This Was No Mere Election, It Was A Restraining Order

Because of deadline pressures, I’m writing this Wednesday morning. We still don’t know all the election results. But what we do know is that an amazing change has taken place in the political landscape of America.

Let me note the biggest of them all: In the world’s most important legislative body, the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans gained more than 60 seats. Come January, they will have a very comfortable majority. This is incredibly significant for several reasons.

First, it means that nasty Nancy Pelosi will no longer be Speaker of the House of Representatives. Of all the results of yesterday’s elections that brought a huge smile to my face. That is the best news of all.

Pardon me for wallowing in a joyous bit of schadenfreude for a few moments, but I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. (In case you’re not familiar with that marvelous German word, schadenfreude means “taking delight in someone else’s misfortune.” This is normally not a very admirable emotion, but in this case, it is 1,000 percent justified.)

Proclaim the news throughout the land: The wicked witch from the West is dead. Well, not exactly dead. But she will no longer be able to call the Air Force and order a luxurious jumbo-jet to fly her and her party back to San Francisco (or anywhere else she wants to go). No, she’ll have to go to an airport, stand in line, and put up with those incredibly invasive security procedures, just like thee and me.

But it’s not just Pelosi who is getting demoted. Beginning in January, every single committee in Congress will be chaired by a Republican. Consider what this means for just one seat.

Yes, the Democrats won all 10 Congressional races in Massachusetts. Yes, that odious liberal, Barney Frank, won re-election for the 17th time. Scott Bielat wasn’t able to pull off the miracle many of us prayed for. But consider this: As of Jan. 21, Frank will no longer be chairman of the ultra-powerful House Banking Committee. In fact, no Democrat will be chairman of any committee!

We don’t know yet who will be chairing the various committees. I hope that when it comes to parceling out key committee assignments, some of the toughest conservatives in Congress will get some of the most important posts. We’ll see. But take heart in knowing that every single Democrat chairman will be forced to relinquish his or her chair.

The new Speaker of the House of Representatives will be John Boehner, a fairly conservative Republican. And while Leader Boehner has not been as tough in the past as you and I might prefer, he will be surrounded by a cadre of very bright, very dedicated and very determined conservatives. When he needs to have his backbone stiffened, there will be plenty of people ready to pour the cement.

And here’s something else that is even more important: Every dollar that the Federal government spends — and folks, it spends a lot of them — must be authorized by an appropriations bill that originates in the House of Representatives.

This means, pure and simple, that no matter what President Barak Obama wants, no matter what the Senate approves, and no matter what the present law says, the House can “just say no!” to spending any money on it.

During the victory celebration I hosted at my house Tuesday night, one of the guests said the best thing we could hope for over the next two years was gridlock in Washington. Yes, that’s an outcome to be very much desired, especially compared to the “ram unpopular legislation down our throats” that we’ve experienced for the past two years.

But I don’t agree. We can expect — in fact, we can demand — better than gridlock. We can expect and demand that the House of Representatives start defunding the left. I don’t think a “bring our troops home” movement will gain much ground in the new Congress. But by golly, a “bring our money home” measure should.

How about slashing foreign aid? Eliminating all funds for “community activist” groups like the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)? Cutting out all sorts of subsidies and supervision; from farms to schools to banks to automobile companies? Republicans in the House could do all of this and more.

Let the debates begin!

When I greeted our first guests at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, I was wearing a bright-red Rand Paul t-shirt. I’m proud to say that I was one of the very first contributors to his campaign (in large part because of my admiration for his dad, Representative Ron Paul of Texas). His victory over an establishment Republican in the primary brought joy to my heart. His election to “the world’s most exclusive club” means there will be a battle-hardened libertarian in the U.S. Senate. Oh boy, is this going to be fun!

The biggest disappointment of the night was that Sharron Angle wasn’t able to force Harry Reid into retirement. As you probably know, the unions poured tens of millions of dollars into that election, along with enough storm troopers… uh, excuse me, election volunteers… to win World War II. I’m not surprised Angle lost; she had a mountain of difficulties to overcome.

Three days before the elections I had an exclusive interview with former Majority Leader Dick Armey, the chairman of FreedomWorks, one of my favorite organizations. During the interview he predicted that the Senate race in Nevada could be very close. And then he added, “If it’s close, they’ll steal it — just like Minnesota last year.”

I can’t prove that the rabid redistributionists stole the election in Nevada, any more than I could prove it about Al Franken’s victory last summer. (See my column, They Stole That Election Fair and Square, for my comments then). But I’ve got my suspicions. I’ll still wear my Sharron Angle t-shirt with as much pride as the one from FreedomWorks. (Yes, I put on quite a fashion show Tuesday, changing shirts several times during the course of the evening.)

I know the liberals who dominate most of the mass media in this country will try to put their own “spin” on the results. And I’m sure that Obama will do the same thing when he addresses the nation in the coming days. I’ll have more to say about all of that in future issues of Straight Talk.

But for now, let me conclude by pointing out what really happened Tuesday: This wasn’t just a midterm election. No, a majority of Americans did something I’ve hoped to see for years: They put a restraining order on out-of-control government.

If there’s a particular election that made you happier than you’ve been in years, why not take a moment to tell us about it? Just go to the “comments” section below and start typing away. (Not in all caps, please.)

We won a big one, folks. But remember, as important as Tuesday was, it is just one battle in a life-long war. If you want to keep what’s yours and get this country back on the path of leadership and growth, what you do tomorrow, next week, next month and next year will be just as important.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

— Chip Wood

As Texas Cleans Up After Tornadoes, A Few Tips On Twister Survival

As Texas cleans up after tornadoes, a few tips on twister survivalWhile the Midwest was battered by a powerful storm last week, a series of tornadoes ripped through northeast Texas, injuring people and damaging property. Twisters can appear on their own or in conjunction with storms or hurricanes, but, regardless of their origin, American families should know how to protect their lives and livelihood during these natural disasters. 

Most tornadoes last less than 10 minutes, but they can be extremely destructive, so it is important to know what to do — and what not to do — when they strike.

Roger Edwards from the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., has sought to dispel the myth about opening windows during a tornado to equalize pressure. He says that, just as in the case of a violent storm or a hurricane, doing so can increase the risk of serious injury due to flying glass. In fact, people should avoid windows, and this also holds true for those who hide in a shelter or a basement.

Another mistake individuals sometimes make is hiding under a bridge. However, this does not offer a good protection against flying debris. In the absence of a nearby shelter or a sturdy building, it is best to lie face-down on low ground and cover one's head.

During an extreme weather event such as a tornado, cars and other vehicles can be very dangerous, as they are often violently tossed about by the spinning column of air. Individuals who encounter a twister while driving should exit their vehicle and move away from it. It is also important to stay away from trees, which can be uprooted and blown around.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tornadoes kill about 60 people each year. 

Beginning Of The End Of The Fed?

Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) has a new partner in his battle against the Federal Reserve — his son Rand, the newly elected Senator from Kentucky.

In an interview on Fox Business Wednesday, Ron says he and Rand plan to offer a bill to end the Federal Reserve on their first day of the new Congress. Ron Paul expects to have even more influence over the country’s monetary policy if he is named the new chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy. This will give him subpoena power, and he could then subpoena Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Fox contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano believes the subpoena is the best way to battle the Fed considering that President Barack Obama would probably veto any bill to end or audit the Fed.

For the uninitiated, the interview by Fox Business’ David Asman of Ron Paul and Napolitano does a great job of clarifying the danger posed by the private banking cartel — known as the Federal Reserve — on our nation’s monetary policy.

Study: Vitamin E Extract Can Significantly Benefit Prostate Cancer Patients

Study: Vitamin E extract can significantly benefit prostate cancer patientsIndividuals who suffer from prostate cancer could add healthy alternatives to their diet, as new research shows that Vitamin E can help in combating this disease.

Scientists from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia recently discovered that a particular molecule in vitamin E, known as gamma-tocotrienol (y-T3) can reduce the risk for recurring tumors.

The researchers from QUT conducted a study in which mice who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer were fed y-T3 extract. As a result, tumor regrowth was significantly reduced in 70 percent of the subjects.

Patrick Ling, lead investigator of the study, said that aside from his team's research, previous studies have found that y-T3 in vitamin E "is also effective in suppressing other types of cancer, including breast, colon, liver and gastric."

The scientists noted that although y-T3 is not found in every form of vitamin E, things like palm oil, which is a natural extract from the fruits of palm trees, is rich in vitamin E that contains y-T3.

Although further research is needed, people could improve their health by adding nutritional supplements, like vitamin E, into their diet.

New Orders From The PC Police

*Political correctness has gone too far. I just got a memo from the PC police, ordering me to make the following changes in anything I say for public consumption. I assume other writers have received the same notice, so be prepared for some interesting changes. For example:

  • You are no longer allowed to refer to backwoods denizens of Kentucky, Tennessee or West Virginia as “hillbillies.” They are to be known as “Appalachian-Americans.”
  • Also, never refer to a woman as “easy.” From now on, such lasses are “horizontally accessible.”
  • Oh, and be aware that your wife never “nags” you. Instead, she may be “verbally repetitive.”
  • And ladies, you will no longer refer to a boorish companion as a “total ass.” Instead, he has suffered “a rectal-cranial inversion.”

There were more, but that’s enough for one day.

— Chip Wood

Letter Reveals That BP, Halliburton Knew About Cement Problems Before Gulf Spill

Letter reveals that BP, Halliburton knew about cement problems before Gulf spillThe lead investigator in the government's probe of the Gulf oil disaster said that BP and contractor Halliburton knew about the potential flaws in the oil well months before the spill.

According to media reports, Fred Bartlit Jr. wrote a letter to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling and said that tests on a cement slurry in February showed instability. Despite both companies having the data, they proceeded to use a similar slurry to stabilize the well on April 19 and 20.

On April 20, the rig exploded, killing 11 workers and causing the worst oil spill in United States history. U.S. Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.) responded to the letter by calling on the Federal oil spill commission to get full subpoena power and requested that BP CEO Bob Dudley agree to testify before Congress.

"The fact that BP and Halliburton knew this cement job could fail only solidifies their liability and responsibility for this disaster," Markey said in a written statement, quoted by CNN. "This is like building a car when you know the brakes could fail, but you sell the cars anyway."

Early in October, the oil spill commission released a report that said President Barack Obama and his administration failed to act upon or fully inform the public about the worst-case spill estimates, according to The New York Times. The report found that the administration's inaccurate approximations resulted in a slower response effort.

Survey: Business Owners Concerned About Lack Of Transparency In Political Contributions

Survey: Business owners concerned about lack of transparency in political contributionsA new poll reveals that many American business owners are concerned about the pressure to donate to political campaigns and the growing number of undisclosed contributions made by corporations.

The survey, which was conducted by Zogby International, found that six in 10 business leaders said there is pressure to help fund political efforts. Approximately 77 percent said that organizations should disclose all of their direct and indirect political expenditures.

Of the 301 business leaders who were polled, two-thirds agreed that a lack of transparency in political activity encourages behavior that damages its reputations and puts a corporation at legal risk.

A Supreme Court decision in January 2010 ruled that political spending is a form of protected speech and opened the door to campaign spending by third-party organizations. Opponents of the 5-4 decision believe that allowing unlimited corporate spending on political ads will corrupt democracy.

"These huge undisclosed contributions that pay for campaign ads are distorting the political process and are a major reason why Congress has become so dysfunctional," said Ed Kangas, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, the world's largest professional services organization.

According to The Associated Press, the Campaign Media Analysis Group projects that spending on political television ads will reach $3 billion this year, which would top the $2.7 billion spend in 2008. The news provider reports that the surge is due to several factors, including the Supreme Court decision and a high number of close races across the United States. 

Watchdog Group Slams Federal Agency For Closing Its Investigation Of Google

Watchdog group slams federal agency for closing its investigation of GoogleA nonprofit consumer advocacy group has criticized the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for ending its investigation of a Google mapping program.

CNN reports that the FTC has called off its inquiry into Google's "Street View," which had collected and stored passwords and emails from people using Wi-Fi networks. The corporation claimed the data was gathered inadvertently. The Federal agency said that Google has sufficiently addressed the problem and it will not be fined.

The organization Consumer Watchdog responded by saying the FTC has failed to inform the American public on the extent of Google's invasion of privacy. The group suggested that Congress conduct hearings on the matter.

John Simpson, the director of Consumer Watchdog's Inside Google Project, said there is "no excuse" for the FTC to shut down their probe.

"Once again, Google, with its myriad of government connections, gets a free pass," said Simpson. "At a minimum the public deserved a full report about Google's abuses from the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection."

The advocacy group noted that officials in the United Kingdom, which is one of the 30 countries where Street View collected consumer data, have re-opened an investigation of Google's mapping program. In Canada, privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said that the company illegally intercepted emails, URLs, passwords and other sensitive data.

In its letter to Google, which was sent on Oct. 27, the FTC said that the company is going to appoint a director of privacy for engineering and product management, according to CNN. In addition, the letter stated that Google intends to delete the user data it had collected." 

Obama’s Estimates For Job Growth Created By Stimulus Fall Short

Obama's estimates for job growth created by stimulus fall short The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was signed by President Barack Obama in February 2009, has garnered ample attention from politicians vying for votes in the midterm elections. Conservative candidates are slamming Obama and Democratic members of Congress for signing off on a bill that hasn't met expectations.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the President and his administration were destined for a public perception of failure because of their unrealistic goals. Upon signing the bill, Obama projected that the stimulus would lower the nation's unemployment rate to around 7 percent by November 2010. Last month's figures reveal that the rate is at 9.6 percent.

No Republican Representative and only three Republican Senators voted for the stimulus bill. Most conservatives claim that increased government spending will saddle future generations with debt and drive inflation.

Some groups, however, are claiming that the stimulus package prevented even greater job loss. The Keystone Research Center recently released a report that claimed unemployment rates, without the stimulus funds, would be at 15 percent or higher in most parts of Pennsylvania.

"Federal policies stopped the economic free fall, and policy choices at the national and state level will powerfully shape the future health of the economy for middle-class Pennsylvania families," said Dr. Mark Price, the center's labor economist.

The Inquirer reports that the two previous recessions were also marked with slow recoveries in terms of jobs. In the 1990s, it took 23 months for the job rates to return to prerecession levels. Following the 2001 recession, it took 39 months.

Fathers May Be Putting Their Offspring At Risk For Developing Diabetes

Fathers may be putting their offspring at risk for developing diabetesParents-to-be could consider consuming healthy and nutritional foods as new research indicates that there is a link between a father's weight during the time of conception and his child's diabetes risk.

Scientists from the University of New South Wales in Australia noted that previous studies have found that overweight mothers are more likely to give birth to larger babies. A mother's weight before she becomes pregnant also contributes to future problems, like diabetes, for her children.

However, the new research suggests that a father's diet can also contribute to his newborn child's risk for developing diabetes.

Scientists came to this conclusion after feeding male rats a high fat diet in order to induce obesity. The subjects then mated with female rodents that were of normal weight. As a result, the offspring had a low tolerance for glucose and insulin once they became young adults.

In the study, it was noted that this research shows overweight fathers may actually program epigenetic changes in their unborn children. This process alters a gene's function. The scientists indicated that these changes could occur in the sperm as a result of a high-fat diet.

In turn, leading a healthier lifestyle could reduce a child's risk for developing potential problems.

Slouching Toward Washington

The precincts are dark. The campaign signs are already fading. The absentee ballots have submerged beneath the Chicago River. ACORN has returned to teaching “girls” how to conduct “business.”

The rough beast is reborn. The GOP is back.

All right Republicans, you shrugged off the vituperative venom, the mendacious mudslinging and duplicitous defamation to exile the liberals to the nosebleed section of the Congressbowl. Two years of Barack Obama’s Alinsky-ite babble and four years of Nancy Pelosi’s bug-eyed cacophony led to the immolation of the Democrat Party’s ambitions on a bonfire of political inanities. Good for you? Of course. Good for us? It had better be; or you’ll be joining your erstwhile opponents on the electoral unemployment line.

If you, the freshly minted Republican House majority, can’t engineer significant reversal of the runaway economic disaster the Democrats have foisted upon us, expect 2012 to resemble 2006 instead of 1980.

Being a charitable fellow, I thought I would offer a few suggestions as to how you might ensure that your time in the political limelight lasts longer than a sparring session between Roy Jones, Jr. and Harry Reid.

  1. Cut spending. Check that — axe-murder spending. Don’t “rein in wasteful outlays.” Do “relate to runaway budget deficits the way Jason Voorhees related to scantily-clad teenagers.” Start with something worthwhile and visible, such as taxpayer funding for National Public Radio. It is not lost on me that the same liberals who say NPR shows no discernable bias are the ones crying for soulless conservatives to spare it from the legislative guillotine. If their programming is so marvelous (to be fair: some of it is), let them sell sponsorships like the saps operating above 92.1 on the FM band. Let’s see how many people are willing to snatch scratch from their own registers so Nina Totenberg can wish West African Death Virus on some Republican’s grandchildren.
  1. Cut taxes. I know — groundbreaking stuff. But I’m not merely referencing extending the Bush tax cuts for the leisure class — I don’t particularly care if Paris Hilton has to wait a month before buying her next pink-hued… thing. I’m talking about burying the entire dimwitted concept of the “rich paying their fair share.” The rich already pay their fair share, along with quite a few others’ fair shares, as well. What the Democrats want to do is send the American economic football team onto the field without the varsity offense. Enough badly mixed sports metaphors. Give the Bush-era tax relief another decade.
  1. Drive a stake through Obamacare’s undead heart. Tell the liberals that it “fails means-testing for long term viability.” Meanwhile, perhaps one of the left-wing jacklegs would like to enlighten the class about the new 3.8 percent real estate surtax slipped into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to pay for all of us to have our tests evaluated by a guy whose medical experience was gleaned from watching “Marcus Welby, M.D.” reruns. You Republicans will stand behind every state which sues to throw Obamacare overboard. Otherwise, in 2012, it will be ye who walk the plank, maties.
  1. Kill the bailouts, dismember them and bury them in deep holes miles apart. General Motors pocketed more than $50 billion in taxpayer swag and it’s increasingly unlikely they will make enough from their upcoming initial public offering  to pay back more than one-fifth of that. The same vehicular virtuosos who gave us mind-numbing Chevy rent-a-boxes and the Dali-esque (nothing else would do it justice) Pontiac Aztek can go pound tire dust. Ford didn’t take a nickel, and they’re doing just fine.
  1. Nail the pork barrel lid shut. Two words: West Virginia. Everything in that state which stops moving for more than a few moments ends up with a sign commemorating a dead Klansman-turned-legislator. Congress stuck nearly $17 billion in earmarks to legislation this year. We’re a trillion in the hole, and these clowns want to keep building proverbial bridges to nowhere. Yes, I mean you, Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)! Don’t think that R spares you from responsibility, pal.

Since the polls indicated the economy was foremost on the voters’ minds when they activated the ejector seat in the American Batmobile, I have focused primarily on economic issues. The Democrats will accuse you of causing gridlock, of distracting Obama from the business of governing. I would retort that distracting Obama from the business of governing is like distracting a wolf from gnawing on your wallet — or your kids. But the lesson remains immutable: Republicans, the nation has granted you an electoral reprieve.

Don’t screw this up, or more than mere anarchy will be let loose upon your world.

As Stock Market, Housing And Currency Remain Volatile, Americans May Consider Buying Gold

As stock market, housing and currency remain volatile, Americans may consider buying goldIn a climate of economic uncertainty and with the American dollar continuing to slide against other currencies, raising the specter of inflation, many people have decided to convert their assets into gold in an effort to protect their hard-earned wealth.

In more stable times, many sought gains by investing in the stock market, but it has been falling, too, due to a growing concern over the size of the planned Federal Reserve purchase of Treasury bonds.

Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Conn., told Bloomberg that if the central bank buys too much, "I think there's a real chance that rates are going to rise because people are worried about inflation."

Global stocks rose slightly on Oct. 28, lifted by strong corporate earnings, but the ailing American economy is causing the currency to continue to fall. In fact, foreclosure rates have increased in the last quarter, which will likely keep real estate prices depressed and prevent a more vigorous economic recovery, according to RealtyTrac.com.

Against the backdrop of similar volatility, precious metals — such as silver, gold and platinum — continue to offer attractive investment options for those who want to shield their wealth from the ravages of inflation. 

An Unusual Kind Of Commodity Stock That Can Return 1,000 Percent

How can you safely make 1,000 percent gains in the commodity market?

Through hoarding.

Back then (in 2005), I was doing my graduate work in geology. A newsletter writer friend of mine called to ask my opinion about the geology involved in projects owned by a tiny gold company called Seabridge Gold. That call resulted in a 995 percent gain.

You see, Seabridge wasn’t operating as a gold mine, and it wasn’t running an exploration program. This company’s managers were bullish on gold, so they were buying gold deposits that weren’t worth much at $400 per ounce gold but would be incredibly valuable if gold shot to $900 or $1,200.

They were "hoarding" cheap gold.

Remember… back then, the gold price was around $400 per ounce. As gold took off (as the managers expected), the value of Seabridge’s properties soared… and my friend’s readers booked a 10-bagger. It’s an incredible story on the value of hoarding cheap assets when nobody wants them.

I’m interested in this story because right now, a commodity’s sitting where gold was years ago: cheap and hated, with lots of upside.

The commodity is natural gas.

The price of natural gas has been crushed in the past few years. New drilling techniques have brought on enormous new supplies of natural gas and have sent prices from $12 to less than $4.

The price of natural gas is so low it’s not economical to drill for it, and natural gas properties are going for peanuts. There’s zero investor interest in the stuff. Everybody thinks natural gas is dead, which is when good contrarians buy with both hands. Here’s why…

China is ravenous for fuels that can fire electrical power plants, which could send coal prices much higher. If China will pay more for coal, our miners will ship it to China. The Energy Information Administration expects coal exports from the U.S. to rise 58 percent this year.

It’s neither difficult nor all that expensive to convert a coal power plant to a gas power plant. If that happens, natural gas prices will rebound. You can see where I’m going with this…

It’s time to hoard natural gas. It’s time to hoard "PUDs."

PUD stands for Proven Undeveloped Reserves. These are deposits of natural gas we know for sure are in the ground. They’re just waiting to be drilled. In a lot of cases, the stock market is offering vast amounts of cheap PUDs.

Take Rex Energy (REXX), for example. Rex is a small-cap oil and gas producer that trades for 14 times current gross profit. That’s about right for oil and gas companies, which means it’s trading just on its current production.

However, Rex also owns a huge swath of the Marcellus shale. The Marcellus is the lowest-cost natural gas field in the U.S. About 70 percent of Rex’s proven reserves remain in the ground, undrilled. The market isn’t taking that into account. That means we get all those PUDs… about 40 billion cubic feet of natural gas reserves… for free.

Should gas rise from $4 to $6 or $8 in the coming years, these assets will skyrocket in value.

Rex is no exception. There are plenty around, in the "left for dead" section of the stock market — exactly where we should be looking for new investments.

If you are patient, like the management and shareholders of Seabridge, you can turn a natural gas investment today into a huge capital gain down the road.

Good investing,

Matt Badiali
Editor, S&A Resource Report

P.S. One way to acquire natural gas assets is to use a unique moneymaking strategy favored by the likes of Bill Clinton… and even Barrack Obama. Whether or not you agree with their politics, you have to admit the strategy is brilliant. It’s a way to make just one investment… and then get paid over and over again. We recently put together a special video report that details this "unorthodox" income-generating secret. Click here to watch it.

Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward

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Obama’s Wars is the newest installment on Presidents and politics by Bob Woodward.

True to his reputation, Woodward gives a fly-on-the-wall perspective to the wars that President Barack Obama is waging. Woodward gives an inside view into combat operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the ongoing war within the Obama administration itself.

Woodward earned fame and wealth for his investigative reporting which helped bring down President Richard Nixon and lead to a best-seller he co-wrote with Carl Bernstein, All the President’s Men. That book shocked America.

Obama’s Wars is not as surprising as it is dismaying. It is a 428-page partial indictment of the Obama administration that is losing — yes losing — the war in Afghanistan and more importantly, it shows a President that may not be able to protect us.

According to the book, the Obama administration believes that Osama bin Laden is not only alive and well but he remains the principal architect engineering a Jihad that is of a greater threat to America now than it has been at any time since 9/11.

This comes to light after the newly formed Obama administration commissions top secret reports, one by CIA analyst Bruce Riedel. According to Woodward, the Riedel review states that key elements of the enemy reside in Pakistan; a superpower with 100 nuclear weapons that is fearful of India, paranoid about America and has an inept leader in President Asif Ali Zardari.

Woodward reveals that Pakistan’s intelligence services and members of its military are not only providing safe havens for Jihadists to train but, “that at least 20 al-Qaida converts with American, Canadian or European passports were being trained in Pakistani safe havens to return to their homelands to commit high-profile acts of terrorism.”

Woodward collected his information from insiders within the Obama administration and oftentimes provides too much detail, along the lines of a Tom Clancy novel.

Still some passages jump out, including interviews with the important players in administration even the President. We see in the President a man much more in tune with the political intrigues of a city like Chicago than he is with Pentagon planning for military strikes near Kabul.

In the book Obama spoke on the record:

“What you’ve seen is a metastasizing of al-Qaida, where a range of loosely affiliated groups now have the capacity and the ambition to recruit and train for attacks that may not be on the scale of a 9/11,” said the President, adding, “one man, one bomb… which could still have, obviously, an extraordinary traumatizing effect on the homeland.”

Tribal Warfare (Inside the Administration)
Woodward reports on infighting within the Obama administration. Senior military leaders describe the politics of the administration — politics for the Democratic Party and even personal politics.

Obama’s Wars includes insights from members of the administration like Lt. General Douglas Lute, President George W. Bush’s “war czar” and senior military advisor to Obama.

Lute spelled out the disharmony in Afghan terms:

“The Hillary Tribe lived at the State Department. The Chicago Tribe occupied (Senior Political Advisor David) Axelrod’s and (White House Chief of Staff Rahm) Emanuel’s offices. The campaign tribe was at NSC offices and included former Obama campaign aids, who flaunted their relationship with the President.”

Playing a leading role in this soap opera is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Many questions continue to swirl around Washington as to whether she is a team player after her bitter defeat to candidate Obama in the 2008 Primary. Her actions, even in the face of a national crisis, have done little to quiet such speculation.

In Chapter 19 in Obama’s Wars we see Secretary Clinton’s true colors:

“It was a crisis meeting on October 9, 2009 which Ms. Clinton opened with these words: ‘Mr. President, the dilemma you face…’

“On the back bench, press secretary (Robert) Gibbs noted that she said ‘you’ as if there was only one person in the boat and she and the others were at a pleasant distance…

“Clinton’s use of ‘you” also floored (Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard) Holbrooke, since she should have said ‘we’… It was a ‘Freudian giveaway,’ Holbrooke later told others. He thought Clinton felt detached from both the policy and the process.”

There are no White Knights in the book, not even Holbrooke who Woodward tells us is petty about such things as whether the President addresses him as Richard rather than Dick in front of Mrs. Holbrooke.

Holbrooke has other issues as well and they call into question the competency of the administration. According to Woodward, Holbrooke astounded members of the administration who were in the midst of a crisis meeting on Pakistan and India:

“Holbrooke introduced a new angle. ‘There’s a global warming dimension of this struggle, Mr. President,’ he said.

To a baffled room he continued:

“There are tens of thousands of Indian and Pakistani troops encamped on the glaciers in the Himalayas that feed the rivers into Pakistan and India, he said. Their encampments are melting the glaciers very quickly. There’s a chance that river valleys in Pakistan and perhaps even India could be flooded.”

After the meeting a lot of important people wanted to know if Holbrooke was kidding. To their shock it turned out he wasn’t.

Woodward also provides insights into a Federal government that is simply falling short.

We learn that Emanuel is shocked when he learns the latest intelligence on bin Laden. “What do you mean we don’t know where he is?” Emanuel explains to Bruce Riedel that some $50 billion a year is spent on intelligence. Then he repeats the question: “And you don’t have a clue where the most wanted man in the history of the world is?”

Woodward is somewhat critical of America’s intelligence services as well as the Bush administration. He points out we let the trail (on bin Laden) go cold back after 9/11 when the Bush administration turned to Iraq.

With Friends Like Pakistan Who Needs Enemies?
After reading Obama’s Wars you get an understanding that the political situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India is close to chaos. Little has changed with regard to that region in more than a century.

In the 19th Century, alliances were clouded and identifying the enemy was next to impossible. So too were strategic solutions which were sought unsuccessfully by the best and the brightest of that age.

Woodward takes us into the 21st Century and raises the stakes by including two explosive new elements: Global jihad and nuclear weapons. We learn that terrorists have come dangerously close to occupying areas near some of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

And we also learn that America’s most strategically important alliance is with Afghanistan; a country whose President, Hamid Karzai, is a corrupt and paranoid manic-depressive. We also find out he may be a drug addict. Still, Obama continues to pour money and men into Afghanistan; to fight a war that many within the administration now admit can’t be won.

As a writer Woodward has come full circle. His career began when he became a reporter for The Washington Post in 1971. Early on he covered the events surrounding the Vietnam War; a conflict which the press revealed was unwinnable.

Almost 40 years later Woodward has written Obama’s Wars, a book about another untenable war with no clear objectives being waged by an incompetent commander in chief.

Minority Republican Candidates Make History On Election Day

Minority Republican candidates make history on election day A historic election day for Republicans also marked a groundbreaking moment for minority GOP candidates.

On a day that conservatives gained control of the House of Representatives and captured the majority of governorships in the United States, several Republican candidates bucked long-standing trends in their home states. Two years after the nation elected its first African-American president, voters continued to make historic decisions at the polls.

Susana Martinez (R-N.M.) became the first Hispanic woman to be elected governor in U.S. history, while Nikki Haley (R-N.C.) and Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) will soon be the first female governors of their respective states.

Brian Sandoval will become Nevada's first Hispanic governor, while Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Allen West (R-Fla.) are the first black Republicans elected in their respective states since the late 19th century. The last black Republican in Congress was J.C. Watts (R-Okla.), who left office in 2003.

"Color is becoming less of an issue," Richard Ivory, a black Republican political consultant, told Fox News. "There was a time when the white electorate saw race first and made judgments based on this alone. While black Republicans and Obama disagree ideologically, both are candidates whose message surpassed pigment."

Despite the surge of minority candidates for governorships and the House of Representatives, there will be no African-American in the Senate come January. All three black candidates fell short in their midterm races. Roland Burris (D-Ill.), who is the only African-American in the current Senate, will be succeeded by white Republican Mark Kirk.

Republicans Win 10 Governorships In States Previously Led By Democrats

Republicans win 10 governorships in states previously led by DemocratsRepublicans not only gained control of the House of Representatives on election day, but they also regained the majority of governorships in the United States.

Projections indicate that the GOP will capture 10 governorships in states where the previous leaders were Democrats. Those states are Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa. Susan Martinez (R-N.M.), Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) and Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) became the first women governors to be elected in their respective states.

Martinez is the first female Hispanic candidate to be elected governor in the U.S.

"You were the ones telling me how desperately we needed to move New Mexico in a new direction," Martinez said, quoted by CNN. "At the end of the day, New Mexico chose a new direction."

Aside from being their state's top ranking executive, governors also help redraw congressional districts based on population changes determined by the census. This process, called gerrymandering, can play a key role in determining electoral votes for a particular party.

Michael McDonald, a professor at George Mason University and a redistricting expert, told USA Today that Republican wins in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas put the GOP is a good position to redraw the map in their favor over the next decade.

Democrats captured a big victory in the state with the biggest electoral clout as Jerry Brown defeated Republican Meg Whitman in California. Whitman, the CEO of eBay, spent more than $140 million of her own money on the campaign, which helped make the California gubernatorial race the most expensive non-presidential race in American history.

Anti-incumbent Sentiment Felt Nationwide As GOP Gains Control Of House

Anti-incumbent sentiment felt nationwide as GOP gains control of HouseThe Republican Party scored a resounding victory in the midterm elections by picking up more than enough seats in the House of Representatives to take control from the Democrats.

Republicans needed to gain 39 seats in order to hold a majority in the chamber, and early projections suggest that conservatives will win at least 60 more House seats than they currently have. A successful day at the polls for Republicans highlighted the widespread frustration among Americans over a stagnant unemployment rate, a troubled economy and too much government spending.

A political season that included the emergence of the anti-establishment Tea Party movement came to an end with what could be the biggest House gain by any major party since 1948. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is expected to become House Speaker when the new majority takes over in January, became emotional during a speech on election night.

"With their voices, the American people are demanding a new way forward in Washington," said Boehner, quoted by CNN. "This is not a time for celebration, not when one in 10 of our fellow citizens are out of work, not when we have buried our children under a mountain of debt."

Despite the GOP gaining six Senate seats, the Democrats were able to hold onto the majority in the upper chamber. Notable victories for conservatives included Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and Tea-Party-backed businessman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).

In an embarrassing loss for the President, Kirk defeated Alexi Giannoulias to win Obama's old Senate seat. According to the Chicago Sun Times, Kirk said that his victory "sends a message" to the current leaders in Washington. 

Eating Whole Grain Foods Could Reduce Fat Tissue

Eating whole grain foods could reduce fat tissueNew research conducted at Tufts University in Massachusetts indicates that individuals who consume greater amounts of whole grain foods may reduce their risk for developing cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.

Visceral fat is found in abdominal organs and subcutaneous fat is located beneath the skin. The scientists noted that previous research indicated that visceral fat has been linked to metabolic syndrome, hypertension, insulin resistance and unhealthy cholesterol levels.

In their new findings, the researchers discovered that among 2,834 participants, visceral fat was about 10 percent lower in those who had reported eating at least three or more servings of whole grains per day. However, visceral fat volume was only reduced when these individuals also cut back on their refined grain intake.

Nicola McKeown, lead author of the study, said that as a result people should implement healthy substitutions in their diet. For individuals who would like to consume more whole grain foods, this could be as simple as cooking with brown rice or choosing whole grain bread instead of white to make a sandwich. 

Hurricane-Force Storm Causes Damage In Midwest, Heads East

Hurricane-force storm causes damage in Midwest, heads EastAs large sections of the Midwestern United States have been battered by what some commentators have called a "historic storm," it may be a good time to remind Americans how to increase their chances of survival during similar natural disasters. 

The storm, dubbed "Chiclone," led to the cancellation of hundreds of flights and left a trail of devastation, including uprooted trees, damaged cars, flooding, slippery roads and downed power lines.

Experts advise that during violent storms, individuals should stay away from windows as flying debris or falling trees can break glass, resulting in severe injuries. In fact, if hurricane-force winds are in the forecast, boarding up windows and doors may be a good idea.

In order to further minimize the risk of being hurt or experiencing property damage, Americans who live in areas that are prone to extreme weather are also advised to clear brush and any lose objects from their premises, trim bushes, and sandbag the property as the storm is approaching.

As with any other natural or man-made disasters, families should stock on non-perishable food items, such as ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables as well as water in plastic containers to last at least three days. The emergency survival kit should also include basic medicines, including disinfectants and bandages, a battery-powered radio, blankets, flashlights as well as spare batteries.