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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

Click below to read any post in full, and to post your comments on it.

New Year Wishes - Tuesday, December 31, 2013


A friend in Baltimore, a writer, poet and activist wrote me with his wish list for 2014 or as he called it his “progressive agenda for 2014″:

Abolish All Nuclear and Conventional Weapons Now!
Halt All Research on Nuclear Weapons Now!
End the U.S. Wars in Afghanistan Now!
Stop All U.S. Drone Attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan,Yemen, Somalia,
and Elsewhere Now!
Repent for 22 Years of U.S. Warmaking in in Iraq and Make Reparations
to the Iraqi people Now!
End the Israeli Occupation of Palestine Now!
Stop Global Warming—Climate Justice Now!
Close Guantanamo, Bagram, SOA and All Military Torture Centers Now!
Free All Political Prisoners Now!
Save the World’s Children Dying From Poverty Now!
Demand Universal Health Care Now!
Live, Practice, and Teach Nonviolence Now!
Tear Down the Border Wall and Welcome the Immigrant Now!
Stop the U.S. Militarization of Space Now!
Money For Human Needs Not for Wall Street and the Pentagon Now!
Abolish The Death Penalty Now!
Money for Schools Not the Prison Industrial Complex Now!
Stop Construction of the U.S. backed Naval Base on Jeju Island Now!

My own wish list or political agenda is much more modest:

Close down the three DoD military departments at Marquette teaching war and killing.
Have the Catholic Church to listen to cry of the poor in North Central Milwaukee.


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Our Holy Father - Monday, December 30, 2013

Last night I wrote about my dad (picture coming soon) and today I write a letter to the Holy Father of the Roman Catholic Church. Will he get it or not? I doubt it, but maybe someone along the line to the top will get it and think. Since I have not mailed it yet so if you have suggestions please let me know ASAP.

Dear Holy Father,
I write you as a pilgrim in the Catholic Church in Milwaukee, WI with two urgent requests.

From the very beginning the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has practice segregation of African Americans and the poor and marginalized in the poorest, most segregated, most criminalized(50% of young African American adults going back and forth to prison) area of Milwaukee, the North Central Milwaukee, the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee has reduced the number of Catholic Churches in the area from seventeen to three. The latest Catholic Church to close in the area was already a merged Church and reaped the Catholic Church 1.1 million dollar fund which the Archdiocese placed with one of the three Churches at the corner of the area that is in the processed of united with another Church under one pastor outside of the area. One million dollars plus is being putting into an ‘endowment’ for ‘future Church’ rather than being used for outreach in North Central Milwaukee as it was intended to be used by former parishioners.

Marquette Catholic Jesuit University is the only university or college in the five county areas to offer military training on campus and only one of two Catholic universities in the USA (Notre Dame) to have contracts with the Department of Defense for military training on campus for Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force. The military training at Marquette University, among other things, consists of teaching ‘reflexive killing’, killing without use of conscience and the priority of military values over conscience. The Archbishop of Milwaukee and the administration of Marquette have ignored our pleas for Marquette to be faithful to the Gospel and not to host military training for war and killing on campus. We cannot even have an open dialog with university on this subject.

Our requests, Pope Francis, are simple: 1) For you to request our Archbishop and parish board of directors not to store away the one million plus dollars in a another trust fund but to use it to provide basics like beds, stoves and refrigerators to the poorest of the poor in North Central Milwaukee. (Previously we sent you a parable of what could be, Thy Kingdom Come on Earth …as it is in Heaven” and proposal for a ‘sustainable workers of mercy fund’, one of many proposals for the poor and marginalized for the money that were not openly considered by the Catholic church. 2) For you to request that the Archbishop of Milwaukee and the President and Board of Directors of Marquette University be faithful to the Gospel and no longer host Departments of Military Science on campus.

We have research and information to back up all our statements and in the email copy of this letter will link some statements and will be glad to provide you more detail.

We are all grateful for your leadership in our Catholic Church. However, we were taught by Jesuits and Franciscans to practice what we preach and that love expresses itself best in deed not words. We live in a hierarchal church and we the people, especially voices of the poor, need your help on these two requests.

Your servant in Christ,

Bob Graf


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My Father Working Intellectual - Sunday, December 29, 2013

Attach:DiaryOfAWorm/HomePage/20131229-pic.jpg Δ |

My two brothers were in town over the weekend and as usual we started to talk about our parents and growing up. I am the oldest, my other brother is five years younger and my third brother is 18 years younger. I found it interesting how we all remember our father. I noticed a difference in assessment of my dad’s intellectual abilities. My youngest brother felt that my dad’s lack of education, a high school dropout, contributed to his Alzheimer disease late in life. The middle brother did not agree but thought his lack of education contributed to senility. I disagreed with both and believed that my dad had a high intellect despite his lack of education.

We all can agree that my dad was a gifted worker until his late seventies. He could fix or build just about everything. He knew about electricity, carpentry, landscaping, and plumbing. He was an all around home improvement person. In fact when he retired from maintenance work at a local hospital he was in great demand as a handyman by the doctors and nurses he worked with. He could build a recreational room and finish it off which he did in our childhood house.

I remember once we were living in Madison and my parents in Brookfield when we wanted an all purpose recreational room or bed room build in part of our large basement. My dad came, took measurements, made a few notes, purchased products and build four walls in our basement. He accomplished a similar feat when we wanted a big deck at our cottage on the lake. From the smallest job, fixing a leaking facet to a large job like building an addition my dad could do all.

To me this is an intellectual gift of mind. I have the same tools, or even better, than my dad had but could not accomplish what he did. In the late seventies when he developed dementia and started to lose his memory of how to do things it was a real tragedy. When he could not even work on his own house, start his lawnmower or work building bicycle from parts at the junk yard, his hobby, he got discouraged and frustrated. Work was a good part of his life so after my mother died he only lived about another eight months.

All the memory test my dad took with me accompanying him when his brain was starting to suffer dementia had really nothing to do with intellect. I know this now not only intellectually but also experimentally. Worried that my forgetting was onset to Alzheimer I took a four hour memory test recently. It was a lot more extensive than any test my dad took but had nothing to do with intellect. I was worried I did not do to well and was relieved when the doctor called to say I did not have any signs of the onset of Alzheimer.

My dad was a very quiet and subservient person, especially to my mother, and maybe that is why my brothers compared his lack of education with his intellectual abilities. I have earned a B.A. and three Masters Degrees and could not do intellectually what my dad accomplished in his work. Education is a wonderful took but has no relationship to dementia or Alzheimer disease. If fact I have known persons with great intellects, proven scholars like my friend Gordon Zahn who, when they had dementia, had same problems as my dad. A friend’s wife now has Alzheimer and having been an educator all his life does not have simple everyday knowledge.

Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker had a dream of an agronomic universities where farmers, workers and professors could all come together to form a community. My dad would have fit right in with such a community as working intellectual.


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Light Into Darkness - Saturday, December 28, 2013

The weather turns cold
And my soul drops deeper
I know the cold comes and goes,
And pray so will the darkness of my soul.
The Sun shines down at times
Bringing light into in the darkness
I move toward the light
Only to have it move further away.
I am too tired to reach out for the light,
Maybe tomorrow?


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Debtors’ Prison - Friday, December 27, 2013

During Christmas time we have a lot of family and friends around. One of the age gaps I have noticed has to do with debt. The younger the adult is the more they seem to feel free to take out financial debt. All but the rich have a major debt on graduating from a university. Purchasing a car and house just adds to the debt. Many adults, young and middle age, think of major debt as a normal part of life. They act like modern day politicians spending money they do not have, putting future generations into more debt. Democrats and Republicans do not like debt but they keep on loaning. Some call this ‘living on the come’, spending money that you anticipate will come.

My parents always paid for things in cash. They did not even own a credit card. We have a credit card but pay it off every month. I just received a letter today from my credit card company saying they have raised the level of my credit to some ridiculous high amount. They are encouraging me to spend more than I have. They make more money when I have a debt and they can charge me interest.

Making money on money or debt is a big business these days. People are all concerned about their credit rating being good. A good credit rating only means you are good at accumulating debt and paying it back, even gradually with interest. My parents in today’s world would have a poor credit rating since the never purchased anything with credit.

Americans borrow money from banks, banks from the Federal Government and the Federal Government from China and other countries. The money of the masses flows up to the few on top and the few on top use the money to make more money. In legal courts, in elections and even in what is taught at a university money matters. Morality, Common Good and Values take a back seat to money, money owned, borrowed, used or debt.

The rich make money where the economy is good and when the economy is poor. The poor lose money when the economy is good and when the economy is bad. In our civilized nation we say we no longer have ‘debtors’ prisons’, where one stayed until debts were paid off. However, we do have more poor people in prison per population than every other country in the world. The poor come out of prison stigmatized even more from achieving jobs and education. They fall deeper in debt and often go back to prison. Even after paying their ‘debt to society’ people come out of prison deeper in debt and more stigmatized. Maybe we still have debtors’ prisons.


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Thank God for Babies - Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mother and Child in Milwaukee

The time between Christmas and New Years is a good time to be thankful for past, present and what may come. God’s giving of self to become a human person, the Word becoming Flesh, is the greatest gift of all time. The gift of Jesus showing us the Way is a wonderful gift. Family, friends, and people we know or do not know locally, nationally or internationally are great gifts. Sometimes when I see a person I see and feel the mystery of complexity and simplicity that is Life. When that gift is killed unnaturally we all lose something. When that gift is lit in a new human person we all gain.

Babies, be in the Christmas baby of Jesus or the New Year baby of the year to come, are great symbols of life. Babies are completely innocent and interdependent on other humans to live and grow. Blessed is the baby who is completely dependent on others for the baby will inherit the Kingdom of God.

Our nephew and his wife just had a baby born into their lives. They are grateful, as all in the family, for this new life. Friends write of new grandchildren being born. Babies are pictured in many of the Christmas cards we receive.

The city of Milwaukee has one of the highest mortality rants for infants in the USA. In the African American community which is largely local in North Central Milwaukee the infant mortality rate is three time higher than in the white populations. Sadly the same area that in our M.A.P.S. is the most segregated, poorest and criminalized area of Milwaukee is also the one with the most death of young babies.

The innocent, especially babies, are among the first victims of war, violence, poverty and racism. If the baby Jesus was born today in North Central Milwaukee he would be wrapped in used blankets, put on a mattress on the floor and the parents would be struggling to provide beds, stoves, refrigerator, clothes and food for the baby and themselves. If that baby grew and was a young adult preaching the downfall of the rich and the rise of the poor he might be ignored or put in jail or, if he persisted, killed.

There were over a hundred homicides in Milwaukee this year not counting all the babies that died from poor health care or co-sleeping. Most homicides were young adult African American males who were born as innocent babies into a world of violence, poverty and segregation.

It is hard to be grateful when thinking of the difficulties of babies born in poverty and racism in Milwaukee today. Yet, each baby, no matter how rich or poor, black or white is a bundle of joy and symbol of gratitude. Thank God for babies.


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Peace on Earth Including Afghanistan - Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Today I had an interesting email appeal from a group called RootsAction to sign a petition to our congress persons saying “Peace on earth should include Afghanistan”. RootsAction states: “We cannot be satisfied with inner peace while wars are being waged with our money and in our names. The largest of those wars remains Afghanistan. It is larger now than when Barack Obama first became president. There is no strategic, legal, or — above all — moral justification for continuing this war for another year, or for another day, much less until “2024 and beyond” as President Obama hopes.”

I agree with their statement but am not signing the petition to local congress persons. Thinking that petitions will make a difference to politicians and real change is a distraction, I believe. Being an adult in 60’s and 70’s I was taught that only in ‘action’ would there be change. We used nonviolent action or community organizing tactics like confrontation and demands made famous by Saul Alinsky to make change. Now taking ‘action’ or using confrontation tactics like encouraged by Saul Alinksy in his book “Rules for Radicals” seems to be reserved for groups like the ‘Tea Party’.

The campaign to for “Peace on Earth should include Afghanistan” is a good example of the change from nonviolent actions to petitions as a way for change. Some of the same ‘radicals’ or peace activities that were demonstrating before the beginning of the war in Afghanistan to avoid it are now proposing signing petitions to end it. If actions did not prevent it and electing a President for change only increased the war and its bloodshed how do we think a petition will stop it.

Where is the Martin Luther King Jr. or Nelson Mandela’s when we need them? Where is the “Occupy Movement”? I sincerely believe we can made a difference and change in this county but it will not be by money, guns, voting or petitions, where the “powers that be” are strongest. It will only be, I believe, with our resistance, direct actions including civil disobedience, strikes, occupying and by working together. When we say “Peace on Earth” this Christmas season we need to include Afghanistan, not in “2024 and beyond”, but right now.


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Reflections For Christmas Eve - Tuesday, December 24, 2013

This Christmas Eve I offer two reflections sent to me by friends that express the spirit of Christmas. The first is a quote from my friend Brian Hey about ‘love as action’.

Loving is a way of being and of doing, yet it seems to elude us. Perhaps that is so because love is an accompaniment to right action, not a substitute for it. In other words, love is an epiphenomenon, like happiness. According to Aristotle, we cannot go after happiness; rather we go after a certain activity and discover in the process that we are happy. There can be no direct going after happiness, and the attempt is not only logically impossible but experientially self-defeating. In the same way, there can be no direct going after love. Love is the accompaniment to a wide variety of deeds, transforming each into something of transcendent worth.

The Master said, “Is benevolence really far away? No sooner do I desire it than it is here.” (Confucius}

From the Book Ascent to Joy- Transforming Deadness of Spirit (Ch. Love p. 94), Carol Ochs

The second one is from Father Emmanuel McCarthy of the Center for Christian Nonviolence.

-AD 2013-

Back in 1958, the first member of my class at the University of Notre Dame I met was Jack Curtin—Requiescat in pace. After introducing ourselves, our first question was this one: “Where are you from, Charlie?” “Malden.” “Where are you from, Jack?” “Wellesley.” And so it was with scores of other strangers who became classmates at Notre Dame in 1958, and so it has been in normal introductory conversation throughout all of recorded history. Even Jesus’ identity is tied to the question, “Where are you from?” He is from Nazareth: He is Jesus of Nazareth.

An initial question concerning a person’s origins is not irrational. Since human beings are probably more made by others than they make themselves—or are at least significantly made by others—the answer to the question “Where are you from?” may well tell us something about the person we are meeting.

It is to precisely answer this question that in the Roman Catholic Church, the Gospel read on Christmas Day is the opening of the Gospel of Saint John:

In the beginning was the Word (logos);
the Word was with God,
and the Word was God
and through Him all things came into being,
and without Him nothing came to be…
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

On Christmas Day, it might seem more fitting to read a Gospel narrative relating the story of


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Following Conscience - Sunday, December 22, 2013

How do we humbly accept recognition and compliments? Just as I was getting pretty good at accepting insults and finding out “what is wrong with Bob” I got hit today with a string of positive recognitions. It started right after midnight this morning when a graduate student send me the multi-media production he did about me called: “Keeping the Faith: Bob Graf”. The web based production consists of video productions, slide show and audio tape connecting my life from the days of the Milwaukee 14 action in 1968 to our recent efforts to close military training at Marquette. Using words, video, pictures and music it gets at the heart of what I try to be: a person of conscience who acts. I was afraid the graduate student at Marquette might get downgraded due to subject matter, me, but that was not true. He received a well deserved A for this project. The media project is on his private Marquette home page but soon he hopes to put it on public web page.

This morning newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, contained a letter to the editor I wrote in response to an ‘opinion page’ in the sports page of the paper called Departure of AD Larry Williams might be best for Marquette. My response to this opinion letter which outraged me, was in a posting I wrote last week called Law and Morality or Basketball. The letter that appeared in the sports page today was more aptly titled by the editor: “Marquette’s Priorities Seem to be Slipping.” I was pleasantly surprised it was printed but had to tell some of my friends who do not normally read the sports page that it was there and to look for it.”

Marquette administrators and some alumni are extremely sensitive when it comes to Marquette being criticized for taking money in return for loosening morality. But if read the opinion piece in the newspaper it was the sports writer, not me, that said it might have been good for the ‘big bucks’ persons and basketball coach and program that the Athletic Director and President that brought him in, both in two years.

The third recognition of the day came in the form of a letter. A prominent citizen wrote to Catholic Church officials with the idea of a local clergy person to use a small bit of money from the closing and sale of our former Church in North Central Milwaukee to help pay for vouchers the three St.Vincent de Paul conferences give to people in need in the area. He sent me a copy of the letter to forward in a few days to other concerned about poor and segregated in North Central Milwaukee. I am proud since I served as the in-between persons between the clergy person and this prominent Catholic who wrote the letter. Money from the sale of this Church for the works of mercy in North Central Milwaukee is something I have been working on for over two years. The author of the letter said he hopes it has results. I said that I hoped so too but all we can do, is do our best and follow our conscience.

Following conscience seems to be the one thread all three of these positive recognitions have in common.


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Violence Reigns - Saturday, December 21, 2013

We have noticed violence increase on TV, video games and movies over the years. It has been gradual but noticeable. Violence is so rampant in the media that we come to expect it. Yet is so strong that we have to numb ourselves to it in order to take such a heavy dose and not be overcome. At violence in the media increases we deaden our sensitivities to violence more and more. We must.

Sadly this deadening of senses to violence in media translates to our everyday lives. Local homicides hardly make the news anymore. Mass shootings in the USA are media news hits until the next one which is becoming to frequent. Mass killings in foreign countries like the USA Drone attack on wedding party in Yemen barely make the news. We expect and fear violence. Teaching violence and killing at Catholic Jesuit University like Marquette or Notre Dame seems to bother very few persons and gets ignored.

Leaders in our times, like Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King tells us that violence breeds more violence and nonviolence is the only way to overcome violence. Yet our president, Republican or Democrat, spends more money on weapons of violence and involve us in violence all over the world. When there is a mass shooting in USA the president cries out how wrong it is and calls for ‘justice’, which means punishment and death for offender. Yet the next day the President sits in the oval office confirming a ‘kill list’ for the CIA and secret wars.

Soldiers are train to “kill or be killed’ and put in an environment which they must practice it. They are taught to fire to kill and then forget it. But when they come home they cannot forget. They are asked to put their morality and conscience aside in war and then pick it up once again at home.

Sexual violence reigns in the military and despite many efforts over many years to slow it down, in our culture of violence, it increases.

Recently Pope Francis gave us another statement of the root causes of violence, injustice. “But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence,” However, not many people, especially in the U.S.A. want to hear that message. The more wealth you have the better person you are in our culture and even in some religious beliefs. Yet it is the poor who are most blessed and to whom God gives his graces in our Gospel and teachings.

Until we Put the Poor on Top in our culture, violence will continue to reign in our media and in our lives.


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Shortest Day is the Longest Day - Friday, December 20, 2013

Winter Solstice

Tomorrow, Dec. 21st is the Winter Solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere, at the moment of winter solstice, the sun is at its greatest height as observed from the South Pole, thus the shortest day of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere the winter solstice is also the Southern solstice and occurs in December,the longest day of the year. What is shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere is the longest day in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. The Winter Solstice was important to early cultures since communities were concerned about surviving the winter months and if they had enough food stored not to suffer starvation.

Winter months claim more illnesses and deaths even in our own culture when starvation, for lack of food, is not so common. Winter, lack of sun, makes some feel tired and hurts, illnesses, injuries and weakness get stretched out.
Although I lived here in Milwaukee, WI most of my life I never got used to cold and snow of the winter. I was born here and will probably die here but that does not mean I like the winter. I simply bear the winter and enjoy spring, summer and the fall.

When the snow falls and the cold seeps into the house,
Everything naturally slows down.
It is harder to wake up in the morning,
And we are more tired at night.
Slow is good if we take time to enjoy it,
By building a snowman or taking a nap.
So go for the cold and snow
When the shortest day is the longest day.


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Soothing Weather Reporting - Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ready for Cold Weather?

We had one of the warmest Novembers of all time but December brought in the cold. Now it is becoming warmer so we are facing rain/sleet/ice conditions. So much of our nightly, one – half hour, local news cast is spent on weather there is hardly time for real news like the seventeen persons at a wedding party that were killed by an attack. Oh, yes, it was a U.S. drone attack in Yemen, something that clearly rates much lower than endless speculation about the local weather.

Last weekend an elderly priest friend of ours was flying into Milwaukee on his way home and was planning of going with me to visit another more elderly priest friend. However, his religious order superiors heard on local weather news that there was going to be a major winter storm in Milwaukee Thursday, today, and told him to come straight home. There was no storm today and maybe they got it mixed up with the storm the weatherman is now predicting for over the weekend.

When I was young we woke up on cold and snowy winter mornings and if it was possible, we walked, took the bus or got a ride to school. I do not remember any days the school was closed but if there were any we probably found out about them when, and if, we got there. Now we have better ways to predict the weather and better communications and transportation and there are more days school is canceled and a greater fear of bad weather.

I guess I am sounding like an old codger who says “when I was a youngster….” But I think our passion for weather reporting and our fear of weather are signs of our culture. There are so many things to be concerned about or to fear that weather reports make us feel comfortable. It is not so much if the weatherman predictions are correct or not but by making us think we know the weather to come is soothing.


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Practice What Is Preached - Wednesday, December 18, 2013

“Preach the Gospel always
When necessary use words.”
Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

Yesterday Pat and I drove 2 ½ hours to Pulaski, WI to watch the high school holiday band concert in which our grandson appeared. The concert started at 7pm but was about only 50 minutes long. Since our grandchildren had school the next day and the night was young, we decided to not stay overnight but drive the 2 ½ hours back home. What Grandparents do for their grandchildren is my thought as I read Christmas cards and letters from other friends who are also grandparents. Grandchildren are a real blessing for many of us who can visit them or have them visit us and then go home.

My thoughts go the many grandparents I met in North Central Milwaukee who are raising their grandchildren as they raised their own children. For them grandchildren is also a blessing but at time can be a burden. There is no leaving them and going home.

Young Grandchildren, children and youth are a blessing to the world. Many young children have a sense of honesty and being straight forward that many adults do not have. Many adults, even in Church circles I found, do not practice what they preach, are full of secrecy and behind the scenes politicking.

The local Catholic Church who received 1.1 million dollars when another North Central Church was closed by the Archdiocese talks about serving the persons in need in the neighborhood; but, at the end, stored almost all the money away in some type of endowment or trust fund for the future. A little bit was ‘skimmed’ off the top but now even politics is interfering with giving this for vouchers for St. Vincent De Paul groups making home visits to those in need in the surrounding area. Suddenly everyone wants a piece of the bit of the pie or at least pretend they have something to say about it. All Church properties and money are controlled by a Corporation Board that consists of five persons with three being clergy and Archbishop always as President of ever board. Certainly the openness and honesty of children is missing in the Church structure.

Jesus said that we should be like children, who do and say what they think to enter the Kingdom of God. This statement should be lesson to us adults in the Church who are full of secrecy and lack of transparency. At least the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis seems to get it when it comes to social justice and peacemaking issue. I think I will write him about Marquette Teaching Killing and the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese abandonment of poor and marginalized. If he gets the letter and know that I only appealed to him after trying very hard to get the local Church and Marquette University to respond, I think he will respond. The problem is how to get this information to him. Many walls have been put up for his hearing the cry of the poor and peacemakers and responding.

People ask why I spend so much time on these two issues of military training at Marquette and Church’s concern or lack of concern for poor and marginalized. Looking deeply in myself I know it is hard for me to see the poverty and segregation of North Central Milwaukee or watch young men and women learn how “to kill or be killed”. I know persons who suffer or die because of the silence of Church and people on these two issues. When you realize the persons dying or suffering is your brother and sister you cannot help but suffer and cry out to “break the silence.” At least this is true for me. Maybe I cannot get “results” but that is no excuse for tying my best to get Catholic Church and Catholic University to practice what is preached. If I do not cry out and take nonviolent action then I am guilty of not practicing what I preach.


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Law and Morality or Basketball? - Monday, December 16, 2013

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan,left,
and Marquette coach Buzz

Since 2011 I have been bothered by why Marquette University was not held accountable for breaking Federal and State law by not reporting alleged sexual assaults by student-athletes on woman on campus. Since the incidents, in the last two years, Marquette has had a new president and new Athletic Director, both persons above the basketball coach, appointed and resign. Today when I read an opinion column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper saying the departure of these two persons might be best for MU, I had to act. Below is the Letter to the Editor I sent tonight. It might not be printed but I will need to pursue the matter with Marquette officials, Federal and District Attorneys and all those who believe in the value this Jesuit Catholic University stands for.

Dear Editor,
I was outraged to read Michael Hunt opinion column today: “Departure of AD might be best for MU.” He implies that the resignation of the Marquette University President and the Athletic Director in the last two years might be best for Marquette because they were not the right person for what Buzz Williams, coach of the basketball team and the “big money donors” want Marquette to be.

He says of Marquette university violating Federal and State laws in 2011 by not reporting alleged sexual assaults of women by student-athletes that the “school embarrassed itself”. Marquette administrators, perhaps the basketball coach, broke the law and were not held accountable for it by the County or Federal District attorney. This was not an ‘embarrassment’ but a serious violation of law and morality. Marquette says it was ‘sorry’ for this violation but being ‘sorry’ does not cut it in our legal or moral system.

Mr. Hunt calls Buzz Williams “the most transparent college coach I’ve dealt with in three decades.” Recently, during the Marquette – Wisconsin game a key Marquette player was sitting on the bench and all Coach Williams would tell the media was that it was for a violation of team rules. Is that transparency?

Buzz Williams is a successful coach and basketball brings in great revenue for the University. Maybe Marquette should appoint him President and Athletic Director or hold him accountable for upholding the law and morality Marquette honors.

Bob Graf


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Accepted or Rjected, Blessing or Curse - Sunday, December 15, 2013

“Homeless Jesus” sculpture
rejected by two cathedrals St.
Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto
and St. Patrick’s Cathedral
in New York.

It is time for our annual Christmas letter. This year we will get the letter and cards out before Christmas since Pat is at home on sick leave due to her hip replacement. So, due to her temporary disability, she has more time to do things like the letter and card.

On a number of occasions I have talked about how our curses, a bad hip, can become a blessing, Christmas letter done before Christmas. A friend staying overnight came back from visiting another friend with a copy of the local Catholic newspaper profile about me in April, 2001. The title of the profile was “He’s blessed, cursed with nagging social conscience”. The article was about my curses and blessing being the same and came out right after I had been fired from my job as youth minister at Gesu because of my advocacy for a local mental health clinic getting a zoning permit. The problem was the new location for the clinic, that was helping my son, Pater, was located near Marquette University High school where I had attended. The Jesuit high school and many neighbors opposed the clinic getting the permit based on a ‘stereotype’ or stigma of persons with mental illnesses. I had my firing reversed but then I was made “an offer I could not resist” or be fired again. I took the offer and left Gesu parish with shame and fame.

Today at Church I saw a saintly woman who founded and directed for 21 years a day shelter for the homeless. The shelter had expanded and grown to be a valuable source of aide for the homeless. Three white suburban women had become the board of directors of the non-profit and after a feud about adding more persons to the Board fired her. Legally they had the right and after a month of emotional wounds she is recovering. She was talking with another church member who had been on the staff at Gesu parish for nineteen years, including the time I was there, who was suddenly fired without explanation. I looked around the Church hall and there were a number of persons present who were ‘rejected’, fired, let go, arrested and one even excommunicated. I welcomed my friend to the ‘reject’ club which is not really a club but a growing movement. Our founder was Jesus, the greatest ‘reject’ of all time that came for the poor and ‘rejected’ only to be one himself. To be accepted can be a blessed or a curse; to be rejected can be a blessing or a curse.


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Seeing Extraordinary In Ordinary Not Random - Saturday, December 14, 2013

‘another’ by Peter Graf

The big lottery I talked about last night and forgot to purchase a ticket was won by nobody. So now the Tuesday lottery is worth over 500 million. Maybe I should buy a ticket and maybe not. If I get very rich it will be even harder to get to heaven. I am already having a tough time.

Some of my friends went on trial in Kansas City yesterday for crossing the line onto one of the new nuclear bomb factories being built by our present administration. They were found guilty but got a very unusual sentence. They were given ‘homework’. They have six questions the Judge composed during the trial to answer. One friend I talked today is 75 years old and has not done ‘homework’ in awhile. Another friend is dropping by here tonight on her way to visit family in northern Wisconsin. I will need to ask her if she has done her ‘homework’ yet.

My friend that is staying overnight with her friend and his cat is a woman priest. She is stopping in Milwaukee mainly to visit a common friend tomorrow, a 93 years old Jesuit priest who is having some serious medical problems. They met at SOAWatch one year and the next he got in trouble with the Catholic Church for concelebrating mass with a woman at an ‘inclusive’ mass.

Tonight a friend of my deceased son, Peter, called from his Chicago area home. Like my son he has had some mental health problems but seemed to have put his life together. He is a single father with a young daughter forced to live for now with his mother. He went on and on complaining about the conditions at his mom’s home and about the mother of his daughter. After awhile it was obvious he was suffering some serious mental health issues and is repeating over and over again the same things was not helping him or giving us an opportunity to talk with him. After a long one side conversation with my wife and I on a speaker phone I told him that I will call him tomorrow night and said good-by. Unfortunately we have learned that there is no reasoning with person in this state of mine. It is sad.

These are just a few of my daily adventures. You can call them ordinary or you can call them extraordinary. It depends how you do them and how you connect them. Events may seem random but they are not. Seeing extraordinary in the ordinary makes random orderly.


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Power Greater Than Rich - Friday, December 13, 2013

Occupy Wall Street

Ever since I was thirteen on January the thirteenth and my picture appeared, along with other teens, in the local newspaper, I have considered Friday the thirteenth my luck day. Driving with my wife, Pat, today she reminded me that today was Friday the thirteenth, my lucky day. I heard about the big lottery jackpot the other day and thought I should buy a ticket. The winning lottery number for a prize of over 400 million was announced tonight on the news. I was not the winner, probably because I forgot to purchase a ticket. But I still can fantasize a little as if I was one of the very rich.

In the posting last night Justice is for the Rich I wrote about how our legal justice system favors the rich and justice can be purchased. Today I started to think about the other systems, beside justice system, that, in this country favor the rich.

Our health care system, although it does not rank very high in effectiveness for first world countries, is the most expensive in the world. Many rich people and corporations profit from illness. I am not talking about Doctors or nurses in the system but the major health care, pharmaceutical and health insurance companies who profit from illness. The poor receive poor or no health care.

Our educational system favors the rich. In school systems, like my grandchildren attend, they are all kinds of cultural enrichment programs like art, music, theater as well as full array of sports and well paid teachers. In the cities like Milwaukee public school system suffer cuts from State government and the high achieving youth are being pulled away by voucher or charter systems.

The rich can purchase, if they choose so, healthy, natural and organic foods. The poor must rely on the small corner grocery store where prices are high and quality is low. Not only are there not many major supermarkets in poor areas but many do not have a refrigerator to store food or a stove to cook food. Pantries and good stamps help but you still need a way to preserve and prepare the food.

The cost of education is skyrocketing. The opportunity for a youth from a low income family to go college is getting less and less unless they are willing to join the military or take out major loans and debt.

To be elected to political office in this country today takes a lot of money. Estimate is that the person with the most money, in nearly all political contests, wins the election.

The great middle class we hear politicians talking about is fading as we become more and more a country of the very rich and the very poor. A ‘PolitiFact’ column in the newspaper recently showed the statement that the Walton family members, Sam Walton was the founder of Wal-Mart, have greater wealth than 42% of the lowest Americans is TRUE.

What we need, in my opinion, is not income redistribution, but a turning of everything upside down, like Jesus preached,poor are put on top and the wealthy at the bottom. The Occupy movement recently, where the cry was “We are the 99%”referring to the income inequality and wealth distribution in the U.S. between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population, 99%, captured the imagination of many until the wealthy suppressed it.

The rich might own the political, health, education, food and justice system but we have a power greater than any of the rich. Stay tune as I search and reveal this power greater than rich.


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Justice Is for the Rich - Thursday, December 12, 2013

Robert Seth Hayes

Two stories of crime and punishment crossed my path today. One was about a 16 year old youth who was convicted of killing four persons while driving drunk. His defense lawyer and psychologist claimed he suffered from “suffered from “affluenza,” a condition in which “his family felt that wealth bought privilege and there was no rational link between behavior and consequences.” He was sentenced to 10 years probation by the Judge and “sent to a private counseling center that costs $450,000, which will be paid for by his father.”

The other story was an appeal for health care for Robert Seth Hayes, “one of the longest held political prisoners in the US.” In the 60’s he was drafted into the military and sent off Vietnam where he was “wounded and awarded a variety of military awards including the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.” Back in the USA his “troop was ordered to assist in putting down the massive rebellions which took place and spread across the United States” after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He could no longer identify with the military. He joined the Black Panther party and later, forced underground, the Black Liberation Army. In 1973, following a shootout with police after they raided his house at night while he, his wife and two children were sleeping, he was arrested and convicted of the murder of a New York City police officer, and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Seth has always maintained his innocence and since 1998, after serving 25 years with a “charge free record”, has been denied parole. Seth has been diagnosed with Hepatitis C and adult onset Diabetes since the year 2000. Unfortunately, despite repeated request he has been denied adequate health care and now is very sick. The appeal was to the correction department of New York and his doctors to get him help immediately.

Two young men, one who is white and very wealthy was clearly convicted of killing four persons and gets probation. The other one, Black activist, was convicted of one murder, of which he claims he was innocent. The white wealthy one got 10 years probation and was sent to treatment in a very expensive treatment center. The other, African American male with the Black Panther movement, was sentenced to 25 years to life and now after 35 years in prison lies sick and dying in his jail cell.

In the case of the young, white, wealthy teen I heard about on TV, commentators pointed out how our justice system is not equal to rich and poor. In the case of African American male dying in a prison cell, I heard about in an email from a group called Alliance for Global Justice and the plea was for health care. I think many people know that our USA so called ‘Justice System’ is for the rich who can walk free from a crime.

The USA has the most persons per population incarcerated in world and the State of Wisconsin has the highest rate of any State of African American males incarcerated, many coming from and back to North Central Milwaukee. Justice is for the rich.


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Blessing Cab - Wednesday, December 11, 2013

“Known trespasser Car” &
Blessing Cab

I woke up this morning to a phone call from a family friend asking for a ride from work to the dentist this afternoon. Next there was a call from a friend who needed a ride to the Veterans Administration to pick up medicine. Next was a phone call from my wife’s nurse of where she should go for a blood test she needed. Plans for making spices from the garden dehydrated herbs were put aside and I warmed up my old car, I sometimes call it “The Blessing Cab”.

My friend told me that getting his medicine at the VA might take some time. When we got there we were surprised to find a very long line of cars waiting to pull up to the main entrance to drop someone off. So I dropped my friend near the front of the parking lot and said I would meet him at the pharmacy after I parked the car. Parking the car was a major task. Finally I found a parking spot and heading toward the VA hospital. As I was approaching the hospital I heard my friend calling me. In the time it took for me to find a parking space he had gone to the pharmacy and got his medicine and was looking for me.

Taking my wife to the grounds of the massive Froedert/Medical College hospital complex was a different adventure. The nurse had told my wife the blood test was to be done in the Specialty Clinics. It was a place I was familiar with so I dropped her off at the front door and went to park the car in the parking structure nearby. Parking the car I crossed over the sky walk and asked the information person where the clinic for taking blood samples was. She said it was in another building and gave me directions to get there by walkways connecting the buildings. I thought as I walked over to the laboratory that my poor wife really had to walk a long distance with her cane and replaced hip.

When I finally got there I asked the person at the laboratory where they took blood samples. It was not there but she took my wife’s name and birthday and looked up where my wife was going for the blood test. It turned out to be just inside the door where I dropped her off. Just then my wife called and told me she was waiting at the main entrance for me. On the way back to the car I stopped by the information desk to get my parking lot ticket stamped and told the lady about my long journey to the wrong place. She said she was sorry and I moved on to the parking lot.

The third trip of the day to the dentist was not so eventful. When we got to the parking lot in front of the store front dentist office we talked awhile about some troubles one of her family members was having. That was it, no driving around a parking lot and no walking around a large hospital complex.

I call my car the “Blessings Cab” for when I first started to drive people to doctor appointments and clinics some people would feel guilty, as if they had to pay me.I would say how they have blessed me and as they were leaving my car I would say to leave the blessings at the door. There were a lot of blessings collected today. The Blessing Cab, the same car that was ticketed as a “known trespasser car ” at a Marquette University parking lot has only one appointment tomorrow, so far.


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Never Ending Questions? - Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Often people ask questions that make me think. I feel an obligation to answer the question although there is no clear answer. The other day, my therapist (Yes, I am ‘Next to Normal’) asked me what I did for fun. I thought for second and quickly answered, work on the garden in spring thru fall; making home visits with St. Vincent De Paul conference with people in need; being with my grandchildren, although as they get older this becomes less; fishing in the summer, which is something I did not do this year. Reflecting later on the question I guess fun is not something I seek but peace of mind is sought and enjoyed.

This morning for our faith sharing session I asked the question: “How do we slow down and stay awake in a world moving so fast with so much violence and sin?” By “slowing down” I explained meant living at a peaceful style. “Stay awake” meant being aware and consciousness and living in the moment. By “world moving so fast” I mentioned how communications has brought us closer today by with so much happening at one time, it is hard for us to focus on any one thing. I guess it was not a very good question since I had to explain it but it led to some interesting remarks and reflections like how we sometimes focus so much going somewhere that when we get there, take some pictures and come back without really being present to where we were. There was talk about balance between being aware and not getting stuck in one spot. Everyone agreed that balancing between being present and not being overwhelmed was a difficult balancing act.

Multi-tasking like I am trying to do now, writing this while sneaking view of what my wife is watching on TV complicates answers to both questions. How can you do two or three things and enjoy, or have fun with, each one? How do you focus on the moment when you are doing multi-tasking? Questions lead to more questions and good questions are never ending.


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‘Twas Sunday, the Day of First Major Snowfall - Monday, December 09, 2013

Yesterday when writing about Monastic Slowing Down I mentioned how I saw a garbage truck with snow plow in front and salt dispenser in back speeding up my block. Today writing neighbors about suggestions to slow down speeding traffic on our stretch of road I turned this experience into a little Christmas ditty. Here it is:

‘Twas Sunday, day of the first major snowfall

All through the house was quiet

When out on the street there was such a clatter,

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a large yellow garbage truck flying by

I knew in a moment it was plow truck

Speeding up on Wells St. with a salt dispenser on back

There was no time to test its speed way above 50

But I drew a deep breath and was glad it was not a school day.


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Monastic Slowing Down - Sunday, December 08, 2013

Computer Information Overload

We had our first significant snowfall today, not much, but enough to cause a great number of automobile pile ups on the road. One of the persons interviewed on the news said that people traveling on the highways were going much too fast for the conditions. Some of us on our stretch of streets have been trying to tell our alderman for some time now that cars are speeding. He seems to understand, having himself been a resident of this stretch of road, but seems helpless to do much about it. The speed limit for the nine blocks is 30 miles an hour and 20 miles an hour during school time but few bother with these limits. The ultimate speeding experience came today when I heard a loud noise outside. I looked out the window just to see a snowplow barreling down the road with speeds at least 50 miles an hour. He had a salter in back of the truck. The truck was in one of the middle lanes and did not have to slow down for parked cars.

Many in society, including myself, seem to be speeding through life these days. Sometime we are going too fast to see and hear what is going on around us. Maybe that is good at times since there seems to be so much going around us these days, sports, life, death, wars, poverty, violence, and Christmas shopping. It is easier to let life fly by than take it in.

When we do not take time to slow down and touch, see, hear, feel and smell life around us we can be become numb to human suffering and joy. One of the themes of this liturgical season of Advent is to Wake Up. If we are awake we can find more joy in life but also more suffering and pain. There is so much going around us, “powers that be” throw all kind of issues at us, war, street violence, environmental, like genetically modified apples that I heard about today.

Life becomes like a many channel TV where we look for the “least objectionable” program. It is easier to rationalize and justify things like racism and poverty than do something about them.

When we first got a personal computer and had access to the web, I found myself ‘surfing the web’ just looking at stuff and moving on. It was fun at first but soon I realized it just took so much time. I decided to take a very narrow and ‘monastic’ view of the web. I called it ‘monastic’ because like a monk, I wanted to take a self denying or reclusive view of what I was looking for. I tried to narrow my computer usage to learn what I needed to learn and to search for information that I needed. I tried to leave the rest of the many things you can do or discover, alone, as much as possible. However, as more things to do with a computer and more information and opinion were available this became harder to do.

With Nelson Mandela’s death I have been thinking about great men and woman of the 20th century, like Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, and Gandhi and realized they had one quality in common: Each one took time for prayer and meditation in their busy life. Once I heard a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. to the effect that the busier he became the more time he needed to take for prayer and reflection.

In a world speeding by maybe we all need to take more steps back into solitude and be more ‘monastic’ in our approach to life and living.


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Stoves and Refrigerators for Hungry - Saturday, December 07, 2013

Kitchen without a stove and
refrigerator is no place to cook
healthy food

Today I received some more quotes from Nelson Mandela that you will not find in the American media. So with the quotes I used in the posting Replacing Mandela. I have a good source of Mandela quotes to start a new quote page on .

Today making a home visit for our St. Vincent De Paul Conference I met a mother who just moved into a rental unit that “did not come with a stove or refrigerator.” Sadly this is a common experience these days where landlords do not lower rents but do not provide basic appliances, like stove and refrigerator. With all the appeals for food these days I wrote a ‘Letter to the Editor’ of the local paper about this situation. Here it is:

Dear Editor,
Giving food to the hungry is popular during this season. That is good, but things are different this year. A growing number of landlords are no longer providing stoves and refrigerators in rental housing in the poorest and most segregated neighbors of Milwaukee. Calling 211 people find the only group providing vouchers toward a purchase of a used stove or refrigerator are a limited number of St. Vincent De Paul (SVDP) conferences located in parishes. SVDP is an international Catholic lay organization dedicated to person to person visits to people need and providing aide when they can. With the increase demand for used stoves and refrigerators the cost has come up. SVDP conferences are limited in what they can do.

There was a proposal to use the 1.1 million dollars realized by the Archdiocese closing a Catholic Church in North Central Milwaukee to provide a Sustainable Works of Mercy Fund for beds, stoves and refrigerators. However the Church decided to put the money into an ‘endowment’ fund instead.

So food flows freely this season but how do the poor use it? We need an organized effort to provide stoves and refrigerators for the hungry to prepare and cook healthy food.


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St. Nick and Catholic Worker? - Friday, December 06, 2013

Icon of St. Nicholas of Myra,
part of modern day Turkey

Today I made a home visit to a man who was a modern day St. Nicholas, pasting our gifts to children whenever he could and a modern day Catholic Worker, opening up his house to hospitality for children and families in need. I am not sure if he knew who St. Nicholas was but he did not know, although he was one, what a Catholic Worker was. I explained to him that the Catholic Worker was a movement to open our homes and lives to those in need like he was doing.

Before him was an open bible and we had a long conversation about our spiritual beliefs and our actions. Here was one of the ‘ordinary persons’ I was talking about last night who was Replacing Mandela. He told me how when he reads a scripture he does not understand how he prays till God opens up the meaning of scripture for him.

He really believed and lived God’s will. As an example he gave me how I had arrived there. He heard about St. Vincent De Paul from a friend and had called me awhile back about getting a few beds for his ‘boys’. I told him to call the Central Office, he did, but they never acted on his call. Sometime later he called me again and this time I said to call the Central Office and if he did not get assigned a parish conference to visit him to call me back. He did call again and this time they told him that according to the computer they use, his address was ‘outside of our service area’. He lives a few blocks closer than a number of families we have visited. So I called the office and after some run around got the central office to assign his request to our conference and specifically to our team of home visitors. It turns out he needs the beds for some young children he is becoming the legal guardian of since their father and mother due to problems could no longer care for them. So I was a ‘tool’ of God’s will in his life.

There was a big bed in his living room. He explained that by saying there was a recently evicted family nearby. He took them in because they had no place to go.

The man was jolly and a little round so maybe he was good old St. Nick.


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Replacing Mandela? - Thursday, December 05, 2013

Born July 18,1918,
Died December 5,2013

In my lifetime I have learned the ways of Jesus, the way of nonviolence from many well know persons, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day. I have also learned the way of nonviolence from many lesser or unknown persons, men in prison, families I have visited, friends like Lorenzo Rosebough. Today the last of the well known world leaders I have read, seen and heard died. Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95. Is he the last of extraordinary leaders of my lifetime to die?

Since his death late this afternoon on the media and on the web there have been countless eulogies and honors give to Nelson Mandela. He has been called a great politician, courageous, a man of forgiveness, great leader, founding president of a free and democratic South Africa and much more. But I have not heard one person mentioned nonviolence in reference to him.

Leaders of our world, like our own President, go on TV talking about what a great person he was, helping South African overcome apartheid. This is true but the Way he did it is not mentioned. Nelson Mandela was a great leader of the nonviolent revolution that took place in South Africa, where love and forgiveness overcame violence and fear.

Like Martin Luther King Jr. Nelson Mandela knew “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.” (Long Walk to Freedom, his autobiography)

He deeply admired Mahatma Gandhi: “In a world driven by violence and strife, Gandhi’s message of peace and non-violence holds the key to human survival in the 21st century, said Mandela.” He also said about Gandhi: “He rightly believed in the efficacy of pitting the sole force of the satyagraha against the brute force of the oppressor and in effect converting the oppressor to the right and moral point.”

Like Thomas Merton he knew: “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner”. Also like Thomas Merton he understood that people can be discouraged in the struggle for freedom. “There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile to continue talking about peace and non-violence against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people.”

As Dorothy Day he understood the dichotomies between war and peace. “We speak here of the challenge of the dichotomies of war and peace, violence and non-violence, racism and human dignity, oppression and repression and liberty and human rights, poverty and freedom from want. We stand here today as nothing more than a representative of the millions of our people who dared to rise up against a social system whose very essence is war, violence, racism, oppression, repression and the impoverishment of an entire people” (Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, 1993.

Nelson Mandela knew the policies of the United States, like war in Iraq, support of Israeli threats to Palestinians and its espousal of nuclear weapons was “a threat to world peace.” (On Iraq, Newsweek, and Sept. 10, 2002)

Like many young African American adults he understood the cruelties of prisons, having spent 27 years in prison himself and emerging without bitterness or fear. “No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens but its lowest ones.” (Long Walk to Freedom)

Jesus died for his revolutionary ways, teaching love of enemy, the poor shall be on top and the rich on the bottom, giving all to follow the Way, risking imprisonment and death in seeking the truth. Jesus died accused of treason. His crime was written on the cross: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of Jews”.

I feel like we lost the last of our great leaders of nonviolence. There may not be any more Days, Kings or Mertons. Maybe it is time for us ordinary people to step up in great numbers to replace these extraordinary leaders, like Nelson Mandela.


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Marquette University Trains to Kill or Be Killed - Wednesday, December 04, 2013

‘Friendly fire’ kills British woman
soldier in Afghanistan

Today, a warm and rainy day before the deep cold and snow hit us, a few of us held what we called a “Teach In” about military training and Marquette University. We chose the time, 3–4pm at the Alumni Memorial Union at Marquette because the Center for Peacemaking was holding a wine and cheese reception for faculty and staff at 4pm in the Union. We thought persons going to that event would be receptive to our message. It was clear that the Center for Peacemaking did not want us present with our message of Marquette Be Faithful to the Gospel and No Longer Host Military training on violence, war and killing on campus. When the head of the union told us we could not pass out flyers without permits in the union and when he came down to room of wise and cheese reception to tell us again to move we knew something was up. We did not try to go into the reception but they tried to block us from even give faculty and staff our “Teach In” flyers on Catholic Church and the teaching of killing on campus. It was clear our message was feared by Marquette Administrators and the Center for Peacemaking.
Why does the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking so greatly fear those of us trying to Break the Silence about Marquette teaching killing on campus?

Although I resisted believing this for years about Marquette I can no longer find any reason not to believe it is for money. The Center and Marquette University fears our ragtag group and our message that Marquette by being the only college and University in the five country metro area to host Department of Defense military training on campus is doing it for MONEY. We cannot see the contracts between Marquette University and the Department of Defense for officer training program for Army, Navy/Maries and Air Force on campus that clearly state it is for money. All universities and colleges, under Federal law, the Solomon Act must allow students to be in ROTC in order to qualify for any Federal funds but none are required to host it on campus. Hosting the military on campus is a free choice Marquette and only Marquette makes in this five country area.

Recently the Department of Defense pulled its contracts from some small military training (ROTC) programs in the USA to spend the millions of dollars it could save on ROTC programs on larger universities like Marquette that produce more officers. The small colleges and universities, some who have been hosing ROTC since the 40’s on campus were outraged from the great lost of money that was being withdrawn. Universities hosting ROTC and JROTC programs in high school and the DoD Starbase for middle school children are the new Selective Service forced draft system. Marquette University is a leader in this movement to “train soldiers to kill or be killed.”


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Put Poor On Top - Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Jesus said what he meant:
Put the poor on top and
rich on bottom

Today I heard an ad about giving money this Christmas season for homeless dogs. Everybody is asking and many are giving this time of the year. A big thing is collecting food for the hungry The poor are hungry all year along but the giving is best at Christmas season When I hear an ad about giving food I wish I could ask about giving vouchers for used stoves and refrigerators to those in need. Due to some landlords being greedy, many people no longer have stoves and refrigerators ( See Bedbugs and Greedy Landlords) So the problem is if you get a lot of food how do you store it and cook it? Our St Vincent De Paul Conference decided not to ask for money this season. What a shame since we are one of the few groups that give vouchers for used stoves and refrigerators.

I give money to a number of groups, most local and not agencies and would like to spread it out during the year but with the most reminders coming now I give the most now. Begging has become a fine art since the day of Jesus when the blind beggar, with no family to support him, stood outside the temple entrance begging for anything. In fact some scripture scholars say that is Jesus’ time the blind beggar or window without any family support were the ‘poor’ Jesus was talking about.

In today’s ‘Opinion’ page I read an article called “What do critics of Pope Francis think about Jesus then?” The author points out that the teachings of Jesus in his time would be even more radical in our times. The author points out that what Jesus said he really meant. For example, “Jesus did not preach income equality between the rich and the poor. He preached the complete reversal of the social order: The rich and the poor would switch places.…. Although modern Christianity has tried to spiritualize this message of Jesus, transforming his revolutionary social teachings into abstract ethical principles, it is impossible to overlook the unflinching condemnation of the wealthy and powerful that permeate Jesus’ teachings.” This taking Jesus on his own words which the rich and powerful did in his times should give thought to both conservatives and liberals.

When it comes to poor and marginalized we seem to talk the talk and give them some food at the holidays. Giving food is okay but a refrigerator and stove would help the poor gain dignity and respect and put them closer to the top where Jesus places them.

Giving beds to sleep on, stoves to cook food and refrigerators to store food would be fulfilling the words of Jesus and our Holy Father to overthrow the system and help in effort for rich and poor to switch place, to put poor on top.


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Silence In Face Of Insults Is Holy! - Monday, December 02, 2013

Today I received an email from a group requesting that I sign a petition reprimanding a right wing radio host for calling Pope Francis a ‘Marxist’ My response was going to be why give this extreme person any creditability by signing a petition against him. I know that when I am attacked it often gives me encouragement to continue doing what I am doing and some creditability. Why give someone like this creditability by attacking him. Before I could make such a comment I noticed a number of other persons had made the point in the comment section already.

When someone makes an insulting remark against you or someone you respect, like Pope Francis, it takes the discipline of nonviolence not to react and perhaps even not respond. Taking insults and even injuries in the name of peace and justice is something great saints like St Ignatius of Loyola or great Americans like Martin Luther King Jr. understood, wrote about and practiced.

I find it very hard to treat insult and injury this way. I want the truth, at least my ‘opinion of the truth’ to come out. I think it shows courage to defend oneself against misrepresentation However true nonviolence, takes an act of courage and faith to know ‘all will be well’ without my opinion and response.
Being humble means taking it on the cheek a few times. Silence in the face of insults is holy


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Living With Pain - Sunday, December 01, 2013

“Pain” by Peter Graf

My lovely wife, Pat, continues to run into more medical complications since her emergency surgery after her hip replacement surgery. She is feeling okay but the ills keep piling up. I noticed she is dealing with her medical problems a lot better than she did with the complications of life in the days when she lived in pain. Without pain life looks better.

My appreciation of two friends who live with constant pain grows. They keep up their spirits although the both live with great pain. The worst type of pain, in my opinion, is pain of the brain I had some brief bouts of pain of the mind and body that were hard to deal with When I think of the pain of my sister with cancer or my son with a brain illness, both now deceased, I admire their courage living with such great pain of body and mind, Yet people do live with pain and many, like my two friends, do it well. Thank God for good health.


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