• BEWARE OF ‘MERCHANT CASH ADVANCE’ SCAMS which have hit some 25,000 businesses across the country in the last several years. Manipulated by “the same people who’d pushed stock swindles in the 1990s and subprime mortgages a decade later…the scam avoids regulatory scrutiny by sidestepping usury & consumer protection laws and state licensing requirements by keeping the word ‘loan’ out of paperwork and describing deals as advances against future business revenues.” At effective interest rates up to 400% plus automatic daily remittance from bank accounts, the scheme involves “an archaic legal document called a ‘Confession of Judgement’ which forfeits the borrowers right to defend themselves in court, allowing the lender – without any proof – to legally seize assets without notification.” Criminals, with forged documents and/or fabricated defaults, then can utilize New York county clerks to “rubber-stamp the paperwork (in one month, a single clerk’s office issued 176 Judgements in 38 states), so NYC Marshalls (mayor-appointed to collect private debts for a 5% fee) can freeze the debtor’s bank account and obtain funds.” By the time borrowers are aware, the cash is gone and without any rights to protest. [BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK – 11/26/18]
  • SLEEP PROBLEMS ARE PREDOMINANTLY AN EFFECT OF AGING, but also result from disruption of Circadian Rhythm, an “integrated hierarchy of biological clocks’ throughout organs, tissues & cells which feed a central clock in the human brain…strongly linked to the cycle of day/night and light/dark that control our core body temperature which drops as we sleep.” Certain medications and exposure to ‘blue light’ from cell phones & computers are the main disruptors, but jet-lag travel is the most directly impactful since “our bodies don’t recognize the change when we fly into new time zones, so core temperature during sleep continues to drop based on the time cycle of wherever we last were.” Waking up before the full cycle then makes one feel groggy, as daylight is telling the brain we should be awake, but core temp is still in sleep mode. HOLIDAY TRAVEL TIPS: Experts say that jet lag symptoms can be mitigated by (1) keeping your sleep environment dark until completing the sleep cycle; (2) eating minimally during travel between time zones and immediately adhering to the new zone schedule; (3) staying hydrated drinking 8 glasses of water [funny how 8 glasses seems like it’s impossible, but 8 beers in a few hours is so natural…]; (4) exercising muscles; (5) using melatonin supplements.   [LIFE EXTENSION]
  • BEGINNING AS EARLY AS A DOZEN YEARS FROM NOW, THE EARTH FACES A “RISK OF EXTREME drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people.” According to the latest report from U.S. Global Change Research Program (a team of 13 federal agencies with help from 300 leading scientists), we’re on path to the ‘crucial threshold’ of reaching 2.7 degrees above pre-industrial heat levels by 2030, with average annual temperatures increasing 9 degrees by the end of this century. In this scenario, predicted impacts involve material “agriculture & shellfish reduction, wildfire destruction, loss of dependable & safe water supply, real estate and public infrastructure loss from rising sea levels & flooding, energy & power system failures, and permafrost thaw which amplifies the problem by releasing further carbon dioxide & methane.” Consensus of the experts remains that “this warming trend can only be explained by human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases… but, as of now, not a single G20 Country is meeting targets in reducing these levels.” [CNN – Nov 23, 28]
  • HOLIDAY READING RECOMMENDATION: “When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power… 21 Lessons for the 21st Century presents complex, contemporary challenges in a provocative and profound way, untangling political, technological, social and existential issues with perspective on values, meaning & personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty.” The author historian Yuval Harari is an Oxford PH.D., whose two prior books (Sapiens and HomoDeux which focused on the history of mankind and where it’s headed) have sold over 12 million copies, and now tackles “how to prepare for a very different future, as merger of infotech and biotech confront us with the biggest challenges our species has ever encountered: potential to push billions out of the job market and undermine both liberty and equality, while suffering from irrelevance.”
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: Kind of bizarre arithmetic: Add your Age this year to the Year you were born, and it equals 2018. Evidently, every thousand years, it turns out that everyone on the planet adds up to the same calendar year number.

       Over 1.5 million Americans now identify as Wicca or Pagan Witches, having grown some 30% over the past decade “concurrently with the rise of ‘witch aesthetic’ – a spirituality practice involving rituals, and now effectively an eCommerce brand.”

       The Clinton Foundation is under investigation by IRS, DOJ and FBI for allegations including ‘Pay for Play’ based on a 145% increase (over $150 billion) in military deals with 16 countries which donated to the Foundation during her Sec’y of State years.