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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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Going To Haiti To Listen - Friday, September 30, 2011

President Aristide

Tomorrow Oct. 1st I head to Haiti with a delegation from SOAWatch. We are not bringing aide and will not be working to rebuild Haiti. Our mission is solely to listen to the people of Haiti and to discover what they desire for their country. In preparing for my journey I read an article and a book that I found revealing. The article is the Featured Article on this web site: How the World Failed Haiti. The book is ”An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President” by the noted author Randall Robinson.

After the earthquake in Haiti I had purchased this book to learn more about the history and culture of Haiti. When I found out I was going to Haiti I looked for the book but could not find it. So I got a copy from the public library and when I return will again look for my copy.

I will listen and hear the people the best I can. I will see the land as it is the best I can. When I return I will try to write about this experience the best I can. This posting will resume Oct. 8th or 9th after we go to Haiti to listen.


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New, Old Friends - Thursday, September 29, 2011

Project House with new
porch built by friends

A friend I had not talked to for awhile called today. We caught up with each other lives. I can say now she is an old friend but when I retired from employment about six years ago I did not even know her. She is among a number of new, old friends that I have made during this time. They are men and women of all ages but theses new old friend have some common characteristics. They are struggling in life with poverty and/or illness and they are all generous persons willing to give of themselves and what they have to others.

For example, the person who called today runs some houses for poor with mental illnesses who have frequently been rejected by other homes. She provides clean housing and some meals for them. But she has to struggle with the city housing inspectors who are constantly checking her few houses and she needs to work a part time job to survive. Some years ago a newspaper article misrepresented her housing situation and agencies stopped referring persons to her houses. It was at this point we met. I helped her get some volunteers from the Church where I was working to work on a house she had purchased with the understanding she would get a matching grant from the city if she would bring it up to city standards. She called this house to be the ‘project’ house. She had done her part, putting on a new roof, windows, a new electric system and more into the house. With the help of the Church volunteers we put on a new porch and made improvements in the house. The city failed to keep their part of the transaction and when we tried to advocate on her behalf the city inspectors made her pay. The volunteers have been working on the ‘project house over the years but without a new investment of money the process has halted. We have also worked together, with another common friend, on a garden on a vacant lot.

Each of my new old friends have their own story but I find they all have a common thread of struggling to survive, illness and being so generous and giving. These new old friendships I feel we are all as equals. We give each other strength and encouragement although we are all very different. I feel privileged and blessed. This is not to say my old friends, mostly white middle class and some still friends, are not good persons. They are wonderful people. But when I was living in solidarity with them the solidarity was mostly with words. We talked solidarity with the poor and marginalized but it was from a different viewpoint than one that is poor and marginalized.

I am not poor but have felt the sting of being marginalized. I have learned so much from these new old friends. Next week I am going with a delegation to show solidarity with the poor and suffering in Haiti. A friend who is already there issued us a travel warning today: “One final travel warning: be aware that you might fall in love with Haitians. I have after only 36 hours!”

I am looking forward to making some new old friends.


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Finding Beauty In All Things - Wednesday, September 28, 2011

“Think of all the beauty still left
around you and be happy”
Anne Frank

It was a rainy day again today. Hopefully tomorrow I can get some work outside in the gardens before I travel to Haiti next week with a SOAWatch delegation. I did drive my friend today to visit his mother with Alzheimer’s in a residential home. His mother seemed sharp today and before I could do the ‘tickle tickle’ routine to her she did it to me.

I was feeling a little overwhelmed about all the things I should be doing but a picture quote (see below and on the side) by Anne Frank brightened my day. Locked in a hidden room getting ready to die she found beauty in life.

Today the director of the Marquette University Peacemaking Center wrote me criticizing our efforts to get Marquette to be faithful to the Gospel and Stop military training on campus. He is a well known peace person but on this issue of teaching war and killing on a Catholic University he has not only remained silent but tried to marginalize our message. I was busy, as I said before, but took time to respond to his email. Hopefully it can be the beginning of a dialog but from past experiences I am afraid it will not.

Just after sending the email response to him I read an email I read this quote on the bottom of an email from a Catholic Worker. It is from a Jesuit who was inspirational in my life in the 60’s.

“We have assumed the name of peacemakers, but we have been unwilling to pay any significant price. and because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total—but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial.” -Fr. Daniel Berrigan, SJ

So, even a busy, rainy day or criticism from a peacemaking about making peace can be dealt with by seeking the beauty around us.


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When I Was Down - Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sometimes when we get discouraged, a loved one is ill, our message to stop teaching killing is ignored by the very people that preach it and things are just not working out on many levels something appears that lift our spirits. This happened to me tonight and it was by the way of the Catholic Worker Journal, a new blog of the Catholic Worker Movement. To any readers of this web site you know how much the Catholic Worker Movement and Dorothy Day have influenced my life.

Our recent action to stop teaching war at a Catholic University I felt had been ignored by many, even some good Catholics who preach and talk peace and justice.

I had recently sent our an email to Catholic Workers about our simple protest at the installation events of the new President of Marquette University, the only Catholic Jesuit University in the country to host departments of Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force on campus. The email seemed ignored as our message of Teach War No More is. Today I got a message from a Catholic Worker asking me to resend some pictures of our protest at Marquette last week which I did. Tonight on the Catholic Worker Journal blog appeared this news article on our efforts.

I know this new blog will not be seen by many but just the recognition of our message of resistance to training for war on Catholic campuses is refreshing and uplifting. So once again persons in the Catholic Worker Movement have come to my aide when I was down.


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Monkey Business - Monday, September 26, 2011

Seeing my wife grow weaker with her inflammatory muscle disease, reading about the suffering and suppression of the people of Haiti, hearing of more Killer Drone attacks ordered by the White House, seeing friends being silent and ignoring the ‘war at home’, teaching at a Catholic University how to “kill or be killed’ can be enough to get me down.

So I look for things that will raise my spirits. Here are a few from today.
My son and his wife sent me a copy of the blog called Monkey business, the class blog of my second grade granddaughter Carolee. It will brings a smile to your face and shows how creativity is still key to teaching and learning.

Between doing laundry and running some household errant I got a chance today to work in the garden by sifting through worm compost to gather castings. These valuable castings, worm poop make for powerful and organic fertilizer.

As I was preparing dinner tonight our house guest, a young woman raised in Sierra Leone, offered to help me by chopping vegetables. She also is a good cook and has recently blessed us with some African style meals.

It is often the little things like the Monkey Business of 2nd graders, sifting worm castings or help preparing a meal that keeps us going in this crazy world. We all need some monkey business in our lives.


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Where Have All the White Liberals Gone? - Sunday, September 25, 2011

For some time now I have expressed my concern that the real obstacles to peacemaking are not the “Tea Party” or the military. I regrettably believe it is the ‘white liberal’, those who talk peace and justice but fail to act. It is hard for me to say since many of them I call friends. Nearly 2000 of them came out to protest a small hate rally of about 20 Nazi’s a few weeks ago. However, when thousands came out to honor the new president of Marquette University there were just about 10 of us present outside the building to plea that the new president and Marquette University [[ TeachWarNoMore/MUPeace |Be Faithful to the Gospel and stop teaching war and violence on campus, training you men and women to “kill or be killed”.

On September 24, 1968 when 14 of us, who came to be known as the Milwaukee 14, burned draft records of young men who were 1A and about to be drafted into a war to “kill or be killed” thousands stood with us. Where have all those people of the 60’s gone….to be peace liberals?

I remember the quote from Martin Luther King Jr. I put on the Breaking the Silence Quote web page when he reaches the conclusion that the great stumbling block to the civil rights movement was not the “White Citizens’ Council or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action” (Full quote is below)

But to be truly nonviolent one must love friends as well as enemies. I have no problem with ‘white liberals’ not remembering that September 24th was the anniversary of the Milwaukee 14 but it does bother me that the message, the wiliness to sacrifice than see young adults be trained to “kill or be killed” in unjust and immoral wars, is lost.

With a president in the White House controlling a growing use of “Killer Drones”, with more and more people suffering poverty and hunger each day or unable to get medical care, while the very few become filthy rich, with the marginalization of more people especially the sick and poor, with discrimination running rampant and with the Church looking the other way where have all the white liberals gone?


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Cancel Truth? - Saturday, September 24, 2011

Message to new president

The Diary of Worm posting was canceled yesterday by my forgetfulness. Seven years ago my wife lost her job as a part-time librarian in a Catholic school when the school decided they did not need a librarian. My grandson, then six, after overhearing adults talks about the lost of her job said: “Grandma was canceled.” We all laughed and he was happy to see our joy.

The other day on public radio I heard this news item from China: “Anhui province is today announcing the cancellation of Chaohu city,” Yes, Chinese officials announced on Aug. 22 that the large city of Chaohu, the size of Los Angeles, no longer existed, Overnight the city of Chaohu containing a large freshwater lake was rezoned and parts of it went to three other nearby cities. The only reason given by government officials was “an inherent need at a certain level of economic growth.” A large city was canceled.

Thursday and Friday, before the ceremonies installing the new President of Marquette University we stood outside on the sidewalk asking the President to “Be Faithful to the Gospel” and eliminate the departments of military sciences, officer training schools for Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force on campus. We wanted these three departments canceled because they teach values contrary to the Gospel and the Christian values that Marquette espouses.

However, except for a little police hassle our message was canceled by Marquette and the media again by their ignoring our message. Like the librarian’s job at the Catholic school or the large city of Chaohu our message for Marquette University to be faithful to the Gospel and close the military schools was cancelled by being ignored.

But maybe not? You can cancel a job or even a city but can you cancel the ‘truth’. It might be our ‘opinion of the truth’ but as long as Marquette does not respond to our persistent message they are given acknowledgement to our ‘opinion of truth’ by ignoring it. As long as we keep persistently presenting our message the only way Marquette can win in this struggle for the truth is by responding to our message and explain how it justifies teaching the priority of military values over conscience and reflexive killing, killing without conscience. The truth if pursued will persist and cannot be canceled.


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Practice What Preached - Thursday, September 22, 2011

As we were standing outside the church at Marquette University today many faculty and administrators walked by into Church to celebrate a liturgy to install the new president of the university. Our message was quite simple, in the name of Blessed Franz and Servant of God Dorothy Day we were asking Marquette University to be faithful to the Gospel and Stop hosting military training on campus. I knew many faculty and administrators attending the event and as they walked past me they said hello and I responded with hello and smile.

They all have ignored our pleas to stop teaching war at Marquette and principles against the teaching of the Gospel, like reflexive killing and priority of military values over Gospel values. Yet these faculty and administrators continue to promote Marquette as a Jesuit Catholic university while silently supporting values that are in conflict with the mission of the university.

I do not have the courage to call them hypocrites ad Jesus did to the scribes, priest and Pharisees of his day. But what other word can you call persons who preach one thing and practice the opposite?

Actually all this would not be so bad if their silence, as the silence of the German church in World War II was not so deadly. I am again reminded of the words of Father Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, the Society of Jesus. His words are: …love ought to show itself in deeds over and above words.” (Spiritual Exercises, #230)

We are all hypocrites when we do not practice what we preach. However the bigger we are as leaders and teachers the bigger the hypocrites we are.


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Garden Called Earth - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Usha Gokali Gandhi

“We have only one world. We have only one home. This garden called earth is ours alone to cherish and keep or hurt or destroy, to shadow with sorrows or brighten with joys.”

This is how the song “Cherish This Beautiful Earth” begins. The words and music was written by Gregory Berg of Carthage College. The song was commissioned for the closing ceremony of “Circles of Peace” and first sung tonight. The main speakers at this event of poetry, dance and music on this International Peace Day was my friend Prasad and Usha Gandhi Gokani, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, both from India.

Ms. Gandhi, an elderly woman tired form the long journey and time zone changes, gave a quiet but passionate plea for peace, using the lessons she learned from her grandfather. The fundamental lesson was how true peace begins with change of selves. She spoke of Gandhi’s words: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Prasad in his normal eloquence reflected on some of these lessons and made them personal and updated. He taught by stories that related the principles of Gandhi to everyday life, like taking on suffering as the way of nonviolence.

On the way home I was delayed by a serious accident on the highway. It slowed me down. Now I realize this is what I must do with my own life, slow down to enjoy “this garden called earth” and to reflect on how “to be the change I want to see in the world.”


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Voice of Voiceless - Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Voice of Voiceless

Tonight my wife, coming home from work around 9:15pm, fell and hit her head on the wall as she was coming up the side door stairs. Since she is going in for day surgery tomorrow she felt it best that we go to the urgent care service tonight to have things checked out. The doctor saw her fairly quickly after we arrived and said there were no symptoms of anything but a bump on the head. She would be free to go after some paper work. Then came the long wait. Finally, about an hour later I went to the nursing desk to make sure they had not forgotten us. They said they would be in shortly and were.

For some time now I have been working through our alderman to get a speed board on our street to make drivers aware of their speed on our stretch of street with no stop signs for nearly 10 blocks but boarded by three grade schools. The speed board has come and gone, worked and not worked and finally yesterday was moved and today was removed. I wrote my alderman tonight about this situation and copied the police officers that he always copies. When I drove out of the driveway tonight taking my wife to the urgent care clinic I saw a police van pulling up with a new speed board. Since it is solar driven we will need to wait till tomorrow to see if it works.

I tell these two stories from today to relate in a small way the power of advocating. There are bigger examples in my life of how advocating made a difference. Persistent, assertive persons like me make good advocates. But this raises the bigger question of why the quiet, low-income, marginalized or ill person needs an advocate. Why isn’t the voice of every person, be they poor or rich, powerful or weak, treated with equal respect and dignity?

An advocate needs to be aware of his or her limited role, to spark a response and have the other person’s voice heard but not to do for someone else what they can do for themselves. An advocate’s job is simply to allow the voice of the voiceless to be heard.


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We Are One! - Monday, September 19, 2011

Einstien ‘Theory of Unity’

I am going to hear Gandhi’s granddaughter from Mumbai, India talk on Wednesday and/or Thursday; I will soon travel with a delegation to Haiti; I accidently discovered today an Egyptian Fish Restaurant and in the restaurant I was offered Sfeeha, a Lebanese meat pie, just like my Aunt Rose made when I was young; for dinner tonight my Sierra Leone niece made us some delicious African food. I could go on with the international flavor of my day but I think you get the point: In today’s world we are all interconnected and our lives are interrelated.

This awareness, we are all one, brings peace and joy in our lives and in the world. As the Dalai Lama says: “Internal peace is an essential first step to achieving peace in the world.” How do you cultivate it? It’s very simple. In the first place by realizing clearly that all mankind is one, that human beings in every country are members of one and the same family.”

This same thought, we are one, has been repeated by great woman and men throughout history, yet we act as if we are not aware of this reality. How could war survive if we thought of ourselves as brothers and sisters? How could there be extreme people on left or right if we are all related?

Diversity is great and good. But without unity there can be no diversity. In the gardens around my house there is a rich diversity of plants and flowers. But they all share the same soil, sun and rain. Gandhi says that all religions are like branches of one tree, they are rooted in the same tree trunk.

As the world shrinks, with media and communications, there is no longer anyway to deny this growing reality of being one. Yet many do.

“A human being is a part of the whole that we call the universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. This illusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for only the few people nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living beings and all of nature.” Einstein

We are One!


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Children are Great Teachers - Sunday, September 18, 2011

Elizabeth with her Grandmother
and Godmother

Today we attended in Middleton, WI the baptism of a member of our extended family Elizabeth, our daughter-in-law’s sister’s daughter, our grandchildren’s cousin or perhaps our Granddaughter-in-law. Whatever you call our relationship with her, she is the newest member of our family and formally was made a member of the church today. Elizabeth has four brothers and sisters, her mother’s sisters have six children, three of which are my grandchildren. So when we all get together there are four grandparents, the three sisters and their husbands (6) and 11 children, ages 1–18.

Elizabeth’s godmother today was my wife Pat and her older brother, Tristan, who is three, is my godson. Tristan and his brother Charlemagne who is four and another cousin Maggie Joe, who is six or seven, call me grandpa like my three grandchildren do. All these children, especially the young ones, help me understand what Jesus meant when he said: “You must be like one of these children to enter the Kingdom of God.

At the workshop yesterday on the neuroscience of the brain I heard how the brain develops in the newborn consciously and unconsciously from ages pre-birth to 24 years. To be a part of the growth of child into young adult is a gift and blessings. I thank my grandchildren, my grandchildren-in-law and all the children, teens and young adults in my life for teaching me how to live the Way of Jesus. Children are great teachers.


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Summary Without Substance - Saturday, September 17, 2011

Today I attended a one day workshop at Center for Peacemaking at Marquette University. One speaker was John J Carmody of the Center for Christian Nonviolence and the other was Father Charles McCarthy of the same center.

Father McCarthy, a fiery Melkite married Catholic priest was someone I was familiar with. He rightly is known as one of the best teachers of Christian nonviolence of the Gospel and lived up to his billing today.

I have recently being studying the operation of the brain and to my delight John Carmody, spoke about the Neuroscience of Nonviolence. It was a fascinating presentation taking the scientific knowledge of how the brain operates and showing how humans are wired to be people of peace and how violence can upset our nature. John said he shares his presentation on the net but I have not found it yet. But I did find this four part series on YouTube called The Neuroscience of Peace and Nonviolence. Father McCarthy interviews John about his work in this area which was born out of his experience as a Vietnam Veteran and sparked by his encounter of the teachings on Theology of Nonviolence of Father McCarthy.

Father McCarthy made it clear to all present that Marquette University and Notre Dame, the only two Catholic universities in the country to host all three departments of military training were clearly acting against the Gospel and Christian moral values by Teaching War on campus.

After the workshop my wife picked me up and we made our St. Vincent De Paul home visits, visiting people in need and offering them a vouchers for living essentials. After eating out, too much food for me, I got home with body, mind and soul very full. Sorry for this summary without much substance but it takes my body some time to digest what I heard, learned and ate today.


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Exceptionally Ordinary - Friday, September 16, 2011

A tree near Gandhi’s Memorial
in India

I heard someone who has been out of the country for a few years asked how Americans were perceived by non-Americans. He said that Americans were viewed as thinking they are better than others. This goes along with the American philosophy of Exceptionalism, “the perception that a country, society, institution, movement, or time period is ‘exceptional’ (i.e., unusual or extraordinary) in some way and thus does not need to conform to normal rules or general principles.” For example, on 9/11 as we celebrated the 10th anniversary of this tragedy a non-UN-sanctioned US airstrike left at least four people dead and several others wounded in Pakistan. Killer Drone attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somali are on the increase but these lives are not important as American lives lost.

Exceptionalism does not just apply to the government in our country but even the Church. A column by our Archbishop in the local Catholic newspapers this week expresses the great concern the Church has over abortion but does not mention the born human beings who lives are lost each day by our war actions. To teach abortion is forbidden at our local Catholic Jesuit university but to teach war and reflexive killing, killing without conscience is okay.

At lunch today a friend asked me if I was going to hear a speaker talk on the war in Afghanistan next week locally. I said No emphatically because I cannot handle all the talk about war without taking nonviolent action. However, I am going to a one day retreat by a peace priest at Marquette University.

What to do about all the talk about peace and justice but lack of action? What to do about all the talk about peace and justice but considering our country “exceptional”.

My therapist said last week would it now be wonderful if we could build a big brick wall around our home and garden and not have to deal with the rest of world. Yes it would be nice but cannot be done or justified. It would be exceptionalism supreme. The trick is to live behind the wall and still be active in the ordinary, everyday world. Any ideas how to be exceptionally ordinary?


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Playing Offense Not Defense - Thursday, September 15, 2011

Green Bay Packers go on offense

There was an article today in the newspaper how our County Sheriff says he is going on the “offensive” by purchasing more tazer guns to use on unruly inmates. To me this purchase sounds like going on the defense. Going on the offense would, to me, make getting at the source of the unrest and making changes.

I have said over and over, maybe too many times, how the peace movement often seems to be on the defense, protesting FBI tactics, Nazi hate groups and Republican attacks on the justice system. It seems we are kept on the defense or fighting each other that there is not much time or effort left to go on the offensive.

Civil rights victories were not won by protesting the Klu Klux Klan; treating people without respect and dignity does not lead to less unrest. Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement did not spend time defending herself or the Catholic Worker movement but went on the offensive with houses of hospitality and direct actions against an unjust systems.

I should not be so critical of defensive moves since when I am attacked or ignored personally I often get defensive which is a waste of time. It is often said that the best ‘defense’ is an ‘offense’.

When fear reigns, as it often does in our society, it is easier to be defensive than go on the offensive. But unless we play the offense we are doomed to play more defenses.


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Trying to do the Right Thing - Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Speeder and Speed Board

Our street, Wells street between 47th and 55th, has no stop signs and is used by drivers to avoid traffic during rush hours in the morning and evening. That would be okay if the drivers would keep to the 30 miles per hour posted speed limit. But we have three schools along this section of Wells St. plus a country park and a home for the blind and often cars used it as a speedway.
We asked for police officer giving speeding tickets, especially during rush hours in the morning and evening when the children are going or coming to and from school. However, with the help of local alderman we got speed board that tells cars going east to west their speed. It helps a little but recently it is off. I am not sure how or why. I wrote to the alderman and police officers involved and maybe we will get it back on or taken away. Sadly without a serious accident to a child we might not ever get real action to slow cars down. But we keep trying.

After 42 year plus history of trying to get military training off the campus of Marquette University some might say why don’t we just admit defeat and give up. If results were are only criteria we might have done so. But some of us keep trying because, like the slowing the speeding on Wells St. we need to, it is the right thing to do.

It is not trying that needs to change but how we try sometimes needs to change. People walk by our house or come to visit and tell us how beautiful our front gardens, rain and vegetable, are. Perhaps if we can make the gardens in front so beautiful it will even stop or, at least, slow down the speeding cars (Picture of front gardens below). Maybe if we show love, compassion and commitment in our struggle to move the military bases off campus the school will reconsider its support of teaching war.

Who knows? What I do know is that we must always try to do the right thing.


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Errors in the Struggle for Truth - Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In yesterday’s posting, Serving the Poorest of the Poor I wrote how I spent hours putting together some research for the St.Vincent De Paul meeting last night only to find it was not used. Today I received an email from Will Allen saying how his Growing Power was bringing some fundraising concerts to the USA, sort of like Farm Aide but this time to support Growing Renewal Affordable Food (G.R.A.F.). There was a ‘power point’ presentation to go along with the announcement. Normally I would not open such a ‘power point’ presentation but since Growing Power had been such a big influence in my life I took a look at the slides. The slides were self promotional about Growing Power and suddenly there appeared one that said the concerts would be in partnership with ROTC in 14 cities. I could not believe what I read. ROTC is the name the military used to hide the military officer training bases on college campuses. I looked at the slides again to find some kind of explanation. There was none.

I immediately sent an email to Will Allen of Growing Power basically saying “Tell me it ain’t so”. I could not believe that Growing Power would partner with ROTC, the military departments on campuses that stood for all the opposite values I had deepened by participating Growing Power. I copied some staff and board members of Growing Power.

Tonight I heard from a board member that by ROTC Will meant was meant Regional Outreach Training Centers, a name Growing Power coined to say ROTC. He said they had fun with the twist of the meaning of initials ROTC. I did not think it was funny. I do not know if I feel stupid for my waste of time response today or offended since only two persons, none from the staff of Growing Power, responded to my email. I think the indifference of all besides this one board member is more offensive.

The experience today motivated me to write a primer on the military departments at a selected number of our universities, especially Catholic institutions. The indifference and silence of persons, especially people who called themselves ‘peace people’ or Christians when so many are killed due to these teachings, like military values over conscience and ’reflexive killing’. Indifference and silence, like Gandhi, King, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Elie Wiesel is the most hateful and damaging response one can make to evil and immorality.

So in two days I made two errors in judgment, one thinking that our SVDP conference really wanted me to analyze the service area; today thinking that R.O.T.C. referred to the military. However, my errors are the side of responding not reacting I believe. To error in the struggle for the truth is not so bad.


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Serving the Poorest of the Poor - Monday, September 12, 2011

Mother Teresa feeding the hungry

Today I spent a lot of time comparing St.Vincent De Paul home visit areas on the north side where there are home visits with the percentage of households under the poverty line in each census tract. I had all the information but ran into technical difficulties with my scanner and computer that made a small project a major and difficult one. But I got some information together and went to the meeting to find out it was not on the agenda, even though the pastor of the Church had asked me to draw maps with the information. I got some of the information in anyway but basically felt disappointed that with all the talk about serving the poorest of the poor there was not much interest in looking at the information.

It turns out that areas of north side that are not covered by a St. Vincent De Paul conference are some of the poorest on the North Side. It was ironic that the same pastor that asked me to draw the maps led the opening reflection with a prayer based on the Gospel of Matthew 25. Jesus tells a parable about the end of the world and the “judgment of nations.” The nations welcomed into the Kingdom of God are those who fed the hungry, visited those in prison, and gave drink to those who are thirsty, basically the King at the Judgment of nations says: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” The pastor who led the prayer, like many, expressed this was a parable about individual action not that of ‘nations’ and groups as it was told in the Gospel. Serving the poorest of the poor is the work of all of us, nations, State and local governments and SVDP conferences.

If my research is used or not to serve those in need on the north side is out of my control. However, it does fit into a bigger project I am working on: The History of the Catholic Church on the North Side of Milwaukee since 1958. The more I look into this history the more I find that as African Americans and the poor moved into the north-side whites and the Catholic Church moved out. The work of the Church should be the work of serving the poorest of the poor, not moving away from them.


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9/11 Forgiveness and Music - Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jason Moon

Tonight I intended to write a reflection on 9/11 but two events entered my life today, words and music, that I need to share. One came in an email from a long time Catholic Worker who lives on the Catholic Worker farm in New York and serves as a deacon in the local Catholic Church. His homily or sermon today was called “As We Forgive”. It was about the tragedy of 9/11 and about the theme of today’s scriptures, ‘forgiveness’. He tells in words and stories of the difficulty yet necessity for healing of forgiveness, even for a destructive act of hate like 9/11.

The second event in my life came tonight when my wife and I and two friends went to the Coffee House in Milwaukee. I feel privileged to be at Marquette University when a young Lutheran pastor started the Coffee House in 1967. It is now a place that hosts fundraisers for grass roots groups in town. Tonight concert was for the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative. The main musician was Jason Moon an Iraqi Veteran who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Jason is a musician on mission to create awareness to help veteran who suffered from PTSD. Veterans are twice as likely as other Americans to be homeless and many suffering from this terrible brain disease and are neglected by society. He said the military taught him “to never leave a soldier behind” and he means to keep that mission with his music and songs like the title song of his new album ”Trying to Find My Way Home”. There were many reverberations of our deceased son’s music and art. Expressing such emotions as he does is healing for him, other veterans and us.

Jason has just finished his eight years in the National Guard a month or so before 9/11. After 9/11 he signed up for another year but found out after the year he had no choice but to be deployed to Iraq.

After 9/11 many including the National Catholic Reporter newspaper asked: “Who hates us and why.” “What is patriotism?” Was war the only choice?” Now Ten Years later and with two costly wars in lost lives and money in Iraq and Afghanistan that are still raging, the questions go unanswered. There can be no justification for the violence, suffering and death of 9/11. But no amount of money or human lives lost in war can bring healing to this painful memory. Perhaps forgiveness and music can help us to remember, understand and move on.


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We Are One! - Saturday, September 10, 2011

(:redirect [[DiaryOfAWorm.20110919-WeAreOne]]:)


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Remember Haiti, Free of Slavery? - Saturday, September 10, 2011

Over 6000 people have died in
Haiti from a cholera epidemic virtually
certain brought in by UN Forces

Preparing for a trip to Haiti I have been reading some history of the country and what is happening now. The West has been punishing Haiti since 1801 when the African slaves after a long war with Western powers declared its independence. Since that time the effort of the West, especially the USA has to keep Haiti dependent and under control.

This effort has paid off since Haiti is now the poorest country in the world and twice in recent history when the people of Haiti elected a person who could set them free and on the road to equality and independence we have participated in coup to overthrow the President.

Now after the devastating earthquake of 2010 when the world’s attention and money was directed at Haiti we read an article in Rolling Stone magazine “How the World Failed Haiti”.

Now the USA occupying force is a ‘coalition of the willing’ from the the UN and the people suffered more than ever from poverty and illnesses. Before this occupying power came to Haiti there was no confirmed case of cholera and the bacteria did not exist in Haiti. Now the country is ravaged by this disease.

As the world turns its attention and to the tragedy of 9/11 ten years ago maybe we can shine a small light on Haiti and thousands and thousands dying and suffering today. I will write some reflections on 9/11 tomorrow but for now I say remember Haiti, the first country to free itself of slavery and still being punished for it by being made the poorest country of the world.


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Gladiators with Money - Friday, September 09, 2011

Pre-Game Back To Football Party

As I was driving to Green Bay yesterday afternoon to watch the first game of the NFL football season I heard a public radio show that was a debate between two sport writings on the dangers of playing football. Both agree it was a dangerous sport causing a lot of physical disabilities, but one thought it was worth it while the other questioned that if endangering one’s safety for a sport could be justified.

I kept thinking that here I was driving to watch my gladiators, the Green Bay Packers, beat those from the New Orleans Saints. I also was thinking about my 6th grade grandson who plays quarterback on a team. Was football just like the Thursday night stock car races my dad used to take me to, where I was looking for a crash but felt guilty about it?

No matter what my thoughts were when the game started at Lambeau field I with 70, 000 plus people who were into it. It was a high scoring exciting game which our team, the Packers, won. Fortunately only one player seemed to get hurt and had to be helped off the field.

Driving home late at night, or early the next day, I did not think about the radio debate on the safety of football. I was happy we won and more concerned about driving safely than any football game.

The debate goes on in the back of my mind but I still will watch football. Being a spectator is quite different than being a participant. I am sure it was the same in the Roman coliseum but there those that struggled did not get paid and those watching probably did not have to pay. A gladiator show with money, is that what football has become. I do not know.


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Apples and More Apples - Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Apples and More Apples

A few days ago I called a friend who had made the original banner for our Marquette nonviolent action that read MU Be Faithful to the Gospel, Do Not Host Military Training. We had the second half of the banner but the first half had been lost. She said she would do it and then asked me if I wanted some apples. Before I could answer her she told me that she had so many apples on her trees she did not know what to do with them. Being organic they were not the best looking apples but she insured me they were excellent for making apple pies, apple sauce and more. So although I had just gotten some organic green, good looking apples from the Share program I said yes.

When my wife and I got home from a doctor’s visit three bags of apples were waiting by my front door. They do not look good but are delicious and healthy. I cook but do not bake. Hopefully my wife can make some delicious items from all these apples on her day off this week.

An abundance of apples, good looking or not, can be a good thing if you share like my friend. I know the joy of sharing since yesterday I gave tomatoes to three friends that were over to my house. Today I went out and picked more tomatoes. It seems like the more I give or use the more I get.

Sharing apples, tomatoes, words or good will can be contagious. The more you share the more blessings you have to share. So bring on the apples and more apples.


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My Front Lawn - Tuesday, September 06, 2011

My front lawn today

Today I took a walk up the street to the Post Office mailbox. On the way there and back I noticed front lawns. Some front lawns had political signs about teachers or recalling the Governor, some had flower boxes and bushes, one up the block had a rain garden and many just had grass. Front lawns say something about the person living in them. My neighbor down the block and across the street has an award winning garden in his front lawn. My front law consists of a rain garden and a vegetable garden with many flowers and tomatoes.

What does it say about me? Probably that I have made some really good soil, care about beauty and home grown food. Tonight I made with a Middle Eastern meat dish, salad an Indian vegetable curry dish for few friends. Many of the vegetables in the curry vegetables and salad were from my garden, tomatoes, eggplant, green beans, basil, lettuce and peppers. In the middle of the table was a vase full of beautiful flowers from the gardens.

My front yards speaks of self sufficiently and sustainability. I like that and it taste and looks good.


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Labor Day is a Good Day to Start Working Together! - Monday, September 05, 2011

Today being Labor Day it was only right and proper that my wife and I. working together harvested and stored fresh food from the garden for winter. I picked the tomatoes, green beans, and mint from our garden and husked the corn we had purchased from a farmer’s market up north. My wife peeled the tomatoes, added ingredients and made a basic tomato sauce that can be used to make salsa or pasta sauce. She blanched and froze the green beans and the corn off the cob. I dehydrated some small tomatoes and put the dehydrated mint in the freezer. My wife also took some large zucchini and made chocolate Zucchini bread. This was a lot of work, especially for her, but it was rewarding work with a sense of accomplishment attached to it.

In Milwaukee there was a parade and Labor Day festival sponsored by unions. I doubt if there were many Republican politicians present at the festival since they were responsible for taking away ‘collectivize bargaining’ rights from State Workers. The Republican Governor did not show up at any events but did issue a statement of how good private business workers are.

The President did his job and spoke to workers and unemployed in Detroit about his plan to create new jobs. The Republican presidential candidates did their job and blamed the financial and unemployment crises on the President. Both parties will blame each other and nothing will be done.

In the meanwhile unemployment and poverty reign in the USA; there is more infant mortality; the rich become richer and the poor become poorer.

These observations made me think that Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker, was on the right track when he called for the scholars, farmers and factory workers to work together for a sustainable society. Maybe we should add ‘politicians’ to this mix working together.

Gandhi called for Swaraj, self reliance, creating a sustainable community and self governance through individuals and community building. To do this we must all work together.

Now this quite a job for us: to work together. Working together, we are not liberals or conservatives, on the right or left, farmers or factory workers or poor or rich but one people working together for a sustainable community. Labor Day is a good day to start working together.


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What Would Gandhi Do? - Sunday, September 04, 2011

Carolee and her cow

Reuter news agency published a picture of a large angry crowd protesting the few Nazis that showed up in a rally yesterday in West Allis. One of the men in this picture is giving the Nazi the finger. The picture reminded me of picture I took at the Breaking the Silence march at a anti-Drone nonviolent action at Bastille days when a man in the crowd gave us the finger. As I said in my posting last night “hate breeds hate”.

My friend, Francis, was there just to see what a Nazi looks like. He saw the ‘hate’ of the Nazis based on fear reflected in him. I will publish his letter on his web page Father at War tomorrow.

My day was again spent at the Shawano County fair watching youth and cows walking together. Today was my seven year grandchild’s turn to walk her cow. Although her cow was sick she still took third place in the division. She was trained to keep control of the cow and look the cow straight in the eye but she still showed love to the cow and the cow returned it. She was delighted to show cows and when her friend from the family dairy farm across the road won the junior grand champion she was delighted. (See Evan and his award below.)

The newspaper today said some in the anti hate protest crowd invoked Gandhi and King. I just cannot see Gandhi and King protesting a protest of hate and shouting down speakers. However, I can see them at a country fair, especially Gandhi, for a showing of youth and cows. Gandhi considered ‘Mother Cow’ to be a sacred animal. But even more sacred to him was to show dignity and respect to every human being. What would Gandhi do, protest a small hate group or watch youth show cows?


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Here Comes The Cows! - Saturday, September 03, 2011

Here Comes the Cows
Shawano County Fair

Today I watched my grandsons show cows at the Shawano County Fair. They live across the road from a family dairy farm and are members of the local 4-H club. At some showings the cows are judged and at other showings the youth handling the cow are judged. There are different age groups and even my young seven year granddaughter will get to show a cow in her age groups.

So while some of my friends spent some of the day outshouting Nazis at a Nazi rally and thus giving them attention they do not deserve, I was watching youth showing cows. From the news reports there were violent words on both sides and some arrest at the rally and protest of the rally. I think peace people need to learn that hate breeds hate, violence of word or deed breeds violence of word or deed and name calling people “thugs” or “hate mongers” shows no ‘love of enemy’.

On the other hand showing love to youth and cows develops character and values of appreciation not depreciation. So I say “Here Comes the Cows!”


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Brain Over Body - Friday, September 02, 2011

‘Skull 7′ by Peter

I was just watching a story on ‘Nightline’, the TV show, where a doctor in Holland is working on a way to erase fearful memories. The brain is a new frontier in science that holds hope for treatment of brain diseases, like schizophrenia, bi polar, post traumatic stress syndrome and more.
We have sent men to the moon and can kill people by remote control drones but we know so little about our own brains.

Today, after I dropped off a friend at a residential home in Oak Creek to visit his mother, I went over to another friend’s house for lunch. My friend had made some Slavonia hamburgers, the name of which I cannot remember or pronounce. They were delicious. We talked about family and ethnic backgrounds. When I was living the home a 20 year friend who has just moved into his own apartment called me. The new apartment is great he said but has no air conditioner. People take psychiatric medicines like him need to stay cool on hot days. He asked me to drive him some place to purchase an air conditioner. I said that I possibly could do one better. I had in my garage an air conditioner that my son Peter had when he used to live in his own apartment. I told him that he could have it if it worked. So I picked up my friend visiting his mother, who has suffered from a mental illness for many years, this young man who only has recently got ill and we went over to my house. We took the air conditioner out of the garage, plugged in it and it worked. The three of us, all with some form of brain illnesses, just stood there and smiled.

Heat, like sun, water and many experiences in life affects the brain. How, we are just discovering. There are no big foundations, fundraisers and walks to support the research of the brain but I believe it is the most important research we can do on human life. The brain controls the body and the more we know about the brain the more we know about the human body.


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So MuchTalk - Thursday, September 01, 2011

“There is great value in healthy conflict”
Frederick Douglas in a speech in 1878

Someone in the peace community I do not know personally, a young man I think, wrote me an email today questioning of what he perceives as my ‘attacks’ on persons who are rallying against Nazis this Saturday and my attitude that we in the peace movement should be on the offense rather than always defending ourselves. Here is some of what I wrote back that applies to many of us.

“I was forced off the PA Steering Committee last year. I had joined the steering committee to make a positive contribution to nonviolent actions. When I tried I was criticized and personally attacked. All they did at meetings was talk and talk mostly about the minuets of last meeting. When some of us tried to do a direct action on war spending we were told we could not do it with PA. I did not have time for all those frustrating and negative vibes. I should have forced them to kick me off but did not want to make myself the message rather than the message itself being the issue, so I resigned.

As I explained in recent emails to peace community I do not believe we should give creditability to this Nazi hate group by attacking them. Clearly my message was ignored.

I do not remember ever attacking you or “others who are under attack from the FBI.” Since, probably before you were born, 1965, I have been investigated, arrested, followed by FBI, state and local law enforcements. My last arrest was just last year on trumped up trespassing charges at Marquette.

I was not attacking anyone but I do believe that the best defense is offense in nonviolence. We are constantly, in the peace movement, defending ourselves or attacking each other or weak groups and persons. The ‘powers that be’ like this and it keeps us busy and away from direct action on big issues. For example, this 9/11 I have heard about eight or nine events by peace groups going on that day. (I am probably going to the Coffee House,a place I helped to create in the 60′s, for an Iraq Vet benefit for homeless vets. Music is more effective than so much talk.

Also I think people today take criticism and creative conflict as divisive and negative rather as unifying and positive. Below is a quote by Fredrick Douglas that expresses my view on this subject.

I do not write attack pieces but desire personal dialogue. Yes let us discuss and talk together in person. You can reach me 24/7. When we meet I would like to know more of who you are and why you are being attacked by the FBI, a badge of honor for me. It is of more interest than so much talk.


quote below.


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