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Markets Feeling Uncertainty Over How Long the Government Shutdown Will Continue

It's a bit of a tough morning for the markets as we have a few things going on right now. How is that for a completely unintelligent-sounding opening sentence? Please forgive me ... after all, it's Monday.

To begin, it appears that the "trade war" is being felt in China as exports to the U.S. dropped ... even amid ... according to the Wall Street Journal ... a "healthy" U.S. economy. Now, does this mean China will be forced to grant requested concessions to the U.S. in order to right the ship? Or will China reevaluate its situation and form more strategic trade alliances with less-threatening non-U.S. nations? The world ... and Wall Street ... waits to find out.On top of this, corporate earnings are not looking stellar ... as results are just starting to trickle in. The big question, of course, is if this has already been considered by the markets ... as we have, so far, skirted entering a bear market ... but it seems we are still hearing its growl in the background.But the biggest concern just might be the uncertainty over how long the government shutdown will continue ... and what effect it will have ... not only on workers ... but on those companies they support. As of this moment it appears there is no end in sight but ... to be fair ... there has to be some in Washington working behind the scenes to get things moving again. I mean ... there just has to be ... for it is, to me, incomprehensible to think that hundreds of thousands of families might be suffering ... while this political game continues to be played out in the press.I included one news story without much comment as the headline speaks for itself. More Americans are dying from opioid overdoses than they do from car accidents. Is there a Ralph Nader-type around to announce this unsafe at any speed? I don't even know who our Surgeon General is. Do we have one?My final note today refers to the environment.Many know I attended the Consumer Electronics Show last week and do you know one company that received an award for best product launch at the world's top electronics show? Impossible Foods! What the heck? They make plant-based burgers! This is almost unheard of!But Impossible Foods had a burger, available at many restaurants, which was wheat-based. The taste was interesting ... and applauded by many publications. But the company changed the formulation ... and yes, I tried the "old" and the soy-based "new" one and ... wow! ... my opinion is ... they nailed it.Not only are they slowly rolling this out (I implore you to try it, making sure it is the new recipe) ... but it can be used in any product as a substitute for ground beef.Why is this important? According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture "between pastures and cropland used to produce feed, 41 percent of U.S. land in the contiguous states revolves around livestock." And the United Nations is reporting that almost 20% of greenhouse gases are due to livestock farming.The privately-held company claims they will even have plant-based steak substitutes by the end of this year and their product line will be available in retail stores.So if you have a vegetarian in your family ... or want to try this for yourself (expensive, but the price will come down) ... go to the last link below and see what it's all about.I feel that if you taste the new product, like I did, you will have one thing to say.Impossible!The extended partial government shutdown is starting to create some angst among Wall Street investors as there is actually a negative economic effectif this lasts a while (CNBC)... but amid the issue with the shutdown ... and concern over corporate earnings ... one CIO doesn't see a recession for at least a half decade(CNBC)Friends know how exciting I've been (and continue to be) on Virtual Reality ("VR") ... but it has yet to catch on and, frankly, few I've spoken with have yet to try it(LATimes)A startling report just came out claiming more of us die from opioid overdoses than we do from car accidents. Where is Ralph Nader when you need him? (NPR)If you take a moment to look around your home ... or maybe your office ... you will see how plastic is ... well ... everywhere. There are ways to slow its exponential growth... it begins with you (WellandGood)... for we do have some issues fast heading in this direction. World population will be increasingbut the resources to support more people ... just aren't there (WashingtonPost)... although one company is trying hard to fight the battle. Soon to be available in many places is a plant-based burger that many claim(including me) tastes just like beef (ImpossibleFoods)