Anchor Babies And The Illegal 14th

The response is still pouring in to my column last week on our immigration policies. Or rather, our lack of same. If you haven’t read Arizona, Si! Obama, No! and want to get caught up on the topic, just click here.

When you finish reading my column be sure to scroll down to the bottom and read some of the hundreds of comments that readers have posted. You will be very impressed by the passion and, yes, the wisdom shown by many writers. They may be a cantankerous bunch, as I’ve said before, but there is no question that they are motivated by a fierce dedication to our country and the principles on which it was founded. I’d sleep better at night if more of them were on guard in Washington instead of the pathetic bunch of compromisers we’ve got now.

I don’t think there was anything in that column or the comments that followed that most readers would find shocking or unbelievable. Maybe something contrary to their own passionately held beliefs, sure, but there is nothing there that is startling, outrageous or even extremely controversial.

Today’s column will be different.

This week I want to discuss two important corollaries to last week’s column. The first is something that is almost never mentioned in this debate, but should be. The second is something that I have never seen raised. But it’s at the heart of much that has gone wrong in this country during the last 150 years.

Let’s begin with one of the most startling aspects of our present immigration crisis:

It is the official policy of the United States government that any child, born in this country to illegal immigrants, automatically and immediately becomes a citizen of the United States.

Not only that, but by becoming a newly franchised citizen, that infant is permitted to sponsor American citizenship for its mother, father and other relatives.

Such infants are sometimes referred to as “anchor babies,” because their immediate and automatic citizenship is the “anchor” on which a host of other claims, from welfare to the citizenship of others can be made.

On the face of it, this sounds patently absurd. How can a newborn baby be eligible for citizenship when his or her parents are not? Not merely eligible, mind you, but granted it automatically?

Many of us have grandparents or great-grandparents who overcame incredible obstacles to become citizens of this country. Before they were accepted they had to pass a rigorous and demanding test. The questions they were asked, and their answers, had to be in English.

As an essential part of the process every immigrant was required to renounce allegiance to the country he or she had left and to swear allegiance to his newly adopted home—the United States of America. And every new citizen was thrilled to do so.

There was a solemn ceremony, often conducted by a judge sitting high on a bench above them, issuing the oath of allegiance. Friends and family welcomed the new citizens with hugs and tears and enthusiastic applause.

That is what citizenship for an immigrant used to mean. But today we are required to bestow it on anyone whose mother can sneak across our border a few hours before her baby is born. That is absolutely insane.

The new citizen is immediately entitled to all the benefits that accompany citizenship—schooling, medical care, food stamps and other welfare and a whole host of “public assistance.”

Moreover, that new citizen is now entitled to invite other family members—mother and father, aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents, nephews and nieces—to come visit them in their newly adopted country and even apply for citizenship here.

How did such utter craziness come to be accepted as the law of the land?

Well, the first thing you need to know is that there is no such law.

If you ask how automatic citizenship for babies born to illegal immigrants came about you’ll be told that the 14th Amendment requires it.

This is a flat-out lie. But it’s a lie that’s been promoted by those who want to overturn the established laws and customs of our country. It’s a lie that the highest officials in this country—from the White House on down—pretend is true.

Let me share some important history with you. The 14th Amendment was proposed by Congress at the end of the Civil War. Its purpose was to make sure that newly enfranchised blacks were not denied the rights of citizenship when they returned to their homes in states that comprised the former Confederacy.

Sadly, the 14th Amendment is worded so vaguely that an activist court—spurred on by politically motivated attorneys—can interpret it almost any way it chooses. Here’s the relevant section:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

But what does “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” mean? If you do a little research on the topic you’ll discover that this amendment was most emphatically not meant to include the children of aliens—even if their parents were in this country legally. Lawmakers assumed that since their parents were subject to the jurisdiction of the country where they were citizens—that is, their native country—so were their offspring, no matter where they were born.

Ah, but if you do a little more research, you’ll discover a secret that’s been kept out of our history books for more than 100 years:

There are compelling reasons to believe that the 14th Amendment was never legally adopted by a sufficient number of states to make it a valid part of our Constitution. This is why the second part of today’s column is called “the Illegal 14th.”

First we begin with the fact that the Southern states never left the union. Oh, I’ll admit they tried to. We fought a terrible war over the issue. But Abraham Lincoln refused to recognize the Confederacy as a separate, legitimate government. Instead, he fought the war to keep the Confederacy from seceding. When the North won, Lincoln was ready to welcome the South back “with malice toward none.”

But if the Southern states never left the Union, then as soon as hostilities ended, those states and their citizens were entitled to all of the promises and protections of the U.S. Constitution. With me so far?

In the aftermath of the war all of the states that had comprised the Confederacy reformed their state governments, including both branches of their legislatures. (Remember, the Constitution guarantees every state “a republican form of government.”)

When the Federal Congress approved the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, and submitted it to the states, it was promptly ratified by most of the states in the former Confederacy and became part of our Constitution.

But this was not enough for the Radical Republicans (as they were called then) who controlled Congress. They wanted to punish the South. Even more important, they didn’t want the Southern states sending people to Congress who would oppose their plans for Reconstruction. So they proposed the 14th Amendment.

I can find no evidence that the 14th Amendment was ever approved by a two-thirds majority of the House and the Senate as the Constitution requires. In fact, there were plenty of contemporaries back in 1878 who said it was not. Nevertheless, the Radical Republican majority approved a resolution saying it had passed and submitted it to the states.

Six states that had approved the 13th Amendment balked at approving the 14th. The legislatures of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina said “no!” (So, incidentally, did New Jersey and Ohio.)

The Radicals in Washington were furious. They promptly approved a series of bills, called the Reconstruction Acts that divided the former Confederacy into 10 military districts. The legislatures of each state were ordered dismissed “by force of arms” and were replaced by political hacks appointed by the Federal army of occupation. Seven of these military-controlled bodies then did as they were told and “ratified” the 14th Amendment.

These “rump” governments were a far cry from “the republican form of government” that the Constitution guaranteed each state. Our Founding Fathers would have been aghast at what was done in the aftermath of that very un-civil war. And they wouldn’t have agreed for a second that any “vote” by these so-called legislatures could authorize a change to the Constitution.

But change it they did. When news of these coercive measures reached Washington, Secretary of State William Seward at first refused to ratify the amendment. He was quickly brought into line by the Radical Republicans in Congress however, and on July 20, 1868, he dutifully proclaimed that the 14th Amendment was now part of our Constitution.

And here’s something you probably never considered: The effects of this nefarious bit of legislative chicanery go far beyond citizenship for a few million children of illegal immigrants.

Bet you didn’t know that the 14th Amendment has been used by the Supreme Court as the legal justification for banning prayer in public schools… or authorizing abortion on demand… for requiring the forced busing of children… or scores of other usurpations of power by our central government.

If you’ve stayed with me this far I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, “Can this possibly be true? And if it is, how is it possible that the legality of the 14th Amendment has never been challenged in the courts?”

My answer to the first question is, “Yes, I believe it is true. The 14th Amendment was never legally ratified.”

My answer to the second is, “I don’t know.” I have not been able to find any record that any Federal court has ever issued a ruling on the adoption of “the illegal 14th.” I can’t even find evidence of the issue being raised in a lawsuit filed in a Federal court.

I can understand why those who benefit from today’s Goliath Government want to keep this issue swept under the heaviest rug they can find. But where have the conservative and libertarian talk shows, think tanks, advocacy groups and tax-free foundations been for the past 50 years? Have any of them raised this issue? Written articles about it? Made even a peep of protest?

If they have, I’m not familiar with it. If you know otherwise please tell me, because I really would like to know.

And so should every American who’s concerned about the future his country.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

Annie, Hannity, Goldman Sachs And Gold

*Leapin’ lizards, folks, Annie’s gone. I’m sorry to report that Little Orphan Annie won’t live to see 100. The folks at Tribune Media Services say the last column of the iconic comic strip has been sent to the handful of newspapers that still run it. The column made its debut on Aug. 5, 1924. Annie and her dog Sandy have enjoyed a lot of unlikely adventures since then. The spunky little girl—the inspiration for a radio show, several movies and a Broadway musical—never got any older. She never got any pupils in her eyes, either.

*Sean Hannity knows one when he sees one. Re: my column a few weeks ago, Is Barack Obama a Socialist?, one popular media conservative says he has no doubts. In his best-selling book, Conservative Victory—Defeating Obama’s Radical Agenda, Sean Hannity titled one chapter “Obama the Socialist.” In it he says our president “meets the dictionary definition” of being one. I still disagree, Sean.

*Guess who got the most money from Goldman? I’m not talking about bailouts to banking buddies, but instead, political contributions by those “Wall Street fat cats” our politicians love to bash. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Goldman Sachs wrote a lot of checks to the contenders. Here’s who got what: No. 1, Barack Obama—$996,595; No. 2, Hillary Clinton—$411,150; No. 3, Mitt Romney—$234,275; No. 4, John McCain—$230,095. Looks like Wall Street can spot a winner when it sees one.

*Would you like gold with that? Did you see that large, full-color photo of a gold-dispensing vending machine last week? It ran in several newspapers, including The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. The machine is located—you won’t be surprised to learn—in the lobby of the Emirate Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi. Maybe there’s a trend here. Last year Harrods’s, the luxury department store in London, began selling gold coins and bars to its affluent customers who wanted them. How soon before we see gold being offered for sale at Wal-Mart?

—Chip Wood

Arizona Threatens To Cut Power To L.A. Unless Boycotts Are Lifted

Arizona threatens to cut power to L.A. unless boycotts are lifted An Arizona utility commissioner said on Wednesday that he is willing to cut off Los Angeles’ power if the city moves forward with its economic boycott of the Grand Canyon State.

Last week, the L.A. City Council overwhelmingly approved a measure to suspend a variety of business contracts with Arizona due to the state’s controversial new immigration laws.

Gary Pierce, a commissioner on the five-member Arizona Corporation Commission, wrote a letter to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa this week stating that he was "dismayed" with the council’s decision, and would entertain the idea of fighting a boycott with a boycott unless it reconsidered the measure, according to CBS News.

"If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I will be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation," he wrote.

"However, if you find that the city council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights in Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona’s economy," Pierce added.

Currently, more than one-quarter of Los Angeles’ electricity comes from Arizona-based power plants, Fox News reports.
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Representative Mark Souder Admits To Having An Affair, Resigns

Representative Mark Souder admits to having an affair, resigns Representative Mark Souder (R-Ind.) announced his resignation on Tuesday after admitting having an extramarital affair with a part-time female staffer.

The eight-term congressman—a conservative Christian who often preached family values—recently survived a contentious primary election where he garnered less than 50 percent of the vote.

Souder was mysteriously absent from Washington for the last two weeks while rumors of his alleged affair began to surface. The congressman had claimed to be home attending to his ill wife while missing several key votes in House, Fox News reports.

"I wish I could have been a better example," said Souder. "In this poisonous environment of Washington, D.C., any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain. I am resigning rather than to put my family through that painful, drawn-out process."

With Souder’s resignation, the GOP may be at a greater risk of losing the seat to a Democratic challenger. A spokeswoman for Indiana Republican Governor Mitch Daniels said that a special election will be held in the next 30 days to select a Republican candidate, according to The Associated Press (AP).

The winner of the election will move on to face Fort Wayne, Ind., city council member Tom Hayhurst, who nearly beat out Souder in the 2006.
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Civil Rights Groups Sue Arizona, Claim Immigration Law Violates First Amendment

Civil rights groups sue Arizona, claim immigration law violates First Amendment As the firestorm of criticism continues to surround the recently passed Arizona immigration law—which allows police officers to demand documents from individuals who they suspect may be in the United States illegally—major civil rights organizations have filed a lawsuit challenging the legislation.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a coalition of civil rights groups filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, charging that the law is "extreme," opens doors to racial profiling of minorities, violates the First Amendment and interferes with Federal law.

"Arizona’s law is quintessentially un-American: we are not a ‘show me your papers’ country, nor one that believes in subjecting people to harassment, investigation and arrest simply because others may perceive them as foreign," said Omar Jadwat, a staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.

Jadwat expressed his confidence that the lawsuit will prevent the law from ever being implemented.

He was seconded in his opinion by Victor Viramontes, senior national counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), who stated that the law is "discriminatory" and "pushes Arizona into a spiral of fear, increased crime and costly litigation."

In addition to MALDEF, the ACLU was joined by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, ACLU of Arizona, National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. ADNFCR-1961-ID-19785072-ADNFCR

Multi-vitamins Improve Mood And Mental Performance Of Healthy Men

Multivitamins improve mood and mental performance of healthy menWhile the importance of taking nutrient supplements is well-known for the elderly, very few studies have investigated the link between vitamin intake and cognitive function among healthy adults under the age of 55.

To explore the relationship a research team from Northumbria University recruited 215 healthy men between the ages of 30 and 55 who were all employed full-time and had them blindly receive either a proprietary multi-vitamin or a placebo for a period of one month.

The investigators tested each participant both before and after the study with a variety of mood, stress and health questionnaires. They also analyzed their mental capabilities by having them undergo simple arithmetic examinations.

At the point of follow-up, the participants who took daily multi-vitamins reported considerable improvements in mood, stress levels and cognitive function. The control group participants experienced no significant benefit.

"The assumption was made here that the men tested enjoyed typical nutritional status," said lead author David Kennedy.

"However, the very fact of being able to improve mood, ratings of mental health and vigour and aspects of task performance by simple supplementation with B vitamins, vitamin C and minerals indicates that the cohort must have been suffering from less than optimal micronutrient status at the outset."
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Rand Paul Wins Primary, Pledges Change In Washington

Rand Paul wins primary, pledges change in Washington Directly following his convincing victory in Kentucky’s GOP Senate primary May 18, Rand Paul declared his allegiance to the Tea Party movement and warned Washington of his impending arrival.

"We have come to take our government back," Paul announced defiantly in his victory speech. "It’s just a tremendous mandate for the Tea Party. It cannot be overstated that people want something new—they don’t want the same old politicians."

Paul, who defeated one-time Republican favorite Trey Grayson by garnering nearly 60 percent of the vote, was immediately cast as an "extreme candidate" by Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Tim Kaine.

The leader of the DNC said Paul’s positions will "fail to resonate" beyond the small, conservative part of the electorate that voted for him on Tuesday, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who herself is a strong supporter of the Tea Party movement, told the news source that Paul’s resounding victory is a "wake-up call for the country."

In November, Paul will take on Democratic nominee Jack Conway, who is currently Kentucky’s attorney general. While Conway only won 44 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, he garnered nearly 30,000 more votes than Paul did in his primary election.
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Why The Hedge Fund “All-Stars” Are Struggling

Even as the S&P 500 rose a respectable 7.8 percent through the first four months of 2010, before giving it back in the first week of May amid concerns about Greece’s debt woes, the all-stars of the hedge fund world were having a rough start to 2010.

Moore Capital Management, whose founder, Louis Bacon, has his London digs (okay… more like a palace) right around the corner from me, had only posted gains of 1.58 percent this year—despite climbing to the top of the United Kingdom’s “hedge fund rich list” with a personal fortune of 1.1 billion British pounds.

Last year’s shooting star of the London hedge fund scene, emerging market manager Greg Coffey, who famously left a $250 million bonus on the table at European hedge fund group GLG Partners back in 2008, was down 5.88 percent into mid-March. And having recently sat next to the senior macro trader at Tudor Investments during a dinner at the swanky Carlton Club, I know that the mood at this iconic hedge fund is scarcely better than GLG. It turns out that the Tudor BVI Global fund was down 0.55 percent through mid-March.

No wonder this subpar performance has left investors scratching their heads. These hedge funds aren’t the industry’s one-hit wonders, either. They are, in fact, the “Babe Ruths” of the hedge fund world. After all, with the S&P 500 hitting 18-month highs in April 2010, you probably would think that a monkey throwing darts at a copy of The Wall Street Journal could be making money.

Hedge Fund All-Stars: The State Of Play In Global Markets
Well, if that monkey is an American one throwing darts at American stocks, the approach may succeed. But it’s been tougher for the monkey’s more cosmopolitan cousin.

The reality is that outside of the United States stock market, global stock markets haven’t done much in the last six months.

EAFE Versus S&P 500

Chart for iShares MSCI EAFE Index (EFA)

 

While the U.S. stock market rose a solid 15 percent during the last six months through April 2010, the MSCI EAFE Index—a stock market index that reflects market performance of developed markets in Europe, Australasia and the Far East—was clearly in the red for 2010. The formerly high-octane BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are struggling this year. And the weak performance of global markets masks a now seemingly distant but stomach-churning 15 percent sell-off in global stocks within the span of two weeks in January and February.

Hedge Funds Struggling: Here’s Why
Unlike U.S. retail investors, global macro hedge funds—or “multi-strategy funds”—aren’t necessarily focused solely on the U.S. stock market. And opportunities to make money outside of the U.S. stock market have been limited.

Yes, the dollar is up, and the euro and the British pound are down. Sugar soared for a while, but then collapsed. But gains on those trades have hardly made up for the cost of being whipsawed in and out of the market by sharp sell-offs in January and again in early May this year.

For retail investors, “buy and hold” remains the dominant investment mantra. And it’s also the strategy that has worked best over the past 14 months. But after a paradigm-shifting 2008, hedge funds are understandably skittish. They are (rightly) focused on the downside risks—whether financial contagion from Greece or another “Black Swan” event which they cannot predict.

Top hedge funds are also struggling because they look at risk in a fundamentally different way than investors schooled in the ways of "buy and hold." They are focused on the downside to a degree that is hard for most investors to imagine. At SAC Capital, if a portfolio manager is down 5 percent, he loses half of his money under management. If he loses 10 percent, he is shown the door. Apply that same standard to your favorite broker and see how long he’d last.

The experience of 2008 is also why many top hedge funds went on the defensive after the sharp sell-off in January. And they have been scrambling to recover ever since. Recent volatility in global financial markets notwithstanding, after an eight-week rally in the U.S. markets through the end of April, the sharpness and suddenness of the January sell-off seemed to fade into distant memory. As John Kenneth Galbraith observed, “the financial memory is very short.” For U.S. investors glued to the non-stop video game that is CNBC, “fear” rapidly transformed into “greed.” Of course, the big sell-off in the first week of May should serve as a reminder that risk management is as relevant to individual investors as it is to big institutions.

The bottom line? Yes, staying "dumb and long" in the U.S. stock market while ignoring the dips has been the single-best investment strategy over the past year. And any monkey, throwing darts at The Wall Street Journal would have outperformed the world’s top Market Wizards over the course of the last 14 months.

But as any old trader on Wall Street will tell you, “never confuse brains with a bull market.” And as any hedge fund manager will add: “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”

Sincerely,
Nicholas A. Vardy signature
Nicholas A. Vardy
Editor, The Global Guru

P.S. If you want to keep up with my latest insights on developments in fast-paced global markets, you can now follow me on Twitter on @NickVardy or on my new blog, NickVardy.com.

Hamilton’s Curse by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

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History can be a funny thing. Sometimes the sands of time obscure facts from those with only a passing knowledge of the truth.

So it is with some of the Founding Fathers. As a group they are revered by many for their knowledge, wisdom and forethought. They are seen as selfless defenders of liberty.

But that view is not completely accurate. Take the case of Alexander Hamilton, described by Thomas J. DiLorenzo in Hamilton’s Curse as essentially the anti-Thomas Jefferson—a man who would be pleased with America’s economic system today.

Hamilton’s Curse is not a biography of Hamilton. Rather it describes “his core political and economic ideas; the intellectual, legal, and political battles over those ideas; and the consequences America has suffered since his ideas were implemented,” DiLorenzo writes.

Although he was a principal author of The Federalist Papers and championed the adoption of the United States Constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation, he began to work immediately to undermine its tenants as President George Washington’s first Treasury Secretary.

What Hamilton really favored was a strong central government. In fact, as DiLorenzo writes, Hamilton opposed the Articles of Confederation because it did not empower a centralized government. He wanted America to be ruled by a king that would have supreme power over all the people. He favored making the states provinces with governors appointed by—and therefore loyal to—the king.

Under such a regime, all political power in the nation would be exercised by the king and his circle of advisors, which undoubtedly would include Hamilton. Essentially, Hamilton wanted to turn the United States into Britain.

But what Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers sounded quite Jeffersonian, leading many to believe later that he was being less than sincere in the writings, DiLorenzo writes.

“More likely, his writings were intended to goad the public into acquiescing in the adoption of a document that he hoped would become a ‘living constitution,’” according to DiLorenzo. Hamilton later described the Constitution as “a frail and worthless fabric.”

Among the legacies of Hamilton and his acolytes is the idea that the Constitution granted the Federal government “implied powers”—powers that were not actually in the Constitution but that statists like Hamilton wish were there.

He favored a central bank, activist judges and mercantilist system modeled after the British system.

DiLorenzo writes that Hamilton was likely the first to twist the meaning of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, claiming the clause was an all-inclusive term for all commercial activities in society, and therefore that the government had a “right” to regulate and control all commerce—not just trade but intrastate commerce as well.

Hamilton believed “public” debt was a blessing, and he favored high taxes and paying subsidies (corporate welfare) to certain businesses.

While small government advocates in the Jeffersonian tradition won out over the Hamiltonians in the beginning, the Hamiltonians—or nationalists, as DiLorenzo calls them—never relented in their efforts.

Finally, in 1913 with the establishment of the Federal Reserve and the passage of the 16th Amendment (granting the power to lay and collect taxes) and 17th Amendment (changing the way Senators are selected), the Hamiltonian philosophy prevailed.

Hamilton’s economic philosophy is in play today, and is the source of our country’s economic ills. DiLorenzo lays this all out in excellent fashion and peels back the layers of historical revisionism that have lionized Hamilton and others who believed as he did.

DiLorenzo makes an excellent case that if we are to return to the republic the Founding Fathers like Jefferson and James Madison envisioned we must end the Federal Reserve and repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments.

Freedom-loving Americans who are interested in devolving themselves of the glossed-over public school history they learned—and the false history being perpetuated today—must read this book.

Republicans Ask For Citizens’ Opinions On Spending Programs

Republicans ask for citizens' opinions on spending programsIn an effort to connect with conservative activists and help curb Federal spending, House Republicans announced last week the creation of a new project designed to allow citizens to vote on what they think should be cut from the Federal budget.

The new initiative, called YouCut, will enable voters to choose from one of five possible cuts each week. The winning suggestion will be brought to the floor the following week and will be voted on by members of the House.

"What we’re saying here is we’re going to listen," House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told Fox News. "Vote on your priority, and we’ll take it to an up-or-down vote on the floor."

Meanwhile, Democrats are calling the program a simple public relations gimmick that has no realistic chance of trimming the Federal budget.

"It’s not surprising that they are resorting to another gimmick for a round of press rather than a substantive idea for lasting solutions," said Hari Sevugan, the Democratic National Committee’s press secretary. "But if they actually listened to the American people, Republicans would know that knee-jerk opposition, obstruction, delay and gimmicks are not a substitute for leadership."

In response to the program, the Democrats created their own project called GOPSpent, where Americans can vote on the most irresponsible Republican initiatives that favor special interest groups.

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Attorney General Eric Holder’s Deputy Testifies In Voter Intimidation Inquiry

Attorney General Eric Holder's deputy testifies in voter intimidation inquiry As the Obama administration tries to stave off criticism over its dismissal of the investigation into the alleged New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case last year, a top Justice Department official testified on May 14 in front of the United States Civil Rights Commission.

Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez spent 90 minutes defending the department’s actions, saying there were no alternative motivations behind the decision to drop the case by then-Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Loretta King, according to Main Justice.

"This is a case about career people disagreeing with career people," he was quoted as saying by the news provider, seemingly implying that the dispute was primarily between lawyers.

However, Perez entered into a heated exchange with Commissioner Gail Heriot who pressed him to answer why a more expansive injunction was not sought against a member of the Black Panther party who had carried a nightstick, the news source further reported.

The ongoing inquiry stems from an incident on Election Day 2008 at a Philadelphia polling station where members of the New Black Panther Party allegedly tried to intimidate voters by standing in military-style garb outside.

Late last year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed most of the case, causing anger among many conservatives.

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Praises, Criticisms Of Kerry-Lieberman Climate Bill Continue

Praises, criticisms of Kerry-Lieberman climate bill continue In the days since Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced their energy and climate bill proposal, unions, industry groups and other stakeholders have continued to express their views that span an entire spectrum of opinions.

Among powerful unions, the United Steelworkers has praised the bill for its provisions to limit carbon "leakage," i.e. reduce incentives for production of goods to move to countries that fail to address global climate change.

Public Service Enterprise Group, a publicly traded energy company, has expressed a similar opinion, with its representatives stating that the proposal has the potential to protect consumers and provide the regulatory and legislative certainty needed "to unleash investment and create jobs."

They added that the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico underscores the importance of a comprehensive energy policy that achieves fuel diversity and "puts a price on carbon."

However, the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association appeared to be alarmed by the proposed carbon mandates. Its Executive Vice President and general counsel Gregory M. Scott stressed that carbon reduction mandates won’t have any impact on climate change because they apply only to vehicles, power plants, refineries and manufacturing facilities in the United States and ignore the soaring carbon dioxide emissions from rapidly industrializing countries.

"The draconian carbon reduction targets and timetables in this bill would trigger destructive change in America’s economic climate," Scott said, adding that "this would add billions of dollars in energy costs for American families and businesses, destroy the jobs of millions of American workers and make our nation more dependent on foreign energy sources."
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Vitamin A Supplementation May Improve Lung Function In Newborns

Vitamin A supplementation may improve lung function in newbornsExpectant women who take vitamin A supplements before and during pregnancy have a greater chance of giving birth to a child with superior lung function, according to a new Johns Hopkins study.

For the research, a team of investigators analyzed the lung function of a group of children whose mothers had been assigned to receive vitamin A supplements, beta-carotene tablets or a placebo both before and during their pregnancy.

They discovered that women who took vitamin A supplements gave birth to children who had greater forced expiratory volume at one second (FEV1) and a greater forced vital capacity (FVC), two important measures of lung function. On average, the offspring of participants in the vitamin A group improved their lung function by 3 percent compared to the other respondents’ children.

"This benefit was limited to children whose mothers received vitamin A and not to those whose mothers received beta-carotene," said the authors of the study. "Early interventions with vitamin A in communities where undernutrition is highly prevalent may have long-lasting consequences in lung health."
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Supreme Injustice

“Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.” President William Howard Taft

President Barack Obama is covering all the bases when it comes to forming his Supreme Court, an institution which will leave his stamp on America long after he has left office.

Gay rights activists are quick to laud the President’s latest pick for the high court, Solicitor General Elena Kagan. The nomination of Kagan comes one year after Obama’s first selection for the court, Sonia Maria Sotomayor. Latinos loudly applauded that nomination. Gays are downright giddy over Obama’s decision to replace John Paul Stevens with Kagan.

Kevin Cathcart, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund’s executive director, believes Kagan holds “a strong position” in opposing the military’s ban on gays.

During her confirmation as solicitor general last year it was revealed that Kagen had tried to bar military recruiters from the campus of Harvard Law School while she was dean. Even though Kagan was part of the Clinton administration she was never a fan of Clinton’s policy of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” It seems that this academic nominee (she has never been a judge and she has only practiced law for two years) believes that being openly gay is good, even if it impedes national security as many in the armed forces believe.

Kagan told the Judiciary Committee last year that in her view, “the exclusion of individuals from basic economic, civic, and political opportunities of our society on the basis of race, nationality, sex, religion, and sexual orientation (is injust).”

With control of 59 votes in the Senate, Democrats should be able to win confirmation. However, if all 41 Republicans vote together, they could block a vote with a filibuster.

Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign president, said Kagan’s selection fulfills Obama’s promise to promote “diversity” on the court. There can be little doubt of that. Last week The Washington Post asked in a headline: “Can men still be appointed to the Supreme Court?”

If we assume that the pool of possible nominations includes equal numbers of equally qualified men and women, then the nomination of two women consecutively has a one in four chance of occurring. But the kicker for Kagan getting nominated is her close personal relationship with the President. In fact Obama introduced the former Harvard Law School dean as "my friend."

"Elena is widely regarded as one of the nation’s foremost legal minds,” Obama said. “She’s an acclaimed legal scholar with a rich understanding of Constitutional law. She is a former White House aide, with a life-long commitment to public service and a firm grasp of the nexus and boundaries between our three branches of government."

I don’t know what having a firm grasp on the nexus and boundaries means, but it sounds like something that would be bandied about at a Mensa meeting. And while I will never be invited to that group of geniuses, I am smart enough to understand that when it comes to consolidating power, Obama resembles leaders from Caesar Chavez to Fidel Castro; friends come first.

The never-married 50-year-old Kagan is not only a close friend to the President but also shares many of his ideals. Kagan clerked for one of the Supreme Court’s staunchest liberals, Thurgood Marshall, and was a research assistant for one of the greatest legal defenders of gay civil rights, Laurence Tribe. She was also a staff member on the Dukakis for President Campaign in 1988. The defeat of Dukakis set back gay rights for 20 years, but with Obama and now Kagan, another minority is set to take swift strides.

As MSNBC pointed out, “Kagan has the chance to extend Obama’s legacy for a generation.” And every bit as alarming as that is the likelihood that Kagan is a supporter of even greater executive powers.

The Court’s Lurch To The Left
In 1952 Supreme Court clerk and later Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote that the Court should not strike down Jim Crow laws. Rehnquist also said that Brown v. Board of Education should not find that minorities do not have a constitutional right to the same treatment as the majority.

Rehnquist wrote: "To the argument made by Thurgood Marshall [in Brown v. Board of Education] that a majority may not deprive a minority of its Constitutional right, the answer must be made that while this is sound in theory, in the long run it is the majority who will determine what the Constitutional rights of the minority are."

I wonder if it was not Rehnquist’s ideas that were sound only in theory. It seems less and less that it is the majority deciding its future. Consider the immigration law passed in Arizona, SB 1070. A CBS poll showed that 60 percent of American’s don’t think the new law—which is bound to include profiling—is too extreme.

Yet our President has announced opposition. Obama held a reception at the White House on May 5—Cinco de Mayo Day—where he denounced Arizona’s new immigration law. Obama announced that he has instructed his administration, "To closely monitor the new law in Arizona, [and] to examine the civil rights and other implications that it may have."

Furthermore, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that the Justice Department is deliberating whether to file suit against the Arizona law, either on the grounds that it violates the Supremacy Clause or Federal civil rights laws. But during a Congressional hearing May 13, Holder admitted he had not even read the law.

It doesn’t look like Arizona will back down and, in the wake of the past 17 months in office, it appears doubtful that Obama will either.

Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas) accuses the Obama administration of doing more to secure the borders of foreign countries than its own and called for immediate action to reverse that.

“We want the National Guard to be armed and defend themselves if necessary and to assist the border patrol and local law enforcement," said Poe.

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer—who signed the bill—has said Arizona must act because Washington had failed to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs from Mexico. Arizona is home to nearly half a million illegal immigrants and is the nation’s busiest gateway for illegals and drugs.

Yet Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said that Republicans are using the issue to divide the country. "We’re here to say it’s time to deal with comprehensive reform realistically and begin the process of healing this country.”

For things to work out for Grijalva, the city of Phoenix may have to live up to its name and raise the dead. According to Brian Ross of ABC News, “Phoenix, Arizona has become the kidnapping capital of America, with more incidents than any other city in the world outside Mexico City, and over 370 cases last year alone.”

In the end expect this dispute to land on the steps of the Supreme Court; a once non-partisan institution that Obama is trying to stack with minority rights activists such as Sotomayor and Kagan. While Latinos and gays may rest easy because of Obama’s choices for the Supreme Court, Americans living in Phoenix will not. That is bad news for the majority of Americans whose families built this great country.

Yours in good times and bad,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

The Birth Of Wall Street

What would become the New York Stock Exchange was born 218 years ago this week. On May 17, 1792, 21 stock brokers and representatives of three firms met under a buttonwood tree at 68 Wall Street and signed what became known as “the Buttonwood Agreement” to regularize the buying and selling of public shares.

Members of the New York Stock and Exchange Board, as it was called, pledged to honor two commitments. First, to buy and sell shares only among themselves—no outsiders permitted at this table. Or as the Agreement put it, “We will give preference to each other in our Negotiations.”

Second, that their commissions on all exchanges would never be less than .25 percent (one quarter of one percent) of the transaction. Over time, both the number of members and the percent for commissions grew exponentially.

And here’s an interesting tidbit: For more than 200 years stock prices were quoted in fractions, not decimal points. The reason has more to do with Spanish pirates than English banks. In order to share some of the captured booty with their crew members, pirates would slice doubloons into eight pieces—sort of like dividing a pizza today. So 1/8th of a dollar became a common unit of measurement. Two of them were “two bits,” or 25 cents—an expression we still use today.

That is, of course, the only association between pirates and Wall Street that’s ever existed.

—Chip Wood

Holder Admits To Not Having Read Arizona’s New Immigration Law

Holder admits to not having read Arizona's new immigration lawAfter criticizing Arizona’s new immigration law over its alleged proclivity to promote racial profiling, Attorney General Eric Holder admitted last week that he has not read the statute.

While fielding questions at the House Judiciary Committee’s latest hearing, Representative Ted Poe (R-Texas) asked Holder directly if he had read the law that he openly criticized.

"I have not had a chance to," the attorney general responded. "I’ve glanced at it. I have not read it."

Meanwhile, Holder said on NBC’s Meet The Press last weekend that the law could lead to racial profiling and may put a "wedge" between law enforcement personnel and the Latino community.

"People in that community are less likely then to cooperate with people in law enforcement, less likely to share information, less likely to be witnesses in a case that law enforcement is trying to solve," he said.

Holder also indicated last month that the Federal government may challenge the law in court based on its constitutionality, Fox News reports.

In response to the attorney general’s confession, Poe responded, "its 10 pages—it’s a lot shorter than the healthcare bill. I will give you a copy of it if you would like."
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Holder Evades Questioning On Alleged Illegal White House Job Offer

Holder evades questioning on alleged illegal White House job offerDespite Representative Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) intensive questioning at a Congressional hearing last week, Attorney General Eric Holder refused to comment on the status of a possible Justice Department investigation.

In February, Representative Joe Sestak (D-Penn.) told a Philadelphia news station that he was informed by the White House that he would be offered a Federal position with the Department of Defense if he dropped out of the upcoming Pennsylvania Democratic primary election, where he will be competing against Senator Arlen Specter (D-Penn.).

Issa, the ranking Republican member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asked Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to the case in March, and said he had yet to receive a response from the attorney general’s office.

Meanwhile, Holder continued to evade Issa’s questions regarding whether or not an investigation into the accusations had been launched.

"I can say that with regard to the appointment of a special prosecutor, that it is done on a case-by-case basis," Holder said. "It is the department’s policy not to comment on pending matters, to say there is an investigation, to say there is not an investigation."

As to the lack of response to the Representative’s letter, Holder said he assumed his office had taken action and apologized.

"It could be in the mail," Issa said sarcastically. "It’s very slow sometimes."
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Poll Shows Michigan Residents Oppose Expansion Of Sales Tax

Poll shows Michigan residents oppose expansion of sales taxThe idea of expanding the sales tax to services has been floated as one way to help lower Michigan’s budget deficit, but a new survey shows that most residents overwhelmingly oppose this measure.

The poll, released by the the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Association of Realtors, found that 75 percent of likely voters oppose the proposal put forward by Governor Jennifer Granholm and House Speaker Andy Dillon to lower the sales tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent and expand the tax to most consumer services.

Only 21 percent support this measure, according to the survey.

"The more the people of Michigan learn about a service tax, the more they see it as an effort to nickel-and-dime those who can least afford it," said Michigan Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Rich Studley.

"Businesses and working families are struggling and can’t afford to bear any more burdens," he added.

The survey moreover found that the opposition was consistent across the political spectrum. In fact, 77 percent percent of Republican voters and 74 percent of independents were joined by 60 percent of Democrats in expressing a negative view of the governor’s plan.

According to recent estimates, Michigan faces between $1.6 billion and $1.7 billion deficit for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.
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NASA: Omega-3 Intake May Help Prevent Bone Loss

NASA: Omega-3 intake may help prevent bone lossSeveral NASA-sponsored studies published in the May issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research indicate that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil capsules can help prevent bone loss commonly associated with osteoporosis.

The organization undertook the research because bone density loss is one of the most harmful long-term effects that the weightlessness of space has on astronauts.

For the study, a research team recruited 16 subjects to take part in a 60-day bed rest trial, where the effects of weightlessness were simulated. At the point of follow-up, participants who received high levels of omega-3 fatty acids experienced less bone loss than respondents who were given a placebo.

In light of the findings, the investigators analyzed the diet and incidence of bone loss of a group of astronauts who took part in four-to-six month spaceflights. They concluded that those who consumed more fish lost less bone mineral during their time in space than those who consumed a diet high in other forms of protein.

"These results are very exciting, and provide initial evidence that nutrition may be a key factor in mitigating bone loss in astronauts," said lead author Scott Smith, a nutritionist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
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McCain, Kyl Blast U.S. Diplomat For Comparing Arizona To China

McCain, Kyl blast U.S. diplomat for comparing Arizona to ChinaBoth of Arizona’s Republican senators demanded that a top United States diplomat apologize for reportedly comparing the state’s aggressive new immigration laws to a number of China’s alleged human rights violations.

During a press briefing on Friday regarding a recent meeting between Chinese and U.S. diplomats, Michael Posner, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Democracy, said Arizona’s new law stands as "a troubling trend in our society and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination."

Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and John Kyl(R-Ariz.) responded with a letter May 18, demanding that Posner retract his statement and apologize for misrepresenting the new measure, according to Politico.com.

"You seemed to imply [the Arizona law] is morally equivalent to China’s persistent pattern of abuse and repression of its people," they wrote. "To compare in any way the lawful and democratic act of the government of the state of Arizona with the arbitrary abuses of the unelected Chinese Communist Party is inappropriate and offensive."

Meanwhile, Bureau of Democracy spokesman P.J. Crowley told Fox News that Posner was actually "standing up" for America by describing the manner in which debate is conducted in a "civil society."
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Turmeric: Nature’s Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Root

Some of the best Indian food I’ve ever tasted was cooked in London. I always knew that the British loved Indian cuisine and that they once held governance over India. What I didn’t know was that curry was introduced to Indian cuisine by the Brits. (Just a little fun fact to chew on.)

In countries like India where traditional cultures are thousands of years old, there are deep traditions of cooking daily meals with medicinal roots and herbs. These herbs act as preventive measures for sustaining good health, and prevention is the cornerstone of India’s traditional Ayurvedic medicine.

Turmeric is one such medicinal root that has made its way into a vast number of Indian recipes. Aside from your standard chicken or goat curries, there is a whole list of Indian dishes that contain flavorful thermogenic ingredients like cardamom, coriander, ginger, cloves, chili and turmeric. Not only are the recipes tasty, the ones containing turmeric are especially healthful.

Research by Sarker and his colleagues notes turmeric’s powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant properties. Moreover, the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have this to say: “Laboratory and animal research has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties of turmeric and its constituent curcumin.”

It is true that inflammation is a natural response your body has to potentially damaging stimuli. Catch a cold or sprain an ankle and the immune system kicks in and produces swelling to guard while healing takes place. But often the body does not know how or when to stop the inflammation and this causes too much fibrin in the tissues that can lead to pain and stiffness. If left untreated, it can become a chronic health issue.

Unlike aspirin or ibuprophen, turmeric’s curcumin reduces inflammation naturally, without damaging the liver or kidneys. It has been found especially helpful in treating conditions like arthritis, sports injuries, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, tendonitis and various autoimmune diseases. Some research even suggests that curcumin may also help those suffering asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and yes, even cancer.

Since turmeric’s curcumin component is an anti-inflammatory as well as an antioxident agent, it has been used for treating wounds, digestive disorders, liver issues, arthritis and in the prevention of cancer. Statistics also show that Asian children experience less incidence of leukemia than their Western counterparts and it seems a diet rich in turmeric may be the reason why.

Recent studies show that rats that were prone to multiple sclerosis developed very few if any symptoms after being given curcumin. The journal Science reported in their April 23, 2004, issue that curcumin has countered the genetic damage that leads to the lung disorder cystic fibrosis in mice test subjects. It was also shown that curcumin protects against alcohol’s damaging affects on the liver as well as harmonizing the stomach and digestion.

Thousands of scientific articles on the efficacy of curcumin are found within the NIH and NLM’s PubMed MEDLINE database. These show curcumin to be effective in the treatment of inflammation, wounds, cancer, heart disease and as a preventive measure against arthritis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), neurological diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, type-2 diabetes, cataracts, cystic fibrosis, scleroderma and many others.

As if that list were too small, as reported in the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Therapies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service lists nearly 80 biologic activities associated with curcumin, from anti-HIV to anti-ulcerogenic actions.

My advice: Everyone enjoy Indian food containing turmeric at least once a week as a symptomatic and preventive measure.

—Dr. Mark Wiley

References:
Cronin, J.R. "Curcumin: Old spice is a new medicine." Journal of Alternative & Complementary Therapies: Feb. 2003, pp. 34-38.

Egan, M.E., et al. “Curcumin, a Major Constituent of Turmeric, Corrects Cystic Fibrosis Defects.” Science, 23 April 2004 304: 600-602 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1093941] (in Reports)

National Institutes of Health. MedlinePlus Herbs and Supplements: "Turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn.) and Curcumin," US Department of Health and Human Services; Natural Standard Research Collaboration: 2008 ed.: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-turmeric.html

Sarker, S.D., et al. "Bioactivity of Turmeric," Turmeric: The genus Curcuma; Medicinal and Aromatic Plants—Industrial Profiles, edited by Ravindran, P.N., et al. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2007.