Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 18, 2019

Drama and theatrics! The US might be in a position to enforce the Magnitsky Act against China. Now, like Taiwan before, the US is taking the pot shots. It compares to Tony Stark's Iron Man tossing rocks at a tank to provoke the tank before obliterating the tank.

Talk of talks about trade with China while focusing on more military money for what Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan calls "China, China, China"—that's not an effort to make peace with a country that wants it, but an effort to irritate a not-so-closet adversary into justifying a retaliatory victory. China will see the US as two-faced, never figuring out that the US is intentionally getting under Beijing's skin because the Chinese don't know how easily irritable their view of themselves makes them.

Then, there's Korea. In a retelling from The Godfather III, we might say that Kim wouldn't do this without backing. By rumbling about nuking up again, Kim is flexing muscles that shouldn't be flexed—but only would be flexed if someone, say like Xi Jinping, were whispering support in his ear. More is going on than even Trump may be revealing, even if Kim's rumblings are all for show. If tensions rise between the US and Northern Korea, China would be the likely backstage culprit. That would mean that tension in the Koreas would justify US action against China—yet another tank rock to toss.

Then, we have "melo-theatrics" worse than "damn lies": statistics.

If Trump's poll numbers were to suddenly plummet, nothing would bring them back like a victory against evermore unpopular China—now at 41% in America. That makes Trump, 47% as of Tuesday, more popular than China. If House Democrats were to take action against Trump, that might encourage China that he would not be able to sustain action against China—when actually a victorious action against China would bring up his popularity to make him politically immune to House Democrats. The freedom and opinion -driven dynamics of American politics eludes Chinese strategists, another front on which Beijing is likely to miscalculate.

If Trump's popularity were to slip just before a conflict with China, it could have been intentional—as a means to provoke China into thinking that China is stronger against the US than it is. But, China will never figure it out, like the cat chasing the laser pen's dot—they never figure it out.

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Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, March 18, 2019

The twelve Senators who voted to continue the mess at the border included the soon-to-be notorious "three amigos"—Paul, Romney, and Rubio. The other Senator from Utah, Mike Lee, also voted with Mitt. Of the other eight, two are up for re-election in 2020—Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Susan Collins of Maine. It will be interesting to see if they get re-elected.

Opposition to Trump only makes him stronger—and the office of the president along with him. Once again, it seems Democrats and "never-Trump" Republicans, like the three amigos, are part of some conspiracy too obvious to recognize. Even the Mueller fiasco helps Trump amass his army of voters.

Congressional Democrats want to make the Mueller situation partially public by making Mueller's report public—while keeping silent the dark beginnings of the "Russianewsgategate" scandal that started it all. Mueller's so-called "investigation" is more akin to something between a chicken randomly running circles with its head cut off and a headless horseman—maybe more of a headless horseman riding a headless chicken. The so-called "investigation's" new nickname could be "the headless chickenman."

Senator Lindsey "Grahamnesty" sure is coming out of his shell! He was formerly known as the senator who got along. But, ever since the Kavanaugh witch trial in the Senate, something in Senator Graham seems to have snapped—and it isn't unsnapping. He was most outspoken in blocking the biased release of Mueller's "headless chickenman" report.

Now, the State of Washington thinks that a State can over-ride the Constitutional requirements for Federal elections. Here we go...

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Columns

Stay Human

Talent and technology enhance each other, but they can't replace each other. Skill and hard work can improve technology and technology, in turn, can empower our skills and diligence so that we can make better and better stuff, more by the day.

The temptation is to rely on technology to replace our skill. Good stories don't result from algorithms or automated production processes. Machines can't invent wit or charm—only well-timed playbacks of real human wit at best.

Don't let tech become your crutch. Put away your GPS and learn the lay of your land. That's how trend-setters get found.

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Letters

Managing Natural Disasters

I confess, I have some obstacles with how we pray about those events we refer to as natural disasters.

First let me clarify: it's clear to me that we do have both the obligation and the authority to speak to natural disasters and effect change there. I'm just not convinced it's wise planet management to always speak to every act of nature that inconveniences man.

Our species, the race of mankind, is responsible for what happens on this planet. We were delegated that responsibility by the planet's Creator. It's a pretty serious thing, and I take that seriously.

So yes, natural disasters are within the sphere of our responsibility.

Thus far in our maturation as a people of God, I observe three primary ways we deal with natural disasters:

 1.  We ignore them, because they happen to other people, other places (or because we don't know any better), or

 2.  We panic before the disaster and mourn and wail after it. or

 3.  We decide that this event is a bad thing, and rebuke it (with varying results; we're still learning).

In point of fact, an argument can be made for each of these reactions at different times, though I have hesitation about how healthy each of them actually is as a default response.

But the issue that's got me scratching my fuzzy head today is this: where, in this process, do we perform our evaluation of the situation? Where do we assess how much our involvement is actually necessary, and what the best intervention might be?

We live on a planet that has a very long history of things happening to it. Since before Adam and Eve took their first job assignment, the planet has been active: storms spreading water around, volcanoes adding to land masses, forest fires cleaning up the leftovers of life in a busy forest, earthquakes from tectonic plates jostling. You know, those things.

And when mankind stepped onto the stage, we renamed them. Suddenly, they were no longer our planet doing what our planet has always done. Now, suddenly, these are "disasters."

If we want to get overly anthromorphic, we can talk about whether it's fair to the planet to suddenly redefine what had always been its healthy processes, I suppose. I figure that's something analogous to deciding that poop is icky, and making the decision never to poop again. There might be side effects.

Or we could consider how reasonable our expectation is that the planet should suddenly change how the water cycle works, or how it cleans up after itself, or how the planet's geology works, just because our species is covering the planet now and might be inconvenienced by the planet's natural processes.

Here's my point: I don't subscribe to the concept that just because there's a storm, just because that storm soaks soaks cities, blows down houses or destroys a season's crops does not automatically mean that we need to shut the storm down.

There were three experiences that led me to challenge my previous (and in my opinion, irresponsible) practices:

The first lesson came on an extended canoe trip. It had been raining hard enough that we couldn't safely travel the unfamiliar river, so we were stuck in our tiny tents in the rainstorm. The third day, I'd had enough, and I asked Father to stop the rain so he & I could go for a walk.

After a wonderful three hours with him, I noticed the sky: a huge rainstorm was coming in from the east, but just before it reached me, the clouds parted and went around me. I turned around and saw where the storm joined together just west of me. Every place around me was getting well watered, but I'd walked in sunshine for several hours, because Father pushed the storm aside for a little while. The storm was not stopped, only diverted for a couple of hours.

The second lesson came when a couple of very credible prophets warned about a devastating earthquake coming to my region. We live on The Ring of Fire, the planet's earthquake zone, so quakes aren't terribly rare, but this was going to be terrible.

A few intercessors for our region got together, sought God's counsel, and diffused the threat. His instructions were to a) cancel the assignment of the spirit of fear that was riding the (very public) conversation about the quake, and to b) redirect the pent-up tension in the tectonic plates involved so that the release of that tension would not be a terrible quake, but would be diffused in a large number of small quakes.

We did that and the stories stopped, the prophecies stopped, and the USGS commented on the unusual number of moderate quakes in the region. Crisis averted, but not by the brute force of stopping the tectonic plates from moving; by redirecting that energy to nondestructive symptoms.

The third lesson involved a very scary storm heading for a busy coastline. Father instructed us not to pray to stop the storm, but to turn the storm. The next day, the weather forecasters scrambled to explain the unexpected change in the storm's path to their thousands of relieved viewers.

In addition, I've taken some lessons from the realm of physics. I've realized that a great amount of "potential energy" or a great "inertia" can be more easily redirected than simply stopped in its tracks.

To stop a great storm in its tracks would literally require the equivalent atmospheric energy of several hundred thermonuclear detonations, and even if you managed to handle that power well with your prayers, you'd probably end up with scraps, several smaller storms spinning off causing less news-worthy damage in a number of smaller locations. That's a lot of work, whether it's in the natural or in the supernatural. And it's likely to be untidy.

But to change the storm's path, that requires a much smaller miracle, some say the flap of a butterfly's wings, properly applied, might be enough.

So if I've got a family picnic scheduled for this weekend, and there's a very wet weather front on a collision course with my picnic, is it appropriate to exert the requisite energy to stop the weather front, or to stop the front from dropping its rain? That might be a serious disappointment to the farmers in my region who are counting on that rain for their orchards and crops, and to the fish who live and breed in the streams and rivers.

And then, what would happen to the water that would normally have fallen in my region? It would be carried to some other region that isn't used to as much rain. How does the importance of my picnic stack up against frightening and unexpected weather patterns for my neighbors?

Or would it be better to just shift the storm? Shift it early enough and you only need to bump it off course by a few degrees. Not being omniscient myself, I confess that I don't really know what the effects of that would be.

Or should I leave Father's watering system in place, and just find a new location, perhaps one under cover, for the family gathering.

I'm not arguing that one answer is better than another. I am arguing that if we're going to take our responsibility to rule over creation seriously, we need to ask these questions.

"Yep. That looks like a problem. What are the available options to deal with it? Which option looks to be the best, and how do I implement that option?"

I recommend consulting with our omniscient Father on such matters. He has millennia of experience dealing with weather (and forest fires and earthquakes and floods and....). And he likes to keep his hand in matters of this sort.
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Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, March 11, 2019

China doesn't get the message, likely because China is too self-absorbed in its own culture. Detaining Canadians will provoke Canadians to support action against China to have the detained Canadians released—even supporting military action. When the US and China finally officiate their conflict, Canada may join the fray, all thanks to Beijing belligerence.

The Western press inches up its hardline against China every day. Even Europe reports on social media censorship in China. This comes on the 60th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising. China closed visits to Tibet for this reason. But, that doesn't matter since Taiwan could see a visit from the US Secretary of Health and Human Services as well as the Dalai Lama.

Speaking of Taiwan, the self-ruled island is arming to the teeth. They just put in a request with the US, asking whatever military equipment they should buy so their military will be stronger than China's.

Northern Korea has all the indications of someone whispering in their ears, encouraging and emboldening against peace with the US. After Trump met with Kim, after he returned home to the States to find a message that Kim would be less cooperative, Kim had spent significant time in China. Now, we have more indications that North Korea is continuing missile tests. The bigger problem in Korean North is that the people know the Hanoi Summit did not get economic sanctions lifted—Northern Koreans are learning the truth, despite controls on speech and information.

Now, Pakistan has put China in a precarious spot. The recent "explosive" squabble between Pakistan and India attracted Western eyes. It's great that Pakistan wants to go after terror cells within its borders, but it's terrible that Pakistan doesn't go after terror cells that launch attacks against India. Pakistan buys weapons from both the US and China. The US won't sell fighter jets to Pakistan for use against India; China would—or would it? If China did, then China would be backing the backing of terrorism.  So, little, tiny Pakistan has tipped the balance against China by being friendly with China as a weapons buyer.

So, all Chinese eyes are on Pakistan—and India and North Korea and Taiwan.

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Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, March 11, 2019

The nation is polarizing. Conservatives are becoming more conservative; Liberals are becoming more liberal. The veil of mediocrity has been lifted and people are being forced to fly their true colors.

Democratic Congresswoman Omar from Minnesota called out Obama for being a "pretty face" more "polished" than Trump, while denouncing Obama's policies. Freshman Congresswoman Cortez and veteran Senator Sanders decried capitalism while unemployment is at a record low and jobs are returning to America—jobs which Obama said would not come back. That only adds to the lists of failed Obama promises. Yet, Democrats still think it was the Obama ideological opposition that failed, not their own—except for Omar who thinks everyone failed, kind of.

It's one thing to not know when one lost, it's another thing to not know when one will lose again. What better place to discuss a campaign for the anti-enterprise 2020 ticket than in the Caribbean!

Socialist cities across America are in a battle against rural American sheriffs and prosecutors.

Don't attack people with your posts on social media—but if you're CNN, that's common practice, though still defamation—at least according to the lawyer for the Covington High School student who was treated by CNN and the Washington Post the way Facebook doesn't want you to treat real bad guys who actually did something wrong—maybe. It all depends on opinion, but there is one solution: utilities.

Facebook and Google are in the fast lane on the highway to "Utilityhood". Irritating as it is, a free market can't force Facebook to cooperate with Vine when there is neither profit nor loss in our "free-and-open" Internet. By allowing Facebook to make market decisions in its own interests, it will be easier to sway public opinion toward government crushing the Facebook and Google empires by making them public utilities.

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Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, March 11, 2019

The nation is polarizing. Conservatives are becoming more conservative; Liberals are becoming more liberal. The veil of mediocrity has been lifted and people are being forced to fly their true colors.

Democratic Congresswoman Omar from Minnesota called out Obama for being a "pretty face" more "polished" than Trump, while denouncing Obama's policies. Freshman Congresswoman Cortez and veteran Senator Sanders decried capitalism while unemployment is at a record low and jobs are returning to America—jobs which Obama said would not come back. That only adds to the lists of failed Obama promises. Yet, Democrats still think it was the Obama ideological opposition that failed, not their own—except for Omar who thinks everyone failed, kind of.

It's one thing to not know when one lost, it's another thing to not know when one will lose again. What better place to discuss a campaign for the anti-enterprise 2020 ticket than in the Caribbean!

Socialist cities across America are in a battle against rural American sheriffs and prosecutors.

Don't attack people with your posts on social media—but if you're CNN, that's common practice, though still defamation—at least according to the lawyer for the Covington High School student who was treated by CNN and the Washington Post the way Facebook doesn't want you to treat real bad guys who actually did something wrong—maybe. It all depends on opinion, but there is one solution: utilities.

Facebook and Google are in the fast lane on the highway to "Utilityhood". Irritating as it is, a free market can't force Facebook to cooperate with Vine when there is neither profit nor loss in our "free-and-open" Internet. By allowing Facebook to make market decisions in its own interests, it will be easier to sway public opinion toward government crushing the Facebook and Google empires by making them public utilities.

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Columns

Break the Glass

Most problems persist because people don't want anything better. Sure, on the surface we could say that problems persist because people won't do anything about them, but people don't do anything about their problems because their problems are the best they ever think they can have.

Actually, everyone's own glass ceiling is mere imagination.

Do you think every conversation must end with someone storming out of the room? Do you think projects won't finish or people won't learn? What imaginary limits do you place on yourself? If you can't imagine your life and stuff being better, they never will be.

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Columns

Alpha & Beta

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

The "alpha male" and "beta male" roles in society and family are worlds apart. Alpha males and alpha females need each other. In the past, women were expected to take a "beta female" role; today, it's men's turn—probably something like bad karma or the sowing and reaping of weeds come back to haunt them.

The "alpha" doesn't need to oppress others, only to stand his or her own ground. Laying down, playing the slave—men and women who allow themselves to be crammed into the "beta" role become concerned with the opinions of others. Don't join them, be alpha.

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Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 25, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pN7H-n22FU

Nations and peoples of the free world are reaching toward each other. The EU reached out to Taiwan and Taiwan was grateful. Taiwan reached out to CNN and CNN did an interview. Kim Jong Un is likely on a train headed through China to Vietnam to meet President Trump. President Trump met with the Vice Premier of China in the Oval Office to discuss trade. And, China "rightly" oppresses an estimated two million Muslims in internment camps, who inhabit the hope-to-breakaway province of Xinjiang, through which China's "Silk Road" passes to reach other nations with trillions of dollars in trade.

Taiwan's position in the world only stepped up. In tech, it's the multinational victim of China. The EU's unanimous statement of support for Taiwan and condemnation of China's military activity in the Taiwan Strait is anything but positive PR for China. Taiwan has the support of Europe; that doesn't count for nothing.

China's latest shenanigans include Hong Kong taking a serious look at redefining extradition laws so that Taiwanese in Hong Kong would be "extradited" to China. This does far more damage for Hong Kong's popularity with its electorate at home than it does for Taiwan, raising international sympathy for both. Remember, meddling in Hong Kong's government is a "must not" as the condition of Hong Kong not remaining under Britain. Nothing would indicate Chinese meddling in Hong Kong's government more than such a sure-to-backfire anti-PR move like Hong Kong is making by even entertaining such a revision.

The fingerprints of Beijing damaging Hong Kong where British interests remain, all in order to damage Taiwan, goes against the wisdom of courting favor with the masses across Europe. Then, there's Huawei.

As if international scandals implicating China weren't enough, Huawei's founder made the narcissistic comment that "the world can't live without Huawei". In Chinese culture, that might make enough people feel compelled to comply. But, the God-fearing West will take the self-absorbed claim as a challenge, much how God took the challenge when "experts" said He couldn't sink the Titanic. Huawei just might take its place in the hall of sunken fame. No, the West does not. Not too many years from now, when a finance guru claims that a company is "too big to fail", the public will respond, "Remember Huawei."

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Encore of Revival: America, February 25, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GihGaN0Eh0M

This was a week of fakery and desperation. Pacific Daily Times did not pick up the Jussie story of the fake beating because, quite frankly, something about it just didn't seem newsworthy—until now. Initial headlines weren't clear as to what exactly happened, except that there was an actor doing something. It seemed reminiscent of—and turned out to actually be much like—Jordan Brown's story, the homosexual pastor from Texas who dropped his lawsuit about the word "fag" on his cake, after Whole Foods—the bakery—filed a countersuit that he had tampered with the cake. Jussie Smollett was by no means the first, but the fake media just didn't know how to see a fake for a fake. Perhaps that's because they'd have to implicate themselves—perhaps.

Pro-Abortion movements are getting laws passed in Democratic-leaning States. This anticipates a likely national ban of abortion from the Supreme Court. Effort itself is not progress. Interpret the times correctly; this effort indicates progress already made on behalf of the Pro-Life movement.

Just the same, Mueller's coming report is something the Democrats should want to keep quiet, not only because it will acquit Donald Trump of conspiracy with Russia, but because it will likely reveal a breadcrumb trail leading to dirt on the Democrats. With the report not yet delivered, this can't be certain, but it is how history tends to work. The false accuser's accusations often turn against him.

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Columns

Ignore the Wind

Danger is coming, sooner or later. Bowing and bending is no way to keep danger at bay any more than being nice and friendly will make a mouse appear less appetizing to a hawk. Face it; danger will arrive anyway. It's best to be ready.

Stand your guard. Don't run the failing popularity race. Stay home and stay strong. Be smart. Balance your spending. Stay in a budget. Train and learn. Keep your infrastructure in repair and your needs in supply. Aggressively expand unity among your allies. And, don't spend one second being concerned about the opinions of your predators.

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Columns

Patience of Ground

There rests a line to walk between the extremes of standing in defiance and kowtowing to demands. That line is best called "nature".

As you stand your ground for something—so you don't fall for just anything—there's no need to assert yourself on the ground of others. Do what you reasonably can to accommodate for other's brokenness and folly—it's called forbearance. But, don't overdue "help" to the point of enabling.

Patiently study your direction, your purpose, your methods. By knowing who you are and where you are going and not going, gentle help and refusal thereof wisely follows.

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Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 18, 2019

Google's negligence with Taiwanese military secrets certainly put Taiwan on the map—and it may list Google among the utilities. Being made into a public utility by force is a mild settlement for de facto espionage.

Taiwanese military tech is also growing. At an expo in Abu Dhabi, Taiwan hopes to sell its own tech to the Middle East; included its own supersonic anti-ship missiles. If China's tech were so supreme, China would be courting the patronage of Middle Eastern states. Credibility is often in the money.

While trade talks drag on and on—and on and on—even the Leftist press supports President Trump in standing against China. Ah, yes—the one thing China hates about the West most of all: elections. Nothing could guarantee a sitting president's re-election like a war against the self-polluted giant who ate America's jobs. America's ping-pong game of "talk and smack" with China continues. Wait until the US cozies up to Taiwan even more—with the Google spill being a perfect excuse—after the Huawei CFO suspect gets extradited to the US.

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