When Russia & China Partner Up, Who Wins?

If any of you out there read Tom Clancy books, you know that he wrote of an alliance between Russia and China and India, and I’m not sure if any other countries were included. That’s a work of fiction, people, but the potentialities are frightening.

And now we see that in reality, Russia and China have partnered up on something – they are intent on sticking to the side of Syria in that they don’t support the U.N.’s determination to conclude Syria’s attacks on its own people and declare a cease-fire.

The questions are why, and who wins?

As for why, you could state what many globally consider the obvious – that they want and intend to have world domination.

But maybe there’s another reason. After all, there are even many Americans who think the United States should stay out of Middle Eastern conflict altogether; to keep our resources at home where they are needed at the moment. Maybe Russia and China see what these people consider the obvious: that there is nothing the United States or the United Nations can do to stop civil war in these countries and it’s best just to stay out of it rather than add them to your list of enemies.

So, if you’re of the ilk that Russia and China are in it for power, the question of who wins is easily answered – Russia and China. But if you’re of the opinion that Russia and China just want to stay out of it (Russia has admitted it wants to see peace in the region) then the question of who wins is also easily answered, but so hard to swallow – no one. Most of those 100 people recently killed were children. Dare I say that Syria might be trying to wipe out its own people, and dare I add that Russia and China might want to see that happen?

I have no idea if either of those statements are true. What I do know is true is that when innocent children die, even the most desensitised heart hurts. But we can’t even let ourselves think of it too much because the idea of this being possible brings to mind that one day that might be our children, killed for no reason other than a power struggle.

Saving & Spending: Households Have an Edge

When the economic crisis hit this country, many households nation-wide had to tighten their belts. For a consumerist society, this was difficult but it could be done and it was. But it wasn’t just about cutting out needless spending; it was sometimes about walking away from a home and taking a serious hit to a credit rating, for example.

Photo courtesy of mycreditcrisisblog.com.

Now Mitt Romney is trying to convince voters that he will be able to set this country’s twisted financial status aright. Maybe he will.

But it isn’t as easy for the United States government to reduce spending and tame the debt load it’s under. It’s infinitely harder. Because reducing spending means cuts, of course. Cuts to what? He’s unclear on that. Government programs would make the most sense, and if that happens, how will these programs survive?

Some of you say, to heck with ’em. Who cares about welfare and other programs for the poor? I’ve even heard some say that assistance should be a church matter, not a state or federal one. To those I’d like to say: how much do you tithe to these poor people? How much do you give? To you even tithe to your church? Most of them (that I’ve talked to) don’t even have a home church.

Sadly, government spending cuts are a necessary evil to reduce our debt and turn this country into a profitable nation so that we can help ourselves and others.  There will be those who need and would clearly benefit from government assistance who won’t get it, or won’t get enough. No one wants to bite the bullet on some of these programs because even the most capitalistic, hardest hearts know, deep down, that some innocent and challenged people will suffer. But they have to, in order for the greater good of the entire country.

Secrets: To Keep or Not To Keep?

Across the pond, the U.K. is dealing with similar issues that the United States has dealt with as well. That is, whether or not to hold “secret” hearings about detainees from Gitmo (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18240753).

The post-9/11 part of me says – bring on the secret court cases. Bring on whatever means necessary to get as much information on future and possible terrorist attacks, world-wide, that the U.S. can, or the U.K. for that matter. We live in a world that is now in almost constant fear. I’m not talking about people like me, whose thoughts too often stray into morbid territory – how to protect my children, family and friends from what we pretty much all assume is the inevitable. I’m talking about one nation fighting to protect millions of souls.

However, it’s the godly part of me that finds torture, torment and secretive sessions repulsive for that same reason. Last night I watched the season finale of Missing and in it, the mother was confronted with having to torture a woman for information on how to find her son. And I totally got that. But her dilemma was that in the past, she’d had an opportunity to turn over someone to a foreign country to be certainly tortured and killed and she could not go through with it. And yet, when it came to her child, she did it in tears. We will go to any length to protect those and that which we love.

Should we, though? I believe that God would say, “No! Let me fight for you. Trust and wait on Me.” In some respects it would be easier to do that. To lay down and let Him take it. But it’s mostly infinitely harder to sit back and wait for divine providence to bring into being that which we need.

In this case, that which we need is much more complicated than one woman fighting for her children; it’s a world fighting for peace. A world. And yet, we must let God fight for us. And we must follow His precepts. We must give even the worst human being the same right that we have – namely, a public court hearing about his or her guilt.

“Read My Lips” – Sort of…

Have you heard that the National Retail Federation wants to tax on-line stores that sell to folks out of state? Let’s consider this issue.

Do you want to pay an extra tax if you buy this on-line and live out-of-state from the retailer?Even if you haven’t, lets’ debate the issue.

The pros? Well, some sort of government will receive more tax revenue. Shoppers might be more likely to cancel an intended purchase once the sales tax is added, making them more likely to review all their purchases and tighten their belts a bit more, adding to their savings. On-line retailers might even lower their prices a bit, to make up for the addition of a sales tax. Wait…that’s not exactly a pro – it’s more of an even-Stephen.

The cons? Purchases from on-line stores will cost more. Less people might make on-line purchases.

Did you see a pro that local retailers will make more money because less people will buy on-line items? No, you’re not crazy. I don’t believe it’s actually going to happen if this law comes into effect.

But there is another side to this issue, and that is whether or not the federal government has the right to make a decision about this, like the U.S. Supreme Court already did (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/05/25/retailers-push-gop-on-online-sales-tax/?mod=WSJBlog).

I’m not a hater of the federal government. I’m not sure where I stand on the so-called “flat tax” – mostly because I haven’t heard enough from supporters to make up my mind. But most people in favor of the flat, or fair, tax, believe in less federal government and more states’ rights, and I definitely agree on a case-by-case basis. This is one of those cases. Either each state should decide to add sales tax to on-line sites so that when retailers sell out of state, that buyer is additionally taxed, or the voters of each individual state get to decide. What do you think?