Tuesday, June 19, 2018

"What A Privilege!"

“Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment- not discouragement- you will find the strength there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures, followed by wreckage, were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”
~ Joseph Campbell

Musical Interlude: Chuck Wild, "Liquid Mind: Ambience Minimus - Shadows of White"

Music by Chuck Wild, "Liquid Mind: Ambience Minimus - Shadows of White"
 Images courtesy of the Solar Dynamics Observatory, Goddard Space Flight Center,
 The Hubble Space Telescope, European Southern Observatory, ESA and NASA.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2zu1gf9Pus&feature=g-vrec

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Separated by about 14 degrees (28 Full Moons) in planet Earth's sky, spiral galaxies M31 at left, and M33 are both large members of the Local Group, along with our own Milky Way galaxy. This narrow- and wide-angle, multi-camera composite finds details of spiral structure in both, while the massive neighboring galaxies seem to be balanced in starry fields either side of bright Mirach, beta star in the constellation Andromeda. Mirach is just 200 light-years from the Sun. But M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, is really 2.5 million light-years distant and M33, the Triangulum Galaxy, is also about 3 million light years away. 
Click image for larger size.
Although they look far apart, M31 and M33 are engaged in a gravitational struggle. In fact, radio astronomers have found indications of a bridge of neutral hydrogen gas that could connect the two, evidence of a closer encounter in the past. Based on measurements, gravitational simulations currently predict that the Milky Way, M31, and M33 will all undergo mutual close encounters and potentially mergers, billions of years in the future.”
"Everything passes away- suffering, pain, blood, hunger, pestilence. The sword will pass away too, but the stars will still remain when the shadows of our presence and our deeds have vanished from the earth. There is no man who does not know that. Why, then, will we not turn our eyes towards the stars? Why?"
- Mikhail Bulgakov, "The White Guard"

"Three Things..."

“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special.”
- Jim Valvano

Jim Valvano was the long time coach of the NC State Wolfpack mens basketball team, and led them to their only National title in 1983 against the heavily favored Houston team led by Hakeem Olaijuwon. After a valiant fight against cancer, he died in 1993. A remarkable man.

"As Time Runs Out: Jim Valvano's Fight With Cancer"

"It's All Written..."

"Its five in the morning, I can see the first rays of sun trying to penetrate through this grey sky, trying to change its color to dark blue, and declare the dawn, but it's strange, dawn and dusk both have the same color, both have that same murky feel about them, but how different is their nature. One exemplifies the end, while the other symbolizes a new beginning... but is that end the end of hopes or end of sorrows... or is that beginning the beginning of a new life or new difficulties which lie ahead? We can't ever figure it out... it's all written and that's what destiny is. Every beginning can be a new end and every end can be a new beginning."
- Ankit Shukla

“The Courage To Meet Eddie”

 “The Courage To Meet Eddie”
By Alex Noble

"Life, like good theater, is full of surprises and unexpected twists in the plot. How satisfying it is when we can surprise ourselves, break through "stereotypes," and move beyond fear to embrace more compassionate points of view. I experienced this on a recent trip to Los Angeles.

I drove into the city at sunset, into the older part of downtown where turn-of-the-century office buildings barely hold their own against the rising tide of urban decay.  As the sun gilded skyscrapers, broken neon signs flickered in the windows of delicatessens and novelty shops on Spring Street. Old newspapers blew up and down the sidewalks, fluttering like wounded birds in debris-laden corners. Winos and addicts slumped against buildings or lay down on the sidewalk to catch a few moments of merciful sleep. Drugs were being sold on the street corners. Disoriented men and women wandered listlessly about, some of them shouting, some of them just  staring blankly ahead. An old woman pushed a broken-down supermarket cart filled with faded clothes and torn shopping bags. A tired-looking man held up a sign scrawled on cardboard: "Will work for food." Shiny BMW's and Mercedes whispered through the darkening streets, bearing tired executives home to well-watered gardens.

I was early, and the parking lot next to the theater was still almost empty. A bored-looking attendant stood by the gate to keep the homeless and drunks from accosting the arriving theatergoers. A restless, warm wind tossed newspapers in front of my car.

An angry-looking man in a black coat three sizes too large for him shuffled by, trying to get the attention of anyone who might listen to his litany of complaints about the government. I felt uncomfortable and looked forward to getting inside the marble foyer of the theater, and then into the performance itself.  There, for a few hours, we the audience would suspend our disbelief and enter into an imaginary world where we would laugh and cry and be entertained. For a few hours, we would forget our own problems and the problems of the world, which in this immediate area appeared to be a vivid reality of suffering that pressed upon one at every turn.

I drove to the back of the lot and parked, dreading the walk to the theater entrance, haunted by questions. Should I hand out dollar bills to those in need? Should I stop and try to talk if someone seemed rational?  Should I carry a supply a supply of Salvation Army meal tickets for occasions like this?

I gathered my courage and got out of the car. As I locked the door, I heard a voice calling to me. "Hey, can you spare some change?" I froze with dread and looked up. On the other side of the 10-foot chain-link fence I saw a man. His hands gripped the wire. His head was shrouded in the navy-blue hood of a stained, torn jacket. Suddenly I was painfully aware of my glistening car and colorful clothes. I felt frightened and awkward, even with the fence separating us. Was I in danger? Did he have a gun? Was he going to shout at me, ask questions I could not answer, make me feel guilty for having so much when there are so many who have so little?

I saw in my mind's eye a sunset scene from the airport in Jakarta, where the plane I was on had stopped to refuel.  There was a similar fence, but against that fence hundred of people crowded, looking hostile, saying with their eyes and in a language I could not understand. "You are the enemy. We do not want you here. Go home." Even with the fence as a barrier between us, I could feel the hatred, and I felt helpless to do anything about it except send back thoughts of peace, respect, and compassion.

Now I had a choice. I could turn and walk away. I could move closer, perhaps say a kind word. The man called again, "Hey, Beam!" I was startled for a moment, but then I realized that he could see my license place, "BEAM 1."  "Hey, Beam, I need to eat. Can you help me out?"

A force larger than my intellect or my sense of danger drew me toward the fence. I was painfully aware that the total cost of what I was wearing could feed this man for several months. I kept my eyes on the ground. I seemed to be moving slowly, as if in a dream, wanting to help but not knowing how, my feet feeling heavy yet moving ahead anyway.

I reached the fence and looked up. I looked first, as the stained hands holding onto the fence, then I looked into the eyes. They were kind, even friendly. The man smiled a shy smile. "What's your name?" I asked. My feet felt lighter. My fear hung in the air between us. In my imagination, I watched it evaporate, like a cloud of steam.

"Eddie," he replied. I handed him a $10 bill.  "Get yourself a good dinner, Eddie." "Thanks, Beam.  I really appreciate this." I felt tears trembling behind my eyelids, and I turned to walk away. "You be good, Eddie," I said over my shoulder.

In two minutes, I was in the crowded theater lobby, threading my way through well-dressed theatergoers. I was detached, remembering Eddie's kind eyes, his hands holding the fence, his playful smile. I realized, with some sadness, that it was quite possible I'd just given an addict the money for his next hit of crack or worse, and I did not feel very good about this. The play began, and for three hours I disappeared into a mythic world of illusion, transformation, and redemption. The basic message:  Within every dragon is a princess, and within every inferno there is a paradise, if we know what to look for and if we have the eyes and the heart to see.

I found myself thinking kind thoughts about Eddie, sending him kindness in the night, knowing all was well with him. As I left the theater, there was a gathering of rumpled, untidy street people at the theater entrance. Some people stopped to visit with them, give them a few dollars. Others walked by, lost in their own worlds. By the time I got to the parking lot, many of the cars had left, and the attendant was no longer there.

As I walked to the back of the lot to get to my car, I noticed a man, leaning against the fence, right where Eddie had been, and my heart froze. I stopped. The man called out: "Hey, Beam, come here a minute."

I felt as though I had no choice.  My humanity, compassion, or maybe just sheer craziness would not let me turn away.  I walked to the fence and looked Eddie in the eyes, those kind brown eyes. I felt my fear dissolving again, watched that imaginary cloud disappear. "I had a great dinner. I waited around for you because I wanted to thank you. I don't need any more money. I just really appreciate your kindness. It helps. I was a medic in 'Nam."

We visited for a few moments. I began to feel badly about the fence. I was safe. There was no danger. I thought about the many kinds of fences we put up in our lives, and about how much we shut out. My fear was gone. We laughed and joked a bit. I told him I had to get on my way, as I had a long drive home. "You be good, Eddie," I said. "God loves you a lot." "God loves you, too."

I got in my car and looked back at the place where he had been, but there was only a pool of light from the streetlamp.”
Alex Noble passed away December 21, 2015.
The world's a lesser place...

"Junk Food as 'Addictive as Drugs'"

"Junk Food as 'Addictive as Drugs'"
by "Telegraph" Staff

"Junk food is almost as addictive as heroin, scientists have found. A diet of burgers, chips, sausages and cake will program your brain into craving even more foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat, according to new research. Over the years these junk foods can become a substitute for happiness and will lead bingers to become addicted.

Dr Paul Kenny, a neuroscientist, carried out the research which shows how dangerous high fat and high sugar foods can be to our health. "You lose control. It's the hallmark of addiction," he said. The researchers believe it is one of the first studies to suggest brains may react in the same way to junk food as they do to drugs. "This is the most complete evidence to date that suggests obesity and drug addiction have common neuro-biological foundations," said Paul Johnson, Dr Kenny's work colleague.

Dr Kenny, who began his research at Guy's Hospital, London, but now works at Florida's Scripps Research Institute, divided rats into three groups for his research, due to be published in the US soon. One got normal amounts of healthy food to eat. Another lot was given restricted amounts of junk food and the third group was given unlimited amounts of junk, including cheesecake, fatty meat products, and cheap sponge cakes and chocolate snacks.

There were no adverse effects on the first two groups, but the rats who ate as much junk food as they wanted quickly became very fat and started bingeing. When researchers electronically stimulated the part of the brain that feels pleasure, they found that the rats on unlimited junk food needed more and more stimulation to register the same level of pleasure as the animals on healthier diets."


"Cherish your doubts, for doubt is the handmaiden of truth. Doubt is the key to the door of knowledge; it is the servant of discovery. A belief which may not be questioned binds us to error, for there is incompleteness and imperfection in every belief. Doubt is the touchstone of truth; it is an acid which eats away the false. Let no one fear for the truth, that doubt may consume it; for doubt is a testing of belief. The truth stands boldly and unafraid; it is not shaken by the testing, for truth, if it be truth, arises from each testing stronger, more secure. He that would silence doubt is filled with fear; the house of his spirit is built on shifting sands. But he that fears no doubt, and knows its use, is founded on a rock. He shall walk in the light of growing knowledge; the work of his hands shall endure. Therefore let us not fear doubt, but let us rejoice in its help. It is to the wise as a staff to the blind; doubt is the handmaiden of truth."
 - Robert T. Weston

X22 Report, “The Next Recession Is Going To Be Horrific”

X22 Report, “The Next Recession Is Going To Be Horrific”

The Daily "Near You?"

Umm Al Fahm, Haifa, Israel. Thanks for stopping by!

"Why Can't It?"

“Idiocracy Looms? Study Suggests IQ Scores Are Falling Due To Social Media, Central Banks”

“Idiocracy Looms? Study Suggests IQ Scores Are 
Falling Due To Social Media, Central Banks”
by Tyler Durden

"A new study, published Monday by Norwegian researchers analyzed the IQ scores between 1962 and 1991 and found that scores increased by almost 3 percentage points each decade for those born between 1962 to 1975 - but then saw a steady decline among those born after 1975.
Click image for larger size.
The earlier rise in IQ scores follows the so-called "Flynn effect" - a term for the long-term increase in intelligence levels that occurred during the 20th century, arguably the result of better access to education - according to Stuart Ritchie, a postdoctoral fellow in cognitive aging at the University of Edinburgh whose research explores IQ scores and intelligence and who was not involved in the new study.

But the new study, along with similar studies in Denmark, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Finland and Estonia, have all demonstrated a similar downward trend in IQ scores since the early 1970s.

As Fox News reports, researchers have long preferred to use genes to explain variations in intelligence over environmental factors. However, the new study turns this thinking on its head. Anyone who has seen the film "Idiocracy" might already be familiar with these ideas. In the scientific community, the idea of unintelligent parents having more kids and dumbing-down the population is known as the dysgenic fertility theory, but the new study suggests while intelligence is inheritable, it is external factors that play a much bigger part.

So what is driving this sudden reversal in the "Flynn Effect" and causing the dumbing down of the world? Fox news reports that Ole Rogeberg, a senior research fellow at the Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research in Norway and co-author of the new study, believes the change is not due to genetics, but says: “The causes in IQ increases over time and now the decline is due to external factors. It’s not that dumb people are having more kids than smart people, to put it crudely. It’s something to do with the environment, because we’re seeing the same differences within families,” he said."

By 'environmental factors', Rogeberg means external factors that influence the person - not the weather - which he says, could include changes in the education system, media, nutrition, reading less, and being online more, as well as better standards of living.

Robin Morris, a professor of psychology at Kings College in London also confirmed social media's impact: “In my view, we need to recognize that as time changes and people are exposed to different intellectual experiences, such as changes in the use of technology, for example social media, the way intelligence is expressed also changes. Educational methods need to adapt to such changes."

Is the developed world - with its interventionist central banks and distracted web-accessing populations about to get caught up by the less social-media savvy and less living-standard-impacted nations of the world? So Nixon started the dumbing down of the world in the early 70s by enabling money-printing (crushing living standards longer-term) and the birth of the internet accelerated the trend (creating an ever more distracted reality)? For now, the solution is simple for a smarter world - stop 'liking on facebook' and 'end the fed'!

Click image for larger size.
"We're so freakin' doomed!"
- The Mogambo Guru

Gregory Mannarino, “6/19/18 Post Market Wrap Up: Market Trend Remains HIGHER!”

Gregory Mannarino, “6/19/18 Post Market Wrap Up: Market Trend Remains HIGHER!”
CNN Market Data:

CNN Fear And Greed Index:

"When You Hear Negative Voices in Your Head, Remember This"

"When You Hear Negative Voices in Your Head,
 Remember This"
by Sofo Archon

"Yesterday night my girlfriend and I decided to go for a small walk around our neighborhood. At some point we reached to a square that was filled with children, and decided to chill there for a bit and observe them playing all around us.

After a while, we saw a little girl - no older than 6 - trying to climb up a short ladder that was standing right next to us. With a lot of effort she eventually managed to reach to its top. She was proud of her achievement and radiated with joy, until she suddenly heard an old woman yelling at her: “So what are you trying to show us now? There’s no need to brag. You’ve achieved nothing; others have climbed way higher than you.” Instantly, the girl’s big smile disappeared from her face. She looked disappointed and hurt.

To our amazement, that woman was actually the girl’s grandmother. Soon afterwards, the woman got up from the bench she was sitting on, told the girl she was leaving, turned her back on her, and walked away without waiting for a single moment. The girl appeared distressed. She quickly climbed down the ladder and ran crying after her grandmother.

I then thought of how traumatic an experience that must have been for the little girl. You see, children are very sensitive and absorb everything that comes from their environment like a sponge, so naturally the words they hear can deeply affect their psyche. And those words usually stay with them for years upon years, causing them tremendous suffering, sometimes until they reach to an old age - or even until they take their last breath.

When we were children, we were all at times hurt by words thrown at us. Now, as adults, we constantly hear voices in our heads that have been implanted by others - our parents, relatives, friends, teachers, and so on - yet we think that they are our own. Voices which tell us that we are inadequate. That we’re unimportant. That we’re not worth loving. That we’re not worth living.

Those negative voices keep on repeating themselves so often that they’ve programmed us to think that what they’re saying is actually true. If you’re hearing such voices yourself, I’d like to tell you: what they are saying is utter bullshit. You, just like every other person in the world, are a uniquely beautiful, intelligent and inherently loving being. But your beauty, intelligence and love have been suppressed for so long that it might feel as if they’re nonexistent.

If you’re feeling inadequate, trust me, I’ve been there. And I know it sucks. But I also know that there’s a way out. How? Well, my intention isn’t to turn this into yet another how-to self-help article, but I’ll merely point out that simple things such as meditating, taking care of your emotional needs, accepting and expressing your feelings, pursuing your genuine interests and forming loving relationships can do wonders to help you silence the negative voices in your head and create the inner space needed to reconnect with your higher Self.

My aim here is to simply remind you that you are enough as you are, regardless of what others have made you believe. I want to remind you that your presence is enriching the whole existence and that you have tremendously important gifts to contribute to the world. I want to remind you that you possess a loving heart that can brighten another person’s life. So next time those negative voices arise in your head, don’t believe them. They are lying to you, again and again. Instead, observe them unattached, notice where they are coming from and let them go one by one. They are just an illusion that has been fed by your attention, and the only way to break free from them is to starve them.

"How It Really Is"

"The World Is Too Much With Us.."

"The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!"

- William Wordsworth, 1770- 1850

"The Foolishness of a Consumer Society"

"The Foolishness of a Consumer Society"
by Paul Rosenberg

"Do custom-embroidered powder room towels actually make your life better? If you think so, and if you’re not of the very few who care about towels as an art form, you’re getting your kicks from other people being impressed by you. You’re buying the approval of others… and you’re all being foolish together. Quality food makes your life better. A reliable car makes your life better. Good medicine makes your life better. Olive spoons do not.

Sadly, much of the Western world, and America especially, has become addicted to status symbols. This has been going on for generations now. When I was a boy people joked about “keeping up with the Joneses,” but the joke was funny only because it was true. This is an addiction. Yes, it is a cultured addiction – you can barely escape the promotion of it in the modern world – but it’s an addiction nonetheless.

How This Happened: This is what I’ve been told by men considerably older than myself: World War I was a major turning point for American business. A large number of businessmen got rich at that time, selling all sorts of war materials to the Allies: uniforms, shovels, saddles, guns, ammunition, even horses. Many people will not remember this, but the US didn’t enter the war until 1917; it had begun in 1914. But American businessmen were enjoying record sales the whole time.

After the war ended in late 1918, things began winding down (winding down a war takes time). They didn’t return to normal quickly, because of a horrendous flu epidemic in 1918 through 1920, which killed millions and not just the very young or old. Still, the plague eventually wound down, leaving businessmen to cope with seriously declining numbers.

It was at that point, my older friends informed me, that big business decided they had to do something about this and get people to buy more stuff than they’d been buying previously: to squeeze more consumption from the same people. And they embarked upon this course with vigor.

Perhaps no public statement on this subject was clearer than one from Paul Mazur, a senior partner at Lehman Brothers, writing in the Harvard Business Review in 1927: "We must shift America from a needs, to a desires culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old had been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality in America. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs."

As is evident from the America of our time, this worked. A huge percentage of things people buy will be sold for pennies on the dollar at their eventual estate sales. They are bought in the hope of imparting some kind of self-esteem, status, or envy, not because they actually improve life.

Now, while I’m picking on things like embroidered towels and olive spoons, we must also acknowledge that a very few people will care about such things for art’s sake… and that’s fine… it is not foolish. But let’s also be honest and admit that such people are few and far between.

Scientific Manipulation: In fairness to American and Western populations, we should add that this change was accomplished with scientific manipulation, which was arising at just this time. One of the major drivers of this was a man named Edward Bernays, who was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. He made a lot of money teaching giant corporations to manipulate the public. Here are two quotes from him:

"If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it."

"Physical loneliness is a real terror to the gregarious animal, and that association with the herd causes a feeling of security. In man this fear of loneliness creates a desire for identification with the herd in matters of opinion."

There was a concentrated effort to manipulate the minds of millions, to frighten them and to herd them on behalf of the political and financial classes. This was problem enough in the days when people received their news from newspapers, but it was supercharged by television.

So… Those of us of the West have lived all our lives inside a web of manufactured discontent. We are told to elect political candidates because their opponent is horrible and because things are bad. We are told that we must buy new houses or vacations or a hundred other things, because other people have them and we’ll look bad in comparison. Or that the boy or girl we’re interested in won’t agree to marry us unless we look a certain way, buy a certain ring, or drive a certain type of car. And so on, in hundreds of variations.

All of this is based on the assumption that we are in a deficit position – that the advertised product will somehow fill our deficit. The fake world – as shown on TV and Facebook – features an endless struggle for empty acquisition and status symbols.

It is foolish to slave away in the service of giant corporations. If we wish to be sensible, we should labor for things that actually make our lives better. And if something is manipulatively advertised, we shouldn’t buy it. Live for you, not for them.”

"Why America’s Trade War With China Will Be Absolutely Crippling For The U.S. Economy"

"Why America’s Trade War With China Will Be
 Absolutely Crippling For The U.S. Economy"
by Michael Snyder

"Can the global financial system handle a full-blown trade war between the two largest economies on the entire planet? We have never seen anything like this happen in the modern age, and this is creating a tremendous amount of uncertainty for the financial markets. Yes, something had to be done, and I have been writing about this for years. China has been stealing our intellectual property, manipulating currency rates and slapping high tariffs on American goods. We simply could not allow China to continue to take advantage of us, but now we are so dependent on the Chinese that a trade war with them is going to inevitably produce a great deal of pain. We are all going to wish that another way could have been found to resolve this crisis, because in the short-term this is definitely going to hurt the U.S. economy. And if President Trump chooses to press forward with trade wars against Europe, Canada and Mexico at the same time as well, the pain for our economy is going to be off the charts.

Most Americans didn’t even notice, but Donald Trump fired a shot that was very clearly heard all the way over in China on Friday when he slapped a tariff of 25 percent on 50 billion dollars worth of Chinese products: "China accused the United States of firing the first shot on Friday when the White House said that it would impose tariffs of 25% on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. The announcement confirms a threat first made by President Donald Trump in March and follows months of trade talks between the two sides. A truce was announced in May, but it proved short-lived."

“The United States has kept changing its mind and now launched a trade war,” China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement. The Chinese retaliated almost immediately by slapping a 25 percent tariff on 50 billion dollars worth of our goods: "China will slap hefty tariffs on U.S. goods in retaliation for President Trump’s decision to levy duties on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Beijing will impose an additional 25 percent tariff on a total of 659 U.S. imports worth about $50 billion, according to a statement on the country’s Ministry of Finance website. The first batch of tariffs will hit 545 U.S. products worth about $34 billion, including agricultural products, such as soybeans, corn and wheat, automobiles, beef, pork and seafood, and will start July 6."

President Trump took the weekend to think about it, and on Monday he decided to raised the stakes much higher. If the Chinese really do go ahead with their tariffs, the Trump administration is going to hit them with a 10 percent tariff on another 200 billion dollars worth of their goods. The following is from Trump’s official statement: "This latest action by China clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage, which is reflected in our massive $376 billion trade imbalance in goods. This is unacceptable. Further action must be taken to encourage China to change its unfair practices, open its market to United States goods, and accept a more balanced trade relationship with the United States.

Therefore, today, I directed the United States Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10 percent. After the legal process is complete, these tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced. If China increases its tariffs yet again, we will meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods. The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable."

If China does not match each round of tariffs they will look weak, and if Trump does not keep raising the ante every time China matches him then he will look weak.

So where will this end? Ultimately the goal is more balanced trade with China, which would mean more jobs and more factories here in the United States. But in the short-term we won’t see any of that. Instead, all we are going to see is tremendous pain.

First of all, you should expect to see higher prices on any products that are made in China. This is going to hit consumers that shop at Wal-Mart and the dollar stores particularly hard.

Secondly, any companies that sell products in China are going to be hurting.  It is inevitable that some will start laying off workers, and that means that there will be job losses here in the United States.

And even the expectation of lower profits will send stock prices tumbling. In fact, we already started to see this happen on Monday: "Major American companies that generate a significant chunk of their sales from China, such as Boeing (BA), Caterpillar (CAT), Intel (INTC) and 3M (MMM), were among the losers on the Dow on Monday."

The Dow has fallen nearly 1.5% in the past week and is close to erasing its gains for the year. If a global trade war breaks out and slows economies around the world, it could bring an end to the bull market that has raged for more than nine years.

In the short-term, nothing good is going to come out of this trade war. And even in the mid-term, the pain is going to far, far outweigh any benefits. This is why a trade war should always be a last resort. As much as possible should be accomplished through negotiations, and it is unclear if negotiations were utilized as extensively as they could have in this case.

If China wants to play hardball, they could start dumping U.S. Treasuries or cut off our access to rare earth elements. If they pulled either trigger, our level of pain would instantly be multiplied. We can definitely hurt China too, but we do not have any magic bullets that will force them to yield.

Once a trade war begins, it can potentially last for many years, and let us not forget that history has shown us that trade wars can often lead to shooting wars. I believe that a tragic strategic mistake has been made, and this is not going to end well.”

Free Download: John Steinbeck, "The Grapes of Wrath"

"The Grapes of Wrath" (Excerpts)
by John Steinbeck

"The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they can't control it."

"It ain't that big. The whole United States ain't that big. It ain't that big. It ain't big enough. There ain't room enough for you an' me, for your kind an' my kind, for rich and poor together all in one country, for thieves and honest men. For hunger and fat."

"And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed."

"How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can't scare him- he has known a fear beyond every other."

"In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage...”
- John Steinbeck: American writer of “The Grapes of Wrath,” the 1939 Pulitzer 
prize-winning novel. Born 1902. Died 1968. Nobel Prize for Literature 1962.

Sound familiar? If not, it will. Look around...
Freely download "The Grapes of Wrath", by John Steinbeck, here:
"Winners Who Won the Wind"
by Uncola, Doug Lynn

"They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind..."
- Hosea 8:7

"In John Steinbeck’s masterpiece, “The Grapes of Wrath”, a tale is told of migrant families in the Great Depression living in ramshackle camps known as “Hoovervilles”. However, the characters in the book are not portrayed as stupid. On the contrary, they know what happened to them. One exchange between the characters goes like this:

 “We’re sorry. It’s not us. It’s the monster. The bank isn’t like a man.” “Yes, but the bank is only made of men.” “No, you’re wrong there- quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it. The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it. The bank– the monster, has to have profits all the time. It can’t wait. It’ll die. No, taxes go on. When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can’t stay one size.”

The protagonists in "The Grapes of Wrath", the Joad family, had difficulty living in their Hooterville and fared much better in their next camp which was run by the government. Ironically, during the next Great Depression that is almost here, life may again imitate art, except this time the Hootervilles will be called “Trump Towns” and the government camps will be run by FEMA.

In spite of the depressing subject matter, the beauty of the prose in "The Grapes of Wrath" is hauntingly eloquent. In its timeless message Steinbeck has captured what is about to again befall the United States citizenry once again with these words: “A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of its going. And dusk crept over the sky from the eastern horizon, and darkness crept over the land from the east.”

Yes, darkness comes from the east and an ill wind blows. There is a chill in the air that feels like judgement or even revenge. The winners have won. Look at all they have won. The world in all of its entirety. The moocher classes have won a little more time to enjoy their free food, high definition televisions, low income housing and iPhones as they lip sync to their songs of hip hop and rap tunes in the ghettos. The high rollers have won consolidated global power, a lying media spinning statist narratives and ever growing bank accounts suckling imaginary green milk from the pigs in the pen of the Federal Reserve. They have won. Indeed, they have won, and at such a great bargain. All they had to trade in return were their nonexistent souls.”