Monday, December 30, 2013


Many blessings to you all in this holy season.  I'm on vacation visiting my daughter's Bluhomes startup company in California with my brothers and dad.

From our liturgy at Holy Trinity Port Huron this past weekend --

“Rachel weeps and will not be comforted for her children are no more” Jer 31:15
Yet there is hope in the following verses, Jer 31:16-17

Our prayers for the feast of the Holy Innocents this year concur with the Feast of the Holy Family

Those who so choose, immediately following the 11 am mass on Dec. 29th at St Joseph Church, will process around one block of our church neighborhood, while others remain in prayer in the church. We make special intention this year for peace in the Middle East.

Herod feared the coming of the Prince of Peace, so he killed the innocent babies of Bethlehem {Mt 2: 13-18}. We strive together to convert from this age-old fear-filled recourse to violence to protect worldly power.

We commemorate all those who have died in war and violence. We pray for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Darfur, Libya, Syria, all wars. We pray for an end to abortion, for an end to all disrespect for life.

The Holy Family then inspires us, as they heeded the angel’s warning, escaped into Egypt, and made their way back to Nazareth where they grew in wisdom and grace.  May all of our families follow their holy example, and grow in love, courage, and mercy for each other.


There is something disconcerting in Jesus evading the murderous troops of Herod while many infants perished.  Inscrutable the ways of God in known history.  The ongoing problem of the terrible bad that can happen to innocent people.   But we are given the overwhelming hope that with the coming of the Prince of Peace all death and suffering is conquered, Herod’s wrath banished, by the love of the cross—God’s Son taking it all on in the end, eternal life the promise become reality.



Monday, December 23, 2013


For the fifth time our local Pax Christi group has sponsored a billboard in Port Huron calling for the courage of peace and nonviolence in our all too violent land.   Pax Christi means Peace of Christ in Latin-- a living peace, brought by faith in God rather than faith in guns.   This is an international movement started by the bishops of France and Germany right after WWII to heal the wounds, and convert the hearts of Christians on either side who’d been through the hell of killing each other, in God’s name.
This year’s billboard, as last year’s, has the message “CHOOSE NONVIOLENCE, CHRISTMAS INVITES THE MERCIFUL AND THE JUST.”   The pictures of Mother Theresa, and Dr. Martin Luther King appear over the words “merciful” and “just” respectively.   You can see it lighted, facing north, across from the Pine Grove Mall, near the Garfield and Pine Grove intersection, starting December 23rd  for one month. 

ur Blue Water Pax Christi group put its first similar billboard up in 2003, just as the Iraq War began, as part of our plea, and that of many Christians, to replace strategies of war, with the works of justice and charity, as did Dr. Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa.  MLK’s call to follow the way of Jesus, “NONVIOLENCE IS A WAY OF LIFE FOR COURAGEOUS PEOPLE,” {King’s first organizing principle}, was the sign’s centerpiece, framed by both of their pictures.

 We did this also in 2006 and 2009 with Gandhi’s picture paired with Martin Luther King’s, as part of the non-denominational “Season for Nonviolence”, 64 days  of programs presenting nonviolence, in Port Huron [and nationally] which begin Jan. 30th [day Gandhi was killed] and end on April 4th [day Dr. King was killed].  This active prayerful celebration will happen again this year in our town.
This current Christmas centered message was developed last year and involved copyright arrangements with the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta, and the cooperation of Sr. M. Callisita [western hemisphere motherhouse of the Missionaries of Charity in Tijuana, Mexico].  It was a bit more work than in the past.  We had to change the wording, and came up with the Christmas theme.   Providentially, it came to be just after the nation suffered the violence of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. 

There is a price tag, about $850.  Generous sponsors from our churches and the Season for Nonviolence have helped pay for years to advertise the message of nonviolent love to replace violent hate.  Local Knights of Columbus councils have made a special contribution this year.  It has become a Christmas prayer message and New Year’s resolution, coinciding with Martin Luther King Day, to cast out violence and invite in, Mercy and Justice.  We would hope that this one billboard in Port Huron, could become a nation-wide public service ad campaign, to choose active, engaged, prayerful nonviolence.
A sign of hope, a bright sign of God’s inspired nonviolence—mercy and justice to bridge the polarized elements of our society, our world.

School violence continues.  War continues, and was threatened to escalate in Syria.  There were certainly many factors, but Pope Francis’ call for a world-wide vigil of prayer and fasting surely contributed to averting deeper war.    Prayer is effective.
To repel the gathering violence we need to unite the social justice [MLK] and devotional charity [Mother Theresa] aspects of our churches, conservative and liberal sides of our community, which have too often been at odds, especially with the changing political seasons. Yet both sides must work and pray for each other—repent of cliff-hanger politics, and commit to the common good.

Illuminations by Kathy Brahney

Monday, December 16, 2013


From War Resisters League
In a Dec. 7th AP article appearing in our local paper, I finally see in print what I’ve been calling attention to every April 15th Tax Day for the last 40 plus years. “The bipartisan defense authorization bill typically enjoys overwhelming support…a measure that represents more than half the nation’s discretionary budget.   The point of the article is that the Pentagon is worried that it’s not getting enough, and not according to its schedule.   As we approach with gifts the Baby Jesus in the stable this Christmas, it’s important to think of where our major government “Gifts of the Magi” are going, and remember that this Child is the promised Prince of Peace.

This “more than half” of our national yearly treasure is a truer statement than the pie chart [a lesser percent going to the military] the IRS includes in its 1040 booklets, as it doesn’t dilute the total income tax distributions with Medicare and Social Security funds which are independent tax trusts for those purposes only.  And regrettably those trust funds have been severely borrowed/robbed from to prepay off budget, for recent preemptive wars, a major cause of the projected shortfalls in these social insurance programs. 

Why do we have to have such gigantic expenditures on our military?   Because we are the richest country in the world with one of the most inequitable distributions of the wealth, even amongst our own citizens.   This big money must be protected no matter what the cost.  There are many who think we can ignore what Mary says, as her family awaited the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus, “He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and he hath exalted those who were humbled.  He hath filled the hungry with good thing, and the rich he hath sent empty away.” Lk 1:52-53

On the same Tuesday as the above article I went to see the film, “Inequality for All” at our local community college.   Their biggest auditorium was packed to overflowing so I had to view it at a packed second site.   People of all political stripes know that something is not right.  The economist and former U.S. Labor Secretary, Robert Reich, made the case that our middle class is under attack from an economy stacked against them, to the benefit of the few most powerful.  His perspective is that this is almost as bad for the rich, as for the middle class and poor—see his website for some suggested actions to bring fundamental change.
From Robert Reich website
question I had for him that didn’t make it in the video conference Q & A:
Since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision favors the rich so heavily in politics, shouldn’t we become united citizens this next April 15th, and give our tax money to local education and infrastructure projects, instead of to the IRS, until the rich are again required to pay a progressive tax, and there is again the chance for real democratic progress in the USA?  The rich freely speak with their money—so should we.

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Monday, December 9, 2013


Just google “worst Congress ever” [and see references below] to review the state of our nation as the 113th Congress ends and a New Year approaches.  Its remarkable how combative and obstructionist our lawmakers have become, since a black man became President of the United States.   It has passed the least amount of laws, and filibustered the most times, in U. S. history.   Corporate carpetbaggers are upon us.
…Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in an October 2010 interview that "single most important thing" he needed to achieve was making Obama a one-term president…  The voters have spoken in re-electing President Obama in 2012, but the powerful in Congress, and their unchastened-by-the-crash financial industry backers will not listen.  The people want healthcare and jobs, but these obstructionists want a dead-in-the-water president unable to make any legislation that would spend money on people’s needs.  

The President is forced to ride a Congressional horse with a broken leg.  The opposition party did not concede it lost in 2008, has given no support to a winning president’s agenda, but instead kicked up like a loco bronco, fighting him on every measure, into a spasm of increasing gridlocks.  They appear to have no concept of loyal opposition, the basic concept of a functioning democracy.  Differences are put aside somewhat between the four year election cycles, so the winners gets to put their program, promised to the people that elected them, in place.  This Congress should go back and read its high school civics books.
The current controversy over the Democrats having used a “nuclear option” to change long standing filibuster rules that preserve some opposition party clout, must be put in context.   Filibuster bombs of mass destruction had already been launched by Republican obstructionists.   Of President Obama’s executive appointments, 79 have been blocked by the opposition thus far, compared to a total of 68 during all other presidencies in the history of our republic.

The current obstruction and manipulation of and by Congress, in league with powerful corporate interests, is unprecedented.   Its being “worst” is guaranteed by its being the “best” Congress money can buy.   The infamous “Citizen’s United” Supreme Court ruling could now be joined by a “McCutcheon’s”decision, which gives further weight to unfettered private/corporate monies controlling our elections process.   Democrats and Republicans have both become commodities.
Racism appears to have upped the ante in the politics game.  Many operators have decided that a black president shall not be allowed to succeed – at anything.   The issues of how our government spends its money have been the same for at least a hundred years.  The government has never seriously threatened to choke off its own supply by self-defaulting, until this activist Congress took the throttle.

ne of the few laws put in place, the Affordable Care Act, has been challenged with repeal votes 40 times since 2010.  Insult to injury—it was Congress’ intentional failure to provide enough funds to implement the ACA that was in good part responsible for the dismal roll-out of the ACA sign-ups and website, so roundly criticized by Congress and the media.   Short memory—the implementers actually had to go begging for contributions, to the health companies themselves, community and church groups, many of whom were certainly less than enthusiastic.
This hubris is causing suffering here at home and round the world.  My Catholic Republican father has always maintained that “you get what you pay for.”  Right now we’re getting nothing – just a cloud of sequestrations and budget default threats.   The common good is not being served—only the 1% are represented by this Congress.

Is this really racism, or just plain greed?  I would argue that the two are devilishly intertwined.
Pope Francis warns us in his recently proclaimed The Joy of the Gospel.  {EVANGELII GAUDIUM}  “Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system.”  “The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise.”   He urges us—we can return to the merciful love of Jesus.  “No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew.”

He ends his letter with a prayer to Mary, and these words: “Mary let herself be guided by the Holy Spirit on a journey of faith towards a destiny of service and fruitfulness. Today we look to her and ask her to help us proclaim the message of salvation to all and to enable new disciples to become evangelizers in turn.”  Good to be mindful of these, Congress and the rest of us, today when we celebrate the feast of her Immaculate Conception.  To be born without sin, as she, is for most of us, beyond comprehension.

Please spend some time reading for yourself --


 Jesus Chases Out the Money Changers - by El Greco

 Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Sunday, December 1, 2013


A quick search online finds them available from about 50 cents to a dollar each {certainly varies with caliber & qualities} and cheaper.   But what is the real cost of their mass availability worldwide?

Memory Becomes Another Casualty of Egyptian Protests [from NYT 11-13-13]—A presumed 900 were killed by the army on Aug. 14 2013 breaking up a peaceful sit-in of supporters of democratically elected, then deposed by the army, President Morsi.  This in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.   Tahrir [Freedom] Square becomes an even more distant memory, as Arab Spring’s spirit of nonviolence is blown further and further away by the Middle East’s militaries, and their international arms merchant suppliers.  The gun runners and their institutions are clawing back to resume full profits and power—bullets are their ballot box, and must be maintained, sacrificing the lives and real needs of the common people.

“Memories are sharper among the people who live and work in the square. Mahmoud Rizk, who runs a nursery there, remembered spending Aug. 14 on the phone with his brother, who was trapped in a hut in the nursery during the fighting.
From the look of the place, it was a miracle that his brother survived. Bullets struck the hut from two sides, shredding metal on the bunk beds where the workers slept. After the fighting had died down, soldiers came with dogs to search for the bullet slugs and remove them.”

Was this simply cover-up, or was the army planning to re-use the bullets?   As long as the U.S. continues to send a billion dollars to the Egyptian army {despite this violating a Congressional mandate against supporting coups}, the answer is obvious.   Israel, at the center of Middle East conflict, gets more than three times this bullets-plus money from the U.S.

Another campaign, run by a Saudi sheikh based in Syria and close to Al Qaeda, is called “Wage Jihad With Your Money.” Donors earn “silver status” by giving $175 for 50 sniper bullets, or “gold status” by giving twice as much for eight mortar rounds.  {From “Private Donors’ Funds Add Wild Card to War in Syria” - NYT 11-13-13}.  Everybody and anybody with extra cash can be dealt a hand in this game of death proliferation.

Chris Rock, American comedian, has a routine in which he suggests a solution to all the gun violence—just make every bullet cost $5000, too expensive to shoot somebody.   Probably wouldn’t work with all the super-rich players and governments in the world, chasing vengeance, power, and general craziness, and willing to pay for it {with proper returns on investment}. 

But there is promise in this Sunday’s Advent reading from the prophet Isaiah {2:1-5}, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.   When the Messiah the world’s merciful Savior comes, it will not be in a reign of bullets.


Further reference ---



Monday, November 25, 2013


Monday before Thanksgiving 2013.  We’ve just remembered the assassination death of President Kennedy 50 years ago last Friday.  Many tributes, many retrospectives, few introspections.  Those who question the one lone shooter {Lee Harvey Oswald} theory, continue to be laughed off the public stage as loony paranoids.  Therefore, less than half of us are adjudged sane by the mainstream media, because most of us [according to the pollsters] do question the circumstances of his death.  And if we are honest, it was whatever is selfish-arrogant-racist-suspicious of the outsider, in each of us, that still kills President Kennedy.

We saw hope of new dedication to peace and service shot down in Dallas.  I was in 11th grade at St. Johns High School, Jackson, MI —all some of us could do was to make lame jokes about it.

The problem now is that we know in our hearts that the motivation for this crime [since we’ll never know all the details] is clear.   Money, power, and profits from war were deeply threatened by this new direction being sought by our young president.  He’d turned around, and was working to end our involvement in Vietnam, and defuse the Cold War with the Soviets.  Please read the one most level-headed book on the subject, JFK and the Unspeakable, at least the introduction and first chapter—and see my previous entry on this personal, national tragedy.

“War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today."--JFK   That day became more distant on the day of his assassination—favoring only those who believe war, security, and profits, are our most important products, and reflect the soul of the nation.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, as all of us, had feet of clay, but he knew how to pray.  May God bless all of us today with a renewed dedication to his vision of peace and service.



Sunday, November 10, 2013


Armistice Day, France
 Armistice Day, USA

Some of those I've known who've worked most dedicated to end all war, are veterans of combat.  I think particularly of two ex-Vietnam helicopter pilots - their ceaseless efforts as draft counselors in Lansing, Michigan, trying to keep others out of the conflict they'd just witnessed. 

World War 1 was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.”  At it’s end, Armistice Day November 11 was celebrated as a remembrance of those who died in that war, and the horror of that war.  One who didn’t survive that war, but wrote eloquently, critically, and truthfully about it was Wilfred Owen, British officer and poet.   After being hospitalized for concussion and shell-shock on the frontlines {Sommes, France} during the first months of 1917, he returned to lead troops, earning a medal of honor a year later.

A mentor writer, Siegfried Sassoon [who also criticized the war] had encouraged him to get back on the horse of war—it would be good for his writing.  Back in the thick of trench warfare he corresponds, ‘You said it would be a good thing for my poetry if I went back. That is my consolation for feeling a fool. …This is what the shells scream at me every time: "Haven't you got the wits to keep out of this?"’  He soldiered on, loyal to the men under his command, his medal being awarded for overwhelming an enemy machine gunner and turning the weapon against the Germans, killing an unspecified number.  A month later, still out in front of his soldiers, he was killed by a sniper, one week before the first Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.

e’d known well that war is hell.  His poems are evidence.  Beyond this knowledge and his belief, he persisted in war.  After his first months at the front his faith deepened through the gruesome experience -- "I am more and more a Christian. . . Suffer dishonour and disgrace, but never resort to arms. Be bullied, be outraged, be killed: but do not kill." Letter to his mother, May 1917.
Yet in April 1918, “Talking to his brother whilst home on leave he said that he wanted to return to the front line.’I know I shall be killed. But it's the only place I can make my protest from.’" 

In October, 1918 he writes to his mom, “I lost all my earthly faculties, and I fought like an angel . . . I captured a German Machine Gun and scores of prisoners . . . I only shot one man with my revolver . . . My nerves are in perfect order.”
There is a war of dichotomies going on.  What he’d seen and felt in combat had led to this poem. 

Anthem for Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Is there no hope to arrest the doom, halt the march of war?  The fact that Armistice Day has been renamed Veterans Day, after a Second World War, is a bad omen.  An unending preemptive line of dead soldiers and civilians to commemorate.  PTSD is an epidemic, even with drone warfare.  A veteran dies every day in the U.S. from suicide, more from its other effects.  No one tabulates the PTSD suffering in the countries where wars are fought.  The peace is not yet won by war—will never be.
St. Martin of Tours divides his cloak for a beggar, who turns out to be Christ in a dream. Martin resigns his commission.
Today is Martin of Tours' feast day, and Veterans Day.  He told his Roman commander sometime after 300 AD,  "I have served you as a soldier; now let me serve Christ....I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight."

I learned of Wifred Owen’s struggle from a two-man play I saw years ago, “Not About Heroes”.  He was caught, as we all are in some way, in the battle between the world’s vision of heroism, and God’s—revealed in His Son Jesus.  Wilfred saw clearly that pride is the real battlefield, and that people will be more judged by what they do, than what they say.  He writes, "I hate washy pacifists."  And he writes---

The Parable of the Old Man and the Young
So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
and builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

Poetry available from -  And more -There are 27 of his finest war poems in Minds at War and 19 in Out in the Dark. Both anthologies contain additional information, comment, and extracts from his letters. 

All quotes are available from this article -
More references--



Monday, November 4, 2013


Aisle - Aburi Botanical Gardens
Aburi Ghana - mountain town - photo by Rachel Coleman
I pointed my bike down the first world newly paved hi-way.  It still led through the little towns, with neat little cement bright pastel houses lining the way in the small business districts.  In the last one that appeared before steep descent from the mountaintop plateau to the plain of Accra below, I was surrounded and stopped by a bevy of beautiful young black teenage girls, plainly dressed, marketing their last fruits at the end of the day.  These ones had no stalls, just carried in hand what they were selling.

Those that came first could see that I wasn’t interested, my mind on the bike ride home.  I’d more than 25 miles to go—on a bicycle will fragile fruits, not wise, I’d explain, and they retreated.  But the one with the brightest eyes came forward insisting these are the best mangos, and she only had two left.  “Please!  Only one dollar for this one.”
I protested, “No, No, and I’ve no idea if that’s a fair price.” 

“They are good.  It is a fair price.”  She looked for confirming nods from her compatriots who’d now receded to the sidelines, not so interested.  We were eye to eye—the moment of decision.

“OK” I conceded [I’d discovered and held a single dollar bill in my pocket since the transaction began].
She met my gaze more softly now, having won, with a tinge of satisfied compassion.  The mango she’d held with persistent arm outstretched was now replaced with the other one she’d held down at her side.  I noticed the one withdrawn had a bit of draining bruised gash on its underside she’d covered with her hand.

ack up on my bike and pushing forward, the foreigner and the native had made a deal.  It was days later before I got the chance to eat that mango—but it was yet firm and tasty.



We're all just the parts of God trying to get back together.
Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Monday, October 28, 2013


I feel like most of the people of the Gospel story who are invited to the King’s banquet.  I’ve a field to buy, or a friend or relative to bury.  I’d like to remain steadfast behind the plowshare of peacemaking, but human concerns constantly deflect.  What do we do when we see clearly what is right and what is wrong, but live among so few that see the same thing, admit to it, and do something about it?  What is the clear path to salvation for a whole society?  How can change of heart, mind and action be accomplished-- together?  Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.  To board the ark again seems such sad surrender for a remnant that is promised its faith can move mountains.
  Noah Releases the Dove - by Chagall
There is hope—we are taught to pray with these words. "Thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."  In the recent Syria situation our spirituality helped us dodge the bullet of escalated violence.  Pope Francis led the world in a vigil of prayer, fasting, and the word of the Gospel, to turn away from war, toward the nonviolent way of Jesus.  The U. S. didn’t attack Syria.  {This enraged our erstwhile oil allies, the Saudis, because of their Sunni vs. Shia battle across the whole region.}  From an offhand remark of Secretary of State Kerry, to a proposal batted back by Russia—it was then agreed by Syria, its chemical weapons could be destroyed.

Pope Francis Leads Prayer Vigil mass in St. Peters Square for Peace in Syria on September 7, 2013--AFP-Getty Images
Worldwide prayers were answered.  Inscrutable God’s designs, but this deeper war averted, a blessing that could be welcomed by both liberal and conservative Americans.  How do we now deepen this faith in Jesus’ nonviolent love, which does save the world and solve its problems?

In our Port Huron area, we invite you be part of this upcoming course.
A series of monthly teachings, provided by Holy Trinity Adult Faith Formation and Pax Christi
Second Thursday of each month
 Starting Nov 14th, 7 pm in the Thomas Merton Library at St. Stephens Center
Music / prayer, to begin and end each session
First session
November 14 – The problem of Syria: A practical way of prayer-study-action peacemaking
·         The current example of Pope Francis – a review by Michael McCarthy of media coverage
·         The statements and teaching of the modern era Popes, from Pope John XXIII to the present—a slide presentation by Deacon Dennis Crimmins
·         Time for discussion and prayer—handouts for further study and prayer

The Pharisee and the Publican -- Lk 18:9-14
Syrian refugees fleeing the violence in their country make their way to a refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq July 31, 2012
In all our efforts, on all sides of political questions we must heed scripture’s admonition.  This Sunday’s Gospel {Lk 18:9-14} ends with the words, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  How are we to take this in the land where U.S. “exceptionalism” is insisted on, and proclaimed to all the world?  We’re Number 1!  We must pray for wisdom, and remember these other words of the Gospel as the holy days of Christmas approach.
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.   Lk 1:46-55
                From Mary’s “Magnificat”, as she is expecting the birth of her baby Jesus Our Savior.

The Visitation by Weninger



Monday, October 14, 2013


The 1318 transnational corporations that form the core of the economy. Superconnected companies are red, very connected companies are yellow.--The size of the dot represents revenue
Last week I said I’d recommend something that could be done by every individual concerned about the political - financial direction of our country.  This involves transferring your personal banking from the five big national banks to a local bank or credit union.  It does take time and investigation.  For my wife and I, changing banks from Chase to Eastern Michigan, and dropping a Bank of America managed credit card, was a project of three months, not always easy but good for the soul.

There are many good local places to put your money, so that it is somewhat less likely to be used for irresponsible large investor/speculator leverage schemes, and more likely to do some good in our community.  This may seem like a drop in the bucket, our middle class monies, but it sends a message, is morally consistent with conservative values, and cumulatively could change some of the moral harm big money does in our nation.   It’s a national campaign, “Move your Money”—we are not alone in our discomfort, and our hope.   Explain to the Big Banks why your no longer giving them your business.

What are the risks of continuing down the same path of fiscal fireworks preferred by the Big Money movers?   Right now, our Congress, representing those guys, threatens “we the people” with one more disastrous fiscal cliff after another.

The Big Banks and their bankers, and the financial high rollers, continue to make news, as the country heads towards threatened bankruptcy.  An October 4th Wall Street Journal headline tells the story, More Than 5,000 Stockbrokers From Expelled Firms Still Selling Securities”.  Business as usual for Wall Street investment banking firms--which did terrible damage to middle class Americans’ savings, in the speculations leading to the banker’s being given government bailout in 2008.

The major financial corporations continue to thwart responsible regulation to stay in the international game of winner-take-all speculations.   They don’t want to be hobbled by the U.S. government in their pursuit of super riches.  Profit is their most important product—there is never enough.  Some digress from this path—“Enough” is good short book by John Bogle, grandfatherly founder of Vanguard funds.  Some, such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, begin to look for better ways to use some of their money.
The rich will find it hard to get into heaven riding their heavy laden camels, according to the Gospel.  The rich play by different rules that give them all the best on earth.  But the Good News says that turnabout is fair play for the rich and poor.  That turnabout is virtually guaranteed by Jesus in his story of the beggar Lazarus and Dives {Latin for “rich”}, and in the many times he says “woe” to those who hold on to too much wealth, and His description of the Last Judgment, in Matthew 25 .  The first will be last.  Death leads to eternal life.

Lazarus at the gate of the Rich Man
Apathy in the face of relievable human misery is radical evil.  -- Fr. E.C. McCarthy
Illumination by Kathy Brahney

More good sources ---

"Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street."   – Mary Elizabeth Lease – Populist orator of the 1890’s      Recurrent problem, prophetic vision.
The 147 Companies That Control Everything – Forbes Magazine article 10-22-11   "Each of these 147 own interlocking stakes of one another and together they control 40% of the wealth in the network [the world’s total corporately held wealth]."
The Top Fifty of these Corporate Owners - from same article - the vast majority, banks and financial holding companies.
1. Barclays plc
 2. Capital Group Companies Inc
 3. FMR Corporation
 4. AXA
 5. State Street Corporation
 6. JP Morgan Chase & Co
 7. Legal & General Group plc
 8. Vanguard Group Inc
 9. UBS AG
 10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
 11. Wellington Management Co LLP
 12. Deutsche Bank AG
 13. Franklin Resources Inc
 14. Credit Suisse Group
 15. Walton Enterprises LLC (holding company for Wal-Mart heirs)
 16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
 17. Natixis
 18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
 19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
 20. Legg Mason Inc

"An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy."

As for the private wealth holders --

"Forbes list of wealthiest Americans shows America's rich have more wealth than ever"