecedented level of obstruction."

All 41 Republicans in the Senate and more than 20 business groups wrote to Obama last week, urging him not to appoint Becker, a former lawyer with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) who may unfairly represent the interest of labor unions, the GOP argued.

"Time and again questions have been raised over Mr. Becker’s ability to serve in an honest and impartial manner on the NLRB, yet this administration chose to ignore the questions and concerns and instead forced their will on the American people," said Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.).

In response, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki stated that the five-member labor board has been operating with only two members while "our country is recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," according to Fox News.

Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin

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When a little-known (outside of Alaska) governor was announced as John McCain’s running mate Aug. 29, 2008, the Republican Party’s base was electrified and the elites of both the Democrat and Republican parties were mortified.

Five days later Sarah Palin gave her speech to the Republican National Convention and she demonstrated that she was going to be a force to be reckoned with in conservative politics for years to come—a force that the elites will forever fail to understand.

Palin opens Going Rogue: An American Life at the Alaska State Fair in August 2008. She was there with her daughters and infant son Trig—not with an entourage and a host of bodyguards—but with her family, watching her children and their friends ride the rides. Whereas politicians attend those events to shake hands and be seen, Palin was busy keeping up with her kids and buying concessions, like millions of Americans do every year.

But it was at the fair that her life forever changed. For it was there she received the call from McCain that would rock the political establishment.

Although she grew up in Skagaway, Alaska, where her family moved in 1964 when Palin—then Sarah Heath—was just 3 months old, her life was like the vast majority of most Americans’. Her father was a school teacher and coach who worked summers on the Alaska Railroad and tended bar in seasonal tourist traps. Her mother was occupied raising four children, driving a seasonal tour bus and volunteering at the community theatre and the Catholic church.

It’s her everyday American upbringing—raising chickens, growing produce, fishing and digging for clams and picking wild berries—that drives the elites nuts. It’s her blue collar work ethic, her annual work in Bristol Bay in July commercial fishing for salmon with her husband, Todd, that drives the elites crazy. It’s her blue-collar, union oil-worker and competition sledder husband that makes the elites go bonkers.

She writes about her days on the bench of her high school basketball team, and her days as point guard when, as a senior her team won the state championship. And they did so with her playing hurt, persevering through the pain of a broken ankle. It was in that game, she writes, that her parents’ lessons on the payoff of hard work and perseverance finally registered with her. She called it a life-changing victory.

After high school Palin went to the University of Idaho. She dreamed of being a journalist—or more specifically a sports journalist—where she could put her passion for sports to good use. One of the issues pundits used to try and bash her was the fact that it took her five years to graduate. She writes that, yes, it took her five years because she paid her own way by working between semesters. Sometimes, she says, she had to take a whole semester off to earn enough to return to school.

No stranger to hard work—Palin began working with her boyfriend and later husband Todd catching salmon on the Bristol Bay fishing grounds. When the salmon fishing was slow she worked “messy, obscure seafood jobs, including long shifts on a stinky shore-based crab-processing vessel in Dutch Harbor” (the area made famous by the Discovery Channel show, Deadliest Catch).

One season, she writes, “I sliced open fish bellies, scraped out the eggs, and plopped the roe into packaging” where the company would slap a caviar label on the box and sell it to “elite consumers for loads of money” as a delicacy.

She got into politics in 1992 when a friend of hers recruited her to run for the Wasilla, Alaska City Council. She campaigned by going door-to-door while pulling her two children through the snow on a sled.

It was there that she learned about the common sense fiscal conservatism she now preaches. She battled the “progressives” on the council over issues like raising taxes and passing ordinances that would have granted special favors to those who were well-connected. In doing so she quickly fell out of favor with the friend who had recruited her and expected her to vote with him.

She took that same independence to the Alaska governor’s mansion years later, where she fought the Republican establishment over corruption and the oil industry over special drilling deals.

It was that independent spirit that attracted McCain. And though that was one of her main attributes, the decision makers in the McCain campaign stifled that through much of the presidential election and basically put her in a box.

Palin admits she made mistakes on the campaign trail. But she also points out where the handlers and decision makers in the campaign had her shackled when she had something to offer the team. And she criticizes the campaign for effectively throwing in the towel down the stretch when there was still—she believed—time to pull out a victory.

After the campaign Palin returned to Alaska where she was met with an avalanche of ethics complaints and freedom of information requests that threatened to bankrupt her and essentially brought Alaska’s governance to a standstill.

It was while fighting yet another of the partisan, unsubstantiated and finally refuted ethic complaints that she decided the state would be better served if she stepped down. That action, decried by the elites she had so bamboozled for the previous year, freed her up to begin speaking on issues and campaigning for people who believed in common sense fiscal conservatism.

Palin is an amazing person… an American like the majority of Americans… one not cut from the cloth of elitism but very much like you and me and our neighbors—average people.

That’s why elitists despise her so much. She’s like the people they so disdain, yet they fear her because she’s charismatic and popular and they know she will be an influential part of American politics for years to come.