DONALD TRUMP INSULTS GERMANY. CHANCELLOR ANGELA MARKEL HOLDS HER NOSE AND SAYS US IS NO LONGER A RELIABLE PARTNER.

Book now for the bi-centennial of America’s least necessary war,The War of 1812. The scenery will be unbeatable!

Book now for the bi-centennial of America’s least necessary war,The War of 1812. The scenery will be unbeatable!

Smart Tips For Your Personal And Business Success Today……….Book now for the bi-centennial of America’s least necessary war,The War of 1812. The scenery will be unbeatable!

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Most Americans don’t know we had a dust-up in 1812 with our not-so-distant British colonial masters. Well, we did and from June 30-July 6,  2012 we’ll be celebrating it in high style in Boston, Massachusetts, then in 11 other East Coast American cities that had a role in the war. The festivities will run from 2012-2015, with millions expected to come see.No doubt the most popular and easily the most photogenic part of this commemoration will be the parade of the world’s tall ships, with more ofthese graceful relicts of days gone by assembled in one place than ever before.How many tall-ships will there be? William Armstrong, a spokesman for Operation Sail, the sponsor of this event along with the U.S. Navy, could not say exactly. Buthe did say that 120 nations have been invited to participate, and no doubt most of them will. As such it will draw visitors from around the globe to this living reminderof maritime majesty.Two extra special features make a trip to Boston de riguer when the tall-ships come.First, this is the home port of the USS Constitution, launched in 1797. It is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Dubbed “Old Ironsides” in sea battle where enemy cannonballs were seen to bounce harmlessly off her timbers, she defeated 4superior British vessels, uniquely earning each of her captains a Congressional gold medal, perhaps in part because the Constitution’s victories were one of the very few aspects of the war in general to go well.The second reason why Boston was selected to lead off the festivities hasabsolutely nothing to do with commemorating the war and absolutely everything to do with creating a truly whiz-bang of a program. While the tall-ships grace the harbor and capture every eye, the city of Boston (and all true believers in America’snational past-time) will be celebrating the centennial of Fenway Park, a theme which will inspire every sportswriter to wax poetic, nostalgic, with nary a dry eye in the(uncomfortable, over-priced) bleachers.Not worth remembering.Sadly all this hard work and the unbeatable thrill of seeing a large percentage of the most graceful and interesting sailing vessels still extant celebrates an entirely forgettable war that should never have occurred and which showed that Yankeerhetoric (always soaring and bombastic) far outpaced Yankee management, efficiency,and organization. In short, the Yanks, having pulled off the biggest victory of the18th century, eviscerating British North American power and gaining independence,took the wrong moral from the tale and assumed their old nemesis was a paper tiger,always and forever to be defeated by the vainglorious sons of America. It was anarrogant point of view that was soon shown to be wistful thinking, and nothing more.Family quarrels are always the most pernicious and hurtful.From the very moment the British accepted the loss of her American coloniesevery patriotic Briton ached for a rematch with her now liberated and bumptious former colonies. Because this was a family quarrel, each side (and particularly the British) took the greatest possible pleasure in irritating Americans, outraging Americans, belittling Americans and humiliating Americans. The colonies might belost, well then, let the regime of insult, condescension, and mutual irritants commence.And because both sides were Britons, who knew each other as well as the back of their own hand, they knew exactly what to do to cause maximum pain and umbrage…and they did it with relish and unbridled joy, “Take this, serves you right!”For such antagonists another conflict was, and everyone knew it,  inevitable.It was simply a matter of when… thus both nations bided their time; Britain bit by inevitable bit undoing Napoleon and his evanescent imperium, anxious to face againthe unlikely winners who had humbled them with the gall and wormwood of 1776 and all that. It was a truly memorable antagonism, entirely personal, no holds barred, each and every encounter seen as an insult by the other.  As I said, it was a very nasty familymatter, casus belli unnecessary.Historians will tell you the War of 1812 had many causes and no doubt they are right.But all those who have fought for victory in their homes and offices will know the messy battles in operation “Top Dog” in which the opponents battle for ultimate supremacy.In such a situation, with the need for overall power and control paternal, primal, withmutual good will and correct relations impossible until the fundamental matter iswell and truly settled. They fought because each existed and that each found affronting and profoundly irksome.The British goal in the War of 1812, a war which commenced as Napoleon (thenretreating from Russia after his fate-tipping disaster, thereby liberating British power,money and focus to upend the Yanks, was to continue her near absolute command of the world’s seaways. “Rule Britannia” was not a song; it was profound national policy.By contrast, the Yanks, now controlling the most valuable real estate on earth, were anxious to get the rest… and this meant seizing Canada, every Yank  believing that Canadians were anxious to be liberated. They weren’t, but that made absolutely no difference. Liberated and Americanized they would be, like it (and they surely would),or not.The War of 1812 shaped up accordingly.The British, the world’s greatest sea power, aimed to cripple the new American Navy while making it quite clear that it would continue to impress seamen (particularlyAmerican seamen) into her vessels, whatever howls of outrage that might engender.Ships might be built… but able seamen were, as always, in short supply and thusEngland, whose very existence was predicated on maximum sea power, seized Americans wherever they could be had… without a shred of remorse.The goal of the Americans was to justify their (to them) hefty allocations of limited national resources in a navy. Thomas Jefferson and friends (one of whom, James Madison, was President in 1812), profoundly provincial, regarded a navy as an expensive luxury, hoped to hobble it. The navy needed victories to prove how essential it was. And, of course, there was the great prize, Canada. Voltaire may have regarded the Canadas as a patch of snow… but the War Hawks in Washington, D.C. did not.They craved Canada the worst way, and they went about wooing her showed thatit was indeed the very worst way.The ins and out of this struggle go beyond the confines of this article and may be found in “The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict” by Donald R. Hickey. Sufficeit to say the Yanks made a dog’s dinner of their Canadian incursions and not a single Canadian was sorry. Thus, they kept their snow to themselves. The British burnt Washington, D.C. including the White House, to avenge a similar barbarity bythe Yanks when they invaded Canada. And the greatest victory of the war by eitherside was the Battle of New Orleans, which in due course made General AndrewJackson, president of the  United States.No doubt some of  this history will be told next summer, but the futile inconsequenceof the war will mentioned,  if at all, sotto voce.You, however, now know and  will astonish all who pontificate in front of you. For youhave heard the story here… so do book your reservations now with Operation Sail the better to see the key places in this forgettable conflict about to be commemorated.

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. Dr. Jeffrey Lant is also the author of 18 best-selling business books. Republished with author’s permission by Howard Martell HomeProfitCoach.com.
Check out Income Hybrid ->  www.HomeProfitCoach.com/?rd=wd9GQode

Our lives, our fortunes, & our sacred Honor’. Rediscovering William Whipple, New Hampshire patriot, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Our lives, our fortunes, & our sacred Honor’. Rediscovering William Whipple, New Hampshire patriot, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. I have found the perfect music to accompany this article. It is called “Washington’s March”. It is an elegant piece of 18th century music, balanced, refined, symmetrical, as suitable for a drawing room as for an afternoon’s review of the troops. It reminds us that George Washington and all his officers were gentlemen born and bred, citizens of substance who undertook the pronounced hazard of revolution because that was the only way open to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” They risked everything… You can find this tune in any search engine. It appears as part of a splendid collection entitled “Music of the American Revolution: The Birth of Liberty.” Sadly the composer of “Washington’s March” is unknown. He deserves recognition, too… Steps to glory… or the gallows. It is important to remember one thing about history: at the time it is actually occurring only God Himself knows the outcome. No person present can do anything more than speculate on what may happen. You must remember this, for the people you encounter in this article were each and every one making the most bold, audacious and rash decision of their lives when, on August 2, 1776 most of the delegates to the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall), signed the Declaration of Independence. William Whipple, one of the three representatives from New Hampshire, signed that day. We can imagine the scene… Every man present, as his turn came to sign, would have had, must have had a moment of the utmost sobriety, even dread. He would have thought of the terrible risk he was taking to bring forth the new nation. His mind would have touched on the people he loved…. the people who loved and trusted him. As he moved up in the queue he could so clearly see the beloved aspects of his life, each and every one of them, now with his own signature in the most perilous danger. But though there had to be profound reflections and profound anxiety, there was in that place, on that date, emanating from each man present and all the citizens there represented, a deep certainty that what they were doing was profoundly right, proper and necessary…. and as they took pen in hand, they wrote their names, if not so grandiloquently as John Hancock, yet with the same ringing belief… They did this for liberty! For freedom! For the chance of some happiness in the shortness of life. And, most of all, to create a nation which would provide a living model, where the good of all would always be the goal, not the good of a few. They stood for a new way of governing men and arranging their affairs… they stood for a nation they insisted be great! Thus did William Whipple, in sober reflection and invoking God’s will be done, sign the most important document in the short history of mankind, and, thus committed, did he resolve to strive, to turn brilliant rhetoric into vital reality. About William Whipple, Jr., born January 14, 1730. Whipple was born in Kittery, Maine, now famous for its many factory-outlet stores. He went to the sea, like so many Mainers, having studied in the common school the essentials necessary to become a merchant. He became a Ship’s Master by the age of twenty-three, and in 1759 moved to Portsmouth, New Hampshire where he established a merchant partnership with his brother. In either 1770 or 1771 (the record is unclear) he married his first cousin Katherine Moffat; they must have been in love, and adamant, for such matches between those so closely related were not recommended. But, of course, without documentation, we can only speculate and may thereby deduce the wrong conclusion. The people’s choice. In 1775 Whipple, a well-established businessman of 45, was elected to represent his town at the Provincial Congress. In 1776 New Hampshire dissolved the Royal government and reorganized with a House of Representatives and an Executive Council. Whipple became a Council member, and a member of the Committee of Safety, and was elected to the Continental Congress, serving through 1779. There he was one of a group of men who worked hard, staying out of sight, achieving results, letting others take the credit. He was chairman of the marine, foreign relations and quartermaster committees and served on the committee which gathered intelligence on the British. Such a committee at such a time goes only to the most trusted of men. While still in Congress, Whipple was appointed one of two brigadiers general; John Stark got the other appointment. The appointment came at a time of the utmost danger. The Americans had evacuated vital Fort Ticonderoga, the British having then taken it over. From this key strategic position, General “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne meant to wreck havoc. General Whipple meant to ensure he didn’t. Burgoyne was everything Whipple was not: a braggart, popinjay, condescending man who believed the Americans were there for one reason and one reason only: to provide him a step ladder to wealth, deference, renown. Whipple just got on with the job of defeating the man who never dreamt his defeat was possible. The result was the pivotal Battle of Saratoga, where the Americans not only defeated Burgoyne (thereby motivating France and Spain to enter the war on the side of the insurgents) but ended the Gentleman’s vainglorious career. He never had another military command; Whipple did. Appropriately, Whipple was accorded the honor of being one of the two American representatives assigned to working out the terms of capitulation. A victorious Burgoyne would have been contemptuous and insulting on such an occasion. Whipple handled the situation quite differently, although all knew how important the victory just obtained. One more anecdote about Whipple at this time must be told. Like many officers Whipple had slaves; one in particular, named Prince, went to the war with his master. Before an engagement expected to be difficult, Whipple freed him upon Prince saying that he could only fight for freedom if he himself were free. Whipple felt the full force of this unanswerable argument, and made Prince a free man on the spot. Whipple’s career both during and after the Revolution flourished, despite the fact that his health was uncertain, his heart weak. It because of this heart that he died. As Associate Justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire he was required to ride circuit. One day while doing so, he fainted and fell from his horse to his death. Right up to the last moment of life, he worked for the good of the people, quietly, resolutely, obscurely, dying November 28, 1785. Long overdue. When it came for his tombstone to be made, his reserve served him poorly. Not even the fact that he had signed the great Declaration was mentioned. Now at last, for him and for 11 other signers, belated recognition has come. This year small bronze plaques will be added to their tombs. It’s little enough and that overdue, for those who gave so much to create and maintain our Great Republic, now imperiled by lesser folk who not only do not know Whipple’s work and legacy, but are doing everything they can to undo it. * * * * * 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. Dr. Jeffrey Lant is also a historian and author of 18 best-selling business books. Republished with author’s permission by Howard Martell HomeProfitCoach.com.Check out Above The Matrix -> www.HomeProfitCoach.com/?rd=qc7oyPYE

REMEMBERING THE COMMENCEMENT OF WORLD WAR I, WHEN THE ROAD TO TIPPERARY PROVED TO BE VERY LONG AND ARDUOUS INDEED, 1914.

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By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s Program Note. This day in August 97 years ago was a day of general European warfare. The great powers, the most civilized nations on earth, had, at last, done the unthinkable, allowing a regrettable incident to morph into mayhem.

For this story, I have selected one of the most famous songs of World War I, “It’s a long way to Tipperary” to be the musical accompaniment. Written by Jack Judge in 1912, it started life as a rousing music hall number, and you can almost hear the clinking of glasses as you listen. It’s got a catchy beat of course but the underlying message is sad, even tragic, for with each passing day, the way back to Tipperary got longer… and the list of those who would never go home again did, too. You’ll find this tune in any search engine. Try to get the version by celebrated tenor John McCormick (born 1884) It’s grand indeed. Once you’ve found it, play it a couple of times. And listen to the words… carefully… many men died with this song on their lips and in their hearts….

How had it happened…

Once a war begins, people cease to be very interested in how they got there… and focus instead on how to ensure that they go home again safe and sound. That is entirely understandable, but not what we want to know today. We want to know why, so that (we hope) we can avoid such travail and grief for ourselves.

The proximate cause of the war was the assassination of the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz Ferdinand. I have two autographed pictures of this man, known to history solely for his assassination and death, when, had he lived and reigned he would have been known for more.

The photographs I am looking at as I write show him first in 1890 (age 27 ) and then later in a glorious silver presentation frame with his archducal coronet blazing in gold at the top looking supercilious, complacent, a tad silly, and not just for his outsized handlebar mustache either.

He looked like a man you wouldn’t want to cross… and insiders within the empire knew he was adamant about reforming the ramshackle imperium, bringing her antiquated systems and infrastructure up-to-date. He gave every impression that he meant not just to be emperor… but master. “Yes, Gustave, he means what he says,” they whispered over their snitzel, then went on with the national obsession, living well. This was Austria in 1914… where things were significant, but not important.

Franz Ferdinand has gone down to history as stern and unyielding. The Hungarians certainly thought so… and Hungarians (whose royal status had been upgraded in 1867) had a huge (entirely negative) influence in the empire. Franz Ferdinand meant to change all that, with a system he called “tri-alism”, aimed to elevate the Slavs in his empire to equal status with the Germans who founded it and the Hungarians. The Hungarians, especially the nobility of this most aristocratic of nations, were opposed… and not just mildly, either. In fact, had one heard that Franz Ferdinand had been shot your first reaction would have been to assume the deed was done by an Hungarian. There was certainly (suppressed) joy around the noble tables of Budapest when the news of his death became known… joy and (very subtle but heartfelt) toasts (in the very best tokay, Aszu Escenzia).

A man of cultivated taste and sensibility and a gnawing sense of injustice.

Though Franz Ferdinand’s public persona was grave, censorious, insistent, he was very different at home… for there he was a man in love, whose deep affection was equaled only by the burning rage he felt because his wife could not be accorded his imperial honors. She was Sophie Chotek von Chotkovato, a mere countess, hence beneath the contemptuous notice of the sublime Hapsburgs.

Franz Ferdinand was forced to sign a declaration prior to his marriage saying that while he retained his position in the succession… his wife, of such lowly rank, could not share it, neither would any issue by her be allowed to reign. And so out of his great love for his lady came an abiding, gnawing sense of injustice, rage, and dishonor. Growing exquisite roses, collecting exquisite furniture, the tastes of an accomplished aesthete, did not begin to heal his anger and mortification. The humiliation was as calculated as 650 years of Hapsburg rule and unbending protocol could make it… she could never walk into any imperial function on his arm; she had to walk instead where her rank as lady-in-waiting placed her… each slight an insult like acid… to be endured but could never be amended. He fumed… and whilst fuming sought ways to show her and the world how he felt about the woman he so loved… such an opportunity came in July, 1914. He was going to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo in connection with his military duties. He brought Sophie along because she could share his rank there… and he was insistent that she should.

A young revolutionary, burning with youthful zeal and the righteousness of his cause, the cause of Slavic independence, gave Sophie equal treatment indeed, killing both her husband and herself at the same moment. Ironically he got his chance because the car carrying both made an erroneous stop just a few feet from Gavrilo Princip, one of the several terrorists placed in the crowd that fateful day. Even the novice that Princip was couldn’t miss… and didn’t. Another Balkan crisis, amidst an unending stream of Balkan crises,was underway. But “crisis” didn’t necessarily mean “war”. While this great question was being answered, Princip, in prison, probably tortured, became the third fatality. He was just 20 years old…

War did not have to come; a negotiated settlement was not only probable but virtually certain.

Patriotic Austrians were rightly outraged and aghast at the murder of their imperial heir. He might not be popular but the dynasty he represented was. Importantly those with political acuity saw an opening, to weaken the Slavs who wanted total independence from an empire not willing to concede the point. And so an ultimatum, reckoned to be the most severe one sovereign nation had ever sent to another, was drawn up in Vienna and sent to Serbia… an ultimatum which made it clear that each point was not negotiable and that any quibble, even the smallest, would result in an immediate invasion of Serbia and the most abject of terms, even worse than in the ultimatum.

Serbia, having no means ready to combat Austria-Hungary, capitulated… with one minor, even trivial exception. Here was the basis for peace and even the German Kaiser Wilhelm II knew it.

And yet war came. Why?

Because a militaristic coterie in Vienna (headed by Conrad von Hotzendorf, Chief of Staff) and one in Berlin (headed by the Kaiser and the court and army officials who kept this mercurial emperor on track), wanted this war, at this time, sure they could win it. They almost won their bet, too… only to be handed in due course ignominy and total defeat.

Along the way, the road to Tipperary became long and bloody indeed, inscribed as it was with the names of all who knew the poignant significance of its words. As for us, we must remember that we, too, have more than enough people amongst us with a penchant for war. Eternal vigilance is the price we pay to ensure we do not experience any more of the long roads than we already have.

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. Dr. Jeffrey Lant is also a historian and author of 18 best-selling business books. Republished with author’s permission by Howard Martell <a href=”http://HomeProfitCoach.com”>HomeProfitCoach.com</a&gt;. Check out CB Passive Income -> www.HomeProfitCoach.com/?rd=vz1JfdGp

May 30, 2011. U.S. Memorial Day. Remember!

y Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Let us recall this day and its purpose first by reminding you of one of the most celebrated poems of war, youth too soon ended and of the flower that evokes it all, the blood-red poppy.

In Flanders Field by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. Canadian Army (1872-1918).

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row, That marks our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.

When I was a boy growing up in Illinois in the late ‘forties and ‘fifties, every school child was expected to take a few paper poppies (made so we knew by wounded and maimed U.S. Vets) and collect some pennies for them from friends and neighbors who never needed to be reminded of what we were doing or why they should contribute, even if it was the widow’s mite. And if it were the widow or mother with a gold star always in the front window, she responded with exultation and alacrity, hugging her student visitor, and tears would soon be shed. While you didn’t comprehend why, you soon found yourself with tears, too — and the adults called you a “good boy” and always looked into your eyes as they said so.

21 in Flanders fields in the midst of war.

I made my first trip to Europe, to the France I was destined to love deeply, not least for her wounds and too frequent miseries; the year was 1967. Vietnam was on the world’s agenda, rending the people and the nations. On this trip I (unlike all my traveling companions who had very different locales on their itinerary) decided to go, taking a bus tour to Flanders fields. I had helped distribute the paper poppies for many years; I knew the famous poem, and I was curious to see what the vestiges of carnage and military butchery looked like.

But I little knew the power of these fields and of the palpable spirit of this place, the spirit that spoke to you, and at once: “Remember, we are your dear departed, your brothers, your fathers, your young boisterous uncles too soon taken; the cheerful postboy and the brilliant medical student. We are here, all of us,in our millions; we wish you to understand the profundity of this place, the purpose of this place, the solemnity of this place… and the gripping tale, certain to impress you, that we tell in our very life’s blood.

This is a place of unsettled ghosts, of too much loss, too much death, too many to remember and an urgent need never to forget a single one.

Then of a sudden the compelling insistence of this hallowed place made itself known to you. Tourists like you, babbling of places where they had found good values and other places where they had not; these tourists now saw the majesty of unending death, too soon, by too many… and their very words stopped… as they saw around them on every side the unmitigated panoply of death…

Our vehicle went slowly through these fields where death had staked its boundless claims, for more limbs, for more blood, for more and still more fragile bodies and of a world of plans, expectations, destinies, ended right here…

You feel all at this tragic place… and are quiet like your fellow travelers; not one saying a single word… the only sound the wheels of your vehicle, now a cortege, and the tears falling fast… while complete strangers take hold of their neighbor’s hand and squeeze; it is all any of us can do… and we all want the warmth of life and seek it now.

What I learned that day, what you must know, is the immensity of these places of eternal rest for a generation. Here and at many similar places this generation abides for the ages, these fields profoundly marked with pristine graves and simple headstones, that show the last day of their life, the first day of their oblivion.

You think, you hope that the end is nigh, but you cannot say so. You cannot say anything; your vehicle goes slowly, the better for you to understand the awe of this place… and your spirit is sorely troubled and challenged.

And still your vehicle rides through more of the unending graves, each for a life unseasonably, unnaturally ended… and one word rises before you and the other travelers: why? What could have justified so much death and confusion, so much ended too soon, the promise of so many lives, and these so young? Why?

After several hours, your tour is ended… but the graves of Flanders fields are not at an end. They are, at tour’s end, what they were at tour’s beginning: a metropolis of the dead, where the great numbers you see are only a tiny fraction of the unimaginable totality.

And at last, from so much pain, so palpable and pathetic, comes a valiant thought. That the acres of Flanders fields, at least in part, are the story of the greatest gift of all, to die for the good of all, to give your life so that the lives of untold others can be lived fully, happily…. having received from these dead their lives, their prosperities, everything that makes life worth living.

Since the inception of our great republic wars, insurrections, riots, uprisings have punctuated our national existence. And each has yielded a generous quota of good people who died that America and all Americans might live.

The danger, my fellow countrymen, is that any part of us, any one of us should live without blessed remembrance and heartfelt gratitude to the dead… all of them expired in the unending service of the nation, our allies, and the troubled planet we aim to sooth and uplift. Every great cause, every event within these causes has called upon the best among us… and has resulted in the greatest sacrifice of all, for so many.

What the dead of Flanders fields and of all America’s far-flung endeavors want is what only we living can give. And that is our full love and devotion to such as these. We can only be fulfilled by giving it… which is what we do today, and gladly so. It is little enough for the sublime greatness of their gift to us.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Let us recall this day and its purpose first by reminding you of one of the most celebrated poems of war, youth too soon ended and of the flower that evokes it all, the blood-red poppy.

In Flanders Field by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. Canadian Army (1872-1918).

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row, That marks our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.

When I was a boy growing up in Illinois in the late ‘forties and ‘fifties, every school child was expected to take a few paper poppies (made so we knew by wounded and maimed U.S. Vets) and collect some pennies for them from friends and neighbors who never needed to be reminded of what we were doing or why they should contribute, even if it was the widow’s mite. And if it were the widow or mother with a gold star always in the front window, she responded with exultation and alacrity, hugging her student visitor, and tears would soon be shed. While you didn’t comprehend why, you soon found yourself with tears, too — and the adults called you a “good boy” and always looked into your eyes as they said so.

21 in Flanders fields in the midst of war.

I made my first trip to Europe, to the France I was destined to love deeply, not least for her wounds and too frequent miseries; the year was 1967. Vietnam was on the world’s agenda, rending the people and the nations. On this trip I (unlike all my traveling companions who had very different locales on their itinerary) decided to go, taking a bus tour to Flanders fields. I had helped distribute the paper poppies for many years; I knew the famous poem, and I was curious to see what the vestiges of carnage and military butchery looked like.

But I little knew the power of these fields and of the palpable spirit of this place, the spirit that spoke to you, and at once: “Remember, we are your dear departed, your brothers, your fathers, your young boisterous uncles too soon taken; the cheerful postboy and the brilliant medical student. We are here, all of us,in our millions; we wish you to understand the profundity of this place, the purpose of this place, the solemnity of this place… and the gripping tale, certain to impress you, that we tell in our very life’s blood.

This is a place of unsettled ghosts, of too much loss, too much death, too many to remember and an urgent need never to forget a single one.

Then of a sudden the compelling insistence of this hallowed place made itself known to you. Tourists like you, babbling of places where they had found good values and other places where they had not; these tourists now saw the majesty of unending death, too soon, by too many… and their very words stopped… as they saw around them on every side the unmitigated panoply of death…

Our vehicle went slowly through these fields where death had staked its boundless claims, for more limbs, for more blood, for more and still more fragile bodies and of a world of plans, expectations, destinies, ended right here…

You feel all at this tragic place… and are quiet like your fellow travelers; not one saying a single word… the only sound the wheels of your vehicle, now a cortege, and the tears falling fast… while complete strangers take hold of their neighbor’s hand and squeeze; it is all any of us can do… and we all want the warmth of life and seek it now.

What I learned that day, what you must know, is the immensity of these places of eternal rest for a generation. Here and at many similar places this generation abides for the ages, these fields profoundly marked with pristine graves and simple headstones, that show the last day of their life, the first day of their oblivion.

You think, you hope that the end is nigh, but you cannot say so. You cannot say anything; your vehicle goes slowly, the better for you to understand the awe of this place… and your spirit is sorely troubled and challenged.

And still your vehicle rides through more of the unending graves, each for a life unseasonably, unnaturally ended… and one word rises before you and the other travelers: why? What could have justified so much death and confusion, so much ended too soon, the promise of so many lives, and these so young? Why?

After several hours, your tour is ended… but the graves of Flanders fields are not at an end. They are, at tour’s end, what they were at tour’s beginning: a metropolis of the dead, where the great numbers you see are only a tiny fraction of the unimaginable totality.

And at last, from so much pain, so palpable and pathetic, comes a valiant thought. That the acres of Flanders fields, at least in part, are the story of the greatest gift of all, to die for the good of all, to give your life so that the lives of untold others can be lived fully, happily…. having received from these dead their lives, their prosperities, everything that makes life worth living.

Since the inception of our great republic wars, insurrections, riots, uprisings have punctuated our national existence. And each has yielded a generous quota of good people who died that America and all Americans might live.

The danger, my fellow countrymen, is that any part of us, any one of us should live without blessed remembrance and heartfelt gratitude to the dead… all of them expired in the unending service of the nation, our allies, and the troubled planet we aim to sooth and uplift. Every great cause, every event within these causes has called upon the best among us… and has resulted in the greatest sacrifice of all, for so many.

What the dead of Flanders fields and of all America’s far-flung endeavors want is what only we living can give. And that is our full love and devotion to such as these. We can only be fulfilled by giving it… which is what we do today, and gladly so. It is little enough for the sublime greatness of their gift to us.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant isproviding a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Dr. Lant is also an American historian and author of 18 best-selling business books. Republished with author’s permission by Howard Martell <a href=”http://HomeProfitCoach.com”>HomeProfitCoach.com</a>. Check out Fast Fan Pages ->  www.HomeProfitCoach.com/?rd=ij7eb90h

THE CRICK, A TALE OF BOYHOOD LONG AGO.

 

 
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by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. It’s funny how memory works. One minute you’re thinking about the next article you must write regarding the still unsettled events in Kiev, the possibility of civil war and a first rate crisis of universal concern and gnawing anxiety, a real humdinger.

The next, your eye having caught sight of a shimmering puddle on the way into Harvard Square, you’re thinking of something your mind has disregarded for over a half century, and you find you’re smiling. The scene has been kept tight for all these years for just this moment… and you welcome it with a mental embrace and heartfelt joy, glad to have it again; glad to share it with you.

Moving water.

It’s the end of February hereabouts. We know the sun exists, at least by repute, but we don’t see much of it. Rather, there is a cool gray mist hovering over the slumbering land; the kind of mist that makes you daydream and drift. Who sends it to us… and why do we always wonder just what’s lurking in its watery labyrinth, a monster, the Lady of the Lake? Not the sun…

Then there’s the mud, an ocean of mud, mud in every color and with every degree of grainy or slick inconvenience. I get more than my share because when asked to take off their shoes most of my endless stream of visitors adamantly asserts, and with a touch of asperity, that while others may carry mud about, they do not and never have; that the suggestion is little short of insulting and could result in a nasty episode on the (muddy) field of honor.

Thus I reluctantly give way to allowing what I most resolutely oppose… and so the mud they carry moves forward, ever forward, telltale evidence that I must be more forceful with the next arrival… but rarely am.

There is also water in all its various late winter manifestations: droplets, flakes, slush, ice (including the killer variation in black), puddles, tiny streams and haughty rivers that say “Leave us alone for we have places to go and no time for chit chat with the likes of you, lubber.”)

I’m not talking about any of these watery options, no indeed. I am talking about a rambling stream of water called by me and my early prairie neighbors “the crick”, every byway of America has them, and they are variously called branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, gill, kill, lick, mill race, rill, river, syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage and more. There is nothing more common than this, where a body of water with a current is confined within a bed and stream banks.

It is a sight that no real boy can see without itchy fingers and the glint of determination in his seasoned eye, a glint that ensures adventures and splendid triumphs.

No one has to tell us even a word about the crick and its place in our lives. I know. My brother Kevin knows… and so we go in search of the things we will need, things like the best and most durable of shovels.

Good shovels with stout handles are required after the ravages of winter. Storms and ice have moved many things which we must return to their proper places, and we are keen to know who has additional ones which may be required. Ours are often lost, taken by adults who pilfer our tools when we are not looking, and by doting grandparents who see in our shovels projects we can do for them. On such an understanding they are happy to loan.

Soon the near-by garage is filled with our gear, gloves (for rocks rend even calloused hands), long sticks with hooks, shoes that grip… and a fleet or two of boats of every kind, for our navy is multi-purpose and needs a plethora of vessels ranging from the one reminiscent of Cleopatra’s Nile barge with golden poop (though no perfume in its love-sick sails) to the replica of “Old Ironsides”, always a favorite, whose great victories were ever ready for recital.

Soon my father was complaining about our infringements to his precious garage space, but not too strenuously for he was a Navy man and knew what was necessary. About the time of his third warning, we were ready and so were the members of our audience and crew, for the Lant brothers were celebrated for their artistry with the crick and its aquatic possibilities and mischief.

George J. Quacker.

Being the oldest and most seasoned, I of course was commodore and had a cap like Humphrey Bogart wore in “The African Queen” (1951). It had withstood every ravage and bore its many wounds with deserved pride.

My rank and leadership did not, however, go unchallenged, for no watery event ever took place without the presence of George Quacker, a Pekin duck with a decided point of view on every subject, a voice that carried for miles, and a beak sharp enough to carry his determined point.

George had arrived one Easter along with his spouse, Georgia. Half a dozen or more goslings followed, a brood the parents tended with deliberate care and the assistance of the brothers who helped teach them how to swim in the bathtub (what a mess).

Sadly one night a raccoon literally frightened Georgia to death whilst looking for a way to get into her cage. We captured the murderer and shipped him off to the Children’s Zoo in Hollywood, Illinois, where many of our pets spent their declining years.

George was lonely, and even taking care of the ducklings didn’t entirely fill his time. And so he adopted… me, and became a familiar sight flying to greet me, and loudly too… or getting up at first light to summon me for (his) breakfast. He was known to follow me to school, too; the principal summoning me to take him home, while the entire school called his name, cheering him on. He loved the attention…

He also made sure that we dammed the crick just so to give him and his family the most commodious and convenient of swimming holes, the envy of his breed. And so while Kevin and I laboriously moved the flag stones into place, our intent to overawe Hoover’s Dam, George directed events… a sharp peck given if he found our attention lagging. But it rarely did, for we were as avid as he was to produce perfection… and so we worked with a will to ensure we had it.

Of course the result was magnificent… so much so that we stopped the crick running past all the houses after ours while a growing lakelet covered the culverts, drive ways, lawns and flower beds of our long-suffering up-crick neighbors who would have kept my parents on speed dial had that technology existed. “Shirley, Jeffrey and Kevin are at it again!”… and so we were, happy in our work, happy to recall it today, a day when a smile was so very timely and hard to come by..

Envoi.

For the music to accompany this article, I have selected Hoagy Camichael’s 1930 gem, “Lazy River”. It conjures those blissful days when life was for living and not just for worrying about. Go to any search engine and play it now and be 16 or so all over again, skin bronzed, muscles agile, and time yours to command. “Up a lazy river by the old mill stream/ That lazy, hazy river where we both can dream…”

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is the author of over a dozen best selling 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=”http://HomeProfitCoach.com”>HomeProfitCoach.com</a&gt;. Check out CB Passive Income -> www.HomeProfitCoach.com/?rd=vz1JfdGp

‘LOOK AWAY DIXIE LAND!’ THE DAY THAT DETERMINED THE OUTCOME OF THE U.S. CIVIL WAR. THE BATTLE OF HAMPTON ROADS, MARCH 9, 1862.

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by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. The American Civil War began April 12, 1861 with the firing of the rebel forces on Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. It officially ended on April 9, 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox Court House. In between, 212,938 people from both sides were killed in action, with total casualties exceeding 625,000 in what was the most bloody war ever fought on this planet… and the most embittered, as is always the case when brothers fight each other to the death, enraged, grieving, broken hearted but determined to have victory, whatever the cost…

This war was filled with incident, great deeds of valor, deeds, too, of squalor, treachery, unmitigated cruelty… and chivalry… but of all the deeds in this great struggle, the deeds of just a handful of men determined the outcome. These were the men who fought each other at the Battle of Hampton Roads, Virginia March 8-9, 1862. And I am taking you there today… for you will want to know who won, who lost, and why it happened the way it did.

For the incidental music to this article, I have selected Daniel Decatur Emmett’s famous tune, “Dixie,” also known as “I Wish I Was in Dixie,” a song originating in the black face minstrelsy of the 1850s. It is a tune that makes even the least likely ready to jump up and whirl. I have selected it today because, as Abraham Lincoln himself said on April 10, 1865, it’s “one of the best tunes I ever heard” … but also because of its famous line, “Look away, Dixie Land.” After the Battle of Hampton Roads, Virginia and all the other Confederate states had nothing to look forward to… and everything to look away from.

But it didn’t look that way on March 8, 1862… quite the contrary.

News of the most alarming portent arrives in Washington, D.C., Sunday, March 9, 1862.

Gideon Wells, a New England journalist, found himself urgently summoned to the White House. Come! Come at once! And this Connecticut Yankee, in his unlikely role as Secretary of the Navy, scurried to a meeting where he found Mr. Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War, in the greatest possible dismay… and so alarmed himself that he was alarming, too, the President of the Dis-united States of America.

It was a scene to brighten every heart in Dixie… and cause shrewd financiers to sell U.S. Treasury bonds short before Wall Street opened Monday, to chaos and defeatism.

Mr. Stanton could not keep still, could not hide his profound anxiety and fear. He sat down, only to jump up again and rush to the windows… What was he looking for? A savior for the Union cause… What did he expect to see? The CSS Virginia in all her glory steaming up the Potomac, sinking the Federal cause with effortless grace. It was a scene of destiny, and every man on both sides of the struggle knew that history of the gravest magnitude was happening now! To them! At Hampton Roads! And so depending on their point of view and allegiance they either gave way to unbridled joy… or profound despair and lamentation. No one was neutral on this urgent matter.

USS Merrimac into CSS Virginia.

The largest naval installation of the Great Republic was at Norfolk in Virginia… and so after the Old Dominion seceded (April 24, 1861) it became a matter of the greatest urgency to both sides to arrange matters there to their greatest advantage. This to the Federal forces meant moving as much as could be moved, destroying the rest. And, to the rebels, to do just the reverse.

Thus was the USS Merrimac, unable to be removed in time and against the rebel sentiments of her crew, burnt and sunk… but not effectively. Her new owners quickly discovered both hull and engines were serviceable… and so began her transformation into the CSS Virginia, the vessel which made Secretary Stanton quail with acute fear and humiliating anxiety.

Why?

Because CSS Virginia, for all that she had just weeks ago been scuttled, was transformed into the mightiest ship of all the navies of all the seas… a ship sheathed in iron, designed to deal death to the picturesque, now ineffectual sailing ships of every navy, but without suffering a single nick at all. Thus did the dead Merrimac come to be the super weapon the Confederacy needed to pulverize the Union and secure their freedom from the meddling, inept Yankees they despised.

Confederate triumph March 8, 1862.

The world changed this day… as the Virginia, with the merest motion, rammed the hapless USS Cumberland, 121 seamen going down with her… then the USS Congress was put out of action, surrendering… and everyone, from the merest cabin boy, saw the future… and knew that every gallant wooden vessel, yesterday puissant, was now dross. And so, as cat to mouse, Virginia moved to her next sure triumph, USS Minnesota… while every telegrapher sent on the news, the news that so discomfited Secretary Stanton… and every other brave Union heart. Armageddon was here… and it flew a Confederate flag.

Until…

In August, 1861 Gideon Wells authorized work on a top-secret Union ironclad… and in due course the USS Monitor was born, the most radical naval design ever; the invention of Swedish engineer and inventor John Ericsson. And it was this curious, much mocked vessel that steamed into Hampton Roads March 9, just in time, to reverse what but yesterday had seemed certain, Southern command of the seas and therefore victory.

And as Monitor and Virginia battled each other to a draw, each unable to finish its deft opponent, the entire strategic scene changed. All wooden ships, every single one, was now obsolete; thus a new arms race started for command of the seas. USS Monitor had, simply by maneuvering to a draw, stopped the South’s “certain” advance and commenced a war of bloody attrition, a war the North could win, and the South had most reason to fear. For without access to the world, the South could only rely on itself… and that would never be enough to ensure independence as every Southern family would, in tragic due course, come to understand only too well. As for both the historic ships of this engagement, neither sailed for long. Virginia was burnt again and sunk when Union forces took back the Norfolk port facilities in May. As for the plucky Monitor, she sank December 31,1862 off North Carolina. The remains of one of her stricken crew, 24-year-old James Fenwick, were just recently brought to the surface for honorable burial. He had been married just a few weeks before Monitor embarked on her final voyage; her history short but epochal.

“Old times they are not forgotten; Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.”

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=”http://HomeProfitCoach.com”>HomeProfitCoach.com</a&gt;. Check out CB Passive Income -> www.HomeProfitCoach.com/?rd=vz1JfdGp

REFLECTIONS ON HARVARD’S 360TH COMMENCEMENT, MAY 26, 2011.

Picture

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Today, for the 360th time in its exalted history, a history far older than
the republic itself, Harvard will, with all the colorful paraphernalia of the
Academy, send a goodly percentage of the brightest young people on
earth on their way to kismet.

Some of these people will become heads of state, women too; that is why
the address of Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of the
Republic of Liberia is so important.  It proves that even in territories inclement
towards women, women may rise high indeed.

Some of these people will head corporations and reap billions, some of
which will undoubtedly be given to Harvard in the form of very public generosities.

Some of these people will buck the capitalist trend and found worthy causes
of every kind. The world has need for every one of them and the people who
give up much, the better able to give more.

Others will rise high in the military, in governments of every nation on earth,
in education, science, medicine, the arts… there will even be a movie star or two but,
perhaps, no rap musician. Not, however, because Harvard would not welcome one; it
would. Rappers, however, may demur; it’s a matter of image…. and no people on
earth are as stringent about image as they are.

One more category may well appear: terrorist, revolutionary. Harvard does not
go out seeking such people, but Harvard has helped shape many such. Red
John Reed, Bolshevik, (class of 1910) is buried in the Kremlin wall… a signal honor
for a gentleman of Crimson. Like so many Harvard graduates he rose high, though this
time for a cause most every other Harvard graduate loathed and disdained. John
Reed wouldn’t have cared about that; Harvard graduates are above such trivia.
They know that what they do is important, even if no one else on this planet agrees.
This profound conviction is part of what the graduates take away today… you can
be sure of it. It is one of the best reasons for the very existence of Harvard.

Many of today’s graduates will write about their Harvard experiences; I am one of
them. Most will cherish happy memories and say so, fudging the truth on
which Harvard prides itself and pruning things not quite happy enough. In truth,
their classmates were probably never as bright as they will remember, as bright or
as dedicated. The faculty never as welcoming and helpful as they will recall. And the
university overall not as profoundly influential. But embroidering your Harvard past
is winked at since happy memories beget handsome legacies. And there is no need
to remind so many, and in print, too, that their time here was not as sun-kissed as they
ardently desire it to be. You were young, vibrant, surrounded by possibilities, and you’d
been marked with the most winning brand of all. Under the circumstances, the utmost
joy and contentment are understandable; indeed mandatory.

There will be some of course, but just a handful who will write otherwise, telling, years
from now, of painful isolation, alienation and the persistent thought that they never were, not for a moment, good enough to have gone to Harvard in the first place, that they were a fluke, a sport of nature. Perhaps. But they will write such sentiments in a ringing style, lyric, too, that shows in its careful refinement and clarity another benefit of a Harvard education.

This day, the most important day in the life of virtually every graduate, save only the
day on which they were born, will start early; the ceremony commences in Harvard
Yard at 9:45 a.m., but Harvard Square is awash with the camera-totting hours before,
even from first light. A sign of  the times: persons unable to be present can see it all, and
clearer, on the Web. There is not a one who so watches that does not wish to be
in Cambridge instead… for all that they see more and better than the audience
shaded by the great trees in Tercentenary Theater.

Graduates, at once shy and proud, will move today surrounded by their personal
claques, the lucky ones invited to see and venerate. Proud parents, who often dipped deep to make this happen, have been admonished, several times, to be prompt and organized. Graduates have conflicting feelings about these folks. They are grateful, of course, though never as grateful perhaps as they should be. It would not do to slight them, but, this is the last day, the very last day, they can see their classmates and friends, similarly burdened, as they will never be again: present, accounted for, resoundingly young; friends, colleagues, lovers, too. This recognition, this sadness is palpable. The pull of the golden past, slipping away forever, against the dawning future, ardently desired… but not this day. This is why the tears fall today for this must be a bittersweet moment for all. In these precincts the past and future truly collide today, to roil emotions. Parting is indeed such sweet sorrow… and now they truly know it.

It is now just 5 a.m., the dawn of this day of days is nigh. It is a day of memories,
memories retrieved, memories born. Parents will recall memories unbeckoned
of their beloved graduates and their brief lives. They will have, for themselves alone,
moments poignant and keenly felt, the more so if they had, once upon a time, a Harvard
Commencement of their own. Then Cambridge becomes the best it can be: an ever-
renewing place of reverie and remembrance, a place where you are always welcome,
for you are part of what has shaped this special place.

The trickle of early comers, seeking parking spaces more valued than gold,
will soon grow into serious traffic. Ladies in hats otherwise known only at weddings and
gentlemen in ties they will later shake off as gladly as a noose begin to appear as
do the marked men of the day… the sheriff of the county who will ride in on white
horse to declare the proceedings open; officials in their always ill-fitting cuttaways
and top hats… and of course and always the brightly garbed graduates in mortar
boards they never wear quite right. With their gowns a Rosetta Stone clearly indicating
just where the graduates have been and where they are going, these players gather
together, together to march into the ceremonies where they shall become, so the
University’s president will pronounce, members of the company of educated men and
women.

This is what every graduate has earned… and everyone has come to hear.  And
it is a marvelous thing, not just for those present but for the entire world, soon
to benefit from the skills, dedications, and hard work of this renewed company,
the company we all rely upon so much.

Think of these new members of this company today. They have much to accomplish
and many lives to touch and improve. We must all be glad they have such a day as
this to start them on their way, for they go forward for us all.

Musical note

Every commencement comes alive when the University’s fight song, “Ten
Thousand Men of Harvard”, written by A. Putnam (class of 1918) is played.
Listen and rejoice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO6fP5hwP2M

2018… BET ON THE TORTOISE.

Picture

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

There are many ways to sell products through creative marketing and sales endeavors. But nothing beats coercion. Wouldn’t you like to increase your sales quotas by certain can’t lose methods? Well the British, that nation of shopkeepers, found towards the middle of the 19th Century a sure fire way to fill its voracious coffers.

That way came to be called the Second Opium War (1856-1860). The goal was to turn the entire Chinese Empire into an opium den. You can imagine the British licked their chops at the prospect of having hundreds of millions of constant and predictable users, each one contributing to Rule Britannia.

They used any methods they could dream up, and the results of course were predictable. Imperial China dissolved in a chaos and cruelty of unlimited opium.

As part of their plan, they took a torch to one of the most beautiful and civilized complexes of exquisite and lavish display, the Old Summer Palace in Beijing. It pleased these civilized gentlemen to destroy every beautiful thing they could find, whilst collecting booty to take home, including what was called the bixi, a magnificent 17 foot marble stele which showed a tortoise surmounted by a dragon.

It was presented, in due course, to Harvard University in 1936 for the 300th anniversary. It was said that anyone who rubbed the nose of the statue would have good luck. But of course good luck flowed only one way… towards the gentlemen looters. They were the hare, and while they gamboled, the dragon slept, as it did all over China for so many pernicious years.

China was simply a box of treasures to be emptied as soon and completely as possible, while insouciant Harvard undergraduates walked past the stele and never knew what it was or the tragedy it represented. That was no concern of theirs.

But quietly, sometimes imperceptibly, but always certainly, the dragon began to stir. This time it was the hare who slept, as it was want to do in the famous tale by Aesop. The tortoise simply moved ahead, unheralded, largely unknown, but without opposition or even acknowledgment… until now.

The slow moving tortoise is now about to astonish the world, and economists and financial advisers worldwide are now aghast at what the sleeping tortoise has done, and what the hare has slept through, all unawares.

All hares, tortoises, people everywhere, are moving inexorably now towards the day of the tortoise, now just literally hours from changing the world when the year 2018 will become a date every school child knows… for it is the day the Great Republic is surpassed by the tortoise.

No longer will American students rub the nose of the tortoise for their luck… for the good fortune that was once theirs has shifted forever… and it is now too late to change the dynamic of events, for the American Era is dwindling, dwindling, soon to be just another statistic, no longer the basis for a superior life.

Some facts

The Conference Board indicates that by 2018, China’s contribution to the world’s gross domestic product will surpass that of the United States. In other words, China’s economy will become more significant than the American economy.

How could such a terrible thing (from our standpoint) have taken place? Was every one of the nation’s captains asleep through his watch, or just praying that he could get through it without further damage, and without widespread public knowledge or concern?

In 1970, the United States contributed 21.2% of the total global economic output. This remained consistent for another 30 years. That is, until the year 2000. In every year since 2000, with one exception, America’s percentage of the world economic output has declined. In 2015, for example, the United States contributed 16.7% of the world’s economy. By 2025, this is expected to fall to 14.9%. Nowsee the other side of the coin.

In 1970, China was responsible for a mere 4.1% of the total. By 2015, this had risen to 15.6%. In 2025, China’s contribution to the global economy is projected to be 17.2%. And so it goes, with the aging U.S. economy more and more at risk; the Chinese dashing ahead, fueled by the kind of enthusiasm and adamant endeavor that distinguishes winners. We talk about our need to succeed. The Chinese simply do so.

Just the other day a body blow to the image of the United States took place, and right down the road, too. This time, the bad news came from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. U.S. News & World Report, which annually rates top learning institutions, demoted M.I.T. as the top engineering university in the world, elevating instead China’s Tsinghua University as the top engineering university in the world in 2015, the latest ranking.

Moreover, of the top 10 engineering schools, China and the United States each have four. However, China annually graduates 4 times as many students in the core subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as the United States. In these subjects, there are 1.3 million Chinese students versus 300,000 United States students. Moreover, in every year of the Obama Administration, Chinese universities awarded more PhD’s in the core subjects than American universities. Suddenly the boast that we were #1, always #1, felt hollow, even fatuous. The tortoise had done its work well. Most Americans never saw it coming.

What had gone wrong?

I think one illustration will help show what has gone so seriously wrong, and why we may be slated for a permanent number two position, no matter how much face paint and glory hallelujah music is dispensed.

On May 23rd, 2017, the black students of Harvard University held their own commencement exercises, detached from the main University. Although white and other students were invited to attend this program, only two or three actually did so.

They gathered together to share with each other stories about how ill treated they often have been at the World’s Greatest University. Instead of celebrating all the benefits they had, they chose instead to whine and snivel that their golden road was not richer still.

Of course this was a slap in the face of the University, and showed how off center the Administration at Harvard has become, allowing black students to have their own commencement activities, when every other racial configuration was not singled out for special treatment, and didn’t need it.

Now let me tell you how the Chinese would have handled this matter. The admistration in Beijing or anywhere else in greater China would have said:

“Boys and girls, you are among the privileged of the Earth. Get on with your work. You don’t need a special stole or a special ceremony or a special opportunity to complain, because what you’ve got is the most important thing on Earth… the ability to strive mightily and succeed. Young China, you are privileged. Young China, you know it; now get on with the task at hand.”

And so as all the black students complained about the trivial, the Chinese ate their lunch, and put the whole of the rest of us at risk. For shame, for shame.

We in America, prattling on constantly about how successful we are, have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that we no longer understand the necessities for success, and where we do, we are not willing to implement them.

Can you even imagine that the habits of the average Chinese student are so lax and slothful? They have a joy of learning that once distinguished the Great Republic and its proud institutions, that now, like everything else has gone to Beijing, where the joy of learning flourishes.

Who saw all this coming, that we shall have to eat the dust and take the jibes that will surely accompany China’s inevitable rise to the top of the heap. Professors did not see this, for you can check the curricula of universities worldwide for courses that focus on the rise of China in our time, and for the foreseeable time to come. The media never saw this coming. Tracing the development of the new Chinese Empire is not as exciting as following the sexual peccadilloes of so many of our office holders, or their pilfering. They don’t care that the United States declines, so long as their pockets are filled with ill gotten gains that attract no special prosecutors.

For too long, America has believed what is no longer truth. We have become a nation of second rate quitters who fail to see the Chinese will do whatever they need to do, no matter how time consuming, difficult, and thankless the work. In 2018, these people will push their nation over the top to a glory not seen in China for centuries, and which was ours for but a short time.

So remember this: in 1981, when Ronald Reagan became president, China’s economy was just 10% the size of America’s. By 2014, the indefatigable Chinese had catapulted to 100%. And today, it stands at 115%. Consider this shocker: China’s economy will be 50% larger in 2023 than America’s, and by 2040 it will be 3 times larger.

We have slept for decades while the Chinese looked to the bixi and rubbed its nose, seeking the luck which did not need to be conferred upon them, but which was hewed out of the raw elements of their unstoppable humanity. They would succeed because any other course was un-Chinese… unthinkable… beyond the pale.

Theirs is the example of our time. Our children, and children’s children will have to learn to live with tattered 2nd place, or even less. For that is what we have left them. It was not good enough, once upon a time, for us, but it is perfectly acceptable now… so long as we can shut our eyes to the facts and accept the reality that is intolerable. God bless America… She needs the help.

Millennials: Here’s how to save and invest when you’re just getting by

Ever since she was a little girl, Kate Strauss says she heard Hollywood calling her name.

“I’ve always wanted to act and write, so after college, I moved to L.A.,” says Strauss, a comical, bubbly Millennial living her dream.

After graduating from the University of Arizona in 2014 with a degree in acting, Strauss hopped the first flight to Calfornia. .

While pursuing acting, she’s also taken on production jobs “because they’re fun, and I’m learning a lot,” she says.

The work is also keeping her afloat financially. “On a production job, I can make up to $3,500 a month after taxes,” Strauss, 24, explains.

Her income sounds cushy for a recent grad with less than $1,000 in student loan debt. But as a freelancer, her take-home pay can dip to $1,500 a month. She may have an acting or production gig for a time, followed by a waitress job, she says.

“Honestly, I’m living month to month,” says Strauss, whose bills include rent, food, cell phone, and car and health insurance. The rent is manageable at $850, but Strauss also spends $400 to $600 a month to buy organic groceries, and another $100 per month for personal upkeep, including salon appointments for her hair, nails and eyebrows. It sounds so L.A., but Strauss says, “It’s the cost of doing business as an actress.”

Still, she’s tried to cut back. “I cancelled out my gym and yoga memberships, rarely eat out, and drink coffee at home instead of buying lattes,” she says. For emergencies, like recently needing new tires for her 2008 Toyota Camry, Strauss’ mom helps out.

For now, saving and investing aren’t happening.

“I don’t invest because I literally don’t have any extra money,” she says. “But I’ve been listening to business guru Tony Robbins, so once I can afford to, I plan to invest.”

Related:

Now in their 20s and early 30s, young Millennials like Strauss have yet to embrace investing in stocks to reach long-term goals, like funding retirement, surveys show. Nearly half of  this generation —  America’s largest — say that investing is too risky, a BlackRock study reports. And just like Strauss, four of ten say they don’t have enough spare income to put aside for the future, according to a just-released survey from Stash, a financial app.

In the fall, she aims to start putting money in index funds, a type of mutual fund designed to match the components of a broad market index like the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

“I used to have the ‘money is evil’ mentality, but as I get older and read more about investing, I realize there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be comfortable and not having to worry about your finances,” Strauss says.

The Expert Advice

Rianka R. Dorsainvil, a certified financial planner and founder and president of Your Greatest Contribution, a financial planning firm in Washington, D.C., applauds Strauss  for being a go-getter. She says savings must be a priority. Dorsainvil offers steps that Strauss and other young Millennials can take to jump-start their savings.

  • Understand your cash flow. “You have to assign every dollar a job, so start with a budget,” Dorsainvil says. She recommends the You Need a Budget app. Users learn how to stop living check to check, get out of debt, and save more. It’s free for 34 days, then costs $50 per year.
  • Pay yourself first, period. Save 5% in an emergency fund and 10% in a retirement account, Dorsainvil says. “For Kate, I would suggest a Roth IRA because she is in a very low income tax bracket, which means she will pay less on the contributions she makes today than she would 10 years from now when her salary increases,” she says.
  • Enlist an accountability partner. “Find someone you strive to be like financially,” she says. “They are intentional about their spending, they are saving, and they are open to teaching you what they are doing.” Choose a person who wants to see you win.
  • Avoid lifestyle creep. For instance, if Kate lands a new acting role, and her salary increases by $20,000, she may want a larger apartment. But, Dorsainvil warns, “Instead of ditching your roommate and renting a more expensive apartment, stay where you are and continue to live off of your starting salary as long as possible,” she says. Put your raise to better use by saving 50%, applying 30% toward paying off debt and spending 20% on what you want.
  • Learn money basics. Our expert recommends Nerd Wallet and XY Planning Network, a fee-only group of financial advisers committed to serving Gen X and Gen Y clients.
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