Dear Friends and Colleagues from Around the World,
I’ll report on some crazy things happening in Arizona leading up to mid-terms and on a broader context in Culture Watch. I’ll talk about my next book and offer a movie review and a very timely book review in My Writing, Interviews, and Reviews. I found a timely quote for Voices of the Day, the latest in What Others Are Saying, and an updated Calendar.
You can click on the poster above for my recent presentation for the Arizona Professional Writers group.
Before sharing my thoughts on the craziness surrounding us, I’d like to share the story of Rev. Joseph Maier, an American priest in Bangkok who has lived in the poorest, most abandoned areas of the Thai capital for 50 years. Everything he does is focused on supporting abandoned mothers and children. He promotes constant prayer any way they want—Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim. He set up a foundation that now includes 30 schools that have taught 30,000 children. And, for the most part, he’s ignored by the Church…
The Walker clan has sent in our ballots for the momentous mid-terms. Although issues of abortion and inflation are in the headlines, a fundamental threat to the rule of law, the peaceful transfer of power, and freedom of elections are being threatened in Arizona.
Although the former President lost Arizona in the last elections, he returned to Mesa several weeks ago. The Maga crowd soon broke into cries for arresting undefined people (especially Hunter Biden) for undefined crimes.
Most interestingly are the motivation of the enablers who surrounded him. The best explanation I found was a podcast interview with Mark Leibovich, who just wrote “Thank You for Your Servitude: Donald Trump’s Washington and the Price of Submission.”
The enabler positioned to do the most damage is the Republican candidate for the Secretary of State, which is at the forefront of election integrity. Mark Finchem, who participated in the January 6th attack on the Capitol, is not only an election denier and would overturn any results he disagrees with but has attacked our mail-in voting program and wants to ban voting machines. This after we wasted months and hundreds of thousands of tax dollars on the botched vote audit by the unqualified Cyber Ninja firm.
Blake Masters, the Republican candidate for the Senate, is another election denier who denied his denial when it wasn’t getting the traction he looked for. Although he admitted that the election results were correct in an interview on PBS, he’s advocating privatizing social security and promoting abortions, no matter the circumstances.
The Republican candidate for Governor, Kari Lake, is the most worrisome of all the deniers. Even though she voted for Biden and watched CNN backstage on Channel 10 news in Phoenix, she is now looking for opportunities to demean and contradict the media. She refuses to answer questions, including if she’d accept election results if she loses. She’d call a national guard to stop immigration and supports an antiquated abortion law from the 1880s. But Lake knows how to work for a group and can wrap a dozen different issues into one coherent class war story. And it seems to be working. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/10/16/kari-lake-arizona-election-governor/
The ongoing stream of misinformation and demeaning of our fundamental democratic institutions has consequences. The FBI has named Arizona one of the top states for election threats. Democratic candidate for the Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, who oversaw what turned out to be a well-run presidential election, has received continued threats against her life for months. Today, we have armed vigilante “volunteers” with tactical gear intimidating voters at poll boxes, taking pictures, and in some cases, following them out of the parking lot. And on a national level, Nancy Pelosi’s husband was recently attacked in the early morning by someone yelling, “Where’s Nancy, Where’s Nancy?”
My Writing, Interviews, and Reviews
I’ve begun work on my third book, A Guatemala Reader, which brings together 18 essays published in Revue Magazine about “The Land of the Eternal Spring.” The essays are organized by “Culture/Traditions,” “Travel,” and “Contemporary/Immigration.” The book ends with a historical overview of Guatemala today. I also provide a bibliography for recommended readers and available resources. The book was written for travelers, scholars, students, and practitioners alike, as it presents the stark realities behind the beautiful façade.
I’m still pulling it together, so anyone interested in providing input on what I have so far, let me know—it’s about 185 pages so far. And, of course—ideas on potential publishers would be a plus!
The author of this book attended a presentation I made at the Arizona Professional Writers Group in August. Then I participated in a presentation she made to the same group’s “Book Club” the next month, which offered an excellent opportunity to get acquainted. Her book helped connect the dots between several circumstances around the previous President. Many Americans and I wondered about the stunning comment he made at the Helsinki Conference, where he ignored his intelligence community’s reports of Russian involvement in our elections because Putin said it was a lie. And then, the impact of Trump working with and borrowing money from, some of Putin’s oligarchs for such projects as a Trump Tower in SoHo (New York).
She brings a unique perspective on Putin and Russia: “My work with the CIA was extremely clandestine, top-secret clearance. My father worked there, and he wanted me in his office – so by the ripe ole age of 16, I had a top-secret clearance. I graduated from HS (high school) in 1962 and went to work there while I attended college and afterward. The very last meeting I had with CIA personnel was in Scottsdale in 2014 – 50 plus years later.”
She lived in the former Soviet Union, soon to become Russia, for twenty years, and two of her children attended Moscow Public Schools. She’s also an excellent cross-cultural communicator and speaks Russian and Ukrainian, among other Cyrillic-based languages. She worked with Science Applications International Corporation and the largest “Russian Language Data Base” in the U.S. as a manager for twelve years. She told me of her first-hand experience with Russia’s operations and the Russian daily infiltration of the U.S. As she put it, “I bring a different perspective on Russia and Putin than the “Russian Experts” in DC who have spent time in Russia as an ex-pat and consider themselves “well informed.”
The author went on to describe why she wrote the book and some of the most salient points she wanted to make:
As for the lack of understanding within the U.S., people here are not only naive about how the world operates but also isolated. My book discusses how so many Americans – especially Republicans – were brainwashed. I explained how Hitler’s brainwashing began in totalitarian countries and was used to convert an entire nation of peaceful people into a hateful and violent society that killed over six million human beings. Putin spent all his “spy years” living and working in Germany. He speaks German fluently and fully grasped Hitler’s methods of mind manipulation. Along came Trump, who used the same type of mind-altering methods used by Hitler and Putin – repeating lies and hatred over and over.
The subtitle on the book’s cover reflects the urgency the author feels, “A Warning to All U.S. Citizens: It Can Happen Here!!! And the profile of the book is correct to point out that the book provides a “…distinctive view that she brings to this book on racism in America and our country’s recent brush with totalitarianism—a dictatorship based on rule by fear.”
The book is enhanced with humorous and insightful cartoons and includes “endnotes” and a bibliography. On the back cover of the most recent version is a letter to the author from President Biden on August 3rd, 2022 – “Your story is an integral part of the American story, and I am humbled that you shared it with me…Through trials and triumphs, we will always be a Nation where hope runs deep and optimism reigns. Folks like you remind me of that truth every day.” Keep the Faith. Sincerely, Joe Biden.
You can find my entire review at: https://millionmilewalker.com/2022/09/democrazy-version-2020-by-elizabeth-graham-reviewed-by-mark-d-walker/
A compelling biographical drama of Stuart Long, a foul-mouthed amateur boxer from Helena, Montana, and his troubled relationship with his mother and alcoholic father. His brother, Stephen, died at age six, leading to a rift in the family and causing his parents to be hostile towards religion. He moves to southern California to make it as an actor and gets a job in a grocery store, hoping to get connected in the entertainment industry. He is arrested for a DUI and attempts to steal his father’s truck (Mel Gibson plays his father) to make it to an audition.
After a spiritual epiphany and studying hard to become a priest, the parishioners from Stu’s church in California petition the Diocese of Helene to ordain Stu, to which the bishop agrees, and Stu is ordained in Montana. Father Stu begins ministry and quickly develops relationships with people in Montana. He is later confined to a skilled nursing facility, where he continues his church, and people flock to see him daily. Father Stu dies at the age of 50. The closing credits show actual images of Stu from his childhood and turbulent young adulthood to his time in the seminary and as a priest. Mark Wahlberg reportedly spent a considerable amount of his money to complete the project after five years of work.
What Others Are Saying
On my latest Million Mile Walker Dispatch:
Thank you, Mark. Good to see that no weeds are growing under your feet. And thanks for making me aware of the IPBA (Independent Publishing Book Association). I just approved the final manuscripts for two books that should be up for printing quite soon; I’ll send you the links when I have them. Keep on hoofing – Your efforts are well done and appealing, Vicente.
Earl V. de Berge, fellow author, and poet.
Voices of the Day
“We Do Not See Things as They Are; We See Things as We Are.”
The Talmud and cited by Anais Nin
My September 10th presentation was well received, and I met several new writers to whom I spoke on Consolidation in American Literature /publisher puts authors and bookstores at risk. What is the small guy to do? Click on the Million Mile Walker poster above to see the entire presentation.
- In January 2023, I’ll discuss my new book, My Saddest Pleasures, with the Arizona Professional Writers Book Club.
- November 17, I will be at the Phoenix Writers Network, with host Susan Pohlman, for an Evening with Melanie Herschorn.
You can find my 60 book reviews and 28 articles, plus several videos, on my website, including a reduced price for my new book if you read it and pass it along to your local library. https://millionmilewalker.com “Follow” me on Twitter.
https://twitter.com/millionmile, @millionmile_wal, and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/millionmilewalker/ 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,” rate it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and GoodReads, or if you don’t have it, please consider purchasing it or, better still, purchase my latest book, My Saddest Pleasures: 50 Years on the Road. https://www.cyberwit.net/publications/1919
Mark D. Walker