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by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. It is 4:58 a.m. Eastern time, and I ought to be in bed, not least because last evening I took a nasty fall and sprained my ankle. But I cannot lay about, simply cannot, with all the ingredients for an important story, perhaps a world-changing story at hand. My ankle is puffy but of no account, my brain and fingers raring to go.

Here, like a recipe, are the features:

Item: A copy of the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011.”

Item: A clip of film from the 1939 tear-jerker “The Little Princess” starring that pint-sized money machine Shirley Temple.

Item: The then General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and President Jiang Zemin in my front yard, just inches away from me, just the two of us (and a chauffeur).

Item: Angela Lansbury’s always stirring song “Open a New Window” from the 1966 Broadway production of “Mame”.

And more than a dollop of cock-eyed optimism, for after all I am a Midwestern boy.

Are you ready for this ride?

Then go to any search engine and find Lansbury’s soaring achievement and play it now. Sing loud and proud… make your good wishes for a better world than the one outlined in the document before me be heard around the globe, especially in Beijing which needs to open that new window more than anyone…

“Travel a new highway/That’s never been tried before.”

Let me start this with a paean to America and a recommendation. Goodness knows we have our problems in these United States. Let’s be honest. Simply by perusing any newspaper on any given day, you’ll find the full panoply of horrors. However, when you read even a fraction of Secretary of State Hilliary Rodham Clinton’s latest report on global human rights violations (easily accessible on line), you cannot but perk up and say, “There but for the grace of God…”

Thus, Recommendation #1. I suggest the Secretary of Education (no slouch at producing long, windy, indigestible tomes), get this into the hands of every school board, superintendent, principal, teacher, student and parent. Let’s cut the America bashing and look at the record. All this would take is the will, a link, and an email suggesting this. Not difficult at all.

The shocking 2011 Chinese human rights violations.

In opening her report to Congress Clinton wrote this, “The world changed immeasurably over the course of 2011.” And mostly for the bad. Indeed, there is such a plethora of woe, you may be forgiven for wanting to pull the covers over your head and turning on the Disney Channel. This stern, even somber document relates in explicit detail just how 194 countries managed to oppress their own citizens. Now consider this: there are just 196 countries. Thus in plain language, where there are humans, there are human rights violations, even in places like the tiny principality of Andorra which was cited for failing to effectively protect the right of workers to bargain collectively.

This is bad but almost derisory when compared to the chronic, systematic rights violations daily perpetrated by the usual suspects, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Syria, Belarus… and China. Their records are appalling, distressing, dismaying, the stuff of nightmares and a shock that seems ironically to diminish as the flagrant facts inexorably increase, no more so than with China. We know… but we do not want to acknowledge, not least because the health of our fragile economy now depends on China expanding its open door policy. Laissez les bons temps rouler… never mind garden-variety outrages like these… They are serious, of course, but not important. Thus page after page of unmitigated detail taken randomly from this deeply disturbing report…

How in 2011, there was continuing “deterioration in key aspects of the country’s human rights situation.” How this was manifested in repressions and coercions, particularly against enumerated organizations and individuals involved in rights advocacy and public interest issues. How political activists and public interest lawyers were silenced. How authorities resorted to extralegal measures including enforced disappearances, “soft detention”, strict house arrest, including house arrest of family members.

And so it goes, word by alarming word, line by disheartening line, page by page of proven indignities, not merely conjecture, but actual, certain, confirmed. Those desiring to inform the world and shine the full light of day on such malice have done their laudable work well and responsibly, and they must continue to do so, at the risk of profound dismay in the face of so much chagrin.

Jiang Zemin and me, an incident that haunts me.

On the morning of November 1, 1997, I went for my morning walk as usual. But this was to be no ordinary day. I stepped out of my residence and crossed the ancient narrow lane to the Common near at hand, my task to walk and think. But then in this city of Harvard, where there is nothing more usual than the unusual, something different occurred. It was a limousine with diplomatic trappings, a small flag… the flag of China… on the hood. The car was running slowly along the sidewalk… and then it stopped, blocking the path.

It was Jiang Zemin, Secretary General of the Chinese Communist Party (1989-2002), President of China (1993-2003).

I knew him at once and I deduced the situation immediately, for I had seen the mass of protestors marching through Harvard Square en route to Memorial Hall where this man, more powerful than any emperor, the butcher of Tiananmen Square, the very incarnation of what was once called the Red Menace, was to give an address entitled “Enhanced Mutual Understanding and Build Stronger Ties of Friendship and Cooperation.”

He was idling in his official car whilst the police cleared his path through the disruptive throng just blocks away. And so the chauffeur waited… Zemin and I, exemplars of such very different systems, face to face, no police, no escort, just us.

I did what you would have done. I smiled and waved… so did he. What next? I wanted a scene like the one from “The Little Princess”, where, at film’s end, Temple’s character throws herself at the feet of Queen Victoria and pleads successfully for the great sovereign’s help. That classic scene brought refreshing tears to millions. And no wonder, for we all want to believe that a chance encounter with greatness could change history. It is one of mankind’s enduring beliefs.

“The road not taken.”

I should have knocked on the window or beckoned him out, inviting him home, just a few steps away. I should have told him our peoples must be friends, problem-solvers, not wary, cautious, and suspicious. But of course I did none of this… thus as I read Secretary Clinton’s report of near unremitting gloom, I rebuked myself… and will always wonder “what if?” What would have happened if I’d trod the road not taken and so helped open the new window humanity so desperately needs? I’d give anything to relive that moment to find out.


About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today.

Republished with author’s permission by Howard Martell <a href=””></a&gt;. Check out CB Passive Income ->



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Find the need of your community

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What are some benefits of owning my own small business?

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Government grants

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Will Social Security Last Until I Retire?

I’m sure you’ve heard that Social Security is running out of money, so here’s what you need to know about the current state of the program and what could happen in the future.

Mar 19, 2016 at 8:07PM
Bigstock Senior Couple Working Out Thei


For years, news outlets have been churning out headlines like “Social Security Is Going Bankrupt” and “Don’t Count on Social Security.” And although it’s true that Social Security is unsustainable in its current form, these splashy headlines are spreading the misconception that Social Security will soon disappear, leaving Americans who spent decades paying into the system high and dry.

Here’s the truth about Social Security — and why it will still be there for you.

The trust funds are running out of money
First, the bad news. Social Security will eventually run out of money unless something changes. The American population is simply aging too fast, and there isn’t enough new money flowing into the system to cover all of the benefits we’ve promised to retirees. If the projections released by the Social Security Board of Trustees are correct, the Social Security trust funds will run out of money entirely by 2034, at which point Social Security will only be able to pay out as much as it collects in payroll taxes.

Social Security taxes are currently 12.4% of taxable payroll — half paid by the employee and half paid by the employer. However, the costs of the program are equal to 14.1% of taxable payroll and rising. By 2038, Social Security benefits are expected to exceed 16.7% of taxable payroll.

The Board of Trustees estimates that the program’s trust funds will run at a large deficit until policy changes are made: “The Trustees project that this annual cash-flow deficit will average about $76 billion between 2015 and 2018 before rising steeply as income growth slows to its sustainable trend rate after the economic recovery is complete while the number of beneficiaries continues to grow at a substantially faster rate than the number of covered workers.”

The trustees expect unfunded obligations over the next 75 years to total $10.7 trillion.

But it’s not as bad as you may think
Before we deem Social Security DOA, let’s put this problem into perspective. First of all, Social Security taxes are not the only money flowing into Social Security. The reserves in the trust fund are invested in Treasury securities, and thus they earn interest.

Social Security brought in $98 billion in interest in 2014, in addition to $786 billion in tax and other non-interest revenue. Altogether, that’s $25 billion more than the benefits that were paid out — a substantial margin for the time being. The overall trust fund balance isn’t expected to start declining until 2020.

Additionally, if the system runs out of reserves in 2034 as forecast, then the money flowing in will still be able to cover 79% of scheduled benefits. So, in a worst-case scenario, Social Security will still be able to pay out nearly $800 of every $1,000 you’re expecting.

What can we do?
There are several ways to fix Social Security, and most proposed solutions fall into one of two main categories: increasing taxes or reducing benefits. American politics being what it is, the solution will most likely be a combination of the two.

There are several proposals for raising Social Security taxes. One popular solution calls for lifting the maximum amount of wages subject to Social Security tax from the current limit of $118,500 to a level that would include 90% of all earnings (currently around $250,000). According to a study by the National Academy of Social Insurance and Greenwald & Associates, this would take care of 29% of the shortfall. Another option would be to lift the cap entirely, making all income taxable for Social Security, which would have an even bigger effect, though it’s not such a popular idea among high-income Americans.

Another solution would be to increase the payroll tax by 1 to 2 percentage points above the current 6.2%. According to the trustees’ report, an increase in the payroll tax to 15.02% (that’s 7.51% from both employers and employees) would make the system solvent for another 75 years. The NASI-Greenwald study found that raising the Social Security tax to 14.4% would eliminate 52% of the shortfall and would be supported by most people so long as it were phased in over a 20-year period.

Meanwhile, a 16.4% across-the-board benefit cut would have the same effect as raising the payroll tax to 15.02%. Universal benefit cuts are extremely unpopular on both sides of the political aisle, but there are other ways to reduce the amount Social Security is paying out. For example, we could cut benefits only for high-income retirees who aren’t as reliant on this income. We could also raise the full retirement age by a year or two. However, these aren’t quite as popular as the proposed tax hikes.

The NASI study found that Americans’ preferred solution would be a combination of changes that would include:

  • Eliminating the earnings cap entirely over 10 years
  • Increasing the payroll tax rate to 14.4% of earnings over a 20-year period
  • Increasing the cost-of-living adjustment to better reflect seniors’ rising costs
  • Keep the full retirement age at 67

Such a package would have widespread support across different generations, income levels, and political parties.

Will something be done?
History tells us that Congress will act to bolster Social Security, but I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing got done until the trust funds are nearly gone. When Congress finally acts, it’s entirely possible that your Social Security taxes will increase and your full retirement age will rise. However, I can say with near certainty that something will be done, and Social Security will be there when you retire.

3 Serious Problems With the 4% Retirement Rule

The 4% rule can help you plan for your future retirement income, but you can run into deep trouble if you’re rigid about it. Here are its main flaws, and how to deal with them.

Feb 24, 2017 at 6:45PM
As you plan for retirement and form an educated estimate of how much money you’ll need, part of your calculations will involve determining how much of your savings you can withdraw each year, while still making your money last. The famous “4% rule” can help with that, but it’s not without some flaws.

Meet the 4% rule

The 4% rule has been around for a long time. It was introduced by financial advisor Bill Bengen in 1994 and was made famous in a study by several professors at Trinity University a few years later. It says that you can withdraw 4% of your nest egg in your first year of retirement, adjusting future withdrawals for inflation. This withdrawal strategy assumes a portfolio 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds, and it’s designed to make your money last through 30 years of retirement.

"4%" represented as 3-D characters in green


Here’s an illustration of how it works: Imagine that you’ve saved $500,000 by the time you retire. In your first year of retirement, you can withdraw 4%, or $20,000. In year two, you’ll need to adjust that rate by inflation. Let’s say that inflation over the past year was at its long-term historic rate of 3%. You’ll now multiply your $20,000 withdrawal by 1.03 and you’ll get your second year’s withdrawal amount: $20,600. The following year, if inflation is still around 3%, you’ll multiply that by 1.03 and get your next withdrawal amount, $21,218.

The 4% rule can also help you estimate how much you’ll need to accumulate in the first place — once you know how much annual income you’ll want in retirement. Let’s say, for example, that you’d like to start retirement with total annual income of $60,000 and you expect to collect $25,000 from Social Security. That leaves $35,000 in income that you’ll need to generate on your own. If you assume that $35,000 is 4% of your nest egg, then you can multiply $35,000 by 25 in order to arrive at how large your nest egg will need to be: $875,000. (Why 25? Because one divided by 0.04 is 25.)

So what’s the problem with this seemingly super-helpful rule? Well, unfortunately, several things.

Interest rates have fallen: For starters, remember that the rule was created more than 20 years ago, when interest rates were higher. Mortgage rates in 1994 were in the 8% range, and one-year CDs paid about 4%. In such an environment, the bond portion of a portfolio would have been generating more income than bonds do today. (A two-year government bond recently yielded 1.2%.) We’ve been in a low-interest rate environment for a long time now, rendering our bonds less able to replenish funds withdrawn each year.

Binder labeled "retirement plan" next to a pair of glasses and sitting on sheets of graphs


It assumes a certain asset allocation: Then there’s the rule’s assumption that your portfolio will be split 60-40, respectively, between stocks and bonds. You might not have or want that allocation. If your portfolio is split 50-50, or you have 75% of it in stocks, then the 4% rule won’t work as advertised.

People are living longer: Data from a 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report shows that those born in 2014 can be expected to live, on average, to age 78.8, up from 75.8 in 1995 and 70.8 in 1970. And those are just averages — many people live much longer lives and some live much shorter ones. The 4% rule aims to make your money last for 30 years, but if you retire at 62 and live to 96, your retirement will be 34 years long and you might be quite pinched in your last years.

Yellow road sign that says "proceed with caution"


Should you use the 4% rule?

Clearly, the 4% rule is flawed. But you don’t necessarily have to throw it out altogether.

If you think you stand a decent chance of having a retirement that’s more than 30 years long, you can be more be more conservative, perhaps using a 3% or 3.5% withdrawal rate — at least in your initial years. That can be helpful during our low-interest rate environment, too. (Interest rates have begun inching up, but no one knows when they will hit various levels.) Don’t be too rigid about it, though. If the market grows briskly in your first few years, you can re-evaluate and perhaps increase your withdrawals.

Another challenge regarding the 4% rule is that every set of 20 or 30 or however many years in the stock market will be at least somewhat different — some with higher-than-average gains and some with lower-than-average gains. If you plan to follow the rule and withdraw 4% of your nest egg in your first year of retirement, you’ll be at a disadvantage if the stock market crashed in the year leading up to your retirement. Such things can happen: The S&P 500 plunged 37% in 2008. If that happens early in your retirement, you’ll either be withdrawing far less than you’d planned on or you’ll be depleting your nest egg faster. You can address this stock market-volatility issue by being flexible — withdraw less in bear markets and more in bull markets.

It’s a good idea to reassess your financial condition regularly during your retirement, too. For example, if when you’re 80 you don’t think you’ll be around in a decade and your coffers are rather full, you could start withdrawing and enjoying more each year — or just plan to leave more to your loved ones.

We all need to plan carefully for retirement. The average monthly Social Security retirement check is only $1,360 (or about $16,000 per year). You can boost your Social Security income via some strategies, but you’ll probably still need a separate nest egg of your own, and a plan to make it last. The 4% rule can be helpful for that, but use it wisely.

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by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. I have been ill lately, probably the flu that’s going round. If you’ve had it too you know how intrusive, debilitating and oppressive it is, not least throughout the long stages of the night.

Sleep is fitful, the bed clothes lathered by acrid sweat, the whole overawed by nightmarish dreams, each more lurid than the last, but all with a single theme… that I am imprisoned, at immediate risk, menaced by a presence clearly felt but entirely unseen.

I am in a locked room, the furnishings are palatial, eighteenth century, Russian… from without I hear the something that means me no good. It is coming… I know it is coming for me… that it is my turn to confront the unmitigated evil… the great bronze doors open… I see a giant web and feel the soft leg as it brushes my face. And then I scream and wake up screaming …

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, for me, for the European Union, or for Ukraine. No indeed.

On November 29, 2013, just weeks ago, Ukraine President Viktor Yanukoyvch renigged on his economic deal with the EU, thereby providing the pretext for the events which followed.

As a result reformist elements took to the streets of Kiev, principally in the great Maidan, Independence Square. Here the majesty of the people was on daily display. Yanukovych, a thug dictator of the usual unappealing variety, hoped, expected his opponents to give way before the murderous threat of the state police and the bone numbing cold in which these events played out.

But the people held, defying the weather and the menacing artillery pointed directly into their determined, growing ranks.

“I don’t care what you do or how you do it, but eject the reformers now. I mean NOW. Understand?”

We shall probably never know what Puppeteer Putin told his henchman when he summoned him to Russia for “talks” (December 7, 2013). But the message was no doubt strong, unmistakable, unanswerable.

If Yanukovych had any doubts about his subservient status what Putin said to him and how he said it would have erased them within seconds. He was Putin’s man, pure and simple, his fate in the hands of Russia’s implacable president, no longer his own man, if he had ever been.

And so he was sent back to Kiev in disgrace to use his wiles to foil the reformers… or else.

Strip Poker.

Yanukovych’s objective was clear to all… and so he did what was necessary, unavoidable, painful, humiliating and even laughable. He needed time for the weather to do its work and for his favored police to mete out as much private pain to his opponents as they needed to withdraw into the obscurity from which they came. Thus, “strip poker” began as he ceded cabinet portfolios, then the promise of early elections… then complete power sharing. It was demeaning… it was pathetic… it was necessary.

Did His Excellency think it would work? Doubtful. For he is the ultimate realist. Besides, it didn’t need to work… it just needed to work long enough, for he and his sticky fingered allies were in the final stages of transferring over $70 billion to places unknown. Extra time might not allow them to keep the nation… but it would certainly enable them to grab and keep the nation’s fast dwindling resources… and that was a happy alternative.

Then everything changed.

Bloody Thursday, February 20, 2014.

What happened in Kiev this date is known to all: Yanukovych’s hand-picked security forces fired on the assembled masses killing at least 88, many with a single bullet to the head, execution style.

His legitimacy died along with the people he was pledged to defend. It is an event that distinguishes nearly every revolution, expediting the end of the “old” regime, for the dead martyrs legitimize the reformers and their peaceful objectives while setting the government reeling, murderers now, salvageable no longer.

What caused this massive miscalculation, not merely a crime, but a blunder?

If the provisional government retains power, we may someday actually know. This is because Yanukovych left behind the executive papers that may reveal all, a mistake only a rookie power broker with reputation to preserve would make.

For now, however, we must guess. Did Yanukovych order the troops to fire, and if so what did he expect to achieve? Or did his pet forces lose control of the situation and fire because they felt vulnerable? Or did Yanukovych have a “I’m the president, listen to me, damn it” moment, exasperation rising to fever pitch and total self-justification for whatever he did?

Whatever the reason the innocents, people with aspirations and dreams just like you and me, died for us, the greatest gift anyone can give… thereby delivering Ukraine from thraldom to the rights and responsibilities of citizens. Or so we thought… but the Spider of the Kremlin remained. And that single fact threatens the freedom of millions.

He has provided refuge to Yanukovych whose tawdry regime he still recognizes and supports.

He has made it clear the freedom-loving people of Ukraine must accept again the indignities and humiliations they have just thrown off.

He has aided and abetted those who want to wrench the Crimea from Ukraine and thereby augment the Spider’s power and resources.

He has placed troops and ships in close proximity to Ukraine, raising the very real possibility of civil war and even invasion, which would provoke the greatest European crisis since World War II, all at a time when financial markets are already weak, vulnerable, and at risk.

Can the newly installed Ukraine provisional government combat these pernicious trends? The new cabinet contains the least knowledgeable, effective or experienced ministers of any nation its size. Artists, poets, musicians, journalists and writers are its honorable, prominent, incompetent members.

They face the reality of an empty treasury, pilfered by the exiting rats, a currency in free fall, pensions unpaid, and an acute need for natural gas and heating oil, food, and medical relief. The Spider may disdain such a government, but upon calm reflection will smile upon what he can so easily control. He is making up his mind right now… and the world must dance attendance while he decides. God help us.


I have selected as the music for this unsettling analysis, the Coronation scene from “Boris Godunov”. Composed by Modest Musorgsky in 1869, it tells the tale of Tsar Boris, the man who brought serfdom to Russia in 1597. It is brilliant music about one of the greatest injustices of human history. You can find it in any search engine. I prefer the Bolshoi version, available in any search engine. Play it now, and feel the great tenacity and dissonance of the Slav soul, the soul that resides in the Spider of the Kremlin, the man who wants universal serfdom and will work early and late to get it.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is the author of over a dozen business and marketing books, as well as several ebooks and over one thousand online articles on a variety of topics. Republished with author’s permission by Howard Martell <a href=””></a&gt;. Check out CB Passive Income ->

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Of polar bears. As the water rises, their prospects fall.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s program note. What music is appropriate for the undoubted decline and possible demise of one of the grandest creatures on earth — Ursus maritimus — the polar bear? I have selected Edvard Grieg’s 1867 masterpiece “From the hall of the mountain king”, for this is the story of a race of kings, sovereigns all, ruling over a land of snow and ice… a land now melting, imperiling these princes of the North… whose prospects for survival wane as the sea waters around them rise, a rise which threatens human kind, too. This is their story… and we must heed it for they are not threatened alone. You’ll find Grieg’s suite in any search engine. Find it now… and listen to its evocative, enigmatic sound. This sound will endure…. but will the polar bears whose tale I tell this day?
The seas at the top of the world are rising, rising…
While politicians argue about cause and effect, the undeniable fact of global warming and rising seas is beyond cavil and dispute. Sea level has been rising significantly over the past century, according to a newly released study that offers the most detailed look yet at the changes in ocean levels during the past 2,100 years.
Researcher Benjamin Horton, director of the Sea Level Research Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, found that since the late 19th century — as the world’s industrialization intensified — sea level has risen more than 2 millimeters per year on average. That’s a bit less than one-tenth of an inch… a small amount that signals death for polar bears… and chaos for seaside humans, drip by inexorable drip. It’s all about rising temperatures.
Rising sea levels are among the hazards that rightly concern environmentalists and progressive governments with increasing global temperatures caused by greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels like coal and oil over the last century or so.
The heat generated works to steadily melt some of the millions of tons of ice piled up on land in Greenland, Antarctica, and elsewhere. Such melting raises ocean levels and this, in turn, raises the possibility of major flooding in highly populated coastal cities and greater storm damage in oceanfront communities.
Polar bears must swim further and further for food…
Researcher Anthony Pagano, a US Geological Survey biologist, at the International Bear Association Conference, has, in his newly released study, made it clear what happens to polar bears as the snow melts and the seas rise. He identified and studied 50 long- distance swims by adult female polar bears between 2004 and 2009 in the southern Beaufort and Chukchi seas.
“Climate change is pulling the sea ice out from under polar bears’ feet, forcing some to swim longer distances to find food and habitat,” said Geoff York, a polar bear expert at the World Wildlife Fund who coauthored the study.
And the cubs simply fall off…
York said polar bears, tracked by satellite devices, routinely swim 10 miles or more for food, principally the seals they dote on and devour. But as the seas rise, these distances increase. Twenty bears in the survey swam more than 30 miles at a time. The longest-distance swim was 426 miles; the longest-lasting swim was 12.7 days, with a few brief breaks on drift ice. All this is bad enough, but here’s the tragic element: eleven of the bears that swam long distances had young cubs when researchers attached the tracking collars. Five of those mothers lost their cubs while swimming… and thus the breed and its prospects are diminished…
Facts about the threatened polar bears, majestic, now vulnerable.
The polar bear, universally admired, is the world’s largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak bear, which is approximately the same size. An adult male weighs around 350-680 kg (770-1,500 lb), while an adult female is about half the size. Although it is closely related to the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrower ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice, and open water, and for hunting the seals, which make up most of its diet.
The polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, with eight of the 19 polar bear subpopulations in decline. Researchers estimate there are 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears worldwide; they are listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act.
“Nanook of the North.”
Over the course of uncounted centuries, the intricate, necessary symbiosis between the polar elements, the polar bear, and Inuit and other indigenous peoples of the North has slowly, carefully evolved. The Northern people revered the bear whose flesh they enjoyed… they called the polar bear “nanook”… and took the name proudly for themselves.
In 1922, Robert J. Flaherty made one of the most celebrated documentaries of the silent film era, “Nanook of the North”, calling it “A Story of Life and Love In the Actual Arctic.” In the tradition of what would later be called “salvage ethnography”, Flaherty captured (and some critics said staged) the struggles of the Inuk Nanook and his family in the Canadian arctic. In 1989, this film was one of the first 25 films selected for preservation in the United States Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
But the human Nanook, though most assuredly a predator of the ursine Nanook, was never a problem, for he took only what he needed… and was never wanton. He never forgot he needed nanook. No, he is not the problem, though human kind as a whole most assuredly is. For we as a genus are thoughtless, careless always anxious to shift the guilt, the burden, the responsibility to others for what we have done.
And what’s terrible about this so sad situation is this: we know what to do and when and how to do it. We don’t need more learned studies; for studies about the future of the polar bear and its irrevocably changing environment are frequent, thorough, detailed, and unanswerable. We need action… before this matter becomes, like the histories of so many other species, academic.
But, for now, let us end as we began, with Edvard Grieg, master of unsurpassed, haunting melody. A creature of the North, knowing Winter well, he cherished the fleeting glories of Spring. In this spirit, he composed something so beautiful it is painful to listen to. He called it “Last Spring”, and you must go to any search engine now to play it. Let it fill your heart with compassion for the great creatures now completely at the mercy of their greatest predators, us. Let us pray that this song of soul by Grieg remains great music only and that there is no “Last Spring” for Ursus maritimus, beloved of man, dying through the works of man.
For where shall we find your like again; You who thrilled us so?
Where shall we look when you are gone you who have been made by God?
When you are gone who will care for why when your great heart beats no more?
God will know… … but He will not say for we who were bade to cherish failed you.
So now we lament… too late Now we shall know you not and nevermore.
Never to play again under the great northern lights once your heaven.
Where then have you gone? You whom we loved, and failed…
* * * * *
About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Republished with author’s permission by Howard Martell . Check out Massive Traffic Ultimatum ->

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