Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Funny Michael Moore vid about blacks and handguns

Skull and Bones

Support Our Troops

The Legend of Ruby Ridge


Waco vids


Secret WMD in Isreal

Ted Pike- The Other Israel

Cool Facts About Israel

The Corporation

Aerosol Crimes

Conspiracy of Silence

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Other uses for Google

Dozens of Google search guides detail the common tips, but lifehacker.org has skipped the obvious and highlighted obscure but very useful Google Web search tricks. Some of these are really amazing, and remind me why Google has been my favorite search engine for nearly a decade!

10. Get Local Time: Type in What time is it followed by any city to get the current time.

9. Track Flight Status: Enter the airline and flight number to find out the departure time and estimated arrival for any flight.

8. Convert Currency, Metrics, Bytes and More: Google has a built-in converter calculator. You can enter quarter cup in teaspoons, seconds in a year, 5 US dollars in Euros and countless others.

7. Search for Pages That are “Better Than,” “Similar to,” or “Reminds me of”: Enter “better than keyword” or “similar to keyword” to find Web pages you never knew existed.

6. Use Google as a Free Proxy: Enter cache:website.com to view a Web page that’s been blocked from the computer you’re using.

5. Remove Affiliate Links From Product Searches: To avoid seeing search results from certain sites, enter –site:website.com.

4. Find Related Items: Enter ~ before any search term to find related items as well.

3. Find Music and Comic Books: Enter -inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:"index of" +"last modified" +"parent directory" +description +size +(wma|mp3) "Band or comic book name" to find music files and comic books.

2. See Images of People, Objects, Etc.: Type in a search term, and click on images to see photos of the results.

1. Search for Faces: If you’re looking for a photo of a person named Rose, and don’t want to see photos of the flower, add &imgtype=face to the end of your image search. It will show you only images of faces.

* Lifehacker.com January 2, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Antarctic volcanoes and glacier melting

International Herald Tribune
Antarctic volcanoes identified as a possible culprit in glacier melting
By Kenneth Chang
Sunday, January 20, 2008

Another factor might be contributing to the thinning of some of the Antarctica's glaciers: volcanoes.

In an article published Sunday on the Web site of the journal Nature Geoscience, Hugh Corr and David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey report the identification of a layer of volcanic ash and glass shards frozen within an ice sheet in western Antarctica.

"This is the first time we have seen a volcano beneath the ice sheet punch a hole through the ice sheet" in Antarctica, Vaughan said.

Volcanic heat could still be melting ice to water and contributing to thinning and speeding up of the Pine Island glacier, which passes nearby, but Vaughan said he doubted that it could be affecting other glaciers in western Antarctica, which have also thinned in recent years. Most glaciologists, including Vaughan, say that warmer ocean water is the primary cause of thinning.

Volcanically, Antarctica is a fairly quiet place. But sometime around 325 B.C., the researchers said, a hidden and still active volcano erupted, puncturing several hundred yards of ice above it. Ash and shards from the volcano carried through the air and settled onto the surrounding landscape. That layer is now out of sight, hidden beneath the snows that fell during the next 2,300 years.

Still, the layer showed up clearly in airborne radar surveys conducted over the region in 2004 and 2005 by American and British scientists. The reflected radio waves over an elliptical area about 110 miles, or 176 kilometers, wide were so strong that earlier radar surveys had mistakenly identified it as bedrock. Better radar techniques now can detect a second echo from the actual bedrock farther down.

The thickness of ice above the ash layer provided an estimate of the date of the eruption: 207 B.C., give or take 240 years. "It's probably within Alexander the Great's lifetime, but not more precise than that," Vaughan said.
Business diary: Was Stalin a Rothschild?

Edited by Simon Goodley
Last Updated: 11:37pm BST 25/05/2007

It's well known that the former Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, was such a good communist that he once worked for the Rothschilds, the banking and wine family. But now I stumble on a more sensational theory, which suggests the relationship was far more intimate.

In a lengthy piece on a personal website, one Clifford Shack argues that Stalin was fathered not by Vissarion Dzhugashvili but by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, who, he argues, could have met the tyrant's mother while visiting Georgia on a wine trip.

It's all a bit sketchy and at times the argument seems a trifle far fetched but it's easily settled via a DNA test (Stalin's daughter's still alive). Could I possibly impose and pluck a strand of chairman Baron David de Rothschild's hair, I ask an NM Rothschild spokesman?

"I'll get back to you," he sighs.

Mind you do.

THE consortium looking to gazump Barclays and buy ABN Amro had announced that it would be making a statement on the deal tomorrow, only to shove out a press release yesterday saying that it would now speak on Tuesday.

So what's changed? Has the consortium leader and Royal Bank of Scotland boss, Sir Fred Goodwin, got something better to do on Sunday? I hear he's racing off to Monaco to watch the RBS-sponsored Williams team in the Grand Prix.

"Our statement clearly says that it's been moved because of a bank holiday," blocks a spokesman.

Hasn't there always been a bank holiday?

"Our statement's pretty clear," he sniffs.

I only asked.

WHAT adverts will the Post Office be showing on the telly this weekend? I ask because over the last bank holiday weekend, Sky Three broadcast a riveting programme called the Secrets of the Dead: Bombing Nazi Dams at 4am and during an ad break the Post Office took the opportunity to plug its winter sports insurance.

It's not an obvious show, time of day or season to be trying to flog that kind of product but I'm sure it was money well spent. Especially with a Post Office closure programme under way.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Did God create evil?

There’s a wonderful story that was passed around on the Internet recently by Temple of Peace (templeofpeace.net). The story goes like this:

“A University professor at a well known institution of higher learning challenged his students with this question. "Did God create everything that exists?"

A student bravely replied, "Yes he did!"

"God created everything?" The professor asked.

"Yes sir, he certainly did," the student replied.

The professor answered, "If God created everything; then God created evil. And, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works Define who we are, then we can assume God is evil."

The student became quiet and did not respond to the professor's Hypothetical definition. The professor, quite pleased with himself, boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the religious faith was a myth. Another student raised his hand and said, "May I ask you a question, professor?"

"Of course", replied the professor.

The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"

"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?"

The other students snickered at the young man's question. The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Everybody or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 F) is the total absence of heat; and all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."

The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?"

The professor responded, "Of course it does."

The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact, we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."

Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?"

Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course, as I have already said. We see it everyday. It is in the daily examples of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist, sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when Man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

The professor sat down.

The young man's name -- Albert Einstein. A true story.”

You're safer than you think

A statistics expert says the odds are better of dying in a car accident, than being killed by random crime.
January 19, 2008
Paola Loriggio
Staff Reporter

As long as there have been cities, there has been fear. Fear of violence, fear of death, fear of anonymous, big-city crime.

High-profile cases of random crime – like the recent shootings of John O'Keefe and Hou Chang Mao, both innocent bystanders killed within a week – feed the public's anxieties.

But is that fear justified? Random crime isn't going away, but neither is it increasing. Does a spate of random killings put us in greater danger than before? The Star asked an expert statistician to assess the risk.

University of Toronto professor Jeffrey S. Rosenthal is the author of Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities, a book about probability and randomness in everyday life.

Q: For the average Torontonian, what are the odds of getting killed in a random crime, like, say, a stray bullet?

A: In Toronto, about 12 people per year are killed by a stranger. There are 2.6 million people in the city, so your chances of getting killed by a stranger are about one in 220,000.

So, not very likely at all.

Q: How do you calculate that?

A: We work in terms of statistics for recent times, like the number of homicides per year. In 2007, there were 84 homicides in Toronto. (It usually goes from 60 to about 80.)

There are also statistics on the victim-offender relationship. Only about 15 per cent (of victims) are killed by a stranger. So 15 per cent of 80 homicides ...

In comparison, your chances of getting killed by your spouse are one in 135,000, or about 50 per cent higher.

Q: What else can you compare it to?

A: In Canada, one out of 440 people dies of cardiovascular disease, 125 times more likely than getting killed by a stranger.

About 3,000 Canadians die in car accidents each year, so nationally, the odds are one in 11,000 – 20 times more likely.

But people worry a lot more about getting killed, when in reality, they should worry about car accidents.

Q: Do individual behaviours or characteristics affect the risk of getting killed?

A: There are variations for personal lifestyle and habits, but it's difficult to calculate.

Obviously, if you hang out in nightclubs a lot or you live in a (dangerous) neighbourhood ... your odds increase – or if you have a job that takes you into dangerous situations, like a police officer.

Q: If the odds are low, why does the public still worry more after high-profile homicides?

A: I call that "headline bias" – when something makes the news, people think it happens a lot. But the reason something makes the headlines is because it doesn't happen a lot.

To my mind, public reaction is not in co-ordination with the actual statistics.

Toronto is actually quite a safe city, better than most American and Canadian cities. And the level of violent crime has stayed pretty steady over the past few years.

A few homicides close together doesn't necessarily mean crime is going up. Sometimes, gang-related incidents can be related – like, today's shooting is retribution for the one that happened yesterday – but that's not true of everything.

Q: What causes that public reaction?

A: For headline bias, I have a theory about why it happens.

Our brains evolved when we lived in smaller groups, with less access to information.

So if you heard that someone was eaten by a lion, it was probably one of the 50 people in your tribe. It meant there was a lion around and you should be careful.

Today, if you see a headline about someone getting shot, it's one person out of 5 million (in the GTA), and it doesn't mean there's any greater risk to you.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Healthy weight loss

Dr. Mercola
Let’s go first to fucoxanthin – one of the most exciting things to hit the weight loss market in a long time.

As you may know, I have not historically been a fan of weight loss supplements –that is, until fucoxanthin came out.
weight loss

Fucoxanthin, just one of the key ingredients in BioTHIN™.

Fucoxanthin is a natural carotenoid (natural pigments found primarily in plants and algae).

Fucoxanthin exists naturally in brown seaweed — a type of kelp — that gives brown seaweed its characteristic brown color. Preliminary animal research performed in Russia and Japan suggests that fucoxanthin may help burn fat*.

Also, here’s a huge plus for you and others searching for an effective yet natural option that doesn’t disrupt your activities and sleep.

Fucoxanthin revs up your metabolism without stimulating your central nervous system*. Which means you can go about your normal lifestyle with total peace of mind, fulfilling all your normal commitments.

Now to mention another advantage…Evidence is emerging showing that the fucoxanthin component is a powerful antioxidant that can protect your cells from free radical damage*. It also may support your:

* Cardiovascular health*
* Inflammatory response*
* Optimal cholesterol and triglyceride levels*
* Optimal blood pressure levels*
* Healthy liver function*

So, for natural weight loss, along with eating according to your NT plus exercising, I urge you to consider BioTHIN™ with fucoxanthin to jumpstart your weight loss efforts*.

But wait! That’s just part of the story…

An Ancient Source with Modern Applications - Pomegranate

The pomegranate has been a staple of Asian diets since ancient times. They were mentioned in Egyptian papyrus scrolls dating back to 1550 BC. And in ancient Greek myths, the pomegranate represented life and regeneration.

Its herbal use dates back more than 3,000 years. Modern science is actively rediscovering its potential for a more healthful life.

Recent studies reveal a surprising host of benefits for eating pomegranate.
weight loss

The pomegranate — an Asian staple, and a Greek symbol of life and regeneration.

Pomegranates contain powerful antioxidants that deal with free radicals in your system.* One study suggested that pomegranates showed three times the antioxidant activity of green tea or red wine*.

Other studies suggest that pomegranates contain bioflavonoids that help maintain healthy capillary walls*.

BioTHIN™ is further enhanced with pomegranate extract standardized to 40% punicosides. These are the most powerful antioxidants in pomegranate.

Research suggests other benefits from pomegranate:

* Contributes to tissue health*
* Supports heart health*
* Supports healthy blood lipid levels*
* Supports the immune system*
* Helps maintain proper oxidative balance in your body*

Four More Natural Ingredients - Ginger Root, Cayenne, Garcinia Cambogia and Apple Cider Vinegar

Four other outstanding ingredients known for their weight loss impact and their contribution to your overall health are included in every serving of BioTHIN™.

weight loss

It may not look like much, but ginger has been treasured for centuries for its life-enhancing properties.
Ginger Root. Sought after for more than 5,000 years by the ancients of China and India for its health-promoting properties. Highly in demand by spice traders. Today, it is still a component of a full 50 percent of traditional herbal remedies.

Research suggests that it has the ability to help offset the lipid elevating effects of a high-fat diet*.
o Exhibit anti-oxidant effects on your body with its 12 different anti-oxidants.*
o Support optimal cell division process*
o Support cardiovascular health*
o Help control inflammatory response*
o Support digestive system health*
weight loss

Cayenne’s spiciness factor may heat up your health*…
Cayenne. Prized for thousands of years for its power to promote health. Cayenne, also known as capsicum, is one of many historically-valued herbs being studied today for its health benefits

Scientists believe that cayenne may act as a healthful catalyst when combined with other herbs* – a reason I included it in BioTHIN™’s formula.

Some animal and human studies also suggest that cayenne may help increase your body’s heat for a short time – causing you to burn more calories*. Additionally, research is ongoing about whether cayenne can help regulate blood sugar and break down carbohydrates after a meal*.

Cayenne contains vitamins A and C, has complete B complex, and is rich in calcium and potassium – offering you great nutritional value too.*

What else might both ginger and cayenne do for you? They’re reported to:
o Support cardiovascular health*
o Support digestive health*
o Help regulate normal detoxification*
o Help regulate inflammatory response*
o Provid energy*
* Garcinia Cambogia (standardized to 50% HCA). (standardized to 50% HCA). Garcinia is a small fruit resembling a pumpkin. It has a long and popular history in India as a condiment, and the dried rind is used as a flavoring in many dishes.

Preliminary research suggests that its biologically active compound, hydroxycitric acid (HCA), can inhibit the body’s ability to store lipids and fatty acids*.

This natural extract may also inhibit conversion of excess calories to body fat*. And it may suppress appetite by signaling your brain that enough food has been eaten, possibly through an increase in serotonin*.
* Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been used for centuries as an energizing tonic and elixir.

ACV is a completely natural product resulting from a two-step fermentation process of apples, from which it retains all the nutritional benefits of the apples plus gaining the extra acids and enzymes from fermentation.

There are four suggested ways ACV may help you lose weight:
o May Increase Satiety*

The same hormonal reflex that sends a “full” message from your digestive system to your brain (discussed when talking about Hoodia earlier) is also triggered by ACV*.

Satiety means feeling full. Scientists think that satiety occurs more quickly with acetic acid* (the ‘sour’ part of ACV).

A preliminary Swedish study suggested that higher intake of ACV before meals was associated with significantly lower blood sugar and insulin responses and an increased satiety score*.
o May Suppress Appetite*

Pectin, the water-soluble fiber in apples and ACV, may absorb water and make your stomach feel a little full before beginning your meal*.
o May Increase Metabolic Rate*

ACV may help your digestion of protein, which is the building block of growth hormone*. Higher protein levels can mean more growth hormone, which may increase metabolism during your resting times *.

ACV may also improve your production of insulin*.
o May Improve Digestion*.

Improving your digestion means fats stay in your digestive tract for a shorter time, with less absorption of those fats into your system.

A number of other health benefits you might get from ACV are:
+ Helps support healthy bone structure through minerals (calcium, magnesium, silicone, plus a number of vitamins).*
+ Maintain healthy lipid levels.*
+ Maintain healthy heart and circulatory system.*
+ Control optimal inflammatory response.*
+ Aids in normal detoxification of your body.*
The biggest drawback to ACV is the taste and smell. We solved that problem for you by adding it to our all-natural weight-loss formula, BioTHIN™.

Now you can benefit from the harmony of these seven high-quality weight-loss-promoting plants and herbs in our easy-to-use and convenient formulation of BioTHIN™. They are living foods, just as nature intended!

See for yourself how our proprietary blend of powerful herbs, vitamins and minerals may be more beneficial to you than a single herb product could be.

Naturally, life experience tells you that there is no Magic Bullet. You will get your best weight loss results from the combination of:

* Eating healthy foods according to your Nutritional Type.
* Getting 30-60 minutes of exercise each day.
* Using bioTHIN™.

Using these three actions has the potential to improve your health far more than anything you’ve done in the past — and allow you to finally take charge of your own health.

Liberate Yourself from Less-Than-Optimal Weight —

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bush convenes Plunge Protection Team

Bush convenes Plunge Protection Team

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor
Last Updated: 12:05am GMT 08/01/2008

Bears beware. The New Deal of 2008 is in the works. The US Treasury is about to shower households with rebate cheques to head off a full-blown slump, and save the Bush presidency. On Friday, Mr Bush convened the so-called Plunge Protection Team for its first known meeting in the Oval Office. The black arts unit - officially the President's Working Group on Financial Markets - was created after the 1987 crash.
# Read more from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

It appears to have powers to support the markets in a crisis with a host of instruments, mostly by through buying futures contracts on the stock indexes (DOW, S&P 500, NASDAQ and Russell) and key credit levers. And it has the means to fry "short" traders in the hottest of oils.

The team is led by Treasury chief Hank Paulson, ex-Goldman Sachs, a man with a nose for market psychology, and includes Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and the key exchange regulators.

Judging by a well-briefed report in the Washington Post, a mood of deep alarm has taken hold in the upper echelons of the administration. "What everyone's looking at is what is the fastest way to get money out there," said a Bush aide.

Emergency measures are now clearly on the agenda, apparently consisting of a mix of tax cuts for businesses and bungs for consumers. Fiscal action all too appropriate, regrettably.

We face a version of Keynes's "extreme liquidity preference" in the 1930s - banks are hoarding money, and the main credit arteries of the financial system remain blocked after five months.

"In terms of any stimulus package, we're considering all options," said Mr Bush. This should be interesting to watch. The president is not one for half measures. He has already shown in Iraq and on biofuels that he will pursue policies a l'outrance once he gets the bit between his teeth.

The only question is what the president can manage to push through a Democrat Congress.

The Plunge Protection Team - long kept secret - was last mobilised to calm the markets after 9/11. It then went into hibernation during the long boom.

Mr Paulson reactivated it last year, asking the staff to examine "systemic risk posed by hedge funds and derivatives, and the government's ability to respond to a financial crisis", he said.

It seems he failed to spot the immediate threat from mortgage securities and the implosion of the commercial paper market. But never mind.

The White House certainly has grounds for alarm. The global picture is darkening by the day. The Baltic Dry Index has been falling hard for seven weeks, signalling a downturn in bulk shipments. Singapore's economy contracted 3.2pc in the final quarter of last year, led by a slump in electronics and semiconductors.

The Tokyo bourse kicked off with the worst New Year slide in more than half a century as the Seven Samurai exporters buckled. The Topix is down 24pc from its peak. If Japan and Singapore are stalling, it is a fair bet that China's efforts to tighten credit are starting to bite. Asia is not going to rescue us. On the contrary.

Keep an eye on Japan, still the world's top creditor by far, with $3 trillion in net foreign assets. The Bank of Japan has been the biggest single source of liquidity for the global asset boom over the last five years. An army of investors - Japanese insurers and pension funds, housewives and hedge funds borrowing at near zero rates in Tokyo - have sprayed money across the Antipodes, South Africa, Brazil, Turkey, Iceland, Latvia, the US commercial paper market and the City of London.

The Japanese are now bringing the money home, as they always do when the cycle turns. The yen has risen 13pc against the dollar and 12pc against sterling since the summer. We are witnessing the long-feared unwind of the "carry trade", valued by BNP Paribas in all its forms at $1.4 trillion.

The US data is now relentlessly grim. Unemployment jumped from 4.7pc to 5pc - or 7.7m - in December, the biggest one-month rise since the dotcom bust and clear evidence that the housing crunch has spread to the real economy.

"At this point the debate is not about a soft land or hard landing; it is about how hard the hard landing will be," said Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics at New York University.

"Financial losses and defaults are spreading from sub-prime to near-prime and prime mortgages, to commercial real estate loans, to auto loans, credit cards and student loans, and sharply rising default rates on corporate bonds. A severe systemic financial crisis cannot be ruled out. This will be a much worse recession than the mild ones in 1990-91 and 2001," he said.

Sovereign wealth funds stand ready to rescue banks, as they have already rescued Citigroup and UBS. But as Moody's pointed out this week, the estimated $2,500bn in lost wealth from the US house price crash is more than the entire net worth of all the sovereign wealth funds in the world.

Add fresh losses as the property bubbles pop in Britain, Ireland, Australia, Spain, Greece, The Netherlands, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, as they surely must unless central banks opt for inflation (which would annihilate bonds instead, with equal damage), and you can discount $1,500bn in further attrition.

Not even a Bush New Deal can hold back the post-bubble tide that is drawing in across the globe. What it can do is buy time. Fortunately for America - and the world - the US budget deficit is a healthy 1.2pc of GDP ($163bn). Washington has the wherewithal to fund a fiscal blitz.

Britain has no such luxury. Our deficit is 3pc of GDP at the top of the cycle. Gordon Brown has shut the Keynesian door.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Wages of Financial Sin

The Wages of Financial Sin
By Michael Lewitt

"The western world has embarked on a speculative journey for which all the historical precedents are ominous."

Peter Warburton[i]

Make no mistake about it - if the Federal Reserve is holding back on interest rate cuts because of near-term inflation fears, it will be fiddling while Rome burns. The collapse of the structured finance edifice must be understood as a highly deflationary event. The sell-off in the equity and credit markets signify a severe loss of confidence in the benchmarks of value established by market gatekeepers such as rating agencies, underwriters and market makers. A failure of the Federal Reserve to demonstrate that it recognizes the systemic threat posed by the collapse of structured finance and the subprime mortgage market could send the markets into a full-blown tailspin.

Fortunately, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Kohn, in a November 28 speech, made it clear that the Fed is getting ready to act. He acknowledged that a change in market conditions had occurred that posed a threat to economic activity, and stated that uncertainties about the economic outlook were "unusually high." HCM expects a 50 basis point cut in both the Fed Funds rate and the Discount Rate at the December 11th meeting of the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee accompanied by a statement confirming that the central bank will endeavor to remain ahead of the curve.

As for the risks of "moral hazard" that Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser and others have warned about if the Fed were to make such a move, HCM would echo Mr. Kohn's statement that there is "no need to hold the economy hostage to teach a very small minority of the population a lesson." That very small minority is hardly the one that would suffer serious pain were the Fed to take it upon itself to punish America for their sins. Having bailed out Wall Street in the past as a collateral effect of providing financial support to foreign nations (Mexico) or large hedge funds (Long Term Capital Management), the Fed shouldn't have to engage in any heavy intellectual or moral lifting to justify lowering rates today in order to enable more Americans to retain their homes and keep food on the table.
The Economic Outlook

While HCM still expects the U.S. to skirt a recession in 2008, it is an increasingly close call (despite an unexpectedly strong 3Q07 GDP report). The American economy is dangerously leveraged to a housing market that has further to fall, a consumer that is under increasing pressure, and a financial system that is smarting from excessive use of speculative finance. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recently published a report arguing that one-third of the United States is already in recession, and certain industries would welcome a recession as an improvement from current conditions. The following data on the housing market, borrowed primarily from a report from the ever-lugubrious but unusually accurate forecasting and investment management firm Hoisington Investment Management Company, are worth a few moments of sober reflection.[ii]

Over the past 5 1/2 years, $1.1 trillion of equity has been extracted from American homes. This represents almost half (46 percent) of the increase in total consumer spending over the same period. In the first nine months of 2007, $219 billion was cashed out of U.S. homes according to Freddie Mac estimates, equivalent to 53 percent of the increase in personal consumption during that period. Household mortgage debt stood at $10.143 trillion at the end of the second quarter of 2007 compared with $4.295 trillion in 1999, an increase of 136 percent over six years. Mortgage debt relative to disposable personal income (the money used to service that debt) increased from 64.7 percent to 100.2 percent during this period, a 35.5 percent rise that was greater than the total increase that occurred over the 43 years leading up to 1999. The value of residential real estate also jumped during this period, but the disposable income number is the one that pays the mortgage. The presumption is that without the housing equity extraction, consumer spending growth would have been much more muted. Furthermore, consumers added to their variable cost debt burdens to finance their spending, placing themselves in a vulnerable position when rates on teaser loans increase.

Moreover, home prices remain near record highs and, as Hoisington puts it, "the unprecedented advance from 1999 through 2006 was directly tied to an equally unmatched growth in mortgage debt." From the 2006 peak, housing prices, in inflation-adjusted terms, have declined 3.4 percent thus far in 2007 according to the Shiller Real Housing Price Index. Real house prices therefore remain 58 percent above the previous cyclical high reached in 1989 and almost 94 percent above the average real price from 1890 through 2007. Adding to Hoisington's worries are the fact that housing starts and building permits remain well above prior cyclical lows (even after the housing market index compiled by the National Association of Home Builders declined 72 percent from its cyclical peak in June 2005); there is record inventory of unsold homes on the market; and nearly $800 billion of adjustable rate mortgages are due to reset between October 2007 and December 2008.

HCM would add a note of caution to these daunting figures. Some of these figures may not be as alarming as they sound - historical data, even data that is only two decades old, may not apply in the same way to today's United States, with its higher population, higher number of immigrants, and other demographic changes that require the data to be interpreted in the proper context. Furthermore, real estate remains a highly local phenomenon. California, for example, is far more likely to see a rerun of what occurred to house prices in the early 1990s than other areas of the country like the Midwest. Nonetheless, the key point being made by Hoisington - with which HCM concurs - is that housing is going to be a drag on the economy nationwide for the foreseeable future.

Away from housing, Hoisington points out that a significant gap has developed between domestic U.S. demand and foreign demand. This is showing up in data on exports and imports. The real net exports deficit relative to GDP (which measures how much more we import than export) shrunk to 4.6 percent in the third quarter of 2007 from 5.0 percent in the second quarter and 5.9 percent at its peak in the fourth quarter of 2004. Hoisington writes that "[t]he reason for the trade improvement is that import growth has slowed sharply in response to weaker domestic demand. In the last twelve months, real U.S. imports of goods rose a miniscule 0.5%, down from the 8.5% growth rate in the twelve months ended August 2006, reflecting the slowdown in consumer spending. Concurrently, exports strengthened in response to growth in emerging economies and a lower dollar." Hoisington warns that "the improving U.S. trade account is a double-edge sword. While it serves to support U.S. GDP growth, it transmits the slower U.S. domestic demand to the rest of the world." The recent rally in Treasury bonds supports Hoisington's thesis that America is already starting to experience slower growth.
Bailout Update

Structured Investment Vehicles (SIVs). Last month, HCM expressed its skepticism about the formation of a super-SIV (called, for some reason that still escapes us, M-LEC) that would hopefully provide some time for troubled SIVs to liquidate their assets. It now appears that Bank of America, Citicorp and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. have reached agreement on a structure for this new entity and that Blackrock will be engaged to manage the assets. The engagement of Blackrock is the first hopeful sign that this plan may yield some productive results since the firm has the expertise and resources to bring value to the project. Upon first hearing about the concept of combining all of these SIVs into one big SIV, HCM must admit it couldn't help recalling the scene in the film Jurassic Park when the character played by the actor Jeff Goldblum (a chaos theoretician - boy, could we use him now!) walks up to an enormous pile of dinosaur dung and says, "Now that is one big pile of s*&^!"

On November 26, 2007, HSBC Holdings PLC, Europe's largest bank, announced that it was bailing out two SIVs by taking $45 billion of assets on its balance sheet to prevent a fire sale of the vehicles' assets. Investors in the two entities, Cullinan Finance Ltd. ("Cullinan") and Asscher Finance Ltd. ("Asscher") are being offered the opportunity to exchange their interests for debt issued by a new company backed by loans from HSBC. Moody's Investor Service ("Moody's") reported in early November that Cullinan's net asset value had declined to 69 percent of capital while Asscher's had dropped to 71 percent. HSBC said it does not expect any "material impact" on its earnings or capital strength from this transaction. A senior HSBC official tried to spin the bank's move as one that would "set a benchmark and restore a degree of confidence in the SIV sector." For anybody who is prepared to believe that palaver, HCM would only respond with the adage, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." There is no confidence to restore in the SIV sector because there is no viable SIV sector anymore. Cullinan and Asscher are a case in point since their assets are being removed from that very sector with this transaction! HSBC's SIVs have more than $34 billion of senior debt according to Moody's, making it the second largest bank sponsor of these ill-begotten vehicles after Citigroup (which is facing the prospect of adding about $40 billion of SIV assets back onto its balance sheet). Some observers viewed HSBC's move as a negative since it meant HSBC would not be participating in the Super-SIV, but HSBC would seem to be doing more than its part by assuming $45 billion of the estimated $300 billion problem.

HSBC's mortgage-related troubles may not be over, however. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst Roy Ramos, wrote on November 24 that the bank may have to write down an additional $12 billion at its Household International Inc. unit. The bigger the banking institution, the bigger the clean up.

Bond Guarantors. In the meantime, SIVs are not the only financial entities needing bail outs from bad subprime bets. The French bank Natixis SA's bond-insurance unit, CIFG-guaranty, is being taken over by the bank's controlling shareholders, Caisse Nationale des Caisses d'Epargne (CNCE) and Banque Federale des Banques Populaires (BFBP). The shareholders will infuse $1.5 billion into CIFG in order to maintain the bond insurer's AAA rating. CIFG had previously been identified by rating agencies as the most likely of the bond insurers to lose its AAA rating. Upon news of the bailout, Standard & Poor's placed Natixis' credit rating on negative watch, an action that strikes HCM as akin to closing the barn door after the horses have run away. Why didn't Standard & Poor's place Natixis on negative watch before the bailout, when its subsidiary was still at risk, instead of afterward, when the risk had been addressed?

In a well-researched report that is best read with a stiff drink, JP Morgan Chase & Co. structured credit analyst Christopher Flanagan writes that financial guarantors are facing a "market-implied" $29 billion of losses on so-called "super-senior" CDO tranches against which these institutions have taken few reserves.[iii] The stocks of several of these firms, such as Ambac Financial Group and MBIA, Inc., have been pasted over concerns that the may lose their AAA credit ratings once their losses come to light. Losses on the order of $30 billion should be sufficient to jeopardize these ratings and send these companies searching for additional equity capital.

Citigroup, Inc. While the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority may not have bailed out Citigroup with its $7.5 billion purchase of convertible preferred stock to bolster the bank's balance sheet, there is no doubt that "the Citi that never sleeps" is sleeping much better after this much-needed infusion of capital. While the 11 percent dividend rate seems expensive, the deal is more complex than portrayed in the media and offers Citigroup significant benefits. Comparing the transaction in which besieged Countrywide Financial Corp. paid a 7.25 percent dividend to Bank of America Corp. for what was clearly a lifeline financing in August may be tempting but is not particularly instructive. Countrywide's stock has dropped by more than 50 percent since that deal was cut as the subprime crisis has worsened. Citigroup's Chairman Robert Rubin had promised to preserve Citigroup's dividend despite subprime writedowns expected to exceed $10 billion in the fourth quarter, although HCM suspects there are reasons beyond preserving the dividend that led the former Treasury secretary to raise this kind of capital. Moreover, if market conditions continue to deteriorate, the bank's better than 7 percent dividend rate may increasingly seem unnecessarily generous to Citigroup's board of directors. In any event, the bank's management is talking about making significant cost cuts to lower its expenses. Significant layoffs are a certainty (and not only at Citi but across the canyons of Wall Street). As a (microscopically) small Citicorp shareholder, HCM can only hope that Mr. Rubin can get his hands around the challenges facing this giant institution sooner rather than later. We can certainly think of few individuals better qualified to tackle the task. The last time Citigroup sought capital from the Middle East in troubled times, a Saudi Prince made billions of dollars of profit on his investment. This time around, HCM expects the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority to fare extremely well from its well-timed decision to step up to the plate. Frankly, we wouldn't have been surprised to see Warren Buffett making this investment and would look for him to take advantage of the rich terms that other financial institutions in need of capital are going to be offering in the weeks and months ahead.
Missed By A Mile

When you are in the business of making your opinions public, sometimes you just wish you could take it back. And right now, the Moody's analyst who published a research piece this summer entitled "SIVs: An Oasis of Calm in the Sub-prime Maelstrom" (July 20, 2007) must really be wishing he could push the delete button. Now HCM doesn't mean to pick on Moody's, but just as we are prepared to stand behind the opinions and forecasts expressed in this publication, so should an institution of the importance of Moody's. The conclusion of the rating agency's July 2007 report will undoubtedly enter the annals of financial history alongside Irving Fisher's prediction prior to the Great Depression that stock prices had reached a permanent high plateau. Just four months ago, Moody's wrote the following about the investment vehicles that were funded with short-term commercial paper to purchase long-dated illiquid structured finance paper whose investment grade ratings have since been down-graded by Moody's itself to junk bond levels:

"SIVs and SIV-lites, like most market value based structured credit funds, invest in Aaa and Aa US RMBS and CDOs of ABS. Exposures to these asset classes are limited in SIVs owing to the inherent diversity of their portfolios. The strict pricing and reporting discipline observed by SIVs and SIV-lites ensures that NAVs are reflective of asset market values within the funds. Furthermore, the vehicles are not structured to forcibly liquidate assets in times of crisis. Even in the face of a rapid and dramatic deterioration in NAV that results in an ability to roll liabilities, SIVs and SIV-lites may, prior to liquidating the portfolio, draw down on committed liquidity, withdraw breakable deposits and extract asset-backed liquidity (e.g., through the sale of short-maturity prime Aaa credit card and auto loan ABS). This obviates the need to liquidate large buckets of assets at potentially the worst period in the life of the vehicle. Moody's therefore expects ratings in the SIV and hybrid SIV sectors to remain stable amid the current maelstrom surrounding the US sub-prime housing market."

By the time this report was written, the handwriting was not only on the wall, it was stamped on the foreheads of the market participants (including, front and center, the rating agencies) who were struggling to find someplace to hide from the colossal mess they had created. This report is emblematic of a degree of denial or something far more nefarious on the part of those responsible for the SIV debacle. While it is HCM's instinct to give people the benefit of the doubt, it seems almost unduly generous to attribute an error of this degree at such a late date simply to the madness of crowds.

But whatever was going on, the financial markets are facing a severe crisis of confidence that will not be easily repaired. Gregory Peters, an investment grade credit analyst at Morgan Stanley, spoke of working himself into "a full-fledged bearish lather" as he surveyed the "derailment of the securitization process." The bereft Mr. Peters argued that "the subprime disaster is the proverbial canary in the coal mine that has also broadly affected the psychology of risk taking, which in turn has reverberated across the entire lending spectrum." Mr. Peters laid the blame right at the feet of the rating agencies: "Central to our domino-toppling concern is the clear lack of confidence in the credit system due to skepticism on credit ratings. The 2006 AAA RMBS cohort has had a downgrade severity factor of 12 times relative to history, with all rating classes experiencing a severity factor almost 200% the historical norm. The agencies must somehow restore credibility before the market can begin to heal in earnest." [iv] HCM is loath to argue with anything Mr. Peters says.

The problem is that the rating agencies are not done downgrading CDOs. So far this year, Standard & Poor's has downgraded 381 tranches of residential mortgage-related CDOs, but it still has 709 tranches on a watch list for further downgrades. Moody's has downgraded 338 issues with 734 tranches still sitting on its downgrade watch list. Does anybody seriously expect these watch-list credits to improve in any reasonably foreseeable period of time? Is it fair to ask whether the rating agencies are still in denial or merely trying to further delay the day of reckoning to give the markets more time to absorb further selling by ratings sensitive investors who will have to sell once the next wave of downgrades comes? The longer the comeuppance is delayed, the worse it will ultimately be. Delay and denial are not going to help solve the problem.

One of the biggest problems that financial markets have faced is trying to quantify the potential problem since SIVs were notoriously and deliberately opaque. In a recent research report, however, UBS performed the yeoman's task of trying to tally up the potential damage and estimated that as much as $235 billion of SIV assets may need to be sold in the next 60 days, and another $200 billion in the 18 months after that. UBS estimates that $168 billion of this total of $444 billion of assets is mortgage-related.[v] If UBS is correct, the selling pressure in the mortgage space will not abate until well into next year, whether or not prices have been marked down sufficiently.

Just as the markets panicked when investment grade corporate credits like Enron and WorldCom turned out to be nothing of the sort, they have been similarly traumatized by the disclosure that the AAA ratings of subprime mortgage paper were a complete fiction based on flawed financial models. The subprime debacle may not have involved the degree of outright fraud that Enron and WorldCom did (although there was plenty of fraud to go around in many areas of the subprime mortgage market), but the entire premise of the market (including the structured credit market built up around it) was a total fabulation. Even for markets that continue to amaze the jaundiced HCM with the brevity of their memories, it may take a considerable amount of time for confidence to be restored.

Finally, the financial press continues to find itself challenged when it comes to accurately writing about Collateralized Debt Obligations. The latest faux pas appeared in a breakingviews.com column in The Wall Street Journal on November 26, 2007 under the headline "The Nine Lives of CDOs." In trying to explain how the technology used successfully to securitize corporate bank loans was cloned into less successful vehicles like subprime mortgage CDOs, the columnist Antony Currie wrote: "To fund the purchase of the loans, the CLO issues debt, which offers higher returns than traditional bonds. That is usually because the combined face value of the loans it buys is greater than the face value of the debt is issues." These statements are misleading. The first sentence is essentially meaningless, since the term "traditional bonds" has no meaning of which we are aware. But the statement that face value of the CLO assets (i.e. the loans purchased) exceeds the face value of the CLO liabilities (the investment grade rated CLOs sell to finance themselves) is simply wrong. In a typical CLO structure, the face amount of the liabilities always exceeds the face amount of the assets by the amount of the fees incurred to put together the deal (generally between 1 and 2 percent). This means that the equity investor is generally under water on a liquidation basis on day one, although this has no practical effect because these are long-dated vehicles that produce more than sufficient cash flow over their lives to replenish the till and return the equity investor's original investment plus a double digit return. If the financial press can't get the basics of these structures right, what is going to happen when the politicians get their hands on these complex vehicles and try to legislate them in the wake of the massive losses incurred in the mortgage space?
General Motors Corp. - Into the Abyss?

HCM has long maintained that General Motors will ultimately end up restructuring under the aegis of bankruptcy, and recent events continue to lend credence to that view. The most recent piece of evidence was the automaker's decision to write-off $38.6 billion of deferred taxes. Deferred taxes are an asset that companies carry on their balance sheet when they expect to be profitable in the future. They stem from past losses and are used to shelter a company's future income from taxes. For a company that is expected to return to profitability, deferred taxes are an extremely valuable asset since they effectively allow a company to retain 100 percent of its profits for as long as the deferred tax account lasts.

By writing off $38.6 billion of deferred taxes, General Motors is not merely removing that amount of value from its balance sheet. The company is also admitting that it does not expect profits to return to any significant extent in the foreseeable future because it is effectively saying that it will not have any profits to shelter with these deferred taxes. That is a remarkable admission, and one that must be contrasted with the optimistic statements made by management about the former auto giant's recovery efforts. In so many words, this is an admission by General Motors' management (driven by its financial staff and outside auditors, most likely) that the company's goose is cooked. With a stock price below $30 dollars per share (see Figure 1 below), the quarterly loss resulting from this writeoff was a whopping $68.85 per share. HCM is certain that many observers tried to seek comfort in the non-cash nature of this charge, but those that did missed the point.

The bad news does not stop there, however. For General Motors lost money in 2007's third quarter even before this gargantuan writedown. The bottom line is that the company's 2005 restructuring plan is not bearing fruit. While global automotive operations were profitable in the first half of 2007, declining industry sales in core North American and European markets outran cost cutting efforts in the third quarter. The company's restructuring plan was based on projected industrywide U.S. auto sales of 17.5 million units; actual sales are tracking closer to 16 million. (Who comes up with these projections? Is anybody paying attention to the housing and consumer economy up at GM's headquarters?) Even worse, the company has been unable to sell assets fast enough to replenish the cash it is consuming.
General Motors and Residential Capital LLC (or When It Rains, It Pours)

And GM's problems do not stop at the automobile business. The company reported a $757 million loss on its 49 percent interest in GMAC, the majority interest in which it sold to the buyout group Cerberus Capital Management LP ("Cerberus") last year. The previously profitable GMAC is being throttled by losses at Residential Capital LLC ("ResCap"), a home-mortgage business that was/is (surprise!) a big subprime mortgage player (reportedly the eighth largest home mortgage lender in the country).[vi] ResCap's bank debt price collapsed to the low-to-mid-80s in mid-November, while the company's bond prices collapsed to about 60 cents on the dollar, suggesting that markets are expecting a default sooner rather than later. This was further confirmed by the trading levels of the company's credit default swaps. By mid-November, the purchase of five-year default insurance on ResCap bonds cost more than 40 points up front and 500 basis points per year. In layman's terms, that meant that buying protection on $10 million of ResCap bonds cost more than $4 million up front plus $500,000 per year. This would entitle the purchaser of protection, in the event of default, to a payment equal to $10 million minus the fair market value of $10 million of ResCap bonds. So if ResCap bond traded down to 40 cents on the dollars (or $4 million for $10 million face amount) upon a bankruptcy filing, the buyer of protection is entitled to a payment of $6,000,000 from the seller of protection.

The reason for this panic on ResCap could be found in a November 15, 2007 article in The Wall Street Journal reporting that ResCap's net worth had declined to $6.2 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2007 (down $2.2 billion in a year), only $800 million above a covenant-busting $5.4 billion that must be met as of December 31, 2007 to avoid violating the company's unsecured debt agreements. Tripping those covenants would give ResCap's creditors the right to demand immediate repayment of $3.9 billion that the company doesn't have, although a more likely outcome is that lenders would give the company a waiver in exchange for a fee or collateral that would further cook the goose of the company's bondholders.

Not everybody, however, is negative on the credit. Lehman Brothers, Inc. issued a research report on November 19 upgrading ResCap's 6.125s of November 2008 to "Overweight." At a price of $64.50 and a 59 percent yield, Lehman believes that the "potential return is more than enough compensation for the high default risk, especially considering the downside is limited by the recovery rate, which we [Lehman] project[s] would be above 60%." HCM would only cite in response the old investment adage about there being a difference between the return on one's money and the return of one's money. If a bond is trading at a 59 percent yield, it should be avoided except by those investors with a pathological compulsion to take risk. Right before Thanksgiving, obviously feeling the pressure to take some action to stop the freefall in ResCap's debt, Cerberus announced that it was considering repurchasing some ResCap debt at a discount, which would prop up the company's net worth and delay a covenant violation. While a clever financial engineering solution, a debt repurchase would do little to solve the underlying business problem, which is the infirmity of the subprime mortgage business. Moreover, the company is facing large debt maturities in 2008 that would only be marginally impacted by the debt buyback scheme.

In 2008, ResCap has $4.5 billion of debt coming due as follows: $250 million in May; $1.25 billion in June; $1.75 billion in July; and another $1.75 billion in November. Unless Cerberus is going to write the checks (HCM views the chance of that happening as very small), ResCap is not going to be able to refinance these debts and would have to use all of its remaining cash on hand to repay them. The only other scenario is a sudden turnaround in the subprime mortgage market, and the odds of that happening are about the same as Cerberus simply writing a $4.5 billion check. If Cerberus were to step up with additional financing, the terms would be very onerous for existing lenders based on the private equity firm's reputation as tough-minded negotiators. A ResCap restructuring in 2008 is a near-certainty.
Freddie Mac

ResCap is not the only mortgage company at risk of disappearing into the abyss. Figure 2 on the next page shows the stock of Freddie Mac dive-bombing on November 20 after the shrinking mortgage giant announced a larger-than-expected third quarter loss of $2.03 billion that lowered its capital base to dangerously low levels. This news shattered the confidence of the markets in financial stocks (for all of about a week before stocks rallied off their lows on statements by Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Kohn and Chairman Ben Bernanke that the central bank was waking up to the problem).

In fact, the loss reduced Freddie's core capital by two-thirds to a mere $600 million above regulatory requirements. Standard & Poor's immediately confirmed the company's AAA senior debt rating based on the longstanding assumption that the U.S. government would rescue Freddie in a crisis, but changed its outlook from stable to negative on its AA- rating of the risk that Freddie poses to government coffers (i.e. taxpayers), as well as on its subordinated debt and preferred stock. The real issue, which has been written about by Christopher Wood for a couple of years, is that Freddie and the larger Fannie Mae have been aggressively supporting the expansion of the mortgage market for the past several years and will now be pulling in their horns. Shrinkage of these entities' balance sheets - even a slowdown in their growth - will contribute to the withdrawal of capital from the economy that the subprime mortgage meltdown is causing. America's debt-driven economy is rapidly being deprived of its lifeblood. About a week after announcing this loss, Freddie Mac has announced that it will seek $6 billion in additional equity and halve its dividend to atone for its sins. Unlike Citigroup, however, Freddie will seek its capital in the public markets rather than trying to work a deal with a single deep-pocketed investor.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Zig Zigler Quotes

* "You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win."

* "You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."

* "You are the only person on earth who can use your ability."

* "You've got to 'be' before you can 'do', and you've got to 'do' before you can 'have'."

* "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily."

* "This I do know beyond any reasonable doubt. Regardless of what you are doing, if you pump long enough, hard enough and enthusiastically enough, sooner or later the effort will bring forth the reward."

* "Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude."

* "I've got to say 'no' to the good so I can say 'yes' to the best."

* "Remember that failure is an event, not a person."

* "What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."

* "You don't pay the price for success. You pay the price for failure."

Does Tainted Milk Cause Crohn's Disease?

Does Tainted Milk Cause Crohn's Disease?


A bacterium known to cause illness in cattle may also cause Crohn's disease in humans. Crohn's disease causes chronic intestinal inflammation, leading to pain, bleeding and diarrhea.

A bacterium called Mycobacterium paratuberculosis prevents white blood cells from killing E. coli bacteria. E. coli is known to be present in increased numbers within Crohn’s disease infected tissue.

It is believed that the Mycobacteria make their way into the body’s system via cows’ milk and other dairy products.

The video above is an excerpt from the outstanding DVD The Whole Truth About Milk, which was created by by David Getoff, CTN, CCN, FAAIM, and features Organic Pastures Dairy owner Mark McAfee, where he explains the vital differences between pasteurized and raw milk.

* Science Daily December 13, 2007

* Gastroenterology November, 2007; 133(5):1487-98

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Find Out More

Dr. Mercola Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which are characterized by symptoms such as:

Frequent diarrhea
Abdominal cramps and severe pain
Rectal bleeding
Weight loss and fatigue
Nausea and fever

Other extra-intestinal symptoms include disorders of your eyes, liver, gallbladder, muscles and joints, kidneys and skin. In some cases, fistulas can form aberrant passages from your bowels to your anus, vagina or skin surface.

Most conventional treatments focus on relieving your symptoms with anti-inflammatory drugs, or surgically removing the affected part of your intestines.

The Dairy Connection

This is not the first study indicating pasteurized milk as one of the culprits in Crohn’s disease. Previous research found that the mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP) was present in about 92 percent of patients with Crohn’s disease, compared to 26 percent of patients in a control group.

MAP is present in about two percent of commercial pasteurized milk. So, not only does pasteurization kill the beneficial bacteria available in milk, but it leaves a potentially harmful organism alive and well. Making matters worse, the conventional recommendation to drink milk that has been pasteurized at even higher temperatures is far from helpful.

What nearly everyone fails to appreciate about pasteurized milk is that although the pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria are killed during pasteurization so they can’t multiply, they are NOT removed from the milk. The dead bacteria are STILL IN THE MILK.

If the bacteria are there, they can serve as a stimulus to your immune system and cause all sorts of autoimmune diseases, Crohn’s disease being only one example.

Instead, RAW milk from healthy grass-fed cows is actually one of the more profound healing agents you can turn to when confronted with inflammatory bowel disease. Rather than cause it, raw milk can send your IBD into remission. This is because if cows are raised properly and only fed grass, not immunized, given access to plenty of fresh air and sunshine, and not given antibiotics or harmful vaccines that impair their immune system, then they simply do not get sick or become colonized with these pathogenic bacteria in the first place. Thus there is no need to pasteurize their milk.

What many also fail to appreciate is that pasteurization is NON discriminate in its ability to kill bacteria. Pasteurization kills the GOOD bacteria in the milk that actually makes you healthy and can reverse diseases like Crohn’s.

If this information interests you I would STRONGLY encourage you to purchase the full Raw Milk video (an excerpt of which is provided above) from the Price Pottinger Foundation. It is one of the best videos I have seen this year, and really helped my understanding of all the benefits of raw milk.

I knew raw milk was good, but had no idea just how much better it was, until I saw this video.

Milk and milk products have been the food staple of mankind since the beginning of recorded history. They are truly the one food source that has allowed us to become civilized and to develop societies as we know them today. But now, in 2007, milk has a bad name. Is it the milk itself, or is it the way that it is being processed and delivered in this corporate farming world we now live in? Are the problems we see a result of pasteurizing and homogenizing, which are relatively new developments in the history of milk?

Unfortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in another misguided and unhealthy move, recently moved to ban some raw-milk cheese. And in California, one of the only states in the United States that legally sells raw milk, raw milk must now -- for the first time -- conform to strict limits for coliform bacteria that could actually make the milk less healthy, according to a new state law, AB1735.

For more information about the current Consumer Revolt against AB1735 and legal action to defend your access to raw milk, you can contact Organic Pastures at www.organicpastures.com or (559) 846-9732.

Antibiotics Can Also Cause Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

When antibiotics are taken for various purposes your protective, healthy bacteria are eliminated and yeast growth goes unchecked. The resulting effects can be very similar to those of IBD.

Furthermore, when fungi become systemic from gut inflammation and the overuse of antibiotics, your whole body -- again, your eyes, liver, gallbladder, muscles and joints, kidneys, and skin -- becomes involved in inflammatory bowel disease.

Some scientists have directly implicated yeast and fungal toxins (mycotoxins) as the cause of Crohn’s disease. Former World Health Organization expert Dr. A.V. Costantini found that people with Crohn’s often have aflatoxin, a mycotoxin made by Aspergillus molds, in their blood. The disease activity in patients with Crohn’s was lower while they followed a yeast-free diet, specifically avoiding baker’s and brewer’s yeasts.

How to Treat Crohn’s Disease Naturally

In addition to converting from pasteurized- to grass-fed raw milk, avoiding dangerous grains and sugar is another important factor that can help you reverse inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s.

There is fairly strong Paleolithic evidence that many thousands of years ago most humans did not consume many grains. They were hunter-gatherers who subsisted mostly on vegetables and meats. Ten thousand years is a mere blip in a biological sense for humans -- over 99 percent of our genetic make-up was in place well before we ever started consuming grains.

When considered from this perspective alone, it is not too surprising that grains can cause a wide array of health issues. As a contemporary human you have not suddenly evolved the mechanisms to deal with carbohydrates from starch- and sugar-rich foods into your diet.

Taking healthy doses of probiotics should also be high on your list. Fermented foods, such as natto, for example, are loaded with beneficial, healthy bacteria. They give your body similar benefits as consuming a whole bottle of a probiotic supplement, but at a fraction of the cost.

One of your best and least expensive ways to achieve this would be to obtain raw milk and convert it to kefir, which is very easy to make. All you have to do is put one half packet of kefir start granules in a quart of raw milk at room temperature and leave it out over night. By the time you wake up in the morning you will likely have kefir. If it hasn’t obtained the consistency of yogurt you might want to set it out a bit longer and then store it in the fridge.

Additionally, if you suffer with Crohn’s disease or IBS, coconut oil would be an extremely beneficial addition to your diet. The anti-inflammatory and healing effects of coconut oil have been shown to play a role in soothing inflammation and healing injury in the digestive tract. Coconut oil also has antimicrobial properties that promote intestinal health by killing troublesome microorganisms that may cause chronic inflammation.

Fish oil is another absolutely essential element of preventing and controlling inflammatory bowel disease.

It has also been my experience that there is nearly ALWAYS some type of unresolved emotional trauma that occurred before the age of six and is buried deep in the subconscious. This can be something devastating like sexual abuse, but far more commonly it is related to some parental interaction that was relatively minor, but to the child, it was absolutely devastating. Until this is cleared up it is VERY difficult to obtain improvement.

There are a number of different approaches that can be used but energy psychology is probably the most universally and consistently effective strategy to use. My particular favorite is EFT.