Dear Friends and Colleagues from Around the World,
Several author friends have asked what the basis for my passion and concern about Guatemala is, which I answer in my “Special Edition” column in the Arizona Authors Association newsletter. In our Culture Watch, I’ll reflect on the implications of a lack of consensus around the “Build Back Better” plan while the Senate approves a record budget for our military on a bi-partisan basis. Amongst all the craziness, a sense of humor is a must, so I’ve included Just Keep Laughing. My Writing, Interviews and Reviews, Voices of the Day, and What Others Are Saying and of course, an updated Calendar.
You can find my special edition article, “Traveling Through the Land of the Eternal Spring: A Literary Journey” on my website. This column tells the story of my introduction to Guatemala and reviews of the books of four authors, two Nobel Prize in Literature laureates, which explain the impact of U.S. corporations and our government on the future of Guatemala, including the consequences that have resulted in a record number of Guatemalans fleeing their country for the U.S. today. You’ll also find two more of my essays including, “A Christmas in the Land of the Eternal Spring
Our story starts with the Republican Congress, plus two Democrats, blocking what could lead to breakthrough legislation to improve our health care, childcare, education and deal with climate change. And yet, Sinema and Manchin joined 87 other senators — Democrats and Republicans — in rubber-stamping another outrageous budget for the Pentagon. They allocated $768 billion for the military in 2022, roughly $24 billion more than the White House requested from Congress. Mind you, the U.S. already accounts for 40% of the military spending in the world, while the expenditures include aircraft carriers, which cost $1.5 billion a year to operate when we already have most of the world’s active fleet. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/13/opinion/military-budget-build-back-better.html
The most common excuse for showering our military with money is that it creates “jobs,” but at what cost? Here’s the military “bragging sheet” from Senator Sinema to her constituents in Arizona: $4.4 billion for A-35 Aircraft; $494 million for AH-64 manufactured in Mesa and $138 million for Tomahawk missiles manufactured in Tucson. Check out this article for more on the big business of bloodshed and delusion. https://www.sinema.senate.gov/sinema-secures-arizona-military-priorities-senate-passed-annual-defense-bill
So, what is the cost of the U.S. Military build-up in terms of lives? More than $8 trillion and 1 million lives, according to the Costs of War Project, which includes 387,072 from America’s post-9/11 wars. Here are the grim facts. From the Twenty Years of Bloodshed & Delusion report. Check out their chart on the number of people killed in various parts of the world with U.S. armaments. https://www.thenation.com/article/society/costs-war-deaths/
Illustration by Denton Borhaug, Sojourners Magazine
So, what to do? According to this timely article in “Sojourners Magazine,” peacebuilding starts with pulling back the “sacred canopy” shielding U.S. militarization and war and taking a long, hard look at the ways Americans have been taken in by a culture enthralled with violence. War is not sacred. $16 trillion has been spent since 2001.
The U.S. Secretary of Defense recently declared the $752.9 BILLION request for our military budget, “the will of the American people.” With 1.3 million active military personnel in the world today, it’s time to tell Congress, enough is enough. Do we really want to live in a society which denies basic childcare, health and education needs of its population, which would put us up with the majority of the rest of the industrialized world due to the “high cost,” when we’re willing to spend trillions of dollars to arm the military segments of society around the world in conflicts that kill a million innocent women and children? Not on my watch.
Just Keep Laughing
Laughing in Disbelief.
My Writing, Interviews & Reviews:
Here’s my latest book review of one of the most important history books of our times! It’s sold two million copies and reveals history not taught in our schools, which all citizens have a right to know. You can find this and over sixty other reviews on my website: https://millionmilewalker.com/2022/01/lies-my-teacher-told-me-everything-your-american-history-textbook-got-wrong-by-james-w-loewen-reviewed-by-mark-d-walker/?fbclid=IwAR2_bkkBeS5G4LrB1yeo2QMRRXxnhXfNfFaQTc6C6Lr9CWKDNLqdKtbMNQw
The year is getting off to an excellent start, with three new articles of mine being published over the next two months:
- “The Saddest Pleasure, Moritz Thomsen: A personal reflection from a Former Peace Corps Volunteer,” Mark D. Walker in the February issue of ELAND Books, London.
- “Traveling Through the Land of the Eternal Spring: A Literary Journey,” a more detailed version in the February issue of Revue Magazine, Antigua, Guatemala.
- Under the Wave of Waimea, by Paul Theroux. Reviewed by Mark D. Walker to be published in the March issue of “The Scarlet Leaf Review.”
You can find my essay, “Ramon and Moritz: A Partnership of the Black Coast,” in the “Arizona Authors Association 2022 Literary Magazine,” along with other winning entries of unpublished novels, essays and poetry from authors in Arizona and around the world. https://www.amazon.com/2022-Arizona-Literary-Magazine-Winning/dp/B09J7FZYT2/ref=sr_1_6?crid=15JVCVH461GAB&keywords=Arizona+Literary+Magazine&qid=1640269058&s=books&sprefix=arizona+literary+magazine%2Cstripbooks%2C126&sr=1-6
Voices of the Day
“When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.” Sean-Paul Sartre @idealist
“Not all those who wander are lost”, JRR Tolkein
What Others Are Saying
Comments of the editor of the Arizona Authors Association Newsletter, Kathleen Cook, regarding my “Special Edition” column:
It was a fantastic article and I’m glad we did this!
I appreciate all your help in making the newsletter a wonderful asset to our readership.
… People south of the border have a lot of problems that were originally caused by the U.S. They need people like you so much, and I applaud your efforts. This issue is near to my heart, as well, even if I don’t know it as well as you do. I’m learning more every time you write. 🙂
- March 27th – A performance of “La Pulsera” (The Bracelet) for “For the Love of Story” at Carefree’s Sanderson Outdoor Pavilion at 3:00 p.m.
- A visit from the president of the National Peace Corps Association, Glenn Blumhorst, March 2-9 to promote NPCA affiliates like “Partnering for Peace.”
You can find my 60 book reviews and 28 articles, plus several videos
at www.MillionMileWalker.com “Follow” me on Twitter. https://twitter.com/millionmile, @millionmile_wal and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/millionmilewalker/?modal=invite a friend for the latest on international affairs and literature. And, as always, if you’ve read “Different Latitudes: My Life in the Peace Corps and Beyond,” by all means, rate it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and GoodReads, or if you don’t have it, please consider purchasing it.