Michele Bachmann (Not To Be Confused With Sarah Palin)

Michele Bachmann is not Sarah Palin. So says the Congressional Representative from Minnesota’s 6th District and founder of the House Tea Party Caucus. Yet Bachmann, who may or may not announce a bid for the 2012 Presidency in June, is still fighting comparisons to the former Alaska Governor.

“At times, it’s almost as if the media views Bachmann as an updated version of Sen. John McCain’s 2008 running mate — a Palin 2.0. On Thursday, Bachmann had to remind reporters that no two competitors ‘are interchangeable.’” an article on Newsmax read.

“Well, there are agendas that other people have,” Bachmann said in an interview with the news site. “And so it will be my responsibility to introduce myself to the public, so that they know what my biography is.”

Both Palin and Bachmann have emerged as powerful female leaders in the Tea Party movement, media darlings with perfectly coiffed brunette tresses and large families. But the similarities end there, according to the article.

“Conservatives worry that presenting Bachmann through the lens of Sarah Palin will drive up her negatives and could limit her appeal to the swing-voters who ultimately determine most elections,” the article read.

“Although Bachmann does not have as lengthy a track record as Palin when it comes to gaffes, by connecting the two together, the media creates an impression that among Bachmann’s personal characteristics is the quality of putting her foot in her mouth,” Tobe Berkovitz, a Boston University communications professor and media analyst, told Newsmax. “Both politicians are Herculean fundraisers, and have the power to draw large and enthusiastic crowds. The media powers-that-be hope to defang Bachmann, before she can become a significant national candidate.”

Romney: Obama Administration Has ‘Failed’

In an interview with NBC’s Today, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said of President Barack Obama’s Administration over the past two years: “It’s failed.” Romney will formally launch his campaign for the 2012 Presidency on Thursday.

“He’s been one of the most ineffective presidents at the job at hand that I’ve ever seen,” Romney said in the NBC interview, according to a POLITICO article. “The number one issue he faced walking in the door was an economy in fast decline. He didn’t cause it, but he made things worse.”

“If I become president, I will repeal Obamacare,” said Romney, who is expected to run into trouble on the campaign trail over healthcare reforms he passed as Massachusetts’ Governor. “My bill was 70 pages. His bill is 2,700 pages. In those extra 2,630 pages, he’s doing a lot of stuff that is just devastating to the health care (sic) system in this country. He’s wrong.”

Despite his controversial status among conservatives, Romney seems confident about his bid. “I do give myself better than 50/50 odds, but it’s up to the American people. I’ll tell them what I believe and if that works, great.”

The White House’s War On Press Coverage Continues

Recently, the press was denied access to two fundraisers where Vice President Joe Biden was speaking. Requests for admission by local media were denied by the Vice President’s press office, a move that mirrors the recent shut-out of the Boston Herald by the Administration of President Barack Obama.

“You may not care what any vice president does. You may not care for the press, either. But you should care deeply about the fundamental right and obligation of the press to cover the vice president and president,” read an editorial for Real Clear Politics. “Several former and current White House correspondents see presidents choosing who covers them as a nightmare scenario.”

Jeff Brauer, a political history professor at Keystone College, told the website that there are two reasons the press should be allowed to cover fundraising events. “One, large amounts of taxpayer dollars are being used for personal security at such events. As with all tax dollars, they should be spent with accountability. Two, it is important for the public to know what the president and vice president are saying to donors. Is it the same message they are saying to the electorate at large?”

“It would behoove the Obama administration to keep its promise of transparency even with fundraisers,” Brauer said.

California City Considering Ban On Male Circumcision

The residents of Santa Monica, Calif., may consider a ballot initiative in 2012 that would make it a misdemeanor to circumcise a male before the age of 18, according to an article on FoxNews.com.

The controversial proposal is spearheaded by a group called MGMBill, where MGM stands for “male genital mutilation.” The group claims boys should be safeguarded from circumcision in the way girls are protected from genital mutilation, under the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection” clause.

“Unless there is a compelling medical reason to do so, no one has the right to cut off the working body part of a child. Genital mutilation is done for social, ‘hygienic’ or religious reasons, and no national medical organization in the world supports forced infant circumcision as a beneficial health measure,” the group claims on its website. “We don’t allow girls to be circumcised because we know that it is harmful to their physical and mental well-being, and boys should be afforded equal protection of the law.”

David Lahrer, a Jewish Leader, strongly disagrees with the proposal, which contains no religious exemptions. Lahrer told the Los Angeles Times that the proposal “takes the notion of the mommy state to a ridiculous extreme,” and “it probably touches on being anti-Semitic.”

Wisconsin Judge Rules Against Law That Limits Union Collective Bargaining

Wisconsin judge rules against law that limits union collective bargainingA circuit court judge in Wisconsin has struck down the State’s law that strips nearly all collective-bargaining rights from public employees.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi overturned the highly debated legislation, ruling that GOP lawmakers broke the State’s open meetings laws by approving it. Her decision likely will be reviewed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The news provider reports that Sumi’s decision may prompt Republican lawmakers to pass the measure again. Earlier this year, the legislative process to advance the bill — which would limit collective bargaining right for most public employees and cut their health and pension benefits — gained national attention.

In February, thousands of pro-union protesters, as well as some Tea Party advocates, gathered outside of the Wisconsin State Capitol to express their opinions regarding the law. Fourteen State Senators, all Democrats, fled the State to avoid meeting the quorum that was required to vote on the measure.

Republican lawmakers eventually passed the law on March 9, and it was signed by Governor Scott Walker on March 11. Walker has said that the law will help close the State’s $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

‘Coach’ Obama Loses Big

Imagine, if you will, a football team. It has practiced diligently. It has scouted the opposition exhaustively. It has a loyal, albeit marginally unbalanced, fan base. It has a foolproof game plan. It is ready. Then, it gets on the field and it loses — big. Final score: 97-0.

Now, imagine the reaction of the beat writers, sports-radio shriekers and television talking hairdos in the wake of such an epic beat down. The cacophony would be louder than Ed Schultz screaming at the most recent woman to turn him down for a date. And the players would have to either make a comeback for the ages or announce their plans to retire.

For President Barack Obama and the Senate Democrats, it’s a good thing liberal politics are nothing like football. Because last week, the Democrat-dominated U.S. Senate voted 97-0 to kill the $3.7 trillion budget Obama sent to Capitol Hill in February. Let that sink in for a moment. “Coach” Obama had more than three months to get his team ready to play, and it performed like a Green Bay High School junior varsity against the Green Bay Packers. Actually, that analogy is imperfect. “Coach” Obama had more than three months to get his team ready to play, and it ended up cheering for the other team.

Of course, if your only source of news is the Democrat-controlled corporate media, then you didn’t hear about last week’s Beltway beat down.The Democrats were hysterically screeching about the likelihood that Representative Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.) budget proposal was going to sneak out in the middle of the night and ax-murder your grandmother. One Democratic group even went so far as to produce an appalling attack ad depicting someone (presumably a heartless Republican like Ryan) pushing a kindly old woman off of a cliff. The corporate media, of course, were more than willing to treat the Democrat-authored talking points (read: outright lies) about the Ryan budget’s vicious assault on Medicare as if they were facts.

Ryan’s budget would do nothing of the sort, of course. Instead, it will preserve the financially flagging Medicare system for Americans older than 55 and restore some fiscal sanity to an entitlement which — barring reform — is projected to face insolvency within 15 years. Unsurprisingly, that aspect of the Ryan plan was left out of the Democratic fearmongering; and it was entirely absent from the corporate media’s sycophantic reportage on the budget-wrangling. Ultimately, the Ryan budget — and possibly Medicare’s future — lost 57-40. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a solid defeat. It was, however, an immensely better showing than the silent whitewashing Obama’s budget endured.

One might fairly presume that the Democrats, having demagogued, distorted and defeated the Ryan plan — having killed their own President’s budget — would have presented a plan to the taxpayers. Unfortunately, you would be as wrong as Lawrence O’Donnell saying… anything. Ryan’s falsely maligned proposal lost, sure. But Obama’s proposal was beaten like a red-headed step-budget. And the Senate Democrats, seizing the opportunity to show actual leadership for the first time since Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) let Senator Harry Reid (R-Nev.) put down her purse, offered… nothing.

There is no budget offered by the Senate Democrats. Granted, asking for substantive ideas from a Democratic party that has always been long on defamatory rhetoric and short on ideas is about as fanciful as hoping the aforementioned JV team will upend the Packers. But they had time to slander Ryan to the point of insinuating he’s borderline homicidal. Certainly, they had time to come up with their own (over)spending plan. Sadly, with the game on the line, the Democratic Party choked. Again.

97-0. Lest I miss the chance to stretch the football analogy a bit farther: If you lose a game like that, you unload the players for better personnel and fire the coach. And that, my friends, is the ballgame.

Obama’s Effort To Regulate Aid To For-Profit Schools Faces Stiff Opposition

Obama's effort to regulate aid to for-profit schools faces stiff oppositionAccording to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded by for-profit colleges has increased by more than 400 percent over the past decade.

The agency reports that 27 percent of all students who were enrolled in college between 2000 and 2009 studied at for-profit institutions, many of which are more career-focused than traditional schools.

However, the popularity of these higher-education programs has not dissuaded President Barack Obama from trying to implement regulations that would restrict the colleges’ access to Federal aid. According to FOX News, the President’s efforts have been opposed by more than 300 lawmakers from both political parties.

“Can you think of any other issue that former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the current Speaker John Boehner agree on?” asked Lanny Davis, who served as legal counsel to former President Bill Clinton, quoted by the news provider. “The policy is so wrongheaded that it brings liberals and conservatives together.”

Andrews said the idea behind the legislation — to prevent low-income students from being saddled with enormous student loans — is noble, but the execution is all wrong. He claimed that Obama’s proposal would force for-profits to adhere to regulations that most community colleges and universities could not meet, which would likely put some for-profit schools out of business.

Tea Party Won’t Back Down If GOP Leans To The Center

Tea Party won't back down if GOP leans to the centerThe result of a recent special Congressional election in New York has raised concerns for some GOP officials.

On May 24, Democrat Kathy Hochul pulled off an upset by winning a district traditionally held by Republicans. According to The Hill, some GOP officials claim that Jack Davis, who ran as a member of the Tea Party and who received 8 percent of the votes, prevented Republican Jane Corwin from picking up the victory.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who is a member of the Tea Party Caucus, has stated that a Tea Party candidate may emerge in the 2012 Presidential race if the GOP nominates a centrist candidate.

“It’s a real danger if we nominate someone who is clearly moderate and not espousing conservative views. It’s a real danger,” said DeMint, quoted by the news provider.

DeMint added that the Republican Presidential candidate should endorse Representative Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.) budget proposal to cut Medicare spending. Conservative lawmakers are hopeful that the GOP will nominate a candidate who appeals to the conservative base, instead of playing it safe by choosing a moderate.

According to The Huffington Post, Tea Party group FreedomWorks has organized a campaign that will attempt to derail the political aspirations of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a likely candidate for the GOP nomination.

“Romney has a record and we don’t really like it that much,” Adam Brandon, the communications director for FreedomWorks, told the media outlet.

The War On Stomach Acid

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is what Americans think of as acid indigestion. What a misnomer! The pharmaceuticals love it because it provides for a trillion-dollar worldwide market for antacids. There are thousands of antacids under as many names.

“Acid indigestion” is very painful, and people are easily attracted to what they believe is the quick relief of antacids. Sad! Because antacids and proton pump inhibitors (the purple pill) block the first major step in digestion.

We are created with hydrochloric acid and pepsin in our stomachs to digest our food and provide nutrition to our bodies. Hydrochloric acid and pepsin are the basis of nutrition and health.

Stomach pH is very acidic, as low as pH 1 to 2, whereas the rest of the human body is about 7.3 or slightly alkaline.

“Acid indigestion” is caused, not by too much acid, but by a lack or shortage of hydrochloric acid — something the marketers of antacids will never tell you.

There is a whole new world of relief from “acid indigestion” with something as simple as having lemon juice with meals. Give it one to two days. And, yes, I cured my own acid indigestion with a teaspoon of sea salt in a glass of water for a few days. My son did the same.

Of course, your friendly cardiologist will blow a gasket when he hears this, but he loves his ignorance.

Millions upon millions live a life of discomfort when they are so close to relief. If we kill our stomach acid with antacids, we will ultimately wind up with stomach cancer. The medical community is mostly ignorant of this.

To learn more about hydrochloric acid, read the books Acid and Alkaline by Herman Aihara, Alkalize or Die by Dr. Theodore A. Baroody and Three Years of HCl Therapy.

The book, Three Years of HCl Therapy is no longer in print. It currently sells on Amazon.com for as much as $51. It contains documented cases of HCl therapy success stories in treating diseases and conditions like diabetes, pneumonia, malaria, meningitis, toxemia and many others.

We currently have a limited number of these books, and you can have a copy for free by clicking here.

Sexual Sickos And Progressives

Just when you thought no one could top John Edwards, the Terminator unveils a 10-year maidcapade that has dramatically increased Pepto-Bismol™ sales nationwide. While Edwards is a callous, despicable human being, Arnold Schwarzenegger is simply a mentally disturbed individual.

All of a sudden, Eliot Spitzer and Bill Clinton don’t seem quite as disgusting as they once did. After all, Clinton was merely a serial fondler and alleged rapist. And Spitzer’s biggest crime is that he’s such a creepy-looking guy, he probably tarnished the reputation of “Ashley Dupré,” his $1,000-an-hour prostitute.

Of course, any person with an ounce of wisdom knows it’s never a good idea to cast stones, so I shall refrain from moral pontificating. Stones aside, however, one can’t help but be curious about politicians who push the sex envelope to the death-wish limit. The age-old question that always arises is: Should voters assume that if a politician is unfaithful in his marriage, he will be dishonest when he’s in public office?

In that regard, I think one has to ask himself what would cause a politician to be unfaithful to his wife in the first place. There could be many reasons — a number of them that come quickly to mind are stupidity, arrogance, recklessness, narcissism and, above all, a lack of self-discipline.

So even if we adopt the relativist’s attitude that boys will be boys and refrain from casting stones, we still have to wonder if such people deserve our votes. And the best way to answer that is to ask yourself a simple question: Are you OK with voting for a guy who is stupid, arrogant, reckless, narcissistic and lacking in self-discipline? What terrific qualifications for someone whom you’re going to rely on to protect your life and property.

In any event, the truth be known, the rash of political sex-scandals are nothing more than diversions from the truly serious problems America faces. The real enemy we should be focusing on — the sworn enemy of liberty — is progressivism.

Unfaithful politicians won’t bring our nation down as a result of their indiscretions, but progressivism is capable of accomplishing that feat by placing the “collective good” above individual liberty. For without individual liberty, the America most of us knew growing up will most certainly perish.

Marcus Tullius Cicero had a bead on this in the 1st century B.C. when he said: “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men.”

Cicero’s words make me think not only of the radical progressives in the Democratic Party, but, worse, of progressives in the Republican Party who pose as conservatives — for whom Lindsey Graham is the poster boy. In his latest interview outburst, Graham said: “I am willing to take the bruises and stand by (President Barack) Obama to engage countries like Egypt and Tunisia and stay involved in Libya and finish the job in Iraq. I am willing to take American dollars at a time when we’re flat broke, go back home and suffer the consequences of sending aid to Egypt at a time when South Carolina has 10 percent unemployment because I believe the Egyptian revolution is about a new way of doing business that’s better for us.”

Graham supports sending aid to Egypt at a time when South Carolina has 10 percent unemployment because he believes “the Egyptian revolution is about a new way of doing business that’s better for us.” Really? He went on to say he thinks Obama “did a really good job” in his speech advocating that Israel commit suicide by returning to the pre-1967 borders. With conservatives like Graham, who needs progressives?

Fortunately, Graham isn’t running for president. Neither is his uber-progressive buddy, John McCain. And, best of all, Mike Huckabee isn’t running — at least this time around. That saves me from having to write a series of stop-Huckabee articles, a project I was not looking forward to.

Now, along comes someone who apparently is going to run for president, Jon Huntsman. I don’t know much about this guy, except that it appears he plans to make “civil discourse” his campaign theme. In a recent interview with John King, Huntsman said, “I believe in civility. I believe we ought to have a civil discourse in this country.”

All this sounds admirable, to be sure, except for one problem: The enemy neither advocates nor engages in civil discourse. On the contrary, progressives practice the Saul Alinsky strategy of relentless attack, stealth encroachment, isolating and ridiculing the enemy, creating chaos and more.

Civil discourse is fine, provided you are dealing with civil people. But progressives are not civil. They lie, cheat, deceive, vilify, ridicule and fearmonger… to name just a handful of the foul tactics they employ. Nothing — absolutely nothing — is out of bounds for them.

At the end of the day, words and phrases that people like Huckabee, Huntsman, Mitt Romney, John Boehner and other progressive Republicans and RINOs love to babble about, such as “compromise,” “reach across the aisle,” “cooperation,” “bipartisan consensus,” “adult conversation” and “civil dialogue” are nothing more than code for going along with progressives and their anti-liberty, big-government agenda.

Now, here’s the scary part. These people usually try to hide their progressive tendencies behind jumbled, conservative double-talk. Such was the case with Newt Gingrich, who was starting to impress me with his seemingly hard-core comments about what the far left is doing to our country.

Then suddenly, he turned on the say-whatever-you-have-to-say-to-get-elected switch in his brain and blurted out: “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.”

What the hell is right-wing social engineering? It was the most outrageous statement I have ever heard from a Republican in my lifetime. It was not just a “bad choice of words,” as some polite pundits would like us to believe. On the contrary, it confirmed what Gingrich apparently told those closest to him (according to a confidential source of mine) — his strategy from the beginning was to run as a mainstream candidate and try to pick up as many independents and moderate Democrats as possible.

Thus ended Gingrich’s political career, but it’s still scary to think he had a lot of people fooled. And, apparently, he still does.

Just to come full circle, I should close by saying all the sexual sickos I named at the outset of this article happen to be progressives. However, honesty compels me to admit that not all progressives are sexual sickos — dangerous, but not sick.

Progressives are the enemy from within that is moving quickly to destroy what is left of America, so it’s important that you and I not be distracted by the political tabloid stuff. Our focus must always be on our loss of liberty, not Schwarzenegger’s libido.

And with that, you’ll have to excuse me while I reach for the Pepto-Bismol™. It’s going to be a long and disgusting 17 months watching charlatans grovel for votes.

–Robert Ringer

Tea Party Group FreedomWorks Committed To Preventing Romney Nomination

Top officials at FreedomWorks, arguably the Nation’s most influential Tea Party group, have set the goal of stopping former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney from receiving the Republican nod for the 2012 Presidential race.

“Romney has a record, and we don’t really like it that much,” Adam Brandon, the group’s communications director, told The Huffington Post.

“I don’t think I’ve met any groups or any local activists that like him or want him to be president,” Brendan Steinhauser, a grassroots(sic) liaison for FreedomWorks, told the site. “They just don’t believe he’s authentic. That’s the biggest problem in addition to the health care (sic) thing.”

FreedomWorks officials are concerned about finding a suitable alternative to Romney, since a splintered Tea Party vote will only aid the candidates who do not pass muster.

“You can’t divide the vote in the primary and end up with, you know, who? Newt Gingrich? Mitt Romney? Somebody’s got to beat those guys,” Steinhauser said. “I think it’s important that we really point out the flawed candidates and brand them as such and point out who are the people we consider unacceptable.”

“FreedomWorks has become a trusted brand by embracing the role of facilitator, rather than trying to mobilize and influence with a traditional top down(sic) model,” the article read. “They have focused on giving activists tools to connect with one another, educating them on policy and the legislative process, and providing them with political training.”

Americans Ill-prepared For Financial Emergencies

A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research reveals that half of all Americans would find it difficult to scrape together $2,000 for a minor financial emergency, such as car trouble or an unexpected medical bill.

“Roughly 28 percent said they ‘certainly’ would not be able to cope with an unexpected $2,000 bill if they had to come up with the money in 30 days, and another 22 percent said they ‘probably’ would not be able to cope,” read an article on CNN.com. “Only a quarter of Americans said they are certain they would be able to come up with the funds.”

The study also revealed that a majority of Americans would have to use multiple methods to get the funds.

“While 60 percent said they would dip into savings, 34.2 percent said they would have to ask family and friends for help and 29.5 percent said they would have to resort to credit cards, a home equity line of credit, reverse mortgage or unsecured loan,” the article read.

Honor Those Who Died For Us

Today, all across the United States of America, we take time to honor our fallen soldiers.

We honor them because they chose to defend us, and they died in that defense. We honor them because they chose to serve, even if it was unpopular or dangerous. We honor them because their blood purchased our freedom.

Poets, philosophers and journalists often talk about the price of war, but only those who have served really understand the toll military service can take on a soldier and his or her family. Too many soldiers’ families know the true price of war firsthand.

Memorial Day is a chance to honor a group of citizens that is often turned into just another series of statistics by our modern society. In a sense, we have forgotten their names. This is a great departure from human history.

The ancient Spartans were a warrior race; every man served for a time in the military. Spartan soldiers who died in war were granted a special privilege: Their graves had headstones. Their names were written on the stones so they would not be forgotten.

The ancient Norse believed warriors who died in battle were given a favored place in the afterlife. Their spirits were said to be taken to Valhalla, where they lived among their heroes and gods. For these ancient people, there was no nobler death than that of a soldier defending his people.

Minot J. Savage, a popular 1800s Unitarian preacher, once said: “The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men.”

Modern warfare has clouded our judgment. The media give us access to the battlefield that we never had before, and our military’s actions are under more scrutiny now. While the American people should always scrutinize the government’s actions with regard to warfare and how and whether we should be conducting a particular war, we should never take out our frustrations regarding decisions made by our elected elites on the soldiers, sailors and airmen. We should venerate our modern warriors in the way of our ancestors.

A soldier who dies in battle today is no less heroic than those who came hundreds or thousands of years before. They face the same fears, even if they don’t use the same weapons. Let us remember their names and, in their memory, let us not take our freedom for granted.

To all of our soldiers, living and dead, active-duty and veterans: We honor you. We honor your sacrifice. We will remember your names.

God bless you all,

Bob Livingston

Researchers Develop Possible Alternative Medicine For Pain

Researchers develop possible alternative medicine for painThe leaves of the crepe jasmine plant have long been used in Asia as a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Now, researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered that a byproduct of the plant’s bark called conolidine may be powerful enough to rival morphine in the pain-killing arena.

Moreover, they found that a synthetic version of the compound is just as effective, an important finding given the rarity of conolidine.

The possible new drug has undergone several clinical trials with promising results. It has been shown to be readily absorbed by the body and effectively relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Additionally, it appears to have no side effects at this point in testing.

“The lack of side effects makes it a very good candidate for development,” said researcher Laura Bohn. “On the other hand, if there were side effects, they might provide additional clues as to how the compound works at the molecular level.”

Authors of the study noted that morphine is addictive, can be deadly when taken in excess and has side effects that include nausea, constipation and respiratory problems.

Is $50 Too Much?

Bob, good morning.

I am a recent stock-purchaser. I, by myself, set up an online Fidelity account. It charges $7.95 per stock transaction. There might be other websites that are better; but for now, I am enrolled into this one.

I went to purchase a Canadian stock, mentioned by others, but similar to your logic of silver investment. The company is Fortuna Silver Mining, with symbol FVI. It is a Toronto Exchange traded stock.

A pop-up alert within the Fidelity website said that on top of the $7.95 transaction fee, I could expect an additional $50 fee because the stock is a foreign-traded equity.

Are there websites like Fidelity that do not charge additional fees to handle stock trades through other stock exchanges that are not American-based?

Tips, please.

Randall O’Neal

Dear Randall,

Most, if not all, U.S. brokers charge a fee for out-of-country stock purchases. Actually, $50 is a reasonable charge to expect.

Best wishes,


Eating Bulk Food On A Daily Basis

At some point during your accumulation of food stores, you probably bought bulk food of some sort. We started buying 5-gallon buckets of rice, beans, oatmeal and other food a few years ago. The funny thing is we kept buying rice, beans and oatmeal in small quantities from the grocery store to eat on a daily basis.

In some cases, like oatmeal, this makes sense. In other cases, it’s cheaper to buy in bulk, so it’s kind of like jerking meat by the pound and still buying the stuff you regularly eat from 7-Eleven.

You might be different, but we were really kind of intimidated by the big buckets. Really, it was just a lot of unknowns. How do we reseal the buckets? How do we keep from losing 5 to 10 pounds to spoilage?

I realized the blunt answer is kind of like everything else with preparedness: It’s much better to have experience with these issues before an emergency than to learn it all when you are stressed.

When we opened our buckets, we discovered our local emergency-supply store uses an inner 7-gallon Mylar® bag to extend the shelf life to 20 to 30 years. (Yours may or may not have that. It would be smart to find out.)

The Crash Is Coming!The process of using food from our long-term stores is pretty straightforward. Here’s one way to do it:

1. Cut open the Mylar® bag. Make as small a hole as practical so you can easily reseal it.

2. Put a week or a month’s worth of food in a smaller container. You can use sealable plastic bags, widemouthed jars or empty plastic drink containers.

3. Burp the Mylar® bag in your plastic bucket to get the air out of it. You probably won’t need your oxygen absorber if you’re actively using the item. Of course, if you think it will take you more than a few months to use up the entire bucket, you might want to put in some oxygen absorbers. If you don’t have oxygen absorbers, you can substitute dry ice. If you don’t have dry ice, you can “float” the container with carbon dioxide from a carbon dioxide canister. I have found carbon dioxide tire inflators that are activated by a lever to be particularly good for this. Since carbon dioxide is heavier than air, it will go to the bottom of your container and push out the air. For most applications, one 12-gram carbon dioxide cartridge will be more than enough.

4. Seal your Mylar® bag. If you have a FoodSaver®, you can use it to both suck out the air and seal the Mylar® bag. If not, you can seal the Mylar® bag by pressing it between a 2-by-4 plank and a hot iron. You probably don’t want to use the same iron you use on your dress clothes. If you don’t have electricity, heat up an old-fashioned iron or piece of metal on a stovetop or in a fire. One trick you can use if you don’t have a FoodSaver® is to seal the Mylar® bag mostly closed and then suck out the remaining air with your mouth or with a pump like you would use on inflatable beds and toys. Once you have sucked out the air, finish sealing.

Gamma Seal Lid5. Close your 5-gallon bucket with a Gamma Seal® Lid. The plastic lid makes your bucket airtight. Just unscrew the lid when you want access in the future. The lids cost between $5 to $10 apiece, depending on how many you buy.

Canning is also a great option for taking bulk quantities of food and making them more manageable. One of the biggest advantages is you aren’t limited to food that comes in 5-gallon buckets. You are able to can food from anywhere — your garden, a local farmers’ market or your grocery store. Unfortunately, that is a topic that is beyond the scope of this article.

I alluded to something earlier, and it’s worth repeating. Bigger isn’t necessarily better. As an example, we can buy two-packs of oatmeal from Costco for slightly less per pound than we can buy it in bulk long-term storage containers. There are tradeoffs, of course. With bulk packaging, we have another solid bucket when we’re done, but we have to buy a Gamma Seal® Lid for it. The smaller containers from Costco are easier to store and are more portable.

That being said, don’t let the possibility of a better deal being out there stop you from taking action now. In other words, if you find yourself at a big-box store and have the option of buying something immediately or checking bulk pricing somewhere else, go ahead and get some supplies at the big-box store. You never know whether there will be a hiccup with the supply chain or if food inflation will cause the prices to go up before you have a chance to buy in bulk.

Are you an old-timer at buying foods that you use on a daily basis in bulk? Please share your hard-earned wisdom by commenting below. With the price of food going up on an almost daily basis, have you accelerated your emergency-food buying?

Senate Democrats Block Path To Prosperity

Senate Democrats block Path to ProsperityThe budget proposal created by Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which includes an overhaul of Medicare, has been rejected by the United States Senate.

On May 25, every Democrat in the chamber and five Republicans struck down Ryan’s budget for fiscal year 2012, including its provision to replace the current Medicare system with a voucher program. According to media reports, Democrats forced the vote to make GOP lawmakers go on the record about their support for the controversial measure.

Republicans who opposed Ryan’s proposal included Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

Under Ryan’s proposal, which is titled The Path to Prosperity, the Federal government would no longer directly pay for healthcare for senior citizens enrolled in Medicare. It would impact Americans turning 65 years old starting in 2022.

Ryan’s budget, which passed the House last month, is expected to be a widely debated topic heading into the 2012 election season. Representative Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), who supports the Path to Prosperity while representing one of the oldest populations of all the U.S. districts, said that the jousting over the entitlement program will “be an epic battle in politicking,” Bloomberg reported.

According to Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), Democrats have argued that the plan would end “Medicare as we know it.”

“That’s true, we are ending Medicare as you know it,” Simpson told the media outlet. “We are trying to take it from insolvent to solvent because if it stays where it is, it’s not going to be there for anybody.”

Supreme Court Backs Arizona Immigration Law

Supreme Court backs Arizona immigration lawAdvocates for immigration reform have scored a major victory, as the Supreme Court recently upheld the Arizona law that punishes businesses for hiring illegal aliens.

The 5-3 ruling, which was announced on May 26, essentially gives States more authority to crack down on illegal immigration. Opponents of the law, including President Barack Obama, claim that the policy compromises Federal oversight over immigration issues, according to CNN.

According to the website of Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, the Legal Arizona Workers Act — which went into effect in 2008 — prohibits businesses from intentionally hiring undocumented workers. Organizations that violate the measure are subject to sanctions.

In addition, the law requires employers to use the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system to check the legal status of all new employees.

“It relies solely on the Federal government’s own determination of who is an unauthorized alien, and it requires Arizona employers to use the Federal government’s own system for checking employee status,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in his defense of the Arizona law.

The nation’s high court may soon decide on another controversial Arizona law currently making its way through lower courts. The statute, which has been replicated by several States, would grant law enforcement officials more authority to arrest suspected illegal aliens.

Paul Fights For Patriot Act Amendment That Protects Gun Owners

Paul fights for Patriot Act amendment that protects gun ownersSenator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has sent a message to top-ranking Democrats: Scare tactics should not be used to advance legislation that compromises the Constitution.

On May 25, the freshman Congressman confronted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on the chamber floor after the Democrat accused Paul of threatening national security by delaying a vote on an extension of the Patriot Act. Paul, a Tea Party favorite, is attempting to tack on an amendment that protects the privacy of gun owners.

The Patriot Act, which is a series of anti-terrorism surveillance laws enacted after Sept. 11, 2001, is set to expire on May 27. Reid claimed that Paul’s efforts to add amendments may cause a brief lapse of the security policies, which would “be giving terrorists the opportunity to plot attacks against our country,” quoted by CNN.

Paul took exception to Reid’s statement, racing to the chamber’s floor to defend his actions. He said he was insulted by Reid’s claim that a defense of the Constitution was an open invitation to terrorist attacks.

Nonprofit group Gun Owners of America has praised Paul for standing up to Reid and fighting for the pro-gun amendment. The organization said that if Paul’s amendment is not accepted, the government would have warrantless access to a list of every gun buyer in the country.

PATRIOT Act Provisions Extended

Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate voted Thursday to pass a four-year extension of several provisions of the controversial PATRIOT Act.

POLITICO reported that President Barack Obama, unable to sign the extension into law in person while traveling in Europe, signed the bill into law using an autopen — a machine that replicates the President’s signature.

The bill passed the Senate 72-23, with four Republicans and 19 Democrats voting “no.” It passed in the House 250-153, with 31 Republicans voting “no” along with a majority of Democrats. Fifty-four Democrats supported the bill in the House.

“Freshman Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a PATRIOT Act opponent who had used procedural tactics to delay a final vote on the bill for much of the week, eventually worked out a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to get votes on two of his amendments — but not before Reid accused the libertarian, Tea-Party darling of ‘political grandstanding’ and trying to protect terrorists,” POLITICO reported. Both of Paul’s amendments were defeated.

“You don’t have to give up your liberty to catch criminals. You can catch criminals and terrorists and protect your liberty at the same time,” Paul said in a statement made on the Senate floor Thursday. “There is a balancing act that what we did in our hysteria after 9/11 was we didn’t do any kind of balancing act.”

Study: Whites Now Believe ‘Reverse Racism’ A Bigger Problem Than Anti-Black Racism

A new study shows many whites now believe they have replaced blacks as the primary victims of racial discrimination in America.

Both whites and blacks agree that anti-black discrimination has decreased over the past 60 years, according to researchers at Tufts University’s School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Business School. But the researchers found that whites believe so-called “reverse racism” is now a bigger problem than anti-black racism.

The study was conducted using a nationwide sample of 208 blacks and 209 whites. Researchers asked participants “to indicate the extent to which they felt blacks and whites were the targets of discrimination in each decade from the 1950s to the 2000s.”

The researchers found that white participants “believed that racism against whites has increased significantly as racism against blacks has decreased,” suggesting whites believe racial equality between blacks and whites to be a “zero-sum game,” in which one group’s gains correspond to another’s losses.

“It’s a pretty surprising finding when you think of the wide range of disparities that still exist in society, most of which show black Americans with worse outcomes than whites in areas such as income, home ownership, health and employment,” said Tufts Associate Professor of Psychology Samuel Sommers, who co-authored the study with Michael I. Norton of Harvard.

“These data are the first to demonstrate that not only do whites think more progress has been made toward equality than do blacks, but whites also now believe that this progress is linked to a new inequality — at their expense,” the researchers said.