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.