Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Law of Life



Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past are certain to prolong reaching the future.

I remember my fourth grade teacher giving us a glimpse of the future. We were told that things would be so modernized when we grew up that we would have much more free time on our hands than our parents.

My father, like almost everyone else in the 1950’s, was working 40 hours a week. My mother was being a 1950’s mother, staying at home to take care of the family. I was relieved to learn that I wouldn’t have to put in that many hours when I was my parent’s age.

But it never came true.

More than a half century later, Americans are still stuck in the rut of a 40-hour workweek. In fact, Americans now average more hours per week than they did fifty years ago and have less vacation time than any other industrial nation in the world. And in many cases, both parents are forced to work just to stay even.

The average American family pays more in taxes than food, clothing, shelter and transportation combined. Either we are incapable of being personally responsible for our own welfare or government has gotten vastly out of control.

Nearly 50 percent of our income goes to government. This includes federal & state income tax, social security tax, Medicare tax, real estate property tax, personal property tax, state & county & city sales tax, self-employment tax, gasoline tax, liquor tax, cigarette tax, federal excise tax, import tax, luxury tax, gift tax, inheritance tax, hotel tax, transportation tax, federal & state & county telephone tax, etc., etc.

We’re stuck at 40 hours per week of labor with nearly 20 of those hours going to government coffers.

This is insane.

Instead of finding a rational solution to this tedious work load, the federal government keeps churning away trying to find new ways to fit everyone into a 40-hour per week job to keep the giant economic engine going. They are stuck with a 1950s model of the way things ought to be, rather than figuring out ways to lesson the tax burden on the people and lower government spending.

The government assumes the solution to unemployment is to create more jobs into a full-time 40-hour week paradigm. Instead, it would make much more sense to be flexible with the 40-hour per week system. If the work week was shorter, more people would have jobs, creating the same amount of output.

For example, if you have 80 people working and 20 people on unemployment at a 40-hour week, you have an output of 3,200 man-hours of production. But if you reduced the work week to 32 hours, all 100 people would still create 3,200 man-hours of production per week. Flexibility of hours allows everyone to work and shortens the hours, without any loss of productivity.

An even more radical solution is a 3-day work week of 9-hour days. This would allow half of the work force to work 27 hours for 3 days and the other half to work 27 hours the next 3 days. This would increase overall output from a 40-hour week of productivity to a 54-hour per week productivity, whereby we would actually produce more while working less individual hours, plus there would be “jobs” for twice as many people as before.

Nobody, with the possible exception of Hugh Hefner, goes to their grave wishing they had spent more time working at their job. Recent surveys show that most Americans don’t really like their jobs. They’re working jobs they hate in order to buy things they don’t need, and half of what they earn is confiscated from them for various dubious government adventures that are overly costly and almost always include unintended adverse consequences.

A prime example of the wastefulness and sheer ignorance of consequences of the federal government was the Cash for Clunkers program in the early days of the Obama administration, which they naturally claim was a smashing success.

A clunker that travels 12,000 miles a year at 15 mpg uses 800 gallons of gas a year. A vehicle that travels 12,000 miles a year at 25 mpg uses 480 gallons a year. Thus, the average Cash for Clunkers transaction will reduce US gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year. They claim 700,000 vehicles were involved so that's 224 million gallons saved per year, which equals about 5 million barrels of oil. And 5 million barrels of oil at $70 per barrel costs about $350 million dollars. Therefore, the government used $3 billion of our tax dollars to save $350 million, which amounts to costing $8.57 for every dollar saved.

This is the same government that creates a penny at a cost of 1.7 cents per penny.

And everyone keeps grinding away, 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year, pouring money down a rat hole, while their inefficient central government is having endless meetings trying to think of ways to create more 40-hour per week jobs.

If we reduce the workweek, more people will have jobs. Plus, everyone will have more free time, which in turn will create more job opportunities in various travel, recreational, vacation, entertainment, hobby, crafts, art, and environmental sectors.

Instead of trying to maintain a 1950s model of existence, we should endeavor to improve our quality of life. We need to work less and enjoy life more. As predicted, everything has been modernized. My fourth grade teacher would be amazed -- electronics, robotics, improved vehicles, computers, Internet, satellite communications, i-pods, e-mail, cell phones, laser technology, medical advances, etc.

A rigid 40-hour workweek contributes to the “unemployment” problem, not the lack of jobs. A shorter workweek is the solution, not creating more tasks for people to do. Flexibility and adaptability is the key, not trying to fit the modern world into the distant past.

The wasteful, ever-growing federal government intrusion in the economy is beyond the scope of their function and will only make matters worse. Their task is to ensure a level playing field, protect individual rights, maintain a common infrastructure and allow the freedom of the marketplace to flourish on its own. It is not within their purview to define or maintain or manipulate or manage the private jobs of private citizens.

An administration that attempts to solve the over-spending of the past by excessively over-spending even more in the present and the future is not to be trusted with the economy, or anything else.

Plunging the nation into unprecedented debt may be the governmental prescription for keeping its citizens enslaved into working full-time forever, but it’s not much fun for the slaves.

The USA is based on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have a long history of sacrificing lives to maintain our individual freedom. Yet, we are being treated like cogs within a monolithic, socialistic central government machine.

Planet Earth is slowly becoming a prison planet. And if we stay the course, it will culminate in a monolithic, socialistic one-world government.

The struggle for freedom never ends.

Instead to rallying for more jobs, we should be rallying for less work and more freedom.
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Quote for the Day -- “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Thomas Jefferson
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Bret Burquest is the author of 10 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a couple of dogs and where modernization includes such luxuries as electricity and indoor plumbing.
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Sunday, August 31, 2014

French Fried Nation



Algeria is a country on the Mediterranean Sea in North Africa. Algiers is the capitol city.

In 1830, the local ruler in Algiers got into a heated argument with the French consul and struck him with his flywhisk. The king of France, Charles X, decided to do something rather un-French – he decided to retaliate with a show of force.

The French soon defeated the Algerians, primarily Muslims, and colonized the region which included imposing the French language and culture on the inhabitants.

In due course, France would also conquer and colonize neighboring Morocco and Tunisia.

After World War II, France encouraged workers (laborers) in North Africa and Turkey to emigrate into France and help to rebuild the nation from the devastation of war. These immigrants were confined to isolated housing projects (soon-to-become ghettoes) and treated as second-class citizens.

In the 1960s, France's economy was stagnant and the government was running a deficit. They figured the solution was expansion -- more people in the economy would mean a larger tax base which would lead to more prosperity. So France once again recruited immigrants, primarily Arabs and black Africans, to stimulate growth.

Today, 3 million Muslims live in crowded ghettoes in France, the largest Muslim population in Europe.

On October 27, 2005, the conditions created by the greed and arrogance of the French finally exploded.

In a Paris suburb, police were checking identification papers of young Muslim men, a practice often used by the French police to discourage minorities from entering middle class areas, when two Muslim teens apparently ran from the police and hid in an electrical power station where they were electrocuted.

This sparked about two weeks of riots throughout 300 cities in France which included some 1,200 arrests and over 4,000 burnt vehicles.

Outrage had been building for some time. There had been an average of 80 cars torched per week in France leading up to the riots. Suddenly, the deaths of two Muslim teens triggered additional latent hostility.

Most of the rioters were young Muslim men and boys. The unemployment rate among this group exceeds 40%. Their parents or grandparents were emigrants to France but most of them were born locally. Their birthright is French but they're not considered to be French by the indigenous inhabitants. Thus, they're basically excluded from French society. While their elders accept this fate, the young ones don't like being treated like scum.

Contrary to the popular opinion of those who believe in a collectivist approach to social harmony, these young rioters do not want to be assimilated into French society. They want to be excluded from integration into a social fabric that shuns them and prefer to remain in their own private Muslim enclaves. Specifically, they want the French establishment (police) out of their territory and desire to rule their own neighborhoods.

The French are a snooty people. They feel and act superior to all other forms of humanity. Being a minority, surrounded by those who consider you to be inferior, is a hard way to go through life. Being a young man with no future is also a hard way to go through life. And being checked for identification papers every time you wander from your own neighborhood could cause a young man (with no future and being treated like dirt) to be volatile.

The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the hill. It all started with human greed. The French government was greedy by colonizing other countries. The people of France were greedy for bringing in cheap foreign workers to do the manual labor and add to the tax base. The immigrants were greedy by presuming life would be better elsewhere. Once thrown together, the indigenous French people and the immigrants developed a mutual dislike for one another, each desiring an existence that excluded the other (another form of greed).

Some people can find happiness in their present circumstances while others assume happiness is always just over the next hill. But sometimes when you venture over the next hill you wind up in a dump like France.

Happiness is not over the next hill -- it's an attitude.

The key to happiness is between your ears.
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Quote for the Day -- "Going to war without the French is like going deer hunting without an accordion." U.S. Army General Norman Schwarzkopf
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Bret Burquest is the author of 10 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a couple of dogs and an imaginary girlfriend named Tequila Mockingbird.
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Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Fixation on Cholesterol



Cholesterol is a waxy substance (a form of protein) found among the fats (lipids) in the bloodstream and in all of your body's cells. It's used to form and repair cell membranes, and needed for other important bodily functions.

High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is called "good cholesterol" because it helps keep cholesterol from building up in arteries. The buildup of cholesterol impairs the flow of blood, possibly leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is called "bad cholesterol" because some small/dense LDL particles can squeeze through the lining of the arteries and, if they oxidize (become rancid), can cause inflammation.

The amount of cholesterol one eats plays little role in determining cholesterol levels. The majority of cholesterol in the bloodstream is manufactured and distributed by the liver. It combines with other fats and proteins to be carried through the bloodstream. When inflammation occurs, extra cholesterol is created by the liver and introduced into the bloodstream.

It's a normal bodily function to fight inflammation.

According to the American Heart Association, a high level of LDL cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, while a high HDL cholesterol level is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

However, an association merely signifies a presence.

Dr. Ron Rosedale, MD, points out that gray hair is associated with aging but it's not the cause of aging. He contends the real cause of heart disease is damage inflicted on the lining of the arteries, thereby causing chronic inflammation resulting in accumulated plaque.

Dr. Rosedale cites many studies over the last 15 years that have strongly linked insulin resistance and leptin resistance to cardiovascular disease. This resistance appears to be the cause of the cholesterol abnormalities, making high cholesterol a symptom of the inflammation rather than the root cause of the cardiovascular disease.

Some doctors recommend cholesterol-lowering (statin) drugs, which have dangerous potential side effects, for patients with cholesterol imbalances, while other doctors disagree with this approach.

Consumer groups have found that 8 out of 9 "experts" that recommend these drugs were on the payroll of pharmaceutical companies.

In the Spring-2006 issue of ALTERNATIVES magazine, Dr. David Williams asserts, "People with heart disease all have one thing in common, and it isn't high cholesterol. It's inflammation in their arteries."

Dr. Williams believes the consumption of proteins produces an acid-like substance called "homocysteine" in the bloodstream, which is quickly broken down by certain B vitamins. But without enough vitamin B (possibly due to an underactive thyroid gland), the homocysteine builds to dangerous levels, damaging the tissue of the artery walls, thus causing chronic inflammation to the lining of the arteries. The body tries to heal the damage by producing more cholesterol, a necessary element in cellular repair.

Again, cholesterol is a symptom, not a cause.

A number of recent studies, including a 14-year study at Harvard, have concluded that high homocysteine levels play a major role in cardiovascular disease. High homocysteine levels have also been linked to Alzheimer's disease, chronic fatigue disease syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis.

Starting in 1999, the American Heart Association has been urging doctors to screen high-risk patients for elevated homocysteine levels. 

I'm in the V.A. medical system, an archaic bureaucracy, and they don't check for homocysteine levels. It seems like their solution to everything is another prescription drug. It's like a trial-and-error guessing game. So I've been forced to do some medical research via the Internet (not necessarily reliable) in self-defense.

Doctors are a lot like regular people -- they don't always agree with one another. Medical technology is changing rapidly and not all doctors are on the same page. Plus, doctors are often constrained by their education. That's probably why they call it "practicing" medicine.

Of course, the best way to avoid dealing with the medical profession is with a proper diet, regular exercise, reduced stress and a positive attitude. And don't wait until you're past the point of no return to get started.

NOTE: I'm not qualified to give medical advice. Don't alter your medical regimen based on my experiences.
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Quote for the Day -- "Each patient carries his own doctor inside him." Norman Cousins
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Bret Burquest is the author of 10 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a couple of dogs and an imaginary girlfriend named Tequila Mockingbird.
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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August 10 -- 1944 & 2014



On August 10, 2014, there will be a full moon. This full moon will be the closest moon encounter with Earth in 2014, thus it will appear to be the largest full moon of the year.

It's called a super moon, the closest moon of 2014. According to NASA, this full moon will be 14 percent closer and 30 percent brighter than other full moons in 2014.

Certain Native American tribes along the Great Lakes refer to this August moon as Sturgeon Moon, also called Full Green Corn Moon. The Ojibway call it Blueberry Moon and the Dakota Sioux call it Moon When All Things Ripen.

On August 10, 1944, 70 years earlier, a secret meeting took place at the Maison Rouge Hotel in Strasbourg in eastern France whereby three Nazi officials met with an elite group of German industrialists to plan for Germany's post-war recovery. They created a document called the Red House Report, detailing how they would rebuild the German economy by sending money through Switzerland.

As the Third Reich was crumbling around them, they were laying the foundation for the Fourth Reich. The plan was not to pursue the physical occupation of Europe (and the world) but rather to gain control by economic means. This would be accomplished by creating a centrally-controlled European community.

"In 50 years' time, nobody will think of nation states." Nazi propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels.

It took a bit longer, but 70 years later the European Union (EU) has become this centrally-controlled European community.

The EU is controlled by the European Commission, an unelected bureaucracy which proposes all the European community laws. These proposed laws are then discussed in secret meetings of the Committee of Permanent Representatives and rubber-stamped by the Council of Ministers. National parliaments of European countries have no say in the matter.

This is another step closer to a One-World government -- one-world unelected rulers, one-world police-force, one-world monetary system -- a global socialist-communist dictatorship.

Also, on August 10, 1944, I was born into this dimension on a U.S. Army Air Force in Blytheville, Arkansas.

My parents were from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and my father had been conscripted into the Armed Forces during World War II. He had become an officer and a pilot instructor. After the war, we moved back to Stevens Point and various locations thereafter.

Thus, I became 70 years-old on August 10, 2014, during a super moon event.

Obviously, it means greatness awaits me -- either that, or it means I'm really getting old.

"With mirth and laughter, let old wrinkles come." William Shakespeare

There is no cure for the common birthday.
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Quote for the Day -- “In 1492, the natives discovered they were indians, discovered they lived in America, discovered they were naked, discovered that the Sin existed, discovered they owed allegiance to a King and Kingdom from another world and a God from another sky, and that this God had invented the guilty and the dress, and had sent to be burnt alive who worships the Sun the Moon the Earth and the Rain that wets it.” Eduardo Galeano

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Bret Burquest is the author of 10 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where 70 is the new 44.
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