"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
(James 4:14)

It is even a vapour

The Huffington Post

Stunning Mirage Claimed In China

First Posted: 06/20/11

ITN, a broadcast network in Britain, posted video last week of a stunning mirage in East China that features a city skyline, replete with what appear to be buildings and trees.

Video-curation site Devour.com writes the mirage appeared over the Xin'an River in East China.

ITN is the only news network to report on it, although MSN UK picked up the video.

This is not the first time mirages like this, which Devour calls superior mirages, have been reported in China. In 2006, China Daily, an English language newspaper, posted four images of what it said were mirages off the coast of Eastern China's Shandong province.


Zero Hedge

Trading Of Over The Counter Gold And Silver To Be Illegal Beginning July 15

June 19, 2011

From: FOREX.com info@forex.com - Date: Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 6:11 PM - Subject: Important Account Notice Re: Metals Trading - To: xxx

Important Account Notice Re: Metals Trading

We wanted to make you aware of some upcoming changes to FOREX.com's product offering. As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act enacted by US Congress, a new regulation prohibiting US residents from trading over the counter precious metals, including gold and silver, will go into effect on Friday, July 15, 2011.

In conjunction with this new regulation, FOREX.com must discontinue metals trading for US residents on Friday, July 15, 2011 at the close of trading at 5pm ET. As a result, all open metals positions must be closed by July 15, 2011 at 5pm ET.

We encourage you to wind down your trading activity in these products over the next month in anticipation of the new rule, as any open XAU or XAG positions that remain open prior to July 15, 2011 at approximately 5:00 pm ET will be automatically liquidated.

We sincerely regret any inconvenience complying with the new U.S. regulation may cause you. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact our customer service team.

Sincerely, - The Team at FOREX.com

So far we have only received this warning from Forex.com. We are waiting to see which other dealers inform their customers that trading gold and silver over the counter will soon be illegal.

It appears that Forex.com's interpretation of the law stems primarily from Section 742(a) of the Dodd-Frank act which "prohibits any person [which again includes companies]from entering into, or offering to enter into, a transaction in any commodity with a person that is not an eligible contract participant or an eligible commercial entity, on a leveraged or margined basis."

      ("How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!" (Proverbs 16:16) "A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold." (Proverbs 22:1)




Britain: the Euro could not last

Jun 21, 2011

UK Treasury ministers have confirmed that the coalition government is dealing with potential plans for a Greek bankruptcy after warnings by Jack Straw that the euro could not last.

Straw, the former Labour foreign secretary, warned that the euro "is going to collapse," and said, "Is it not better that this happens quickly rather than a slow death?"

Straw's message came after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the world economy would be destroyed if IMF members did not aid the Greeks.

Speaking at the parliament, Straw said, "What the Government should do instead of sheltering behind the complacent language, weasel words that 'it is not appropriate, we should not speculate' is recognize that this eurozone cannot last.

"And it is the responsibility of the British Government to be open with the British people now about the alternative prospects."

In an urgent meeting, Britain's senior MPs from all parties asked the government to stand aside from the new financial package aiding Greece and urged the country to leave the euro.

Mark Hoban, financial secretary to the Treasury, said, "I am not going to comment on whether the eurozone will remain intact or not. Clearly, this crisis demonstrates the huge strain the eurozone in under. That is why it was right for us to stay out of the eurozone."

Meanwhile, he admitted that there were many scenarios, which were being considered.

He said it "will not be appropriate" to talk about the detail, but "I will be guilty of not stepping up to the responsibilities of his office if plans had not been made to cope with a default."

He said that the UK banks had given around £2.47 billion in exceptional loans to Greek nationals and institutions.

Prime Minister David Cameron also declared that UK would not participate in a bailout of Greece.

"We were not involved in the first bailout of Greece; we don't believe the European financial mechanism should be used in any way."

Conservative MP Anne Main claimed that Greece "should be allowed to depart peacefully from the eurozone."

Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, also admitted that UK would not play a part in contributing aid package for Greece.

"The package for Greece that is already in place is a eurozone package with the IMF. It's the eurozone that is taking forward discussions now about the next stage of dealing with Greece's substantial problems. There's simply no proposition on the table for the UK to contribute beyond that IMF involvement and I don't expect there to be one," he said.


The Daily Ticker

Retirement As We Know it Is "Dead": EuroPacific's Pento

By Peter Gorenstein

Jun 22, 2011

An increasing number of Americans are worried about their retirement. In fact, a recent Gallup poll finds retirement is the top financial worry in this country. The poll found that 58% of adults are "very/moderately worried" about maintaining their current lifestyle after they stop working. The number jumps to 77% among 30 to 49-year-olds.

There's good reason to worry, says Michael Pento, senior economist at EuroPacific Capital. "Retirement is on life support, if not indeed dead as we know it today," he tells Aaron Task in the accompanying interview.

"Where is the income going to come from to sustain a viable retirement?" Pento asks. The problem, as he sees it, is simple -- income and asset values have plateaued over the last decade, while pension and entitlement programs are underfunded.

Pento recently penned a piece called "The Extinction of Retirement," detailing the financial problems facing Americans on a fixed income.

"In the past many retirees could count on accumulated stock market wealth to help fund retirement. Not so much anymore. As of this writing, the S&P 500 is now no higher than it was in January of 1999. For over 12 years the major averages have gone nowhere in nominal terms and have declined significantly in real (inflation adjusted) terms. The dreams of becoming rich from investments have crashed along with Pets.com and Bernie Madoff. Then there is always the supposedly safest asset of all -- a retiree's home.

Despite a misguided faith that real estate prices could never fall, they have done just that ... with a vengeance. According to S&P/Case-Shiller, the National Home Price Index has declined some 30% to levels not seen since the middle of 2002. And prices are still falling, with the rate of decline accelerating. The National Index dropped 4.2% in Q1 of 2011, after dropping 3.6% during Q4 2010. This means that only those retirees who have owned their homes for at least 10 years have any hope of selling at a profit. Ownership of significantly longer periods may be needed to have built up significant equity.

That leaves public and private pension plans. But here again there are serious issues. Let's just look at state public pension shortfalls. According to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, "States report that their public-employee pensions are underfunded by a total of $438 billion, but a more accurate accounting demonstrates that they are actually underfunded by over $3 trillion. The accounting methods that states currently use to measure their liabilities assumes plans can earn high investment returns without risk." Huge returns without risk? Bond yields are the lowest they have been in nearly a century! What world are these states living in? With few options, the states will undoubtedly look to the Federal government (taxpayers) for a bailout. Failing that, cuts are inevitable."

He continues by saying "Americans are have negligible savings, the real estate market is still in secular decline, stock prices are in a decade's long morass, real incomes are falling, public pension plans are insolvent and our entitlement programs are bankrupt."

Pento believes these issues could be resolved if the government takes the right steps. What might those be? He recommends lowering taxes, reducing inflation and balancing the budget as a means to increase the value of the dollar. If the dollar had more purchasing power and interest rates were higher, retirees would be able to live off their fixed income, he says.



A rural life is better: Living in a concrete jungle is stressful and make you vulnerable to depression

By David Derbyshire

23rd June 2011

Scientists have confirmed what every urbanite has long suspected - life in the city is more stressful.

Researchers have shown that the parts of the brain dealing with stress and emotion are affected by living among the crowds.

The findings help shed light on why those who are born and raised in urban areas are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and schizophrenia than those brought up in the countryside.

Country life: Past findings have shown that exposure to green space boosts health and reduces stress

The team of international scientists behind the finding are unsure why city life is so bad for the nerves.

However, past studies have shown that exposure to green space reduces stress, boosts health and makes us less vulnerable to depression. The findings come from the brain scans of 32 healthy volunteers from urban and rural areas.

Dr Jens Pruessner of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Quebec, who helped carry out the study, said: 'Previous findings have shown that the risk for anxiety disorders is 21 per cent higher for people from the city, who also have a 39 per cent increase for mood disorders.

'In addition, the incidence of schizophrenia is almost doubled for individuals born and brought up in cities. These values are a cause for concern.'

Dr Pruessner and colleagues from the Univerity of Heidleberg in Germany monitored the brain activity of adult volunteers while they carried out mental arithmetic puzzles under time pressure.

The functional magnetic resonance imaging scans revealed that the brains of those living in cities reacted differently to stress, the researchers report in the journal Nature.

Rat race: City life affects the region of the brain which controls stress, according to research

The region of the brain called the amygdala - involved in mood and emotion - was more active among the volunteers raised in cities, they found.

And those with an urban upbringing had a more active cingulate cortex - a region involved in regulating stress - while carrying out the task.

A larger study would be needed to confirm the findings. The researchers are unsure why city life affects the regions of the brain that handle stress.

Pollution, toxins, crowding or noise could all contribute, they say.

However, past studies have shown that access to green space soothes frayed nerves and improves well-being.

In 2009 Essex University scientists showed that as little as five minutes in a green space cut stress.

Other studies have shown that those with access to countryside are less likely to have heart disease or strokes.

Psychologists have argued that millions of years of evolution means the human brain has not developed to cope with life surrounded by thousands of strangers.

     "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead." (Romans 1:20)

     "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul." (Psalms 22:2-3)

     "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." (Psalms 121:1)

     "Hate not laborious work, neither husbandry, which the most High hath ordained." (Ecclesiasticus 7:15)

     "The principal things for the whole use of man's life are water, fire, iron, and salt, flour of wheat, honey, milk, and the blood of the grape, and oil, and clothing. (Ecclesiasticus 39:26)

     "Large metropolitan areas are the very basis of the whole accursed world city system, the concentrated commercial whore of Babylonic confusion!--Millions of people bunched up in big cities living off the poor of the land while producing very little that's truly constructive themselves!

     Big Babylonic cities of an enormous confusion of people are the epitome of inefficiency, wasted manpower, impersonal, inhuman machines which are too big and unwieldy for anybody to manage well and personally or supervise and scrutinise closely, or produce coordinately and effectively, just like big governments who get so big and powerful that no man can possible run them properly!

     Even God's government is going to be based on the small village plan, each one circular with radial streets like the spokes of a wheel centring at the hub of God's local administration, ruling in love over the villagers of this world who will till the surrounding land, grow their own crops, harvest their own food, make what few necessities they need, clothing, housing, implements, tools, etc., right there in their own little villages!

     Each village will be virtually completely self contained, self-controlled unto itself, like one big happy family or local tribe, just the way God started man out in the beginning, His ideal economy, society and government based on his own created productive land for man's simple necessities!

     We're going to go back to those days with only the beautiful creation of God around us and the wonderful creatures of God to help is plow and power and transport what little we have to do to supply our meagre needs, even as the poor of the world still do to this very day in the most remote parts of the earth!

     Big cities, big governments and their big military machines to fight big wars with others of the same in their lust for power, wealth and glory are only a burden to the poor, a cruel, crushing weight which grinds their faces in the dirt with their loathsome load! Who needs them!--Only the selfish rich and powerful who want to be ever-more rich and powerful and are never satisfied no matter how much they have or how many bodies they grind into the ground as they trample over the poor millions to gain their ungodly goals!" (David Berg 1974 Some editing.)

     Toynbee, the historian said, "Cities are man's festering sores on the body politic! The curse of civilization is its cities."

     Until next week...

Almondtree Productions