Great Expectations

My favorite opening line in literature is from David Copperfield: Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station shall be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”

I love Dickens.

My reach has always exceeded my grasp. For artists, I think this is norm. It’s next to impossible to make a good living with words and rhyme, melody or canvas. Somehow, we keep striving, because we must. And part of that is the belief that somehow, some way, we will succeed, and hit something out of the park. I’ve clung to that belief all my adult life, perhaps foolishly. I’ve worked towards that goal, too, sacrificed time and memories and relationships at the altar of words. Sometimes I am plagued by doubt, brought to my knees by my innate selfishness and the thought of the tens of thousands of hours I’ve spent over a notebook, a guitar, a computer.

I remember the times I came so damn close, only to have things evaporate. The songs “on hold” by huge artists. The books that seemed poised to take off, only to wind up at the discount bin. I get my hopes up, and crash and burn, and it’s painful. At this point, I’m jaded. I still believe, though. I really do, deep down.

Yesterday, I got news that would have made my younger, less jaded self, dance naked in the streets. A major television network is very interested in my books. They want a meeting. Twenty years ago, I’d have lost my mind. Hell, twenty years ago, I’d never have believed I’d have books published, in stores. I was a songwriter, not an author. Life is funny.

I still have great expectations. This may fall through, and if so, it’s on to the next network, the next book, the next script, the next article. I can’t stop writing.

And if I never hit it out of the park, at least I can look myself in the mirror at the end, gray and worn out and full of regrets, but not that one.

So to my fellow creatives, keep writing, keep singing, painting and smiling. Keep believing.

Let’s be heroes.

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Are we living in the “End Times?” 

North Korea has a hydrogen bomb, the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic is poised to strike Miami, Harvey drowned Houston, an earthquake rocked Mexico, Oregon and California are burning, a total eclipse of the sun crossed the US, a powerful solar flare exploded, and Donald Trump is the leader of the free world. I don’t believe that we’re living in the book of Revelation, but is the universe trying to tell us something? Is prophecy being played out around us, or are humans careening toward our own extinction because we are fools?


Biblical Prophecy

The Bible is rich with prophecy, much of it vague and terrifying. The prophets, men like Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and John of Patmos had a direct connection to God, more visceral than others, and were often viewed with suspicion because they were erratic and strange. The visions God gave them may have fried their brains. Prophecy is open to interpretation, and even among fundamentalists, there are questions about the nature of scripture. Is the book of Revelation literal or figurative? There is a lot of wild stuff in that book, with creatures that sound like aliens, multi-headed beasts, plagues, famines, and an actual war between heaven and hell.

Revelation was written by John on the island of Patmos, where he recieved a series of visions from God. The book, the last in the Bible, predicts the end of the world in a series of cataclysmic events, laying out unthinkable losses throughout the world which intensify as they progress through the opening of seals, culminating in Christ’s triumphant return. Many Christians believe in the Rapture, an event where Christians are taken up to heaven prior to the tribulation, while the rest of the world is left behind to endure the coming wrath of God. Christians fall into two camps when debating this, the “pretribulative,” folks, who think they will be spared, and the “post-tribulative” believers who believe Christians will have to wait while the earth goes to hell.


The Antichrist

One constant, though, is the rise of the Antichrist. Throughout history, Christians have pointed to many leaders, believing that each one was the Antichrist. From Nero to Hitler and President Obama, there have always been candidates. Hitler certainly seemed to fit the bill, persecuting Jews and dragging the entire world into war. The Antichrist is said to be charismatic, a great deceiver who unifies the world, only to plunge it into darkness. He is a liar who professes Christianity, while serving Lucifer. President Donald Trump possesses something earlier leaders did not: nuclear weapons capable of ending the world. His hypocrisy, lies, and the way he dribbles scripture to pander to fundamentalists make Trump a pretty good candidate.

Global politics and war

Revelation states that there will be war and rumors of war as the earth hurtles toward the apocalypse. For the first time in human history, mankind has the ability to cause its own extinction in war. With instability in the Middle East, a resurgent and aggressive Russia, and someone with a questionable grasp on geopolitics in the White House, we are teetering on the abyss.

Opening the seven seals:

Revelation 6:12: I watched as he opened the Sixth Seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth…”. 

We just experienced a total eclipse, an earthquake, a blood-moon, and a meteor shower. Interesting.

Sounding the seven trumpets:

Rev 8:7: The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned down, and all the green grass was burned up.”

Sounds a whole lot like a nuclear war! With North Korea threatening to attack the US, the threat of nuclear war is at its most dangerous since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Rev 8:10: A great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of the water. The name of the star is wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter and many people died from waters that turned bitter.

Radiation poisoning would do this to global water supply, and huge portions of the population would die. This is followed by locusts and plagues, all of which could happen due to the war.

Pain continues to rain down upon the earth as the book continues, with the seven bowls of God’s wrath. The waters turn to blood and the sun scorches people with fire, and plagues spread as the Beast rules a world plunged into darkness. Nuclear winter, perhaps? Babylon falls, and then comes the rider on the white horse, Christ himself leading an army of angels, throwing the beast into a fiery lake.

Conclusion

We may be in a tribulation of our own making if we do not collectively make better decisions. As the climate changes and the oceans warm, our children and grandchildren will face the consequences of our utter disregard for science and lack of stewardship of our planet. Displaced populations will be on the move, competing for dwindling resources, causing war and famine. Prayer is a powerful thing, and so is action. We must not blindly follow leaders who would lead us to our own destruction.

The Rush to World War III


The hammer sees only the nail, the sword craves blood, and the bullet yearns for a target. The world is now at the greatest risk for nuclear war at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Certainly North Korea (DPRK) is a threat to stability in the region, but is it worth going to war over? Why is this happening now, and what are some solutions?

Why Now

The US goes to war when powerful interests align. Our country has a rich history of shedding blood for money, going all the way back to the American Revolution. It’s what nations do, placing the economic interests of the country ahead of human lives. It’s not pretty, but it’s a fact. From the Trail of Tears to the false flag “Remember the Maine” and on to the Gulf of Tonkin, the US has manipulated public opinion to justify wars for economic and political gains.

Remember the war in Iraq? After 9-11, the US craved (understandably) justice. When the bombs started falling in Baghdad, I’m ashamed to admit that I cheered. Intelligence supported the fact that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Colin Powell, whom I trusted, came on television to state this. The US went to war, and after years and as many as a million deaths, Iraq remains a quagmire. The truth of that war may never come fully to light, but we know that Cheney and Rummy believed that democracy was the answer to Middle East instability, and that by smashing Saddam’s dictatorship, the US could prop up a new government favorable to our interests. Oh, and oil. In that instance both the military industrial complex and oil companies stood to profit enormously.


Fast forward to Korea, now.

Saber rattling on both sides is nothing new. DPRK loves to issue fiery threats against the US. Little Kim is a little unhinged, that is true. But is he truly a suicidal one? If North Korea attacks the US, that regime is finished. Dictators want to remain in power, so it’s unlikely that this particular despot would go out of his way to attack the US, bringing about his certain demise.

Trump needs a war to distract the country from the investigation into his finances and possible collusion with Russia. Furthermore, the military industrial complex wants to see more spending by the federal government so they can build tanks, bombs, planes, ships, and submarines. There are trillions of dollars at stake. Wars have begun for far less.

The suspicious timeline

How is it that suddenly DPRK has miniaturized warheads? This assessment, in a story from the Post a few days ago, is based on the Defense Intellegence Agency. It’s not a consensus from all of the agencies who review intelligence. The NSA and CIA have yet to weigh in. So that abrupt assessment is suspect. Furthermore, even if DPRK has managed to miniaturize the warheads, they likely have not developed a re-entry vehicle capable of delivering the warhead to its target without burning up. Upon re-entry, the temperatures soar. As of only a few weeks ago, it was believed that North Korea was five years away from achieving these milestones.


Fear is the mind killer

The mainstream media thrives upon bad news and fear. By playing to our fears of a nuclear holocost, the march to war becomes something which the American public is more likely to accept. After all, North Korea is an “evil empire” bent on killing innocent Americans, right? The fact that Lil Kim uses bombastic rhetoric only serves to bolster the case against him.

Solutions

China remains the key. China can apply enough economic pressure to convince Lil Kim to abandon his weapons programs, at least or a time. Long term, the best solution, as insane as it sounds, is another case of mutually assured destruction. DPRK is a protectorate of China, and war with them means war with China. War with South Korea means war with the US. This would ultimately de-escalate tensions because both sides would understand the rules. Eventually, China should initiate a regime change in North Korea, propping up a government easier to manage.

Perhaps a fully staffed State Department is in order? A president who understands geopolitics?

The US faces a similar dilemma with Iran and Russia. If diplomacy fails, the alternative is unthinkable. Because World War Three is a war with no winners.

Shameless self-promotion

Finally, if you’re interested in reading about the aftermath of the next world war, please check out the WRATH series!

Faith and Fiction

This is a story of triumph, so please bear with me because it might not sound that way at first. Happy endings aren’t worth a damn if there weren’t tears along the way.

  
I love writing and God. The love of those two intersect, in spite of my passion for other things. I love my wife and my children. I love to play music and dream melodies and yearn to create something beautiful and true.

I love the way the sun breaks when it’s rising over the Gulf of Mexico when I’m so far from land that the sea and sky are the world, and there is that perfect orange light born, glittering on the waves, and the hope of a good fish and that day sings in my chest. The best part, knowing that the next day will be just as good, infused with the same hope. For me, those moments have been few,  and I’m blessed to remember them.

It is easy and dangerous to make the things we love God.

A mentor and friend, a brilliant songwriter far beyond me, convinced me that the only way to succeed was to be willing to sacrifice everything at the altar of writing. I listened to him and to my own demons and learned the wrong lessons. My friend would smack me in the back of my head now if we were sitting next to each other at a bar in Nashville. I have tears in my eyes remembering him and the way he made me a better writer, and I wish I could hear him say something sarcastic and kind. 

Writing is not God, though we make it so.

Writers are not destined for pain unless they choose anguish. Joy is the lyric and the page and the melody and truth beneath. God is God.

The Divided States of America

There is much gnashing of the teeth and shrill screaming  about politics these days. Everyone with internet access has an opinion and a voice. Many people are outraged about something. Social media is choked with hate, politicians point fingers, and any sort of reasonable discourse seems to have fled the country.

The things people are screaming about are distractions, while the things they should be paying attention to go largely unnoticed. We, the people, are being played.

Money and politics

Both parties are equally beholden to the almighty dollar. There are no good guys, as far as I can see, and those who actually seem to have a heart for the American people and are willing to buck the system have no chance of actually being able to be a force for positive change because their voices are drowned out by the hatred, the money, and the discord. That seems to be the idea.

Republican Governor John Kaisch of Ohio announced his bid for the 2016 election; he is an example of a moderate who has accomplished great things in his home state, and of course, he has no chance at winning. The Koch Brothers won’t be helping him.

Hillary Clinton portrays herself as the champion of the middle class, yet she is an example of the ivory tower liberals who are not only disconnected from most of America, but who also reap millions in corporate campaign contributions. She is above all else a political animal.

The banking industry, working behind the shadows is one place where true power resides. Energy is another. Power has almost nothing to do with politics, and is essentially the ability inflict one’s will upon another. The United States possesses the strongest military the world has ever seen.

But the real power lies not in the new F-35, the stealth bomber, or the ICBM, but in those who decide when and where these weapons will be used. Where we will go to war and why.

Be angry and mean and certain!

That’s what they want. Whoever the hell they are.

It doesn’t seem to matter who the figureheads are, though I’d love to believe otherwise. We can argue about guns and rebel flags and gay rights, and it appears that there is profit somewhere for someone in that discord. We howl about Obama and lose respect for the office of the President, and that’s just fine with those guys. They’re playing both sides of the fence, and are laughing at us from their private islands.

america divided 1

The insults and name calling between parties has never been worse, and it’s spilled over from Congress to Main Street and even the dinner table.

So what should we be paying attention to?

The way money buys power. Decisions like Citizens united. Corporate welfare.

Climate change. It’s happening. The planet is growing warmer according to 99% of climatologists. Sea levels will rise, weather patterns will shift. Water shortages and droughts will worsen in some areas, while other parts of the world will see floods.

ISIS, China, and Russia.

The Islamic state is spreading like wildfire, and now boasts a well organized and supplied army. The guys behind the guys don’t know what to do about them yet, and the whole Arab spring caught them off guard, along with the power vacuum in Iraq. The middle east is nuke waiting to blow. The aftershock will shake the world.

https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/books/book-detail-page?ie=UTF8&bookASIN=B00IK7MH9M&index=default&parentASIN=B00ISZJOSS&tabName=

China is on course to overtake the United States in military power over the next two decades. They have an aircraft carrier, a fleet of submarines, and the desire to project power into the Indian Ocean and South Pacific. They are building islands out of the sea, placing air strips on them. China owns trillions of dollars in U.S. debt and manipulates its currency to the great detriment of the United States. Of course, the multinational corporations don’t care about what is good for the United States. They’re in the business of making money for shareholders, so will continue to ship jobs to China because it’s good for the bottom line.

russian fighter jets

Russia is eager to reclaim its stature as a superpower, and Putin, a former KGB officer with an ego the size of his country, is unpredictable, ruthless, and bent upon taking more land and resources. The annexation of Crimea proves this, along with the war in the Ukraine, the relentless incursions into NATO airspace, and threatening posture of flights off the U.S. coast. Bombers within forty miles of California? Yes. That happened this week, again. Russia has simulated nuclear attacks against Sweden, and they are actively militarizing the arctic, building bases to go after oil resources as the ice packs melt.

Ourselves

abraham cover final

More dangerous to this great nation than these other threats is the one we present to ourselves.

For a house divided cannot stand.

amazon.com/author/seantsmith

TEARS OF ABRAHAM, cover reveal and signing announcement!

abraham cover final

The first Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in American history. The second war is worse.

While the nation tears itself apart, a soldier with a deadly secret fights his way home to his family.

Freedom is worth dying for, and love is a reason to live…but a house divided cannot stand.

Can Henry, Suzanne and the United States survive? Often the things we love we hurt the most.

Bestselling author Steve Konkoly says:

Tears of Abraham delivers a frightening look at a nation torn apart by a not so distant civil war. In classic Smith style, the conflict unfolds on a deeply personal level, delivering a guy punch of authentic military style action, sleek conspiracy undertones, and gripping family drama. I was hooked from the start by this uniquely dystopian military thriller.”

This is a deeply patriotic novel, my love letter to America. Should our differences lead to open war, the results will be beyond anything we can imagine, yet even now people clamor for secession without understanding what that would mean. While politics forms a backdrop to this book, it is essentially apolitical, a look at a conflict more than a hundred years in the making through the eyes of heroes, villains, and the innocent.

TEARS OF ABRAHAM will be released in March 2016, published by Post Hill Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster.

http://www.amazon.com/Sean-T.-Smith/e/B00IKHPGEK

No Safe Place

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No safe place is left these days
Though I wish it wasn’t true
Hunkered, shaking, in silent cold
A piece of me in you
Amid the ruins and bleached bones
This world gone insane
Bitten, bleeding, dying, dark
In the end betrayed

It wasn’t really you
I try to believe
Like the thing I am becoming
Won’t truly be me
Maybe we’re all hungry
And that’s how it’s always been
The ones that take big pieces
Are the ones we let in
I’m turning
Yearning
http://www.amazon.com/Objects-Wrath-Sean-T-Smith/dp/1618682245/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428375401&sr=8-1&keywords=objects+of+wrath