Rescuing A Broken America by Michael Coffman, Ph.D.

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While most Americans know that their country is experiencing deep political divisions, few understand how or when this came about.

Some feel this division first appeared during the 2000 Presidential election in which the U.S. Supreme Court intervened in Florida’s ballot counting controversy. Others believe it manifest itself in the election of Barack Obama and the passage and proposal of overreaching and possibly unConstitutional bills (like Obamacare and Cap and Trade) by a Democrat Congress. But the schism actually began long before, writes Michael Coffman, Ph.D., in his book, Rescuing A Broken America: Why America is Deeply Divided and How to Heal it Constitutionally.

America is mired in a war of world views, Coffman writes, between the axiom of freedom and mutual respect best described by John Locke (1632-1704) in his Two Treatises on Government, and that of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) in his Social Contract and Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. And the divide stems from the fact that America’s people no longer understand the principles of unalienable rights and self-government as envisioned by the Founding Fathers because public schools no longer teach the foundations of freedom and God-given rights that protect them from plunder by others and their government.

The Founders subscribed to Locke’s view that the government’s purpose is to join with others “united, for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties and estate, which I call by the general name, property.” And most Americans would be amazed to learn that the free right to own property represents the foundation upon which life and liberty depend, Coffman writes.

This difference can also be summed up as a dispute over whether we enjoy “natural rights,” guaranteed by the Constitution, or “positive rights” granted by government.

The Rousseau model, subscribed to by socialists and progressives, is easily sold to a dumbed-down populace because it is based on emotions and feelings and spell out what the government must do for its people. But positive rights also spell out what the people can and cannot do and were the basis for the Soviet Union’s constitution.

Property rights are also addressed by Coffman, and he demonstrates how today’s progressives are attacking the rights of Americans to own property and decide its best use and how this is a play right of Rousseau’s plan.

Studies show that the lower the protection of property rights in a country the lower is its per capita gross domestic product. Conversely, the higher the protection of property rights the higher the per capita GDP.

Coffman’s research shows how the right to own property is fundamental to a prosperous citizenry. In countries where citizens are able to own property and decide how it is used — as in the United States — citizens can turn that property into individual wealth. But in countries where citizens have no property rights — third world nations — the citizens have no means of building wealth. The property tied up by those governments and denied its citizens represent about $9.3 trillion in lost wealth — which is 93 times as much as all development assistance given to the developing nations from the advanced countries over the last 30 years. This is just one of the many ways Rousseau socialism has harmed individuals in other countries, and is a precursor to what is happening in America as Americans watch their rights to own and control property be whittled away.

Additionally, Coffman covers the global agenda that is working behind the scenes to co-opt American institutions and set the agenda in education and through the media to profoundly change the way the American people view their country and think about its founding document. This insidious effort is behind the evolution of Americans from the natural rights to the positive rights mindset. And because it’s so entrenched through multiple generations of teaching and propagandizing it will be incredibly difficult to turn back, Coffman says.

Finally, Coffman offers Constitutional solutions that will help to stem the tide and steer America back on its proper course. These solutions range from the simple — pinning down candidates to ensure they understand Constitutional principles and are determined to abide by them — to the complex — using old, seldom-used laws to restrain the Federal government when it tries to assume authority it doesn’t have.

Rescuing a Broken America is a must-read for anyone considering running for political office or who simply wants to understand how we came to this point and what must be done to correct our course. It is footnoted and uses mainstream sources to prove its points, including the issue that explains how a global cabal is seeking to dominate the world for its own ends.

I read the first printing, which came out in early 2010, and it did have some typographical errors that must be corrected in subsequent editions. But the errors were minor and didn’t detract from the book’s message, that America is being subverted by progressive liberals in the Rousseau tradition who think that because of their education that they have a better understanding how the world should work than do the great “unwashed” masses living in what has become known as flyover country — middle America.

Bloomberg Calls For Federal Action On Gun Laws Following Arizona Investigation

Bloomberg calls for Federal action on gun laws following Arizona investigationNew York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called on Congress to tighten Federal laws that allow individuals to purchase firearms without a background check. His statements followed a recent probe in which city investigators, who posed as consumers, were able to purchase firearms at a gun show in Phoenix.

According to media reports, undercover video footage reveals that one of the investigators was able to buy a gun after telling a private seller that he likely wouldn't pass a background check. Arizona law says that private gun merchants are not required to run background checks. However, if the seller "has reason to believe" a customer is barred from buying weapons, they are prohibited from completing a sale, according to The Huffington Post.

On Jan. 31, Bloomberg said that the investigation proves that Federal gun control laws are ineffective at keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer defended her state's regulations, and said that she is considering legislation that would further loosen the current policies. According to the Arizona Daily Star, Brewer admitted that she did not see the investigation video but said that the state's laws are "fair and just."

"We're strong people in Arizona," said Brewer, quoted by the media outlet. "We believe in the Constitution, and we certainly support the 2nd Amendment." 

Florida Judge Says Obamacare Is Unconstitutional

Florida Judge Says Obamacare Is UnconstitutionalPresident Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul was dealt another blow on Jan. 31 as a Federal judge in Florida declared the law unConstitutional.

Senior United States District Judge Roger Vinson ruled that Americans should not be required to purchase health insurance, and added the entire law is in violation of the Constitution because of the individual mandate requirement. In December, a Federal judge in Virginia decided that the same provision was unConstitutional but did not reject the other aspects of Obamacare.

White House officials have condemned the decision out of Florida, and the Justice Department indicated that it will appeal the ruling. The lawsuit was filed by former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum shortly after Obama signed the healthcare bill into law last March. A total of 25 other states signed onto the challenge.

The ruling has been lauded by GOP leaders, who are determined to repeal Obamacare through the legislative process. Last month, the House of Representatives approved a repeal by a vote of 245-189. Despite a Democratic majority in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is hoping to bring a repeal vote to the floor.

"[Vinson's] decision affirms the view, held by most of the states and a majority of the American people, that the Federal government should not be in the business of forcing you to buy health insurance and punishing you if you don't," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement, quoted by The Associated Press

China: Opportunity Or Threat

The recent visit to the United States by Chinese President Hu Jintao got a lot of attention and coverage in international media and the fact that so many important people showed up for this meeting shows how important it was for both sides.

For China, this visit was important not only for political reasons, but also for building its prestige on the global stage. From an economic point of view they are able to act from a position of strength.

Hu said a few days before the visit that, “the Dollar dominated currency system is a product of the past.” He also said that the Chinese yuan is not yet ready to take over as the new world reserve currency. It remains to be seen what “not yet ready” means according to the Chinese definition, but we think China will make a number of very significant changes in coming years that could have a lot of consequences for the West.

The strategy of China for the last 30 years has been to keep its currency artificially low in order to promote exports and the country has been extremely successful in doing so. However, this has resulted in significant imbalances in the world economy that sooner or later need to be reversed. China has been accumulating huge amounts of foreign currency reserves and a lot of it was reinvested to buy U.S. Treasuries, therefore financing “America Inc.” and other countries which are now running large deficits.

Let’s be clear, China has a number of very serious problems, different problems than Europe or the United States, but equally challenging. The growing imbalance between the booming cities and rural areas continues to drive more and more people to the big cities. This growing imbalance is increasing socioeconomic tensions and, coupled with strong inflationary pressure, makes it increasingly difficult for people to make a living, especially in more rural underdeveloped areas.

There is also a large infrastructure and pollution problem in China and these problems need to be solved in coming years. The key advantage that China has is that it is not a democratic system and that the ruling party can make and implement much needed changes quicker than most other countries. That should help China to continue to grow their economy and keep adding jobs for many millions of people.

I think we are at a very important turning point in the history of China. For the past few decades the focus was on producing and exporting goods, and at least in that context, China has been very successful. Going forward, China needs to focus more on securing a stable supply of energy, commodities and technology and therefore its interests are not so heavily biased towards keeping a strong currency anymore.

Imports are growing faster than exports, currently at a rate of about 25 percent, compared to export growth of only about 17 percent. The overall trade surplus of China has fallen about 9 percent from the previous year and about 34 percent from 2009.

There is another factor that needs to be considered. China needs to deal with its inflation problem and we think it will tackle it from two sides. They will continue to hike interest rates further and therefore control domestic growth and prevent the economy from overheating. At the same time, they will change their currency policy by allowing Chinese companies to hold large foreign currency balances abroad and use them for investment purposes. That will help the Chinese central bank because it is no longer forced to buy foreign currency reserves and issue cheap domestic currency, which had in turn caused further inflationary pressure in the past.

I think that this will help the Chinese central bank to bring inflation under control and will probably allow them to keep further interest hikes moderate and diminish the risk of them over-tightening, which should also be positive for Chinese stock prices. So even a small, controlled appreciation of its currency will help them eventually to bring growth and inflation at home under control.

That’s why we think that China will let their currency appreciate. But, as always, they will do it when it serves their purpose, and that might now be sooner rather than later.

At the same time, the effects from such developments would be negative for the West. In a time when Western governments are so dependent on countries like China to buy their debt, we expect the purchase of government paper to decrease in coming years, which will make it a lot harder and more costly for troubled governments to issue debt. This will eventually lead to higher interest rates in the West, and that would come at a time when inflation is already on the rise because of rising commodity and energy prices.

Central banks in the West will probably try to keep short-term rates low for as long as possible in order to stimulate their domestic economies. But the longer-end of the yield curve could experience a significant increase in yields. We feel that adding further exposure to Chinese yuan and possibly other Asian currencies is the right thing to do going forward, and also caution investors to hold bonds with long maturities.

–Daniel Zurbrügg, CFA

Dr. Obama, Heal Thyself

Back in December, in my piece Obamacare’s Paper Tiger, I noted that while Judge Henry Hudson’s ruling in Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius inflicted blunt-force trauma to Obamacare, it did not send the behemoth bill to the great bureaucratic beyond. Hudson stopped short of striking down the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; suggesting that the proposed Minimum Essential Care penalty, while clearly an executive overstepping of constitutional bounds, was severable from the rest of the Obamacare bill.

At the time of the ruling, I suggested that Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling in Florida v. United States Department of Health and Human Services could ultimately be the one which would “…stuff Obamacare back in the Democrats’ pieholes.”

Monday, Vinson vindicated me; ruling that section 1501 (the MEC penalty) is not severable from Obamacare as a whole, voiding the PPACA.

In addressing President Barack Obama’s contention that the government had the authority to force Obamacare on the people through the powers enumerated in the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3), Vinson demurred:

“It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause. If it has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party merely by asserting… that compelling the actual transaction is itself commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce, [see Act § 1501(a)(1)], it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted.”

Vinson’s warning is well-taken; or at least, it should be. The statement here is that once Congress takes the stance that inactivity — not buying something — is the Constitutional equivalent of activity — they position themselves as the sole arbiter of virtually any activity; presuming they can draw an economic vertex to it. Taking this concept to its logical extreme, the government could require you to exercise, since fat people tend to place more stress on the healthcare system. Short of that, you might have to step on a scale before you can buy ice cream.

“Sorry, Mr. McBiggenhuge. Your BMI is 26. Put down the Rocky Road.”

The PPACA is the bastard child of the Democrats’ lust for power; and only tangentially related to healthcare. By decreeing that Americans must abide by Obamacare’s tenets — specifically section 1501 — Obama is creating the first tax in history levied against a non-existent transaction. You’re being taxed on a purchase you DIDN’T make.

Or, in the words of the Obama Administration:

Individuals who choose to go without health insurance are actively making an economic decision that impacts all of us… every year millions of people without insurance obtain health care they cannot pay for, shifting tens of billions of dollars in added cost onto those who have insurance and onto taxpayers."

The President says eat your brussels sprouts; and from now on, you can drive any car you want, as long as it’s a blue Chevy.

While every observer worth his salt was aware that a loss in Vinson’s court would propel Obama to press his case to the Supreme Court of the United States, few suspected that Obama would personally overrule Vinson in advance of his administration’s appeal to the high bench. It’s worth noting that Vinson — according to 208 years of precedent — outranks the President on Constitutional matters in this arena.

Obama advisor Stephanie Cutter said:

"We don’t believe this kind of judicial activism will be upheld and we are confident that (Obamacare) will ultimately be declared constitutional by the courts.”

Well, Ms. Cutter, you’re down to your last Court. And if the Supremes find 5-4 against you — a real possibility — then the single biggest moment of Obama’s Presidency will be remembered as a defeat suffered at the hands of the Constitution.

The White House is calling Vinson’s ruling “an outlier,” suggesting that they can continue to force implementation of Obamacare as if Vinson’s ruling was some mock trial judgment. Someone in the White House Counsel’s Office should read United States v Nixon; a case which ultimately concluded with the President boarding a non-stop flight to San Clemente.

Ultimately, Obama’s argument in favor of the PPACA is rendered false by his own hand. As Vinson pointed out in his ruling, back in 2008, then-Senator Obama opposed the idea of an individual mandate. Vinson quoted Obama directly:

“‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,'”

Mr. President, it’s time for your medicine.

Broccoli May Contain Cancer-Preventing Compounds

Broccoli may contain cancer-preventing compoundsScience has recently provided one more reason your mother was right. Eating broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables — like cauliflower and watercress — could prevent cancer since a substance found in them targets a mutation-suppressing gene.

The research was published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and suggests that compounds called isothiocyanates (ITCs) stop the growth of cancer.

Study authors said that the ITCs prevent the mutation of a gene that aids in suppressing tumor growth. When the gene experiences a change, it loses its ability to stave off abnormal growths.

While looking at the ITCs' effects on a variety of cancer cells, the researchers noted that the compounds eliminated mutated genes but had no adverse impact on normal genes. Authors concluded that the use of ITCs could supplement existing cancer treatments and perhaps lead to preventative medicines.

An article on WebMD.com says cruciferous vegetables contain other essential nutrients like phytochemicals, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They recommend eating several servings per week to help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease and possibly reduce stress.

Palin Says She Has No Problem With Snub From Media

Palin says she has no problem with snub from mediaA columnist for The Washington Post recently admitted to having "a Sarah Palin problem," which prompted him to challenge fellow media members to boycott the former Governor of Alaska during the month of February.

Speaking at a Safari Club conference in Reno, Nev. last weekend, Palin said she had no problem with a potential moratorium. The embattled Tea Party favorite quipped that being shunned by the media will help her dodge blame for the protests in Egypt.

Palin was referring to the media backlash following the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz., when many pundits targeted the former vice presidential candidate for her gun-inspired rhetoric and use of certain symbols on her website. Some Democrats and members of the liberal media attempted to link Palin's audacious political approach to the deadly events in Tucson.

According to the media reports, Palin said she would embrace a boycott "because there's a lot of chaos in Cairo, and I can't wait to not get blamed for it — at least for a month."

Dana Milbank, the columnist who called for the month-long snub, claimed that the media is obsessed with Palin. He expressed concern about the fact that Palin gets more press than the actual Vice President, even though she is no longer an elected official. 

Egypt Kills The Internet, Elites Secretly Applaud

As the movement to topple the Hosni Mubarak regime in Egypt gained traction, Egyptian authorities took draconian measures to stop it in its tracks — it shut down cell phone services, the Internet and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Days later, despite insincere pleas from President Barack Obama, Internet services remained down even though some cell phone service had been restored.

But while Obama was preaching to Mubarak and his gang to resume Internet services, legislation to kill the Internet in the United States — that was introduced last year but never acted upon — was about to be reintroduced.

“My legislation would provide a mechanism for the government to work with the private sector in the event of a true cyber emergency,” progressive Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) told Wired.com in an emailed statement this week. “It would give our nation the best tools available to swiftly respond to a significant threat.”

Nothing threatens the political elites like the free transfer of information. Having lost control of the message due to the declining relevance of the corporatist mainstream media, political elites are seeking to regain control.

Chameleon Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced the legislation last year. In an interview on CNN, Lieberman said, “Right now China — the government — can disconnect parts of its Internet in a case of war. We need to have the ability to do that, too.”

When does China “disconnect parts of its Internet?” Not in times of war but when groups gather to protest their government’s abuses.

Lieberman cited a threat to America’s power stations and other critical infrastructure in defending his bill last year. But power grids and critical infrastructure are not part of the World Wide Web. And the threats to that critical infrastructure come from governments themselves, as evidenced by the revelation that the Stuxnet worm that brought down Iran’s nuclear program was devised and implemented by U.S. and Israeli government agents.

Don’t be fooled. The elites aren’t worried about external threats. They are worried about an informed populace. For as Council on Foreign Relations co-founder and Bilderberger Zbigniew Brzezinski lamented last year, the people of the world are becoming more aware of what’s going on than ever before, and this awareness is harming the globalist’s agenda.

While Egyptian citizens are trying to throw off the shackles of tyranny, U.S. elites are trying to transfer those shackles to Americans. The Internet Kill Switch Bill must be defeated.

Islam Is Afire While Obama Fiddles

“Is that a fiddle I hear there somewhere drifting through those fired dry sands?”–Raphie Frank

Another week with Barack Obama as U.S. President and radical Islam grows even stronger. Egypt, America’s largest and most important ally in the Middle East, is aflame as revolutionary forces marched and even burned President Hosni Mubarak’s Ruling Party headquarters.

As I write to you the streets of Cairo are ablaze following a week of mass demonstrations in which thousands of people have attacked the police and ignored curfews. The people want to end the 30-year dictatorial rule of Mubarak, but radical elements are quickly bending the protests their way in an all out effort to turn the land of the Pyramids into the home of martyrs.

If the extremists in Egypt can do what they did in Iran, then the Middle East — home to two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves — will turn to Islamic law.

Egypt sits at the crossroads between Europe and the Middle East. Not only does it have the largest Arab population but also the strongest conventional army in the region. Since the fall of the Shah in Iran, Egypt has provided the glue that held the Middle East together. It was Egypt that was the first Arab nation to recognize Israel and it is always Cairo at center stage in any Middle East peace process.

Political analyst Simeon Mitropolitski sums up what is at stake:

“Egypt offers a completely different political and social model, something between the Iranian and the Taliban versions of Islamic state. In 1954 this organization was banned and shortly afterward it was accused of trying to assassinate President Nasser, a champion of alternative secular social and political model.”

Regardless of what is at stake, Egypt is burning and the Obama administration has once again been caught off guard.

On Monday, Washington was desperately trying to fly more than 2,400 U.S. citizens out of Egypt. It appears that no contingency plan was made for this revolt. Again, American intelligence services appear to be anything but intelligent.

So far the State Department has put a remarkable positive spin on events, just like they did when the Shah was toppled. But wishful thinking isn’t going to create a new Egypt built on Thomas Jefferson’s ideals. It is far more likely that America and the world will have to deal with an Islamic-ruled Egypt, if not now then in a few short years.

One of the most immediate worries is the Suez Canal, a waterway that opens into the Red Sea and which is a choke point for much of the world’s oil supply. Egypt’s primary export is cotton. The world isn’t going to fall apart because of a cotton shortage. Yet whoever rules Egypt also has their hands on the Suez spigot. This could have an immediate short-term impact on oil deliveries — the price of crude has surged more than $6 per barrel in just the past two trading days.

Rioting in Cairo could spread fast. Many businesses have shut down operations. Egypt’s stock market (EGX) has been closed after it fell 16 percent last week.

Outside of Egypt the financial center of the Middle East, Abu Dhabi, has been hit the hardest. On the Dubai exchange shares plummeted to a one-year low. If unrest grows and the Suez Canal closes it won’t be some far off stock exchange falling, it will be the New York Stock Exchange. But there is something far more worrisome than a 25 percent correction in the Dow Jones Industrial Average or even $5 per gallon gasoline. Rather think of the ramifications if Egypt, a center post of America’s war on terror, falls into the hands of the enemy.

Forget Robert McNamara’s incorrect domino theory that was projected for Southeast Asia in the 1960s. If Egypt crumbles there really will be a cascade of giant dominoes headed straight for the West and riding atop each one of them will be a crazed terrorist with a bomb strapped to his back.

It is still too soon to say what will arise from this revolt, but it could center on the growing power of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB). According to the Business Insider:

“The MB would be calamitous for U.S. security. What’s more, their current defenders don’t really argue that point, as much as they seem to dismiss it as not important or something we can live with. The MB supports Hamas and other terrorist groups, makes friendly noises to Iranian dictators and torturers, would-be uncertain landlords of the critical Suez Canal, and opposes the Egyptian-Israeli agreement of 1979, widely regarded as the foundation of peace in the Mideast. Above all, the MB would endanger counterterrorism efforts in the region and worldwide. That is a very big deal.”

This leaves the United States at the mercy of another Iranian crisis, but this time around is far worse. 

True, Iran was a major oil exporter and Egypt is not. However the world was consuming only half as much oil when the Shah fell compared to today. More importantly, during the Iranian revolution Saudi Arabia had enough spare oil production capacity to replace all of Iran’s oil exports. In fact, the House of Saud increased oil output from 8 million barrels per day to more than 12 million barrels per day. That is something that Saudi Arabia can no longer do.

If another Islamic Revolution gains traction in Egypt how much longer will there even be a Saudi Arabia as we know it? Egypt has been a great counter-balance against extremism in the Middle East for almost 40 years. It has provided critical support to Arab oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and it has been the primary reason there has been peace between Israel and the Arab world.

The Middle East is a bigger tinderbox than ever and once again Obama has shown that, under his leadership, the world continues to become a less safe place. Is it his fault that Egypt is burning? No. But it is his fault that he and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, didn’t see it coming and weren’t able to force Mubarak to reform his dictatorial rule before it was too late. Now the world will have to pay the consequences.

Action To Take

Double down on your oil investments. Canadian oil sands can only benefit from the trouble that is brewing in the Middle East. If you have not yet bought shares in Suncor Energy (NYSE, SU, $41) I urge you to do so. The price of the stock has doubled in the past two years. I expect that it could double again over the next year.

Yours in good times and bad,

–John Myers
Myers’ Energy & Gold Report

Happy Birthday, President Reagan

This week would have marked the 100th birthday of the greatest President of my lifetime. Ronald Reagan was born on Feb. 6, 1911. He not only saw a lot of history, he made history.

While I’ll grant that as President he didn’t do everything he said he would — he never abolished the Department of Education or Health and Human Services, for example — his words were an inspiration to the world. He once said, “What I’d really like is to go down in history as the President who made Americans believe in themselves again.”

I think we can agree he accomplished that.

Here’s my favorite all-time Reaganism: “Government is not the solution; government is the problem.”

Followed closely by this one: “We don’t have a trillion-dollar-debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar-debt because we spend too much.”

Here’s another of my favorite quotes by him: “Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence, rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.”

Don’t you wish we had a President now with half the vision of Ronald Reagan?

– Chip Wood

Vitamin E May Increase Life Expectancy In Older Men

Vitamin E may increase life expectancy in older menA study conducted at the University of Helsinki in Finland has shown that men older than 71 may add years to their life by taking vitamin E supplements. 

Researchers studied a total of 10,837 people in several randomized trials and found that the supplement had no effect on men between 65 and 70 years old, but in men 71 and older it reduced mortality by 24 percent .

Additionally, when looking at 2,284 men who took more vitamin C supplements than the average participant and smoked less than a pack of cigarettes per day, vitamin E appeared to add two years to an individual's life expectancy.

Overall, the study showed that vitamin E had little effect on life expectancy but researchers noted that significant benefits to a specific population may have been masked by the results of a test sample that was too diverse. They suggested a follow-up study that divides participants into groups according to their age.

The National Institutes of Health has reported that vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps the body fight against damaging free radicals like smoke, pollution and other environmental hazards. Intake of the vitamin could also help blood flow by dilating blood vessels. 

Happy Marriage May Improve Physical And Emotional Well-Being

Happy marriage may improve physical and emotional well-beingStudent researchers at Cardiff University have completed a study which suggests that women in a happy marriage have better emotional health while their husbands tend to have superior physical health when compared to their single counterparts.

Conversely, they found that people who engaged in romantic relationships in their youth are more prone to adolescent depressive symptoms.

The study may suggest that a man's physical health is improved by the positive lifestyle influence of his partner when he is married. A woman's improved emotional health may be related to the extra support she receives from her husband.

The researchers also noted that single people on average tend to have better mental health than those in strained relationships. This finding suggests that unhealthy relationships should be avoided altogether.

The research also showed that divorce has a devastating impact on an individual's well-being. Additionally, having multiple partners was associated with a lower life expectancy. 

Boehner Insists Government Will Not Shut Down, Default On Loans

Boehner insists government will not shut down, default on loansSenator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has accused Republican lawmakers of "playing with fire" by threatening not to pass a budget or raise the debt ceiling unless deep spending cuts are made. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that the GOP will not allow the United States to default on its loans, but he does expect President Barack Obama to "cut up the credit cards" if his chamber is going to raise the debt limit.

On CNN's State of the Union on Jan. 30, Schumer warned that the government-funding resolution is slated to expire on March 4. He voiced his concern that if the GOP fails to approve a budget because it does not meet the party's fiscal ideology, the nation is in danger of falling into a deep recession or perhaps a depression.

Boehner said that while his party is committed to cutting spending, he discarded the notion that Congress will allow the U.S. to default on its loans.

"That would be a financial disaster not only for our country, but for the worldwide economy," said Boehner, quoted by FOX News. "You can't create jobs if you default on the Federal debt."

The government is currently operating on last year's budget figures because Congress never approved a budget for the 2011 fiscal year. During the lame-duck session, lawmakers voted to fund the government on 2010 spending levels until March.

According to the news provider, Boehner said that the Republicans won't insist on across-the-board cuts for 2011, but they will target spending that is tied to the bank bailout, Obamacare, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the government's support of mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Optimal Diet May Lead To Good Mental Health

Optimal diet may lead to good mental healthA study conducted at the University of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria University followed more than 12,000 people for six years and found that a diet high in trans fats correlates with a nearly 50 percent increased chance of developing depression.

Conversely, they found that individuals who consumed healthy amounts of olive and fish oils had a lower chance of developing the disorder.

At the beginning of the trial, researchers collected data regarding the volunteers' eating habits and general health. They determined that none of the participants had depression before the study began, while in the end 657 of them had developed depression.

Study authors said the healthier diet resembles that of people living in the Mediterranean region while eating patterns involving high levels of trans fat would be more common in Western areas, like the United States.

Trans fat is typically found in processed products with hydrogenated fats, like store-bought pastries and fast foods. The researchers found that the more trans fat a person consumed, the higher their likelihood of developing depression.

The authors also concluded that consumption of trans fat has a detrimental effect on cardiovascular health.

Yoga: Ancient Pain-Relieving Practice

More than half the American population is said to suffer some form of chronic pain. This pain interferes with quality of life by affecting sleep, emotional states and ability to work. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that pain is the single most common reason that Americans seek medical attention. So bad is the pain epidemic that Congress has called the first 10 years of this Millennium the “Decade of Pain Control and Research.”

And while the biotech and Big Pharma industries are spending trillions of dollars in search of super drugs to hide the pain and lessen suffering, their efforts have shown no great lasting benefit. Yet, it seems that a centuries-old Indian practice, known as yoga, proves not only safe but also quite effective at reducing pain.

Yoga is an ancient practice of health and well-being. As an exercise, it involves holding and moving between various postures, specified breathing methods and altering states of consciousness through meditation. While the broader aim of traditional yogic practices is unifying mind and body with spirit, in the West it has come to be seen as a relaxing or muscle-toning physical activity, depending on yoga style.

One of the basic tenets of chronic pain is that it has both mental and physical origins and manifestations. It is a mind/body phenomenon that requires a mind/body approach. Yoga seems to be the perfect practice to relieve this health issue. Here’s why…

One of the causes of pain is the hypertonicity (tightness) of muscles that constrict blood flow, reduce the amount of fresh oxygen and nutrients in circulation and allow toxins to accumulate in muscle tissue. Yoga is structured around the practice of physical movements that gently move the body. These movements are within the normal ranges of motion and thus do not require great exertion or flexibility and will not cause sprains and tears while being performed. When the muscles are supple and the blood is moving, pain is reduced and the mental anguish and physical restrictions of that pain are diminished.

Regardless of which method of yoga is practiced, studies have confirmed its healing properties. In fact, many studies have found that regular practice of yoga can reduce blood pressure by as much as 15 mm/Hg. With extended practice of yoga, a level of fitness is achieved and weight loss experienced which is also responsible for additional lowering of blood pressure and reduction of the effects of daily stress. Reduction of stress, lowering of blood pressure, calmness of mind and slowed breathing are all tools that help reduce pain.

Yoga can be an effective method for decreasing pain by its ability to induce a deep calming effect and slower breathing which assists in the relaxation of muscles and reduction of trigger points and systemic inflammation. This ancient practice brings down the stress-induced fight or flight response, thereby reducing the levels of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol that are pumping through your system.

Yoga practices, especially those with a spiritual component, are also able to offer practitioners an emotional experience along with their physical movements. These often foster feelings of love, kindness, compassion and forgiveness. These feelings alone reduce the way people react to daily stress and the people around them. Stress causes pain, so less stress means less tension in the body and therefore less pain.

The body has learned ways of reacting to stress with protective measures like tension and pain. To overcome those ingrained responses, one needs to retrain the body’s response to the mind. Practicing yoga on a weekly or bi-weekly basis has proven effective at doing this. It gives the mind and the body a new pattern of relaxation and quietness. Yoga teaches one to use his mind to observe his body, to control posture, to regulate breathing… all in an effort to allow him to take control of his experiences and how these experiences take hold in the body.

The on-going practice of yoga is transformative. It changes stress and pain responses into healing responses. Over time, it brings one to feel a sense of self empowerment, vitality and relaxed, stress-free living.

Pain and energy drain comes from tight muscles and tense minds. When the mind is tense, the muscles also become tense. When muscles become tense, it restricts blood flow, decreases range of motion and can cause trigger points. Trigger points are painful dime-sized “knots” deep in the muscle tissue that can cause pain for weeks on end.

Easing mental stresses and physical muscle contractions is a must if you are striving for pain-free living. When you are relaxed, very little energy is consumed, which allows the body to recharge and repair. These periods of regeneration, just like when sleeping, are vital to proper pain-free functioning.

One natural way of relaxing both mind and body is through regular practice of yoga. By assuming the yoga postures, known as Asanas, one is able to relax, stretch and tone the body at the same time. How?

Each posture is held for a period of time. This allows toning of the muscles necessary to hold the posture. However, since the postures are all designed to be assumed within the body’s normal range of motion, there is little stress or strain. And with low stress comes slow breathing which relaxes both the mind and the body. Thus, in each moment the yoga Asanas are held, the person’s mind and body relax and recharge. Just like while sleeping, but with the added benefit of gentle, strain-free toning.

When the muscles are toned, they are better able to hold the body in correct posture throughout the day. You see, an imbalance in muscle tone or muscle suppleness is a cause of chronic body pain. If muscle A is strong and muscle B is weak, then A carries the load and B suffers injury while along for the ride. Moreover, neck pain on one side is a sign that the muscles on one side of the neck are either weaker or tenser than the muscles on the other side of the neck. Pain is the result.

What we are talking about are muscle imbalances. A safe and natural way of correcting poor posture derived from muscle imbalances is through the practice of yoga postures. The breathing and meditative aspects of yoga also help relax the mind and reduce stress. Try relaxing with yoga. You may feel better than you ever thought you could.

– Dr. Mark Wiley

For Winter Skin Care, Keep The Water Warm

Keeping your skin nourished during cold weather can be tough, but you should resist the urge to take hot showers or baths, says Alan Menter, M.D., of Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. He suggests keeping your shower brief and lukewarm, and using moisture-rich body soaps. Pat yourself dry and apply lotion while your body is still damp to lock in moisture. This can minimize the toll winter weather takes on your skin.

The Perfect Sandstorm

The Middle East is once again shrouded in the abaya of upheaval. Given the Byzantine nature of Middle Eastern politics, it’s difficult to predict whether the region will emerge from the current disarray with an improved push toward freedom, or a reactionary plunge toward Islamic fundamentalism.

The game may ultimately be the same — the quest for wealth, or power, or both — but the Middle Eastern version is played with far too many wild cards. In Tunisia, a self-immolating street vendor set the government alight. In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorial attitude, combined with a resurgent Islamofascist element, has become a perfect storm of destabilization.

While he’s no friend of freedom, Mubarak has been a redoubtable ally to the United States over the last three decades. Westerners who point to his autocratic manner tend to forget that truly democratic and/or republican leaders outside the Western world are as few and far between as truly democratic and/or republican countries; despite the overwhelming number of nations with names including one or the other adjective. And as wholly unprepared as President Barack Obama was for Tunisia, the situation in Egypt may become a far larger stain on his already-tarnished foreign policy legacy.

In 2009, as brigades of young people took to the streets of Iran in search of liberty, Obama hemmed and hawed. He proffered platitudes about Iran’s potential march toward freedom. But when Iran’s hard-line Islamofascist clerics, fronted by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the Persian Ringmaster, unleashed their own version of Tiananmen Square, Obama lost the notes to his “Iranian Freedom” speech.

And the collapse of the Lebanese government, thanks to the machinations of Iran- and Syria-backed Hezbollah terrorists, has gone essentially uncommented-upon by Obama. Beirut, once nicknamed “the Paris of the Middle East,” is headed back to being the “Beirut of the World.”

This, then, would be the “Obama Doctrine.” George W. Bush’s cowboy diplomacy, a one-off of Ronald Reagan’s enormously successful style, is horrendously expensive. But Obama has turned too far in the other direction, instead emulating Carter, the losing admiral in the Battle of the Chattahoochee Bunny.

Lebanon and Tunisia, followed by Egypt, are potentially bad signs. Should fundamentalist Islamic groups like Hezbollah and Muslim Brotherhood gain control, they could destabilize — for example — the already-shuddering regime of King Abdullah II of Jordan. To cement the idea of Abdullah II as non-threatening, keep in mind that he’s such a fan of Star Trek that he once took a walk-on role on one of the spin-off shows (set phasers on AWESOME!) Hardly the stuff of jihadi dreams, considering the Enterprise fires photon torpedoes, not B-40 RPG’s.

Just to the east of Jordan sits the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are enormously wealthy and have territorial control over the heart of Islam. However, they’ve spent decades pacifying extremist Muslims with money and concessions, while maintaining friendly-ish relations with the West. Essentially, the House of Saud has been robbing Peter to pay Mohammed. If that camel lurches to a halt, the offshoot would be both economically and politically devastating.

Elsewhere in the Middle East there sit a variety of monarchies and oil-soaked baronies which would soil their dishdashas if the bad guys moved in heavy. Morocco is a fine spot, but it’s only geopolitically noteworthy for attracting filmmakers and Western tourists who want to say they’ve “been to the Middle East” without actually having to go to the more “shooty” parts. Scattered around the rest of the region are golf resorts like the United Arab Emirates, and tiny oil drums like Qatar and Bahrain: Allies, but with militaries which couldn’t stand up to a determined Girl Scout troop during cookie drive season.

Vice President Joe Biden recently told Jim Lehrer: “I would not refer to (Mubarak) as a dictator.” Imagine the response of every Tom, Dick and Akbar on the street. Obama has repeatedly been behind the curve on foreign policy. It’s high time he gets out in front, and ensures friendly relations with whatever rises there.

Let me leave you with this caveat: If Obama doesn’t encourage them to play nice, the Israelis (thought I’d forgotten them?) will definitely try. If you think the situation in the Middle East is bad NOW — just you wait.

Boehner, GOP Support Cautious Approach To Egypt Protests

Boehner, GOP support cautious approach to Egypt protestsAlthough the GOP has amassed a laundry list of complaints regarding President Barack Obama's job performance, Republican leaders have praised the White House for its cautious approach to the growing unrest in Egypt.

Many critics, including some Democratic lawmakers, have urged the President to call for the end of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year reign. However, Obama and his cabinet — including Secretary of State Hilary Clinton — instead have advocated for an "orderly transition that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.”

Appearing on FOX News Sunday on Jan. 30, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that now is not the time for the United States government to be calling for a new leader in Egypt.

"The administration, our administration, so far has handled this tense situation pretty well," Boehner told the news provider. "Clearly, reforms need to occur in Egypt."

According to media reports, more than 100 people have died since the protests commenced last week. Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient in 2005, emerged as an unofficial leader of the resistance movement over the weekend. On CBS' Face the Nation, ElBaradei said that Obama and the U.S. government "is losing credibility by the day" by giving "life support to the dictator." 

Gun Rights Organization Blasts Decision By New Jersey AG

Gun rights organization blasts decision by New Jersey AGA recent motion by the New Jersey Attorney General (AG) to dismiss a lawsuit that challenges the state's handgun carry laws has raised the ire of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF).

The SAF, along with the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs and six private citizens, claimed that the state's "justifiable need" gun permit standard violates the 2nd Amendment. However, the AG threw out the lawsuit and asserted that misuse and accidental use of handguns pose serious dangers to society.

SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb called the AG's motion "predictable and disappointing."

"Considering that there are more than 6.2 million law-abiding citizens licensed to carry in 48 states, and that many of these people have either intervened in, or prevented crimes by their mere presence, New Jersey's position on this issue simply defies common sense," said Gottlieb.

Gun control issues have been widely debated since the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson, Ariz., and recent media reports indicate that President Barack Obama is set to introduce plans for tougher policies that would make it harder to possess firearms.

Speaking at the Safari Club International's convention in Reno, Nev. over the weekend, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told a group of gun rights supporters that they need to "keep tabs on what the White House is telling us" as the President intends to "infringe further upon our 2nd Amendment rights," quoted by Newsweek

Democratic Bill Aims To Clear Up Obama’s Birth Status, Raise Money For Indebted Government

Democratic bill aims to clear up Obama's birth status, raise money for indebted governmentHouse Democrats have introduced a bill that would charge Americans $100 to obtain a copy of President Barack Obama's birth records.

The legislation, which would loosen privacy laws that currently restrict the release of birth records, is intended to dismiss claims that Obama was not born in the United States. Some Americans, who are called "birthers," believe that the President was actually born in Kenya, his father's home country. If that were the case, he would not be eligible for the nation's highest office.

"If people really want to confirm Barack Obama is born in Hawaii, that's fine," said John Mizuno (D-Hawaii), quoted by FOX News. "I don't have a problem with looking at innovative ways to bring revenue to the state. The taxpayers deserve a break."

Representative Rida Cabanilla (D-Hawaii) said that the $100 fee would help cover the expenses that are leveraged to handle phone calls and emails from individuals who believe Obama was not born in the U.S.

During a Jan. 23 appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said that Obama is a documented citizen and his birth status is "not even an issue that needs to be on the policy table right now."

When the show's host, David Gregory, referred to birther theories as "crazy talk," Cantor said Gregory was being rude with his choice of words.