Encore of Revival: America, November 13, 2017

The vote swing in this week’s “off-year” election is not a referendum on Trump, but a referendum on a divided Republican party. The victories came largely from a state that twice elected Obama. The party will succeed in elections as much as it succeeds in unity. Disowning Trump has now proven that it only helps Democrats, which makes all the sense in the world.

Trump has every reason to continue to allow Mueller’s investigation. There doesn’t seem to be any dirt on Trump to find, Mueller keeps losing credibility, and Anti-Trumpists are well-distracted by the distant hope that Mueller might find something to warrant impeachment. While the Mueller drama continues, Trump can get legislation through Congress, many Anti-Trumpists are too tired to notice, and the press doesn’t have any ink left to report on it. That’s not to mention that the stronger the fruitless scrutiny, the stronger it makes Trump look, not to mention a 25% boom in stocks since Hillary conceded. If Mueller is part of a conspiracy, it almost seems that his “conspiracy” would be to help Trump. That’s what he is accomplishing, anyway.

Christians are getting even more guns. They are doing it legally and they are arming to the teeth. The Texas Church Massacre has opened many eyes to the vulnerability of certain traditions. “Conceal carry” seems to be a favored answer. Everyone is hardening their stance, the country is polarizing, and, thanks to social media, everyone’s political opinion is on record. This year, the country is getting some of the strongest—and most helpful—looks in the mirror we’ve gotten for a long while.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, September 18, 2017

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.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, April 24, 2017

All eyes on Korea means all eyes on China, which means all eyes on Trump. What’s at stake?—not nuclear war, not regional war, not freedom for northern Koreans, but a trade deal with China. At least, that’s the story if you ask the money channels.

China is a “gold mine for innovation”, the hope for breakthrough in the car crisis—in case you didn’t know there was a car crisis. Australia is partnering with—of all countries—China to address cyber theft. China is such a booming, excellent, most-happening place that Chinese investors have actually decided it’s a good idea to finally start reinvesting in their own country.

But, most importantly, Trump needs to be very, very careful in dealing with northern Korea. China even said so. They even made a phone call to say it.

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Cadence of Conflict: Asia, February 27, 2017

Americans love flags. The over-sized flag, the “Star Spangled Banner”, was a strategic tool of Fort McHenry at the Battle of Baltimore and the US national anthem itself is named after the flag. If the United States ever truly intended to communicate that it believes Beijing seats the rightful government over the island of Taiwan, then Washington DC would have demanded that Taiwan fly the Chinese Communist flag over its own flag, like Hong Kong does. But, it didn’t and they didn’t ask. The test of what Donald Trump thinks about China is not a question of how many times he sees the word “China” on his globe at home, but what flags he accepts flown where.

Is China wise to what’s going on? Perhaps money is making all the difference. China’s PLA Navy is headed for an increased budget. If money was China’s answer, perhaps money tipped-off Beijing in the first place.

According to Obama Treasury rules, China is only 1/3 of a “currency manipulator”, exceeding a $20B trade deficit with the States. The other two rules relate inflation to GDP and official currency purchases to GDP—two things where China plays by a different set of rules than American economics. China “declares” its own currency value, it is not determined by the markets, making what the US refers to as “inflation” irrelevant to China. The second irrelevant Obama rule relates to “official” currency purchases. If only economics were only affected by “official” purchases, many other economic problems would be solved. But, economies are affected by “actual” purchasing, not merely whatever we happen to label as “official” this decade. The Chinese, especially, are experts at looking good “officially” while doing the bulk of their work under the table. Why else would Asians be so focused on cram schools and testing?

Then, there is the task of calculating “GDP” in a heavy back-and-forth trade economy. In 2011, the US slapped tariffs on China-made solar panels, which were made with materials imported from the US, which China also slapped a tariff on. Not only is actual “domestic” product difficult to measure in a “Venn diagram” of overlapping markets, there is also the problem that China’s government behaves like a company itself—benefiting from tariff revenue, thereby triggering another slew of investing and purchasing opportunities. If economics were a pair of glasses, China operates in ultraviolet light that no pair of US lenses can detect.

So, not only were the Obama Treasury “currency manipulator” rules an attempt to measure the light with a wind sensor, Trump gets what Trump wants. If China is destined for the “currency manipulator” list, it will get on that list one way or another, and there is a laundry list of ways that can happen.

But, then, there is North Korea.

While the “experts” lecture the world about how “trade wars” always backfire, China harbors its own trade war with the government in Northern Korea. Kim Jong Un isn’t happy with Beijing and Beijing wants to talk about it with the US.

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Encore or Revival: America, April 11, 2016

Encore or Revival: America, April 11, 2016

Polls aren’t lying. The divisive wind from Wisconsin blows through Indiana. The State GOP is already stacking anti-Trump delegates in hopes of a contested convention; this, despite the fact that polls—which aren’t lying—show 1/3 of Republican voters will turn on the party if Trump leads, but isn’t nominated. The Boston Globe borders on faux news over the border, in an unabashed snowball of anti-Trump efforts. It all perfectly mirrors stage three of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, negotiating, depression, acceptance.

How should we make sense of it all? Of all States, militia-friendly Indiana should be fond of the say-it-in-yer-face Donald. The dissents, however, parallel those of the Bible.

To review: The Bible has over 42,000 documented manuscripts supporting that the original writings are as they were. The only peer that comes close is Homer’s Iliad, with about 500 documented manuscripts. Surmountable archaeological evidence collaborates, enumerates, and elaborates the events of the Bible without contradiction. Jesus’ death and resurrection could not be faked or misreported given the documented witnesses, cohesive accounting of events, and the events as they are reportedly agreed to have happened. All these can be researched as the information is widely available to the public. If the Bible is not real, then novelists should find out how fiction became perfectly cohesive with history without a single footprint of tampering. How many authors do that?

Though dissidents overlook the evidence in their academic-sounding explanations for the Bible as having been allegedly fabricated, they seem to overlook one thing: If the Bible is the first perfectly fake document, shouldn’t academics also focus on uncovering whatever brilliant methods led to a manuscript that can’t be proven false?

Usually, when competent people give high-grade arguments against an idea, but don’t pursue the brilliance their own arguments imply, this indicates that they know their arguments are phony. And usually, this indicates stages three and four of the grief process. It’s like a mother saying to her five year old, “The dog did this? Then we need to call American Idol and audition the first dog who can draw stick figures on the wall.”

The reason people provide convincing arguments against the Bible—even though they don’t pursue those ideas as they would if their arguments were true—is simple. People refuse to believe the Bible, despite the evidence, because, like five-year-olds who don’t know they will get caught blaming their mischief on the dog, they don’t want to change how they live.

The Bible teaches that we should forgive our enemies, remembering that we need no grudges since God is sovereign. It tells us to look after our neighbors just as we look after ourselves. It teaches against breaking wedding vows. And the entire debate on sexual orientation is eclipsed by the Bible’s teaching that we should love God more than anyone else—usually “Christian homosexuals” give arguments that talk more about their desire for human love than their abounding love for God, rendering their “Christian-homosexual” argument irrelevant before it can receive a fair debate. Christians love God first—or did they forget that part?

The Bible is only one example. People reject many ideas and virtues, not because they disagree, but because they don’t want to change their unvirtuous behavior.

What is Indiana hiding? Why is the should-be pro-Trump State so set against the Donald? Consider the agricultural numbers published by the Indiana State government.

According to the report in 2012 from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, 19.4M of Indiana’s 23.3M acres is farm and forest land, 83%. Indiana’s population at the time was 6,537,344; 245,000 worked in the $11.2B agriculture industry. The industry stacks up to $4B in corn, $2.9B in soybeans, $1.2B in pigs, $1.1B in chickens, and $660M in dairy. Each farm averaged 245 acres. According to Statista, Indiana’s GDP that year was $280.49B; according to Indiana University, only about half of the population was working (est. approx. 3.3M in the labor force). Indiana’s produce ranked well in the nation, their staple products often in the top ten.

Do those numbers make sense?

That’s a lot of land and money. If true, 7.4% of Indiana’s labor force contributed to only 3.9% of the economy on 83% of the land, each person bringing $45,700 in revenue. That’s labor union bargaining power! The Democratic lobbyists should be all over Indiana agriculture like fire ants on a sandwich. Yet, according to this, Indiana farming is half as efficient per person as the rest of the State, but makes a lot of money. The remaining jobs in Indiana should bring in an average of $88K per capita per year, on only 17% of the remaining land! Everyone in the USA should be scrambling to work in Indiana where non-farming jobs are worth an average of almost $90K to each employer. So, why aren’t they?

Remember, the reported agriculture jobs were rounded to the nearest thousand while the population figures measure to the ones’ place. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, 40% of Wisconsin dairy farms are Latino workers. Were Indiana farm jobs an estimate? Could numbers given to the State Department of Agriculture been somehow incomplete or difficult to verify?

Let’s re-work some numbers. Let’s say that half of the agricultural labor force is from out of State, not being counted in the stats. And, lets say that farm labor is actually half a million. That would mean that each person brings under $22K in revenue each year, which seems more realistic. Now, each worker costs less money to the big farms. Accordingly, the rest of the unions, lobbyists, and work force doesn’t want to flock to Indiana—except for people from a country with a lower cost of living than the US. 12% of Indiana’s work force contributing to 3.9% of the economy—try putting that in the next State of the Union Address—easy to believe, difficult to prove, unlikely to report.

At least two farming States and the Boston Globe are all in a tizzy about losing the illegals. But, no one seems to be able to figure out why farming States don’t like Trump.

Will the IRS investigate? Probably not. That whole taxation and representation part of history seems to be making an encore, along with America’s next and fast-approaching Bible study renaissance.

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