The sun crests over the horizon.
Birds sing. People waken and go about their
day to day affairs. Still, I sleep, or try to sleep.
Whatever dreams or nightmares that may come,
they prove better than the reality that greets me
when I open my eyes.

Any, and all, who read these words,
pray for me I beg you!
Pray that I may be forgiven my sins.
Pray that I may see the face of God,
but more than anything, pray for yourselves!

May God have mercy on your souls.
May He grant you the life ever-lasting.
Those of you who I leave behind, near and far,
never doubt my love for you.
The sun rises. The birds sing.

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Angelina Jolie: The new village witch

If you have seen the recent tabloids, you should notice a distinct attack on Angelia Jolie, ex-wife, or soon to be, of Brad Pitt. You would have to be living under a stone not to see the glossy tabloids proclaiming her to be (1) Anorexic, (2) A terrible mother. Not only that, one should have read Brad Pitt’s interview with another glossy tabloid that discusses his humility, his willingness to work with Angelina and his unbridled love for his children. Now I will break down the reality of the situation between Brad Pitt and his wife, Angelina Jolie.

Angelina_Jolie_2_June_2014_(cropped)First of all, as the daughter of John Voight, Angelina Jolie, inherited an entree into the world of Hollywood’s highest echelons of power movers: producers, directors, acting agents, casting agents, etc. She exploited this position and with true grit and relatively decent acting, garnered an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the movie, Girl, Interrupted. Savvy, and eager for publicity, she made a public display of herself, upon winning this award by sucking face and groping one of her brothers. It’s a sad testimony on our society, the media and the movie industry that this disgusting display did not sink her career right then and there.

Moving on: Angelina Jolie has prospered in Hollywood, winning an Oscar, and other accolades, despite her reputation and a man-eater, a snatcher of other women’s men, and seriously bizarre behavior. Let’s take a brief look at her behavior that I feel no need to verify with links. She stole Billy Bob Thorton from Laura Dern, and then paraded herself around with a vial of his blood, supposedly, around her neck. Her alienation from her father, and her behavior with her brother at the Oscars fed rumors of incest between her and her father, Jon Voight. This was all part of her publicity machine. As an aside, I lived in Hollywood for over thirteen years, and I would swear on a stack of bibles that Jon Voight never touched his daughter in a manner that was unclean or illegal. He loves his daughter and their estrangement was a source of great sorrow and pain to him. Still, Angelina let the rumors fly, keeping a tight lip about her relationship with her father, creating a mystique of a victim, a wounded child who overcame a dysfunctional childhood.

Now let us turn our lens onto Brad Pitt. He married Jennifer Aniston in 2000, the year when everything was supposed to fall apart. LOL They were married for ten years, an entire decade! (Speaking for myself now, I was married for ten years to my wife, and when she died in 2013, my life fell apart. I miss you Robin Anne Smith with all my heart and soul!) Well, I guess a decade of marriage with somebody didn’t really mean all that much to Brad Pitt. The story goes that Brad wanted to start a family and Jennifer wanted to concentrate on her career before starting a family. Apparently, Brad Pitt grew tired of waiting for Jennifer’s ambitions to come to fruition, and during the making of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, with co-star Angelina, he decided to make his move. He left his wife and took up with notorious man-eater, Angelina Jolie.

Divorced from Billy Bob Thorton, after a brief less-than-three-year-marriage, Angelina was ready, willing and able to snatch up Hollywood’s premier, number one leading man. She undoubtedly promised the great brood of children that he wanted and probably even said she would abandon her career for the singular honor of being his wife. Before we give up on Billy Bob, let’s not forget than Angelina was married to another man, an English actor named Jonny Lee Miller. She kicked him to the curb quite quickly when she found a better spouse, albeit the sociopath, Billy Bob Thorton, whose fame and glory would keep her in the spotlight.

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of Brangolina. Before she even married Brad Pitt, she started adopting children from here and there. Her adoption of her first child, Maddox, occurred under a well-hidden firestorm of controversy. Maddox was born in Cambodia, where child trafficking was a serious issue. Despite that fact that she was divorcing Billy Bob Thorton, because her special status as an American movie star, the adoption was allowed to go through. (The last link is an excerpt from Wikipedia.) If you follow the link above, you will see that Angelina adopted a second child from Ethiopia. After her marriage to Brad Pitt, the two children’s names were changed from Jolie to Jolie-Pitt. How like the rich and famous who think that they can go around the world and buy babies for their own self-importance. (Yes, Mia Farrow, I’m looking at you! Mia, the self-righteous bitch who used Woody Allen, genius director, to further her career.)

So when Angelina conceived a child by Brad Pitt, they made the irresponsible decision to have the child delivered in Namibia: a war-torn, disease-ridden hell hole of a country. Well, let me tell you. This child is an American citizen. I was born in Paris, France at the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine. When I was 3 months old, my father took me to the American Embassy, showed them my French-language birth certificate, and had them fill out what is called a ‘Report of Foreign Birth.’ Because of this, I am an American citizen, descended from one of the old families that created the United States, and at the same time I am a French citizen, born on French soil, and quite proud of both. So I have no doubt that the Brangelina consortium made the same effort to ensure that their one biological child could claim American citizenship.

Now let’s flash forward to 2016. Angelina’s and Brad’s marriage fell apart. Apparently, this occurred on a plane flight, when one of their many, many adopted children started acting up, and Brad, like a good father chose to chastise the child with a simple spanking. This spelled “marriage over,” after Brad had proved himself to be a loving, devoted father to this ever-growing manage, of children. I have it from good sources that Brad would be in the middle of filming a moving, and would suddenly leave the set with bags of diapers, baby food, baby formula, etc, in order to take care of his and Angelina’s ever-growing brood of children. My question is, “Where was Angelina?”  All sources, from Hollywood to London, confirm that Brad Pitt was a loving, devoted father, while Angelina Joile was busy hyping her own career and her many “humanitarian’ efforts.

The tabloids have not been kind to Angelina. Brad gave an interview to the equivalent of Time magazine of the premier, glossy tabloids, portraying himself as a humble recipient of Hollywood fame, and said that he still loved Angelina, his many children and that his only hope was to work out a good settlement. On the other hand, many other glossy and not-so-glossy tabloid have presented Angelina as anorexic, mentally-unstable and an unfit mother. Most glaring of all, is the “Nanny tells all,” expose that details an Angelina Jolie household that is “out of control.” Obviously, the Brad Pitt spin-machine is out-flanking Angelina Jolie’s.  My advice to Angelina Jolie is to hire a top-notch PR firm to take control of her public image.

Public image aside, Ms. Jolie has now become the global equivalent of the village woman who is proclaimed a witch.  She has nobody to blame but herself with her past history of bizarre behavior, man-eating and self-serving actions. Despite her attempts to present herself as a humanitarian par excellent, the world sees her for what she is, a whore.



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In Memoriam: Cassandra Cecile (Coco) Smith (Remembrances of my Childhood with Three Older Sisters)

My elder sisters: Coco, left; Mimi middle, Babbette right.

My earliest memory of my sister Coco is of her standing over my crib saying, “Un, deux, trois,” over and over again. It should not surprise the reader that my first words were not “mama” or “papa,” but “one, two, three,” in French. After all, we were living in Paris, France when I was born. We spoke French both at home and in public. When my family repatriated to the USA, I hardly knew any words in English.

In the picture above, you can see me and my three older sisters. As children, the four of us split into two camps. I was under Coco’s charge and Babbette was under Mimi’s. I would not say that we were warring camps, but rather, competitive camps. We played so many games together. My favorite game was “Let’s pretend.” I think that the name of the game gives away the format.  We would pretend to be princesses and a prince. Sometimes we were pirates. Sometimes we would break out the cap guns and go at it like outlaws from the Wild West. Coco was the dominant player, so she had the power of veto over any suggestion for the potential scenario of “Let’s pretend.”

An extension of “Let’s pretend,” was a time of quiet and passivity on the part of Babbette and me. We would lie in bed with a whole regiment of stuffed animals placed strategically on the bed.  Coco and Mimi would perform the voices of the animals, playing out a story of their own creation, while Babbette and I would curl up and listen.  Sometimes, Babbette and I would interject with questions or comments, and Coco and Mimi would incorporate our voices into the story-line. Often these stuffed animal theaters would come at the culmination of a day of chaos and I think we all needed a safe place to express our fears and hopes.

My father and older brother did not possess the patience to teach me how to play catch or chess. After a while, shriveling under the harshness of their criticisms and obvious disappointment with my performance, I would forgo any invitations on their parts to engage in either of these activities.  It was Coco who had the patience and understanding to teach me how each piece on the chessboard moved, and how to catch a baseball in your glove and throw it back.  Let me digress momentarily to say that during our childhood, Coco was a bit of a tomboy, and was quick to recognize the injustice of my father taking me and my older brother to sports events without considering that perhaps some of the girls would appreciate being invited to these outings.

My last summer as a free child, before I began primary school, Coco began to prep me. “You are going to love school!” she would tell me enthusiastically. “You are going meet other children your age, and make all sorts of new friends!” She promised me an environment where I would learn to read and write and how to do math. She explained that entering school would herald a new era in my life, that of being a “big boy.”  So when my first day of school arrived, I leaped out of bed, exuberant to begin a new life as a “big boy.” It was my mother who took me to my first day of school.  When I saw the painted cinder-block walls around me, heard the hustle and bustle of older kids reuniting after a summer apart, saw the towering bodies and grim faces of the school teachers, in the parlance of today, I freaked out. I clung to my mother’s skirts, shrieked and cried. I begged her not to leave me in this place. It was an inauspicious beginning to an academic career that began with an immediate refusal on my part to accept the authority of my teachers and a gleefully sadistic pattern of bullying by me of my schoolmates. I can’t help but believe that if Coco had been allowed to accompany me to my first day of school, events might have played out differently.

These are but snapshots of my memories from childhood.  I know that at this point in my narrative, I’ve portrayed Coco (and Mimi) to be some kind of saints in the lives of me and Babbette.  Of course there were times when the two older ones would exploit their physical and intellectual superiority over me and Babbette in order to play out their own insecurities and neuroses that were embedded into our dysfunctional childhoods; however, if we were to place the positive and negative on a scale, the kindness, gentleness and sweetness of our two older siblings would far outweigh the occasional episodes of petty meanness.

In the box of memories that I am opening for you all now, there are many episodes of little cruelties, but who can judge a child for how they react to an environment riddled with chaos, anger, insecurity and indifference? I believe it would be unjust to judge my older sisters on the same scale as one would an adult.  They did their very best in a situation that was quite fraught, and taking all the complex pieces of the puzzle that make up the life of a child, Coco and Mimi were stellar siblings and I believe that both Babbette’s and my childhoods would have been quite barren of all the things that make for a happy childhood; magic, imagination, play. learning, and above learning, the most abiding element of all, love without their nurturing and support.

Now let me go into one aspect of Coco’s influence on my life that does not include my beloved sisters, Mimi and Babbette. That would be a love of music, and learning to exploit one’s talents in that area.  I suppose when I was about seven years of age, Coco began to extol to me the wonders of playing the trumpet. I saw how the older ones were taking piano lessons, trumpet, clarinet, violin and flute lessons.  I wanted to be included in this new mystery of life.  So it was with little prodding from my parents that I began to learn how to play the trumpet.  It was Coco who taught me how to read music, and it was Coco who taught me how to play scales on the trumpet, even though that wasn’t her major instrument. (Please allow me to digress once again to say that the clarinet was Coco’s major instrument.  She would go on to earn a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts from Catholic University in Washington, DC with the clarinet as her major instrument.  She would learn to  master everything from the guitar, both classical and folk, to the piano. But it was with the clarinet that she really shined.  She could have and would have been a professional clarinetist had not certain elements come to play in her life. I will touch on that at the end of the essay.)

At any rate, from the age of eight, under Coco’s guidance, I learned to play the trumpet.  When I about ten years of age, Coco began to explain to me that trumpet players were a penny a pound.  They proliferated the musical landscape like sheep in an English pasture.  She explained to me that if I took up the French Horn, I would face much less competition and be in higher demand.  As in most things, I took her advice. My mother bought me what is called a “single horn,” a poor beat up old thing and I embarked on my career as a French Horn player.  When my parents recognized my aptitude and commitment to this instrument, they bought me a beautiful French Horn, a King Eroica, a double horn with strings that wrapped around the valves. From the ages of twelve to seventeen, I took private lessons on the Horn.  Oh, it was a beautiful instrument, covered in silver with a case that was lined in deep blue velvet. Thanks to Coco, I became a musician. Sometimes I would practice for hours at a time until my embouchure collapsed from exhaustion. It would seem that I’d just started playing when I’d realize that I’d been practicing for two hours or more.

Of all the gifts that Coco gave me, I must say that a love and appreciation for music was the greatest. It is a treasure that I carry in my heart, more valuable than any amount of gold or riches that could be heaped at my feet.  Because of Coco, I participated in school bands, county and state solo festivals (earning accolades for my performances) attended Fine Arts Camp in the summers that I turned fourteen and fifteen years old.  I learned the magical feeling of being part of a symphony and the thrill of performing in front of audiences.

Now I must close this essay with tears. During Coco’s senior year in college, she was stricken with rheumatoid arthritis.  It was of such severity that it became clear that she would never be able to pursue a career as a concert clarinetist.  As if some dark shadow had stationed itself over her life, her tenure on this planet became a tapestry of pain (both physical and psychological).  She married a man that she met in college.  They had three children.  When the oldest was ten years of age and the youngest just a baby of three years, Coco’s husband died. Crippled from her disease, widowed, she was forced to raise her three children as both mother and father. If not for the support that she received from our parents, she and her children would have been utterly destitute.

Her children are all grown now. That all three of them are successful and independent members of society is a testament to her nurturing skills. Coco knew how to take a dull evening and turn it into an exciting event.  She had an enthusiasm that was infectious.  In another age, another place in time, she would have made a great leader. In her heart of hearts she was a warrior.  Coco died last October.  Because of our turgid family situation, she and I had not spoken for two years.  When I got the news that she was dead, I cried out, “We haven’t spoken in two years, and now we will never speak again!” Well, I am speaking to you now, Coco.  God bless you. May you rest in peace. Today would have been your birthday. All I can say is that I will never forget you, beloved sister. I beg you to forgive me for the wrongs I did to you and ask that you remember the good that I did do for you during our time on this planet together. It is just a little bit darker and sadder without you.



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A Brief Word in Support of our Twitter in Chief

It is with Nixonian tactics that President Trump attacks the media, calling it “fake news.”  Frankly speaking, I do not support this kind of attack on the media. As the son of a celebrated journalist with a distinguished career, and also as the son-in-law of another great journalist, I must say in all honesty that the state of journalism today, both in the United States of America and abroad has fallen into a state of mediocrity, laziness and a desire among journalist to become superstars in the popular culture.  Two examples of this desire for superstar status that are easily identifiable are Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity. Another example would be that bloated windbag Rush Limbaugh.These individuals, rather than presenting the news in a dispassionate, objective nature, choose to cater to a specific media market.

Okay. That being said. I would recommend that President Trump refrain from calling the news media, “fake news.’ It is not fake.  Rather, it a sort of demagoguery that without shame seeks to pander to specific market niches.  This is harmful to our democracy because the Fourth Estate (that is, the Press) is vouchsafed a place in our society to report dispassionately information that helps support our democracy. Most of today’s journalists are a cabal of self-serving, ambitious social-climbers.  It saddens me that for dispassionate news about the USA and abroad, as I must find it, for the most part in foreign news outlets.  For fear of reprisals, I will not name these sources, but I will tell you that they included entities who have sacrificed their very lives in an attempt to transmit to the world what is really going on in this country, Russia, the Middle East and Europe.

At this point, I will dispense from criticizing the new media and turn my ire on President Trump.  That this man, who is clearly  unqualified for the highest office of the land, a minority President with a less that half of the popular vote, should be sitting in the Oval Office, is to me, as an American a source of great shame.  Given the fact that he received intelligence from Russian security forces on Hillary Clinton’s campaign makes him the embodiment of America’s worst nightmare, that is, the Manchurian Candidate.  That he has no understanding of our Constitution, that he has allowed members of his own family to sit in positions of great power, that his own wife, the first foreign-born First Lady of the United States, that he is shattering alliances (NATO, for example) prove that he is unfit for office.  This very last point, his disavowal of NATO clearly indicates that he is in the hands of Russia and Putin.  Don’t be surprised when Russia invades the Baltic States and other former Republics of the Soviet Union.  It will be the fulfillment of Russian/Putin/Soviet desires to reclaim their old empire.

In summation, I share Trump’s dislike of the news media, but for different reasons.  He claims that (like Nixon) that they are “out to get him.” Honestly, I just think that they are a polarizing, self-serving cabal of lazy social-climbers. Some of them attack him because it caters to a segment of our society that hates him.  Others support him because, for the same reasons as the previously mentioned “journalists,” they simply seek accolades from the Right-wing.  My only hope, at this point, rests with Congress and the Supreme Court. Given our Constitution, that promises checks and balances, Trump will be a one-term President.

For more than that, I doubt if he will finish his first term. Why? Well, first of all, the office of President requires a great deal of work. Given the state of his predecessors who left office aged many years, I think it is more than likely that Trump will bail out of office because it is just too-hard work. Also, given the pile of scandalous material that is being gathered against him, I think he would rather bow out than face public scrutiny of his malfeasance. Why didn’t he release his tax records? Why is he meeting with high-level Russian diplomats (aka Security forces) in secret without the presence of the White House press corp? Why have so many people connected with his Administration been forced to resign and are now the target of inquiry by both Congress and our newly appointed Independent Prosecutor?

Get ready for President Pence. Doesn’t he look presidential?



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Grief- for my Country and the World

All is confusion. All is division.
A kind of madness reigns over our nation.
Friends cast friends aside over politics.
Instead of reality, the only thing that people see are tricks.

Not only are their minds polluted,
But so are the skies, oceans, river and land.

Every day some species of life is exterminated.
The humans rush about, animated
By falsity, a digital web.
Freedom, go to bed.
To live to see the world die
Is a river of curses that we must ply.
I write this on paper, for perhaps it may survive
The rust and rubble that will engulf our lives.

There is an inscription on an Egyptian tomb,
Four thousand years old it is.
A husband writes to his wife,
“…please come to me in my dreams.”

God grant that a fragment of what I write
Survives to to please some distant human’s sight.

-Russell Smith, 2017 A.D. or C.E.

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Obstruction of Justice, Traitor, Just a Plain Crook? Take your pick!

Right from the start, I said that Trump would not complete his first term, but the basis of my argument wasn’t on “obstruction of justice,” or downright treason. It was based on the fact that being President of the United States of America is a very, very hard job and Trump is in essence a lazy person. He must be getting really tired of the whole thing already. I think if people just leave him alone, and don’t prod his enormous ego, he’ll probably step down after the mid-terms.

While Democrats are becoming unanimous in calling for impeachment, it doesn’t mean a damn thing. The Democratic Party is in the minority in both Houses of the Legislature. Until they get a majority in the House, they’ve no chance of impeachment, and unless they have a majority in the Senate, then they have no chance of conviction. While I think it is pretty much a done deal at this point that the Dems will take over the House in the mid-terms, the Senate will probably remain in Republican hands until the next general election, and even that is iffy. I have to say that some of the stuff I’m hearing from die-hard Trump supporters is starting to sound pretty scary. I’ll try to share one of these posts, if I can still find it on my Facebook “feed.” As I told the poster, he sounded very much like Adolf Hitler addressing the Jews. Ouch!

Oh, well. I think Facebook may have already have deleted the guy’s post. I’ll keep my eyes out for the next one. Stay tuned!

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Trump Presidency Implodes at Rapid Pace



It is my belief that the American people are starting to wake up and realize that Trump is a liar and a con-man. On top of that, he is a complete buffoon. On a daily basis, he disseminates lies about his perceived enemies and critics. During his first 100 days in office, he has gone on 14 golfing vacations, even more visits to his Mar-a-Lago sanctuary, costing tax-payers approximately 45 million dollars. He has signed 32 Executive Orders in a frenzied attempt to turn back all the things that Obama accomplished during his tenure as President. This use of Executive Orders was one of the points that Trump continually criticized Obama for employing. His walk-off from the interview with CBS exemplifies his intellectual weakness and inability to defend his own words. His baseless accusations against President Obama concerning alleged wire-tapping of his campaign HQ have made him a laughing stock. I really feel sorry for his personal aids and members of his administration who almost literally have to walk behind him with a broom and a mop to clean up his messes. All this is just 100 days into his administration.

He will do more to destroy the Republican Party from the inside than any Democrat could hope to do from the outside. He is a perfect example of the old adage: Give him enough rope and he will hang himself. I really don’t think he will complete his first term in office. That doesn’t make me happy. Who wants to see a Pence Presidency? Not me. Maybe he will go the same route as Nixon. First Pence will step down (like Spiro Agnew) and then after he appoints some innocuous nobody (like Gerald Ford) he will leave office under a cloud of suspicion of criminal activity and moral depravity.

My summary of Trump’s first 100 days comes from an article published by the Huffington Post. Since Trump prefers to give soft, cozy interviews with Fox News, I feel no embarrassment about referring to an article from the Huff Post.  At least they provide hard numbers, facts and figures, along with sources for their information. Over the past decade, I’ve grown extremely disenchanted with all of the major news outlets in the Unites States.  Networks like MSNBC and Fox News don’t even try to hide their partisanship.  That’s why I go to sources like BBC for reportage on the United States, which is often off-the-mark, but at least it isn’t partisan, or Al Jazeerah, which is surprisingly objective and non-partisan in their reporting. Small wonder that Bush II deliberately bombed Al Jazeerah’s headquarters in Baghdad and used snipers to kill two of their reporters.

Let’s face it.  The Republican Party represents the interests of the super-rich, and multi-national corporations. The Democratic Party represents the interests of the middle-class and the poor.  The best Presidents over the last century or so have been Democrats.  The last decent Republican President was Theodore Roosevelt.  The cult of the personality that follows Ronald Reagan never ceases to amaze me. Of course by today’s standards, Tea Party extremists would label him a RINO (Republican in Name Only) because under his auspices, things like a ban on assault rifles were pushed through Congress.  The worst-ever Presidents have all been Republican: Richard Nixon, Bush II, Donald Trump, while the best Presidents have been Democrats: Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Truman and Obama.  Others from both parties have been a mixed bag: Bill Clinton, who should be ashamed of his legacy of NAFTA and so-called welfare reform, not to mention his sordid personal life that brought the dignity of his office to an all-time low is the first example to come to mind. On the other hand, under his auspices, the USA entered an unprecedented era of economic expansion. Then we have Bush I, a WWII veteran and war hero who was labelled a “wimp” by the mainstream media, but who pursued an agenda of decreased funding to social programs and entities like FEMA.

So tell me. Who do you think were the best and worst Presidents of the past century or so? You don’t even have to tell why you have these opinion about our past (and current) Presidents.  Just say, “So-and-so was the best and So-and-so was the worst.” Thank you for taking the time to read this.  Also, do you think I am off the mark when I predict that Trump  will not complete his first term? Best wishes to you all, whatever side of the aisle from which you  hail.  My next post will detail why I think Parliamentary Democracy is the best and most perfect form of government.

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