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Worried About Memory Loss?

Mer, 01/02/2017 - 07:01

As the years go by, it seems that there are just more and more reasons to worry. We get anxious about the actual or even potential problems that haven’t even taken place. One of the big worries many seniors have is the loss of memory. It’s a precious thing, and once it’s gone you can’t get it back really. Forgetting the highlights of your life, forgetting important dates, forgetting the faces of your loved ones even… Losing one’s memory is quite scary, no doubt about it.

But the thing is, worrying about losing your memory is, in fact, a real threat that is very common in the old age. Memory loss is not inevitable, although there is some degree of age-related memory decline, unfortunately, often due to genetic or environmental reasons. And now studies suggest that memory loss worries may be a large factor contributing to one’s cognitive decline.

Worrying about memory loss promotes memory loss

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Cognitive decline actually begins as early as your twenties, although the process is quite slow at that time. Your memory and cognitive abilities are at their prime when you’re in your twenties, but after that they start declining, slowly but surely.

Studies have shown that even brief encounters with positive or negative information regarding memory can have an impact on a person’s ability to remember. In one study in particular, one group had to read about memory decline over time, while the other group read that memory and cognition do not undergo significant changes. Both groups completed memory tests after the reading.

The two groups were compared to a group of college students who were still in their prime of cognitive performance. Study participants who read the positive information didn’t score that poorly compared to the college students, whereas those who read the negative information performed very poorly on the memory test.

Whenever older adults experience an episode of forgetfulness, they tend to blame it on aging, reinforcing the notion that their poor memory is due to old age and acknowledging the fact that they are losing their memory. But if want to keep your mind sharp, you should do just the opposite – stop blaming your old age for everything and stop associating every “blank” moment with inevitable memory loss.

There are also ways to help you maintain your memory in the long run. These include getting a proper sleep, avoiding drugs and alcohol, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, as well as checking your vision and hearing regularly. Why vision and hearing? When your senses weaken, it becomes increasingly harder over time to retrieve information from your memory.

Reprinted with permission from Bel Marra Health.

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Worse Than Vesuvius

Mer, 01/02/2017 - 07:01

Around two thousand years ago Mount Vesuvius erupted, destroying the Roman city of Pompeii and killing an estimated 1,500 people.

Today, a far more sinister supervolcano named Campi Flegrei is lurking underneath Naples in Italy.

Shock research, revealed last month, warned that the “big daddy” of Vesuvius is showing signs of “reawakening” and may be on the brink of going off.

Should it blow in a “big one” eruption, experts told Daily Star Online thousands, possibly millions, of people across Europe would be killed “immediately” from incineration and suffocation.

Dense black ash clouds would block out the sun, plunging the continent into months, if not years, of eerie darkness.

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Tens of billions would be instantly wiped off the global economy as air travel, industry and farming would be ground to a halt.

The environment would take a pounding too as a boiling black cloud of hit gas would shoot into the atmosphere, triggering acid rain and accelerating global warming.

Worryingly scientists cannot predict and have no idea when it will next blow its top.

Dr. Luca De Siena, the Geophysics professor at the University of Aberdeen, is one of the leading experts researching the volcano.

Campi Flegrei last blew in 1538 in an eruption lasting eight days that formed a new mountain, Monte Nuovo.

AERIAL VIEW: Campi Flegrei is the largest volcanic feature along the Bay of Naples

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Concealable, Pocket-Carry .357 Magnum

Mer, 01/02/2017 - 07:01

Ruger is giving the five-round revolver LCRx line a kick with the addition of a .357 Magnum version, the company announced this week.

Consisting of three main components — a polymer fire control housing, stainless steel monolithic cylinder frame and a fluted stainless steel cylinder — the .357 Magnum version continues to offer the same compact, concealable design as its sister line, the LCR. With an overall length of 6.5-inches and a weight of just 17.1-ounces, the .357 variant easily slips into a holster as a primary or back-up gun.

The wheel gun is equipped with a 1.87-inch stainless steel barrel and exposed, external hammer so shooters can run it in either double-action or single-action mode. Like the standard LCR, the LCRx contains a patented friction-reducing cam that results in a smooth, non-stacking trigger. Double-action trigger pull force builds gradually and peaks later in the trigger stroke which allows for better overall control and a lighter felt pull.

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The LCRx’s exposed hammer allows this wheel gun to be fired in either double-action or single-action mode. (Photo: Ruger)

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Detente With Russia

Mer, 01/02/2017 - 07:01

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it often: the door to cooperation (with the U.S.) “lies ajar.” He has said it repeatedly: that it was not Moscow in the first place that had withered – and then severed – the lines of communication with Washington. And Mr. Putin has been consistent in periodically easing the path to “Moscow” for President Trump.

(The Americans had hinted recently that they might appreciate “a gesture” from the Russians – and they got one: Russia invited the incoming U.S. administration to the Syria talks, at Astana. Moscow made this gesture – even at the cost of almost losing their Iranian ally’s support at the talks.)

Perhaps it is this “door ajar” stance by Mr. Putin that has given rise to the idea, in much of the press, that détente between the two leaders is somehow a “slam dunk” bet — that Trump and Putin are cut from similar cloth, and will somehow end up bashing Islamic radicals together. If that is the consensus, then it is perhaps premature, and possibly wrong.

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The door is indeed “open,” and it is possible that the two leaders may indeed conjure up a détente. But it is no “slam dunk” (certainty). And Moscow certainly does not regard it to be “slam dunk” – at all. On the contrary, they are aware that whereas there are areas of common approach, there are also areas of obvious difference – and possible disagreement – between the new U.S. administration and Moscow. The hope for détente ultimately may prove to lie just beyond reach. We shall have to see.

We do not know what President Trump’s foreign policy – in practice – will be. It is not at all clear (intentionally so, in part. But, also because the details have not yet been thrashed out within the team, who are busy with managing a complex transition). Nonetheless, we can tease out, perhaps, a few solid pointers in the wake of the new U.S. President’s inaugural speech:

–Mr. Trump has witnessed America’s political and economic decline over the years (he made plain previously his concerns about America’s deteriorating situation in his 2000 campaign publication).

–He sincerely believes the U.S. to be in crisis – and that without radical, urgent and comprehensive reform, America (qua “America”) will be in peril. He is, as it were, someone who has looked upon decay and corruption and been transfigured by that which he saw: Yes, there was a Cromwellian “New Model Army” whiff to his inauguration speech. He said that he intends to purge – and then to remake – America, no less.

–He has arrayed against him the still intact power of the Deep State, yet he chooses mainly to taunt them. His inaugural speech told the Deep State flatly to prepare for its own disempowerment. He has thereby “burnt his bridges” in respect to any subsequent Faustian sale of his soul. He can only succeed or dramatically fail.

–For all the pomp of an orderly transfer of power on Jan. 20th, the reality behind the trappings is one of a “state of war” between the U.S. President and the still-present Deep State elites (but not necessarily the Deep State’s foot soldiers, many of whom, it appears, voted for Trump).

Political Tactics

Artemis Capital presciently describes Trump’s likely political tactics: “Trump knows that if you can’t win [as matters stand], then you change the rules of the game – this is what he has already done with American politics – and what he is about to do to the entire Post-Bretton Woods World Order. If you really want to know a person, watch what they do, and not what they say … or what they tweet … the rants and twitter storms are part of a strategy of media control and distraction.

“Trump’s business career was largely comprised of three core strategies 1) Leverage 2) Restructure 3) Brand … in that order. Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, Trump rode a generational decline in interest rates and debt binge to purchase a range of high profile real estate projects including the Grand Hyatt (1978), Trump Tower (1983), the Plaza Hotel (1988) and the Taj Mahal (1988). In the 1990s he went through a total of 6 bankruptcies due to over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City and New York. In the 2000s he pivoted to move away from debt-driven property investments to building a global brand through the ‘Apprentice’ TV show.

“Trump will run the country as he ran his businesses … He will lever, and lever, and lever, and lever … and lever … and then restructure his way to success, or whatever success is defined as, by the broadest measure of popularity at any given time. Trumponomics, if it delivers, will be a supply-side free for all: massive tax cuts, deficit spending to create jobs, financial and energy deregulation, business creation, and trade protectionism – all driving inflation. More importantly, Trump sees bankruptcy as a tool and not an obligation and will have no problem pushing the US to the limits of debt expansion. ‘I do play with bankruptcy laws, they’re very good to me!’ he once said.”

‘The Destructor’

And this is what – in broad outline – we already see. Trump’s tweets are “the destructor” element: Creating negotiating leverage through uncertainty. No one can be sure of Trump’s final aims, or his “bottom line.”

This is his strategy. The tweets are mini-grenades tossed into the mix, precisely to confuse, to distract, and to loosen up the existing “order” – and to make it more susceptible to negotiation – and to subsequent “re-structuring” – should initial negotiations hit a brick wall.

Similarly, with leverage. Trump has leverage: Most significantly, the U.S. is the globe’s biggest buyer of consumer goods; it possesses the world’s reserve currency and controls all the Bretton Woods financial institutions, with all the privileges which that implies. It has the Federal Reserve and can manipulate other states’ currencies; the U.S. “owns” NATO, and the defense protection it does (or does not) choose to confer on other states; it has the biggest military, and is more or less energy independent. Not bad cards.

Trump may be expected to lever, and lever again, all these assets. He will pull out all the stops in the interest of putting America First, and returning jobs and manufacturing to America’s marginalized white middle- and blue-collar classes. He will lever this aim financially (i.e. debt, border taxes and tax incentives) to, as well as politically strong-arm America’s trading rivals.

Brand “America” will be advanced by all the tradecraft that Trump acquired through his “reality” TV show: distractions, surprises, and publicity stunts to create an aura of success – for he is determined to succeed. It is almost as if he feels he can lift the “animal spirits” of Americans, as it were, by willpower, and pithy, one-liner tweets. To an extent, he already has – to judge by polls on business confidence in the U.S.

Read the Whole Article

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Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth

Mer, 01/02/2017 - 07:01

That hysterical reaction to the travel ban announced Friday is a portent of what is to come if President Donald Trump carries out the mandate given to him by those who elected him.

The travel ban bars refugees for 120 days. From Syria, refugees are banned indefinitely. And a 90-day ban has been imposed on travel here from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.

Was that weekend-long primal scream really justified?

As of Monday, no one was being detained at a U.S. airport.

Yet the shrieking had not stopped. All five stories on page one of Monday’s Washington Post were about the abomination. The New York Times’ editorial, “Trashing American Ideals and Security,” called it bigoted, cowardly, xenophobic, Islamophobic, un-American, unrighteous.

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This ban, went the weekend wail, is the “Muslim ban” of the Trump campaign. But how so, when not one of the six largest Muslim countries — Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Turkey — was on the list? Missing also were three-dozen other Muslim countries.

Of the seven countries facing a 90-day ban, three are U.S.-designated state sponsors of terror, and the other four are war zones. Clearly, this is about homeland security, not religious discrimination.

The criterion for being included in the travel ban appears to be that these places are the more likely breeding grounds for terrorists.

Yet there are lessons for the Trump White House in the media-stoked panic and outrage at the end of his first week in office.

First, Steve Bannon’s observation that the media are “the opposition party,” is obviously on target. While Sen. Chuck Schumer was crying on camera that the ban was “un-American,” the media were into the more serious business of stampeding and driving the protesters.

A second lesson is one every White House learns. Before a major decision is announced, if possible, get everyone’s input and everyone on board to provide what Pat Moynihan called the “second and third echelons of advocacy.” Those left out tend to leak.

A third lesson Trump should learn is that the establishment he routed and the city he humiliated are out to break him as they broke LBJ on Vietnam, Nixon on Watergate, and almost broke Reagan on the Iran-Contra affair.

While the establishment may no longer be capable of inspiring and leading the nation, so detested is it, it has not lost its appetite or its ability to break and bring down presidents.

And Trump is vulnerable, not only because he is an envied outsider who seized the highest prize politics has on offer, but because his agenda would cancel out that of the elites.

They believe in open borders, free trade, globalization. Trump believes in securing the Southern border, bringing U.S. industry home, economic nationalism, “America First.”

They want endless immigration from the Third World to remake America into the polyglot “universal nation” of Ben Wattenberg’s utopian vision. Trump’s followers want back the America they knew.

Our foreign policy elites see democratization as a vocation and an autocratic Russia as an implacable enemy. Trump instead sees Moscow as a potential ally against real enemies like al-Qaida and ISIS.

There is another reason for the reflexive howl at Trump’s travel ban. The establishment views it, probably correctly, as the first move toward a new immigration policy, built on pre-1965 foundations, and rooted in a preference for Western-Christian immigrants first.

When the Times rages that “American ideals” or “traditional American values” are under attack by Trump, what they really mean is that their ideology and agenda are threatened by Trump.

We are headed for a series of collisions and crises, and what has happened in Europe will likely happen here. As the Third World invasion and growing Islamization of the Old Continent — which the EU has proven unable to stop — has discredited centrist parties and continuously fed a populist-nationalist uprising there, so may it here also.

And Trump not only appears to have no desire to yield to his enemies in politics and the media, he has no choice, as he is now the personification of a surging Middle American counterrevolution.

Undeniably, there are great numbers of Americans who agree with the libels the Times showered on Trump and, by extension, his backers whom Hillary Clinton designated “the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic … deplorables.”

But by whatever slurs they are called, Middle Americans seem prepared to fight. And history shows that such people do not calmly accept the loss of what is most precious to them — the country they grew up in, the country they love.

They have turned to Trump to lead them. Why should he not, having been raised up by them, and knowing in his own heart what the establishment and the media think of him and would do to him?

Ten days in, and already it is “Game On!”

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Getting High

Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Review of John Charles Chasteen, Getting High: Marijuana through the Ages (Rowman & Litlefield, 2016), viii + 157 pgs., hardcover.

This is a fascinating and important book. Fascinating because of all the interesting historical details about marijuana it provides; important because it has the potential to educate and change the hearts and minds of those who support the government’s war on marijuana.

The author, John Charles Chasteen, is actually a Latin American scholar and professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has written a number of books on Latin American history, and is an award-winning editor and translator of Latin American fiction and nonfiction, from both Spanish and Portuguese.

“This book,” as explained by the author, “looks at marijuana in the long view of world history. It asks who used it, how, and why. Unlike most published versions of the drug’s history, it places marijuana within larger historical patters, such as migration, colonialism, and religion.”

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There is a lot of information about the nature of marijuana and its global history packed into the book’s 157 pages. The book has a number of other good features as well. Each chapter is divided into sections. The sections are listed in the table of contents. The book ends with a glossary, an annotated list of sources for each chapter, and an index. There are some helpful illustrations in the book as well.

Chapter 1, which shares its name with the book’s title, can be viewed as an introduction to the book. Chasteen relates how the effects of marijuana are variable and subjective. The same dose can even affect “the same person differently at different moments.” Cannabis has historically always had a medical role in Europe and China. We now know that marijuana’s active ingredients—cannabinoids—“have molecular shapes that fit receptors in our body’s hormonal communication systems, regulating mood and appetite, among other things.” Different strains of cannabis, and even individual plants, “have differing endowments of cannabinoids.” Cannabinoids “have few deleterious side effects,” unlike the drugs that Americans consume in massive proportions. The prohibition of marijuana “has become a bonanza for organized crime.” Yet, “federal prohibition of marijuana lacks any logical basis.” Chasteen has a great discussion in this chapter on the characteristics of marijuana and hemp and explains how they are grown and cultivated. He also here compares and contrasts marijuana and alcohol.

In chapter 2, “American Century,” Chasteen surveys the rise of marijuana use in the United States. Marijuana smoking began in the United States on the eve of World War I. Migrant workers from Mexico brought marijuana to Texas, California, the mining camps of the Rocky Mountain states, and eventually “into the industrializing cities of the upper Midwest.” Marijuana “appeared by 1920 among the black working class in New Orleans, a city in close merchant shipping contact with Mexico.” Chasteen highlights the connection between marijuana and jazz music, the Beat generation writers, the counterculture movement, and rock musicians. By 1930, marijuana had been prohibited by law in many states “with significant populations of Mexican descent.” On the federal level, it was a veteran Prohibition-enforcement agent, Harry Anslinger, who is almost single-handedly responsible for the demonization of marijuana in America. This in spite of a 1925 U.S. Army study that “found marijuana use to be relatively harmless.”

Chapter 3, Atlantic World,” is the history of cannabis in Latin America, from where it entered the United States. Cannabis is “not native to the Americas.” No form of it even existed “in the Western Hemisphere before European colonization created an interconnected ‘Atlantic World’ around 1500.” Hemp “played a crucial supporting role in one of global history’s defining events: European seaborne exploration and colonization of America, Africa, and parts of Asia.” When the slave trade began, “Africa south of the Congo River was the only part of the Atlantic World where people used cannabis psychoactively.”

Chapter 4 tells the story of medieval hashish, which is not to be identified with the pungent resin concentrated today from female cannabis flowers. Medieval hashish, which was described as “leafy,” was simply fully mature buds, “without seeds.” Before it was smoked (after c.1500), it was eaten. I did not realize that “marijuana must be cooked to activate its cannabinoids before eating.” A hashish-infused drink was the intoxicating beverage of choice for observant Muslims who shunned alcohol.

In chapter 5, “Asian Origins,” Chasteen traces the origins of cannabis back to prehistoric Central Asia. Psychoactive use of cannabis on and around the Eurasian steppes “is the oldest of which we have direct evidence.”

Chapter 6, “Epiphanies,” serves as the book’s conclusion. I note the following:

Psychoactive cannabis figures in global history mostly as an entheogen, employed for its euphoriant properties than for its visionary epiphanies.

The widespreac use of marijuana as a recreational drug is rare and recent in world history.

Recreational use, which draws on marijuana’s euphoriant qualities rather than its hallucinogenic qualities, has been strikingly less important in global history.

Where cannabis has been used recreationally, it has been as a poor man’s drug, a more affordable substitute for ethanol, often adopted by people who are socially and ethnically marginalized.

The United States (with an annual prevalence around 13 percent) is not the world capital of marijuana cultivation and use.

Cannabis drugs have never been for everybody. Instead, they have consistently been used by people seeking meditative insights, a stimulus to creativity, direct access to the spirit world, or the experience of transcending earthly cares to enter a mystical union with God and the cosmos.

I highly recommend Getting High: Marijuana through the Ages to anyone who wants to know more about just what marijuana is and where it came from and to everyone who thinks the government should continue its war on this unusual and versatile plant.

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Should Cash Be Abolished?

Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

At the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, Joseph Stiglitz the Nobel Prize-winning economist argued in favor of phasing out currency and moving toward a digital economy.

The view expressed by Stiglitz is similar to that of former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff who has been arguing for many years that there is an urgent need to remove cash from the economy. It is held that cash provides support to the shadow economy and permits tax evasion. Some estimates suggest this could be up to $700 billion in the US.

The Governor of the Bank of England — Mark Carney — has expressed similar views in support of the removal of cash.

Yet another justification for its removal is that in times of economic shocks, which push the economy into recession, the run for cash exacerbates the downturn — i.e., it becomes a factor contributing to economic instability by facilitating a cash-induced savings surge rather than an increase in demand.

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Other arguments go further, including the position that in the modern world most transactions can be settled by means of electronic funds transfer. Money in the modern world is an abstraction, or so it is held.

But is it true that money is an abstraction?

The Emergence of Money

Money emerged because barter could not support the market economy. A butcher who wanted to exchange his meat for fruit might not have been able to find a fruit farmer who wanted his meat, while the fruit farmer who wanted to exchange his fruit for shoes might not have been able to find a shoemaker who wanted his fruit.

The distinguishing characteristic of money is that it is the general medium of exchange. It has evolved as being the most marketable commodity.

On this Mises wrote,

There would be an inevitable tendency for the less marketable of the series of goods used as media of exchange to be one by one rejected until at last only a single commodity remained, which was universally employed as a medium of exchange; in a word, money.1

Similarly, Rothbard wrote that,

Just as in nature there is a great variety of skills and resources, so there is a variety in the marketability of goods. Some goods are more widely demanded than others, some are more divisible into smaller units without loss of value, some more durable over long periods of time, some more transportable over large distances. All of these advantages make for greater marketability. It is clear that in every society, the most marketable goods will be gradually selected as the media for exchange. As they are more and more selected as media, the demand for them increases because of this use, and so they become even more marketable. The result is a reinforcing spiral: more marketability causes wider use as a medium which causes more marketability, etc. Eventually, one or two commodities are used as general media — in almost all exchanges — and these are called money.2

Since this general medium of exchange emerges from among a potentially wide range of commodities, money is, as such, a commodity.

According to Rothbard,

Money is not an abstract unit of account, divorceable from a concrete good; it is not a useless token only good for exchanging; it is not a “claim on society”; it is not a guarantee of a fixed price level. It is simply a commodity.3

Moreover, according to Mises, “an object cannot be used as money unless, at the moment when its use as money begins, it already possesses an objective exchange value based on some other use”4

Why? According to Rothbard:

In contrast to directly used consumers’ or producers’ goods, money must have pre-existing prices on which to ground a demand. But the only way this can happen is by beginning with a useful commodity under barter, and then adding demand for a medium to the previous demand for direct use (e.g., for ornaments, in the case of gold).5

In short, money is that for which all other goods and services are traded. This fundamental characteristic of money must be contrasted with those of other goods. For instance, food supplies the necessary energy to human beings, while capital goods permit the expansion of infrastructure that in turn permits the production of a larger quantity of goods and services.

Through an ongoing selection process over thousands of years, people settled on gold as money — gold served as the monetary standard. In today’s monetary system, the core of the money supply is no longer gold but coins and notes issued by the government and the central bank. Consequently, coins and notes constitute the standard money, known as cash, that is employed in transactions. Goods and services are sold for cash.

At any point in time individuals can keep their money either in their wallets, under their mattresses, in a safe deposit box or stored — deposited — in banks. In depositing money, a person never relinquishes ownership. No one else is expected to make use of it. When Joe stores his money with a bank, he continues to have an unlimited claim against it and is entitled to take charge of it at any time. Consequently these deposits, labeled demand deposits, form part of money.

At any point in time part of the stock of cash is stored, that is, deposited, in banks.

Thus if, in an economy, people hold $10,000 in cash, then the money supply of this economy is $10,000. But if some individuals have stored $2,000 in demand deposits the total money supply will remain $10,000: $8,000 cash and $2,000 in demand deposits with banks. Should all individuals deposit their entire stock of cash in banks then the total money supply would remain $10,000 — all of it held as demand deposits.

This must be contrasted with a credit transaction. Credit always involves the creditor’s purchase of a future good in exchange for a present good. As a result, in a credit transaction, money is transferred from a lender to a borrower. Such transactions include savings deposits. These are in fact loans to the bank. With these deposits the lender of money (the depositor) relinquishes to the bank his claim over the money for the duration of the loan. These simple credit transactions, however, — i.e., loans which are not created by the banks as multiples of funds on deposit — do not alter the amount of money in the economy. If Bob lends $1,000 to Joe, the money is transferred from Bob’s demand deposit or from Bob’s wallet to Joe’s possession.

These savings deposits — to be contrasted with demand deposits — therefore should not be included as money.

The Digitization of Money

Does the digitization of money change this?

Electronic money is not money as such but a particular way of using existing money. For instance, by means of electronic devices Bob can transfer his $1,000 to Joe. He could also transfer the $1,000 by means of a check written against his deposit in Bank A. Joe in turn will now place the check with his bank, say, Bank B. After the clearance, the money will be transferred from Bob’s account to Joe’s demand deposit in Bank B.

Note that all these transfers, either electronically or by means of checks, could take place because the $1,000 in cash physically exists. Without the existence of the $1,000 nothing could be transferred.

Now, if Bob pays for his groceries with a credit card he in fact borrows from the credit card company such as MasterCard. For instance, if he buys $100 worth of groceries using MasterCard, then MasterCard pays the grocer $100. Bob, in turn, after one month or earlier repays his debt to MasterCard in whole or part. Again, all this could not have happened without the existence of cash. After all, what exactly has been transferred?

The fact that cash per se was not used in the above example doesn’t mean that we don’t require it any longer. On the contrary, the fact that it exists enables various forms of transactions to take place via sophisticated forms of technology such as electronic or digital transfers. These various forms of transfer are not money as such but simply a particular way of moving money. The underlying commodity being used as the medium of exchange is still cash — just the means of transferring that cash is different in a digital world.

Importantly, the digitization of the process of transferring money has been conflated in popular usage with “digital money.” As the above logic demonstrates, they are two different things.

The Removal of Money — the Case of India

Any attempt to totally remove cash — i.e., money — implies the destruction of the medium of exchange and, ultimately, the market economy. The recent experiment in India to remove large denomination notes has caused serious havoc. Toward the end of last year Prime Minister Modi surprised his country by announcing the banning of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, with some estimating that around 86 percent of all cash in circulation in India was no longer considered as legal tender.

Any policy directed at phasing out cash in order to stop the shadow economy has the effect of preventing individuals from employing their economy’s medium of exchange. This, however, is unlikely to succeed as individuals will always find various other goods or services to serve as money.

If legal tender notes were to be banned then people would simply use something else. The argument that removing cash will eliminate tax evasion and crime is doubtful. Tax evasion would be reduced if the incentives for it — high taxes based on big government — were removed.

But what of the claim that the existence of cash allows “panic withdrawal” during economic crises which therefore exacerbates those crises?

The fact that during an economic crisis people run to withdraw their money indicates that they have lost faith in the banking system — perhaps for good reasons — and would like to have their money back. The recent Greek “debt crisis” is a textbook example, and indeed bank depositors were quite correct in their assessment of the state of their banks.

Here it is necessary to consider the multiplication of “money” in a modern, fractional reserve banking system. In the modern world, banks are allowed — indeed encouraged — to lend multiples of funds on deposit,  i.e., create money out of nothing. When this happens it is indeed likely that a mass withdrawal of cash deposits can result in a magnified effect on the economy through forced shrinkage in the credit system and the resulting collapse of the economic activities that relied on that artificially created money.

What is important to note, however, is that the problem in this case is not the existence of cash but rather the artificial creation of additional money by the commercial banks through fractional reserve lending — mostly with the support of governments. Cash doesn’t cause crises — central bank-enabled fractional reserve lending does.

Conclusions

Irrespective of the level of technological advancement of the economy, the essence of money can never change — it is that against which we exchange goods and services. It is only the (erroneous) definition of money as an empty abstraction that makes it possible to conclude that cash can be phased out of the economy with some hypothetical benefits. This is, in effect, what Stiglitz was suggesting in Davos.

There are other issues associated with the digitization of money flows which warrant comment.

First, there is the problem that the mandatory switch from physical money to money held as deposits within banks will deprive people of the privacy they may wish in the allocation of their financial resources.

Second, once all cash is transferred to the banking system, there is the real risk that control over that money is progressively ceded to that system and to the governments which thrive upon it. Political or consumption activities that are unpopular with government and/or commercial interests — especially in an environment of growing powers of the “security state” — could result in retributive action via restrictions on access to those monetary balances.

Third, in a purely digital world it would be impossible to withdraw physical money should people believe that their bank (or the banking system as a whole) was at risk of collapse. This could potentially lock people on board a sinking ship, or at least remove the ability of people to make their own judgments and vote with their monetary feet.

The compulsory switch to purely digital cash could well become yet another facet of the growing tendency toward the further centralization of state power and the decline in individual liberty.

Notes:

1.Ludwig von Mises, The Theory of Money and Credit (Indianapolis, Ind.: Liberty Classics, 1980), p. 45.

2.Murray N. Rothbard, What Has Government Done to Our Money? (Novato, Calif.: Libertarian Publishers, 1963), p. 3.

3.Ibid., pp. 27–28.

4.Mises, The Theory of Money and Credit, p. 131.

5.Rothbard, What Has Government Done to Our Money?, p. 9.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

The post Should Cash Be Abolished? appeared first on LewRockwell.

Widespread Civil Unrest

Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

It doesn’t take much of a trigger to push extremely large crowds of very angry protesters into committing acts of rioting and violence.  And rioting and violence can ultimately lead to widespread civil unrest and calls for “revolution”.  The election of Donald Trump was perhaps the single most galvanizing moment for the radical left in modern American history, and we have already seen that a single move by Trump can literally cause protests to erupt from coast to coast within 48 hours.  On Friday, Trump signed an executive order that banned refugees from Syria indefinitely and that placed a 90-day ban on travel to the United States for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  Within hours, protesters began to storm major airports, and by Sunday very large crowds were taking to the streets all over the country

From Seattle to Newark, Houston to Boston, hundreds jammed airport terminals — lawyers, immigration advocates, ordinary citizens compelled to the front lines, many refusing to leave until those who had been detained by U.S. Customs had been freed or had obtained legal counsel.

On Sunday, the movement caught fire and demonstrations and rallies erupted in communities across the U.S. from city halls to airports to parks. In the nation’s capital, the site of the march that drew a crushing 500,000 people Jan. 21, Pennsylvania Avenue was shut down Sunday as thousands trekked from the White House to the U.S. Capitol. An energized crowd stopped outside Trump’s showcase hotel along the avenue to shake fists and chant “shame.”

You can see some really good pictures of the protests going on around the nation right here.

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As I was going through articles about these protests today, I remember one woman holding up a sign that said: “Remove Trump By Any Means Necessary”.

It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what she was suggesting.

Visions of violence are dancing in the heads of these very frustrated people, and they are being egged on by top members of Congress such as Chuck Schumer

‘These orders go against what America has always been about,’ Schumer told the crowd in Battery Park according to the New York Daily News. ‘The orders make us less humanitarian, less safe, less American and when it comes to making us less safe people forget this, that’s why so many of our military, intelligence, security, and law enforcement leaders are opposed to this order and all those like it.’

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Trump’s presidential rival, Hillary, tweeted a picture from the rally. It was captioned: ‘Yes. We will keep standing up for a country that matches our values and ideals for all. #NewYork #NoBanNoWall.’

On Sunday, President Trump attempted to clarify what his executive order was really about and make it clear that it was not a ban on all Muslims.  The following comes from CNN

President Donald Trump insisted Sunday his travel ban on certain Muslim-majority nations would protect the United States from terrorists, after a weekend of outrage and confusion over the move.

In an afternoon statement, Trump wrote the country would continue showing “compassion to those fleeing oppression.”

Unfortunately, polls show that somewhere around a third of the country greatly dislikes Trump, and those people are more than ready to believe that Trump is a racist bigot that hates all Muslims.

But the truth is that Trump does not hate any group of people.  His target is a simply Islamic terror, and he is actually pro-immigration as long as it is legal immigration.

Let us not forget that his wife is a legal immigrant.

I know that Trump is quite eager to get things done, but putting out this executive order at this particular moment was definitely a case of poor timing.

We are a nation that is deeply, deeply divided, and now this latest controversy threatens to divide us even further.

When I was out earlier today, I saw a pro-Trump billboard that some business owner had put up that was urging liberals to quit their whining.

On the surface that may sound funny, but it definitely doesn’t do anything to bring us together.

If you give anger enough fuel, eventually it leads to violence.  I am certainly not suggesting that we should ever compromise on what we believe, but what I am suggesting is that there is a wise way to handle things and an unwise way to handle things.

Someday, widespread civil unrest is going to sweep across the United States and major American cities will burn.

My hope is that we can put this off for as long as possible.

In fact, I sincerely hope that this will not happen at all during the Trump/Pence era.

But you would have to be blind not to see the hate, anger, and frustration that are all growing like cancer in the hearts of our young people.

This is a time for the peacemakers.  If there are any left in Washington, we need them to rise up now and try to bring healing before it is too late.

Reprinted with permission from The Economic Collapse.

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Mexican Corruptos To Come Clean

Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, is a puppet of the country’s deeply-embedded elites, known in Mexico as los Corruptos.

Last week they shoved him out on stage to broadcast a message to Mexican illegals in the United States.

The message was simple:

FOR GOD’S SAKE, DON’T COME BACK! WE DON’T WANT YOU!

Yes, Trump’s simple promise to enforce existing U.S. law has sent the Corruptos into chaos.

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True to form, Peña Nieto brays the elite’s century-old canard, fomenting hatred for the Gringos while his corrupt pals make off with billions and wink at their pliant American counterparts.

“Your poverty is their fault! It’s Americans who are your exploiters,” he assures illegals, “not Mexico’s thoroughly embedded criminal ruling class”

Enrique’s venal allies quickly chime in. Former president Vicente Fox screams “Hitler”; even the country’s terrorized Catholic bishops sing along (thanks to the Corruptos, Mexico is the most dangerous country in the world to be a Catholic priest).

Peña Nieto promises illegals that his foreign ministry will protect them, because they are still Mexicans. In fact, anyone with Mexican ancestors who is now located in the United States is always a Mexican – not an American.

This novel geography applies equally to newly-smuggled illegal aliens, anchor babies, Coyotes, resident drug lords, green-card-bearing gang leaders, or fifth-generation “Mexican-Americans.”

For the Corruptos, they are all Mexicans living in “Greater Mexico.” They will always be aliens in the United States.

So does Peña Nieto invite them to come home to the Mother Country?

Quite the contrary: “STAY IN THE U.S.! WE NEED YOUR MONEY!”

Throughout Mexico, millions of communities depend on the “remesas” (remittances) sent home every year from relatives, legal and illegal, in the U.S. Amounting to tens of billions of dollars a year, these funds are Mexico’s only welfare system; the government’s version is so riddled with corruption that it’s virtually nonexistent.

The Corruptos also tax the remittances as soon as they arrive: recipient families must pay off the police chief, the mayor, and the local gang leader(s) – or fear for their lives and their livelihood.

This is the foul sewer of graft that will collapse in ruins when Trump’s Wall goes up to stay.

Peña Nieto laments that illegals in the U.S. are “at risk,” but the truth is darker: they’ll really be at risk if they return home.

Wait – wouldn’t they be safer there?

No way, José. If ten to twenty million illegals return to their family homes south of the border, it could bring down the entire Corrupto cartel.

For generations, the Corruptos have driven northwards millions of their fellow citizens so Enrique and his pals won’t have to take care of them at home.

That’s why Catholic bishops on both sides of the border routinely refer to Mexicans heading north to cross the border as “desperate.”

And who made them desperate?

Not us. After all, they’ve never been here.

Enrique’s pals made them desperate.

The Corruptos oppressed and exploited them as a way of life – that’s why they had to leave!

Moreover, there are tens of millions more Mexicans right there in Mexico who are “at risk” – terrorized by the corrupt multi-party elites that are allied with the drug gangs, the crime-infested military, the murderous Coyotes, and bought-off local officials. All these tentacles of the Mexican Deep State live on bribes, terror, and fraud.

That’s how the Corruptos oppress the common man and drive him north, where welfare benefits, medical care, and education are real – and free, thanks not to the Corruptos, but the American taxpayer.

But wait, there’s more: Enrique saves his biggest whopper for last:

“Mexico doesn’t believe in walls,” he says, barely stifling a guffaw.

A lie? Of course. All of Enrique’s houses in Mexico are surrounded by walls, just like every other house throughout the country.

In fact, any Mexican residence without a wall topped with broken glass and razor wire will be ransacked and gutted within 24 hours.

What’s the bottom line after all the lies?

President Trump’s executive order will deport criminal illegals. America’s “sanctuary cities” will be safe again, but the Corruptos are not going to give them a homecoming party.

Moreover, many other Mexicans, once deprived of illegal work and generous freebies in the U.S., will return to Mexico by choice.

When they get there, they will take Peña Nieto at his word and demand that he “be there for them” as he promised he would.

The Corruptos will suddenly have to provide them with all the benefits that the U.S. taxpayer once paid for.

When that crisis comes to a crescendo ­– and it will– we can expect a popular movement in Mexico to arise, echoing Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. “Make Mexico Great Again” will replace “hagamos una cosa” (“let’s see, how big should my bribe be?”) that has been the Mexican elite’s national motto for far too long.

Trump’s Wall will not only save America from Mexico’s Corruptos, it will save Mexico as well, when it brings the Corruptos down.

By the way, Peña Nieto belongs to the Marxist “Institutional Revolutionary Party.”

Hey, Enrique – tell your pals: here comes the real revolution.

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These Won’t Go Bad for Years

Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

By Dr. Mercola

Food waste is a major problem in the U.S., not only on the farm, where produce may be dubbed unfit for sale because it’s too lumpy, too small or otherwise not aesthetically perfect, but also in U.S. homes.

It’s estimated that, overall, about 40 percent of U.S. food is wasted, and according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average U.S. family of four wastes more than 2 million calories, which equates to $1,500 worth of food, every year.1

Reducing food waste by just 15 percent could provide food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year, according to the USDA, and would also benefit the environment, since food waste is the largest component of municipal solid waste (composting food scraps in your backyard is one way to reduce this).

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Unless you carefully plan your meals, it’s easy to overbuy fresh foods and end up having them spoil before use. There are, however, a number of healthy staples you can stock up on in your kitchen without worrying about spoilage, as they keep for a long time — even years.

Non-Perishable Kitchen Staples to Stock Up Your Pantry

Having access to non-perishable food items is undoubtedly convenient. Stock up your pantry once in a while and you’ll be prepared to make a meal even on short notice or in a pinch.

What you want to avoid are foods that last a long time because they contain synthetic preservatives or come in canned form (cans are often lined with toxic bisphenol-A (BPA)). Instead, look for whole foods that are naturally long lasting and good for you. Some of the top options follow:

1.Dried Beans

Beans are a good source of folate, dietary fiber, manganese, protein, magnesium, vitamin B1 (thiamin), phosphorus and antioxidants, and may be beneficial for heart health when eaten in moderation.

A note when cooking dried beans: the cooking liquid will hold much of the nutrients after the beans are done cooking. One trick is to let the beans sit in the liquid for about an hour after cooking to help them reabsorb some of the lost nutrients.

Cooking beans in a pressure cooker may also preserve more nutrients than cooking beans using other methods.

2.Mustard

Mustard lasts for a long time (including up to three years before it’s opened) and high-quality versions are made of only beneficial mustard seeds, turmeric, water and vinegar.

Mustard adds a tasty kick to many types of foods, and as an added bonus may boost your metabolism by up to 25 percent for hours after you eat.2

3.White Vinegar

The Vinegar Institute states that white vinegar has an indefinite shelf life, due to its acidic nature.3 This is why it’s commonly used for pickling, and it’s also commonly added to condiments and other food dishes for flavor.

Vinegar may also significantly benefit your health. As reported in the Journal of Food Science:4

Functional therapeutic properties of vinegar … include antibacterial activity, blood pressure reduction, antioxidant activity, reduction in the effects of diabetes, prevention of cardiovascular disease, and increased vigor after exercise.”

Distilled white vinegar is excellent for cleaning and laundry, but for health purposes you’ll want to avoid the perfectly clear, “sparkling clean” varieties you commonly see on grocery store shelves. Instead, you want organic, unfiltered, unprocessed vinegar, which is murky.

When you try to look through it, you will notice a cobweb-like substance floating in it. This is known as “mother,” and it indicates your vinegar is of the best quality.

The reason manufacturers distill vinegar is to remove this rather murky looking stuff that most people find unappealing and won’t buy. But in this case, it’s the murky looking stuff you want.

As with most foods, the more processed a food is, the less nutritious, and this holds true for most vinegar as well.

4.Salt

While iodized salt has a shelf life of about five years, natural salt will remain fresh indefinitely. While many people are under the impression that salt intake should be restricted, the heart benefits of doing so have been questioned for some time.

In 2011, a systematic review of data involving 6,500 people found evidence was lacking to recommend salt restriction.5 Among people with high blood pressure or normal blood pressure, salt restriction was not significantly associated with overall mortality or cardiovascular mortality.

Among those with congestive heart failure, meanwhile, salt restriction was associated with increased mortality risk.

An update to the review, published in 2014, also found “there is insufficient power to confirm clinically important effects of dietary advice and salt substitution on cardiovascular mortality” among people with high blood pressure or normal blood pressure.6

Some studies have shown a modest benefit to salt restriction among some people with high blood pressure, but keep in mind that there’s a huge difference between natural salt and the processed salt added to processed foods and salt shakers in most homes and restaurants.

The former is essential for good health, whereas the latter is best avoided altogether. Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, stated:7

“A study from 1991 indicates that people need about one and one-half teaspoons of salt per day.

Anything less triggers a cascade of hormones to recuperate sodium from the waste stream, hormones that make people vulnerable to heart disease and kidney problems. This is proven biochemistry.”

5.Olives

Olives also have a long shelf life (about three years) when unopened, making them a perfect snack to keep on hand. Many people have shunned olives because of their high fat content, but this is precisely one reason that makes them so very good for you.

Most of the fat (more than 75 percent) in olives is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat known for lowering your risk of heart disease. Olives also contain antioxidants “in abundance,” according to research published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention.8

This includes phenol (hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol), polyphenols (oleuropein glucoside) and other compounds. The antioxidant properties of olives have been shown to be stronger than those of vitamin E.9

In addition, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in olives, as well as other anti-cancer compounds, make them useful for cancer prevention.

Both green and black olives are good for you, but there is research that suggests the antioxidant oleuropein content decreases as olives ripen. So, in some cases, green olives may have more of this beneficial compound (but it’s not enough of a reason to shun black olives if you enjoy them).10

6.Honey

While I recommend eating honey only in moderation, honey has antiviral and antibacterial properties that make it keep for a very long time. While its color or texture may change (turning grainy or hard), it’s still safe to eat. Hardened honey can be softened by soaking the container in a bowel of warm water.

Keep in mind that honey, if not consumed in moderation, will increase your insulin and leptin levels and can lead to poor health.

I recommend using raw Manuka honey — not the processed, refined varieties found in many grocery stores. Maple syrup is another natural sweetener that will keep a very long time when stored in your refrigerator or freezer (but this, too, should only be eaten in moderation).

7.Vanilla Extract

Real vanilla extract will keep for a very long time (much longer than imitation versions, which have a shelf life of about two years). I like to use organic vanilla extract to flavor one of my favorite snacks, macadamia nut fudge:

Dr. Mercola’s Macadamia Nut Fudge (snack, serves 8)

Ingredients

  • Cocoa butter — 300 grams (10.58 ounces)
  • Coconut oil — 200 grams (7.05 ounces)
  • Raw organic pastured butter — 200 grams
  • Macadamia nuts — 300 grams
  • 8 full droppers of stevia (can use Lo Han as a substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Mix butters and oils over low heat for 3-5 minutes
  2. Let the mixture cool, then add stevia and vanilla bean paste
  3. Mix in 8-ounce wide-mouth ball jars
  4. Spread nuts into jars evenly
  5. Refrigerate until desired consistency is reached

8.Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are said to last up to two years with no refrigeration, courtesy of the high levels of antioxidants they contain.11They make a quick and easy-to-use source of protein, healthy fats, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Their high concentration of the plant-based omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is one of their major claims to fame. Chia seeds contain up to 40 percent oil, with 60 percent comprised of omega-3.12

In addition, chia seeds contain a number of additional phytochemicals, each with its own unique benefits. This includes myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol, known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and caffeic acid.13 Chia seeds can be added to smoothies or eaten as a pudding, a topping, a spread or even in place of breadcrumbs on meat and fish.

Some Foods Are Good Long Past Their Expiration Date

A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Harvard found that more than 90 percent of Americans are throwing out food prematurely because of misunderstandings of what food date labels actually mean.14

The researchers concluded that food dates generally lead to good food getting thrown away prematurely. There is no universally accepted system for food dating in the U.S. “Sell by” dates aren’t meant for consumer use at all. They are there as tools to help retailers ensure proper product turnover when stocking shelves, yet many consumers believe it is a measure of food safety.

“Best if Used By (or Before)” dates are set by the manufacturer to suggest when to consume the food by for best flavor or quality. However, it is not a measure of safety either and foods can typically be safely consumed after the “best by” or “best before” date, often with minimal, if any, changes in taste or texture.

A “use by” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. This date is also determined by the manufacturer and may vary widely even between similar products. So when determining whether a food is still good to eat, you’re basically on your own (but understand that many foods are still safe to eat beyond their expiration dates).

To minimize food waste and get the most from your food dollars, I recommend buying your food locally, preferably from a small organic farming operation you can visit and inspect for yourself. This guarantees that you get the freshest foods right from the start, giving you a few extra days (or in some cases weeks) of leeway before they spoil.

Sources and References

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Soros on the Ropes?

Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Although multi-billionaire hedge fund tycoon and international political pot-stirrer George Soros lost big with the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the victory of the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom, he stands to lose further ground, politically and financially, as the winds of political change sweep across the globe.

Soros, who fancies himself as the master of placing short put options on stocks, often cleaning up to the tune of billions of dollars in the process when the stock values collapse, has been dealt a few financial body blows. Recently, the Dutch securities market regulator AFM «accidentally» revealed online all of Soros’s short trades since 2012. Soros’s trades were revealed on AFM’s website and were removed after the regulator realized the «error». However, the Soros data had already been captured by automatic data capturing software programs operated by intelligence agencies and brokerage firms that routinely scour the Internet looking for such «mistakes».

Among the bank shares targeted by Soros was the Ing Groep NV, a major institution and important element of the Dutch economy. After campaigning against Brexit, Soros bet against the stock of Deutsche Bank AG, which he believed would fall in value after Britain voted to leave the EU. Deutsche Bank stock fell 14 percent and Soros cleaned up. But Soros’s celebration was temporary. With Trump’s election, Soros lost a whopping $1 billion in stock speculation. Surrounded by his fellow financial manipulators, Soros explained his recent losses while attending the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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Soros’s mega-wealthy cronies placed their own bets against smaller Dutch firms. Those firms included Ordina, an information technology firm; Advanced Metallurgical Group; and the real estate group Wereldhave N.V.

Beware the Ides of March

The Soros data release comes at a particularly sensitive time in Dutch politics. The center-right government led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte is on the political ropes as it tries to fend off, in an election scheduled for March 15, a serious challenge by the right-nationalist Party for Freedom (PVV) of anti-migrant and anti-European Union leader Geert Wilders. An ally of Donald Trump, Wilders is likely to make political hay out of the fact that Soros, the champion of European open borders and mass migration, bet against Dutch banks. The Ides of March looks favorably upon a Wilders victory, an event that will drive another nail into the coffin of the European Union and Soros’s mass migration and open borders dream.

The Netherlands has not been particularly friendly to Soros and his goals. In November 2016, Soros’s Open Society Foundations, and two groups funded by Soros – the European Network Against Racism and Gender Concerns International – advertised job openings for Dutch youth «between the ages 17-26» who are Muslim immigrants and the children or grandchildren of Muslim immigrants to campaign against parties like those of Wilders and Rutte.

Prime Minister Rutte recently issued a warning to migrants who refuse to assimilate into Dutch society. Of course, Rutte was not referring to the thousands of migrants from former Dutch colonies in the Dutch East and West Indies who had no problem adopting Dutch culture, religion, and social manners. Rutte, who faces a 9-point lead by Wilders’s PVV, had some pointed words for the Muslim migrants in the Netherlands. In an interview with «Algemeen Dagblad», Rutte, in what could have been a speech by Wilders, said:

«I tell everyone. If you don’t like it here in this country, get out, get out! That’s the choice you have. If you live in a country where the ways of dealing with others annoy you, you have a choice, go away. You do not need to be here.» Rutte had a particular disdain for those who «don’t want to adapt… who attack gay people, shout at women in short skirts, or call ordinary Dutch people racist». Rutte left very little doubt about to whom he was referring, the recently-arrived Muslim migrants, «There have always been people who exhibited deviant behavior. But something has come to pass in the last year where we, as a society, should have an answer. With the arrival of large groups of refugees, the question arises: will the Netherlands still be the Netherlands?»

Coming from a one-time committed Euroatlanticist supporter of NATO, the EU, and the World Bank, Rutte’s words about migrants must have come as a complete shock to Soros and his minions.

The exposure of Soros’s financial manipulation of the Dutch economy is sure to enrage Dutch citizens already weary of migrants and diktats by the European Union. In April 2016, Dutch citizens overwhelmingly rejected the EU-Ukraine treaty that called for closer ties between the EU and the Kiev regime. The outcome enraged Soros, who is one of the Kiev regime’s principal puppet masters.

NGO «Santa Claus» now faces many closed doors

Europe once praised Soros as some sort of benevolent «Santa Claus,» who handed out millions for «good deeds» to one-world government proponents and other starry-eyed utopians. However, the veneer of Soros is wearing thin.

Russia was the first to call out Soros for his interference in Russian politics. The Soros plan to destabilize Russia dubbed the «Russia Project» by Soros’s Open Society Institute and Foundation, foresaw the outbreak of Ukrainian-style «Maidan Square» uprisings in cities across Russia. In November 2015, the Russian Prosecutor-General’s office announced the proscription of activities of the Open Society Institute and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation for endangering Russia’s constitutional order and national security.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban now leads the anti-Soros groundswell in Europe. The optics of Orban becoming the first European Union leader to go after the Hungarian-born Soros and his destabilization operations has not been lost on other EU leaders, including those in Poland and the Czech Republic. Orban has accused Soros of masterminding the migrant invasion of Europe. In retaliation for these and other moves by Soros, Orban has warned that the various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) backed by Soros risk being expelled from Europe altogether.

Orban has been joined in venting his anger about Soros by former Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski, who was forced from office and an early election after Soros-inspired demonstrations in his country took place amid a massive influx of Muslim migrants from Greece.

Referring to Soros’s global political operations, the former Macedonian prime minister said in a recent interview, «He is not doing that just in Macedonia, but in the Balkans, across Eastern Europe, and now, most recently, in the United States. Secondly, from what I’ve read about him, in some countries he does it for material and financial reasons, to earn a lot of money, while in others for ideological reasons».

In Poland, where Soros has been very influential, a Member of Parliament for the ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS), Krystyna Pawłowicz, recently demanded that Soros be stripped of Poland’s highest honor for foreigners, the Commander with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. Pawłowicz considers Soros’s operations in Poland to be illegal. She also believes that Soros’s organizations are «financing the anti-democratic and anti-Polish element with a view to fighting Polish sovereignty and indigenous Christian culture».

Czech President Milos said, in a 2016 interview, «some of his [Soros’s] activities are at least suspicious and they strikingly remind of interferences in [countries’] internal affairs. The organizing of what is known as color revolutions in individual countries is an interesting hobby, but it brings more harm than benefit to the countries concerned». Zeman claimed Soros was planning a color revolution for the Czech Republic.

Aivars Lembergs, the mayor of Ventspils, Latvia and a leader of the Union of Greens and Peasants, wants Soros and his NGOs banned from Latvia. Lembergs argues that two Soros publications in Latvia – Delna, and Providus – have propagandized in favor of Latvia receiving Muslim migrants. Lembergs sees the migrants and Soros’s support for them as endangering Latvian state security. The mayor believes that «George Soros must be outlawed in Latvia. He must be banned from entering the country».

In neighboring Lithuania, the Labor Party has also questioned Soros’s activities in the country. The party and its parliamentary allies have asked Lithuania’s security services to investigate the «financial schemes and networks» of Soros because of the threat they pose to national security. The Lithuanian parties claim that Soros groups specialize at «not consolidating, but dividing, society».

It is no longer easy being a meddlesome multi-billionaire who overthrows governments with the snap of a finger. Soros has not only alienated the President of Russia and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom but now the President of the United States. Soros is also enemy number one among the leaders of China. With such an array of enemies, it is doubtful Soros will have any more political successes like Ukraine or Georgia. With all of his billions, Mr. Soros now only commands a «paper doll army».

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Healing With Pot

Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Marijuana has gone mainstream, as evidenced by the spread of the use of marijuana as a medicine, and now outright legalization in some places is turning peoples’ heads and hearts to a vision where marijuana is perceived as good. Now available in print, I am very happy to announce the New York publication of my book Healing with Medical Marijuana, now available on Amazon. In it, one can find total support for the use of marijuana—even for rest and relaxation.

Researchers are still struggling to understand how it impacts the body but anyone can use marijuana and see for themselves how it affects their pain and disease conditions. In a new 400-page analysis of the current state of scientific knowledge on the health risks and benefits of marijuana, medical scientists concluded that marijuana can effectively treat chronic pain. The sweeping report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, covered more than 10,000 scientific studies.

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“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer on October 18, 2014. I was advised by my doctor that my only options were to get a prostatectomy or have radiation seeds implanted in my prostate or receive regular external beam radiation. I declined, I knew there had to be other options. I scoured the Internet and discovered a wealth of information about cannabis oil curing cancer. I was able to obtain some medical marijuana oil (Rick Simpson Oil) and consumed the recommended dosage by mid-January. On January 26th, I had a cancer reassessment which consisted of an MRI with a state of the art Tesla 3 MRI machine. Results – NO SIGN OF CANCER! CANCER FREE! One of the things that helped me while going through all this was reading the testimonials and the success stories of those who have used the oil and were cured also with good food diet. Now that this wonderful oil has cured me, I feel I need to let others know as well.”

Bottom line to marijuana—it mitigates human suffering. It is the best and safest pain medication. It is cheap if you grow it yourself. It is better than any pharmaceutical on the market. It treats cancer. It is a wonder drug and can even be used by healthy people to keep their stress down.

Not all Americans are celebrating marijuana as a God given gift. Some would rather have people poison themselves with pharmaceuticals than take something natural. Conservative Tim Bradley believes that there are legitimate medical reasons to ingest marijuana but thinks that people should not be allowed to “grow their own supply of the drug.” He believes that marijuana should only be used by those whom are issued prescriptions, and prescriptions for marijuana should be restricted “to cases where there is no less mind-altering medical treatment reasonably available to the patient.”

Obviously, Bradley favors medical terrorism as currently practiced by mainstream doctors. Personally, I believe most doctors should be avoided like the plague for that is exactly what they are a plague on earth killing more people than anyone else—at least in America where hundreds of thousands of people die every year at the hands of doctors for one reason or another. I read someone recently going as far as saying that the medical industry is a holocaust industry but you will find no one in the mainstream even whispering that.

It is hard to understand this aversion to the process of altering one’s mind. It is the mainstream mind with all its limitations and blinders that needs to be altered including Bradley`s mind. Bradley concludes that “no society is better off with legalized marijuana,” so he is in favor of locking a lot of people up in cages, which the American government loves to do.

According to FBI crime data, “643,000 people were arrested for marijuana in 2015” and “574,000 of these arrests were for possession rather than distribution and sale.” Arrests last year “for possessing small amounts of marijuana exceeded those for all violent crimes.” Governments are stupid and cruel when it comes to marijuana and they want us to have, in the end, one government to rule over us all. The United Nations, one of the major front organizations for globalization is against the use of marijuana. What we have seen in America is what they would like to see forever for the entire human race.

In the United States, possession of marijuana is punishable by up to one year in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first conviction. For a second conviction, the penalties increase to a 15-day mandatory minimum sentence with a maximum of two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Subsequent convictions carry a 90-day mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

If this is the sane punishment for something God gave us I wonder what the punishment should be for the bankers, government officials and doctors who inject toxic chemicals and heavy metals into children`s blood streams. Some people just hate democracy meaning they hate that people should have a say in their own lives and in their workings and direction of their countries or world.

Everyone who is against marijuana is against freedom. They are against God and they are against the will of the people who clearly want to be able to use marijuana when they want to or need to. Wherever there is freedom marijuana will be legal and unregulated.

Wherever there is marijuana there will be reductions in suffering, pain, and reductions in side effects from pharmaceutical drugs that kill people.

When people choose marijuana over alcohol life is served because alcohol is dangerous not only to oneself but to others who we might plow down while driving under the influence. Alcohol is also one of the causes of cancer whereas marijuana can be used to treat cancer.

Today people are voting to legalize. That is the will of the people. People care whereas governments are into an entirely different trip. We see the war between people and their governments that marijuana has created with many benefiting financially from the war on drugs.

Some speak about morality when they talk about marijuana but what is the morality of making war and destroying societies from within. What is the morality in denying people access to a natural miracle drug that is safe, effective and cheap? Where is the morality of being against Nature, against God, and against natural medicine? Being against marijuana is also to be against science, which is aware of all the medical benefits.

I recently read that “Our intelligence and our insanity are identical twins because it is insane to destroy the planet on which we depend one-on-one for everything that allows us to live, and at the same time dream of human life on another planet.” We are busy destroying our planet. We are completely clueless about how crazy we are. The only thing crazy about marijuana is the war against it.

Where we stand on marijuana tells us much. Are we cruel wanting to control others and want to force them into dangerous medical approaches and drugs? Are we mean wanting to torture and lock people up for smoking marijuana (for whatever reason) or are we loving individuals who believe in freedom? These are questions that people are voting for and the vote is for love and a God given drug and the right to use it without complete assholes breathing down our necks.

According to the complaining DEA, the media has made it difficult for government agents to arrest people for selling and consuming marijuana. Poor them, complaining about losing some of their ability to ruin peoples` lives. The DEA also blames the increasing trend of legalization across the United States.

The DEA decided to keep cannabis a harmful “Schedule 1” drug in August, but the National Institute for Cancer maintains that cannabis holds many benefits for treating nausea, vomiting, pain, anxiety, and loss of appetite. The United States government has held a patent on marijuana for its antioxidant properties since 1979 yet still maintains officially that there are no medical benefits.

A recent video of a former cop with debilitating Parkinson’s disease showed how just a few drops of cannabis oil helped calm his uncontrolled movements and relieve his pain, and available medical research backs up his experience. Epileptic children enjoy relief from severe seizures, and preliminary medical research also supports their experiences. Countless cancer patients testify to the immense benefits cannabis brings them, especially when it comes to mitigating the effects of chemotherapy.

One man who suffered from staggering cluster headaches as a result of the nation’s biggest natural gas leak in history found relief from cannabidiol (CBD) oil after trying numerous other treatments with no success.

With the war against drugs, we see that politicians don’t care about their own people. The war on drugs is a crime against humanity. Besides creating a wide swath of harm among the population drug laws have led to a lack of respect for law and politicians who make and support them no matter how unfair and cruel the laws are.

Conclusion

Marijuana is safe, effective and affordable medicine, which is better than anything you can get at your pharmacy except for sodium bicarbonate, iodine, and magnesium chloride, all of which are natural and used to great effect in emergency rooms and intensive care wards.

There are many options for administration of medical marijuana. You can smoke it by burning, smoke it with a vaporizer, you can eat it raw and not get high, you can use it transdermally, and one can concentrate it in oil form for the treatment of cancer. You can even take it without the THC and that is called CBD, which is legal everywhere.

After Note: Western medicine is in love with the old saying that the dose makes the poison. And while it is true that almost all pharmaceuticals are poison’s marijuana is not unless taken at extremely high and concentrated levels. When one is using marijuana as a medicine it is generally safe to take the dosage up to whatever level is necessary to gain a needed effect. We do not apply the dose makes the poison principle, there is little need. However, when one uses marijuana for anti-stress, creativity and recreation then we could apply this 400-year-old principle. Meaning everyone has a certain dosage where using marijuana is wonderfully in tune with their needs. But if we go beyond that dosage for years on end then we have an addiction and some physical downsides in terms of our energy and sometimes even organ health.

Reprinted with permission from DrSircus.com.

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A Better Solution Than the Wall

Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Just one week in office, President Trump is already following through on his pledge to address illegal immigration. His January 25th executive order called for the construction of a wall along the entire length of the US-Mexico border. While he is right to focus on the issue, there are several reasons why his proposed solution will unfortunately not lead us anywhere closer to solving the problem.

First, the wall will not work. Texas already started building a border fence about ten years ago. It divided people from their own property across the border, it deprived people of their land through the use of eminent domain, and in the end, the problem of drug and human smuggling was not solved.

Second, the wall will be expensive. The wall is estimated to cost between 12 and 15 billion dollars. You can bet it will be more than that. President Trump has claimed that if the Mexican government doesn’t pay for it, he will impose a 20 percent duty on products imported from Mexico. Who will pay this tax? Ultimately, the American consumer, as the additional costs will be passed on. This will, of course, hurt the poorest Americans the most.

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Third, building a wall ignores the real causes of illegal border crossings into the United States. Though President Trump is right to prioritize the problem of border security, he misses the point on how it can be done effectively and at an actual financial benefit to the country rather than a huge economic drain.

The solution to really addressing the problem of illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and the threat of cross-border terrorism is clear: remove the welfare magnet that attracts so many to cross the border illegally, stop the 25 year US war in the Middle East, and end the drug war that incentivizes smugglers to cross the border.

The various taxpayer-funded programs that benefit illegal immigrants in the United States, such as direct financial transfers, medical benefits, food assistance, and education, cost an estimated $100 billion dollars per year. That is a significant burden on citizens and legal residents. The promise of free money, free food, free education, and free medical care if you cross the border illegally is a powerful incentive for people to do so. It especially makes no sense for the United States government to provide these services to those who are not in the US legally.

Likewise, the 40-year war on drugs has produced no benefit to the American people at a great cost. It is estimated that since President Nixon declared a war on drugs, the US has spent more than a trillion dollars to fight what is a losing battle. That is because just as with the welfare magnet, there is an enormous incentive to smuggle drugs into the United States.

We already know the effect that ending the war on drugs has on illegal smuggling: as more and more US states decriminalize marijuana for medical and recreational uses, marijuana smuggling from Mexico to the US has dropped by 50 percent from 2010.

Finally, the threat of terrorists crossing into the United States from Mexico must be taken seriously, however once again we must soberly consider why they may seek to do us harm. We have been dropping bombs on the Middle East since at least 1990. Last year President Obama dropped more than 26,000 bombs. Thousands of civilians have been killed in US drone attacks. The grand US plan to “remake” the Middle East has produced only misery, bloodshed, and terrorism. Ending this senseless intervention will go a long way toward removing the incentive to attack the United States.

I believe it is important for the United States to have secure borders, but unfortunately, President Trump’s plan to build a wall will end up costing a fortune while ignoring the real problem of why people cross the borders illegally. They will keep coming as long as those incentives remain.

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SkyDiving Without a Parachute

Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Given how expensive traffic tickets are, it’s amazing so many people won’t buy a good radar detector. Unlike the car you’re driving, it actually is an investment – and not just in terms of the money it will save you.

A good radar detector will also make driving enjoyable again. Instead of hewing to the letter of every ridiculous speed limit – or living in perpetual fear (and inevitable actuality) of being ticketed for exceeding them – you’ll be able to drive again. Which, incidentally, is also a safety advantage. You spend more time watching the road than the speedometer (there is a reason why race cars do not have speedometers).

But let’s run the numbers first.

You’ll pay about $400 or so for a good radar detector. You do not want a bad one – defined as one that either isn’t sensitive enough to pick up police radar until it’s too late or one that picks up too much radar that isn’t police radar – like the radar emanating from automatic doors and other cars equipped with radar-using safety systems such as Blind Spot/Lane Departure Warning systems. Too many boys-who-cried-wolf and you’ll probably be off your guard when the real wolf appears.

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I use the Valentine1 and recommend it – because in addition to being very sensitive and very discriminating (the latest models have new “Junk-K ” filtration software to separate out not-cop radar while still being ultra-sensitive to cop radar) it has front and rear facing antennas (most other detectors only have forward antennas) and it’s the only detector that you can send back to be updated as the latest technology becomes available. Other detectors may be state-of-the-art today, but tomorrow not so much – and your only option then is to drive around with an obsolete detector and be increasingly vulnerable to the cops’ latest technology – or throw the thing away and get a new one.

At full price.

The V1 also has directional indicators – telling you where the radar-running cop is lurking – and can track multiple threats at once, each displayed digitally, with an accompanying audible warning cue. It is the SigSauer of radar detectors.

Anyhow, you pay let’s say $400.

Once.

Now consider how quickly that investment is amortized – and begins to actually make you money. I will use myself as an example.

This morning, on the way home, the V1 alerted me to a pair of county cops running a speed trap on a very straight, very tempting – and very under-posted stretch of the rural highway that bisects my county. This road – US 221 in SW Virginia – usually doesn’t have much traffic and the posted speed limit (55 MPH) is, per usual, set well below the 85th percentile speed (read about that here) which is nearly universal and has the effect of turning almost every driver on any given road into a “speeder” vulnerable to being ticketed.

Read the Whole Article

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Preventing Heart Attacks

Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Although a thrombus (blood clot) in a coronary artery that supplies the heart with oxygenated blood is the most frequent cause of death among men, “its immediate cause has always been wrapped up in mystery.” — Pathologist Paris Constantinides, Journal American Medical Assn.,1964.

In 1990 an article published in The New York Times stated that cardiologists “had a nagging sense that a big piece of the puzzle of why people have heart attacks was missing…. although doctors conventionally attributed heart attacks to severe narrowing of the heart’s arteries from fatty deposits, they found in studying the coronaries of heart attack victims that the vessels were often relatively clean. And some cardiac patients had none of the known risks, like smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.” 

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The report went on to say: “Blood clots that plug the heart’s tiny arteries have emerged as the prime culprits in perhaps 80 percent of heart attacks, and smaller clots appear to contribute to the more chronic process of hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Now cardiologists have collected impressive evidence that the blood of heart attack victims may form clots too readily and stick with unusual tenacity to vessel walls, blocking the arteries of the heart.” 

The New York Times report made reference to pathologist Dr. Paris Constantinides, who over 50 years ago now found that “hardening of the arteries wasn’t the problem… when the clot was removed some of the vessels were still 70-80 percent open” he said.  [New York Times Oct 16, 1990]

Generally speaking, modern-day cardiologists address blocked coronary arteries as stenosis – narrowing of a blood vessel — and treat it with implantable wire props called stents.  Stent-happy cardiologists abound.

Twenty-six years after the New York Times report the reason for the clots in coronary arteries has finally been uncovered.

But there is more to learn before the final piece of the puzzle is revealed.

Sticky Platelet Syndrome

Prior to the report in the New York Times, a phenomenon called sticky platelet syndrome was first described in 1983.  Blood platelets are a component of blood that halt bleeding by clumping together to seal up breaks in blood vessel walls.  Platelets are what seal up a wound in your skin.

However, this syndrome was largely ignored in the medical literature till 1995. [Clinical & Applied Thrombosis/ Hemostasis 1998]  However a present-day report says sticky platelet syndrome is still being ignored. [Seminars Thrombosis Hemostasis 2016]

A report published in 1998 indicated sticky platelet syndrome accounts for 21% of unexplained arterial blockages (acute heart attack and strokes, transient ischemic attacks or TIAs, and retinal and peripheral blood clots) and 13% of unexplained venous blockages (deep vein thrombosis in the legs, retina, and lungs).  The total incidence of clotting-related diseases (thrombosis) in 1996 was reported as follows:

1498 per 100,000 Americans (3,742,000 cases of clotting events — strokes, heart attacks) resulting in 1,990,000 deaths

Compared to:

544 cases of cancer per 100,000 Americans (1,359,150 cases) resulting in 554,740 cancer-related deaths.

All totaled, clotting events are three times more prevalent and four times a deadly than cancer.   

Commonly used blood thinners, Warfarin (Coumadin) or heparin are not effective for sticky platelet syndrome though low-dose aspirin (81 mg) appears to be somewhat effective, though problematic. [Clinical Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis 1998] 

However, before you reach for an aspirin tablet you should know that a baby aspirin has not been demonstrated to prevent heart attacks among healthy individuals. [FDA Consumer]  And a full-size aspirin tablet can cause bleeding gastric ulcers that kill a few thousand people annually. [FDA Safety of Aspirin]

It was around this time when sticky platelet syndrome began to be recognized that Dr. James H. Privitera wrote his landmark book entitled: Silent Clots: Life’s Biggest Killers (1997).  Used copies are still available at Amazon.com.

Lipoprotein(a) and vitamin C and sticky platelets

Elevated homocysteine and lipoprotein(a) are among the listed causes of clotting events.  Lipoprotein(a) is the protein that seals up breaks in artery walls when vitamin C levels are low and normal repair cannot take place.  Lipoprotein(a) is like a sticky bandage and it attracts blood platelets, the clotting factor in the blood. 

This author has previously written about lipoprotein(a), which was identified as a major factor in the onset of heart attacks by Linus Pauling and Dr. Matthias Rath described in 1990. [Proceedings National Academy Sciences Dec 1990; Knowledge of Health Aug 5, 2013]

Elevated lipoprotein(a) blood levels promote blood clots.  In one study about 20% of patients with clots in the veins in their legs were found to have elevated lipoprotein(a) levels. [Blood2000]

Unstable arterial plaque that can rupture and induce an acute heart attack was first described in the year 2000. [New England Journal Medicine 2000] Low vitamin C blood levels give rise to an unstable arterial plaque that is vulnerable to rupture. [Circulation March 26, 2002] 

Lipoprotein(a) is only found in the blood of animals that do not internally produce their own vitamin C. [Chang Gung Medical Journal 2011]  Statin drugs actually raise lipoprotein(a) levels. [Atherosclerosis Oct 2006]

It is not beneficial to attempt to lower lipoprotein(a) levels but rather to increase vitamin C intake so lipoprotein(a) never sticks to breaks in the wall of coronary arteries.

Elevated lipoprotein(a) does not fully explain sticky platelet syndrome

Lipoprotein(a) still does not explain all of the idiopathic heart attacks (those that arise spontaneously without a known cause).

Because the origin of these heart attacks and strokes went unexplained they were assumed to be hereditary.  But it turns out, sticky platelet syndrome is largely governed by the foods one eats and families learn to like the same foods.  So while this syndrome is passed along family lines, it is familial, not genetic (inherited).

In this modern era of medicine, there are still no guidelines for the treatment of sticky platelet syndrome because of a lack of understanding of its origin. [Seminars in Thrombosis & Hemostasis 2016; [Folia Haematologica 1988]

Given no convincing understanding to the origin of sticky platelet syndrome as no identifiable risk factors are evident, and given that it occurs along family lines, it has remained a mystery, till now

Lo and behold: gut microbes cause sticky platelet syndrome

A recently published report says: “We now show that gut microbes, through the generation of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), an odorless, colorless, nitrogen-based metabolite produced in the human gut (intestines) directly contributes to blood platelet-induced thrombosis (clotting) potential.”  [Cell March 24, 2016]

Another report says: “Blood plasma TMAO levels predict subsequent heart attacks and strokes by 3 years.  TMAO reveals a previously unrecognized mechanistic link between specific dietary nutrients, gut microbes, platelet function and clotting risk.” [Cell March 24, 2016]

A recent study shows patients arriving at an emergency room with chest pain were six times more likely to exhibit elevated TMAO levels and were almost twice as likely to die of a heart attack over a 7-year follow-up period. [European Heart Journal Jan 11, 2017]  Another recent study confirms this doubling of mortal heart attack risk with elevated TMAO levels. [Journal American Heart Association June 2016]

And more convincingly, TMAO has recently been identified as the agent that induces rupture of arterial plaque. [American Journal Cardiology Nov 1, 2016]

TMAO is independent of established risk factors for heart attack and strokes such as insulin resistance, mid-section obesity, and fatty liver. [Scientific Reports May 27, 2016]

TMAO is not just a bystander or a minor player in the etiology of life-threatening blood clots that induce heart attacks and strokes.  Blood platelet involvement and activation is described as an “essential step in the genesis and propagation of atherothrombotic (blood clotting) complications.”  [Cell Metabolism April 12, 2016] 

Nutrients in foods elevate TMAO levels

Nutrients such as choline (a B vitamin rich in eggs) and carnitine (an amino acid provided in beef), lecithin (phosphatidylcholine) and betaine are metabolized in the gut (intestines) and converted to TMA (trimethylamine) and then transported to the liver via the portal vein where it is metabolized into TMAO. [Toxins Nov 8, 2016; PLoS One Jan 27, 2017; Nature April 7, 2011]

Certain foods raise TMAO levels.  Beef as a source of carnitine raises TMAO levels. [Food & Function Sept 14, 2016]

While eggs are a rich source of choline, consumption of 0, 1, 2, 3 eggs a day was not shown to increase TMAO levels in healthy adults. [Lipids Jan 13, 2017]  Yet in another study, 2 eggs/day did increase TMAO levels. [American Journal Clinical Nutrition Sept 2014]

While eggs and beef are a source of choline and carnitine, two dietary precursors for TMAO, fish consumption produces far higher circulating TMAO blood levels (46-62 times greater) than eggs and beef. [Molecular Nutrition Food Research Jan 2017]

While consumption of fish demonstrably raises TMAO levels, in an animal study fish oil (not fish) reduces TMAO induced impaired glucose intolerance and fatty tissue inflammation in high-fat-fed mice. [Food & Function April 2015]  So fish oil supplements are not to be feared.

When healthy foods turn out to induce TMAO and sticky platelets

Dietary fiber derived from carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes, grains, beans, cereals, produce “resistant starches” (resist digestion), particularly when these cooked foods are cooled. Misdirected health coaches suggest doubling of so-called resistant starches in the diet in order to control weight. 

“Resistant starch has the potential to become the next hot nutrition trend,” says an author of the American Dietetic Association’s Guide To Better Digestion.” [Prevention

However, diets high in resistant starch increase blood plasma levels of TMAO, the gut toxin that is associated with increased risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular death. [British Journal Nutrition Dec 2016]

Nutritionists circle their wagons in defense of foods that raise TMAO

The community of nutritionists is not ready to accept TMAO as a problematic agent in cardiovascular health and claims kidney disease may be the underlying cause. [Trends Endocrinology Metabolism Feb 2017]  Most certainly, elevated TMAO levels are associated with chronic kidney disease. [Kidney International May 2016] 

The fact that as TMAO levels increase the degree of kidney dysfunction worsens suggests TMAO is a cause not just a marker of kidney failure. [PLoS One Jan 11, 2016]

TMAO slows bile acid regulation and disposal. Bile if made from cholesterol in the liver.  TMAO then travels in the bloodstream where its detrimental actions can contribute to heart failure, atherosclerosis, and kidney disease. [Current Opinion Lipidology April 2016] 

B vitamins have recently been shown to reduce circulating TMAO levels. [Molecular Nutrition Food Research Aug 28, 2016]

The most striking effect of negating the adverse effects of TMAO was recently demonstrated in an animal study. 

TMAO reduces bile production in the liver that then indirectly results in a marked increase in arterial fatty plaque.  An increase in TMAO blood levels paralleled a change in the balance of two families of gut bacteria (Firmicutes/ Bacteroidetes).  This undesirable effect was reversed by supplementation with the red wine molecule resveratrol in genetically prone laboratory animals.  [mBio April 5, 2016] An extensive report is available at ResveratrolNews.com.

Who will monitor TMAO levels?

TMAO blood levels are not currently a part of a standard CBC (complete blood count).  Which medical specialist will be upon to monitor TMAO levels and prescribe corrective therapy?  Cardiologists were trained and are paid to implant stents, insert catheters into the heart and inflate a balloon to break up clots, to perform coronary artery bypass surgery, not to become gut bacteria specialists.  It may be the moment patients take things into their own hands until the practice of modern medicine catches up with its own science. 

Given that resveratrol pills inhibit TMAO, diminish platelet clumping, reduce inflammation [Indian Journal Biochemistry Biophysics Feb 2013; Platelets Aug 2005], and may be the safest and most effective pain reliever ever [ResveratrolNews.com Dec 28, 2015], resveratrol may serve as a safe alternative to aspirin. [Nutraceuticals World April 15, 2010]

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The Justice System

Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

On January 23, 2017, I asked, “Are Americans Racists?” I pointed out examples where racist explanations prevail over empirical fact. I did not write that there is no racism in America. I said that racism is not the be-all and end-all explanation of American history and institutions. The point I made is that racist explanations are often inadequate and both work against racial harmony and blind us to more general and more serious problems.

Perhaps the worst of America’s failed institutions is the criminal justice system. The US has the largest prison population in the world, not only as a percentage of the population but also in absolute numbers. “Freedom and democracy” America has an absolute larger number of incarcerated citizens than “authoritarian” China, a country with four times the US population.

Many factors contribute to this result. One is the privatization of prisons, which has turned them into profit-making enterprises ever needful of more labor to exploit, which adds to the pressure for convictions. Another factor is the disregard of the protective features of law in order to more easily pursue demonized offender groups, such as the Mafia, child abusers, drug dealers and users, and “terrorists.” Lawrence M. Stratton and I describe the transformation of law from a shield of the people into a weapon in the hands of the state in our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

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This transformation did not occur because of racism. It occurred because chasing after devils and convicting them became more important than justice. Today the criminal justice system is largely indifferent to a defendant’s guilt or innocence. This is a far worst problem than racism. It is the main reason that there are so many false convictions in the US and so many wrongfully convicted Americans in prison. Indeed, even the guilty are wrongfully convicted as it is easier to frame them than to convict them on the evidence.

To be clear: The primary reason for wrongful conviction is that the success indicator for police, prosecutor, and judge is conviction, not justice. Crimes are solved by wrongful convictions. High conviction rates boost the careers of prosecutors, and high profile convictions boost their political careers. The key to rapid and numerous convictions is the plea bargain. And plea bargains suit judges as they keep the court docket clear. Today 97% of felony cases are settled with a plea bargain. This means police evidence and a prosecutor’s case are tested only three times out of 100. When the evidence and case are tested in court, the test confronts a vast array of prosecutorial misconduct, such as suborned perjury and the withholding of exculpatory evidence. In America, everything is loaded against Justice.

In a plea bargain police do not have to present evidence, prosecutors do not have to bring a case, and judges do not have to pay attention to the case and be troubled by a growing backlog as trials consume days and weeks.

In a plea bargain the defendant, innocent or guilty, is told that he can plead to this or that offence, which carries a lighter sentence than the crime that allegedly has actually occurred and on which the defendant is arrested, or the defendant can go to trial where he will face more serious charges that carry much harsher penalties. As it has become routine for police to falsify evidence, for prosecutors to suborn perjury and withhold exculpatory evidence, for jurors naively to trust police and prosecutors, and for judges to look the other way, attorneys advise defendants to accept a plea deal. In other words, no one expects a fair trial or for real evidence to play a role in the outcome.

The short of it is that the pursuit of justice is not a feature of the American criminal justice system. Justice does not matter to the police, to the prosecutor, to the jury, to the judge, and often not to the hardened defense attorney who has witnessed so much injustice that he believes justice is a fairy tale.

The only exception to this is the justice introduced from outside the justice system by innocence projects and pro bono attorneys, such as Bryan Stevenson.

In 2014 Stevenson published Just Mercy, a fascinating collection of case histories of wrongful convictions that he and his colleagues managed to have overturned. A book such as this benefits from a main case, and the one that Stevenson delivers is that of Walter McMillian. It required six years for Stevenson to overturn what must be the most obvious, blatant frame-up of a completely innocent man in US history. There were a large number of witnesses who testified that they were with McMillian at a fish fry during the time that a murder for which McMillian was indicted and convicted took place. The only “evidence” against McMillian was the suborned perjury of a man who retracted his coerced testimony three times, once in the courtroom of Alabama Judge Thomas B. Norton, who simply ignored it.

McMillian is black, and the sheriff, prosecutor, judge, and jury that framed him are white. This fact, together with the fact that the ignored witnesses whose testimony cleared McMillian were black and McMillian’s sexual affair with a white woman in a small Alabama town, seem to convince Stevenson that McMillian was convicted because of racism.

Using Stevenson’s own account, I am going to show that many other factors in addition to racism played roles in McMillian’s wrongful conviction. Stevenson’s emphasis on a racist explanation of Alabama justice deflects attention from the fact that human corruption and evil go far beyond mere racism. McMillian was wrongfully convicted because the justice system has no concern with justice. Letting the system off as merely racist doesn’t nearly go far enough. The problem is much worse.

McMillian was falsely convicted, (1) because sheriff John Tate was under community criticism for the failure to solve the murder case of a young woman and needed someone to arrest for the crime, (2) because Ralph Meyers gave false testimony against McMillian for confused reasons that did not work out for him, (3) because the local newspaper, as newspapers are wont to do, convicted McMillian in the press, which meant that the jury had to convict or be accused of letting off a murderer, and (4) because the judge, Robert E. Lee Key, not only is unworthy of his name but most certainly did not have the fortitude to run a fair trial when the only possible outcome for his career and reputation in the community was conviction. Neither did his successor, Thomas B. Norton, have the fortitude for the same reasons.

I am convinced that all of these representatives of the justice system are racists, but they would have convicted McMillian for the same reasons if he had been white. If the justice system was concerned with justice, he would not have been convicted irrespective or race or gender.

What the emphasis on racism blinds us to is that the justice system is corrupt because justice does not play a role in it. Justice has to be brought into the system from outside by people such as Bryan Stevenson. And for people such as Stevenson to bring justice into the justice system, they must have a high tolerance for death threats and for witnessing justice fail again and again.

I want to emphasize that I am not being critical of Bryan Stevenson. He is very intelligent, overflowing with integrity, determination, ability and empathy for others. He has a moral conscience second to none. He is someone everyone would love to have as a friend and colleague. If Stevenson does not see what his own work reveals, that injustice prevails irrespective of race and gender, it is because he grew to maturity during a time when the victimization of identity politics is the prevailing explanation. Victimization has expanded to its limit: everyone is the victim of white heterosexual males. I wouldn’t be surprised if white heterosexual males have now been shown by identity politics to be the victims of themselves.

Stevenson describes the convictions of white women by white women. In the aftermath of hurricanes and tornadoes that wrecked coastal Alabama, Marsha Colbey gave premature birth to a stillborn son. She came to the attention of police because her busybody neighbor Debbie Cook had noticed the pregnancy but saw no child.

Colbey’s fate was sealed by the media craze set aflame by Andrea Yates and Susan Smith’s murders of their children. Media sensationalized the baseless suspicion surrounding Colbey and turned her into another “dangerous mother.” Forensic pathologist Kathleen Enstice testified without evidence that Colbey’s son had been born alive and had died by drowning. The state’s own expert witness, Dr. Dennis McNally, and the defense’s expert witness Dr. Werner Spitz testified that Colbey’s age alone placed her pregnancy at high risk for fetal death and that there was no scientific evidence that a crime had occurred.

Irresponsible media had communities and juries on the lookout for “dangerous moms” who should be put in prison, and they found one (along with many others) in Colbey. The trial judge permitted Colbey’s fate to be decided by jurors who stated that they could not honor the presumption of innocence in Colbey’s case. Other jurors said that they always believe the police and prosecutor. This failure of justice enabled Stevenson after years of effort to secure Colbey’s release. Clearly, Colbey’s wrongful conviction had nothing to do with racism. Identity politics would want to say she was convicted by misogynists, but Colbey was the victim of other women.

Justice is so absent in the criminal justice system that Victoria Banks in order to avoid capital punishment was coerced into a plea bargain carrying a 20-year sentence for murdering her child after her pregnancy despite the fact that there was no pregnancy and no child. Stevenson was able to win her release by establishing that she had had a tubal ligation five years prior to her alleged pregnancy, which made it biologically impossible for her to conceive and give birth to a child.

A woman whose tubes were tied, for which conclusive medical evidence existed, five years before she was accused of having just had a child that she murdered is forced into a plea bargain carrying 20 years in order to avoid the electric chair. Perhaps only Alabama could produce something this absurd, but this is a faithful picture of American “justice.”

Stevenson’s legal work for wrongfully convicted women brought him into contact with more horror. At Alabama’s Tutwiler prison for women, women prisoners were raped and made pregnant by prison guards. Stevenson reports: “Even when DNA testing confirmed that male officers were the fathers of these children, very little was done about it. Some officers who had received multiple sexual assault complaints were temporarily reassigned to other duties or other prisons, only to wind up back at Tutwiler, where they continued to prey on women.” In other words, rape is not a crime if you are a prison guard at a women’s prison.

This is a faithful picture of justice in America.

The justice system needs victims and is focused on ruining people’s lives whether they deserve it or not. The more American lives ruined, the greater the success of the justice system.

There is a current case in Alabama of a US Marine honorably discharged who suffers from PTSD. To help out a family friend, who needed a car for work but could not obtain a loan, the Marine sold him a car of his own, which the family friend was to pay off monthly. When payments stopped, the former Marine inquired. Payments were promised, and the family friend offered his cell phone to be held until payments caught up, as an indication of his good faith to pay.

It turned out to be the wrong cell phone, not the debtor’s personal phone but a company-issued one. The company regarded it as a theft by the Marine, and the family friend had to report it to the police. The fact that it was all a misunderstanding has not caused the justice system to drop the case. Instead, the prosecutor is demanding a misdemeanor plea. In other words, another person with something on his record who can be a suspect for the next burglary. As everyone in the case is white, injustice is occurring despite the absence of racism.

It is a paradox that child protection laws in the hands of police and prosecutors have become weapons with which to ruin children.

A father whose son is being ruined for life over nothing sent me the story with his permission to publish it as a warning to others about the heartlessness with which the justice system irresponsibly ruins even the immature young. This story again demonstrates that the function of American justice is not justice, but to ruin as many people as possible and as early in life as possible. The gratuitously ruined lives that the justice system achieves is the monument to the success of justice.

I decided not to publish it, not because I disbelieve it, but because the son has not been sentenced, and protestations of innocence in media, as Stevenson says, can prejudice authorities against the defendant, especially in Virginia where this miscarriage of justice took place. I do not want to expose the son to risk in the event that the father is wrong, as I suspect he is, in expecting publicity to elicit compassion and empathy that would moderate an unjust event.

Instead, I will tell the gist of the story, which illustrates the tyranny of good intentions. Child protection laws were passed by legislators ignorant of the unintended consequences. Consequently, the laws have done far more harm than good.

Let’s call the son Zach. Having just turned 18, he was visiting a young woman his age whose younger sister introduced him via social media to a 13-year-old female who shared his interest in dragons and animation. The two never met. As their shared interest developed via the Internet, so did their friendship.

As the natural process that turns a girl into a woman progressed, the cyber relationship developed a romantic aspect. The girl/woman sent Zach five photographs of herself in her underwear.

Later the girl/woman developed emotional problems due to the impending divorce of her parents and was admitted to a mental health facility. At some point, she confided her cyber relationship with Zach to a counselor. The “child protection” laws required the counselor to inform the police, who seized Zach’s computer and found chat logs and the five photos.

The consequence was that Zach was charged with 20 felony indictments carrying 350 years in prison. As they always are, the charges were vastly overstated. For example, the five photos sent to Zach of a torso in underwear (apparently the girl’s face was not shown) got Zach charged with distribution of child pornography.

No charges were filed by the parents of the girl. The charges were entirely the idea of the prosecutor’s office, and the 350 years produced a plea bargain to lesser offenses. American criminal justice had secured another victim.

In the absurdity that is American law, you can be guilty of “indecent liberties with a minor” without ever having seen the girl in person or ever having been close enough to touch. The advent of virtual reality and video screens means that crimes can have happened in virtual reality that did not happen in real reality.

In my days it was almost impossible to be guilty of indecent liberties with a minor, because the age of female sexual consent was 14. But as females sexually matured earlier, the age of sexual consent was irrationally pushed higher. Today the legal age that a male may have sex with a female is 18. In other words, the absurd American legal system pretends that women do not have sex until after they graduate from high school. Who can imagine college dorms full of virginal women?

When America had a livable legal system, the law was based on the common ordinary behavior of people. This is known as the Common Law, the foundation of law in England and the United States.

Today the law is so uncommon as to be absurd. Yet absurdity is enforced with vengeance.

The video age means that crimes can be committed by looking at a video screen, and that is what happened to Zach. Neither his attorney nor the judge told Zach and his parents that his coerced plea meant that there was no appeal and that he was registered for life as a sex offender. Zach had committed a “violent sex offense” online! It was the girl who sent the photos, but the offense was Zach’s for having them on his computer.

We owe these crazed results that destroy our youth to “child advocates” who have pushed through in total ignorance of unintended consequences laws that criminalize the normal sexual exploration and testing that accompanies the teenage years that begin with puberty. Child advocates think that when a kid enters puberty at age 12 or 13 nothing is supposed to happen until the kid is 18. Then at this magic age, everything illegal at 17 becomes legal. People who produce laws like this ruin people. Laws pushed by child advocates have broken up families and taken children from their homes and placed them in foster care where they are often abused. By providing a bounty to Child Protective Services for seizing children, the federal government provides an incentive for CPS to break up families on the slightest pretext.

And they enjoy the ruin that they inflict. When you read Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, what you encounter are Americans who enjoy ruining other people. What Stevenson is revealing is not racism but evil unleashed. When the liberals destroyed religion as a moral restraint, they released evil. Evil is now everywhere in the West and seldom held accountable—Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Prison, the CIA Black Site torture prisons, women’s prisons where inmates, most of whom are wrongfully convicted, are routinely raped by guards, and American courtrooms in which sit judges whose function is to defend justice but who accept coerced pleas from innocents in order to save themselves work.

This is America, a country totally devoid of justice, a hapless country forced to suffer injustice except for those few cases that heroes such as Bryan Stevenson are able to overturn.

If only Americans in their so-called democracy had the power to make Bryan Stevenson Attorney General for life and give him the power to write and enforce the laws would justice return to America.

God help a country as totally devoid of justice as the United States of America.

It is important to understand that very few of these wrongful convictions are mistakes. They are done willfully because the overriding incentive of the American criminal justice system is to produce convictions at all cost.

Police, prosecutorial and judicial misconduct seldom bear any cost. Just so you understand how “law’” completely protects the police, prosecutors, and judges who routinely violate it, as Stevenson reports, “state and federal courts have persistently insulated prosecutors from accountability for egregious misconduct that results in innocent people being sent to death row.” In 2011 a Republican Supreme Court ruled that a prosecutor cannot be held liable for misconduct in a criminal case, even if he intentionally and illegally withheld evidence of innocence.

In plain words, criminal actions against the innocent are now the legalized policy of the American criminal justice system.

Are the American people moved by these extraordinary injustices and their legalization by the Supreme Court of the United States? Are the Alabamans in the same county who egged on the frame-up of Walter McMillian ashamed of their willing complicity in a gratuitous act of injustice? Absolutely not. They reelected sheriff Tate, and he remains in office today.

In 2003 Illinois governor George Ryan, citing the unreliability of evidence on which capital punishment is based commuted the death sentences of all 167 people on death row. His reward was to be convicted on false corruption charges and sentenced to five years in prison. Ryan was convicted by the coerced testimony of Scott Fawell who received in exchange for his testimony reduced prison time for himself and his fiancee.

On the stand, Fawell said that the prosecutor had his “head in a vise” and that he was testifying against Ryan to save his fiancee from a long prison sentence. He said his testimony against Ryan was “the most distasteful thing I’ve ever done.” That jurors believe such compromised witnesses is the reason defendants avoid jury trials.

This is the face of justice in America, a hapless country totally devoid of justice where the law exists solely for the economic benefit of those whose careers rise with conviction rates, whether of the innocent or the guilty.

Law professors, such as Harvard’s Charles Fried, have shown their indifference to wrongful conviction. Fried came up with the argument that “finality” was more important than justice. Fried was annoyed by appeals. He argued that ending a case had its own importance and that at some point appeals based on fresh evidence had to be cut off even if it meant an innocent person was executed or spent life in prison.

Conservative legislators showed their indifference to wrongful conviction in 1994 when they took over Congress and promptly eliminated federal aid for legal representation of the wrongly convicted on death row. The conservatives were more comfortable with the deaths of innocents than with admitting the willful mistakes made by “law and order.”

The indifference of Americans to injustice has spread outside US borders. The Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes are responsible for millions of dead and displaced persons in 10 countries—Serbia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Ukraine, and Palestine. None of those responsible have expressed any remorse and neither have the American people.

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Fixing Healthcare From A-Z

Mar, 31/01/2017 - 07:01

Healthcare can arguably be considered the greatest divider among Americans, and not just simply Democrats and Republicans, which at the policy level its reach extends beyond immigration, terrorism, trade policy, taxation, as well as the federal deficit. Seldom have we heard from the political class (excluding Rand and Ron Paul as well as John Kasich,) radical free-market solutions that would not only place patients as the middleman and the industry more transparent but also how to fix the severe shortage of skilled healthcare workers.

Eliminate Government Subsidies of ALL Kinds

First, eradicating subsidies would be a great start, and at all levels, not just limited to Obamacare. In fact, there is an elephant in the room, a much larger elephant than Obamacare, which most opponents of Obamacare are either turning a blind eye to or simply are unaware of. The government has been subsidizing individual’s costs of employer-based health care to the tune of almost $250 billion a year. According to law professor Edward Kleinbard, the 2016 federal subsidies amounted to $266 billion for employees at big companies that were paid via payroll tax deductions. This sum is far greater than the annual costs of the subsidized provisions of Obamacare. Therefore, eliminating subsidies in all forms, shapes, and sizes would be an excellent start to make healthcare more market-friendly and affordable to all.

Myths, Misunderstandings and Outright lies about owning Gold. Are you at risk?

To Fix Healthcare, Fix the FDA

Secondly, tamper down the power of FDA’s stronghold on regulating drugs. This is vital. The FDA gained such power due to the 1962 thalidomide crisis, an over-the-counter sedative used for pregnant women to treat morning sickness. The medicine caused birth defects such as shortened and missing limbs in babies, and since then the FDA has gained uninhibited power in keeping competitors out of the market and creating pharmaceutical cartels (due in large part also to patent laws) that inflate medicines to extraordinary levels that the laymen simply cannot afford. Dr. Sam Peltzman, the former professor at the University of Chicago, conducted a study comparing death rates prior and post-1962. The results showed that the most deaths that occurred prior to 1962 was The Elixir Sulfanilamide tragedy, in which 107 people died, what’s considered the worst of those decades. Prior to 1962, the average time for FDA approval was just seven months. However, after the passing of the Kefauver-Harris Amendment, the approval times for drugs spiked in parallel to death rates.

A good example of the FDA’s deathly long approval process was that of the drug pirfenidone. It’s used as a cure for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease in which tissue deep in the lungs becomes thick and stiff, or scarred, making breathing difficult. It was already approved and marketed in Europe, Japan, Canada, and China. But here in the U.S., the FDA lagged on it for 4 years, and according to Dr. Henry I. Miller, founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology, it caused 150,000 American’s to die due to the FDA’s obsession with ‘effectiveness’. As Reason magazines science correspondent Ronald Bailey states, “The FDA’s increased obsession with safety may be killing more people than it saves. …After all, if it takes the FDA ten years to approve a drug that saves 20,000 lives per year that means that 200,000 people died in the meantime.” That’s more Americans than were killed in any American war except the Civil War and World War II.

Legalizing Medical Marijuana: A big break to the consumer, but not Big Pharma

The good news is that the current potential nominee for the head of the FDA, Jim O’Neill , is a pro-marijuana advocate and longtime friend of PayPal founder Peter Thiel, also a strong liberalization advocate-  an excellent choice by President Trump if chosen. Much study has gone into medical marijuana research and some impressive conclusions have been drawn out. A study done by a father and daughter team at the University of Georgia has found that painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with lenient medical marijuana laws, however this has always been the assumption, the most impactful part is in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. Also, In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication. Also found in the study was the cost savings to Medicare from the decreased prescribing in the 17 states where marijuana is legalized- the figure stood at $165 million. And they estimated that annual Medicare prescription savings would be over half a billion dollars if all 50 states were to establish similar programs.

Occupational Licensing: A Way to Destroy the Labor Market 

Third, the U.S. is suffering a severe shortage of nurses, while at the same time attempting to balance the aging Baby Boomer population. One would believe that occupational licensing requirements for nurses would be less burdensome now; however, licensing requirements are still an obstacle we Americans need to deal with.                                           

Occupational licensing also has other severe limitations, about 27,000 of them to be exact; they’re referred to as ‘collateral consequences’. Essentially, they are bi-laws which disallow you to receive a license of any sort if you have a criminal record, of any kind. It could be anything from a petty misdemeanor (most are victimless), to a decade-old felony where you’ve learned and reaped the consequences of your actions. Now although there is no data indicating the number of people who’ve been denied a job based on a criminal record due to O.L.S, , the number is likely very high considering 1 out of 4 jobs in the U.S. require licensing, and 1 in 3 American’s have a criminal record of some sort. These restrictions have significant impact on labor supply, especially among people of color.

A Successful Look at Private Sector Healthcare

In America, the average cost of a heart transplant can cost, depending on the complexity of the surgery, anywhere from $70,000-$800,000. Some other estimates show upwards of $1 million when you take into account other factors. In India, a miracle worker by the name of Dr.Devi Shetty of Bangalore, also known as the Henry Ford of Cardiac Surgery, has created a system through his Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital that has introduced economies of scale in his operations, focusing on volume of heart surgeries. His system works as a factory styled mass production environment that reports a 1.4% mortality rate within 30 days of coronary artery bypass graft surgery, one of the most common procedures, compared with an average of 1.9% in the U.S. in 2008. And of course, India being a developing country, most of his patients have much more severe conditions due to them having little to no access to healthcare of any kind in the rural decrepit villages of India. The total cost of a heart surgery at his hospitals? $2000! No overreaching government agency or authority dishing out mandates a wonderful example of free-market miracle (and cure).

The thousand bed medical center encourages and practices treating patients in volumes as it allows Dr.Shetty and his team of 42 surgeons the ability to experiment various surgical techniques on patients and thus inducing further specialization. These high volumes drive both the higher quality and lower costs.  Studies have long shown that quality rises at hospitals that perform more surgeries for the simple reason that doctors are getting more experience. Dr.Shetty and his team have performed 3,174 cardiac bypass surgeries in 2008, more than double the 1,367 the Cleveland Clinic, a U.S. leader, did in the same year. His surgeons operated on 2,777 pediatric patients, more than double the 1,026 surgeries performed at Children’s Hospital Boston. In terms of market share, Dr.Shetty’s hospitals now perform 12% of India’s cardiac surgeries, and he plans on opening a hospital in the Cayman Islands for Americans to have access to.

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Humble Pie in Short Supply

Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

On 30 March 1933, the great German recorder of daily life under the Third Reich, Victor Klemperer, noticed a balloon in a toy shop inscribed with a swastika. In my newspaper on 14 January 2017, I noticed a photograph of a girl aged 8 years old (I should estimate) holding up a banner at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., with the words I am kind, smart and important inscribed on it.

Analogies are never exact, of course, and are easily exaggerated or otherwise misused. The differences between a toy shop in Nazi Germany and a women’s march in Washington are so numerous, obvious, and striking that it is hardly necessary for me to enumerate them. Suffice it to say that I am allergic (metaphorically) to the use of children for the dissemination of political messages, even when the message is one with which I agree. I think it is a form of child abuse, an example of children as a means and not as an end. Poor old Kant would turn in his grave.

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The first thing to say about Mr. Trump—against whom the women voluntarily (and children involuntarily) were demonstrating—is that he seems to be doing what is unforgivable in a democratic politician, for it will make life difficult for all the others who come after him: He is keeping, or trying to keep, his election promises. Could anything better prove his complete lack of probity?

Now, of course, this does not in the least prove that what he is doing is right, prudent, wise, or moral: One can, after all, make a bad promise and keep it. The fact that you are keeping a promise does not establish that what you are doing is right. If I promise to punch you on the nose and do punch you on the nose, I cannot use my promise as a moral or legal justification for my action.

But let us return to the abused child in the newspaper photograph. I am sure it was intended to warm the cockles of what pass for the newspaper readers’ hearts. She was a pretty little girl well wrapped up against the cold—a little angel, in fact. And how could such an innocent as she holds aloft anything that was other than sweet and generous and, above all, correct?

Read the Whole Article

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California Dreamin’

Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

California is a complete black hole. The people do not even realize that government has been so corrupt, that every person in California owes $93,000 at the end of 2016 to cover state employee pensions. Back in 2015, Calpers, the State Pension system, sold out stocks and bought bonds because they thought the stock market would crash. They have been quietly supporting efforts in Congress to seize 401K pension plans and hand them to the States to manage. Their top two corrupt politicians would have had this through if Hillary won.

It would be a win-win for the rest of the country if California seceded and took its two leading politicians with them. Of course, I doubt these two notorious politicians would vote to leave. It would be like the Clinton Foundation having to close shop because Hillary lost her influence to peddle.

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Nancy Pelosi is the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, representing California’s 12th congressional district. Pelosi made a fortune trading initial public offerings (IPOs) while she had access to insider information from Congress. Yet she would never allow Social Security to invest for the average person. Pelosi has confirmed how Democrats really do dislike Christians. She recently said: “They pray in church on Sunday and then prey on people the rest of the week.”  The Podesta emails that revealed the Democrats disliked Catholics and Evangelical Christians, seem to be on point about their attitude: Hillary’s staff said Catholics are “severely backward” and further demeaned them saying they don’t know “what the hell they’re talking about.” Yet Pelosi is critical of Trump and calls him a racist because of his restriction on people coming from selected countries in the Middle East? You have Madeleine Albright saying she will register as a Muslim to protest Trump. So Catholics and Evangelicals the Democrats hate and now prefer Muslim? When did religion become a race? They are turning national security into a political football. NSA and taking everyone’s emails is necessary for security but checking people at the border is not?

Then there is Dianne Feinstein. Of course, it was Feinstein who supported the NSA and called Snowden a Traitor. Her Op-Ed justified taking everyone’s emails, phone calls etc claiming 911 would not have taken place if the NSA had full power to do whatever it desired – and did. Our models were showing California would move to secede back then and they too see to be on target. Even Zuckerberg of Facebook said he had personally called President Obama to voice his outrage at the NSA spying and Feinstein’s insane support of activity that everyone has come to see as standard. He said on his own Facebook Page:

“When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government.” 

Then Feinstein’s husband won the contract to sell Post Office Department real estate. Of course, they cover that up claiming Blum Capital Partners, L.P (Richard Blum, Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband), won the bid against 7 other competitors. They have never released proof of the bidding. Even the appearance of impropriety is a reason to recuse a judge whenever it may be “reasonable be questioned.” It goes even further: Blum and Feinstein both knew that this transaction has the appearance of corruption and a Federal Judge would be compelled to recuse themselves from such a case if “his spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.”

To all my friends in California – it’s time to leave. Florida has good weather and no state income tax. It is the number one state in economic growth and job creation most of the time with over 3% and Orlando, even back in 2014, was the top city in the USA for job growth coming in at 3.7%. California is on target for going BUST in 2021. It already has the HIGHEST taxes in the USA and Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration miscalculated costs for the state Medi-Cal program, which is their excuse, by $1.9 billion last year. This is just an “oversight” that contributed to Brown’s projection of a deficit in the upcoming budget. However, Medi-Cal covers illegal immigrants. There is NO REQUIREMENTwhatsoever to have a citizenship OR a resident status paying taxes.

Hello! Yes call Trump a racist and secede because you want to cover everyone even if they do not pay taxes on the cash they earn. No wonder they do not want a wall. All of Mexico can go to California for free healthcare unlimited.

Only a handful of states, including California, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Vermont, currently tax ALL retirement income and don’t provide any general income exclusion for seniors. So California has compassion for refugees and is liberal toward everyone but hard working Americans who can never live in peace and should be taxed until they drop dead.

Worse still, California taxes people who retire and move to other states. Yes, you are stamped on your ass when born in California – PROPERTY OF THE STATE. You cannot escape. So it may be best to get out before it is TOO LATE! Under federal law, states are now clearly prohibited from taxing certain retirement income unless you’re a resident of, or domiciled in, that state. California was attempting to tax people in other states claiming they earned their pension in California. The federal law applies to all qualified plans (for example, 401(k), profit sharing, and defined benefit plans), IRAs, 403(b) plans, 457(b) plans, and governmental plans. So if you sell your home and get out and domicile in a state that does not tax pensions, you are OK on this level. However, the law provides only limited protection for other (nonqualified) deferred compensation plan benefits. This is called “top-hat” plan benefits that are paid over an employee’s lifetime, or over a period of at least 10 years. Stock options, stock appreciation rights (SARs), and restricted stock are not included meaning California is completely free to tax these benefits even after you relocate.

How much longer can this California Dreaming continue? Our computer says 2021. It’s time to leave before they impose an exit tax.

28 U.S. Code § 455 – Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate judge

(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the following circumstances:

(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;

(2) Where in private practice he served as lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer with whom he previously practiced law served during such association as a lawyer concerning the matter, or the judge or such lawyer has been a material witness concerning it;

(3) Where he has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, adviser or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy;

(4) He knows that he, individually or as a fiduciary, or his spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;

(5) He or his spouse, or a person within the third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such a person:

(i) Is a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party;

(ii) Is acting as a lawyer in the proceeding;

(iii) Is known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;

(iv) Is to the judge’s knowledge likely to be a material witness in the proceeding.

(c) A judge should inform himself about his personal and fiduciary financial interests, and make a reasonable effort to inform himself about the personal financial interests of his spouse and minor children residing in his household.

(d) For the purposes of this section the following words or phrases shall have the meaning indicated:

(1) “proceeding” includes pretrial, trial, appellate review, or other stages of litigation;

(2) the degree of relationship is calculated according to the civil law system;

(3) “fiduciary” includes such relationships as executor, administrator, trustee, and guardian;

(4) “financial interest” means ownership of a legal or equitable interest, however small, or a relationship as director, adviser, or other active participant in the affairs of a party, except that:

(i) Ownership in a mutual or common investment fund that holds securities is not a “financial interest” in such securities unless the judge participates in the management of the fund;

(ii) An office in an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization is not a “financial interest” in securities held by the organization;

(iii) The proprietary interest of a policyholder in a mutual insurance company, of a depositor in a mutual savings association, or a similar proprietary interest, is a “financial interest” in the organization only if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of the interest;

(iv) Ownership of government securities is a “financial interest” in the issuer only if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of the securities.

(e) No justice, judge, or magistrate judge shall accept from the parties to the proceeding a waiver of any ground for disqualification enumerated in subsection

(b). Where the ground for disqualification arises only under subsection

(a), waiver may be accepted provided it is preceded by a full disclosure on the record of the basis for disqualification.

(f) Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this section, if any justice, judge, magistrate judge, or bankruptcy judge to whom a matter has been assigned would be disqualified, after substantial judicial time has been devoted to the matter, because of the appearance or discovery, after the matter was assigned to him or her, that he or she individually or as a fiduciary, or his or her spouse or minor child residing in his or her household, has a financial interest in a party (other than an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome), disqualification is not required if the justice, judge, magistrate judge, bankruptcy judge, spouse or minor child, as the case may be, divests himself or herself of the interest that provides the grounds for the disqualification.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 908; Pub. L. 93–512, § 1, Dec. 5, 1974, 88 Stat. 1609; Pub. L. 95–598, title II, § 214(a), (b), Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2661; Pub. L. 100–702, title X, § 1007, Nov. 19, 1988, 102 Stat. 4667; Pub. L. 101–650, title III, § 321, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5117.)

Reprinted from Armstrong Economics.

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Pay Attention

Lun, 30/01/2017 - 07:01

By Dr. Mercola

How healthy is your diet? Have you ever wondered if recording what you eat on a day-to-day basis might be helpful in determining how your eating habits might be affecting your health, and maybe even your long-term well-being?

Well, now there’s a test for that, or there will be within two years, according to a study published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.1 It’s a urine test developed in collaboration by Aberystwyth University in Wales, Newcastle University in the U.K. and Imperial College London.

Scientists say the test could be used to “unlock the biological markers” to help improve your nutritional profile, using proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to analyze urine samples and detect the structure of the chemicals produced in your body as it processes food. Medscape says:

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“The analysis can reveal whether we have eaten red meat or fish and indicate whether we are eating fruit and vegetables.

The test is sensitive enough to indicate some specific foods such as oranges, grapes and leafy green vegetables. It can also tell how much fat, sugar, fiber and protein a person has eaten.”2

Interestingly, test results may be able to help people who are at risk of such diseases as type 2 diabetes, as well as those who struggle with obesity. The test is quick and convenient, lasting about five minutes.

One of the most important things this test does is circumvent the biggest hurdle in many nutrition and diet studies — that being the inability to correctly measure what people really eat — because about 60 percent of them misreport.3

How Healthy Is Your Diet?

In trials, the scientists were able to tell which diets were healthy and which weren’t after 19 volunteers spent days eating a carefully controlled set of meals, a BBC article related. Four different diets, each with “varying degrees of healthiness,” were administered to the subjects, whose urine was sampled morning, noon and night.

Meals in the “very unhealthy” category included things like sugary cereal for breakfast and fried sausages and waffles for lunch. People in the healthy group munched on things like boiled eggs, steamed salmon and grilled chicken with vegetables for dinner. According to Live Science:

“Each person in the study followed each of these four diets: They stayed at a lab, on four separate occasions, for three days at a time, and during each stay, the researchers collected the peoples’ urine samples in the morning, afternoon and evening.”4

Researchers involved in the study believe analyzing urine samples would be a more accurate way to determine if someone is following a healthy diet — better than a food diary ever could.

One reason is because food diaries are often either incomplete or grossly under-reported, said scientist and professor at Imperial, Gary Frost, Ph.D., who added:

“The bigger you are the more likely you are to under-report what you eat. People find it difficult to open up to what types of foods they eat at home, which is a major problem.

If someone is very big and their profile says they’re eating lots of energy-dense foods like meat, then you can try to change that profile and then test them again later. It remains to be seen, but people might respond better to that and there is a desperate need for tools to help people change their diet.”5

Analyzing the compounds in urine samples produced when the body breaks down food is done to help researchers “determine if a person has recently eaten a certain type of food, such as red meat, chicken, fish or fruits or vegetables.”

Tests Can Help Individuals or Large Groups of People ‘in the Real World’

Scientists’ next steps will likely be targeted toward “refining the technology” by testing it on groups and communities, but in the real world rather than in a clinical lab. Additionally, they hope the test can be used to help people on weight loss programs, and even rehabilitate patients trying to get healthy after suffering a heart attack.

Frost says testing large numbers of people would create a profile of what someone — or an entire country — is eating. In the U.K., the hope is that the information they glean will help health authorities develop better public-health campaigns. Dr. Isabel Garcia-Perez, another researcher from Imperial, explained:

“This will eventually provide a tool for personalized dietary monitoring to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. We’re not at the stage yet where the test can tell us a person ate 15 chips yesterday and two sausages, but it’s on the way.6

Professor John Mathers, Ph.D., one of the study scientists from Newcastle University, said their research marked the first opportunity to gain an objective assessment of people’s overall health “without all the hassles, biases and errors of recording what they’ve eaten.” Dr. Des Walsh, from the UK Medical Research Council, explained:

“Though this research is still in its early stages, it’s grappling with essential methods in food and diet studies where advances are really needed.

Measuring what we eat and drink more accurately will widen the benefits of nutrition research, developing better evidence-based interventions to improve an individual’s health and reduce obesity.”7

What Your Urine Color May Indicate

Scientists had already determined that urine, being a byproduct of blood filtration from your kidneys, was yellow due to a pigment called urochrome from the breakdown of hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells.

Pale yellow urine usually indicates your body is properly hydrated; if it’s clear, you may actually be drinking too much water.8 Bodybuilding.com notes:

“Although dehydration is a far greater concern than overhydration, some people actually drink far more water than they need to. Normal, healthy pee actually has a yellow color from a pigment called urochrome.

It’s true that the darker that yellow becomes, the less hydrated your body is. However, drinking so much water that your pee is clear can actually cause an imbalance in your electrolyte levels.”9

When your urine is dark yellow and even orange tinged, it could be because you haven’t been drinking enough water. Then again, it could be because you’ve recently eaten carrots. If it’s fluorescent yellow, it may indicate you’ve been taking B vitamins.

If your urine color is pink or red, it could indicate blood (in which case you need to see your doctor), perhaps from strenuous exercise.

It could also be from a urinary tract infection, or UTI (which begs more oversight and perhaps a trip to your doctor), enlarged kidney stones or certain medications. Eating blackberries, beets or rhubarb can also turn urine pink.

Blue or green urine occurs due to a rare condition involving high calcium levels — or it could be the asparagus you just ate, which also gives urine a distinct odor, described as reminiscent of boiled eggs or cabbage, in some people. Medications you take may also turn your urine brown, dark yellow or dark pink.

The Sweet Smell of Urine and Other Interesting Aromas

Not just colors, but certain other urinary conditions may arise, such as perceptible sediment, which probably denotes a future flare of kidney stones.

Cloudy urine may be caused by a UTI, kidney or metabolic problem, or lymph fluid in the urine, aka chyluria. Other possibilities are phosphaturia (phosphate crystals) and a pituitary problem known as antidiuretic hormone (ADH).

Sweet-smelling urine may indicate uncontrolled diabetes. Some people have diabetes and don’t even realize it, but the smell of their urine may be an indicator if they knew what to “smell” for.

A fruity aroma is another way to describe it, as well as a “yeasty” odor. If you detect this smell in your urine, it would be wise to consult your doctor.

There’s actually a disorder known as “maple sugar urine disease,” or MSUD, a genetic metabolic disorder, evidenced by an inability to metabolize certain proteins and, of course, that unique fragrance. Redurine.com explains:

The inability to metabolize proteins can cause loss of appetite, which results in general weakness and other nutrient insufficiencies.

… Patients sometimes experience seizures and general fever-like symptoms like vomiting and nausea. Severe MSUD can damage the brain through severe physical stress from infections, fever or very poor diet.10

Because MSUD is passed down from parents who have it, their children should also be tested for the condition. Doctors typically use a plasma amino acid test or urine amino acid test for this purpose. Afterward, more testing is usually done after signs of ketosis and excess acid in blood (acidosis) is indicated.

It’s interesting that cancer has been detected by dogs who “smell out” the disease, sometimes from peoples’ urine, with 97 percent accuracy.11

How to Optimize Your Health by Paying Attention to Your Urine

You’ve heard since grade school to drink six to eight glasses of water a day. While this may not be a one-size-fits-all rule, it’s important to drink enough to lubricate your joints and help flush toxins from your system.

When you learn that 5 percent of your urine is made up of urea, uric acid, minerals, salts, enzymes and various substances that would cause problems if they stayed too long in your body, and that the other 95 percent is water, it makes sense as to why drinking adequate amounts of water is crucial to your health.

At the same time, as you drink more water, you’ll most likely feel the need to urinate more often. Don’t ignore it because you “don’t have time,” or some other excuse. You can bring on some very unpleasant symptoms, such as painful urination and even a UTI, if you make a habit of it. When you have to go, go. Also, when your child says he or she has to go, either let them or take them. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

As you get older, you may not experience thirst in a way that will urge you to drink as much pure, fresh water as your body needs. But whether you’re young or older, paying attention to the amounts of water you drink throughout the day — as well as to the color and odor of your urine — may be a simple way to optimize your health.

Sources and References

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