Category Archives: Animal Issues

FYI 🌷🌷🌷🌷…

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At the Mustard Seed kitchen, on Piedmont Street: every eve, free dinner to the community. Pictured here: Central Mass Kibble Kitchen super volunteer Dorrie Maynard checks in with super Mustard Seed volunteer “AUTUMN”💗💗💗 (in red apron, behind the counter) before dinner. Besides serving food to the needy, Autumn helps Mustard Seed diners connect with social service programs or Dorrie/Central Mass Kibble Kitchen, if they are pet owners and need help feeding their dogs and kitties. Go, Autumn, go!! pic: R.T.

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8th Annual Asian American Mental Health Forum

Spinning Threads of Hope:
Preventing Suicide in Asian Communities

Opening Remarks by:
MA Dept. of Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula

Keynote Speech by:
MA Dept. of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 – 9 AM to 3 PM

Higgins University Center, Clark University

Hosted by Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts

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Roberto G. Gonzales

April 14 at Clark U: Leading expert to present ‘Lives in limbo: undocumented and coming of age in America’

Clark University will host Roberto G. Gonzales for “Lives in limbo: undocumented and coming of age in America,” at NOON, on Friday, April 14, in Jefferson 320, Clark University campus.

This free, public event will highlight the disastrous effects immigration policies have had on more than two million children coming of age in the United States.

Gonzales, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has conducted the most comprehensive study of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

His book, “Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America” (University of California Press 2015), is based on an in-depth study that followed 150 undocumented young adults in Los Angeles for 12 years and exposed the failures of a system that integrates children into K-12 schools but ultimately denies them the rewards of their labor.

Gonzales’ National UnDACAmented Research Project has surveyed nearly 2,700 undocumented young adults and carried out 500 in-depth interviews on their experiences following President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

His work has been has been featured in top social science journals as well as in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Gonzales has received support for his work by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation. He has received the American Sociological Association Award for Public Sociology in International Migration and the AERA Scholars of Color Early Career Award.

This event is co-sponsored by the Sociology Department, the Center for Gender, Race and Area Studies, the History Department, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

The first 50 guests will receive a free copy of Gonzales’ book.

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As you do your spring cleaning, add these products to your ‘toss’ pile

By Amanda Nordstrom

This spring, as you dust cobwebs out of corners and pack up unwanted clothes for the charity thrift store, there’s an important task that you may not have thought of: tossing cruelly produced items from your bathroom. If your soap, shampoo, toothpaste or deodorant were made by companies that still test on animals, it’s time for a fresh start.

It’s hard to believe that in this day and age — when more than 2,400 responsible companies have gone cruelty-free — some manufacturers are still needlessly poisoning and killing animals in order to test their products. Rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits and others are forced to swallow or inhale massive quantities of a test substance or endure immense pain as a chemical eats away at their eyes or skin. Some tests, such as the now-infamous lethal dose test, continue until a predetermined percentage of the animals dies.

No law in the U.S. requires companies to test personal-care products on animals — and such tests have been banned in the European Union, India, Israel, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, Australia and New Zealand. Not only is using animals as test tubes cruel, it often produces inaccurate or misleading results. Even if a product has blinded an animal, it can still be sold to consumers.

Fortunately, the number of forward-thinking companies grows every day, as more and more manufacturers reject cruel and crude tests on animals — relics of the 1920s — and opt instead for modern, sophisticated techniques to evaluate the safety of their products. The results of non-animal tests are quick and accurate, and no one gets hurt.

If you don’t spend your days working on this issue, as I do, you may not realize that there are a surprising number of pioneering non-animal tests now in use and more in development, including cell and tissue cultures, reconstructed skin grown from human cells and computer models that allow extrapolation of existing data to predict the activity of a chemical.

For example, the fluorescein leakage test method uses a fluorescent dye to measure a chemical’s ability to break through a solid layer of cells, thereby mimicking the damage that the substance would cause to the eye. This spares rabbits the pain that they endure when chemicals are dripped into their sensitive eyes. EpiDermTM — a 3-D, human cell–derived skin model that replicates key traits of normal human skin — is more accurate at predicting allergic responses than cruel tests on guinea pigs and mice, which involve injecting them with chemicals or smearing substances onto their shaved skin.

Even China, a country not known for its progressive stance on animal welfare, is moving forward on this issue. Late last year, the Chinese government, which currently requires cosmetics companies to pay for inhumane tests on animals, announced that it is accepting findings from the completely animal-free 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake Phototoxicity Assay, which tests chemicals for their potential toxicity when they come into contact with sunlight.

As these and other sophisticated tests show, we don’t have to choose between protecting animals and keeping humans safe. It’s really a choice between effective and ineffective science.

So this year, as you go about your spring cleaning, why not clear your conscience as well as your clutter? It’s as simple as making the decision to support companies that are committed to animal-friendly principles by always buying cruelty-free. PETA has a searchable online database that makes finding cruelty-free products a breeze.

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IN CELEBRATION OF NATIONAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT WEEK

THE FITCHBURG COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT INVITES YOU TO:

A Community Development Celebration

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 2017: 4 PM – 6 PM

GARDEN ROOM — FITCHBURG PUBLIC LIBRARY

610 MAIN STREET, FITCHBURG

• View the programs funded by the Community Development Block Grant

• Learn about current Community Development projects

All are welcome to attend.

For more information please call: (978) 829-1899

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Members of Congress Introduce Bipartisan Cluster Munitions Bill

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From Jim’s office. I’ve made some sentences bold. – R.T.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act this week, a bill to restrict the use and export of dangerous cluster munitions.

Cluster munitions are bombs, rockets or artillery shells that contain submunitions that, when deployed, can leave behind unexploded ordnance.

This unexploded ordnance can be buried in land, hidden from view or lay in plain sight and be mistaken for toys or even air-dropped assistance.

They ultimately become harmful to civilians for generations.

Cluster bombs have contaminated 24 countries including Laos, Lebanon and Ukraine.

In 2015, civilians in at least eight countries died from these weapons.

“Every year countless innocent civilians are injured and killed by cluster munitions, including U.S. made bombs which have recently been used in Yemen. As a world leader, America has a solemn responsibility to stand up for human rights and must join the more than 100 nations that have agreed to never again use or export these weapons by signing the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” said Congressman McGovern. “The lives and welfare of civilians, including young children, continue to be threatened in Yemen and elsewhere as they return to areas contaminated by cluster munitions, which are de facto minefields. Our bill would take strong steps to reduce harm to innocent civilians and strengthen our export controls, but this is only one step. President Trump and Secretary Mattis must take action and end the use of these indiscriminate weapons altogether.”

“These indiscriminate weapons have left a legacy of unexploded munitions in war-torn areas,” said Senator Feinstein. “While the United States has not widely used cluster munitions since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, U.S.-made cluster bombs have recently been used in Yemen, endangering civilians. The United States should join the more than 100 nations that have agreed to never again use or export these weapons by signing the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This legislation would encourage the administration to do exactly that.”

“Cluster munitions, which are scattered by the thousands over a wide area, have caused horrific suffering and death among civilians in every conflict in which they have been used, often years after the fighting ended,” said Senator Leahy. “Our bill would put in place strict criteria to reduce harm to innocents, but the Pentagon should end its use of these indiscriminate weapons.”

To date, 100 nations have ratified the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions, a 2008 treaty that prohibits the production, stockpiling, sale or use of cluster munitions.

The United States has not signed or ratified the treaty, and while this legislation would not bring the United States into compliance, it moves the country much closer to the growing international consensus against cluster weapons.

This bill builds on existing U.S. policies restricting the use of cluster munitions, and would ensure that exported U.S.-made cluster munitions do not endanger civilians.

More specifically, the bill:

Prohibits the U.S. military from using cluster munitions if greater than one percent of the weapon’s submunitions result in unexploded ordnance.

Restricts cluster munition exports unless the receiving country agrees that they will be only used against clearly defined military targets and not in civilian areas.

Encourages the United States to accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions as soon as possible.

In the Senate, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Feinstein, Leahy, Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). In the House, the bill is cosponsored by Congressmen McGovern and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

What will you give the Easter Bunny this year?

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Lilac, 4-6-2017 pic: R.T.

Reposting for Easter …

By Kendall Bryant

Easter is almost upon us, or as we in the sheltering world say, “Brace yourselves — it’s rabbit season.” I’ve rescued rabbits for 10 years, and I volunteer in the small-animal room at my local shelter. And every spring, it seems as though, for many cast-off Peter Cottontails, the bunny trail leads straight to our door.

While most of us consider cute, scampering rabbits to be one of the quintessential signs of spring, it can be a tough time for many of them. The ways in which we inadvertently cause them to suffer — for everything from fur to floor cleaner — would make any bunny hopping mad.

Let’s start with the Easter Bunny. Every year, breeders and bunny mills churn out irresistible baby rabbits for parents to put in their children’s Easter baskets. And every year, for several weeks after Easter, shelter workers take in a deluge of these same rabbits — after they have chewed through electrical wires, books, baseboards, doorjambs and all the Easter lilies.

What breeders and pet stores often fail to mention as they’re ringing up those fluffy little bundles of Easter joy is that rabbits, like all animals, have some particular needs. They chew incessantly (their teeth never stop growing), and they have special dietary needs (think less lettuce, more hay). They require constant mental stimulation and space to run around in, and they get depressed when confined to a cage. They can live for up to 12 years.

So, when Bugs turns out to be more work than parents bargained for, he usually finds himself tossed out like a stale Peep. He might be dropped off at an animal shelter, relegated to a cage outside or simply turned loose in the wild, where he won’t stand a chance against starvation, harsh weather and predators.

But buying bunnies on a whim and then abandoning them once reality sets in is just one way that we cause them to suffer.

Many of the fur accessories, trim and jackets that you see in stores are made from rabbit fur because it’s often cheaper than other animals’ skins. Rabbits on fur farms spend their entire lives confined to tiny, filthy metal cages and often have their necks broken while they’re still conscious and able to feel pain. On angora farms, rabbits scream and writhe in pain as workers tear the fur out of their skin. I couldn’t wear a coat made of rabbits any more than I could wear one made of golden retrievers.

Rabbits’ mild manner and the ease with which they breed also make them a favorite victim of experimenters, who use them to test chemical products, burning their skin with noxious chemicals and dripping substances into their eyes, even though superior non-animal testing methods are readily available.

And it should go without saying, but anyone who cares at all about rabbits shouldn’t eat them. The House Rabbit Society and other rabbit advocates have been fervently protesting outside stores that sell rabbit meat.

We humans have long had a hard time thinking straight about other animals — we keep some as “pets” while serving up others on our plates — and our treatment of rabbits shows just how schizophrenic our relationship with other species can be.

So this Easter, let’s give rabbits a break by vowing not to wear them, eat them or buy cosmetics or household products that were tested on them. (You can check to see if a company is cruelty-free by using PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies searchable database.) And if you’re really ready to give a rabbit a lifetime of care, hop on down to your local humane society or rabbit rescue group to adopt one — preferably right after Easter.

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These companies don’t test their products on bunnies … Support them!

petaLiving-social-15CrueltyFreeCompanies

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A kind of Easter Parade!

Speak out, WRTA riders!!! … and a message from MPS …

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Worcester’s inner-city population depends on buses and pedal-/foot-power to travel around the city. pic: R.T.

Join WCCC and other Organizations
from around the city to Speak Up about proposed WRTA Bus Rate Increases and to Request Affordable, Safe and Reliable Transportation for Everyone!

Tuesday, April 11

4:30 p.m.

at the Worcester Public Library

Speak up now or pay more later!!

Current fare: $3.50 for unlimited rides.

Proposed increase: $5.00 for 6 rides max

Call for more information: 508-796-1411 x 148

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From Mauro D. on the preservation of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel church:

Thank you for attending April 3rd’s dynamic general membership meeting!

Thanks to those who made themselves available for the film producers and, to those who could not not make it on camera due to time constraints, a special thank you for your patience and support.

If you were not on camera, please know there may be other opportunities to express your knowledge and experience of this horrible situation going on!

Your continued support is highly valued and needed.

It looks like our Meat Raffle fund raiser is off to a great start.

It takes place on April 22 at 1 PM at Union Tavern on 65 Green St.

Our appeal has been received by the Vatican and we are moving forward.

Prospects with a Barrister in Rome look very encouraging.

There will be a special prayer vigil at 9 am in front of St Paul’s Cathedral on TUESDAY, April 11, across the street from the entrance, near the parking lot of Denholms. If rides are needed, call a fellow member.

We invite everyone to attend our Sunday Prayer Vigil Sunday at 10 am at the Mount Carmel Apartments. A great place to meet and keep informed.

God Bless You and God Bless Our Lady of Mount Carmel!

Mauro
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http://www.preserveourladyofmountcarmel.org

This weekend! Celebrate Mother Jones at the Worcester Historical Museum!

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Mother Jones

April Programs at the Worcester Historical Museum😃

While the snow thaws and we wait for the flowers to bloom, there are lots of great programs happening at Worcester Historical Museum in April:

“The Most Dangerous Woman”

Friday, April 8 at 6:30 PM

Saturday, April 9 at 2 and 6:30PM
$20 adults, $17 WHM members, seniors and students.

The story of Mother Jones, advocate of child labor laws, and the catalyst behind minimum wage and a 40-hour work week.

This sweeping epic one-woman show is a tour de force for Robbin Joyce who reprises her role as Mother.

😉Call 508.753.8278 for tickets

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Freud at Clark U. Image from the Clark University Archives

In Europe I felt as though I were despised; but over there I found myself received by the foremost men as an equal. As I stepped onto the platform at Worcester to deliver my Five Lectures upon Psychoanalysis it seemed like the realization of some incredible day-dream: psychoanalysis was no longer a product of delusion, it had become a valuable part of reality.
-from Freud’s autobiography

Following Freud’s Footsteps from Vienna to Worcester

April 13 at 7 PM
Fletcher Auditorium
Worcester Historical Museum

Robert Deam Tobin, the Henry J. Leir Chair in Comparative Literature at Clark University, will trace Freud’s Worcester visit from his invitation to his return. What did Freud expect from his trip to America? What did he find in Worcester? What were the lasting results of his lecture series?

Also in April🌺🌺😉:

April 18: John Hancock’s Trunk returns to the galleries (Limited engagement)
April 19 & 20: Find your “selfie” in Worcester

WHM at 140 Celebration!!!!
Happy Birthday, WHM!

Birthday Boys

April 19

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Our history. Our future. Toast the 140th anniversary of the incorporation of Worcester Historical Museum and look to the exciting future of our shared past in the exhibit, Worcester in 5O Objects.

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Worcester Wall to Wall Mural Tours

April 22
11 AM – 3 PM

Join members of the Pow! Wow! team and the Worcester Mural Archive for student-led walking tours of some of the city’s downtown murals.

Tours begin with an orientation in the WHM auditorium and loop through downtown returning to WHM.

Octopuses are ‘too smart’ to eat — and so are other sea animals

By Paula Moore

Gwyneth Paltrow made headlines recently when she declared that octopuses are “too smart to be food.” During a Slack chat with her Goop coworkers, Paltrow recounted the story of Inky — the octopus who famously escaped from his enclosure at the National Aquarium of New Zealand and slid down a 164-foot drainpipe to freedom — and said, “I had to stop eating them.”

She’s right: Octopuses are extremely intelligent, resourceful and inquisitive, and we would do well to leave these Einsteins of the ocean off our plates. But I’d go even further than Paltrow: We should give all sea animals the benefit of the doubt and take seriously the moral implications of eating them.

Paltrow is hardly the first person to come to the conclusion that clever octopuses are friends, not food. Several years ago, a chain of aquariums in the U.K. launched a campaign to urge the public to stop eating them. “[A]ny aquarist who has worked for any length of time with octopuses will tell you they not only think … they are all individuals,” explained Sea Life curator Aisling Graham at the time.

Octopuses use tools, communicate with one another and form social bonds. They have been observed carrying and using coconut shells as shelter and wielding the poisonous tentacles of Portuguese man-of-wars like swords. They can navigate mazes, solve puzzles and open childproof jars.

Octopuses’ cephalopod cousins — squid and cuttlefish — are also highly intelligent, self-aware animals. Squid can pass the “mirror test,” which is commonly used to demonstrate self-recognition and consciousness. And both squid and cuttlefish use complicated color patterns and waves to communicate with potential mates, prey and rival suitors. Some researchers have likened these displays to a type of visual language.

But cephalopods aren’t the only smarties in the sea. Rabbitfish pair up and take turns keeping watch for predators so that their friends can safely eat. Rainbowfish can learn to escape a net via a single hole after only five trial runs — and remember the escape route a year later. Catfish and cichlids glue their eggs to leaves and small rocks so that they can carry the precious cargo to safety. And goldfish can tell the difference between music by Bach and by Stravinsky.

Scientists have verified that sea animals are also capable of experiencing pain. Octopus expert Dr. Jennifer Mather says, “[Octopuses] can anticipate a painful, difficult, stressful situation — they can remember it. There is absolutely no doubt that they feel pain.” Biologist Culum Brown, author of a study about fish sentience in the journal Animal Cognition, maintains that “it would be impossible for fish to survive as the cognitively and behaviorally complex animals they are without a capacity to feel pain.”

And Dr. Jonathan Balcombe, author of What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins, says that we “grossly underestimate” fish. “They are not just things; they are sentient beings with lives that matter to them.” Yet despite the evidence that fish are smart, sensitive animals with a capacity for suffering, we continue to kill them by the billions every year. According to Balcombe, “lined up end to end,” these estimated half-trillion dead fish “would reach the sun.”

We continue to learn more about the intelligence, talent and awe-inspiring capabilities of other animals. If we want to call ourselves “thinking animals,” the least we can do is acknowledge that each of these beings is an individual — a “who,” not a “what” — and allow them to live their lives in peace.

How I Saved Money by Going Vegan

From PETA.ORG:

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By Shekalia

Back in the day, I wasn’t necessarily swimming in cash. I was a student, so you can imagine how empty my pockets were. When I found out that animals suffer miserably on cramped factory farms for our food, I was determined not to let my financial situation deter me from going vegan. But I was surprised to learn how affordable vegan foods are and that I could actually save money by ditching animal-derived foods and planning my meals.

I created a budget and became a money-saving ninja. And now I’m here to pass on what I’ve learned. Here’s how I saved money by going vegan:

Brainstorm Meal Ideas Before Making Your Grocery List

Some folks make the mistake of creating a shopping list without actually thinking about what they’re going to cook. Don’t do that. Instead, sit down and think, “What dishes do I want to make?” By doing this key first step, you’ll avoid overspending at the store and start saving money.

Here are some ideas for meals that are cheap and easy to make:

Stir-fry: This can be made up of anything, and it only takes one pot. Just chop up your fave veggies, heat up some oil, and start frying. Add some cooked noodles and tofu.
Pasta: You can buy pasta for as little as $1—and pasta sauce is just as cheap. Add veggies like onions and mushrooms for texture.

Chili: All this dish requires is beans, veggies, and spices, and voilà—you’re done! You can’t beat this simple go-to meal, plus chili can be used in a variety of ways: Put it on fries, on Fritos, on nachos—the list goes on. If cooking isn’t your thing, most grocery stores carry “vegetarian” chili that’s actually vegan. Just check the label to make sure that it doesn’t contain animal-derived ingredients.

Don’t Forget the Staples — and Buy in Bulk

Food is usually cheaper when you buy it in large quantities — and if your kitchen is always stocked, you won’t be tempted to order expensive takeout when cravings hit. Stock up on staples like beans, grains, nuts, and frozen fruits and veggies. (I like to buy quinoa in bulk because it can be more expensive in smaller amounts.) Sometimes, I prepare a large portion of beans and rice to eat with other dishes that I cook during the week. This saves me time and brain power, as I don’t have to come up with a meal from scratch.

Shop Sales

We all love a good deal. Plan your grocery shopping around when stores and markets have sales. And don’t skip the dollar store — most stores carry staples like beans, rice, pasta, and frozen produce as well as other vegan options. Go to your local dollar store and browse the aisles — you never know what you may find.

Cook!

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I started cooking when I was 6 and was quite the little chef — although it involved mostly meat-based dishes. When I went vegan, I realized that preparing meat-free meals is far simpler. Cooking your own meals saves you money, too, while sparing your body the negatives effects of eating unhealthy takeout.

While cooking at home will save you money, there’ll be moments when you need to grab a bite to eat on the go. Taco Bell, Subway, and other vegan-friendly fast-food places have meals that’ll fill you up for just a few bucks!

Try Mock Meats and Tofu

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Mock meats like those made by Gardein and Tofurky are great sometimes. Don’t focus on replacing meat with mock meat, though. Instead, concentrate on eating more whole foods — and don’t forget about our friend tofu. One block can cost as little as 99 cents, it’s extremely versatile, and it’s also a better, cheaper substitute for meat that can be found at pretty much any grocery store.

By going vegan, you’ll be able to eat well for cheap and you won’t contribute to animals’ suffering. Knowing that piglets’ tails are cut off without painkillers, male chicks are ground up alive, and cows are separated from their calves inspired me to change my lifestyle — and as a result, I was able to cut my spending in half. I no longer buy meat, dairy foods, or eggs, which accounted for most of my budget in the past. I now buy and prepare affordable, nutritious plant-based foods. What could be better than saving money and being kind to animals and my body?

Congressman McGovern Condemns Trump’s Move to Sell Weapons to Bahrain without Human Rights Conditions

But first …

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Jim is a PASSIONATE advocate of human rights! Go, Jim, go!!

From Jim’s office:

Today U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern, a senior House Democrat and the co-chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, released the following statement in response to media reports that the Trump Administration plans to lift all human rights conditions on U.S. sales of F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain:

“America has a responsibility to stand up for human rights in all countries and our allies must be no exception. Media reports indicate that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will soon lift all human rights conditions on the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain are deeply troubling.

“Such a move would be an extremely short-sighted and unprincipled choice that increases the risk of instability in Bahrain and puts America’s long-term security at risk.

“In 2011, after brutally repressing peaceful citizen protests, the Bahraini regime promised the international community and its own citizens that it would start a national dialogue and take steps to satisfy the democratic aspirations of its people.

“While some progress was made, reforms have stalled, and in recent months I’ve received report after report of escalating repression. People have been arrested for tweeting and participating in protests, an opposition party has been dissolved and another has been targeted, and the ranks of political prisoners have grown to include leading clerics.

“Last August, five U.N. human rights rapporteurs issued a joint statement expressing their concern that the Bahraini authorities were engaged in systematic harassment of the majority Shi’a population. There is nothing in Bahrain’s behavior that is deserving of the reward President Trump is reported to be considering.

“Some of those who support this decision say that arms sales should be decided by America’s strategic interests. I agree with their premise, but not with their conclusion. It is simply not in the U.S. strategic interest to support a government whose own actions deepen and harden sectarian divides, and close off opportunities for political solutions to long-standing problems.

“Bahrain’s systematic repression of fundamental rights and constant attacks on people’s human dignity will only feed radicalization in Bahrain, just as it has throughout the region. We should be cooling the embers, not fanning the flames. I strongly oppose the decision of lift conditions on arms sales to Bahrain, and call on the Administration to reverse course immediately before it is too late.”

FYI …

ATT00001

WCCA TV’s sign was blown down at 415 Main St., and the wind also damaged our marquee.

We are asking for donations – nothing is too small to help repair the sign.

Please send donations to:

WCCA TV
Tracy Foley
415 Main St., Floor One
Worcester, Mass. 01608

Thank you!🌺

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Dorrie, where’s your Easter basket?!🌻

The First Congregational Church of Brimfield is holding their annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 8 at 2 p.m.

20 Main St., Brimfield

This is a FREE community event!

Bring your own basket!🎵

Meet the Easter Bunny in person!🐰

Participate in games and activities! ⚾

Enjoy refreshments!☕🍰

ALL AGES WELCOME!💐

Trump needs to fire some staff – especially Bannon

But first …

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By Steven R. Maher

In the wake of the disastrous end of his “repeal and replace” Obamacare legislation, President Donald J. Trump should fire some of his staff. It’s what a smart businessman usually does after such a debacle.

After he withdrew the legislation, Trump said he wanted to work with Democrats in the future on health care. He also clearly wants to work with the “Freedom Caucus,” the successor to the “Tea Party” – a group that thought throwing 24 million Americans off their health insurance didn’t go far enough.

The website “Business Insider” reported on Saturday March 25, 2017, that White House Chief Strategist Steven Bannon said to Freedom Caucus members: “Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill.”

The New York Times reported Saturday that Bannon and Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short wanted a vote on Trump’s health care bill because they would be able to compile an “enemies list” of Republican Congressman to take revenge on.

“You know, the last time someone ordered me to do something, I was 18 years old,” one Freedom Caucus member was quoted as saying. “And it was my daddy. And I didn’t listen to him, either.”

Trump also supposedly said during one meeting that he was not going to negotiate further on his insurance program, and Trump wanted their votes.

Not private sector

This “take it or leave it” approach might work in the private sector where everyone works for the boss, but it can be fatal in ego driven Washington, where Trump needs the votes of independently elected representatives.

Trump has two choices: If Trump expects to win enough Republican votes to pass his legislation on every major issue, he will be turning veto power on his Presidency over to a group of conservative extremists who will not compromise on issues that cry out for bi-partisan support. If he wants to find common ground with the Democrats, Trump will be writing off the Freedom Caucus.

Either way, Trump should clean house. A first good step would be to fire Bannon and Short. Both have alienated the Freedom Caucus. The Democrats despise Bannon for his involvement in Breitbart and see him as the evil genius manipulating Trump for his own obscure goals. Getting rid of Bannon would demonstrate that Trump is serious about changing his approach and would make it easier for Trump to reach out to either the Freedom Caucus or the Democrats.

Bannon feuds with Ryan

The one to watch is White House Chief of Staff Rence Priebus. Priebus reportedly urged Trump to work on his health plan first. He is a close ally of House Speaker Paul Ryan, with whom Bannon has also been feuding. This is another reason for Trump to fire Bannon. Not only is Bannon alienating the Freedom Caucus, he is straining the relationship between Trump and Ryan. If Trump fires Priebus, Washington insiders would take this as a victory of Bannon over Ryan.

Trump will undoubtedly find many scapegoats for his defeat on health care. Whether he learns the harsh lessons Washington taught him on March 24, 2017, remains to be seen.

In the meantime, Trump faces two upcoming issues on which he is also likely to be opposed by the Freedom Caucus. As the New York Times reported Saturday: “Mr. Ryan repeatedly counseled the president to avoid seeking vengeance – at least until he has passed spending bills and a debt-ceiling increase needed to keep the government running. In the end, the president decided to back down.”