Shaking my head about this. Seems proper preventive protocol should be followed with such an unknown factor.
"Homeland Security: No Orders to Border, Airport Agents Forbidding Surgical Masks
A homeland security spokeswoman said border agents and airport workers have not been told they cannot cover their faces to protect themselves from swine flu.
FOXNews.com Thursday, April 30, 2009
"The Department of Homeland Security said Thursday it has not told agents at U.S. airports and border checkpoints that they cannot wear masks to protect from exposure to swine flu.
"The Department of Homeland Security has not issued an order saying our employees cannot wear masks. The health of our employees is of utmost importance to us. And today we are issuing department-wide guidance to our workforce," DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban told FOX News.
Kuban was responding to a claim made Thursday that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security issued a guideline banning masks because they look too intimidating.
Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., told FOX News that it's absurd to say border agents and airport workers don't need protections.when President Obama and other agencies are suggesting Americans take precautions to protect themselves from others.
"For somebody sitting in D.C., who won't even allow their family to fly, and then to sit there and say, donâ€TMt put on the masks until you know someone is sick is absolutely absurd. And it shows that Washington doesnâ€TMt understand the procedures or the conditions along the border," Bilbray said. "Washington ought to wake up."
While Kuban said no one has been ordered not to wear masks, a different administration official said earlier that agents at the U.S. border and at airports have been told not to wear surgical masks until they are needed.
The official said the "science indicates" no need for the masks at this time.
"Masks should be used in high-risk situations, such as when an employee comes into contact with a person or traveler who appears to be ill," the official said..
"If an employee at (an airport) or (on the border) comes into contact with someone who appears to be ill, it is strongly recommended and encouraged that both of them put on masks and gloves immediately," the official continued, adding that "the safety of employees is of the utmost importance."
Asked why an agent shouldn't be allowed to wear a mask if it makes him or her more comfortable and doesn't affect performance, the official said only that "science indicates" masks are not needed now.
FOX News' Mike Levine and Erin Vogel contributed to this report."
Hope this is correct.
"Scientists see this flu strain as relatively mild
Genetic data indicate this outbreak won't be as deadly as that of 1918, or even the average winter.
By Karen Kaplan and Alan Zarembo
April 30, 2009
Source LA Times
"As the World Health Organization raised its infectious disease alert level Wednesday and health officials confirmed the first death linked to swine flu inside U.S. borders, scientists studying the virus are coming to the consensus that this hybrid strain of influenza -- at least in its current form -- isn't shaping up to be as fatal as the strains that caused some previous pandemics.
In fact, the current outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which emerged in San Diego and southern Mexico late last month, may not even do as much damage as the run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks that occur each winter without much fanfare.
"Let's not lose track of the fact that the normal seasonal influenza is a huge public health problem that kills tens of thousands of people in the U.S. alone and hundreds of thousands around the world," said Dr. Christopher Olsen, a molecular virologist who studies swine flu at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison.
His remarks Wednesday came the same day Texas authorities announced that a nearly 2-year-old boy with the virus had died in a Houston hospital Monday.
"Any time someone dies, it's heartbreaking for their families and friends," Olsen said. "But we do need to keep this in perspective."
Flu viruses are known to be notoriously unpredictable, and this strain could mutate at any point -- becoming either more benign or dangerously severe. But mounting preliminary evidence from genetics labs, epidemiology models and simple mathematics suggests that the worst-case scenarios are likely to be avoided in the current outbreak.
"This virus doesn't have anywhere near the capacity to kill like the 1918 virus," which claimed an estimated 50 million victims worldwide, said Richard Webby, a leading influenza virologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
When the current virus was first identified, the similarities between it and the 1918 flu seemed ominous.
Both arose in the spring at the tail end of the flu season. Both seemed to strike people who were young and healthy instead of the elderly and infants. Both were H1N1 strains, so called because they had the same types of two key proteins that are largely responsible for a virus' ability to infect and spread.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health published genetic sequence data Monday morning of flu samples isolated from patients in California and Texas, and thousands of scientists immediately began downloading the information. Comparisons to known killers -- such as the 1918 strain and the highly lethal H5N1 avian virus -- have since provided welcome news.
"There are certain characteristics, molecular signatures, which this virus lacks," said Peter Palese, a microbiologist and influenza expert at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. In particular, the swine flu lacks an amino acid that appears to increase the number of virus particles in the lungs and make the disease more deadly.
Scientists have identified several other differences between the current virus and its 1918 predecessor, but the significance of those differences is still unclear, said Dr. Scott Layne, an epidemiologist at the UCLA School of Public Health.
Ralph Tripp, an influenza expert at the University of Georgia, said that his early analysis of the virus' protein-making instructions suggested that people exposed to the 1957 flu pandemic -- which killed up to 2 million people worldwide -- may have some immunity to the new strain.
That could explain why older people have been spared in Mexico, where the swine flu has been most deadly.
The swine virus does appear able to spread easily among humans, which persuaded the WHO to boost its influenza pandemic alert level to phase 5, indicating that a worldwide outbreak of infection is very likely. And the CDC reported on its website that "a pattern of more severe illness associated with the virus may be emerging in the United States."
"We expect to see more cases, more hospitalizations, and, unfortunately, we are likely to see more deaths from the outbreak," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters Wednesday on her first day at work.
But certainly nothing that would dwarf a typical flu season. In the U.S., between 5% and 20% of the population becomes ill and 36,000 people die -- a mortality rate of between 0.24% and 0.96%.
Dirk Brockmann, a professor of engineering and applied mathematics at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., used a computer model of human travel patterns to predict how this swine flu virus would spread in the worst-case scenario, in which nothing is done to contain the disease.
After four weeks, almost 1,700 people in the U.S. would have symptoms, including 198 in Los Angeles, according to his model. That's just a fraction of the county's thousands of yearly flu victims.
Just because the virus is being identified in a growing number of places -- including Austria, Canada, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Spain and Britain -- doesn't mean it's spreading particularly quickly, Olsen said.
"You don't ever find anything that you don't look for," he said. "Now that diagnostic laboratories and physicians and other healthcare workers know to look for it, perhaps it's not surprising that you're going to see additional cases identified."
And a pandemic doesn't necessarily have a high fatality rate. Even in Mexico, the fatalities may simply reflect that hundreds of thousands of people have been infected. Since the symptoms of swine flu are identical to those of a normal flu, there's no way to know how many cases have evaded government health officials, St. Jude's Webby said.
As the virus adapts to its human hosts, it is likely to find ways of spreading more efficiently. But evolution also suggests it might become less dangerous, Olsen said.
"If it kills off all its potential hosts, you reach a point where the virus can't survive," he said. Working to calm public fears, U.S. officials on Wednesday repeatedly stressed the statistic of yearly flu deaths -- 36,000.
Sebelius and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also rejected calls to close the borders, which several lawmakers reiterated Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
"We are making all of our decisions based on the science and the epidemiology," Napolitano said. "The CDC, the public health community and the World Health Organization all have said that closing out nation's borders is not merited here."
Though scientists have begun to relax about the initial toll, they're considerably less comfortable when taking into account the fall flu season. They remain haunted by the experience of 1918, when the relatively mild first wave of flu was followed several months later by a more aggressive wave.
The longer the virus survives, the more chances it has to mutate into a deadlier form.
"If this virus keep going through our summer," Palese said, "I would be very concerned."
Staff writers Noam Levey in Washington, Thomas H. Maugh II in Los Angeles and Ken Ellingwood in Mexico City contributed to this report."
In 1968 we didn't have the level warnings we have now, we also didn't have sports drinks to restore electrolytic balance, nor were we widely aware of yogurt to restore proper intestinal bacteria balance. We didn't have over the counter remedies ... benadryl was by prescription only, other antihistamines and decongestants were either scrip or in development. We're much better off now than we were then as far as over the counter remedies.
A local reporter was at a mask factory in Atlanta which had ramped up production. Interesting factoid was the wearing of a mask made people more aware to not touch their face which is the point of entry for flu viruses. Stands to reason washing hands and face with soap and water after being in crowds should reduce risk by at least some level. Anything will help. Also Kaptainess who's been following flu says to wash hands, remove shoes before coming into the house. Probably a good idea to change clothes too. All common sense things our moms or grandmas knew but have been set aside in our busy worlds.
Hope none of you reading becomes ill but if you do hope you recover quickly, fully.
"Swine Flu Case in Spain May Point to Global Pandemic, WHO Says
By Naomi Kresge and Tom Randall
"April 30 (Bloomberg) -- A swine-flu patient in Spain who hadn't traveled to Mexico may signal a new front of the outbreak, potentially heralding the first influenza pandemic in 41 years.
The World Health Organization raised its six-tier alert to 5, the second-highest, and said a pandemic declaration may come soon. It urged countries to make final preparations to deal with a virus that may sweep across the globe.
The WHO has confirmed 154 cases in nine countries, and hundreds of people are being tested for the virus from Australia to New York. Eight of those known to have had swine flu have died, though many more may be carrying the virus and not getting seriously ill, the WHO said. The case in Spain may signal that the disease is being transmitted easily outside of Mexico, where the outbreak began, officials said.
"It is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic," Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, said at a news conference in Geneva yesterday. "The biggest question right now is this: How severe will the pandemic be? All countries should immediately now activate their pandemic plans."
Batches of seed virus are being developed for potential vaccine production, according to WHO, the UN health agency in Geneva. Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis SA, Baxter International Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline Plc are talking with world health authorities about how to produce a vaccine.
Vaccine Makers 'Alert'
"Manufacturers are on the alert," said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Once the testing protocol is done and the dosage protocol is done they are ready to begin production, should that be necessary."
Baxter will receive a sample of the swine flu virus "in the next couple days," Chris Bona, a spokesman for the Deerfield, Illinois, company, said yesterday.
"We are in constant discussions with the government about how and if we should go ahead," said Donna Cary, a spokeswoman for Sanofi's Sanofi-Pasteur unit in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania. London-based Glaxo and Novartis AG of Basel, Switzerland, also are talking with regulators, spokesmen for the companies said.
Today, a Swiss hospital said a patient tested positive for swine flu, the first confirmed case in Switzerland. In Mexico, where the toll is highest, 159 people may have died from the malady, according to government officials, with eight confirmed by laboratory tests.
Ninety-four cases were reported in 11 U.S. states, with one confirmed death, and New York City officials said they suspected hundreds were infected. The WHO's statistics, which lag behind those reported by national and local agencies, showed confirmed cases in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Austria, Germany, Israel, Spain, the U.K. and New Zealand.
Disease trackers are trying to determine whether the new H1N1 influenza strain is spreading efficiently in Spain, said Dick Thompson, a spokesman for the WHO in Geneva. The agency needs evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission outside North America to declare the outbreak has become a pandemic.
Among the 10 cases in Spain, nine involve people who had traveled to Mexico, he said today. "The tenth confirmed to us that there's some community transmission beginning," he said. "The virus is becoming established in another area. It's this new single case that is especially worrying."
The last pandemic, 41 years ago, killed 1 million people and was mild compared with the global outbreak of 1918, which may have killed as many as 50 million.
President Barack Obama asked Congress for $1.5 billion to battle an outbreak, and said parents should plan for school closings. Texas Governor Rick Perry declared a disaster, a "preemptive" measure to facilitate emergency preparations and seek federal reimbursement. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency.
"Every American should know that their entire government is taking the utmost precautions and preparations," Obama said on a televised news conference last night. "This is a cause for deep concern, but not panic."
Swine flu infections in people aren't related to exposure to the animals, and properly prepared pork is safe to eat, said Keiji Fukuda, WHO assistant director-general for health security and environment. The disease, spreading like the seasonal flu, is "unlikely" to stop, Fukuda said.
"It's clear that deaths and serious illnesses can occur in other countries, but more are occurring in Mexico," Fukuda told reporters yesterday in Geneva. "We don't know the reason for that right now."
The genetic strains around the world that have been tested are "remarkably consistent and remarkably similar to each other," he said. The three main seasonal flu strains -- H3N2, H1N1 and type-B -- cause 250,000 to 500,000 deaths a year globally, according to the WHO.
Scientists are trying to determine why swine flu, a respiratory disease caused by a type-A influenza virus, has been more severe in Mexico. The new flu results in symptoms similar to those of seasonal influenza, including fever and coughing, and may also cause nausea and vomiting, according to the CDC. It appears to be causing more diarrhea than seasonal flu, WHO said.
Hospitalizations and Deaths
The U.S. can expect more hospitalizations and deaths, Sebelius said yesterday in her first press conference after being confirmed secretary of Health and Human Services. Hand- washing and hygiene are among the most effective ways to control the outbreak, she said.
The first death in U.S. was a 22-month-old boy from Mexico City who was brought to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston last weekend and died April 27, the state health department said yesterday in a statement. The boy had "several underlying health problems," the statement said.
A Marine is recovering after being tested for the illness, and another 37 Marines are being "watched and tested" at a base in 29 Palms, California, Marine Corps Commandant General James Conway said at the Pentagon yesterday. The base, with 15,000 personnel, is located in the desert east of Los Angeles.
Three adults in Maine were confirmed as having the H1N1 swine flu virus, according to a release from Governor John E. Baldacci's office, making it the 11th U.S. state with such cases.
'Level of Calmness'
"We need to maintain a level of calmness so we will continue to manage this in a rational manner," WHO's Chan said. "Influenza viruses are notorious for rapid mutation and unpredictable behavior."
WHO raised the level on its current pandemic alert system, adopted in 2005, twice this week. It had been at 3 since 2007, when it was elevated for an outbreak of avian flu.
A stage 5 warning is "a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent" with little time left for preparation, according to the WHO Web site. It's based on the determination that the disease is established in communities in two countries in the same WHO region.
A pandemic is an unexpected outbreak of a new contagious disease that spreads from person to person across multiple borders. In such cases, almost no one has natural immunity.
"We think that we are in the process of moving toward" phase 6, Fukuda said. "I think at this point it is possible that we will move to seeing established transmission in other countries relatively quickly."
"We have been preparing all along as if this is going to stage 6," Janet Napolitano, U.S. Homeland Security secretary, said yesterday at a news conference in Washington. "Our preparations are for a situation in which this does become a full-fledged pandemic."
Athletic, academic and music competitions were canceled for more than 1 million students in Texas until May 11, according to the Texas University Interscholastic League, the largest inter- school organization of its kind in the world. Maine shut a school and a daycare center, according to a statement from the governor's office.
The outbreak in Mexico City prompted the local government to order a halt to dining service at all 35,000 restaurants. U.S. officials recommended that nonessential visits to Mexico be avoided and the European Union told travelers to avoid outbreak areas.
French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot told reporters she would ask European transport ministers to suspend flights to Mexico.
No Travel Limits
WHO doesn't recommend travel restrictions and said the focus should be on mitigating the outbreak.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urged calm. He said a vaccine will probably be developed by the time next flu season starts in North America.
If a vaccine is needed, "the goal is to have one ready by September," said U.S. Representative Peter King, a New York Republican.
An experimental vaccine for swine flu may be tested in people within a couple of months, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Reference strains for the virus have been distributed and a pre-planned development process is under way, Fauci said at a press conference today in Washington.
Production of influenza vaccine for seasonal outbreaks, which U.S. health officials have said is ineffective against the new flu, should continue, Fukuda said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration signed emergency authorizations April 27 that will permit the CDC to use an unapproved lab test for swine flu and more dosing options than currently recommended for influenza treatments Tamiflu, sold by Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG, and Relenza, from Glaxo.
Australia is testing 128 passengers with flu symptoms and has taken steps to prepare for an outbreak, such as tightening quarantine rules. The country also upgraded its travel warning for Mexico, urging people not to visit the Latin American nation.
New Zealand confirmed 14 cases of swine flu as of April 29, the only definite infections in the Asia-Pacific region. Singapore today upgraded its disease outbreak alert to "orange" from "yellow," saying it will quarantine people with a recent history of travel to Mexico and tighten infection control measures at hospitals.
Egypt ordered the slaughter of as many as 400,000 pigs. South Korea is also suspending imports of live hogs from North America, while China, the world's top pork consumer, banned imports of swine products from Mexico and parts of the U.S. Indonesia said April 27 it will destroy all imported pork and swine products and fumigate agricultural goods bought from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico as a precaution."
YouTube - Congressman Paul on the Recent Swine Flu Scare
For whatever information this may contain, just found this link on Steve Quayle, Q-factor. Interesting allegations, not saying they're true or false, simply another crumb of information to file away for later.
Via Steve Quayle, Q-factor news.
"Human-to-Human Spread Reported in New Strain of Swine Flu
related: Swine Flu in US, Mexico Lung Illness Heighten Pandemic Risk
60 Swine Flu Fatalities In Mexico Confirm Pandemic Start
California and Texas Swine Flu Clusters Raise Concerns
CDC Says Too Late to Contain U.S. Flu Outbreak
New Strain of Swine Flu Investigated
Human Swine Flu Spread to Texas and Likely Import from Mexico
Swine Flu Probe Widens as Mexico Finds Lung Illness
learn how to protect yourself in a pandemic
April 24, 2009
Herald Sun, Australia
"Seven people have been diagnosed with a strange and unusual new kind of swine flu in California and Texas, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
Photo: A man sprays disinfectant on a truckload of live pigs in an effort to control an outbreak of what is believed to be human 'swine flu.' (Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images)
All seven people have recovered but the virus itself is a never-before-seen mixture of viruses typical among pigs, birds and humans, the CDC said.
"We are likely to find more cases," the CDC's Dr Anne Schuchat said.
"We don't think this is time for major concern around the country."
However, some experts fear this strain, or another strain, could spark a pandemic that could kill millions.
Unusually, the viruses all appear to carry genes from swine flu, avian flu and human flu viruses from North America, Europe and Asia.
"We haven't seen this strain before, but we hadn't been looking as intensively as we have," Dr Schuchat said.
"It's very possible that this is something new that hasn't been happening before."
The CDC reported the new strain of swine flu on Tuesday in two boys from California's two southernmost counties.
Now, five more cases have been seen - all found via normal surveillance for seasonal influenza.
None of the patients, whose symptoms closely resembled seasonal flu, had any direct contact with pigs.
"We believe at this point that human-to-human spread is occurring," Dr Schuchat said.
"That's unusual. We don't know yet how widely it is spreading.
"We are also working with international partners to understand what is occurring in other parts of the world."
Two of the new cases were among 16-year-olds at the same school in San Antonio "and there's a father-daughter pair in California," Dr Schuchat said.
Surveillance for and scrutiny of influenza has been stepped up since 2003, when highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza reappeared in Asia.
H5N1 currently only rarely infects people but has killed 257 out of 421 infected in 15 countries since 2003, according to the World Health Organisation.
The influenza strain is an H1N1, the same family as one of the seasonal flu viruses now circulating.
Undetectable at home
Now that the normal influenza season is waning, it may be easier to spot cases of the new swine flu, Dr Schuchat said.
Only one of the seven cases was sick enough to be hospitalised and all have recovered.
"This isn't something that a person could detect at home," she said.
The new cases appear to have somewhat more vomiting and diarrhea than is usually seen in flu, which mostly causes coughing, fever, sore throat and muscle aches."
The CDC is already preparing a vaccine against the new strain. The agency will issue daily updates at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/swin"
"Swine Flu in U.S., Mexico Lung Illness Heighten Pandemic Risk
related: 60 Swine Flu Fatalities In Mexico Confirm Pandemic Start
Human-to-Human Spread Reported in New Strain of Swine Flu
CDC Says Too Late to Contain U.S. Flu Outbreak
California and Texas Swine Flu Clusters Raise Concerns
Mexico Shuts Some Schools Amid Deadly Flu Outbreak
New Strain of Swine Flu Investigated
Human Swine Flu Spread to Texas and Likely Import from Mexico
Swine Flu Probe Widens as Mexico Finds Lung Illness
learn how to protect yourself in a pandemic
April 24, 2009
By Jason Gale and Tom Randall
"Disease trackers are asking U.S. hospitals to help follow a new strain of swine flu and are trying to determine whether it’s related to hundreds of illnesses and 57 deaths in Mexico.
A previously unseen variant of H1N1 swine influenza has sickened at least seven people in California and Texas, the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said yesterday. The World Health Organization said 57 people died among more than 800 in the Mexico City region who developed flu-like symptoms in the past month.
Global health experts are studying whether the U.S. and Mexico illnesses pose a threat of pandemic, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. U.S. hospitals today were asked to collect samples from patients with flu-like symptoms, said William Schaffner, a flu expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee.
“This has a sense of urgency about it,” Schaffner, chief of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt, said in a telephone interview today. “They are asking us who work in hospitals to go to our emergency rooms and our pediatric wards to gather specimens and start testing them.”
Investigators haven’t found a link between the California and Texas cases, indicating the virus may be circulating elsewhere, Schaffner said. CDC disease experts will continue investigating whether the outbreaks have a common source, he said. The agency also will host a conference call today with experts, he said.
Threat of Pandemic
Flu can spread quickly when a new strain emerges, because no one has natural immunity. The so-called 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which may have killed as many as 50 million people, began when an avian flu virus jumped to people, experts said.
“We are taking this very seriously,” Gregory Hartl, spokesman for WHO, the Geneva-based United Nations agency, said in a telephone interview today. “We have to get laboratory confirmation of what it is. We need to know how widespread it is.” The Mexico illnesses are affecting “otherwise healthy adults,” Hartl said.
“The infection of humans with a novel influenza-A virus infection of animal origins, as has happened here, is of concern because of the risk, albeit small, that this could represent the appearance of viruses with pandemic potential,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, based in Stockholm, said in a statement.
There’s no evidence a pandemic strain is evolving in the U.S., the European agency said. The CDC reached the same conclusion.
“We don’t think this is a time for major concern,” Anne Schuchat, CDC’s director of respiratory diseases, told reporters on a conference call yesterday.
Authorities in Mexico asked the Public Health Agency of Canada to help identify what’s causing the lung infection that has also spread to five health-care workers, the Ottawa-based agency said in an e-mail yesterday. Mexico Health Minister Jose Cordova canceled classes in Mexico City today and recommended citizens avoid public places.
Canada’s National Microbiology Lab received 51 specimens from Mexico on April 22 and will test them for pathogens. Tests in Mexico found patients had the H1N1 and type-B influenza strains and the parainfluenza virus, the agency said.
Three main human flu strains -- H3N2, H1N1 and type-B -- cause 250,000 to 500,000 deaths a year globally, according to the World Health Organization, a United Nations agency. Pigs also are susceptible to flu, including the H1N1 subtype.
“It will be critical to determine whether the strains of H1N1 isolated from patients in Mexico are also swine flu,” Donald Low, an infectious diseases specialist at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, told the Canadian Press.
The CDC is discussing its cases and viruses with Mexico and the Pan American Health Organization, Schuchat said.
“At this point, we do not have any confirmation of swine influenza in Mexico,” Schuchat said.
Symptoms of the illnesses in Mexico include high fever, headache, eye pain, shortness of breath and extreme fatigue with rapid progression of symptoms to severe respiratory distress in about five days, the Canadian agency said. A “high proportion” of cases require mechanical respiration, it said.
The four males and three females in San Diego County and Imperial County, California, and in San Antonio, diagnosed with swine flu had mild flu-like symptoms. The patients, 9 to 54 years old, included a father-daughter pair and two boys attending the same Texas school.
The virus is contagious and spreading from human to human, the CDC said in a statement on its Web site. The patients began feeling sick from March 28 to April 19. All have recovered and only one was hospitalized, according to the CDC. None had direct contact with pigs.
“That’s unusual,” Schuchat said. “We don’t know yet how widely it’s spreading and we certainly don’t know the extent of the problem.”
As precaution, CDC is preparing the virus as a vaccine seed strain that could be used to make immunizations, she said.
The swine flu virus contains four different gene segments representing both North American swine and avian influenza, human flu and a Eurasian swine flu, CDC said.
Not Seen Before
“We haven’t seen this strain before, but we haven’t been looking as intensively as we are these days,” Schuchat said. “It’s very possible that this is something new that hasn’t been happening before.”
Swine influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type-A influenza that regularly causes outbreaks among the animals, according to the CDC. Swine flu doesn’t normally infect people, though human infections do occur and cases of human-to- human spread of swine flu viruses have been documented.
Infection in pigs is regarded as especially problematic because of the risk of “reassortment” to produce a new virus, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said.
“These mild U.S. cases infected with a novel influenza are not reflecting the emergence of a pandemic strain, but they at least raise the possibility that there has been limited human- to-human transmission,” the health agency said."
Found this article via Steve Quayle Q-factor list of previous articles. Person writing is apparently in the California real estate market, however seems to have a great deal of savvy about financial markets and current TARP bailouts of companies that should have been allowed to go belly up.
Live links embedded within article for reference.
Source DrHousingBubble.com via Steve Quayle Q-factor
"The stock market at least in its current form is a horrible indicator of the actual economic carnage falling upon the majority of Americans. Most Americans are witnessing the current rally and wondering why the massive run up (largely in financial related stocks) is going forward while they are getting called into supervisor offices behind closed doors and being laid off or seeing their hours cut back. Wall Street has completely disconnected from Main Street. It is also hard for many to understand how they are having their limited income being taxed to finance the bailouts of Wall Street and financial cronies while they are asked to do more with less. They are seeing these same institutions, alive because of the massive funding from the American people since our government ideally should reflect the will of the majority, shut off credit lines and raise rates while the government through the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve showers the banks and Wall Street with easy low rate financing thanks to the American taxpayer. Welcome to the new America. Where unemployment is good news for Wall Street and bailouts are now seen as a new source of revenue for financial companies. New accounting students will learn how to incorporate bailout funds as a new source of revenue.
It is easy to turn a profit when trillions are funneled into the financial system. This is like jumping into the blue ocean and being shocked you got wet. Yet the problem of course is very little of this money is trickling down to the real economy; you know, the economy that doesn’t involve Bloomberg Terminals and pinstripe suits? Imagine a giant person eating at a table and the mice are running around on the floor hoping to pick up the scraps. Guess who the mice are? The last few weeks have been great for the financial companies because they are now operating in a pseudo reality that is for the privileged few. These are the new financial overlords and all it took was the collapse of debt to show them for what they truly are. Many people for the last few decades have confused debt with actual wealth. That is a mistake we are now coming to terms with. Many families now are seeing $5,000 in credit card debt at a good rate all of a sudden jump up just because banks have decided to change terms. They are doing this on a massive scale while cutting the credit lines of many Americans. Just to highlight this split, let us look at the unemployment numbers released for California on Friday:
The unemployment rate for California is now 11.2%, the highest on record. While the markets are rallying states are reporting higher and higher unemployment rates. In California, this translates to 2,131,200 unemployed and the trend is still moving higher. Most Americans would say that there biggest source of income is their job. So how can an economy be healthy if people are losing jobs and breaking records? Again, the small elite circle of financial kingpins are squeezing the debt serfdom to pay as much as they can even though they are confronting one of the worst employment markets in history. We have been throwing money at this problem for many months now. We first brought out the TARP in the fall of 2008 and that has been an abject failure. Remember that most officials have been saying that it has been crucial to stabilize the housing market. You would think that $12 trillion in committed bailout funds would at least stem some foreclosures. In fact, the opposite has occurred. The latest data shows foreclosures breaking all time records:
Even with all the moratoriums, incentives to banks, and other smoke and mirrors foreclosures keep on moving up meaning more and more Americans are losing their homes. So what have all those bailouts accomplished? They have kept the banking feudal lords sitting pretty while the rest of country finances their massive losses. I even hesitate to call this corporate welfare because many corporations still have to face the grim reality like all us. I call this crony financial capitalism run by a small group of plutocrats. If you are looking at the stock market as some sign of the overall health of the economy you are really looking in the wrong place.
Keep in mind the above data does not include the destruction of $11.2 trillion in financial wealth because of 2008. Even without that cold hard fact, American families overall have seen their income not only stagnate, but go negative when adjusted for inflation. So who has done well in the last decade?
While most families have seen their income move sideways or decrease, the top 10 percent of wage earners have seen gigantic shifts in their income upward. Even with the top 10 percent, you see most of it being skewed by the top 5 percent of all incomes. And the more money you have, the less you depend on wages:
So while 90 percent of Americans depend on their wages for 70 percent of their income or higher, the top 10 percent of wage earners only depend on wages for 46 percent of their income, a drop from 53 percent in 2004. What does this mean? They get more money from passive sources. Passive sources like fleecing the 90 percent of American taxpayers to make sure their bond income or stock portfolio pays enough in dividends so they don’t have to go out there with the other 90 percent of poor schmucks trying to make a living. And keep in mind, those at the higher end of the curve are not part of that elite group. Let us look at the income break down for the U.S.:
In order to be in the top 10 percent your household will need to bring in $118,200 or more. Here in California that is basically a household of two working professionals. But given the high unemployment rate, the number of families here is decreasing. I would argue that you will see a bigger difference if you look at household incomes of more than $200,000. That is where the separation begins.
The problem with the current system is the abject hypocrisy. Most Americans for the most part, do believe in the basic tenets of capitalism. Competition. Supply and demand. But here you have a system that does not favor competition. In fact, the top five banks control upwards of 60 percent of all banking. How is that competition? How about AIG posting the biggest quarterly loss in history? Their punishment is more money. In addition, the core belief of competition is that the best businesses will survive and thrive. In our current environment, we are rewarding the worst and most corrupt businesses. It is contrary to what many have been told. That is why you are seeing such anger and frustration out in our country. Wall Street and politicians can’t admit to what is going on but if you have two eyes and a bit of logic, you will realize that all we have been doing is a transfer of wealth from the majority to the tiny minority. To show this even clearer look at the income for various brackets:
It would be one thing if the top earners made their money from solid businesses. There are many that did do this. But there is a massive majority that created their wealth through AIG, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and other complete failures of business. Many hedge funds thrived because they placed bets on casino like profits in finance and real estate. If you want to see who are the biggest failures just look at the TARP recipients yet they are the companies seeing the biggest benefit in the current rally. They are all trying to prance around in this parade with their first quarter profits but those are thanks to the taxpayer, not them. If it wasn’t for the bailouts, they would be in bankruptcy themselves if they didn’t have control of an oligarchy system of finance. The best course of action should have been receivership. But that would cut in to this select group of people and their income so we couldn’t do that. Therefore the next logical step was to snow the masses into believing the world would end if we didn’t step in. They should have qualified that their financial world would have ended which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Since that time, unemployment has been skyrocketing, foreclosures are at all time highs, and we are too believe that this is good for us? For many people things are ending (i.e., jobs, losing homes, losing healthcare, etc).
And even amongst the wealthy, there is also a caste system:
We can throw in a few hedge fund managers and bond managers in this group. Ultimately, the system is flawed. Most Americans have been under the illusion that they were wealthy. They are not. In fact, we can pinpoint this decline on a graph:
Starting in the 1970s, we started seeing a massive decline in the savings rate and an explosive jump in consumer debt. Debt per se isn’t bad. In fact, for nearly 50 years the 30 year fixed mortgage served us well when borrowers came in with a down payment (which they saved). That all changed of course. Now, debt was used as a supplement to the lack of real wage growth. It was like a fake Hollywood set. It was only a matter of time before we walked up to the cutout of a building and pushed it over. Time to put that Fiji vacation on the credit card. Let us put the Jacuzzi on the American Express. Time to put those breast implants on the card. It was used for everything and anything. And that was the problem. Debt was given to all with the implicit notion that if everything went boom, the government would step in to backstop it all. No one really explicitly said this but the inner circle knew this. Everything has gone boom and here the government is bailing out decades of frivolous spending financed by the loan sharks on Wall Street. As a society we setup the environment to create Frankensteins like Bernard Madoff. He got away with it for so long because the system rewarded people like him. He merely played the game better than most. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. There are many that are worse than Madoff but they played within the plutocracy rules therefore everything is fine. But is it? Is this the kind of system we want where gains are privatized and losses are socialized on the back of the population?
I know many people are screaming about socialism now but they are late to the game (like a few decades late). Also, what exactly is the mass population getting for this new expensive socialism? Employment security? Healthcare? If this is socialism we are getting very little out of it. For a history lesson, Mussolini’s government was supported by the military, the business class, and the extreme wings of the political branches. Sound familiar? In fact, in 1935 Mussolini pushed for government control of business. By 1935 nearly 75 percent of Italian business was under state control. We have AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, all the TARP banks, and what else? We definitely do not want to go down this path. Are we looking at Japan and there 2 lost decades as an example? The crowd that is getting silenced here is the moderate majority.
In fact, I talk with both moderate Democrats and Republicans and we have more in common than many think. Yet you have the extreme wings of the party hijacking issues. Like the tea parties started with anger toward the bailouts. Yet many protests started having people use other wedge issues which have nothing to do with the bailout. These are distractions. Keep your eye on the ball. The first news station that does a two hour piece shredding the Fed and U.S. Treasury gets a massive high five (hint hint CNBC).
The current administration has two widely respected financial experts in Paul Volcker and Elizabeth Warren. They should unleash both of them on the current financial industry. Last I heard is they are putting Volcker on the task of reforming the tax code which is incredibly important. But why not have him tackling the current banking crisis as well? He can walk and chew gum. Also, Elizabeth Warren showed up on The Daily Show and said all the right things. Yet when John Stewart asked her what her power was, she really couldn’t say. All she could say is “I’ll talk about it.” What use is transparency without the ability to act on what you find? Now I realize a fiscal problem 30 years in the making won’t be fixed in 3 months, but I hope we start seeing some progress in protecting the American people because ultimately, we are all going to pay if we continue down this path.
The bottom line is there is a two class system in the U.S. and it doesn’t separate along party lines. Those that rely and use debt and those that create it with the aid of the government (aka Wall Street). Banking should be a utility that provides capital for the most efficient resources. That is it. Banks should not be seen as a large segment of the economy for employment. They are like a parasite that depends on the host producing over and over. Now that defaults are hitting, they are looking for a new vector and now they are latched onto the government (aka taxpayers). There was a reason banking became a boring enterprise after the Great Depression. If we learn any lessons from our Great Recession banking will go back to being a boring, controlled, and tiny part of our economy. In the mean time, enjoy the stock market rally for the feudal lords while unemployment keeps skyrocketing for serfdom."
One of the best how-to's on visualization I've ever read. Hope you enjoy ..... have a wonderful Sunday!!!
"Visualize and Affirm Your Desired Outcomes
By Jack Canfield April 25th, 2009
Source Dream Manifesto
"You have an awesome power that most of us have never been taught to use effectively. Elite athletes use it. The super rich use it. And peak performers in all fields now use it. That power is called visualization.
The daily practice of visualizing your dreams as already complete can rapidly accelerate your achievement of those dreams, goals and ambitions. Visualization of your goals and desires accomplishes four very important things.
Visualization is really quite simple. You sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and imagine - in as vivid detail as you can - what you would be looking at if the dream you have were already realized. Imagine being inside of yourself, looking out through your eyes at the ideal result.
Athletes call this visualization process "mental rehearsal," and they have been using it since the 1960s when we learned about it from the Russians. All you have to do is set aside a few minutes a day. The best times are when you first wake up, after meditation or prayer, and right before you go to bed. These are the times you are most relaxed.
Go through the following three steps:
STEP 1. Imagine sitting in a movie theater, the lights dim, and then the movie starts. It is a movie of you doing perfectly whatever it is that you want to do better. See as much detail as you can create, including your clothing, the expression on your face, small body movements, the environment and any other people that might be around.
Add in any sounds you would be hearing - traffic, music, other people talking, cheering. And finally, recreate in your body any feelings you think you would be experiencing as you engage in this activity.
STEP 2. Get out of your chair, walk up to the screen, open a door in the screen and enter into the movie. Now experience the whole thing again from inside of yourself, looking out through your eyes. This is called an "embodied image" rather than a "distant image." It will deepen the impact of the experience. Again, see everything in vivid detail, hear the sounds you would hear, and feel the feelings you would feel.
STEP 3. Finally, walk back out of the screen that is still showing the picture of you performing perfectly, return to your seat in the theater, reach out and grab the screen and shrink it down to the size of a cracker. Then, bring this miniature screen up to your mouth, chew it up and swallow it. Imagine that each tiny piece - just like a hologram - contains the full picture of you performing well.
Imagine all these little screens traveling down into your stomach and out through the bloodstream into every cell of your body. Then imagine that every cell of your body is lit up with a movie of you performing perfectly. It's like one of those appliance store windows where 50 televisions are all tuned to the same channel.
When you have finished this process - it should take less than five minutes - you can open your eyes and go about your business. If you make this part of your daily routine, you will be amazed at how much improvement you will see in your life.
Create Goal Pictures
Another powerful technique is to create a photograph or picture of yourself with your goal, as if it were already completed. If one of your goals is to own a new car, take your camera down to your local auto dealer and have a picture taken of yourself sitting behind the wheel of your dream car. If your goal is to visit Paris, find a picture or poster of the Eiffel Tower and cut out a picture of yourself and place it into the picture.
With today's technology, you can make even more convincing images using your computer. I personally use our Dream Big Vision Board Screen Saver Software, click through to see my own personal vision board in action.
Create a Visual Picture and an Affirmation for Each Goal
We recommend that you find or create a picture of every aspect of your dream life. Create a picture or a visual representation for every goal you have - financial, career, recreation, new skills and abilities, things you want to purchase, and so on.
When we were writing the very first Chicken Soup for the Soul® book, we took a copy of the New York Times best seller list, scanned it into our computer, and using the same font as the newspaper, typed Chicken Soup for the Soul into the number one position in the "Paperback Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous" category. We printed several copies and hung them up around the office. Less than two years later, our book was the number one book in that category and stayed there for over a year!
We practice a similar discipline every day. We each have a list of about 30-40 goals we are currently working on. We write each goal on a 3×5 index card and keep those cards near our bed and take them with us when we travel. Each morning and each night we go through the stack of cards, one at a time, read the card, close our eyes, see the completion of that goal in its perfect desired state for about 15 seconds, open our eyes and repeat the process with the next card.
Use Affirmations to Support Your Visualization
An affirmation is a statement that evokes not only a picture, but the experience of already having what you want. Here's an example of an affirmation:
I am happily vacationing 2 months out of the year in a tropical paradise, and working just four days a week owning my own business.
Repeating an affirmation several times a day keeps you focused on your goal, strengthens your motivation, and programs your subconscious by sending an order to your crew to do whatever it takes to make that goal happen.
Through writing down your goals, using the power of visualization and repeating your affirmations, you can achieve amazing results.
Visualization and affirmations allow you to change your beliefs, assumptions, and opinions about the most important person in your life - YOU! They allow you to harness the 18 billion brain cells in your brain and get them all working in a singular and purposeful direction.
Your subconscious will become engaged in a process that transforms you forever. The process is invisible and doesn't take a long time. It just happens over time, as long as you put in the time to visualize and affirm, surround yourself with positive people, read uplifting books and listen to audio programs that flood your mind with positive, life-affirming messages.
If you would like a step-by-step, comprehensive approach for defining your goals, creating affirmations for them and how to create a powerful visual support system, take a look at our Dream Big Collection... it contains a everything you need-just add your dreams!
Repeat your affirmations every morning and night for a month and they will become an automatic part of your thinking... woven into the very fabric of your being."
Abraham-Hicks Daily Quote
" All of you are allowing through the crack of least resistance. So there are a combination of factors. The degree of desire is a factor. In other words, the amount of pulling power that's going on is a factor. Someone could really, really, really, want something, and could really, really, really, be disallowing it -- but because they want it instensely they get it, but it comes the hard way."
" You are joy, looking for a way to express. It's not just that your purpose is joy, it is that you are joy. You are love and joy and freedom and clarity expressing. Energy-frolicking and eager-that's who you are. And so, if you're always reaching for alignment with that, you're always on your path, and your path will take you into all kinds of places. We will not deny that you will not discover miracles and create benefits and be involved in creation, and that you will not uplift humanity...we will not say that you will not find satisfaction in so many things that you create, but we can't get away from the acknowledgment that you are Pure Positive Energy that translates into the human emotion of joy."
" All those statistics that you are gathering about your own experiences and about others are only about how somebody has flowed Energy. It isn't about any hard fast reality."All those statistics that you are gathering about your own experiences and about others are only about how somebody has flowed Energy. It isn't about any hard fast reality.
Dem Congressman: ‘Nobody in This Country Realizes That Cap-and-Trade is a Tax’
**** video *****
From National Review Online
Am sure I posted an article or two about his position about abolishing our Second Amendment Rights to bear arms. One increment at a time it's being legislated away while MS-13 and similar gangs arm themselves to the teeth, take over, take us hostage and take what they want just because they want it.
Liberal-think ... eliminate any faction that opposes them by any means available ... allow gangs to do it for them while saying they're fighting them.
Can't remember which channel did a documentary about this gang but they're unbelievable ..... and they're here in the US.
"With cliques in Washington DC, Oregon, Alaska, Arkansas, Texas, Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and several other South American countries, the MS-13 gang is truly "international" and on the verge of becoming the first gang to be categorized as an "organized crime" entity.
"Obama Pushing Treaty To Ban Reloading
-- Even BB guns could be on the chopping block
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
"Remember CANDIDATE Barack Obama? The guy who "wasn't going to take away our guns"?
Well, guess what?
Less than 100 days into his administration, he's never met a gun he didn't hate.
A week ago, Obama went to Mexico, whined about the United States, and bemoaned (before the whole world) the fact that he didn't have the political power to take away our semi-automatics. Nevertheless, that didn't keep him from pushing additional restrictions on American gun owners.
It's called the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials. To be sure, this imponderable title masks a really nasty piece of work.
First of all, when the treaty purports to ban the "illicit" manufacture of firearms, what does that mean?
1. "Illicit manufacturing" of firearms is defined as "assembly of firearms [or] ammunition ... without a license...."
Hence, reloading ammunition -- or putting together a lawful firearm from a kit -- is clearly "illicit manufacturing."
Modifying a firearm in any way would surely be "illicit manufacturing." And, while it would be a stretch, assembling a firearm after cleaning it could, in any plain reading of the words, come within the screwy definition of "illicit manufacturing."
2. "Firearm" has a similarly questionable definition.
"[A]ny other weapon" is a "firearm," according to the treaty -- and the term "weapon" is nowhere defined.
So, is a BB gun a "firearm"? Probably.
A toy gun? Possibly.
A pistol grip or firing pin? Probably. And who knows what else.
If these provisions (and others) become the law of the land, the Obama administration could have a heyday in enforcing them. Consider some of the other provisions in the treaty:
* Banning reloading. In Article IV of the treaty, countries commit to adopting "necessary legislative or other measures" to criminalize illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms.
Remember that "illicit manufacturing" includes reloading and modifying or assembling a firearm in any way. This would mean that the Obama administration could promulgate regulations banning reloading on the basis of this treaty -- just as it is currently circumventing Congress to write legislation taxing greenhouse gases.
* Banning gun clubs. Article IV goes on to state that the criminalized acts should include "association or conspiracy" in connection with said offenses -- which is arguably a term broad enough to allow, by regulation, the criminalization of entire pro-gun organizations or gun clubs, based on the facilities which they provide their membership.
* Extraditing US gun dealers. Article V requires each party to "adopt such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offenses it has established in accordance with this Convention" under a variety of circumstances.
We know that Mexico is blaming U.S. gun dealers for the fact that its streets are flowing with blood. And we know it is possible for Mexico to define offenses "committed in its territory" in a very broad way. And we know that we have an extradition obligation under Article XIX of the proposed treaty. So we know that Mexico could try to use the treaty to demand to extradition of American gun dealers.
Under Article XXIX, if Mexico demands the extradition of a lawful American gun dealer, the U.S. would be required to resolve the dispute through "other means of peaceful settlement."
Does anyone want to risk twenty years in a sweltering Mexican jail on the proposition that the Obama administration would apply this provision in a pro-gun manner?
* Microstamping. Article VI requires "appropriate markings" on firearms. And, it is not inconceivable that this provision could be used to require microstamping of firearms and/or ammunition -- a requirement which is clearly intended to impose specifications which are not technologically possible or which are possible only at a prohibitively expensive cost.
* Gun registration. Article XI requires the maintenance of any records, for a "reasonable time," that the government determines to be necessary to trace firearms. This provision would almost certainly repeal portions of McClure-Volkmer and could arguably be used to require a national registry or database.
ACTION: Write your Senators and urge them to oppose the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials.
Please use the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center to send your Senators the pre-written e-mail message below. ....... "
Interesting how China treats political dissidents and protestors.
"Chinese police training manual offers tips on the best way to beat up offenders
A Chinese law enforcement agency has been using a training manual which advises officers on how to use violence without leaving incriminating evidence behind.
By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
Last Updated: 12:02PM BST 23 Apr 2009
"Chinese police training manual offers tips on the best way to beat up offenders
At the end of March, several thousand people in Nanchong, in Sichuan, rioted after a Chengguan officer seriously injured a student Photo: REUTERS
"In dealing with the subject, take care to leave no blood on the face, no wounds on the body, and no people in the vicinity," states the manual, entitled Practices of City Administration Enforcement.
The book was reportedly designed as a training guide for the Chengguan, a type of police force that is charged with targeting anyone it feels is disrupting the peace, ridding China's cities of illegal street hawkers and unlicensed taxi cabs, and checking permits.
New video of torture exposes Chinese brutality in Tibet
China says Tibet torture video is 'a fake' as it blocks YouTube
The Chengguan are widely reviled in China, and their heavy-handed methods frequently result in serious injuries or death. At the end of March, several thousand people in Nanchong, in Sichuan, rioted after a Chengguan officer seriously injured a student.
Three years ago in Shanghai, Chengguan officers beat Li Binghao, a 39-year-old man who intervened in a dispute, to death, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. "Officials who use violence are rarely investigated or held accountable," said the goup China Human Rights Defenders in reference to the Chengguan.
According to the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper, an official with the Beijing municipal bureau of city administration and law enforcement confirmed that the training manual was genuine and had been used in official training sessions.
Several portions of the book were leaked onto the internet and have caused a furore. "Who put it up on the net? How did internal material come to be discussed outside?" the unnamed official asked the newspaper.
The published sections of the manual explain that officers must quell any dispute swiftly. "Without letting go of the subject, several officers shall act together and in a single move take the individual under bodily control," it said. "Each action must be effective so as not to give the subject any pause for breath."
The manual also told officers they should not consider whether they are a physical match for the subject or whether they could harm the subject. "You must become a resolute law enforcer staunchly protecting the dignity of city administrative regulations," it reportedly said.
Zhao Yang, a junior officer in Nanjing told the Southern Metropolis Daily: "These things used to be spread by word of mouth, but now they're out in the open. Things like how to protect yourself and how to hit people."
In Shanghai, hawkers said they had heard of several cases of abuse by the Chengguan, who they described as generally uneducated thugs. Chen Juan, a 28-year-old hawker who sells trinkets and hairbands, said: "They are different throughout the city. The ones near the centre of town are very violent. They do not always beat you up, but they intimidate us and usually confiscate and stomp on our goods. I was once chased down the street by a gang of them and that left me quite rattled."
However, another vendor, who asked not to be named, said it was easy to "play the game", suggesting that casual bribery took care of most problems.
"The problem is that many hawkers are doing this because they have nothing else. So when the Chengguan confiscate their goods, they put up a fight. That's why they get beaten up."
"New video of torture exposes Chinese brutality in Tibet
The Tibetan government-in-exile, led by the Dalai Lama, has released a video that appears to show Tibetan monks being tortured by Chinese security forces.
By Malcolm Moore, Shanghai Correspondent
Last Updated: 10:30AM GMT 27 Mar 2009
"Video footage from Tibet is extremely rare. The film, which shows violent scenes from the March 2008 riots, is the clearest evidence yet that Tibetans were subject to police brutality as China struggled for control in Lhasa.
In the seven-minute film, exerpts of which are shown above, Chinese police kick and beat apparently defenceless Tibetan protesters and monks after they have been handcuffed and are lying on the ground.
The Tibetan government-in-exile, which is based in Dharamsala in India, said the treatment of the captives violated international norms and amounted to torture.
Until now, the only video evidence of the riots in March was shot from long-distance and showed clashes in the streets of Lhasa but not evidence of torture.
"This is the first footage which visibly proves the use of brutal and excessive force against Tibetan protesters. It clearly challenges official Chinese statements that disproportionate force was not used on unarmed protesters," said Stephanie Brigden, the director of the international campaign group Free Tibet. "......
"Drama at GE shareholders meeting
'Open hostility' toward execs over MSNBC's 'leftward tilt'
By Paul Bond
April 22, 2009, 06:38 PM ET
Updated: April 22, 2009, 07:28 PM ET
Jeff Immelt in 2007 (Getty Images photo)
Things got testy Wednesday at the GE shareholders meeting courtesy of several complaints about political bias at its media division, NBC Universal.
Just don't expect to see the fireworks at the company's webcast of the event, which contains prepared remarks from CEO Jeff Immelt and CFO Keith Sherin but leaves out their interaction with shareholders.
A GE spokesman clarified that the corporation doesn't typically broadcast the shareholders meeting in its entirety.
Just before GE board members were re-elected, shareholders asked about 10 questions of a mostly political nature concerning the viewpoints of MSNBC and CNBC, according to attendees.
First up was a woman asking about a reported meeting in which Immelt and NBC Uni CEO Jeff Zucker supposedly told top CNBC executives and talent to be less critical of President Obama and his policies.
Immelt acknowledged a meeting took place but said no one at CNBC was told what to say or not say about politics.
During the woman's follow-up question, her microphone was cut off. Later, during the umpteenth question about MSNBC, another shareholder's microphone was cut, according to multiple attendees.
"The crowd was very upset with MSNBC because of its leftward tilt," one attendee said. "Some former employees said they were embarrassed by it."
One specific complaint about MSNBC concerned Keith Olbermann's interview of actress Janeane Garofalo, who likened conservatives to racists and spoke of "the limbic brain inside a right-winger."
"They were upset that Olbermann didn't bother to challenge her," one GE shareholder said.
Immelt said he takes a hands-off approach to what is reported on the company's news networks, which prompted a shareholder to criticize him for not managing NBC Uni effectively.
"My biggest surprise was the open hostility to MSNBC," another shareholder said. "It was noticeable and loud. I don't remember any of this going on last year."
One shareholder at the Orlando, Fla., meeting was Jesse Waters, a producer of "The O'Reilly Factor." Waters asked a question at the meeting, then turned on the Fox News Channel cameras outside the venue and interviewed other shareholders who attended the meeting."
Wow it just gets better!!!
Well, you know, Sheriff Joe, he is being very political in that statement, because he knows that there aren't enough law enforcement officers, courtrooms or jail cells in the world to do what he is saying.
What we have to do is target the real evil-doers in this business, the employers who consistently hire illegal labor, the human traffickers who are exploiting human misery.
And yes, when we find illegal workers, yes, appropriate action, some of which is criminal, most of that is civil, because crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil. But anyway, going after those as well.
Did you catch it? Ok, I'll spell it out for you: "crossing the border is not a crime per se." And this is from our head of Homeland Security? Hey, Amigos! All you people down there on the border just waiting to cross! Forget about visas! Forget about going to those pesky and troublesome little checkpoints. Just walk on over! It's not like that is illegal or anything! Viva Napolitano!"
National Post editorial board
National Post Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesU.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, in January 2009.
Can someone please tell us how U. S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano got her job? She appears to be about as knowledgeable about border issues as a late-night radio call-in yahoo.
In an interview broadcast Monday on the CBC, Ms. Napolitano attempted to justify her call for stricter border security on the premise that "suspected or known terrorists" have entered the U. S. across the Canadian border, including the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack.
All the 9/11 terrorists, of course, entered the United States directly from overseas. The notion that some arrived via Canada is a myth that briefly popped up in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and was then quickly debunked.
Informed of her error, Ms. Napolitano blustered: "I can't talk to that. I can talk about the future. And here's the future. The future is we have borders."
Just what does that mean, exactly?
Just a few weeks ago, Ms. Napolitano equated Canada's border to Mexico's, suggesting they deserved the same treatment. Mexico is engulfed in a drug war that left more than 5,000 dead last year, and which is spawning a spillover kidnapping epidemic in Arizona. So many Mexicans enter the United States illegally that a multi-billion-dollar barrier has been built from Texas to California to keep them out.
In Canada, on the other hand, the main problem is congestion resulting from cross-border trade. Not quite the same thing, is it?"
Sun's not cooperating with the global-warming-tax-your-carbon-footprint crowd but they're sure trying to defend their theories.
By Pallab Ghosh
Science correspondent, BBC News
"'Still Sun' baffling astronomers
The Sun is the dimmest it has been for nearly a century.
There are no sunspots, very few solar flares - and our nearest star is the quietest it has been for a very long time.
The observations are baffling astronomers, who are due to study new pictures of the Sun, taken from space, at the UK National Astronomy Meeting.
The Sun normally undergoes an 11-year cycle of activity. At its peak, it has a tumultuous boiling atmosphere that spits out flares and planet-sized chunks of super-hot gas. This is followed by a calmer period.
Last year, it was expected that it would have been hotting up after a quiet spell. But instead it hit a 50-year year low in solar wind pressure, a 55-year low in radio emissions, and a 100-year low in sunspot activity.
According to Prof Louise Hara of University College London, it is unclear why this is happening or when the Sun is likely to become more active again.
"There's no sign of us coming out of it yet," she told BBC News.
"At the moment, there are scientific papers coming out suggesting that we'll be going into a normal period of activity soon.
"Others are suggesting we'll be going into another minimum period - this is a big scientific debate at the moment."
In the mid-17th Century, a quiet spell - known as the Maunder Minimum - lasted 70 years, and led to a "mini ice-age".
This has resulted in some people suggesting that a similar cooling might offset the impact of climate change.
According to Prof Mike Lockwood of Southampton University, this view is too simplistic.
"I wish the Sun was coming to our aid but, unfortunately, the data shows that is not the case," he said.
Prof Lockwood was one of the first researchers to show that the Sun's activity has been gradually decreasing since 1985, yet overall global temperatures have continued to rise.
"If you look carefully at the observations, it's pretty clear that the underlying level of the Sun peaked at about 1985 and what we are seeing is a continuation of a downward trend (in solar activity) that's been going on for a couple of decades.
"If the Sun's dimming were to have a cooling effect, we'd have seen it by now."
Evidence from tree trunks and ice cores suggest that the Sun is calming down after an unusually high point in its activity.
Professor Lockwood believes that as well as the Sun's 11-year cycle, there is an underlying solar oscillation lasting hundreds of years.
He suggests that 1985 marked the "grand maximum" in this long-term cycle and the Maunder Minimum marked its low point.
"We are re-entering the middle ground after a period which has seen the Sun in its top 10% of activity," said Professor Lockwood.
"We would expect it to be more than a hundred years before we get down to the levels of the Maunder Minimum."
He added that the current slight dimming of the Sun is not going to reverse the rise in global temperatures caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
"What we are seeing is consistent with a global temperature rise, not that the Sun is coming to our aid."
Data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows global average temperatures have risen by about 0.7C since the beginning of the 20th Century.
And the IPCC projects that the world will continue to warm, with temperatures expected to rise between 1.8C and 4C by the end of the century.
No-one knows how the centuries-long waxing and waning of the Sun works. However, astronomers now have space telescopes studying the Sun in detail.
According to Prof Richard Harrison of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire, this current quiet period gives astronomers a unique opportunity.
"This is very exciting because as astronomers we've never seen anything like this before in our lifetimes," he said.
"We have spacecraft up there to study the Sun in phenomenal detail. With these telescopes we can study this minimum of activity in a way that we could not have done so in the past."
Featured on Powerlineblog.com, permalink below, quoted as written.
Steve Quayle Q-News posts some really good photos but they don't usually remain up for very long which is why this is posted below. Pretty good likeness of Karl Marx, one might assume he's alive and well as a key advisor in Washington.
"Photo Of The Day" http://www.stevequayle.com/index1.html
Upper caption: everything that is old is new again
ORIGINAL CAPTION: 1934 cartoon from the Chicago Tribune
Ya think????????????????? Unchedked spending made congress FEEL GOOD so 'it's a good thing' in liberal land.
"Bank bailout may hurt taxpayers, be open to fraud
Inspector general cites potential flaws in bank bailout, urges Treasury to adopt safeguards
Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday April 21, 2009, 12:27 am EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Taxpayers are increasingly exposed to losses and the government is more vulnerable to fraud under Obama administration initiatives that have created a federal bank bailout program of "unprecedented scope," a government report finds." .................
It was suggested by a friend that current insane spending is being done on purpose to bankrupt the US so that they can say they tried to save the economy. Now bankrupt we get incorporated into the North American Union whether US citizens like it or not. Sounds like what's happening, run away freight train down a steep grade, Republican fiscal conservatives stabbed in the back by RINOS enjoying $$$pecial interest perk$$$$.
Big woop to sudden spending consciousness.
"SPIN METER: Saving federal money the easy way
SPIN METER: Obama's latest budget-tightening effort hardly makes a dime's worth of difference
Andrew Taylor and Calvin Woodward, Associated Press Writers
Monday April 20, 2009, 5:18 pm EDT
"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Cut a latte or two out of your annual budget and you've just done as much belt-tightening as President Barack Obama asked of his Cabinet on Monday.
The thrifty measures Obama ordered for federal agencies are the equivalent of asking a family that spends $60,000 in a year to save $6. ............."
Just imagine the firestorm still be burning if John Ashcroft or Tom Ridge had issued a report like Napolotano just issued specifically targeting groups who don't toe the current administration line ....... Apologies and damage control way too late.
ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced that yesterday evening it filed a federal lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The lawsuit claims that her Department’s “Rightwing Extremism Policy,” as reflected in the recently publicized Intelligence Assessment, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” violates the civil liberties of combat veterans as well as American citizens by targeting them for disfavored treatment on account of their political beliefs. Click here to read the complaint filed by the Thomas More Law Center.
Napolitano tried to blunt the public furor over the Report by a half-hearted apology to veterans, but she left out of her apology all of the other Americans her Department has targeted because of their political beliefs. In fact, officials in DHS now admit that their internal office of civil liberties objected to the language in the extremism report, but the Department issued it anyway.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center stated, “Janet Napolitano is lying to the American people when she says the Report is not based on ideology or political beliefs. In fact, her report would have the admiration of the Gestapo and any current or past dictator in the way it targets political opponents. This incompetently written intelligence assessment, which directs law enforcement officials across the country to target and report on American citizens who have the political beliefs mentioned in the report, will be used as a tool to stifle political opposition and opinions. It will give a pretext for opponents of those Americans to report them to police as rightwing extremists and terrorists. You can imagine what happens then.”
The Report specifically mentions the following political beliefs that law enforcement should use to determine whether someone is a “rightwing extremist”:
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host, Michael Savage, Gregg Cunningham (President of the pro-life organization Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, Inc (CBR)), and Iraqi War Marine veteran Kevin Murray. The Law Center claims that Napolitano’s Department (DHS) has violated the First and Fifth Amendment Constitutional rights of these three plaintiffs by attempting to chill their free speech, expressive association, and equal protection rights. The lawsuit further claims that the Department of Homeland Security encourages law enforcement officers throughout the nation to target and report citizens to federal officials as suspicious rightwing extremists and potential terrorists because of their political beliefs.
Thompson added, “The Obama Administration has declared war on American patriots and our Constitution. The Report even admits that the Department has no specific information on any plans of violence by so-called ‘rightwing extremists.’ Rather, what they do have is the expression of political opinions by certain individuals and organizations that oppose the Obama administration’s policies, and this expression is protected speech under the First Amendment.”
The Law Center is asking the court to declare that the DHS policy violates the First and Fifth Amendments, to permanently enjoin the Policy and its application to the plaintiffs’ speech and other activities, and to award the plaintiffs their reasonable attorney’s fees and costs for having to bring the lawsuit.
The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life. It supports a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America. The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org. "
Free-Markets and Interventions
By Barry A. Liebling 07 Apr 2009
Source TCS Daily
"The debate on how to address the economic crisis can leave you breathless. Discerning free-market advocates understand that government meddling contributed to the troubles and restricting the government to its proper function of protecting individual rights is the path to setting things right.
Interventionists take the opposite view. They are convinced that the problems are due to inadequate regulation and describe the last eight years of the Bush administration as being inspired by an "anything goes" keep-the-government-out ideology. They argue that if the government had used a stronger hand the current malaise might have been avoided. The long-term remedy is to increase government involvement in business.
Free-market enthusiasts counter that Bush's policies were not characterized by deregulation, "anything goes," or hands-off - but were marked by massive increases in government domestic spending. The United States has not had anything close to a free market at least since the Federal Reserve System was established in 1913. During the New Deal the government's muscular reach was prodigiously expanded and has been growing ever since.
We live in a mixed economy - where some activities are free-market while others are regulated by the government. So when things go wrong the mixture serves as a talking point for both sides. Free-marketers identify government interference as the culprit, while interventionists say that a lack of government supervision leads to pain.
Bring a principled free-market advocate and a committed interventionist together for a calm, unhurried discussion. Can they ever see eye-to-eye? Have them review the historical evidence, discuss the anticipated consequences of interventions and what they think public policy ought to be. What is the prospect that they will agree with one another about what should be done? Anorexically slim.
When you drill down, the conflict between conscientious free-marketers and interventionists is not about facts or about what people are likely to do. It is about values - what each regards as the way things should be.
The core premise supporting the free-market is individual rights. Every person has the right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. This means that all economic exchanges must be by voluntary mutual consent. No one has the right to anyone else's efforts or property without his or her permission. No outside force, whether bandits or a governmental body, can justifiably interfere with what terms you or your trading partners decide among yourselves. Government is essential for the maintenance of a free-market, and its role is protecting individual rights - prohibiting the use of force or fraud.
By contrast, the assumption of the interventionist is that society and the state take precedence over the individual. It is the group that counts and has rights. Thus, interventionists focus their attention on "social justice" which is different from genuine justice. They have antipathy for "unfettered" individual freedom because they realize that when people act according to their own judgement and preferences the outcome may not be to the interventionist's liking. Interventionists see wealth redistribution as a key function of government. Money should be taken from those they despise and given to those they favor.
How do the adversaries think differently about the creation of wealth? Both agree that free-markets have historically been highly effective engines for generating riches. The principled free-market advocate understands that individual freedom is the essential rationale for non-interference. It is true that free-markets create more prosperity than any regulated system, but that beneficial consequence is not the primary justification. If it were, it would open the door to meddlers who would endlessly propose schemes that violate individual rights in an attempt to crank out more wealth.
The interventionist understands that more freedom and less interference leads to greater productivity, so he does not want to institute too much of a command economy. Interventionists are perpetually searching for ways of encouraging producers to create lots of wealth that later can be confiscated for "the common good." The interventionist conundrum is how to squeeze the most out of producers without demoralizing them.
What do free-marketers and interventionists think about criminals? Both are incensed by thieves and fraudsters. The principled free-marketer knows that villains who violate the rights of individuals should be stopped in their tracks. This is where government should take a strong stand.
Interventionists are ambivalent about criminals. On the one hand they believe that force or fraud perpetrated by private individuals is odious and deserves penalties. But every time a criminal is exposed there is opportunity. The incident can be used as a rallying cry for more control of the economy. Interventionists can proclaim that in spite of any laws that are on the books, criminals are still doing mischief. And the solution is more laws, rules, and regulations.
Principled free-marketers and interventionists cannot reach consensus because they have incompatible visions about how people should live. Of course, interventionists might learn to understand and appreciate the value of individual rights. Don't hold your breath."
"I was wondering yesterday how the media would be responding to these anti-tax rallies across the country yesterday. I suggested that the leftist media would be presenting the protestors as rightwing extremist nut jobs who were motivated by greed and wanted to make sure that none of their money was ever used to help the (ugh) "less fortunate."
So, how did it turn out? Have you heard about this CNN reporter named Susan Roesgen? If you have the time and want to listen to her report from the Chicago tea-party you can click right or watch below. If not, well ... let me tell you. This Roesgen person was, as I said, covering the Chicago rally. She picked out a rather inarticulate person from the crowd: "Ok, you're here with your 2-year-old ... why are you here today?" The protester said that he was here today because he heard the president say that he believed what Lincoln stood for and he then tried to explain Lincoln's attitude toward taxes. Rather than interviewing this guy, Roesgen started to argue with him: "Sir, what does this have to do with taxes? What does this have to do with your taxes?" Then she asked "Do you realize that you're eligible for a $400 credit ...?" At that point the man said "let me finish my point?"
Wait a minute! Read that again? This guy is protesting taxes, and this ignoranus CNN reporter asks him if he realizes that he is eligible for some type of $400 credit? What is she saying? I'll tell you what she's saying. This guy shouldn't be protesting taxes because he's going to be getting a check!
The interview proceeds. The man says that Lincoln believed that people had a right to the fruits of their own labor and that "government should not take it." Roesgen then stuck her finger in his face and said "Do you know that the state of Lincoln gets $50 billion dollars out of this stimulus, that's $50 billion dollars for this state." At this point someone in the crowd says something and the man becomes a bit frustrated. Roesgen turns away and starts talking to the anchor. Now listen to this gem from this wonderful, objective CNN reporter:
"OK, Cara, we'll move on over here. I think you get the general tenor of this. It's anti-government. Anti-CNN since this is highly promoted by the right wing conservative network Fox, and since I can't really hear much more and I think this is not really family viewing it's time to come back to you Cara."
The CNN anchor ... Cara or Kara or whatever ... then says "Wow, that is a prime example of what we're covering here. Susan pointed out everything plain and clear what she's dealing with."
Well .. there you have it. These tax protestors are "anti-government." The don't want to be taxed out of fifty percent of everything they earn .. and they're anti-government. They're also anti-CNN. Where did THAT come from? Do you know that Pew research did a poll last year and found that more Democrats and independents watch Fox News than Republicans? But to Susan Roesgen Fox is right wing and conservative.
The fact is Roesgen was saying just what the Democrats wanted her to say. Last night the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was reporting that "...critics -- especially Democrats -- have labeled the gatherings as frauds created by Republican advocacy groups with the backing of deep-pocketed lobbyists and Fox News." Yup ... these idiots at these rallies couldn't possibly have opinions of their own. They're just a creation of the Republican Party and Fox. Roesgen handled the Democrat message a little clumsily ... but handle it she did.
It was also rather odd that when Roesgen would look into the camera when she was talking about stimulus checks for Illinois. Why? Because she was making her own statement. She was the person being interviewed ... not the actual protestor. She wasn't really that interested in what this guy had to say ... she had her own opinions and she wanted to make sure they got aired.
There you have it folks. This is the way much of the liberal media will be covering the protests today. These are anti-government right-wing kooks
**** Video *****
"TARP the Life Insurers? This Is Nuts
That's the heartland tea-party message to Washington
By Larry Kudlow 13 Apr 2009
Source TCS Daily
"Is bailout nation about to strike again? Sure looks like it. According to a bunch of front-page news stories, life-insurance companies are about to get TARPed. This is nuts.
The public is clamoring for an end to TARP and bailout nation. That's a key message coming from the heartland tea parties that are cropping up spontaneously around the country. This is turning into a real populist uprising against rising taxes (especially state, local, and property taxes), TARP, and all the federal bailouts -- and the trillions of dollars of deficits and debt being used for financing.
If Team Obama ignores this uprising, it has a political tin ear.
While commercial banks of all sizes are increasingly profitable and want to pay back their TARP money, the Treasury Department is now proposing to extend bailout funds to life-insurance companies, most of which are in no danger of failing. And for those that are in danger, surely it's time for a bankruptcy proceeding instead of more taxpayer money.
We are already on the hook for banks, GM and Chrysler, and lube jobs for guaranteed government-backed GM warranties. And the banks themselves may go to war against an Obama administration that wants to maintain control over the big-bank sector and prevent these financial institutions from paying down TARP. It's as if Team Obama is saying, "Don't worry about the taxpayers. Just keep expanding government control over the economy."
And now comes life insurance. But when will this country stop saving losers and start rewarding winners?
Meanwhile, no one has proven that life-insurance companies constitute true systemic risk to the financial system. No one. This is nothing but a bailout. Actually, it's a precautionary bailout, since none of these insurers has failed.
Despite the stock market rally and proliferating signs of an economic comeback, a new TARP regime is being prepared in case insurers lose more money in their stock portfolios, or their bond investments, or their residential- and commercial-mortgage purchases. (By the way, corporate bonds -- which are heavily owned by life insurers to pay out retirement contracts -- are rallying big time, with prices rising and yields declining.)
But for those insurers who may lose money on their investments, tough luck. A lot of these insurers own variable annuities, which are retirement products that guarantee minimum returns no matter what happens to the stock market. Most of these products won't come due for ten years or more. And the break-even point is something like 600 on the S&P 500 index, which is now above 850 and rising.
Not all life insurers would be eligible for bailout funds -- only those that own federally chartered banks or thrifts, like Hartford Financial, Genworth, Prudential, MetLife, and Lincoln National. But a recent Wall Street Journal article indicates that a number of life insurers are doing very well and still have triple-A gilt-edged ratings. These include MassMutual, New York Life, Northwestern Mutual, and TIAA-CREF.
A senior executive at a large Midwestern insurance company e-mailed me to say he's against an insurance-industry TARP: "Those that are in trouble, including Conseco, Genworth, Phoenix, The Hartford, etc., should go the way of the dodo bird. Imagine some Treasury bureaucrat investing your 401(k) or retirement-plan money, or worse setting prices on your insurance policy."
A recent Bloomberg accounting of the federal financial-rescue package puts the grand total at $2.5 trillion for taxpayers on the hook. That's a lot of future debt. And that total does not include the Federal Reserve's $1.7 trillion, which is about to grow by at least another $1.5 trillion. It's unclear right now how much money the life insurers might get from TARP. And with members of Congress on recess -- and undoubtedly hearing a mouthful from constituents who are fed up with bailout nation -- it remains to be seen if our elected lawmakers will actually back up the Treasury's life-insurance bailout.
But is there any limit to this administration's intentions to interfere and perhaps control large swaths of our economy? And do these life-insurance mavens know what they're getting into by going on the hook to Congress? And does anybody remember that free-market capitalism is about success and failure?
Just say no to expanded TARP for insurance companies or anybody else. That's the real message of the homegrown tea-party revolts against bailout nation and the higher taxes, deficits, and debt being used to finance it. Folks are trying to tell Washington on the April 15th tax day that enough is enough. They can't take it anymore."
This article first appeared on Kudlow's Money Politic$. "
Awesome article all the way through, hope you enjoy!!!
"Mind Programming - From Persuasion to Metaphysics
By Eldon Taylor April 13th, 2009
Source Dream Manifesto
"To get up each morning with the resolve to be happy . . . is to set our own conditions to the events of each day. To do this is to condition circumstances instead of being conditioned by them." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Imagine that within you was a genie, a veritable creation machine capable of bringing you anything you desired - good and bad. Let's imagine that you were unaware of this genie within or had heard about it but disbelieved. Perhaps you'd tried to believe and discovered that it was bogus - the whole thing about the genie within was just so much superstitious mumbo jumbo.
We're all familiar with such phrases as "the power of the mind," "mind over matter," and "the mind-body connection." We've heard of spontaneous healings and achieving or creating the life of our dreams. Most of us have even experienced some of this, even if it appears to be in very limited ways.
Almost everyone today has at least heard of the book and movie The Secret. They were marketed in an absolutely magnificent manner, and although they contain no real secrets, they nevertheless retold in new ways the inner mystical teachings of all ages. The Secret informed readers and viewers that one's mind was a genie of sorts, for whatever it held in sufficient detail it would attract or create, and these two words were actually interchangeable in this context.
Maybe you watched The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, or some other program and heard of the magnificent wealth and abundance that people had attracted using The Secret. Perhaps you grabbed a book, CD, or DVD all about the Law of Attraction and pored through it to glean the exact hows, whys, and wherefores.
Now armed with the secret knowledge and the testimony of so many, you created a vision board and printed out affirmations that you pasted everywhere so you'd constantly see them. You began visualizing all the things you wanted to attract and even started down the road of daily meditation. You got on the Internet and looked up such terms as New Age and metaphysical. You subscribed to numerous mailing lists, tuned in to New Age Internet radio shows, and began to buy self-help books. Alas, nothing wonderful happened.
Unfortunately, that's the experience of most people who tuned in to the idea of the genie within. Some, however, found a different result. They manifested their home, a special relationship, or the like. Not many achieved this, mind you, but some. Why?
The mind is that genie, and it's the doorway to the manifestation process, although its role is often misunderstood. It's an entry point, a doorway, not the manifestation tool per se. The mind provides the pictures, not the feeling. It organizes our activity to build a vision board, post the affirmations, and so forth. It invests some learned belief (expectation) in the process. Actually, the mind's highest role is inhibition.
Let me say that again: The mind's highest role is inhibition!
The Human Mind
Like it or not, we're all the product of millions of years of survival evolution. Wired in every one of us, no matter what our calling-including the highest evolved of spiritual beings now walking the earth - are primitive mechanisms that respond to primitive and sometimes rather gross stimuli. Often, stimuli that we consciously claim as reprehensible are nevertheless processed subconsciously in ways that drive us toward seeking more of the same. Those mechanisms respond to fight and flight, taboo images, socially fearful rejections, and similar stimuli in a mechanical way - thus, the term mechanism.
The human brain is a marvel of evolution, and one of its most splendid developments as far as human consciousness is concerned is the cerebral cortex. One of my early teachers, Professor Carl LaPrecht, used to say, "Whenever you find something in nature in great abundance, pay attention. It is critical to the system." The cortex or gray matter is by far the largest part of the brain. And it's within the cortex that inhibitory power resides.
The cortex is the brake. Cortical power inhibits impulses that aren't in our best interest or the result of our best intentions. The cortex shuts off the television when the content is violent, suggestive of disease and illness, or otherwise contains matter that's purely garbage. Our minds are like large trash containers: we can put anything into them. And like Dumpsters, they're difficult to clean out. Dumpsters don't tip over easily, and to clean one requires climbing inside, perhaps with a garden hose, a bucket of hot water, cleaning products, brushes, and so forth. What a tedious and nasty job.
All of us have minds, of course, and evidence suggests that when we come into the world our minds aren't blank slates, despite the tabula-rasa argument by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant.1 No, it appears that certain predispositions and even some types of knowledge (cell memory and more) are already written in our minds when we make our first inhalation. Still, the content of our mind that's acquired following birth is the beginning of what we shall eventually hold as both our identity and our knowledge/beliefs.
The Law of Attraction
You may have heard of the three components of the Law of Attraction - ask, believe, and receive. This sounds really easy until you question the degree of your belief, and that's where most people fail. I actually divide belief into three components that must be activated in the proper sequence to manifest using the inner genie. These components are:
1. The emotional input that's passionate and convinced
2. The confidence/mental element that can simply and truly visualize something and then let it go, knowing it will happen
3. The spiritual sincerity that realizes at the deepest level of our beings that we're a gift from the Creator. Knowing that, we release our vision, for we believe this or something better, according to the highest good of all concerned.
Anything that would distract from thinking, feeling, and knowing these three components will, in direct proportion, sabotage our efforts at manifesting our desires.
Given this understanding, it becomes easier to see why some people first manifest their desires, only to lose their treasures and find themselves worse off than they were before, some fail to manifest at all, and others seem to manifest the opposite of what they're seeking.
With this under your belt, you might ask, as I did: Why do most people seem handicapped by the inability to use the genie within and create the reality they deserve?
The Dumpster analogy is the first clue to answering this question. The garbage some hold in their minds would be frightening if it were visible to the public eye. As Strongheart, the German shepherd hero of the movies, put it in his letters to Boone, "What a dreadful sight to see people's faces as incomplete as their minds." I would paraphrase: "What a horrible sight to see people's faces as grotesque as the worst in their minds."
I'd like to imagine a world full of joy, peace, balance, and harmony. That's truly difficult to do when nature seems so callous and carnivorous. As I think about this, I realize that I'm anthropomorphizing nature, so I turn my thoughts to humans, where I find such horrible acts that a lion killing a lamb is innocent in comparison. How do we truly find peace, balance, and harmony? How do we gain spiritual sincerity and merge this with the right balance of mental and emotional stuff to manifest a world full of peace, balance, and harmony?
For some, manifestation is about things such as cars, swimming pools, houses, riches, sexy this and that, and the gratification of other sensual desires. For the spiritually sincere, manifestation is first about peace, balance, and harmony and then about health and individual happiness. These are complex issues that labels alone don't cover, so we can let the subject rest with this: each individual has a purpose for being here; and when individuals seek to manifest according to their purpose, they're enlightening themselves and the world around them.
Back to the main point: the mind is both ignition and brake. First thing in the morning, I open my eyes and begin talking to myself. My thoughts may recognize a dream or immediately turn to the new day's itinerary.
The mind goes immediately to delivering the inner world of thoughts, beliefs, ambitions, goals, and so forth. That constant stream of consciousness-self-talk-informs us of our mood, attitudes, likes, dislikes, and so much more. It's this stream of consciousness that reflects the contents of our "Dumpster."
We started this chapter by imagining a genie within. I believe that this inner genie actually exists, but if you don't, that's okay. What I intend to show you is that the genie has been creating all along, even if you think that it's only some concocted get-rich scheme. In fact, the worse your life might seem, the higher the probability that the genie is working hard at fulfilling your every fear (emotion), thought (expectation), and spiritual insight ("Life sucks, and then you die"). It's in precisely this way that your hopes and ambitions are slain. Thus, your mind has been turned into the slayer.
To adequately illustrate my point, I must make a case that will at times lead us into some dark areas. For years, I practiced criminalistics. During that time, I ran lie-detection tests, conducted investigations, did forensic hypnosis, and more. I remember well a case in which a young man was accused of murdering his mother after sexually abusing her. This was about as dark and sinister a crime as it was possible to work on.
Thoughtfully reconstructing all I knew about this case had (forgive the expression) its "upchuck moments." The accused son had been convicted of the crime when I became involved. The moral I wish to share with you is this: the boy didn't commit the crime, and we proved it. He's free today as a result. If I'd refused to explore that so-called dark side, things might well have been much different, because it was largely my findings and testimony that freed him.
Again, in order to make the case, we must journey through some nasty things just as detectives do. I wish there was another way, but there isn't. Indeed, there's so much misinformation that our arguments, either pro or con, must rise above the fray in all respects. Sometimes that means going to the proverbial horse's mouth.
There was a time in my life when I worked to have good street contacts (informants). Developing these contacts could mean going down to their hangouts and fitting in. If you stay with me, I promise that we'll come out of those places with a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. I warn you, though, if you're totally innocent and wish to stay that way, don't come! Close the book now.
If, however, you're like most people and truly wish to understand how your choices have been programmed, how your thinking is often controlled, and how the art of persuasion is used against you and by you every day, then stay with me. This and much more will be found in the pages that follow.
One more warning: Parts of this book are not for children. Please keep it out of their reach. It isn't the Kama Sutra, and you're not going to find erotic adventures inside, but there are some brutal psychological facts and misuses that are visually portrayed. I'm certain that some of what follows will offend, and I apologize in advance. But I also know that you truly do have a genie within; and once you get the garbage out of the Dumpster, once you call upon the cortical power to stop the input processes that insert the junk, and once you see the easy antidotes to cleaning out the garbage, the journey will have been more than worthwhile.
The genie within is your birthright and
manifesting the glory of the Creator
by carrying out your purpose
is the highest and best gift
you can give the Giver.
Part of my purpose in life has been revealing and resisting improper uses of persuasion techniques while cultivating and developing their proper uses. I hope that when you've finished reading this book, you'll find that I've lived up to my understanding, at least in part.
Our minds are the source of our imagination and ambition. I've suggested a genie within as a metaphor for the ability our minds have to create the life of our choosing. Yet accessing this genie isn't quite that simple. Although we like to think of ourselves as being the most evolved of the animal kingdom, wired into our being are primitive mechanisms. Life, peer pressure, enculturation, and planned manipulations of these mechanisms all influence our inner genie. As a result, our lives can appear to be out of our control. How did the manipulation even begin?"
Abraham-Hicks Daily Quote
" A bunch of weak people, even in numbers, aren't strong. Get a whole bunch of confused people together and see how much clarity comes out of it. In other words, you just can't add one more confused person to the pot, and expect to get any more clarity... One-standing outside of the confused group-who is clear, is more powerful than a million who are confused."
" If you know that all is well, you know all you need to know. And if you know life is supposed to be fun, you know more than almost anybody else knows. And if you know that the way you feel is your indicator of how connected you are to Source, then you know that which only a handful of Deliberate Creators, respective to the total population, really know. The beasts all know it. Your animals know that all is well. Your animals live in the moment. They understand the power of their now. They expect the Universe to yield to them. They don't worry or fret or conjure or make laws or rules or try to regulate. They are Pure Positive Energy. Your beasts vibrate more on the Energy scale of contentment than of passion. Their desire was set forth from Nonphysical, and continues to be set forth by those, like you, who want Energy balance, who want sustenance. The difference between the beast and the human is that the beast is more general in its intent. The human is usually less blended, usually less allowing of the Energy to flow, but is more specific. And that is why the human is seen to be the Creator while the beast is more the balancer of Energy."
" You live in a pulsating, vibrating Universe of advanced harmonics. Everything that exists, in your air, in your dirt, in your water, and in your bodies, is vibration in motion-and all of it is managed by the powerful Law of Attraction. There is nothing that exists outside of this vibrational nature, and as you learn to accept your vibrational nature, and begin to consciously utilize your emotional vibrational indicators, you will gain conscious control of your personal creations and of the outcomes of your life experience."
Part 3 of 3
"The Secret Isn’t A Secret And The Wish Fairy Is A Fraud
By Bill Harris June 22nd, 2007
Source Dream Manifesto
"This is part three of the article "Without Two Important Principles The Secret Won't Benefit You".
"Here’s something else to keep in mind. If you sit around and focus your attention on something you want, but you’re daydreaming, you aren’t going to get it. Why? Because daydreaming is a kind of thinking that already has lack of action built into it. There’s a huge difference between thinking about something when you’re in wishing mode, and thinking about the same thing when you’re in acting mode. If you want to create something, always do your thinking while in acting mode.
But let’s get back to creating that $100,000 a year. I’ve already mentioned that focusing on how to do this gives you ideas. But it also causes you to notice resources you might use. You might, for instance, notice books about how to make more money. Or you might notice that someone has a seminar about how to make more money.
It occurs to me as I’m thinking about this right now that my friend Harv Eker, for instance, has a great seminar, and a book, about making money. If you Google “Harv Eker,” you’ll see all kinds of offerings he has. I know they’re good, and if you follow his advice you’ll learn how to make more money. Jack Canfield has some great stuff, too, and his book, The Success Principles, is a very complete guide to how people create what they want in the world. I have a very powerful online course that will teach you, in-depth, exactly how to create whatever you want, which I’ll tell you more about later.
There are almost unlimited resources available about how to make money. You usually don’t notice them because you haven’t focused your attention on finding them. Then, of course, when you find them, you have to take action and use them. This is where most people fall down. There’s a price to pay to get what you want in this world, and most people would rather not pay it.
Paying The Price - And Enjoying It
The people you see who are getting what they want in life are almost always those who have figured out how to enjoy paying the price, which of course makes it easy to pay. As I said earlier, this is the essence of the Law of Attraction - the price is just whatever you need to give in order to attract or create what you want. That’s why just sitting there hoping and wishing doesn’t work. When you do that, the only thing you’re putting out is an intention, which, while it’s a good start, is of no value to anyone - unless you act on it.
The resources you begin to notice when you focus on what you want might also include people who could help you. And when you begin to spot such people, you have to keep in mind that if you want their help you have to make it worth their while to help you. This might mean paying them, but you could compensate them in many other ways. You could make them a partner. You could give them a feeling of being a good person who helps others. Or anything in between.
And, quite often, if people who have the ability to help you see that what you have has real merit, some of them will help you just to help you, because they understand the Law of Attraction and they know if they help you it will come back to them in some other way. Often the people who have really mastered the Law of Attraction have so much, and they create what they want so effortlessly, that they just want to give back by helping others.
It Never Hurts To Ask
It never hurts to ask for help, even if you’re not sure how to compensate the other person. But always start with the willingness to compensate them in some way, even if you don’t yet know how. In fact, if you aren’t sure, you could begin by saying, “I’m not sure how at this point to make it worth your while, but I sure could use your help.” Ask, and see what happens, and always be open to compensating the other person in some way, even if you haven’t yet figured out what it might be. In fact, be eager to compensate them.
So, you focus on what you want, and you ask yourself questions such as “How can I make $100,000 a year?” Because of that, you get ideas, you notice resources, you attract or notice people who might be able to help. Focusing on what you want and imagining how good it will feel to get it causes you to feel motivated to act, and so you take action. Then, after you act, notice what happened. Evaluate your action. Your action was either successful or not, or something in between. Whatever happens, you’ll get feedback. If your action worked, you might want to do more of it. If it didn’t work, learn whatever you can from it, and then take another action based on what you learned. Keep acting, evaluating, and then acting again, until you create or attract whatever it is you’re trying to get.
Even if you have to refine your actions many times, you’re still benefiting because you’re gaining wisdom. This is why successful people are so successful. They’ve acted, and received feedback, and acted again, and received more feedback, and have done this so many times that they’ve become wise. They’ve become experts. So be willing to pay the price to become an expert. All these little so-called failures are really tuition in the school of life, and the learning they bring is very valuable.
All the while you’re doing this, of course, you’re remaining focused on where you want to go and what you want to create, and you’ve already decided, in advance, that nothing is going to keep you from getting there. If you slip up, if what you’re doing isn’t working, if you fall on your face, you learn everything you can from what happened, and continue to focus on how to get where you want to go.
This constant focus on the end result, along with taking action, and always trying to think of how to create value for others, always, eventually, gets you there. The only way you can fail is if you’re mistaken about the value of what you provide, or you quit before you get there. You might change your approach for getting there a number of times, based on what you learn, but you otherwise just keep focusing your attention on what you want and acting to get it.
The Secret Shortcut
Now, would you like to know a huge shortcut to this process? I thought so. It’s easy. Find other people who are already successfully doing what you want to do, or getting what you want to get. Then, find out what they’re doing, and copy them. Also, while you’re at it, find out how they’re focusing their mind.
So far I’ve spoken about focusing your mind as if it was a pretty simple “one-size-fits-all” thing to do, but there are actually a number of important things to learn about how to focus your mind, and I’ll tell you a little bit more about that in a moment. For now, just know that it’s very beneficial to find out what the person you’re modeling believes about what they’re doing, what they think is important about it, how they decide what to pay attention to and what to delete from their attention, and many other nuances about how they focus their attention.
And, then, of course, you want to find out what actions they’ve taken to create what you want to create. All of this you can copy, which gives you a huge head start. Then, as you gain wisdom through your own actions, you can add your own twist to what you learned from them.
How do you find these people? First, just asking yourself that question “How do I find people who are successfully doing what I want to do?” causes you to think of ways to find them. But just off the top of my head, I can think of a few ways. Again, you can use Google. You can find books they’ve written. Ask other people if they know someone. You can look in the Yellow Pages. You can spot them in the newspaper. Many people are selling information on doing many of the typical things someone might want to know how to do, in the same way Harv Eker is teaching people how to make money.
How To Get What You Don’t Want
Now, let’s talk about the other side of the coin. What happens when you focus on what you don’t want? Actually, the process works the same way, except you end up getting what you don’t want instead of what you do want. Whatever you focus on, you mind takes it as an instruction to create or attract it. And, as I said earlier, your mind is very good at creating or attracting whatever you focus on.
If you focus on not being poor, for instance, your mind will get busy figuring out how you can be poor. If you focus on not being anxious, you’re mind will figure out how to make you feel anxious. If you focus on not making a mistake, you’ll make mistakes.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that you create it, the other big penalty for focusing on what you don’t want is that you get to feel bad. All bad feelings - anger, anxiety, fear, confusion, panic, depression, annoyance, shame, guilt, hopelessness, or anything else - come from focusing on what you don’t want. This is the flip side of feeling good when you focus on what you want, especially if you’re taking action, and that action has value.
When you focus on what you don’t want, or what you’re worried about, or what you’re afraid of, or what you want to avoid, you put your mind to work creating it, and you feel bad. Both of these penalties obviously make focusing on what you don’t want a bad idea. In fact, focusing on what you don’t want is poison to your life.
But how does focusing on what you don’t want affect the second principle, taking action? When you focus on what you don’t want, one of two things happens. You might, as a result, not take any action, which is a kind of action, with its own results (or lack of results). If you’re afraid of making a mistake, you might avoid acting, and the very failure to act is, in and of itself, a type of mistake. When you don’t act, you always know what will happen. Nothing.
Or, you might, ironically, take an action, driven by your fear, that creates the very thing you don’t want. Not wanting to make a mistake, you act in a way that creates mistakes. Not wanting to make a bad investment, you figure out a way to become attracted to bad or risky investments, or you fail to learn what you need to know to make an good decision. Not wanting your business to fail, you are led to take the very actions that do make it fail.
I see this all the time among my students. They focus on avoiding something they’re afraid of or worried about, and (almost) as if by magic, they create it. The mind is ingenious in creating what you focus on, and it doesn’t care whether it’s what you want or what you don’t want.
For this reason, it’s crucial that you focus your mind consciously and intentionally. Your mind is always focusing on something. As I said earlier, it isn’t that you can’t manifest what you focus on, it’s that you’re very likely choosing what to focus on automatically, unconsciously. What you focus on is very often driven by past events, childhood decisions and traumas, that cause you to focus on what you don’t want at least some of the time.
Here’s how it works. When you are traumatized during childhood (and the trauma can be quite unintentional), you develop a belief that the world is a dangerous place, or at least a potentially dangerous place. In order to avoid this danger, you have to watch out for it. To do that you have to focus your attention on it, and there you are, giving your mind an instruction to create or attract the very thing you don’t want.
So The Secret is a wonderful thing. It works - especially if you add the second and third principles I’ve shared with you. But it’s like electricity. You can light up a city with it, or electrocute yourself. You can only use The Secret to get what you want to the extent that you can consciously and intentionally direct your attention. As long what you focus on is chosen without conscious intention, you’re going to find yourself attracting and creating, at least some of the time, some things you don’t want.
And some people are unfortunately attracting a lot of what they don’t want, a lot of the time.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can develop the awareness and the ability to use it to intentionally direct your focus. You can turn off the autopilot. This is why < snip > is so powerful, because it increases your ability to be aware, to live consciously rather than automatically. As your awareness grows, you clearly see how your focus creates what happens in your life, and as you watch this happen it becomes more and more difficult to focus on what you don’t want, and much easier to focus on what you do want.
It’s not an accident that so few people are truly successful. Success, in whatever way you define it, flows directly from focusing on what you want, and then, as a result, taking action that is of value to the world. If you can’t focus intentionally, though, this process becomes very difficult.
You Can’t Focus On What You Have Deleted
It also becomes easier to implement The Secret in your life if you better understand the focusing process. In this discussion I’ve treated focusing as a simple process, but it’s actually a complex cognitive process. There are many steps, and they whiz by very quickly, mostly outside your awareness. For instance, you have dozens of mental filters that delete much of what comes in through your senses, then distorts (sometimes in a positive way, and sometimes in a negative way) what is left.
Why does this matter? Well, you can’t focus on what has been deleted from your awareness. What if, for instance, you delete some - or even all - of the possibilities? Many people do this. When they look around, there are no possibilities! I correspond with people everyday who tell me that they see no possibilities, yet the same possibilities are actually available to them, as to anyone else. But because they’ve filtered them out, they aren’t there.
And this is just one of twenty-some filters people unconsciously use before they ever get to the part of the process where they focus on something.
People filter out possibilities, solutions, ideas, resources, ideas, kindnesses, love, what they could be grateful for, and all kinds of things. Many people filter things in such a way that all they see are problems and what is wrong. They have nothing left to focus on but what they don’t want! Can you see how it would be valuable if you could consciously choose how to use these filters?
We unfortunately don’t have room here to go through the entire process by which you focus your mind. However, even if you know nothing about this, other than to focus as much as possible on what you want - and you’re willing to take action and to do whatever you can to make sure your actions are of value to others - you’ll get results that are head and shoulders above those achieved by other people.
However, I invite you to consider the possibility that you could master this internal focusing process, by taking my online course, < snip >. Those who master this process tap into a power that allows them to do or achieve anything they put their mind to. There’s no reason why you couldn’t be one of them.
I also invite you, if you aren’t already doing so, to use < snip > to increase your conscious awareness (and to get all the other mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits it brings). You can get a < snip > and a free Special Report.
The Secret Isn’t A Secret And The Wish Fairy Is A Fraud
The Secret really isn’t a secret. It’s been around for thousands of years, and many people have taught it in many different forms. The only reason it can be referred to as a “secret” is that very few people actually use it. It’s been estimated that about 2% of people actually embrace the three principles I’ve described and commit themselves to using them consistently. Or, if they try to use the first principle, they skip the second two and insist on wishing and hoping and believing in magic, eternally waiting for the Wish Fairy to give them
what they want.
I’m hoping that you’ll be one of those who embrace these principles and actually use them. And I am here, along with my staff, to help you use the tools we’ve created to become happy, peaceful, and successful, and to create whatever you want in life."
Part 2 of 3
"The Secret Won’t Work Without Asking the Magic Question
By Bill Harris June 20th, 2007
Source Dream Manifesto
"This is part two of the article “Without Two Important Principles The Secret Won't Benefit You”.
"Now here’s a really easy way to focus your attention on what you want. I call it the Magic Question, but again, it really isn’t magic. To focus your attention on something you want to create or attract, ask yourself, “How can I create X?” whatever X is, or “How can I get X?” Sometimes, if you’re in what seems to be a particularly bad situation, you might say, “Given that I’m in this situation, what can I do to get X?” For instance, if you just lost your job and you have a lot of debts, you might ask yourself, “Okay, given that I’m in this situation, what can I do right now to create a new job and create enough money to pay all these debts?”
When you ask this type of How Can I? question, it focuses your attention on what you want, and in doing so you enlist your mind in finding an answer - in other words, to figure out what you could actually DO to begin creating or attracting what you want.
Then, as you get ideas, you have to act on them. Sitting there wishing and hoping for a miracle, or hoping that a coincidence will slam into you is what NOT to do. Dr. Phil, if he were here, would be asking such a person, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” I know a lot of very successful people, including nearly every teacher who appears in The Secret, and believe me, none of them sit around waiting for a miracle to land on them.
Even the few of them who actually, and in my opinion mistakenly, teach that focusing on what you want is magic, when you watch what they’re actually doing, they are taking action. How they can miss the fact that they are is beyond me, but a few of them - who shall remain nameless–do teach people to just “put it out to the universe” and that no action is necessary. They too, though, take action, but I guess they somehow fail to see the connection between the action they take and the results they get.
If you look around at successful, make-it-happen people, you won’t see any of them who don’t take action.
It only looks like they’re not taking action
Now I’ll admit that sometimes the results can look as if they are coming to a very successful person awfully darned easy and awfully darned quickly, but these results are still coming from action, preceded by focusing on what that person wanted.
My friend Gay Hendricks, along with his wife Katie, have been bestselling authors of books about relationships for over twenty years. Another friend, Jack Canfield, is also a bestselling author. Either one of them can pick up the phone, call a book publisher, tell them an idea for a book, and get a book deal instantly. If some other person wanted a book deal, it could take them years to make it happen. If their idea didn’t have value, based on what the publisher wanted, they might never make it happen.
To someone who did not understand the principle of taking action and the principle of creating value, it might look like Gay or Jack made something happen as if by magic, without taking action. However, in this case the book deal happened quickly because of actions they’d previously taken. In fact, Jack visited scores of publishers with the original Chicken Soup for the Soul book, and was almost ready to give up, when he finally found a publisher willing to print his book. But now, after selling well over 100 million books, he’s already proven that he can create a bestselling book. He’s already taken the action necessary to get a book publisher to send him a contract and a check. The same goes for Gay Hendricks.
I can create a new course or a new product, and Centerpointe program participants will buy it tomorrow, in droves. This isn’t magic, though. It’s the residual of thousands of actions I’ve already taken which have convinced my customers that when I create something, it’s going to be worth it for them to buy it in order to get the benefits. I’ve already taken the required action, and sometimes that makes it look as if little or no action is being taken in order to get a certain outcome.
Will the Wish Fairy Give You a Raise?
Let’s take this down to a more mundane example. If you work in an office, and your boss approaches you and offers you a better job in the company, with more pay, why does he do this? Is it magic? Is it because you’ve been sitting in your cubicle putting it out to the universe that you want a better job with more money? I doubt it. If your boss offers you such a promotion, I’ll bet you anything it’s because of past actions you’ve taken that have convinced your boss that you’re worth the raise, and because he’s pretty sure that your future actions will make it worth his while to give you new responsibilities and more money.
Now, let’s look at the third principle, the idea that the action you take has to benefit someone, that your action has to create value.
Think of it this way. From time to time you give money to other people, right? You pay your electric bill, you pay your car payment, you give money to the supermarket, you give money to the clothing store, or the gas station. Why do you do this? Is it just because you like these people? Is it because they put it out to the universe that you would stop by and give them money?
Well, you might like them, and they probably did sit down and focus on how to get you and other customers to give them some of your money, but when it comes right down to it, you gave them money because they have something you want more than you want the money. Like everyone else, unless it’s just because you love them, you give money to others if you get something valuable in return. What’s more, you’re the sole judge of whether what they have is valuable. It doesn’t matter who else thinks it’s valuable - if you don’t think it is, you don’t give up your money for it.
The ONLY Reason People Will Give You Money
Other than money you might give to someone just because you love them, this is the only reason why money changes hands. This means that if you want money, someone else is going to have to give it to you, and they’re going to use the same criteria you use. If giving you money gets them something they want more than the money, they’ll give you the money. In order to get more money, then, you have to figure out a way to create more benefit, more value. This is really the essence of the Law of Attraction. The amount of money you attract is equal to the value you provide.
This applies to more than money, of course. As the Beatles said in one of their songs, the love you get is equal to the love you give. I’m only talking in terms of money because that’s what most people think of when they think of The Secret and the Law of Attraction. But whatever you want–love, respect, friends, or anything else - you’ll receive it to the extent that you put out, through your actions, something of equivalent value. Be a good friend, and you’ll have friends. Act in a way that invites respect, and you’ll be respected. And so on.
The main point, though, is that for you to get something in this world, you have to give. As Emerson said, the universe’s books are always balanced - which, by the way, also means that you can’t fail to receive when you give, and if you have to wait, you build up interest, you might say, while you wait.
Now, some people struggle, at least partially, because they haven’t found a way to offer very much value, so they don’t make much money. If you’re flipping burgers, it’s probably because you don’t have the skills that make you more valuable to someone else, which means others aren’t willing to trade very much money for whatever you provide. The burger-flipper needs to be reliable enough to show up, smart enough to follow directions, and be able to get along with the other employees, but not much else is required.
It’s also possible that you have something that would be of value to others, but you haven’t found a way to let others know about it. In that case, you have a sales and marketing problem, and you need to find a way to convincingly let others know about the value you could provide for them.
The more valuable you are, the more money you make.
But there’s a solution to this, and it isn’t wishing and hoping. If you don’t have a way to create very much value for others, you can always get more knowledge or more skills. I have people who work for me who know how to take orders over the phone and enter them into the computer, and they do it well.
However, a lot of people can do such a job, so it isn’t a very lucrative job compared, for instance, to someone who knows how to manage people, or who knows how to run a computer network, or who knows how to create an advertisement that creates a lot of sales. Such people end up getting more money because they provide more value. And, they can provide more value because they’ve paid the price to have those skills and that knowledge.
So if you aren’t making as much money as you want, you need to figure out a way to create more value, and you need to figure out a way to make sure people know you have this value. The value could be your ideas, it could be your labor, it could be a product you create or sell, or it could be a service you provide. If it has value, and if you can find a way to make sure people know about it, you’ll make money equivalent to the value you provide. And, of course, none of this will happen unless you take action, and you won’t take action–or know what action to take - unless you begin by focusing your mind on what you want and asking yourself how you can get it.
But please don’t think that you can just wish for something or “put it out to the universe,” and then, without taking action or providing any value, expect to get it. In fact, let me clue you into another aspect of the Law of Attraction. If a random event brings you something, for which you haven’t provided value - something you haven’t paid the price to have - I hate to tell you this, but you still have to pay in some way.
If you win the lottery, you’ve received a bunch of money without having provided value in exchange. You know what happens to nearly all people who win millions in the lottery, don’t you? That’s right. They almost always lose all the money within a few years. Unless that person does something with the money that provides value to others, they’ll find a way to lose it.
And, by the way, this is the way debt works, too. If you go into debt in order to have something before you’ve earned the money, you end up paying more for it. There is a price for everything, and when you pay in advance the price is lower, and when you pay in arrears the price is higher. One of the big secrets to success is to find out what the price is for what you want and pay it, in full, as fast as possible. The price might be money, but it also could be time, experience, learning, work, or something else. Sometimes the price is a series of events that look like failures, but are really preparation for success. But whatever the price is, the faster you pay it, the better. This is what the second two principles are about.
Who wants $100,000?
Okay, let’s take an example to see how you could use these three principles to get what you want. Let’s say that you do want more money, and you realize right away that you don’t yet have a way to provide additional value to others, which is what would qualify you to receive more money. For that reason, no one is giving you money. What do you do? The first thing to do is to use the first principle, the principle of focusing your attention on what you want. “I want more money,” you say. You ask yourself, “How can I get more money?” Notice that I’m using that “How can I?” question again. It’s always a great question to ask because it focuses you on what you want.
It would be even better, though, if you were more specific. I might say, then, “I want to make $100,000 a year. How can I do that?” Or, I might say to myself, “Okay, how can I make $100,000 a year? Many other people do it, so I know it’s doable. How could I do it?” I would keep asking myself this question, and I would focus my attention on discovering a way to do it. Knowing the other two principles, I’d know that when I get an idea, I’m going to have to take action, and the action will have to benefit someone, so I’m keeping that in the back of my mind.
So, what happens? First, you start getting ideas. Right now, off the top of my head, I’m just going to share with you the ideas that come to me, as if I was the person wanting to make $100,000 a year. The first idea that comes to me is to see if I can find out who else is making $100,000 a year. What professions make that much? Well, certainly a lot of people who have their own business make that much. A guy who owns a McDonald’s makes more than that much for each store he owns. Someone who owns a couple of dry cleaning stores probably makes that much. I could probably go online and find through Google a whole list of types of jobs that make $100,000 a year.
People who sell certain products online, or through the mail, probably make that much. Certain professional speakers, or authors, make that much. Someone who sells real estate can make that much, or more, and so can insurance agents. So one idea that came to me was to check out who’s actually making this kind of money, because that might give me ideas for how I could do it. By finding this out, I could at least save myself from doing something that I think will make me a lot of money when in actual fact few if any people actually make that kind of money doing it.
For instance, I see a lot of people in certain MLM-type businesses, but rarely do I see anyone who even makes $1000 a month, let alone significant money. I’m not trying to bash MLMs in general, because some of them are great, and I’m not saying it isn’t possible to make good money in MLM, but if you’re looking for a way to make a lot of money, wouldn’t it make sense to avoid something where nearly everyone who does it fails?
If you want to start a business, do a little checking before you act and find out what other people in that business are making."
To be continued .......
Part 1 of 3
"Without Two Important Principles The Secret Won’t Benefit You
By Bill Harris June 18th, 2007
Source Dream Manifesto
"Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve heard of the hit DVD movie, The Secret, which I was fortunate enough to have participated in. The Secret has developed into quite a phenomenon. Many of the teachers who appeared in it have appeared on Oprah! and Larry King Live, and several other national television programs. Hundreds of thousands of people have watched the DVD, and those who have are hungry for information on how to implement what many people call the Law of Attraction. I want to share my take on The Secret and the Law of Attraction, and talk about what you can do to put these principles into action in your own life.
As powerful as The Secret is, there are a few things - a few very important things - it either leaves out, or de-emphasizes. I want to discuss these things, because once you understand them you’ll have the maximum ability to use these important principles to take change of your life. Without them, The Secret won’t benefit you at all.
My belief is that there is a way, no matter who you are, and regardless of your past or present circumstances, to master your life, to master your mind, and to create anything you want in life. The Secret describes a part of how to do that. It’s a very important part, but it’s still just a part. I want to tell you about the other parts, and share some of the practical details, the “how-to,” of what I and the other teachers talked about in The Secret, because there’s more to The Secret and the Law of Attraction than just putting something out to the universe and hoping to get something back.
As the people who made The Secret have said, it’s true that for thousands of years a certain small segment of the population has known about and used this secret, and that those who’ve known it and have used it have prospered in extraordinary ways, and have influenced the world in ways that have seemed almost magical to those who don’t understand this secret. But you need to know more than generalizations about this secret in order to fully implement it, and I want to share some of that with you.
Before I get into some of the nuts and bolts, I want to tell you about two aspects of this secret that were not emphasized in The Secret DVD and book. I’m sharing this with you because these two additional aspects of The Secret are crucial, and if you leave them out, The Secret doesn’t work.
What you focus on creates your life - but it ain’t magic!
Let’s start out, then, by acknowledging that it’s true that you create in reality, in one way or another, whatever you focus your attention on. Your life is going to be an outcome of where you predominantly place your attention. There are, of course, as I said, some things you need to know about the how-to of this in order to get all the benefits, and I’ll talk about that in a moment. What is unfortunate, in my opinion, is that all too often people think that all you have to do is focus your attention on what you want, and then, in some magical way, you’ll get it.
I will say that the way this law works does seem like magic, especially when you first use it and see your results suddenly change from dismal to successful, but there is no magic involved, and without the second two principles I’m going to share, you’ll end up being nothing but a wishful thinker, wondering how long this “Secret” stuff is going to take. I know because I get many letters from people asking me how long it’s going to take, and I have to truthfully tell them that if all they do is focus their attention on what they want, it’s going to take forever.
So let’s look at these other two principles I mentioned, and then we’ll get into some of the nuts and bolts of how to focus your mind in a way that really works. The first principle you heard a lot about in The Secret DVD - the fact that what you place your attention on you tend to create or attract into your life. However, if you stop there, not much happens. After you place your attention on what you want to create or manifest, you have to use the second principle, which is to then take action to get it.
Forget About the Wish Fairy
Yes, I hate to break this to you, but if you want money - or anything else, for that matter - you can’t just wish for it. Whether you want great relationships, a fulfilling career, good health, or anything else, in addition to focusing your attention on what you want, you also have to take action.
And the action you take also has to, in some way, be of value to the world, and to other people. You could act your ass off, but if your action has no value for anyone, you won’t get anything back. This is why they call it the Law of Attraction. You get back what you put out. To get value, you have to give value. That’s the way it works.
For some of the people who come to me, or the other teachers you saw in The Secret, life isn’t working so well. I know what that’s like, because I used to be one of them. Such people aren’t making much money, usually. They very often aren’t in a fulfilling career. Their relationships aren’t satisfying. They don’t feel happy and peaceful. Their health may not be very good. Many of them feel very lost in the world. They sometimes feel like, well, like losers in the game of life.
Often such people don’t have the skills that allow them to offer a lot of value. That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t develop those skills, or in some other way figure out how to create value in the world, but at the present time they either don’t have the skills or don’t know how to use them to create benefit for others.
You see, the problem is that such people - and remember, I used to be one of them, so I understand the thought process - such people would LOVE to find out that there’s a magic way to become prosperous, popular, respected, happy, and loved. Then, when someone comes along and tells them to just “put it out to the universe” it almost becomes a cruel joke, because to create the kind of life I just described, you have to do more than just think about it or wish for it.
I want everyone who feels lost and discouraged about creating the life they want to know that while you can’t JUST focus your attention on what you want, it isn’t that difficult to add these other two principles, and, having added them, you can learn how to have everything you want in life. It isn’t magic, and it isn’t difficult, but there is a price to pay. My career, once I found it, albeit late in life, is about showing people what that price is, and then showing them the easy way to pay it.
Here’s How It Works…
So let’s look at the first principle, what most people think of now as The Secret - the idea that what you place your attention on is manifested in reality. This is a solid, real, principle, but it isn’t magic. Here’s why this principle works - if, of course, you use the other two principles with it.
When you focus your attention on something you want to create or attract, several things happen. Your mind is a very powerful goal-seeking mechanism. You just have to give it a goal, and it gets busy figuring out how to get it. When you focus on something, your mind takes it as an instruction to figure out how to create or attract whatever you’ve focused on. In fact, right now, you’re already using that power. The problem isn’t a lack of ability to manifest what you focus on, but rather a lack of conscious and intentional control over what you focus on.
In other words, most people focus their mind unconsciously and unintentionally. Their focus runs on autopilot. Your mind was pre-set to focus in a certain way during childhood, and now it just runs on automatic. Depending on what happened while you were growing up, your mind focuses a certain amount of the time on what you want, and a certain amount of the time on what you want to avoid. Either way, though, it attracts or creates it.
Here’s how it works. Now remember that this first principle works in conjunction with the other two - taking action, and making sure the action is of value to someone. So when you focus on something you want to create or attract, a number of things happen. First, you get ideas about what actions you could take. If you want to attract a glass of lemonade, you think about having it, and your mind immediately suggests that you go to the kitchen, if you have some lemonade there, or take a trip to the supermarket to buy some, if you don’t. Instantly, you get ideas about what action to take in order to make your idea a reality.
Turning Wishes Into Lemonade
You can probably see that sitting there visualizing lemonade without doing something about it is a belief in magic, and if that’s all you do you’re not going to get lemonade. Even if someone walks into the room just as you think of lemonade, and you ask them to get you some, you’ve still taken action. And, if by some coincidence you thought of lemonade and right then someone walked into the room and said, “I was wondering if you’d like some lemonade?” this is not happening because you thought about lemonade. A lot of magic-believers would like to think so, but you could sit there every day and think about lemonade, and it would be a long time before that method would work again.
Scientists have a name for this. It’s called a coincidence. People who believe in magic turn coincidences into evidence, but that doesn’t make it so, and you can easily prove this to yourself by thinking of lemonade the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that, and finding out what happens. What will happen is that no lemonade will manifest the next day, or the next, or the next, unless you get up out of your chair and take action to find some.
How to find all the resources you need
So the first thing that happens when you focus on getting something is that your mind generates ideas about how to get it, ideas about what actions you could take to get it. The second thing that happens is that you begin to notice resources you could use in getting what you want. You might notice people who could help you that you weren’t noticing before. You might suddenly become aware of information, books, seminars, TV shows, or whatever, that previously you had not noticed.
Perhaps you’ve had the experience of wanting to learn about something and going to a bookstore. Suddenly you see all kinds books about the subject that you never noticed before, and would have just walked right by if you hadn’t told your mind to notice them.
Let’s say you’re driving down the street and you decide you want an Italian meal. If there are any Italian restaurants on that street, will you notice them? Of course. Would you have noticed them if you hadn’t focused your attention on Italian food? Probably not.
When you focus your attention on something, your mind develops a kind of radar that causes resources to wave little red flags at you, and to almost jump into your arms, or at least into your awareness. But again, you can see how this relates to taking action, because these resources you notice are useful only if you use them.
Okay, so far, by focusing on what you want, you’ve begun to develop some ideas about how to get it, and you’ve started noticing resources you could use. Next, focusing on what you want causes you to become motivated to act. Because you’re thinking about what you want, and about how you’ll feel when you get it - good, probably - you become motivated to do something, to take action.
You can be a high-quality person
And, finally, focusing on what you want causes you to tap into or develop certain internal qualities that help you to get it, such things as courage, or persistence, or focus. Because you’re focused on what you want, and are thinking about the benefits of having what you want and imagining how good it will feel, you’re more likely to be persistent, to focus your attention, to be disciplined, to be self-reliant, to take personal initiative, to use your imagination, and to be enthusiastic.
Those who focus on what they want develop all of these personal qualities, and, depending on what qualities are needed in order to create what you want, possibly others. And, the more and the longer you focus on what you want, and the more positive emotion you add, the more these qualities become part of your personality.
So focusing your mind in the way described in The Secret causes you to have ideas, to notice people and resources that could help you, to become motivated to act, and to develop internal qualities that will help you act to get what you want. You can see, then, how incredibly valuable focusing your attention on what you want can be. If you’ve ever wondered why some people seem to have so many ideas, how they seem to always find the resources they need or the people who can help them, how they stay motivated, and how they seem to have all these amazing personal qualities, now you know. They did it by continually focusing their attention on what they want and then taking valuable action.
To be continued…
This video is making its way around the internet, very high energy entertainment suitable for all ages. Hope you enjoy!!
This dance team is 4th thru 8th graders from a school in Ohio and they are unbelievable. Well worth the watch. This first performance is at the United States Naval Academy.
Bringing this blog post forward, below is the print version of his message.
"THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE HAS BEEN REPEALED
By DICK MORRIS
Published on DickMorris.com on April 6, 2009
"On April 2, 2009, the work of July 4, 1776 was nullified at the meeting of the G-20 in London. The joint communiqué essentially announces a global economic union with uniform regulations and bylaws for all nations, including the United States. Henceforth, our SEC, Commodities Trading Commission, Federal Reserve Board and other regulators will have to march to the beat of drums pounded by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), a body of central bankers from each of the G-20 states and the European Union.
The mandate conferred on the FSB is remarkable for its scope and open-endedness. It is to set a "framework of internationally agreed high standards that a global financial system requires." These standards are to include the extension of "regulation and oversight to all systemically important financial institutions, instruments, and markets...[including] systemically important hedge funds."
Note the key word: "all." If the FSB, in its international wisdom, considers an institution or company "systemically important", it may regulate and over see it. This provision extends and internationalizes the proposals of the Obama Administration to regulate all firms, in whatever sector of the economy that it deems to be "too big to fail."
The FSB is also charged with "implementing...tough new principles on pay and compensation and to support sustainable compensation schemes and the corporate social responsibility of all firms."
That means that the FSB will regulate how much executives are to be paid and will enforce its idea of corporate social responsibility at "all firms."
The head of the Financial Stability Forum, the precursor to the new FSB, is Mario Draghi, Italy's central bank president. In a speech on February 21, 2009, he gave us clues to his thinking. He noted that "the progress we have made in revising the global regulatory framework...would have been unthinkable just months ago."
He said that "every financial institution capable of creating systemic risk will be subject to supervision." He adds that "it is envisaged that, at international level, the governance of financial institutions, executive compensation, and the special duties of intermediaries to protect retail investors will be subject to explicit supervision."
In remarks right before the London conference, Draghi said that while "I don't see the FSF [now the FSB] as a global regulator at the present time...it should be a standard setter that coordinates national agencies."
This "coordination of national agencies" and the "setting" of "standards" is an explicit statement of the mandate the FSB will have over our national regulatory agencies.
Obama, perhaps feeling guilty for the US role in triggering the international crisis, has, indeed, given away the store. Now we may no longer look to presidential appointees, confirmed by the Senate, to make policy for our economy. These decisions will be made internationally.
And Europe will dominate them. The FSF and, presumably, the FSB, is now composed of the central bankers of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States plus representatives of the World Bank, the European Union, the IMF, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Europe, in other words, has six of the twelve national members. The G-20 will enlarge the FSB to include all its member nations, but the pro-European bias will be clear. The United States, with a GDP three times that of the next largest G-20 member (Japan), will have one vote. So will Italy.
The Europeans have been trying to get their hands on our financial system for decades. It is essential to them that they rein in American free enterprise so that their socialist heaven will not be polluted by vices such as the profit motive. Now, with President Obama's approval, they have done it."
Dead skunk in the middle of the road.
"W.H. team discloses TARP firm ties
By KENNETH P. VOGEL | 4/3/09 10:49 PM EDT
"Those are among the associations detailed in personal financial disclosure statements released Friday.
Lawrence Summers, a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, pulled in more than $2.7 million in speaking fees paid by firms at the heart of the financial crisis, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America Corp. and the now-defunct Lehman Brothers.
He pulled in another $5.2 million last year from D.E. Shaw, a hedge fund for which he served as managing director from October 2006 until joining the administration.
Thomas E. Donilon, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, was paid $3.9 million last year by the power law firm O’Melveny & Myers to represent clients, including two firms that received federal bailout funds: Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. He also disclosed that he’s a member of the Trilateral Commission and sits on the steering committee of the supersecret Bilderberg group. Both groups are favorite targets of conspiracy theorists.
And White House Counsel Greg Craig last year earned $1.7 million in private practice representing an exiled Bolivian president, a Panamanian lawmaker wanted by the U.S. government for allegedly murdering a U.S. soldier and a tech billionaire accused of securities fraud and various sensational drug and sex crimes.
Those are among the associations detailed in personal financial disclosure statements released Friday night by the White House. The income reported on the forms mostly covers 2008 and in some cases the beginning of 2009.
Presidential appointees are required to disclose information about their income, assets and investments, and those of their spouses and dependent children, within 60 days of starting work. And the disclosure forms filed by many appointees to top agency jobs have been available for public inspection for some time, thanks to the federal Freedom of Information Act.
But the White House is largely exempt from the act, and Obama press aides dragged their feet on reporters’ requests for the disclosure documents filed by officials in the Executive Office of the President.
Craig disclosed that his work for Williams & Connelly included representing Pedro Miguel Gonzalez Pinzon, a Panamanian lawmaker who allegedly murdered a U.S. soldier in 1992, as well as Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, a former Bolivian president who has lived in exile since 2003, when clashes between protesters and the Bolivian military killed an estimated 70 people and wounded hundreds more.
During the presidential campaign, Craig, then serving as a senior foreign policy adviser to Obama, drew flak for representing Sanchez de Lozada.
Craig also listed among his clients Henry Nicholas, founder of microchip maker Broadcom, who is facing securities fraud charges in an alleged stock option backdating plot. In June, the government unsealed an indictment also detailing a raft of drug and prostitution charges, which Craig called “a kitchen-sink attack on Dr. Nicholas.”
Valerie Jarrett, a senior Obama aide, reported $852,000 in salary and deferred compensation from Habitat Executive Services, a Chicago real estate development and management firm, plus nearly $350,000 in director’s fees from groups including the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and USG Corp.
She also indicated that she served as vice-chairwoman of the committee seeking to lure the 2016 Olympics to Chicago, which paid a public relations firm owned by Obama political guru David Axelrod and to which White House social director Desiree Rogers, another member of the Obama’s inner circle, donated more than $100,000.
Other forms showed that White House ethics lawyer Norm Eisen earned $1.3 million from the firm in which he was a partner, Zuckerman Spaeder, and press secretary Robert Gibbs earned $156,000 from Obama’s presidential campaign and also owns a pair of rental properties in Alexandria, Va., worth as much as $1 million."
Very important video ...... whether you like the person or not please watch even if you have to hold your nose while doing so.
CRITICAL FINANCIAL INFORMATION.
"DickMorrisReports - 4.3.09
Wonderfully articulate article about self reliance and solving our own problems instead of naively believing someone's going rescue us.
by Suzanne Matthiessen
"When listening to both candidate - and now President Barack Obama's eloquent, motivating speeches, I've often nodded in agreement to his call to all Americans, despite their political affiliation, to become more accountable, less divisive, more compassionate, less indulgently consumptive, more transparent and less entitled. His call has been my call to all human beings to be more humane toward one another. Everywhere I turn, people rave about how finally we in the United States have a leader who instills hope for the cause of our shared humanity. And while it is beautiful it also puzzles me, for after all, what President Obama talks about is really simple common sense - yet people act as though it's revolutionary new thought. He's merely bringing voice to what most people seem to want, and have wanted, for their entire lives. If so many people have yearned for this to be the way in which we treat one another, why has it never been actualized?
Perhaps it has to do with individual maturity levels, and the fact that adequate numbers of people hadn't grown up enough until now to actually begin to link up personal aspirations for honorable human interaction, coexistence and mutual respect, regardless of our differences, in a tangible, collaborative fashion. Our mucking about like pigs in the pen was contagious enough to keep us from rising up and out of the mud of petty actions, insecurity-based competition, scarcity thinking, and self-oriented behavior, even though we have grown increasingly weary of a "me me me" materialistic-based culture. A tipping point has possibly just begun to be reached. Maybe we have almost matured enough as a larger body of homo sapiens, and combined with the beauty of perfect timing in Earth-related human history and culture; the elements are perfect to tip people forward toward a new possibility of human existence.
Please note I said possibility.
The other dynamic I've observed with many people who are excited about the possibility of more evolved human coexistence President Obama is presenting is that a ton of weight is being placed upon him as the bringer and solidifier of this potentially more enlightened age. Even the now famous image of then candidate Obama in red, white and blue with the word "hope" at the bottom equates him with hope itself. Although he has said repeatedly it is up to the people of the United States to make that vision of hope a concrete reality, many are depending on him to make it all happen. They have Messiah-ized President Obama, and placed the burden upon his shoulders. "Yes we can - but you are the one who will make it happen."
This stance taken by many worries me, because it's the same taken by any group of people who have been waiting to be saved by someone or some thing outside of themselves. It's also the stance taken by those who don't like to get their hands dirty and do the hard work that allows change to take place both on an individual as well as a collective level. It's the same stance taken by those who'd rather take a pill than to work on becoming well and whole by means of positive lifestyle choices. It's the same stance taken by people who feel all they have to do is visualize what they want to automatically show up in their life and don't feel they need to put in the effort to earn it.
I've seen people who get teary when President Obama speaks about doing the right thing, regardless of the human or global arena he is referring to, who, moments later, refuse to take responsibility for their own actions and criticize others for things that they do as well! If people actually believe they have not been part of the multitude of actions and behaviors that have served to divide people and contribute to the many human-created global dilemmas we now face, it will be very difficult to make possible the world President Obama envisions as reality. That is, unless everyone grows up even more - and grows up real fast - to where this collective tipping point can be more than a figment of an idealistic imagination.
So what do I mean when I saw "grow up"? Let me extract from and expand upon a column I wrote for Oracle 20/20 Magazine over three years ago titled "Impeccability." In it I quote teacher A. Hameed Ali, who said, "Choosing to be an impeccable warrior means choosing to be a person, choosing to be a responsible adult, instead of being your mother's baby. There is dignity in it; you are your own person, your life is your responsibility and you always have the choice to do your best. Impeccability can be in action, in feeling, in thinking. Impeccability can be in terms of the will, in terms of the mind, in terms of the heart." Choosing to live with impeccability - which I have described as being different than being perfect - is at the center of becoming a grown up, mature, whole human being, a man or a woman who has left behind indulging in childish games and myopic attitudes, and the damage such behaviors can cause.
Growing up - and being impeccable - is about living a life of mindful, eyes wide open, accountable choice, always aware that none of us is certain how much time we have on this planet, and that every moment, every thought, every communication, every action matters in terms of our own personal evolution in the time we're given in this life - and knowing there is no certainty we will have another incarnation, another chance to "get it right."
Life as a mature human being is one lived where mistakes are readily owned up to and corrections made simply as a code of honorable behavior, as there is no room for egoic defense when fully embracing the path of integrity and honor toward ourselves, our fellow human beings, and the planet we all share.
Grown up human beings - regardless of their chronological age - see that it's unwise to waste energy, which means not wasting time, knowledge, gifts and talents we've been given, nor taking advantage of, or for granted, people and resources. Our inevitable death is a constant and humbling reference point that keeps the ego in check and our maturity in place. Being grown up is about playing big, not small, and is about paying attention and being fully present regarding all that is going on all around us, and not being lazy on any level. It is about not deluding ourselves with the ignorant, narcotic notion that there are choices without consequence, and owning the fact that denial and blame are useless and ultimately rather petty. Being impeccable, mature human beings means not allowing ourselves to be self-involved or self-indulgent and carry on as victims or entitled spoiled brats. It is the framework for a life lived with constantly mindful self-discipline and inner strength, because, as I have stated many times before, it is not enough to have knowledge or good intentions.
Living impeccably means there is no gap between what you project to believe and how you act, as there is no room for hypocrisy whatsoever. It means being a person of your word, and someone that can be counted on to always show up with integrity no matter what the situation.
A way to constantly reality check yourself is to simply ask in any personal challenge or dilemma you face, "If this were my last moment on earth, is this how I would want to behave?" So instead of drowning your stress and sorrows with food, drink, drugs, gambling, reckless spending or one night stands when you need a rush, choose a different response that is reflective of proactive inner strength instead of reactive self-indulgence. When your first response to being cut off in traffic is to scream obscenities, choose to take calm, deep breaths and practice Tonglen. When you think you can pull off a lie because you know you won't get caught, always remember that is the attitude of babies, not people who play big. When you succumb to the blame game instead of taking personal responsibility for your part in any given situation, know this is radically immature behavior. When you find yourself thinking you are special and above others, regardless of their beliefs or life circumstances, get over yourself and do some anonymous selfless service.
Instead of ingesting toxic substances like cigarettes, chemically laden, unhealthy processed "food" or consuming way more than you need, respect your body and treat it accordingly. Wherever you see imbalance or excessiveness in any area of your life, work to bring about equilibrium. Become mindful of how a lack of regard concerning your own physical, emotional and mental well-being shows a lack of regard for your loved ones as well.
When you realize you have hurt others by your actions or words, go make amends and stop living a life you have to defend or apologize for all the time. When you find yourself beating yourself up or indulging in false humility, stop it. When you find yourself trying to seek approval from outside sources for everything you do, work on developing healthy self-worth. If you simply accept what any person or group says without carefully pondering if it is truthful and valid, take time to investigate and own your own mind. If you find yourself primarily thinking about what you want and need all the time, become mindful of the needs of others too. If you find yourself compulsively attracted to getting caught up in cheap, petty dramas, ask yourself what are you getting out of it, and how are you hurting others? When you find yourself making great excuses instead of just owning your own crap, make the leap into maturity.
Choosing to play big and being a grown up is choosing the right thing to do in every moment, even if you think nobody notices. Let the fact there are no guarantees as to how much time you have to wipe out any ridiculous pride or grudges or notions that you are right and they are wrong and "its up to them to make the first move" attitudes you are self-righteously holding on to which will ultimately make you have to live with regret - because all of a sudden it's too late. Instead of bitching and moaning about how awful things are, go out and be the change you wish to see in the world. Don't wait for President Obama or anyone else to do it for you. Own where you haven't quite grown up yet, and get busy playing big. There really is no time to waste being otherwise. "
© Suzanne Matthiessen, innerevolution media and communications. All rights reserved.
Apr 3, 2009
"Geithner's dirty little secret
By F William Engdahl
Source Asia Times
"US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, in unveiling his long-awaited plan to put the US banking system back in order, has refused to tell the dirty little secret of the present financial crisis. By refusing to do so, he is trying to save de facto bankrupt US banks that threaten to bring the entire global system down in a new more devastating phase of wealth destruction.
The Geithner proposal, his so-called Public-Private Partnership Investment Program, or PPPIP, is not designed to restore a healthy lending system that would funnel credit to business and consumers. Rather it is yet another intricate scheme to pour even more hundreds of billions of dollars directly to the leading banks and Wall Street firms responsible for the current mess in world credit markets, without demanding they change their business model.
Yet, one might say, won't this eventually help the problem by getting the banks back to health?
Not the way the Barack Obama administration is proceeding. In defending his plan on US TV recently, Geithner, a protege of Henry Kissinger and before his present posting president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, argued that his intent was "not to sustain weak banks at the expense of strong". Yet this is precisely what the PPPIP does. The weak banks are the five largest banks in the system.
The "dirty little secret" that Geithner is going to great degrees to obscure from the public is very simple. There are only at most perhaps five US banks that are the source of the toxic poison causing such dislocation in the world financial system. What Geithner is desperately trying to protect is that reality. The heart of the present problem, and the reason ordinary loan losses are not the problem as in prior bank crises, is a variety of exotic financial derivatives, most especially credit default swaps.
In the Bill Clinton administration of 2000, the Treasury secretary was Larry Summers, who had just been promoted from number two under former Goldman Sachs banker Robert Rubin to be number one when Rubin left Washington to take up the post of Citigroup vice chairman. As I describe in detail in my new book, < snip >, to be released this summer, Summers convinced president Clinton to sign several Republican bills into law that opened the floodgates for banks to abuse their powers. The fact that the Wall Street big banks spent some US$5 billion in lobbying for these changes after 1998 was likely not lost on Clinton.
One significant law was the repeal of the 1933 Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited mergers of commercial banks, insurance companies and brokerage firms such as Merrill Lynch or Goldman Sachs. A second law backed by Treasury secretary Summers in 2000 was an obscure but deadly important Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. That law prevented the responsible US government regulatory agency, Commodity Futures Trading Corporation (CFTC), from having any oversight over the trading of financial derivatives. The new CFMA law stipulated that so-called over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives like credit default swaps, such as those involved in the AIG insurance disaster, (and which investor Warren Buffett once called "weapons of mass financial destruction"), be free from government regulation.
At the time Summers was busy opening the floodgates of financial abuse for the Wall Street Money Trust, his assistant was none other than Tim Geithner, the man who today is US Treasury Secretary, while Geithner's old boss, the self-same Summers, is President Obama's chief economic adviser as head of the White House Economic Council. To have Geithner and Summers responsible for cleaning up the financial mess is tantamount to putting the proverbial fox in to guard the henhouse.
What Geithner does not want the public to understand, his "dirty little secret", is that the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in 2000 allowed the creation of a tiny handful of banks that would virtually monopolize key parts of the global "off-balance sheet" or OTC derivatives issuance.
Today, five US banks, according to data in the just-released Federal Office of Comptroller of the Currency's Quarterly Report on Bank Trading and Derivatives Activity, hold 96% of all US bank derivatives positions in terms of nominal values, and an eye-popping 81% of the total net credit risk exposure in event of default.
The top three are, in declining order of importance: JPMorgan Chase, which holds a staggering $88 trillion in derivatives; Bank of America with $38 trillion, and Citibank with $32 trillion. Number four in the derivatives sweepstakes is Goldman Sachs, with a mere $30 trillion in derivatives; number five, the merged Wells Fargo-Wachovia Bank, drops dramatically in size to $5 trillion. Number six, Britain's HSBC Bank USA, has $3.7 trillion.
After that the size of US bank exposure to these explosive off-balance-sheet unregulated derivative obligations falls off dramatically. Continuing to pour taxpayer money into these five banks without changing their operating system, is tantamount to treating an alcoholic with unlimited free booze.
The government bailout of AIG, at more than $180 billion so far, has primarily gone to pay off AIG's credit default swap obligations to counterparty gamblers Goldman Sachs, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America, the banks who believe they are "too big to fail". In effect, these institutions today believe they are so large that they can dictate the policy of the federal government. Some have called it a bankers' coup d'etat. It definitely is not healthy.
Geithner and Wall Street are desperately trying to hide this dirty little secret because it would focus voter attention on real solutions. The federal government has long had laws in place to deal with insolvent banks. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) places the bank into receivership, its assets and liabilities are sorted out by independent audit. The irresponsible management is purged, stockholders lose and the purged bank is eventually split into smaller units and when healthy, sold to the public. The power of the five mega banks to blackmail the entire nation would thereby be cut down to size. Ooohh. Uh Huh?
This is what Wall Street and Geithner are frantically trying to prevent. The problem is concentrated in these five large banks. The financial cancer must be isolated and contained by a federal agency in order for the host, the real economy, to return to healthy function.
This is what must be put into bankruptcy receivership, or nationalization. Every hour the Obama administration delays that, and refuses to demand a full independent government audit of the true solvency or insolvency of these five or so banks, costs to the US and to the world economy will inevitably snowball as derivatives losses explode. That is pre-programmed, as a worsening economic recession mean corporate bankruptcies are rising, home mortgage defaults are exploding, unemployment is shooting up.
This is a situation that is deliberately being allowed to run out of (responsible government) control by Treasury Secretary Geithner, Summers and ultimately the president, whether or not he has taken the time to grasp what is at stake.
Once the five problem banks have been put into isolation by the FDIC and the Treasury, the administration must introduce legislation to immediately repeal the Larry Summers bank deregulation including restoration of Glass-Steagall and the repeal of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 that allowed the present criminal abuse of the banking trust.
Then serious financial reform can begin to be discussed, starting with steps to "federalize" the Federal Reserve and take the power of money out of the hands of private bankers such as JP Morgan Chase, Citibank or Goldman Sachs. "
F William Engdahl is author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order; and Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation (www.globalresearch.ca). His newest book, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order (Third Millennium Press) is due out at end of April. He may be reached through his website, www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net. "
(Copyright 2009 F William Engdahl). "
"What are you weight-ing for?
Uncovering the Hidden Reasons for Weight Gain
by Randall K. Holmes, ACH, CtHA
"Recently talk-show host Oprah Winfrey revealed her renewed battle with weight. Despite having access to personal trainers, nutritionists, and dieticians Oprah continues to struggle with weight. Anyone who has gone through “yoyo” dieting, weight-loss and then regained the weight understands her situation. However, what most people do not realize concerns the effect of past conditioning that reinforces the extra weight.
Most people who have a weight problem acknowledge that they are “emotional eaters”. It is well-known that emotional eating is triggered when we are experiencing uncomfortable emotions. Boredom, loneliness, anxiety and other stressful feelings often trigger a comfort food eating response. Weight is not only about the number of calories you eat, but about the emotions you carry. If we struggle with our emotions we most often struggle with our weight as well.
People often over-eat when feeling uncomfortable emotions. We do this because food creates a metabolic change in our bodies that changes our blood chemistry, which then leads to a change in brain chemistry. The result is that food makes us feel differently. Over a period of time this cycle of – feel bad, then eat, then feel differently - becomes a subconsciously programmed response. A lot of weight-loss approaches, such as hypnosis, attempt to break-up this pattern of conditioned responses.
However, weight gain is not always about negative emotions. What is not as well known is that not all subconsciously triggered eating is about changing bad feelings directly. In some instances weight can be about our subconscious acceptance of positive reinforcement buried in the past.
In NLP,(Neuro-Linguistic Programming), it is taught that behind every behavior there is a positive intention. Sometimes what started as having a positive intention or purpose in our past ends up moving us away from our currently desired state, like being at our ideal weight, for example. Weight issues often reflect past mental programming that no longer fits in with our current lives. However, we continue to live our lives ruled by past conditioning.
An often overlooked cause of over-eating and weight problems stems from forgotten past positive programming. For some people there has been a positive intention for gaining and maintaining weight.
Oprah Winfrey is a good example of this often overlooked cause for weight retention. There are two incidents in her life that have reinforced Oprah’s weight gain to fulfill a positive intention. And although these root causes are in her past, the programming remains as does the weight.
The first pivotal incident that reinforced Oprah’s over-weight conditioning concerns her teenage unplanned pregnancy. On a biography of her life, Oprah explained that being large and wearing big clothes helped her conceal a pregnancy from her strict father. So, early on being over-weight had a positive intention in Oprah’s life.
The second critical positive reinforcement of Oprah’s weight issue was centered on her strong desire to be in Steven Spielberg’s movie, “The Color Purple”. After trying out for a part in the movie, Oprah decided to go to a “fat farm” to lose some of her unwanted extra weight. However, when Steven Spielberg called to inform Oprah that he had a part for her in the movie, he told her not to lose an ounce. Oprah was given a part in the movie, and her weight was again positively reinforced.
We all have positive and negative issues that affect our weight. If you are struggling with your weight, or in any other area of your life, begin to look for your hidden re-enforcers. Change begins with understanding."
Love to compare metaphysical data with hard science. Metaphysically it's been predicted that we're in the early stages of a mini ice age as opposed to global warming. Metaphysically I've just learned that the sun's heliosphere is at its lowest level ever on the planet and will remain that way indefinitely. Makes sense that it's tied into early mini ice age prediction.
For those of us who've kept up with sun spot cycles during years of peak activity summers were hotter, winters were warmer. Considering what's happened the past couple of winters bringing ice and snow storms of the century. In my own area where I've lived all my life past two autumns have been cool, winters cold, springs cooler just like they were when I was a kid.
"changes so far are not enough to reverse the course of global warming, but there are some other significant side-effects: Earth's upper atmosphere is heated less by the sun and it is therefore less "puffed up."
Looks as if NASA's own data is saying something other than global warming especially if the phenomenon remains in this low cycle as predicted.
Both articles are quoted as they appeared on NASA site.
"Deep Solar Minimum
April 1, 2009: The sunspot cycle is behaving a little like the stock market. Just when you think it has hit bottom, it goes even lower.
2008 was a bear. There were no sunspots observed on 266 of the year's 366 days (73%). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days: plot. Prompted by these numbers, some observers suggested that the solar cycle had hit bottom in 2008.
Maybe not. Sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March 31st, there were no sunspots on 78 of the year's 90 days (87%).
It adds up to one inescapable conclusion: "We're experiencing a very deep solar minimum," says solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center.
"This is the quietest sun we've seen in almost a century," agrees sunspot expert David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center.
Above: The sunspot cycle from 1995 to the present. The jagged curve traces actual sunspot counts. Smooth curves are fits to the data and one forecaster's predictions of future activity. Credit: David Hathaway, NASA/MSFC. [more]
Quiet suns come along every 11 years or so. It's a natural part of the sunspot cycle, discovered by German astronomer Heinrich Schwabe in the mid-1800s. Sunspots are planet-sized islands of magnetism on the surface of the sun; they are sources of solar flares, coronal mass ejections and intense UV radiation. Plotting sunspot counts, Schwabe saw that peaks of solar activity were always followed by valleys of relative calm—a clockwork pattern that has held true for more than 200 years: plot.
The current solar minimum is part of that pattern. In fact, it's right on time. "We're due for a bit of quiet—and here it is," says Pesnell.
But is it supposed to be this quiet? In 2008, the sun set the following records:
A 50-year low in solar wind pressure: Measurements by the Ulysses spacecraft reveal a 20% drop in solar wind pressure since the mid-1990s—the lowest point since such measurements began in the 1960s. The solar wind helps keep galactic cosmic rays out of the inner solar system. With the solar wind flagging, more cosmic rays are permitted to enter, resulting in increased health hazards for astronauts. Weaker solar wind also means fewer geomagnetic storms and auroras on Earth.
A 12-year low in solar "irradiance": Careful measurements by several NASA spacecraft show that the sun's brightness has dropped by 0.02% at visible wavelengths and 6% at extreme UV wavelengths since the solar minimum of 1996. The changes so far are not enough to reverse the course of global warming, but there are some other significant side-effects: Earth's upper atmosphere is heated less by the sun and it is therefore less "puffed up." Satellites in low Earth orbit experience less atmospheric drag, extending their operational lifetimes. Unfortunately, space junk also remains longer in Earth orbit, increasing hazards to spacecraft and satellites.
Above: Space-age measurements of the total solar irradiance (brightness summed across all wavelengths). This plot, which comes from researcher C. Fröhlich, was shown by Dean Pesnell at the Fall 2008 AGU meeting during a lecture entitled "What is Solar Minimum and Why Should We Care?"
A 55-year low in solar radio emissions: After World War II, astronomers began keeping records of the sun's brightness at radio wavelengths. Records of 10.7 cm flux extend back all the way to the early 1950s. Radio telescopes are now recording the dimmest "radio sun" since 1955: plot. Some researchers believe that the lessening of radio emissions is an indication of weakness in the sun's global magnetic field. No one is certain, however, because the source of these long-monitored radio emissions is not fully understood.
All these lows have sparked a debate about whether the ongoing minimum is "weird", "extreme" or just an overdue "market correction" following a string of unusually intense solar maxima.
"Since the Space Age began in the 1950s, solar activity has been generally high," notes Hathaway. "Five of the ten most intense solar cycles on record have occurred in the last 50 years. We're just not used to this kind of deep calm."
Deep calm was fairly common a hundred years ago. The solar minima of 1901 and 1913, for instance, were even longer than the one we're experiencing now. To match those minima in terms of depth and longevity, the current minimum will have to last at least another year.
In a way, the calm is exciting, says Pesnell. "For the first time in history, we're getting to see what a deep solar minimum is really like." A fleet of spacecraft including the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), the twin STEREO probes, the five THEMIS probes, Hinode, ACE, Wind, TRACE, AIM, TIMED, Geotail and others are studying the sun and its effects on Earth 24/7 using technology that didn't exist 100 years ago. Their measurements of solar wind, cosmic rays, irradiance and magnetic fields show that solar minimum is much more interesting and profound than anyone expected.
Above: An artist's concept of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Bristling with advanced sensors, "SDO" is slated to launch later this year--perfect timing to study the ongoing solar minimum. [more]
Modern technology cannot, however, predict what comes next. Competing models by dozens of top solar physicists disagree, sometimes sharply, on when this solar minimum will end and how big the next solar maximum will be. Pesnell has surveyed the scientific literature and prepared a "piano plot" showing the range of predictions. The great uncertainty stems from one simple fact: No one fully understands the underlying physics of the sunspot cycle.
Pesnell believes sunspot counts will pick up again soon, "possibly by the end of the year," to be followed by a solar maximum of below-average intensity in 2012 or 2013.
But like other forecasters, he knows he could be wrong. Bull or bear? Stay tuned for updates. "
"Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space
Sept. 30, 2008: Astronomers who count sunspots have announced that 2008 is now the "blankest year" of the Space Age.
As of Sept. 27, 2008, the sun had been blank, i.e., had no visible sunspots, on 200 days of the year. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go back to 1954, three years before the launch of Sputnik, when the sun was blank 241 times.
"Sunspot counts are at a 50-year low," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "We're experiencing a deep minimum of the solar cycle."
A spotless day looks like this:
The image, taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on Sept. 27, 2008, shows a solar disk completely unmarked by sunspots. For comparison, a SOHO image taken seven years earlier on Sept. 27, 2001, is peppered with colossal sunspots, all crackling with solar flares: image. The difference is the phase of the 11-year solar cycle. 2001 was a year of solar maximum, with lots of sunspots, solar flares and geomagnetic storms. 2008 is at the cycle's opposite extreme, solar minimum, a quiet time on the sun.
And it is a very quiet time. If solar activity continues as low as it has been, 2008 could rack up a whopping 290 spotless days by the end of December, making it a century-level year in terms of spotlessness.
Hathaway cautions that this development may sound more exciting than it actually is: "While the solar minimum of 2008 is shaping up to be the deepest of the Space Age, it is still unremarkable compared to the long and deep solar minima of the late 19th and early 20th centuries." Those earlier minima routinely racked up 200 to 300 spotless days per year.
Above: A histogram showing the blankest years of the last half-century. The vertical axis is a count of spotless days in each year. The bar for 2008, which was updated on Sept. 27th, is still growing. [Larger images: 50 years, 100 years]
Some solar physicists are welcoming the lull.
"This gives us a chance to study the sun without the complications of sunspots," says Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "Right now we have the best instrumentation in history looking at the sun. There is a whole fleet of spacecraft devoted to solar physics--SOHO, Hinode, ACE, STEREO and others. We're bound to learn new things during this long solar minimum."
As an example he offers helioseismology: "By monitoring the sun's vibrating surface, helioseismologists can probe the stellar interior in much the same way geologists use earthquakes to probe inside Earth. With sunspots out of the way, we gain a better view of the sun's subsurface winds and inner magnetic dynamo."
"There is also the matter of solar irradiance," adds Pesnell. "Researchers are now seeing the dimmest sun in their records. The change is small, just a fraction of a percent, but significant. Questions about effects on climate are natural if the sun continues to dim."
Pesnell is NASA's project scientist for the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a new spacecraft equipped to study both solar irradiance and helioseismic waves. Construction of SDO is complete, he says, and it has passed pre-launch vibration and thermal testing. "We are ready to launch! Solar minimum is a great time to go."
Coinciding with the string of blank suns is a 50-year record low in solar wind pressure, a recent discovery of the Ulysses spacecraft. (See the [email protected] story Solar Wind Loses Pressure.) The pressure drop began years before the current minimum, so it is unclear how the two phenomena are connected, if at all. This is another mystery for SDO and the others.
Who knew the blank sun could be so interesting? More to come... "
Interesting how this is crafted "both Republicans and Democrats, awarded bonuses totaling $9.1 million to more than 2,000 staff members, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of office-disbursement forms. The money comes out of taxpayer-funded office budgets, and is surplus cash that would otherwise be forfeited if not spent. ...."
APRIL 1, 2009, 10:07 A.M. ET
"Lawmakers Have Long Rewarded Their Aides With Bonuses
By BRODY MULLINS and LOUISE RADNOFSKY
Source Wall Street Journal Politics
"WASHINGTON -- While Congress has been flaying companies for giving out bonuses while on the government dole, lawmakers have a longstanding tradition of rewarding their own employees with extra cash -- also courtesy of taxpayers.
Capitol Hill bonuses in 2008 were among the highest in years, according to LegiStorm, an organization that tracks payroll data. The average House aide earned 17% more in the fourth quarter of the year, when the bonuses were paid, than in previous quarters, according to the data. That was the highest jump in the eight years LegiStorm has compiled payroll information.
Total end-of-year bonuses paid to congressional staffers are tiny compared with the $165 million recently showered on executives of American International Group Inc., which is being propped up by billions of dollars of U.S. government subsidies. But Capitol Hill bonuses provide a notable counterpoint to the populist rhetoric and sound bites emanating from Washington these past weeks.
Last year alone, more than 200 House lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, awarded bonuses totaling $9.1 million to more than 2,000 staff members, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of office-disbursement forms. The money comes out of taxpayer-funded office budgets, and is surplus cash that would otherwise be forfeited if not spent.
Payments ranged from a few hundred dollars to $14,000. Lawmakers, at their own discretion, gave the money to chiefs of staff, assistants, computer technicians, and more than 100 aides who earned salaries of more than $100,000 a year.
This has gone on for many years. There is no prohibition against handing out excess cash. The lawmakers say it is a nice incentive to get staff to conserve budgets, and it rewards hard work and long hours.
"Most aides could make more money elsewhere, but choose to work on Capitol Hill because they believe in public service," said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who along with other top House leaders awarded bonuses. (Senators also give bonuses, but documents showing those payments aren't yet available.) Mr. Daly said bonuses are a small perk for underpaid government employees.
Each House office receives between $1.3 million and $1.9 million annually in government funds to pay for office expenses, including salaries. In 2008, some lawmakers returned excess cash to the government, including Rep. Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican (who also gave some bonuses) and Rep. Tim Walz, a Minnesota Democrat. Meredith Salsbery, a spokeswoman for Mr. Walz, said aides are asked to be "thrifty and conscious of taxpayer dollars" and that Mr. Walz "knows the power of setting a good example."
The 435 House offices typically return a total of about $1 million or $2 million a year, or less that 0.5% of the overall budget for office expenses, but the amount can vary widely. In 2006, for example, lawmakers returned just $36,549.
Disbursement forms show that dozens of aides working for the Financial Services Committee got a bonus from panel Chairman Barney Frank. Spokesman Steven Adamske said the Massachusetts Democrat gives bonuses to staffers because "government workers are pretty low paid." He said several aides who got bonuses had worked long hours during 2008 on the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Top Financial Services Committee Republicans also gave their aides bonuses. "These were merit bonuses for people who had performed especially well," said Larry Lavender, an aide to Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the committee.
Overall in the House, disbursements were roughly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.
Six lawmakers who lost their re-election races paid more than $300,000 in bonuses to 89 staffers. Thelma Drake, a Republican, gave about $40,000 in extra compensation to about a dozen aides after losing her Virginia seat. Mrs. Drake said the payments were a form of severance to "good staff members who worked their hearts out and who were about to lose their jobs."
A handful of lawmakers who retired handed out a total of $283,000 in bonuses. After Republican Heather Wilson gave up her New Mexico seat in the House to run unsuccessfully for the Senate, she gave 13 aides bonuses as high as $3,000. "My practice over 10 years in Congress was to give bonuses at the end of the year," she said.
Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez of California handed out the largest payments, giving $14,000 apiece to three aides. Spokeswoman Adrienne Elrod said her boss is "proud of the bonuses she is able to give."
Last fall, Democratic Rep. Tom Udall left the House to run for New Mexico's Senate seat. Several members of his House staff took leaves from their government jobs to work for his campaign. When Mr. Udall won the race and returned to Washington, his office budget had accrued a large surplus. He decided to spend the surplus funds by increasing salaries for nearly his entire staff for a short time.
Disbursement forms show that in late December, Mr. Udall temporarily increased salaries for 19 of his 22 employees to an annualized rate of $163,795. Among those who earned the higher pay were staff assistants, a scheduler, an executive assistant and a part-time employee.
Spokeswoman Marissa Padilla said Mr. Udall traditionally "adjusts salaries at the end of the year based on seniority, merit and unused leave" when his office has a surplus."
Guess when Washington nationalizes health care they can remedy the population problem by "making the infirm elderly comfortable" instead of administering a medication that would heal or otherwise prolong their lives. Socialized medicine at its best, taking care of the young and productive.
Beware of wishing for utopia ...... it will turn into a monster when it becomes entrenched.
"Earth population 'exceeds limits'
By Steven Duke
Editor, One Planet, BBC World Service
LIVING ON A CROWDED EARTH
Current world population - 6.8bn
Net growth per day - 218,030
Forecast made for 2040 - 9bn
Source: US Census Bureau
"There are already too many people living on Planet Earth, according to one of most influential science advisors in the US government.
Nina Fedoroff told the BBC One Planet programme that humans had exceeded the Earth's "limits of sustainability".
Dr Fedoroff has been the science and technology advisor to the US secretary of state since 2007, initially working with Condoleezza Rice.
Under the new Obama administration, she now advises Hillary Clinton.
"We need to continue to decrease the growth rate of the global population; the planet can't support many more people," Dr Fedoroff said, stressing the need for humans to become much better at managing "wild lands", and in particular water supplies.
Pressed on whether she thought the world population was simply too high, Dr Fedoroff replied: "There are probably already too many people on the planet."
GM Foods 'needed'
A National Medal of Science laureate (America's highest science award), the professor of molecular biology believes part of that better land management must include the use of genetically modified foods.
"We have six-and-a-half-billion people on the planet, going rapidly towards seven.
"We're going to need a lot of inventiveness about how we use water and grow crops," she told the BBC.
THE MOST POPULOUS NATIONS
China - 1.33bn
India - 1.16bn
USA - 306m
Indonesia - 230m
Brazil - 191m
"We accept exactly the same technology (as GM food) in medicine, and yet in producing food we want to go back to the 19th Century."
Dr Fedoroff, who wrote a book about GM Foods in 2004, believes critics of genetically modified maize, corn and rice are living in bygone times.
"We wouldn't think of going to our doctor and saying 'Treat me the way doctors treated people in the 19th Century', and yet that's what we're demanding in food production."
In a wide ranging interview, Dr Fedoroff was asked if the US accepted its responsibility to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be driving human-induced climate change. "Yes, and going forward, we just have to be more realistic about our contribution and decrease it - and I think you'll see that happening."
And asked if America would sign up to legally binding targets on carbon emissions - something the world's biggest economy has been reluctant to do in the past - the professor was equally clear. "I think we'll have to do that eventually - and the sooner the better."
The full interview with Dr Nina Federoff can be heard on this week's edition of the new One Planet programme on the BBC World Service "
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