A small item in the November 14, 1991 issue of the Los Angeles Times is headed “You are what you like to eat.” The item reports that scientists are rediscovering a study done 15 years ago in Sweden which tested the nutritional effect of whether people liked their food. When Swedes were served spicy Thai food and people from Thailand were given very bland Swedish food, both sets of subjects absorbed much less iron than they did from their own customary diet. In another test, wholesome ingredients were given as an attractive meal and as an unappetizing mess. People absorbed less iron from the mess.
So are those vegetables which millions of kids are forced to eat really helping them? Eventually, bit by bit, science will realize the power of the emotions to maintain (or tear down) a healthy body.
The January 1992 issue of Discover magazine has a one-page article titled “Raging hormones in the White House.” They point out the “coincidence” that both President and Mrs. Bush were attacked by Graves’ disease, an autoimmune illness which involves an attack on one’s body by the immune system which is supposed to defend the body against illness. The family dog, Millie, also developed an autoimmune illness—lupus. The article mentions the high odds against such a coincidence and suggests that the high stress of living in the White House might be connected.
The November 16, 1991 issue of Science News offers an article on how mental stress delivers a double whammy to people suffering from coronary artery disease. In people under stress, the adrenal gland pumps out epinephrine, a hormone that boosts heart rate and constricts blood vessels. When research subjects were put in a mildly stressful situation (told to count backward by sevens from a random three-digit number), the arteries which were clogged with plaque from coronary artery disease were further constricted, tightening an additional 24% so that blood flow was reduced by 27%. People with healthy arteries were unaffected by the stress, theoretically because their blood vessel linings were able to counter the effect of the epinephrine by secreting EDRF to relax the cells.
The December-January 1992 issue of In Health magazine has a fine article by George Leonard on his success in reversing a partial blockage in his right coronary artery. Leonard participated in the Dean Ornish program which includes reducing fat to 10% of the diet, exercise, yoga, meditation, and group psychotherapy. Prior to the work of Ornish, the medical profession believed that the only way to open up blocked arteries was with procedures such as balloons or knives which forced open or cut the blockages. Or bypass surgery would provide a passage around the blocked artery. Leonard participated faithfully in the Ornish program and a year and a month after a PET scan which showed a 50 to 60% blockage, a second PET scan showed completely normal arteries! Though the physical changes in life style play a role in the Ornish treatment program, he and most of the participants are convinced that the group meetings which encourage the awareness and expression of emotions are a primary key to the improvements. “Ornish makes it clear that opening your arteries is a metaphor for opening your life—to feelings of love and caring, to inner peace, to a higher self.” P.51
The November 25, 1991 issue of Newsweek magazine reported new findings about the working of the brain. PET studies (positron emission tomography) show which areas of the brain are active when subjects are doing a variety of mental activities. More thinking went on in the frontal lobe when people were less sure of their memories and making an effort to remember. When the brain knew the answer cold, it didn’t have to do much thinking. Studies also showed that men did better on spatial tests when they had lower testosterone, either naturally or in a normal seasonal variation which depresses levels in the spring. Yet elderly men with reduced levels of testosterone did better on the same tests when they wore patches on their skin which increased their levels of testosterone. Women, who naturally have less testosterone than men, also usually do less well on spatial tests but women with above-average levels of testosterone do better on spatial tests. Nothing about humans is ever simple. The article concludes that there may be an optimum hormone level somewhere below the average male’s and above the average female’s; at least for spatial tests. The great “Golden Mean”?
The one financial newsletter I continue to buy is called Strategic Investment (SI), and each monthly issue has information on current events and the world situation that I never see in any other publication. Their October 1991 issue quotes a book by a German financial expert on Japan. Kenneth Courtis writes that in 1990 for the third year in a row, Japan invested more in absolute terms than the U.S. in plant and new capital equipment. Japan’s investment was $660 billion compared to $510 billion by the U.S. and $240 billion by Germany. Comparing the figures to GNP (gross national product) puts Japan’s investment at 22.6% and the U.S. at 9.8%. Japan’s $200 billion spent on innovation is producing a whole series of new export products for the present decade. An equal amount or more is being invested in new and more efficient plants. In contrast to the impression given by most of what I read in the U.S. press, this article says that only 5% of Japanese GNP is produced and sold abroad while the U.S. has over 20% of its production and sales overseas. Courtis estimates that Japan will vastly increase its overseas production in the future, especially in the U.S., Canada, and Britain. It is fascinating that the U.S. has just decided to shift from reporting our GNP to concentrating on our GDP (gross domestic product—what is produced at home). Conspiracy theorists take note.
However, a senior author-owner of SI, James Davidson, believes that Japan will also suffer in the depression which is underway in the world. He expects the Japanese stock market measure, the Nikkei, once at 40,000 yen and now down to only a little over half of that figure, to shrink to 5,000 yen. Japan’s incredibly inflated real estate market, especially in Tokyo, is also showing signs of weakness which is putting pressure on banks with outstanding real estate loans and developers who owe them. Shades of Texas, our northeast, and now California and London. It is mostly commercial real estate which is in trouble world-wide. Financial scandals also continue to plague the Japanese ruling Party. But the Japanese horoscopes still look strong to me.
The November and December 1991 issues of SI continue the focus on worldwide depression. Due to Margaret Thatcher’s conservatism during the 1980s, Britain can now afford to take on some additional debt to give a financial stimulus to their economy. But the U.S. is in a strait jacket of debt thanks to Reagan. Davidson expects more legislation to try to counter the depression and he thinks it will only prolong the agony and make the final bankruptcy shake-out that much worse. He likens it to making the diving board higher before the final belly-flop into the water. The standard media keep reporting the loss of thousands of jobs as the big companies try to survive, and the stores advertise bargains as retailers face a bleak Christmas with consumers either already burdened with debt or fearing the loss of their jobs.
The November issue of SI reports that federal data has been over-estimating the number of jobs in the U.S. Apparently, in the 1980s when jobs in small businesses were growing rapidly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stopped counting and continued to estimate job growth at the same rate. Reports by state governments which survey almost all employers show that the Federal estimates in early 1991 have exaggerated total employment by at least 650,000 jobs. From this, it follows that GNP is actually weaker and income is lower than official government reports.
The SI December issue suggests that Bush might be tempted to have another little war to revive his sagging popularity which was sky-high after the Iraq war and even lifted by Panama. Possible targets include Saddam Hussein (whom cynics believe might have been kept alive for that purpose), Libya (blamed for the Pan Am plane which was blown up over Scotland), Iran (which is moving toward an atomic bomb and still resented for our diplomats’ captivity), and North Korea (which is even closer to having a nuclear bomb). SI says a strike against North Korea might be timed to get George four more years.
(Recent reports in the standard media are more reassuring. Bush has compromised, agreeing to withdraw all nuclear arms from South Korea and offering to allow the North Koreans to inspect the U.S. bases in South Korea in return for North Korea’s agreement to a nuclear-free zone on the Korean peninsula and to nuclear inspections by IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency). But SI also says there are repeated rumors in Washington that Bush may not run in 1992. Both Pat Buchanan (isolationist, America-First) and former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke say they plan to run against Bush in the primaries. SI reminds that when sitting presidents have been challenged by protest candidates, they have tended to fail to win re-election. Examples include Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter.
(I’m not sure what could happen if Bush waits until spring to withdraw as a candidate. With our current system of primaries, the power people can no longer make a back room decision to give the nomination to a favorite son. Bush also hates to be seen as anything but muy macho, though the Washington rumor includes the detail that he would be acceding to his wife’s desires if he bowed out. And, as I have written before, his P Moon is conjunct the asteroid Barbara at the election in November 1992. Bush has enough good aspects to win the election and enough separation aspects to depart, so I will wait until the two final candidates are picked to make any predictions. Baker’s chart is also strong in November 1992, so he might be the candidate if this is legally possible, or he might stay in his power position with a winning Bush.)
Though Bush is said to “not have a clue” about what to do to bolster the economy, one SI report suggests that he has arranged a secret deal with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to bring the price of oil down several dollars. It has recently dropped and a further decline would be a shot in the arm for the U.S. economy without threatening more damage to the deficit as would occur if taxes are reduced. (As this is written, the latest “about to declare” candidate on the Democratic side is off-again-on-again Mario Cuomo.)
There have also been many interesting items in SI on European countries. They claim that Serbia will eventually be the loser in the tragic civil war in Yugoslavia. They write that its officers are maintaining an offensive because they know that as soon as they stop, the military momentum will shift against them. Northern Serbia, the province of Viovodina, is populated by Hungarians who hate the Serbs and want to rejoin Hungary. Southern Serbia, the province of Kosovo, is populated by Albanians who hate the Serbs and want to join Albania. Bosnia and Macedonia want nothing to do with the Serbs either. SI predicts that within a year, Yugoslavia will be broken up into several countries with Serbia a shrunken remnant of its former area and a vassal state of Rumania.
Some of the most dramatic stories in SI have involved the dissolving U.S.S.R. In the November issue, Jack Wheeler reported that public opinion polls picked as the number one issue the finding and seizing of the assets of the Communist Party, ranking this higher than even the economy, food shortages, and independence. Wheeler says that former communist and KGB officials are desperately trying to hide any assets which they can hang on to. Key officials who know where the money is hidden are being thrown out of Moscow apartment windows. The first was Nikolai Kruchina, administrator of the Central Committee’s affairs since 1983. He went out a window a few days after Yeltsin’s decree to expropriate communist party property after the failed August coup. Next came Kruchina’s predecessor, Georgii Pavlov, flung out of his 7th story apartment on October 6. As the scandal broke recently over communist and KGB financing communist parties in the west and $20 million was found in a communist bank account in Italy, a chief of the Central Committee’s international operations, Dimitri Lisvolik, sailed out of his 12th story flat on October 18. This technique is a favorite KGB assassination method, including having the police report the murders as suicides. All three have been so reported.
The East German secret police, the Stassi, had already been going underground, converting themselves into a Mafia-like private criminal organization. The KGB is now doing the same, and there are many other well-armed criminal gangs. Weapons are being delivered to these gangs by Soviet soldiers who earn hard cash (no rubles), and this is likely to increase even more as the central government and its taxes disappear, leaving the soldiers without homes or food. The Mossad, Israel’s secret service, is said to be fanning out over the former U.S.S.R. in a desperate effort to watch the tactical nuclear weapons which are scattered through all the former Republics and not guarded like the strategic missiles. Frustrated soldiers could sell them to Khadafi, the PLO, the Hezbollah, and other Israel haters.
There is much more, but that will give a taste of SI’s information. Meanwhile, the standard media’s current excitement is over the new Commonwealth formed by Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, the three Slavic Republics. It was quickly joined by Armenia and Kirghizia and the five Islamic Republics in Asia announced their joint decision to join on December 13. Gorbachev first attacked it, but may realize that it is the best that can be managed at this time to encourage cooperation and reduce turmoil. Yeltsin seems to be winning over the army by promising a huge pay raise and a unified command situation, answering the two major needs of the military forces IF he can deliver on the promises. The signing of the three Slavic leaders occurred in Minsk, capital of Belarus, on December 9, 1991. I hope we can get the time of the signatures. The December 5, 1991 issue of the AFA Journal gives possible data for Yeltsin from a Russian astrologer, but he (and the country) deserve their own article.