Thursday, November 30, 2023

Henry Kissinger, A Man For All Seasons


Love him or hate him, Henry Kissinger represents the best of American exceptionalism. He was born in Nazi Germany. His family made the decision to leave in 1938 before the government began eliminating Jews. He joined the US Army before becoming a citizen. He was part of a unit that lost liberated a concentration camp. That was a seminal moment for this great statesman. 

Many people disagree with his shuttle diplomacy. Many disagree with his ideology. But, modern ideologues fail to appreciate that hard decisions must be made. Kissinger understood that sacrifices are critical to diplomacy. Sometimes it is necessary to make hard decisions for the greater good. Modern politicians do not have the abilities to make such choices because they care too much about polls,

I am grateful that I lived in an era where statesmen made those hard decision that sacrificed the few for the benefit of the many. 

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Not Everyone Enjoys “The Holidays “


“The Holidays” are overrated. Society expects us to embrace love, charity, family, consumerism and the Hallmark channel while being inundated with holiday cheer, syrupy movies, bad music and  the false promise of peace on earth with goodwill towards humankind. 

Instead, people overspend on unappreciated gifts hoping to buy love or affection. Parents hope over the top gifts will replace spending time with their children. Corporations attempt to appear generous and community minded by hosting a collection for toys for. Tots. It is all about image.

During all of this hullabaloo, real people are grieving for loved ones who have died; disadvantaged people resent being made emblems for corporate “charity”; people and animals are left homeless n the streets; government organizations send money to foreign countries while ignoring a crisis at home; politicians use disadvantaged citizens as props; news organizations eschew their responsibility to commit to honest, unbiased journalism; Congress continues to engage in partisan wars that benefit only their reelection coffers; ideologues care only about an agenda without thought of constituents. 

The media, the political class, the NGOs, community organizations, local governments, we the people must recalibrate. So what if people spend less on stuff. So what if people feel unengaged. So what if Americans decide that “ holidays” don’t mean shopping. It is okay if people refuse to engage in the holiday maelstrom. 

My mother died at Christmas.  My friends have experienced loss during th holidays. Don’t try to force us to celebrate. Accept that his is not the happiest time of year for many. Be compassionate. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Appreciation of Gratitude- November 2023


I am bereft, at a loss, confused and struggling with Thanksgiving 2023. My beloved Mother-in-law, Jan Harrington, is struggling with dementia. It is an insidious disease, that has robbed a beautiful, dynamic, independent woman of her agency, sense of self, mental acuity, and ability to have her say. I’m at a loss to describe the deterioration of this amazing woman who raised my husband and his fearless sister. 

The deterioration has been unrelenting and fast. We did not expect this. Her mother grandma Moore, was lucid at 103. We’ve recalibrated our expectations for our future lives. We see the toll this has taken on loved ones. 

But, we also celebrate that we still have this incomparable women in our live, that her husband (my father in law) still loves the woman she has been for 68 years, and that despite our sadness, we still see glimpses of the women we love, who has an amazing history and an ability to love unconditionally. For this, I am grateful.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

What is the History of American Thanksgiving Day? Do you know?


Do you know this history of American Thanksgiving? My guess is the typical American does not. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day holiday in 1863, in the midst of the American Civil War. 

Yes, there is a great deal of lore regarding the original Thanksgiving. There are many stories about the ‘First’ Thanksgiving involving “The Pilgrims”, which results in questions about what really happened. 

At the end of the day, does it really matter? One can look at history through a 21st Century lens and judge those who came before us. But, it is folly to do so. Unless you have lived in the skin and souls of those who came before, it is impossible to judge. Modern people fail to look at the context, political environment, world order, beliefs, opportunities, oppression, fear, bravery and philosophies of people who came before us.

There have always been conquests and conquered. There have always been oppressed and oppressors; there have always been people exploring and looking for a better way of life. Study history and appreciate there are nuances. The original settlers in what became America were looking for freedom of religion. Many died of starvation and disease. Do you really think they risk everything to be deemed oppressers hundreds of years later? No! They wanted to escape oppression and execution by intolerant monarchies. 

Nuance. Context. Time & place considerations. Judge not lest ye be judged.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Gratitude- American Thanksgiving Week Monday 2023


Gratitude is a concept each of us should embrace. Consider that gratitude grounds us, brings us contentment and hope. No matter what each of us experiences, it is more likely than not that another human soul is experiencing something worse. 

Those of us who have descended into the valley of despair and fought our way to peace & serenity appreciate that in life all things are relative. Particularly if we are blessed to live in a place where we can thrive.

Americans who whine about situations over which they have no control are in most scenarios blessed. Those of us who had the good fortune of being born and/or raised in the country must sing to the heavens the abundance that has given us opportunities that those born elsewhere do not enjoy.

Protesters denigrating the American experience would, no doubt, reconsider their antipathy if they were compelled to spend even a week in a country with fewer freedoms. 

Have you ever visited a country where people lived in a lean to next to the railroad tracks? Have you ever seen families exist in tents with dirt floors and pigs running rampant inside?Have you ever seen parents that have disabled their children to make them more effective beggars? Have you ever visited a country where you wish you could adopt all of the at risk children with the chance to bring  them to the USA to give them an opportunity for something more? Have you ever seen a government give tours to exploit their citizens? Have you ever experienced people refusing to engage for fear of angering their government? Have you ever been so horrified by the way people have been treated in their own countries that you’ve lost faith in mankind?

I have. Multiple times. That is why I cannot understand those American citizens that denounce the very foundation of who we are. That is why I am horrified by the antisemitism rampart in Universities, member of Congress, and uninformed people. We, the people, are required by our ideology to embrace people from all cultures and all walks of life unless they denounce the rule of  law and human rights.

That requires us to eschew support for Hamas, Iran, China, Russia, North Korea and any other entity that rejects  fairness and the need to protect human dignity regardless of race, creed, color, religion, country of origin, language, socioeconomic level, sex, identity or favorite color. Anyone who supports totalitarianism, intolerance, castigation of others for their beliefs or political affiliation or because of any human characteristic. 

Judge not yest thee be judged. 

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Thanksgiving Week 2023 / Cultivating An Attitude of Gratitude ~Sunday


As we begin a week of Celebrating American Thanksgiving in 2023, in a year filled with international turmoil, collective disdain for the leading presidential candidates, the deteriorating conditions of loved ones, and a mass exodus of my work colleagues for retirement or greener pastures, I’ve learned that for my psychological and physical wellbeing, I must remind myself of the myriad things for which I feel grateful. 

I first heard of this valuable tool for self care at my anxiety filled, teary- eyed inaugural Al Anon meeting at St. John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong, October 1993. 

My life was falling apart. I could imagine no glimmer of hope for healing. Then, one of those sharing said that in her darkest hours, she would go through the alphabet and try to think of one thing starting with each letter for which she as grateful. 

Sometimes, when happenings in the  world feel incomprehensible, I place my head against my pillow, close my eyes, and try this exercise. 

A- Anya, my Siberian kitty

B- bacon jam with jalapeños & bees & books & Bill of Rights & the beach

C- cashmere & crabcakes & creativity & cars & cookies & cheese & US Constitution 

D- deviled eggs & driving & our deck 

E- evening skies & eyesight & electricity & experience 

F- family & friends & flowers & FREEDOM & great food

G- gardens & guacamole & gasoline & gin 

H- health & hearing & history 

I- independence & individuality & Internet 

J- a job that pays for my life outside of work

K- kittens & my kitchen

L - laughter, love,  leisure & lights

M - memories & Mindy, our Ragdoll & Milo our orange kitty & music

N- Nordstrom 😎

O - open minded people

P - peace, plenty, parties

Q- Quince organic cotton, quiet times, 

R - respect for institutions, the American flag, & our great Republic 🇺🇸

S- silence, serenity, serendipity, sight, smell, stars, the sky, the sun, sea, 

T- time, Todd, travel, tenacity

U- understanding 

V- victory of good over evil & vino 

W- wine 

X- nothing comes to mind today but my Xtreme branded treadmill

Y - Daffodils 🌼 

Z- zippers

Try it. Make your own list off the top of your head. What is on your gratitude list today? 

Saturday, November 18, 2023

American Schools, Politicians & Families Must Teach Children To Love Our Country Again!


John F. Kennedy famously implored American to ask what each of us can do for our country rather than what our country can do for us. Sometime over the past decades, perhaps beginning with LBJ’s “Great Society” that created the Welfare State, Americans started to forget the foundations upon which this great country was built. 

How many young adults, leftist politicians and educators  truly appreciate the words that form preamble to our Constitution: We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, infuse domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, promote General Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. 

The promise is aspirational. Representatives from 13 colonies, formed by disparate religious groups, refugees, countries of origin, languages, criminal backgrounds, socioeconomic groups, ideologies and beliefs argued and ultimately compromised on many fundamental issues to establish a new form of republican government. There has been political discord from the beginning. That is the nature of humankind. 

The American Civil War resulted in emancipation of enslaved people and preserved the Union. In 1913 more than 50,000 veterans of the war gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. 

President Wilson noted “We have found one another again as brothers and comrades in arms, enemies no longer, generous friends rather, our battles long past, the quarrel forgotten- except that we shall not forget the splendid valor.”

If these former enemies, some would call the Confederate veterans traitors, could meet without overt rancor, acting civilly and  without violence, why should we tolerate the civil unrest, hate, looting, refusal to honor the flag, and outright disdain for the American ideals from those who benefit from our freedoms and way of life.

Anyone who excuses terrorists, supports communism and Marxism, who condemns the United States of America, should get on a plane, train, boat, bicycle, hot air balloon or his/her feet and depart this country. Go live in Russia, China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Sudan, North Korea, Iran, Yemen, Lebanon, and see how much freedom one enjoys there. Good luck! 

In most of these countries the protestors would be shot, imprisoned, tortured, drowned, poisoned, blown up, or  just ‘disappear’. 

Friday, November 10, 2023

Genocide by Pol Pot & Khmer Rouge in Cambodia 1975 to 1979


Too many people do not know that the National Holocaust Museum commemorates the horror perpetrated on innocent civilians beyond the abominations committed by the Nazis against Jewish people. 

There are so many examples of totalitarian governments and people filled with hate and a lust for power in recent history. How can reasonable people process the murder and destruction by despots of its own citizens? 

One of the most heinous atrocities in the 20th Century involved the deliberate, systematic murder of approximately 2,000,000 ( two million) Cambodians by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979. This was perpetrated by Marxists, supported by China, to convert Cambodia into a Maoist society reminiscent with results similar to Mao’s Cultural Revolution resulting in the Great Chinese Famine that starved millions. Power corrupts. Communism is brutal. 

Remember. Never forget. I urge you to watch the film, First They Killed My Father, directed by Angelina Jolie. This was recommended to me by a woman who escaped the killing fields as a child.

Another excellent view into the horror of this time and place is the movie The Killing Fields, a 1984 film that depicted the experiences of  New York Times reporter, Sydney Schanberg, who covered the invasion of Cambodia with the help of a local translator, Dith Pran, who was portrayed by Dr. Haing  S angora, a survivor of the Killing Fields who was later murdered in a home invasion in California after winning an Oscar for his performance.  


Wednesday, November 8, 2023

The Difference Between Genocide and Casualties of War

Campus protesters, members of the Congressional “Squad”, Marxists, progressives and certain news outlets allege that Israel is committing genocide of Palestinian people in Gaza. This is a misunderstanding of what constitutes genocide. 

Encyclopedia Britannica defines genocide as  the deliberate and systematic destruction of a of people because of their ethnicitynationality, religion, or race. While the term was first used during World War II to describe the Nazi ‘final solution’, there have been numerous instances of genocide throughout history. 
There is no question that Jews and other people deemed ‘less than’ by the Third Reich were victims of genocide. 

Regrettably, Palestinians and other residents in Gaza are collateral damage in Israel’s efforts to justifiably eradicate Hamas, a terrorist organization that vows to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. The attacks by Hamas on October 7, 2023 constituted an act of war just as heinous as the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA in 2001 and the January 7, 2015 attacks at Charlie Hebdo and the November 13, 2015 attacks by ISIL at the Batavian Theatre in Paris. Retaliation against terrorists that murder innocent civilians and use other civilians as human shields are responsible for the collateral damage. These victims are casualties of war, not victims of genocide. 

British civilians were victims of bombings, Norwegian merchant marines were torpedoed, Dresden residents were killed, the Lusitania was attacked, residents of the Balkans were murdered, opponents of Franco and Il Duce were purged, and the Romans enslaved their captives. These casualties were not victims of genocide anymore than the casualties in Gaza. 

Words matter. Much as I am not a fan of Joe Biden, he certainly has not earned the moniker Genocide Joe. That is actually defamatory. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

A Lesson on What Actually Constitutes Genocide - Orhdruf Concentration Camp 1945


Photos Courtesy of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

April 4, 1945, the U.S Army liberated Orhdruf Concentration Camp. This was a forced labor camp that was a part of the Buchenwald’s purview. 

General Patton refused to enter because it was so horrifying. General Eisenhower toured the camp on April 12th. He decided that it was critical to document the atrocities committed by the Nazis against Jews.

Any American student, resident, visitor, citizen, member of Congress, employee of government or University or business or news outlet that defends the atrocities of Hamas against Israeli citizens, visitors, contractors, civilians or foreigners has apparently been denied a thorough education. 

More than 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. Israel was founded to give Jewish people a home, where they could be free of oppression. 

Regrettably, too many have forgotten the pledge to NEVER FORGET.