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ANTI-STATE ANTI-WAR PRO-MARKET
Updated: 4 hours 1 min ago

As the Fukushima Disaster Worsens

18 hours 22 min ago

D’oh!

Scientists warned that an earthquake could take out Fukushima. The Japanese ignored the warning … and even tore down the natural seawall which protected Fukushima from tidal waves.

Fukushima is getting worse.  And see this and this.

Have the Japanese learned their lesson? Are they decommissioning nuclear plants which are built in dangerous environments?

Of course not!

Instead, they’re re-starting a nuclear plant near a volcano which is about to blow …

A month ago, there was an eruption at Mt. Ontake:

Screenshot from Youtube Video shot on September 29th of Mount erupting. 57 hikers were killed by the explosion

But – as Newsweek reports – a nuclear plant only 40 miles away will be re-started anyway:

Local officials have voted to reopen a nuclear plant in Japan, despite warnings of increased volcanic activity in the region from scientists.

The decision comes despite a warning on Friday that Japan’s Seismological Agency had documented an increase of activity in the Ioyama volcano, located 40 miles away from the power station.

***

Sendai will become the first Japanese nuclear plant to reopen in since 2011.

However the decision comes as scientific authorities warned of increased seismic activity on the island. Volcanologists have warned that the 2011 earthquake, which measured 9.0 on the Richter scale, may have increased the likelihood of volcanic activity throughout the region. [Background.]

Read the rest of the article

Dressing Up Is Not the Same as Dressing Well

18 hours 22 min ago

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Robert van Tongeren.

Some men make it look so easy, don’t they?

They seem to have a natural sense of what looks good on them and what doesn’t. But for you, the learning curve seems ever so steep.

You want to look your best, but you feel clueless about fashion and style, and nothing you try seems to fall together right.

Well, it’s not all your fault.

You were taught how to dress yourself when you were young, but I bet you were never taught how to dress well. Nobody ever taught you what makes an outfit work and what doesn’t. And now you’ve grown up with numerous bad style habits and misconceptions about how you should dress.

And you know what makes it worse?

The Internet will only confuse you more because it’s littered with misinformation, trivial fluff, and half-truths.

But don’t worry.

Today you’ll discover a few secrets that will clear some things up for you. These secrets will show you what works and what matters, and with them you’ll have a much easier time making sense of style.

And eventually you’ll be one of those men who make it look easy.

1. Dressing Up Isn’t the Same as Dressing Well

Too many men still believe dressing well is achieved by wearing dressier clothes. They believe wearing a suit, or a jacket, or — in some cases — a mere buttoned shirt will take their style up a notch.

These men only end up making the same mistakes, except on dressier (and often, more expensive) clothes. But in the end, they barely look any better.

Other men are crippled by this assumption. They change nothing at all because they’re uncomfortable with the idea of abandoning their casual look.

But take a look at what you’re wearing right now. I guarantee you can make it look better than you make it look now, even if you’re just wearing your everyday pair of jeans and a T-shirt.

Maybe you can get them in a better fit, or maybe a different color will look better on you. Maybe you’re wearing a “funny” tee and you can trade it for something more mature.

If you’re not ready to step too far outside your comfort zone, it’s fine to start with what you know. A well-chosen pair of jeans and T-shirt will still look better than a poorly-chosen suit.

2. One Item That Fits is Worth Ten That Don’t

Clothes that fit properly are nearly impossible to find off the rack — especially shirts and jackets. Yet the fit of your clothes largely determines whether they make you look sharp or sloppy.

However, even men who know the importance of fit often refuse to invest in a tailor. They’d rather spend their money on additional clothes than on adjustments to make the clothes they have fit perfectly.

But isn’t it better to have a few shirts that make you look sharp rather than dozens that make you look sloppy? If so, having your clothes adjusted as needed is a better investment than just buying more and more clothes.

Just try it with one shirt and you’ll see what a difference it makes.

3. Avoiding Colors Can Make Dressing Well Easier

To make an outfit look good, you have to balance a lot of factors, which can be hard for a rookie. You have a lot to keep in mind.

But you don’t need to learn it all at once.

The most effective way to learn any skill is through focused practice and steady advancement. And just like any other skill, you can learn how to dress better by taking it one step at a time. All you need to do is set constraints.

For example, many men struggle with matching colors, but you can postpone that struggle by only allowing yourself to wear one item of color at a time and keeping the rest neutral (i.e., white, grey, or khaki). This way, you can focus on other factors without having to worry about matching the wrong colors.

In fact, you could completely avoid colors, patterns, or any strong textures at first and focus fully on getting the fit and proportions right. Then you can loosen the reins one step at a time, allowing yourself to wear one color, then one pattern, then two colors, etc.

The more constraints you set, the easier it becomes. (And if you’re worried about looking bland, know that I often get the most compliments on my simplest outfits.)

4. Being Unique is Overrated

Many men who want to change their style are obsessed with dressing differently than everyone else. They don’t want to wear the same kinds of clothes as other people. They want to have a unique style that stands out — but most of the time this makes them stick out like a sore thumb instead.

I always recommend starting with basic, timeless clothes, like solid white tees or navy blazers. But a lot of guys react by letting me know these clothes are too common for them. They’d rather get something that’s different.

But guess what?

Read the rest of the article.

Investors Give Their Savings to Congress

18 hours 22 min ago

I begin with a chart. This tracks the yield curve for U.S. Treasury debt. The curve is the interest rate that investors are paid to turn their money over the the Treasury, meaning to Congress.

This curve looks very steep. It is very steep. But take a closer look at it. The top rate is just above 3%. This is for 30-year T-bonds. This means that investors trust the U.S. Congress to to the right thing for the next 30 years. A net return of 3% (before taxes) for 30 years is seen as a wise investment. After federal taxes, top-bracket investors will receive 1.8% on their money — less, if we factor in state income taxes. This assumes that Congress will not raise taxes.

This means that the smartest investors on earth think that the best deal they can get on their money is 1.8%, denominated in U.S. dollars. But if long-term rates rise, they will suffer capital losses. The market value of T-bonds moves inversely to the movement of long-term rates. Today, long-term T-bond rates are at their lowest in post-War history. Problem: price inflation will raise long-term rates, because investors will demand higher rates to protect them from a more rapidly depreciating dollar. So, the banking system must not inflate for the next 30 years.

Are you with me so far? So far, how likely does this scenario strike you?

If you turn your money over to Congress for a year, you will be paid a tenth of a percent, which is taxable at the rate applied to regular income. Top bracket investors will pay 39%. Those turning their money over for 90 days will receive 0.03% before taxes.

Now let’s look at price inflation. This table is published monthly by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. I use the Median CPI, which is more stable, month to month, than the CPI.

So, anyone who has lent money to Congress over the last 12 months has suffered about a 2.2% loss of wealth. There is little likelihood that price increases over the next 12 months will be zero. Figure at least a 1.3% increase. So, in order to be paid (taxable) a tenth of a percent — far less, if they lend in 90-day-intervals — investors will lose 1.3% on this investment.

We are told that this economy is in recovery mode. This recovery rests on an assumption: American investors will continue to roll over the federal government’s debt of about $12.8 trillion.

Why will investors continue to give away their wealth to Congress on a permanent basis? Because, we are told, U.S. Treasury debt is the closest thing to zero-risk debt on earth. Treasury debt means IOU’s issued by Congress.

Congress.  Zero risk. Same sentence.

Debt held by the public includes debt held by the Federal Reserve System.

On October 29, 2014, the Federal Reserve announced that it will no longer buy any new debt. Quantitative easing has ended for now.

Meaning: from now on, investors outside the U.S. government must pick up the slack. They must intervene to donate wealth to Congress on a permanent basis, so that Treasury interest rates do not rise.

Congress needs the money, it says. It does not want to pay positive real interest rates — after-inflation rates. It relies on these donations. It expects to receive these donations. After all, it has been given these donations for several years. Why should Congress expect anything different? Investors are charitable.

Charitable investors. Does this make sense? No. Then why do they do this?

I offer this suggestion: they do not think the economic recovery is sustainable. So, they hedge their bets. They donate wealth to Congress in the short run to protect themselves from Congress in the short run. Why? Because they do not trust Congress in the long run.

This is the new normal.

This is Keynesianism in 2014.

Congress expects this to become the normal normal from now on. It does not expect investors ever to seek a positive rate of return on the money they lend to Congress.

So far, Congress has been correct. We will now find out how long the new normal will last.

The 10 Highest-Paid Jobs

18 hours 22 min ago

The number of people working from home has surged in recent years. The economic downturn, coupled with changes in work patterns, means that freelancers have become the fastest growing group in the UK labour market.

There are now 4.2m home workers – a rise of 30pc from 1998, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Elance-oDesk, a jobs website which businesses use to hire freelancers across the world, says that 2.7m jobs are posted each year on its platform.

It has identifed the top 10 most lucrative freelance occupations in the UK, by hourly rate.

1. Voice talent – £68.16 per hour

Voiceover artists are most commonly used for how-to videos, help guides and adverts. While some travel to a main studio to record scripts, many work from a home studio and send files electronically.

2. Infographic design – £44.72 per hour

The skill of presenting complex information in a sharable way is highly sought after, says Elance.

3. Finance writing – £37.95 per hour

Financial writers compile analysis or market commentary for publications. They can also write blog posts for companies, write up annual reports and even pen books.

Read the rest of the article

10 Movies That are Better

18 hours 23 min ago

I am a firm believer in the idea that reading a book is better than watching a film, because it allows your own imagination to make marvelous worlds and characters. Nevertheless, I concede that on a number of occasions, a film director has managed to take a great book and make it an even greater movie – sometimes it is better for us to watch the creations of someone else’s imagination. This is a list of ten such movies.

10 The Searchers John Ford, 1956

Original Story By: Alan Le May

Ethan Edwards, an ex-Confederate soldier from the Indian Wars, finds that his family has been massacred and his niece captured by the Comanches and vows to bring her back and kill everyone of the Indians who did this to him. He travels for five years in order to find her and when he does realizes even though she has been found she has become one of them. The Searchers was ranked #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Western” in June 2008.

Interesting Fact: Lana Wood played young Debbie Edwards and Natalie Wood, who was Lana’s older sister by eight years, played teenaged Debbie Edwards.

9 Psycho Alfred Hitchcock, 1960

Original Story By: Robert Bloch

Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam’s California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel… This is a film that no one will dispute deserves a place on this list. It is perhaps the greatest horror movie across all generations.

Interesting Fact: When the cast and crew began work on the first day they had to raise their right hands and promise not to divulge one word of the story. Hitchcock also withheld the ending part of the script from his cast until he needed to shoot it.

8 Jaws Steven Spielberg, 1975

Original Story By: Peter Benchley

A Great White shark decides to make the small beach resort town of Amity his private feeding grounds. This greatly frustrates the town police chief who wants to close the beaches to chase the shark away. He is thwarted in his efforts by the town’s mayor who finally relents when nothing else seems to work and the chief, a scientist, and an old fisherman with revenge on his mind take to the sea to kill the beast. Jaws was a bestselling book for Peter Benchley, but it took the force of a movie to frighten generations away from the beaches!

Interesting Fact: After the shark was built, it was never tested in the water, and when it was put in the water at Martha’s Vineyard, it sank straight to the ocean floor. It took a team of divers to retrieve it.

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My World, 3 Years From Now

18 hours 23 min ago

I was just thinking what will I be involved in, or should be involved in, three years from now?

The world is moving too fast to project any further than that.

I am asking you the same question.  I just want you to think about this.  You don’t have to share back your thoughts.  But if you choose, I’d enjoy learning from what you have to say.

In the next 3 years I am thinking I will likely have moved my residence, either living outside of the country, or at least having found a second place to live outside of the usual reach of the masses, FEMA, etc.; or I may be in jail (too many enemies, domestic and professional), and have moved away from the online world (everything electronic is being watched).  However, I want to be “in the world, just not of it.”  I don’t want to be holed up some place where I am of no use to others.  As far as reach goes, whatever I have to offer others can be dispatched around the globe in a fraction of a second, and it can be electronically archived, but only 500+ million out of 7 billion can read it in their language.  If you reach all of those English-speaking people you are still a little fish in a big pond.

I am thinking I first need to aim myself in the right direction.  The specifics and details will take care of themselves.  I am thinking I need to move closer to the following, personally, investment-wise or otherwise.

Water

Energy

Gold and silver

Self-care; access to dietary supplements and knowledge how to use them

God/Bible

Liberty

Relationships, personal and business

Small as opposed to large

In the past 3 years I have seen 3 acquaintances begin to grow marijuana commercially.

In the past 3 years I have seen too many close friends lose their jobs and income and remain dismayed and paralyzed over their plight (except for Nick who lives at the end of my block and re-invented himself and started a business in rodent control that under his cunning management is growing wonderfully).

In the past 3 years I have had 3 close friends die, all prematurely, all unexpectedly, all beyond help from modern medicine (not accidental deaths).

In the past 3 tumultuous years I learned, no matter how much I tried to hold up the fence, it finally came tumbling down harder because of that.

In the past 3 years I’ve watched too many family members and in-laws become pathetically trapped by the sins and misdirections of their past.  Alcohol is at the top of the list.  Money mismanagement is another.  But nothing tops stupidity.

In the past 3 years I’ve learned most people can’t be helped. In particular, the most difficult things to change are a person’s diet and their religion.

In the past 3 years I’ve learned that just when you have figured out what life is all about you are too old to enjoy it.  Efforts to extend the health span counter that.

In the past 3 years I’ve learned that most people cannot make nor have ever made an independent decision how to manage their health, their money or their life or afterlife.  Most are pawns in the game of life, manipulated by forces they never question.  Most people cannot discern propaganda from truth, whether it is on TV or delivered from the pulpit.  When is God or the Devil speaking?

In the past 3 years I’ve watched some people become more bitter and very few more kind.  There are angry voices on my phone these days. Most of these are single middle-aged males.

In the past 3 years I’ve learned that when I engage lawyers, doctors, marketing experts, I end up having to give them a valuable lecture on what they should be doing instead of the other way around, and they still send ME the bill.

In the past 3 years I’ve been dismayed at the new heroes being paraded in front of American kids:  Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who never had a working business plan and who scammed the world by using other people’s content (family photos, stories, etc) to enrich himself; Elon Musk who hasn’t saved a drop of oil by making electric cars that have to be charged from sources that use oil to generate power; Warren Buffet, the investment billionaire and poster-boy for the investment world who is let in on investment opportunities you or I will never be offered; Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook whose only claim to fame is that she was on the right boat when it hit pay dirt.  All of these are material-minded, moral midgets, all elevated by their handlers on Wall Street.

Steve Jobs is a modern hero, particularly among the “techy” crowd.  But even his followers fail to see that brilliant Steve was felled by his lack of knowledge about personal health.  Oh, he tried alternatives and was belittled and was misled by the homeopaths who haven’t cured a single case of cancer to date.  In the end he was forced to rely on others in arrogant white coats to save him from his life-threatening disease when they had no cures in hand either.  He pushed the wrong button twice.

In the past 3 years I’ve learned not to cast my pearls before swine.  Only those who “have ears to hear” will benefit from whatever my lips have to say.  I’ve learned that those who are closest to you are the most likely to reject what you have to say.

In the past 3 years I’ve learned that fearful people make the worst decisions, self included.

In the past 3 years I’ve learned that self-indulgence should become the 8th deadly sin (lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy and pride are the first seven).

In the past 3 years I’ve learned towards the end of life we ought to devote ourselves to mentoring young people and catching kids in their formative years before they buy into the trappings of modern civilization.

In the past 3 years I’ve learned to ask, how can I release God’s words from my lips?

And your next 3 years?

Putin Demonized

18 hours 23 min ago

The idea that the United States must exercise “global leadership” is rationalized by our interventionists as a necessary prerequisite for maintaining some type of “world order.” Who will guard the sea lanes? Who will deter “aggression”? Who will defend the “rules” against those “rogue states” just waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc, if not the United States of America?

No “mainstream” politician dares challenge this mythology, and those academics and popular writers who do so risk being marginalized. Challenging the motives of our wise rulers isn’t good for your career: that is, not if you want to have any influence in Washington. And while it’s okay to question whether this episode of meddling or that murderous invasion is really in our interest, the benevolence and historical legitimacy of the American empire is not to be questioned. Because, after all, the theoreticians of imperialism say, without the stability enforced by America’s military supremacy “liberalism” could not exist.

This is how the world is seen inside the Washington Beltway, where the monuments of Empire loom large and more than half the population owes its livelihood to the Imperium. Outside that bubble of hubris and skyrocketing real estate values, however, the world looks to be quite a different place – as does America’s role in it.

To an Iraqi citizen, who has watched his nation be torn to pieces by the American eagle, stability is the last thing he associates with the Americans. To a Libyan who had hopes his country might evolve into something more than Gaddafi’s playground, “order” fled the moment the Americans intervened. To a resident of eastern Ukraine who voted in an internationally-recognized election for Victor Yanukovych – and who awoke one morning to discover his government had been overthrown by force – America is anything but the champion of liberal democracy.

But of course none of these peoples – Iraqis, Libyans, Ukrainians – count for much in the Imperial City. Their wishes, hopes, dreams, and opinions are irrelevant to the making of American foreign policy: they are outside the pale, forever exiled to that netherworld separating the West from the rest. And there is no race or nation farther outside that pale than the Russians, who lost the cold war and therefore – in Washington’s view – have ceded any power or influence they once had over the calculations of US policymakers.

Russia and the Russians are routinely demonized in Washington: they are the one people it is perfectly okay to hate – unless, that is, you are a member of “Pussy Riot,” or a has-been chess champion who’s taken up Russophobia as a second career. That is, unless you’re a traitor to your own country and allow yourself to be used as an instrument in Washington’s hands.

Naturally the number one hate object is Vladimir Putin, who is regularly characterized as either the reincarnation of Stalin, the second coming of Hitler, or, preferably, both. That’s because he doesn’t recognize the implications of Russia’s defeat in the cold war and still seems to think his opinions amount to something in the brave new unipolar world Washington is building.

No wonder the response to his recent speech at the “Valdai International Discussion Club” – an annual event in Russia – has been nothing short of hysterical. Yet even then, I was amazed to get this tweet from Jackson Diehl, the editorial chieftain of the Washington Post, announcing their editorial:

“We pore over his performance in Valdai, a poisonous mix of lies, conspiracy theories and anti-US vitriol.”

What does the editorial board of the Washington Post find so appalling? They are shocked – shocked! – that Mr. Putin wants Washington to “stay out of our affairs and to stop pretending they rule the world.” How dare he! Who does he think he is, anyway – a world leader of consequence, whose country is armed with nuclear weapons?

Read the rest of the article.

Increase T-Levels, Reduce Inflammation, More

18 hours 23 min ago

Propelled to fame as a result of a multitude of studies investigating the phytochemical properties of plant materials, resveratrol more than lives up to its reputation. This very unique antioxidant has been called a fountain of youth for its effectiveness against a variety of age-related diseases. In this post, we’re going to explore 7 reasons why you should get it regularly from your diet.

1. What Is It?

Resveratrol is a phenolic compound, a stilbene, created by plants in response to injury, infection, and fungal attack. It exists in two forms, the trans- and cis- molecule forms, with trans-resveratrol being the highly-absorbable form. The compound is regarded as having powerful antioxidant effects, thereby supporting health at the cellular level.

2. Unique Antioxidant

Unlike other antioxidants, resveratrol crosses the blood-brain barrier, offering support for the brain and nervous system. This allows for positive, direct support for neural health. A recent placebo-controlled study of 23 older adults observed significant improvements in memory among participants taking resveratrol, with the additional benefit of improved glucose metabolism. [1]

3. Mimics Caloric Restriction

Reducing calories by 30% supports health and longevity by stimulating low-level biological stressors. Resveratrol stimulates the creation of adiponectin, the same hormone observed to increase in individuals practicing caloric restriction. [2] This hormone promotes metabolic and cardiovascular health through weight loss, lipid metabolism, and the regulation of blood sugar levels. Although the long-term effects of caloric restriction in humans continues to be evaluated, it has shown to advance longevity by 40% or more in some species.

4. Suppresses Inflammation

Numerous studies have noted resveratrol’s ability to reduce oxidative stress from free radical damage. One 2011 placebo-controlled study evaluated the response of 20 human volunteers (10 in each group) to resveratrol and placebo over 6 weeks of treatment. Those in the test group enjoyed reduced oxidative stress and lower levels of inflammation commonly associated with numerous age-related diseases. [3]

Read the rest of the article.

 

Is Ebola Airborne?

18 hours 23 min ago

This video is a short summary of the literature resulting from 19 different laboratory studies (the list of which are on the YouTube site).

Bottom line – it’s more airborne than we are being led to believe. So expect and plan for the unexpected.

(Video time: 6:29)

The Obamaverse

18 hours 23 min ago

Six years after he was first elected President of the United States, Barack Obama remains something of an enigma to the public he presides over.

Ironically, this isn’t due to the President being particularly reticent about himself. After all, judging from his two books, the subject Obama finds most enthralling is Obama. For example, Obama’s 2012 eulogy for Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), the Japanese-American war hero, used 48 first person pronouns or adjectives (such as “I,” “me,” or “my”) to recount how the young Obama had noticed Inouye on TV.

Understandably, Obama hasn’t been in any hurry to answer his political opponents’ questions, toying with them for years over his birth certificate. Meanwhile, few of his supporters have felt much urge to ask him the detailed questions about his background that he’d probably love to expound upon at length. As Obama has explained, being a “blank screen” upon which voters can project their political fantasies has its advantages.

One reason for this obscurity is that aspects of Obama’s personal background are genuinely exotic to almost all Americans, which limits the quality of questions. For example, Obama’s Indonesian connections – as a child he lived in Jakarta from 1967-1971, shortly after the notorious massacre of Communists and Chinese; then in the 1980s Obama came fairly close to marrying a wealthy Australian woman with striking family ties to the highest circles of power in Indonesia—are perplexing to even the best-informed Americans.

Indonesia is an immense country (current population: a quarter of a billion), but it’s culturally remote from America. For instance, there are almost no prominent Indonesian-Americans (the Van Halen brothers, who are one-quarter Indonesian, may come closest). Movies about Indonesian history well-known in the West are limited to two curious ones about the downfall of the leftist ruler Sukarno in 1965 and the subsequent slaughter of Communists: The Year of Living Dangerously and last year’s documentary The Act of Killing.

Democrats, even Obama, don’t find Indonesians terribly interesting. It’s impossible to imagine Obama achieving anything in Democratic politics if he had not suddenly switched in the mid-1980s from what his friends called an “international” or “multicultural” identity to being Our First Black President.

And Republicans have generally found Indonesia a frustrating dead end in tying Obama to Islam or Communism. For example, the President’s stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, child of a wealthy Indonesian family, eventually died of liver failure at age 52, which doesn’t suggest he was terribly devout about abstaining from alcohol.

Read the rest of the article.

Small Business Cash Is Routinely Looted

18 hours 23 min ago

The new trick the IRS has been doing is attacking small mom and pop businesses on a ROUTINE basis. The number of reports coming in from around the country are outrageous where small businesses deposit daily receipts under $10,000 kicks off their rule about what is known as “structuring” – depositing money under $10,000 or withdrawing that cash to avoid reporting by banks to the IRS.

If you deposit $10,000 or more, the bank must report the transaction to the Internal Revenue Service, and you’ll need to explain where you got the money. Don’t even think about dividing the cash into smaller amounts to stay below this limit, because the IRS can investigate you for structuring, which is an attempt to prevent the bank from reporting your deposit. Structuring is illegal. Even if you earned the money through legal channels and paid the necessary taxes, the IRS can charge you with criminal activity and take your money.

The IRS will now just seize your accounts and it becomes your burden to get your money back and that you were not STRUCTURING. Good luck. To simply deposit regularly small amounts of money means you are more likely than not never going to see that money again. Whatever you have in your bank accounts, the entire thing, will be taken by the IRS leaving you penniless. The problem that is developing is that more and more small businesses are being forced into bankruptcy because of the IRS. Try and get your money back and it will take months if you have the lawyers.

The accounts of Carole Hinders, pictured above, at her small cash-only Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, Iowa. The NY Times reported how last year tax agents seized her funds. Small business is so often attacked by tax authorities both federal and state all because these people are dead broke and are hunting money desperately.

The IRS is desperate for money and they are hunting loose change everywhere. Judges are ruling in their favor routinely for their salaries and pensions are also at stake. They are looking to regulate your accountant and where they want to go is to compel them eventually to turn you in if your avoid taxes. They are seeking somehow to break the bonds of client confidentiality.

Read the rest of the article.

Imperial Foreign Policy

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 02:01

The U.S. never demobilized after the Cold War ended. It constructed new missions for its military. It adopted a new post-Cold War strategy but kept its military forces intact.

Americans received no peace dividend. To the contrary, as the years have passed and America’s wars have proliferated, Americans have expended enormous wealth.

The war policies of Barack Obama and George W. Bush grew out of defense plans of the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations. These plans maintained the Cold War mentality. This involved the U.S. constantly being heavily armed against foes and enemies. The Defense Department planners transmuted “Global threats” of the Cold War into “regional challenges and opportunities.” These plans retained a U.S. military force structure suitable for a wartime situation, rather than the actual peacetime situation.

In order to keep the U.S. on a military footing despite being at peace, these plans replaced the Soviet Union with an array of other justifications.  They appealed to such goals as maintaining regional stability, being able to fight two wars, defending American overseas interests in natural resources, warding off foreign threats, fighting terrorism and preventing the emergence of rivals. The planners multiplied missions and magnified their importance.

In the past, no such goals had ever prevented the U.S. from demobilizing and returning to a peacetime posture. None of these goals was ever serious enough or regarded as so serious as to require that the U.S. be on a continuous war footing. The U.S. had not before regarded itself as a sole superpower. It had not conceived itself as having these missions to fulfill, with the attendant military superiority and applications of force that they implied.

It is argued below that the defense policy plans were constructed so as to justify the military. The justifications and arguments they contained failed to reflect all sorts of realities. Consequently, when put into practice, they have failed miserably. They have not lived up to the aspirations of the planners.

In its planning, the U.S. established  missions for itself that relied on war and force. The missions were broad, open-ended, vague, and subject to interpretation. They opened up into new pro-active vistas. The language of the plans often sounded innocuous or even sensible and reasonable, but they were disturbing in many ways. Carrying over the Cold War mentality, they blithely referred to democracy as if it were a criterion of goodness and as if peace required its extension everywhere. American interests everywhere were taken for granted. The plans were  global in scope. The seeds of pre-emptive warfare were planted.

In the January, 1993 document containing “Defense Strategy for the 1990s”, Dick Cheney would write

“Together with our allies, we must preclude hostile nondemocratic powers from dominating regions critical to our interests and otherwise work to build an international environment conducive to our values.”

Plans to extend NATO were in place:

“The second goal is to strengthen and extend the system of defense arrangements that binds democratic and like-minded nations together in common defense against aggression…”

The U.S. planned full spectrum dominance everywhere. Any country that the U.S. regarded as nondemocratic became an automatic threat, especially if its region contained resources that the U.S. regarded as critical:

“The third goal is to preclude any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests, and also thereby to strengthen the barriers against the reemergence of a global threat to the interests of the United States and our allies. These regions include Europe, East Asia, the Middle East/Persian Gulf, and Latin America. Consolidated, nondemocratic control of the resources of such a critical region could generate a significant threat to our security.”

Defense was redefined to include activities that involved social and political changes in foreign regions under the theory that doing this produced a good known as reduced regional instability. The U.S. would spread democracy in its own defense. Under the umbrella of national security policy, the U.S. would see fit to meddle in all sorts of way and in all sorts of regions and countries:

“The fourth goal is to help preclude conflict by reducing sources of regional instability and to limit violence should conflict occur. Within the broader national security policy of encouraging the spread and consolidation of democratic government and open economic systems, the Defense Department furthers these ends through efforts to counter terrorism, drug trafficking, and other threats to internal democratic order, assistance to peacekeeping efforts; the provision of humanitarian and security assistance; limits on the spread of militarily significant technology, particularly the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction along with the means to deliver them; and the use of defense-to-defense contacts to assist in strengthening civil-military institutions and encourage reductions in the economic burden of military spending.”

Pre-emption and spreading democracy became part of U.S. doctrine:

“Our strategy is designed to preclude threats and to encourage trends that advance U.S. security objectives in the future. This is not simply within our means; it is critical to our future security…If we and other leading democracies continue to build a democratic security community, a much safer world is likely to emerge.”

In 2002, David Armstrong identified some of the U.S. defense planning and strategy documents that have guided major elements of U.S. foreign policy for about the past 25 years. He identified the men directly responsible for drawing up these plans and strategies as Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld. Some of these documents are available here, here, here, and here. As time went on, the plans and strategies evolved. In May of 1997, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen issued a new Quadrennial Defense Review.

In a journal article published in 2011, Alexandra Homolar writes that between 1989 and 1995, these formal defense reviews

“provided a medium for political bargaining between key actors in the defence policymaking community which enabled the maintenance of core elements of the status quo. This bargaining process lead to a rearticulation of actors’ interests that in turn enabled a new strategic consensus to emerge that preserved many of the principal pillars of US Cold War defence policy, the linchpin of which was a shared belief in the need to maintain an absolute superiority in US military power.”

She also identifies Powell, Cheney and Wolfowitz as key players. Les Aspin resisted the direction being taken, but Bill Clinton acceded. She concludes

“…all major defence reviews in the post-Cold War era have underlined the US status as the sole military superpower and the will to persist as the world’s preeminent military power as well as the willingness to resort to the use of military force, despite a strategic environment where manifest military threats to US interests appeared to have declined substantially. In short, the maintenance of ‘unipolarity’ quickly became defined as a central objective of US defence policy in the post-Cold War era…At the same time, this reconfiguration of US strategic objectives served to avert radical changes within the US defence establishment.”

These defense plans that embody the Cheney-Powell-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz (CPRW) strategy would lead to the U.S. war policies of the twenty-first century. They would lead to the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya among others. They would lead to the effort to oust Syria’s government, to sanctions on Iran and Russia, and to drone warfare in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. They would lead to the blowback of 9/11 and to the Islamic State. They would lead to the Department of Homeland Security, to the growth of the national security state, and to the TSA. They would lead to confrontation with Russia over Ukraine and to a Pacific “pivot” that confronts China. They would lead to AFRICOM.

The planners saw their plans as relevant for the next 100 years, and they have not yet been proven incorrect in their assessment. Even though these plans in practice have produced enormous failures that can be traced back to the false assumptions and mistaken ideas of the planners, the U.S. government has yet to acknowledge its failures much less alter its basic presumptions.

Under the Cheney-Powell-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz (CPRW) strategy, a huge military is kept alive and U.S. policy is reshaped around that military force. The CPRW strategy creates a military force structure that’s not needed for maintaining peace or for security. This has major negative effects. For one thing, the U.S. government then has options to apply military force throughout the world. The missions are so broad that the government has the option of making continuous war, but more importantly it has the option of making war at junctures that favor swaying domestic political outcomes. War at chosen junctures brings certain benefits to government officials, including a way to re-align domestic political opposition and a way to win elections. The result is wars being made for political purposes. Second, politicians who have their own personal reasons for making war have a ready-made tool to do so. Third, any group with the skill to work the levers of government power or convince officials can instigate wars for its own reasons. Project for a New American Century (PNAC) did just that. Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were also associated with PNAC. These groups can mobilize important segments of the public in support of their aims. Fourth, even if war is avoided, the U.S. government stands ready to intervene in almost any country for almost any reason. This meddling has very high costs. Beside being difficult to reverse, it ties the U.S. into local and regional predicaments that the U.S. cannot resolve. Where a regional hegemon might be able to keep order, the U.S. cannot. Regional instability rises.

The CPRW strategy created a standing war-making machine, and a standing war-making machine is an invitation to the making of war. Consequently, the wrong wars in the wrong places and for the wrong reasons become more probable. Wars for non-rational reasons or without rational calculation of the war’s costs and benefits become more likely. Because it provides the military means, the CPRW strategy encourages government and those who influence government to push other nations around and dominate them in the name of doing good. At the same time, the CPRW strategy reflects this aim to begin with.

A tremendous gulf divides the lofty CPRW strategy of the elite defense establishment from the results that have actually occurred on the ground when these plans were put into practice.

“But Mousie, thou art no thy lane, In proving foresight may be vain: The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!”

 

Instead of a safer world, the world is less safe. Cheney’s defense document contains one erroneous statement after another, which explains why his best-laid schemes went astray. For example, he wrote

“One of the primary tasks we face today in shaping the future is carrying long standing alliances into the new era, and turning old enmities into new cooperative relationships. If we and other leading democracies continue to build a democratic security community, a much safer world is likely to emerge.”

Extending NATO’s life and range to Russia’s borders didn’t make Russia more cooperative. How could it possibly do so? Withdrawing from the ABM treaty didn’t achieve that end either. How could it do anything but interfere with cooperation? The U.S. built and extended its “democratic security community”, but that hasn’t made the world safer.

Cheney opined that

“Our fundamental belief in democracy and human rights gives other nations confidence that our significant military power threatens no one’s aspirations for peaceful democratic progress.”

How believable is it that the U.S. could grow in strength but others would not feel threatened? That might well be a first in human history, but Cheney thought that American exceptionalism (its “fundamental belief in democracy and human rights”) assured this result. How could other nations not feel threatened when the U.S. in practice used its military power to violate human rights and to violate international law?

Cheney’s thinking in this 1993 document, which was U.S. official doctrine, made this assertion:

“Similarly, NATO’s new strategy not only reflects an adjustment to the reduced threat environment in Europe but equally it reassures our former adversaries of the truly defensive nature of the NATO alliance.”

The NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999 showed how wrong his thinking was. The role of NATO in the Libyan campaign provided a further instance. NATO’s response to the Ukrainian conflict makes total hash out of this statement.

One last example of many that could be cited shows again that the U.S. plans were shaped without sufficient regard to realities. The documents live in a rarified world of their own in which the writers seem to think that what they express about the world actually makes it so. It doesn’t. Their ignorance of everything involved is so vast that they could not help but go wrong. Cheney wrote

“Our ability to reduce sources of regional instability and to limit violence should conflict occur also is critical to shaping the environment This includes, for example, updating our strategy to counter the proliferation of militarily significant technology, particularly the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction along with the means to deliver them. Our traditional export control efforts must not only be updated and strengthened in this new era, but supplemented by political dissuasion, bilateral and multilateral negotiations, and inspection and destruction missions, as illustrated in the case of Iraq.”

There was a fixation on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction revealed here and elsewhere in the thought of American defense planners. They seem to have lost all sense of proportion. Accompanying this was the sense that it was up to the U.S. to “reduce sources of regional instability”. Why? And could it be done? Cheney was intent on “shaping the environment”, another fixation. Why attempt this? Was this really necessary for security of Americans? Is it even feasible? Were Cheney and his planners even cognizant of the difficulties in doing so? He thought this was “critical”. Why? How much difference does it really make to Americans if various regions have changes or instability? Isn’t this as old as the hills?

Here we have Cheney piling up one erroneous, distorted or wild idea atop another. Eventually these ideas would lead him and Bush to an attack on Iraq. These ideas could be made to sound sensible and logical by practitioners of the art of persuasion on talk shows, interviews and speeches; but they are all flawed and they led to disaster, it being widely thought, as is easy to document, that the decision to invade Iraq was a huge policy blunder.

The CPRW plans and strategy are official U.S. policy to this date. They are a loser.

Feds To Import More Foreign Ebola Carriers

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 02:01

The State Department has quietly made plans to bring Ebola-infected doctors and medical aides to the U.S. for treatment, according to an internal department document that argued the only way to get other countries to send medical teams to West Africa is to promise that the U.S. will be the world’s medical backstop, reports the Washington Times and FOX News.

“The United States needs toshow leadership and act as we are asking others to act by admitting certain non-citizens into the country for medical treatment for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) during the Ebola crisis,” says the four-page memo, which lists as its author Robert Sorenson, deputy director of the Office of International Health and Biodefense in the Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science at the US State Department .

This news is stunning. I have already made clear that I believe from a libertarian position there is justification for putting people from Ebola countries, who want to travel in the US, in quarantine for 21 days (42?) upon arriving here. (SEE: NY and NJ Institute Mandatory Quarantines for At-Risk Travelers from Ebola Hot Spots: A Libertarian Perspective).

Please keep in mind what this proposal suggests: The same organization, the United States government, that has brought us such failures as the Central Disease Control. FEMA and the Iraq war, wants to bring Ebola patients to the US.

I am not sure what this insanity is about. Could it be money?

I recently talked to an individual, before this State Department proposal news broke, who spent 35 years in Africa working on different diseases. He told me that diseases in African countries are a historic moneymaker for leaders.

He told me all kinds of stories of corruption, including his first hand knowledge of major supplies of AIDS drugs headed for Uganda that were diverted and sold on the black market in various Asian countries, including South Korea.

Are there any indications that there will be moneymakers out of this desire to import Enola patients into the United States?  There are many things probably going on but there is this just out from USAID:

In addition to providing a high-level of care in Liberia, the Department of State has entered into a commercial contract that provides the capability to evacuate up to two patients requiring biocontainment per week based on suspected or confirmed Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), if medically necessary, and on a reimbursable basis.  This capacity has so far met the demand for EVD medical evacuation from West Africa; we expect to add a second MEDEVAC aircraft by early November.

The Department of State may make this service available on a reimbursable basis to International Organizations, to partner foreign governments, to private voluntary organizations registered with and approved by USAID, and to the American Red Cross.   There must be a signed binding agreement in place with the Department of State prior to this service being made available….

The cost of evacuating a patient with EVD is high and likely to exceed international MEDEVAC insurance coverage.  To help encourage NGO workers to join the fight against Ebola, USAID, the WHO and other partners are establishing a mechanism to help defray the non-covered costs of evacuation for international personnel responding to the Ebola epidemic who become infected, when the cost of evacuation would exceed insurance or employer-covered amounts.

A joint statement on Ebola was released last month by  G-7 Foreign Ministers, it included this:

We agree to provide the best possible care for international health care workers in the event they contract the virus. To this end, G7 countries will coordinate capabilities and resources to help to ensure appropriate treatment locally as well as for airborne medical evacuation and hospitalization of infected international health care workers taking due account of the EU initiative in this field.

So who lhas this contract?  University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy provides background:

The four Ebola patients who have been evacuated from West Africa to the United States have all been flown by Phoenix Air of Carterville, Ga., which has two Gulfstream III business jets that are specially equipped to carry such patients at minimal risk to others on the plane.

Other aircraft that are properly equipped to transport Ebola patients are very scarce, according to US mission organizations that have arranged evacuations for a few of their workers in West Africa.”

There are only two jets in the world with the current system, and we own both of them,” said Dent Thompson, vice president of Phoenix Air, which has served as the airlift provider for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for about 8 years…Ken Isaacs of Samaritan’s Purse…said the evacuations of [Dr. Kent] Brantly and Nancy Writebol, another American aid worker, cost $200,000 each…Under a government contract, Phoenix Air was asked to develop an “Aeromedical Biocontainment System,” or ABCS, to transport patients with an airborne-contagious disease, Thompson explained.

Developing the system was a collaboration of Phoenix Air with the CDC and biodefense experts in the Department of Defense (DoD), he said. The CDC provided medical expertise, while DoD provided many of the protective devices involved…The State Department has played a key role in arranging the Ebola evacuations…

“They reached out to me and suggested I call Phoenix Air,” said Isaacsof Samaritan’s Purse .

What else does Phoenix Air do?

It has a military ops division. From their web site:

Phoenix Air’s military contracting division – the Phoenix Force – is a world leader in providing real-time threat training to military fighter aircraft, ships and air surveillance units.  Phoenix Air uses it’s proven and affordable training wing – which includes a wide range of aircraft and state-of-the-art combat training equipment – to sharpen the edge of military organizations.

The Phoenix Force has served the U.S. Department of Defense, NATO and other militaries around the world for more than 20 years, providing realistic electronic attack, target towing, radar/communications jamming and range surveillance, among other services.  A prime contractor to the U.S. Navy and NATO, Phoenix Air’s “Gray Birds” and other specially equipped aircraft are deployed around the world providing real-time adversarial services and threat training on a contract basis.

And, then, Dan Thompson, a Phoenix Air spokesman, told Mashable this:

We do a lot of very unique programs that involve aviation for various federal agencies, this is simply one of many contracts that we hold. We do a lot of weird stuff.

Mashable also reports that  databases show the company won contracts in 2013 from the Defense Department, Interior Department, and the Department of Health and Human Services, which operates the CDC. It has also performed aviation services on behalf of the Justice Department and NASA.

Mashable goes on:

Some of the company’s contracts from 2013 include passenger airlift services for U.S. Africa Command, jet flight services for the Navy, and numerous listings for air ambulance services.

“We just quietly live in the background and provide aviation and aviation services,” Thompson said. “This was — believe it or not — not that unusual for us; it’s just gotten a lot of media attention.”…

Here’s some really fun facts via a 2008 article at Corporate Counsel:

[F]ederal regulations prohibit transporting explosives by air. But Phoenix has been granted an exemption because of its work for the government moving dangerous cargo. On an “unclassified background” fact sheet Phoenix Air lists, Phoenix Air lists transporting, among other things: weapons grade nuclear materials from Tripoli, Libya, to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico; live smallpox virus from Europe to Ft. Detrick, Md., for development of additional vaccine; and Soviet-designed land mines from Zagreb, Croatia, to the U.S.

And, naturally, Shannowatch has Phoenix Air linked to  to CIA extraordinary rendition flights, specifically Learjet 35, registration N541PA, Learjet 35, registration N547PA, LearJet 36, registered as N71PG and LearJet 35, registered as N54PA.

There you have it. A very mysterious airline, with all kinds of military contracts, will get what appears to be $200,000 per Ebola-infected patient it flies to the United States. In other words, Ebola meets the military-industrial complex.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Want To Stay Healthy?


Thu, 10/30/2014 - 02:01

Tis the season for the flu shot propaganda machine to rev into high gear, as Big Pharma, the CDC, and the mainstream media urge people to roll up their sleeves and have toxins like mercury and formaldehyde injected into them, all in the name of “staying healthy this winter.”

There’s a much easier way to stay healthy that also involves toxins – the ones in our food supply. Only I recommend avoiding them instead of injecting them directly into your body.

If you consume processed foods on a regular basis, you’re forcing your immune system to work to protect you against the things you are ingesting, instead of fighting off viruses and germs.

Many people thoughtlessly poison themselves every single day. They have some white sugar and fluoride in the morning coffee. They have some MSG-laden, highly salted saturated fat at lunch and wash it down with a neurotoxic, artificially sweetened drink. Dinner gets picked up at a convenient drive-thru window, and it’s enriched with more MSG and some GMO high fructose corn syrup. Don’t even get me started on that late night snack in front of the TV. Most of what typical Americans eat can hardly even be considered actual food.

This isn’t just some far-fetched conspiracy theory.  A recent study published in the Nutrition Journafocused on the effects of a junk food diet on the human immune system. Dr. Ian Miles, a physician at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, concluded that ingredients such as refined sugars, salt, saturated fat, artificial sweeteners, gluten, and genetically modified foods, all negatively impacted the human body, and led to to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increased risk for allergic and auto-inflammatory disease. On top of that, beneficial cut bacteria is disturbed, leading to a more vulnerable immune system.

The bottom line is, when you’re poisoning your system instead of nourishing it, you are working at cross-purposes with your body.

Here are the things to avoid if you want to stay healthy:

Hydrogenated fat

These are the highly processed “bad fats”.  Anything that says “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” is a fat that has been processed to add hydrogen. This keeps the fat hard at room temperature and works as a cheap, less perishable substitute for butter in processed foods. The increased rigidity in these fat molecules causes them to get “stuck” in your arteries, and can lead to heart disease, cancer, and decreased immune function. The World’s Healthiest Foods, a not-for-profit website, explains further:

Unsaturated fats have various wavy or zigzag forms (called “cis-” forms) that contribute to more flexible arteries and other body structures. Hydrogenated fats also have bent molecular shapes, but hydrogenated fats are bent in the mirror-opposite direction (which is why they are called “trans-” forms) of naturally occurring unsaturated fats. For this reason, hydrogenated fats are difficult for the body to “grab onto” and metabolize, and can neither be incorporated into cell structures nor excreted in the normal fashion. Thus, hydrogenated or “trans-” fats tend to remain “stuck” in blood circulation, becoming oxidized and most importantly, contributing significantly to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and possibly also cancer.

Cottonseed, palm, soy, and corn oils are the most common hydrogenated fats. Margarine is also frequently made from hydrogenated fats.

Refined sugar

The bottom line is: refined sugar inhibits phagocytosis. This process that you may never have heard of is your immune system’s secret weapon. Encyclopedia Brittanica defines phagocytosis:

Living cells called phagocytes ingest or engulf other cells or particles. The phagocyte may be a free-living one-celled organism, such as an amoeba, or one of the body cells, such as a leukocyte (white blood cell). In some forms of animal life, such as amoebas and sponges, phagocytosis is a means of feeding; in higher animals phagocytosis is chiefly a defensive reaction against infection and invasion of the body by foreign substances (antigens).

The particles commonly phagocytosed by leukocytes include bacteria, dead tissue cells, protozoa, various dust particles, pigments, and other minute foreign bodies.

Renowned pediatrician Dr. Bill Sears discussed the immunity-sapping effects of processed sugar on his website.

Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of two- and-a-half 12-ounce cans of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40 percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system.

You can still indulge your sweet tooth with healthier options like honey, maple syrup, or minimally processed organic sugar (but never, never artificial sweetener – see the next entry!)

Artificial sweetener

The FDA doesn’t seem to agree, but artificial sweeteners are incredibly toxic. Currently approved are saccharine, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, and acesulfame K. Despite their approval by the FDA, these highly processed additives are regarded with great suspicion.  Studies show direct correlations to cancer, neurological issues, digestive problems and negative impact on gut flora. One artificial in particular, sucralose, causes the thymus gland to shrink, which can directly impact the immune system, according to Modern Alternative Health.

Research has shown sucralose can cause shrinking of the thymus gland, an important immune system regulator, and liver and kidney dysfunction. A recent study by Duke University found sucralose reduces healthy intestinal bacteria, which are needed for proper digestion and can impact the effectiveness of prescription and other drugs.

Dr. Joseph Mercola also points the finger at sucralose (aka Splenda):

The theory that Splenda may be a culprit in the rise of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) appears to be a reasonable one, echoing the results from a 2008 study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health,2 which discovered that Splenda:

  • Increases the pH level in your intestines, and
  • Reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50 percent!

In the featured paper, the author states that sucralose has a potent inhibitory effect on your gut bacteria and inactivates digestive protease. It also alters gut barrier function. All in all, this may help explain the pronounced increase in IBD in Canada since its introduction into the food supply.

Believe me, if you keep destroying up to half of your gut flora by regularly consuming Splenda, then poor health is virtually guaranteed! Making matters worse, most people are already deficient in healthy bacteria due to excessive consumption of highly processed foods, which is why a high quality probiotic supplement is a good idea for most people. If you add sucralose to an already unbalanced intestinal tract, health problems are very likely to ensue…

GMOs

Genetically engineered ingredients are in more than 80% of the processed offerings on grocery store shelves. Big Agri and the FDA insist that these items are not hazardous to your health, but many, many studies disagree. These studies aren’t the ones that are touted all over mainstream mouthpieces like Forbes Magazine, however, because there’s a vast amount of money to be made from GMOs.

Back in 2009, the Institute for Responsible Technology rang the warning bell with regard to GMO ingredients:

On May 19th, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on “Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.”[They called for a moratorium on GM foods, long-term independent studies, and labeling. AAEM’s position paper stated, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. They conclude, “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation,” as defined by recognized scientific criteria. “The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.”

…Among the population, biologist David Schubert of the Salk Institute warns that “children are the most likely to be adversely effected by toxins and other dietary problems” related to GM foods. He says without adequate studies, the children become “the experimental animals.”

Since there is no law requiring that GMO foods bear a warning label, the best way to avoid them is to limit processed foods, know the most likely GMOs (corn and soy), and look for the Non-GMO Verified label.

MSG

This popular additive can be found in…well, pretty much everything. It “enhances flavor” to make the cheapest ingredients seem delicious.  MSG can increase the production of histamines (an allergic/immune response) and also increases inflammation. Not everyone is allergic to MSG, but on varying levels, most people are sensitive to it. There’s a direct link between histamine production, inflammation, and a weakened immune system. MSGtruth explains:

Recent research from Johns Hopkins links nervous system overstimulation to the immune response.  Immune response includes the release of histamine and white blood cells.  The  immune response allows the blood vessels to become “leaky” so that the white blood cells can get to the site of the injury.  This flood of fluid leaving the blood vessels and entering the tissue is what we recognize as swelling.

Fluoride

If your community “supplements” tap water with fluoride, it may be decreasing your immune function.  The following excerpts are from a study published in the journal Complementary Medical Research.

“Fluoride is one of the most toxic inorganic chemicals in the Earth’s crust, but it is believed that at a concentration of 1ppm, or 1m g/mL in public water supplies, and at the concentrations used in dental preparations, it is both safe and beneficial to teeth. However, with increasing experience, doubts about both safety and efficacy have arisen. While there is evidence of harm to the stomach, kidneys, thyroid, bones and teeth at higher concentrations, evidence for harm at concentrations around 1m g/mL is controversial. A possible link between fluoridation of public water supplies and an increase in the cancer death rate has been debated for over 20 years and there is now no doubt that fluoride can cause genetic damage.

…concentrations of fluoride of 0.5, 1.0, 2.0 and 20.0 ppm significantly inhibit the ability of leukocytes to migrate after incubation for 3 hours at 37° C.

The immune system is our first line of defense against attack whether from the outside from bacteria, viruses and other parasites, or from within, from the spontaneous generation of potentially cancerous cells. Any agent which affects the ability of the immune system to function efficiently either by a direct toxic effect or by interfering with the release of cytokines will tend to reduce the resistance of the population to infection as well as increasing the susceptibility to cancer and immune depressed states such as the post-viral fatigue syndrome and AIDS. The effect on individuals already suffering from such immune-depressed conditions is likely to be serious.

Instead of getting needless vaccinations, avoid consuming immune system aggressors.

We live in a society that is always searching for easy, immediate gratification. We have pills to make us happy, pills to make us calm, pills to make us thin, pills to relieve pain, pills to wake us up, and pills to help us sleep. There are a lot of ways to avoid getting sick that don’t include popping a pill or getting a needle shoved in your arm, but many folks never consider taking those extra steps. It astonishes me that avoiding these ingredients causes people to consider my eating habits “extreme” but toxic chemical medications are perfectly normal and acceptable.

Before lining up for your flu shot or other “highly recommended” vaccine, put in the extra time and effort to remove these immune system aggressors from your diet. When your body isn’t busy fighting off neurotoxins, carcinogens, and good-tasting poison, you’ll be amazed at how effective it becomes at fighting off things like the flu or the common cold.

Now that you know what NOT to eat, next we’ll talk about what you SHOULD be eating to boost your immune function.

Resources:

Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills

90 Day Immune System Revised

Natural Alternative to Vaccination (Natural Health Guide) (Alive Natural Health Guides)

Vaccination Voodoo: What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines

Confessions of a Medical Heretic

Reprinted with permission from The Organic Prepper.

The Ebola Story

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 02:01

The federal government has announced that thousands of additional US soldiers are being sent to Liberia. General Gary Volesky said the troops would “stamp out” ebola.The official story is that combat troops are being sent to build treatment structures for those infected with ebola.

Why combat troops? Why not send a construction outfit such as an engineer battalion if it has to be military? Why not do what the government usually does and contract with a construction company to build the treatment units? “Additional thousands of troops” results in a very large inexperienced construction crew for 17 treatment units. It doesn’t make sense.

Stories that don’t make sense and that are not explained naturally arouse suspicions, such as: Are US soldiers being used to test ebola vaccines and cures, or more darkly are they being used to bring more ebola back to the US?

I understand why people ask these questions. The fact that they will receive no investigative answer will deepen suspicions.

Uninformed and gullible Americans will respond: “The US government would never use its own soldiers and its own citizens as guinea pigs.” Before making a fool of yourself, take a moment to recall the many experiments the US government has conducted on American soldiers and citizens. For example, search online for “unethical human experimentation in the United States” or “human radiation experiments,” and you will find that federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and Atomic Energy Commission have: exposed US soldiers and prisoners to high levels of radiation; irradiated the testicles of males and tested for birth defects (high rate resulted); irradiated the heads of children; fed radioactive material to mentally disabled children.

The Obama regime’s opposition to quarantine for those arriving from West Africa is also a mystery. The US Army has announced that the Army intends to quarantine every US soldier returning from deployment in Liberia. The Army sensibly says that an abundance of caution is required in order to minimize the risk of transferring the ebola outbreak to the US.  However, the White House has not endorsed the Army’s decision, and the White House has expressed opposition to the quarantines ordered by the governors of New York and New Jersey.

Apparently pressure from the White House and threats of law suits from those subject to quarantine have caused the two states to loosen their quarantines. A nurse returning from treating ebola patients in West Africa has been cleared by New Jersey for discharge after being symptom-free for 24 hours instead of the 21-days it takes for the disease to produce symptoms. The nurse threatened a lawsuit, and the false issue of “discrimination against health care workers” has arisen. How is it discrimination to quarantine those with the greatest exposure to ebola?

Once symptoms appear, an infected person is dangerous to others until the person is quarantined. As the CDC now has been forced to admit, after stupidly denying the obvious fact, the current ebola strain can spread by air. All it takes is a sneeze or a cough or a contaminated surface.

In other words, it can spread like flu. Previous denials of this fact helped to createthe suspicion that the new ebola strain is a weaponized biowarfare strain created byUS government labs in West Africa. As University of Illinois law professor Francis Boyle has revealed, Washington placed its biowarfare laboratories in African countries that did not sign the convention banning such experimentation. 

Washington’s deviousness in evading the convention that the US government signed has produced another suspicion: Did the new ebola strain escape, perhaps via some lab mishap that infected lab workers, or was the strain deliberately released in order to test if it works? See here and here.

The only intelligent and responsible policy is to stop all commercial flights to and from ebola areas. Health worker volunteers should be transported by military aircraft and should be required to undergo the necessary quarantine before being transported back to the US.

Why does the White House oppose the only responsible and intelligent policy? Why is Congress silent on the issue?

The resistance to a sane policy fosters the suspicions that the government or some conspiracy group intends to use ebola to declare martial law and herd the population or undesirable parts of it, into the FEMA camps that Halliburton was paid to construct (without the public ever being told the reason for the camps).

It is certainly strange that a government involved in long-term wars in the Middle East, the purpose of which is unclear to the public, and in fomenting conflict with both Russia and China, two countries armed with nuclear weapons, would so recklessly create more suspicions among the public of its motives, intentions, and competence.

Democracy requires that the public trust the government. Yet Washington does everything possible to destroy this trust and to present a picture of dysfunctional government with hidden and undeclared agendas.

Government Claims To Keep Us Safe

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 02:01

In the years following the adoption of the Constitution, before he was Secretary of State under President Thomas Jefferson and then president himself, James Madison, who wrote the Constitution, was a member of the House of Representatives. During that period of his life, he gave illuminating speeches and wrote elegant essays and letters about human freedom.

In one of his essays, Madison noted that freedom came about in Europe when the people rose up and cast off or intimidated tyrants, who reluctantly granted the people the freedoms they sought. That was, in Madison’s words, “power granting liberty.” The American experience was the opposite, he argued. After we seceded from Great Britain, the free people of the 13 independent states voluntarily came together and through the states delegated discrete amounts of power to a central government. That was, in Madison’s words, “liberty granting power,” especially since the people reserved to themselves the liberties they did not delegate away.

Much of the political class of the founding generation, unlike our own, viewed the Constitution as restraining, not unleashing, the government. They recognized along with Madison and Jefferson that natural rights — areas of human behavior for which we do not need a government permission slip — are truly inalienable. An inalienable right, like speech, worship, travel, self-defense and privacy for example, is one that cannot be taken away by majority vote or by legislation or by executive command. It can only be taken away after the behavior of the person whose restraint the government seeks has been found by a jury to have violated another’s natural rights.

This process and these guarantees are known today as the presumption of liberty. Stated differently, because of our recognition of natural rights, and our history, values and written constitutional guarantees, we in America are self-directed and free to make our own choices. In fact, the constitutional guarantee of due process mandates that because our individual liberty is natural to us, it is always presumed; thus, it is always the government’s obligation to demonstrate our unworthiness of freedom to a judge and jury before it can curtail that freedom. It is not the other way around.

Until now.

This past week has seen disturbing events in which the government, as if in “Alice in Wonderland” mode, has punished first and insisted its victims prove they are unworthy of that punishment. The IRS, for example, revealed that it has been seizing the contents of bank accounts of folks whose taxes have been fully paid. It has done so pursuant to a federal statute that permits confiscation if the government detects a series of bank deposits that appear to be structured so that a significant number of them are below $10,000. That number triggers a bank obligation of reporting the deposit to the feds.

The original anti-structuring statute required the feds to prove that the structuring was done willfully so as to avoid reporting requirements, rather than innocently or for some other not unlawful purpose, as is often the case. After the Supreme Court reversedthe first structuring conviction that made its way there because the feds had failed to prove it was “willful,” Congress responded by removing the word “willful” — and hence the burden of proving willfulness — from the statute and authorizing the confiscations. This violation of the presumption of liberty happened to more than 600 Americans last year, and fewer than 120 of them were actually charged with a crime.

Also last week, a nurse who returned to the U.S. from western Africa, where she had been caring for Ebola patients, was arrested at Newark Airport on orders from the governor of New Jersey and held in a tent in a parking lot in downtown Newark until she could prove she was not symptomatic with Ebola. This, too, violated the presumption of liberty. It is not she who must prove that she is not contagious in order for her to be set free; it is the government that must prove that she is symptomatic in order to restrain her. When she quite properly threatened to sue those who arrested her, they acknowledged that they had no evidence of her contagion and released her.

What’s going on here?

What’s going on is the systematic governmental destruction of the presumption of liberty in the name of public safety. Politicians who want to appear bold and strong often ride a popular wave and ignore the rights of their targets. And those responsible for public safety — all of whom have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution — have forgotten that chief among their duties is the safekeeping of our freedoms.

Would it be easier for the government to keep us safe from money laundering and Ebola if it could disregard the Constitution and trample personal freedoms? Yes, it would. But who would want to live in such a society? If the government can reverse the presumption of liberty over appearances, what is the value of constitutional guarantees? Whose freedom in America is safe today?

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

The Constitution Protects Nobody


Thu, 10/30/2014 - 02:01

Texas sent in a SWAT teams without any probable cause looking for anything they could trump up against The Garden of Eden community. The inhabitants had no drugs, weapons, or anything illegal. After handcuffing people, threatening them, all the police could do was arrest one person for a past-due traffic fine. They destroyed crops and generally acted as arbitrary as they possibly could. This is typical. When they are wrong, they often take it out on the people just because.

Raiding such a community WITHOUT probable cause is totally unconstitutional. This is my point about the Constitution – it is just a worthless scrap of paper with the purpose of providing propaganda and false hope.

The Constitution protects nobody. It was supposed to be a self-restraint upon government. It fails in every respect. Government agents can do as they like and it is the BURDEN of the citizen to prove that they violated the Constitution. Even in France, when they enact a law, there is a constitutional review BEFORE it is passed. We lack that check and balance in the United States. Those in government should NOT have any immunity including judges. They there would be some caution before they act. They should have to get clearance from a Constitutional ruling by an independent panel BEFORE acting outrageously. For the police to do what they did in Texas is actually a criminal act (see 18 US §241). They violated the civil; rights of those people. Of course, only the government can press charges – not a citizen. The citizen can complain and ask that they be criminally charged. The odds of the government criminally indicting anyone in government has as much chance of Obama winning reelection. What happen the the right to pursue happiness.

While I might not be the type of person to do nothing like that on some commune, that does not give me the right to prevent anyone else from looking for their dream in life. Government has to stop this idea that they can dictate to the people. Their assault on WACO was another outrage. If those people were attacking others it is one thing. To merely possess weapons because they thought the end of the world was coming – that is their right if they feared a Mad Max event. To try to justify their acts claiming the leader was having sex with young girls was not the reason they were there. That is a separate issue to try to justify the killing of so many people. The group was suspected of weapons violations converting weapons to machine guns and a search and arrest warrant was obtained by the U.S. federal agency ended up in killing many in the compound for their religious beliefs.

John Stuart Mill said it best in his monumental work On Liberty. This is the real definition of LIBERTY and it is not the people who need to be restrained – its is government as Mill explained and the US Constitution was intended to restrain government but the courts reversed its entire purpose.

Reprinted from Armstrong Economics?

 

Good Riddance to QE

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 02:01

QE has finally come to an end, but public comprehension of the immense fraud it embodied has not even started. In round terms, this official counterfeiting spree amounted to $3.5 trillion— reflecting the difference between the Fed’s approximate $900 billion balance sheet when its “extraordinary policies” incepted at the time of the Lehman crisis and its $4.4 trillion of footings today. That’s a lot of something for nothing. It’s a grotesque amount of fraud.

The scam embedded in this monumental balance sheet expansion involved nothing so arcane as the circuitous manner by which new central bank reserves supplied to the banking system impact the private credit creation process. As is now evident, new credits issued by the Fed can result in the expansion of private credit to the extent that the money multiplier is operating or simply generate excess reserves which cycle back to the New York Fed if, as in the present instance, it is not.

But the fact that the new reserves generated during QE have cycled back to the Fed does not mitigate the fraud. The latter consists of the very act of buying these trillions of treasuries and GSE securities in the first place with fiat credits manufactured by the central bank. When the Fed does QE, its open market desk buys treasury notes and, in exchange, it simply deposits in dealer bank accounts new credits made out of thin air. As it happened, about $3.5 trillion of such fiat credits were conjured from nothing during the last 72 months.

All of these bonds had permitted Washington to command the use of real economic resources. That is, to consume goods and services it obtained directly in the form of payrolls, contractor services, military tanks and ammo etc; and, indirectly, in the form of the basket of goods and services typically acquired by recipients of government transfer payments. Stated differently, the goods and services purchased via monetizing $3.5 trillion of government debt embodied a prior act of production and supply. But the central bank exchanged them for an act of nothing.

Contrast this monetization process with honest funding of government debt in the private market. In the latter event, the public treasury taps savings from producers and income earners and re-allocates it to government purchases rather than private investments. This has the inherent effect of pushing up interest rates and, on the margin, squeezing out private investment. It is a zero sum game in which savings retained from existing production are reallocated.

To be sure, the economic effect is invariably lower investment, productivity and growth down the line, but the process is at least honest. When the public debt is financed from savings, government purchase of goods and services are funded with the fruits of prior production. There is no exchange of something for nothing; there is no financial fraud.

And it is the fraudulent finance of public deficits which is the real evil of QE because the ill effects go far beyond the standard saw that there is nothing wrong with central bank monetization of the public debt unless is causes visible inflation of consumer prices. In fact, however, it does cause enormous inflation, but of financial asset values, not the CPI.

Despite the spurious implication to the contrary, central banks have not repealed the law of supply and demand in the financial markets. Accordingly, their massive purchases of the public debt create an artificial bid and, therefore, false price. Moreover, government debt functions as the “risk free” benchmark for pricing all other fixed income assets such as home mortgages, corporate debt and junk bonds; and also numerous classes of real assets which are typically heavily leveraged such as commercial real estate and leased aircraft.

In short, massive monetization of the public debt results in the systematic repression of the “cap rate” on which the entire financial system functions. And when the cap rate gets artificially pushed down to sub-economic levels the result is systematic over-valuation of all financial assets, and the excessive accumulation of debt to finance non-value added financial engineering schemes such as stock buybacks and the overwhelming share of M&A transactions.

Needless to say, the false prices which result from massive monetization do not stay within the canyons of Wall Street or even the corporate business sector. In effect, they ride the Amtrak to Washington where they also deceive politicians about the true cost of carrying the public debt. At the present time, the weighted average cost of the $13 trillion in publicly held federal debt is at least 200 basis points below a market clearing economic level—–meaning that debt service costs are understated by upwards of $300 billion annually.

At the end of the day, the fraud of massive monetization makes the rich richer because it drastically inflates the value of financial assets—–roughly 80% of which is held by the top 5% of households; and it makes the state more bloated and profligate because its enables the politicians to spend without imposing the pain of taxation or the crowding out effects which result from honest borrowing out of society’s savings pool.

In the more wholesome times before 1914, the Federal government didn’t borrow at all. During the half-century between the battle of Gettysburg and the eve of World War I, the public debt did not rise in nominal terms, and amounted to just $1.5 billion or 4% of GDP at the time of the Fed’s creation.  Even then, the Fed was established as only a “bankers bank” which could not own a dime of public debt, but instead existed for the narrow mission of liquefying the banking market by means of discounting solid commercial paper on receivables and inventory for ready cash.

The modern form of monetization arose in the service of financing war bonds, not managing the business cycle, levitating the GDP or boosting the labor market toward the artifice of “full employment”. These latter purposes reflect a century of “mission creep” and the triumph of the statist assumption that governments can actually tame the business cycle and elevate the trend rate of economic growth.

But history refutes that conceit. In the early post-war period, central bank interventions mainly caused short term bouts of unsustainable credit growth and an inflationary spiral which eventually had to be cured by monetary stringency and recession. In the process of repetition over several decades culminating in the 2008 crisis, the household and business leverage ratios were steadily ratcheted upwards until the reached peak sustainable debt.

Now the credit channel of monetary policy transmission is broken and done. The Fed’s most recent massive monetization and “stimulus” has therefore simply inflated financial asset values—-meaning that the Fed has become a serial bubble machine.

There is a better way, and it contrasts sharply with the systematic fraud of QE. That alternative is called the free market, and at the heart of the latter is interest rates which are “discovered” by the market, not pegged and administered by the central bank. Stated differently, the free market requires that all debt and other forms of investment be funded out of society’s pool of honest savings—-that is, income that is retained out of production already made.

Under that regime there is no fraudulent bid for public debt and other existing assets based on something for nothing. Markets clear where they will, and interest rates are the mechanism by which the supply of honest savings and the demand for investment capital, including working capital, are balanced out.

Needless to say, free market interest rates are the bane of Wall Street speculators and Washington spenders alike. They can spike to sudden and dramatic heights when demand for funds to finance government deficits or financial speculation out-run the voluntary pool of savings generated by society. So doing, they bring financial bubbles and fiscal profligacy up short.

In stopping QE after a massive spree of monetization, the Fed is actually taking a tiny step toward liberating the interest rate and re-establishing honest finance. But don’t bother to inform our monetary politburo. As soon as the current massive financial bubble begins to burst, it  will doubtless invent some new excuse to resume central bank balance sheet expansion and therefore fraudulent finance.

But this time may be different. Perhaps even the central banks have reached the limits of credibility—- that is, their own equivalent of peak debt.

“I think QE is quite effective,” Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, describing the approach as an option for dealing with an adverse shock to the economy.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman.

The Good School District

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 02:01

On ZeroHedge recently, the discussion focused on “things the middle class can’t afford anymore”. In the Comment Section –where one can learn a lot of scary stuff about the views, priorities and prejudices of their fellow travelers – one pseudonym posted:

“Vacations don’t define middle class. Plenty of workaholics in upper class. But the opportunity to get ahead in life through talent and hardwork [sic] is something middle class can’t afford anymore.

1) Education to get ahead in life or stay in middle class

2) Housing in good school district to have their children get ahead in life over trust fund kids

Non sequitors aside, there appeared the recurring meme about housing “in good school district.” Having heard/read that line or some paraphrase for the past few eons, it gave me pause to ask: Just what constitutes “a good school district”? Nice, modern up-to-date buildings with solid infrastructure? All the latest hi-tech computers and programs? Chem and Bio labs Johns Hopkins would die for? The “best” teachers? The most National Honor Society members? Winning Varsity teams from Football to Chess to Full Contact Origami?

Funny how “good school district” discussions rarely (if ever) focus on what sort of and how much socialist mis- and dis-information curricula is being crammed between the ears of the TWSU (Those Who Show Up).

Is there a Government Training Camp (i.e. “public school system”) that actually teaches Objective Analysis? Logical Thinking? Individual Responsibility? What constitutes Freedom? Liberty? How about an American History course that would make Tom Woods proud (even if it might have a deleterious financial impact on Prof. Woods’ “Liberty Classroom”)? Economics? Where is the GTC/pss that even teaches how to SPELL e-c-o-n-o-m-i-c-s? And if there is one (or more), does the teacher actually mention Von Mises? Hayek? Friedman? Are they assigned to read “Free to Choose”, “Road to Serfdom” or Krugman columns? Anything in there about “organized labor”? How many times is “Murray Rothbard” mentioned?

One final question: Common Core? Corp? Corpse?

Which curriculum qualifies for “good school district” status? If such a Fantasy Land exists, please advise ASAP — someone’s property values could escalate handsomely! No rush. Just follow Diogenes. The “good school district” is the first right past the Honest Man.

As a product of both Local Public School and Jacket-and-Tie-All-Boy-New-England Prep-School, I can testify unequivocally to the superior quality of instruction and content I took from the latter. Despite the issue with “car availability on Saturday night”, I will be forever grateful for the enormous economic sacrifices my parents made to provide that that 5 Star academic experience. Having made similar sacrifices for my own children and seeing their accomplishments in the medical and legal professions, I would encourage all who can to whatever possible to secure that “good school district” by removing your children ASAP from the Government Training Camps, hustle them into private, parochial or home schooling as expediently as time and sacrifice will permit before any more of their formative brain cells get zapped, their individuality castrated and their minds turned into government  cheese.

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