Saturday, June 30, 2007

There's Still Hope For Health, You Forty Year Old Fat Fuck!

Late-starters can benefit from healthy habits: study
By Ishani Ganguli Fri Jun 29, 9:04 AM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Even in middle age, adopting a healthy lifestyle can lower the risk for heart disease and premature death within years of changing habits, researchers reported on Thursday.
Middle-aged adults who began eating five or more fruits and vegetables every day, exercising for at least 2 1/2 hours a week, keeping weight down and not smoking decreased their risk of heart disease by 35 percent and risk of death by 40 percent in the four years after they started.
"The adopters of a healthy lifestyle basically caught up. Within four years, their mortality rate and rate of heart attacks matched the people who had been doing these behaviors all along," said Dr. Dana King at the Medical University of South Carolina, who led the research.
That is not to say people should wait until their 40s or 50s to get on track, he added.
"But even if you have not had a healthy lifestyle previously, it's not too late to adopt those healthy lifestyle habits and gain almost immediate benefits."
King and his team set out to find if late-starters could reap the rewards of habits like eating vegetables and walking 30 minutes a day.
When they began tracking nearly 16,000 Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 in the late 1980s, only 8.5 percent were following all four of the habits they were studying, they reported in the American Journal of Medicine.
Out of the other adults, 8.4 percent started practicing all four habits by six years after the study began.
Those 970 lifestyle converts were most likely to pick up the fruit and vegetable habit at that late stage. Losing weight to fall within the healthy to overweight range -- which the researchers counted as one of the healthy habits -- was the least popular change.
LIVING LONGER
When they had picked up all four habits, they enjoyed a sharp decline in heart disease risk and in death from any cause.
It took all four -- having just three of the healthy habits yielded no heart benefits and a more modest decrease in overall risk of death.
Still, said Dr. Nichola Davis at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, "these benefits are on a continuum. The more of the healthy habits that you can adapt, the better. ...These are modest changes that they're talking about."
King's team took age, gender, race, and other risk categories for cardiovascular disease into account, although King said the converts likely took up other healthy life changes -- such as cutting down on salt or upping their calcium intake -- that might have contributed to their health benefits.
He and Davis, who was not involved in the study, said they were troubled so few Americans were doing them.
In particular, men, blacks, people with less education and lower incomes, and people with high blood pressure or diabetes were less likely to follow the health guidelines from the beginning or adopt them later in life.

Hey, Just Where Did Them Dubloons Come From, Buddy?


“Regarding the story about the Spanish waiting to seize the Odyssey,”


“I was reading a paper my daughter recently wrote in college about the Spanish royalty, conquistadors and the genocide they should be charged with. It seems to me that even if the Spanish claim that the galleon Odyssey recovered was one of their own, we should be asking where the Spanish stole the gold and silver from and how many thousands of indigenous peoples were slaughtered for it. Maybe some war crimes or crimes against humanity ought to be explored. What gall!”
Spanish conquistadors were known to have searched the Orinoco Belt for gold. Maybe Chavez will lay claim to the coins, too. What a show that would be, eh? Chavez versus Odyssey Marine versus the Spanish government, litigated in Florida courts. Fantastic.

Think He's Going To Build Vacation Condos Up There?


Vladimir Putin announced plans to take over 460,000 square miles of Arctic territory -- including the North Pole.


Russian scientists recently confirmed that the Lomonosov ridge, an underwater shelf that begins in Russian territory, continues underneath an enormous portion of the northern Arctic.
How big? Imagine a mass larger than France, Germany and Italy… combined.
Here’s the real kicker: If the international community can’t stop him, Putin and company will have access to over 10 billion tons of oil and gas that, according to his scientists, could be extracted easily. Ten billion tons… that would easily secure Russia’s spot as the No. 1 gas producer in the world, and catapult them it past Saudi Arabia as the No. 1 oil producer.

Get The Door


The Fed kept rates steady at 5.25% yesterday.
“Readings on core inflation have improved modestly in recent months,” the press release stated. “However, a sustained moderation in inflation pressures has yet to be convincingly demonstrated. Moreover, the high level of resource utilization has the potential to sustain those pressures."
Translation: Beside food, energy and commodities, “inflation” doesn’t seem like a problem. But we’re not sure.
"So instead of the Goldilocks economy, which the Fed would like you to believe we have,” comments our friend Chris Gaffney, “we have an economy which is way too hot and way too cold!
“I can't argue with the nonmove by the FOMC, but I think the positive spin they’re putting on their actions is misleading. The economy isn’t in a 'sweet spot'; the economy has backed them into a corner and they can't move. Right now they are just sitting back and hoping the big bad bears don't come knocking!"

The Mogambo Is Always Long-Winded; But Pure Financial Gold!


No Short Supply of Freaking Doom!

Friday, June 29, 2007
I don't know why I am so edgy here lately. Maybe because Federal Reserve Credit last week only increased a little, going up $2.3 billion to $852.3 billion, which is about the same level of Total Credit as it was in January, six months ago.
Or maybe it is because Anthony M. Cherniawski of thepracticalinvestor.com writes that, suddenly, three Hindenburg Omens have been sighted.
So what is a Hindenburg Omen? Robert McHugh of Main Line Investors, accurately assessing my limited intellectual abilities, explains just the essence of it, which is "the alignment of several technical factors that measure the underlying condition of the stock market - specifically the NYSE - such that the probability that a stock market crash occurs is higher than normal, and the probability of a severe decline is quite high."
Mr. Cherniawski says that according to the facts at Wikipedia.com, this "now confirms the probability of a major decline in the next 120 days. The probability of a move greater than 5% to the downside after a confirmed Hindenburg Omen within the next 41 days after its occurrence is 77%, the probability of a panic sellout is 41%, and the probability of a real big stock market crash is 25%."
He admits that the 77%, 41% and 25% statistics are a long way from any precision as far as forecasting goes, and, "The occurrence of a confirmed Hindenburg Omen does not necessarily mean that the stock market will go down. On the other hand, there has never been a significant stock market decline in history that was not preceded by a confirmed Hindenburg Omen."
And on the third hand, a 77% probability ain't hay, either!
"Closing the 'Collapse Gap': The USSR was better prepared for peak oil than the US" is an essay by Dmitry Orlov at EnergyBulletin.net. He writes, "An economic arrangement can continue for quite some time after it becomes untenable, through sheer inertia. But at some point a tide of broken promises and invalidated assumptions sweeps it all out to sea."
That sounded so strangely familiar! Then I realized that it was a virtual replay of the Father's Day we just had around here! So, suddenly, I was in a panic when I thought that he too was talking about me, and how everyone should get as far away from me as possible because I am worse than worthless and trailing a lot of broken promises (mostly of the "I'll never do THAT again!" or "I'll pay you back!" types) and invalidated assumptions ("He'll change for the better one day!") and how life is too short to waste it with trash like me, and blah blah blah, but he was, thankfully, not. Whew! Once is enough!
Instead, what he was really saying was economics in nature, as in, "One such untenable arrangement rests on the notion that it is possible to perpetually borrow more and more money from abroad, to pay for more and more energy imports, while the price of these imports continues to double every few years."
And why not? He reveals the problem so elegantly, almost Newtonian, when he explains, "Free money with which to buy energy equals free energy, and free energy does not occur in nature."
And how to explain that it IS occurring right now? He easily brushes me off, like he would some pesky fly buzzing around his head, by saying, "This must therefore be a transient condition. When the flow of energy snaps back toward equilibrium, much of the U.S. economy will be forced to shut down."
And what does this mean by "shut down" in terms of the essential staples of modern life like, you know, 24-hour convenience stores with gasoline pumps, 24-hour coffee shops and 24-hour adult novelty stores? I see him mentally check those three items off the list, and then he says we should, "certainly expect shortages of fuel, food, medicine, and countless consumer items, outages of electricity, gas, and water, breakdowns in transportation systems and other infrastructure, hyperinflation, widespread shutdowns and mass layoffs, along with a lot of despair, confusion, violence, and lawlessness."
And what about a gigantic system of governments, all of which think that they can "do something"? One could almost hear his snort of disdain and contempt for the whole idea when he said, "We definitely should not expect any grand rescue plans, innovative technology programs, or miracles of social cohesion."
And that, I am happy to report, brings us to another episode of the famous, award-winning Mogambo Pathos Theatre (MPT). This week's riveting melodrama is an original vignette I call, "Been down so long it looks like The Mogambo was right when he said the damnable Federal Reserve creating all that excess money and credit will destroy us all by destroying our money, and now the stinking gutter looks like up to me."
The curtains open, revealing a silent, darkened stage, except for the single magenta-colored spotlight on The Mogambo, who sits slumped over in a plain wooden chair in the center of the stage, his mighty shoulders gently heaving as he weeps piteously, softly crying out in pain, "Inflation! It's killing me!"
Then, almost imperceptibly, he slowly raises one hand to point towards the heavens, and raising his head and eyes to follow his lead, says with a ringing voice like Richard Burton at his Shakespearean best, "Yet forsooth, the villainous part of 38% inflation in prices is that it is but slow, agonizing death to the poor wretch who has absolutely nothing, in whose mouth is only the dry dust of despair, and whose painful belly is as empty as his pockets. I starve! I suffer! Somehow scraping up $2.25 for a nice, warm, bean burrito supremo was hard enough, and now it's $3.10! Oh, woe, cruel Fates! I wax woeful! Woeful!"
Turning and bellowing to the ether, "May I please borrow $3.10 so that I might not die, and at least fart to amuse myself and others until I can get another $3.10?"
From offstage a chorus of voices calls out, "No way! Go away!"
Suddenly, the air is filled with a wail of babies crying in hunger and a swirl of people sweeping around the stage like ravenous harpies, crying out, "Buy me something nice! Buy me something expensive! Buy me stuff! Buy me stuff!"
Again The Mogambo wails, "Please give me a lousy $3.10!" and again an unseen chorus replies "No way! Go away!" joining the cacophony of babies screaming and people demanding, demanding, demanding money, louder and louder until, reaching a maddening crescendo, The Mogambo snatches up two Uzi submachine guns and starts blasting indiscriminately, eardrums throbbing from the sonic assault, spent cartridge casings flying through the air, shooting the hell out of everything blam blam blam blam blam blam and pieces of wood and plaster and crap are filling the air with dusty debris, blam blam blam blam blam and the audience is screaming and crying and scrambling to get the hell out of there, and it is pure freaking Apocalyptic bedlam! What a thrilling, memorable moment of American theatre!
Then, abruptly out of ammo, with clouds of burnt cordite tingeing the air, the tragic Mogambo falls slowly to his knees, his Mighty Mogambo Head (MMH) hanging. He is beaten, destroyed. Gradually, the cacophonous sound of babies crying, incessant demands for money and his own stomach growling slowly fade, fade, fade away as the scene fades to sinister black, until a leaden silence hangs like a sickening shroud over the dark theatre.
The crowd, hushed at the powerful, powerful scene, erupts with cries of "Boo! Boo! Worst performance ever! We want our money back!" I laugh at them! Hell, they wouldn't know fine, classy art if it came up and took a big ol' crap on their shoes!
But this is not about how my theatrical masterpieces are not appreciated by a cruel and tasteless world, but about what happens when inflation in prices gets out of hand, which comes after inflation in the money supply gets out of hand (made worse by the fact that the money went to pay for the growth of the government, which got waaaAAAaaay out of hand for decades), and everybody gets so miserable that mindless violence seems somehow justified in the face of such overwhelming misery.
But the stupid audience is not interested in this important, timeless lesson, and all they can think of is that they want their stupid money back. I say "Screw 'em!", as they can afford it now that the minimum wage was raised from $5.15 an hour to $5.85 by Congress, which is supposed to offset the staggering, criminal incompetence of Congress in not restraining the awful Federal Reserve, to keep the damned banks from creating too much money and credit, which produces inflation in prices.
And since not even a conceited, arrogant, stupid Congress as conceited, arrogant and stupid as this one can force prices down, they feel utterly justified in forcing wages up to make up for it! Hahahaha! Incompetent morons!
But this is not about how much I despise damned near every government you can name, but that the minimum wage will next go to $6.55 in July, 2008 and finally reach the federal maximum, taking the minimum wage to $7.25 in July, 2009, two years from now.
The total raise is (click click click on the calculator) $2.10 per hour, although in reality, they will make about 7.5% less, as FICA gets its share off the top. So their new, maximum "adjusted gross income net of FICA" raise in pay is about $1.94 an hour.
Let's see, that's a 38% increase in wages in two years, where it will undoubtedly stay for a few years as the economy tries to digest the increases in the prices of everything, including the labor of the guy who was already making $7.25, but is going to be making only minimum wage in 2009 unless HE gets a nice raise, too, creating the wage-price spiral of story and song. So prices will go up!
To prove the inflation I scream so incessantly about, I point to Larry Edelson at MoneyandMarkets.com, who looks at the Commodity Research Bureau's Index, which is a composite of 23 widely traded commodities. "According to the index," he says, "prices of raw materials are up nearly 30% since the first of the year."
Junior Mogambo Ranger (JMR) Len M. writes, "I recall ten years ago when I looked in the local paper that there was a section devoted to just cheap cars for sale. The listing was for cars '$3,000 or less'. Now, cheap cars are listed as '$5,000 or less'. That is an increase of 66.6% in ten years."
And it is not just cars, as all that excess money and credit, supplied by the Federal Reserve so that the government can spend it, seeps into the prices of everything, and already the price of food - yummy, yummy food! - is rising over 6% here in the USA, not to mention food prices rising 7% in China or the big rises all over the world. And so in five years, what is the compounded rate of an annual 6% increase in food prices? 34%! Hahaha! The increase in the minimum wage was only 38%!
It all comes down to what Andy Sutton of My2CentsOnline.com was talking about when he wrote about the "disconnect in understanding between money and purchasing power." To remedy that, he gives us an example: "Say a man in 1933 stuffed twenty dollars under his bed. In 1933, the price of a gallon of gas was around 10 cents. So the twenty dollars was worth 200 gallons of gas."
Now contrast 200 gallons of gas in 1933 with, "In 1970, gas sold on average for 34 cents/gallon. The twenty dollars was now only worth 59 gallons of gas."
Now contrast both of those with, "Today, I paid $2.89/ gallon. The twenty dollars would buy only 6.92 gallons of gas. To recap, the twenty dollar bill that in 1933 bought 200 gallons of gas today only buys 6.92 gallons."
Thus we see in precious gallons the ravages of inflation in prices thanks to the damned Federal Reserve.
TheStreet.com reports that "Paul (R., Texas) is so disgusted with the Fed and its role in failing to stem inflation that he wants to eliminate the entire institution, including its army of economics Ph.D.s and other money wizards", which refers to a bill that he filed in Congress, HR2755, that would do just that.
As Junior Mogambo Ranger H.H.H. puts it, this shows that "Ron Paul will go to his grave with his honor and dignity intact, which is far more than I can say for most members of our government."
Why does Rep. Paul want to eliminate the Fed? Well, according to me at my loudmouth, know-it-all, arrogant best, it is because the Federal Reserve has been a complete, dismal failure in every freaking respect, and especially in their duty to protect the value of the dollar.
Well, nobody ever wants to hear what I think, and so I am happy that the question is admirably answered by the epic truth revealed by Antony Mueller at Mises.org and handily posted at Agora Financial's 5-Minute Forecast. "Central bankers," he writes, "sometimes describe their activity as 'more art than science', which is implicit recognition of their ignorance. The 'art of central banking' is the art of pretending to know what one does not know. Not only is it not a science; it is not even an art. At best, it is alchemy; at worst, it is a gigantic cheat."
Or as the Law of Logical Argument puts it, "Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about".
This leads to the Law of Lying and Statistical Manipulation, which I just made up, which is, "If you have a willing, co-conspirator like Congress, then the Federal Reserve can do and say anything it wants, whether it knows what it is talking about or not, and nobody will try to stop them, and the Fed will create so much money and credit that price inflation will destroy us all, which it will, and we are freaking doomed, doomed, doomed as a result."
Vaclav Klaus is Professor of Finance at the Prague School of Economics and is a former Minister of Finance, and is quoted in the Financial Times as saying (although originally in reference to something else), "I am not ashamed of this ignorance of mine. On the contrary, I am ashamed of the confidence of those who claim to know the answer. I see a big difference between science and 'national scientific establishments'. To believe in scientific establishment is impossible, this is just another powerful rent-seeking group."
In short, being just as disrespectful as I can muster, the Fed and the Congress are two symbiotic parasites guaranteeing their own free ride by telling and believing lies, which is only possible under a fiat-money standard, as under the gold standard, "you have fixed exchange rates and free mobility of capital, but you give up domestic monetary policy," says Robert Wright, who is a professor of economic history at New York University's Stern School of Business.
Perhaps because he is at a university that receives huge amounts of government money, he forgets to mention that a gold standard also constrains fiscal policy of the government, too, as they don't dare just spend and spend, because borrowed money has to be paid back by raising taxes! And the spending had better be good, too, because if it isn't (like spending tax money for stupid crap like creating huge entitlement programs and, ummm, funding universities), then the gold will actually flow out of the country as foreigners get scared of our idiocy and take their money away, actually shrinking our money supply!
Therefore, under a gold standard, the government and the banks had to be smart and act smart. Now they don't. And obviously aren't.
If you want to see the real beauty of "gold as money" and the wonderful economic bliss that comes from it, then it is inferred when Mr. Wright brings up "the phenomenon of falling nominal wages."
Note the use of the word "nominal" wages, which merely means wages expressed as a strict dollar amount (such as dollars per hour). "Real" wages, on the other hand, means nominal wages expressed in terms of inflation-adjusted buying power, which is experienced as rising prices.
I mean, if your income doubles, but all prices double, too, then you are not better off, are you? No.
But if your income stays the same and prices go down, then you ARE better off, right? Of course you are! Welcome to the gold standard!
The "problem" Mr. Wright refers to is that the gold standard was so successful that "Many of the conflicts between labor and factory owners in the 1800s had more to do with adjusting workers' wages downward in line with the overall price level than they did with owner-inspired greed, as is popularly perceived."
Aha! In short, thanks to our money being gold, the standard of living of the country was increasing! People's lives were getting better! And they had more! And they bought more, although their nominal wages were exactly the same! And in fact, things were so good that the workers were becoming overpaid! Overpaid labor! What a Utopia!
And so who is so evil, so dastardly, so despicable as to screw with such a successful system?
Note the dark and gloomy soundtrack of wolves howling and the distant screams of people being eaten alive. The banks and the government! It's always the damned banks and the damned government!
A lot has been made of the AP report that the Swiss National Bank said "it will sell 276 U.S. tons of gold reserves over the next two years. The sale would fetch about $5.2 billion (3.9 billion euros) at current prices."
But you can relax; this is not another Screeching Mogambo Rendition (SMR) of the sheer scope of the cancerous fraud of grossly mismanaged Federal Reserve monetary policy, a corrupt and stupidly ideologically-driven Congress that aided and abetted it, and a compliant free press interested only in the scandalous and salacious sound-bite with revealing photos (because that is what their shallow and happily-ignorant audience demands), all of which made the cancerous growth in government possible, which has now turned predictably fascist in its panic and determination for self-preservation at any cost.
Rather, this is about how gold is performing exactly how you would expect in the face of such monetary and fiscal stupidities! It went up in price!
The point of the Swiss selling all that gold is that gold is so valuable that "The share of gold in Switzerland's currency reserves has risen to 42 percent from 33 percent since mid-2005 due to the increase in gold prices." Hahaha! So this sale of gold by Switzerland, says Mr. Jordan, "would return the share of gold in the currency reserves to their previous level."
But don't feel too bad for them, as "Once completed, the national bank will hold 1,040 metric tons (1,146 U.S. tons) of gold."
And lest you think that this is something new that is going to tilt the global balance, it ain't, as "Between 2000 and 2005 Switzerland sold 1,300 metric tonnes (1,433 U.S. tons) of surplus gold reserves."
And what did they do with the money? Hahaha! I'm glad you asked! "The proceeds - about 21 billion Swiss francs - were distributed between the federal government and the country's 26 cantons (states), who used the money to pay off debts." Hahahaha!
So where do you think THIS new infusion of money, from selling 276 U.S. tons of gold, will go? Me, too. Morons.
From SafeHaven.com we get an interesting perspective on global warming from The National Post, which had an article by R. Timothy Patterson, who is a professor with the Department of Earth Sciences at Carleton University. He writes that he and some buddies were performing a "time series analysis" on the "colouration and thickness of the annual layers" in core samples drilled down into the ground, sorting through a zillion years of earth's history, and one day they, "discovered repeated cycles in marine productivity."
For example, "we find a very strong and consistent 11-year cycle throughout the whole record in the sediments and diatom remains." It gets very, very interesting when he notes, "This correlates closely to the well-known 11-year 'Schwabe' sunspot cycle, during which the output of the sun varies by about 0.1%. Such records have been kept for many centuries and match very well with the changes in marine productivity we are observing."
The result is that "Our finding of a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called 'proxies') is not unique. Hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia's Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: The sun appears to drive climate change."
What? The sun causes global warming? Wow! How's that happen? He says, "Sunspots, violent storms on the surface of the sun, have the effect of increasing solar output, so, by counting the spots visible on the surface of our star, we have an indirect measure of its varying brightness."
And I note that they are trying very hard be staid and sober scientists, and not to be alarmists like The Mogambo who goes freaking berserk at everything these days, and they did not mention how the brightness of sunlight is just an indirect measure of the sheer amount of increased power from the sun that is increasingly slamming into the Earth every minute of every hour of every day, month after month, year after year.
And if you don't think that this big, BIG increased amount of energy being absorbed by the Earth will cause big, BIG changes, which will then cause big, BIG changes in everything else after just a few iterations of the system, like a big, BIG, insanely huge Chaos Theory butterfly flapping its big, BIG enormous wings, then stick around, because you are in for a big, BIG surprise as to how things really, REALLY work!
And it gets even more interesting when "We also see longer period cycles, all correlating closely with other well-known regular solar variations. In particular, we see marine productivity cycles that match well with the sun's 75-90-year 'Gleissberg Cycle,' the 200-500-year 'Suess Cycle' and the 1,100-1,500-year 'Bond Cycle.'"
In fact, apparently a couple of these cycles seem to be overlapping, as "it seems Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth."
He says that the lesson is that "It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada".
Even so, The Mogambo says that, short-term, the more immediate lesson is that the Earth is still getting warmer, however temporarily, and will continue to get warmer, meaning (I assume) more drought, more crop failures, more demands for energy, etc., as according to this guy, it's another 13 long, dry years until the cycle even peaks, for crying out loud!
And there is also a lot of money to be made in commodities and on the back of government attempting to "combat global warming" with doomed-from-the-start boondoggles (like ethanol) between now and then. And this is not to mention the sharp decrease in standards of living that will obviously happen as a result of these, and so many other, ugly things, all bought and paid for by the excess money and credit created by the filthy Federal Reserve.
I sigh. We're doomed. We're freaking doomed. Ugh.
Mogambo sez: I run down the checklist: Weapons? Check. Gold? Check. Silver? Check. Oil stocks? Check. Now ask yourself why I am doing this. Now ask yourself why you aren't.

Why Are There Problems? You Guessed It......



The State Breeds Social Conflict
By Vedran Vuk Posted on 6/28/2007

The political season brings promises to "bring us together as a community" and "heal the divisions between us." Here is what the political class won't reveal: their laws, programs, restrictions, subsidies — the whole panoply of interventionist measures they love and of which they promise ever more — are the main source of social division.
In contrast, markets draw people into peaceful social relationships, and encourage and reward harmonious interaction among people.
Free trade, for example, brings polar opposite countries together. Only a few decades ago, we were in an arms race stand off with communist China. Today we trade, extensively bettering each country's people.
Trade can lower weapons and grow relationships. It also helps us learn about other cultures and traditions. Many multinational corporations have discovered that without appeasing local tastes their new business ventures will implode.
Companies like Coca-Cola in India and Pizza Hut in China must learn about various cultures. We exchange business models and ideas to grow closer together.
Trade does not make us all experts in world religions and cultures. However, it does give us a clue and helps build tolerance and appreciation. Chinatowns and other ethnic enclaves don't translate exact culture of those far away places. However, we do get a mere taste of other countries that would be unavailable if our borders were more closed and our participation in world trade far less. This exchange is valuable in promoting peace and understanding in the world.
But what does the welfare state do?
First of all, the welfare state is supposedly a caring entity. However, this entity does not engage the world but instead only engages its own citizens. The welfare state breeds cultural isolationism.
The idea is this: Social Security for us and no one else. The rhetoric of kindness hits a hard wall of hypocrisy here. The welfare state in its nature does not care about the world but "cares" about its own voters and constituents.
Social programs run large expenses that cannot long be afforded by any nation. The natural result is for nations to turn against their neighbors and those in need, creating social conflict. Today in the United States, we debate about the great costs imposed on Americans by immigrant consumption of social services.
Resentment builds toward what many see as a threat to the system that "provides" us with social security, medicine, and welfare. This growing hatred of immigrants is not something unique to the United States. All across France, as well as many other Western European welfare states, the resentment of all immigrants from Africa, Eastern Europe, and Turkey boils.
The end result of all socialist states will be national socialist perspectives. The "right" to health care, the "right" to social security, and the "right" to welfare become the rights of citizens born and raised, not the outsiders. The social conflict grows.
Ron Paul mentioned this point regarding immigration in the June 4th New Hampshire debate:
We force our states and our local communities to pay for the healthcare, and pay for the education. Why wouldn't they bring their families? And because of our economic conditions, we do need workers. But if we had a truly free market economy, the illegal immigrants would not be the scapegoats. We would probably need them, and they would be acceptable. But because of economic conditions, they have become the scapegoat.
And of course in the last sentence, these economic conditions are the overwhelming burden placed by state expenditures.
This discussion reaches far beyond immigration. Today, most animosity between the races does not come from the idea that blacks or Hispanics or whites are inferior. In modern days, most people who resent another race feel the other races are equal.
Many ask, "If others are equal, then why are they consuming more welfare services per capita?" Other cultural groups are seen as criminals stealing money from honest taxpayers.
The agitation is not toward blacks or Hispanics, but to the welfare queen, the crack pusher, and the disability scammer. I've never heard of anyone being angry because a black man made a lot of money. People aren't angry with Reginald Davis, Atlantic CEO of Wachovia, or Kenneth Chenault, the black CEO of American Express. In fact, the same types of people who in general resent black people for welfare use love these individuals. The social conflict isn't about color anymore.
Minority special interest groups and politicians push for further social services. In turn, other groups start to view these minorities as tax-money thieves. The special interest groups indirectly and without intention channel a hatred of redistribution into a hatred of race.
Other egalitarian policies have enlarged this problem even more. No single policy has been more destructive to black and white relations than affirmative action. This policy was designed to promote unity and egalitarianism. The result has been a growing animosity between the two groups.
Such is the route of the welfare state: hate those who use the system extensively. Weren't these programs supposed to bring us together and bridge the gaps of income and race? The reality is throwing more fuel to the fire of separation and segregation.
The welfare state creates resentment among groups who pay and groups who get paid. Some are angry at those who won't give them more money, while the other side doesn't want any more money taken away. Often an entire group will be seen as being on one side of that line. The tension comes from this push and pull, not from color.
Anger is not just between races but within races. Whites often resent "trailer trash" who are their own skin tone and from the same genetic background.
Karl Marx talked about a class struggle, but this class struggle does not exist naturally in a capitalist society. But as soon as socialism enters, the class struggle is very real. The struggle is between those from whom money is taken and those who receive it.
The rich have no reason to dislike or hate the poor. But once you turn the impoverished into a voting block for higher tax rates or more redistribution, a class struggle will ensue.
Tensions between groups have always existed. When the Chinese and Irish first arrived, many felt that they were going to steal jobs and destroy the economy. However, time revealed the fallacy of these claims. It is by no mere accident that the most booming areas of this country are in New York City and the West Coast.

You cannot hate a race long when they don't do anything to invade your life. The welfare state perpetually increases the costs of immigration. A period of acceptance never comes about as the new immigrants are immediately cradled by the state. There is almost no discrimination left against Asians or the Irish. Is this mere coincidence? Or were they viewed as non-invasive after a few decades of immigration without the state stealing taxes from current residents in order to bribe the arrival of a new voting block?
Politicians are more than happy to exploit this state-created class struggle for their own purposes. The Democrats are more than happy to have a constant voting block to which they can promise better social services. Republicans are overjoyed to have citizens who can be lied to about lower taxes time and time again as they run some of the biggest deficits this country has ever seen.
Frédéric Bastiat said long ago what still rings true today: "Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."
These social problems are the battle where every man aims at the tax money of every other man. This is the root of modern animosity, racism, and spite. The only way for us to live together in harmony is through trade and voluntary interactions, which benefit both parties.
These programs that supposedly bring us together actually tear us apart. Unity cannot be created artificially through the welfare state. Unity is something that must naturally happen among groups of individuals.
To forcefully and coercively attempt to bring unity through the welfare state breeds only hatred and social conflict.

Besides Socialism?

What Ails the World
Friday, June 29, 2007
The ills of the world aren't mostly medical, of course, but philosophical, moral, and cultural. And the main one is definitely something only straight thinking can hope to cure.
Now, mind you, straight thinking doesn't produce results immediately. It's like a fitness program which needs to be followed rather strictly and over a good bit of time before its effects can be realized. But thinking well really is the only answer-it is, in fact, the only thing that's under one's control, the rest in about the forces of nature and the consequences of past religious, scientific, legal, and related thinking now embedded in the societies in which people live their lives. The mind is the free organ of the intact human agent from which the complex actions that can transform the world spring. (Yes, there is debate about this but the skeptics refute themselves when they make their skeptical case with, you guessed it, their minds!)
So then what is the main malady and how can it be fixed? First and foremost the world needs to give up on lumping people all in with groups. The Asians, illegal Americans, refugees, blacks, whites, middle class, politicians, merchants, and so forth-thinking about human beings as if they all managed to fit such groups, as if their identity consisted of their national, racial, ethnic, religious, class membership, or origins is nearly always a bad idea. Now and then it is acceptable, as when some biological similarity can help predict how someone will fare medically or when people make commitments to be part of a group and others can infer how they will act as a result. But even here it is how they act as individuals that will make the greatest difference-whether they take the initiative to educate themselves, to work hard, to rethink the ideas they have accepted mostly unthinkingly and so forth.
Tribalism is the term I prefer for the kind of "we" think that so many folks practice both when it comes to themselves or to other people. Women this, Southern Californians that, Europeans yet another thing, and all the rest that bury who a person is by virtue of his or her choices and decisions beneath layers of group identity. The practice is evident in the thinking done by the most unsophisticated as well as the most erudite folks one runs across.
Multiculturalism is one implication of this kind of constant classification of human individuals across the globe. Diversity programs even at those bastions of supposed independent thought, namely, colleges and universities, focus on lumping students and faculty not by the variety of thinking but of color, race, gender, national origin and so forth, as if when one looks different from another, or hails from a different place, that necessarily means one will think and look at the world differently.
Not only is this demeaning of people-regarding them as if they were made with cookie cutters and had no hand in directing their own lives (which then can actually become a self-fulfilling prophesy)-but it also renders most creativity difficult to get off the ground, especially about social and political issues. It is difficult to escape it. Yes, it is possible but tough because most people do not cherish being deemed weird. Yet of one thinks for oneself, that's often the result.
Tribal thinking has been around for most of human history and has had its periodic uses, too. But the damage it has wrought has been devastating (e.g., the Holocaust). Such a way to view people tends to make it appear they are replaceable, predictable, and interchangeable within the group. As if their individuality didn't much matter.
Of course, this is way off-anyone knows that the death of a friend or loved one cannot be remedied by replacement. That's because in their essence human beings are individual, unique, irreplaceable. But this doesn't suit tribal policy-makers much, those who have plans for people as members of groups regardless of their individual choices and agendas.
For me, a first generation American, it was American culture's stress of the importance of the individual that held out the greatest hope. It was, even if only rhetorically, what gave the place its uniqueness among the societies of history and the world. And it is still, I am convinced, the major cure of what ails the world.

I'm Not My Government, My Government Is Not Me



Identifying With the State
by Butler Shaffer

One of the deadliest practices we engage in is that of identifying ourselves with a collective entity. Whether it be the state, a nationality, our race or gender, or any other abstraction, we introduce division – hence, conflict – into our lives as we separate ourselves from those who identify with other groupings. If one observes the state of our world today, this is the pattern that underlies our deadly and destructive social behavior. This mindset was no better articulated than when George W. Bush declared “you’re either with us, or against us.”
Through years of careful conditioning, we learn to think of ourselves in terms of agencies and/or abstractions external to our independent being. Or, to express the point more clearly, we have learned to internalize these external forces; to conform our thinking and behavior to the purposes and interests of such entities. We adorn ourselves with flags, mouth shibboleths, and decorate our cars with bumper-stickers, in order to communicate to others our sense of “who we are.” In such ways does our being become indistinguishable from our chosen collective.
In this way are institutions born. We discover a particular form of organization through which we are able to cooperate with others for our mutual benefit. Over time, the advantages derived from this system have a sufficient consistency to lead us to the conclusion that our well-being is dependent upon it. Those who manage the organization find it in their self-interests to propagate this belief so that we will become dependent upon its permanency. Like a sculptor working with clay, institutions take over the direction of our minds, twisting, squeezing, and pounding upon them until we have embraced a mindset conducive to their interests. Once this has been accomplished, we find it easy to subvert our will and sense of purpose to the collective. The organization ceases being a mere tool of mutual convenience, and becomes an end in itself. Our lives become “institutionalized,” and we regard it as fanciful to imagine ourselves living in any other way than as constituent parts of a machine that transcends our individual sense.
Once we identify ourselves with the state, that collective entity does more than represent who we are; it is who we are. To the politicized mind, the idea that “we are the government” has real meaning, not in the sense of being able to control such an agency, but in the psychological sense. The successes and failures of the state become the subject’s successes and failures; insults or other attacks upon their abstract sense of being – such as the burning of “their” flag – become assaults upon their very personhood. Shortcomings on the part of the state become our failures of character. This is why so many Americans who have belatedly come to criticize the war against Iraq are inclined to treat it as only a “mistake” or the product of “mismanagement,” not as a moral wrong. Our egos can more easily admit to the making of a mistake than to moral transgressions. Such an attitude also helps to explain why, as Milton Mayer wrote in his revealing post-World War II book, They Thought They Were Free, most Germans were unable to admit that the Nazi regime had been tyrannical.
It is this dynamic that makes it easy for political officials to generate wars, a process that reinforces the sense of identity and attachment people have for “their” state. It also helps to explain why most Americans – though tiring of the war against Iraq – refuse to condemn government leaders for the lies, forgeries, and deceit employed to get the war started: to acknowledge the dishonesty of the system through which they identify themselves is to admit to the dishonest base of their being.
The truthfulness of the state’s rationale for war is irrelevant to most of its subjects. It is sufficient that they believe the abstraction with which their lives are intertwined will be benefited in some way by war. Against whom and upon what claim does not matter – except as a factor in assessing the likelihood of success. That most Americans have pipped nary a squeak of protest over Bush administration plans to attack Iran – with nuclear weapons if deemed useful to its ends – reflects the point I am making. Bush could undertake a full-fledged war against Lapland, and most Americans would trot out their flags and bumper-stickers of approval.
The “rightness” or “wrongness” of any form of collective behavior becomes interpreted by the standard of whose actions are being considered. During World War II, for example, Japanese kamikaze pilots were regarded as crazed fanatics for crashing their planes into American battleships. At the same time, American war movies (see, e.g., Flying Tigers) extolled the heroism of American pilots who did the same thing. One sees this same double-standard in responding to “conspiracy theories.” “Do you think a conspiracy was behind the 9/11 attacks?” It certainly seems so to me, unless one is prepared to treat the disappearance of the World Trade Center buildings as the consequence of a couple pilots having bad navigational experiences! The question that should be asked is: whose conspiracy was it? To those whose identities coincide with the state, such a question is easily answered: others conspire, we do not.
It is not the symbiotic relationship between war and the expansion of state power, nor the realization of corporate benefits that could not be obtained in a free market, that mobilize the machinery of war. Without most of us standing behind “our” system, and cheering on “our” troops, and defending “our” leaders, none of this would be possible. What would be your likely response if your neighbor prevailed upon you to join him in a violent attack upon a local convenience store, on the grounds that it hired “illegal aliens?” Your sense of identity would not be implicated in his efforts, and you would likely dismiss him as a lunatic.
Only when our ego-identities become wrapped up with some institutional abstraction – such as the state – can we be persuaded to invest our lives and the lives of our children in the collective madness of state action. We do not have such attitudes toward organizations with which we have more transitory relationships. If we find an accounting error in our bank statement, we would not find satisfaction in the proposition “the First National Bank, right or wrong.” Neither would we be inclined to wear a T-shirt that read “Disneyland: love it or leave it.”
One of the many adverse consequences of identifying with and attaching ourselves to collective abstractions is our loss of control over not only the meaning and direction in our lives, but of the manner in which we can be efficacious in our efforts to pursue the purposes that have become central to us. We become dependent upon the performance of “our” group; “our” reputation rises or falls on the basis of what institutional leaders do or fail to do. If “our” nation-state loses respect in the world – such as by the use of torture or killing innocent people - we consider ourselves no longer respectable, and scurry to find plausible excuses to redeem our egos. When these expectations are not met, we go in search of new leaders or organizational reforms we believe will restore our sense of purpose and pride that we have allowed abstract entities to personify for us.
As the costs and failures of the state become increasingly evident, there is a growing tendency to blame this system. But to do so is to continue playing the same game into which we have allowed ourselves to become conditioned. One of the practices employed by the state to get us to mobilize our “dark side” energies in opposition to the endless recycling of enemies it has chosen for us, is that of psychological projection. Whether we care to acknowledge it or not – and most of us do not – each of us has an unconscious capacity for attitudes or conduct that our conscious minds reject. We fear that, sufficiently provoked, we might engage in violence – even deadly – against others; or that inducements might cause us to become dishonest. We might harbor racist or other bigoted sentiments, or consider ourselves lazy or irresponsible. Though we are unlikely to act upon such inner fears, their presence within us can generate discomforting self-directed feelings of guilt, anger, or unworthiness that we would like to eliminate. The most common way in which humanity has tried to bring about such an exorcism is by subconsciously projecting these traits onto others (i.e., “scapegoats”) and punishing them for what are really our own shortcomings.
The state has trained us to behave this way, in order that we may be counted upon to invest our lives, resources, and other energies in pursuit of the enemy du jour. It is somewhat ironic, therefore, that most of us resort to the same practice in our criticism of political systems. After years of mouthing the high-school civics class mantra about the necessity for government – and the bigger the government the better – we begin to experience the unexpected consequences of politicization. Tax burdens continue to escalate; or the state takes our home to make way for a proposed shopping center; or ever-more details of our lives are micromanaged by ever-burgeoning state bureaucracies.
Having grown weary of the costs – including the loss of control over our lives – we blame the state for what has befallen us. We condemn the Bush administration for the parade of lies that precipitated the war against Iraq, rather than indicting ourselves for ever believing anything the state tells us. We fault the politicians for the skyrocketing costs of governmental programs, conveniently ignoring our insistence upon this or that benefit whose costs we would prefer having others pay. The statists have helped us accept a world view that conflates our incompetence to manage our own lives with their omniscience to manage the lives of billions of people – along with the planet upon which we live! – and we are now experiencing the costs generated by our own gullibility.
We have acted like country bumpkins at the state fair with the egg money who, having been fleeced by a bunch of carnival sharpies, look everywhere for someone to blame other than ourselves. We have been euchred out of our very lives because of our eagerness to believe that benefits can be enjoyed without incurring costs; that the freedom to control one’s life can be separated from the responsibilities for one’s actions; and that two plus two does not have to add up to four if a sizeable public opinion can be amassed against the proposition.
By identifying ourselves with any abstraction (such as the state) we give up the integrated life, the sense of wholeness that can be found only within each of us. While the state has manipulated, cajoled, and threatened us to identify ourselves with it, the responsibility for our acceding to its pressures lies within each of us. The statists have – as was their vicious purpose – simply taken over the territory we have abandoned.
Our politico-centric pain and suffering has been brought about by our having allowed external forces to move in and occupy the vacuum we created at the center of our being. The only way out of our dilemma involves a retracing of the route that brought us to where we are. We require nothing so much right now as the development of a sense of “who we are” that transcends our institutionalized identities, and returns us – without division and conflict – to a centered, self-directed integrity in our lives.
June 29, 2007

Nice Job Rick, You Fuckwad


NAFTA Superhighway Ready to Roll
Posted: June 22, 20071:00 a.m.

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com-->© 2007
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, has vetoed a series of bills passed by the Texas Legislature, clearing the way for the Texas Department of Transportation to begin construction on the four-football-fields-wide new Trans-Texas Corridor along Interstate 35 (TTC-35) from the Mexican border at Laredo north to the Oklahoma border south of Oklahoma City.
On Friday, June 15, Perry vetoed an eminent-domain reform bill passed by the Legislature. Provisions in the bill would have made prohibitively expensive the acquisition of the thousands of acres of private land needed to construct the Trans-Texas corridor.
In vetoing the bill, Perry's office issued a press release claiming House Bill No. 2006 "would vastly expand the cost to Texas taxpayers of public projects to the point where they grossly outweigh the bill's benefits."
Steven Anderson, director of the Institute for Justice's Castle Coalition, objected.
"With this veto, Governor Perry has left every home, farm, ranch and small-business owner vulnerable to the abuse of eminent domain," Anderson said in a press release.
Anderson's organization is a national grass-roots advocacy group that works to block private-to-private transfers of property using eminent domain.
A month earlier, on May 18, Perry vetoed House Bill No. 1892, a measure that would have imposed a two-year moratorium on beginning construction on the Trans-Texas Corridor parallel to Interstate 35.
In that veto message, Perry claimed the bill "jeopardizes billions of dollars of infrastructure investment and invites a potentially significant reduction in federal transportation funding."
(Column continues below)
As WND previously reported, these measures were approved overwhelmingly by the Texas Legislature, with HB 1892 passing the Texas House by a 137-2 margin. HB 2006 passed with 125 of the 150 votes in the House and unanimously in the Senate.
When HB 2006 cleared the Texas Legislature, the Federal Highway Administration Chief Counsel James D. Ray wrote a letter to the Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT, threatening to hold federal highway funds from the state if Perry signed the bill into law.
Perry's veto message strongly suggests the FHWA's threat was heard loud and clear in Austin.
On learning that Perry had vetoed the eminent-domain legislation, Corridor Watch, a public advocacy group that opposes the TTC project, responded immediately.
Corridor Watch posted on its website: "It sure didn't take TxDOT long to shake off the legislative session and resume their headlong rush to use every available loophole, exception and remaining authority to build toll roads and grant toll road concessions just as fast as possible." http://www.corridorwatch.org/ttc/index.htm
Corridor Watch also noted that in the 49 bills Perry vetoed June 15 were measures that would have required TxDOT to consider using existing highway routes for future TTC routes and a bill that called on the Texas attorney general to study the impact of international agreements on Texas.
To ward off the possibility the Texas Legislature would fight back, Perry threatened to call a "Special Session" to resolve transportation issues should members vote to override his veto on HB 1892, the moratorium issue.
The 80th Texas Legislature wrapped up its 140-day session May 29, immediately after Memorial Day.
Now, sponsors would have to reintroduce these bills in the next legislative session and start all over again. The Texas Legislature only meets every other year, unless the governor calls a special session for a specific agenda.
According to Bloomberg.com, the last time the Texas Legislature overrode a governor's veto was more than a quarter of a century ago, in 1979.
As WND has previously reported, the $180 billion needed to build the 4,000-mile TTC network planned for construction over the next 50 years will be financed by Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte, S.A., a foreign investment consortium based in Spain. Cintra will own the leasing and operating rights on TTC highways for 50 years after their completion is complete.
WND has also reported Perry has received substantial campaign contributions from Cintra and Zachry Construction Company, the San Antonio-based construction firm selected by TxDOT to build out the TTC.
WND has established that Cintra is represented in the United States by Bracewell and Giuliani, Republican Party presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's Houston-based law firm.
Even though TTC superhighways will be built by a private investment consortium from Spain, Texas conveniently can make use of the recent Supreme Court case Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005).
In this case, the Supreme Court decided that eminent domain could be used to seize private property from U.S. citizens even though the purpose of the land seizure was to benefit a private corporation. The Supreme Court case said nothing that would imply the private corporation involved would have to be a U.S. firm.
In a question-answer format on the TTC website, a "myth vs. reality" answer explains how TxDOT plans to use what is known in Texas as "quick-take" eminent domain authority.
The site explains that a Texas state law (passed as HB 3588) allows a quick-take seizure of private property "if TxDOT and the property owner cannot reach an agreement" on just compensation for the land involved.
Under this law, TxDOT can seize a property on the 91st day after the landowner is served with an official notice of quick-take, regardless how vociferously the landowner protests.
WND has reported TxDOT is moving moving to apply its four-football-fields-wide NAFTA superhighway plan of building new train-truck-car-pipeline corridors to the states of Oklahoma and Colorado in a design that stretches from the Mexican border at Laredo, Texas, to Denver, Colo.
WND has also documented that NASCO (North America's SuperCorridor Coalition, Inc.), a Dallas-based trade association supporting the development of Interstate Highways 35, 29 and 94 as international trade corridors, has the state of Oklahoma, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and TxDOT as members.
The Federal Highway Administration has designated the Ports-to-Plains Corridor as a "High Priority Corridor" on the National Highway System.
WND repeatedly has reported the Federal Highway Administration is promoting public-private partnership projects to bring private capital to expanding superhighway projects, consistent with extending the TTC network north into Oklahoma and Colorado.
The Federal Highway Administration has constructed a section of its government website dedicated to explaining to the states and the highway construction industry how laws and investment banking structures with foreign capital investors can be designed to work along the public-private partnership model.
WND has documented that a major purpose of the TTC projects is to connect U.S. roads with Mexican ports on the Pacific, such as Lazaro Cardenas.
Mexican ports are being increasingly used as an alternative to West Coast ports such as Los Angeles and Long Beach as a cheaper, non-union alternative for the import of millions of containers from China.
WND has reported the Department of Transportation plans to start a Mexican truck demonstration project as early as Aug. 15, despite continuing objections from Congress.

Why Didn't The Turks Go There In The First Place?


Turkey Threatens Invasion After Kurds

Saturday, June 30, 2007 - FreeMarketNews.com
Turkey has prepared a blueprint for the invasion of northern Iraq and will take action if US or Iraqi forces fail to dislodge the guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) from their mountain strongholds across the border, Turkey's foreign minister Abdullah Gul has warned."The military plans have been worked out in the finest detail. The government knows these plans and agrees with them," Mr Gul told Turkey's Radikal newspaper. "If neither the Iraqi government nor the US occupying forces can do this [crush the PKK], we will take our own decision and implement it," Mr Gul said. The foreign minister's uncharacteristically hawkish remarks were seen as a response to pressure from Turkey's generals, who have deployed some 20,000-30,000 troops along the borders with Iraq, and who are itching to move against the rebels they say are slipping across the border to stage attacks inside Turkey. -Guardian

Like There Aren'T Enough Problems In Iraq



Leader says Kurds to fight back if attacked-radio
Source: Reuters
BERLIN, June 29 (Reuters) - Masoud Barzani, the head of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, warned on Friday of a "catastrophe" if Turkey attacked his territory and vowed that Kurds would defend themselves.
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was quoted as saying on Friday that Turkey has prepared detailed plans for a cross-border operation into Iraq against Kurdish rebels and will act if U.S. or Iraqi forces fail to tackle them.
"We will defend ourselves against any state that attacks us," Barzani said in an interview with Germany's Deutsche Welle public radio.
"I hope that Turkey doesn't mean these threats seriously because that would be a catastrophe for the entire region," Barzani added, according to a German transcript of the interview.
Ankara has on many occasions threatened to send troops into mainly Kurdish northern Iraq to hunt down thousands of militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who use the region as a base from which to attack targets inside Turkey.
Barzani said Turkey would have nothing to fear from an independent Kurdish entity within Iraq, Deutsche Welle said in a paraphrase of other comments the Kurdish leader had made.
"We appeal to Turkey to turn to the language of dialogue instead of threats. We're ready for compromise and dialogue."

Where Have These Guys Been?


Dollar `Vulnerable' to Drop in Investment, BIS Says
By Lukanyo Mnyanda
June 24 (Bloomberg) -- The dollar is ``vulnerable'' to a drop in the investment inflows that the U.S. relies on to fund its trade and current-account deficits, according the Bank for International Settlements.
The currency has been supported by purchases of Treasuries by foreign investors attracted to U.S. yields and central banks that buy dollars to curb appreciation in their exchange rates. Such investors now own a record 80 percent of Treasuries due in three to 10 years, according to research from HSBC Holdings Plc.
``The dollar clearly remains vulnerable to a sudden loss of private-sector confidence,'' the Basel, Switzerland-based BIS said in its 77th annual report today. ``The reliability of public-sector inflows has also become more uncertain.''
Central banks may reduce purchases of dollars and allow their currencies to strengthen in a bid to curb inflation, the BIS said. They may also invest a greater proportion of new foreign-exchange reserves outside of the U.S. to earn higher returns, adding to the ``threat'' to the dollar, it said.
Inflation in China accelerated to a two-year high of 3.4 percent last month, and a stronger currency would help curb gains in consumer prices by lowering the cost of imported goods.
``The fear of inflation is causing central banks in Asia to change their thinking away from interventionist policies,'' said David Bloom, global head of currency strategy at HSBC in London. ``They could slow down accumulation of reserves and let their currencies rise. Then the dollar will fall.''
Currency Reserves
The deficit in the U.S. current account, the broadest measure of trade because it includes some investment flows, reached a record $192.6 billion in the first three months of the year. The U.S. needs to attract about $2.1 billion a day to fund the gap, making the economy vulnerable to higher interest rates and a drop in the dollar should foreigners sour on its assets.
The U.S. currency fell 0.6 percent to $1.3470 per euro in the past week. The dollar dropped to a record low of $1.3681 on April 27. The euro has climbed 2.1 percent against the dollar this year.
Asian central banks from China to India boosted their currency reserves 58 percent to $2.2 trillion last year as they bought dollars, said the BIS, which was formed in 1930 to monitor markets and promote cooperation between central banks.
The Indian rupee has gained 8.6 percent against the dollar in 2007, compared with a 1.7 percent advance for the whole of last year. The Chinese yuan has climbed 2.4 percent so far this year, after rising 3.3 percent in 2006.
The People's Bank of China, which has the world's largest foreign-exchange reserves totaling $1.2 trillion, has said it will boost investments in bonds other than Treasuries. Japan, the biggest foreign holder of U.S. government debt, with $612 billion, has cut the investments this year from $623 billion.
Governments ``have already publicly expressed strong concern about excessive capital investments, and possible resource misallocations,'' the BIS said. ``In a number of countries, inflationary pressures are rising.''
To contact the reporter on this story

FDA Continuies It's Anti-Business Objectives



FDA ANNOUNCES PLAN TO ELIMINATE VITAMIN COMPANIES


By Byron J. Richards, CCN
June 27, 2007
NewsWithViews.com
The FDA, emboldened by its transformation into a drug company, has embarked upon an anti-American plan of interfering with business and intentionally eliminating various dietary supplement companies from the market. The FDA announcement came on Friday, June 22, 2007 under the guise of a final rule for dietary supplement good manufacturing practices (CGMPs). Within this 800 page rule the FDA states, “We find that this final rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.... Establishments with above average costs, and even establishments with average costs, could be hard pressed to continue to operate. Some of these may decide it is too costly and either change product lines or go out of business.... 140 very small [less than 20 employees] and 32 small dietary supplement manufacturers [less than 500 employees] will be at risk of going out of business.... costs per establishment are proportionally higher for very small than for large establishments....The regulatory costs of this final rule will also discourage new small businesses from entering the industry.”
This FDA rule will directly raise the price of dietary supplements for all consumers. The FDA acknowledges this and says “We expect that the majority of these costs will be borne by consumers of dietary supplements, who will likely respond to the increase in prices by reducing consumption.” Thus, the FDA is intentionally seeking to shrink the size of the dietary supplement industry and reduce the influence of safe and effective options to improve the dreadful trend in the health of Americans. The goal is to leave toxic drugs as the primary health option.
Independent analysis of this FDA rule has placed cost of compliance at 10 fold what the FDA estimates with as many as 50% of small companies unable to comply.
The gutless cowards of Congress, a majority of whom are on the Big Pharma payroll or will be on it once they leave Congress, have delegated their lawmaking powers granted by the U.S. Constitution to a bunch of Big Pharma-friendly unelected bureaucrats at the FDA, who are in turn using this power to undermine free commerce and help Big Pharma eliminate competition from the market. This is the behavior of a government in tyranny, inviting a revolution by the people. It is noteworthy that fascist governments of the past have eliminated health freedom and health options as a necessary condition to enslave and brainwash a population. Congress has delegated its responsibility to the people to such an extent that over half the laws in this country are now concocted by unelected bureaucrats with vested interests.
A Vehicle for Unprecedented Harassment
Any company that can afford to comply with the costs and regulations of this new FDA rule can be targeted and eliminated at will by the FDA. In essence, the FDA is seeking to make the dietary supplement industry document every phase of production, including expensive testing at multiple points in the production process. Massive recordkeeping will be required, including all customer complaints and returns for any reason! This is utterly draconian and unnecessary interference and burden to free commerce. It is completely Anti-American. No doubt, the FDA will impose user fees as an additional charge so that FDA agents will have the funding required to enforce the regulations. Under the new rule any flaw in bookkeeping can result in a company’s products being declared adulterated, allowing the FDA to remove them from the market even though nothing is wrong with them! A company can then be forced out of business because they won’t be able to sell any products to raise the money to comply. The rules are so complex and vague that the FDA can selectively target any company it chooses, even those attempting to comply in good faith.
The FDA is doing this under the pretense of improved consumer safety. Consumer safety could readily be guaranteed by simply having all companies test their final products for purity and potency. Instead of this simple approach the FDA has gone to the extreme of burdening the dietary supplement industry with regulations in excess of the drug industry! Supplements are foods, not drugs. The food industry couldn’t begin to comply with these FDA rules, even though food contamination is far more dangerous to health than dietary supplements.
The FDA intends to phase this rule in over the next three years. This means that within five years half the industry and many of the health options individuals rely on will either be gone or significantly more expensive.
Even more chilling is that forces within the dietary supplement industry itself are in no small part responsible for this FDA final rule.
Trade Groups and their Big Companies Turn on America
The Natural Products Association (formerly the National Nutritional Food Association – NNFA) and the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) have been instrumental in forcing these drug-like rules on dietary supplements. These globalist organizations are selling out America, destroying American jobs, undermining the U.S. Constitution, and working in conjunction with pharmaceutical companies to usher in Codex and the New World Order. Consumers of dietary supplements should learn who these companies are before buying their products and helping to inadvertently fund the destruction of health freedom in this country.
When DSHEA was passed in 1994 part of that law required the FDA to establish current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs) for the dietary supplement industry. During a period of FDA outreach to the industry the FDA was surprised to learn that CRN and NPA were in favor of drug-like CGMPs for the dietary supplement industry. These trade groups, working closely with Senators Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), have intentionally taken the supplement industry down a slippery slope. It is noteworthy that Hatch takes in more money from Big Pharma than he does from dietary supplement companies. Not only is Hatch a big supporter of the Medicare Part D drug rip off of Americans he has saved Big Pharma billions by protecting them from generic competition, as he is currently attempting to do with his legislation for new biologic drugs. Hatch also has a son working for NPA and another son that lobbies for NPA and the dietary supplement industry. When Hatch leaves the Senate he will be first in line for a six or seven figure Big Pharma salary.
The CRN has been taken over by multinational drug and food companies. Key players are the nutritional divisions of Bayer, BASF, Cargill, Monsanto, Wyeth, and Archer Daniels Midland. Nutrition companies that participate are in most cases owned by pharmaceutical companies, heavily invested in pharmaceutical companies, or jockeying for position in the international market as part of the New World Order. Key names include Mannatech, Shaklee, Herbalife, GNLD International, The Vitamin Shoppe, and GNC. These companies are glad to eliminate competition from small companies and start up ventures.
Carrying on the general theme of Big Pharma ownership and a globalist agenda are the companies that control the NPA. One need only look at the new NPA China board to understand who these key players are. Jarrow Formulas, Now Foods, GNC, and Herbalife top the list. At the end of 2006 Jarrow and Now helped lead the charge with Senators Hatch and Harkin to burden the dietary supplement industry with bizarre Adverse Event Reporting legislation (AER) which insisted that dietary supplement companies keep extensive records on any type of consumer complaint. Aspects of this AER law are now implemented in the FDA final rule on CGMPs. Of course, NPA was quick to offer expensive training to its members to indoctrinate them into how to comply with the rules that NPA, working on behalf of the FDA, just forced on its own members. Are their member companies really this stupid? Or are they all working together? I would recommend that any NPA member that believes itself to be a true American company that values our constitution immediately withdraw from NPA membership – consumers will be looking to see who you are.
The picture is now crystal clear for any person who cares to look. Numerous dietary supplement companies are anti-American and actively selling out our country and our constitution, working hand-in-glove with the FDA and Big Pharma. The majority of such companies can be found as members of CRN and NPA. It will be up to the American consumer to save the dietary industry from itself and preserve their own access to safe and effective natural health remedies. This is a relatively simple task. Quit buying products from or quit being a distributor in these fascist organizations. Support the small companies that are the backbone of America, otherwise they will soon be extinct.
Update on S.1082 Threat to Dietary Supplements
Many of you have been following the extreme threat to dietary supplements posed by S.1082. Similar legislation has now cleared the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is headed for the floor of the House in the next week or two. The House version of this bill now contains the “food and food ingredients” language that the FDA can use to apply drug-related risk/benefit analysis to dietary supplements and have them removed from the market at their whim.
It is noteworthy that both CRN and NPA have posted on their websites information stating that S.1082 is not a threat to dietary supplements. Both organizations are flat out wrong. They cite a colloquy by Hatch, Harkin, Kennedy, and Enzi as their evidence. This colloquy was a direct result of our grassroots campaign to alert the American consumer to this major threat. In no way does this colloquy protect dietary supplements. UNTIL THE LANGUAGE IN THE BILL IS CHANGED THE THREAT EXISTS AND IS VERY REAL.

CRN and NPA also tell their members that the Codex initiative to scare consumers into thinking that dietary supplements are unsafe above miniscule amounts and need to be regulated by international laws is also no big deal. It is clear that CRN and NPA, again working hand-in-glove with the FDA, are a major part of the problem and are actively engaged in forwarding the globalist agenda of the New World Order. While pretending to represent the dietary supplement industry these organizations are in fact shooting the industry in the back and undermining health options for Americans.

The FDA is Out of Control
The FDA is a tyrannical organization that is now emboldened and completely out of control. It is not surprising that the FDA is seeking to eliminate competition to Big Pharma, they have been doing that for much of the past century. What is surprising is that they are openly stating in their final rule a plan that directly eliminates small businesses from existence. This fascist organization believes itself to be above the rule of law and is actively working against America and the rights of Americans. It must be stopped.

Now They're Just Going To Pass It Piecemeal


Senate Rejects Bush Immigration Plan
By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writer Fri Jun 29, 5:49 AM ET
WASHINGTON - Hours after a massive immigration bill collapsed in the Senate, lawmakers and lobbyists began seeking ways to pass bits and pieces of the measure important to their constituents.

A priority for many farm groups is the "Ag jobs" component, one of several programs now needing a new legislative vehicle. It would legalize about 1 million undocumented agricultural workers in the U.S., a key goal of growers whose crops can rot in the fields if not harvested at key times by people willing to work hard at low wages.
The program is considered relatively popular, as is another piece of the stalled bill: the DREAM Act, or Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. It would create a path to legality for illegal immigrants planning to attend college or join the military and who came to the United States with their families before they turned 16.
Some lawmakers said they hope Congress will enact such programs as stand-alone bills fairly soon. Others, however, said it will be difficult to pass even noncontroversial parts by themselves. Backers of items likely to be left out, they said, will resist losing the political leverage that a multifaceted package can provide.
In an interview earlier this week, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. — a backer of the sidetracked immigration bill — said the one-at-a-time approach may prove impossible, even for tougher border-enforcement measures that now seem popular.
"The only way we're going to get Ag jobs or DREAM Act" or pathways to legal status for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, Graham said, "is to do it together. This idea of 'Just do the enforcement,' there are no votes for that."
Other Republicans, especially in the House, disagree. All immigration-related proposals should be postponed, they said, until the Mexican border is secured.
"The American people believe that until we're able to secure our borders and enforce our laws, taking additional steps is really not in the best interests of the country," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said after Thursday's crucial Senate vote that derailed the bill.
Some lawmakers immediately urged President Bush to accept defeat on the wide-ranging bill and ask Congress for an emergency spending bill for more border enforcement activities. "That would be a great next step after this vote," said Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who opposed the bill.
Some lawmakers said it hardly matters, however, because enough money and authority already are in place to do the job.
There should be "a very strong sense of urgency in this country to simply carry out the law, the mandate, for 854 miles of fence that we passed" in the 109th Congress, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., told reporters Thursday. "They've only built 13 miles of the fence so far. Let's get it built before the next hot season."
While the security debate simmers, the farm lobby will push for Ag jobs, immigrant advocacy groups will fight for the DREAM Act, and other interest groups will seek avenues for similar pet projects. Some legislative leaders Thursday were noncommittal on how they might fare.
House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., was asked if his caucus would support Ag jobs by itself. Most Republicans would back a similar program, he said, but he added: "The concern that House Republicans have and have had for some time now is the order in which these things are accomplished. You have securing the border, being sure that workers who are here appropriately are here with ID that's verifiable, that's reasonably hard to duplicate."
Paul Schlegel, public policy director for the American Farm Bureau, said in an interview, "It's a little soon to handicap" the Ag jobs program's future. "The administration has said all along they want a comprehensive approach," he said, and the bureau has worked in concert with the White House thus far.
The immigration bill's collapse forces all key players to rethink their next moves. Individual components may gain support in the coming weeks, but it won't be easy, several lawmakers said.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in an interview before Thursday's vote: "I think it's pretty hard, the way things are set up here, to get anything done on immigration that's not part of a package."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Welcome to the Revolution: Neo-coms are Renationalizing Resources
by J. Christoph Amberger
“Investors are going to the dollar as a safe haven.”
That’s not a sentence you hear these days, when everyone and his grandmother is predicting doom and gloom for the greenback. But according to Enrique Alvarez, a Latin America economist at the research firm Ideaglobal in New York, this is exactly what is going on in Venezuela, now that Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips have abandoned operations in the country.
The withdrawal of the oil multis from Venezuela occurred as a consequence of Hugo Chavez's neo-communist nationalization campaign of the country’s oil assets.
While Chavez now controls Venezuela's oil fields, it would appear that he is falling short of the markets’ confidence that the departure of the big guns with the deep pockets and the expertise will have no effect on the country’s ability to pump oil efficiently and profitably… at least in the short term.
These concerns can't be dismissed lightly. Sure, Venezuela is currently making a mint on crude oil exports. But oil revenues alone do not guarantee stability, growth... or even a positive trade balance. Look at Iran, which just, with two hours’ notice, limited private drivers to 26 gallons of fuel a month.
(That’s because, despite large oil reserves, Iran lacks refining capacity and has to import 40% of its gasoline -- which needs to be subsidized to such a degree it retails at about a fifth of cost. Which has resulted in a huge budget deficit largely caused by fuel subsidies. The Iranian inflation rate is currently estimated at 20-30% -- and Venezuela is catching up as the bolivar is plummeting.)
Under the radar, neo-com Bolivia, too, has renationalized two oil refineries owned by Brazilian Petrobras. At just $112 million, the “buyback” was certainly a steal. The refineries process about 40,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Given the proven lack of effectiveness of state-run oil companies to maintain investment and technology levels in the exploration and expansion of new and existing pumping capacities, I believe it is safe to assume that doubts about production capacities in Venezuela may soon rival supply fears due to strikes in Nigeria. At the same time, look for exponential growth in inflation pressures on the Venezuelan and Bolivian currencies.
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From Our West Coast Friend! California Sure Is An Expensive Place To Drive Badly!


Police and government run amuck. How about we start fining politicians for stupidity; we'd be rich!

New California Laws effective 7/1/07

New Driving Fines for 2007

1. Carpool lane - 1st time $1068.50 starting7/1/07 (The $271 postedon the highway is old). Don't do it again because 2nd time is going to bedouble. 3rd time triple, and 4th time license suspended.

2. Incorrect lane change - $380. Don't cross the lane on solid lines or intersections.

3. Block intersection - $485

4. Driving on the shoulder - $450

5. Cell phone use in the construction zone. - Double fine as of 07/01/07. Cell phone use must be "hands free" while driving.

6. Passengers over 18 not in their seatbelts - both passengers and drivers get tickets .

7. Speeders can only drive 3 miles above the limit.

8. DUI = JAIL (Stays on your driving record for 10 years!)9. As of 07/01/07 cell phone use must be "hands free" while driving. Ticket is $285. They will be looking for this like crazy - easy money for police department.

You Take Our (Supposed Gold); We Take Your Ships!


The Spanish government ordered a seizure of two vessels belonging to Odyssey Marine this week.
You’ll recall Odyssey’s ships found $500 million in sunken treasure late last month. And we’re trying to secure an exclusive offering of those coins on your behalf. We’ve just learned that those ships will be detained once they leave the Strait of Gibraltar and enter Spanish waters.
Odyssey has stated that it welcomes the search, as its exploration has been “totally transparent.” For security reasons, they’ve refused to reveal the location of the undersea booty. The Spanish are miffed because they think it’s somewhere in their territorial waters. Persnickety of them, we know... but we’ll keep you posted... P.S. (Fuck Spain, sore-fucking-losers)

Not A Drop............Anywhere


Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi have now reported the driest springs in 113 years. Many Western states are experiencing decade-high drought conditions, as well. Those fires near Lake Tahoe are just one of the results. We’re also seeing mounting crop losses, hay shortages, low water levels… the list goes on and on.
“Water is more precious than ever,” writes Chris Mayer. “A rising water price seems inevitable. Water conservation is more important than ever. That’s good for irrigation companies, for example. But it also means that this year’s grain crop could be light, driving grain stocks to new lows and prices to new highs.”

Not A Lot Of Food In The Cupboard


The USDA says that by the end of this year’s harvest, global inventories for corn, wheat and other grains will cover only 45 days of consumption. That’s the lowest level since the government began keeping records in 1960 -- almost half a century ago.
As with any commodity, inventories of grains fluctuate. But the average since 1960 has been about 79 days’ supply. Today, it’s about 49 days. Yet the “big money” still isn’t listening. "I had 70 meetings with institutional investors and not one had seen the USDA data," says Don Coxe, portfolio strategist at BMO Financial Group in Chicago.
“The fact that Wall Street still isn’t clued in to what’s happening,” says Mayer, “shows that you can still get ahead of the game by investing in companies that should do well in this period of agflation.”
Which businesses will do well? “Fertilizer, crop protection and farm equipment. Also, the value of farmland should continue to rise. More farming also means more water and energy use -- good news for owners of the relevant commodities.”

Nicely Said..................

"There is nothing compassionate about taxes. They are the price we pay for permitting the government to dismantle the civilization created by the market economy." -Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

No Swedish Markets For You!


Too American? What the hell does that mean? Too many hot dogs?
Blow to Nasdaq-OMX merger
Financial Times, 27.06.2007
The Swedish government has emerged as a possible opponent to the proposed merger of OMX and Nasdaq with concerns that a deal could undermine the Nordic market operator’s competitiveness by making it too American and less European.

Mats Odell, minister for financial markets, is to set up a panel of experts to review the proposed deal before the government – which owns 6.6 per cent of OMX – will officially grant its approval.Nasdaq, the US market operator, has agreed to acquire OMX, which operates markets around the Nordic and Baltic regions and sells trading technology to other exchanges, for $3.7bn (€2.7bn) in cash and shares.The Swedish government’s concern highlights worries over US stock market rules that have prompted many American firms to list elsewhere, avoiding its onerous corporate governance, disclosure and supervisory regime.Sweden’s ministry for financial markets said on Tuesday it wanted to be sure US ownership of OMX would not alter “the Swedish model” and replace it with something that might undermine the Nordic market’s competitiveness.“The rules we have are more European, based on European directives. We are planing to implement more European directives. We don’t want this deal to mean that it will harder to raise risk capital,” the ministry said.It added the planned probe into the proposed Nasdaq deal would address issues such as supervision, regulation, costs, disclosure, and the possible impact on turnover and liquidity. No deadline for completion of the probe has been decided.Although the Swedish government only has 6.6 per cent of OMX, any public statement from the government that it does not approve of the deal could deal a serious blow to the proposed transaction.The government is committed to selling its stakes in a range of companies as part of its privatisation drive and must, as part of this process, ensure any deal meets with its social as well as its financial responsibilities.The government has a longstanding desire to transform Stockholm into a leading northern European financial centre to rival Frankfurt, partly by making it easy for companies to raise capital in the Swedish capital.If it concludes that the Nasdaq deal undermines Stockholm’s potential to become a financial centre, it might vote against the Nasdaq deal – impairing part of the rationale behind the transaction cited by OMX and Nasdaq.The largest single shareholder in OMX is Investor, the holding company of the Wallenberg family, with a 10.7 per cent stake, which has backed the Nasdaq deal.OMX declined to comment.