The Origins Of The Teddy Bear

One of the most popular toys in history made its first appearance 107 years ago this week. On a hunting trip a few months earlier, then-President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear cub, saying it would be unsportsmanlike.

Toy maker Morris Michtom saw a cartoon of the incident and was inspired to create a stuffed bear cub. He sent the first one to the President with a note asking for permission to call it “Teddy’s bear.” The President agreed. The animal became an immediate success, leading Michtom to found the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co. to keep up with demand.

At the same time, a German company produced a stuffed bear based on a design by Richard Steiff, which also became a hit. Other manufacturers joined in and soon “Roosevelt Bears” were a national craze. Ladies carried them everywhere; children begged for one for Christmas; the President himself even used one as a mascot in his bid for re-election.

Their popularity continues to this day, with millions of Teddy Bears being sold every year. All this because a political cartoonist at The Washington Post tried to make fun of the President.

–Chip Wood

Obama’s Fiscal Plan Leaves Low-Income Americans Out In The Cold

Obama's fiscal plan leaves low-income Americans out in the coldAlthough many critics have accused President Barack Obama of targeting the pockets of wealthy Americans, his budget proposal for 2012 could also strip poor Americans of billions of dollars worth of aid.

According to media reports, the President's plan includes cutting the Community Services Block Grants — which fund ant-poverty initiatives throughout the United States — in half, saving approximately $350 million. In addition, Obama has called on lawmakers to slash the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program from $5 billion to $2.6 billion. The National Energy Assistance Directors' Association reports that, if approved, the President's budget would exclude about 3 million households from the program.

Although Obama has stated that some of the money saved will go toward the most effective anti-poverty efforts in America, many organization leaders are concerned that low-income Americans will be harmed by these cuts. Ralph Markus, director of the Office of Home Energy Programs, said that a lot of low-income homes would be heating-deprived if the budget is enacted.

Reverend Larry Snyder, the president of Catholic Charities USA, said that he understands the tough choices facing Federal lawmakers, but he believes the wrong group of Americans will suffer from proposed cuts.

"We reject the notion that those most vulnerable among us should feel the greatest impact of future reductions," said Snyder.

Mini-Strokes May Be More Serious Than Previously Thought

Mini-strokes may be more serious than previously thoughtCanadian researchers have concluded a study that suggests transient ischemic attack (TIA) — or a brief period of blood loss to the brain, often referred to as a mini-stroke — has lasting, maybe even permanent, effects on neurons in the brain.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests maintaining a healthy diet of foods low in cholesterol and fat and high in fiber to reduce risk of stroke. It also recommends keeping weight at a reasonable level through exercise and avoiding alcohol and tobacco.

As its name suggests, medical professionals have thought that TIA episodes caused little to no permanent brain damage, but recent test results from a specific mapping procedure suggest otherwise.

Researchers studied 13 TIA patients and compared their test results to those of individuals who have not suffered from a mini-stroke. Clinical evaluation and standard imaging procedures like a CT scan or MRI showed no difference between the brain function of stroke victims and healthy participants. However, when scientists looked at a mapping procedure that used transcranial magnetic stimulation, they saw damage to the affected side of the brain in TIA patients.

Cells on the TIA-affected portion of the brain showed impaired excitatory and inhibitory neurons, making it hard for them to respond to stimuli.

While doctors have known that TIA often precedes a more serious stroke, mild warning signs have often gone ignored by those who experience them. By seeking immediate treatment at the first signals of a stroke — which include numbness or tingling, temporarily impaired vision or inability to speak — individuals may be better able to prevent or minimize serious effects. 

Obama’s Latest Joke

For President Barack Obama, the traveling public’s concerns over the Transportation Security Administration’s 4th Amendment-violating policies are a big joke.

At his Jan. 25 State of the Union Address, Obama chuckled after his pronouncement that he wanted to “invest” (code for print more money and throw it at another boondoggle) billions of dollars in high speed rail.  “For some trips, it will be faster than flying… without the pat downs,” Obama joked.

Of course, Obama’s cute joke falls flat in the face of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s statements that radiation scanners and pat downs are being implemented at bus and train stations and sporting events. So, Mr. and Mrs. Traveler, the real joke’s on you because, get this, Obama’s latest budget increases Federal Spending on the DHS by $37 billion, earmarking the funds to place more naked body scanners in airports across the country. (And that’s on top of the other billions he wants to waste on his pet projects as he seeks to accelerate the crash of the dollar, but that’s a topic for another day.)

That’s $37 billion to select companies with government ties designed to force travelers to submit to being irradiated by machines that have shown dubious effectiveness at spotting explosives and have not been adequately tested as to the hazard they pose to travelers or operators.

Government’s false flag terror operations — more evidence of them surfaced yesterday when it was revealed the “terrorist” behind England’s 7/7 terror attacks was a United States informant and was released from prison after serving only four and a half years of a 70-year sentence because of his “cooperation” — have succeeded in duping the general public into believing the government is acting in their best interests.

But government is interested in one thing only: Creating a totalitarian police state that controls every move of the masses. And for Obama and the other elites in our government thugocracy, that’s very funny.

Angle, Palin Support GOProud’s Participation At CPAC

Angle, Palin support GOProud's participation at CPACAlthough several groups boycotted the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) because of the participation of gay conservative group GOProud, two prominent Tea Party-backed politicians publicly supported the organization's presence.

Sharron Angle, a Republican from Nevada, told The Huffington Post that she supports freedom of speech and GOProud has the right to participate in an open forum of discussion. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who did not attend CPAC because of scheduling conflicts, told FOX News that she has no problem with "diverse groups that are involved with political discourse."

"People are losing their jobs. They're losing homes. We're still engaged in a war," Palin told the media outlet. "There are so many life-changing, life-and-death issues out there in front of us. You know, we'd better be concentrating on what is really important here and not going kind of tit-for-tat as people are positioning themselves for 2012."

Conservative groups such as the Family Research Council (FRC) and the Heritage Foundation have boycotted the three-day event because CPAC organizers allowed GOProud to participate. Tony Perkins, head of FRC, told CNN that the presence of the gay-rights group represents a shift to libertarian causes, which he said is "very dangerous to the conservative movement." 

God’s Little Acre

As 2010 became 2011, the people of Tunisia, spurred on by a random incident of police brutality, awoke from the slumber of oppression and took to the streets. Within days their government was high-tailing it for quieter climes.

Then the 30-year old regime of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak was beset by thundering masses. Despots in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Algeria warily eye similar rumblings. Even the quietude of Amman, Jordan, ruled with a reasonably light touch by benevolent monarch King Abdullah II, has been interrupted by ominous rumblings of late.

Meanwhile, the United States, tied to the region through multi-billion dollar aid to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and regional pariah Israel, has responded with… well… Leon Panetta is still watching CNN.

Now, the governance of Egypt has fallen to the military; meaning the new boss may be no better than the old boss. The takeover, seen by many as a coup, has spawned not only a new round of concerns about the direction of the most-populous nation in the Arab world, but a veritable tsunami of cheap jokes based on Who lyrics.

Egypt’s military have issued opaque “communiqués” promising their ultimate goal is to:

"…discuss what measures and arrangements could be taken to safeguard the homeland… and the aspirations of the great Egyptian people."

That would presume that the Egyptian military, which until recently held out Mubarak as an icon (Mubarak is a former Air Force commander and is considered a hero from Egypt’s second place finish in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war), has the same idea about the aspirations for “the great Egyptian people” as do “the great Egyptian people.”

Behind this whole tableau is the shadowy hand of an increasingly important group named the Muslim Brotherhood. Though the Obama administration’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has described them as a “"largely secular" group that has "eschewed violence," the reality is that an influential Muslim Brotherhood is nothing approaching good news for Western interests, or even Egyptian interests which don’t share the same aspirations as the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a worldwide organization, the oldest active Islamist group in the world. Though there is some debate about their goals, there is no ignoring the mountain of evidence suggesting that those goals are nefarious by non-nefarious standards. There are reputable reports of ties to terrorist groups like HAMAS and Hezbollah. In the words of former White House counterterrorism Chief Juan Zarate:

"The Muslim Brotherhood is a group that worries us not because it deals with philosophical or ideological ideas but because it defends the use of violence against civilians."

The Brotherhood’s key figures also have ties to Osama bin Laden through Youssef Nada and the Al Taqwa group, which is alleged to have served in a financial advisory capacity to al-Qaida for some time.

With the Brotherhood taking the potential foray in upheaval in the Middle East, the question turns to the role the United States might play in the unfolding drama. Although some might immediately suggest that the United States should stay the hell out of internal affairs in the region, I would counter that that camel has already strolled. Moreover, an isolationist U.S. leaves an influence/intelligence gap wider than the Suez Canal.

With recent polling indicating that the majority of respondents would appreciate a more stringent type of Islamist system. A recent Pew poll showed that 95 percent of Egyptians would prefer Islam play a “large role in politics.” Read: No separation of mosque and state. The same poll also revealed “84 percent favor the death penalty for people who leave the Muslim faith.” Get thee to a mosque, Mr. President, and make it snappy.

President Barack Obama, like Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter before him, is operating under the misapprehension that freedom and democracy mean the same thing to Akbar, Haji and Muhammad as they do to Tom, Dick and Harry. The Islamist beliefs of many in the Middle East color their worldview to include Sharia, stoning and the subjugation of women; all anathematic to Americans (except perhaps that last one — relative to ex-wives).

Somewhere between George W. Bush’s “shoot first, ask about a transitional government later” style of diplomacy and Obama’s “WHAT happened in ‘Tunafish-ea’?” obliviousness is the likely proper path. Obama and his minions “diplomacy via television” has trapped America in God’s little acre:

East of the rock, west of the hard place.

Paul Lands Support Of Young Voters At CPAC

Paul lands support of young voters at CPACLibertarian lawmaker Ron Paul (R-Texas) won the Presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for the second straight year.

Paul, who is popular among young voters, gained considerable notoriety during his Presidential bid in 2008, which ultimately fell short. Although many pundits doubt that he can win a general election in 2012, Paul emerged as potential favorite at the recent CPAC in Washington, D.C. He won 30 percent of the vote, while former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney notched 23 percent.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, approximately 51 percent of the voters were 25 years old and under, while 72 percent were no older than 40. Furthermore, about 43 percent of voters said that they "wished the GOP had a better field of potential candidates."

During his address at CPAC on Feb. 10, real estate tycoon Donald Trump, who is considering a bid for President, said that while he likes Paul as a person, the 75-year-old has "zero chance of getting elected." In response, Paul admitted that it would be very difficult to win the Republican nomination, although he thinks a "new generation" of voters would support him over Obama, whom he called a "warmonger."

“If you look at the polls — there aren't that many — my appeal is to a lot of independents and a lot of progressive Democrats who are sick and tired of Obama for opting out of cutting back on some of his militarism,” Paul said, quoted by Politico.com.  

When Exercise Hurts, Do This…

The top three excuses for why Americans are not getting enough exercise are: 1) There’s not enough time; 2) A lack of stick-to-it-ness; and 3) exercise hurts. The issues of time management and sticking with something are personal choice issues. Why and how to make those choices are a topic of another column. In this article, I’d like to address the pain issue.

A little stiffness and soreness is both expected and healthy after exercise. When the muscles are placed under stress, the bones placed under a load and the lungs made to kick into high gear, the body is strengthening itself. Inflammation comes as part of the healing response, protecting the area and sending signals to the brain that healing (repair) needs to be done.

Prolonged soreness and pain, however, is not good. Chronic inflammation and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) are two examples of bad exercise pain. The body remains inflamed when repair is not happening as a result of too much physical stress, depth of injury or simple lack of adequate rest. DOMS occurs when muscle tissue has torn and is in need of repair. Both occur when wrong exercise is carried out.

Exercise should not lead to lasting or chronic pain. If pain associated with exercise or any physical activity is common for you, then you are doing something wrong. Even too much of a good thing is bad. Here are some things to be aware of…

Keep your cardio training within your target heart rate. If you are wheezing and huffing just to say hello to the person next to you, or experience burning in the lungs, then it is best to ease off the strain until pain subsides. If you are jogging, slow down. If on a treadmill, decrease the incline.

If you are weight training and usually feel pain in specific areas after workouts, you may be overtraining strong muscles at the expense of weaker ones. Many people choose to keep adding weight to their bench presses to increase the size of their pectoral muscles. However, they neglect their back and neck muscles and then experience shoulder and neck pain.

The key is to work the weaker muscles to build them up while backing off the stronger ones for a period of time. Muscular balance is the key to creating healthy physical scaffolding.

If your body hurts, you are doing something very wrong and may need to hire a trainer or fire the one you have. If you experience exercise aches and pains that don’t seem to go away, then you need to address the inflammation response.

With chronic inflammation comes pain, stiffness and limited range of motion. None of these are healthy. Here are seven simple ways of reducing exercise-induced inflammation and pain:

  • Reduce exercise levels to more reasonable ones.
  • Proper warm-ups and cool-downs.
  • Drink plenty of fresh water.
  • Do light stretches before a workout and deeper stretches after the body is warmed and the blood is moving.
  • Have a full body massage to help move lactic acid and relax muscle stiffness. Thai massage is high on my list for this purpose.
  • Avoid consuming foods that cause inflammation, and consume more of those that help reduce inflammation. For more information about what these foods are, click here.
  • Apply ice and/or heat to the painful areas. Since this is a widely debated topic and incorrect use can make a situation worse, let’s discuss it!

The answer is simple even though the debate can be heated. But there can be no debate when one understands the mechanisms behind pain, spasm and inflammation and how the application of cold and heat affect them.

When an injury happens (such as a sprain) inflammation occurs to protect the affected site. When the nervous system senses an injury, it sends signals to the brain that interprets them as “pain.” The new signal is sent to the injured area, telling the muscles to reduce blood supply in an effort to reduce swelling. However, this blood deficit causes more pain, swelling and spasms.

In response to the physical trauma and inflammation, the body sends white blood cells to the area to begin the healing response, which includes the removal of waste products at the area and, thus, pain reduction.

There are several types of white blood cells and two are important in this discussion. Neutrophils release chemicals involved in the inflammatory response while also recruiting other inflammatory cells and protecting the injured area from infection. Basophils release two chemicals at the injury site, histamine and heparin. Histamine relaxes blood vessels and heparin helps prevent clotting. Both aid in the free movement of blood to help heal the damaged tissue site.

If left unchecked, chronic inflammation can result in fewer red blood cells, less oxygen and fewer nutrients available at the site to begin the healing process. This cycle of pain, elevated white blood cells, lower red blood cells, excess waste material, more pain and inflammation can continue for days, weeks, even years if not treated properly. Correct application of ice and heat is the method of treating soft tissue injuries, pain, spasms and inflammation. Incorrect application, however, can prolong the problem and make it become chronic.

While at opposite ends of the temperature spectrum, heat and cold both create a healing response. If you think of your stove and your freezer, you can easily see the result of either. Heat melts and increases surface area. Cold constricts and prevents expansion of fluids. Heat moves things along while cold keeps them in a state of suspended animation. So how do these temperatures affect the body?

Heat causes the body to circulate more blood and to remove toxins. This allows more fresh oxygen and nutrients to the injured area, which begins and continues the healing process while removing the toxins that cause scar tissue and chronic pain. Cold, on the other hand, retards swelling and reduces pain.

Within limits, both temperature extremes shut off pain signals; heat by relaxing the affected nerves and cold by numbing them. This is good because when pain signals are not sent to the brain there is no response signal generated telling the muscles to contract (spasm) in order to protect the injury site.

After proper application of heat or cold over time, the pain-spasm-inflammation cycle is broken and effective healing of the area can begin.

So… to determine whether it’s better to apply ice or heat to an injury, you must first determine whether the pain you are experiencing is caused by inflammation or muscle constriction (spasm). Once this is determined, follow these three rules:

  • If an injury is acute (caused by new trauma, like a twisted ankle or pulled neck muscle), it is best to apply cold within the first five minutes to reduce swelling, inflammation and pain. Ice packs, ice cubes, a frozen bag of peas or cold gels can be applied. Apply ice for 20 minutes, remove it for 20 minutes, then repeat as necessary.
  • When swelling is down and the pain cycle is broken, stop the cold and apply heat. This will bring oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the area to relax muscles, remove waste products and promote healing.
  • Never heat an inflamed area and never ice a constricted area. Inflammation is an expanding reaction and needs to be reduced, so cold is the answer. A spasm is a constriction that needs relaxing, so heat is the answer.

Now that you have several tools to help you prevent pain and inflammation related to exercise, why not give it a try again? The results can be life changing.

–Dr. Mark Wiley

UPDATED

House Republicans Reveal New Budget With $26 Billion More In Cuts

House Republicans reveal new budget with $26 billion more in cutsThe House Appropriations Committee has introduced a new proposal that would cut $100 billion from President Barack Obama's 2011 budget request, meeting the original pledge that was made last year by conservative Republicans.

The GOP-led budget committee unveiled its original proposal last week that, if approved, would have cut $74 billion from Obama's plan. However, fiscally conservative lawmakers urged the panel to make more cuts to honor the $100 billion that was promised in the GOP's Pledge to America.

According to The Associated Press, the savings are much less when measured against current spending because the government has been operating on last year's levels since Oct. 1. However, the $100 billion in cuts are accounted for when compared to Obama's proposal, which has not been enacted. The goal of most Republicans is to roll back spending to 2008 levels.

"Our intent is to make deep but manageable cuts in nearly every area of government, leaving no stone unturned and allowing no agency or program to be held sacred," said Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), quoted by The Washington Post.

Stop-gap spending is scheduled to expire on March 4, which means that Congress must agree on a budget in the next several weeks to avoid a government shutdown. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused the GOP of causing gridlock by "blindly swiping a meat ax to the budget," according to the news provider.

Meanwhile, the conservative grassroots group Heritage Action has claimed that the most recent proposal is inadequate. The organization said that the GOP's budget plan is $16 billion short in cuts because only $84 billion in non-security spending cuts have been proposed. 

Diabetes Patients May Require Education On Kidney Health

Diabetes patients may require education on kidney healthIn a study of about 50 people with diabetes who experienced subsequent kidney problems, many felt surprised and regretful that they had not been adequately educated about the risks of renal failure or malfunction when they were diagnosed with the blood sugar disorder.

The study was conducted in the UK and published in the Journal of Renal Care.

While many of the participants were well aware of how their diabetes could affect their eyes and feet, few knew that losing control of their blood sugar levels could result in kidney failure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends regular monitoring of blood glucose and making efforts to lower blood pressure through diet and exercise to keep kidneys healthy.

Authors of the study said the results point to a need for more research regarding the link between diabetes and kidney problems.

"The findings also demonstrate that the long-term educational needs of patients who have had diabetes for many years are just as important as the need to make newly diagnosed patients aware of all the health risks they face," said Gurch Randhawa, director of the Institute for Health Research at the University of Bedfordshire. 

Your Household Items Could Be Releasing Poisonous Gases!

There are many plastic products on the market that can emit a strong odor… such as water containers, shower liners and curtains, mattress covers and vinyl items. And that smell that overpowers you is due to the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) releasing poisonous chemicals like mercury, dioxins and phthalates.

Because it’s waterproof and fire-retardant, PVC can also be found in clothing, raincoats, tote bags, insulation and frames for windows and doors.

PVC contains hundreds of toxic additives and these toxins can leach or evaporate out of the PVC materials posing dozens of health risks for children and adults. Toxic exposure may lead to:

  • Respiratory irritation
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Failure of your central nervous system
  • Migraines or headaches
  • Nausea
  • Loss of coordination.

There are many action groups and organizations calling for stricter safeguards to protect the public from toxic exposure to PVC.

To reduce your chances, eliminate any suspicious items in your household or pantry immediately. Many manufacturers offer items produced from natural cotton or hemp that are safer for you and your family. Also, choose glass kitchen storage containers instead of plastic ware, or glass beverage pitchers instead of plastic bottles.

WHO Compiles Data On Worldwide Health

WHO compiles data on worldwide healthIn a global review of health data from 1980 to 2008, researchers found that health issues which were once thought of as being problems of the rich are now affecting many middle- and low-income populations.

The research was conducted by the World Health Organization in collaboration with several other colleges and institutions, and published in the journal The Lancet.

Researchers speculated that the reasons behind health improvements in high-income countries are largely due to better screening and treatments. They also noted that a shift toward diets that contain healthier fats and lower sodium levels could be the cause.

Rates of disorders like obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol have fallen in some high-income countries like the United States but are on the rise in Eastern regions and Southeast Asia.

In North America and Australasia — a region encompassing Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and nearby South Pacific islands — significant reductions in hypertension rates were observed, while blood pressure was the highest among individuals living in Baltic or East and West African regions.

Total blood cholesterol levels fell for people living in Western countries while those in Asian and Pacific areas showed increased cholesterol levels.

However, the news is not all good for Western regions. Rates of obesity nearly doubled for U.S. residents from 1980 to 2008. Americans also have the highest body mass index in the world.  

The Epidemiology Of Influenza

Medical authority has dominance in the public mind because there is tight control of the press, medical publications and the medical profession.

Pharmaceuticals can skew results of research until it becomes a scam. Everything is the road to profits. Sickness is a trillion dollar industry. There is every monetary incentive to keep the sick industry on the front burner.

Nowhere is there any more deception than with influenza. Only God knows how much the pharmaceuticals make on vaccinations which much reliable research has proved to be worthless. Also vaccinations kill. Many seniors and children pay with their lives.

The position of the medical establishment, of course, is that flu is caused by germs transmitted and transferred from person to person. If this is true, there are questions that have to be answered:

  1. Why has influenza mortality of the aged not declined as their vaccination rates increased?
  2. Why is influenza seasonal and where is the virus between seasons and epidemics?
  3. Why do epidemics end abruptly?
  4. What explains the coincidental timing of epidemics in countries of similar latitudes?
  5. Why did epidemics in previous ages spread so rapidly, despite the lack of modern transportation?
  6. If influenza is highly infectious, why doesn’t direct inoculation of the virus cause universal illness?
  7. Why did influenza hospitalization and mortality rates for older Americans significantly increase in the 80s and 90s, during the same time that influenza vaccination rates for elderly Americans dramatically increased?

The truth is that the germ theory of disease is where monumental profits are. The germ theory teaches that flu is contagious for humans by touch, coughing and through the air.

Also the germ theory of influenza is a great diversion. It has diverted attention away from the human environment within. This is the condition of the human immune system. The difference in our immunity is the simple answer of why some of us get the flu and others don’t.

Finally, after 100 years of deception and trillions of profits from the germ theory, the profound and multiple effects vitamin D has on human immunity has burst out and liberated millions from influenza for all who will listen. Watch out!

The medical profession got shoved into recommending vitamin D3 because of so much public acceptance. But as always they try to sabotage what is not theirs. They do now recommend vitamin D, but not enough to even prevent rickets in children.

They promote 200 to 400 international units a day. This is not nearly enough to protect against influenza.

The public is closer to adequate therapy by taking up to 10 times the amount of vitamin D3 recommended by the medical establishment. People should consult with their alternative doctor on how much vitamin D3 to take.

Healthcare Rationing In The UK — This Is America’s Future Under Obamacare
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service needs $30 billion over the next three years. They intend to squeeze most of that money out of seniors by denying them medical care.

Now any senior who needs a hip or knee replacement or cataract surgery will have to wait at least four months instead of the present three weeks. Just wait for Obamacare.

Our hope is that the new people in the House and Senate will repeal Obamacare. That would be too good to be true. There’s not a chance it will happen, and little chance it will be overturned by the courts.

If only the people in the U.S. and the UK knew how much better off they would be without any medical care at all. Too many drugs, too many operations and too much staph infection are combining to kill millions all the time.

Committee Set To Decide On Fate Of Birthright Citizenship Bill

Committee set to decide on fate of birthright citizenship billThe Senate Judiciary Committee in Arizona has tentatively scheduled a vote to decide whether to advance a measure that would eliminate birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants.

According to media reports, State Senator Ron Gould (R-Lake Havasu City) — a sponsor of the bill and chairman of the committee — called off a previously scheduled vote because he thought the legislation would have been defeated. Gould said that he plans to seek a vote on Feb. 14.

Senate Bill 1070, if approved by Arizona's legislature, would define a United States citizen as an individual who has been naturalized or who has at least one parent who has no allegiance to a foreign country. Supporters of the measure, which was crafted by State Senator Russell Pearce (R-Mesa), believe that this law would prevent taxpayers from having to cover the costs of services to illegal immigrants and their children.

Opponents of the bill claim that the law would violate the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which grants citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized" in the country. However, advocates for the legislation argue that the 14th Amendment was never intended to apply to children born of illegal immigrants.

In an interview with CNN, Pennsylvania State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) cited statements from former U.S. Representative John Bingham (R-Ohio), who is considered one of the fathers of the 14th Amendment. During an 1866 Congressional debate, Bingham said that birthright citizenship should not apply to children whose parents owe their allegiance to a foreign nation, according to Metcalfe. 

Why The City Might Be Your Best Bet

For the last 15 years or so, the common thought has been that in a disaster situation where there’s a medium to long term breakdown in infrastructure and civil order, the ONLY way to survive is to flee the city, like a dog with its tail between its legs, and hide out in the woods until things get back to normal.  This is really dated thinking that ignores history.

Besides the logistics of whether or not you’ve got a fully stocked rural retreat to flee to, or the fact that there’s a good chance that it will be difficult to travel with gridlock and roadblocks, there are several reasons why cities — or urban areas — make good places to stay after a disaster.  We’re going to cover five of those today and another five in my next article.

I need to start out by saying city people DO have additional risks that isolated rural dwellers don’t have.  Cities are more at risk for terrorist attack, there are more people fighting for fewer resources and there are more possibilities for major accidents that affect hundreds or thousands of people at once.  But it’s ironic to note that survival is the very reason why many cities were originally set up. People wanted to set up a common defense, build a marketplace for their goods and have access to people with specialized skills.

What do I mean by urban? Well, by "urban" I mean a few thousand people to a few million people. Basically, it’s any community that shares water/sewer/electricity distribution. With that in mind, here are the first five of my “Top 10 Lies and Half Truths About Urban Survival” and why it may be better for you than a fully stocked rural retreat (in no particular order).

Lie No. 1. I’ll be a sitting duck in my house! After a disaster, if violence is particularly bad, you can rotate a watch without it being too much of a burden on any one family. This concept has been around for generations. Just to be clear, it doesn’t stop crime, it only changes the location where it happens.
If a crackhead needs to steal a TV to support his habit, it’ll just get them to go a block or two away to break into a house and steal someone else’s stuff. Of course, in a disaster situation, many have scaled this up and have multiple roving people covering an entire neighborhood. In the country, there’s just too much space between houses to make this practical. Why? Because in an urban area, one person can watch several houses at one time.

Lie No. 2. With all those people, everything’s going to run out right away. True, but it’s just the first chapter of the story. In the event of a medium- to long-term breakdown in order after a disaster, many people will abandon cities and others will die of shock, medical reasons or violence, leaving a remnant of people who were prepared and can continue/rebuild the economy. Also, at some point, products like fuel, food and other supplies will start being distributed again. If refiners, farmers and other distributors have the option to deliver to one city or 10 towns, they’ll pick the one city. Their cost to deliver goods to only one location will be less AND they’ll probably be able to sell the goods at a premium because of higher demand. The key here is to have enough supplies on hand to make it through the worst part of a civil breakdown situation until resupply begins.

Half-truth No. 3. Everyone in the city will turn on each other. Partially true. I hear people talk about their organized plans to kill, loot and steal from their neighbors way too often. Just yesterday a friend told me how he overheard a group of otherwise rational people talking about how they have their neighborhood mapped out and the houses prioritized according to which ones they’re going to attack first.

This is no joke, and it’s why I cover operational security so much in the “SurviveInPlace” course. I think these people should and will be "taken care of" quickly if they ever start acting on their sick plans. They go against everything that America stands for, and they disgust me.

There is another side to this story… one which has a lot more historical evidence. Think of barn raisings and the ability of a rural community to band together to get a big project done. Now think about how many more people there are in a city than in a rural area and how much easier it would be for any one person to get a group of people together to get a big project done when there are so many more people to ask. (Stop laughing at the thought of city people helping each other.)

Really, stop laughing. The reality is that people don’t tend to help each other like this in urban areas anymore during normal times. But one of the "good" things about disasters and breakdowns in civil order is that while idiots are running amok, good people band together to help each other. It happened after the San Francisco earthquake, 9/11, numerous floods and tornadoes in the Midwest and even after Hurricane Katrina.

In fact, I have a friend who has moved BACK to New Orleans because of what he saw after Katrina. He happened to have friends who lived in a neighborhood that was galvanized by the event.  They pulled together and became like a small town community in the middle of all the chaos.  He decided that he wanted is family to live in that kind of an environment in the event that another disaster happened.

None of this was in place before Katrina to set this up — it was a neighborhood of strangers living on top of each other, just like most neighborhoods.  It just happened that good people decided to take control of the situation in front of them. They had armed checkpoints to get into their neighborhood, they took care of each other and, when things calmed down, they realized that they had turned their neighborhood of strangers into a family.

This was a great case of a group of proactive people doing what was necessary to create a stable micro environment when surrounded by relative chaos.  These stable micro environments are exactly what are needed after breakdowns in order to restore order, and prepared people are the most likely ones to make them happen.

Lie No. 4. Only jacks-of-all trades will survive. People with specialized skills will have no use and quickly die: Famous self-reliant author Robert Heinlein (Starship Troopers) said that "specialization is for insects," but that’s not entirely true.

A better view on life would be "Jack of all trades, master of ONE." In other words, if you happen to be a surgeon, it’s really not worth your time to change your oil, build a deck, milk a cow or dress and butcher a kill, but you should still know how.  A surgeon would be better off learning how to do primitive and handyman skills and then paying someone else to do those he didn’t enjoy so that he had more time to do his specialty — surgery.  That way, he can get the most value for his time, contribute the most to society, but still have the primitive and handyman skills to fall back on in an emergency.

No matter what you do, there are going to be tasks that you’re not efficient at. I recently read that the reason why people are so busy in survival situations is because they’re spending all of their time doing things they’re not efficient at, so everything takes two to three times longer to do than it should. In a city, you don’t HAVE to do everything… even if you know how to do it all. There is a ready supply of skilled friends, acquaintances and experts for hire who can do specialized tasks — that you can’t efficiently do — much quicker than you can.

What I do and what I suggest others do is to spend time learning and practicing primitive skills and handyman skills so that you know how to do a wide variety of things if you need to.  But, spend the majority of your time getting better at one or two specialties.

There are two reasons for this.  First, specializing will make you more valuable to other people.  Second, it will be a better use of your time.

As an example, let’s say that you don’t like baking and you’re not particularly good at it, but you want to give your wife a cake for her birthday.  You could go to the store and pay $20 for an INCREDIBLE cake, or you could buy all the ingredients for $5 and make it yourself.

By the time you figure in the TIME to go shopping, find the right pans, ingredients and measuring spoons, bake the cake and clean up the mess, if you’re anything like me, you’re looking at two to three hours.  So, you traded two to three hours for $15 in savings and essentially made $5-$7.50 per hour.  That’s not a very good use of time.

Heck, I could have spent half an hour going door to door until I found someone who needed their lawn mowed for $20, mowed it, bought a cake from the store, and still had an hour or two to enjoy!  (Remember… I made the assumption that you don’t like baking and that you’re not good at it.  If you love baking and are good at it, then there is surely some other task that you could substitute that would be a better fit for you.)

The other benefit of specialization in urban areas is that it allows for highly skilled people like the surgeon that I mentioned. In a rural area, the surgeon may only get a chance to practice his skill a few times a month. In an urban area, he’ll have the opportunity to hone his skills every day and all of his patients will benefit from his efficiency and expertise.  And frankly, if I have critical or life-saving work that needs to be done, I want a specialist around rather than a jack of all trades.

Half-truth No. 5. Sickness will spread like wildfire in cities after a disaster. True, and in the animal kingdom, this is one of the ways that overcrowding is taken care of.

But history shows us that much of the reasons why disease spreads so quickly in urban areas is not only due to population density, but also due to a lack of sun exposure as a result of spending all day indoors. And poor hygiene also factors in. This is something you have control over. Throughout history, the benefits of efficient distribution and a common defense have outweighed the increased dangers of disease spread.

In fact, everything spreads easier in a city, and A HUGE advantage that urban areas have over rural areas is how much more efficient product and information distribution is. A kid on a bike can deliver a few hundred newspapers quickly in a city. Mail can be delivered on foot. Bike messengers can deliver packages and messages quickly. Food and produce can be delivered QUICKLY by hand, foot, vehicle, car, or animal to hundreds of customers without adding much cost to the final buyer.

One of the big problems that we have, both in stable and unstable times, is urban sprawl. By urban sprawl, I’m specifically talking about subdivisions of 1,000 to 3,000 houses with absolutely no grocery, retail or convenience stores except at the entrance from the main road. These are very inefficient setups because they require people to drive for small things like fresh produce, a snack, a missing ingredient for a favorite recipe or a newspaper.

I have a very strong feeling that in a civil breakdown situation, as others abandon their homes in search of greener pastures, many houses in subdivisions like these will turn into markets… regardless of zoning. In other words, if you’ve got a main street through a subdivision that’s a couple miles long, I can see five to 10 of them being changed into convenience stores and, when the season is right, farmer’s markets.

Why do I say this?  Because good people always have and always will figure out a way to improvise, adapt, and overcome… and this is a natural solution to a problem that we see in subdivisions in every city in America.

In my next article, I’m going to cover the next five reasons why cities are better than rural areas, about how Chicago is breaking down, and I’ll tell you the reason why gangs of "bad people" won’t be a long-term problem in most cities after civil breakdown.

–David Morris

Trump Considers Presidential Bid, Says China Is ‘The Enemy’

Trump Considers Presidential Bid Says China Is The EnemyReal estate tycoon and reality TV star Donald Trump has stated that he is "seriously thinking" about running for President in 2012 because the United States has become a "laughingstock throughout the world."

In a Feb. 9 interview on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, Trump, a Republican, said that he will make his final decision on his Presidential bid by June. The billionaire said that, if elected, he would implement a 25 percent tax on all Chinese products, claiming that the Asian nation manipulates their currency.

"I see them as the enemy," Trump told the talk show host. "They want to take over [the U.S.] economically. They are not really out-competing. They are cheating. And we have people who don't know what to do, because we have the wrong people in office."

Although Trump lacks political experience compared to other rumored GOP candidates for President, he certainly has the bank account to fund a campaign. Forbes magazine estimates that Trump is worth approximately $2 billion, and he reportedly earns about $3 million per episode for appearing on NBC's The Apprentice.

According to media reports, Trump was a last-minute addition to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Feb. 10. His appearance fueled further speculation that the businessman is leaning toward a run for President next year.

Question For Bob

Dear Bob,
What do you think about buying options in gold, silver and other precious metals?

Sarah Weissbard

 

Dear Sarah Weissbard,

Options provide terrific leverage and the opportunity to make great profits, but because the odds are against option buyers (three out of every four expire, worthless) I do not encourage purchasing options in precious metals. Instead, I prefer to hold gold and silver in my possession for use as a hedge against inflation and when the economy collapses and gold and silver is used for barter. The only exception is the Perth Mint. The Perth Mint is located in Australia. It is a 100-year-old mint owned by the government of Western Australia. In the Perth Mint Certificate Program bullion can be purchased at the mint’s spot market ask price with no markup. There is a service fee and administrative fee, but storage is free. Safety is assured because the metals remain on site and cannot be lent out.

Best Wishes,
Bob

NRA CEO Says Government Gun Policies Are ‘Getting Us Killed’

NRA CEO says government gun policies are getting us killedThe head of the National Rifle Association (NRA) slammed President Barack Obama's administration and other gun control advocates during his speech at the Conservative Political Conference on Feb. 10.

Wayne LaPierre said that proposed bans on certain firearms and ammunition clips will only provide more protection for killers, adding that "government policies are getting us killed," according to CBS News. While he said that the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz. was a terrible tragedy, he accused politicians and the media of overreacting by calling for stricter gun laws.

"Good guys carrying guns can and do make a difference," LaPierre said, quoted by the media outlet. "The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

LaPierre also played a video clip of former NRA President Charlton Heston criticizing the media for portraying the gun-rights group as a villain. LaPierre then accused the media of glorifying and making a "celebrity" out of Jared Loughner, who is the accused shooter connected to the Tucson tragedy, The Huffington Post reported.

The current NRA chief said that by plastering Loughner's photo all over television and the Internet, media outlets were turning the gunman into a hero for any deranged copy cat who seeks fame.

The Next Chapter In The End Of America

I believe we are seeing the very early stages of a great monetary crisis that will, eventually, lead people (and then their politicians) to return to gold- and silver-backed currencies. — Porter Stansberry, May 4, 2006

Four years ago, we began warning people something was seriously wrong with our money — the mighty United States dollar.

The economy was enjoying a furious bull market. Everything — literally everything — was going up.

Near the peak in February 2007, investors were no longer requiring a higher return for taking more risk — a so-called "risk premium"…

Junk bonds were trading at nearly the same prices as triple-A credits. Garbage penny stocks were trading at blue-chip prices. Dividends had disappeared. So much money and credit had been created from thin air (subprime mortgages) and thrown into the market that prices had reached a point where, as careful analysts, we could find nothing safe to buy.

We were afraid of what would happen next. We knew the country would have to make a choice. Would we write down and write off the excesses of the greatest credit bubble in history? Would thousands of banks fail? Would millions of "investors" — fools, really — lose everything? Would the slate be wiped clean, allowing a recovery to occur?

Or would something far worse manifest?

Would politicians seeking power and wealth promise to bail out unwise corporations and reckless lenders? Would the full potential of our paper money system be revealed to the public? Would there be an all-out attempt to "paper over" the bad investments and debt-driven losses?

We always knew what would happen. Our democracy — the most powerful government in history — would surely choose to print. How did we know? Because that’s what governments do… all of them… especially democracies. Their ability to print money is always too powerful a temptation to resist — to paper over… to create money from thin air… to lie, cheat and steal from the citizens via inflation.

We knew it would happen. We warned and warned it would happen.

And now it’s happening. We have proof.

Last month, some of the Fed’s secrets were unearthed. Dozens of well-connected companies received billions in bailout money from the Fed — deals the central bank never disclosed to Congress or the press…

Remember when the government promised it would only rescue companies that posed a "systemic risk" to the banking system? It was a lie. Harley Davidson got $2.3 billion in Fed money. Caterpillar got almost a billion dollars. Even McDonald’s got more than $200 million.

In all, the Fed printed up $3.3 trillion and doled it out to what seems like every big company on the planet with a lobbyist in Washington, including dozens of foreign companies with almost no U.S. employees.

Since then, the prices of gold and silver have rocketed 150 percent higher. If you took our advice and began to hoard gold and silver bullion, you’ve probably protected your net worth from the worst of the collapse of 2008 — at the very least.

If You’re New To The Story, Don’t Worry.

The curtain is about to come up on the real show. Politicians (and the press) have largely supported the Fed’s decision because, in their eyes, printing the money was better than falling into a massive recession or possible depression. And that’s certainly true — in the short run.

In the long run, these decisions must lead to more printing and eventually the collapse of our currency.

Regards,

–Porter Stansberry with Braden Copeland

PS: The next chapter in the end of America will most likely end our monetary system. To learn more about this collapse, please click here.

Rumsfeld: Bush Administration Did Not Intentionally Lie About Iraq WMDs

Rumsfeld: Bush administration did not intentionally lie about Iraq WMDsFormer Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has defended the George W. Bush administration for its handling of the Iraq war, but has criticized the leadership staff for not adequately garnering enough public support for the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

The former Pentagon chief is in the midst of a media tour to promote his memoir Known and Unknown, which was released on Feb. 8. During a recent interview with FOX News, Rumsfeld — who resigned from his Defense post in 2006 — said that members of the Bush administration did not intentionally deceive the public when they reported that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction, which served as a catalyst for America's invasion of the Middle Eastern nation.

Referring to former Secretary of State Colin Powell's infamous address to the United Nations in 2003, in which he cited intelligence about Iraq's weapons program, Rumsfeld told the news provider that Powell is an "honorable man" who "believed every word he gave in that speech."

Rumsfeld added that Bush's team could have done a better job improving the image of Guantanamo Bay, a prison for suspected terrorists. He said that even though the facility is "one of the finest prison systems in the world," the former administration was incapable of attracting public support for the project, which is now in jeopardy due to President Barack Obama's pledge to shut down Guantanamo.

According to media reports, Rumsfeld also attacks Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) in his book, calling the former Presidential candidate "a man with a hair-trigger temper and a propensity to fashion and shift his positions to appeal to the media."