Monday, November 28, 2011


One Democrat who made some good difference during a difficult time
Democracy has always been under duress from powerful interests tying to dominate U.S. politics, but the system is now at the breaking point.   The Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court has opened up the campaign season to a flood of corporate money—corporations now have the rights of individual citizens, to use their money as their free speech.    And the concerted actions of a corporate-funded national think tank, the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, has sent laws restricting the right to vote, through the legislatures of crucial states, that will further turn the tide towards their brand of conservative candidates in the coming national elections.   A powerful private foundation writes and provides laws to our state lawmakers.
Also included in ALEC’s packaged portfolio are laws that push emergency  financial managers on local governments, mandate changing their contractual obligations to teachers and public service employees, and shift tax burdens from corporations to regular citizens. [See the links for some of this story below].

t’s not about the will of the people, but about bending the people’s will to do the plutonomy’s* bidding.  Plutocrats can now enlist their corporations as mega-persons.  Giant vote-mastering media machines, that now keep our politics, the exclusive game of the super rich.  Our politicians are now, more than ever, chosen on country club golf greens and in corporate board rooms.  Persons truly representing the poor and middle class need not apply.

There’s too much money involved for we-the-people’s voice to be heard.    But call on each other we must -- to be faithful to the value of real freedom, inclusive not exclusive.    Occupy Wall Street, and communities of faith, have begun to sound the trumpet as we enter the cold but holy season.  May we cast off the selfish machinations of Scrooge, from the towers of financial wizards to the bedrock neighborhoods of common folk.  True democracy, and our faith, demands a place for everyone at the table. 

I have voted for many different party candidates since my first franchise exercise in 1968.  Also I’ve created my own write-in candidates when those offered were inadequate {most all of them}, and felt best about voting for competent intelligent Bill Moyers-- journalist, egalitarian, ecumenical Texas Baptist preacher.   The people should be able to raise up candidates for these national offices from amongst themselves, and then get a real look at what they stand for, instead of how they spin.  More on this method next week.
Please take the time to read some of these.

*  "plutonomy" – origin in paper by Citigroup Bank in 2006, explanation found in this review,  but I haven’t accessed the paper itself—though this is an apparent transcription of part 1

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.  Mt 19:21-22

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Monday, November 21, 2011


Free marketeers by Pat Bagley
I started writing this at the beginning of last summer.  The problem of mounting corporate greed and its politics continues to assail us.  How long, O Lord, how long…? Psalm 13

Obama’s presidency is under siege.  He’s far from perfect, but come on, give the guy a chance.  Instead we have Congressional stonewaller gridlockers of both parties.  No adequate spending to stimulate local economies allowed; no return to the pre-Bush administration slightly more progressive tax rates which had been keeping us solvent, with the rich paying a fairer share.  This by order of the corporate superintendents of congresses’ “super committee.”    All chance for economic success denied, except for the bankrupt “trickle down” {from the rich to the rest of us--you think?} method.  The concept of a “loyal opposition” is dead and buried.  The practice of hardball politics is in full swing.
The loyal opposition -- by Oliphant
All tactics are fair, no matter how despicable.  Our black president is portrayed as a Hilter.  Every day media racism rears its ugly talking heads.  Voting rights are under attack in multiple legislative schemes, devised by preserve-the-wealth think tanks.  Fiscal crisis is upon us – and will be maintained-- until the new corporate personhood effects its regime change.   The three headed monster, racism-militarism-poverty, Martin Luther King warned about is freely roaming our world seeking the ruination of souls.
Cerberus, guardian of Hades 
{incidental name choice?--Cerberus Capital Management, L.P one of the world's leading private investment firms}
Corporate countries are enslaving, worldwide, the displaced legions they’ve caught in the global web of their war profit schemes.  Kingdom-makers who’ve lost touch with the real people they depend on for their survival.  They try to rule from lonely tall walls of lofty prosperity—their self-directed proclamations wrecking havoc on the people who form the base of their strong-holds.  
The financials industry and their politicians create fear as part of political policy.  Real well-informed democracy is dangerous to their interests, they believe, so everyone is to be kept off balance, clutching to their pocketbooks.  Expeditious asphyxiations of consumer confidence are the rhythm of the marketplace.  A wobbly Wall Street helps keep popular aspirations in check.  The Occupy Wall Street movement sees this clearly, and tries to sound the alarm for everyone, the 100%, to hear.
The Battle of Jericho
It will all come tumbling down, if we can find the way to blow horns of Jericho together, marching round in the right spiritual harmonic.  The system of fortress America cannot stand.  Isolated individualists at the top towers inside, have laid siege to themselves.  The dark dust of collapse will cause labored breathing for all within, and without, our castle walls.  Survival depends on the walls being breached with strong open arms, allowing our interconnectedness with fresh air from all directions—winds borne from the earth’s four corners.  This is how our nation was formed we must remember.

he freedom to plunder each other with a free hand and without remorse, must be put to flight as the Great Deceiver it is.  We are a global community that in learning to serve each other equally, will come to receive the sustaining breath of the Creator, the atmosphere and solidarity, of truly blessed sons and daughters of God.

Yesterday we celebrated the feast of Christ the King, and the Gospel of his Last Judgement, Mt 25: 31-46.  Congress should take heed this holy judgment—those who will be favored, chosen for salvation, are those who generously serve the least of the brethren, not those who protect the war-coffers budget of the rich.
The Last Judgement by Michaelangelo

By the next day, 11-15-11, after eviction--The Occupy Wall Street folks are back in full swing at Zuccotti Park [NYC]— even bringing back the food line- Photo, Aaron Showalter - New York Daily News

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Monday, November 14, 2011


Headline---“'Call of Duty' Sales Hit $400 Million”--- Activision Blizzard Inc. said its "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" had the biggest launch of any game ever.* Thus salutes the Wall Street Journal 11-12-11, a couple days after this video game’s release, just in time for Veteran’s Day 11-11-11.  While veterans know better than anyone, war is not a game.
A customer takes a number to reserve a copy of Activision's 'Call of Duty-Modern Warfare 3' videogame at a GameStop in New York on Monday 11-11-07 -  photo Bloomberg News
Contrast this commercial success, with the final words Jesus said to his gathered church, in the Garden of Gethsemane.  The apostles did not understand these words then, and we still stumble through repetitive, uncomprehending wars, and their glorification, 2000 years later.

Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?  Mt 26:52-53  {The weapons we wield now go disastrously way beyond the sword.}  Shortly after this, in his life and death dialogue with Pilate, Jesus continues, "My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world."  Jn 18:36 
Jesus and Judas, Peter and Malchus {servant of the High Priest} in the Garden of Gethsemane

Our central cultural story of honor has become the glorification and weaponization of our trained-to-kill commandos who can inflict terrible death, and die, for this world’s current number one kingdom.  Our kingdoms are of this world, and they are more important to us, in blood and treasure, than God, and His Word.  That puts our country, and many others, squarely in violation of the First Commandment.  Add to this our nation’s adoration of Wall Street wealth, and we have social sin enough to sink the ship of state, before even considering the anti-life cannonballs we shoot ourselves with--abortion and state sanctioned executions.

ring Veterans Day back to its origins in Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918, a celebration of the end of WWI, that was to “end all wars,” and bring a conversion to truly do what Jesus commanded by word and deed—terminate all justified violence, by loving one another as he loves us.


Nov. 11th is also, by the mystery of God’s grace, the day the Catholic church celebrates the feast of St. Martin of Tours, one of the early churches’ conscientious objectors to war. When he converted to Christianity in his youth he said, "Put me in the front of the army, without weapons or armor; but I will not draw sword again. I am become the soldier of Christ."

St. Martin of Tours divides cloak with the Beggar--by El Greco


For a previous WSJ article with more detail on the video war game marketplace see—

See my July 4, 2011 entry, SUPREME COURT LEAVES CHILDREN'S WINDOW TO THE SOUL, OPEN TO PURVEYORS OF VIOLENCE, in archives, for futher comment on our war video games.
For more on the life of St. Martin of Tours see this article—esp. the first 3 paragraphs.

And to see a little of what the other side of war can be, please view this video sent by Fr. E.C. McCarthy.

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

More on what I term “the sword discourses”, in subsequent web writings. Jesus wrangles with his disciples over taking up the sword to preserve worldly power, at the end of his earthly ministry.  These neglected words [read Mt 26:52-54; Lk 22:35-38,49-53; Jn 18:10-11,36] are His statement on war & violence, as he then consistently offers perfect personal example of death and new life-- permanent replacement for the institutionalized violence of all worldly kingdoms.          

Monday, November 7, 2011


We survive the family and friends who don’t, our parents often the first to go.  I was told as my Mom just passed away, that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Now in friend Sharon and her Dad, Hamilton who died last week, I see once again clearly how that is true.  Praise God for the mysterious plan of vibrant life recycled.  They are the African American family I know best, Sharon a pillar of our Blue Water Pax Christi group, her Dad always supportive of our efforts.

“I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jn 21:18   Jesus said to young man Peter.
When I met Hamilton more that 10 years ago, he was physically weakening, on his way to wheel chair stage of life.  But he’d come to peace vigils when he could, with big full smile and cogent words of encouragement against war and for justice.  It’s not surprising to learn now at the time of his death, that he’d been a Navy medic during WWII, long term community activist, professor at Wayne State University, co-founder of the Cass Corridor Community Food Co-op, and more.  I find myself an apple close to his tree as well.
 Latin, "Blessed is the Man"
His daughter Sharon is my age, continues her Dad’s style of activism on many fronts, and is a great prod to our Pax Christi group, assuring we’ll never become complacent.  She works diligently for world peace, and, in her persistent personal way, because she’s right-on certain of who she is, works hardest for racial justice—justice for everyone in need.  This starts at home.  Due to family difficulties she stepped in and raised up her sister’s two daughters, from when they were little kids into young adulthood.

  St. Josephine Bakhita
She stands tall while still striving to be servant to all, in family and church community—takes seriously to the point of compulsion Martin Luther Kings’ prime directive:  “Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people,” and Jesus’ new commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.”  Sharon's seen at nearly every parish potluck, and peace picket line.  Not always first to appear, but often last to leave.  Few hold a candle to her brightness.

Her father was a star in her universe.  Hard to care for sometimes, he often lived with her, and towards the end, she visited him almost every day in the local nursing home.  At his funeral she chose words of W.E.B. Dubois, to make resplendent for us his shining light.

              He sat one morning gazing toward the sea.  He smiled and said, “The gate is rusty on the hinges.”  That night at star-rise a wind came moaning out of the west to blow the gate ajar, and then the soul I loved fled like a flame across the Seas, and in its seat sat Death.

I wonder where he is today?  I wonder if in that dim world beyond, as he came gliding in, there rose on some wan throne a King—a dark and pierced Jew—who knows the writhings of the earthly damned, saying, as he laid those heart-wrung talents down, “Well done!”  while round about the morning stars sat singing.

                --- Excerpt from “The Souls of Black Folk”  p. 161

And a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."  Mt 3:17

Illumination by Kathy Brahney