Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The World in Our Hand

Everywhere I look I see people staring at their hand
As though there was something important there to see.
They miss so much around them with their eyes so firmly fixed
I wonder how important it must be!

Maybe its some kind of window that looks out upon the world
With vistas grand that hold them oh so rapt
Or, maybe there's some monster that lurks there within their hand
That has their mind completely in a trap.

I suspect it is the latter if the truth were really known
As to why so many lose their self control
And focus on the shiny thing that lies within their hand
Even while they're on a quiet country stroll.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Art of a Really Big Deal?

It is interesting to note the commentary today after the meeting between President Trump and Russian President Putin.  It seems to be consensus that Putin gained and Trump lost.  I seriously doubt that is the reality of the situation.  Here are my thoughts:
  • Russia has tremendous resources but is backward in many ways as an economy.
  • Trump's focus and basis for everything he has done appears to be business and making deals.
  • Leverage for gaining what one wants is based in economic power (at least that's the way I suspect Trump views things).
  • Russia could "balance" China.
  • Russia can offset the E.U.
As to the claim that Trump "trusts" Putin above his own intelligence service on the matter of election interference, can you really blame him when you see the farcical hearings of FBI agent Strzok and the supposed "blackmail" file that our esteemed CIA was involved in collecting and releasing during the campaign?  Would you trust the Deep State?

Then we have the comments about the EU being our opponent.  Certainly they are an opponent relative to the Iranian Nuclear Deal in which the EU continues to trade with Iran while we re-imposed sanctions.  They are negating our efforts to thwart the rise of a nuclear Iran.  What else would you call them?

I believe the President sees opportunity with Russia.  There is opportunity for trade which might be the "fertilizer" to strengthen the seeds of Capitalism within that country and give us leverage for stronger foreign policy.  After all, Russia, like the U.S., is one of the strongest holdouts to the rise of "One World" thinking which is rooted most deeply in the E.U.

Let's Make a Deal on a global scale....

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Protesting Trump

When I see the media coverage of large number of protesters in England who are protesting -- I'm not sure exactly what -- Trump, I have to stop and think, "Why are they protesting?"  I suppose it came to me as a bit of revelation that is isn't really about Trump, it is the Left's fear of what he represents.  They have a stronger hold in the U.K. and Europe than they have in the U.S. in spite of the constant media bombardment in support of their agenda.  They don't want the grassroots conservative movement to catch fire in Britain.

Brexit is one of the few conservative moves in the "Old World" that could become the platform for even more conservatism to take root there.  It threatens the movement toward a One World Order -- a unified global governing body.  Individual countries can't exist in a unified world because it divides loyalty.  To some extent it was the basis for the U.S. Civil War many years ago -- state's rights vs. a unified Federal power.  (Some day I may write about my thoughts on a unified global governing body -- i.e. One World Order -- but not now.  It might require a book.)

Trump is magnetic -- definitely not charismatic -- but, he draws attention.  It is an interesting style that is effective.  When you lack charisma you must rely on other things to move the crowd.  He does it through controversy and confrontation.  It works.  In this country the "Right" is more engaged that it has been in many, many years thanks to Trump.

Love him, hate him, or whatever your feelings toward him, he is effective at bringing the deep issues into focus.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Trump in England

I had many misgivings about President Trump in the beginning.  I still wish that his style was a bit more -- civil at times.  I must admit, though, that he is effective.  I get the sense that the world, or at least some of it, is beginning to understand him.  He is a negotiator.  It's all about "the deal."  Maybe everyone should have read his book.

The English have been at the game of diplomacy for so long that his rough-edged style is in stark contrast to their polished dissembling.  He says bluntly what he thinks while they cloak their thoughts in flowery language and subtle phrases that are somewhat opaque.  He comes from a position of assumed strength while they, though proud and not without their own strengths, come from a position of need.  I think it is a very uncomfortable place for them.

Hopefully the English will recognize the opportunity before them.  The simple act of a true free trade agreement between our two countries will provide them with a tremendous level of economic security which in turn leads to greater military security because the "Trump Doctrine," as it appears to me, is one of "we protect our economic interests."

Let the Pounds and Dollars flow....

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Scent of Rain

Once again, the rains have passed us by.  Each day for the last several the National Weather Service has shown us to have a significant chance of rain.  Heavy showers have fallen in many places around us, but we received only 1/10 of an inch.  It is dry.

First a hint of puffy white
Appears up in the sky
Then slowly grows and grows and grows
Until it fills the eye.

The promise of the quenching drops
Wafts across the land
On gentle breezes flowing by
This parched and weary strand.

The leaden gray with streaks of light
Approaches from the west
With winds that cool the sultry land
And promise moist rest.

The sand that stings flows ever higher,
The cattle turn their back,
The storm clouds flow across the land,
The sky turns nearly black.

But, soon it passes on its way
Its promise hoped in vain
Leaving nothing here behind
Except a scent of rain.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The List Goes On and On

I have probably mentioned somewhere previously that I am a list maker.  I find that lists help me organize and prioritize the tasks that I have and as I grow older, I find that it helps me not to forget things....

I don't know that I have ever completed a list before adding more to it.  There is always more to do than gets done.  That's probably a good thing.  I have also found as I age that having things to do, something to work toward, is important.  When there is nothing left but to sit and watch television I will probably die.

I am sometimes a procrastinator.  Lists help me to procrastinate because I know which items are urgent, which are important and which are merely things that would be a good idea but are neither urgent or important.  They are sometimes things that would add to quality of life if done, but just aren't necessary.

I have different types of lists.  Some are work related.  Some are "around the house" tasks -- aka "Honey Do's."  Others are related to some specific project.

I usually rank the tasks in order of importance, but not always.  Sometimes they are just a list of things as I think of them.  I don't always do the things on the list in order of importance either.  Sometimes the lists are so overwhelming that I pick some of the easier tasks, or those of shorter duration and do them first in order to gain the psychological impact of accomplishment.  Yeah, I play mind games with myself.  Is that weird?

I have added Blog Post as a daily task on my list.  Why?  I guess it is a matter of practice since I wish to spend more time writing.  I make a little money on the side writing a column for a trade publication and therefore know my ability is saleable, so I plan to work toward writing more for publication as a supplement to my income as I begin to consider retirement.

Retirement???!!  What am I thinking!  I think that word should be removed from the dictionary and replaced with something that has a different connotation -- one that denotes moving on to other things after a "career."  Just my thoughts this morning...

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Out of the Darkness

The news today is that the Thai soccer team that has been trapped in a cave was gotten out safely.


It is hard to imagine the sequence of events that got them into the situation in the first place.  Caves are risky.  It is even more difficult to imagine the things that must have gone through their minds while in the cave.  Only time will tell the impact that the experience will have on those boys.  For some it will build a well of strength from which to draw and for others it will be a source of nightmares.

Imagine being trapped in a world of utter darkness.  At some point, the hope of rescue would begin to fade until only despair occupied the thoughts.  The wait for death -- the end of their earthly existence -- would be the point of focus for every conversation and every thought.

I am thankful for my belief in something more than what this life offers.  There is an eternity, an existence beyond our brief time on earth.  It is my hope in Jesus as my rescuer from this world of darkness that keeps me focused on the future.  There is much, much more to this life than what we see.  The Rescuer is available to each and every one who calls on Him and acknowledges Him as Savior.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Dead Trees and Snakes

I realize you can't tell much from the photo, but this is part of an old dead tree that fell in a recent windstorm at our place.  I was fortunate that it missed the fence which borders between our place and the neighbor.  If it had landed on it, I would have been scrambling awhile back to clear it and re-build the fence to keep their cows out of our hay meadow.

The tree fell because it was rotten -- the core of it was hollow.  It is/was a huge oak tree that had stood for many years.  I couldn't count the rings very easily and didn't really try, but I would guess it to be somewhere in excess of 80 years old.  The photo really doesn't do it justice, it was massive.

When I took the photo I had already removed most of the smaller branches.  The cut ends of what you see here are probably 8-10 inches in diameter.  It truly was quite a chore.

As I cleared the smaller limbs away I was vigilant for critters which might be hiding in the tall grass and wood debris.  Sure enough, a cottonmouth made his appearance and moved from one spot to the next as I cleared away the limbs.  I was careful as I picked up branches and of where I stepped because I knew there could be others lurking among the litter.  I also frequently lost sight of the one who made himself known.

I suppose there are a couple of lessons within this brief description.  1)  Even the mighty will fall when the rot/decay inside them is so great that it saps their resistance.  2)  There are serpents lurking within the debris, every ready to inject their poison into us as we go about our task.

Yeah, it turned into a political post....

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Bank Fees for the "Poor"

The French government is considering capping banking fees charged to the poor as part of a new poverty plan.

French government looking at capping bank fees on poor

As a former banker and avowed Capitalist but, a compassionate conservative, I have mixed feelings about this.

The average person doesn't understand how banks work.  The brevity of the post requires that I postpone that discussion to another time, but in brief, deposits of customers provide the base from which loans are made to other customers.  Accounts that carry little, or no balance actually cost the bank money.  Labor involved in handling returned items, statements, etc. more than offsets the small amount that might be made from lending the fractional amount allowed to others.  In fact, fractional lending requirements often mean that, based on the average balance of the small account, they add nothing to the lending base of the institution.

On the other hand, excessive fees make it more difficult for the low-balance depositor to gain any ground on his financial position.  Many of the small depositors are poor money managers to begin with and don't understand the reasons their small deposits are "taxed" with what appear to be large fees.  They need education, not penalties.

Perhaps the answer lies in banks offering basic classes in balancing ones checkbook, the impact of compounding interest and the basics of how the financial system works rather than penalties for poor money management.  Ignorance should be replaced with knowledge, not reinforced with anger-causing actions.

I oppose state mandated behavior in this area, but I see the need for action. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Campfire Coffee

The coffee is on and the biscuits are hot
Daylight is burning, get out of your cot
There's work to be done and it won't do itself
Get up lazy bones or you're gonna be left