Monday, December 27, 2010


Mr. David Gillis is a former chairperson of the St. Clair County Republican Party. During the near decade of the Bush administration, he regularly represented well that party line, which I am firmly opposed to. Please see his Times Herald column,

and then my response which will soon appear on that same opinion page. I don't feel direct discourse between columnists is productive, but this time—an exceptional convergence.

Etching by Fritz Eichenberg

David Gillis and I rarely agree on the politics of the day, but Christmas Day brings us together. In his Dec 22, 2010 column he follows clearly the light of the Christmas star, "The true Christmas story is one that speaks of peace on Earth—the peace of knowing that Christ has come." Amen. A tremendous gift of God to an undeserving world, the gift of the Word made flesh. [John 3:16] Mr. Gillis also queries, "Perhaps we need to ask ourselves what the word 'peace' really means." He follows with a short litany which reminded me of a reading from the Christian monk, Thomas Merton. Ande & I had this similar and challenging list as part of our wedding ceremony in 1978.

"To some people peace merely means the liberty to exploit other people without fear of retaliation or interference. To others peace means the freedom to rob others without interruption. To still others it means the leisure to devour the goods of the earth without being compelled to interrupt their pleasures to feed those whom their greed is starving. And to practically everybody peace simply means the absence of any physical violence that might cast a shadow over lives devoted to the satisfaction of their animal appetites for comfort and pleasure."

Merton goes on to say that the [cold] war of his time [he died in 1968] was a result of being focused on a peace derived only from meeting one's own personal needs—communist or democratic.
e concludes with the challenge to brotherly and sisterly love that Christ's birth brings us. "So instead of loving what you think is peace, love other people and love God above all. And instead of hating the people you think are warmakers, hate the appetites and the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed—but hate these things in yourself, not in another."

There approaches a time of new year's resolutions. Thank you David Gillis for reminding us of our place, as the ones gifted by God, in this holy season. I'd recommend for reflection on our future path, Chapter 16, "The Root of War is Fear" in Thomas Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation, from which the above quotes come. Also timely in its challenge, is his Peace in the Post Christian Era. His hope was that our society could find its way, to again truly follow the words and deeds of the Savior, Son of God, Prince of Peace, laid in a manger on Christmas Day.

Adoration of the Magi -- by Fra Angelico

Illuminations by Kathy Brahney

Sunday, December 19, 2010


"Oil from BP PLC's blown-out well has lodged in the sediment of the Gulf of Mexico at levels that may threaten marine life, according to a federal report released Friday." Thus begins a WSJ 12-18-10 article. On the same day our Times Herald prints an AP report, "Coast Guard: Little oil found on sea floor," that starts out, "Federal scientists said Friday extensive sampling of the Gulf of Mexico seafloor found oil in quantities too small to collect and in concentrations below harmful levels, …"

The second article runs 9 paragraphs in the Times Herald. If the concluding 9 paragraphs [from a Washington Post full rendition] had been printed, you'd find this, as part of the rest of the Coast Guard story. "Ian R. MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University, said a recent submarine dive found what appeared to be lots of oil and dead animals on the sea floor at a spot very close to where the government [Coast Guard study] said it barely found any oil. We went to the same place and saw a lot of oil," MacDonald said. "In our samples, we found abundant dead animals. It points out that different people - trained scientists - can get different answers." And different newspapers, divergent emphasis. Giving the benefit of the doubt, our local paper has ever shrinking news space, and full articles are hard to fit in. To complicate matters, the WSJ article does not mention the Coast Guard.

BP Oil on Gulf Floor Draws Concern
Coast Guard: Little oil found on sea floor
The Port Huron Times Herald AP article is the same as this, but excerpted only the first 9 of 18 paragraphs.
These are either easily confused reports released the same day, or different interpretations of the same report. The stories are both worth reading for an idea of the complexity of issues created by the world's biggest oil spill. This one greater than 170 million gallons, while Exxon Valdez was 11 million. Both stories seem to agree that there's not as much oil on the deep sea floor [n.b. oil less dense than water, rises to surface], and that the greater problem is removal of tar & residue imbedded in the Gulf shore sands.
A worker cleaned tar balls from a Waveland, Miss. beach, Dec. 6. Getty images. WSJ 12-18-10

The WSJ also poses the unknown effect of 1.7 million gallons of chemical dispersant dumped into the Gulf to make the spill disappear. Their authors conclude with an almost certain probability—
"The report leaves unanswered many questions about the spill's environmental impact that scientists are likely to be researching—and BP and the government are likely to be fighting over—for years."

And keep in mind the role played by Halliburton, the Texas oil field service company, turned Iraq war promoter, whose defective well sealant cement contributed mightily to this deep sea oil rig disaster. * What does it profit a company if it gains partial control of a geopolitical military machine, but in the process, takes its eye off the ball and can't do its core job properly, spoiling the beaches in its own backyard?

First Gulf War


To get to the bottom of the murky media situation I've sent this letter to the editor/lead writer of the WSJ story. I'll let you know if clarification arrives by email.

Dear Editor Jeffery Ball,

How is the federal report you cite in "BP Oil on Gulf Floor Draws Concern," related to the one also released Friday, reported on by Cain Burdeau of AP, "Coast Guard: Little oil found on sea floor" which appeared in our local paper yesterday, Dec. 18th. Contrasting visions of same report, or different reports? The U.S. Coast Guard is not mentioned in your article.

Thanks for keeping this issue of long term eco-damage in the public view.
Yours truly,
Michael McCarthy PA-C, Port Huron, MI

An ever different "Gloria" -- Artwork by Kathy Brahney

Monday, December 13, 2010


Feral pigs have been roaming the Texas countryside for centuries. But now they're moving into town, and causing damage to properties all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area. WSJ 12-2-10

The Wall street Journal article of Dec. 2, 2010 grabbed my attention, "Texas Calls in the Law in Its Beef With Feral Porkers." 1

In Irving, Texas and other Dallas suburbs— "The police officer is on feral-pig patrol, charged with fighting back the stout, smart, snouted invaders that are tearing up flower beds and street medians in search of roots and grubs. One evening recently, they dined at—and trashed—the parking lot of a Verizon office building. Wild pigs, descendants of animals brought by the Spanish conquistadors, have foraged in Texas for centuries and have long been a pest on ranches. But as cities and suburbs swallow up more land, they are becoming an urban nuisance as well."

When visiting the migrant families I'd met in Michigan, back in their Texas homes in the early 70's, javelinas, wild pigs, were famous in divergent ways. Many folks hunted them for meat, though they were huge, smart, and dangerous. Also, their Spanish name had a long history as the mascot/title of the traditionally toughest, meanest football team in southwest Big 12, Texas A & M, located all over central south TX, including the Dallas - Ft. Worth area.

Images of mascot from Texas A&M football website

May 18, 2008: VP's of Exxon, BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips [R to L] testify before Congress on exorbitant gas prices

Irving Texas, home of Exxon Mobil, plagued by feral pigs! What poetic justice, esp. if they are managing to break into the gated communities of the top executives who've ruined our economy by being pigs in the international oil market--rooting around for cash in Iraq, Wall St., etc. Two million wild pigs in Texas. And how many multi-millionaires? Maybe Tom Delay, ex-stongman of Texas & US Senates, while still a free man, can muster a posse to round 'em all up, convert his hammer skills into making them behave. Even teach them about sharing the wealth, keeping pigs & people in their proper ecological non-gerrymandered places--all interested in the common good.

Here comes Christmas to the rescue! The Savior was born in a stable, amidst the sheep and oxen---and pigs. Make peace in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, Middle East. Make peace you wild petroleum pigs. The Prince of Peace will welcome you out of the gated border patrolled community, through the eye of the needle, into the merciful Kingdom prepared for all people.


More south central Texas history.
Not now to reach this height again. Kept at below 45ft. Go to p. 12 for summary of Texas A&M bonfire disaster 1999. Stack was about at 60 ft. tall, having been reduced from record of 109 ft. in 1969. Twelve students were killed when it collapsed, not long after photo below was taken.
Make ready for the Christ

Whose smile like lightening,

sets free

the song of everlasting glory

that now sleeps in your

paper flesh -- like dynamite!

-- Thomas Merton


Monday, December 6, 2010


Fritz Eichenberg--Christmas 1954

At the end of last week's, I mentioned a prayer--here it is.

Hope for Advent 2010
Prayer To Live Mercifully

O God,
Teach me
Not to envy,
to hate,
to justify,
to imitate,
to support,
to ennoble,
or to kill for,
Those who take the food from the table of others and then teach contentment,
Those for whom the taxes are destined, who demand sacrifice,
Those who eat their fill, who speak to the hungry of good times to come,
Those who lead humanity into the abyss, calling
Hate, love,
Unfaithfulness, faithfulness,
Lies, truth,
Slavery, freedom,
Too much, not enough,
Homicide, heroism,
Evil, good.
And, O God,
Teach me
when I have food, to remember the hungry;
when I have work, to remember the jobless;
when I have a home, to remember the homeless;
when I am free, to remember the imprisoned,
when I am without pain, to remember the suffering,
when I am loved, to remember the unloved,
when I am living, to remember the dying,
when I am dead, to remember the living.
And remembering, help me to destroy
my complacency; bestir my compassion, and thereby
spend my time and my eternity
doing good upon earth, helping
by word and deed, by prayer and sacrifice of self
those who cry out
for what I take for granted.
Amen. ---Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

In this holy season of Advent, our corner of the world is extremely unprepared for the birth of the Savior born in a stable. Jesus' birthday is expected to help Wall Street and Wal-Mart, but He will not be looked for in a cave in Palestine, nor be heralded as the one to cast down the mighty from their thrones, and exalt the lowly. Lk 1:52

Its not that the mighty and lowly, are in permanent conflict and disdain, they just don't know each other. According to the Wall Street Journal, the wealth gap in America is greater than at any time since the roaring days that led into the Great Depression. This great divide is not good for any of us.

"I realize in Christian practice today, Advent for most is nowhere near as relevant and as important as Christmas shopping."—Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

uring my college summers I worked and lived in the migrant farm labor camps around Capac, MI as part of a Our Lady of Mount Carmel church project. The experience of these living conditions, and Mexican-American hospitality, have changed my middle class life forever for the better. After college at Cristo Rey Community Center in Lansing MI, while organizing for farmworker and welfare rights, I found myself partnering with national Vista volunteers who were from families of New York Times columnists and Hollywood insiders.

Cross -- Art from El Salvador

The rich were meeting the poor and serving each other's needs for change. Today we should re-double this national service, across-the-gap cooperation. A local group, Opportunities for Community & National Service, is being formed to promote this. Call 810 982 2870 to help.

ere in our increasingly poor Port Huron area we are blessed with so many, in church and community, who generously pursue this Gospel truth--that it is in giving of ourselves that we receive.

Let the Magi meet the shepherds at the manger in Bethlehem, take to heart the Savior's good tidngs of great joy, and together lead out from there, to make a more perfect interdependent world.

Illuminations by Kathy Brahney

Monday, November 29, 2010


When Ande and I first got married we moved to Kentucky. I worked at Mud Creek Clinic , and she at Our Lady of the Way Hospital. We lived away from these places, up a holler called Blue River. You had to cross the "river," your car wading through the stream, past the old landfill, back to our land at the head of the holler.

That was the first of two unsuccessful community land trust attempts we've been part of—too much idealism and not enough attention to the practical details that make things work. But the story of broken land trusts is another story. This is the story of building the physical structures.

With the help of a community of ex-patriots from the north and locals, mostly Catholics, in the land of Old Regular Baptists, we built a house with a pole-barn-like foundation, vertical board and batten siding, formed of 8-16 inch wide sawmill planks—rough cut red oak & hickory. Its floor plan was 20 by 32ft., on two levels following the 30 degree grade of the hill.

To get to the house you had to cross a foot-bridge. All of the home's construction materials were hauled over that bridge or up a side path, on foot. By design it faced 15degrees SW, and the eaves had the proper overhang for maximum sun in winter, minimum in summer. It looked a passive solar menagerie of self-built double paned windows, and was hyper fiberglass insulated.

Maura, our first of four, was born when the shell was just being completed, and lived her first two years with sounds & sights of finish construction surrounding her. Now Maura has gone from Blue River, KY, to co-founder of Bluhomes, Inc., a multi-million dollar start-up company producing factory built efficient green homes. They use an innovative technology combining hinged steel framing, and state-of- the-art ecological materials, that can bring affordable earth friendly homes, right to your site-prepped door. The more basic designs [one at 432 square feet] are "small is beautiful," and can be built out for greater living space. [see the Bluhomes website, ] -- the Origin model below

Maura wasn't old enough to add much to house construction efforts, until helping to paint her new room when we moved back to Michigan, building our second community assisted home, more conventional but still eco-oriented. Yet something in the can-build-it atmosphere contributes to who she is. With her attention to detail, and the spirit of building good structures, this in some way multiplies the two simple homes we built with lots of help, perhaps now into the hundreds.

My hope and prayer is that someday soon, our society will also find ways to form more creative, just, respectful, and merciful nonviolent communities in which to build our good world-conserving homes.

As the advent season begins this week, keep in mind the coming of the Prince of Peace, savior born in a stable, builder of beloved communities. For a moving reflection and prayer on this theme, contact Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy at .

Monday, November 22, 2010


Today, November 22, is the anniversary of the death by assassination of our nation's youngest elected President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Unlike the commemorations on the date of the natural death of President Ronald Reagan, the "Great Communicator" apostle of "deregulation," you probably won't see it given much notice by the mass media.

We are ashamed of what happened to JFK. When he was shot in Dallas Texas, under the noses of the CIA, FBI, and Secret Service, he had reversed the Cold War confrontation of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and was beginning to reverse the growing Vietnam War. The exact background of the complicated killing of the President is unknown, but enough details are on record to show that this was not the work of some accidental hothead of whatever political persuasion.

ttention must be paid to the motivation for the murder. Certain members of the Mafia, Cuban exile community, and the group typified by President Eisenhower as the military industrial complex, thoroughly hated President Kennedy, and his brother Robert [later shot down as well.] I don't often recommend a whole book in these postings, but JFK and the Unspeakable by James W. Douglass [available at local libraries & Amazon] is unique in that it points strongly to the culpability of many, in allowing this death of a statesman happen—a yet unanswered unexorcized crime. Read at least the intro and chapter 1, "A Cold War Warrior Turns."

JFK had feet of clay, yet was struggling to make his Presidency another profile in courage—battling the unspeakable evil of those who would sacrifice hundreds of thousands, millions, of lives to achieve Cold War nuclear victory. Another very different person also joining the conflict against the unspeakable, and banned by his order from any further publishing on nuclear cold war issues, was the Trappist monk Thomas Merton. [See his posthumously published book, Peace in the Post-Christian Era] Unspeakable was his term for the evil of an age which has become so accepting of corporate violence. Of Kennedy he said:
What is needed is really not shrewdness or craft, but what the politicians don't have: depth, humanity and a certain totality of self forgetfulness and compassion … a deeper kind of dedication. Maybe… Kennedy will break through into that someday by miracle. But such people are before long marked out for assassination." JFK [above] p.11

illing Kennedy also partially killed a spirit that was coming alive in America—"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." A call to service, to help removing the causes of poverty and violence that led directly to the Peace Corps and the War on Poverty. I knew many young people answering the call, and being given the financial means to do so. Then the war in Vietnam ramped up, and grabbed the national consciousness and treasury. War hot and cold surged. Civil Rights was dealt a blow in the murder assassination of Martin Luther King. The Peace Corps has stalled at 4000 to 7000 yearly participants on average [the original plan was to soon deploy 100,000] in its 40 plus year existence. The War on Poverty was abandoned.

o today remember the death of young President JFK, and rededicate to taking a hard look at the truth of who we are as a people. Let's move on, with special invitation to our young people, to fully engage an international war on the human misery that forms the sources of terrorism, invoking the principal method of another fallen hero, MLK, "Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people."

"It is no longer reasonable or right to leave all decisions to a largely anonymous power elite that is driving us all, in our passivity, toward ruin." Thomas Merton, Feb. 9, 1962

Illuminations by Kathy Brahney

Monday, November 15, 2010


An ambulance brought the former Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, to his ranch in the Negev Desert on Friday [10-13-10]. Reuters photo.

The back page news the past few days includes the return to his home, still in post- stroke comatose condition, from a year in hospital confinement, of the once powerful Ariel Sharon, arch-conservative leader of Israel.1 It's costing the Israeli government too much money to keep him in the hospital. We should all take time to remember the prayerful words of a humble faithful Jewish woman some 2000 years ago,

"He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty."

Mary spoke these words [Magnificat 2 ] as she awaited the Savior's birth, the Prince of Peace.

Ariel Sharon has not been known as a man of peace, but as one who practiced violent confrontation. Yet, towards the end, he'd turned some from his iron rule of Likud Party, and relentless settlement building, to removing settlers from Gaza, giving Palestinians a small space, though still embattled and isolated, with Israeli controlled borders. Who is to know if there was any change of heart then, just before he was struck down by a major stoke in 2006? One can only hope for more change of heart, and justice, renunciation of violence, in the Holy Land.

Here is a letter I faxed to Mr. Sharon, when he'd just taken a provocative walk on Jerusalem's historical Temple Mount. The Temple, destroyed in 70 AD, has had the Muslim's holy site, the Noble Sanctuary, built on top of it since 692 AD. Ariel Sharon's incursion on disputed holy ground helped ignite the second Intifada.

October 14, 2000

Mr. Ariel Sharon
Likud Party
38 King George St.
61231 Tel Aviv, Israel
fax: 011 972 352 83560

Dear Mr. Ariel Sharon,

Please Mr. Sharon, at this time of increased violence, please cease being the provocateur. What was your purpose on your Sept. 28th walk around the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount? It lit the match to the current crisis. At this time just past Yom Kippur, look into your own heart, and read the books of Isaiah {as I will do also, along with the four Gospels of my faith}. Then we can all pray, Muslim brethren as well, for atonement.

If you can find the grace to atone publicly for your role in Sabra and Shatila, {the 1982 massacre of--conflicting estimates--800 to 2000 Palestinians} you can call for reconciliation with the Palestinians in the most credible way. And this present conflagration--killing about 100 Palestinians and 10 Israelis, and threatening thousands more on each side--can be ended in a heartbeat.

Then a true peacebuilding can begin, between your people and your Arab neighbors, and to include us Christians who have need of forgiveness and reconciliation in your part of the world.
The next time you walk on the Temple Mount, let it be hand and hand with a Palestinian neighbor, to the Noble Sanctuary, [al-Haram al-Sharif], the name they give the same place. Our Lord God Yahweh, and His Son and Prophets, Jesus, Mohammed, and Isaiah, will look on with deep and lasting approval.

Yours truly,
Michael McCarthy PA-C
2714 Stone St. Port Huron, MI 48060
810 982 2870

AT THE HEART OF JERUSALEM is the Noble Sanctuary, Al-Haram al-Sharif, enclosing over 35 acres of fountains, gardens, buildings and domes. At its southernmost end is Al-Aqsa Mosque and at its centre the celebrated Dome of the Rock. The entire area is regarded as a mosque and comprises nearly one sixth of the walled city of Jerusalem.

The Noble Sanctuary is one of the three most important sites in Islam, and a showcase for Islamic architecture and design from Umayyad to Ottoman times that continues as an important religious and educational centre for Muslims to the present day.
It also is built upon the ruins of the Temple, central to Judaism.
The "Wailing Wall", one border of the Temple Mount, is the ruins of the Western Wall of the Jews Holy Temple destroyed in 70 AD.

2 THE MAGNIFICAT Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Magnet available from--

This Saturday Admiral Mike Mullens, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Deborah, talked openly on NPR * [see link below] about the personal tragic cost of war { more suicides, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, risky behaviors} for our soldiers and their families, in this time of multiple war re-deployments. What is not mentioned is that to truly prevent the trauma, we must stop the wars. Sending people into war repeatedly, the "stop loss" troop policy, maximizes their chance for trauma [even more certain for civilians, and insurgents in Iraq & Afghanistan].

Fellow citizens, there should be no surprise in this. All suffering is assured, when you embrace the hell of war fervently. You have supplanted trust in God with trust in weapons. Making them your Gods of Metal, you give them the first fruits of national budgets annually, fabricating new specters of national threat [here a communist, next a terrorist] to augment the power of this business of war, Job One in the USA.
NYT photo August 11, 2010--- imposing view, from the streets of Afghanistan

When young men and women are trained to be warriors, expected to kill without hesitation, put in fields of battle where a 5 yr old child may be their mortal enemy, seeing their own comrades with heads, arms and legs severed, themselves pumping 50mm rounds into 15 year old enemy bodies watching them explode, how can you expect anything but anguish in their souls when they return home?
View from Israel—imposition of power has similar adverse effects, esp. for the young, worldwide.

Arrest of 7 year old. Photo by Larry Towell, 1997, Hebron, West Bank.

You did this in the dawn of a new era, of war by preemptive choice, the post World War II business-as-usual plan, finally formalized by the Bush administration, continued now by the Obama administrators.

And you have done this to protect your consumer society's access to oil? Our young soldiers have to stay in these countries perpetually acting as private security guards for international oil/military corporations, securing their elitist and foreign-held fortunes? What does it profit a country superpower if it gains the whole world, and loses its soul? War is most certainly hell for the soldiers who are contracted to do the fighting.
Again from--

s a people, we have thoughtlessly accepted war of corporate convenience, and abandoned the natural law constraint—war of "last resort." All war that follows is unjust war. Our society has lost its way. And for followers of Jesus, the "just war" concept has always been a horrible stumbling block, armed against the coming of the kingdom of God's unconditional love and mercy. Lord grant us all the strength to renounce the darkness of war, and embrace the light of your love.

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Paradoxically, prophetically, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of St. Martin of Tours [316 - 397 AD] on Veteran's Day, November 11.
The son of a pagan veteran, he was forced to serve in the army against his will at the age of 15. He became a Christian catechumen and was baptized at 18. It was said that he lived more like a monk than a soldier. At 23 he refused a war bounty from the emperor with the words, "I have served you as a soldier; now let me serve Christ. Give the bounty to those who are going to fight. But I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight." After great difficulties, he was discharged and went to be a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers. ---From americancatholic. org, St. Anthony Messenger's Saint of the Day.

*Please listen online, and then follow up with these 3 stories showing problem that's been long known, and increasing:

Then, in this time of Veteran's Day Nov. 11, 2010, take the time to contemplate the stories of residual violence and its effects presented in these videos. The first can be streamed online, and the next two found in your local library [St. Clair Co. at least], as well as at Amazon [the online reviews are worth reading].

A similar story to the movie below, THE WOUNDED PLATOON, events in Colorado Springs, 2007.

This is a feature film IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH with Tommy Lee Jones, events at Ft. Bragg, 2003.

Especially good documentary, THE GROUND TRUTH-- soldier testimonies on residual effects of organized violence.

There is at least one other way to help resolve these conflicts—the "Three Cups of Tea" methods outlined in this article.

"War is a defeat for humanity." Pope John Paul II

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today." President John F. Kennedy

"We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount." General Omar Bradley

Monday, November 1, 2010


As promised last week—a practical solution to impasse in the current Israel / Palestine peace talks.
This was my letter to the NYT [no response yet] after reading, "Settlements Stymie U.S. Envoy's Mideast Effort" NYT Oct 2, 2010, by Ethan Bronner 1. I'll now send it on to Congress, and urge you to send something similar.

Dear Ethan Bronner,

Thanks for your coverage of the peace talks/west bank settlements issue. Don't you think our government is missing a necessary step? To break the logjam towards real peace negotiations it will be necessary for the U.S. to suspend all aid to Israel [biggest recipient in the world, of our foreign aid 2], until all settlement construction, by Israel in Palestine's West Bank, is halted. This can be done while reaffirming our long term support for Israel's right to exist and live in peace with its neighbors. This is the only credible action to back up our words--that we want our Israeli allies to construct a permanent two state solution: both Israel's and Palestine's right to exist.

Yours truly,
Michael McCarthy, Port Huron, MI

Or--A land of milk & honey--with no wall between.

See the Congressional Research Service document on U.S. foreign aid to Israel, most of it military, which has averaged $3 billion / yr, and now is stated to reach $4.8 billion/yr for the next decade. Read the opening summary at least, and even the table of contents is revealing. Entries like cluster bombs, and, for free, 20 of the costly controversial F-35 stealth jets, yet to be deployed even in our own arsenal.

For an interesting video, latest MPT posting on Sandy Quntano's, and other peace teams' olive harvest support in the West Bank, follow this link:
Israeli High Court ruling not enforced by soldiers

Moses and the Messengers from Canaan, by Giovanni Lanfranco. The question of how Israel should enter Canaan has persisted down through the ages.


Paphiopedilum praestans - Plant from Surabaya, Indonesia. Artwork by Kathy Brahney