Immigration Debate Reveals Philosophical Gap In Congress

Immigration Debate Reveals Philosophical Gap In CongressDuring a heated debate in Congress about immigration reform, lawmakers took to citing Biblical passages to justify both anti-immigration views as well as approaches that would open a path to citizenship to undocumented aliens.

The development took place during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing that included religious leaders such as Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and Bishop Gerald Kicanas from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, according to media reports.

While some of the speakers tried to frame the discussion in terms of basic human rights and dignity, lawmakers such as Texas Representative Lamar Smith cited passages that he said justify a stronger crackdown on illegal immigrants.

Among them was the passage from Romans 13, which states that it is God’s will that individuals should follow the laws set out by governing authorities.

"The Bible contains numerous passages that support the rule of law," Smith said. "The scriptures clearly indicate that God charges civil authorities with preserving order, protecting citizens and punishing wrongdoers."

However, Land and other religious representatives used the scriptures to motivate their support for a comprehensive reform. According to Land, the Bible also teaches us “to care for ‘the least of these among us’ (Matthew 25:34-40), to care for the ‘strangers’ who reside in our land (Leviticus 19:34; Hebrews 13:2) and to act justly and mercifully (Micah 6:8)," quoted by The Denver Post.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19893168-ADNFCR

Tea Consumption May Help Stave Off Cognitive Decline

Tea consumption may help stave off cognitive declineWhile the results of several studies have suggested a link between regular caffeine consumption and a reduced risk of cognitive decline, few have been able to quantify the beneficial effects that the compound has on brain function.

However, recent findings presented at last weekend’s International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease imply that individuals can significantly slow the development of cognitive decline by routinely consuming tea.

For the study, lead author Lenore Arab and her colleagues from the University of California Los Angeles recruited more than 4,800 men and women over the age of 65 and had them complete dietary questionnaires.

The participants were then followed for as many as 14 years, and were asked to routinely complete a Mini-Mental State Examination to measure their naturally-occurring levels of cognitive decline. On average, people scored 1.7 points lower on the exam each year.

However, after analyzing the dietary questions, and taking into account various risk factors, the researchers found that tea drinkers experienced 17 to 37 percent less cognitive decline over the course of the study, compared to non-tea drinkers. The more tea a person drank, the more stable their brain function remained.

Beware The Lame Duck

Faced with mounting criticism over his handling of the Federal debt, President Barack Obama did what every brave elitist of the elected class has done before him: he appointed a commission.

Commissions, you see, give the brave elected class cover to do the “hard work.” No, not raising taxes and cutting spending. That’s easy for them. The hard work is in justifying the increased taxes listening to what they see as a sniveling constituency unhappy that they just lost more of their money and freedom at the hands of a fascist regime.

If the appointed commission—which surely has only the best interests of the country in mind—says that taxes need to be raised then so be it, Congress can say, we had no choice, the commission made us do it. End of story.

So the elitist fascist president took two elitist fascists from the political class, told them to assemble a group of like-minded individuals and charged them with coming up with a plan to reduce the total Federal debt, which is expected to exceed $14 trillion—$14,000,000,000,000—next year. That equals to about $47,000 for each resident of the United States.

The co-chairs of the national debt commission are Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson. They were chosen—one representing each of the two main political parties—to give the commission an air of bipartisanship.

Bowles sports an MBA from Columbia Business School and had a career as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley before he became involved in Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. Clinton rewarded Bowles by appointing him to head up the Small Business Administration and later naming him deputy chief of staff.

Bowles left the Clinton administration to found his own investment bank but was later called back to work for “Slick Willy” as chief of staff in late 1996. In 1997 he worked on Clinton’s behalf to craft a balanced budget bill along with the Republican majority.

Since then Bowles failed in his two attempts to win a Senate seat in North Carolina and then served as president of the University of North Carolina system for four and half years before retiring in February.

Simpson, on the other hand, sports a law degree he obtained from the University of Wyoming and is a career politician. He spent 13 years in the Wyoming House of Representatives before his election to the U.S. Senate in 1978, where he served until his retirement 1996.  Since then he has taught politics at places like the John F. Kennedy School of Government and has made a career of poking fun at himself and other politicians on the talk show circuit.

His claim to fame was serving as GOP whip in 1990 where he helped round up votes to raise taxes for George H.W. Bush’s budget bill that broke the 41st President’s “Read my lips. No new taxes” pledge.

In other words, both Bowles and Simpson are of government and from government and any solutions their commission reaches will benefit government. As Bowles said after being appointed, “the president looked Senator Simpson and me in the eye and he said, ‘Everything is on the table.’ So we are going to look at every single way to right this fiscal ship.”

That includes cutting “sacred cows” and raising revenue, Bowles said. Everything is on the table, including a value-added tax (VAT), letting the Bush tax cuts expire (which it appears Democrats intend to do), raising other taxes (elitists call them revenue enhancements), plundering the retirement funds of individuals and cutting entitlements (though the prospect of this, on the heals of the rammed-through passage of Obamacare, is laughable).

And what exactly are some of the solutions being bandied about to solve the debt crisis? Instituting a VAT is one key component being considered. A VAT adds a tax to a product on all levels of production. It would reap billions for the government but would devastate the economy and increase the cost of all goods and services and disproportionally affect the poor.

It would also break Obama’s pledge not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000; er, $225,000; er, $200,000; or whatever the Obama truth happens to be today. Of course, what’s one more broken Obama pledge? For Democrats, history starts today.

Raising taxes on corporations is another solution under consideration. Those who don’t understand the way the world works, who fail to understand that businesses don’t really pay taxes, love the idea of corporations paying higher taxes.

But in the end, corporations don’t pay taxes. Their taxes are figured into the costs of doing business and are passed along to the consumer in the form of higher prices. No matter what, businesses must maintain a certain profit margin or they will eventually fail.

But regardless of whether the taxes are paid by businesses or people, raising taxes in a depressed economy is a bad idea. More and more economists are already predicting a double-dip recession, and some are forecasting a drop in the Dow of 40 percent to 50 percent within the next year—a prospect that seems more and more likely by the day.

Coincidentally, the commission is supposed to have its report on Obama’s desk by Dec. 1. That would give Congress a few weeks to ram the commission’s recommendations through before the new Congress takes over in January—during a lame duck session.

And that prospect is on the agenda, according to Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), president of the Senate Budget Committee.

In fact, as The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund wrote July 9, Democrat party leaders are acknowledging they are poised to lose the House of Representatives and realize their hold on the Senate will be tenuous at best. So they are holding off passing some major legislation before the election that they think they can ram through in a lame duck session after the Nov. 6 election.

“I’ve got a lot of things I want to do” in a lame duck session, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) told reporters in June. And all of them are bad for Americans.

Among them are card check (which would change how unions are allowed to organize workers and effectively end private voting on unionization), a Cap and Trade energy bill or something similar to provide a sop for the environmentalists (more taxes and higher energy bills), ratification of a New Start nuclear treaty, a Federally mandated universal voter registration system and a budget resolution to lock in increased agency spending.

And, Fund writes, then there is pork. Senate aides say that with some of the biggest porkers of all leaving office—Senators Arlen Spector (R to D-Pa.) and Robert Bennett (R-Utah) among them—it would be their last chance to feed at the trough.

In other words, the Democrats are planning a “stick-it-to-the-little-people” session to get back at the Tea Partiers and others who have decided they’ve had enough and are ready to vote the fascist elitists out of office. They’re saying, essentially, “I don’t care what you want (smaller government, less spending, lower taxes). It’s what we want (more money and power) that counts.”

But isn’t that what they said last spring when they passed Obamacare over the objections of as much as 60 percent of the electorate?

Many voters have been saying that the people will be able to right the ship of state come November. But if that happens, Democrats have made it clear they plan to poke the electorate in the eye with a sharp stick, and then pass legislation mandating you thank them for the poke.

Americans Unhappy With Obama's Handling Of The Economy

Americans Unhappy With Obama's Handling Of The EconomySeveral recent polls have shown that the majority of the American people are disappointed with President Obama’s handling of the Afghanistan war and his overall job performance. Adding to this bleak picture, a new survey has found that most people don’t trust the president on the economy, either.

He may have assumed office in the middle of a global recession and a near-financial meltdown at home, but U.S. voters still give Obama poor marks on the economy, with 68 percent saying they disapprove of the job he’s doing on that front, according to a Harris Interactive Poll.

By contrast, only 32 percent give him positive marks.

Moreover, the survey found that the negative views are growing, as last month 64 percent were disappointed, while 35 percent supported the president’s strategy. In addition, while almost all Republicans surveyed (95 percent) opposed the government’s economic performance, nearly 2 in 5 Democrats held the same view (38 percent).ADNFCR-1961-ID-19890846-ADNFCR

Let Us Pray!

Move along. No praying here. It’s against the law.

That’s the message a United States Supreme Court officer gave to a group from an Arizona Christian school as they stopped for a moment of prayer outside the Supreme Court building May 5.

While taking an educational tour of the Supreme Court, Wickenburg Christian Academy teacher Maureen Rigo, her students and a few adults stood off to the side of the Oval Plaza steps, bowed their heads and quietly prayed. Even though they weren’t obstructing traffic, were not demonstrating and were not praying in loud voice so as to draw attention to themselves, a police officer told the group they were not allowed to pray there because it was against the law.

Last week the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) sent a letter to U.S. Supreme Court officials urging them to stop their police officers from prohibiting people from quietly praying outside the court building. The letter threatens legal action against Supreme Court police if Rigo is not allowed to return and pray there without fear of punishment.

ADF notes a U.S. code that makes it “unlawful to parade, stand, or move in processions or assemblages in the Supreme Court Building or grounds, or to display in the Building and grounds a flag, banner, or device designed or adapted to bring into public notice a party, organization or movement.”

In its letter the ADF says that code did not apply to Rigo and her group. Small groups are not hindered from stopping and carrying on conversations in the area Rigo and her group were in, so the officer was obviously singling out Rigo and her group simply because they were praying, according to the ADF.

This is a clear violation of the 1st Amendment rights of Rigo and her group. In addition to violating their rights to freedom of speech and freedom to exercise their religion, it violates their equal protection and due process rights as well.

Hopefully the Supreme Court police will correct this error quickly. Otherwise the Supreme Court will one day be deciding whether a small group can pray outside while inside it opens its session with a crier saying, “God save the United States and this honorable court.”

Moderate Physical Activity May Lower Alzheimer's Disease Risk Among The Elderly

Moderate physical activity may lower Alzheimer's disease risk among the elderlyThe results of a long-term study that was recently presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s disease in Hawaii may give hope to those who are looking for a natural way to help prevent the debilitating condition as well as other forms of cognitive decline.

For the study, a research team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital assessed the 24-hour physical activity level of 1,200 elderly patients between the ages of 71 and 81, and followed them for as many as 20 years.

Over the study period a total of 242 patients had developed cognitive decline, including 193 who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Lead author Zaldy Tan and her colleagues found that patients who reported performing moderate to heavy levels of activity were 45 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, compared to those who exercised the least.

While earlier research identified a link between physical activity and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease among the elderly, the current study’s findings may speak the loudest.

"This is the first study to follow a large group of individuals for this long a period of time," Tan said. "It suggests that lowering the risk for dementia may be one additional benefit of maintaining at least moderate physical activity, even into the eighth decade of life."

Tea Party Activists Blast Lindsey Graham's Comments

Tea Party Activists Blast Lindsey Graham's CommentsAfter a string of late spring primaries in which many Tea Party candidates gained nominations, some prominent conservatives have criticized the movement for what they see as its extreme agenda that threatens to turn off moderate voters in November.

In recent comments to The New York Times, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that the movement is “unsustainable” and will “die out” because it does not have a long-term coherent vision. Graham also expressed his concern that the GOP has moved too far to the right.

The senator, who is a known moderate, stated that “everything I’m doing now in terms of talking about climate, talking about immigration, talking about Gitmo is completely opposite of where the Tea Party movement’s at.”

These comments have upset representatives of the National Tea Party Federation, who called on Graham to apologize for what they see as insulting comments.

Mark Lloyd, chairman of the Lynchburg, Va. Tea Party, said that the South Carolina Senator’s words demonstrate that he is out of touch with regular Americans who are becoming ever more engaged politically.

“The growth in the number of conservative grassroots political organizations, including those considering themselves ‘Tea Party’ is increasing rapidly, much to his dismay, and to the dismay of his fellow Washington elites,” he stated.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19890850-ADNFCR

The October Surprise

I’m sure you’ve heard of the “October Surprise.” It’s an event or series of events occurring in the days before a November election that sway voters one way or another.

The first one—or at least the one in which that term first came into use—occurred in late October 1972 when then National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger announced that peace with North Vietnam was at hand. President Richard Nixon was already leading George McGovern in the polls, but that declaration is thought to have increased Nixon’s standing with the electorate.

There have been several October incidents since that some think at least influenced United States elections.

Now, with polls showing increasing dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress—a recent poll by Democracy Corps showed that 55 percent of Americans think Obama is a socialist and only 42 percent of Americans support Democrats—there are some rumblings that an October surprise may be the only way for Obama and Democrats to retain their Congressional majority.

In fact, a former Clinton official recently suggested to the publication Financial Times that a major terrorist incident in the U.S. along the lines of 9/11 or Oklahoma City may be Obama’s only hope. As the Times reported:

“The bottom line here is that Americans don’t believe in President Obama’s leadership,” says Rob Shapiro, another former Clinton official and a supporter of Mr Obama. “He has to find some way between now and November of demonstrating that he is a leader who can command confidence and, short of a 9/11 event or an Oklahoma City bombing, I can’t think of how he could do that.”

Shapiro knows a thing or two about surprises. In 1995 Clinton used the Oklahoma City bombing to bolster his political comeback. We documented here how if the government was not directly involved in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murray building, it at least fostered a cover-up.

Democrats are desperate to retain the majorities they currently hold in the House and Senate. Don’t be surprised if a false flag terrorist attack along the lines of 9/11 or Oklahoma City occurs prior to November.

Americans tend to rally around their leaders in times of crisis. But remember that the government response to every terrorist attack on U.S. soil has been to steal more of your liberty.

Danger Of A Lame Duck Congress, Obamacare And A Best President Poll

*If the right wins big this November. There are some interesting stories floating out of Washington about what could happen after this November’s elections. If the Republicans win control of the House—something many pundits are predicting—expect the Democrats to demand a lame-duck session of Congress, where they will try to get enough defeated congressman to approve several programs that look hopeless today. Would a bunch of losers actually agree to pass Cap-and-Trade, a union “card check,” and other liberal favorites? Only if they want to see a real revolt by voters afterwards.

*ObamaCare’s disastrous results. Last month an 83-page document surfaced in Washington with more bad news about the healthcare legislation Obama rammed through Congress. According to the study, more than half of all employer-provided health insurance plans will be effectively eliminated between now and 2014. The effects among small businesses will be even worse, with estimates that 66 percent or more of America’s small businesses will abandon their healthcare insurance plans. It’s no rightwing think-tank making such dire predictions, by the way. The gloomy predictions come straight from the Obama White House.

*The best president ever? A new poll of 238 “presidential scholars” at U.S. colleges and universities confirms what many of us have suspected for years: The people teaching our sons and daughters (and now our grandsons and granddaughters) are a very liberal bunch. The scholars were asked to rate the nation’s 43 chief executives on 20 attributes, ranging from legislative accomplishments to integrity and imagination. Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the top spot, as he has every year since the poll was first conducted in 1982. Barack Obama shot up to the 15th slot, three ahead of Ronald Reagan. Meanwhile, George Bush came in at No. 42—second only to Warren G. Harding as the very worst president of all time. No bias here, of course.

—Chip Wood

MLB Players Condemn Arizona Immigration Law, Threaten 2011 All-Star Game Boycott

MLB players condemn Arizona Immigration Law, Threaten 2011 All-Star Game BoycottArizona’s controversial new immigration law was a major topic of conversation in the sports world earlier this week, with several prominent athletes speaking out against the statute during Major League Baseball’s All-Star game festivities.

National League pitching star Yovani Gallardo, a Mexican native, told reporters on Monday that he will boycott next year’s mid-summer classic if the game remains in Arizona.

Meanwhile, Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jose Valverde—who was born in the Dominican Republic—told the Arizona Republic that the law is "the stupidest thing you can ever have."

"Nothing against Americans, but us Latinos have contributed so much to this country," he added "We get our hands dirty and do the work gringos don’t want to do. We’re the ones out there cleaning the streets. Americans don’t want to do that stuff."

However, not all members of the MLB community are condemning the new law, which is scheduled to go into effect on July 29.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he supports the measure, which would give Arizona law enforcement the right to ask for identification from those who they "reasonably suspect" of being an illegal alien.

"I’m actually a supporter of what Arizona’s doing," he said, quoted by Fox News. "The national government doesn’t fix your problem, and you’ve got a problem, they’ve got to take care of it themselves."

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has yet to comment on the law or the status of next year’s All-Star game, which is still scheduled to be played in Arizona.

Gingrich Considers 2012 Presidential Run, Calls Obama A 'Disaster'

Gingrich considers 2012 presidential run, calls Obama a 'disaster'Former United States Speaker of the House and current political analyst Newt Gingrich told the Associated Press (AP) on Monday that he is seriously considering a presidential run in 2012.

Gingrich, who said he will decide early next year whether he will run for the GOP presidential nomination, is currently campaigning for several Republican challengers in an effort to help his party retake Congress this November.

The former speaker also took the opportunity to blast President Barack Obama, who he believes to be a one-term commander-in-chief.

"I think he will replace Jimmy Carter as the worst president of modern times," Gingrich told the news source.

"He is a disaster," he added. "His principles are fundamentally wrong. The people he appoints are more radical than he is and less competent."

Whether or not he wins his party’s nomination, Gingrich predicted that Americans will turn against Obama in 2012 and vote in the Republican challenger.

Furthermore, Gingrich noted that Obama shows no signs of moving away from the far left and toward a more moderate stance.

Meanwhile, a recent Des Moines Register poll indicates that Iowa residents would be more likely to vote for potential Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin than Gingrich. The next presidential nomination process will begin with the Iowa caucus.

Farewell To The Penny Angel

Last week I used this space to say farewell to the king of pork. If you missed my piece about West Virginia’s rapacious senator, Robert Byrd, and the billions of taxpayer dollars he wrested for his state, click here to read it.

This week we’re going to lower the scale a bit. Well, actually, quite a bit. Instead of billions, I want to talk about the lowliest coin of them all—the penny. And let me start with a question: When you see one lying on the ground, do you pick it up? I certainly hope so. Bear with me as I tell one of my mother’s favorite tales; about the “Penny Angel” who showered so many rich blessings on her.

I don’t agree with much I read in The New York Times and an article about my favorite coin was no exception. The very first sentence had me shaking my head in disagreement. It read, “It is strewn around the sidewalks and gutters of America, amid the bottle caps and cigarette butts, not even worth bending over to fetch.”

Not worth bending over to fetch? I go out of my way to pick one up. And I consider myself lucky every time I find one. How about you?

In case you’re wondering, I’m talking about the lowly penny. In an essay in The New York Times, David Margolick wrote, “It languishes by cash registers in cheap plastic troughs or cardboard trays, yours to take or leave or ignore. Or it rattles around in beggars’ cups, making lots of noise but too puny, even by the handful, to swing a muffin or a hot cup of coffee.”

The main point of Margolick’s essay is that it’s time to do away with the poor, passé penny. The coin costs more to mint than its face value. It is a burden to business and an annoyance to consumers. It is, in short, more trouble than it’s worth.

But is it? My mother, who was a child of the Depression, hoarded pennies all her life. She taught me that there was a Penny Angel who went around scattering the tiny bits of copper for lucky people to discover. She believed that every coin she found was a blessing. And that if you ever ignored or rejected the Penny Angel’s gift, your good luck would soon come to an end.

A foolish fairy tale? Perhaps. But the lessons you learn as a child stay with you all of your life. I still consider myself fortunate whenever I see a penny lying in the street, just waiting for me to pick it up. It happened just a few hours ago and I was delighted to see that the Penny Angel was still leaving pennies for me to find. My wife, who finds my habit more amusing than irritating, has joined in the game. If I happen to overlook a coin in my path, she will point it out—and wait patiently while I pick it up.

How different it is for today’s sons and daughters. Even before they reach their teens, they have come to take for granted that their parents will purchase whatever Xbox, iPod, or other expensive electronic gizmo they want. They spend more on their clothes (or, more accurately, their parents do) than many families spend annually on food. Their parents surfeit them with every imaginable luxury. And the saddest thing of all is they do not look around with wonder and gratitude at the abundance they enjoy.

This is not going to become a jeremiad against the younger generation, bewailing the fact that “You don’t know how good you’ve got it!” It’s not their fault that they were born at a time and in a country with the greatest material prosperity the world has ever known.

And I’m not even going to launch a diatribe against their parents, many of whom are all too eager to shower their offspring with largesse. Even the ones who wonder if they should be stricter are often too cowardly to resist their children’s blandishments.

Instead, I’m just going to issue a small sigh of regret that something as quaint and as simple as picking up a penny—and being grateful for the gift—may soon disappear.

When it does, I’ll be the first to say, “So long, Penny Angel. But thank you for all the times you made me feel like one of the lucky ones, simply by placing a penny in my path.”

More About The Poor Penny
Maybe the Lincoln penny will soon be extinct. I doubt it. But even if it goes the way of the dodo bird or a gold-backed dollar, what a history it had. Here’s how David Margolick described its debut in the article I mentioned above:

“When it first appeared four score and 18 years ago, it was a matter of almost unimaginable curiosity, excitement, and veneration. People—mostly street urchins searching for a quick profit—lined up for blocks to buy them; in New York, mounted policemen were called in to control the roiling mobs. Editorialists praised it as the perfect tribute to a martyr, or denounced it as a trinket unworthy of him. Immigrants had a special reverence for it; to blacks, it was ’emancipation money.’ But even to whites, there was something sacred about it. A New York man who’d committed suicide a few days after it first appeared clutched one in the palm of his hand, thinking, apparently, that it would bring him good luck in the hereafter.”

President Theodore Roosevelt ordered the U.S. Mint to design and produce the new Lincoln penny. He thought all U.S. coinage could use some sprucing up. Teddy decreed its release date to be Aug. 2, 1909, the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. The Boston Globe was almost giddy with excitement: “The new Lincoln cents, it seems, will be distributed the first week of August. It is so hard to wait.”

Penny fever produced some unusual entrepreneurship. As Margolick reported, people lined up around the block to exchange their old coins for bright new pennies.

“Some people near the front of the lines sold their spots for a dollar. The more impatient and ingenious hired women, who in a still chivalrous era were not made to wait. Many in what the Tribune called ‘the penny-mad crowd’ were poor children…. The resale rate hovered around three new pennies for a nickel, though it shot up whenever supplies ran low. ‘You couldn’t walk half a dozen feet,’ the Sun reported, ‘without having a grimy hand thrust out in front of you with a pile of glittering pennies in the outstretched palm.'”

By the end of 1909 the Mint had produced more than 100 million of the new coins. More than 100 years later, the Lincoln penny is the most popular coin in history. The Mint had produced 444,039,035,418 by the end of last year. (Don’t you love the exactness of the bean counters, oops, I mean the penny counters, at the Mint? No rounding off these numbers.)

With nearly half a trillion pennies in circulation over the years, it’s no wonder my Penny Angel never ran out of treats.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Brown Makes Deal, Will Vote 'Yes' On Financial Overhaul Bill

Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) may have assured the upcoming passage of the Obama administration’s historically aggressive financial reform bill by announcing on Monday that he will support the measure when it comes up for vote this week.

Brown will join Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in backing the landmark bill, which is designed to increase government oversight on Wall Street.

"While it isn’t perfect, I expect to support the bill when it comes up for a vote," Brown said. "It includes safeguards to help prevent another financial meltdown, ensures that consumers are protected and it is paid for without new taxes."

However, the Boston Globe reports that Brown only agreed to vote for the bill after he forced Democrats to modify its language to aid two Massachusetts-based companies, State Street Bank and MassMutual.

The senator’s change of heart has angered many conservative Massachusetts’ residents who voted for him earlier this year, including local Tea Party members.

"Scott Brown promised in the fall of 2009 to stand up for free markets and constitutional principles," said the activists, quoted by Fox News.

"A yes vote on this bill—a bill that greatly expands executive authority and reach, creates a perpetual and permanent bail-out system and fosters the creation of even more bureaucracy—defies the commitment he made to thousands of activists and donors across the nation," they added.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to call for a vote on the measure in the coming days.

The Great Pretender

The Marxmeister in the White House now says he takes full responsibility for ending the oil mess in the Gulf. He also says he wants to “know whose ass to kick,” that he “can’t suck it up with a straw,” and… well, you know… the ongoing narcissistic spiel—“I, me, my… blah, blah, blah”… day after day, week after week, ad nauseam.

Watching his recent performances on the Gulf oil disaster made me think about a monster hit The Platters had in the 50s called “The Great Pretender.” Little did they know that the champion Great Pretender wouldn’t even be born until 1961—probably in Kenya… but, then, no one is really sure about that because no one is allowed to see his birth certificate.

Everyone but (1) those on the far left, (2) Bill O’Reilly, and (3) the loons (O’Reilly’s word) who have yet to return from lunch realizes that The Great Pretender has had a Marxist agenda since even before his pot-smoking days at Columbia. Names like Wright, Ayers, Lloyd, Dunn, Sunstein, Holdren and Jones (both Jeff and Van) are well known to those who have taken the trouble to learn about The Great Pretender’s agenda.

As ever more people come to realize that the country has been hijacked by this angry young Marxist, many would argue that a better title for him might be The Great Reactor. Obama listens to the news—especially Fox News—then reacts to his critics by saying or doing whatever they accuse him of not saying or doing, or by changing his tune regarding something he’s said or done that offends too many people. Sort of humorous to watch—if the fate of an entire country were not at stake, that is.

Perhaps I’m getting soft with age, but I almost feel sorry for The Great Pretender. His flipping and flopping and spinning and twisting and contradictions have become downright embarrassing. He’s Abbott and Costello and Laurel and Hardy all rolled into one. I admit it—I’m truly embarrassed for him.

Now, of all people, Mike Huckabee—continuing his swift turnabout in an effort to make voters forget about his slobbering interview of Michelle Obama (who, he tried to convince us, wakes up every morning frantically worrying about childhood obesity)—has succeeded in making The Great Pretender look like an incompetent, arrogant boob.

Hopefully, you saw The Huckster’s show several weeks ago where he paraded out one guest after another—entrepreneurs, inventors, engineers and chemists—to present remarkable solutions for cleaning up the oil in the Gulf. It truly was amazing to watch the simplicity of the methods presented, as contrasted with The Great Pretender’s spending his time talking about kicking ass, wagging his finger at everyone and bending over and picking up a lonely tar ball on the beach in his daily photo ops.

Was the oil spill really just an accident? Probably. BP America Chairman and President Lamar McKay recently said that it was caused by “a failed piece of equipment.” I’ll buy that, at least for now. But it doesn’t matter. Rahm never said that you have to create a crisis. He already knew there are crises popping up all the time. All he said was that you should never allow a good one to go to waste.

In the case of the BP oil accident, it was a slam-dunk. More to the point, it was like unlocking the door to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) cage. Obviously—surprise, surprise—offshore drilling is now out of the question, right?

So it puts a few hundred thousand people out of work (ripple effect)… so what? The progressive must do what he must do to protect “the people,” even if it means taking away their jobs and giving them higher gas prices to boot. What in the world would we do without government to protect us? (Hmm… I think John Stossel has repeatedly answered that question for us over the years.)

So, yes, the BP crisis will not be wasted if it results in an end to offshore drilling. Nevertheless, I think The Great Pretender is going to have to come up with another crisis—or two—before November to pull off a number of miracles for the Demagogic Party.

The Dems, of course, would have us believe that they can win because so-called moderates will pull away from Republican candidates affiliated with the Tea Parties. If they really believe that, it would be wonderful. But, quite frankly, I don’t think they’re that stupid.

So I, for one, I’m still thinking crisis. A manufactured crisis is much better than an unforeseen one, of course, because you can have a prefabricated “solution” prepared in advance. You don’t have to do anything that actually helps make things better for people. All you need are a few talented individuals to put the right words on your teleprompters and be good at pretending you’re making things better.

As I said in my article ”The Ghost of FDR,” Obama has been following the dictatorial Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s playbook to the T. In his 1937 inaugural address, at a time when unemployment was still rising (15 percent on inauguration day), FDR bodaciously said, “Our progress out of the depression is obvious.”

Sound familiar? It should. With the economy on the verge of total collapse, The Great Pretender continues to look his teleprompters in the eye and tell Americans how he’s saved the country from a depression and that “the worst is now behind us.”

He always sounds so darn convincing when he says these things, but I hear through the White House grapevine that on at least one occasion after slinging this kind of B.S., he was overheard singing to himself in the Oval Office:

Oh yes, I’m the great pretender,
Pretending that I’m doing well.
My need is such, I pretend too much,
I’m lonely but no one can tell.

Lacking a really great crisis, The Great Pretender, hopefully, is going to feel a lot lonelier starting next January.

—Robert Ringer

Americans Support SCOTUS Verdict On Chicago Handgun Ban, Poll Finds

Americans support SCOTUS verdict on Chicago handgun ban, poll findsAs Chicago authorities try to mitigate the impact of a recent Supreme Court decision to strike down the city’s longstanding gun ban, a new poll has found that the American people tend to support the highest court’s decision in McDonald v Chicago.

A Rasmussen telephone survey conducted earlier this month found that 67 percent of respondents believe cities do not have the right to prevent citizens from owning handguns. Only 24 percent hold the opposite view.

The poll also discovered that support for stricter gun control laws has declined to its lowest level in several years. Currently, only 35 percent of American adults say stricter gun control is necessary, while more than half (51 percent) disagree.

Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Alan Gottlieb, said that “we are witnessing a new revolution in which America is rejecting the demagoguery of gun banners like Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.”

“Court rulings and the Constitution are on our side,” he added.

Gottlieb also affirmed that his organization will continue to fight for firearm freedoms until these liberties are fully secured.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19888255-ADNFCR

While Chicago Gun Rights Supporters Celebrate, City Tries To Enforce Other Gun Restrictions

While Chicago gun rights supporters celebrate, city tries to enforce other gun restrictionsThe Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) held a rally last week to celebrate the recent United States Supreme Court decision in McDonald v Chicago that struck down a long-standing city gun ban. However, as those advocates cheered, city officials issued an ordinance designed to impose restrictions on gun ownership.

The celebratory event, which took place July 9 at the Thompson Center, featured ISRA executive director Richard Pearson, one of the plaintiffs, Otis McDonald, as well as local radio personalities and several local grassroots activists.

However, it happened in the shadow of an ordinance that aims, among other things, to restrict residents from carrying weapons outside their homes, mandate participation in training programs and prohibit the sale of firearms inside city limits, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“When the wrong people have access to guns, whether they’re gang bangers and drug dealers or abusive parents or sons or daughters, needless violence is more likely to happen, whether it’s on our streets or in our homes,” said Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

In response to the ordinance, gun supporters already filed two lawsuits that experts say could lead to a new round of legal challenges to cities’ rights to regulate gun ownership, the news provider further reported.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19885892-ADNFCR

API Blasts Ideas For New Taxes Amid Oil Spill, Weak Economy

API blasts ideas for new taxes amid oil spill, weak economyThe United States Congress prepares to consider a major energy bill later this summer, and some lawmakers have suggested paying for new programs through higher taxes on oil and natural gas companies. However, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has criticized the idea, saying it would further imperil an already weak economic recovery.

Proponents of new taxes on these industries have been partially prompted by the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but API says the traditional energy sector supports 9.2 million jobs and adds 7.5 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). As a result, the organization believes new taxes could have a devastating impact on jobs, economic recovery and America’s energy security.

To further spread its message the trade association is running an ad campaign in several states, including Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Virginia that began on July 6.

“The ads are part of the national debate on energy and tax policy. We hope they will help ensure decisions affecting our economic and energy security are not made in a vacuum or based on incomplete information,” said Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the API.

He added that “Americans have historically been suspicious of taxes on the industry that produces most of the energy they consume.”ADNFCR-1961-ID-19888260-ADNFCR

Start Small, Work Consistently

“Too many people make the mistake in thinking emergencies only happen to ‘other folks,'” writes Larry Barkdull in his book, Emergency Essentials’ Tips For Preparedness. “Beyond the subject of disaster, being prepared should be a part of your normal provident living. Don’t become overwhelmed. Start with small goals and work consistently.”

Barkdull gives the following ideas to help you get started on your preparedness plan:

  • Establish a modest preparedness budget. Make it a priority and work at it the best you can. Start with a few items, such as: a 72-hour kit, emergency candles, a sleeping bag and a first aid kit or an emergency bag. Then budget enough money monthly to keep adding to your stores of emergency supplies.
  • Get your information from reliable sources. Most sensible programs will coincide with other reputable sources such as books, community preparation and church or government programs. Don’t let anyone scare you into thinking that has to be done all at once or that you must incur heavy debt to achieve your goals.
  • That which would be required to sustain life for three days can be easily multiplied for planning long-term storage needs.
  • Be consistent. Within a short time you will have the necessary supplies and equipment to take care of yourself, family members and others.
  • Think investment not expense. Think practically when it comes to assembling a food storage program. Buy the basics and learn to use them. Buy foods that you can rotate and eat regularly instead of storing foods that are unknowns to you that you have never eaten. Buy emergency materials that can be used for other activities such as Scouting events, camping adventures and family road trips. Take care of what you purchase and learn not to waste. The point is, do something and do not procrastinate.

Death, But Not Taxes

I hate the Yankees. More than any sports franchise on the planet—with the possible exception of the Dallas Cowboys—the Yankees turn me into baseball-ish English soccer hooligan (though I don’t need five pints of Guinness to throw something at the television.) Of course, my detestation of the Yankees extended to their owner: George Steinbrenner.

But as much as I despised Steinbrenner for returning my least favorite team to the top; I never begrudged him respect. He did whatever he needed to make them winners. Contracts larger than the gross national product (GNP) of most third world nations required to keep A-Rod, Jeter and the gang close to the Canyon of Heroes? Done. Steinbrenner’s detractors often pointed out that he “bought” his titles. I don’t care if he paid for them in green M&M’s.

He won. Often. Tuesday morning, Steinbrenner won one last time… by dying.

Don’t get me wrong, folks—I take no pleasure in the death of The Boss. By shuffling off this mortal coil in 2010, Steinbrenner managed to pitch one final shutout at every wingnut who ever employed class envy to pull a twisted Robin Hood act on successful Americans. Because the Prince of the Pinstripers died this year, he walled off his considerable estate from the Death Tax.

Thanks to the last gasps of the Bush-era tax laws, Steinbrenner’s considerable fortune (estimated by Forbes to be more than $1.1 billion) is protected from the pickpockets currently living the high life in Washington. By assuming room temperature in 2010, Steinbrenner has guaranteed the fruits of his years of labor will be passed on to those whom HE deems worthy—and Turbo-Tax Geithner and his big buddy Barack can go pound sand. While libs foam at the mouth over the loss of nearly $600 million (the Feds potential take had Steinbrenner shown the good sense to die next year); I have to both applaud—and wail.

I applaud the idea of Capitol Hill bagmen beating it back to D.C. with bupkus. I wail at the idea that the death tax returns for 2011 like Jason from Friday the 13th.

There’s no logical argument in favor of the death tax. Even liberals acknowledge that fact, albeit in backhanded fashion. They mutter about “unfair protection for the rich;” or “paying their fair share.”

To address the former: the way the Democrats treat financial achievement (excluding their own, of course), achievers NEED protection. Can you imagine coming home from Aunt Edna’s funeral to find a bunch of thugs in blue suits loading 55 percent of her plastic-covered furniture into the back of a U-Haul?

To the latter, I say: they’ve paid their fair share. (And yours. And mine. And’s.) Rich folks pay income taxes. In fact, the top 25 percent of earners pay 87 percent of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) bill. The current Federal income tax rate is just south of 40 percent—meaning Steinbrenner paid 40 cents out of every dollar he earned to the government in return for… um… the Cross Bronx Expressway. The 2010 Death Tax moratorium meant the Feds missed out on doubling up the penalty George paid for making a big pile. (*author’s aside: Steinbrenner hit the big time in the 60s and 70s, when marginal income tax rates were United Kingdom/hide your money in Montserrat like the Beatles high—so he kicked a bunch back into the kitty.)

And the wealthy can afford to buy nice stuff. When Richie Rich buys a Range Rover, he pays much higher sales taxes than you did on that ’03 Hyundai. When he heads to Morton’s for dinner, he forks over a lot more for that porterhouse than I did for my Big Mac extra value meal. And the wealthy boost the labor pool (granted, Steinbrenner hired the same guys over and over again.). From Derek Jeter to Derek the parking lot guy; Steinbrenner’s millions of dollars made dollars for millions.

Warren Buffett, who made his money the old fashioned way, says he supports the Death Tax. I can retort thusly: it’s your $47 billion—give it to whomever the hell you want, you earned it. But don’t expect the rest of us to follow suit.

George Steinbrenner had his moments. He played dirty, both in baseball and politics. And though I’m sure he would rather have lived past 2010; by dying when he did, he drove a personal stake in the heart of liberal ideology of penalizing success.

Of course, I still hate the Yankees.

Fish Oil Supplements May Help Stave Off Breast Cancer Among Postmenopausal Women

Fish oil supplements may help stave off breast cancer among postmenopausal women Older women may be able to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by taking daily fish oil supplements, according to a new study.

Lead investigator Emily White, an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and her colleagues recruited more than 35,000 postmenopausal women who had no history of breast cancer, and asked them to complete a dietary questionnaire regarding their intake of non-vitamin, non-mineral specialty supplements.

After six years of monitoring the participants, the researchers found that a total of 880 women had developed breast cancer. When analyzing the questionnaires, they discovered that women who routinely took fish oil supplements had a 32 percent reduced risk of developing invasive ductal breast cancer, the most common form of the disease.

The results of the study "reinforce something that most of us feel in our hearts but are struggling to prove," David Pearlstone, chief of the division of breast surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, told "Fish oil probably is really good for you in a lot of ways, but the data has been [slow] in coming."

White and her colleagues note that the findings need to be replicated in a randomized trial to confirm the link between fish oil supplements and a reduction in breast cancer.

Is President Obama As Hapless As Herbert Hoover?

“Herbert Hoover is the greatest humanitarian since Jesus Christ.”
The Chicago Tribune, 1928

With all due respect to Oprah Winfrey, she was not the first person to anoint a Presidential candidate as “The Chosen One.” The Chicago political machinery was doing that with regard to the father of the Great Depression—Herbert Hoover—seven decades earlier. Could it be that Oprah was just as wrong about her President? It looks that way.

Is It Live, Or Is It Memorex?
The double dip recession that became the depression of the 1930s is playing out once again. And as my mentor Chip Wood—the geopolitical editor of Personal Liberty Digest™—sometimes points out: “History might not repeat but it certainly hums.”

A whopping 8 million jobs have simply evaporated since the Crash of ’08 despite the more than $3 trillion in stimulus money, most of it courtesy of President Barack Obama. America hasn’t got much bang for the buck when you consider that the official unemployment number is almost 10 percent. And just two days ago 2 million Americans lost their unemployment checks. That number will continue to soar in July while Congress takes its vacation.

Consumer confidence continues to decline while the housing market looks to be heading off a cliff. The national mortgage delinquency rate grew to 9.2 percent in May, up 2.3 percent from a month earlier and almost 8 percent from a year earlier.

Like many Americans Allan H. Meltzer, a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University and the author of A History of the Federal Reserve, wanted to believe the President’s assertion during the 2010 State of the Union address that he would grow the economy. However, in the June 30 issue of The Wall Street Journal, Meltzer says that the President has done little to improve things.

“The administration’s stimulus program has failed. Growth is slow and unemployment remains high. The president, his friends and advisers talk endlessly about the circumstances they inherited as a way of avoiding responsibility for the 18 months for which they are responsible.”

Earlier this year The New Republic declared: “Barack Obama, You Remind Me of Herbert Hoover.” “It might seem ludicrous or unfair to compare Obama to one of the most vilified presidents of the last century. But to his contemporaries, Hoover had been the American most suited to be president.”

In fact Henry Ford practically gushed over the Hoover nomination. And yes, you are forgiven if it all sounds a bit familiar.

“The reason we must have a new kind of President is that we are on the threshold of a new kind of world,” said Ford. “(We need a man) who can direct and oversee and referee between all parties and keep them all busy at the main task of creating prosperity which shall be continued and equally distributed throughout the country.”

This comes from the man who once said, “History is bunk.” Perhaps it is not so surprising then that Ford adored Hoover; the man many say was a crucial cog in causing the Great Depression.

A Very Depressing Depression
I heard a lot about the Great Depression because it hit my parents so hard. They were just getting started in life and it changed them in so many ways. But even as I continue to read more on the past I am shocked at how bad things were.

From 1929 to 1933 national income in the United States reduced by half; from $88 billion to $40 billion. Output from U.S. factories fell by half and automobile production fell by 20 percent. By 1934 American steel mills were operating at just 12 percent capacity. In fact, pig iron production fell to its lowest level since 1886.

But the banking crisis is what crushed the spirit of the nation. In 1929, 659 banks failed. In 1930, 1,352 banks failed. And in 1931, 2,294 banks closed their doors.

Deflation was in full swing. Farming, still the centerpiece of the American economy was crushed. In 1930 alone farm income fell from $12 billion to $5 billion. Factories did little better. From 1929 to 1933 factory wages fell by the same totals. U.S. M2 money supply dropped from $47 billion to $32 billion.

At the depths of the downturn 1 million people in New York City were out of work. As for Chicago, there was payback to be had for backing Hoover. Times there were so bad Al Capone’s soup kitchen provided 120,000 free meals in the space of six months.

Double Dipping Dow
Most people associate The Great Depression with 1929—the year of the infamous stock market crash. Yet the worst of the Depression was in 1933. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded smartly after hitting its 1929 low of 195.35 on Nov. 13, 1929. By December 9 it had bounced to 267.56—a gain of nearly 37 percent in less than a month. By April 16, 1930, the Dow had risen to 297.25—a gain of 52 percent from the 1929 lows.

Many investors thought the worst was over and piled in looking to recover losses suffered in the ’29 Crash. They couldn’t have picked a worse time. The Dow collapsed, shattering the 1929 lows. In December of 1930 the Dow finished at 154.45 on Dec. 17, 1930. The ultimate bottom was not hit until 1933 when the Industrial Average closed at 49.68 on February 27.

The Crash of 1929 was triggered by a crisis of credit similar to what we are experiencing now. In fact, one could make the argument that today’s debt implosion is even worse, encompassing not only stocks purchased on margin, but also real estate—both residential and commercial—as well as consumer credit. Credit cards weren’t around in 1929. Neither were adjustable-rate mortgages.

The Bulls claim that stocks always seem to climb a wall of worry. And until a few months ago it just looked as if they might be correct. The Obama stimulus package seemed to erase fears of deflation.

The Dow Industrial Average, which hit 6,440 in March of last year, did make a remarkable recovery. This past March the Dow was back close to 12,000. However, the Dow never did break the 12,000 mark and it has since fallen back to about 10,000. Meanwhile we seem to be slipping into a summer of discontent.

I believe we are at the edge of another depression, an economic collapse that began with the failure of Lehman Brothers.

Of course this is not what was expected to happen. Obama was supposed to usher in a new age of prosperity. Then again the New York Herald Tribune declared that Herbert Hoover’s election: “Marks an epoch in American political history… America stands at the threshold of a new era.”*

Action To Take
Sell equities in anticipation of history repeating itself. Physical gold, blue chip gold shares and a handful of resource stocks will provide protection from the storm. Do not delay in taking action. Summer will provide only temporary reprieve at best. My long-term target for the Dow Jones Industrial Average is 6,000, almost 40 percent lower than where it currently sits.

Yours for real wealth and good health,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

* If you want to know about the Great Depression, including its causes, I strongly recommend you pick up a copy of, The Year of the Great Crash, 1929, by William K. Klingaman, 1989, Harper & Row, New York. You can buy a new or used copy of it in hardcover at by clicking on the link above.

FAIR Releases Scathing Immigration Reform Study, Garners Criticism

FAIR releases scathing immigration reform study, garners criticismA report recently released by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), has found that the estimated 13 million illegal immigrants and their United States-born children may cost American taxpayers as much as $113 billion a year.

The organization, which advocates a comprehensive immigration reform in the spirit of national security, job and environment protection, has said that educating illegal aliens’ children is the single largest public expenditure, costing some $52 billion each year. In Arizona alone, these costs are as high as $2.5 billion annually.

It added that the costs are borne mainly by state and local governments.

The report also found that governments are only able to recoup about a third of their costs through taxes, which appears to suggest that Democrats’ idea of granting amnesty to illegal aliens would not significantly increase tax revenues generated by that group.

"[Our report] provides a definitive response to the question of whether illegal aliens are a net benefit or a net drain on government coffers," said Dan Stein president of FAIR.

“One hundred thirteen billion dollars a year, and growing, makes our nation’s failure to control illegal immigration one of the largest preventable burdens borne by American taxpayers,” he added.

However, the report was criticized by Immigration Policy Center, which said that it fails to consider the economic benefits that stem from the purchasing power of unauthorized consumers, which supports U.S. businesses and jobs.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19883682-ADNFCR