Category Archives: War and Peace

Peace Day

In 1981 the United Nations declared by unanimous resolution that September 21 be recognized as The International Day of Peace. This is a “globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.” (see: internationaldayofpeace.org).

Why is “building a Culture of Peace” so hard for us?

Every reasonably intelligent person will say that they want peace and yet a Culture of Peace eludes us. At this point many a reasonably intelligent person will also reflexively qualify their desire for Peace with some form of the following: “…but we can’t have Peace as long as they…”. So the work to establish a Culture of Peace stalls.

“Who do you think you are?” is usually expressed as the indignant rejection of an insult but if we consider it as a serious question for ourselves to answer, it may shed some light on why it’s so difficult for us to establish that Culture of Peace.

Maybe we think we are inherently a violent and warlike species. Maybe we think it’s “in our genes” and that “we can’t help it.” Maybe we believe that, despite our best efforts, we are killers from a long line of killers.

That is the Old Story.

This is the story of us, locked into a world of toxic competition in which some must “lose” in life in order for others to “win.” It’s the concept that supports capitalism as we know it and keeps us in seemingly endless wars.

But is this who we really are?

There is a New Story (see: mettacenter.org) of humanity that is emerging. This story paints a very different picture of who we are. It shows us that, at our core, we are actually good rather than evil. We are inclined to cooperate and help each other succeed in life. We see this truth emerge again and again when some sort of disaster strikes (remember how people treated each other right after 9/11?) and our differences are quickly put aside. For however brief a time, we see each other clearly. We see each other as fellow human beings instead of as members of some artificial category.

Creating a Culture of Peace becomes not only possible but natural when we start to remember who we really are and start letting go of the false narratives that hold us prisoner.

As a means to reaching this end there is the concept of the two hands of Real Peace. One hand is closed and says “I oppose your injustice and destructiveness” while the other hand is open and says: “I’m open to you as a person.” This is a realistic practice. We can affirm the humanity of every person without exception while standing firmly against all systems that oppress any person anywhere.

This Real Peace rests on the foundation of our relationships with each other. These relationships form the bonds of our inter-connected nature. That is where our real security begins and how it thrives. It is not our neighbor’s fear of us that makes us feel safe. We feel safe with each other because, in some way, we see each our neighbor as family. Security is the result of knowing that what happens to any family member happens to all family members. We have defined “family” in an exceedingly narrow way for far too long. That needs to change and change fast.

Building a Culture of Peace does not mean that we will live in a conflict-free world. There will be conflict well into the future as long as human beings are involved with each other. What it does mean is that we solve our problems without resorting to violence. It means we recognize that the problem is the problem and not that people are the problem. It means that we give up the illogical belief that hurting others, or ourselves, is a viable way to resolve conflicts.

Building a Culture of Peace is both realistic and natural for the human family when we understand who we are in relationship to each other. We hold ourselves back from this realization by continuing to cling to our artificial categories of identification. We imagine that we are members of a particular nation, religion, political party, profession or class. No such category gets close to the depth of who we really are as beings. That would be like going for your regular medical check-up and having your doctor assess your health by examining the clothes you’re wearing. It doesn’t get to the heart of the matter.

If we want to establish a Culture of Peace in human society we will need to establish that culture within ourselves as part of the process. We need to heal the injuries sustained by our fragile humanness by claiming the truth of our own sacredness. Not only our own but the sacredness of everyone else as well. There is no one who isn’t. This sacredness is by no means limited to human beings. It encompasses all of creation.

We get to the heart of the matter when we recognize the sacredness of All. There we will find the Culture of Peace.

Moral Equivocation 101

Father Raymond J. de Souza wrote “The Morality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 75 Years Later” at The National Catholic Register:

https://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/the-morality-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-75-years-later

In it, he said: “It is beyond dispute that nuclear weapons — a single bomb capable of killing 140,000 in Hiroshima and 75,000 in Nagasaki — changed the military dimension of the war. The atomic bomb made it clear that every major city in Japan could be obliterated with a few dozen American sorties. The unconditional surrender of Japan thus followed swiftly.”

He is wrong. Maybe he should listen to members of the military at the time, some with titles like Admiral and General and names like MacArthur, Eisenhower and Nimitz, to understand the “military dimension” of the use of the nuclear bombs on Japan.

It’s sad when we have to rely on the LameStream news of Yahoo/LA Times to help us unequivocally understand the horrors of war, over the FakeNews of a supposedly Catholic publication:

https://news.yahoo.com/op-ed-u-leaders-knew-100525153.html

Foreign Policy Alliance

From a reader. Maybe another CAM reader will want to get involved!

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Hello,

I work with the Foreign Policy Alliance, a five year old Houston group working to remake national security policy.

See: www.foreignpolicyalliance.org.(note, our resolution is endorsed by Andrew Bacevich).

I would like to show you an activist strategy to rein in militarism. The foundational concept is an update of the teach-in model. Activists will hold sessions at home to show short videos posted on You Tube to small groups. “Graduates” of these one evening schools will hold their own teach-ins. Quickly hundreds of new volunteers could become active in all major metro areas. Exponentially growth is an amazing thing.

This strategy can be affordably managed by as few as six activists per urbanized region. The intent is to pressure US officials to ratchet back on nuclear weapons, war making, and domestic surveillance. (In truth, only ONE person per city is necessary to launch the project.)

This plan is based on two successful tactics … house parties, that can function as 21st century “teach-ins”, and citizen lawmaking, which is used to reset local policies in Texas and elsewhere. An anti-corruption group, Represent.Us, is already having remarkable success with the latter tactic.
The plan can quickly scale-up to the 50 states. I estimate 900 new volunteers could be on board in six months. In every major city! But, even if only 300 per city sign up that is more than enough.

The web has a few articles about past projects. A search on Barry Klein Houston should turn up several. One of the shortest is titled: Barry Klein: Property Rights Protectorhttps://texasscorecard.com/citizen-profiles/barry-klein-property-rights-protector/

Please let me know if you would like to see details.

Yours in peace,

Barry Klein
Houston,Texas
713-224-4144
gov.reform.pro@gmail.com


P.S. To learn more about the power of the Represent.Us game plan look for this brief video on their website: “The Strategy to End Corruption”https://act.represent.us/sign/our-strategy/

The Catholic China Syndrome

You probably have heard of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Well there is another syndrome out there.  It’s called China Derangement Syndrome and it is infecting many good faithful Catholics in a big way. It has reached new extremes since the pandemic began.

This syndrome is easy to find among the more conservative, traditionalist Catholic writers on the internet.

Here are some examples:

Blogger John Zmirak:

“If we can verify that China protected its own citizens from this virus, while sending those likely infected all around the world like human bioweapons … that’s an act of war.
And a much more infamous one than Pearl Harbor, in fact. At least that sneak attack targeted soldiers, not old people in nursing homes.”

Michael Brendan Dougherty at National Review Online:

“Incorporating China into the global order was supposed to bring about an internal reform of the Chinese Communist Party and the liberalization of the Chinese state and society. Instead, China has used its access to international institutions to whitewash its behavior, spread propaganda about the competence of its state, corrupt business, and make something as simple as cellphone towers a national-security threat. The Chinese Communist Party has infected global institutions and markets with its amorality and lawlessness. The cure will be tough and costly, but the disease is worse.”

At Church Militant, where they always refer to the virus as the “Wuhan virus:”

“In either case, this nightmare scenario was brought to you by the Chinese Communist Party — emphasis on communists — either engineering a killer virus to control populations, or creating an environment where people are so deprived that eating raw, sometimes live animals, is a necessity.”

At Lifesite News, from a report on a Chinese dissident:

“During last week’s interview Chen issued a stark warning to leaders throughout the world, saying: ‘If free nations do not face the difficult task of deciding how to eradicate communist authoritarianism – a cancer on humanity – they will become its victims.’”

Patrick Coffin interviews retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Spalding:

“A war against the United States and the West has been raging under our noses for decades. This war is by definition covert and has many fronts: military, technological, political, and social.
The problem is so few people know it is being waged. Until now. Retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Spalding, a China expert and former Defense Attache to China in Bejing, China, has written a jaw-dropping book that every American should read. It’s called Stealth War: How China Took Over While America’s Elites Slept.”

Steve Bannon, the brilliant Catholic political strategist, and Steve Mosher, a prominent pro-life Catholic activist, have teamed up with a rogues gallery of anti-China militants to throw down the gauntlet against the CCP at the Committee on the Present Danger: CHINA

The Committee states in its “guiding principles” that:

“The United States is likely to face in the foreseeable future a determined and aggressive superpower adversary, prepared and willing to use force, as well as non-military forms of warfare, to defeat this country decisively. The PRC’s aggressive actions are increasingly putting at risk its own people and environment and that of the rest of the world.”

Bannon himself has said (in March 2016) that

“We’re going to war [with China] in the South China Sea in five to 10 years.”

With all due respect, before these American Catholics devote themselves to “liberating” the Chinese people, they should consider devoting themselves to liberating America and Americans from slavish devotion to violence and militarism, not to mention abortion, divorce, contraception, pornography, same sex “marriage,” man-hating feminism, and now the insane gender ideology. And in doing so perhaps they can stop America from exporting these evils to the rest of the world.

For Catholics, of course, forced abortions in China are a monstrous evil. The China “one child policy” was demonic and the Chinese leaders who imposed it on an unwilling populace will have to answer to God for that. But, God help us, here in America abortion is a “civil right” and people clamor for it and celebrate it. Many Americans, including Catholics, voluntarily collaborate with the abortion regime in numerous ways. What is desperately required here is conversion and repentance. How do the anti-China militants propose to convert Americans from their self-imposed slavery by getting into a war with a nuclear power on the other side of the world?

These folks are doing a great disservice to unborn babies and the pro-life movement in general by associating it with American militarist paranoia and agitating for a potential WWIII with a country which does not threaten us militarily. Communist authoritarianism, although it sure ain’t what it used to be, may be a “cancer on humanity,” but so is a violent, declining and decadent American Empire and it is our cancer and we are responsible for preventing its spread and eliminating it.

The most concise statement on US imperialism I’ve read

“It was only after the planters of the South were defeated in 1865 that the balance of power was decisively transferred to the industrialists and financiers of the North. Once they gained control of the country’s economic development, the rise of the US empire proved unstoppable.” This is from British academic Will Fowler in his book “Latin America since 1780”.

I also recommend his fascinating biography of Santa Anna. All his books can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Will-Fowler/e/B001HOIJ06?ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vu00_taft_p1_i0

In his “Latin America since 1780”, there is great history showing how the revolutionary period in Latin America was partially caused by the Bishops siding with the governments and against the parish priests: “By the time the wars of independence began, a high proportion of leading revolutionaries were priests.” Obviously, at this site, we would never advocate armed revolutions, but parish priests should follow this model and lead the fight against the Bishops lack of leadership and tendency to side with the government.

Trump Derangement Syndrome

I saw this posted on Facebook today. It was posted by a “friend.” In my view, this is the predictable, cumulative effect of the daily “two minutes of hate” being orchestrated by our mainstream media. Very scary. Very sad.

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If you are voting trump in November, please unfriend me. It is so unconscionable to me that I’m burning up every day at this point it feels equivalent to being a “friend” of a murderer who is brainwashed and beyond hope of any argument or event or obvious sign changing their mind. The conclusion is foregone because the conclusion is the premise. 

Your vote directly endangers the lives and wellbeing of the people I care about most. It’s not a “political question” anymore; it’s a life and death and basic goodness question. So just hit the unfriend button. I don’t want to talk about it because I believe you are beyond logic and brainwashed by the idiotic twisted plastic sadistic empty headed empty hearted white supremacist misogyny-filled hosts I see on conservative media. I don’t want trolls, I don’t want arguments. I just don’t want to see your posts, and I don’t want you to see mine. 

BECAUSE I’m more furious at conservatives than ever before, than any wrongheaded irrational superior self-righteous crazy inhumane bigotry I’ve seen before. there is no excuse anymore and if you can’t see how evil this man and his administration are, and how much damage they are doing to democracy and to ordinary people like me, I just don’t want to see you on my feed or in my life. Because it means you do not support my wellbeing or the wellbeing of my friends and communities and you do not have basic discernment to recognize that this narcissistic evil idiot is a threat to us all. 

BECAUSE the department of justice, the conservative stacked Supreme Court, now wants to sue state governors for opening when it makes sense for their state’s public health versus when trump says so because he cares more about the DOW and his re-election prospects and encouraging his crazy base than human life? 

AND Every single day I see messages in JP Facebook groups about people losing parents or other loved ones to this disease. It kills me. It scares me. Every day I read about health care workers (like my sister, my close friend’s father, medical professionals I know well who help me get monthly infusions, or medical professionals in my community) who worry about getting adequate PPE and who will not with this administration, or if they do it will be thanks to their governor, who will be vilified for taking any independent action to supply their need (like that poor guy Hogan). 

BECAUSE Trump Is halting all immigration demonstratively including the refugee program, which were already stopped anyway because travel is stopped, but also because he halted the refugee program before this, to rile up his base when travel was already stopped? 

AND I have friends and former students (whether ex pats living abroad, or friends from Iran, or Pakistan, or Western or Eastern Europe) who will directly suffer from travel and immigration bans. 

BECAUSE he is stopping funding to the World Health Organization (and therefore to developing countries that have 11 ventilators total) during a pandemic? 

AND I oriented a refugee (who had been detained by ICE) into his homestay this year and now know that the country he is from, Burkina Faso, is one of many African countries with extremely limited water and health care infrastructure that will suffer in unimaginable ways because of the president’s funding cuts to The World Health Organization, one of the most important actors in global health emergencies. 

BECAUSE he is letting human being stay packed into prisons, homeless shelters, and ICE detention centers.

AND I have friends who have experienced ICE detention, and a penpal new friend in a prison with cases who may get sick, and they are at the bottom of the list of who gets a ventilator. 

BECAUSE this man is endangering media freedom by labeling questions “nasty” or not taking them, labeling new outlets that don’t “yes” him as fake, firing people who don’t agree with him, and in every possible way endangering freedom of press, freedom of speech, academic freedom, freedom of thought, and freedom of critique. 

BECAUSE his Supreme Court is so partisan they would rather support voter suppression by not allowing mail-in voting during a pandemic, because they probably want to justify delaying the election, and further destroying our democracy. 

BECAUSE this administration both tacitly endorses anti-asian sentiment and hate crime and doesn’t do enough to stop it, and since the virus there has been a huge spike in hate crimes and I give this administration some responsibility for that. 

BECAUSE all this shit terrifies and infuriates me. 

BECAUSE close responsible talented friends of mine living month to month are not going to make it through this without reliable government support and instead this administration is giving supposed “small business loans” mostly to the pretty large businesses they are fans of and very vey few people are actually getting these loans, and most of the bail out bill went to corporate giants who would have been relatively fine compared to human beings living month to month. And even if things “start up” again this just means and excuse to not support people financially during the pandemic which essentially means anyone who cannot put themselves or others in their lives at lethal risk will not get either a paycheck or in some cases a backlogged unemployment check or an inaccessible small business loan or another one-time stimulus check… nevermind the students, undocumented people, and other ineligible Americans who need payments or rent and mortgage bans to survive now… “opening” is an excuse for the government to financially do a criminally minimal job of supporting people in an economic situation worse than the Great Depression. This suffering included children. Children of immigrant parents, black children, white middle class children, poor kids, scared kids… and everyone who falls between the cracks the policies forget or knowingly abandon, like those who aren’t eligible for unemployment, or who can’t move right now but can’t pay their rent because unemployment is so much less than they were making before, or who aren’t eligible for disability but still can’t put themselves at risk. 

BECAUSE this administration is destroying environmental protections, and cares more about the oil industry than the fate of life on this planet, and is willing to ignore the facts and allow climate change to progress and the periods of severe climate disasters, flooding of coastal cities, inequality, and diseases will get much much worse unless we take radical climate actions… and that endangers every life on this planet, including the unborn babies you claim to think are more important than the lives and agency and wellbeing of every single living adult. Supporting the oil industry also means supporting the oil industrial and military industrial complexes, which in a very not abstract way, means terror and death for people who are real people with real lives you can’t imagine or choose to ignore. Sanctions do this too; they punish people more than they punish governments. 

BECAUSE this evil demented gertrude stein and evil milktoast / oily snotbag (trump and pence) are misogynistic homophobic transphobic pieces of shit and that structurally and psychologically endangers me and 80% of my closest friends. even if a gay man can run for president and get disgustingly harassed not by trump but only by the ever-disgusting Rush Limbaugh to whom our president gave a medal of freedom, I know this administration especially pence would actively block national adoption rights and other protections for nontraditional families or any other number of policies, which means this country will continue to be built of benefit structures that benefit straight cis people. 

Don’t talk to me about politeness and decency… look at the billboard in your own eye before the speck in ours. is trump ever “decent”? we start dying inside when we lose our capacity for just outrage, to blend an MLK quote with a Rabbi Heshel line. Nancy ripping up a speech is a symbolic act of just outrage because the speech was full of outright lies and propaganda. I wish she had burned it. You know what is NOT a symbolic act of nonviolent resistance? Violent and/or idiotic protesters without masks on spreading disease and the disease of misinformation while conservative commentators perpetuate a comparison to Rosa Parks…. completely re-appropriating and dishonoring her legacy (are you fucking kidding me?) …. and Hilary’s emails? I mean… seriously? does that questionable fumble equate even remotely the open secret, now openly admitted of trump’s scandal which included actually blackmailing a nation and withholding military aid for his own interests? admit the problems with these facts and then talk to me about correctness, politeness, decency, or transparency. Look at trump’s actions… are they humane or based in empathy? Ending the REFUGEE program? trying to limit the FOOD STAMP program? don’t excuse my language when I say: what the Actual fuck. 

his defense’s only recourse to defense was in the argument that ABUSE OF POWER IS NOT AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION. you seriously want that precedent on the books? 

BECAUSE he is allowing his son in law’s company and other friends in big Pharma to build in legal ways to profit off of this disaster instead of guaranteeing accessible treatments and care to all. Because he won’t even let people with NO medical insurance buy it LATE. He wants them to be suddenly hit with 100K in medical bills and no insurance and no way to pay? 

There are about a million more things I could say here and I am furious. And I am watching our country fall apart because of “flu klux clan” protesters and churches suing states and the feds suing the states and the states having no choice but to sue the feds… honestly, I just wish the red states would go make their own country. just go away. no war, just leave. 

I wish the same of trump and his base. 

Dear trump base if I even know any of you (I can’t even think of any friends of mine I’m aware of so this is just in case): I believe you are brainwashed by conservative media and beyond hope of basic rational or basic compassionate argumentation reaching you. 

That has been my experience of trying to have conversations with those who support trump. It looks like total complete beyond hope brain washing to me of previously kind good people. 

So I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to argue. It does no good. The premise is the conclusion and reason and logic and human care went out the window a long time ago on your “side.” 

Trump’s supporters support him no matter what he does, no questions asked, no matter how his message changes, no matter who or what he hurts, or how much death his actions make him directly responsible for. 

Nevermind him being a narcissistic child and sociopathic misogynist asshole with an obvious personality disorder who actually expects governors to Thank and praise him profusely for (not) delivering on extremely basic needs during this crisis then bullies them for getting supplies however they can (because Hogan was to be his republican challenger; so it’s always about his political or financial interests). 

There is no logic that works. He acts like he is not subject to logic, law, or basic empathy. Out of one side of his mouth he pretends to be listening to experts and giving states leniency since every state’s situation is different, out of the other side of his mouth he eggs on protesters and incites those who feel violently toward reasonable people just doing their jobs who are now getting daily death threats because he is doing the opposite of protecting them. 

If you can not see that this man is the most obviously obviously obviously evil awful inhumane anti-empathetic scum bag that has ever walked the face of the earth, please just hit that unfriend button. I have a close friend who stopped talking to a parent because of this… since I do not have parents that support this man, this is my version of that. I would absolutely cut out the closest of family. In the same way I would cut out the closest of family if nazis brainwashed them and took control of their bodies and minds. It is disgusting and intolerable to me to see posts that do not recognize the evil in the powers that be right now and recognizing and standing up to it means protecting me and my friends and my communities, and human beings everywhere, so if you’re going to be in my life, know I need that basic level of human decency and recognition from you.

An Open Letter to LifeSiteNews

Dear LifeSiteNews, 

Thank you for the good and important work that you do. I hope you will today help your readers to recall that March 20 is the 17th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. 

One man, Mark Scibilia-Carver, has created a website and a Scroll of Remembrance, listing all Catholics (or at least those who have had Catholic funerals) who have died in these pre-emptive, unjust, immoral, ill-advised and unnecessary post 9-11 wars. 

www.TheCatholicCostofWar.org

I did an interview with Mark here: https://youtu.be/T1Ek86sMh_g

I understand the desire not to water down the meaning of “pro life” by trying to make it encompass every issue under the sun — I agree with that. But when it comes to people killing other people — especially in unjust, unnecessary, immoral, and pre-emptive wars — I think we can honestly call it a valid pro-life issue.

It is my opinion that the abortion pro-life cause is only hurt when Catholics turn a blind eye to other forms of unjust, systemic, white collar, corporate killing, refusing to speak about it in “conservative” circles, literally pretending that these wars do not exist. It’s a massive blindspot that undermines the pro-life cause. 

This war is the longest in our country’s history, with no end in sight. Just like the atomic bombs — dropped by Christians — were more effective in wiping out Japanese Christianity than hundreds of years of Christian persecution in that country, these wars have done more to wipe out Middle Eastern Christianity than persecution ever could. 

Let’s call to mind those men and women who died in these wars. Will you help? 

God bless.

Sincerely, 
Ellen Finnigan