Toy Story 3, Wasted Tax Dollars, California Casinos And Seeing Red

*Go see Toy Story 3. You’ll love it. Over the 4th of July weekend we enjoyed baseball and fireworks, patriotic concerts and fun at the beach. But a special delight was seeing the latest production from those geniuses at Pixar Animation, Toy Story 3. It’s even better than the first two in the series. One five-minute segment—when Buzz Lightyear is transformed into a Spanish Lothario and serenades Jessie in a torrid flamenco—is worth the price of admission. Go see this delightful film—and escape the trials and troubles of this poor world for a couple of hours.

*Your tax dollars at work. The inspector general of the Treasury Department reported to Congress that there was even more fraud in the government giveaway of home buyer credits than expected. Among the gems discovered: 1,295 prisoners (including 241 serving life sentences) received the $8,000 credit even though they were in jail at the time. Some 10,282 taxpayers received the credit for homes that other taxpayers had already claimed. In one case, 67 different taxpayers claimed the credit for the same home—and every one received eight grand.

*California casinos welcome welfare cards. In California, welfare recipients receive debit cards from the Department of Social Services to help purchase food and clothing for their families. In a test conducted by The Los Angeles Times, the paper discovered that the cards could also be used to withdraw money from ATMs in most of the casinos and poker rooms in the state. A spokesman for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says it is “reprehensible” that anyone would use taxpayer money for anything other than its intended purpose.

*Is seeing all that red making you blue? Commenting on the map that accompanied my Straight Talk column two weeks ago, an alert reader pointed out that until recently, blue was the color used to designate Republican/conservative victories, while red was used for Democrat/liberal ones. That all changed in the 2000 elections, when Tim Russert coined the phrases “red state” and “blue state” to identify the winning party in an election. Republicans have been seeing red ever since.

—Chip Wood

Fructose Consumption May Increase Hypertension Risk

Fructose consumption may increase hypertension risk Results of a recent University of Colorado at Denver study suggest that hypertensive individuals may be able to naturally lower their blood pressure by consuming a diet low in added fructose.

Over the last century processed food purveyors have begun adding more simple sugars to their products in an effort to add flavor. During this period the number of Americans suffering from high blood pressure has skyrocketed.

While the increased consumption of sodium has been linked to the rising prevalence of hypertension in several studies, very few research teams have looked into fructose’s role.

For the current study lead author Diana Jalal and her colleagues from the university’s Health Sciences Center recruited nearly 4,600 adults over the age of 18, and had them fill out dietary questionnaires regarding their average daily consumption of processed fruit juices, soft drinks, bakery products and candy.

After taking into account other risk factors the researchers found that individuals who consumed more than 72 grams of fructose each day were between 26 and 77 percent (depending upon the blood pressure threshold) more likely to be hypertensive than those who eat few foods containing added sugar.

Chicago Tries Another Tack In Its Battle Against The 2nd Amendment

Four days after the United States Supreme Court overturned a Chicago handgun ban as unconstitutional, city aldermen passed another ordinance that bans gun shops from the city and makes it a crime for a gun owner to step outside his home—even onto his porch or into his garage—with a handgun.

Several people and at least one organization have already sued the city in Federal court seeking to have the new ordinance declared null and void, according to The Washington Examiner.

The Eric Holder Justice Department ripped Arizona’s immigration law within days of its passage, saying the law stepped into the jurisdiction of the Federal government. On Tuesday the Federal government filed suit against Arizona over the law.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Chicago handgun ban made it clear that cities and states could not infringe on the right of Americans to keep and bear arms—essentially making gun laws a Federal issue. I’m sure that, since Holder is so concerned with keeping Federal authority where it belongs he’ll soon be joining the suit against the city of Chicago.

When will we see your department file that lawsuit, Mr. Holder?

From The Pot To The Kettle

At first glance, they don’t look like much. A couple of raggedy little guys wearing uniforms borrowed from some high school theatre prop department, trying desperately to look forbidding.

They’re members of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) and, on election day 2008, they lost the Candid Camera Challenge; standing in front of a Philadelphia polling station, one of them brandishing a nightstick. They claim they were there to provide what they call “security” and the law (pre-2009, anyway) calls “voter intimidation.”

If you never saw Philly’s Funniest Voting Video—and more than 2 million have seen it on YouTube alone—then you might remember the New Black Panther Party from the infamous Duke Lacrosse scandal of 2006. These are the same clowns whose former ringmaster Khalid Muhammad was actually bounced out of the Nation of Islam for being too bizarre (placing him on what presumably is one of the world’s shortest lists.)

After the election of Barack Obama, the Department of Justice (DoJ) filed suit against three of the junior varsity jackbooters of the NBPP. The DoJ actually won default judgment against them after they blew off their court appearance. Sadly, our friends at the NBPP knew the deck was stacked in their favor. A couple of months later the word came down from on high: Let it go. Quit picking on Shabazz and his funhouse Cosby kids. We’ll make them promise to play nice at polling places next time around.

Evidently, the Great Uniter got his degree in harmony from the Spike Lee School of Race Relations.

Tuesday morning, erstwhile Department of Justice lawyer J. Christian Adams testified in front of the United States Commission on Civil Rights that Obama and his little buddy Eric Holder had shut down the investigation into the Philadelphia incident.

Adams, who says he found the actions of the Obama administration so repellent that he left the Justice Department, claimed that racial animus propelled the determination by Mr. Hope and Change to kill the investigation into potential wrongdoing by the NBPP. The only meaningful response from Obama is a refusal to allow the testimony of former DoJ voting section chief Christopher Coates.

It may turn out that Adams is every bit the big bad bigot he’s being called by good little liberals everywhere. He might be cutting holes in the guest room pillowcases to get a better look at tonight’s cross burnin’. But there’s not a single shred of evidence to support that assertion. Even if there was, it would by no means absolve the Justice Department from their sworn duty to uphold the laws protecting voters from intimidation—AND laughably inept attempts at intimidation by NBPP goons.

Adams told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that "…over and over again…" Obama and his pals showed "hostility" to cases involving black perpetrators and white victims—including the NBPP actions in Philadelphia and elsewhere. According to Adams: “…we abetted wrongdoing and abandoned law-abiding citizens.."

There’s no reason to assume Adams is lying. In the case of the New Black Panther’s beret brigade, we have the video. It should be noted for our Left-wingnut friends that the existence of said video advances Adams’s credibility several steps past that of say—John Lewis and the Congressional Black Caucus.

To say Obama and his pals play the race card is a “Rosie O’Donnell is a little bit chunky” understatement. The left hurls a charge of racism at virtually every opponent of their agenda; see the aforementioned CBC fracas. During the Massachusetts special Senatorial election, I even heard MSNBC talking hairdo Keith Olbermann suggest pickup trucks were a new symbol for racism—which I’ll accept only if I get to say driving a Prius is emblematic of being a pansy.

Even as I write this, Obama has filed the predicted lawsuit against Arizona and SB1070.

Wasn’t the elimination of racism one of the boxcars on the Hope and Change Express? Didn’t the Democrats promise us that voting for a “uniter” like Obama would erase the alleged divisions of/caused by the Bush years?

This boy’s America is as more divided than ever; despite the promises of the President. I’m not denying the existence of racism on the Right. I am tired of hearing denials of the same from the Left.

Can’t we all just get… forget it.

One note to New Black Panthers everywhere: some guys wear berets and look like the 101st Airborne. Others look… French.

Ça vous va bien, les gars!

Wall Street Donations To Democratic Campaigns Continue To Plummet

Wall Street donations to Democratic campaigns continue to plummet The White House-sponsored financial regulatory reform bill that was passed by the House last week may make it more difficult for Democratic candidates to win a seat in Congress this coming November. reports that many Wall Street executives who made significant financial contributions to Democratic congressional campaigns two years ago are no longer taking calls from solicitors due to their condemnation of the proposed legislation, which many financial experts believe will handicap the already weakened economy.

In fact, contributions from New York’s financial sector to Democratic campaign committees are down 65 percent from two years ago, with the majority of the decrease coming from those who give gifts of $1,000 or more, according to The Washington Post.

"I think at least in the short term there is going to be a great deal of frustration with people who were beating the hell out of us—then turning around and asking for money," a senior financial executive told

Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) were both specifically mentioned as lawmakers who voted for financial regulatory reform and who are actively soliciting donations from Wall Street executives.

The proposed restrictions, which were passed by the House last week, are now being debated in the Senate. Some political pundits believe the bill may make it to President Obama’s desk for his signature by the end of July.

Food Storage Now!

I hazard to guess that not more than 10 percent of our readers could live more than a few days on their stored food and supplies.

Storing food is something that we have to do before we need it. Think now, if a catastrophe of some kind were to occur today—say an earthquake, tornado or terrorist attack—and you needed to begin using your stored food, where would you be?

Do you have more than a couple of days supply on hand? If not, you could be in trouble when disaster strikes. Because once the catastrophe occurs it’s too late to begin storing food.

Americans are used to having plenty of food. Most can’t imagine not being able to go to the store to get food of some sort. But the typical grocery store has about two day’s supply of food in stock at any given time. So, just a short-term interruption in the supply chain could cause hardship and panic among the populace.

It truly takes vision to understand that there could come a time when the supply of food suddenly ends—whether for a few days or for a long period of time—and planning for the future is essential, especially now.

I have long urged you to store food. As for myself, I have stored food for more than 40 years. I rotate and eat out of it, except the vacuum sealed foods that I bought from the Mormons. I have checked it through the years. It has held well.

I have lost a few cans of salmon due to age, but there is no telling how much I have saved because prices were much lower through the years than they are now.

Now to the point: In my opinion we now face more than a probability of much higher prices, scarcity and resulting social problems.

Can we not imagine that an honest man will steal and even plunder if he and his family are hungry?

Agriculture is one of the very few sectors globally that currently faces supply shortages. There is the distinct possibility that this century will see desperate struggles for food and water.

Rising food prices will cause extreme hunger and famine. This will lead to social unrest, revolution and wars.

Does anyone doubt that the regime in the United States will cause extreme hardship because of the collapsing exchange value of paper money? Note that they do not warn the people to protect themselves.

I have been on an island now for some time. I have noticed very high prices and runs on grocery stores on certain days of the week. Still, probably not more than a few can see the negative trends. They still can’t visualize disaster.

Have you ever really been hungry? It is far better to have stored food on hand—even if you have excess food stored—and not ever need it than not to have any food stored and one day be hungry. Food storage may not guarantee that you won’t be hungry, but not storing food will almost certainly guarantee there will be hunger in your future.

It’s a good idea to have at least three day’s supply of canned and/or dried foods available for each member of the family in case of emergency. That would be nine meals each.

Of course, more is better. But we recommend this as a starting point. From there you can add a little more each time you go shopping, setting your sights on having enough for each family member for a week, then two and so on.

It’s also a good idea to store water for emergency situations. Minimum requirements are two gallons per person per day—more if you live in a warmer climate.

I also believe strongly that investing in agriculture companies now is similar to investing in oil at $17 a barrel in 2002. Look up Agro Terra Ltd. and Agro Terra Partners.

If you want to learn more about what foods to store and how to prepare for a crisis situation you can order our book, How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization. It covers practical, low-cost strategies for coping with global epidemics, terrorist attacks, electrical grid disruptions, food and water storage and much more.

Shutting Up The Press

Four days after issuing a memo saying it was blocking certain websites from the agency’s computers—including sites that contained “controversial opinion”—the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has “clarified” that order saying contrary opinion won’t be banned.

CBS News reported the ban Tuesday after the TSA released a memo that it was blocking certain websites from the Federal agency’s computers, including halting access by staffers to any Internet pages that contain controversial opinion.

While it’s good news that the TSA changed its tune after receiving flak from employees and supporters of the 1st Amendment, that the agency would consider such a ban in the first place begs the question: What is Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano—who oversees the TSA—afraid of?

This is not the first time that controversial opinion has drawn the ire of someone in the Federal government. In March the Senate Sergeant at Arms sent an email to Senators advising them not to visit the Drudge Report. He accused the Drudge Report of infecting Senate computers with a virus—this despite the fact that Drudge had almost 30 million page views without a single reader complaint the same day the Senate’s computers were infected.

Obviously, Napolitano and many in the administration of President Barack Obama—including Obama himself—bristle at dissenting views. The president is one of the most thin-skinned individuals around, as evidenced by his attack on Fox News early in his presidency, and the fact that he avoids press conferences and press inquiries like one would avoid leprosy.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.”

As the Obama administration continues to ineffectively flail about in its handling of the Gulf oil spill (where the United States Coast Guard is hindering the work of the media), the economic crisis, relations with foreign governments and elsewhere, it has become increasingly obvious it fears an investigation of its actions.

Obama's Immigration Speech Draws Ire

Obama's immigration speech draws ire Last week President Obama delivered his first major immigration speech, calling for comprehensive reform and GOP support. However, in the days since the speech, conservatives and other immigration opponents have blasted the government for being part of the problem rather than the solution.

Criticism centered mainly on the allegations that the Federal government has failed in the basic prerequisite for a comprehensive overhaul, namely in securing the United States border with Mexico and in enforcing existing immigration laws.

"Our politicians refuse to enforce our laws while millions of Americans are pushed out of jobs every day by the hiring of illegal immigrants willing to work for less pay and lowered working conditions," said Leah Durant, executive director of Progressives for Immigration Reform.

"It’s time for the government to protect its own," she stressed.

Meanwhile, another nonprofit, Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), has accused the government for using the talk of "reform" as another way to introduce the idea of blanket amnesty.

However, Marilyn DeYoung, chairwoman of the board of CAPS, said this is something that Americans "have resoundingly rejected."

On the other hand, among those who have welcomed the president’s speech were the Democratic National Committee and its Hispanic Caucus, which has praised the government’s proposal to require illegal immigrants to admit they broke the law, learn English and pay taxes in order to be eligible for citizenship. ADNFCR-1961-ID-19876167-ADNFCR

Acupuncture May Help Improve Exercise Tolerance In Heart Patients

Acupuncture may help improve exercise tolerance in heart patients Over the past two decades an increasing number of Americans have begun utilizing acupuncture to help reduce the severity of symptoms related to a myriad of health conditions, including back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps and headaches.

Meanwhile, results of a new German study suggest that the ancient Chinese therapy may also improve exercise tolerance in patients diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

For the study, lead investigator Johannes Backs, director of the Department of Internal Medicine at Heidelberg University Hospital, and his colleagues recruited 17 congestive heart failure patients who were in stable condition yet who were physically limited by their condition. The participants were randomly assigned to blindly receive acupuncture or placebo treatment.

After 10 weeks of therapy, the patients who received acupuncture were able to walk greater distances and felt less exhausted than those in the control group.

"This is the first indication that acupuncture may improve exercise tolerance in CHF patients—when given in addition to optimized standard heart failure medication," said Backs.

He added that the treatment did not improve patients’ heart pump function, but may have benefited their skeletal muscle strength.

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked To Metabolic Syndrome

Vitamin D deficiency linked to metabolic syndrome Results of a recent European study suggest that older individuals with vitamin D deficiency may be at an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome—a condition that includes high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, unhealthy blood sugar levels and high cholesterol.

For the study, a research team from the University Medical Center in Amsterdam examined nearly 1,300 older men and women of Dutch decent. A total of 37 percent of the study participants had metabolic syndrome.

After taking blood samples and adjusting for various risk factors, lead author Marelise Eekhoff and her colleagues found that patients who had insufficient serum levels of vitamin D had a 32 percent greater risk of being diagnosed with the condition than those with adequate levels.

Participants who had large waistlines and low levels of good cholesterol (HDL) were most likely to have a vitamin D deficiency.

"Because metabolic syndrome increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, an adequate vitamin D level in the body might be important in the prevention of these diseases," said Eekhoff.

Metabolic syndrome currently affects one out of every four adults.

Thad Allen Spits On The 1st Amendment

It’s not just the environment being damaged as the Deepwater Horizon oil well continues to spew crude into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s also the 1st Amendment.

New rules issued last week by the United States Coast Guard prevent the public—and that includes reporters and photographers—from getting within 65 feet of any oil response vessel or booms on the water or beaches. Violators can be fined up to $40,000 and charged with a Class D felony.

Both local and national reporters are complaining that the restrictions prevent them from accurately covering the response to the spill. Response head Thad Allen of the Coast Guard defended the new restrictions by first saying it was for the safety of the public, then changing it to the safety of the workers.

These restrictions are in addition to restrictions on aircraft over the area, and rules that ban the workers from speaking to the media.

Clearly what’s at work here is BP and the Federal government are trying to cover up the lousy job they’re doing with the cleanup. And maybe they’re also covering up some shenanigans as well.

There have been reports of workers suffering from ailments attributed to exposure to the oil and/or chemicals and of sand being dumped on the beaches to cover up tar balls. But getting an accurate picture of what is going on is impossible with the government’s restrictions.

As a candidate, President Barack Obama promised the greatest transparency ever from his administration. But as has been the case with this president since his inauguration, reality is far removed from his campaign rhetoric.

Companies, Activists Reject Taxes And Regulations Of Small Businesses

Companies, activists reject taxes and regulations of small businessesA new bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives to expand sales tax collection on the internet, leading business and anti-tax advocates to protest the measure vigorously.

The proposal, which would result in as much as $23 billion in new taxes, is designed to help state and local governments close budget gaps. However, Tod Cohen, vice president for government relations and deputy general counsel at the online retailer eBay, has said that the measure would increase costs on small business operating online, eliminate jobs and further harm the already weak economy.

"At a time when unemployment rates are high and small businesses across the country are closing shop, we are confident that Congress will protect small internet retailers and the consumers they serve from another internet tax scheme," he stated.

Meanwhile, Americans for Tax Reform have complained that the recently passed healthcare reform bill is showing its first impact in terms of higher taxes as a new 10 percent Federal excise tax on indoor tanning went into effect on July 1.

The organization also stressed that the reform contains some 21 tax hikes, most of them violating President Obama’s electoral campaign pledge not to raise taxes on middle-class families. ADNFCR-1961-ID-19876187-ADNFCR

Unemployment Extension Bill Fails To Pass Once Again

Unemployment extension bill fails to pass once again Just minutes before adjourning for the holiday break, Senate Republicans again killed a $33.9 billion spending bill on June 30 that would have extended unemployment benefits to more than 1.7 million laid-off workers.

GOP leaders have indicated that they are willing to extend aid to the near 10 percent of Americans who are unemployed, but will only do so if the measure is paid for and does not add to the nation’s already ballooning deficit, Fox News reports.

Republicans have proposed that the bill be funded using unspent stimulus money from last year’s economic recovery act, however Democrats note that that money is needed to support various jobs programs.

"We could pass this bill with broad bipartisan support if Democrats would just agree to pay for the spending," said Representative Dave Camp (R-Mich.) "The American people know we must pay for this spending, and the Senate appears to have heard that message."

While Republicans have successfully filibustered the bill several times, most political pundits expect the measure to pass next week when Congress is back in session, according to the Associated Press (AP). After a replacement is named to fill deceased Senator Robert Byrd’s seat, Democrats should have enough votes to pass the bill.

The G-20 Pig-out And What It Means For Gold

Listening to President Barack Obama at the Group of 20 summit in Toronto, Canada, last week reminded me a bit of myself. As a person who has gained, lost and then gained back 100 pounds over the past decade, I have given much consideration to the very best time to start a diet. Without a doubt the answer is always: tomorrow.
For nearly 18 months Obama has been on a spending orgy that would make the Roman Emperor Caligula blush. Yet Obama says that the United States and other nations need to cut spending; just not yet, damn it!

"Because durable growth must also include fiscal responsibility,” said Obama after the G-20, “we agreed to balance the need for continued growth in the short term and fiscal sustainability in the medium term." Then the President added: “We can’t all rush to the exits at the same time, so countries that have surpluses should think about how we can spur growth."

In other words, “Of course I will have that piece of cheesecake.”

This is especially true if you not only think the cheesecake isn’t bad for you, but if you have in fact convinced yourself that you just might die without it.

After offering up $7 trillion in spending to re-flate the economy following the Crash of ’08 you might think that the industrialized nations had already bitten off more than they could swallow. This is apparently not so. The G-20 summit concluded with Big Governments showing their still insatiable spending appetites.

As a native born son I can tell you that nobody knows how to borrow and spend better than Canadians. Prime Minister Stephen Harper proved it by urging advanced and developing countries set aside their differences and spend until it hurts.

Harper bragged after the summit ended that the world will adopt a “carefully calibrated” plan that rightly puts growth and jobs first and then tackles market-rattling deficits in a big way.

Harper advocated what he called the, “continued role for ongoing stimulus in the short term,” adding: “The G-20 still has a lot to do to fully entrench the global recovery.”

In their final communiqué the G-20 leaders said that “strengthening the recovery is the key.” Nevertheless the G-20 leaders agreed to cut deficits in half by 2013 and to put government debt loads on a stable or downward track by 2016.

It all sounds a bit like Kirstie Alley at Thanksgiving dinner.

World’s Biggest Loser
And in case you were wondering, nobody has a bigger appetite to spend than Obama. The President says that he fears an austerity program will choke off the global recovery, inviting another crisis. But even he concedes that ballooning American and European deficits will be pared back eventually (just one last box of chocolates… I swear it).

“We are moving in the same direction,” the President said as the summit came to a close. Exactly what direction that is remains unclear, but I for one think it might require an economic liposuction also known as deflation.

Of course that is all down the road. The good news for the U.S. is that the G-20’s six-year window leaves Obama the latitude to front-load stimulus and bring in austerity later. No doubt that will come sometime after the President’s bid for re-election.

Meanwhile, Washington is currently running a $1.4 trillion deficit, or a number which almost totals 11 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Still the President has said he is determined to keep on spending until we see a permanent economic turnaround. When that will be is anyone’s guess, but one thing is clear: it won’t be easy to stabilize the debt load, much less set it on a downward path. For the 31 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, unemployment now stands at 46 million, up some 50 percent since 2007.

Trillions have already been spent trying to resurrect the global economy and if the G-20 meeting is any indication, world governments are about to double-down on their bet. One has to wonder if even John Maynard Keynes—the father of deficit spending—would recognize what is going on now in his name. Perhaps Keynes would fear that runaway deficits threaten an even worse financial crisis.

Eventually deficits become counterproductive. They cause concern and eventually fear in the credit markets. This will invariably lead to skyrocketing interest rates and despite government’s best intentions, an economic collapse.

Germany—a country whose people are known for their boorish appetites—is urging caution when it comes to more government spending. At the G-20 summit German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned: “It’s not about growth at any price, it’s about sustainable growth.”

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble added: “Nobody can seriously dispute that excessive public debts, not only in Europe, are one of the main causes of the crisis.”

And German Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle threw in his two euro-cents, saying that the U.S. and Europe need to “urgently” slash spending.

Fat chance I say. A doctor at an obese clinic is more likely to stop fat kids tumbling into an abandoned Twinkie truck than the German Bundestag will be at reining in the spending of other G-20 members.

In fact President Obama has staked his reputation and more importantly, his re-election, on more stimulus spending.

The Wall Street Journal writes that the Obama administration is insisting on new stimulus measures—”convincing evidence that they too recognize that the earlier measures failed.

“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.”

The latest market evidence says that the WSJ is spot on. Consumer confidence is anything but confident. The Dow Industrials are on the edge of a cliff—perched below 10,000 points, while the S&P 500 is at its lowest point since the dark days of October 2009.

And don’t look for any help from our so-called friends at the Federal Reserve. The central bank has already cut the cost of money as close to zero as it can go. In fact, the yield on 10-year Treasury notes has fallen to less than 3 percent, one of the few times in our history.

All in all it’s enough to drive a fella to run out to Wendy’s and buy up Baconators.

But there is something out there that would soothe us a whole lot better than grease. I am talking about gold.

Bullion prices have risen almost 50 percent since I first recommended it to you on this site last summer—even in the wake of last week’s big correction that took place mostly on profit taking and some fears of deflation. Still, I am convinced that Washington’s next flood of money will push the Midas metal higher—much higher—up to $1,800 per ounce within the next year. That makes bullion at $1,200 a bargain.

Most importantly, gold looks to be the only dependable investment out there. Government policies will soon unleash a tidal wave of inflation which will rock the stock and bond markets as well as the banks themselves. The only profitable place, in fact the only sensible place to be fully invested right now is in gold.

I started out by talking about diets. I want to finish up by telling you something my dad said to me about gardening: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is right now.”

Of course it would have been better to have bought more gold sooner. But let’s do the next best thing and buy some today.

Action To Take
Sell all Big Board stocks and all bond instruments this very day and use the funds to buy physical gold. I recommend American Gold Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs and African Krugerrands. I prefer these because they are stamped in English, have their gold content stamped on them, come in convenient, well-known sizes (1-ounce, half-ounce, quarter-ounce and one-tenth-ounce) and sell at small premiums over the value of their gold content.

Yours for real wealth and good health,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold

The Showman P.T. Barnum

America’s greatest showman, Phineas T. Barnum, was born on July 5, 1810, in Bethel, Conn. This son of a shopkeeper began his career as an entertainer when, at the age of 25, he charged admission to see a blind and paralyzed former slave, Joice Heth. Barnum claimed the woman was 160 years old and the one-time nurse of George Washington. Of course she was neither.

Barnum became famous for his hoaxes (or, as he preferred to call them, his “humbugs”) at “Barnum’s American Museum” in New York City. In addition to the traditional stuffed animals, Barnum added a series of live acts and “curiosities,” including albinos, giants, midgets, “exotic women” and Fejee the mermaid.

His most famous exhibit was Charles Stratton, better known as “General Tom Thumb,” who began with Barnum when he was just 5 years old (but was passed off as 11). The midget was an excellent showman and imitator. On a tour of Europe he performed for Queen Victoria in London and the Czar of Russia. The success of that tour made Barnum rich and famous.

In 1871 Barnum launched “P.T. Barnum’s Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome.” It was a traveling amalgamation of circus, menagerie and freak show that he described as “The Greatest Show on Earth.” He later merged with James Bailey to form the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Barnum was a genius at promotion who made his arrival in each area an event, with Jumbo the elephant leading the parade through town to the circus grounds.

After Barnum’s death in 1891 the Barnum and Bailey Circus was acquired by Ringling Brothers, who preserved their name on it to this day.

—Chip Wood

Amid Multiple Crises, Obama's Support Is Tanking

Amid multiple crises, Obama's support is tanking As President Obama grapples with the weak economy, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and a military reshuffling in Afghanistan, his ratings seem to be heading towards an all-time low, according to a new poll.

A survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that in June only 39 percent of Americans approved of Obama’s overall job performance, while 61 percent gave him negative marks. This is a worse result than last month, when 42 percent gave him positive marks, and 58 percent did not approve.

What is more, it appears that the president may be losing support from his base as three in 10 Democrats and Liberals (29 and 20 percent, respectively) are now critical of how he’s handling major issues. Less surprisingly, a whopping 92 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of conservatives feel the same way.

Currently, more moderates disapprove of Obama than not (58 percent).

There are geographical differences in the views regarding the administration’s performance, with 41 and 43 percent of West and East Coast residents, respectively, giving it positive ratings, while 65 percent of residents in the South have expressed the opposite view.

The poll came out just a few days before Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings began on Capitol Hill. Kagan was nominated by President Obama earlier this year, and has since come under fire from conservatives for her limited legal experience outside of academia and for her political role in the Clinton White House. ADNFCR-1961-ID-19869592-ADNFCR

Drinking Beetroot Juice May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Drinking beetroot juice may help lower blood pressureHypertensive individuals who are looking for a natural way to lower their blood pressure and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease may want to consider drinking more beetroot juice, according to a new UK study.

Lead investigator Amrita Ahluwalia, professor of vascular biology at Queen Mary’s William Harvey Research Institute, and her colleagues found that participants were able to lower their blood pressure considerably by consuming just 250 milliliters (ml) a day of beetroot juice. The beneficial effects were seen in the first 24 hours.

The researchers also found that patients were able to moderately lower their blood pressure by taking daily nitrate tablets, suggesting that the high nitrate content in beetroot is what may make it the next superfood.

"We showed that beetroot and nitrate capsules are equally effective in lowering blood pressure," said Ahluwalia. "We also found that only a small amount of juice is needed to have this effect, and that the higher the blood pressure at the start of the study the greater the decrease caused by the nitrate."

Another study conducted late last year found that regular consumption of beetroot can also naturally improve stamina by increasing oxygen intake, reports.

The Old Dog And Pony Show

"When the Senate ceases to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues, the confirmation process takes on an air of vacuity and farce, and the Senate becomes incapable of either properly evaluating nominees or appropriately educating the public."Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, University of Chicago Law Review, 1995.

What a waste of time.”—My next door neighbor’s mother, expressing her disgust at the non-event Kagan’s confirmation hearings became, Thursday afternoon.

Kagan—at least the 1995 edition—is correct. My next door neighbor’s mother is not. But I will elaborate, if only to keep Mrs. <redacted by author>’s enormous husband from strolling over with a brick.

Nearly five years ago, a Findlaw poll stated: “The percentage of Americans who can name all nine current Supreme Court justices, statistically speaking, is zero.” Imagine my shock in learning—from a mathematical standpoint, at least—I didn’t exist.

But I do exist, much to the consternation of more than a few. And I believe—nay—DEMAND a thorough vetting of anyone who’s going to spend the next couple of decades standing this close to my fundamentally inalienable rights. To be fair—neither my next door neighbor’s mom nor her giganto-spouse are in any way derelict in their civic duty; they’re simply revolted by last week’s C-SPAN circus.

Elena Kagan v.2010 is dramatically distant from Elena Kagan v.1995. During last week’s hearings she avoided definitive statements with the kind of agility most television viewers employ to avoid watching Rachel Maddow. She exasperated lame-duck Senator Arlen Specter (R to D-Pa.) to the point that he looked even more basset-houndish than usual. She sidestepped interrogatives regarding her support for partial birth abortion, a procedure right at home in a Freddy Krueger film.

Actually, her confirmation hearings had a rather pungent “air of vacuity and farce.”

Kagan demurred when questioned by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) regarding her interpretation of congressional authority under the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3):

Coburn: If I wanted to sponsor a bill, and it said Americans have to eat three vegetables and three fruits every day and I got it through Congress and that’s now the law of the land, got to do it, does that violate the Commerce Clause?

Kagan: Sounds like a dumb law… But I think that the question of whether it’s a dumb law is different from whether the question of whether it’s constitutional and I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they’re senseless.

When Coburn noted that ObamaCare could make such a nightmarish hypothetical a hideous reality, Kagan responded—over the course of a 500 WORD ANSWER (yes, I counted)—that the responsibility to rectify Congressional and Executive breaches of constitutional protections rested with Congress and the Executive branch.

Ms. Kagan—such corrections are positively within the purview of you and your eight future colleagues.

I am troubled by delivering a 4th grade civics lesson to a woman purported to be one of the foremost legal minds of her generation. The judiciary serves as the final line of defense against encroachment upon our civil liberties; whether said encroachment requires a McDonald v Chicago or a Brown v Board of Education.

If Elena Kagan doesn’t understand the basic function of the Federal judiciary, then she is a poor choice indeed to join their ranks. Sadly, because most Americans either don’t know or don’t care—she’s already browsing Wal-Mart’s Justice-on-the-Go collection.

The purpose of senate confirmation hearings is to discover the nature of those who aspire to inhabit the halls of unelected authority. The fact that most of our senators are jacklegs does not relieve the citizenry of OUR responsibility to look over THEIR shoulders. Sometimes, we get to observe Tom Coburn pressing Elena Kagan for a definitive answer to… anything. Sometimes—as the goodly folk of Minnesota found out last week—we get to discover our junior senator ignoring the proceedings while producing an impressive pen-and-ink sketch of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

Elena Kagan is likely to be more Ruth Bader Ginsburg than Antonin Scalia. The good news: replacing Stevens with Kagan is not likely to effect a sea change on the Supreme Court. The bad news: Kagan is hardly the last salvo Obama will fire at our personal liberties. We must overcome our revulsion at Washington’s clownish antics. The agenda which produces nominees like Elena Kagan is no laughing matter.

Remember that in November, and again in 2012.

Obama Calls For Federal Immigration Reform, Asks For GOP Support

Obama calls for federal immigration reform, asks for GOP support With Arizona’s new immigration law less than 30 days away from being enacted, President Obama called out Republicans last week, pressuring them to help congressional Democrats develop a comprehensive immigration reform strategy.

"Reform that brings accountability to our immigration system cannot pass without Republican votes," Obama said during his speech at American University. "That is the political and mathematical reality."

The president noted that any further delay in Congressional action would result in a "patchwork" system where individual states create their own laws. Obama again condemned Arizona’s recently passed immigration bill, which he described as an "ill-conceived" measure that has the potential to violate "the rights of innocent American citizens and legal residents."

He added that the law—scheduled to be enacted at the end July—will drive a wedge between law enforcement personnel and the Hispanic community, creating more dangerous communities.

In response to Obama’s speech, Republican leaders said the administration needs to properly secure the border before calling on Congress to pass a Federal reform bill.

"In calling for a massive overhaul of immigration law, the administration is putting the cart before the horse," said Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). "When the house is on fire, you don’t try to fix the plumbing."

"Rather than playing politics with the issue, the administration should listen to the American people and secure the border," he added.

Obama was recently criticized by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Texas Governor Rick Perry for only deploying 1,200 National Guard troops to help improve border security. Brewer and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked for a minimum of 6,000 troops.

How To Stretch… Correctly!

Regular stretching is necessary for optimal health. The cause of many avoidable aches and pains is lack of suppleness and excess tightness in the muscles. Not stretching is a problem, yet stretching the incorrect way is also a problem.

Many athletes and active people stretch before or after their activity yet still experience muscle pulls and tendon tears. The problem is they’ve been taught the wrong way to stretch since childhood. Incorrect stretching can lead to pulls and tears of muscles, tendons and ligaments. And most people, when they feel their muscles are painful or tight, will (incorrectly) stretch them more in the hopes of stretching through the problem. But they are only exacerbating it.

In this article I am going to give you guidelines for stretching correctly. I will explain two different methods to do so: one for lay people who want to feel good and the other for more active people or athletes whose activities require flexibility.

Stretching To Feel Good
For people with any kind of localized or general acute or chronic pain, stretching is a must. Sitting on a chair all day—whether at a desk, in a car or on the couch—leads to shortening of various muscles in the body.

The position of sitting often shortens the piriformis muscles, which lie underneath the gluteus muscles. Tightened piriformis can make the pelvis rotate off center, which can cause hip pain, leg pain and low back pain. Sitting slouched on the sofa or chair can cause pain across the mid back rhomboids and also the levator scapula and trapezius muscles. Sleeping with your head placed incorrectly or typing or reading while looking down can cause tightening of the many neck muscles.

The simple fact is that even without engaging in athletic activities, the muscles of the body tighten as a result of our daily activities. And chronic tightening can cause chronic pain, tension and soreness. Stretching is the answer.

Stretching for the purposes of wellness (as opposed to athletic activity) should be done slowly, rhythmically and quietly. In this regard you stretch to feel good, not to gain flexibility. Here are the guidelines:

  1. Isolate the muscle or muscle group you want to stretch.
  2. Find the position where you feel the very first sign of tightening or pulling in the muscle group.
  3. Remain still and wait patiently for that sensation to disappear.
  4. Only then do you lean or bend further in the direction of the stretch.
  5. Again feel the first sign of the stretch, and repeat the steps above.

There are many good books on the market that give the positions for stretching. Most of them should suffice, as long as there is no undue pressure put on any joint. You are probably safe doing some basic techniques you already know. To stretch correctly you must not rush, must not push to where it hurts and you must patiently await the muscle’s natural release of tension.

Stretching For Flexibility
Athletes often injure themselves by stretching improperly. Either they warm up a bit before engaging in their activity and then stretch afterward, or they stretch too much in the beginning and not enough at the end of it.

It is imperative that athletes warm up thoroughly and then stretch properly prior to the activity and after the activity. Athletes must warm up to stimulate blood flow and increase body temperature to allow the muscles to become supple.

Then stretching to elongate the muscle resting length can begin so the activity does not tear anything. After the activity the athlete should stretch in order to soothe the muscles and help prevent them from cramping.

Sounds time consuming, I know, but doesn’t chronic pain take more time from you?

For athletes I recommend a method of stretching called muscle energy technique (MET). This is similar to proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), but is not as rigorous and potentially damaging to the athlete if done incorrectly. And remember, correct stretching is what is important. Here’s what you do:

  1. Isolate the muscle or muscle group you want to stretch.
  2. Find the position where you feel the very first sign of tightening or pulling in the muscle group.
  3. Apply resistance for that muscle in the opposite direction you are trying to stretch into.
  4. Only apply 20 percent of your strength in the resistance. Maintain a steady pressure at that level for seven to 14 seconds.
  5. Release the resistance, but do not allow your stretching limb to change position by either flexing or extending. Wait five seconds.
  6. Slowly glide deeper into your stretch, until you feel the next level of pull, and repeat the above steps.

While many of the MET stretches require a partner, enough of them can be done alone. Since PNF stretches are gaining more publicity these days you can pick up a book or video on them. But use the MET method above.

Essentially they are the same, but PNF requires more force for a longer duration and from deeper positions. MET is the way to go, especially if you are not properly trained in PNF and want to avoid injuries. Moreover, simply relaxing into the stretch is too time consuming for athletes who need the extra time to warm up and cool down.

—Dr. Mark Wiley

Cigarette Taxes Go Up As States Seek To Close Budget Gaps

Cigarette taxes go up as states seek to close budget gaps Plagued by ballooning budget deficits, five states across the nation raised cigarette taxes on July 1 in an effort to close those gaps. However, opponents argue that this approach may be counterproductive, as it may cost businesses more in terms of lost sales.

The affected states are New York —where the increase has been the highest, from $1.60 to $4.35 per pack—Hawaii (40 cents to $3), New Mexico (75 cents to $1.66 ), South Carolina (50 cents to 57 cents) and Utah ($1 to $1.70).

Many local politicians chose to stress the alleged health benefits of smoking cessation, which some believe will come about as a result of the taxes. This has been echoed by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which called the measure a win-win for the states.

"These actions… are a huge victory for the nation’s health that will save many lives and billions of dollars in tobacco-related healthcare costs," said Matthew L. Myers, the campaign’s president.

However, critics counter that the tax hike will jeopardize businesses while having a negligible effect on public health. In particular, many believe that smokers will simply travel to neighboring states or order cigarettes online.

For instance, Deseret News, a local newspaper in Utah, cited the example of Jeanie’s Smoke Shop in Salt Lake City that has been forced to shut down this week after decades in business because of dwindling numbers of customers put off by higher taxes on cigarettes, pipe tobacco and cigars.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19869572-ADNFCR