I’m back in the middle of my semi-annual episode of outrage about the American system for budget and debt management and other governance problems.
Earlier this year we concluded the last cycle of budget/debt ceiling turmoil with a debt ceiling agreement. The U.S. could breath again, but for how long? A few weeks ago it became clear that we would miss one more opportunity to actually experience careful analysis and debate during the budget process. I’m referring to reestablishing “regular order.” That means that our legislators would be required to hold budget hearings and actually hold separate votes on 12 separate spending budgets. It’s been decades since we’ve followed that process on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, this year we’ll extend for another year the embarrassing use of omnibus spending bills strung together with emergency continuing resolutions until some sort of permanent annual budget is approved. Ultimately an omnibus bill, generally without adequate detailed analysis, will be agreed upon and we can breath easy, right? Sorry, no. The budget will be passed, but the funding process will be left hanging. The approval of a debt ceiling won’t be addressed until panic arrives, and a debt crisis is declared, usually several months later. Ultimately, after much angst, gnashing of teeth, and
threats of government shutdown, a new debt ceiling will be put in place.
Blame should be placed on both parties for this bad financial management. Fairness requires pointing out that the Democrats reversed course by claiming the debt ceiling serves no purpose andshould be terminated. That’s irresponsibly wrong.
The debt ceiling is an important control mechanism for ensuring spending discipline. It was set up to create orderly, thoughtful, and responsible budget and funding decisions. Responsible financial management requires that spending and borrowing decisions be made as part of the same process, not months apart. That separation of the inseparable decisions of spending levels and funding sources is what causes these predictable debt crises.
The 2023 version of this process emphasizes its foolishness. GOP infighting during the budget process brought about an irresponsible removal of the House Speaker. It must be labeled irresponsible because there was neither a viable plan, nor the ability, to name a replacement. Our leaders shouldn’t take drastic measures which need solutions unless those solutions are provided for.
That dilemma continues as I write this. Representative Jordan is out of contention for House Speaker, with nine others apparently taking his place as “wannabees.” It’ll eventually end, but when? It’s
already turning into a sad national joke, further suppressing confidence in our nation’s government institutions.
America’s government is at a legislative standstill while national and international events have intervened to create a serious geopolitical “perfect storm,” made significantly worse by America’s bad governance – or should I call it “temporary non-governance.”
While we “muddle through” here at home, the Mideast is on the verge of being the center of international military conflicts following the massive Hamas led terrorist attack on Israel, with the predictable
military retaliation on Gaza by Israeli military forces. The Ukraine war is escalating with requests for more U.S. support. Government officials are speculating on how to avoid the potential military conflict with China. And America can’t act due to its leadership void. The GOP’s infighting has the potential to disrupt the nation’s security.
Sprinkle on top of that pile of existential threats the distraction of a serious impeachment investigation of our unpopular President. Add to that the dozens of charges in four indictments against the outrageously controversial leading GOP candidate for the next presidential election. Unpopular and controversial candidates, and foolish legislators seem to define the prevailing situation in 2023.
This particular governance void in the House of Representatives may be solved by the time you read this, but I think I’ve made my point as to the risky path the nation has taken. A perfect storm of bad
governance along with international tensions, doesn’t bode well. I’m wondering if the U.S. can get its ducks adequately in order to continue the leadership position it has held for so long.
In mid-October every year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics re-leases its much-anticipated report on changes (usually increases) to the Consumer Price Index over the past 12 months. Why is this little, esoteric government report - actually called the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers -- so popular? Because for the past 49 years, it’s the report that determines the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) that Social Security beneficiaries will get the following year.
I’m sure you already heard, all 66 million Social Security bene-ficiaries’ checks are going up 3.2% in 2024.
Due to these increases, the average monthly retirement check will be $1,907 in 2024, a $59 increase from the 2023 level. The maximum Social Security check for a worker turning full retirement age in 2024 will be $3,822, compared to $3,627 in 2023. And please note that $3,822 is the maximum for someone turning full retirement age in 2024. That does not mean it is the maximum Social Security payment anyone can receive. There are millions of Social Security beneficiaries who get much more than that, primarily because they worked well past their FRA and/or delayed starting their benefits until age 70.
Here’s another important point about the COLA. Many readers have been asking me if they must file for Social Security benefits in 2023 in order to get the COLA that’s paid in January 2024. The answer is no. The COLA will be built into the benefit computation formula. So even if you don’t file for Social Security until next year, or some subsequent year, you’ll still get the 3.2% increase.
Although this is a Social Security column, I must mention the upcoming increase in the Medicare Part B premium, which is deducted from Social Security checks for most people. In 2024, the basic Part B premium is projected to be $179.80. That’s $14.90 more than the 2023 rate. And as has been the case for 20 years now, wealthy people will pay more than the basic premium.
I don’t want to get into the complicated issue of Medicare premiums other than to make this quick point. Even though they are linked in the minds of most senior citizens, Social Security and Medicare are entirely separate programs, administered by entirely separate federal agencies, and they have entirely separate rules and regulations regarding their benefit and payment structures. For example, I already explained how Social Security COLAs are figured. The Part B Medicare premium increase has nothing to do with the Bureau of Labor’s consumer price index. Instead, by law, it must be set at a level that covers 25% of the cost of running the program. Taxpayers pick up the remaining 75%. (And again, wealthy people pay more than the 25% share.)
Another measuring stick called the “national wage index” is used to set increases to other provisions of the law that affect Social Security beneficiaries and taxpayers. Specifically, this includes increases in the amount of wages or self-employment income subject to Social Security tax; the amount of income needed to earn a “quarter of coverage”; and the Social Security earnings penalty limits.
The Social Security taxable earnings base will go up from $160,200 in 2023 to $168,600 in 2024. In other words, people who earn more than $168,600 in 2024 will no longer have Social Security payroll taxes deducted from their paychecks once they hit that threshold. This has always been a very controversial provision of the law. (Bill Gates pays the same amount of Social Security tax as his plumber!) I think it’s a pretty good bet that any eventual Social Security reform package will include an increase in that wage base.
Most people need 40 Social Security work credits (sometimes called “quarters of coverage”) to be eligible for monthly benefit checks from the system. In 2023, people who were working earned one credit for each $1,640 in Social Security taxable income. But no one earns more than four credits per year. In other words, once you made $6,560, your Social Security record has been credited with the maximum four credits or quarters of coverage. In 2024, the one credit limit goes up to $1,730, meaning you will have to earn $6,920 this coming year before you get the maximum four credits assigned to your Social Security account.
People under their full retirement age who get Social Security retirement or survivor’s benefits but who are still working are subject to limits in the amount of money they can earn and still receive all their Social Security checks. That limit was $21,240 in 2023 and will be $22,320 in 2024. For every two dollars a person earns over those limits, one dollar is withheld from his or her monthly benefits.
There is a higher earnings threshold in the year a person turns full retirement age that applies from the beginning of the year until the month the person reaches FRA. (The income penalty goes away once a person reaches that magic age.) That threshold goes up from $56,520 in 2023 to $59,520 in 2024.
A couple other Social Security provisions are also impacted by inflationary increases. For example, people getting disability benefits who try to work can generally continue getting those benefits as long as they are not working at a “substantial” level. In 2023, the law defined substantial work as any job paying $1,470 or more per month. In 2024, that substantial earnings level increases to $1,550 monthly.
Finally, the Supplemental Security Income basic federal pay-ment level for one person goes up from $914 in 2023 to $943 in 2024. SSI is a federal welfare program administered by the Social Security Administration, but it is not a Social Security benefit. It is paid for out of general revenues, not Social Security taxes.
Tom Margenau has worked for the Social Security Administration for 32 years in a variety of positions. He has written the “Social Security and You ” column for national syndication since 1997.
For most of us docking our boat at the Marina, Restaurant, or Gas dock is always a challenge. The wind direction. Speed and current make each docking different. So doing it safely should be Paramount in our minds.
When you are docking have everyone seated (that you do not need to help you) and know where they are. Always practice your approach away from the dock to feel the current, wind, and feel of the controls. Practice out in the Bay turning, backing up, and shifting to better control your boat. Minimum speed should be used when docking. Try and dock into the wind for better control. Be aware of the direction of the current also.
If a crew member is to help you, explain what you want him to do! Remind ALL to keep their hands and feet inside the boat and do not push off a piling. Many bones have been broken by this action. Do NOT jump off the boat, maneuver closer and step off with a line to keep the boat close and under control. If someone is at the dock and offers help, pass him a line to make your job easier!
DIVER DOWN FLAG!
As you boat in our area, keep your eyes open for a Diver Down Flag. There are 2 types to watch out for. The first is a Red flag with a White diagonal slash, the second is a White and Blue swallow tail (Alpha). They are 20 by 24 inches in size and must be flown from the highest point of the dive boat! When in the area, travel at no-wake speed and stay 100 feet away in close quarters and 300 feet in open water. This courtesy keeps ALL safe and able to enjoy the water!
See you on the water!!!!
Capt. Frank M. Ferraiuolo (U.S.C.G. Aux, Ret.)
On Wednesday, officials of the University of California Berkeley announced that they were canceling a speech to be given by conservative writer Ann Coulter scheduled for April 27. Then on Thursday, facing the prospect of a lawsuit, caught between the First Amendment and the fear of violence, university officials proposed that Coulter's speech be moved to May 2 -- a move she and her supporters quickly rejected, pointing out that there would be no students on campus, as it coincided with a reading period before final exams.
This was a low point for the birthplace of the free-speech movement.
I've known Ann Coulter for years, and I've gone to great lengths -- truly great lengths -- to disagree with her. After she published a book called "Godless," which accused liberalism of being a godless religion, I wrote a book called "Soulless," which attacked the right-wing church of hate. I even donned her trademark sleeveless black dress, added about 10 inches of long blonde hair and posed for a cover that looked almost as sexy as hers.
We agree on almost nothing, except for the importance of free speech and public discourse. And we have always gotten along just fine.
Last summer, when a reporter went to her for comments about me, she could not have been more gracious. That's how it should be in a democracy.
Our Founding Fathers understood something that seems to be getting lost in the ugly partisanship that has gripped our country. You don't deal with speech you don't like by shutting it down. You deal with it by speaking up yourself. Speech is powerful; it is protected not because it is harmless but because the alternative is even worse. And that alternative is what we're facing now.
It is not just at Berkeley that this issue is rearing its ugly head. In response to the cancellation of a speech at Claremont-McKenna College by Heather Mac Donald, the president of Pomona College (part of the Claremont Colleges consortium) wrote an open letter defending the principle of free speech. To my shock, frankly, a group of African-American students went on the attack, claiming that "white supremacists" (Mac Donald is a fellow of the conservative Manhattan Institute, not the Klan) have no right to free speech. Come again? Who is supposed to decide who gets to speak? Do these students not understand that it is precisely oppressed minorities who have historically needed the protection of the First Amendment the most? Do they really think that if speech is regulated, they will be the beneficiaries? On which planet? Under which president?
For those who disagree with Coulter, shutting down her speech only elevates her position. Instead of speaking before a group of students two weeks before exams, the cancellation has brought her national attention -- and brought Berkeley the criticism it must surely have expected.
But blaming Berkeley is the easy way out. One way or another, the great majority of Americans who support the Constitution must stand up to the minority who think violence and censorship is the answer to speech they don't like. You cannot pick and choose which civil liberties to support, which opinions deserve protection.
As a writer myself, I get more than my share of ugly emails from people who disagree with me. No one enjoys reading those. And as a woman and a Jew, I have sharply felt the sting of hatred. But unless there is a threat of violence (the Constitution provides for shutting down speech if it poses an imminent threat of violence or an imminent threat to national security), the way to handle such ugly emails is simply hitting the "Trash" button, or better yet, responding with more speech. Because if you shut down free speech this time, next time, the one who is shut down might be you.
When I first heard Barack Obama’s name I wondered, “Is this guy a Muslim”? Now, most people with Italian names are Italian and Polish names mean Polish, maybe Czech , or Russian, Irish names are usually hung on Irishmen. That’s why I thought this guy would be a Muslim, Egyptian, Pakistani.
When I heard he was BORN Muslim (if your father is Muslim, under Islamic law, you are Muslim) I worried, not because I knew much about Islam but because, as an FBI Agent in NYC, I had dealings with several Muslims. I formed\my own opinion about people who wanted to be “in” America but not assimilate to be American. When Muslims started killing Americans here…then 19 Muslims killed 3,000 innocent American infidels, and then this guy, Obama, wouldn’t reveal documents that would reveal his lineage… I became VERY suspicious of who he really is!
My suspicions of Obama changed, probably long before any of you changed your opinions or maybe even, before you formed an opinion. But I started reading the Koran and other Islamic writings and knew before he was elected, that a Muslim cannot believe in the separation of Church and State! I remember vacationing in the South, one Winter, when I met a guy FROM Chicago and when we talked about Obama being elected, I asked him if he knew he’s a Muslim and this guy got irate, said he “quit” Islam, became a Christian and “who cares, we have religious freedom here”! Muslims can’t “quit” Islam. They are labeled as the worst infidels (kafers) and those are the ones we saw Beheaded in Iraq and Syria!
I knew we were in trouble when people from the new President’s own City, didn’t even know who he is so I dropped the political discussion. You cannot reason with anybody who doesn’t want the facts because they already have an opinion.
The proven facts NOW are the Certificate of Live Birth (posted on Whitehouse.gov on 4-27-11), that Obama tried to pass off as a Birth Certificate has now been proven beyond ANY doubt to be a counterfeit , fake, fraudulent government documents! They have found the “source document”, the smoking gun!!!
If you want to learn about the overwhelming evidence look at the press conference 12-14-16 by Sheriff Arpaio. Investigator Mike Zullo explains how Reed Hayes, noted Forensic Examiner, Document Examiners from Italy and other Forensic Examiners who have examined the Certificate of Birth have all agreed it is a fake, forcing Hawaii Officials to now say there is NO record of Barack H. Obama being born in Hawaii!!!
If all of that is true, what does it mean? Well… in the least, Obama conspired to and did pass Fraudulent Government Documents as originals to gain wealth (job as President)! But there are more problems to come for Barack Obama that George Soros can’t buy his way out of. If this is all true and I believe it is because “too many coincidences make a fact” , Indictments and Prosecution of Obama and others, for Treason and a litany of other very serious offenses against the United States of America, will follow!
It also goes a long way to prove Criminal Intent to overthrow our government (Espionage, Treason, etc) as that is what Islam is all about. See the Koran, Surah 8-12 ( and 100 more Surahs)...”I am with you; give firmness to the believers I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: you smite above their necks and smite their finger-tips off them”. Don’t try to convince ANYONE that the Christians book of Faith, the Bible preaches violence and so does other books of faith. There is only one “religion” that preaches and PRACTICES violence against Unbelievers and that is Islam! There are 37 Muslim countries with some 200 million Muslims following Sharia Law, beheading Infidels. If you haven’t seen it, go on You Tube…there’s thousands of beheadings! Name just one Christian Nation or any other non Muslim nation that practices beheading Unbelievers!
In my opinion, as a Criminal Investigator for over 28 years, the evidence is going to show that Barack Obama is a Muslim whose agenda is to overthrow our government by force and violence to become a tyrannical, Islamic nation. He was not born in the US but probably Kenya, has been bought and paid for by George Soros, the Saudi King and other OPEC Nations., and won’t stop until he succeeds or is convicted of a Capital Crime, like Treason!
The elements…he’s a Muslim, hid his beliefs, gave aid to our enemies by giving the Muslim Brotherhood F16 fighters, tanks, other weapons and gave Iran 1.7 billion dollars! Can you think of another ways he tried to weaken America and give aid to our enemies? I’ll bet you can!
J Gary DiLaura
The Imperial River Chapter of the American Business Women's Association invites you to
Mimosa Madness: A special brunch with a Florida twist, Saturday April 29th at Artichoke & Company in Bonita Springs. The event time is 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM. Tickets are $40 per person at ABWAImperialRiver.Eventbrite.com . The chapter is raising funds to support the professional development of business women in Southwest Florida.
Enjoy a brunch with specialty mimosas, garnished with Florida fruits. Bid on an assortment of silent auction themed baskets - all with a special "5th line surprise". Bid live auction items that include trips, bakery, art and a special Mother’s Day package. We'll also have a Little Red Liquor Wagon for Raffle, as well as a "Cruise or Booze" raffle, and a 50/50 raffle. Tickets are $40 per person on Eventbrite.
In canonizing Mother
Teresa as a saint ("Pope declares
Mother Teresa a saint," Sept. 5),
the pope publicly confirmed the essential
tenets of Catholicism:
That God could have
stopped Catholic priests from raping
altar boys. But, overall, He didn't
And millions throughout
the world rejoiced in this good
news. Such is religion.
Granted, the pope didn't
frame the issue quite that way. But
it's true just the same.
One miracle is as possible — or
impossible — as another.
Preach that an omnipotent
deity can perform miracles, and
you also preach that at other times
He chooses not to.
e reality is that the priests really
did rape altar boys. And the reality
is God didn't stop them. There is
no excuse of "metaphor" to hide
behind here, as moderate theists so
often do when it comes to their
Put simply, God was either unable
or unwilling to intervene. The
Catholic God purportedly is omnipotent
and hence was able to stop
the rapes — even though He didn't.
The Catholic God is also omnibenevolent.
So sitting out and
willfully letting the rapes continue
was also the right thing for Him to
In essence, that's what
every Christian believes — liberal
moderates as well as conservative
fundamentalists. Though few like
to admit it.
Such is the human brain on religion.
Christianity is not only
ridiculous and repugnant. It is also
deeply dishonest. No reasonable
earthly father would allow his children
to be raped, if he could readily
intervene to stop it. No
reasonable person would praise an
earthly father who willfully let
such rapes occur.
But substitute "Heavenly Father"
for "earthly father," and now His
faithful supplicants shout, "Laus
Let's review. In order for Mother
Teresa to be declared a saint, the
church needed to recognize that
she'd performed not just one miracle
The first miracle was the purported
healing of Monica Beresa, who
claimed she'd been cured of a cancerous
tumor by a beam of light
emitted from Mother Teresa's picture
in a medallion placed on her
abdomen. But her doctor stated
that it was a cyst caused by turberculosis,
not a cancerous tumor, and
attributed her gradual recovery
thereafter to her months of medication.
Even her husband declared
the miracle a "hoax."
Curiously, a call to put the
medallion to the test to cure another
tumor goes unanswered, despite
the suffering it presumably
Pope Francis recognized the second
purported miracle last December,
after a Brazilian man
recovered from a brain infection
when his wife prayed fervently to
Mother Teresa to heal him.
This is superstition of the lowest
order. Don't understand something?
"God did it."
Seeking intellectual respect, Pope
Francis recently declared that God
is not "a magician, with a magic
wand." But as the pope's canonizing
Mother Teresa shows, he's
happy to promote God's magic
when it makes for good PR.
It's nice that Mother Teresa miraculously
healed two people, according
to her church. How
unfortunate, though, that she didn't
bother to heal the many others who
have died under the care of her
Missionaries of Charity, often in
squalid conditions with poor medical
treatment, despite the unaccounted-
for millions of dollars
raised in her name.
The reality is, when an outcome
truly would require a miracle, then
intercessory prayer to saints and
gods never works. Never.
Pray for rain, as Gov. Rick Perry of
Texas once enjoined his state to do,
and sure enough, it will rain —
somewhere, sooner or later. But,
notes Marshall Brain, pray for an
adult human amputee to regrow a
limb almost instantly, just as
Mother Teresa cured the Brazilian
man, and it doesn't ever happen.
Ever.Apparently, Mother Teresa
hates amputees. Either that, or God
does. He'll routinely regrow limbs
for salamanders. But for people?
Meh. Not so much.
Primitive superstitious beliefs are
not reason to rejoice. Mass selfdelusion
is not reason to rejoice.
Rejecting reality is not reason to
They are reason to mourn.
Mother Teresa was no saint. In
more ways than one.
Gregory A. Clark – is an associate
professor of bioengineering at the
University of Utah who accepts
and professionally tries to develop
treatment approaches that are
based on evidence.
For most of the twentieth
century, economic issues have been
the dominant driver for Presidential
elections. Commander-in-Chiefs presiding
over a vibrant and productive
period are rarely supplanted; their reelection
is virtually assured. Only
imminent national security issues
even remotely challenge money as
the prime motivator for those headed
into the election booths.
Though the aforementioned
national security issues exacerbated
by loose immigration enforcement
are looming large and for some will
be a deciding factor, what Americans
are feeling in their billfolds and
purses will once again make the decision
between Trump and Clinton.
It’s my guess it will be Trump.
We are at a fork in the roads;
a time when it has become necessary
to choose whether we will continue
down the long road to increasing socialism
or maintain our prominence
in the world as the foremost practitioner
of free market capitalism.
There are many who really
believe the government should provide
for their welfare but they are
still the majority; at least among
those who vote. If all the people living
in America were counted it
would probably go the other way –
more government paternalism, or in
the case of Clinton – maternalism!
. But fortunately for us at this
narrow juncture those who participate
at the ballot box still outnumber
those who do not. And those who
still maintain a good work ethic;
those who believe that working
harder and smarter than others deserve
greater rewards still predominate
but America is probably the
only Western nations left where this
is so with the single possible exception
Those that believe in greater
returns for greater effort are the most
productive element in our society.
They carry many who have
grown accustomed to hand-outs and
freebies whether it’s an Obama
phone, free food or subsidized health
insurance. And these same folks tend
to be better informed as well. And
because of this they understand and
see how the rest of the world has
fared with more socialism. Right
now, as you are reading this there are
places in the world that were prosperous
not too long ago but right
now are horrible places to live.
Venezuela is a prime example, but
there are others and many of them
are in Europe. If not for the wholesale
destruction of currency value
through printing and devaluation
they would already be in far worse
Here in the USA we have
been spared due to the Reserve Currency
status of the dollar. But the incessant
printing, now viewed by
most competent economists as far
overdone, is threatening to do us in.
All fiat currencies depend on the
faith of the people in the attributed
value of the denomination printed on
the paper. When that fails, the currency
fails. It has happened before
historically and it will happen again
the question is when.
If Trump is elected we will
likely face some contraction in our
presence on the world stage but because
of our treaties and the status of
reserve currency we are the ONLY
nation who can renegotiate trade
deals and other financial obligations
with some degree of immunity if not
outright impunity. Trump understands
the art of the deal because he
understands how to deal from a position
of strength. His entire life has
been based on this principle and it
hard to argue degrees of success with
a man whose name hovers over
many of our major cities and who
flies between them in a jet as good at
Airforce One. Remember… he does
it on his OWN NICKEL, not from a
The problem with handouts
is they always come with a price and
that price over the years has been to
turn over to the government many of
our hard earned civil liberties for
temporary financial help that is
never enough to let a person rise to
self-sufficiency. That can only come
from self-reliance earned by sweat,
determination, motivation and yes,
to some extent Lady Luck. And Lady
Luck is not a card often found under
Socialism where there is no fair
shuffle of the deck and al end results
prearranged and codified in the interests
Trump is going to win because
the people inherently understand
that with Clinton they will get
what they want to hear but not what
they need. Trump will restore free
market forces at least for a while.
I doubt anyone can forever
stem the inevitable redistribution of
resources and realignment of how
we govern ourselves. That will be
decided by the laws of supply. The
Earth now has more people than it
can indefinitely sustain given the finite
nature of our planet and its resources.
The day of reckoning
cannot be avoided given current
technology and know resources of
energy, biomass, water, etc. but
electing Trump will give Americans
a short reprieve by generating maximum
efficiency only obtained by
motivating the human spirit to excel
and so far in human history the best
means to that end has been free market
capitalism – the very basis of
Carl Conley, J.D.
Well here we go again, the
more research I do the scarier this
Zika Virus/ GM mosquito correlation
All the news seems to be
focused around the information
that the Zika virus in pregnant
women can be devastating, Why?
because we've had more than 4,200
cases of pregnancies in Brazil
where developing fetus
is missing part of the
brain or has a small head
which is described as microcephaly.
But as I have previously
reported Zika has
been around for a while.
The virus named for the
forest in Uganda where it
was first reported in the
Rhesus monkey in the
The first major
outbreak in humans was
in Micronesia on the island
of Yap in 2007 where 3500 of
the five thousand inhabitants were
infected, there were no birth were
A much larger outbreak
was reported in French Polynesia
in 2013 and 2014 where 30,000
people were affected, again no
fetal abnormalities were identified,
when they saw it was happening in
Brazil they went back and found
17 cases of microcephaly out of
30,000 infected people.
So when we look at that, in
truth, the first explosion of microcephaly
cases that have been tried
to be linked with Zika happened in
And ......Brazil happens to
be where they started testing these
genetically modified mosquitoes
from the company Oxitec.
So originally, it appeared
that these genetically modified
mosquitoes actually spreading the
Zika virus, but I don't think that is
actually the problem, the problem
is the genetically modified mosquitoes
inserting the genetic coding
which is meant to disrupt the reproduction
of the female mosquitoes
and it is disrupting the reproduction
of human fetuses. That is
what appears to be happening.
Now remember that no
connection to microcephaly and
the Zika virus has ever been even
considered up until this outbreak in
Brazil, and even now the medical
community is being very cautious
in stating that there's no evidence
that the Zika virus is causing this
microcephaly in newborns. A report
from New England Journal of
Medicine states "no flavivirus has
ever been shown differently to
cause birth defects in humans and
no reports of adverse pregnancy or
birth outcomes were noted during
previous outbreaks of Zika virus
disease in the Pacific Islands"
Again, the first birth defects
were reported right where these
mosquitoes were released in Brazil.
So let's look at how these
mosquitoes work, the male mosquito
is engineering by Oxitec, to
have what they call a "self-limiting"
gene, by inserting the gene
into the target organism it prevents
the insect from surviving into
adulthood . The pest control gene
produces a protein called tTav
(tetracycline repressive activator
variant) whereby the gene ties up
the processes of the other genes so
they can't grow so basically, it kills
the offspring of the female mosquitoes.
So I wondered how do they
breed these male mosquitoes if
they have a gene that makes them
die, well on the Oxitec's website it
says they have an antidote to it;
Tetracycline! Which they call 'tetO'
The tetO antidote is given
to the insects in raring facilities
that binds to the tTav protein and
disables it and acts like a switch to
turn off the tTav gene, preventing
the protein from working. "So in
the presence of the antidote, the
Oxitec insects are able to survive
and reproduce in the rearing facility."
The website goes on to state
that "when the males are released
into the wild their offspring's can't
access the antibiotic in the quantities
needed to survive so they die
before reaching adulthood"
So without the Tetracycline
antidote, "the tTav protein is produced
which simultaneously binds
(at the cellular level) to transcriptional
machinery, (writing code to
keep you alive) making the transcriptionist
scenery unavailable for
other essential gene expression.
The inhibition of the essential gene
expression leads to cell death and
the death of the insect before it
reaches adulthood." ( but, remember
in previous articles, I talked
about how Tetracycline could be
readily available due to it being
given to agricultural food producing
animals and also used as a pesticide
for the citrus groves)
The website goes on to say
that "it's a gene variant that has
been optimized only to work an insect
cells". Just makes you wonder
if they tested on pregnant women
before they started releasing these
mosquitoes Into the Wild?
So let's step back a bit, we
had an explosion of cases of birth
defects right around a place where
male mosquitoes were released
into the wild that were engineered
to give female mosquitoes birth defects.
FROM CNN.com: Sanjay Gupta
writes "Brazil is getting a lot
of attention because the
country has seen a significant
increase in microcephaly.
Previously, there may have
been only 140 cases the
whole year. In Brazil, there
were 4,200 cases in just a
few months, and 51 children
have died. " but when Sanjay
is asked "How serious is the
Zika virus?" he answers:
"For those who aren't
pregnant, most will either
have no symptoms or mild
ones, and it's not serious at
all. Eighty percent of those affected
never know they have the
disease. (that's 4 out of 5) In fact,
what typically happens is that once
you get it, you become immune.
You are essentially now
vaccinated against the virus, because
your body has built up antibodies
and the next time will fight
SO..... when you look at all
the facts it seems the correlation is
Now the FDA has approved
the release of GM mosquitoes to
fight Zika in Florida, just last
month! And with about 43% of all
antibiotics used in food producing
animals being Tetracycline, I don't
see how these "self-limiting" mosquitoes
will be able to avoid running
into the antidote and thus
reproduce at will.
These are interesting times
we are living in folks!
Don’t worry....new subject next
In my interview with Grant Cardone,
he reinforces this idea and
takes it one step further, pointing
out that you need at least $1 million
in the bank just to remain part
of the new middle class. You can
watch the interview here:
"The entire middle class is built on
a comparison," says Grant Cardone.
"Some other country, some
other neighbor, somebody else is
doing better or worse off. But if
you look at the facts today ... the
voting class of America is the middle
Grant Cardone Believes The Middle
Class Is a Trap
"The truth is, the middle class is a
trap," says Grant Cardone. "The
average middle class person makes
somewhere between $40,000 and
$115,000 per year. I know people
in New York City where you live
and Miami where I live, and at
$115,000 there's a good chance that
there's no money left over to save
at the end of the year."
[close X]Grant Cardone sees the middle
class as the focus area for politicians
because this segment of the
population are the ones paying for
so much of what drives America
today - from student loans and
housing to cars and other goods.
The middle class is the economic
purchasing power in our country
and despite Grant Cardone's mom
reinforcing how lucky he was to be
part of the middle class, he quickly
discovered it's not all it's cracked
up to be.
Getting Out of the Trap by Shifting
Your Thinking to a 10X Mentality
So if you need at least $1 million
to be part of the new middle class
and you're likely to get trapped
there, then what's the solution to
the new middle class trap? Grant
Cardone wants to share with people
the mistakes he's made and
what he got right.
"Operating in increments is the
way our parents teach us. Even as a
child they teach us you have to
walk before you can run. Actually,
that's not true. A baby stumbles
along quite fast. You can run before
you can walk," he says.
"Google uses The 10X Rule. They
don't think in increments, they
want to multiply their revenue by
10X. Twitter, on the other hand,
tried to grow in increments, it
couldn't grow fast enough so it gets
killed in the marketplace."
Grant Cardone understands that
you can't become wealthy and retire
unless you deploy a 10X mentality
in everything you do. "You
have to start in increments - I'm not
saying that you don't. A job is an
increment. Income is an increment.
But at some point in your career,
you need to invest. You need your
Benjamin's that you've worked so
hard to earn and save to start having
babies; because when the babies
start multiplying that's how
you create wealth. You can't just
create wealth on the back of hard
work," Grand Cardone explains.
Learning from Grant Cardone
Grant Cardone build a $350 million
real estate empire, in addition
to creating customized sales training
programs for Fortune 500 companies,
writing 5 books including a
New York Times best seller, If
Your Not First, You're Last. He
shares his wealth of insights to
more than 22 million members. In
other words, he's looked for all the
ways he can operate his business at
10X and practices what he teaches.
I sincerely enjoyed interviewing
Grant Cardone and appreciate just
how hard he works to share what
he's learned with his audience. If
being a millionaire is the new middle
class and you must operate at a
10X level to be successful, then the
question we should be asking ourselves
is how do we get to $10 million
or more to ensure we have the
kind of financial freedom we all
While this may feel like a daunting
question at first, refer back to
Grant Cardone's main point. It's not
about earning that kind of money,
it's about getting your money to
multiply. That's the place where
most of us lack focus. What keeps
us in the middle class trap is going
paycheck to paycheck or operating
our business with an incremental
To break out, we need to think different;
we need to find ways to
grow exponentially, not incrementally.
Only by breaking the incremental
mindset can we put
ourselves onto an entirely new
growth trajectory. That's why
Google obsesses with 10X Moon
Shots while companies that struggle
focus on the next quarter's sales