Walnuts May Be The Best Choice Among Nuts

Walnuts may be the best choice among nutsWhen compared to the nutritional and antioxidant content of pistachios, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts and pecans, walnuts came out on top as the most nutrient-dense of them all, according to researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

Walnuts are high in protein, fiber, vitamin E and other essential vitamins and minerals. Despite this, Americans consume very little of the nut.

"A handful of walnuts contains almost twice as much antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. But unfortunately, people don't eat a lot of them. This study suggests that consumers should eat more walnuts as part of a healthy diet," said study author Joe Vinson, Ph.D.

In addition to dominating other nuts in the nutrient department, walnuts are also commonly eaten raw. This is an advantage since roasting nuts — and other foods — has the ability to destroy vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Study authors noted that while walnuts are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats and high in calories, they are not likely to cause weight gain since they have a tendency to quickly satiate hunger, which prevents overeating.  

Government Sues School District On Behalf Of Muslim Teacher

Government sues school district on behalf of Muslim teacherA Federal court will likely determine how far employers must go to accommodate the religious practices of their staff members.

According to media reports, the Justice Department (DOJ) has sued a school district in Illinois for refusing to grant a Muslim employee three weeks off to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. The government's lawsuit was filed in December 2010, two years after Safoorah Khan resigned from her teaching position at MacArthur Middle School in Berkeley, Ill.

In her first full year of employment, Khan requested three weeks of unpaid leave in December of 2008 to attend Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. The school denied her request because it fell just prior to students' final exams.

Khan quit her job and took her case to the Chicago Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which ruled in her favor and referred the case to the DOJ. The government agency claims that the school district violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by denying an employee the opportunity to practice her religion.

Critics of the lawsuit argue that the school had the right to deny Khan's request because her time off would have significantly interfered with her job.

"The Justice Department is using its power and law to push frankly extreme cultural and other views that the ordinary American person does not agree with," said former DOJ Civil Rights Division lawyer Hans von Spakovski, quoted by FOX News

Trumping The Competition? Billionaire Leads Presidential Poll

Trumping the competition? Billionaire leads Presidential pollAlthough it's far too early to name a front-runner in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination, business tycoon and TV reality star Donald Trump is holding his own.

According to The Harris Poll released on March 28, Trump and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney were tied atop the list of the most popular candidates for the GOP bid — each received 10 percent of the total votes. Among Independents, Trump topped the field with 13 percent, followed by Romney's 11 percent.

According to registered Republicans who were surveyed, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee garnered 15 percent, followed by Mitt Romney's 13 percent and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's 12 percent.

The Iowa caucus is 10 months away, and a lot can change until then. Two serious contenders, Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, have announced their intentions to explore Presidential bids. They were tied for seventh place in The Harris Poll.

On March 28, Trump engaged in a heated back-and-forth with Representative Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight. After Weiner remarked that Trump will inevitably drop out of the Presidential race, the billionaire shot back.

"I just saw polls today that show me doing very well and when Anthony makes a statement like that, it's too bad for him," Trump said.

The UnConstitutional War

The silence of supposed Constitutional conservatives on President Barack Obama’s attacks on Libya is deafening.

While partying in South America, Obama ordered America’s military into battle. Scarcely a word was spoken to Congress beforehand. And he certainly didn’t follow Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution which puts the authority for declaring war on the Congress.

Calling it a kinetic military action doesn’t negate the fact that United States military forces are shooting at people in another country. And it’s a country that had not attacked the U.S., nor did it pose a threat.

The Founding Fathers intended for the United States to stay out of foreign entanglements. The President was given the authority to call the military into action if the U.S. was being attacked. He was not given the authority to employ the military for humanitarian means, nor any other instance without a Congressional declaration of war. And no amount of doublespeak by Obama, Congress or any of the bought-and-paid-for corporate media or other talking heads can change that.

As Founder James Wilson told the Pennsylvania ratifying convention, “This system will not hurry us into war; it is calculated to guard against it. It will not be in the power of a single man, or a single body of men, to involve us in such distress; for the important power of declaring war is vested in the legislature at large: this declaration must be made with the concurrence of the House of Representatives…”

Conservatives have often claimed the high ground when it comes to adhering to the Constitution. On this issue they’ve lost any moral high ground and have failed the test miserably.

Citizens Affected By Tucson Shooting Endorse Fix Gun Checks Act

Citizens affected by Tucson shooting endorse Fix Gun Checks ActVictims and surviving family members of the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz., have endorsed legislation that would require instant background checks for all gun sales in the United States.

On March 28, a group of Arizonans affected by the tragedy pledged their support for the Fix Gun Checks Act during a press conference. The bill, which also calls for an expansion of the national do-not-sell database, was crafted following the shooting in Tucson. The perpetrator, Jared Loughner, was an admitted habitual drug user, a fact that led the U.S. Army to reject him.

However, his records were not sent to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database. According to The Christian Science Monitor, Loughner passed a background check when purchasing a semiautomatic handgun on Nov. 30. It was the same weapon used in the Jan. 8 shooting that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

"I strongly support the 2nd Amendment but I also know that respecting the 2nd Amendment means stopping dangerous people from being able to purchase guns," said former Arizona Attorney general Terry Goddard. "I call on Congress to reform our background check system immediately so that we can prevent future tragedies like the one we faced here in Tucson."

The shooting in Tucson has prompted a national effort to tighten gun laws. However, some groups have set out to remind Americans that firearms have their place in society. On March 30, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) held an event in Washington, D.C., to address the benefits of gun ownership. 

Operation Odyssey Wrong


To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and—more profoundly—our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are… Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.” –President Barack Obama, March, 28, 2011.

In last week’s column “The Desert Rat,” I explained my issues with the idea of President Barack Obama leading us into a third global conflict with the “religion of peace.” The truth is that I generally like the idea of introducing homicidal autocrats to the business end of the most advanced fighting force in the history of the species. But I must also admit that sticking a cruise missile into the blowhole of every Islamofascist, tin pot and dictatorial screwball would turn the Middle East into a sheet of glass so reflective that John Edwards would move to Damascus just to fix his hair. (The ruined landscape of a sizeable portion of the Earth is the downside in that allegory, not the prolonged absence of the Ayatollah of Ambulance-Chasers.)

So, while many of my conservative colleagues are lambasting Obama for his mission to the Maghreb in general, my concerns are more detail-oriented. The obvious interrogative: “How can a President who has yet to keep his promise to extricate the U.S. from a pair of wars now involve us in a third?”

Less obvious, but no less important:

  • If America has a “responsibility as a leader,” then why is Obama so determined to put our assets under NATO control, a la Clinton in the Balkans?
  • If turning “…a blind eye to atrocities in other countries” is so abhorrent to Obama, how did LIBYA jump to the top of his list? I don’t mean to insinuate that Gadhafi isn’t a bad guy, but he’s hardly leading the league in D.R.A. (Dissidents Rendered Absent.)
  • Were it not for Libya’s sizeable oil reserves, would the decidedly anti-war Obama be so gung-ho to spend at least $100 million dollars a day to… well… to do to Gadhafi what George H.W. Bush did to Saddam Hussein?

I have noticed the port-side pabulum projectors have been pointedly silent on Obama’s justification for the NATO-led, U.N.-(mostly)-approved, big-budget, mysteriously open-ended Kinetic Military Action. The same folks who couldn’t seem to pass up a chance to bloviate about President George W. Bush’s “illegal war for oil” can’t seem to find their keyboards—much less their consciences—for Obama’s extra-legal battle for petroleum.

All I’m asking for is a little clarity. If we stipulate—for the purpose of discussion—that wars which begin during Republican administrations are about oil, while Democrat wars are entirely humanitarian, then explain the selection process. Is there some sort of vetting? How does a population targeted for extermination qualify for the Democrat Party’s rescue program?

On second thought, forget about clarity—I’ll accept a little honesty. A glance at the energy deposits across the Libyan landscape, when overlaid with foreign concession interests, reveals the reason why Libya got airstrikes and arms shipments to rebel factions while Iran got empty rhetoric, China got the Olympics, Darfur got George Clooney and Rwanda got forgotten.

I grew up in an era when Ronald Reagan was President, patriotism wasn’t a punch line, and “kinetic military action” was a complicated way of describing Arnold, Bruce or Sly wiping out some third-world dictator’s militia. I don’t reflexively oppose military intervention, provided it has a noble purpose. But the same President who doesn’t think the people of Iraq, Iran and Sudan (not to mention China and North Korea) are worth an airstrike has gone gung-ho for Gadhafi.

My apologies, Mr. President; but “Obama 2012″ is NOT sufficient justification.

Flunking Liberty

A story in a recent edition of Newsweek detailed an effort to determine the civic pride of our fellow Americans. The left-leaning journal offered 1,000 readers—they borrowed a few hundred from US Weekly—the opportunity to take the same citizenship test required of all prospective ingredients in our ever-expanding melting pot.

Keep in mind, with President Barack Obama’s dereliction of duty in dealing with illegal immigration, I’m not certain if that many people have actually taken the citizenship test recently.

I have no interest in burdening you with another maudlin monologue about Americans’ lack of civic pride (not to mention civic understanding). Lectures about the need for the people of the fruited plain to make time in between episodes of “Jersey Shore” to learn about the Bill of Rights are boring, depressing and trite.

Besides, anyone who really cares about the travails of “Pauly D.” and “J-Woww” is unlikely to give a damn how many voting members are part of the U.S. House of Representatives. The answer, by the way, is 435. If you answered correctly, then congratulations are in order. You just wrecked the national grade curve. I’d make some teacher’s pet crack, but something tells me most of the teachers’ union layabouts drew the same blank as the rest of the class.

Never let it be said that Ben Crystal isn’t as helpful as he is suave, debonair and quick-witted. Instead of standing on the dais and acting as if I have suede patches welded to my elbows, I’m going to invite each of you to partake of a little academic challenge. Call it: The Personal Liberty Digest’s™ Super-Citizen Survey. There’s no time limit, and you’re welcome to cheat. Think of it as an exercise in “outcome-based education.” If you don’t know the answer, just do as Obama does: Lie.

And remember, kids: There are no stupid answers, only stupid people. I wouldn’t worry too much about the stupid people. They’re over at Dailykos.com telling each other how tolerant they are for hating everyone who isn’t just like them.

To wit:

Question 1:
Sarah Palin is:

  1. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
  2. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
  3. Capable of making a kill shot from a moving helicopter. (AWESOME!)
  4. Pretty hot.

Question 2:
Michelle Bachman is:

  1. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
  2. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
  3. Terrifying to Democrats who are unused to women who still look like women.
  4. Pretty hot.

Question 3:
Hillary Clinton is:

  1. The Secretary of State (for now).
  2. Not running for President in 2012 (honest!).
  3. Dean Rusk, compared to her boss.
  4. Less hot.

Question 4:
Libya is:

  1. A nation in North Africa.
  2. A nation in the throes of civil war.
  3. A nation with which the United States is NOT currently at war.
  4. A rash which can be cleared up with a non-prescription ointment.

Question 5:
Moammar Ghadhafi:

  1. Is the dictator of Libya and a sponsor of the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing.
  2. Keeps a bedroom decorated just in case his special friend Louis Farrakhan drops in for a romantic evening.
  3. Dresses like Elizabeth Taylor (the late 80’s-onward version, not the Cleopatra version).
  4. Has to be the front runner for the Keith Richards look-alike contest.

Question 6:
Scott Walker is:

  1. The duly-elected Governor of Wisconsin.
  2. Standing up to Democrat-sponsored union thugs on behalf of children.
  3. A union-busting hero.
  4. Obviously related to Hitler somehow.

Question 7:
The Service Employees International Union:

  1. Is a group of dangerously violent thugs officially endorsed by the Democrat Party.
  2. Puts the “hug” in “thug.”
  3. Wears purple because it’s so slimming.
  4. Is probably watching me from across the street.

Question 8:
Sendai is:

  1. That new sushi joint down the street.
  2. A Japanese city devastated by a recent tsunami.
  3. Nowhere near Rio, Mr. President.
  4. Still nicer than Detroit.

Question 9:
Despite a series of bailouts and so-called “stimulus” packages, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is currently:

  1. Lower than it was during the Carter Administration.
  2. Lower than it is in Kenya.
  3. Lower than it is in Detroit.
  4. Higher than it is in George Soros’s front office.

Question 10:
Common Cause, Moveon.org and ACORN are:

  1. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  2. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  3. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
  4. About as collectively intelligent as the kids in the Chuck-E-Cheese ball pit.

Question 11:
Kinetic Military Action is:

  1. A euphemism for a limited-scope military engagement.
  2. A nice way of describing the sort of marching done by the New Black Panther Party. (Listen, fellas. I love the berets. But you’re wearing them like mimes, not soldiers.)
  3. Obama’s desperate attempt to look like a wartime leader.
  4. Probably a waste of time, under the current circumstances.

Question 12:
The Huffington Post has banned Andrew Breitbart from its front page because:

  1. Breitbart is a bigot.
  2. Breitbart is a liar.
  3. Breitbart is mean.
  4. Ex-Obama Administration laughingstock Van Jones said he would hold his breath until the Huffpo shunted Breitbart to the even-less-read back sections.

Question 13:
Joe Biden is:

  1. The Vice President of the United States.
  2. Neil Kinnock’s number one fan.
  3. Sy Sperling’s favorite client.
  4. That weird-looking old dude who f-bombed the President last year.

Question 14:
Nancy Pelosi is:

  1. The former Speaker of the House; and now the House minority leader.
  2. Even more surprised-looking in real life.
  3. Still planning to “drain the swamp.”
  4. No longer two heartbeats from the Oval Office.

Question 15:
Harry Reid is:

  1. The Senate Majority Leader.
  2. Deputy Droop-a-Long’s long-lost brother.
  3. Oddly obsessed by hookers in Nevada.
  4. Eminently qualified to hold Pelosi’s purse.

Question 16:
Obamacare is:

  1. A plan to deliver top-quality healthcare to every American, regardless of ability to pay.
  2. A bureaucratic monstrosity which is more about government intervention in your life than it is about healthcare.
  3. Really just the reanimated corpse of the mid-90s “Hillarycare.”
  4. Probably going to force you to watch reruns of “House” to determine whether or not you have cancer.

Question 17:
President Obama’s energy policy entails:

  1. Exploiting domestic resources, including fossil fuels, in order to lessen the economic burden on his constituents without sending billions to corrupt and/or hostile foreign powers.
  2. Signing an executive order requiring all Americans to drive mopeds to work.
  3. Paving Kansas, Nebraska and parts of the Dakotas in photovoltaic cells.
  4. Aiming Ed Schultz at a bunch of windmills.

Question 18:
The national debt of the United States is now:

  1. Worth about 97 percent of the U.S. annual GDP.
  2. Increasing at a geometric rate.
  3. Rapidly approaching one of those numbers that end up being used as a name for a search engine.
  4. Still smaller than Michael Moore’s waistline.

Question 19:
President Obama hails from:

  1. Hawaii.
  2. Kenya.
  3. Chicago.
  4. A secret laboratory in Warren Buffett’s basement.

Question 20:
The current Head of the Executive Branch of the government of the United States is:

  1. John Boehner.
  2. Harry Reid.
  3. Barack Obama.
  4. Oprah.

If you struggled with this exam, fret not. Many of your compatriots are still trying to figure out if Dean Rusk is that guy who’s married to Tori Spelling. In administering the actual citizenship test, Newsweek was likely demonstrating Americans’ lack of civic understanding. But they forgot that civic understanding may not mean the same thing to everyone.

An old colleague of mine used to say that “civic duty” encompasses everything from jury duty to picking up after Rover when he does his business on the sidewalk. That colleague of mine is entirely correct; albeit enormously optimistic.

In the age of Obama, I have learned to set my sights a bit on the low side. Don’t take stuff which isn’t yours. Don’t hit girls. Don’t make your mother cry. And once in a while, learn something useful. You can’t always count on British MP’s to do your homework for you, Mr. Vice President.

I’d tell everyone to go back to school, but there’s no point. The teachers are all cutting class to go scream at the Governor of Wisconsin.

–Ben Crystal

Budget Battle Springs Into Deadline Mode — Again

Budget battle springs into deadline mode -- againIt may sound like a broken record to many Americans, but Congress is approaching yet another deadline to prevent a government shutdown. Lawmakers have until April 8 to approve a spending budget.

According to The Hill, Democrats and Republicans appear to be nowhere close to a deal. On March 28, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the onus will be on Senate Democrats if the government shuts down. The media outlet reported that Democrats are willing to slash up to $20 billion to fund the remainder of fiscal year 2011, however Cantor's comments indicate that GOP leaders believe that it is not enough.

"Our Federal government borrows nearly forty cents of each dollar it spends, yet Senate Democrats want to keep spending money that we don't have," said Cantor, quoted by the news source.

Tea Party members have criticized House Republican leaders for not holding true to the party's pledge last year, which called for $100 billion in cuts to reduce the national deficit. Democrats claim that if a GOP-backed budget is approved without compromise, the economy will suffer and jobs will be lost.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll reveals that many Americans are fed up with politicians on both sides of the aisle. A total of 62 percent of respondents said that they disapprove of Democratic congressional leadership, while 64 percent feel the same way about Republican leaders. 

Netflix Accused Of Violating Rental Privacy Law

Netflix accused of violating rental privacy lawPopular DVD rental service Netflix has been accused of violating a Federal law that prohibits retailers from disclosing rental and sales records.

According to media reports, former Netflix subscriber Michael Sevy filed a lawsuit on March 18, alleging that the company is retaining sales records of customers who have canceled their memberships. He claims that Netflix is in violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act, which was approved in 1988 after former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork's video rental history was leaked to the press.

CNET.com recently reported that four similar lawsuits have been filed against Netflix in the last two months.

In response to the legal allegations, the company has canceled a contest that aimed to improve its movie recommendation services, according to The Associated Press. It was a follow-up to a previous challenge that encouraged users to come up with their own recommendation system by using real customer data.

Although no names were provided, critics of Netflix claim that enough information was disclosed to identify subscribers, the media outlet reported.

According to The Hill, the video rental company has built a lobbying presence on Capitol Hill in recent months. Along with other consumer groups, including Free Press, Public Knowledge and Consumers Union, Netflix is fighting legislation that supports overage fees on Internet users who access high volumes of data.

The company, which also offers online video streaming, is concerned that these regulations could hinder business growth. 

Why Are We Helping al-Qaida?

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s military is killing—and being killed by—al-Qaida forces. In Libya, America’s Navy and Air Force provide cover for al-Qaida forces seeking to overthrow the regime of Moammar Gadhafi.

In a Monday night address to defend U.S. attacks on Libya, President Barack Obama said that America could not turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. Yet Obama and the corporate media ignore the slaughter of civilians in Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, China and North Korea.

Obama says it would be a mistake to expand the allied military mission to overthrow the Gadhafi regime, but that Gadhafi must relinquish power.

Obama insists there will be no U.S. ground troops in Libya, yet the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit took part in the initial assault and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit is set to head to the region to relieve the 26th.

Obama says America will not continue to lead the operation and it will be turned over to NATO. Yet, America is NATO, providing a fourth of its budget—more than the combined amount of the next two largest contributing countries—and the majority of its assets and command.

Such is the duplicity of American foreign policy.

There has been much “mystery” surrounding the identity of the so-called rebels America is protecting in the Libyan civil war. Author Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D., points out that, while all the lead players aren’t known, enough is known about them to understand they are some of the same people American is fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to Tarpley, the insurgency in Libya is a reprisal of a British attempt to foment an uprising in 1995 in which Gadhafi would be assassinated and Libya would descend into chaos, prompting Great Britain to swoop in to “protect” the oil fields. Already, rebel leaders are making oil deals with the French. And if there was any doubt the global elites were behind the chaos percolating in the Middle East, the fact that Libyan “rebels” have already established a central bank should put any doubts to bed.

al-Qiada was formed by the U.S. and Great Britain to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, and many of its leaders are double agents of the Central Intelligence Agency or MI-6—like Anwar al-Awlaki, America’s terrorist du jour. As such, al-Qaida is used for many purposes.

As Tarpley points out, for President George W. Bush, the presence of al-Qaida was used as pretext for starting a war on another country. The Obama method is to use al-Qaida to overthrow independent governments and either Balkanize or partition those countries or use them as kamikaze puppets against larger enemies like Russia, China and Iran.

Hat tip: Prisonplanet.com

Critics Still Confused By Obama’s Mission In Libya

Critics still confused by Obama's mission in LibyaPresident Barack Obama sought to answer some of his critics in a national address regarding the conflict in Libya, yet his speech may have raised more questions than answers.

On March 28, Obama defended his decision to deploy United States forces to Libya, saying that the primary goal was to "prevent a massacre" of Libyan citizens at the hands of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The President said that America's military role is "limited" and NATO will take control of the operation on March 30.

He also outlined his foreign policy goals, which are being called "the Obama doctrine," in which the U.S. may intervene in conflicts abroad to prevent humanitarian crises, but only if international allies are involved in the mission.

Republican lawmakers expressed confusion about the President's speech. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that removing Gadhafi from power should be the end goal, but Obama said that he is not seeking a regime change through military force.

"If we tell Gadhafi, 'Don't worry, you won't be removed by force,' I think that's very encouraging to Gadhafi," McCain told CNN.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) agreed with McCain, saying that Obama was unclear about the overall aim of the intervention.

However, not all GOP legislators support military action. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a Tea Party favorite, said that Ghadafi and Libya pose no threat to the U.S. and expensive bombings are not justified. 

The Debut Of “Oklahoma!”

On March 30, 1943, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first musical opened in New York City and changed forever the face of musical theater in this country. “Oklahoma!” was a smash hit right from opening night. Never before had musical numbers been used to advance the plot, as Rodgers and Hammerstein did in “Oklahoma!” and several hits that followed.

Theatergoers who were used to songs being part of a vaudeville performance didn’t know what to make of “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning,” “I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say No,” or “Poor Judd Is Dead.” But they knew they were hearing something special.

Since that illustrious beginning 68 years ago, Rodgers and Hammerstein went on to become America’s most successful composers for the stage. Among their numerous collaborations were “Carousel,” “The King and I,” “South Pacific” and “The Sound of Music.” I think it’s safe to say that hardly a night goes by when one of their musicals isn’t performed somewhere in this country. Altogether, the duo garnered 34 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, two Grammys and the Pulitzer Prize.

Not bad for a couple of Depression-era lads who said they just wanted to tell a story.

–Chip Wood

Ignoring Stupid Fears, Dealing With Legitimate Worries

A few weeks ago I called a friend that lives in Los Angeles. I spoke to his secretary and chided her, asking her if she had bought her iodide pills because of events in Japan.

Funny you should ask she said; her mother was on her way to pick up a bottle for both of them. Later I sat back and wondered: Why is it that we worry about such things?

I suspect tens of thousands of people along the West Coast fretted about radiation while they drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes.

So why shouldn’t we fear radiation from the crisis at the Japanese nuclear power plants? Simple, it doesn’t pass the common sense test. If there was a serious leak there would be a lot of dead Japanese. Also consider in August 1945 the United States exploded two nuclear bombs over Japan. Yet radiation did not spread to Hawaii let alone California.

In fact, if you live on the West Coast and you buy iodide pills off the Internet it could be counterfeit. In that case the remedy is worse than the risk.

Fear is nothing new. It is primal. With the 24-hour news cycle it can be infectious.

When the AIDS scare broke, I had a friend who had been involved in a one night fling with a woman years earlier. After it was announced that Rock Hudson was dying of AIDS there was rampant speculation that a plague was about to be unleashed. My friend was certain he had HIV. He called the local AIDS hotline and demanded a blood test. My friend explained his circumstances at which point the nurse on the hotline told him that the chances he would be killed in a car accident driving to get the test were higher than the likelihood he had the virus.

The list of what we don’t need to fear is almost endless. What I want to address are the things that we should be concerned about and what precautions we can take to protect ourselves.

The U.S. Economy And Stock And Bond Markets
Nothing from the Middle East to Japanese can derail the bull market in U.S. stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average stands above 12,000, pushed higher by the tidal wave of fresh money courtesy of Washington bailouts and Federal Reserve quantitative easing. New money in the absence of increased productivity does not create wealth.

President Barack Obama has created a buffer against the Great Deflation of 2008, yet fundamental problems still plague the U.S. economy.

The official government unemployment rate is running at close to 10 percent but the Bureau of Labor Statistics—the agency that accounts for people who have simply given up looking for work—puts the real unemployment rate closer to 16 percent.

The dearth of jobs means a frail recovery in consumer spending. Since that sector accounts for almost two-thirds of the nation’s gross domestic product, this is a problem for the immediate future.

It is possible that the Federal government and the Fed will continue to inject more money into the economy. But before too long, Washington will reach its breaking point; China and Japan will no longer purchase U.S. Treasury debt.

Tens of billions of dollars in Treasuries must be auctioned off weekly. These two nations alone hold more than $2 trillion in U.S. Treasury instruments that can be sold at a moment’s notice. Given the crisis in Japan, there is the possibility that even if Tokyo doesn’t sell Treasuries, it may stop making bids at Treasury auctions. Since the U.S. must sell this debt to finance itself the end result will be higher rates.

That will cripple the U.S. bond and stock markets. This is a real threat to your financial future, especially if you invested in U.S. paper instruments.

To reduce this threat you should have at least 20 percent of your investment funds in physical gold and silver, blue-chip resource stocks and physical cash. Use what proportions work best for you.

Your Personal Habits
It is ironic that the person that could hurt you most is yourself. I am not going to lecture you because there is no need for it. If you smoke, you know you should stop. If you drink more than moderately, you know you should cut back.

But there are other ways to take care of yourself. I used to be fanatical about exercise right up until I was in my early 40s. I took a decade off and the last year has been a tough comeback. But it has been worth it. I shed a few pounds doing simple things like walking every day. Now I can run three miles a day.

As important as the changes I have seen in my body have been the changes I feel in my mind.

You should be more active and try not to watch too much news. I have to for my work, but after a full day of CNN, Fox News and the BBC I feel incredibly tense. The media is good at selling fear. So too is our government.

I am not a fatalist but there is nothing I can do about an asteroid strike, terrorist attack or super-flu. Unless you want to remove yourself from society and live in a bunker, you will die of worry just thinking about such things.

I am not saying be unprepared. I take seriously what Bob Livingston says. My wife and I keep extra provisions such as water and food on hand. More importantly, I don’t take stupid risks. I don’t drink and drive, I do not travel on snow-covered roads and I won’t venture into the bad areas of the city.

If you treat your body and mind better and take fewer risks you will live a longer and happier life.

Yours in good times and bad,

John Myers
Editor, Myers’ Energy & Gold Report

P.S. If you would like to read an interesting book on risk, I recommend you pick up a copy of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It is available at Amazon.com by clicking here.

Ohio High School Hosts Controversial Tea Party Event

Two civil rights organizations are up in arms about a Tea Party-backed event that recently took place at an Ohio high school.

According to the Mansfield News Journal, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) raised concerns about a presentation called "Freedom or Surrender," which was slated for March 28. The local chapter of the NAACP said that the event's featured speaker, Usama Dakdok, is "anti-Muslim" and should not be allowed to speak at a public high school.

Although the address was held in the institution's auditorium, it took place at night and it was not organized or promoted as a school-related function, the news provider reported. However, the NAACP and the Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on the school district to cancel the event. CAIR accused Dakdok of saying that all Muslims are "demons" and that "there are no good Muslims."

Tea Party event organizer Bonnie Oleksa disagreed with those claims, telling the media outlet that Dakdok is a Christian missionary who is reaching out to Muslims who don't believe in Jesus Christ.

"Apparently, the Mansfield NAACP thinks the First Amendment applies only to those who are in agreement with the NAACP," Oleska told the news source.

Mansfield Superintendent Dan Freund said that the district allows its facilities to be rented by all groups as long as they do not "prove disruptive to our educational environment." 

Inflation Concerns And Global Unrest Lead To Interest In Gold

A new report from an asset management group states that recent turmoil across the world has fueled interest in raw materials such as gold.

According to Allianz Global Investors, the price of gold will rise to $1,700 an ounce by the end of 2011, Bloomberg reported. This estimate comes after the precious metal reached a record of $1,447.82 an ounce on March 24 as investors sought shelter from turbulence in Japan and the Middle East.

In addition, rising fears of inflation stemming from a global economic recovery and fluctuating interest rates will continue to drive interest in gold, the group stated. Gold posted a 30 percent gain in 2010, which was the highest annual increase since the financial crisis unfolded.

Allianz also reported that copper and cotton have reached record prices this year, and sugar investments have risen to a 30-year high.

"The macro environment is strong and we expect rising commodity prices in the next three to six months," Michael Verhofen, manager of the Allianz RCM Commodities Fund, told the media outlet.

Gold investments may help ensure a more secure future for aging Americans. A new survey conducted by the Society of Actuaries reveals that the prospect of inflation and rising healthcare costs are serious concerns for adults between the ages of 45 and 80, according to Financial-Planning.com. Only 5 percent of respondents who are closing in on retirement said that they have at least $1 million in savings and investments. 

Tea Party Group Puts Pressure On Boehner

A prominent Tea Party activist has announced his intention to unseat House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for compromising with Democratic leaders on the Federal budget.

According to FOX News, Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips said he is searching for a primary candidate to run against Boehner in 2012. Phillips accused the Speaker of the House of breaking his campaign pledge to cut $100 billion from the budget and agreeing to cut less than $61 billion.

Phillips said that eccentric actor Charlie Sheen makes more sense than Boehner because at least Sheen is "winning."

"If you don't live up to your promise, we're going to throw you out," Phillips told the media outlet.

Levi Russell, a spokesman for the Tea Party Express, said that Boehner is the "least of our worries," according to the news source. He admitted that Tea Party supporters may have set their expectations too high after the 2010 midterm elections, and they will continue to be disappointed until the GOP has control of the Senate and White House.

Earlier this week, Boehner sent a letter to President Barack Obama questioning his intentions in Libya. According to media reports, the House Speaker asked for clarification regarding "conflicting messages from the administration," and said that the American people deserve to know what the President's objectives are when he deploys United States military forces.

Break Down Those Barriers To Health

Spring is here, and with it comes a time of growth and renewal. With this change of season comes blossoming of new life, new ideas and, hopefully, a spring-fresh dedication to health and wellness. So let’s remove the barriers to our health while embracing a renewed commitment to holistic well practices.

Whether you suffer stress or back pain, headaches or PMS, tendonitis or something else altogether, the prescription medications helped a bit, for a while. But when they wore off, you had to take more… and more still. And now you are seeing an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, a massage therapist or some other holistic therapist and are finding that the requirements to do what is asked of you (even attending the frequent appointments), is just not quite fitting into your busy daily schedule.

Taking personal responsibility for your own health is difficult. It requires dedication and patience. Life is tough. Personal suffering is worse. It seems we all, in our quest for health, wellbeing or simple pain relief, encounter the same set of barriers. These are things that seem either to be in our way or fall along our path as we traverse it toward a better quality of life. And while each person’s barriers are of different sizes and shapes, the following three are by far the most common.

Barrier 1: Time
Perhaps the most obvious barrier to achieving optimal health is time. There is only so much of it in a day, a week, a month and a year. We can’t add time, and when we finally do find a free moment it quickly gets eaten up by unanticipated sources, like work, housework, family obligations, events, projects, you name it.

Something always seems to get in the way of doing our exercises; driving out of the way to purchase organic whole foods; eating balanced meals; getting a healthy amount of sleep; taking those supplements as directed; or drinking enough water or exercising. After a while, people start to think that going the “alternative” route to relief may be a bit overbearing. You have to visit the practitioner, perhaps several days per week for several weeks or months. You have to take herbs or supplements—and handfuls of them several times per day. You have to do a series of stretches or exercises between office visits… and sometimes even on the same day! Who’s got time for all that?

The main difference between mainstream medicine and alternative therapies is that the practitioners and products of alternative “medicine” are working toward healing you, not patching you up. And healing takes time. And I’m here to tell you that time is no true barrier to health!

Look, I know you’re busy. You’ve got kids, a demanding job and a hectic family schedule. But if you need to exercise you can prioritize 20 minutes at a time, three days per week.

Forget Seinfeld reruns; do your stretches instead. Better yet, why not do the exercises while watching your favorite sitcom or the evening news? Why not skip reading the morning paper and go for a walk instead. Avoid the take-out lunch and go to the farmer’s market on the way home from work, then prepare a healthy lunch in advance.

There are always sets of minutes in a day that can be “constructed” into health minutes. You simply need to prioritize your day, your week, your life—and establish the time. If you don’t, and your ills become chronic or life threatening, what good is your time then?

Do yourself, your family and your loved-ones a favor and break down that Time Barrier. It doesn’t exist; it’s an illusion. Time is an abstract concept, but its utility can be physically modified on the fly. Only laziness and lack of creativity makes time short. And we both know you’re neither lazy nor uncreative!

Barrier 2: Money
The second most common barrier to achieving perfect health is money. That is, having the financial means available to buy the best organic or free-range foods, receiving the best holistic treatments and taking only the highest quality herbs and supplements available.

A personal trainer costs money. A weekly massage costs money. Acupuncture gets expensive. Herbs are cheap, but their protocols are long so their costs add up. The main thing is to prioritize your wellness dollars.

If you are spending X amount on health each month, how can it be maximized? And if you are spending money on extra cable TV channels, expensive dinners and unnecessary clothing, then why not cut back on these and allocate the money for your health instead?

Despite what you were told in the 80s, it’s not how you look, it’s how you feel that counts! One of the best things you can do is to learn methods of reducing stress and some stretches and exercises you can do by yourself at any time of day or night. This will allow you to reduce your massage frequency and you will derive greater benefit from the herbs and acupuncture you are receiving.

I recommend consulting your holistic practitioner to get a clear picture of how many visits over what length of time will be required of you. You also want to know what herbs or supplements you may need to take and over what period of time. With this information you will know ahead of time (no pun intended), how much money you will need to allocate for your natural therapy.

With this information, you can begin to budget your wellness dollars accordingly. I highly recommend you not begin a course of treatment until you have the means to attend every required visit and to purchase whatever additional things are needed along the way.

There’s no sense in wasting money on half a therapy. And while you’re pulling resources together, work on your sleep/wake cycle, stress relief and diet. With clarity of costs and allocation of money in place, money will no longer be a barrier to your health.

Barrier 3: Beliefs
The third most common barrier to health is you own level of belief in what it is you are doing (or receiving) and what the result of that will be.

Are you on a fast? If so, do you believe it will do you good and deliver on the expected results?

Are you receiving CranioSacral therapy or Rolfing? Do you think the sessions are helping, or will help if you follow them through their prescribed course of treatment?

My point is, many people who begin and then drop out of holistic therapies do so because they lose faith in the method of care they are receiving. This either happens because the practitioner has made unrealistic promises or the patient was expecting different results than the ones gained. And most Americans want fast and easy results. Managing goals and expectations is the key.

By their very nature, alternative therapies are not fast—but they are generally safe, holistic, non-invasive and, if followed through, their results can be long lasting and life changing. When working with alternative therapies of any kind, you must obtain a clear picture of what may and may not happen, and over what period of time.

Managing your goals (e.g., “I want to be pain free by July 4″) and your expectations (e.g., “At the very least, I expect to be gardening again in April”), you will be able to ‘hold the course’ as the treatment progresses.

The best way to overcome the belief barrier is to discuss the therapeutic method at length with the practitioner who is offering the service. Ask for reading material. Ask for case studies. Talk to other patients. Put Google to work for you, too.

By doing this you will empower yourself with enough information to know that the program is either not the right one for you, or that you can rightfully dedicate time, money and effort to it.

In closing, I want you to know that I understand that you may be at the end of your rope. You have already spent huge sums of money, time and effort trying to get better, to become pain free, to lead the life you desire. But your life isn’t over and there is plenty of time left to truly live. All you have to do is redouble your courage, dig your heels in and: 1) make the time, 2) allocate the money, and 3) believe in the outcome.

By breaking down the barriers to health, nothing can block your path to the healthy pain-free life you so rightly deserve!

— Dr. Mark Wiley

Your Body Can Produce A Natural Pain Reliever

The essential component of aspirin is a substance called salicylic acid (SA). It gives the over-the-counter medicine its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving abilities. But can the human body produce SA on its own and safely and naturally ward off everyday aches and pains? Experts think so.

The American Chemical Society reported that higher levels of SA were found in patients who consumed large amounts of fruits and vegetables. And vegetarians who consumed high amounts of fruits and veggies showed much higher levels of SA in recent blood tests.

This is good news for those of you who want to avoid the risks associated with aspirin such as clot-related stroke, gastrointestinal bleeding, allergic reaction and hearing loss. Instead, enjoy a bounty of apples, oranges, pears, broccoli, carrots or spinach, and experience relief from your pains, too.

New Online Video Compares Reagan And Obama

A new web series was recently launched that compares the leadership styles of President Barack Obama with former President Ronald Reagan.

The series, which is titled "What Would Reagan Do?" is anchored by Michael Reagan, the former President's son and filmed at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, Calif. The episodes will recount how the 40th President led the United States on key issues and compare his strategies to those used by today's leaders.

The first video was released on March 26 and addressed the conflict in Libya. In 1986, Reagan authorized a series of air strikes on ground targets in Libya after one U.S serviceman was killed and 63 were injured in a terrorist bombing at a discotheque in Berlin. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who is at the center of today's conflict, was believed to be responsible for the attacks.

Episodes about economic recovery and public sector unions will be released in the coming weeks. RightChange.com, an organization committed to fiscal responsibility and national security, produces the web series.

"With President Obama and so many others trying to compare themselves with my father, I'm thrilled to be working with RightChange.com on this series to expose the true character and leadership Ronald Reagan exhibited, unlike those trying to associate with him," said Michael Reagan.

Bill Clark, the deputy secretary of state and national security adviser under Reagan, and Paul Kengor, a professor of political science at Grove City College, recently wrote a column for USA Today, urging Obama to learn from Reagan while addressing the unrest in Libya. They said that the current President needs to channel Reagan's "sense of direction and confident purpose." 

Obama Administration ‘Muted’ Coast Guard Following Gulf Oil Spill, Report Says

Although he was widely lauded for his public-speaking skills prior to being elected to office, Barack Obama has garnered a lot of criticism recently for his lack of communication during pivotal moments of his Presidency.

Obama has been criticized for waiting more than a week to address the public about the United States' military presence in Libya. He was scheduled to deliver a nationally televised speech on March 28, nine days after the U.S. launched attacks on Moammar Gadhafi and his loyalists.

In addition, although its assessment was released two weeks ago with little fanfare, the Coast Guard has slammed Obama's administration for failing to set up an effective communications system after last year's BP oil spill. The report, which is the first major review of the government's communications efforts following the worst oil spill in U.S. history, said that the Coast Guard's information centers were "effectively muted."

"Several layers of review and approval by the White House and [Department of Homeland Security] prevented timely and effective crisis communications and hindered the Coast Guard's ability to [keep] stakeholders informed about the status of the response," the report reads, quoted by FOX News.

A source familiar with the Federal government's protocol told the media outlet that Obama's team went into "campaign mode" following the spill because the 2010 midterm elections were approaching.

Despite its biting criticism of the President, the Coast Guard Academy has invited Obama to deliver its graduation keynote address in May. According to The Associated Press, Presidents traditionally address one of the military institutions' commencement ceremonies on a rotating basis. 

Just Breathe

Should you ever find yourself out for a drive along the Michigan-Indiana border, take a moment to venture by the Kalamazoo district offices of Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich.). By itself, Upton’s office is entirely unremarkable; but not far away is a billboard which may arrest your attention like it was the police and you were a kleptomaniacal Hollywood starlet with a coke habit.

The billboard features a preteen girl with her face encased in what appears to be either an oxygen mask or an exceptionally Byzantine—albeit undoubtedly effective—delivery system for the kind of inhalants parents delude themselves into believing are foreign to their preteen girls.


The billboard campaign is effective, at least on the surface. After all, no one wants to be the bastard whose legislative intransigence imprisoned poor Polly in her respirator.

The American Lung Association (ALA), theoretically a respected retinue of responsible folk, paid for these grim roadside reminders of respiratory distress, carbon dioxide and voting for Republicans. The ALA’s concern centers on the possibility that Upton, who serves as the current chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, may move to “…weaken the Clean Air Act.”

The billboards fail to mention a few fairly salient points. First, Upton has no plans to start pumping raw sulfur dioxide down your children’s throats. Second, Upton has no plans to weaken the Clean Air Act. His committee’s passage of the Energy Tax Prevention Act is designed to rein in runaway bureaucracy and unscientifically-motivated legislation which is in turn detrimental to economic and social progress. And third (and this one’s the kicker), this whole fear mongering campaign by the ALA is paid for by… you.

You read that last part correctly. The American Lung Association, a privately-run, tax-exempt, non-profit group, has received nearly $30 million over the last decade or so from the Environmental Protection Agency, a sub-cabinet-level division of the Federal government with enormous regulatory authority. And the ALA wants to stop Fred Upton from using the Energy Tax Prevention Act to put the kibosh on the EPA’s ability to crush economic development.

What Upton is planning with his Energy Tax Prevention Act—which rocketed through his committee and precipitated the ALA’s latest foray into fear mongering—is to return the Clean Air Act, and consequentially the EPA, to their legitimate purposes: Working toward cleaner air.

The Clean Air Act was most decidedly NOT implemented to institute what amounts to the odious Cap and Trade via a regulatory back door. Last November, the American electorate went to the polls slammed the door on bureaucratic regulatory subterfuge in resounding fashion; sending the Democrat Party busybodies who had spent the previous four years employing legislative authority to treat the American taxpayer like an ATM.

While the Democrat Party’s tendency toward the dictatorial isn’t new, the American Lung Association willingly serving as an accomplice to this sort of authoritarianism is less familiar. It’s terribly sad to see a once-proud organization dedicated to alleviating tuberculosis and other legitimately dangerous ailments sell its soul to a regulatory bridge troll like the EPA. It’s even sadder to see that once-proud organization do so by assigning real health problems to a theory which is the anecdotally-supported equivalent of geocentric astronomy.

And saddest of all: The ALA is either participating in this taxpayer-funded scam for the money—which means they have been motivated by pure avarice; or they’re in it because they really believe a sub-scientific theory is going to clog your children’s lungs, which makes them dupes.

Something is indeed rotten in Kalamazoo; but it isn’t Rep. Fred Upton.

Obama’s Administration Less Transparent In 2010, AP Reports

A recent analysis by The Associated Press (AP) reveals that President Barack Obama's administration has not followed through on his promise to create a more transparent Federal government.

The report stated that citizens, journalists and companies requested information 544,360 times under the United States Freedom of Information Act last year, which was up about 41,000 from the previous year. However, the government responded to nearly 12,400 fewer requests than it did in 2009.

This data is based on requests that were filed with 35 of the government's largest agencies. The AP found that nearly half the agencies took longer to provide records in 2010 than they did the previous year. In some cases, the average response time to requests was several weeks longer than in 2009.

These trends contradict Obama's campaign promise in 2008, when he called on the Federal government to disclose more information rapidly.

"Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their government is doing," Obama said when he took office, quoted by the AP.

The news provider's report was released on March 14 in conjunction with Sunshine Week, a national initiative that promotes an open dialogue about a transparent government and freedom of information.