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Diary of a Worm’s Life in a Home “Growing Power” Box and Garden

Rain Garden
August 2010

Tomatoes & Basil
from Front Lawn
Garden 2010

Back Yard
Garden 08/02/09

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The Last Celebration - Saturday, April 30, 2011

A month is ending and spring is continuing. Today I went to a wedding of a friend who I met about 12 years ago when she first came from Tanzania and was staying at the Catholic Worker house in town, Casa Maria.

Eventually she moved to a house on the north side near the Catholic parish that my wife and I had joined some years ago. It is a wonderful small Catholic parish in a neighborhood that has suffered extreme poverty in recent years. Our St. Vincent De Paul Society, making home visit and and offering help to persons in need is the largest in the area. Sadly, however, we are a small and poor parish that, with the scarcity of Catholic priest, we cannot afford one these days. So our church is being sold and we are closing with the hope that with the money from the sale of the Church will can keep our service to the neighborhood, like our Food Pantry and St. Vincent De Paul society going when our members integrate into other parishes.

So this wedding celebration was one of the last, if not the last, our parish hall will see. There was a bit of African, American and Roman Catholic and Catholic Worker culture mixed in this last celebration of the wedding today.

Our physical Church will close but the celebration of the poor, the immigrants and those in need will hopefully continue on. Our last celebration is the beginning of new ones.


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Spring Must Be Here - Friday, April 29, 2011

Today was the first day of spring. I felt my spirits rise as the sun was out most of the day. I took my friend Jim Forest to Serb Hall for the famous Friday night fish fry and found myself acting and talking like in the old days before the shadow of death fell on me last fall.

Now that it is night and I am quiet I can feel the darkness within. But now I know I can work outside in the soil and spring has finally come. It is all of what I have been waiting for. Truly “we are the people we are waiting for.”
Jim’s new revised version of his book on Thomas Merton, Living with Wisdom and his new biography of Dorothy Day, All Is Graceare at the table besides me. So many more hours of wisdom reading and in words of inspiration.

My friend Tom walked here today after his hospital appointment quite a distance away. Usually I am picking up Tom and driving him to visit his mother in a home for dementia many miles away but today he was helping me prepare the front garden. Another friend came by this morning with a friend to check out replacing my driveway fence that fell down in a wind storm last fall.

Everything seems to be falling into place. Spring must be here.


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One Person Revolution - Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ammon Hennacy, Dorothy Day and
others seated in protest of civil
defense drill, 1956

Two observations one from TV and one from the movies stand out in my mind tonight. Late last night or early this morning I was watching the Charlie Rose show on T.V. He was interviewing Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning Egyptian diplomat and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an inter-governmental organization under the auspices of the United Nations. After talking about his role in the popular uprising in Egypt, Rose asked him about his new book “The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times”. During this discussion he mentioned that whoever was the source of the deception that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, like it had nuclear capacity, should be held accountable for the illegal war in Iraq, the ‘pulverizing of nearly a million human lives.

When Charlie Rose tried to get him say if he meant that President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld should be held accountable before the World Court for crimes against humanity. He wisely said that he was not saying who was responsible for the deception and how they should be held accountable, but if we are going to keep integrity we need to investigate how this war was launched and someone should be held accountable for this ‘war crime’.

Tonight I watched at the local University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee the movie “South of the Border” by Oliver Stone. It was about the revolution underway in South America. Oliver Stone sets out on a road trip across five countries to explore the social and political movements as well as the mainstream media’s misperception of South America while interviewing seven of its elected presidents. In casual conversations with Presidents Hugo Chávez (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Lula da Silva (Brazil), Cristina Kirchner (Argentina), as well as her husband and ex-President Nėstor Kirchner, Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), and Raúl Castro (Cuba), Stone gains unprecedented access and sheds new light upon the exciting transformations in the region. I have heard and experienced bits and pieces about this movement in South America to ban together and take ownership of their countries from the USA and other Western powers but have not seen how these countries, represented by indigenous Presidents, are connected and work together.

What this TV and movie say to me is simple and complex: The US needs to move


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When Will Spring Come? - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Winter to Spring tornado

Until this rainy and cold weather ends I do not believe spring or Easter has come. It is almost May and, like the tomato seeds waiting for the sun and warmth to germinate, I wait for new life and light to shine through the gloom and darkness of these days. When will spring come?

Nine Americans and God only knows how many Afghans men, women and children, were killed today in the USA war in Afghanistan. The great military General Petraeus, leader of the war against Iraq and now Afghanistan is becoming the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. And a former congressperson, now the Director of the CIA will become the Secretary of the Department of Defense (War). The present Secretary of the Department of Defense, leftover from the previous administration, will retire. The chess game continues while America’s wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Libya kills people. When will spring come?

Last month the press was talking about the ‘Arab spring’ in Tunisia and Egypt, two countries that used the power of nonviolence to bring down the government. Now the news is about the killing and repression of the people in Libya and Syria, in Libya despite the violence of rebels and Western supports. When will spring come to these two countries?

This Friday we have scheduled four homicide victim vigils and the last few days four more homicides, senseless killings, have occurred in the city. When will spring come?

There is a record number of tornados tearing up the south the in the last week. When will the winds of the tornados give way to the gentle breeze of spring?

It is time to play basketball at the local county park yet a rim remains down, due to some labeling of young adults by neighbors. When will spring come for the basketball players?

A local congressperson and our Governor explain why tax cuts for the rich and less care for the elderly and sick is better for us. Spring is a good time to wake up. When will spring come?

Without faith that spring will come, the shadow of the cross being be swallowed by light and without finding the seeds of hope in the present, it is hard to continue. When will spring come?


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People Power - Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A solitary Chinese protester
stands in front of tanks near
Tiananment Square during protest
in 1989.

I believe in the power of creative nonviolence and the fact it can more effective than violence as a way for social change. Thus when I came across this article in my copy of Sojourners magazine I was glad to find it not only agreed with my belief but came up with some data to back up this statement. The article is called People Power and you can read it for yourself on the [FeaturedArticle/HomePage | Featured Article]] on


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Frustration - Monday, April 25, 2011

Victim of drone attack

Late this morning I was going to perform a little task on my wife’s laptop computer. The computer did not work. Three hours later it did not work and I gave up. However, by this time I was very frustrated. It has been awhile since I have suffered such computer frustration but it is never nice and I am slow to learn to do my best and give up.

There is a lot of frustration in life, especially if one is poor and in need, like most in the world that need to struggle just to eat and stay alive. So I guess my self-imposed computer frustration is not much to complain about.

Being in constant pain, like one of my friends has been for over four years, causes much frustration. But she deals with it better than most people deal with computer frustration. For victims of American bombs in Israel, Libya, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan life must be terribly frustrating. How does one deal with such overwhelming destructive technology?

Master of technical warfare like drones or air force bombers insulate themselves, if that is possible, from the killing they do. Today NATO planes bombed the library and office of the President of Libya, the same President who we supplied millions of dollars of weapons of destruction to the last few years. They said they were not attempting to kill the President but if he had been in the office or library he would have died. Three persons were reported killed.

If an individual, suicide bomber, uses his body to set off an explosive he is called a ‘terrorist.’ If a pilot bombs a house full of people he is just doing his job. If a drone kills innocent children it is unfortunate. Technology makes it easier and safer to kill but is just as wrong as the suicide bomber.

The US backed Iraqi government is cracking down on freedom of the press, in the form of harassment, detention, and assaults on individual journalists, raids of radio stations, the offices of newspapers and press freedom groups. The US military praises the Iraq security forces for doing this.

Most manmade violence is senseless and technology but technical violence is not only senseless but frustrating. It is no wonder some of us feel the need to Break the Silence.


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Life Trumps Death - Sunday, April 24, 2011

“The Resurrection” Icon, 1552

Spring is late coming, still coming this year, as his Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. This year the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christian churches celebrated Easter on the same day.

Tonight on 60 Minutes there was a rare TV visit to Orthodox monks of Mount Athos. Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. It is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. It is referred to as the “Holy Mountain”. Monks there still celebrate the original rituals and life of the early Christian monasteries. It is a fascinating site of living liturgy and workshop. Check out the video at Mont Athos: The Holy Mountain.

It was a fitting show for Easter Sunday, a day of hope. One of the monks on the show said they live for death. Each day they look forward to their death by becoming closer to God.

I have mentioned on these posting how, a few months after the death of my son Peter, I felt like I was living in the shadow of death. I have become more accustomed to this feeling but unlike the monks cannot yet rejoice in it.

Good Friday we celebrated the death of Jesus and today we celebrate the Resurrection. But are not death and life two sides of the coin, one and the same? Life trumps death but death is needed for life.


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Holy Child - Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chaneka was baptized, confirmed and received First Eucharist at our church tonight at the Easter vigil liturgy. Simply in the baptism pool she was dunked three times signifying her death into a new life. Than she was confirmed in the faith and after the ‘breaking of the break’ received the life of Christ in the bread and wine.
Chaneka is a 10 year old African American girl, with Tanzania ancestry, who, sometimes with her step sister and brother, goes around the Church shaking hands at the time we offer peace to each other.

When it came down, at the end of the liturgy, for each member of the church to lay hands on her my words to her was “Bless you Holy Child.”

Just like it was in the killing of children that we remembered yesterday in Way of the Cross? tonight we remember the hope of a new life that a child manifests.
Yes we must remember the the children killed by war but also remember the children being born in a new life. A child of life can overcome the death of the cross. Chaneka is the Holy Child today.


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The Way of the Cross - Friday, April 22, 2011

Today, Good Friday, we made the Stations of the Cross of Nonviolent Love. We started at the Federal Building, a symbol of war spending and ended at Marquette University, the only Jesuit Catholic University in the US to host military training schools for the Army/Navy/Marines/Air Force.

The first station , Jesus is condemned to death, was at the Federal Building, a symbol of the obscene amount of money we spend to kill and destroy people in the immoral and unjust wars of the USA. The twelfth station, Jesus dies on the cross, was at Marquette University, the only university in the area that teaches ‘reflexive killing’, killing without conscience and military values taking priority over conscience.

We carried with us, besides the cross, pictures of war victims, mostly children. By words, by drum beat, by signs and pictures, our marching of the way of the cross in silence, we expressed our responsibility for war spending and teaching war that kills and injures many.

Of all the protest, marches, letters to Marquette, holding congress persons accountable, petitions we have done this probably this one prayerful event, at least for me, was the most meaningful. As we walked up Wisconsin Avenue, people around us were going on with their daily business, probably just like at the time of Jesus, where this rejected Palestinian Jew was led by the Roman Empire with other criminals to die a most tortured and painful death.

The cross is an ultimate symbol of Nonviolence, the death that must be suffered to bring new life. So today there is the Way of the Cross and, hopefully, soon the Resurrection. Below are pictures from today. Last seen the cross rested against a tree at Marquette University.


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In The Breaking of the Bread - Thursday, April 21, 2011

“The Last Supper” by
Leonardo Da Vinci

Before each gathering of our small group Breaking the Silence we have a meal. It is in the “breaking of the bread’ that we really get to know and appreciate each other.

I mentioned that today since it is Holy Thursday, the day we remember the first ‘breaking of the bread’ by Jesus at the Last Supper. In Jesus’ time meals together were a major event. People strictly ate with their own class of people. Jesus broke that tattoo and broke break with peasants, rich, poor and even sinners. In the Gospels Jesus is usually eating a meal, healing someone or preaching.

After the Resurrection from the dead of Jesus a few of his disciples were walking to a town called Emmaus when a stranger joined them. The disciples did not know they Jesus had risen from the dead. They engaged in some good conversation and stopped at the inn for a meal. It was in the ‘breaking of the bread’ they recognized it was Jesus they were talking with.

Very few families, according to news, eat dinner together on a regular basis. There is sports, extra curriculum activities, health club, meetings, work that regularly schedule activities during traditional dinner time.

I know when my wife is at work at dinner time and I do not have friends over for dinner I just grab some leftovers and sit in front of the TV. Dinner and conversation go together.

So today some Christians celebrate Jesus’ last meal with his friends and family before it was killed by the Roman authorities for treason. In fact the ‘breaking of the bread’ goes out each day in some Christian masses. ‘Breaking of the bread’ is a good way to remember the life of Jesus and the way he taught us to live. Sadly the last ‘breaking the bread’ was following by death of Jesus. But one of the first things he did after his Resurrection from the dead was make a meal and break bread with some of his disciples who had gone out on the lake fishing.

Tomorrow we celebrate the death of Jesus on the cross. Some of us will make the Stations of the Cross of Nonviolent Love by marching with a cross from the Federal building symbol of Money for War to Marquette University, symbol of Teaching War. These are the modern day ‘sins’ that we must repent for and like Jesus take up the cross. Fortunately we know there is always another ‘braking of the bread’ which we receive the ‘bread of life’ in community with family and friends and recognize Jesus.


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Helping the Rich - Wednesday, April 20, 2011

See larger cartoon below

When I hear of politicians working for more money to the rich by taking services away from the needy and working class I wonder how long it will be before people wake up and rebel. The war machine that benefits the rich continues to get more money while the poor and middle class get poorer. The Wall Street businesses that were the cause of the recent depression have all recovered and making more money than ever while the rest of us continue to suffer. We are always told to fear persons wanting a redistribution of wealth while the same persons who tell us to fear them are redistributing the wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich.

The cartoon on the side and below speaks to one aspect of this move—giving voucher school money that was only given to families in need to the rich. It was called the choice program since it gave poor families a choice of where to send their children to schools. Now the rich who already have a choice will get subsidized if this new budget measured gets past in Wisconsin.

Every day in Wisconsin we hear about a new measure in government budgets that will distribute more money to rich and hurt the poor and working class.

In Wisconsin we came very close to a State wide strike until the politicians who said they are on our side said no and asked us to get out the vote.

As Howard Zinn, Catholic Worker’s and others including our founding fathers pointed out real change only comes from nonviolent civil disobedience. Howard Zinn said “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”

In Jesus’ time, the thinking was there are only limited resources and wealth. So the rich were considered selfish, greedy and despised. Jesus talked how hard it was for the rich to get to kingdom of God and urged rich to give money and resources to the poor and needy. Now we believe that there are unlimited resources and those who have great wealth are held up as American heroes who made it.

But perhaps our wealth and resources are limited and helping the rich get richer is not such a cool idea.


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Wonder In Milwaukee - Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Family owned and operated in
Milwaukee since 1942

Today calling a lawyer to help a veteran who has been locked in a psychiatric ward without a hearing since last June, I discovered a familiar voice on the other end. The lawyer answered the phone with his nickname and I immediately recognized him as the lawyer that had helped to end the zoning discrimination of a mental health clinic that my son, at that time, was getting aide. He also, at one time, represented my son in court hearing on his commitment. This veteran came to my attention from a person living in Virginia who asked a friend from with roots in Milwaukee, but one I first met in Chicago and who now lives in Ohio, for help finding a Wisconsin lawyer.

They say ‘everyone in Milwaukee is related’ and the experience of people growing up in Milwaukee can always find some kind of connection to another Milwaukee native. Although I have had this experience of connection before each time it surprises me. I lived in Madison, Wisconsin for seventeen years but felt that was metropolis. Moving back to Milwaukee in Milwaukee I immediately felt like I was moving to a small town where everyone knows everyone.

There are many explanations for this feeling of living in a small town, the ethnic nature of the city; people who live in Milwaukee tend to stay in Milwaukee; neighborhood taverns and frozen custard stands are everywhere.

Now I realize that like all good things this small town feeling is passing. But while it still here it is time to enjoy and find wonder in Milwaukee.


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Nonviolent Cross - Monday, April 18, 2011

The cross today

Tonight I went to hear Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence speak about her recent experiences in Afghanistan. She tells stories that illustrate the horrors of this war. It is always hard to hear Kathy Kelly talk about the suffering and the obscenity of these endless wars because we realize the wars are our responsibility. We provide the money for war and the teaching of war that make these immoral and unjust wars possible.

Today is tax day when we give the government the billions it takes to operate wars. This Friday, Good Friday we will march from the Federal building, the symbol of war spending, to the campus of Marquette University, the military officer training base for the region. We will making the Stations of the Cross, a Christian ritual remembering the way of the cross and crucifixion of Jesus.

The cross is an ultimate symbol of Nonviolence, the death that must be suffered to bring new life.

Sunday, yesterday, I planted tomato and eggplant seeds in flats in the sun room. This recent cold weather worries me that the seeds will be slow to germinate. However, when the seeds grow into plants we can see the fruit of our labor.

However, making connection between our tax money being use for war, our teaching war at our universities with the killing and suffering of war in Afghanistan is difficult to make. People can hear about the tragedy of the war but do not want to make the connection with their daily lives. Hopefully the Stations of the Cross will make the connection. The seed that dies will rise. The Nonviolent cross will reign


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Following Conscience - Sunday, April 17, 2011

Die In at White House

I have been writing a lot about conscience recently and have started a web page of Quotes on Conscience. This move toward conscience was heightened last week when I was in Washington D.C. with SOAWatch.

Fr. Roy, founder of SOAWatch read a letter to his Maryknoll religious order in front of the Vatican Embassy saying how in conscience he could not renounce his support for women priest and thus was being expelled from the religious order that he had been a member of for 44 years. He already had been excommunicated from the Catholic Church by the Pope for not recanting his participation in an ordination of a woman priest, who now is a dear friend. In his letter he quoted from the present Pope of the Catholic Church who in 1968 as an archbishop said: “Over the pope … there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, if necessary, even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority.”

On Sunday, a week ago, Fr. Roy with the woman priest whose ordination he concelebrated were arrested with others in front of the White House at a “die in” to protest the USA money and training for the militarism of Central and South America.

Dorothy Day, co founder of the Catholic Worker said about the ‘priority of conscience’: “My understanding of the teaching of the Church is that we must follow our conscience, even an erroneous conscience.” Following one’s conscience, like Fr. Roy, can have serious consequences and lead to rejection.


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Broadcasting Seeds - Saturday, April 16, 2011

Although it was cold, windy, raining and even snowing today it is time to plant spring seeds. I have the seeds, the soil and material to plant inside but just have not done it yet.

Although retired I find myself busy these days and need to prioritize what is important to do. Planting seeds is important if I expect to have seedlings to plant outside when the weather warms up.

Sowing seeds is important to do in the present if we want to reap results in the future. Some seeds do not take and some do, but without sowing seeds no plants will grow.

When planting seeds outside in an open field we can broadcast seeds, spread them by hand over a wide area. The ones that fall on fertile soil will take root and grow; the ones that fall on baron soil will die.

Jesus often used this image of planting or broadcasting seeds in his parables about life. Often the seed was the word of God and the farmer would broadcast it over his land hoping that some seeds would take root.

In life we often plant seeds of various kinds by our words, actions, protest or writing. Sometimes we see the results of our broadcasting seeds but often we do not. As we know from planting seeds for the garden, at times we must just broadcast the seeds and hope, pray and trust there will be results someday. The act of broadcasting seeds is important by itself.


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We Discriminate - Friday, April 15, 2011

Symbol of Discriminaton

I recently read in a leading magazine how after the civil war and even up to these times some people and some history books are in denial over the fact that the civil war was about slavery. This is despite President Lincoln stating this fact in his inaugural address before the outbreak of the war and everyone’s realization that slaves were the leading assets of commerce at the time in the USA.

I find that the word “discrimination’ be it racial, economic, based on gender, sexual orientation or illnesses is one that many people fear today and cannot face. The other night at a neighborhood meeting about ending full court basketball playing after over 25 years at a local park some were still smarting from the fact that last fall I had called it ‘discrimination.’ When you eliminate this recreational usage without consulting the people who use the basketball court or without giving them a chance to change some improper behavior what else can you call it.

The dictionary describes discrimination as the “distinct treatment of an individual or group to their disadvantage; treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit.” The youth and young adult were treated as a group to their disadvantage without ‘individual merit’.

Living with my deceased adult son who suffered a brain disease I learned, sadly, a lot about discrimination. Many of my friends now who are poor, ill, with past problem or all three suffer some form of discrimination. Many of the young adults who played full court basketball, especially the African adult males, suffer from discrimination constantly. I remember one of them telling me how he and his family and friends used to play basketball at a park on the southside. One day they came by and the rims on the backboards were gone. There were no complaints to them about behavior or anything else. One day after I talked with them at the local park they came by to find the rims allowing them to play basketball at this neighborhood park were also gone. What message does that send to our youth today?

When I was at the anti-militarism conference in Washington D.C. last week, I heard of tragic cases of discrimination against the peoples of Central and South America countries. Indigenous people who fought the discrimination frequently were tortured, disappeared and killed by the military with training and support from the USA.

All forms of discrimination need to be eliminated. But first we must become aware and admit ‘we discriminate’.


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Do the Right and Believe - Thursday, April 14, 2011

My mother taught me that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Now Facts Show Rich Getting Richer, Everyone Else Poorer.
Republicans always say if the rich get richer there will be more jobs and we will all be richer.
It never works out that way but they say it again anyway.

Big companies do not have to worry about strikes anymore.
They just say “if you do not like what we give you we will move out of your state.”
What can workers do but just give in?
The state cannot say this to it workers since the state cannot move out of the state.
So the State just says you no longer have the power of collective bargaining.

When government allows 400 of its richest citizen to make more money than the bottom 50 per cent of its citizen,
It can no longer claim it is working for the ‘common good.’

Everyone says we need less government spending yet the government spends more money on war.
The military/industrial/educational complex seems to run the show.
If you speak against it you are not patriotic.
If you support it you are blind.
If you ignore it, you are supporting it.

What can we do?
Nothing but break the silence, do the right thing and believe
That truth will prevail and that life follows death.


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Evangelical Smile - Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fr. Roy with Evangelical Smile

Today when I was standing in the lobby of the library passing out flyers about the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday while others stood and prayed, I notice that I was able to keep a consistent smile on my face. This is despite the fact that many students and faculty came by and rejected my offer of a flyer; some saying ‘No thank you’ and many just ignored my presence.

My smile reminded me of a person I worked with many years ago on a garden in the central city. We worked with the many kids of the block which was known as Gingerbread Land. Although working with youth on a garden can have its high points and low points this person always had the same smile on his face. He was a devout member of a large non denominational church and somehow I associated his smile with his evangelism. It was a little phony to me since the smile went unchanged and I figured no one can be feeling like smiling all the time.

However, today when I was smiling when persons took the flyer or rejected them I understood the smile came from a deep sense inside that I was doing the right thing and acceptance or rejection did not matter. I think my experience in Washington D.C. with people of peace from all over the world helped me understand this smile.

Lasts weekend I was with Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOAWatch who has been rejected by the Catholic Church and his own religious order, Maryknoll, of 44 years. Yet he talked about keeping a sense of humor and always had a smile on his face.

I call it the “Evangelical Smile.”


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It Is A Matter Of Conscience - Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Close the School of Army at
Marquette University goes
to the White House

The last five days I have had the privileged of joining hundreds of persons from all over the United States and Central and South America in Washington D.C. to end the militarism of the USA and the suffering and death it brings. I was with SOAWatch and a number of other groups at a conference on Anti Militarism and taking direction action to close the School of Americas at Fort Benning, Ga.,a military training school, responsible to training soldiers in Central and South America to suppress democracy and human rights.

We listened to men and women from Honduras, Haiti and, Columbia who are suffering military repression paid for by our tax money. It will take time for me to process this experience. It was so intense that my tired body disappeared for the five days and the energy of the experience kept me going.

Before this experience a friend Jim Forest had sent me a collection of quotes on conscience. I had sent him back some of the ones I had collected. I meant someday to make a web page of these quotes but after the time in D.C., the time is now.

The one common connection to this experience was a matter of conscience. We Americans need to be hard of heart and ignore our conscience to allow this type of torture and inhumanity to continue in our name. I have written about military teaching ‘reflexive killing killing without conscience taught at some of our universities, but now see that this ignoring of our conscience is so pervasive in our society.

So here are some of the Quotes on Conscience, at least the ones pertaining to War and Peace. I will eventually put pictures with the quotes. For now you can find pictures of actions last weekend at the Capitol at these SOAWatch sites, Photos by Ted Majdosz and by Linda Panetta. We must do something to stop this suffering and killing. It is a matter of conscience.


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Waiting Can Be Good - Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I drove a friend and her husband to a hospital today and waited four hours while she underwent a surgical procedure that hopefully will lessen the intense pain she feels. I forgot to bring along my cell phone so there was no business by phone during this time. Reading my novel and waiting I realized how unimportant I am, a feeling of humility. When I returned home I found that I got only one phone call from a friend that was not too significant.

Coming home I rushed to get ready for our weekly Pray and Fast in the lobby of Marquette University, a Jesuit Catholic University that host training schools of Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force that teach war and killing. I rushed so much that I got to the lobby of the library a half hour early. I put out my posters and spent the hour in quiet time and prayer. After four hour wait in the hospital this waiting was a breeze.

Waiting can be a good experience if you can wait living in the presence. Doing nothing or not doing much is a good way to relax.

I will not be posting the next few days, until Tuesday night, while I take some time to do some resistance work that will mean a lot of waiting. Waiting can be good.


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What Resistance Looks Like - Tuesday, April 05, 2011

On a day when many friends and family in Wisconsin are very concerned about elections, I got this article by Chris Hedges, This Is What Resistance Looks Like. It was interesting since one of the cries of the protest against the Governor and Republicans recently was when one person would ask: “What does democracy look like?” and the crowd would answer: “This is what democracy looks like.” This was true but soon the energy of the protests and civil disobedience at the Capitol was turned into recall efforts and at the elections today.

In his article Chris Hedges says: “The phrase ‘consent of the governed’ has been turned into a cruel joke. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. Civil disobedience is the only tool we have left.”

No matter what the results of the elections today I believe democracy and resistance for now looks like protests and acts of civil disobedience than any election process. Like Chris Hedges says we cannot vote against the interest of Goldman Sachs or General Electric. Yet it is these and other rich and big businesses that give the money that elect our politicians.

The Republicans in Congress, led by a Wisconsin representative, announced today their budget plan to cut the deficit. Simply stated, it would cut taxes for the rich and big business and seriously cut aide for the poor, sick and elderly. Rich get richer and the poor and middle class gets poorer.

I pray for the day when elections will really matter but for now for me democracy and resistance looks like protest and civil disobedience.


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Last Words Today - Monday, April 04, 2011

MLK’s Last Words

At 6:01 p.m. on April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while standing on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. We are not sure of who was involved in killing him but why he died is not much a secret. As a civil rights leader and man of nonviolent action he was a threat to many in the USA. This was especially true in the last year of his life where he broke his silence about the war in Vietnam. When he was killed he was planning a Poor People’s campaign on Washington D.C.

The night before he died he was very tired and depressed so he sent the rest of his team off to speak at a rally for the striking garbage workers.

However, when his associates got to the rally it was clear that the people wanted to hear Martin. He was called and came to the rally.

Speaking without any notes or preparation he gave one of the greatest speeches of his life, anticipating his death the next day. Here are some quotes from that speech courtesy of the Writer’s Almanac edited by Garrison Keillor. His last words, the night before his assassination, certainly speak to us today.


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Is Bigger Better? - Sunday, April 03, 2011

There have been recent news reports that ‘Big guys in big business are making bigger money and big politicians are getting bigger money for elections. This information lead me to following comment by myself and an ‘easy essay’ by Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker. Below is my comment and the ‘easy essay’ written in the 1930′s called “Big Shots and Little Shots”

First my thoughts on Is Big Better?

Big government gives big money to big businesses in big tax cuts and credits.

In return big businesses give big money to politicians in big government.

Where does all this money big government and big business give to each other come from? It comes from little business and little people, poor and middle class people.

Big government says it is not for big government but makes more and more decisions for little or local governments and people.

Big business says it is not for big government but gives big money to politicians in big government.

Big businesses merge with each other to become even bigger businesses and give even bigger money to politicians in big government.

Big governments work together to become even bigger governments and give even bigger money to politicians in big businesses.

Now here are Peter Maurin’s thoughts in 1930’s on Is Big Better?


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Dance or TV World - Saturday, April 02, 2011

Today Pat and I went up north to attend our granddaughter’s dance recital. For an hour we sat in the high school auditorium and watch six groups of girls, 3 to 13 years old perform their dance routines. Their steps were not always aligned with each other but each one was outstanding in the eyes the parents, grandparents and siblings in the audience. The dance lessons are provided by the city recreational department and are taught by high school students who were once students in the same classes. For an hour these children provided a welcome relief to weary woes of our times.

Returning home I reentered the TV world of negative political ads, news of violence and war and ads for fast fat food. The heaviness of mind returns and I now understand why Jesus said you must become like a child to enter the kingdom of God. If only children’s dance ruled over the TV world!


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Holy Fool - Friday, April 01, 2011

Ken Feit, Holy Fool

In 1968 I met a young Jesuit seminarian, Ken Feit who was studying at St. Louis University where I had also had been a Jesuit seminarian. I had left the Jesuit religious order and subsequently had been involved in the Milwaukee 14 action, 14 of us had entered the selective service building in Miwaukee, seized the 1A draft records and burned them with napalm; then surrendering ourselves to the police out of a moral conviction that modern warfare, in particular the Vietnam War, was immoral.

I was out of bail for the Milwaukee 14 action and at St. Louis University to give a talk about it. After my talk Ken read one what he called a ‘sound poem’ about the Milwaukee 14 action. You can find part of it below with Ken’s comments on it.

Ken came to mind today, April 1st, because after leaving the Jesuit religious order he came to live in Milwaukee and gradually became what he called a ‘holy fool’. He became an Itinerant fool, storyteller, poet, flea circus ringmaster, clown, mine and a good friend to many. He was the connection between persons, traveling the county telling friends what other friends were doing.

We were leaving once in Philadelphia and Ken Feit came into our neighborhood looking for us. He asked some children and they did not know who we were. He then asked the children if they knew our sons David and Peter. They said yes and lead him to our house where he updated us on what was happening with friends.

Ken died in a tragic car accident in 1981 but this ‘holy fool’s’ memories and stories live on. Below is one of his “Traditional Stories about Peace and War” and a piece of his writing about a Milwaukee 14 sound poem.


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