A message to Pete Sessions about Planned Parenthood

In front of Pete Sessions’ Washington office in April 2017


From Congressman Pete Sessions TX32ima@mail.house.gov


Dear Dr. David Anderson Haymes,

Thank you for contacting me in support of women’s health services. I appreciate you taking the time to express your thoughts on this deeply personal issue.

Providing access to free and low-cost healthcare is an important part of our healthcare system, particularly in many areas of Texas. Through the Title X Family Planning Program, Congress provides federal funding to millions of low-income women for critically important healthcare services. This funding is a necessity for many of these providers and clinics to keep their doors open. I fully support the funding of more than 13,000 federally-qualified community health centers, which outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics 20 to 1 nationally. These clinics provide not only low-cost access to healthcare for women, but men and children as well.

As you know, policy related to federal funding of abortion is a fundamentally and historically controversial topic. Federal dollars have not been spent on abortions since the first passage of the Hyde Amendment in 1976. I believe that current law should remain intact to protect taxpayers from having their dollars spent on services that violate their moral values.

Again, thank you again for contacting me regarding access to women’s health services. Please continue to keep me updated on the issues that matter to you. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at Sessions.LegStaff@mail.house.gov. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Pete Sessions
Member of Congress

From: David Haymes [dahaymes@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 8:44 AM
To: ‘Sessions.LegStaff@mail.house.gov’

Subject: A reply to your letter: Planned Parenthood is not the enemy and provides services community health centers do not

Dear Congressman Sessions,

Paul Ryan got 2 Pinocchios for making the same claim you make. The community health centers are not required to see the indigent or offer family planning. The need for Planned Parenthood exists and as you say no Federal funds are used for  abortion services, that account for less than 3% of Planned Parenthood Services. This is a diverse country. Planned Parenthood is not a threat to you or your constituents. Let it rest and get on to bigger issues – taxes, infrastructure, Russian meddling, gerrymandering, healthcare, and our bloated military budget.

David Haymes M.D.

click below to see Ryan’s statements

Ryan disingenuous on Planned Parenthood

From Congressman Pete Sessions TX32ima@mail.house.gov

Thank you for replying. Unfortunately, the mailbox (TX32ima@mail.house.gov) you are responding to does not accept incoming mail.

Too bad. You should open ALL avenues for your constituents to contact you. You should attend the mail box you send from…so you can “LISTEN” to your constituents.

Evangelina’s braids

Two braids made Cervando a Presbyterian. Back in Mexico in La Cardona near Mier y Noriega long before the revolution, as a teenager Constantino was smitten with Evangelina. He and a friend were riding through a dry riverbed one morning when he met the local priest and his companion riding in the opposite direction. As they approached, the priest said “Constantino, didn’t you have a fancy for Evangelina?” And with that he pulled two braids with blue ribbons out of his pocket and dangled them in front of Constantino. With a knowing smirk the priest replaced them in his pocket and pushed past Constantino and his friend.

Many years later when Cervando’s father, Cervando senior, asked for Maria’s hand in marriage Constantino said, “You may marry but NOT in a Catholic church!” And so they were married in Dallas at the El Divino Salvador Presbyterian Church at 1803 Payne Street between Akard and Harry Hines near what is now the American Airlines Center.

And that is how Cervando became a Presbyterian.

I will leave it to you to decide if the priest took more than Evangelina’s braids.


The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?

Constantino brought his family to the United States to escape violence and persecution. As we shall see, Cervando’s mother Maria had one year of education on the family’s journey to Dallas. She married Cervando’s father who worked as a waiter at El Fenix. From that union came two children – Cervando and his younger brother Rene. A psychiatrist and an educator and political activist for social justice. Great contributors to American society.

I have no idea if Constantino crossed the Rio Grande legally or if that was even an issue a hundred years ago.

Many immigrants coming to this country are escaping terrible violence and persecution. Are we blind to this? What happened to

Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, 
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

The story of immigrant contribution to America has been repeated so often that it is remarkable that we as a society forget how common it is, choosing instead to give into our fear of “the other.” We play up the immigrant in trouble with the law, the drug smuggler, the coyote, the gang member and we demonize a whole group as undesirable because of a few.

From today’s Dallas Morning News

If we are truly the land of the free and the home of the brave, is it brave to separate children from their mother? Is it brave to deport members of our military who have run afoul of the law? Shouldn’t they pay their debt to society like the rest of us – in the US justice system?

The argument that this will “enhance public safety” is simply bogus. Studies show immigrants do not commit crimes at a greater rate than  citizens.

And how about the mother who is a legal resident but voted, I choose to believe out of ignorance rather than malice. She is sent to jail and  threatened with deportation. She is given a  longer sentence than another woman convicted of a violent crime. What is brave about that?

Are we so frightened and blind that we cannot see that compassion is an American value.

We can do better. Be fair not frightened. Compassionate not cowardly.

Fear sells but it is a hollow product that will never satisfy.











Mier y Noriega Festival of St Anthony of Padua

My Med School friend Cervando Martinez has a two building three bedroom house in Mier y Noriega with a beautiful view looking at the hills to the east. He built it several years ago for about $15,000, including the land. He had not been there since March and so on our arrival we spent an hour or two shooing off the spiders and lizards, uncovering the furniture, plugging in the refrigerator, and opening the windows. It is sparse but comfortable with running water, an indoor toilet, but a COLD SHOWER.

The 4 day festival in Mier y Noriega concludes on June 13, the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua-the patron St. of lost things and of Mier y Noriega. In addition to carnival rides, food, a rodeo, and folk dancing performances there is a daily parade to the church led on one day by women, on one day by men, and on the last day by families. The festival concludes with fireworks on the evening of June 13, which in typical Mexican fashion did not occur until 1:30 AM on June 14.

Mier y Noriega and the surrounding area is where Cervando’s family originates. He has so many cousins here that we lost count. Arturo Villasana (in cowboy hat in photo) is a second cousin, meaning that he and Cervando share the same great grandfather. Their grandfathers were brothers. Arturo is a local cattle rancher and one of 22 children by one father and two mothers. Learning that, we understood where all the cousins came from!

During the repeated violence of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) Cervando’s maternal grandfather, Constantino Villasana, brought his family (including Cervando’s mother born in 1906) from the La Cardono Hacienda into Mier y Noriega. In spite of this relative safety, Mexican soldiers continue to raid the town, stealing food and horses. Each time they came Cervando’s grandfather sent his two sons into the hills to avoid their conscription into the Mexican army. To keep the soldiers from getting his horse Cervando’s grandfather hid his horse behind a large stone oven in the kitchen. Amazingly the horse remained silent and perfectly still. Cervando said this occurred many times until his grandfather tired of it and in the 1920’s the family emigrated to San Antonio; Hunter, Texas; Waco; and ultimately Dallas.

In 1901 when the above photograph was taken, Constantino and Angelina Villasana were young parents of, from left to right Rodolfo, Refugio, and Constantino II, in Mier y Noriega, Mexico. Though trained as a tailor, Constantino was a foreman on the La Cardono Hacienda of Matias Baez, one of the largest landowners in northern Mexico. By the time the revolution came, the Villasana had three other children, and the entire family was threatened by the rampaging violence. The Villasanas emigrated to Central Texas and then Dallas in 1906.

A Trip to Mier y Noriega, Mexico with Cervando Martinez M.D.

We left Dallas on Cherry’s birthday, June 8, 2017. We drove five hours to Kerrville Texas and spent the night with our friend Jan Pickett, a widowed nurse of the artist Denny Pickett. Cypress trees on the riverWe agreed to buy another one of his paintings from a style that we do not have represented in our collection.

The next day we headed to San Antonio and put our belongings in Cervando’s car and headed for Laredo. We arrived after dark and it took us four hours to cut through the red tape and get our car permit for the interior of Mexico. Cervando had neglected to get his last permit canceled and that was the hold up. It was hot but I was able to watch game four of the NBA finals on my phone, the only game Cleveland won.
We spent the night at a motel in Laredo and the next morning started our four-hour drive around Monterey and Saltillo to Matahuala and then through the town named Dr. Arroyo then to Mier y Noriega, a town of about 5000 people at about 5200 feet.

José Servando Teresa de Mier Noriega y Guerra was a Dominican priest born in Monterrey in 1765. At age 16 he entered the Dominican order in Mexico City. By the age of 27 he had a doctorate and was a noted preacher. On December 12, 1794 he was asked to give the sermon in front of the Archbishop and the Viceroy. In this sermon he alleged that the Virgin of Guadalupe (i. e. the Virgin Mary) had first appeared not in 1531 to Juan Diego but 1750 years before on the cloak of St. Thomas the apostle who had preached in the Americas after Christ’s crucifixion long before the Spanish conquest. Noriega asserted that the Aztecs had been preached to by St. Thomas and had made him their god, Quetzalcóatl.
This so incensed the Archbishop that Noriega was excommunicated and exiled to a convent in Spain, stripped of his doctoral degree, and prohibited from ever teaching, preaching, or hearing confessions . He was imprisoned several more times in Europe after escaping and in 1816 was part of the Mina expedition attempting to obtain Mexico’s independence. The Mina expedition landed in 1817 180 miles south of Brownsville, TX where they were again captured. Noriega is credited with bringing the first printing press to the New World on that expedition. He was finally elected a member of Congress in 1823 and died peacefully in Mexico City in 1827. The only memorial he got for his troubles was an obscure town in northern Mexico bearing his name. A copper statue at the town’s entry memorializes his image, his priesthood, imprisonments, and the printing press.  

A Memory: August 1999

The Woods Hole Ferry was right on time. Fortified by steamers and beer we wheeled our luggage up the ramp and found a place below to sit. It was dark and the night sky was coming alive. Haley and I ran up the stairs to explore the top deck leaving my wife and other daughter below. At thirteen Haley is at that not child/not woman stage of adolescence. She is becoming the center of her own universe. Parents want their children to stand on their shoulders to go further in the world but always long for a downward look of appreciation. As she disappears around the corner I sit near the front facing east. The ocean is dark. The night is much clearer than ten days ago. It was probably about there that the plane went down. (John Kennedy Jr., flying a private plane, and his wife had fatally crashed in the ocean just the week before). Boom. Gone. Life. No life-only memory, only regret. I think of another John, my cousin in South Carolina. His college roommate of long ago was murdered in Los Angeles by a jealous lover. A new experience with no manual. My cell phone works even in Massachusetts. He is not home. I leave a message of concern and love.
The ride to Martha’s Vineyard is only an hour. Vineyard Haven is deserted when we arrive. The agent told me that we could walk to the Captain Dexter House. Man, am I glad that I brought our industrial strength carrier with wheels. Buying it is the best one hundred dollars I ever spent. Following Haley, who has directions, we wheel down the Main Street. A sign in front of a three story clapboard house says , “Captain Dexter House – 1843.” On the front porch a couple sits on either side of the etched glass door drinking wine, white as I remember. “You can’t get in here,” she says. “You have to go to the side.” Our roller is useless so I carry as much as I can around him to the side door.
I am drenched in sweat after my second trip. He sips his wine and doesn’t say a word. I don’t exist. This is not Texas.
The Captain Dexter Suite is at the top of the stairs. We can imagine the sea captain living here but it is a stretch for the four of us. We look out on the garden through a trapezoid shaped window, a rectangle bullied by gravity over the years.
Stacy, my older daughter who always lands on her feet, calls her husband in Boston. Though married only eighteen months, he has loaned us his wife for 48 hours.
Tomorrow we will bike to Edgartown where the sailboats will remind three of us of Belize where Cherry and I honeymooned when Stacy was twelve. That evening we will dine at a French restaurant across the garden. Stacy will fly back to Boston the day after tomorrow and the three of us remaining will rent a jeep and drive to Gay Head looking east to the site if the crash.
But tonight we sit on the floor playing cards, enjoying the night and each other.

In my America this should not happen

Martin NiemollerFirst they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemoller  (pictured above)

Then they came for The Holy Land Foundation?

According to Professor John Pfaff of Fordham Law School one of the reasons our criminal justice system is broken is because prosecutors have become so  much more aggressive.  We saw this in Mitch’s case.

Now read about the shutdown of the Holy Land Foundation 2 months after 9/11 and the maniacal intensity of the government’s pursuit and eventual conviction of men in this charitable organization. 

There is no other way to describe it than as a miscarriage of justice of monumental proportions. 

Read this blog 


and this article


and this


And then talk about it.

I am not optimistic that these men will ever see freedom but in my America this should not happen.

David Haymes