Thursday, July 27, 2017

Your Wishes Can Change the World



This year, as we watch the world around us collapsing, we are learning that Christmas is not about money. Christmas is about loving each other, about gifts that have nothing to do with the green folding stuff, or even silver and gold.
Our money is melting down into worthless goo. Stores are closing; cameras are going up at intersections across the country. This morning I received a call from a friend in Florida who argued for twenty minutes at her bank where she has done business for twenty years. The problem? They wanted to photograph her eyes biometrically. She refused, but not many are as determined as she.
The things that really matter will endure. Gifts like compassion, empathy, humor, familial love and friendship, last a life time and cannot be devalued. This Christmas we need to hold on to those things.
Christmas is being family. It is coming together to create communities. It is being conscious of how our actions and lives touch through time.
For months, years, I have been writing about what was going to happen to our nation and to the people we love. Last year I predicted the end of the world as we know it. Every week I have hammered on the same subject and on what needs to be done so that we can change direction. I have been writing and thinking about the problems for what seems like a life time. What I write is generally politics, but this time I want you to see why I know that change is possible. I know what it is like to feel helpless and lost.
Christmas is loving each other as we are loved by One Who Loves Absolutely.
When you find the strength of love anything is possible. This past week I took a story I had originally written for my children and rewrote it for you. Is a story about a time when I was lost and desperate. Instead of giving up I found the Christmas that glows through the hard times, endures through hardships and seemingly insurmountable problems.
The Star for Christmas was my response to circumstances beyond my control in 1979. There is always strength to sustain us, if we reach beyond ourselves to That One Who Loves Absolutely. Today, we are all reaching. When we extend ourselves we grow spiritually, finding things more wonderful than we could possibly have imagined as long as we do not give up. One of the things we will find is each other.
In 1979 I experienced a time of terrible anguish but I still had small children who needed me, needed to feel the wonder of Christmas. I reached into my own past and found strength from the memories of someone who had taught me the importance of courage, of holding on to my dreams and wishes.
The Star for Christmas custom began that year, drawn from the memories of wishes I had shared with James Dean. In 2001 I began writing the book explaining the custom to my children soon after Thanksgiving Day. Ayn, my youngest daughter, had asked me a question as we sat around the table after dinner. It had been a perfect holiday filled with happy memories revisited and cooperative efforts over turkey and stuffing.
The year was sliding towards the upcoming holidays. We were remembering Christmas' past.
Ayn asked me one of those questions that you never anticipate being asked. That question lead to many insights and eventually to their book and then to this one. The question Ayn asked was about the star in which our family had traditionally placed our wishes for the year to come on Christmas Eve. “When and where did this custom begin?” Ayn asked. She assumed it to be an old New England custom. Although I told her this was not the case it occurred to me that I had not actually explained the custom's origin to my children. I did not share my pain of 1979 with them, feeling it would be inappropriate.
I promised to write the Star’s history for them.
Later, as I sat down to write, I revisited my thoughts that year the custom began. Seeking the Star’s origin became a quest into the dusty reaches of my mind and heart, then, via paper trails, to memories of people long gone. I had never revisited those events, simply sealing them off and moving on. Through this journey I found not just the Star but many more unasked questions. I also found answers to questions that I didn’t know needed asking.
My wishes of 1979 had been answered in ways I did not expect when I considered them. I had never understood the power of hope and the strength of my dreams until then. We need to look at the world, ourselves, and realize what really matters.
Our dreams and wishes can be transformational.
Let this Christmas become a time of renewal for all of us. Savor the love that extends your life into those around you. Bake cookies and let them melt in your mouth. Enjoy every bite. Then plan for a very different future than the one being planned for us. Your wishes can change the world.
A Star for Christmas benefits America Goes Home

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Clear & Present: SaudiGate, IsraelGate, Nixon & Reagan


     I've got some good news and some bad news.  

     The good news is that, for at least the next few months, several million Americans will live a little bit longer because they will still have affordable healthcare.  Even though it's not single-payer healthcare (which could save millions more American lives and cost billions of dollars less), it's still better than Trump-Ryan-McConnell-Don't-Care by a long shot.  But then this isn't really news at all, right?  Just the same old story of our corporate-sponsored government vs. what Jesus would have done.  Boring.  Nothing to see here, folks.  Let's move on.

     The bad news is that I just got into a big fight with a friend of mine over RussiaGate.  https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/09/ten-problems-with-anti-russian-obsession/

     "The Trumps should be arrested," my friend shouted at me, "for using Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election!" 

     "But what about the Clintons and their use of the Saudis and Israelis to influence the 2016 election?" I replied.

     "But that's completely different."  

      Is it now?  In exactly what way?  Israelis have used the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to rule our elections with an iron hand for the past four decades, and the Saudis have used the Clinton Foundation to influence our elections by donating all kinds of $$$$ to it.  But nobody appears to be whining their little hearts out about that kind of stuff.  https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/21/us/politics/hillary-clinton-presidential-campaign-charity.html

      "Yeah, but..." countered my friend.  "Both AIPAC and the Clinton Foundation are run by Americans, not foreign nationals."  And that makes it okay?  Americans who are unregistered agents of foreign countries are supposed to declare themselves according to the Foreign Agents Registration Act, Section 22 et seq.  Or perhaps these Americans are just committing treason?   

     Is my friend really actually trying to tell me that, "Treason is okay -- just as long as it doesn't involve Russia...." 

     Then I replied, "But AIPAC and Israel have tried to influence the outcome of almost every single American federal election in the past 50 years -- and in the past few decades, almost no politician has been sent to Washington without AIPAC's stamp of approval.  Just ask former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney about that one."  Not to mention Israel's grim influence in attempting to sink the USS Liberty 50 years ago today.  http://usslibertyveteransblog.org/cong-jerrald-nadler-accepts-discredited-version-of-uss-liberty-attack-1378/

      "But what about Barbara Lee?" answered my friend.  Geez Louise.  Bad example.  Rep. Lee is what we call a PEP -- Progressive Except for Palestine.  In America, PEPs are elected all the time.  Even Al Franken and Bernie Sanders are PEPs.  But you never ever hear of any PER (Progressive Except for Russia) getting elected.  In fact, according to spell-check, that isn't even a word.  https://972mag.com/gaza-will-be-unlivable-next-year-not-2020-as-the-un-says/128598/

     Nobody on The Hill dares to cross Israel or the Saudis -- for fear of not getting re-elected.  And yet almost everybody on The Hill feels free to bad-mouth Russia.  I rest my case.  https://www.thenation.com/article/congress-has-removed-a-ban-on-funding-neo-nazis-from-its-year-end-spending-bill/

PS:  No, wait.  I don't rest my case either.  Have you ever gotten yourself into a debate and then gone home and told yourself, "Good grief, I shoulda said this..."  Well.  Perhaps what I should have also said to my friend is, "Donald Jr. talked with some Russian attorney?  HELL, REAGAN KEPT AMERICANS HOSTAGE IN TEHRAN for months in order to get elected -- and later even illegally sold weapons to Iran during the Iran-Contra scandal when our ally Iraq was at 'war' with Iran.  But nobody complained about that.  You never heard of ReaganGate.  Of course you didn't."

     Not to mention that Nixon totally screwed the Paris peace talks with Vietnam in order to get elected, causing the grim and unnecessary deaths of hundreds of American soldiers.  Where's the anger about that?  Plus the Bushes, the Clintons, Obama, etc. all regularly chatted it up with Saudi princes and Israeli neo-colonialists in order to get elected too.  Hypocrites.  All of them."  http://www.globalresearch.ca/ syria-a-civil-war-supported- by-washington-and-its-allies- us-wants-to-partition-and- reconfigure-the-middle-east/ 5598841

     And, duh, I also should have told my friend about how I myself have lived through the grim and useless 1950s First Cold War, deliberately started by the Dulles brothers -- and that it was a miserable, scary, McCarthyism-laden time that I wouldn't wish on a dog.  And that Putin is no Stalin.  And that Trump, Netanyahu, Prince What's-his-Name and Mitch McConnell are not John and Bobby Kennedy either.

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        Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.


     Plus here's a sneak preview of my latest book, a thrilling murder mystery entitled "Road Trip to Damascus," hopefully coming out by the end of 2017:  http://straitwellbooks.blogspot.com/2017/05/new-book-by-straitwell-press-coming-out.html