Category Archives: Nonfiction Books

Archibald Baxter

Archibald Baxter, Catholic Conscientious Objector from New Zealand

Archibald Baxter, Catholic Conscientious Objector from New Zealand

From Lest We Forget:

Archibald Baxter was a hard working farmer, Catholic and pacifist. In 1915, when he was 33, Baxter was arrested, sent to prison, then as one of 14 conscientious objectors, shipped under guard to France where he was forced to the front line against his will. Punished to the limits of his physical and mental endurance, Baxter was stripped of all dignity, beaten, starved and placed directly in the line of fire. Field Punishment No.1, which Baxter and his fellow conscientious objectors received regularly, included ‘the crucifixion’, in which they were tied to a post, their hands, knees and feet bound and held in this position for up to four hours a day. In later life Baxter published We Will Not Cease, an autobiography which recounted his experiences as a pacifist.

archi

 

 

Means, Motive, Opportunity

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

anotherAn important new book called “Another 19: Investigating 9/11 Suspects” has been written by Kevin Robert Ryan, investigating “another 19” possible suspects besides Osama bin Laden and the handful of young Arabs, suspects who had three key things in any investigation: means, motive, and opportunity.

Before you dismiss it as a “conspiracy theory,” keep in mind that the official narrative of 9/11 is itself a conspiracy theory which has not been proven true by any acceptable standard. For a quick overview of the official conspiracy theory, watch this well done video (five minutes):

 

Mike Lofgren on The Deep State

As a former Congressional staff member with top secret security clearance, Mike Lofgren crunched the numbers for 28 years as part of the House and Senate Budget Committees and found that the numbers didn’t add up. The numbers led him to connect the dots to America’s “deep state”: where elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. He left the Republican party and wrote The Party Is Over.

Now he has written an essay called The Anatomy of the Deep State. It is a must-read.

An interview with Bill Moyers is below. “He says: I’m not a conspiracy theorist…This is something that hides in plain sight. It’s something we know about but we can’t connect the dots, or most people can’t.”

He talks about a hybrid of corporate America and the national security state. He also talks about Group Think, “a kind of assimilation of the views of your superiors and peers,” a all out plague in Washington.

Moyers: “If the ideology of the deep state is not right or left, Democrat or Republican, what is it?”

Lofgren: “It’s an ideology. I just don’t think we’ve named it. It’s kind of corporatism. Now the actors in this drama tend to steer clear of social issues. They pretend to be merely neutral servants of the State giving the best advice possible on national security or financial matters, but they hold a very deep ideology of the Washington consensus at home, which is deregulation, outsourcing, de-industrialization and financialization and they believe in American exceptionalism abroad, which is: boots on the ground everywhere, it’s our right to meddle everywhere in the world, and the result of that is perpetual war.

He does end on a hopeful note:

The Catholic Peace Tradition

If only every student at a Catholic high school or college was required to read this book! I am reading it now and highly recommend it.

This book is a history of the peace tradition in the Roman Catholic Church from the time of the Gospels to the twentieth century. Its purpose is to show that there is a continuing, unbroken, and self-sustaining stream within Catholicism from the martyrs and pacifists of the early church to John XXIII and the peacemakers of our time.

Read the reviews on Amazon.

peace tradition

“To reach peace, teach peace.” — Pope John Paul II

 

Kill Anything That Moves

 

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From Amazon:

Based on classified documents and first-person interviews, a startling history of the American war on Vietnamese civilians.

The American Empire Project
Winner of the Ridenhour Prize for Reportorial Distinction

Americans have long been taught that events such as the notorious My Lai massacre were isolated incidents in the Vietnam War, carried out by just a few “bad apples.” But as award-winning journalist and historian Nick Turse demonstrates in this groundbreaking investigation, violence against Vietnamese noncombatants was not at all exceptional during the conflict. Rather, it was pervasive and systematic, the predictable consequence of official orders to “kill anything that moves.”

Drawing on more than a decade of research into secret Pentagon archives and extensive interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors, Turse reveals for the first time the workings of a military machine that resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded—what one soldier called “a My Lai a month.” Devastating and definitive, Kill Anything That Moves finally brings us face-to-face with the truth of a war that haunts America to this day.

Afghanistan: A Distant War

afghan

From Amazon:

Noted documentary photographer Robert Nickelsberg’s photographs help bring into focus the day-to-day consequences of war, poverty, oppression, and political turmoil in Afghanistan. Since the attack on the World Trade Center, Afghanistan has evolved from a country few people thought twice about to a place that evokes our deepest emotions. TIME magazine photographer Robert Nickelsberg has been publishing his images of this distant yet all too familiar country since 1988, when he accompanied a group of mujahideen across the border from Pakistan. This remarkable volume of photographs is accompanied by insightful texts from experts on Afghanistan and the Taliban. The images themselves are captioned with places, dates, and Nickelsberg’s own extensive commentary. Timely and important, the book serves as a reminder that Afghanistan and the rest of the world remain inextricably linked, no matter how much we long to distance ourselves from its painful realities.

Plenary Assembly, International Theological Commission

*** This was written by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy. We have inserted the images.***

Are the bishops, priests and deacons in the Catholic Church in the United States listening to this fellow? How about Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, Europe, Africa, South America, Asia? If the Pope had said that Catholics must return to the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue only, the U.S., British, Irish, etc. airwaves, TV, radio talk shows, Internet, papers, magazines and pulpits—from the far right to the middle of the road to the far left—would be ceaselessly and volcanically bellowing in all directions. However, the Pope says, “The definitive revelation of God in Jesus Christ makes every recourse to violence in God’s name ultimately lifeimpossible,” and the silence is so total that you can hear a U.S. drone strike seven thousand miles away in Pakistan—if you care to listen. Communion on the tongue or in the hand is an utter irrelevancy. Christ’s refusal of violence, His overcoming evil with good, thereby making recourse to violence for the Christian impossible is as strong an indictment as can be made on the failure to catechize and spiritually guide the Catholic flock along the Way of Jesus in many countries of the world. Yet all of the Catholic right, middle and a significant percentage of the Catholic left “ho hum” it. The use of calculated silent indifference as a method of refusing to acknowledge that something of ultimate importance is being said is the bread and butter of corporate mass media, I would think that the use of such a methodology by Church leaders would cause them to sleep poorly at night.

Here is Pope Francis on Vatican radio.

(Vatican Radio, 1/15/14) Pope Francis received the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the International Theological Commission on Friday. The three main themes the Commission is addressing throughout the course of its current five-year study period are: the relations between monotheism and violence; the social doctrine of the Church; and, the “sense of the faith.” Speaking of the possible perversions of authentic faith in the one true God, Pope amenFrancis said, “The definitive revelation of God in Jesus Christ makes every recourse to violence in God’s name ultimately impossible. It is precisely because of [Christ’s] refusal of violence, because of his having overcome evil with good, with the blood of his Cross, that Jesus has reconciled men to God and each other.”

P.S. If you would like a good warm-up piece to read before the International Theological Commission publishes its full text (only a very brief summary has been published at this hour), you might want to read, hopefully read again (!), Violent Monotheism: True or False?  that can be found on either of the two websites below, as Chapter 3 In the book All Things Flee thee For thou Fleest Me, or as Chapter 5 in Christian Just War Theory: The Logic of Deceit. Also as I understand the content of the International Theological Commission’s document, Chapter 5, The Nonviolent Trinity, in All Things Flee thee For thou Fleest Me could be most helpful.

 heaven

“Thou, Dear God”

Thou, Dear God, Prayers That Open Hearts and Spirits,” by Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Thou, Dear God” is the first and only collection of sixty-eight prayers by Martin Luther King, Jr. Arranged thematically in six parts–with prayers for spiritual guidance, special occasions, times Thou Dear godof adversity, times of trial, uncertain times, and social justice–Baptist minister and King scholar Lewis Baldwin introduces the book and each section with short essays. Included are both personal and public prayers King recited as a seminarian, graduate student, preacher, pastor, and, finally, civil rights leader, along with a special section that reveals the biblical sources that most inspired King. Collectively they illustrate how King turned to private prayer for his own spiritual fulfillment and to public prayer as a way to move, inspire, and reaffirm a quest for peace and social justice. With a foreword by Rev. Dr. Julius R. Scruggs, it is the perfect gift for people and leaders of all faiths, and an invaluable resource for spiritual individuals and those who lead worship.

War Made Easy

War Made Easy reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose a 50-year pattern of government deception and media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. Narrated by actor and activist Sean Penn, the film exhumes remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, revealing in stunning detail how the American news media have uncritically disseminated the pro-war messages of successive presidential administrations. The documentary is based on the book War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death by Norman Soloman and published in 2005.

Exorcisms as Treatment for PTSD?

The New York Post ran an article on a retreat center that performs exorcisms on soldiers suffering from PTSD and Jennifer Percy’s book Demon Camp:

“Army machine-gunner Caleb Daniels lost his best friend and seven other members of his unit when a Chinook helicopter — 41n1pTi8KiL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_one he was meant to be on — crashed in Afghanistan.

The 2005 tragedy haunted him when he returned to his home in Savannah, Ga. At night, a tall, shadowy figure crept into his room. Sometimes the Black Thing would threaten to kill him; other times it would choke his dead best friend.

The dark figure, a ‘Destroyer demon,’ punished him, he said, ‘for killing and for living.’

Rev. William Halloran

I have not read the book, but I think it’s a good sign if some are beginning to see that PTSD is both a spiritual and a psychological problem. Pumping veterans full of drugs will probably not be enough to heal them. This calls to mind William Halloran, who was the Jesuit Catholic priest who, at the age of twenty-six, assisted in the exorcism of the young Roland Doe; this was the case that inspired William Peter Blatty to write his novel The Exorcist. Halloran later became a paratrooper chaplain in Vietnam during the war. He said that he saw more evil in Vietnam than he ever did in Roland Doe’s bed. And let’s not reduce this to the tired statement “War is hell.” War is worse.