Monday, April 29, 2013


Dr. Dubois of Harvard and Fisk
The tall young African docent at the W.E.B. Dubois museum in Accra didn’t hesitate at the end of the personal tour he’d given me alone when his colleagues had been ready to go home.  “What book of the famous man would he recommend me to read?  The Souls of Black Folk.”   One of the buildings we’d visited held the tomb of the eminent scholar who’d returned to the homeland of his ancestors to finish his work. 

The docent had let me in just at closing time.  I’d come down the block from my brother’s apartment compound, adjacent to the new largest securitized U.S. embassy in Africa, because it was something I didn’t want to miss. My brother Dan had spent two years in the embassy doing immigration work, and my trip there came at the end of his assignment.  We’d done well visiting jungle forest and fishing boat coast, my first time in central Africa.  But here right next door was this monument to a black man who’d superseded slavery’s history, and wrote bravely about it at the beginning of the 20th century.  That’s all I knew of Dubois then.  I’ve just finished the book, and the docent was right.

Partially bunkered U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana--one of our newest and biggest {next to Iraq's}
We the whites, now begin to know the black of ages better, as we feel their suffered indignation in the face of the new master the corporate person who tells the 99% rest what to do—beyond the new grey-flannelled suit they are men who command many guns and dollars and people worldwide.  What are we to do then, beloved community, those who believe s, dismantle the veils.
Uncertain of source, but collaborated by NYT obit in 1963
Dubois teaches all the races something of the Veil, the sequestering of peoples to maintain control and privilege.  He describes the South, having entered from the North, with pain outrage empathy—and lays the problem at the door of the whole country.  His approach is measure by measure as firm uplifting as the hymns of the black church that connect each chapter, and leads with tough love through his educated social analysis, and stories of his own encounters.

escribing the history of our racism accurately from a hundred years ago, he gives compass to many of our current troubles.   The truth, and underlying compassion, of his words give hope that we shall yet overcome, as the banner was taken up by Dr. King, the triple headed monster—poverty militarism racism.  Lord give us the grace to find the courage. Grant us more prophets, and the good sense not to banish or kill them.

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Monday, April 22, 2013


Hit and miss--see Arms Control Association for counterpoint overview on Missile Defense

 October 25, 2012 – A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense -THAAD- interceptor missile is launched from Meck Island [Marshall Islands, South Pacific] on its way to an intercept of a ballistic missile target during MDA’s historic flight test - U.S. Navy photo

Sent May 8, 2000       
Dear President Bill Clinton,

      You have a few months left to give the people of this country something of lasting value--a world working towards peace through nuclear disarmament.  This, the only political treasure worth having or passing on to our citizens, can be your legacy.  While peace through weapons is the lie that has killed millions down the millennia. 

      Now we have the zenith of weapons madness--the nuclear arms race.  We have the hugest surplus of nukes; the Russians have too many and don’t have the means to get rid of them; the bombs never helped either country; we don’t want any new countries to have them [foreshadows Iraq, Iran, N Korea]; we say we want to get rid of them.  Yet we will not stop testing, designing, and building new ones.  We shot down the Comprehensive Test Ban.  And now we risk destroying the small limits of the START nuclear arms treaties, by violating the ABM treaty--setting up our own limited missile defense system. 

      We appear to be making up our own rules.  We have the best and most nuclear weapons so we’ll sit pretty with them thumbing our nose at the rest of the world and trying to put up a technologically imaginary ABM Star Wars [President Reagan’s brainchild] system to protect ourselves and our missiles.  And then we tell them not to build any nukes themselves.  Non-proliferation for you guys, nuclear weapons plus for us.  This is the incredible arrogance of people in Congress like Jesse Helms and the weapons merchants and ballistic think-tankers he and others like him represent.

      I heard the very depressing commentary of Daniel Schorr on NPR, May 1st [I hope you will listen to it if you haven’t already--see web address below – Unfortunately no longer available ].  He describes the machinations of these nuclear death star true believers, and how they’ve completely lame-ducked you on disarmament.  Don’t let them do this.  You can banish the influence of those who’ve been sitting in smoke-filled rooms endlessly planning more deadly missiles to protect their scandalous wealth.

      Say right now that there will be no Star Wars ABM system--limited or not.  What need for further tests in June, or ever?  Go to Russia, more a statesman than any we’ve had in the past 100 years, and negotiate deep reductions in nuclear weapons beyond START II into START III, until they are finished, gone.  And we can begin to base our national security on something other than the most lethal machines ever devised, and start having a real peace dividend--work on health, education, and creative ecologically responsible energy technology, becoming true leaders of a free world.

      It is high time your presidency took the high road.  Put the weaponeers on notice that they no longer run our country [as President Eisenhower on his retirement suggested we do].  We can then forthrightly tell the rest of the world, Iraq, North Korea, Israel, Pakistan, India, etc., not to build nuclear bombs.  These are the doomsday virus, still exceeding virulent, that we cannot let proliferate.  More important than any national health plan.  A let the world live plan.  Be the disarmament president!  Lead the nation to renounce its inordinate belief in, and addiction to, all weapons great and small. 

      I’ve seen the photograph of you as a high school student shaking President Kennedy’s hand.  He would want you to do this.  Thank you for your consideration.  Hillary and Chelsea will thank you as well.

Yours truly,

Michael J. McCarthy PA-C

P.S.  I was a high school student in those same years as your photo, and also went to Boys State, in Michigan.  I’ve been truly blessed with my wife Andrea and four children, Maura 20, Sam 18, Kathleen 15, and Bridget 13.

Still awaiting response
Early in the George W. Bush administration the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty was broken--in favor of implementing some small unproven measures of nuclear self defense, and a certain acceleration of the nuclear arms race worldwide, as all capable countries are goaded into a widening spiral of weapons of mass destruction one-ups-manship.  President Obama so far continues to allow pursuit of this defense industry's self-defeated notion of nuclear security.

The Whole World in Her / His Hands
Respect all life this earth day

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


St Paul's Church Harvard Square, The Berkshires--Appalachian Trail, Boston Marathon victim 2013 {NYT photo}

Daily mass had been delayed an hour till 9am “due to the holiday” as posted by 8 x 11 sheet on the church doors, April 15.  While waiting, I sat in the sunshine on a small Harvard diag building’s side-door steps, a block from St Paul’s. For some reason the beauty of the manicured walks with spring flowering in the beds and trees, made me think of the crisis of conscience for those dedicated to violence--that God’s merciful sunshine is the only solution to this darkness.
First I remembered a film I’ve seen with a Palestinian strapping on his bomb vest, culmination of injustices and insults, urged on by others—but in the end stripping off his bombs, after unable on the bus to take Israeli children with him to his death.

Can bombers reject their violence? Then I was filled with a hope that all of us, connected to bombs deployed all over the world in terrible violent response to conflict, will strip off our bombs. We are all bombers. Look clearly at what almost half of our federal taxes have purchased.

When mass had finally begun  IRS Tax Day, I voiced the Offertory intention, “On this Patriot Day [local Massachusetts holiday commemorating Paul Revere’s revolutionary ride and war's beginning] which is also "National Tribute Tax to Caesar Day", help us re-dedicate our resources to following Jesus’s way of nonviolent love, and we pray blessings for Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy’s preaching of the spirituality / theology of God’s nonviolent love.”  The good Father presiding at mass, completed the petition, “We pray to you Lord.” The 20 or so people present, young and old, responded, “Lord hear our prayer.”

At the doors of church after Fr. Salzmann informed me in a nice way that at their church they don’t have open mass intentions at the Offertory.   I’d spoken out of turn, but he said that was OK, I didn’t know, and agreed at my suggestion that he’d consider Fr. McCarthy as a speaker for their Theology on Tap gatherings. Send him more info.

Our daughters Maura and Kathleen had joined us for beautiful early spring hikes on the Appalachian Trail this past weekend, and we were heading home Monday afternoon, after having left Boston that morning from Maura’s Cambridge apartment.  We heard by cell phone —2 killed, 26 injured {numbers since multiplied} at the Marathon finish line.   Tragedy of senseless violence!  No amount of homeland security, or violence on foreign soil, can deflect it.
As the horrible carnage of yesterday’s bombs in Boston command our attention, let’s not forget the daily human destruction caused by the bombs we’ve deployed.  We heard an 8 year old child died at the Marathon finish line attack.  No one yet knows the attacker[s].  Almost every day one who reads the NY Times or Wall St Journal will see reports of innocent people killed as collateral damage in our interminable War on Terrorism.  Drones and smart bombs are not surgeons.

The only way to defeat the worldwide culture of death is by offering our first fruits to the life-giving God of mercy and love.
Memorial marker we passed on the trail--to Shay's Rebellion, a post-Revolutionary War tax revolt by farmers & small landholders.   Next time, Lord, without guns or bombs.

Monday, April 8, 2013


 Couldn't resist changing the imposed title
I reprint above an oped from May 24, 2007.   The wars have shifted focus, from Iraq-Afghanistan on through Libya to Syria and beyond.   The problem is not just the particular battlegrounds, but our war economy itself.  We have become dependent on war and violence.  We try to just export it for foreign influence, but it keeps rebounding back to us in assault weapon massacres, and in so many ways we’ve come to mistreat each other.  Rich vs. poor, healthy vs. sick, ivy-covered educated vs. those taught less than bare minimum.
nce again I hope we can spiritually review at tax time, how we spend our money as a country, and turn from the works of war, to the works of peace.  Previous efforts outlined above faltered, as President Bush’s 2008 tax rebate program eventually deducted the tax debt we’d with-held, collecting the money from checks issued, effectively ending our efforts.
May we persist and be re-inspired, to non-cooperate with evil, as we seek to cooperate with and serve the good.  Lord, we believe, help our unbelief.

Ande McCarthy, Lyn Chabot, and Library Director Jim Warwick -- April 17, 2007
Illumination by Kathy Brahney

Another source of good information on how to proceed --


Monday, April 1, 2013


Ande Gaines McCarthy R.N. - this winter recording a VNA visit on tablet computer--her snowflake art in background

et me tell you about Ande,  my love and counterpoint inspiration for 35 years now.  She can be as aggravatingly stubborn as I am, always has her own opinion, eventually making mine better through the contest of mind and spirit.  Mine, the realm of principle, striving for truth in politics and faith.  Hers, the direct intimate care of people, now her elderly patients on deaths’ door—earlier on, of our kids, helping them take on the world, teasing them into life’s joy and beauty at every opportunity.

She wants everyone to get moving, do something, make music, most of all have fun.  She’ll tickle it out of you, young or old, family or not, no matter the Detroit blunt cut downs, or “praise the Lords” on high, it might take.  Always ready to break out in tears of deep silent resonance, when the feeling’s right and beautiful.  That happens often.

Ever since high school she’s wanted to be, and is, a nurse.  She’ll keep caring for us all, from kids in war-torn Afghanistan, to our children and grandkids, to her Marwood sick and old friends {remaining from before her mom died there}.  All are welcome, included in her care, as long as she’s given time on this planet.
As I tilt with my pen, and projects, against the giants of poverty-racism-militarism, I see her now by my side in the different but same battle, and realize how much I’ve been blessed—how much I love her.  She constantly shows me new ways to cast out the darkness.  She reveals the sunshine of God’s love, to help warm our hearts, as many as she can, as the world struggles onward.

On our wedding day -- June 24, 1978
Illumination art by Kathy Brahney