Condolances to #Chickfila and the Cathy Family in the passing of Founder Truett Cathy, a great, generous man #TruettCathy #RIP
A video tutorial on how to use the TechSmith screencasting tool “Jing.” Jing is a free product available at Techsmith.com. It enables people to create videos of up to 5 minutes, in addition to images, from one’s computer screen. This video was made using SnagIt, a premiere product from TechSmith.
Weeks ago, before the initial storming of Crimea by shrouded Russian soldiers not wearing Russian insignia (required by International Law of soldiers from sovereign nations), I wrote on this blog about my fear that the megalomaniac, Vladimir Putin may encroach the Ukrainian borders. Days later, he did.
In a subsequent post I mentioned my fear that the apparent reprieve Ukraine had gotten from Putin’s aggression (after a belated and tepid response by the U.S. and global community) would be short-lived, possibly resulting in a partial or full Russian invasion. The reason I expressed this concern is because I have a deep-seated conviction that Vladimir Putin has profound angst over the embarrassment of the USSR’s demise at the end of the 20th Century. He absolutely loathes that Russia was embarrassed on the world stage and that the empire fell apart economically and politically due to a failed Marxist Communism. There are some who believe that Putin would like to see that empire restored under his rule.
Crimea has historically been bounced from captor to captor over the centuries due to its strategic importance. And after Crimea was given by Russia to Ukraine as a gift decades ago, Communist leaders were dumbfounded that it was no longer a part of Russia. Putin, a former KGB agent under the USSR, was one of those who was frustrated by the inexplicable loss of the Crimea, and he could not resist annexing it once he got the chance. The civil unrest in Kyiv due to the former Ukrainian President, Viktor F. Yanukovych, being deposed led him to call on Putin for help. Putin, offered Yanukovych political asylum and a potential return to power (as a Russian puppet government like those of old), and the hook was set. Days later, Russian troops rolled into Crimea.
Before long, the U.S. administration hobbled together a weak response in a paint-by-numbers foreign policy. As expected, Putin saw through it, having long before calculated America as an isolationist nation without the moral will nor the conviction to call his bluff. He knew that the U.S. would bluster about “being on the wrong side of history” and effectively do nothing. Check mate.
Now, weeks later, after a clumsy attempt at limited sanctions of a handful of Russian billionaires, Putin returns the favor by creating sanctions of his own against the US. Within two weeks, with nary a bullet fired, the entire Crimean region falls to Putin’s forces and the world’s cartographers get to work redefining geopolitical maps of Europe with a much-enlarged Russia. Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to flounder and waffle, uncertain of its next move– with Russia not knowing, nor caring what that move might be. The U.S. has already told Vladimiar all that he needs to know– that the U.S. would remain pacifist in the situation and not provide support to a militarily-outmatched Ukraine in genuine danger of once again becoming a Russian imperialist state– the very thing the Ukrainian revolution escaped when the USSR fell.
In the last few hours we have learned that Russia has now lined up troops across Ukrainian borders in a number of areas. They have also boarded some Ukrainian naval vessels after severe military threats against those ships’ crews. What happens now is up for grabs, but one thing we know is that there is no compelling reason for Putin to stop his advance, since he now sees that no one will do anything, regardless of what unprovoked action he takes. At this point, he can literally ‘make up’ an excuse to invade even more of the Ukraine. At stake? 46 million currently free citizens of Ukraine, most of whom who want to be free.
Though the US has no appetite for military involvement, and though perhaps it should not be entertained– when you have the world’s greatest fighting force, that’s one thing you don’t take off the table– even if you aren’t planning to use it. The very presence of a strong military can evoke fear into an enemy and make them shrink from emboldened actions. But now, with our preemptive passivity, they know the most they’ll get from the U.S. is an earful and that’s simply not enough to stop a man whose delusions of grandeur are leading him to become a power-hungry glutton with an insatiable appetite for land and glory.
Here’s My Take on What’s Going on in Ukraine.
Though time will tell, my earlier fear that Yanukovych’s ego might cause him to do the unthinkable– challenge what I think would be an already-ready Putin to intervene ‘militarily’ in Ukraine could come to pass. If it happened, it would be the bloodiest of wars, to be sure– but we’re now even seeing that Crimea– that constantly war-torn area that has been tossed about over the centuries like a playing chip, is potentially already a front of a possible coming Russian intervention.
Russia is denying it, but others are reporting (since yesterday) that Russian troops (not Ukrainian) can be seen maintaining the airports by armed military personnel. I think this will develop or defuse rather quickly– but if it develops, then some quick decisions would need to be made by NATO on behalf of Europe, by the UN (which Russia, unlike Obama, could care less), and by the U.S., not to mention the E.U. The E.U. is a weak state as far as military goes, and my guess is that it doesn’t want to challenge Russia militarily for many reasons– but this “could be” an occasion it might… but I think (what I expect would be) French opposition will win the discussion in favor of pacifism, making them all talk, no action.
That sort of leaves the U.S. to step up (or Britain), but I’m unsure Britain has any compelling interest and the U.S. administration’s resolve on anything other than its obsession with domestic politics on tangential issues of concern to the far left makes me think we’ll grandstand, then do nothing while Ukrainian blood runs down Kyiv streets. I could be wrong– I hope I’m wrong, but I feel that the U.S. President has no real resolve to deal with the issue of freedom in other nation-states.
This summer I am slated to go teach Ukrainian Pastors and Ministers in Kyiv, and the last thing many Ukrainians want to do is to move further toward their former USSR-like existence. If full-on revolution were to occur, God forbid, my opportunity to teach and mobilize the church there may be in jeopardy. The church in Ukraine needs support and our prayers. What is going on there goes far beyond the political– it’s also intimately spiritual in nature, and because it involves the freedom of Ukrainian countrymen, it could end up having a direct impact on the U.S. and American citizens in our volunteer military. It’s a frightening situation that is becoming even more tenuous.
The “S” in iPhone 5S stands for “Spy.” This is a complete #iPhoneFail. Apple may have made a big mistake with its latest iPhone (spyPhone) offerings. (Yeah, that’s original with me– the Apple “spyPhone” 5S).
In a day of NSA snooping and data collection of all people’s phone metadata, I’m not so sure the average American will want their ACTUAL fingerprint stored permanently and associated with a particular device, along with everyone they talk to, so that the government (and Apple) can exploit that information to its own ends.
The phone company and government will be able to– and no doubt take advantage of the ability to– triangulate that information to know what you are doing (through fingerprinting good enough to stand up in court) and where you are (through GPS location services) literally around the clock.
Think about that.
This fact may give even the most devoted Apple Fan Boys pause. As soon as a person (like YOU) applies their own fingerprint to that device, the government and Apple will have more predictive powers over your behaviors than have ever been granted by any such agreement you’ve ever clicked. The company and government will quickly collect enough data that it knows you better than you know yourself. I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. Just seeing these photos makes me feel like I’m at a police precinct being fingerprinted.
I want to generate conversation around this issue– so I’m going to keep it short. Your imagination, thinking through these issues I’ve raised, is better than my commentary.
Thanks Apple, but I’ll pass.
What thoughts does the new spyPhone 5S raise in your mind? What do you think?
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 15 years to get that many views.
Everyone has dreams. We all have things we would like to see materialize in our lives.
But for most people, their dreams are elusive. Their goals don’t seem to come together. After all, it isn’t like the vast majority of people around us are all making a great impact. And it’s not that high impact performance is “commonplace.” Actually it’s quite rare.
So what does it really take to “do our dream?”
Personally, I think that (the variables of life notwithstanding) we can “do our dream” if we can learn to leverage the fulness of ourselves to that end. After all, God has placed eternity in our hearts and has given us great potential. And to the degree that we are willing to align ourselves to the pursuit of our dream, our goals begin to materialize. Here’s how I think about it all…
To Do Your Dream, you must:
Fully Train or Focus Your Mind on Your Dream. The size of your dream in your thinking affects nearly everything about how you respond to that dream. If your dream is tiny, you stay unmotivated– because you’re playing small ball and you know it. We simply can’t get really motivated for small dreams. They don’t inspire us and they don’t pique our interest enough to invest our sustained energy in reaching them. My advice is to ask God to expand your thinking and to grow your capacity to believe. As you nurture your dream, it feeds your imagination.
Put Your Heart on the Line. You’ll never reach your dream if it’s not IN you. You need motivation. You need conviction. You need the burn. You need to go “all in.” You won’t change the world without this type of commitment. Taking the “I’ll get emotionally involved when things start working out” approach isn’t going to cut it because seeing a big dream come to pass takes lots of emotional energy. And that energy is needed right “NOW”– so you can’t hold out emotionally.
Act with Resolve. Dreams scare us. Fear causes us to lock up. That’s because big goals come with big price tags– they cost us a lot. But action extinguishes fear. The best way I know to overcome the threat of potential failure is by choosing not to fail and then doing something. Sometimes the fear of failing is enough to give us the motivation we need to “not fail.” So work like it all depends on you, and pray like it all depends on God.
When we nurture our minds with the virtue of our dream, it inspires us to greatness.
When we cultivate our hearts with the grandeur of our dream, it motivates us with the motivation to act.
And when we give ourselves completely to our dream and act with faithful abandon, that unleashed will of ours imposes itself on the forces that work against us, and that dream is powered forward toward completion.