So I prayed quite a bit; I prayed blessing on this man, on his business, on his real estate holdings. But wait, there's more!
It's kindness that leads to repentance. It really is.
Name-calling never got anyone anywhere.
Don't confuse name-calling with "nick-naming". Nick names are descriptive terms for friends and enemies, terms like "Rocket Man", "W" AKA "the Shrub", "President Hair Do", and "Slick Willy". But, name-calling isn't objective, can't be endearing, and only serves to vent frustration from people who can't bring the change they want.
Don't call people "moron", "brain-damaged", "stupid", or "buffoon". Don't imply it. Don't talk like it. In fact, say so when other people do.
Calling names is one's own surrender. It's the loser throwing rocks at the tanks entering his city. Don't ever be that guy.
It was at the North-South Korean border. An American military official approached the line, accompanied by one or two South Korean officials. He held a megaphone. Stopping just before the line, he aimed the megaphone over the border and explained that South Korea had found the body of a dead North Korean soldier and wanted information on how to turn it over to North Korea officials. As he spoke North Korean soldiers looked at him through binoculars and scattered about like flies until they finally went inside their building and closed the door.
It is difficult to take it all in. Normally, when you try to talk to someone, they listen, receive your message, and pass the message on. But, the North Korean officials seemed to assume that South Korea had some other intentions, as if the South wasn't saying what the South was saying. That's not to mention that the South had to communicate with a megaphone because no one in the North would receive a simple message.
What was even more startling was how much I kept thinking about communication between different Christian sects and denominations.
In the Church and in America as a whole, communication has a striking similarity. People are suspicious of each other and they don't receive each others' ideas. When a Baptist speaks to a Pentecostal, it is as if each of their friends circle the other with binoculars before silently walking away and closing the door. The only way to talk about even the most basic of cordial concerns is through a megaphone because there is no reception.
By refusing to listen to each other, Americans have adopted dangerous values to a point where North Korean missiles may not be necessary to destroy the country.
But, shouldn't Christians at least act better? Not only should Christians be courteous across their borders, there shouldn't be borders in the Church. It is as if American society follows the example of old-time, denominational, divided "Churchianity".
Unfortunately, the Church keeps the borders they shouldn't while governments don't keep the borders they should. Ironically, removing Church borders and building government borders are equally politically incorrect. Dr. Ben Carson had some words about political correctness.
"...Fix the PC culture in our country, which only listens to one narrative. And if it doesn't fit their philosophy, then they try to ascribe some motive to it... Whenever you are asked a certain question, it has to be answered in a certain way, and if you don't answer it that way, then let's attack. Let's not try to actually understand what a person is saying. Let's just attack, attack, attack. And hopefully, everybody else will look at that and they will realize they're never supposed to say something like that again. That's what the PC culture is." – Dr. Ben Carson
Blame for the nation's division rightly rests at the doorstep of the Church. It's impossible to rule-out that the North-South Korean conflict wasn't influenced by the Church's own division and non-communication. Non-communication is very dangerous. The Church doesn't seem to understand how important the issue of communication has always been. Christians don't even understand what they say to each other, let alone the great dangers that now await them, merely from their refusal to communicate.
So, the Christian and American political scripts are the same: When someone doesn't respond according to the expected narrative, the programmed minions assume that he has some hidden agenda and it is as if they can't hear plain English. continue reading
China is taking a turn for the better over North Korea's "Rocket Man". Stronger sanctions, limits on trade, cutting off oil, halting banking—it was all a wise move on China's part.
At the United Nations, North Korea made no new friends. They made no indications of any change of heart. North Korea shares the same view of President Trump as the American Left: that he is crazy and irrational and should be called the types of names expected on an elementary school playground.
Even China's new best buddy, Russia, is concerned for stability in the region. It's not a threat. It doesn't sound like a threat. Russia is genuinely concerned. Conflict with North Korea is, indeed, a nosedive and it does affect all Koreans, both North and South, as well as Japan, Russia, and, of course, China. Ending trade is the best bet.
Keeping North Korea alive and kicking as a China-Russia buddy is no longer a reasonable "hopeful". Now, it's about damage control. China is being urged to consider cleaning up the dismembered parts of a soon-to-be-former North Korea to avoid other problems.
Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is expected to call an election. There's no better time to get re-elected than when the backyard "Rocket Man" is firing missiles over your country and Russia and China won't do anything about anything except cut off trade with "Rocket Man". So, from this week's ongoing drama with North Korea, Japanese Prime Minister Abe is likely to remain in office and China got more involved.
"Welcome to New York." President Donald Trump greeted diplomats and heads of state at the United Nations. Many of those diplomats have some kind of grudge or complaint against the only place on Earth safe enough for them to meet. Among them, North Korea's envoy, who used disrespectful "name-calling" rhetoric similarly to the American Left and now American sports.
Kneeling during your nation's national anthem, when standing is the respectful thing to do, does not make any move toward lowering conflict. Many nations would not allow such disrespect, but ingrates only disrespect the nations where they have such freedoms to take for granted.
Problems with "bad apple" police do not stem from lack of disrespect. Politicizing sports hasn't made the country safer, it has hurt sports ratings on TV. People watch sports to get away from politics, to rest their minds and hearts, and to share common ground with friends. Taking away that common ground will take away common ground.
There are many problems in America. One of the biggest problems is that many powerful people don't know how to solve problems, only spread them. For example, 20% of college students want to set a precedent that free speech should be shut down with violence.
So, while Congress is lowering taxes for the middle class and world leaders, once again, found America to be the safest place to exchange insults, top news this week was about the president vs sports.
China's situation is growing more and more similar to North Korea's. They seek to "match" the US in military strength, but aim to do so without US economics. Without the economics it will be hard to match anything. Slowly, but surely, the US is chipping away at money going into China.
Stocks were up in China, especially recently. Shenzhen is fairing quite well. But, Trump managed to block a Chinese company from buying a US chip maker, Lattice. This is just the beginning, not only for blocked deals both in the US and elsewhere, but also in bad international press against China.
Taiwan isn't helping. 500 Taiwanese in New York protested the island not being a UN member, claiming that Palestine is not a state, but has a membership. If Taiwan were to join the UN, it would be in the top 25% largest populations. But, pushing these matters will likely have no impact, other than bad press against China.
This week, North Korea launched again, scaring Japanese even more, making it even harder to defend the Kim Dynasty. China doesn't want to lose a "buffer" that would put a stronger US ally on its border, nor deal with an influx of refugees. But, China may have more than the situation with the US and North Korea to worry about. The dormant volcano on North Korea's side of the China border has been rumbling.
There's nothing like a small "act of God" to settle all disputes.
Trump meets with Democratic leaders. This is often known as "bipartisanship". Trump uses the word "bipartisan". The media reminds voters, at every election, that they, the voters, want "bipartisanship". If Republicans aren't "bipartisan", so the media reminds voters, then the Republicans will lose power.
So, Trump met with Democrats. He made some deals. He clarified where he wouldn't back down. The Democrats felt like he understood them. For that, the news now thinks it is the end of both political parties.
Trump's election was always going to spell D-O-O-M for both Republican and Democratic parties, but not for him being bipartisan. This may actually preserve those parties longer. The problem Trump brought to both parties was that he would outshine Republicans for Right Wing values and outwork Democrats on Left Wing talking points. He is preserving borders, simplifying and lowering taxes, and building infrastructure. That is progress by both Left and Right standards—progress "big time".
But, of course the best news has to be re-labeled the worst news. Most of the news this past week was gossip. Most of the news from the weekend was about movie awards, at which Trump held center stage without even being in attendance.
The only other main news included Google being sued for the same topic the "Google Manifesto" author wanted to have more open-ended communication about. Ironic, how a Leftist company suppresses a Conservative employee's opinion, fires him, and in the wake of the fallout gets sued for not having enough Leftist non-discrimination values.
But, the Left media doesn't want to talk about that. They also don't want to talk about how the ongoing investigation on part of the FBI into Russianewsgategate only seems to let Trump off the hook. If Trump did do anything bad with Russia, the Left completely failed to prove it.
So, the president acted in a bipartisan manner, finally. For that, we are told that both parties are doomed.
Don't be alarmed over politics. Politics are almost always predictable, in an "unpredictable" way. The more you study history, the less you'll be surprised by any curve balls, politics notwithstanding.
Many people try to explain or understand political leaders whom they despise. But, it's difficult to understand someone you don't respect. And, it's difficult to respect someone you fear because you misunderstand.
So, don't try to understand today. Try to understand what happened yesterday. Try to know what happened yesterday. Don't be alarmed by today's bad news. Live today, but study the past. Then, life just might be less alarming.
"Open the door, mate! Please, just open the door."
Knocks continued as I took my shower at the hostel in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. It's not every day that your shower gets interrupted by a drunken Britt from Birmingham needing to, well, more kindly than he put it "relieve himself".
I knew who the guy was. We had talked recently and I didn't feel in any danger. In fact, danger hadn't even crossed my mind. I have no problem letting a bro into the bathroom when nature calls. I mean, a man's gotta' do what a man's gotta' do when a man's gotta' do it.
"Well, I need a moment." My body was covered in soap and I wasn't about to trudge soap across the floor.
"Please! Just open the door. I just have to take a [leak]. I'm drunk and I gotta' go!"
"Coming." I wrapped my towel around my waist and opened the door.
"Thank you so much mate. Ahhhh..." He probably relieved himself for a good two minutes, almost falling backwards twice.
Again, I really didn't mind letting him in. He had a delightful Cockney Birmingham accent, after all. In fact, so he claims, that driving cap I have was invented in Birmingham and, in his words, "You got to be a Birmie to wear one of those."
How did it all start?
I had walked into the hostel earlier that night to meet Shelly for the first time. She seemed exhausted, yet calm in a charming sort of way. I asked and she told me some of her journey. She had a semi-crazy trip. I'll spare the details, except to say that I asked, "What's a brilliant girl like you doing partying? You should be up at 5:00 A.M. interviewing shop owners, building a contact book, and making a journal of your discoveries."
"You know, you're right, actually," she said.
I gave her the boilerplate advice, which somehow never seems so obvious: Study what you hate, do what you love. It's not always true, but what a resume builder, eh? "I travel the world because I love people, I speak three languages, but I studied accounting and pre-MBA in college to keep myself well-rounded." Who wouldn't hire someone like that?
"I must introduce you to Heather," I said at last. "Heather is from a country right next to yours and she's quite similar. She's traveling with her friend, Brianna, which I can never pronounce to her liking."
Shelly was from central Europe and had just worked for an airline. She told me a story about a tough customer she once had, how airline employees must always wear a smile, even while laying down the law, even while being threatened.
...Airline employees must always wear a smile.
And, that was Shelly. Even after the rough story of travels she had been through, here she was, all in one piece, calm as a cucumber. In many ways, I envy her.
In walked Heather and Brianna. "There they are," I exclaimed. The three ladies got acquainted on the porch that evening in Saigon while I took to the shower. I had an early flight to catch and wanted to get to sleep early.
So, here I was in the shower—kind of—trying to keep a drunk "Birmie" from falling down while relieving himself. "Oh, thanks so much, mate! I'm so drunk."
"It's alright. I understand." We just have to wear that smile no matter what...
I finished my shower and made my way out to the porch to find our Birmie friend chatting it up with the three ladies on the porch. After a minute or two, his other Birmie friend showed up.
"Oh, please," one of the fellas said. "Just a little more massage."
"But, I already gave you three. You're quite relaxed as it is."
"I still want the full massage."
"But, you can't do everything all at one time."
That's very true.
Time to distract. "Jesse, what was it you said you were working on with your website?"
"It was a list of words. Many non-native speakers have trouble with some English sounds..."
"Get off of my bed! I want to sleep!"
"Don't bother Breeann," I say.
"No, no, no! It's Brianna," she corrected.
Her friend piped in. "Yes, there are some sounds that native English speakers have trouble pronouncing in other languages."
This was going to be an interesting evening. I didn't dare doze off to sleep. The drunk boys probably aren't all that bad, but they wouldn't let the ladies be. Worse things probably happen in many other parts of the world, especially in so-called "civilized nations".
One guy playfully tosses Brianna on the bed. She objects with dignity. Heather tries to talk some sense into the drunk, but more as a distraction gimmick than any genuine hope of producing change.
As the night went on, the girls did a rather fantastic job of entertaining the drunk boys. It wasn't for any agreement or to join in their rough housing. There just wasn't anything else for them to do. So, they sat and listened to them through the night.
It began to rain. It stopped raining. The floor got wet. Then one of the boys threw Shelly's bag on the floor—right into a puddle of water.
"You can't throw people's things," I kindly explained.
"But, I want to throw things," he said.
Now, there's an indication of insecurity. The boys aren't really bad, just immature and insecure. That's quite a contrast to the girls with whom these boys quite clearly didn't stand a chance of rounding first base.
"You can't throw other people's things, though. They can break. Now, Shelly is sad."
Watching those girls deal with misfits was a lesson in life for me. I don't know where Brianna and Heather will go with their lives, but I'm sure it won't be a waste.
Shelly sat next to her wet bag, poking her fingers at her temples. Then, she smiled. She was tired. It was 4:00 A.M. Her only travel bag was wet—along with who knows what else inside. With her luck everything was probably okay. But, that's not the point.
In that moment, Shelly convinced me that she did indeed work for an airline. You have to have the patience of Job to not explode in a situation like that.
Shelly, I don't know where you will go with your life, but I'm sure it will be amazing as long as you keep going and, no matter what, keep smiling.
So, what happened to the boys? I couldn't stay around to find out. I had a plane to catch. That's another story of patience all to itself. I'll just say that the memory of Shelly kept me smiling.
Encouragement never hurts.
Sometimes we need truth, especially when truth is as hard to find as it is to hear.
Sometimes we need correction, all the more when we're going the wrong way.
But, we always need encouragement.
Encouragement is not a blanket claim that any ambition can be achieved by any amount of effort or by any means.
Whether chasing a goal or seeking a goal to chase, remember that success awaits everyone, on the condition that we pursue the right goal in the right way with the right effort. That's encouraging. Remind yourself. Remind everyone you meet. Encourage.
The North Korean situation makes much more sense when seen from the perspective of a film director performing a social experiment. Film makers, directors, actors, screen writers—they love to do good "real life" research. If one was making a movie simulating culture in a story such as Orwell's 1984, North Korea would be a perfect laboratory.
Looking at North Korea through this lens, some predictions could be made. What outside forces and events would be necessary to watch a "hermit kingdom" implode?
Another perspective could be from, say, China's view. China rightly fears that it is surrounded by US allies—Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan... India is a "frenemy" of the US, but more of an "enemi-friend" from China's view. Then, there is Korea. If the North were provoked to invade the South, that would be "plus one" ally for China and "minus one" ally for the United States, at least on China's border. "Gain more land to win the war" is an old school strategy from Westpoint, a strategy that Grant had to put aside at Gettysburg.
So, the jockeying in the West Pacific could be more predictable by thinking of international policy for North Korea as Film Maker vs Westpoint China. One set of policies wants the North to be easily provoked into decimating the South to win a land war in Asia. The other set of policies initiates "outside force" to carefully study an implosion of the North—and that includes allowing the North to be provoked, but on a controlled terms.
This week, North Korea made even more threats. So, the theorem of Film Maker vs Westpoint China can be put to the test in weeks to come, watching international policies provoke the North to attack and pressure the North to implode. While that transpires, international support from common folk to see North Korea's dynasty come to an end only grows, and the international press certainly doesn't do anything to shift sentiment the other direction.
Today, America remembers.
This week, three storms hit America: Harvey, Irma, and Donald. Harvey and Irma distracted the mainstream media from Storm Donald.
Harvey came with little warning and little room for evacuation. Irma came with plenty of warning, plenty of time and means of evacuation, and, evidently, plenty of need for evacuation. Storm Donald responded in strength and force. While Irma quickly lost wind and strength at landfall, Donald increased popularity to 46%. Donald maintained a greater positive impact on the economy.
Harvey defeated the news media for "not caring". Irma helped police catch several looters and, though hardship befell Floridians and their neighbors, they will be stronger in the end. Harvey and Irma have passed. Donald is continuing to storm Congress to simplify taxes, all the more to overcome fallout from Harvey and Irma. The greatest threat to disenfranchise storm victims is against members of Congress who do not get to work and heed the warnings of the growing storm coming against them.
Korea's situation is amplifying. We know this. North Korea is making more threats than ever with it's "boy king" on the iron clad throne. We know that military options are 1. relevant and 2. undesirable. The Pentagon consistently barks about "military options", while "economic options" stay on the table—don't overlook how talk of military bolsters economic action. Rather than reviewing the obvious, consider North Korea through the eyes of the White House—viewing both economics and security—and from the rest of the world.
As the Pentagon, economists, and surrounding nations sees things, not China, but specifically the Communist Party seated in Beijing, is viewed as the "menace of Asia", venturing into increased trouble with Vietnam, India, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Mongolia, Africa, Europe, and others. North Korea has six months of oil remaining, and China does 90% of North Korea's trade. No Beijing Communist Party feeding the Kim Dynasty equals no Kim Dynasty nukes. That's how the Pentagon, the US Treasury, and many surrounding nations view China and North Korea.
It will never be said, just as much as it will always be considered: North Korea is a stepping stone to facing the Beijing Communist Party. For the Pentagon, it's practice and demonstration. For economics, North Korea is an excuse to cut off trade with China who manufactures technology, but does not develop their own, and uses copied technology with trade money to make it more difficult for their neighbors to sleep at night. Right or wrong, justified or not, that's how others view China these days.
Now, Xi Jinping addresses an assembly over the BRICS bank group, while still not having dealt with the menace in its own back yard. Without a word being mentioned, Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa—and the nations who trade with them—will view China as being the "maker of promises that won't be kept".
China had so much going for it, as did the Communist Party in Beijing. They had trade, they had marked-off territory that no one encroached. But, it wasn't "what they deserved by rite", thereby provoking them into too much venture and not enough housecleaning. Make no mistake, North Korea is only the tip of the iceberg marking regional vendettas that loom beneath the surface, both militarily and economically. The US is not as friendly as it seems, "considering either" economics "or" military; it has already been implementing both as part of a greater regional ambition.
Sheriff Joe Arpio was pardoned, as predicted. His case could set precedent to defend future situations in years to come, notoriety only granted because he was prosecuted in the first place.
Trump will end the work permit program for "Dreamers", children who entered the US illegally with parents who entered the US illegally. Trump has not officially announced, but notified Ryan's office and the press on Sunday, though Trump's official announcement will come on Tuesday. Obama's program being shut down will continue for six months. If Trump were a heartless tyrant, there would not be such advanced notice.
Those at-their-entry-illegal children now understand America's culture and will retain the skills necessary to more likely re-enter America with better opportunities than Obama's quick-fix policy ever offered them. Their road ahead will be rough, but without hatred from even Trump's gentle yet firm hand. The rewards awaiting them at the end of that road will be all the more gratifying and those who supported Trump will applaud the Dreamers when they reach that goal. The road of the American spirit was never easy, it included pressing through the hard times that come with multicultural and international life.
Territories, provinces, cities, counties, continents, and countries need borders as much as homes need walls, bedrooms need doors, and private property needs marking. Suspending enforcement of those rules hurts everyone. Obama could have worked with Congress to make laws for Dreamers, but Obama chose not to help the Dreamers in the long run. Republicans in Congress have had more than half a year to present their Republican president with a bill to help the Dreamers, but they haven't. Congress still has six months to help the Dreamers.
But, Obama and Republican Congress have done nothing. They delegated action to Trump, who only has the power to enforce or not enforce. By himself, the president, whether Trump or Obama, can't dictate the perfect law for "Dreamers". Trump won't give false hopes because setting up people for disappointment is heartless. It was Obama who had less of a heart by cultivating false hopes in the first place, but not taking action to secure those hopes in the future. Still, there still is time, if Congress actually wants to do its job rather than just talk all the time.
Houston saw a great flood. Evacuating would likely have caused more problems and saved fewer lives. Individuals are responding from around the country. The good guys and bad guys had a chance to show their true colors. In the end, uncompassionate "Churchianity" that wouldn't open the doors of "Church Ma Hal" lost, along with the mainstream news casters who debated the first lady's shoes and interviewed victims in shelters rather than helping them. As much as Hurricane Harvey pounded Houston, it utterly destroyed shallow institutions in America and only strengthened America's spirit.