Welfare Costs For Children Of Illegal Immigrants Rise In Los Angeles

Several conservative politicians have recently voiced their opposition against amnesty for illegal immigrants, citing the draining effect it could have on the already-reeling economy.

The most populous county in the United States is feeling those financial pains, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Welfare payments to children of illegal immigrants in Los Angeles County increased to $52 million in July, a total that represents 23 percent of the county’s entire welfare and food stamp assistance, the news provider reported. Projections show that the aid toward children of illegal immigrants will exceed $600 million this year, approximately $30 million more than the county spent last year.

County Supervisor Michael Antonovich would like to see a decrease in assistance for the offspring of illegal immigrants.

"The supervisor is very concerned," said Tony Bell, a spokesman for Antonovich, quoted by the Times. "He believes we have an economic catastrophe on our hands."

Under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, children born on American soil — even if their parents are illegal immigrants — are automatically granted citizenship. However, according to a recent poll that asked Americans about birthright citizenship, nearly half of those surveyed said they oppose it.

The Quinnipiac University poll reveals that 48 percent are against the policy, and 45 percent are in favor, quoted by The Associated Press.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19940727-ADNFCR

Do The Democrats Have A Reason To Cheer Tea Party Victory?

Do the Democrats have a reason to cheer Tea Party victory?On Sept. 14, the last big round of this year’s primaries was held from the District of Columbia to Wisconsin. It appears that, once again, ultra-conservatives managed to trump mainstream Republicans in many states, but some commentators fear this may be good news for the Democrats.

Among the most closely watched elections were those held in Delaware and New York. In the first, a relative newcomer Christine O’Donnell, backed by the Tea Party, upset a nine-term congressman Mike Castle. In the second, Carl Paladino, also supported by the grassroots movement, defeated GOP favorite Rick Lazio in the gubernatorial race, and will run against Democrat Andrew Cuomo, the son of a former governor.

Initial reactions from mainstream Republicans — including former George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove — suggest the party may seek alternative candidates to support.

Rove told Fox News that O’Donnell has said too many "nutty things" that "simply don’t add up," and expressed his opinion that " this is not a race we’re going to be able to win."

However, in her victory speech the newly minted Senate nominee was upbeat.

"A lot of people said we can’t win the general election; yes we can!" she said, adding — in a thinly veiled reference to mainstream Republicans — that "it will be hard work, but we can win if those same people who fought against me work just as hard for me."ADNFCR-1961-ID-19940755-ADNFCR

Snoops In The Trash

Government snoops are now checking your garbage and there’s no end the mischief that can lead to.

Local municipalities have begun putting low-power radio frequency identifiers (RFIDs) in garbage cans to monitor their resident’s recycling efforts. If some government bureaucrat decides you aren’t making enough recyclable trash you’ll receive a $100 fine in Cleveland.

Other municipalities are jumping on the “Green” bandwagon. Some are raising garbage collection rates to pay for the new technology that monitors whether you a separating your papers and plastics. Among the cities now monitoring your trash are Charlotte, N.C., Boise, Idaho, Flint, Mich., Dayton, Ohio, and Alexandria, Va. Not all of them have implemented a system of fines, but all say they want to use them “educate” residents on how to recycle.

Of course, governments aren’t interested in whether you are being responsible and recycling your waste… just money and power. The new technology is expensive. In Cleveland the new bins with the microchips cost $2.5 million and it will take 15 years to recoup the costs. In just a few years the technology will be outdated but Cleveland will still be trying to pay for its investment.

There are many problems with this idea. First, to pay for the technology municipalities are hitting residents with more fees they can ill afford and see the fines as a new revenue stream for their strapped budgets. Second, the idea that some under worked bureaucrat can sit in an office and determine whether you are producing enough plastic bottles or aluminum cans to satisfy some pinhead’s model for a certain family size should cause concern.

It may be that your family has sworn off soft drinks to avoid government-approved, diabetes-causing high fructose corn syrup. Or, it could be that you’ve installed a water filtration system in your home and are not using bottled water. Either way, in Cleveland at least, being responsible will cost you a $100 fine… there’s that $2.5 million investment to consider.

And the privacy concerns here are myriad. Government can determine you drink too much or eat too much junk food. It can know whether you’re smoking in your home, and what brand you use. Every item you purchase that has wrapping and a label will be open for inspection. Big Brother can learn everything there is to know about you just by going through your trash.

With government in charge of your healthcare under Obamacare, that knowledge can go a long way toward determining whether you get treatment or not. It could easily decide that smokers, drinkers, someone with a chronic health problem or gun owners don’t deserve life-extending treatment.

Now municipalities have vans that peer through walls and microchips in your garbage bins.

And Winston Smith in 1984 was worried about what the telescreen saw and heard…

Conservatives Blast GOP, Cheer Tea Party Success

Conservatives Blast GOP, Cheer Tea Party SuccessTuesday’s slew of Tea Party candidates’ primary victories may have stunned and upset some Republicans, but there are many conservatives who have been energized by these results. They have also blasted GOP leaders for not understanding how angry and disappointed many voters are with their policies.

Among the most vocal activists was Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, who said that leaders such as Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and John Boehner (R-Ohio) have lost control of the Republican Party and are about to be unseated by grassroots constitutional conservatives.

“All across the country Americans feel betrayed by Republican politicians,” Viguerie stated, adding that the recent primaries “show that the grassroots anger is directed at more than just the Obama-Reid-Pelosi Democrats.”

Family Research Council (FRC) Action representatives expressed similar views, saying that conservative voters have had enough of moderate Republican candidates who “don’t stand for anything.”

FRC Action is scheduled to hold its annual Values Voter Summit this weekend and has invited Christine O’Donnell, the newly elected GOP Senate nominee and Tea Party-supported candidate from Delaware, to deliver a speech at the event.

Do You Really Know The Constitution?

Today is Constitution Day — a day specifically designated by an Act of Congress when Americans are supposed to honor the remarkable document that created our system of government. The date was chosen because the Constitution was approved at the original Constitutional Convention on Sept. 17, 1787.

The act that created Constitution Day mandates that all publicly-funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day. Let’s see how well the schools have done their job.

Ask a recent high school or college graduate to take the following brief quiz. I’ll be interested to hear how many of the 20 questions he or she answers correctly.

And be sure to take the quiz yourself. Even if you score 100 percent, it’s good to be reminded of some of the fundamental principles upon which our country was founded. The quiz was compiled by an old friend, John McManus, who is president of the John Birch Society. Thanks, John, for permission to share this with my readers today.

  1. Has the Constitution always guided our country?
  2. What are the three branches of government named in the Constitution?
  3. Does the Constitution allow the Supreme Court to make law?
  4. Does the Constitution empower the President to make law?
  5. Does the Constitution give the Federal government any power in the field of education?
  6. Where in the Constitution is there authorization to dispense foreign aid?
  7. Did the Constitution give the Federal government power to create a bank?
  8. Can the provisions of a treaty supersede the Constitution?
  9. Does the Constitution allow a President to take the nation into war?
  10. Can you name any of the four crimes mentioned in the Constitution?
  11. Should the Bill of Rights be considered part of the original Constitution?
  12. According to the Constitution, how can a President and other national officers be removed from office?
  13. How many amendments have been added to the Constitution?
  14. How is an amendment added to the Constitution?
  15. Does the Constitution say anything about illegal immigration?
  16. Is the term of a President limited by the Constitution?
  17. Which part of the Federal government holds “the power of the purse”?
  18. Does the Constitution provide a method for expelling a member of Congress?
  19. How many times is the word “democracy” mentioned in the Constitution?
  20. Does the Bill of Rights grant the people free speech, freedom of the press, the right to possess a weapon, etc?

It wasn’t as easy as you thought it would be, was it? Here are the answers, also as provided by McManus.

  1. No. Originally the nation functioned under the Continental Congress and the Articles of Confederation. Eleven years after the Declaration of Independence the Constitution was written, agreed to and sent to the states for ratification. When ratified by nine states (as the document itself prescribed), the Constitution was declared to be the new governmental system. That occurred on Sept. 13, 1788. The new government was ordered to be convened on March 4, 1789.
  2. Legislative, Executive and Judicial.
  3. No. The very first sentence in the Constitution states: "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States….” Any Supreme Court decision is the law of the case that binds only the plaintiff and the defendant. The meaning of the word “all” has not been changed.
  4. No. Executive Orders issued by the President that bind the entire nation are illicit because, as noted above, “All legislative powers” are possessed by Congress. An Executive Order that binds only the employees of the Federal government (such as granting a holiday) is proper because the President should be considered to be the holder of power much like that possessed by the CEO of a company. But the entire nation is not in the employ of the President.

    The President does have a role in lawmaking with his possession of a veto. He can veto a measure approved by Congress (which can be overturned by a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress), or simply allow it to become law by doing nothing within 10 days, “Sundays excepted.”

  5. No. The Constitution contains no mention of any power “herein granted” in the field of education.
  6. No such authorization appears in the Constitution.
  7. No. Congress was granted power to “coin money,” meaning it was to have the right to create a mint where precious metal could be stamped into coinage of fixed size, weight and purity. There is no Constitutional authority for the Federal government to have created the Federal Reserve.
  8. Absolutely not. Thomas Jefferson responded to those who consider treaty-making power to be “boundless” by stating, “If it is, then we have no Constitution.”
  9. It does not. The sole power to declare the nation at war is possessed by Congress. Congress last used this power at the beginning of World War II, when war was declared on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Germany declared war on the U.S. the next day.) A congressional vote to authorize the President to enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions should never be considered a substitute for a formal declaration of war.
  10. The four crimes mentioned are: Treason, bribery, piracy and counterfeiting.
  11. Many do hold that view because if the promise to add a Bill of Rights had not been made during the ratification process, some states would not have ratified the Constitution.
  12. The President and other high officers of the Federal government can be impeached by a majority in the House and tried by the Senate. Impeachment does not constitute removal; it should be considered the equivalent of an indictment that must be followed by a trial. Two-thirds of the Senators “present” must approve removal at the subsequent trial to effect removal.
  13. There are 27. The first 10 (the Bill of Rights) can be considered part of the original Constitution. Amendment 18 was repealed by Amendment 21. This means that, in 223 years, only 15 other amendments have been added. The process was deliberately made difficult to keep anything dangerous or silly from being added to the Constitution in the heat of passion.
  14. Congress can propose an amendment when two-thirds of both Houses of Congress vote to do so. Any proposed amendment must then by ratified by the legislature or a convention in three-quarters of the States. Amendments can also be proposed by a Federal Constitutional convention called by two-thirds of the States. Any amendment arising from a Constitutional convention must also be ratified by the legislature or a convention in three-quarters of the states.
  15. Not directly. But Article IV, Section 4 assigns to the Federal government the duty “to protect each of them [the States] from invasion.” It does not specify that the invasion must be military. When 12 million people enter our nation illegally, it is an invasion that should be repelled by the Federal government.
  16. Yes. In 1951, Amendment 22 was added to the Constitution to limit any President to two terms. The only President who served longer than two terms was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who held office during a fourth four-year term. He died in April 1945 shortly after beginning his 13th year in office.
  17. The House of Representatives. Article I, Section 7 states: “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives….” If a majority in the House (218 of its 435 members) refuses to originate a bill to raise revenue for something, then no funds can be spent on that activity.
  18. Two-thirds of each House has the authority to expel any of its members for cause even though the member has been elected by voters.
  19. The word “democracy” does not appear in the Constitution. Our nation is a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy. The Founders feared Democracy (unrestricted rule by majority) and favored a Republic (rule of law where the law limits the government). James Madison wrote: “…. Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
  20. No. The Declaration of Independence, which provides the philosophical base of our nation, states very clearly that our rights are granted to us by our Creator. The various rights noted in the Bill of Rights were not granted by government. The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to prevent the Federal government from suspending any of those God-given rights, including the right to possess a weapon. Those who claim “Second Amendment rights,” for instance, make a big mistake with such a statement. If the right is granted by the Second Amendment, meaning by government, it can be taken away by government. If the right is granted by God, only He can take it away.

While every politician pays lip service to the Constitution (the President, Vice President, and every member of Congress take an oath to “preserve and protect” it), the sad truth is that vast majority of actions taken by the Federal government are not authorized by the Constitution.

I have heard it said that, if the Constitution were fully and honestly enforced today, the Federal government would be 20 percent of its present size and would cost 20 percent of its present budget. I think those numbers are an exaggeration; I suspect the truth would be closer to 10 percent.

Just imagine: No foreign aid, no Departments of Education, Housing, Health, Agriculture or Homeland Security. No commissions, bureaucratic monstrosities or other meddlesome agencies that “harass our people and eat out their substance.” (That’s an actual indictment of King George from the Declaration of Independence.)

What would this country be like if the Constitution were fully and honestly enforced? I hope some day we’ll find out.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

— Chip Wood

Study Finds That Nutrition Is Important To Immune Health

Study finds that nutrition is important to immune health Various studies have shown many benefits to proper nutrition. Antioxidants have been shown to play a role in decreasing the effects of aging, while certain vitamins are believed to decrease the risk of some chronic diseases.

Now, a new study conducted by researchers from Alberta University has found that high levels of nutrients may give a significant boost to the immune system. Researchers said that results could provide an avenue to better health for millions of individuals.

Richard Lamb, who led the study, said that high levels of vitamins and nutrients increases the production of certain amino acids that signal the immune system when the body is under attack from viruses and bacteria.

These amino acids also play a role reducing inflammation throughout the body, which is a factor that increases the risk of heart disease and some cancers. Well-nourished immune cells are vital to this process.

"This is a major work," said Lamb. "If this holds true it shows that one aspect of nutrition that is critical is the level of amino acids."
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Who’s Laughing Now?

Tuesday’s edition of The Hill featured a piece by Sam Youngman about a Presidential photo-op in fabulous Fairfax, Va. Entitled “President Obama seeks his inner Bill Clinton and feels voters’ pain,” the piece focused on a White House sojourn to the home of an upper middle class family in the aforementioned suburban enclave.

While my first thought was “at least they didn’t go back to Majorca,” a more intent perusal of the piece revealed a great deal about how our poor President has gotten so lost of late. At one point during the stop-over, Obama actually said he “feels their pain.” Bill Clinton used to say that, as well. Then the GOP dropped an electoral elephant on the Democrats in 1994. The more things “change…”

While Obama’s visit to the home of John Nicholas and Nicole Armstrong was no more or less carefully orchestrated than any other Presidential day trip, his talking points were — sadly — no more or less ludicrous than his other recent economic pronouncements.

Nicholas was noted as having “survived several layoffs at his Internet-services company,” while Armstrong has “recently returned to part-time work… to help pay the family’s bills.” So, while the President’s economic ineptitude has pushed the unemployment rate toward Carter-era numbers, the President went to a hoedown at a home owned by a family earning more than twice the national salary average.

Neither of his hosts is looking for work, nor are they “working” for the Census Bureau (or at any other government-backed make-work jobs the White House has been trying to sneak into the economic stew of late.) And Obama feels our pain? Obama might as well have visited a home which had recently been burglarized… and consoled the next-door neighbors.

During his photo-op, Obama also tried to tout his economic message, touching on his administration’s fight to dim the lights on Bush-era tax relief, a key point in the recent war of words the White House has been trying to wage. One White House spokesmodel suggested the Obama push to punish economic success stories by bumping up upper income tax bracket rates was:

“fight(ing) for the middle class.”

What the mouthpiece didn’t mention was the punitive nature of the Democrats’ frontal tax-assault on the nation’s leading producers. Right now, the top 25 percent of American income earners have to pull the cart for 86 percent of the IRS bill. If the margins go up, that top 25 percent (which includes nearly everyone at Obama’s Fairfax fandango) will have to spend less now to pay more in April. Even the D-students in Econ 101 can tell you taking money out of the economic reservoir lowers the level of the whole lake. More to the point: you don’t bench the varsity for running up the economic score.

But the exhaustive use of exhausted liberal justification for regressive taxes aside; Obama’s visit to the hinterlands actually got weird(er). According to the President:

“Michelle and I always laugh about it when people talk about us—I think they forget that we were basically living the same lives as John and Nicole, just it wasn’t that long ago,” Obama said. “It was, like, six, seven years ago.”

Whee, Presidential jocularity! How refreshing. I suppose we should be glad that our multi-millionaire Commander-in-Chief and his fashion plate wife can look back on their former lives of middle-class drudgery and smile. Pardon me if I don’t join in the fun there, chuckles. Remind me, Mr. Middle-class: Michelle took HOW many people along to Spain? It cost HOW MUCH? And you were dining with OPRAH that week? Then you went BACK to MARTHA’S VINEYARD?

The article dutifully noted that Obama grew up in less luxurious surroundings than the ones he was visiting on Monday (and the ones in which he currently resides). Meaning what—he’s a modern-day Horatio Alger?

I have learned to accept the essential hypocrisy of limousine liberals. But the idea of an extraordinarily wealthy man visiting reasonably wealthy supporters in order to promulgate economic policies which have not only consigned millions of Americans to far less fancy fields than Fairfax, but will also ensure few Americans can reach their level of wealth isn’t humorous; it’s horrific.

Pundits often point to the “disconnect” between Obama and the average citizen. Obama’s recent Fairfax field trip reveals something more sinister than simple separation: The President finds our plight amusing.

Laugh it up, liberals. We saw the same primary results you did. Come November, the joke’s on you.

Storing Water

If you are serious about storing water for an emergency you should make an investment in larger containers. Most containers come in 1-, 5-, 7-, 15-, 30- and 55-gallon sizes. The best choice is the 55-gallon polyethylene (plastic) water drum.

Remember, the average person in an average climate needs at least one gallon of water per day (two quarts for drinking and two quarts for cooking). When you consider that the average person uses 14 gallons in a normal day you realize that cutting back to one gallon per day is truly “roughing it.”

Containers should be stored close to ground level and secured to prevent breakage or possible injury in the event of an earthquake. Containers should be stored away from harmful chemicals or foul-smelling products — especially if stored in plastic which tends to absorb odors. The containers should be elevated a few inches off the ground and rotated annually to ensure freshness.

If you are into recycling, use two-liter pop bottles to store water. Plastic milk jugs are not good containers to use because the plastic will break down over time.

(Source: Emergency Essentials’ Tips For Preparedness)

Despite Missteps And Democratic Attacks, Brewer And Angle Hold Strong

Despite missteps and Democratic attacks, Brewer and Angle hold strong Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Jan Brewer and the GOP nominee in the race for the United States Senate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, have established themselves as controversial and fiercely conservative politicians, but this does not seem to be hurting their poll numbers.

After last week’s infamous performance in an electoral debate, during which Brewer froze and stumbled in her opening statement and later refused to answer questions from reporters, she is still leading her Democratic opponent.

A new poll from Rassmussen Reports shows that the incumbent can count on 60 percent of the vote, against Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard’s 38 percent. In fact, Brewer scored 57 percent in the same poll two weeks earlier, meaning she gained 3 percent after the debate.

Meanwhile, Nevada’s Angle — who became notorious for her plans to do away with Social Security, Medicare, Department of Education and the IRS, in addition to suggesting that poor people barter with their doctors in exchange for medical care — is in dead heat against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-Nev.)

"Independents are buying her economic argument by large margins," said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker, quoted by Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"I think they would be backing her even more if she didn’t have all the baggage that’s giving some people pause," he added.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19940122-ADNFCR

Conservatives To Celebrate Values Summit, But Not Without Controversy

Conservatives to celebrate values summit, but not without controversyWith only weeks before the general elections, both parties are out in force appealing to their core voters. One highly anticipated event is set to take place later this month in Washington, D.C., and feature many prominent conservative leaders.

The fifth annual Values Voter Summit, organized by Family Research Council (FRC) Action, will start on Sept. 17. The three-day conference will include a presidential and vice-presidential straw poll, exhibit hall, book signings as well as new media row sponsored by Media Research Center.

Among the most prominent confirmed speakers scheduled are Governor Bob McDonnell (R-Va.), Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)and possible 2012 GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. The event’s other sponsors are American Family Association, Heritage Foundation, American Values and Liberty University.

The most anticipated appearance will be that of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who will talk about current political climate and assess the chance for GOP gains in November.

However, the event has come under fire because one of the attendees, Bryan Fischer, who is the director of issue analysis for government and public policy at the American Family Association, has compared Muslims to neo-Nazis.

On Nov. 2, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 37 of the 100 seats in the Senate are up for re-election.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19939977-ADNFCR

Primaries, Upcoming Legislation Reveal Internal GOP Conflicts

Primaries, upcoming legislation reveal internal GOP conflictsIn the heated electoral season and at a time when important fiscal legislation is on Congress’s agenda, there are signs of possible discord within the Republican Party. This has alarmed some observers who worry that this may jeopardize the GOP’s chances in the elections that are its to lose.

In Delaware, Republican Senate candidate Mike Castle lost the Tuesday primaries to Sarah Palin and Tea Party-backed Christine O’Donnell. Media reports suggest the GOP had worked actively to support the nine-term congressman, as it is worried that O’Donnell’s hardline anti-establishment and socially conservative message may cost her support among independents.

"She’s not a viable candidate for any office in the state of Delaware," said the state party chairman, Tom Ross, adding that "she could not be elected dog catcher."

Tensions within the party have also been evident as Congress returned from vacation for the final legislative session before the elections.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), in an attempt to position his party as sensitive to middle-class concerns, said over the weekend that he might back President Barack Obama’s proposal to let the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the richest Americans expire and extend them only for those who make less than $250,000 a year.

However, subsequent reports quoted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as saying he wanted to work to ensure all Americans received tax breaks, regardless of their income.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19940622-ADNFCR

Heart Medications May Cause Malabsorption Of Nutrients

Heart medications may cause malabsorption of nutrientsWhile modern medicine has yielded many life-saving drugs that are capable of turning conditions that were once life threatening into little more than inconveniences, these medications may also rob the body of vital nutrients.

Heart medications are the main offenders. Dr. Mehmet Oz, a professor of surgery at Columbia University and author of several popular books, recently wrote in the Huffington Post that popular medications that are used to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes cause the body to stop absorbing several key nutrients.

Potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium and coenzyme Q10 are all blocked by these drugs. To make matters worse, Oz wrote that these nutrients are not often found in the most popular nutritional supplements. This means that patients who are taking supplements may still be lacking in key nutrients.

He added that individuals who are taking heart medication should consider starting a regimen of nutritional supplements and improved diet.

The impact of this interference may be twofold. Research from Oklahoma State University has shown that the malabsorption of nutrients may also impact the function of medication, leading to multiple problems.
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A Serious Warning About Muni Bonds

“To disrupt our services because we can’t make a bond payment would just be unconscionable. And as a leader I couldn’t do it.”

So explained Linda Thompson, the mayor of Harrisburg, Pa. She was explaining the city’s refusal to repay part ($3.29 million) of the $288 million it owes for an incinerator it bought. The total obligation for the incinerator comes to roughly $6,000 per citizen of the city. It is a debt that can’t be repaid and should have never been lent.

Unless you happen to live in Harrisburg you probably didn’t see this item in your local paper. And you probably wonder why we’d bother writing about it. After all, why should the impending bankruptcy of a small Pennsylvania city matter to you?

It should matter to you because it represents the next leg of the debt crisis — the failure of municipal finance. We were also struck by the logic of the mayor… who clearly views paying the city’s debts as optional.

She knows the state of Pennsylvania will be forced to bail out her city. (If the state doesn’t intervene it will be impossible for any other city in Pennsylvania to issue bonds.) And even if the state refuses, the bonds are insured by Ambac, which means, in the eyes of the mayor, it’s likely that no one will get hurt by her decision.

That’s how a $288 million loss can become irrelevant to an elected local official. Like a subprime borrower living in a house without paying his mortgage, the mayor of Harrisburg thinks paying for its debts is someone else’s problem. She’s bringing Obamanomics to city finance.

We have this warning to offer: When our elected officials no longer care about repaying hundreds of millions of dollars, the entire system of municipal finance is going to collapse. And the damage that’s going to occur will be material to our entire country.

The system that exists today was created in the 1970s. The entire system is predicated on the lie that States won’t allow losses to muni-bond holders. That’s the only reason muni-bonds are insurable: The insurance companies know there will never be a claim. They have no reserves to cover the risk of municipal losses because there have almost never been any. Over the last 40 years, the default rate on investment-grade municipal debt was 0.03 percent, according to the credit-ratings service Moody’s.

You can think of this system as similar to the subprime-credit bubble. No banker in his right mind would loan money to a person with no credit and no job who was buying a house in a slum. But once you took the credit risk away from that banker, he was happy to lend billions on deals like that because the risk became someone else’s problem. Billions in bad debts piled up. Suddenly, it was the banker’s problem again because he’d destroyed the entire system.

The same thing is about to happen in the muni-bond market: Nobody has paid any attention to credit quality because everyone believed the states won’t allow cities to go bust. As a result, a truly stupendous amount of money has been lent to cities — cities that have no hope of ever repaying the debts. Specifically, municipal debt now totals $2.8 trillion — roughly 22 percent of our country’s gross domestic product (GDP). That’s an all-time high. The amount of debt owed by cities has doubled since 2000. And the debts are now too big for individual states to guarantee.

Harrisburg is small potatoes. Mass transit systems are a much, much bigger problem. Almost every local politician in America has promised a subway, a train or a bus to take his constituents to work for next to nothing — but running these systems is incredibly expensive. In Boston, the mass transit authority is now $8.5 billion in debt and has been paying $500 million per year in interest. Does that sound sustainable?

What about all of the stadiums and arenas built over the last 20 years? Politicians love to build these things as part of citywide “revitalization” efforts. But paying for them? That’s somebody else’s problem.

Take the Meadowlands — the football stadium built nearly 40 years ago. It was torn down last year, but it has never been paid for. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (aka the State of New Jersey) borrowed $302 million to build it and never repaid the debt. Today, it owes more than $800 million and spends $100 million per year on interest for a stadium that no longer exists. California has 380 different local redevelopment agencies which collectively owe $29 billion.

This money will never be repaid.

When I warn people about muni-bonds I always get the same reply: “Governments don’t go broke.” Oh yes, they do. States face a cumulative budget gap of $140 billion in the next year — they don’t have the money to guarantee these debts. Meanwhile last year, more than 187 tax-exempt issuers defaulted on $6.4 billion of securities — the most since 1992. These numbers are going to get bigger — a lot bigger.

You see, all of this credit was only made available because lenders believed (foolishly) that there was no risk in lending to cities and states… just like they handed out all those subprime loans believing they would never default because “home prices never decline.” But after a few city bankruptcies (like Harrisburg), that thinking is going to change — forever.

With less (or no) additional credit available, how will cities and States be able to refinance at a reasonable price? Just like when the subprime credit markets shut down, the whole system collapsed because no one could refinance. The same thing is going to happen with the cities and the States.

There’s a very good chance that once the dominoes start falling, there won’t be any way to stop them without a massive Federal bailout.

Oh… one more thing… guess which bank has the most exposure to the muni-bond market? Again, just like with subprime, it’s Citigroup. It holds $13.4 billion, roughly twice as much as the other major banks.

Good investing,

Porter Stansberry

 

Editor’s Note: Local governments are no doubt grateful for the billions of dollars that have poured into muni-bonds over the past 18 months. But if some of those dollars are yours, you should know you’re not getting adequately paid for the enormous risk you’re taking.

A much safer — and more profitable — strategy is to avoid the usual income investments and look for high-yield opportunities your broker will never tell you about. We’ve put together a website detailing our favorites right now.

Click here to learn more.

Internet Kill Switch Bill On Senate Short List

The Internet Kill Switch Bill I’ve told you about before (here, here, here and here) continues to evolve and is creeping closer to reality.

According to Moneycontrol.com, two separate bills — one pushed by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Thomas Carper (D-Del.) and another backed by Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) — have been combined and are now on the Senate’s short list for passage.

The new bill would give the power to shut down the Internet in case of national emergency to the Department of Homeland Security. Under the bill the Internet could be closed down for four months before Congress could review it. The bill would also require cybersecurity professionals be certified.

The elected elites couch the bill as necessary for national security, but Lieberman let slip the real reason when he told CNN’s Candy Crowley, “Right now China — the government — can disconnect parts of its Internet in a case of war. We need to have the ability to do that, too.”

Of course, China disconnects portions of the Internet whenever there’s civil strife, as do other totalitarian regimes. It’s done to suppress the flow of information. Elites hate the free flow of information.

Rockefeller has gone so far to say he wishes the Internet had never been invented and we still communicated with paper and pencil.

Senate aides told Moneycontrol.com the bill faces a number of hurdles but the goal is to get the bill passed and on President Barack Obama’s desk by the end of the year. The bill could come up in the next four weeks, or it could be much later, aides said.

This bill is about one thing: The totalitarian suppression of free speech. The elites and corporate press know they have lost control of the message. This has resulted in the rise of the Tea Party and general discontent over the direction of the American political system. That frightens the fascists on both sides of the aisle.

The Internet Kill Switch Bill is their effort to regain control.

Hat Tip: Infowars.com

B Vitamins May Support Brain Function In Aging Seniors

B vitamins may support brain function in aging seniorsMillions of seniors experience cognitive decline as they grow older, placing a tremendous burden on their families and the healthcare system. The condition can take an emotional toll on the elderly due to a loss of independence.

However, new research from Oxford University has found that high levels of B vitamins may impede the progression of cognitive decline, and help seniors maintain an independent lifestyle later in their lives.

Investigators recruited 168 seniors into their study. Half were given high dose B vitamin supplements, while the rest received a placebo. Over the course of the two-year study, MRI scans showed that the group that was given active B vitamin experienced slower rates of brain atrophy.

"These are very important results, with B vitamins now showing a prospect of protecting some people from Alzheimer’s in old age," said Rebecca Wood, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, which funded the study. "The strong findings must inspire an expanded trial to follow people expected to develop Alzheimer’s, and we hope for further success."

She added that more research would be needed to confirm the findings, which could give hope to future generations.
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The Star-Spangled Banner

Just 18 years after President George Washington wrote his “Farewell Address,” the United States found itself at war once again. In September 1814, a British fleet under Sir Alexander Cochrane began bombarding Fort McHenry, outside Baltimore, Md.

The fleet would later sail up the Potomac River, attack the new capital at Washington, D.C., and even burn the White House, before the U.S. ultimately triumphed.

Francis Scott Key, a lawyer, had approached the British attackers of Fort McHenry to seek the release of a friend they had imprisoned.  Instead of winning his friend’s freedom, Key found himself imprisoned overnight, with a front-row seat for the nocturnal bombardment.

As the sun rose on Sept. 14, 1814, Key was amazed to see the American flag still flying over the battered fort.  He wrote The Star-Spangled Banner to describe what he saw.  More than 100 years later, in 1931, Key’s poem became our National Anthem.  A lot of folks still have trouble singing it — or remembering the words to it.

— Chip Wood

Boehner Says He May Back Obama’s Tax Plan

Boehner says he may back Obama's tax planHouse Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Sept. 12 that he is willing to support President Barack Obama’s plan to extend tax breaks for the middle-class and increase rates for the wealthiest Americans —but only if that’s his only option.

Appearing on the CBS program Face the Nation, Boehner stated that his preference is to extend all of the tax breaks approved by President George W. Bush in 2001.

If presented with a bill that doesn’t include continued tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 annually, Boehner said, "of course I’m going to do that," but added that he’d prefer to approve legislation that will "extend the current tax rates for all Americans." The Bush administration’s tax cuts are set to expire at the end of this year.

According to Politico.com, Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are facing resistance within their own party on this issue. A total of four Democratic representatives drafted a letter to Pelosi, expressing their desire to have all of the tax breaks extended in order "to provide families and businesses the certainty required to plan and make sound decisions," the news source reported.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19939336-ADNFCR

Titanic Arrogance: Obama Is Sinking America

The United States of America is racing towards ruin at breakneck speed and her captain, President Barack Obama, seems blissfully ignorant of the peril he is piloting the nation towards.

As Obama traveled the country to beg Americans to vote Democrat last week, new images of the RMS Titanic’s wreck were published. Taken from three miles deep in the Atlantic, the photographs are further testament to a time when technological arrogance and Edwardian pride believed that government and industry could surmount all challenges.

When completed in 1911 the Titanic was considered the Eighth wonder of the World. Its captain, Edward J. Smith, boasted that the ship was unsinkable.

“I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that,” Smith said.

The Titanic’s aura of invincibility stemmed from the period; it was the onset of the 20th Century and men believed machinery could overcome all, even nature. This was a notion the populace, especially the traveling public, was eager to swallow.

Captain Smith epitomized the age. He was at the apex of his career and was White Star Line’s most senior captain, chosen specifically to skipper the Titanic.

So convinced were captain and crew of the ship’s indomitability that they raced across the Atlantic at record speed. On the evening of April 14, 1912 the Titanic was sailing in the dark at 22 knots. Smith seemed oblivious to icebergs which could easily cross the great ship’s path at that time of year. It was a grandiose display of arrogance which cost more than 1,500 lives.

The PBS special, “Lost Liners” puts the blame solidly on Captain Smith.

“Fault rests on the Titanic’s skipper for not exercising more caution. Having received repeated ice warnings, he did not slow his ship down. In fact, Captain Smith had a casual, almost cavalier, air that evening, when he lingered late over a second cigar following an elegant dinner with some of the ship’s more distinguished passengers.”

Obama’s Orders — Ahead Full!
A century later, the greatest marvel of the Age of Enlightenment is the United States of America and it is on a collision heading. The U.S.A. will not be sunk by icebergs, but by debt and policies which sacrifice the dollar for political expediency. At the helm is Obama who seems more worried about his crew (Democrats in Congress) keeping their jobs than he is about the ship (America) itself; more concerned about his place in history than America’s immediate future.

We are trapped in the brig with a President who continues to steam forward regardless of opposition or hazard.

“From the day I took office, I’ve been told that addressing our larger challenges is too ambitious; such an effort would be too contentious,” Obama said during his State of the Union Address, Jan. 27, 2010. “For those who make these claims, I have one simple question: How long should we wait?”

One answer might be: “Until it is safe!” 

No doubt Obama is too busy racing ahead to even hear this warning. Just this past  Labor Day the President announced he is moving forward with even more spending; some $50 billion in new road, rail and airport construction projects and a plan to both overhaul national infrastructure spending and jump-start a sea of jobs.

The President spoke in Milwaukee to union members about his ambitious agenda to construct 150,000 miles of new roads, a network of high-speed rail lines and a next-generation airport system that includes 150 miles in new runways.

Left unsaid is that this expansion will have to be done on more borrowed money. Also absent from the speech was the fact that the unemployment rate won’t budge much below 10 percent and a credit crisis which began more than two years ago continues to linger despite trillions of dollars in Federal spending.

Instead Obama reiterated that more spending won’t raise the deficit.

“This is a plan that will be fully paid for and will not add to the deficit over time — we’re going to work with Congress to see to that,” Obama said. “All of this will not only create jobs now, but will make our economy run better over the long haul.”

It is hard to follow the President’s logic. A couple of days before his $50 billion spending pledge for transportation, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said this year’s U.S. Federal budget deficit will top $1.3 trillion.

That would be a tiny improvement of $71 billion over last year’s record $1.4 trillion deficit and hardly the direction we need to go if the President wants to restore world confidence in America and the dollar. After all, the 2009 and 2010 shortfalls are the largest ever. Each is three times bigger than the government’s annual deficit has ever been.

U.S. Dollar: Going, Going, Gone!
To say that deficits don’t matter is to ignore history and to put the county in peril. Even some of Obama’s crew admits that much. Earlier this year Thomas Hoenig, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issued a stark warning regarding the ballooning U.S. Federal government annual deficit and cumulative national debt.

“Without pre-emptive action, the U.S. risks its next crisis,” stated Hoenig, who went on to explain that Obama’s deficits endanger the Fed’s ability to fulfill its mandate of maintaining economic growth and price stability.

Hoenig is the first senior Federal Reserve official to go on record and state that the current U.S. fiscal policies are unsustainable and, unless halted and reversed in short order, will precipitate hyperinflation.

At the risk of carrying my analogy too far, Obama has a crew member in the crow’s nest screaming, “Iceberg!” and still he steams even faster.

How To Save Yourself
We don’t need a banker from the Federal Reserve warning us. The markets themselves are flashing “Danger!”  As the chart below shows, the dollar has been sinking for a decade. It got a brief respite in 2008 because of the deflationary scare. But that recovery appears to be over and the downward trend-line remains very much intact. I expect that over the next two years the dollar will continue to fall further once Obama’s inflationary policies get traction.

The Sinking Greenback

A decade ago I wrote to my subscribers this headline: “Get into the Lifeboat!”  In that newsletter I spoke about the fact that when the Titanic first struck the iceberg, most of those on board didn’t believe it could sink. Those that were smart enough not to believe in the fallacy of that age actually got off the ship and survived.

At the time of my “Lifeboat Alert,” gold was trading under $300 per ounce. At this writing gold is fetching more than $1,260 per ounce. My expectation is that after Obama really does sink the nation and the dollar, gold will be trading above $2,000 per ounce. It is not too late to save yourself, but time is running out.

Action To Take
Buy physical gold. I like American Gold Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs and African Krugerrands. All three 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).

Yours for real wealth and good health,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold

Urban Agriculture Promotes Food Safety And Security

Urban agriculture promotes food safety and security In this era of economic uncertainty and frequent health scares due to lax government oversight of food manufacturers, some Americans may be interested in raising their own livestock and food animals.

Proponents of this approach stress the independence and self-sufficiency that it can bring about. This is especially true in times when excess government spending threatens to produce inflation, which may lead to dollar depreciation and stores running out of food as people begin to stock up on supplies.

Raising one’s own food animals is also a good way to ensure cost-effective access to fresh meats and dairy, and can protect consumers from salmonella and other food-borne illness that have been in the news recently. That is because family-raised animals eat healthy, natural feed free of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and other toxins that are commonly used on commercial and industrial farms.

Chickens are among the easiest to raise on urban farms, in terms of ease of care, time commitment and cost, according to BackyardChickens.com.

There are many informational resources, including online and paper publications, that can answer many questions that would-be farmers may have, including how to procure chicks and how to care for them at different stages of their lives. There are also non-profit organizations that support urban chicken keepers and provide networking opportunities.

Other types of animals that can be raised on urban farms include ducks, goats, rabbits and bees.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19939413-ADNFCR

FAIR: Court’s Immigration Ruling Ignores Public Interest

Court's immigration ruling ignores public interest, FAIR saysOn Sept. 9, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ban on enforcing an ordinance against illegal aliens in Hazleton, Pa., prompting The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to accuse it of obstructing efforts to control illegal immigration.

According to FAIR, the Federal government has failed to act to stem the tide of illegal immigration, but residents in cities and towns across the nation are increasingly feeling the social and economic burdens associated with persons residing in the United States unlawfully.

Its representatives have said that banning the ordinance — which would have required employers and landlords to offer jobs or housing only to those who are authorized to live and work in the U.S. — is yet another example of why illegal immigration is "out of control."

FAIR president Dan Stein said that the court’s argument that Federal law takes precedence over state law in this matter is dangerous because "when the Federal government is unwilling to enforce immigration laws, cities need to be able to act by taking reasonable steps to protect their citizens from the social, financial and criminal costs of illegal immigration."

He added that his organization is advocating for a collaborative model whereby states and localities would assist the Federal government in enforcing immigration law.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19939580-ADNFCR

Fruit And Vegetable Juices May Help With Memory Loss

Forgetting things lately? You may be able to retain your memory simply by adding some flavorful drinks to your diet. Studies show that fruit and vegetable juices may slow the build-up of proteins that can cause damage to your brain cells. This damage may lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The Mount Sinai School of Medicine indicates red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon may help reduce your risk of the memory-robbing disease because of the drink’s high content of resveratrol — an anti-inflammatory compound found in grapes.

Researchers recommend a four-ounce glass of wine each day. All of these may contribute to a 76 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s.

If you don’t drink wine and are not partial to grapes and other foods containing resveratrol you can also take a resveratrol supplement. I take Advanced ResV Plus™ from Health Resources™.

New Research Shows Fish Oils Can Help In The Fight Against Diabetes And Obesity

New research shows fish oils can help in the fight against diabetes and obesityScientists at the University of California have discovered that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils can help insulin in the body work properly and reduce inflammation. This could fix the problem for many Americans as the American Diabetes Association reports that 23.6 millions of people in the United States suffer from diabetes, while 26.7 percent of the population is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The scientists have found a receptor in the body called GPR-120, which — when subjected to omega-3 fatty acids — generates an anti-inflammatory response. Jerrold Olefsky, professor of medicine at UC San Diego who was involved with the research, said that "our work shows how fish oils safely do this and suggest a possible way to treating the serious problems of inflammation in obesity and in conditions like diabetes."

Scientists also suggest that fish oils could help fight against other illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The research is still unclear on the optimal amount of omega-3 fatty acids that could help individuals at risk of these diseases. However, it may be one step towards finding a cure for millions of Americans.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19938989-ADNFCR