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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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Investment in Music Education - Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Drum Line closes
the band concerts

Today we went Chillirific a fundraising band concert in my grandchildren’s middle and high school. Besides chili there were performances by the three middle school bands and four of the high school bands. This fund raising was special in the fact the band is raising money to march in the 2017 Rose Bowl Parade.

With the five full time band leaders on staff, the 105 6th grade band, the Drum Line and the great participation in all the bands I am always impressed how much music is in the life of my grandchildren and all the lives of 400 plus students and parents in the middle and high school bands. At the same time I am sad for the major cuts in the middle and high school music education programs in Milwaukee Public Schools. How many full time band leaders are there in a MPS middle or high school, if any?

Yes Milwaukee Public School students come from low income families and are primarily students of color. But why should that matter? It does, however. Yes, I am happy my grandchildren are blessed for being in this school system of white families with middle class income. But I am sad that the many children and youth will not have the opportunity to play and love music and be in a band because they are poor and people of color.

An investment in music education would pay off in the Milwaukee Public Schools but who will make it?


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Walking In The Shadow Of Death - Saturday, January 30, 2016

“I came alone in this world, I have walked alone in the valley of the shadow of death, and I shall quit alone when the time comes.” (M.K. Gandhi, Mahatma Vol. 7, p. 147)

This quote resonates with me not because I am an anti-social human being but it describes the sense of aloneness I felt about a month after our son’s death, Peter. I felt I was walking in the valley of the shadow of death. I still do, although with time and busyness the feeling of death is forgotten at times.

The feeling came back to me strong, however, recently when I was working on the issue of imprisonment of persons ill with a mental illness. Mental Illness is the only illness or injury that can jail a person. Whoever heard of a person with a heart attack or a stroke being sent to jail rather than the E.R.? My son and his friend have described to me the horror of being placed in a padded solitary confinement cell when they suffered a mental health crisis.

I am having a hard time finding the numbers of persons with a mental health crisis police take to jail. No one wants to say how many we all know quietly that it is happening. Researching this issue I find myself walking alone in the valley of the shadow of death.

A sense of aloneness and death can be positive experience. It keeps one grounded in the passing nature of this life and looking to new life on the other side. For if death is the end than why do we live? Why walk in the valley of the shadow of death unless to get to the light and new life.


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To Rant Or Not To Rant - Tuesday, January 26, 2016

To Rant or Not to Rant,
That is the question.
I know ranting does no good,
But when I and my message are ignored and someone will listen,
It is tempting to go on and on,
Although more words will not make a difference
But further put me in a box.

Oh, if only I could learn how to make my point
And let silence take up the rest of the time.
For Too Much Information only turns minds away from the message


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Do What You Got To Do! - Sunday, January 24, 2016

When I was a Youth Minister in a Church I remember going to a workshop for Youth Ministers were a well experienced one spoke to the group. He said how much he disliked calling the lay people helping out in the youth ministry and religious education programs ‘volunteers’. He explained that by our baptism we were called to be ministers to each other. Volunteer sounds like you are doing something unexpected. We are all, he said, ministers of God’s word. I had not liked the word ‘volunteer’ so was glad to call the adults in the youth ministry program at the Church ‘youth ministers.’ My job as paid ‘Youth Minister’ was to aid the other ministers in their work.

As I got older people often ask me while don’t you leave the justice and peace issues to young people. I am glad to work with other adults younger than I but when I see injustice or a moral wrong I feel like I do must speak and act on the issue also.

A few weeks ago a long time peace and justice activist, who is also a grandparent, got arrested in a protest around the State of Union address in Washington D.C. When she returned back to Madison to family and friends she questioned why she felt she had to go to D.C. for the nonviolent action when she had been reluctant to go and other things to do. She concluded that she had to go, that is just what she does.”

The sense of we do what we need to do is widespread among us elders. Tonight I went to a birthday party for Dontre Hamilton who was shot and killed by a Milwaukee Police Officer. I met an old friend there. He and his companion are musicians and word poets and he observed that often recently he is the oldest person at many events. I have this experience and we concluded that we both do what we need to do.

A lot of people believe you need to follow your conscience when it is convenient and inconvenient and do what you got to do.


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Follow the Money! - Friday, January 22, 2016

For some time I have known that in elections the political candidate with the most money wins about 95% of the time. But now I see that ‘follow the money’ explains a lot of phenomena that sometime do not make sense. For examples: The money in mental health is in community care and not in acute care for people in crisis. Thus, there are numerous treatment centers for people who accept their illness and have some type of insurance. However, people suffering a mental health crisis often land in jail.

St. Vincent de Paul serves the poor, people in need, in impoverished neighborhoods. White suburban people who make up the leadership decided to invest millions of dollars in a suburban thrift store with the goal of making money to give to people making home visits.

For many years prisons were built all over the State of Wisconsin, many in small towns where the prison became the major industry. A reduction of crime in cities like Milwaukee threaten this prison industry. Police started patrolling the central city looking for people to ticket or arrest. Often they found people on probation and patrol who can be sent back to prison, even without a conviction of another crime. The many prisons are full and the money from prisons keeps flowing.

When Big Business wants to make more money they merge, lay off employees and improve the bottom line. When there is a need in community, like tutoring, non-profits compete to get the money to fill the need. There are more non-profits with more employees doing the same thing. Their money increases and the portion that goes direct to people in need decreases.

You do not need to be a prophet to ‘follow the money’. We can find other examples of how in the USA you can ‘follow the money’ and discover the end results. God Bless America and ‘Follow the Money’.


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Will I Be Shot 14 Times For Sleeping In A Public Place? - Thursday, January 21, 2016

Maria Hamilton with picture
of son, Dontre

Tonight at a large hall in the library there was a Community Listening Session by the U.S. Department of Justice about the Milwaukee police department. The police chief agree to a collaborative process when the community wanted a separate investigation of the Milwaukee police as in other cities. When the mikes were open for community comments long lines quickly formed. Speaker after speaker spoke about how they or family members were mistreated by police. The Hamilton spoke about Dontre Hamilton who was shot 14 times by Milwaukee Police Office that was not charged by the District Attorney or Department of Justice. I could have added to the stories about police taking my ill son to jail instead to hospital or treatment facility but decided to make a comment about the killing of Dontre Hamilton by rhetorical questions. Here is my brief comments:

I would like to make my comment by way of some rhetorical questions:
If I, an old white guy at this public place and in front of this great crowd came up to the front of the room and went to sleep on the stage floor, what would you do?

Would you call the police to have me removed? Maybe, Probably Not!

Would the policeman try to wake me? Maybe, Probably Not!

If awoke from my sleep, would the police man frisk me? Maybe, Probably Not!

If I resisted the frisking and the policeman saw something bulky in my pockets would he take out his club to beat me. Maybe, Probably Not!

If to protect myself from the blows I grabbed his club and swung wildly at him would he take out his gun and shoot me fourteen times. Maybe, Probably Not!

However, if I was a young black man in a public place with no crowd around me would the police wake me, frisk me, beat me and shoot me 14 times. Maybe and Probably Yes.

I am Dontre Hamilton.


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Martin Luther King— Love Your Enemies - Wednesday, January 20, 2016

This is the post I wrote Monday, an holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. My site was down that night so I am offering it now.

The life of Martin Luther King Jr. has been a real inspiration in my life. I do not talk or write about it since I feel too many ‘use’ King for their own purpose but to not practice nonviolent direct action, his way of making change. However, yesterday I attended a King celebration at the Performing Arts Center that feature speeches, art, music, dance and tumbling from students of Milwaukee public and private schools. The theme was “We need to act now” and the students make a good argument to do this now. When one of the politicians, trying to cash in Martin Luthern King’s honors he used a speech of Martin Luther King that was not familiar to me. It was a sermon he delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, on November 17, 1957 called Loving your enemies. This commandment of Jesus is the hardest to follow but as King makes clear is key to unleashing the power of nonviolence for change.

17 November 1957
“Loving Your Enemies,” Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church**
Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery

I am forced to preach under something of a handicap this morning. In fact, I had the doctor before coming to church. And he said that it would be best for me to stay in the bed this morning. And I insisted that I would have to come to preach. So he allowed me to come out with one stipulation, and that is that I would not come in the pulpit until time to preach, and that after, that I would immediately go back home and get in the bed. So I’m going to try to follow his instructions from that point on.

I want to use as a subject from which to preach this morning a very familiar subject, and it is familiar to you because I have preached from this subject twice before to my knowing in this pulpit. I try to make it a, something of a custom or tradition to preach from this passage of Scripture at least once a year, adding new insights that I develop along the way out of new experiences as I give these messages. Although the content is, the basic content is the same, new insights and new experiences naturally make for new illustrations.

So I want to turn your attention to this subject: “Loving Your Enemies.” It’s so basic to me because it is a part of my basic philosophical and theological orientation—the whole idea of love, the whole philosophy of love. In the fifth chapter of the gospel as recorded by Saint Matthew, we read these very arresting words flowing from the lips of our Lord and Master: “Ye have heard that it has been said, ‘Thou shall love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.”

Certainly these are great words, words lifted to cosmic proportions. And over the centuries, many persons have argued that this is an extremely difficult command. Many would go so far as to say that it just isn’t possible to move out into the actual practice of this glorious command. They would go on to say that this is just additional proof that Jesus was an impractical idealist who never quite came down to earth. So the arguments abound. But far from being an impractical idealist, Jesus has become the practical realist. The words of this text glitter in our eyes with a new urgency. Far from being the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer, this command is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Yes, it is love that will save our world and our civilization, love even for enemies.

Now let me hasten to say that Jesus was very serious when he gave this command; he wasn’t


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Youth of the World Unite! - Saturday, January 16, 2016

Funeral Scene from Ragtime
Choir story

After a hard day of penance or grace yesterday, Pat and I attended a concert music by the choir at Milwaukee Lutheran High School. My goddaughter is in the choir. It was a concert of ‘ragtime’ music with a story to go along with the songs. The choir was excellent and different characters played the lead actor and actress in the story. However, what really made the concert special was the racial diversity of the youth, white, black and Asian. How the youth naturally interchanged parts and worked together was a realization of the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. where every youth would be equal no matter what race and everyone would be treated with respect and dignity. My spirits were renewed by the youth.

Today I received an email response from one of the Archdiocese priest who I had sent my essay: day of penance or Grace | Story of Struggle for Milwaukee SVDP It was obvious that he did not read the essay but he personally attacked me and my character with the party line of the small group controlling the Milwaukee St. Vincent de Paul Society of what a terrible person I was and how I was hurting the poor.

In my response I told him this true story: “A Vincentian Friend called me today to tell me how one of her neighbors in a housing project on the North side, 26th and Villard, called the SVDP central office recently for help with a couch. She is living on disability and had not had furniture in her living room for three years. She was told by the intake person at the office, after checking her address, we do not have a Catholic Church with a SVDP conference in your area and thus we cannot serve you. My friend thought about calling Our Lady of Good Hope for help. I am informed her the central office and the Pastor of our Lady of Good Hope had just closed the conference (one of the top ten in making home visits) and the money, over $7,000 in the conference account was being sent to the Central Office. The housing project was originally covered by St. Nicholas Church conference and when that church was closed by Blessed Trinity and when that was closed by another church conference for a while but is no longer covered, as most of North Central Milwaukee” I thank him for his email since most priest just ignored my essay and me, the worst form of hatred.

The youth represent openness with a fresh view on life. This priest represents a closed view of life with stigmatizing persons. Hopefully the youth of this world will reunite, eliminate stigmas and work together as one.


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A Day of Penance or Grace? - Friday, January 15, 2016

A friend who has been suffering a chronic and disabling illness asked if I would take her to her pain doctor’s office today to pick up prescription pain medicine. I discovered that medicines of this nature must be given personally from the doctor to the patient. Once she had a hard copy of the prescription a pharmacist was to come over and pick it up and fulfill it and return it to the assisted living facility where she lives.

I left the house around 9am, picked her up with wheel chair and got to the doctor’s office around 10am. As soon as we pulled up to the Pain Doctor’s office a secretary was waiting for us outside the office and told us the Doctor had discharged her, would not see her and we had to leave. My friend sat up in the back seat where she had been lying down and asked if she could talk to the Doctor. The receptionist said No and if we did not leave immediately she was going to call the police. We pulled into a nearby parking lot and my friend via her cellphone tried to find out what was happening.

Her home visitation nurse was not available and her caseworker, who knew about the medication script pickup, did not know what happened. She called her general doctor who monitors her health. He said he had not heard from the pain doctor but we should go to Froedert Hospital Emergency Room. This was upsetting to both of us, my friend who knows that ER’s means a long waiting time and for me that was hoping to get home in the morning.

Once in ER she was seen quite quickly and before too long we were in an ER room being seen by a Physician Assistant, PA, and telling him the story. He looked up the pain doctor’s information and said he would call her and come back. While he was gone I found out the pain doctor was a Ph.D, not a medical doctor, but had the ability to write prescriptions for narcotic medicines. My friend also told me that she had just visited her a few days ago. She waited for over four hours but got a prescription for a new pain killer. My friend lives in an assistant living and the pharmacist came to her with the new prescription.
However, she had a reaction to the medicine and the pharmacist came to retrieve it. That is how the appointment this morning came about.

Eventually the PA returned and said the pain doctor admitted she had told my friend to come this morning to pick up the script for a pain killing medicine that bring her some relief while they explored other options. However, she said that someone from the assistant living place had called to say my friend had woke about 1:30am to take more medication and seem heavily sedated and needed help going back to bed. Therefore she would not give her more medicine out of fear she would be over medicated. My friend explained to the PA she wakes up regularly at about 1:30 to take more medicine, and on occasion, like last night, needs her assistant to come in and get her back in bed. The PA explained that only the pain doctor could prescribe narcotic medicines. He also saw in her record that over the years she had seen a number of pain doctors seeking relief. He thought the story of the pain doctor was unusual but there was nothing he could do about it. He went out to call her general doctor who had told her to go to ER.

While he was gone this time my friend was able to get to the assistant in the home who had helped her to bed at 1:30AM. The reception was bad but he did clearly say he did not call the pain doctor. When the PA came back he said her general doctor who had been her doctor for a long time said he had made an error sending her to this ER since he was not an attending doctor in this system. He had thought the pain doctor was in this system but she was not. Again it came down to the fact that only the pain doctor, who now said she was dismissing my friend as a patient, could only made the decision to give her the medication she was seeking. My friend explained that she had no pain medication in her now and the pain was growing worst. The PA said he understood our frustration but there was nothing he can do about it but give her a general shot, one she has many times before, and send her home. He recommend the pain clinic at this hospital, a place where my friend had been some time ago, after her stroke, but there had been no follow up. A nurse came in and gave her the shot and fifteen minutes later came back to say she was being released. My friend again explained she was suffering severe pain and needed something but the nurse said she was sympathetic but there was nothing she could do and she would come back with the release instructions. I helped my friend get her coats and hats on and into her wheel chair. The ER nurse came back with the release orders which mainly consist of the pain clinic at the hospital and resource for new general doctor who would be able to operate in this hospital’s system.

All the time my friend was working her cell phone with calls and text trying to get help. It is her persistence to find a cure for the severe pain that has kept her going all these years. However, we were defeated for now and I took her back to assistant living situation. She was still working the phone and texting try to get some relief for her pain. She was suffering while I had been inconvenience. After six hours I was driving home wondering if the experience of the day was penance for my sins and faults or was I just building up more grace? Maybe it was both!


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Kind Words Are Delicious - Thursday, January 14, 2016

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” - Mother Teresa

Often kind words is an easy way to build relationships. Recently I had a couple of elderly friends who had seen all kinds of good times and hard times in their life tell me how good a person I was. Some of the birthday greetings on Facebook spoke kind words about me.

My response to family and friends was to thank them for birthday greetings and the kind words. Yes, they do mean a lot to me so I should know how much they me to others. Sometimes I forget this lesson but keep working to remember it, especially with people who upset and annoy me.

Kind words are like petals on a flower. One can be overlooked but put together they are the beauty to the flower. Kind words may be softly spoken but the echoes keep reverberating. Kind words are a small step in building a grand design. Kind words get heard while nasty words are soon forgotten. Kind words come from a gentle person. Kind words are snacks leading up to the grand dessert. Kind words are delicious.


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Direct Action Makes Change - Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Yesterday on a statewide community conference call on Prison Prevention I made a suggestion that the group take a ‘nonviolent direct action’ to stop the privatization of the Crisis center for persons with mental health illnesses. Immediately someone questioned my call for ‘nonviolent direct action’ and said her community organization was not ready for ‘action’.

I checked on the meaning of nonviolent direct action. I found in Wikipedia that “”Direct action occurs when a group takes an action which is intended to reveal an existing problem, highlight an alternative, or demonstrate a possible solution to a social issue….Examples of non-violent direct action (also known as nonviolent resistance or civil resistance) can include sit-ins, strikes, workplace occupations, blockades,etc.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday we celebrate this week, in his letter from the Birmingham Jail says: “ Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.” He goes on to say: “It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word ‘tension.’ I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.”

The lack of creative ‘tension’ is at the heart of why I believe the civil rights, labor, community and peace movements are failing today. Many people seem afraid of creating tension like a sit in or strike does. As King states that without “constructive, nonviolent tension” there is no growth.

We can do all the research, attend all the talks, have all the discussions, write all the articles we want on an peace or justice issue but without creating creative nonviolent tension by direct action the chances for significant change are slim.

This is a lesson from the history of the United States. The labor, civil rights movement and peace movement all created change by through nonviolent direct action and now in most cases believe they can achieve change with talk, speeches, writing letters, legal action and voting.

This is the message the “powers that be” want us to believe: educate people, have talks and discussions, create petitions and letter writing campaigns and vote and there will be change. Without nonviolent direct action the mental health crisis system in Milwaukee County will be privatized and more ill people will go to jail and prison and face solidarity confinement rather than treatment.

I can only pray and work to Wake up People to the real power we have is not in looking to others. “We are the ones we are looking for” and we have the power through nonviolent direct action to make change.


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MLK The Gift of Fire - Monday, January 11, 2016

“I fear, I am integrating my
people into a burning house.”
(Dr. King in statement to Harry
Belafonte right before his death.)

My feelings about all the Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations remind me of story by Anthony De Mello S.J., an spiritual writer. I will let your draw your own connections:

The Gift of Fire

“There’s this guy who invented fire. He takes the tools for making fire and goes up to the north, where there are some tribes shivering in the cold. He teaches them the art and the advantages of making fire. And the people become interested. they learn. And what do they know? Pretty soon they’re cooking, they’re using the fire for building. And before they had time to say thanks to the inventor, he had disappeared. He didn’t want any thanks; he just wanted people to benefit from his invention.

He goes to another tribe, and he attempts to interest them also in his new invention. But he ran into a snag there, see? The priests began to realize how popular the guy was becoming and how their own influence on the people was diminishing. So they decided to poison him. A suspicion arose among the people that it was the priests who had done it, so you know what the priests did?

They had a huge portrait made of the man. They put it on the main altar in the temple. They devised a liturgy by which the man would be honoured, a ritual; and year after year, people came to pay homage to the great inventor and to the instruments for making fire. And the ritual was faithfully observed. But there was no fire. No fire. Ritual. Remembrance. Gratitude. Veneration. Yes. But no fire.”

Source | Anthony de Mello, Rediscovering Life. Pages 102–104


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Where Will Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrate His Birthday? - Sunday, January 10, 2016


MLK Mug Shot

Martin Luther King Jr. is a man in history that I deeply admire. I have tried to learn from him. At the National Civil Rights Museum at the Loraine Hotel in Memphis I felt what a significant figure he was in the struggle for human rights. The history of freedom for African Americans began when the first slave ship arrived but took a sudden downturn after King was assassinated. The movement seemed to have stopped.

Now almost everyone, black and white, pays homage to Dr. King, but do we follow him. When he was killed, he was organizing a Poor People’s Campaign on Washington D.C. Poor people of all kind of backgrounds, Hispanic, Whites, Blacks were to set up a camp in the Mall called Resurrection City and not leave till our President and Congress made significant changes to guarantee basic human rights. The Campaign went on as planned but we left after a while and to many in the poor community, especially in the Black community, we have gone backwards.

In Milwaukee this is certainly true as Milwaukee now suffers more segregation, with more impoverishment of blacks, poorer education, more violence, breakdown of family, worst housing conditions and education, higher unemployment, more imprisonment of African American males that it ever faced in the 60’s when Martin Luther King was alive.

Yet as a nation and a city we honor him more. I think Martin Luther King Jr., if alive today, would gently but firmly scull us for mouthing the words of human rights and ignoring the conditions we face.

This year there are so many celebrations of King that I decided to list them (see Guide to Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations below after continue) and send them to peace and justice friends in Milwaukee. I do not know what one to attend and maybe will not attend any of them. After the list of six celebrations I make the comment that MLK will probably go to the Power of the Poor picket on Tuesday where we will try to arrange a meeting with the Archbishop to reform the Milwaukee St. Vincent de Paul Society. This is where, with the poor struggling for justice, I think Martin Luther King will be.


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To Dive Or Not To Dive - Saturday, January 09, 2016

My oldest grandson is a senior in high school. He has an excellent academic career, his high school soccer team has gone to semifinals of State and he is a band leader in a very good high school band. He has been accepted in universities for pre-med studies and has a good job to earn money for his studies.

With all this going for him it was with great surprise he announced he was joining the swim team. He has no record of being a good swimmer and certainly none in dividing, his chosen specialty. Yet here he was diving today in an high school invitation dive meet. With our grandchildren we have been to all kind of football, basketball, soccer games as well as track meets and band and orchestra events but today we were at our first diving invitation.

I asked him over the holidays why with his busy work, music, academic and sport schedule why he went out for the swim team. He said the swim team needed some more divers and swimmers and that the two a day practices and learning how to dive gave him a challenge at which he was getting better.

He did not score high in the diving contest today but one can see that he gave it his best effort and was a team player in this individual sport. We are proud of him and are glad he choose to dive rather than not to dive.


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Big Business, More Money, Less People - Friday, January 08, 2016

Big Business, Profit and Non-Profit

Big Business, Profit and Non-Profit has a goal in common
To Make the Most Money with the least number of people
People, doing more and more for less.

Big Profit Business hires more people
To build the business
But when big money is made
Lays off people but expects same work done.

Big Non-Profit business hires more people
To get more government funds.
But when big money is made,
Lays off people but expects same work done.
Big Profit Business often grows by merging with another big business
Making for more layoffs and less hiring.

Big Non Profit Business often grows by getting government money
Going to poor to themselves to direct the poor.

Big Profit Business often gets money from the government
To subsidize its business.

Big Non-Profit often gets money from the government
To subsidize its business.

Big Profit Business, especially big Media Business
Tells us what they think we should know.

Big Non-Profit business, especially Social Service agencies,
Tell us what they think we should do.

Both Big Businesses want to make more money
With less people and with and more layoffs,
So they can hire more people for less.


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Lessons from Nemo and David - Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Today the Epiphany, feast of the Three Kings, is a good a day as ever to reveal my new essay: Story of Struggle for Milwaukee SVDP. It is a story of how a small group took over the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Milwaukee and changed its mission and purpose and how a small group is now trying to restore the Society to its original mission and purpose. A friend who help me edit the essay said “If all facts and figures are correct, this is a damning piece.” Well, I did my best in research to get the facts right, but with limited data available it was difficult. I sent it today to the leaders of the small group that has taken over the Milwaukee SVDP. I ask them for correction of facts and bore complete responsibility for opinions expressed in the essay. I suspect that the leaders of small group in power referred to in the essay will not even read the essay and, if they do, to ignore it and not respond.

After finishing the Story I felt a little like the story of David and Goliath with our small group being David in battle with powerful inner group at SVDP. Perhaps in our next nonviolent action we can match some of the success of David.

Mother Mary reminds us in her Magnificat as well as Jesus in the Gospel, that the weak and powerless do have victories over the strong and powerful. Let’s hope so.
It is hard in this case because the small group, for the most part, are good persons. They, white middle class sincerely believe they know what is best for the impoverished. It is the culture of exceptionalism except on a local level. Whites have been telling Blacks in Milwaukee what is best for them and the wall along North Avenue separating low income Blacks from Middle Class White grows taller and taller.
When I was getting a little discouraged today thinking how this essay would be ignored I thought, of all things, of the movie “Finding Nemo” and the famous advice to Nemo “Just Keep Swimming.” just keep swimming,
just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming, What do we do we swim swim swim.
So being persistent as Nemo, doing what I do best, and hoping to be like David I just keep on going. These are lessons from Nemo and David; let’s hope they work.


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STOP Hurting Our Children! - Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Over New Year’s we were in Iowa to visit my brother and his family. My brother’s son and his wife had twins, a boy and a girl, last summer. We visited with my nephew, his wife and grandnephew Hudson and grandniece Zoe. There was the obligatory pictures with the twins. In the picture with my wife Pat, all three persons seem to be smiling but Hudson on the right seems to be not so sure of why to smile.

Children all over the world are so dependent and innocent it is good to see them grow in such a loving environment. However, many children are born into broken homes suffering impoverishment or in war torn environments. I think it is the beauty of innocent children that makes so sad when I see children neglected or hurt by politicians.

News stories during this Holy Time of Christmas scream out to me, stories like Obama Administration Begins Large-Scale Deportations. It turns out that a large number of this deportees are children who crossed over the boarder to escape the killing and violence in their countries. Another one that constantly disturbs me is the number of innocent children in the countries we are bombing or using Killer Drones are dying at US hands. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports almost 2,500 now killed by covert US drone strikes since Obama inauguration six years ago.

It is not just the Presidential Administration that is causing such suffering and death of children. It is city, county and state officials who are denying children good health, sufficient foods, safe environment or a good education. Actually it is all of us, not just officials, that allows such conditions for children to survive. Often people say we do not like it but there is nothing we can do about it to stop it. That is true if we look at elections as the only way to make structural change. But history teaches us that is not elections that make significant change but a movement of people demanding in words and actions change. Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders make calls for nonviolent actions like a General Strike. However, those who do not want to change tell us that would not work and just vote and many of us believe them.
Killing children in urban life or at war almost always backfires. The suffering of children motivates some to fight back, often in ways of violence.

If we cared for our children and children of our brothers and sisters all over the U.S.A. and world we would stand up to the ‘powers to be’ and say STOP hurting our innocent children and we will do whatever we need to do to stop it.


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Where Is Robin Hood When You Need Him? - Monday, January 04, 2016

I have been working on a story of how a small group took over the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Milwaukee and changed its mission and purpose and how a small group is now trying to restore the Society to its original mission and purpose. The essay is in its draft form and I am clear that the opinions expressed are only my own but am asking persons to correct any facts in it. But I am enough of a fool to believe that if the facts are presented and my opinions of the values and principle of the Society in St. Vincent de Paul and Gospel are expressed, I can enter into a dialog with people and there will be a positive change. I know deep in my heart that changes and reform do not happen without nonviolent action but like to think that words can make a change.

So why do I continue to try to enter into meaningful dialog with persons I believe are hurting the poor and people in need. All I can think of is that I believe in the goodness of the people whose opinions and practices I oppose. They often just ignore me and my views but I cannot return that view. Ignoring someone, not recognizing the person or his or her opinions and beliefs even exist is, in my mind, the worst form of hatred a person can show another.
To change ones belief and views is difficult, as I have experienced but to not be open to others is unacceptable. I am not subscribing to the popular philosophy “you have your opinion of the truth and I have my own and we should agree to disagree. Struggling for truth is what makes our human and speaking the truth to power is something we are obliged to do. The truth may send us free or may land us in trouble but seek it we must. Dialog of our beliefs is the way to clarify and strive for the truth.

Mahatma Gandhi calls his autobiography “THE STORY OF MY EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUTH . For Gandhi seeking truth is what kept him going in tough times, writing, not giving up, and willing to risk nonviolent action and suffer. I am no Gandhi and do not have his discipline and willingness to suffer for beliefs and values as he. But I seek to be like him, Dorothy Day, Frederic Ozaman (founder of Society of St. Vincent de Paul) and others who keep striving for the truth.

However, I must admit in reference to Milwaukee St. Vincent de Paul and other issues of justice and peace I still think of asking “Where is Robin Hood when you need him.”?


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