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A Marvelous Read
Rating: 5.0 stars
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for
St. Peter's Choice is a metaphysical novel written by Dean T. Hartwell. It takes place on Judgement Day, the day when the saved are rewarded with Heaven, and the sinners are consigned to lakes of fire. St. Peter is reading the names from the list that God has given him. While he is doing so, he happens to overhear a conversation between God and a non-Christian. This person had lived a good and virtuous life, but did not embrace the concept of Jesus as his personal savior. God faults the man for not confessing his sins and sends him to hell. The man answers that losing one's integrity is worse than being sent to hell. The man then meets two other rejected souls in a place where he hears the crackling of flames. They question the power of those flames, and the flames disappear. St. Peter is intrigued by what he hears and goes to converse with the three.
Dean T. Hartwell's metaphysical/philosophical novel, St. Peter's Choice is a marvelous read. Hartwell contrasts what St. Peter remembers of his time with Christ with what his informants are telling him of the Bible as they know it. Hot-button issues such as gay marriage, women's equality and evolution pop up during the conversation. One particularly interesting chapter is the gospel according to X, wherein X tells what he thinks Christ's story is. This gospel made a lot of sense to me. Other important issues that are brought up in St. Peter's Choice are how some gospels were not included in the Bible as not pushing the church leaders' agenda, and how greedy, mean-spirited and hateful people can be accepted into heaven just because of their belief in Christ as a personal savior. At what cost to your soul and integrity do you walk through those pearly gates? That's the decision St. Peter must make and it's grand reading the dialogue as he makes up his mind.
Rating: 5.0 stars
Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
If you don’t believe in heaven, is hell real? In St. Peter’s Choice by Dean T. Hartwell, the traditional concept of the Last Judgment is under careful scrutiny with the application of logic. Inconsistencies in what Christians believe to be the ‘Word of God’ are brought into question and the validity of the Bible itself is examined in light of modern research. By following his curiosity, St. Peter learns of the use of free will to reach decisions about what to believe instead of living life based on blind faith and obedience. He understands that choices have consequences, but is surprised to find that the consequences are not real when there is no belief in them or their alternatives. Heaven may just be how one lives life – not some illusion that is promised as a reward for accepting a particular set of beliefs.
Dean T. Hartwell uses a fictionalized St. Peter to express his opinions about the nature of God and blind belief in what have traditionally been seen as His laws. St. Peter’s Choice essentially outlines what could be called flaws in the logic of Christian dogma and questions why a loving God would keep anyone from the Kingdom of Heaven. He proposes that Jesus was speaking in code and was actually part of a conspiracy to overthrow Roman rule. That leads to the assertion that the Bible should be taken figuratively and not literally, and that to insist on adhering to it word for word is to defy logic and common sense. This is great reading as a starting point for an interesting discussion or as a stepping stone to learn more about the modern quest for understanding other possible stories of Jesus.
Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice - United States Senator Barry Goldwater
Many political observers cringed when candidate Barry Goldwater delivered this phrase at the Republican National Convention in 1964. It sounded like Goldwater would put no limit on United States intervention in Viet Nam.
Years later, I believe Goldwater’s comment reflects the way the world really works. The words are malleable enough to justify any action taken for any cause.
What is extremism?
It depends upon to whom one refers. Goldwater spoke by implication of
aggression by the old Soviet Union or North Viet Nam. Perhaps tacitly, he implied the reason there was no limit to actions we were willing to instigate was because we feared what the “enemy” might do.
So, if we believe another nation or group of people oppose us, or may take something we want, they are “extremists.” We believed that North Viet Nam was a threat to our ally South Viet Nam, so some of the forces in the Gulf of Tonkin contacted President Johnson and lied about the North Vietnamese firing upon our ships. Goldwater backed Johnson’s
subsequent response to step up the bombing and to ask for Congressional support for expanded force in that region.
We were not extremists. We just did what we had to do to protect an ally and our interests in that area of the world. We also did not want anyone else in the world to believe we would back down from the threat the “enemy” posed to us.
In short, we can use extreme measures, but we are not extremists.
What is liberty?
Again, it seems to matter whose liberty to which we refer. Our liberty is something we find necessary to defend. Our Declaration of Independence makes mention of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Liberty places second after the need to live first but before our own happiness. It seems, then, that life is meaningless without liberty.
The irony is not lost upon me that we often destroy the liberty of others (by invading, bombing, disenfranchising, etc.) to make sure that we have our own. We must fail to recognize that simple reciprocity would deprive us of what we say we prize.
So what, then, do we make of vice?
It seems that we do not assign the word vice to ourselves but rather to those whom we oppose. The communists, the terrorists, the extremists, the fascists and everyone else our nation has cornered at the point of a gun. The threats we perceive are wrong; the threats we use to counter the perceived threats are right.
I guess, in my heart, I know Goldwater was right. We do whatever we think necessary to make the world safe for us to dominate. Then we plead danger because people ask too many questions when the going
Goldwater’s only real vice was telling the truth.
Dean T. Hartwell pulls no punches about the events of 9/11. There were no hijackings, for one thing. And none of the planes alleged as part of the plot actually flew any passengers!
Hartwell admits he was mistaken in previously saying that passengers landed in Cleveland that day. After reviewing all available information, he says that Flight 175 likely landed in Cleveland but no passengers were on board!
This book calls out those who have lied to us about 9/11 and explains to the reader why they lied. Then he describes the road to a peaceful society as a long and winding one, but the road he prefers over hearing lie after lie!
This is Dean T. Hartwell's final say on what happened to the alleged passengers and planes of 9/11. He also talks about the value of truth seeking to our society.
He talks about events in recent history. The JFK assassination, the Viet Nam War, Sept 11, etc. Our leaders and the media frequently lie to us about these kinds of
Lies are nothing new. Most people have been lied to most of their lives. (Santa Claus - a man in a red suit flown by reindeer delivering gifts to millions of kids on one night!). No big deal.
What this book does is to tell the reader why our leaders lie. And how they benefit from it.
This book won’t change the world. That’s OK. The world isn’t going to change because someone says someone is lying! But maybe some people will.
The events of 9/11 were a hoax. I spent several years researching the event and have presented my conclusions on this topic. People are free to read what I have to say and agree or disagree with those conclusions.
My question now is: what should we who are convinced of the falsity of the official theory of 9/11 want?
We will never convict those responsible for this fraud.
We will never get the mainstream media to show our side to the story.
We will never reverse the policies that came about as a result of the fraud.
With that in mind, we can and should focus on something that we can attain. It is something far more basic than any of these other goals and perhaps even more useful.
It is the simple concept of freedom.
The controversy over what happened on September 11 and many other events before and since has stoked the fears of all of us.
Fear of terrorists. Fear of foreigners. Fear of flying. Fear of freedoms being taken from us. Fear of the future.
In the words of Franklin Roosevelt, we need freedom from fear.
We can work toward this goal by untangling us from what makes us so afraid: the unknown. Answers to a few simple questions would be helpful.
Are you afraid the government will take your guns (or other freedoms)?
Do you often believe what the same government tells you about 9/11 and other events?
Do you believe history repeats itself?
Do you believe the future will be much different than the past?
If you are willing to hold two contradictory thoughts at the same time, will you ever achieve freedom of thought?
Welcome to a future that will be a lot like what we have already experienced. The government and media will continue to lie to protect interests. People will continue to predict Doomsday. The truth about anything important will be known but never stated openly until it no longer matters.
Clear your mind and follow the way of the world. Not a straight line to disaster but one big familiar circle instead.
When the revolution came, no one recognized it.
"The media's lying to us? Yeah, right. You people should go to jail."
Those who could see found their vision had no light, their voice had no audience.
They had nowhere to go. The few true revolutionaries looked within for freedom, for genuine solutions to problems and for the truth.
It was a movement with no sound or fury, a concoction of like-minded people who decided the box had nothing to offer them. They would meet every so often to provide comfort to one another.
The rest of society simply ignored them. They knew what was best for themselves and for others. Very soon they outlawed questions by refusing to answer them.
This is how a lie became the truth. The revolutionaries are nothing more than a memory somewhere deep in the archives of the Town that Time Forgot.
No one will ever ask about the time capsule of the revolutionaries and their ideas. It's not that they don't care. They just don't know how.
Now they don't even recognize themselves. Who says you need a gun to dictate to the masses? Some just dictate themselves.
Throughout every recent presidential campaign, a dialogue develops in the media between the major candidates for the job. The candidate best able to position themselves before the public takes the job.
The dialogue has its context. Voters have a distinct perception of the most important issue, how well or how poorly the economy is doing. And they hear reports of how wars are going.
This perception is how Ronald Reagan used the phrase “Morning in America” in his re-election campaign of 1984. As the public already believed, rightly or wrongly, that the nation had peace and prosperity, Reagan’s dialogue was strengthened.
As a way of telling the public not to argue with success, he said of his opponent, Walter Mondale, that he “never met a tax he didn’t hike” and that he “taxes [Reagan’s] patience.” Mondale’s response, that he was being “honest” about the need for new taxes, got lost in the dialogue. Given the choice of a candidate who promised jobs and a candidate who promised the truth, voters as a group were conditioned to optimism and believed they could have both.
A dialogue over taxes took over the following election between Vice President George H. W. Bush and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. Bush lacked his predecessor’s congenial manner and used issues in a more cynical way.
Bush’s dialogue included phrases such as “read my lips, no new taxes” and a name for his opponent’s state, “Taxachusetts.” But on the issue of crime, he repeatedly named a man who had been released as part of the Massachusetts furlough program and who had then raped a woman. Television commercials made it clear that the prisoner, Willie Horton, was a black man.
It was as if Bush was saying that the voters ought to fear a Dukakis election as crime and taxes would go up. He also threw in Dukakis’ veto of a bill that would have made a teacher’s refusal to lead the pledge of allegiance a crime. It was an assault on Dukakis for some of his ideas of public safety, taxes and patriotism.
Dukakis responded by explaining that a predecessor had started the furlough program and that he (Dukakis) had ended it after the Horton incident. He attacked Bush for promising not to raise taxes (a pledge that came back to haunt Bush albeit too late to help Dukakis). And he made it clear that he had gotten an advisory opinion about the bill on the pledge of allegiance from his state’s highest court, which told him it was unconstitutional.
The dialogue had Dukakis on the defensive even before he answered. Bush picked issues that evoke a visceral response but would not have gotten away with selecting these issues had the economy not be understood by the public to be satisfactory. Bush could not get re-elected because the economy had worsened over the next four years and because he had to defend his own record.
So what is in store for the election of 2012?
The economy has gone from bad in 2008 to…bad in 2012. President Obama will talk about his health care legislation and how the Supreme Court found it to be constitutional.
Mitt Romney will have to find a new way to attack a law patterned to a good extent after a law he signed when governor of Massachusetts. He will also have to explain what he would do differently than Obama in turning around the economy.
The burden is on Romney to find a chord that even some Democrats can agree with. Obama has positioned himself as a somebody. It will take a somebody to beat one.
From Dead Men Talking: Consequences of Government Lies (c) 2009
The United States government prides itself in having an open form of government. Members of Congress debate in front of spectators and television cameras the laws that they propose. The President of the United States publicly declares signings and vetoes of those bills from Congress. The Supreme Court publishes its opinions on legal issues. Federal agencies usually must release requested information to the public.
Yet a number of governmental actions did not come to the public’s attention at the time they were taken. For instance, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a part of the federal government, overthrew Iranian President Mossadegh in 1953. Very few outside the CIA knew of this coup until the Church Committee of the United States Senate uncovered it in 1975.
So, our government acts secretly in some matters. Reasons for secrecy include potential opposition from the public or from other nations whose support we seek, our intent to blame another party or nation for the action and the interest in protecting the actors from criminal liability. To work around these obstacles, the government would need to devise a plan if it wanted to avoid public scrutiny, frame another party and cover up the tracks of federal officials and others who assist.
The Bush Administration insisted that the attacks of September 11, 2001 were planned and carried out exclusively by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, al-Qaeda. However, evidence exists to show that members of the Administration did, in fact, conspire with others to plan and carry out the attacks, which took the lives of almost 3,000 people. To this day, they have avoided substantial public outcry, they successfully pointed the finger at bin Laden and they have produced, through public statements and the creation of the 9/11 Commission, an official explanation that completely exonerates all of them.
As one of the leading conspirators, former Vice President Richard Cheney deserves special attention. He held several responsibilities directly relevant to our nation’s response to airplane hijackers. With President Bush hundreds of miles from the command center where Cheney spent much of 9/11, the Vice President took the role of acting Commander-in-Chief and made a crucial decision about whether to shoot down a hijacked plane.
He also, through an executive order signed by Bush just four months earlier, controlled all federal agencies in their response to attacks with weapons of mass destruction (which airplanes qualify under). Since this order gave him control over the war game simulations taking place that day, his judgment in allowing the simulations to go on despite credible warnings of the attacks should also be questioned.
Three actions by the conspirators enabled them to complete a crime that had already begun with its planning and its initial stages. The conspirators ignored the specific foreknowledge given to them about 9/11. By ignoring it, they failed to warn the air defense, which protects us from hijackings. If the conspirators had not confused the air defense with war game simulations, the air defense would have intercepted or even shoot down hijacked planes before they hit crowded buildings. And the conspirators, as authorities, covered up evidence, which prevented the public from suspecting the conspirators much sooner.
History suggests that we may have a window of opportunity to try high-ranking individuals for criminal conduct. After a similar period of time, official investigators stopped pursuing criminal charges for those who may have been involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. If we do not objectively look at the case against the conspirators now, we risk the type of complacency about our government that makes it easier for them to commit other secret criminal acts without any accountability.