Inching Toward A Borderless North America

The Mexican invasion of Arizona is ongoing and the administration of President Barack Obama continues to allow it to happen.

Last week Pinal County (Arizona) Sheriff Paul Babeau confirmed he received an email in May from the Department of Homeland Security warning that 15 “sicarios” — assassins — had been sent by Mexican drug cartels in the Vekol Valley to kill bandits that had been hijacking their drug shipments. He discussed the email after local media outlets in Arizona obtained a copy of the email and began asking questions about it.

The Vekol Valley is located 70 miles inside Arizona and falls in Babeau’s Pinal County. The email warned that the invaders would be “very well equipped and armed sicarios complete with bullet proof vests.” The intelligence DHS had was so good it gave very detailed information about where and how the gunmen would operate.

But rather than send help in the form of National Guard troops or Federal law enforcement, DHS opted to put up a few signs warning travelers to avoid the area and left local enforcement to handle it as best they could.

On April 30, just two weeks prior to the DHS email, Pinal County Deputy Louie Puroll was wounded in a shootout with drug smugglers in the Vekol Valley. This incident highlights the danger local law enforcement faces in the area.

Mexican drug cartels are violent, ruthless and are operating with impunity on both sides of the border. And the Obama administration, like the George W. Bush administration before it, neglects the border issue in favor of inching us toward a North American Union — a country without borders that combines Mexico and Canada with the U.S.

Hat tip: CNSNews.com

Eating Healthier May Lower Cost Of Obesity

Eating healthier may lower cost of obesityIndividuals may want to consider eating healthier as new research shows the cost of obesity in the U.S. is growing for employers.

Scientists at Duke University found that obesity costs employers more than $73 billion for their full-time workers. The research was the first of its kind to prove that the loss of job productivity due to health problems caused by obesity, such as an absence from work, is higher than medical expenses.

Researchers also looked at productivity lost to presenteeism, which is when employees start or end their day early and are unproductive because they are not feeling well.

The scientists discovered that the per capita cost for obese women, who are about 100 pounds overweight, was approximately $16,900. The per capita cost for men in this category was $15,500.

According to the research, presenteeism was the highest cost for obesity, which accounted for up to 56 percent of lost productivity for women and 68 percent for men.

Eric Finkelstein, who led the study, said that "employers should consider both the medical and productivity costs of obesity when thinking about investments in weight management or other wellness programs." He added that encouraging "participation in health behavior activities" like gym attendance or walk-a-thons can make for a healthier lifestyle among employees. 

Critics Lambast Obama Administration Following Lift Of Drilling Ban

Critics lambast Obama administration following lift of drilling banPresident Barack Obama and his administration are being challenged by critics from both political parties following the announcement that the moratorium on deepwater oil drilling will be lifted.

According to media reports, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Oct. 12 that the drilling freeze put in place following the Gulf oil disaster will end several weeks before the original expiration date. The government imposed the moratorium because of the potential threats that drilling could pose to marine, coastal and human environments.

In a press release from the Department of Interior, Salazar stated that deepwater oil and gas drilling can resume only if operators comply with existing rules, including new requirements that recently went into effect.

House Natural Resources Committee member Representative Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) was one of several Republicans to speak out against the announcement, according to TheHill.com.

“The question remains, will the Obama administration actually allow drilling work to resume or is this just pre-election rhetoric?” he told the news provider.

The New York Times reports that Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said the lift is "a step in the right direction," but she would like more clarity about the rules and how they will effect drilling permits. In protest against the moratorium, Landrieu has blocked Obama's nomination of Jack Lew as White House budget director. Following the lift announcement, the Senator said she would continue to oppose the President's nomination until she receives more answers.

“When Congress reconvenes for the lame-duck session next month, I will have had several weeks to evaluate if today’s lifting of the moratorium is actually putting people back to work,” she told the news provider.

Nature, Dolphins and Depression

The Taoist have philosophy based on the concept of Yin & Yang. It is based on the observation of nature and living in harmony with it. The seasons come and go. Night becomes day and then night again. But we humans have all but separated ourselves from the nurturing of Mother Nature (yin) and the action of Father Time (yang). It is a philosophy of being at peace, of being at One with Nature.

Woody Allen summed it up humorously when he stated, “I’m two with nature.” Although Steely Dan’s album title “Two Against Nature” might be a closer description of how we have come not only to live out of tune with nature but also to fight against it.

We fight the day/night cycle by staying up late into the evening and even into the wee hours of the next morning; and this alters our own inborn circadian rhythms — our body’s time clock. We deprive ourselves of essential nutrients found in whole fresh foods, instead replacing them with a diet heavy in unnatural preservatives and hydrogenated oils and corn syrups. Is it any wonder our society is chronically ill? Sure we live longer, but what for?

One of the prevalent health issues of our day is depression. And in our way of dealing with everything, we step outside of nature to find an answer. And the answer we came up with is therapy and drugs. And still people suffer depression daily. So how about we turn to nature for some help?

Well, it seems that some people are more attuned to their surroundings and environmental helpers than most. And groups of them have been healing their depression… by swimming with the dolphins in Honduras.

The objective was “to evaluate the effectiveness of animal facilitated therapy with dolphins, controlling for the influence of the natural setting, in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.”

The results were so satisfying and promising that the study of the curative effects of depression after swimming with dolphins was reported in the June 26, 2005 issue of the British Medical Journal.

For the study, 30 patients diagnosed with mild or moderate depression were sent to Honduras for some water fun. Prior to the study, all 30 people were taken off their medications and discontinued psychotherapy. Then 15 people enjoyed water snorkeling and fun amongst themselves while the other 15 swam with dolphins. At the study’s conclusion, the group who engaged in water sports with dolphins found the severity of their depressive symptoms to be markedly more reduced than the group that snorkeled without animals.

According to BMJ: “The therapy was effective in alleviating symptoms of depression after two weeks of treatment. Animal facilitated therapy with dolphins is an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression, which is based on a holistic approach, through interaction with animals in nature.”

It looks like water swimming, at least the leisurely kind, did help in both groups. However, water exercise with dolphins showed better results. Researchers contribute the healing effects of animal-facilitated therapy to the emotions raised by the interaction with the dolphins. From this they suggest that interaction with animals in general can be as effective as or more effective than drugs and psychotherapy in treating mild to moderate depression. And we already know that blood pressure drops in those who pet or stroke their cat. 

Perhaps it’s not the animals per se that is helping, but that during the time we are with them we allow ourselves to return to our center, to relax and to join with the rhythms of nature.

My son Alex and I recently interacted with dolphins in Florida, and not only did we bond, but I for one hadn’t felt so relaxed in years.

Reference:
Antonioli, C. & Reveley, M.A. (June 27, 2005). “Randomised controlled trial of animal facilitated therapy with dolphins in the treatment of depression.” British Journal of Medicine, www.BJM.com

—Dr. Mark Wiley

School District Settles Suits That Allege Laptop Privacy Violations

School district settles suits that allege laptop privacy violationsA school district in Pennsylvania has agreed to pay a six-figure sum to settle lawsuits involving privacy infringement.

According to CNN.com, the Lower Merion School District reached agreements with two students who alleged that the district had unlawfully distributed laptop computers which invaded their constitutional right to privacy. The lawsuits claimed that administrators could take photographs and screenshots by remotely accessing the webcams on the laptops.

In a statement, the school district admitted that a number of webcam photos were recovered, but the remote access was solely intended for instances when the laptop was stolen or missing. The news provider reported that the district had removed the webcam security program after the suits were filed.

Doug Young, spokesman for the school district, said that the FBI and the United States Attorney's Office investigated the matter and found no criminal wrongdoing by the district and its employees.

A recent report by The Associated Press revealed that President Barack Obama is pushing to make it easier for the government to access citizens' e-mail communications. The President and his administration believe that law enforcement officials should have expanded capabilities in eavesdropping on conversations involving terrorism, crimes or other public safety issues.

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, called the proposal "a shortsighted and ill-conceived power grab," quoted by the news source.

"The balance has swung radically toward enhanced law enforcement powers. For them to argue that it's still not enough is just unbelievable. It's breathtaking in its hubris," Rotenberg added.

Poll Questions Popularity Of Tea Party Message

Poll questions popularity of Tea Party messageMany Tea Party-backed candidates are poised to help the GOP take over Congress this November, but a new poll suggests that their views may not be shared by most Americans. 

These congressional hopefuls are running on a platform of small government, limited spending, fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. However, a survey released by nonpartisan voting rights group Project Vote has found that half of all voters who are African-American, low-income or young believe that government should provide for the needs of citizens.

Majorities of these voters also support higher taxes on investment income, higher social security contributions from those who make more than $107,000, pulling troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan as a way to reduce the deficit, and greater spending on infrastructure projects.

Moreover, these groups make up a larger share of the electorate than Tea Party sympathizers who tend to be white, older and wealthier.

According to Project Vote's executive director Michael Slater, "black voters, low-income voters, and youth voters together represent roughly a third of the electorate, and they will play an increasingly important role in American politics in the years to come."

He admitted, however, that Tea Party activists are better funded and organized, and have thus been able to better convey their message in the last two years. 

Strange Things Afoot in the Golden State

Actually, stranger than normal things are afoot in the Golden State. Considering they elected a governor who can’t pronounce “Golden State,” stranger than normal is a stretch in the land of fruits, nuts and O.J. jurors.

But, when Californians step into their voting booths on Nov. 2, they will face a choice which has drawn considerable interest from parties far and wide, most notably from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. 

California’s Proposition 19 is a ballot measure which would reclassify growth, use and sale of recreational marijuana as a legal activity, within certain parameters. (Sorry Spicoli, you still won’t be allowed to get baked in the bathroom before biology.)

Last week, Holder announced that while Californians might give Prop 19 the thumbs up, the administration of President Barack Obama will continue the decades-old tradition of giving it the Federal thumbs down. Specifically, the Feds will:

"…vigorously enforce the Controlled Substances Act against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law."

Does decriminalization really threaten a state in which the doddering Zen Master Jerry Brown is leading in the race for the Governor’s Mansion?  For that matter, does decriminalization threaten a nation in which Barack Obama is President, and one of the top rated programs on television involves the saga of halfwits called “The Situation” and “Snookie?”  Is it possible that we have more pressing concerns than either, or even “J-Woww?”

Of the massive taxpayer dollars dedicated to keeping taxpayers off drugs, about $15 billion go to marijuana enforcement. Marijuana-related arrests are closing in on 1 million annually. Law enforcement man-hours, criminal court calendar backlogs and those insipid “Ad Council” spots which try to convince you that lighting up now might keep you from being President (even though lighting up then didn’t stop Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton) all cost time, resources and money. 

For many of you who regularly join me Outside the Asylum, the idea of decriminalizing marijuana is surely anathema. Let me be clear:  I’m merely suggesting that this is a debate worth having. I am NOT suggesting we roll a legal snowball down Narcotics Mountain.

Drugs like heroin, cocaine/crack and crystal meth should remain illegal, despite the potential Social Darwinian benefits of allowing the deserving members of the American herd to engage in self-culling behavior. Anything which makes stabbing yourself in the carotid with a dirty hypodermic needle, shooting the 7-Eleven clerk because he asked why your jaw was rattling like Jimmy Buffett doing a benefit show in Antarctica and washing your face with steel wool is a bad idea in the same vein as: “Don’t worry, our daughter caught a ride with Senator Kennedy.”

Consider legalization logic outside of the burden on law enforcement. This isn’t just an issue for slack-jawed frat boys, mouthy rock stars and the creepy guy with the dreadlocks who spends all day in front of the liquor store smelling like he rolled in something awful. 

Imagine the economic benefits if pot farming was legal. 

Pot is currently the top cash crop in about a dozen states, including Personal Liberty Digest’s home state of Alabama. In fact, it ranks in the top 10 in every state in the union except North Dakota (where it’s 11th).

Marijuana grows like a… well… weed. And I suspect those statistics understate reality. I somehow doubt every Farmer Brown in the hinterlands is entirely forthcoming with the United States Department of Agriculture inspector who drops by to check the sorghum fields.

Instead of $15 billion spent on the War on Weed, U.S. farmers could produce $115 billion in taxable commodity. Perhaps that explains support for decriminalization from Ron Paul, the late William F. Buckley and Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. They recognize $42 billion in wasted total tax revenue when they see it.

In 1919, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution made booze verboten. For the next 14 years, organized crime grew from cottage industry to colossal enterprise. Getting tanked is legal again, while getting stoned is decidedly less so. But anecdotal evidence suggests alcoholics are much more likely to slide into a family of four while doing Mach 2 through the subdivision than the pothead who can’t find the keys to the minivan because they’re in… his pocket.

We’ve been fighting an intramural War on Drugs (marijuana division) for decades. We’ve spent billions on largely ineffective enforcement initiatives and put millions of otherwise non-threatening citizens behind bars, often turning them into hardened offenders by the time they get out. As unlikely as it seems, perhaps California has shown us a better way… dude.

Low Vitamin D3 Doubles Death Rate

There is more than enough evidence to support the need for daily Vitamin D3. Check your levels if you want to, but the bet is that you are low, very low if you haven’t been on a daily vitamin D3 supplement.

Vitamin D3 protects against heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis (osteomalacia) and every killer disease of aging. Did anybody hear this mentioned by the greedy politicians ranting about the so-called healthcare bill?

Food For Food And Food For Barter!

If you can’t imagine being hungry in the midst of chaos then you will probably ignore this suggestion, but you won’t forget it. And it will haunt you if you fail to take action. But if you take action, just eat your stored food in the difficult years ahead.
And if the system collapses, as many predict, use your stored food for food and for barter.

I will share with you the following list of items that I have in my food storage: Salt, water in gallon jugs, Clorox and Lugols iodine for disinfecting and purifying water (six drops per gallon of water), brown and white sugar, dry beans and pastas of all kinds, chili (Bryan brand is in cans that are white inside), mayonnaise, coffee, sardines, tea, olive oil, rice, baked beans and pork and beans, cereal, canned soups, kraut, salmon, canned white tuna in water, food bars, a few frozen dinners, olives, pickles and treats (chose those you like), minimum amount of cake mix, flour, cornmeal, seasonings for cooking, dried and canned milk, all paper products, cleaning products, basic patent medicines such as cough medicine, cough drops, Tylenol®, eye drops  (remember to store any that you use on a regular basis).

One of the best foods to store is vacuum sealed dry foods of all kinds as recommended by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). These will last for years and years. The variety was limited when we bought from them last, mainly because they focus on basics. Most Mormons can tell you where to find it, and you don’t have to be a member of their church to buy from them.

For inspiration, think of Scarlett O’Hara living on turnips after Tara had been overrun and pillaged at the end of the Civil War.

The Politician

"You have a choice between the natural stability of gold and the honesty and intelligence of the members of government. And with all due respect for those gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, vote for gold." –George Bernard Shaw.

I have written to you in the past that we must know the mind of government or pay a huge price and perhaps pay with our lives. Ask the people of World War II Germany.

They didn’t think that the National Socialists would be too bad. Then they thought that things would get better. Then they lost everything, and many lost their lives.

The U.S. today is a fascist state no different from Nazi Germany. The only thing missing is the swastika and the jackboots. American fascism is far advanced from the German National Socialists.

The State has had many years to build on the Nazi state. The machinery is fine tuned and the propaganda is far, far advanced over Herr Goebbels. This means that American fascism can advance its agenda much further without detection.

But our subject today is the politician. Moreover it is about the mentality of the politician/bureaucrat and the fringe big business and the investment bankers. The point is, if we know the mind of the politician, we know all the above. They are all in “the club.”

Right off purge the thought that “your elected representatives” are yours. They belong to the government. The government owns them and the government pays them. They don’t vote for you. They vote for the government.

One thing here, we are talking about politicians, not statesmen. Dr. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is the only statesman in Washington as far as I know.

What we’re about to do is describe and define the mentality of the American politician. We will profile them so that in the future we can read, decipher and know their minds.

Of course, it really is simple. If we believe the opposite of what they say (as I have taught my children) we will be on terra firma and we can know their Ponzi mentality and their despicable demeanor.

Politicians, bureaucrats, et al are wordsmiths. They twist words that sound good to us but lead to opposite conclusions. This semantic trickery is used in everything and in every proposed legislation.

Many are lawyers, and doublethink legalese is their forte. Their political life is all about deception. This is their cover so that they hide the fact that they work for the government.

I should now go back to explain the source of this evil stealth empire with moral rot that has become endemic. The source of this crescendo of total moral breakdown is the paper money syndrome.

Paper money fiat is directly the foundation of Machiavellian mentality. Politicians, et al have a defective gene which draws them toward politics and they feed on fiat no different from a cow feeding on grass. The politicians’ fiat mentality can be described as a parasite that attracts other parasites of like mind.

The fiat (paper money) mentality is rot and decay that attracts likes because they can’t survive independently as creators of wealth. They are destroyers and consumers of wealth. They love the politics of envy, they are the epitome of greed, selfishness, laziness and physical dependence on authoritarianism. They are vipers who eat their young. A police state is their ultimate dream.

They protect the power elite and they want power over the people at the people’s expense. They want the world in a concentration camp. They harbor a perfect hate for humanity and they would love the Gestapo. You remember, of course, that they almost unanimously passed (rubber stamped) the Homeland Security Act and the USA PATRIOT Act which police the American people.

They have not objected to turning America into a national concentration camp.

Politicians don’t know the truth from a lie and they live it. They live and breathe deception. The rule of law is for the peasants. Force should be used along with the mass murder of war if necessary. Tyranny is a prerogative of power.

Politicians want the political state in which they have the status of untouchables. Yes, politicians have the same psyche and privilege the world over, but at this point in history greed is more contained outside the U.S.

Politicians want to regulate everybody who is not in “the club.” They act as if they despise the people and reserve for themselves privilege. They are perpetually embittered at the producers and creators of wealth. They want to pile on horrendous taxes as perfectly wished by the bureaucracy.

They justify everything in their behalf. They are the frontline of a vindictive power elite culture, the worst in world history. Not a politician alive can understand that their orgy of oppression of the public and prestige and privilege for themselves is a house of cards built upon the quicksand of fiat money. They couldn’t possibly care about the generations yet unborn.

The truth is anathema!

Double jeopardy is a cruel joke. Incarceration without charge and trial is unannounced and the system drunk on the blood of the unsuspecting public will not admit it.

U.S. courts and Federal judges (U.S. prosecuting attorneys) have become Star Chambers. U.S. citizens cannot file criminal charges in the Federal system. The only judges to ever get prosecuted are the few who rule for the people and the Constitution.

More people are arrested and in jail in the U.S. than in the rest of the world which doesn’t have habeas corpus. Bush negated habeas corpus and it was reinstated for public consumption.

Everything in the U.S. is for sale. When will Americans ever discover that the foxes are in charge of the henhouse and that politicians are in secret league with the system like a wolf pack devouring the population?

The public has been trained to think in terms of what is legal and what is illegal. The politicians and their elite bosses operate above the law and outside the law. They place themselves outside the law, just as in Obamacare they placed themselves outside their health legislation. This is contempt for the people.

Their Achilles heel is that they all have a paper money mentality, the paper money syndrome. They are infected with rot which makes them believe that this inflated myth will go on forever with perfect bliss for themselves with privilege.

Politicians hate gold because their whole purpose is to stay in office, and fiat paper money is perfect for them. Have you ever heard any politician or bureaucrat mention gold in a positive way… other than Paul?

But thank God some Americans are waking up. They can see that higher and higher prices translate into cheaper paper money. No problem to see who loses in the paper money game.

At least some Americans are beginning to see that the Emperor has no clothes and that they see a culture within a culture. Obama a Muslim? The five pointed red star is an esoteric Muslim Order. Obama is not alone. Follow the trail of the serpent!

Politicians, bureaucrats, judges and their friends are untouchables. They are a parasite culture which produces nothing but organized crime at the highest levels.

Parasites in time consume their host. This is an organic phenomena that applies to criminal politics.

The saturation point is coming and it can’t be stopped. Sociopathic political behavior self destructs over time. Satan rends himself. Ethics and decency in politics are anathema. A politician is not a statesman and a statesman is not a politician.

Politics is power and politics creates predators. Money has surpassed self worth and dignity. Politics in America is incest with the government. “Just show me the money.”

Do we hear politicians warning Americans that the money creators (quantitative easing) are destroying their savings, their retirement and their purchasing power, as well as that of future generations?

The system is now beyond resolution. We are in the final stages of economic, social and moral collapse.

Investment banks have made billions while destroying America. They create financial products that are designed to fail, market them to the unsuspecting and then take short positions against them. They are a show-me-the-money culture and the system protects them in their financial crimes. The giant real estate collapse is their work.

The word “conspiracy” is an establishment word to imprison multitudes of non-violent people (who are not in favor of the power structure) and confiscate their property outright without due process and under a feigned color of law. The politicians know this.

This is no different from the old Star Chamber motivated by the word “treason” (today it is “conspiracy.”) Then came the thumb screw and the rack to extract confession and an excuse to hang the victim. So what’s the difference today?

There are clearly privileged classes in America; those in political power backed by illegal police power. They act against the people outside the law and the Constitution. My friends, it has become so obvious.

While we slept the political regime has shifted the “burden of proof” to the defendant. One is entrapped, charged and prosecuted under Merchant Law without his knowledge. This is the new democracy. Democracy is rule of the rabble by the elite.

The possibility of reform has passed. The point of saturation of the full measure of disgust is near. Sparks can trigger revolution.

Morality has collapsed. Politicians, Federal judges and prosecutors will eat their young for fiat money, power and aggrandizement. They all have a lawyer Ponzi mentality.

Scripture condemns scribes, lawyers and hypocrites: “Woe unto you scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites…”Mat. 23.13, 27; Luke11.42,44.

Shakespeare in King Henry VI, pt ii, Act IV Scene 2, line 72: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

Corporations have no rights, therefore corporate officers have no rights. A corporate person can be imprisoned with no limit, even without charge or habeas corpus, denied the right to appeal, denied counsel, denied the use of one’s own funds for defense or other purposes. The corporate officer can then be left in jail to die because he worked for a corporation. Next will be torture and denial of medical care.

John Stuart Mills wrote in his On Liberty in 1859, “let us not flatter ourselves that we are yet free from the stain of legal persecution.” Oxford World Classics pp 34, 1998 edition.

The soul of America has been penetrated with toxic greed. Political rigor mortis is everywhere. The State is collapsing of its own corruption.

Politicians beware, you “elected” vipers!

Obama Unveils $50 Billion Stimulus Plan To Revamp Infrastructure

Obama unveils $50 billion stimulus plan to revamp infrastructure President Barack Obama has requested $50 billion in stimulus spending on the nation's infrastructure, claiming that an overhaul of America's roads, bridges and railways can help create jobs and boost the economy.

According to media reports, Obama proposed a six-year plan on Oct. 6 that would improve an infrastructure that, he says, is "woefully inefficient" and "outdated." The President said the overhaul would rebuild 150,000 miles of roads, lay and maintain 4,000 miles of railways and restore 150 miles of runways. He also called for the creation of a national high-speed rail network and an electric grid focused on clean energy.

Obama first introduced the infrastructure package in September when he also called for $130 billion in tax cuts and write-offs for businesses, and a $30 billion small business lending bill. According to TalkRadioNews.com, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) criticized the proposal, saying that government spending is one of the reasons why the economy is struggling to create new jobs.

Obama's stimulus plan would need approval from Congress, which is currently in recess to campaign for November's midterm elections. According to the Los Angeles Times, a GOP aide questioned Obama's timing, suggesting that the proposal should have been unveiled before legislators left Washington.

"Because the November lame-duck session is all booked up, the very earliest the Senate could consider the President's proposal now would be December," Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), told the news source. "And that's assuming that the committees could [or] would want to act in time — a huge 'if'."

Angry At Everyone In Washington, Tea Party Candidates May Yet Help The GOP

Angry at everyone in Washington, Tea Party candidates may yet help the GOPWhile some polls have been showing Democrats apparently closing in on their Republican opponents, a major Tea Party event is expected to boost the GOP's chances in the midterm elections, which are just over two weeks away.

The first Virginia Tea Party Convention was held on Oct. 9 in the state capital Richmond, and attracted some 2,000 activists who demonstrated their anger through banners that said "No Socialism" and "Keep America Free," according to media reports.

Among the high-profile speakers were former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) as well as former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs.

Interestingly, even though the candidates backed by the grassroots movement run under the GOP banner, their independence and anti-establishment agenda were clear.

"I don't think there'd be a Tea Party if the Republican Party had been a party of limited government in the first part of this decade," said Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, quoted by The Washington Post.

In a straw poll held in conjunction with the event, New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie won the first place with 14 percent support, followed by Sarah Palin at 13.5 percent.

Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) rounded off the top five most popular candidates. 

Paladino Faces Backlash Over Controversial Comments About Homosexuality

Paladino faces backlash over controversial comments about homosexualityRepublican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino of New York has received harsh criticism following his recent comments about homosexuality.

During a meeting with Hasidic Jewish leaders on Oct. 10, the Tea Party-backed hopeful said that he doesn't want children "brainwashed into thinking homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option," according to media reports. He was making reference to his Democratic opponent in the New York gubernatorial race, Andrew Cuomo, who marched with his young daughters in a gay pride parade.

Politico.com reports that former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has criticized Paladino for his comments.

"All candidates should be focused on solutions to our problems and not the personal lives of our fellow citizens. He should recognize his remarks were highly offensive and he should apologize for them," Giuliani said in a statement, according to the news provider.

Meanwhile, the New York Daily News reports that political commentator Ann Coulter has defended Paladino, calling him a "great warrior" who wants to cut taxes. During an appearance on FOX News, she said that Paladino was simply telling his audience, a group of conservatives, what they wanted to hear.

"He's speaking to Hasidim. It's like going to Chicago, you say 'Go Cubs'," Coulter told the news provider.

More Natural Supplements Could Be Produced From Plants

More natural supplements could be produced from plantsResearchers have discovered how to create micro-nutrients in crops, such as from the cassava plant. As a result, this could produce more healthy food.

According to the study published in The Plant Cell, scientists from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture at Columbia University and Freiburg University in Germany researched a variation of cassava with white and yellow roots. This was used to help them understand how provitamin A carotenoids are produced.

White cassava roots have relatively low levels of pro-vitamin A, while the yellow rooted version of this plant could contain up to 20 times that amount. The researchers compared the different cassava roots and found the difference was a single amino acid change that contributes to the production of carotenoids.

As a result, the scientists were able to turn the white rooted cassava plants into yellow ones that produced higher provitamin A levels by increasing the amino acid levels in the white cassava.

Peter Beyer, one of the researchers involved with the study, said that the findings will encourage new ways of creating provitamin A in these plants "by the exchange of a single amino acid already present in cassava."

The scientists hope that this method will eventually help individuals who are vitamin A deficient.
 

Antioxidants Could Improve Insulin Sensitivity In Some Adults

Antioxidants could improve insulin sensitivity in some adultsApproximately 34 percent of adults in the U.S. who are aged 20 years and older are obese, according to the latest statistics from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. However, new research has discovered that natural supplements could improve these individuals' health.

Italian researchers have found that natural antioxidants may have a positive impact on insulin-resistant obese adults, the Cortlandt Forum reports. The results were revealed at The Endocrine Society's 92nd Annual Meeting.

Although previous studies have shown that antioxidants can prevent further damage to cells, this was the first time that scientists looked at how the hormones of obese adults react when subjected to antioxidants, the news provider reports.

The researchers studied 13 women and 16 men who were between the ages of 18 and 66 and were obese. Each of the subjects ate a Mediterranean-type diet which was low in calories.

According to the news source, the participants were assigned to four different groups, three of which involved adding metformin, increasing the amount of antioxidants or a combination of both.

Researchers observed a significant decrease in insulin-resistance for the individuals who were assigned to the antioxidant diet. This was most prevalent in the group which had consumed the majority of these natural supplements.

National Security Advisor Is The Latest To Join Exodus Of Obama’s Aides

National security adviser is the latest to join exodus of Obama's aidesAnother member of President Barack Obama's staff will leave the White House before November's midterm election.

National Security Advisor (NSA) Jim Jones will resign from his post in two weeks, according to media reports, and he will be replaced by Tom Donilon, the current NSA deputy. In Bob Woodward's book "Obama's Wars," Defense Secretary Robert Gates is quoted as saying that a Donilon promotion would be a "disaster," according to TheHill.com.

The announcement of Jones' departure came one week after Rahm Emanuel relinquished his position as the White House chief of staff. Two members of Obama's economic team resigned over the summer. Larry Summers, the chief economic advisor, is scheduled to depart after the elections.

Emmanuel was widely believed to be able to effectively negotiate with lawmakers in order to convey Obama's objectives. Considering that Pete Rouse — Emmanuel's replacement who has never held elected office — is the new chief of staff and that Republicans are projected to take control of the House of Representatives, Obama's plans could face more opposition.

The Los Angeles Times reported that, if conservatives end up in control of the House, the best method for Obama to implement his agenda may be through executive orders and regulatory powers.

"This would fit into the status quo for the White House," said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Representative Eric Cantor (R-Va.) "The White House is showing no effort to work with Republicans. It has shown no interest in listening to the American people and has at all costs tried to ram through legislation that was tremendously unpopular."

Watchdog Group Calls For Federal Investigation Of Chamber Of Commerce — Again

Watchdog group calls for Federal investigation of Chamber of Commerce — againA watchdog group has reiterated its plea that the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate the U.S. Chamber of Commerce following an insider's allegation of fraud and recent accusations involving the group's use of foreign aid to help fund conservative political campaigns.

StopTheChamber.com spokesman and attorney Kevin Zeese urged immediate action from Federal officials because of corroborating allegations against the Chamber that have been made by different sources. In August, a Chamber insider compared the organization's CEO, Tom Donahue, to Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon and Bernie Madoff, who have been the center of high-profile corruption cases in recent years.

"The criminal allegations against the Chamber have now reached critical mass and Federal officials must take immediate action to protect companies, shareholders, citizens and elections," Zeese said.

International Business Times reports that Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) recently called for an investigation of the Chamber as well, following a report on the ThinkProgress website alleging that the organization has used fees and donations from foreign affiliates to help fund its political campaign.

On CBS's Face the Nation on Oct. 10, President Barack Obama's adviser David Axelrod recommended that the Chamber disclose its donor list to put the controversy to rest. According to FOX News, Obama has scaled back his rhetoric regarding the allegations against the Chamber. During a rally on Oct. 7, the President said the organization was paying for GOP campaign ads while taking money from "foreign corporations." Two days later, Obama said the Republican Party is being helped by "special interest groups."

He suggested the aid could be coming from oil and insurance companies.

My Crazy Aunt Ida

Let’s take a break from all of the political mudslinging for a few minutes. Let me tell you the story of one of the most amazing characters to be found in the branches of the Wood family tree. I think you’ll enjoy it. And you may even learn something about wealth that thieves cannot steal and moths and rust cannot corrupt. We’ll see.

Technically, Ida Mayfield Wood wasn’t really an aunt. Not even a great aunt. Cousins who have studied genealogy much closer than I have tell me she was actually “the wife of a half-5th cousin, three times removed.”

I’ve got to admit, I don’t have the faintest idea what that means. All I know is that I found the story of Ida Wood absolutely fascinating. A century ago, she was the subject of literally thousands of newspaper articles.

At least one best-selling book was written about her and the historic inheritance case that resulted from her death. The subtitle of The Recluse of Herald Square promised “A stranger-than-fiction report of intrigue and greed that resulted in one of the most important and exciting inheritance cases in American law.” That it was, and then some.

Ida Mayfield captivated New York society when she appeared on the scene in the mid-1800s. She claimed to come from the family of wealthy plantation owners in Louisiana. Since she was young, lovely and vivacious, she was welcomed at the soirees and balls of the day. There were newspaper accounts of her dancing with Edward, the Prince of Wales, and Samuel Tilden, the Democratic candidate for President. She wore dazzling gowns and jewelry to balls in the New York City.

Ida was pursued by several young men but finally settled on a millionaire businessman and former U.S. Congressman, Benjamin Wood. Benjamin was the brother of Fernando Wood, the mayor of New York City at the time, and owned a popular newspaper, the New York Daily News (no relation to the paper of the same name today). For a while the couple lived the high life — elegant dinner parties and fancy balls and lengthy trips to Europe, with Ida always draped in the most fashionable clothes and wearing the most expensive jewelry.

But it turned out that Benjamin was a philanderer and an inveterate gambler. After a few years he lived apart from Ida most of the time. He continued to lavish large amounts of money on her, which she put into stocks and savings accounts.

When his fortunes turned and he subsequently asked her for some of that money back, she loaned it to him on very strict terms. When he needed even more money, she paid him $100,000 (over a million dollars in today’s money) to purchase a controlling interest in the Daily News.

Ida became one of the first female publishers of a large metropolitan newspaper. For a while she took a direct interest in the day-to-day affairs of the paper, even writing many of its editorials.

When Benjamin Wood died in 1900, Ida’s mental state began to deteriorate. She became increasingly reclusive and paranoid about her finances. The financial panic of 1907 apparently set her over the edge. She sold the newspaper for $340,000 (making a hefty profit on her investment), and withdrew all of her money from the banks.

Ida took her cash — estimated at more than $1 million (the equivalent of more than $10 million today) and moved into two rooms at the Herald Square Hotel. Her sister Mary and a woman she identified as her daughter Emma later joined her. The three women cooked their own meals and rarely ventured outside their rooms. Mary and Emma died in the late 1920s, leaving Ida alone. She became increasingly reclusive, refusing to open her door even when the bellman brought the food she ordered. She insisted that he toss it over the transom.

By 1931, Ida was 93 years old, partially deaf and nearly blind. She had not left her room at the Herald Square Hotel for several years. One contemporaneous account described her as “feeble and emaciated, weighing 70 pounds and bent over like a question mark.” She hoarded her cash, living on pennies a day. Her diet consisted mainly of toast and condensed milk. She lived in constant fear that someone would rob her.

Finally, in the fall of 1931, her closest relative — Otis F. Wood, the son of her husband’s brother, Fernando — petitioned the court to declare his aunt incompetent and make her his ward. The judge agreed and Otis Wood became her guardian. And here is where the story really gets interesting.

When Ida refused to permit Otis to go through her possessions he ordered a sedative put in her food. While she slept he had her rooms searched. What they found astounded them. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash was stuffed into various pots and pans. Ida had hidden 50 $10,000 bills in a pouch tied to her waist. (The bills had been printed by the U.S. Treasury more than 50 years earlier.) There were shoeboxes filled with yellowed stocks and bonds worth tens of thousands of dollars, some with interest and dividend coupons that had not been redeemed in decades. A diamond necklace was found in a cracker box.

The discoveries made newspaper headlines around the country. Typical of the coverage was this story from the Brooklyn Standard Union of October 7, 1931:

“RECLUSE, 93, HOARDING MILLION DEFIES TREASURE SEARCHERS

“A frail but spirited little lady of 93 years, once the belle of mid-Victorian days, today stomped her defiance of searchers spurred by discovery of nearly a million dollars in currency she hoarded in her hotel room ‘because she was afraid of banks.'”

Otis Wood told reporters that he wanted to move his aunt to better quarters. In the meantime, he hired guards to patrol the hallway outside her room 24 hours a day. Ida refused to move and, because of her failing health, Otis was reluctant to use force to relocate her.

Ida died five months after the story broke. A will was found, in which she left everything she owned to her sister and her daughter. But both women died before Ida and neither left a will. The New York Surrogate Court referred the case to the city’s Public Administrator, the official charged with settling the estates of people who died without valid wills or verifiable heirs.

Within weeks more than one thousand people named “Wood” or “Mayfield” had filed claims on the estate. Joseph A. Cox, counsel to the Public Administrator, was assigned to conduct an investigation into the family lineage of Ida Wood.

It took Attorney Cox several years to unravel the mystery of Ida Wood’s antecedents. After a search that took him from boxes of dusty documents found in Ida Wood’s hotel room, to an overgrown grave in Massachusetts, to a bakery in Ireland and long-ago births in England, Joseph Cox told the court he had discovered the truth:

“Ida Mayfield” was in fact Ellen Walsh, the daughter of Irish immigrants. She was born in England and raised in Massachusetts. She was not related to anyone in Louisiana; in fact, as far as he could determine, she had never visited the state. Instead, she had left home in Massachusetts in 1857, a lovely and determined lady of 19 years, whose wit, beauty and vivaciousness bought her entrée into New York society under her assumed name.

The various Woods and Mayfields were understandably upset by the news and filed suit to get “their fair share” of the estate. The subsequent trial before Surrogate Judge James A. Foley resulted in the finding that Ida E. Mayfield was a false identity assumed by Ellen Walsh, who died with no direct heirs. Therefore, the court awarded her estate not to descendents of the Wood family, nor to the hundreds of Mayfields who claimed they were related, but to Katherine Sheehan and nine other living relatives of Ellen Walsh, an Irish lass who ran away from home at age 19.

In addition to Sheehan, two O’Donnells, three Kennedys and a McEnearney, Murphy, Gallagher and Reynolds each received a share of the estate valued at about $90,000. Again, this would be the equivalent of around $900,000 in today’s dollars. It would be a hefty sum today. During the depths of the Great Depression it was a staggering amount of money.

After he retired, Joseph A. Cox wrote the story of his quest to find the truth about Ida Mayfield, nee Ellen Walsh. The Macmillan Company published The Recluse of Herald Square in 1964. I found a copy of the first printing, signed in September 1964 by the author himself, on Abebooks.com, my favorite source for used books. It is from that account, as well as newspaper stories of the day, that this column has been drawn.

I hope you found the story of Ida “Ellen Walsh” Mayfield Wood interesting. And that at least for a few moments, it helped you forget the cares and concerns of our world today. And who knows? Faced with today’s market worries, it just might encourage you to hide some loot yourself. As you know from last week’s column, personally, I prefer gold.

And here’s another idea: Why not do some genealogical research into your own family tree? Unless you do, you’ll never know what heroes and scoundrels you might find there.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

— Chip Wood

What’s Behind The Symbolism?

*What so proudly we hail. Thanks to all of you who enjoyed my column Honoring Our Country’s Flag that ran two weeks ago. You made it one of the most-read columns in the history of Personal Liberty Digest. (If you missed it, click here to see it — and maybe share it with a friend.)

That article has gotten nearly 500 comments and more are coming in every day. I’m sorry I can’t reply to each and every one (yes, even the ones from those loony liberals, who keep attacking all of us who still value patriotism).

One of the best suggestions I saw was to explain the symbolism behind our country’s flag. What do the stars and stripes mean? What do the colors represent? These are great questions and I’m glad to say they have great answers.

Back in 1777 Charles Thompson, the secretary of the Continental Congress, said this about the colors red, white and blue, which were used in the Great Seal of the United States, as well as our first flag:

“White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief [the broad band in which the stars appear] signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice.”

The U.S. House of Representatives, in a book about the flag published 300 years later, added:

“The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of rays of light emanating from the sun.”

So you see, there’s a lot more involved here than just 13 stripes representing the original 13 colonies that formed the United States of America; or 50 stars, representing each individual state. Aren’t you glad you asked?

— Chip Wood