We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What Will They Ban Next?

Last week the Senate presented a bill (S3546) to the President which gives the FDA more control over dietary supplements. Everyday this government takes another step closer to dictating every facet of our lives. From how much money we can make to what we are allowed to eat, the only right these people seem to have a desire to protect is abortion, everything else is on the table.

By John Stossel Townhall.com

New York City has ordered restaurants to stop selling food made with trans fat. "It is a dangerous and unnecessary ingredient," says the health commissioner. Gee, I'm all for good health, but shouldn't it be a matter of individual choice?

A New York Times headline about the ban reads: "A Model for Other Cities." "A model for what, exactly?" asks George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux. "Petty tyranny? Or perhaps for similarly inspired bans on other voluntary activities with health risks? Clerking in convenience stores? Walking in the rain?"

Trans fats give foods like French fries that texture I like. They are probably bad for me, but Radley Balko of Reason points out that "despite all of the dire warnings about our increased intake of trans-fats over the last 20 years, heart disease in America has been in swift decline ... So, if they're killing us, they're not doing a very good job."

But that's not the point. In a free society the issue is: Who decides what I eat, the government or me? It's not as though information about trans fats is hard to come by. Scaremongers like the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) are all too happy to tell you about the dangers, and they have no trouble getting their declarations of doom on television and into newspapers.

Unfortunately, CSPI is not content to tell you avoid trans fats. It sues restaurants like McDonald's and KFC for using them, and urges governments to ban them. But why do the health police get to take away my choices? Adults should be expected to take responsibility for their own health.

Often the health police say they must "protect the children." But children are the responsibility of their parents. When the state assumes the role of parent, it makes children of all of us. The food prohibitionists don't understand that there are ways to influence people's behavior without resorting to coercion -- remember, coercion is the essence of government.

The public fuss about harm from trans fats has already induced many food makers to remove them. It's suddenly become a competitive advantage to boast that your products are trans-fat-free. Such voluntary action is the best way to move toward healthier food. Why isn't that good enough for the prohibitionists? Why must they enlist the iron hand of government? I think they dislike freedom of choice. They know the right way, so it's only right that they force everyone to follow them. That's the philosophy of prohibitionists.

The Center for Consumer Freedom is running ads saying: "Now that New York has banned cooking oils with trans fat (the same substance as margarine) ... it opens the door to banning so much more! Using the same logic, let's get rid of New York style pizza (seriously, do you need all that cheese?), beef hot dogs (tofu dogs almost taste the same), corned beef (turkey breast is much leaner). ... "

Yes, I know the center's sponsors include restaurants and food companies, but still, it has a good point. Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, who died a few weeks ago, would have agreed. He was the author of "Free to Choose" and "free to choose" sums up Friedman's philosophy. He would have cringed at the banning of trans fats, just as he objected to the earlier banning of products like the sugar substitute called cyclamates.

Over 25 years ago, Friedman wrote, "If we continue on this path, there is no doubt where it will end. If the government has the responsibility of protecting us from dangerous substances, the logic surely calls for prohibiting alcohol and tobacco.... Insofar as the government has information not generally available about the merits or demerits of the items we ingest or the activities we engage in, let it give us the information. But let it leave us free to choose what chances we want to take with our own lives."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

What Is Christmas REALLY About?

By Michael Masterson - Early to Rise

One of Howard Stern's people interrupted his show recently to chastise him for his decision not to send every one of the Stern-related company employees a gift.

"I don't even want a gift," she said. "But the fact that you aren't going to give me one tells me a lot about what kind of a thoughtless person you are."

"But aren't you Jewish?" Stern asked.

"That makes no difference, and you know it!"

This, of course, supports my theory that Jewish people need Christmas, too - despite the fact that my Jewish friends insist they are more than happy to do without the stress associated with this holiday. But it also shows how horrible Christmas can be if you think of it as a time when other people are supposed to give you things and make you happy.

Whenever someone tells me that they don't like Christmas because it depresses them, I want to ask - but don't - "What makes you think Christmas is a time to spend thinking or worrying about yourself?"

It seems to me that Christmas is not about trying to please everyone. And it's certainly not about getting. It's a season for gratitude and generosity.

At Thanksgiving, I thought a lot about gratitude and the many ways being thankful can deepen and enrich your life. Keeping this thought with you throughout the Christmas season is essential if you want to avoid stress and depression and enjoy it the way it can be enjoyed.

Although I certainly think it's possible to enjoy yourself without getting involved in all the hullabaloo of Christmas, I wouldn't want to. For me, Christmas really is the season to be jolly. And when I'm jolly, I want all my friends - Christian or not - to be jolly too.

Being jolly at Christmas is one result of practicing the thankfulness you practiced at Thanksgiving. But instead of being merely grateful this Christmas, try adding to it a healthy dose of generosity (a virtue that is at the core of almost every ritual, myth, story, and tradition surrounding Christmas).

Like all virtues, generosity is good for the practitioner. Master the virtue of giving and your life will be doubly blessed. First, you will be recompensed, with interest, for each and every thing you give. Second, your capacity to love life will increase a little each and every time you practice giving.

Generosity is also a skill - and, like all skills, it can be learned and mastered. To master the skill of generosity, you must make it a part of your daily life. You must spend a few minutes every day thinking about how you can give more kindness ... time ... wealth ... and knowledge.

Never be afraid to give. But never give if the purpose of your giving is to derive some sort of benefit. Give freely, but not more than you can afford and not more than the recipient of your generosity can take.

If you give wisely, your generosity will never impoverish you. If you give carefully, your generosity will not do harm. If you give kindly, your generosity will not be resented. If you give regularly throughout your life, you will leave the world a better place than it is now.

Besides practicing thankfulness and generosity toward others, be generous toward yourself.

It's three days before Christmas, and I'm betting you're working today. Instead of cramming lots of work into the next eight to 10 hours, give yourself a nice Christmas gift and follow this last-workday-before-Christmas schedule:

7:30 to 9:00: Do something important-but-not urgent, something that will make you a better, happier person.

9:00 to 10:00: Sort through your inbox. Organize everything to be ready for you when you return to the office next week.

10:00 to 10:30: Make phone calls and send e-mails to colleagues and friends wishing them "Happy Holidays."

10:30 to 11:00: Write down the specific fun things you are going to be doing over the long weekend.

12:00 to 12:30: Clean up your desk. Look busy.

12: 30 to 1:30: Go out to lunch with friends or workmates. Have a cocktail.

2:30: Go home early.

That's what I'm going to do ... and it's pretty much the same thing I did last year.

Christmas Message, 12/21/06

OnlineOption.com Christmas Message, 12/21/06

As the Holidays are Upon us…

Something has been on my mind of late that I must pass along. Over the past years as I have had the privilege and pleasure of interacting with many people regarding money, each year at this time a stark reality reasserts its gnawing intention, causing me the disquiet that prompts this missive to you.

So very often good intentioned and loving people go into debt as they seek to demonstrate their affection for those they care about. This pull to spend money that is "not really there" can also be exerted by feelings of guilt or loss, or the hope of mending relational fences.

May I suggest to you that going into debt over the Christmas Holiday will in fact be counterproductive to any virtuous or noble intentions you might have? Simply do not increase credit card debt for Christmas! I humbly implore you to consider gifts of love as shown by time spent and meaningful words spoken, rather than presents bought, and packages wrapped.

I should think that any recipient of gifts that were bought with borrowed money would find the luster tarnished and the thrill diminished if they indeed feel reciprocated love for the giver. As parents we do our children no good deed by giving them material gifts obtained in exchange for financial bondage that lasts well beyond the remembrance of the packages opened.

Will you consider what I am saying here? If you have influence over others endeavor to instruct them in this as well. My dear wife and I have made it a practice to limit the extent of material gift giving or festivity making to money that we have previously set aside for that purpose. On the years when there was little or no money there were few store bought gifts under the tree. There have been several Christmas' when our tree was obtained late on Christmas Eve when the trees at the lots are free for the taking. Those years were not at the bottom of the list of joyous and meaningful.

The spending of money simply does not equate to love and caring, no matter what the advertisements we are bombarded with may suggest. In the coming year we want greater prosperity. Prosperity in its many forms includes financial security, but it can also include an abundance of peace of mind, fiscal responsibility, and good stewardship.

God bless,
Dr. Stephen Cooper

Al-Jazeera Commentator Blasts Middle East Militants

Some pithy comments from an interview on Al-Jazeera TV that blasts some of the basic premises of the most militant Middle East extremists.

During the program, which was seen by millions of people in the region, psychologist Wafa Sultan debunked the myth that the current conflict with the U.S. is a clash of civilizations.

Instead, she said, "It is a clash between two opposites, two eras.

It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized world and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality."

Sultan also said the conflict is between "... democracy and dictatorship ... human rights on the one hand and the violation of these rights on the other hand ... and between those who treat women like beasts and those who treat them like human beings."

Sultan concluded, the militants "... must ask themselves what they can do for humankind before they demand that humankind respect them." Amen to that.

The complete transcript of the Wafa Sultan interview is available at http://www.investorsinsight.com/wwnk/transcript.htm.

Hitting Iran

by William F. Buckley Jr.

A sane and studious observer of the international scene
addressed the dinner guests and concluded his optimistic
analysis of our Iraqi venture with an arresting after-
thought. "What we will not be seeing, when President Bush
leaves office, is an Iran with a nuclear bomb."

Almost all discussion of pressing strategic concerns touches
down on Iran. The drumrolling on nuclear Iran makes it
retrospectively incredible that when Pakistan joined the
nuclear club, we simply heard about it, roughly speaking,
the day after they exploded one.

By contrast, Iran is almost
every week in the news on the matter of its determination
to have a bomb. Most recently there was a setback, when
Moscow declined to provide some of the help that Iran had
asked for. It was this development, in the opinion of some
analysts, that caused Tehran to agree to send a mission to
Baghdad to confer with our ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad.

This hardly means that Iran is ready to negotiate an end to
its nuclear development. Stephen Hadley, national security
adviser to the president, caught the spirit of U.S. reaction
to this development: "We're talking to Iran all the time.
We make statements, they make statements."

But repeated statements by the president on the matter
of U.S. concern over a nuclear-armed Iran bring up the
question: What do we intend to do about it if Iran,
departing from its bluster, adopts the Pakistani mode
and proceeds noiselessly to nuclear armament?

The conversation turns to military intervention. A year
ago, The New Yorker ran an extensive essay on the subject
by Seymour Hersh, the salient finding of which was that to
bring off an interdictory operation is very nearly

Item No. l: The Israeli air force does not have airplanes
with a range sufficient to complete a round trip to Iranian
targets. Israeli culture does not sanction suicide missions,
and it is inconceivable that planes would fly from Israel
on suicide missions.

Item No. 2: Nuclear sites in Iran are spread about, so that
what the Israelis did in the 1981 bombing of Osirak, abort-
ing the whole Iraqi nuclear operation, cannot be reproduced
in Iran. An air strike superior to anything the Israelis
could mount would be required.

And Item No. 3: To get on with such an operation, requiring
aircraft carriers and strategically useful bases on the
perimeter of the target area, could not conceivably be done

The whole world would be ongoing witness to the
impending operation, and pacifist anti-American
capitulationist forces would rise to put almost impassable
diplomatic obstacles in the way.

Well, then, can we get on with sanctions? These would seem
to be scheduled, with the reiterated threat to call to the
attention of the U.N. Security Council the illegality of
Iran's program, as a signer of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation

In the first place, Moscow, in its anfractuous way,
would probably veto sanctions. But what if it didn't? A
determined international anti-Iran effort would hurt
Iranians and Iranian interests, but how decisively?

We aren't going to refuse to consume Iranian oil. Economic
boycotts mostly do not work, and if and when they do (e.g.,
against Rhodesia), they require great stretches of time to
generate real pain, and time is what we do not have.

The point insufficiently pressed is this: Why does the
United States need to shoulder the critical burden here?

If Iran gets the bomb, probably a new set of strategic
relationships would arise. Saudi Arabia and Egypt would
clamor for the bomb, perhaps also Turkey.

Regional internecine pressures would mount hugely.

What it comes down to is that the United States would be critically
affected, but other nations would be more directly
affected, and the question repeats itself: Why do they
not take on the responsibility of intervening in Iran?

Why should France not interrupt its August holiday to
participate in a military mission? The interests of
Germany and India are clearly affected. Where is U.S.
diplomacy going with all of this? It's one thing that
the United States is the ultimate deterrent power, but
we act as though there were no others, and this is both
emasculating and psychologically subversive.

Ideally, the initiative would be taken elsewhere, a
forceful European or Middle Eastern leader mobilizing
continental and Asian concern.

But failing that, the initiative would necessarily fall
on us, and the question then becomes: Is it something
Mr. Bush is going to handle before the end of his term
in office?

Bullets Vs. Bull manure

Guns: The best health insurance

In the last Dose, I posited that earlier in American history, a Winchester rifle was the most potent health insurance (it was the only kind, really) most people could get. I also alluded to how this might still be the case today... Seriously, folks - despite all the mainstream's trumped-up claims about the dangers of firearms (the one about a gun in the home being more likely to harm the homeowner than a criminal cracks me up), the real statistics firmly cement the fact that legally owned and carried guns do far, far more good than harm.

Cases in point, from public records: In U.S. states that DON'T ALLOW law-abiding citizens to pack heat without restriction...

There are 89% more violent crimes than in states that allow "concealed carry" (that's gun-speak for being legal to carry a hidden firearm on your person)

There are 127% more murders than in states that allow concealed carry

There are 25% more rapes than in states that allow concealed carry

There are 96% more aggravated assaults than in states that allow concealed carry

There are 106% more robberies than in states that allow concealed carry.

Let me be clear about these numbers: They aren't statistical tricks cooked up by firearms manufacturers or gun lobbyists. They're from a methodologically rigorous analysis of 100% PUBLIC RECORDS of crime rates per 100,000 citizens across all 50 U.S. states, scientifically compiled by a respected Yale legal research scholar (they're all published in an excellent book called More Guns, Less Crime - a great read).

And these are only a few of the mountains of statistics showing how vital guns can be to good health - in terms of making sure you're around to enjoy good health, that is! As for statistics damning guns, there are virtually no credible ones to be found, despite what the meddling, spineless busybodies on the political left (and in most pediatricians' offices) say.

I've written before about the October 2003 Centers for Disease Control report summarizing studies that found no conclusive evidence that gun control laws reduce crime or suicide (Daily Dose, 11/25/2003). All these numbers prove without any possible doubt that the Founding Fathers had the right idea when it came to slinging lead. Keep reading...

Phrased another way, the argument in defense of unlimited concealed carry rights for U.S. citizens - rights we already have under the Constitution, mind you - shakes out like this, according to the unbiased public numbers in More Guns, Less Crime...

In the seven-year period following the adoption of such laws, U.S. states that allowed unrestricted (or virtually so) concealed-carrying of handguns enjoyed an average:

27% reduction in violent crime

31% reduction in murders

16% reduction in robberies

26% reduction in aggravated assault

8% reduction in rapes

See what I mean when I say guns are as lifesaving as most any drug - and a powerful health insurance policy in their own right?

And believe me, I know people don't want to hear that (especially most doctors), but facts are facts. I just might have to write a book of my own about it. I've already written a few about the unwarranted maligning of cigarettes, UV light and DDT...

My advice: If you don't already have a gun, get one. And if your state allows concealed carry, carry one. The numbers (and the Constitution) are on your side. Shooting you straight, as always, William Campbell Douglass II, MD

The last word on low-fat diets: DENIED!

Whoa, Nelly - big news in the diet wars (unless you've been a reader of mine - then you've known it all along), as reported in no less than the New York Times...

It turns out that the low-fat diet the so-called "experts" have been touting for decades has NO statistically significant affect on rates of heart disease, strokes or various common cancers, a new large-scale study has revealed.

Now, this isn't just some flimsy University study of 500 participants or anything like that, it's apparently one of the biggest and most comprehensive health studies ever conducted.

Executed at a price of $415 million in tax dollars, the National Institutes of Health affiliated research involved approximately 49,000 female subjects aged 50 to 79 divided into two groups: Those that consumed 25-29% of their calories from fat, and those that derived 35-37% of their daily calories from dietary lipids. The two groups consumed roughly the same amount of calories each day.

The results were these:

No statistically significant decrease in heart attack rates in the low-fat group

No statistically significant decrease in the number of strokes among low-fat dieters

No statistically relevant reduction in breast cancer rates among the low-fat eaters

No statistically significant decrease in the number of colon cancer cases in the low-fat group

Though LDL levels were measurably higher among the higher-fat diet group, that increase didn't translate into ANY noticeable increase in their heart disease risk

Hmmm. Now where have we heard all of this before, I wonder?

The feds could've just asked me and saved the $415 million - I've been saying this stuff for decades!

As great as it is to see this major study finally validate what I've known for years, it's still funny to see the reaction among the smarmy, do-gooder pointy-heads of modern medicine. The Times article gives ink to several of these, including one left-coast doctor who claims the study didn't allow the low-fat approach enough time to work properly... To this quack-pot, I say: If a dietary approach ain't workin' in 8 years - it just ain't workin! Keep reading...

Now, as significant and groundbreaking as this massive study is, have no illusion - it's still only the first salvo of a major war.

NOBODY debunks the medical establishment in this country and gets away with it, not even the federal government that largely sets the mainstream agenda!

I'm sure that over the next few months (or years), the fat-Nazis will dig into their trenches and start a major PR war against this study's results. They'll say the study wasn't long enough. They'll say the study groups weren't separated by an extreme enough difference in dietary fat levels. They'll say the results would be a lot different if men were involved (they wouldn't - when it comes to heart disease, stroke and cancer risks, what's good for the goose is good for the gander)... But it'll all be smoke and mirrors.

These are the real numbers, bought and paid for by your own dollars. Just because rank and file doctors, vegetarian "health organizations," and fad-diet purveyors will rail against this study doesn't make them right.

Interestingly, this isn't the first time major research has flown in the face of the mainstream's fat-phobia. A few years back, in the midst of the high-fiber craze (also a low-fat diet, mind you), some large-scale studies showed that the "movement" was only good for bowel regularity - not for preventing colon cancer, a widely held opinion.

Also interesting is this: The same research body that concluded what you've just read (the Women's Health Initiative of the National Institutes of Health) also debunked through study another mainstream medical myth - they were the ones who sounded the alarm about hormone replacement therapy possibly having more risks than benefits... Hat's off to 'em, again.

William Campbell Douglass II, MD

Happy pills or "Happy Trails" pills?

Are drugs for an invented disorder causing REAL deaths?

You know how I feel about ADHD. I've written ad infinitum about how it's the most over-diagnosed "disorder" on Earth (it's actually a largely made-up illness that's fueled by Big Pharma and enabled by today's lax parenting), and how it's creating an entire generation of drug-dependant souls who feel they just aren't themselves without their expensive stimulants.

I've also written to you about how these drugs are more and more the medication of choice for adults, and not just those with difficulty focusing. As I've told you in past Daily Doses, there's a fast-growing contingent of adult Ritalin and Aderall users who aren't the least bit imbalanced.

They're just college kids looking for an edge - trying to stay sharp and alert for late-night study sessions or major exams. Still others fake illnesses to re-sell their pills to "normal" kids who just want a good buzz...

But unfortunately, the parties, study sessions, and even playground recesses might be getting cut mortally short for a certain number of these people. According to a 2006 report issued by the Food and Drug Administration, as many as 25 suspicious deaths (19 among children) and 54 cases of serious cardio-vascular issues have been reported among patients who began treatment with five of the most oft-prescribed ADHD drugs - including Ritalin and Aderall, the two such medications most people have heard of - between 1999 and 2003.

These aren't the first casualties associated with these drugs, either.

According to a recent Associated Press article about the new report's findings, the FDA claims to have recorded 26 more deaths in a partially overlapping time period that may also be linked to the use of these drugs. Of course, the FDA is moving at its usual glacial pace on this situation.

Instead of acting quickly to protect consumers - like neighboring Canada did last year when it pulled Aderall from the market until further review could conclusively validate it - the agency instead continues to debate the best ways to study whether the drugs have negative long-term effects. This, despite Congressional pressure to speed things up.

According to the AP piece, at least one U.S. Senator has chastised the FDA for its lethargy in the matter. Meanwhile, sales of ADHD drugs continue to skyrocket, more than quadrupling between 2000 and 2004, to a total $3.1 billion worth. Over that period, adult prescriptions of the drugs outpaced children's.

Mom's killer blues cure

More bad news for mood-altering drugs: According to some recent research reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, the most popular class of today's anti-depressants (called SSRIs) can increase the risk of an often-fatal birth defect by up to SIX-FOLD when taken by mothers-to-be - especially during the second half of their pregnancy.

The drugs, which include Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, have been implicated in increased numbers of cases of persistent pulmonary hypertension - a condition that retards the adaptation of an infant's lungs to normal breathing soon after birth, thereby preventing enough oxygen from reaching the blood.

According to an Associated Press report on the study's findings, the FDA plans to issue public health advisory on this link soon. This isn't the first time these drugs have been linked with prenatal health issues, either.

Last year, the FDA warned that Paxil in particular may be linked with fetal heart defects when taken in the first 3 months of pregnancy.

What's most disturbing to me is this little-known fact: Nobody knows how ANY patented drugs affect pregnant women or fetuses until after they've been prescribed to the public.

Ethical rules prohibit the testing of drugs on pregnant women. Drug companies are literally testing these medications by prescribing them to an unwitting populace - relying on the FDA, universities, or individual doctors to report pernicious results.

In this instance, the result is a 600% increase in the risk of infant death.

Trying not to be depressed when drugs cause distress,
William Campbell Douglass II, MD

Serious or suicidal?

by Thomas Sowell (Townhall.com)

When you are boating on the Niagara River, there are signs
marking the point at which you must go ashore or else you
will be sucked over the falls.

With Iran moving toward the development of nuclear weapons, we are getting dangerously
close to that fatal point of no return on the world stage.

Yet there are few signs of alarm in our public discourse,
whether among politicians, the media, or the intelligentsia.

There is much more discussion of whether government anti-
terrorism agents should be able to look at the records of
books borrowed from public libraries.

The Iranian government itself is giving us the clearest
evidence of what a nuclear Iran would mean, with its
fanatical hate-filled declarations about wanting to wipe
Israel off the face of the earth. But send not to know
for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.

Just last year, before the American election, Osama bin
Laden warned that those places that voted for the re-
election of the President would become targets of terrorist

We could ignore him then.

But neither we, nor our children,
nor our children's children will ever be able to ignore him
again if he gets nuclear weapons from a nuclear Iran.

We will live at his mercy -- of which he has none -- if he
can wipe out New York or Chicago if we do not knuckle under
to his demands, however outrageous those demands might be.

We will truly have passed the point of no return. What will
future generations think of us, that we drifted on past the
warning signs, preoccupied with library records and with
giving foreign terrorists the same legal rights as American

We could deter the nuclear power of the Soviet Union with
our own nuclear power. But you cannot deter suicidal
terrorists. You can only kill them or stop them from getting
what they need to kill you.

We are killing them in Iraq, though our media seem wholly
uninterested in that part of the story, just as they seem
uninterested in the fact that the fate of Western
civilization may be at stake just across the border in Iran.

Of course they would like us to prevent Iran from going
nuclear -- if it can be done nicely by diplomacy, with the
approval of the U.N., and in ways that do not offend "world

It is as if we were on the Niagara River and wanted to go
ashore before it was too late, but did not want to turn on
the motors for fear of disturbing the neighbors with
excessive noise.

But at that point, the choice is between being serious or
being suicidal.

That is where we are internationally today. Many years ago,
there was a book with the title "The Suicide of the West."
It may have been ahead of its time.

The squeamishness, indecision, and wishful thinking of the
West are its greatest dangers because the West has the power
to destroy any other danger. But it does not have the will.

Partly this is because most of our Western allies have been
sheltered from the brutal realities of the international
jungle for more than half a century under the American
nuclear umbrella.

People insulated from dangers for generations can indulge
themselves in the illusion that there are no dangers -- as
much of Western Europe has. This is part of the "world
opinion" that makes us hesitant to take any decisive action
to prevent a nightmare scenario of nuclear weapons in the
hands of hate-filled fanatics.

Do not look for Europe to support any decisive action
against Iran. But look for much of their intelligentsia,
and much of our own intelligentsia as well, to be alert
for any opportunity to wax morally superior if we do act.

They will be able to think of all sorts of nicer
alternatives to taking out Iran's nuclear development
sites. They will be able to come up with all sorts of
abstract arguments and moral equivalence, such as: Other
countries have nuclear weapons. Why not Iran?

Debating abstract questions is much easier than confronting
concrete and often brutal alternatives.

The big question is whether we are serious or suicidal.


With the new crop of Senators and Represetatives about to "take over power" (what ever happened to the idea of public service?), we are being inundated with talk about "the war in Iraq" and how we best end it without first defeating the enemy.

Unlike the leadership on the left and their willing accomplice's in the media (the useful idiots as Kruschev liked to call them), I do not believe that our war is not Iraqi, Afghanistan, the Sudan or even Israel. I believe the following author is right, that this is an all out war against our free world and its faiths by totalitarian Muslims whose belief is Islam or death to us (and even other nonconforming Muslims).

We must not lose this war as either Democrats or Republicans and I, for one, pray to God that we remain united in faith, morals, and politics during this long battle.

This WAR is for REAL!

To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it. Our country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes WWII).

The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war and even fewer who realize what losing really means.

First, let's examine a few basics:

1. When did the threat to us start?

Many will say September 11, 2001. The answer as far as the United States is concerned is 1979, 22 years prior to September 2001 with the following attacks on us:
* Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979;
* Beirut, Lebanon Embassy 1983;
* Beirut, Lebanon Marine Barracks 1983;
* Lockerbie, Scotland Pan-Am flight to New York 1988;
* First New York World Trade Center attack 1993;
* Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex 1996;
* Nairobi, Kenya US Embassy 1998;
* Dares Salaam, Tanzania US Embassy 1998;
* Aden, Yemen USS Cole 2000;
* New York World Trade Center 2001;
* Pentagon 2001.(Note that during the period from 1981 to 2001 there were 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide).

2. Why were we attacked?
Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or Democrats as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or their immediate predecessors, Presidents Ford or Carter.

3. Who were the attackers?
In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims.

4. What is the Muslim population of the World? 25%.

5. Isn't the Muslim Religion peaceful?
Hopefully, but that is really not material.

There is no doubt that the predominately Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but under the dictatorial leadership of Hitler (who was also Christian), that made no difference. You either went along with the administration or you were eliminated. There were 5 to 6 million Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including 7,000 Polish priests). (see >http://www.nazis.testimony.co.uk/7-a.htm )

Thus, almost the same number of Christians were killed by the Nazis, as the six million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we seldom heard of anything other than the Jewish atrocities.

Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he had no hesitancy about killing anyone who got in his way of exterminating the Jews or of taking over the world - German, Christian or any others.

Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the world on the US, but kill all in the way -- their own people or the Spanish, French or anyone else. The point here is that just like the peaceful Germans were of no protection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from the terrorist Muslim leaders and what they are fanatically bent on doing -- by their own pronouncements -- killing all of us "infidels."

I don't blame the peaceful Muslims. What would you do if the choice was shut up or die?

6. So who are we at war with?
There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than the Muslim terrorists. Trying to be politically correct and avoid verbalizing this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win if you don't clearly recognize and articulate who you are fighting.

So with that background, now to the two major questions:
1. Can we lose this war?

2. What does losing really mean?

If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions.

We can definitely lose this war, and as anomalous as it may sound, the major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the second question - What does losing mean?

It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home and going on about our business, like post Vietnam. This is as far from the truth as one can get.

What losing really means is:

We would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will not subside, but rather will steadily increase. Remember, they want us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would not have produced an increasing series of attacks against us, over the past 18 years. The plan was clearly, for terrorist to attack us, until we were neutered and submissive to them.

We would of course have no future support from other nations, for fear of reprisals and for the reason that they would see, we are impotent and cannot help them.

They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It will be increasingly easier for them. They already hold Spain hostage. It doesn't matter whether it was right or wrong for Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Spain did it because the Muslim terrorists bombed their train and told them to withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain to do will be done.

Spain is finished.

The next will probably be France. Our one hope on France is that they might see the light and realize that if we don't win, they are finished too, in that they can't resist the Muslim terrorists without us. However, it may already be too late for France. France is already 20% Muslim and fading fast!

If we lose the war, our production, income, exports and way of life will all vanish as we know it.

After losing, who would trade or deal with us, if they were threatened by the Muslims.

If we can't stop the Muslims, how could anyone else?

The Muslims fully know what is riding on this war, and therefore are completely committed to winning, at any cost. We better know it too and be likewise committed to winning at any cost.

Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing? Simple. Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite and really put 100% of our thoughts and efforts into winning.

And it is going to take that 100% effort to win.

So, how can we lose the war?

Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by "imploding." That is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and their purpose, and really digging in and lending full support to the war effort. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win!

Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don't comprehend the life and death seriousness of this situation.

President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation. Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim men between 17 and 40 years of age, Secretary Mineta refuses to allow profiling.

Does that sound like we are taking this thing seriously? This is war! For the duration, we are going to have to give up some of the civil rights we have become accustomed to. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them permanently.

And don't worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civil rights during WWII, and immediately restored them after the victory and in fact added many more since then.

Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him?

No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our Political Correctness, and all of our civil rights during this conflict and have a clean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words apply to war. Get them out of your head.

Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or the Administration that it almost seems they would literally like to see us lose. I hasten to add that this isn't because they are disloyal. It is because they just don't recognize what losing means. Nevertheless, that conduct gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening. It concerns our friends, and it does great damage to our cause.

Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and media regarding the treatment of some prisoners of war, perhaps exemplifies best what I am saying. We have recently had an issue, involving the treatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war, by a small group of our military police.

These are the type prisoners who just a few months ago were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues and otherwise murdering their own people just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein.

And just a few years ago these same type prisoners chemically killed 400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the same type enemy fighters, who recently were burning Americans, and dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq.

And still more recently, the same type enemy that was and is providing videos to all news sources internationally, of the beheading of American prisoners they held.

Compare this with some of our press and politicians, who for several days have thought and talked about nothing else but the "humiliating" of some Muslim prisoners -- not burning them, not dragging their charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but "humiliating" them.

Can this be for real?

The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of the Secretary of Defense.

If this doesn't show the complete lack of comprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are fighting, the life and death struggle we are in and the disastrous results of losing this war, nothing can.

To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this prisoner issue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome burned -- totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world.

Neither we, nor any other country, can survive this internal strife. Again I say, this does not mean that some of our politicians or media people are disloyal. It simply means that they are absolutely oblivious to the magnitude, of the situation we are in and into which the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us, for many years.

Remember, the Muslim terrorists stated goal is to kill all infidels! That translates into ALL non-Muslims -- not just in the United States, but throughout the world.

We are the last bastion of defense.

We have been criticized for many years as being 'arrogant.'

That charge is valid in at least one respect. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, powerful and smart, that we can win the hearts and minds of all those who attack us, and that with both hands tied behind our back, we can defeat anything bad in the world!

We can't!

If we don't recognize this, our nation as we know it will not survive, and no other free country in the world will survive if we are defeated.

And finally, name any Muslim countries throughout the world that allow freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, equal rights for anyone -- let alone everyone, equal status or any status for women, or that have been productive in one single way that contributes to the good of the world.

This has been a long way of saying that we must be united on this war or we will be equated in the history books to the self-inflicted fall of the Roman Empire. If, that is, the Muslim leaders will allow history books to be written or read.

If we don't win this war right now, keep a close eye on how the Muslims take over France in the next 5 years or less. They will continue to increase the Muslim population of France and continue to encroach little by little, on the established French traditions. The French will be fighting among themselves, over what should or should not be done, which will continue to weaken them and keep them from any united resolve. Doesn't that sound eerily familiar?

Democracies don't have their freedoms taken away from them by some external military force.

Instead, they give their freedoms away, politically correct piece by politically correct piece.

And they are giving those freedoms away to those who have shown, worldwide, that they abhor freedom and will not apply it to you or even to themselves, once they are in power.

They have universally shown that when they have taken over, they then start brutally killing each other over who will be the few who control the masses. Will we ever stop hearing from the politically correct, about the "peaceful Muslims"?

I close on a hopeful note, by repeating what I said above. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. I hope now after the election, the factions in our country will begin to focus on the critical situation we are in, and will unite to save our country. It is your future we are talking about! Do whatever you can to preserve it.

After reading the above, we all must do this not only for ourselves, but our children, our grandchildren, our country and the world.

Prius Follies, Take Two

By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. (Commentary)
December 14, 2005
The Wall Street Journal

Since we're still on the subject of fuel mileage – or at least still responding to email after a column two weeks ago on the Toyota Prius – let's spill a few more gallons of petroleum-based ink.

The Prius is a nifty gadget and comes with lots of extras. But Toyota markets the vehicle on its fuel efficiency, and fans tout its fuel efficiency. And our point was to debunk the idea that saving gasoline is a virtue independent of economics, such that it makes sense, say, to spend a buck to reduce gas use by 50 cents.

Edmunds.com, the auto shopper site, guided us to Honda's Civic and Toyota's Corolla as conventional alternatives to the hybrid Prius. This was the source of our claim that the Prius retails for $9,500 more than comparable vehicles. In its own research, Edmunds concluded a Prius owner would have to drive 66,500 miles per year or gasoline would have to jump to $10 for the purchase to pay off.

But don't take our word for it. Kazuo Okamoto, Toyota's research chief, recently told the Financial Times that, in terms of fuel efficiency, "the purchase of a hybrid car is not justified."

Now, as an economic matter, overpaying for the privilege of saving gasoline is simply a subsidy to other gasoline consumers. Also as a regulatory
matter: Thanks to the special genius of our corporate fuel economy rules, Prius buyers directly underwrite Toyota's ability to sell more SUVs and pickups in the U.S. market without paying the fines that Mercedes, BMW and Volvo long ago accepted as a cost of doing business in the U.S.

But doesn't saving oil have benefits beyond the dollars saved – for instance, postponing the doom of civilization?

No: If Prius owners consume less, there's less demand, prices will be lower and somebody else will step up to consume more than they would at the otherwise higher price. That's the price mechanism at work. Oil is a fantastically useful commodity. Humans can be relied upon to consume all the oil they'd be willing to consume at a given price.

But wouldn't using less oil make us less dependent on Mideast imports?

Just the opposite: In the nature of things, the cheapest oil is consumed first, and Mideast oil is the cheapest. Drive a Hummer if you want to reduce America's reliance on Arab oil. Indeed, if we could all just pull together and drive gasoline prices high enough, we'd be able to satisfy all our fuel needs next door from Canadian oil sands.

Let it also be noted our primary political interest in the Middle East over the past 50 years has been Israel, which has no oil. Even Saddam would have been delighted to sell us all the oil we wanted if we had been prepared to acquiesce in his extracurricular depredations. Our attempt to reform Iraqi society is costing us many multiples of the real value of Iraqi oil exports to the world market.

To wit, let's not underestimate the degree to which our overseas entanglements are despite our interest in oil, rather than because of it.

Not that Toyota is to blame for the mystification of energy economics, which is a hardy perennial without which the nation's pundits could hardly make their gardens bloom on a semi-weekly schedule year after year. Take a bit of fluff from a group called 40mpg.org, a subsidiary of the Civil Society Institute. It recently put out a list of 89 vehicles made by major global automakers that rate 40 miles per gallon or better.

These cars include the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Lupo and Toyota Yaris, none of which is available in the U.S. Only two vehicles sold in the U.S. get 50 mpg or better, compared to 39 such cars overseas. The group underlined its polemical point with a poll purporting to show that 88 percent of Americans believe "U.S. consumers should be able to get the best of the more fuel-efficient vehicles that already are available in other countries."

Try not to be bowled over by the paradox: In the hyper-competitive U.S. car market, manufacturers are withholding fuel-efficient cars that Americans would be eager to buy.

All this really proves is the pollster's facility for getting large majorities to affirm views at odds with their own behavior. Such fuel scrimpers sell in Europe because gas retails $5 a gallon, thanks to petrol taxes that feed the welfare state and keep the autobahns clear of poor people. Americans make an equally sensible decision, in dollars and cents, when they skip over fuel efficiency in favor of features more important to them, such as size, comfort and horsepower.

Several Prius partisans emailed to say they purchased their cars not to save money but to save the earth, or at least make a statement about doing so. That's a perfectly good reason to buy a car (as is wanting to meet girls). However, we doubt their Hollywood coreligionists would be so keen on solidarity if it meant driving around town in a Ford Fiesta.

In any case, fuel economy plays an ambiguous role in the fight against air pollution. Our considerable progress against the traditional pollutants has come by specifying allowable emissions per mile driven, not per gallon consumed. Meanwhile, CAFE rules raise the cost of a car while reducing the cost of operating it. Being rational even when they don't meant to be, consumers respond by getting more use of out their cars – driving 15,000 miles per year, up from 10,000 since the rules were adopted. (And automakers have met this demand by greatly improving vehicle reliability.)

That leaves carbon dioxide, aka greenhouse gas, to support the increasingly rickety rationale for treating fuel efficiency as a socially desirable end in itself. Here, we can only suggest Prius fans might do the planet more good by convincing the American public of the merits of nuclear energy, the closest thing to a genuinely "green solution" to energy challenges in the real world.

The Only True Inflation Hedge

Buy Gold! It's the only way to protect yourself against rising inflation.

Any one listening to talk radio has heard this mantra for the past year.

Inflation is the new buzzword, much like orange was once said to be the new black. It matters little that the core inflation rates in the US and in Europe are just as manageable as the sore neck caused by following the pundits’ elegant 180-degree turns.

There irony in the clamoring about inflation, coming as it does at a time when the US dollar seems to be near its cyclical decennial turning point. Against both euro and the yen the greenback has gained 15%. Which means that imports from the Eurozone and Japan have become correspondingly cheaper, translating into deflationary rather than inflationary pressure.

Undaunted, the bears have been scouring the markets for a suitable inflation hedge. Thank goodness gold is rising in price, so gold against the backdrop of nonexistent inflation must be a good inflation hedge.

Over the long term, and I mean in terms of 35, 30, 35, 15 and even 10 years, this argument can only be made if you avoid adjusting your gold prices for inflation. Once you adjust, however, you’ll find that gold has provided inflation-adjusted upside only in the past five years. (Details, details.) And that your hedge is not really a hedge but a capital gain that you hope will offset the inflation-driven loss of purchasing power residing in your investment.

Now, we have nothing at all against capital gains offsetting an inflation-driven loss of purchasing power. You don’t even have to buy gold to make capital gains: Index funds, pork bellies and stocks can provide the same upside (and downside) as gold. And then there’s that other classic “inflation hedge,” real estate.

Which brings me to the second way of beating inflation - and the only true “hedge”: spending money you don’t own today, hoping to pay it back with money that’s worth less (or even worthless) tomorrow.

You see, we haven’t experienced inflation worth mentioning in the States for so long that we have come to lose sight of the basics. Real-estate booms preceding the current one took place in high-inflation environments. It’s not that capital gains were all that much easier to be made when the greenback was losing purchasing power. But buying real estate then and now means borrowing a large chunk of money. It’s almost like shorting a stock: You borrow shares hoping they fall in value so when you cover your short position you can pocket the difference between the price that at which you borrowed them and the price at which you covered.

When inflation is around 10% to 15% a year - and the last time was not all that long ago - every US$100,000 you borrow loses US$10,000 to US$15,000 a year in value. If you can write off part of the interest you pay on your taxes and make up the rest through cost-of-living adjustments or capital gains, you can come out ahead even in the short term.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you bought a house for US$100,000 back in 1990, with 35% down. The US$65,000 mortgage you took out in 1990 would equal US$100,000 in today’s money. (Let’s forget about interest and tax deductions for the sake of clarity.) If you never paid a dime on principal for 15 years and decided to pay off that 65 grand today in 2005 dollars, that amount would correspond to US$42,648 in 1990 currency. The purchasing-power difference is US$22,352, or US$34,667 in today’s greenbacks! Now consider that a house going for US$100k in 1990 probably sells for US$300k today. That means your down payment of US$35,000 generated combined gross gains of US$235,000. Total interest paid over the 15 years would be US$68,250, a third of which - about 13,000 bucks - was subsidized by Uncle Sam’s mortgage interest deduction.

Capital gains on top of leveraged debt. Now that’s what I call a hedge!

But again: In this scenario, the inflation “hedge” proper is the debt you incur!

Which presents us with a conundrum: Bears who now see inflation lurking behind every bush also like to bash Americans who’re in debt up to their eyeballs and those Americans who like to shoot for speculative capital gains in real estate and stocks. (They call them the Lumpeninvestoriat.)

Are those Lumpen maybe on to something after all? Inflation and gold: Maybe we should borrow the money to pay for our Krugerrand hoard?

J. Christoph Amberger

Friday, December 22, 2006

Time's Person of the Year

By Patrick J. Buchanan Townhall.com

Since 1927, the year Lindbergh flew the Atlantic in his single-engine Spirit of St. Louis, Time has devoted its final cover of the year to the Man of the Year. The Lone Eagle was first.

In the 1930s and 1940s, FDR was the Man of the Year three times. Stalin, Truman and Churchill made it twice, though the selection of Churchill in 1949 seems dubious, as he had been out of power four years, while Mao was seizing China by the throat in the bloodiest revolution of the century. Hitler was chosen in the year of Anschluss and Munich, 1938. Gen. Marshall made it twice, as did Ike, in 1944 as victor of Normandy and, 15 years later, as president.

In the 1960s and 1970s, JFK made it once, LBJ and Nixon twice. Nixon's 1972 designation was shared with Henry Kissinger.

In 1979, the dark and brooding face gracing Time's cover was that of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. And Time got it right. For Time's Man of the Year, now Person of the Year, is the figure who, for good or evil, dominates the news.

Yet this year Time could not bring itself to name the obvious choice. Instead, it chose you and me, all of us citizens of the digital democracy who create on the Worldwide Web.

Why the copout? Perhaps it was Ahmadinejad's hosting of a conference of Holocaust skeptics, including David Duke, that caused Time to recoil. Perhaps it was fear that the face of the Iranian president on the cover of Time would repel the American people and be death for sales.

Surely that was the reasoning behind Time's refusal to name Osama bin Laden in 2001, choosing Rudy Giuliani instead, though history is unlikely to conclude that Rudy, his crowded hour notwithstanding, was the central figure of that annus horribilis.

Richard Stengel, editor of Time, as much as concedes he could not bring himself to choose by the traditional standard, if that meant choosing Ahmadinejad: "It just felt to me a little off selecting him." Understandably.

But the refusal to select Ahmadinejad reveals an unwillingness to confront hard truths. For putting his face on Time's cover would have done a useful service, jolting America to a painful realization. Not only George Bush, but the United States, its Arab allies and Israel, had a dreadful year, as Iran emerged as first beneficiary of a war fought by this country at a cost of 25,000 dead and wounded.

What the choice of Ahmadinejad would have said is that Iran is in the ascendancy in the Middle East and it is not inconceivable that the United States is headed for defeat, not only in Iraq but Afghanistan.

The Taliban have come back. The Pakistanis have ceded them sanctuary. Some NATO nations are refusing to risk troops in combat. And it has been some time since guerrillas who enjoyed a privileged sanctuary in that part of the world failed to expel European soldiers perceived as imperial occupiers.

Islamists control Somalia. Anti-Americanism is rampant in Lebanon -- after Condi Rice blocked a U.N. ceasefire resolution to stop Israel's bombing last summer in what was supposed to be a campaign to clear Hezbollah from her northern border. The Beirut government could fall at any moment or be forced into a coalition with Hezbollah.

Even Bush's defense secretary concedes we are not winning in Iraq. It may take a "surge" of 20,000 to 40,000 troops to stave off defeat before the end of Bush's term. On the West Bank and Gaza, Hamas and Fatah appear on the brink of civil war. The elections Bush demanded produced dramatic gains for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine and Moqtada al-Sadr in Iraq.

Eighteen months ago, Ahmadinejad was the unknown mayor of Tehran. Today, he is the visible face of anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism, both a cause of and the personification of our failures. He has defied Bush's demand that he give up the enrichment of uranium, split the Security Council, mocked the Holocaust, called for the end of the Zionist state and the expulsion of America from the Mideast, terrified the Sunni monarchs, and united the Arab and Islamic masses behind his defiance.

His trip to the United Nations, where he ran circles around U.S. journalists, was a diplomatic triumph. And he has done it all not with military power -- Iran would not last a week in an all-out war with the United States and has no defense against Israel's nuclear weapons -- but with theatrics and rhetoric. He inspires all who hate Israel and Bush's America.

And, according to the Zogby polling today, that is a majority which, in some once-friendly nations, is approaching near unanimity. Ahmadinejad, a man of words without real power, is the big winner of 2006, because Bush, America and Israel were the big losers.

Why do a billion Muslims prefer Ahmadinejad to America? That is the question that needs to be addressed.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Beware of the New Congress

I haven't had much to say about the takeover of the U.S. Congress by the Democrats. But as a former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives myself, I think the GOP got what it deserved.
The congressional Republican Party of today -- deficit spenders, big government advocates, destroyers of civil liberties, pork barrel experts -- bears no relationship to the principled conservative party I knew 25 years ago. What the late presidential candidate George Corley Wallace said years ago, is now confirmed: "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican parties."

But mark my words. The control of the 110th Congress by the Democrats could expose one of the remaining major differences between the parties: their attitudes towards free trade and unrestricted offshore financial activity.

Get ready for major assaults on offshore finances from the likes of Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Senator John Kerry (D-MA), and Rep. Charles Wrangle (D-NY), the new chairman of the tax writing House Ways and Means Committee. Republican mavericks such as Iowa's Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IO) probably will join in the offshore bashing.

The leftists Democrats will have the power to write radical new laws tempered only by the hapless President George Bush's shaky veto pen. The Democrats now have free reign to create all kinds of anti-offshore legislation. If they have their way, you can expect restrictions on offshore investments, banking, and even more massive reporting of all offshore financial activity.

Whatever complaints one may have about the six years of the Bush administration, (and we have had many), in the area of offshore financial activity by Americans, the government has supported relatively free movement of global capital. With the major exception of the horrendously unconstitutional, so-called PATRIOT Act (which both Levin and Kerry had a major hand in drafting), Bush and his executive branch appointees squashed the worst of the harebrained proposals that would have restricted foreign investment, cash transfers and other offshore business.

Congressman Wrangle has long advocated a radical Nazi-like "exit tax" on Americans who move abroad and want to end their citizenship. Relinquishing citizenship is a constitutional right that has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court repeatedly. Wrangle and his ilk assume anyone who acquires a new citizenship and leaves the U.S. behind is motivated by tax dodging. Several times he has introduced bills that would impose a 50% tax on all assets of a U.S. person as of the date the person ends his citizenship by expatriation. Look for this confiscatory proposal to resurface in 2007.

Another proposal floating around leftist political circles would repeal centuries of financial privacy accorded domestic and foreign trusts. This proposal could strip the financial privacy from modern corporations and other entities, such a limited liability companies and family foundations. Using the boogeyman of "terrorism money," these anti-privacy worthies argue that secret beneficial ownership of all legal entities and financial accounts should be abolished completely.

All this means you should plan now for your own offshore investing, banking, and other activity - while you still can.

Don't get me wrong. I have been around Capitol Hill long enough (25 years, man and boy), to know that what I have outlined here is a worst-case scenario. Even George Bush, the champion tax cutter, is smart enough to block some of these proposed legislative atrocities.

But 2008 is a presidential election year - and what happens if Hillary or Barack Obama moves into what's left of the White House?

Better get an offshore move on now.

That's the way that it looks from here,


The Stupid and Corrupt Leading the Blind...

“The new head of the house intelligence committee, Congressman Sylvester Reyes, failed a quiz on terrorist organizations given to him by the Congressional quarterly... He didn’t know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite. He didn’t seem to know what Hezbollah was. So apparently the term ‘intelligence committee’ is just a suggestion, not a requirement.”
- Jay Leno, Dec. 13, 2006

“Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah... Why do you ask me these questions at 5 o’clock?”

So responded Silvestre Reyes, a former border guard from Texas, in reply to a question about the Lebanese terror group. He seemed less than sure of himself. Previously, he’d described al-Qaeda as being “predominantly... probably Shiite.” Al-Qaeda, as most fifth-graders now know, is completely, utterly Sunni.

That a former border guard knows nothing about terrorists in the Middle East is hardly news. What is newsworthy, however, is that this former border guard is now chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for the United States House of Representatives. The next day, Reyes sought to quell the media frenzy by assuring the American people his committee would “keep its eye on the ball.” This semiliterate border guard is now one of our nation’s top defense leaders, thanks to the far-seeing wisdom of incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Don’t put all of the blame on poor Nancy. Her first choice for the post, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), would have generated even more bad press. Alcee, you’ll recall, is one of only six federal judges in history to be impeached. According to the police, Alcee accepted a $185,000 bribe from Thomas Romano in exchange for a lenient sentence and the return of seized assets. He didn’t serve jail time for the charges only because his co-conspirator, William Borders, refused to testify in court, serving jail time instead.

On his last day in office, Bill Clinton pardoned William Borders, despite the fact that the House voted for impeachment 414-3 – including Nancy Pelosi and Charles Rangel. Today, Alcee heads the Homeland Security subcommittee of the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Totalitarian Tango

by J. Christoph Amberger

Venezuelan President Hugo “El Comandante” Chavez was reelected for a second six-year term last Sunday. Not surprisingly, the neo-communist platform he espouses stresses redistribution of wealth and strident opposition to the United States.

Being the foremost neo-com agitator in the region, Chavez’ victory continued a streak of leftist election victories in the Americas in the last month and a half.

For the foreseeable future, Venezuela will continue its chosen role as the cornerstone of Latin American petro- and narco-communism. Unlike other totalitarian rulers before him, Chavez is making no secret out of his ambition. He vowed to use his renewed mandate to abolish presidential term limits and create a single-party system to secure his power for decades. But like other totalitarian leaders of the past, his declared enemies are “International Capital” and, of course, the United States of America.

-- Now, leftist crackpots come and go, but Chavez is different. He is a master populist and not afraid to use the power that comes with his broad mandate... and the billions of petrodollars that have been pouring into Venezuela for the last couple of years. For the past two years, Chavez has successfully schmoozed the Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans, the Iranians and any other country eager to take his dollars either in exchange for goods and technologies or for firming up their own anti-American politics.

He has been using both his wealth and his diplomatic skills to establish a new power bloc right at the doorstep of the U.S.A.

Among its most outspoken allies in the region are narco-communist Evo Morales of Bolivia and Rafael Correa of Ecuador (who won a runoff election last week). Both countries are already heavily dependent on financial assistance from Chavez petrodollar riches. (Morales depends on Chavez even for his own transportation: Venezuela is rumored to be footing the bill for his presidential airplane.)

Socialists Lula in Brazil and reborn Sandinista head honcho Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua have also won recent presidential elections. Both still pursue a less contentious course than Chavez. In Mexico, the Chavezian loser of the recent presidential election has declared a parallel government.

-- Here’s what you can expect from Venezuela in the next three years:

* a complete renationalization of the oil industry and other key economic sectors, eventually leading to a drop in oil production and exploration;

* the establishment of a government monopoly on information and the press;

* redistribution of petrodollars to the Venezuelan poor in the form of food, health and education programs;

* an emigration wave of the Venezuelan middle class to Argentina, Peru, Paraguay and the United States;

* the construction of Russian armament and munitions factories on Venezuelan soil;

* the acquisition of Russian, Chinese, Iranian, and North Korean long-distance missile technology;

* the pursuit of nuclear capabilities in cooperation with Iran, Russia, and North Korea; and

* the pursuit of continental dominance, extending its reach into Cuba.

In the coming months, Venezuela will increasingly use its role as the fourth-largest oil supplier to the United State to exert political pressure.

Seventeen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, with our eyes focused on the sectarian slaughter in the Middle East, we’re almost oblivious to the reemergence of communism right at our doorstep. There are no policies in place to contain it... and in fact, with a Democratic congress, America’s political culture is weaker to fend off the contamination.

Think avian flu is a threat to your safety? Wait until nuclear-tipped missiles are being stationed in Venezuela, Cuba and Ecuador.