Category Archives: Green Island Grrrl

Parlee in Rose’s space!😌 … This Saturday – February 4 – at the Worcester Public Library! Bob Marley Birthday Bash!🎵💖

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Bob!!!

Parlee for Rosalie
Parlee!! GO, PARLEE, GO!!!!

From our PARLEE JONES:

At the Worcester Public Library
Salem Sq.

February 4 – this Saturday!

1 p.m.

The Bob Marley Birthday Bash!
You and your family are invited to celebrate the life and music of Robert Nesta Marley.
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Watch a video documentary on his life!🎬

Live Music!🎵🎵

Sunta Africa and the Small Axe Band!🎹

Worcester’s Best Performers!🎹🎸🎁

Sample Authentic Jamaican Food!🍴

Spoken Word Poets!🎤

Love, Peace & Happiness💜💙❤💚💗💛 …

After Party at WCUW, 910 Main Street at 9 pm. $5. BYOB. 18+

– 💕Parlee Jones

Go, Worcester, go! “Power to the people!”

By Rosalie Tirella

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I’m the grand-daughter of immigrants…
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Rosalie and her Polish grandpa many moons ago🌃

All of us Americans, if we look far back enough, or just over our shoulders to our parents, have roots that lead back to other lands, places that often persecuted us, kept us down, treated us like second and third class citzens and worse …

These past few years the blood has flown in Syria – horrible oppression and chaos and war. Maybe President Obama should have sent troops into Syria, U.S. combat boots on the ground, especially after the country’s “leaders” began using poisonous chemicals to kill dissidents, killing the children, too. Horrific. Many Syrian families swarmed into inflatable “boats” to cross the ocean to leave their hellish country for new countries … They had hope. But they were poor…So many of the people, little children!, didn’t make it…

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“Turkish media identified the boy as three-year-old Alan Kurdi and reported that his five-year-old brother had also met a similar death. Both had reportedly hailed from the northern Syrian town of Kobani, the site of fierce fighting between Islamic state insurgents and Kurdish forces earlier this year.” The Guardian

When Donald Trump bans Syrian refugees from American soil for months, this can happen…

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“A Turkish police officer carries the young boy who drowned in a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos.” The Guardian. Photographs: Reuters.

And this …

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Trauma

Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney has sunk to a new low, and his toxic political shell game could have brought our city to its knees. But instead the people were glorious and rose up and rallied! – HUNDREDS IN A JANUARY SNOWSTORM OUTSIDE OUR CITY HALL! Where, in the snow and raw New England cold, they shouted, NO! NO! NO! NEVER IN OUR CITY! Refugees and immigrants ALWAYS welcome here!

And then, inside Worcester City Hall, people whose roots extend to countries all over the globe got up to testify – tell their family stories. Armenia. Vietnam. Central America. Italy. Ireland. Africa. They were saying: Listen to our stories. The refugee and immigrant stories of today are our stories! AMERICAN stories!

Lovely!

The Gaffney resolution went down to defeat tonight. So will City Councilor Konstantina Lukes’ miserable proposal. A toxic after-thought cobbled together by – get this! – the daughter of Albanian immigrants who owned and operated a diner in Connecticut! (What would your father think of your shit-sandwich, hold the compassion, Konnie? You were the apple of his eye!)

Worcester is not Trumpland! We are not a police state where people are bullied into doing what our impetuous, vindictive, dangerous new president wants them to do! As Worcester Mayor Joe Petty said to the peaceful, yet ebullient (cuz they were on justice’s side😇) crowd before the City Council meeting: He – WE – will not allow WALLS TO GO UP BETWEEN GROUPS OF PEOPLE. In Worcester, the walls COME DOWN!

Go, Mayor Petty, go!!!

No one, no child, should fear that he or she will be forced to leave Worcester, their home: friends, school, church, work, sports teams, a routine they call their own … a place where they’ve begun to realize their unique American Dream!

Power to the people! We, the people, can do amazing things! We did, here in Worcester, TONIGHT!!!

Just every day people …

Some thoughts on “Ma,” President Trump and his (my???!) America

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Rose and George.       pics: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

Tonight I’m holding tight my late mom’s George Washington calendar from the 1940s (above). Like many young poor folks of the Great Depression and World War II – kids who knew they were lucky if they were eating a square meal a day –  my mom was resourceful. For example, she collected her own “art” from the free or inexpensive advertising lit all around her: With trusty scissors in hand she cut out and saved grainy black and white photos or colored illustrations (often muted – not very colorful at all!) from school and church calendars, Hollywood movie fan magazines and sheet music cover pages, church prayer cards – even Polish Christmas wafer wrapping paper  – anything  that captured her young imagination. My mother loved music and drawing. She was very good at sketching! She used to draw pictures for me and my sisters when we were little kids. We’d sit and watch Ma as she quietly created her art for us with an old number 2 pencil: a little girl with pigtails, a little kitten with ball of yarn, a cherub perched on a cloud … the cliches of her day, beautifully  rendered. I remember in our Lafayette Street flat, in a closet  – now lost forever! – the huge poster Ma drew in pencil of one of her beloved Boston Red Sox batters in mid-swing!  She was 12 – a total baseball freak! – when she drew it and it was a fine sketch! But I have none of my mom’s big sketches – usually made for a St. Mary’s School project – only lots of her “clipped art” – all in pretty ok shape for gussied up scraps of paper three quarters of a century old!

Ma made good use of her finds, like the sleek, smart crow who weaves bits of shiny gold ribbon into her cozy nest … She taped some of the art to her bedroom walls, used some pieces as book marks for her prayer books and sent some pictures to friends, instead of store-bought greeting cards. But mostly she saved her paper jewels – a poor girl’s dreams – in a  small, wooden brown chest in her family’s Green Island Bigelow Street tenement and later in our Lafayette Street flat. The contents became mine when Ma died.  I gave the small painted brown chest (painted by my grandfather) to one of my sisters.

The chest, I believe, was a kind of hope chest for Ma, a love song to America in which she kept all her American dreams. America was new to her family – her parents were Polish immigrants who experienced the promise –  and ugliness – of America. My grandfather worked like a slave in a textile mill in Douglas and, to relax once he got home, played the harmonica and smoked the unfiltered cigarettes he rolled for himself using his own little white square smoking papers and little cig rolling machine, a funny looking little contraption that Ma used to work in the mornings, to roll her Dad’s cigs before he went off to work. Cigs he could smoke during break … My mother’s mother, my “Bapy,” raised five kids, cooked everything from scratch, prayed every hour on the hour, went to mass EVERY day, but outside her Catholic faith and family, was lost in America. If not attending church or friends and relatives’ Polish weddings she stayed home. Praying and cooking.

Ma was the baby of the family, and the apple of Bapy’s eye. So she grew up an optimist and focused on the bright spots: special memories from her Polish immigrant church by Kelley Square, like her First Holy Communion prayer book which I have! (below), …

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A photo of Rose’s mom with her First Holy Communion children’s prayer book! (Cece got a hold of its back cover and Lilac ate it!)

… postcards, prayer booklets and stamps from her 10-year stint in Springfield as a housekeeper for the Bishop of Springield, pretty little gifts that her big brother – my Uncle Mark – brought back from Japan after he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. I especially love the calendar cover my Uncle Mark gave Ma (from his ship – probably taped above his bunk): a sexy Miss America hanging from a huge American flag. A gorgeous but stern Lady Liberty wearing an oooh la la blue diaphonous robe that showed her perky little breasts and “mound”! My uncle was pretty good looking and a bit of a ladies’ man. Ma teased him when he came home from the war with blond hair. She believed he dyed it – he said the tropical sun bleached it. This Lady Liberty was right up his alley! – worth fighting for! I ended up with the picture and crudely framed it a few years back. Saint Lady Liberty – the patriotic pinup gal proudly wearing her Virgin Mary-blue sheer gown over shaved pussy! AMERICA = #1!!!😄

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But I digress! Back to GW! My mom was a huge George Washington fan because she was born on his birthday – February 22! And because he was America’s first President – perfect to her –  America’s God, back in the days when the ideas of America and God were entwined in complex, beautiful, dangerous ways. My mom, true to her generation, and I, like all Baby Boomers, grew up hearing the George Washington grade school lessons/myths, almost Biblical: George Washington at Valley Forge in the winter, leading his troops …they wore torn boots, their frozen feet wrapped in cloth…The young George Washington chopped down the cherry tree when he wasn’t supposed to but said: I CANNOT TELL I LIE! IT WAS I WHO CHOPPED DOWN THE CHERRY TREE!

Ma and I were getting the boiled-down-for-the-plebs American history lesson: George Washington had a TON OF INTEGRITY. What we didn’t know: When some of the colonists clamored for him to be King of America for years and years – because he was such an outstanding military leader and first President and the times were so chaotic – Washington said: No way! That’s not what this country is going to be about! There are no kings here!

At the bottom of my mom’s George Washington calendar picture, it reads: “The love of my country will be the ruling influence of my conduct.”   –  Washington

Wow.

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Can you imagine these words coming out of the mouth of our new President, Donald Trump?  Can you imagine the IDEA even blooming in that narcissistic, almost insane brain of his? (Neither can I!) He is someone who wants to buy America’s love, on his terms only. LOVE DONALD – OR ELSE!

For me, Trump’s inaugural speech was Hitler-esque. Dark, foreboding, fist-pumping, military might-extolling, self-aggrandizing, self-idolizing … maniacal. I’d never read or heard an inaugural speech where America, the land of George Washington and Mrs. Tirella!, was painted in such ugly terms – “American carnage” and “tombstones” stretching from sea to shining sea! No wonder wife Melania chooses to live in NYC – and keep her little boy safe by her side. To live with such a sick man always peering into the abyss (or is it just a pose, a con so that Trump can trash America only to lay claim that he saved her? ), a husband with such a soul-shrivelling world view, dipped in Trump gold!, is too much! I predict Mrs. Donald Trump will be a sexed-up version of the late Mrs. Harry Truman: No thanks, White House, I pass! I’ll live somewhere else. Mrs. Truman was the epitome of post-WW II frumpiness; Mrs. Trump is the epitome of 21st century foxiness. But they’re cut from the same cloth: at heart, small town girls freaked out by the prospect of living in the hub of the world’s Super Power. War. Peace. Laws of the land. It all begins with the stroke of the Presidential pen. Scary, for some people.

Funny, but here on Ward Street these past couple of days, it felt like the kind of America Donald Trump painted in his inaugural speech. Very different from the Ward Street my mom walked down as a young girl with her Polish mother as they made their way to their Polish church, Our Lady of Czetchowa, a church that still stands and which I can see from my kitchen window …

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These days Ward Street is Heroin/drug Central of Worcester. Last year I wrote about the big drug bust next door (complete with confiscated cash –  40K! – and weapons – machine gun!!!) But we’ve got the low-level drug runners, too, here in our ‘hood: Kids (usually boys) 15 and 16 years old who hop on to their beat up bikes to pedal to our inner-city backyards to do drug deals. In like 5 seconds! These kids don’t live in our houses, just use our backyards as office space! – out of the way, hidden places to sell packets of heroin. A quick sale. Money exchanged for smack. Then they put their ear buds back into their ears and  hop on to their bikes and pedal away wicked fast! The deal goes down in seconds!

A few days ago I saw such a speedy transaction occur in the yard adjacent to ours. The kids, both boys, about 16 or 17 years old, were there during school hours. They had come on their bikes and I had come upon them! They looked and acted hard and business-like in a way many of our neighborhood kids don’t look and act. Lots of kids in my neighborhood are sweet, skinny, sad, fun loving. They’ll smile at you and tell you about their little adventures or pets. But these two kids? Uh uh. It was so easy to see.

One of the kids looked surprised and miffed to notice me at the periphery of his deal. The other kid, scrawny and tall, looked frightening in his hardness. When he saw me, he unzipped the front of his thin jacket and his hand went to a shirt pocket. I thought: He’s going to shoot me now.

So I chatted him up. Played the un-hip, oblivious middle-aged lady. The box that society puts you in.

“Don’t be afraid of my dogs! They’re friendly!” I said, smiling.

With a cold, dead-already face, making perfect eye contact with me, he said, direct and serious: “I’m not afraid.”

Chilling.

A day later I saw the  same kid, his pale ghoulish face smiling as he rode away lickety split on his bike, being chased by a police cruiser in the middle of our downtown. The cruiser’s siren was off because it was the middle of the afternoon, but all its lights were pulsating.

The kid was in the middle of a gang of kids – 20 or more youths – all on bicycles! Three or four of them wore Halloween masks, pale, scowling ghost masks that covered their entire faces. Lurid and other worldy… Four or five of them wore cotton bandanas over their faces – right up to their eyes – so you couldn’t see their features. They looked like they had rolled straight out of some sci-fi Western! But they weren’t galloping through Dodge on horses – instead they were riding, herd-like and hard, on our Main Street, yards away from Worcester City Hall, on ramshackle bikes! Laughing! Free! Most likely – at least a few of them – armed!

I was mesmerized by this dystopian image coming straight at me (I was in my car driving by the Hanover Theatre), straight out of the Donald Trump playbook. I pulled over and the group of kids – they filled the entire street – rode past me. They were laughing and talking easily among themselves, as the police cruiser chased them. I saw and heard my ghoulish kid barking out something to the other youths. He was smiling. High on an adrenalin high. He felt safe – and cocky – in the herd.

Had they just robbed somebody? Mixed it up with another bandana-, mask-wearing group of kids? Or were the cops just pursuing one kid? – a definite challenge when he’s in a large pack of kids, all on bicycles. Bikes are the perfect getaway vehicle – they  can easily go up and down one-way streets, go off and on sidewalks, sail through back yards and city parks, be carried up flights of stairs and stashed in apartments …

As I watched this wild little spectacle, I saw how these kids showed ZERO fear. They acted like outlaws! And like their Wild West counterparts, they  were indeed misfits – unhealthy outsiders, bedraggled and maybe unloved – still riding to their next adventure. With a few firearms thrown in for good measure.

The herd sailed right by me, then the police cruiser.

I found myself rooting for the kids. Their nihilism was so honest! They were America … America’s underbelly. Her lack of love for her poor, especially her poor children. One in five kids go hungry in America! That means Worcester, too. … The Worcester factory jobs are gone for their un-skilled parents – men and women who read at the third or fourth grade level. Minimum wage jobs don’t begin to pay all the bills. Parents feel trapped, go MIA. Our public schools sometimes become holding pens for these kids, a safe place to eat govt funded, free breakfast and lunch and, sometimes, a place to rest or sleep, if there’s violence/drugs in the family.

Trump’s America! The one he says he wants to save! Here in Worcester! Here on our Ward Street and Main Street!

His solution to a deep, generation-spanning societal ill, often sealed with depression, PTSD or other mental illnesses? More police. Good paying jobs.

I don’t think two –  or even three – Worcester police cruisers chasing the masked kids through our downtown would have changed the narrative. Saved the kids.

Maybe good paying, WPA type infrastructure jobs would help. Young people or their parents working on rebuilding our bridges and highways a la Franklin D. Roosevelt for good pay … Yes, that may make things better. So that our families, instead of developers or investors, can buy and live in the three deckers in our  old blue collar neighborhoods. Like it used to be on Ward Street, Perry Ave, Endicott and Sterling streets – all over lower Veron Hill and Green Island! Homeownership 101. The rhythm in all our Gateway Cities for most of the 20th century. The American Dream!

Trump is right: The global economy has left behind thousands and thousands of neighborhoods like mine. Millions of working-age adults who live in them! I don’t believe in all the Moral Majority crap: poor families are Godless and gone to pot – that’s why their neighborhoods are “bad.” Most parents in my neighborhood try to love their kids – I see their love displayed daily, despite the harsh circumstances! – but the pressures keep mounting on them –  from all sides… . Families implode.

Good paying jobs for our people will help. Tremendously, to use a Trumpian word!

Maybe the Donald is onto something. If only he’d drop all his nefarious baggage…

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Happy MLK Jr Day! … Let’s do better, Worcester!

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MLK delivering his I HAVE A DREAM speech to America … and the world.

By Rosalie Tirella

Something happened to Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy when the school teachers got a hold of him (and us). The teachers – that is most of them – were well meaning but hopelessly naive (and fearful?) when it came to the murdered civil rights leader and his legacy. Maybe they got stuck on one speech – only watched or listened to his “I have a Dream” speech and none of his other speeches and sermons, all fiercely political, tough minded and demanding … demanding America to change. In a deep, fundamental way …

Maybe they heard the part in his I Have a Dream speech – a history-making sermon he delivered before 200,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. in 1963, before his March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – and got stuck on one image in the speech – the part when MLK says he dreams of the day little black children can hold hands with little white children in peace. Being school teachers, these words plucked at their heart strings, the image moved them. And so they unwittingly turned MLK into a kind of sweet nursery rhyme character. Milquetoast for the masses – masses of school children who grew up never knowing, hearing the real Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK’s I Have a Dream speech is not, in my opinion, even one of his greater “sermons”! Go listen to MLK on fire!! – go find and listen to his many sermons and speeches on You Tube and YOU WILL BE BLOWN AWAY. You will be awestruck by this tough, courageous, political, loving, religious, funny, brilliant, charismatic, REVOLUTIONARY, ERUDITE preacher man!

Like WOW.

For me, MLK was as great an orator as Lincoln. And, miraculously, he was part of our world – the second half of the 20th century! If you’re a Baby Boomer (like me) or older, you remember him: you got to see, experience his presence on the American scene. And he was Olympian! I remember watching the TV, just a little kid, mesmerized by this Black man with the sonorous voice who could bring thousands of people to their feet – listening to him, singing with him, marching with him. My late mom revered MLK – and Bobby Kennedy. Through the TV news, their speeches to her, to all Americans,  made a difference. These two men, both highly educated, both wealthy, one Black, one Irish American, spoke to my poor single Polish mother in Green Island. They were a balm to her emotional pain, her family’s poverty, the difficulty, sometimes brutality, of her life. Their words, along with her Catholic faith, gave my single working mother strength to keep working those 60 hours at the drycleaners for minimum wage – never getting overtime, always making the extra money under the table. They helped give her the fortitude to make sure her three little girls were well cared for and going to Lamartine Street School EVERY DAY and studying hard and getting those As on their report cards so they could go to college on scholarship! They helped her keep her dreams for a better future alive.  At 45, 55 … 75 years old she would tell me: My Rosalie, I liked the Kennedy’s but Bobby better than Jack [Kennedy]. Bobby was more emotional. He was with the poor. He felt for the poor. …..My Green Island mini history lesson! Besides the hard life lessons I was living/ learning each day!

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Rosalie’s late mom…

MLK and Bobby Kennedy were so special to the poor, the disenfranchised of America! Not just Black folks. These two men knew – KNEW! – how hard it was! They loved us, were fighting for us and we knew it!

But white suburban middle class teachers sometimes don’t get it or maybe these days all Americans – out of complacency or intellectual laziness – don’t get it. Have forgotten the guts, the raw nerve, the visionary goals, the tough messages of MLK and Bobby K. These men were so outside the box they were perceived a threat by the rich, the powerful in this country … the people who called the shots in our small towns and big cities. South AND North. I believe MLK knew he was going to be killed (listen to his sermons!). He just didn’t know when. Which gave his life urgency: SO MUCH TO ACCOMPLISH – so little time to do the work! he must have thought to himself. Genius that he was, he crammed 1,000 lives into his cut-short one. He was just 39 years old when he was shot dead on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel!

Just like Jesus, another revolutionary, who also took the bullet, via crucifixion. Jesus too was tough, political, pro poor folks and outsiders. Hence: Dangerous. He preached about a New World Order, like MLK. Through nonviolence and love. An even bigger threat! Now how do the nefarious Nixons and Romans wrap their heads around that???

Jesus and MLK threatened the status quo on so many levels: racially, politically, economically, and yes, even sexually (remember Mary Magdalene?😉).

Of course, America killed MLK.

And we are killing him still. – today!

On the local front:

Where are the Black school teachers in our lilly white Worcester Public Schools? Many of our elementary schools have 100% all white teacher staff. Have for decades.

Where are our African American librarians in the Worcester Public Library and her branches! Remember: Worcester is becoming a majority-minority city, yet her “public servants” in no way resemble, reflect her public!

Why?

Because white people just  don’t wanna give it up. Share the perks and the power. Just like in 1965.

Shame on Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus for all the lip service but failing to walk the walk!

The Black Lives Matter movement and their peaceful protests here in Worcester?  Squelched.  By City Manager Augustus. Backed by police with guns and the threat of jail! Just like in 1965.

Worcester police beating the crap out of African American men and city leaders are still just thinking about body cameras for cops and for their police cruiser dash-boards. And where’s our civilian review board? How serious are Worcester city councilors taking police brutality? Do they really want to stop police brutality? ….Just like in 1965.

What about the high-ranking City of Worcester employee who called a black person,  as the person was driving into the Worcester City Hall parking garage and he was exiting City Hall, a “Fucking Nigger”? Was he ever fired from his city job? Put on leave?  Was the public even allowed to see the city records on this very public city incident by this public employee whose salary is paid for by the public? Nope. Hush, hush!

Compared to the cities of Hartford or Springfield, cities where I once lived and got to see a TRULY racially integrated city workforce, Worcester is woefully, shamefully behind the times.

But there’s plenty of blame to go around. One of the Worcester people who could have righted some of the injustices, or at least the ones in our public schools, was Stacey Luster. Luster, a prominent city African American, is the former Human Resources Director for the Worcester Public Schools. She was responsible for the hiring of our public school teachers and could have changed Worcester’s school teacher landscape in an important and city-shaping way. Truly diversified the Worcester Public Schools teaching staff! But she didn’t. I learned this early on, strangely enough, not at a public hearing or public meeting at City Hall but outside my old pal, the late Tony Hmura, outside Tony’s sign shop, in his driveway! On Canterbury Street, in the middle of the ‘hood! Stacey and her husband owned a building on Canterbury Street near Tony’s shop and (I learned later from Tony) Tony made a sign for their building.

So…I  was driving into the Leader Sign parking lot to visit Tony and I see Stacey’s husband leaving the shop. An unexpected surprise, in light of the fact the City of Worcester had just hired her to be the new Worcester Public Schools Human Resources Director. Its first African American one. I say to him, right off the bat, because I’m so enthused and happy: HI! ISN’T IT GREAT?! ISN’T IT GREAT THAT YOUR WIFE IS HEADING HUMAN RESOURCES IN OUR SCHOOLS?!! NOW SHE CAN REALLY BRING IN BLACK TEACHERS AND REALLY DIVERSIFY OUR SCHOOLS!!!!

Her husband looks at me and says: We’ve got a mortgage to pay. When she was in public office, but not now.

Translation: His wife wasn’t going to rock any Worcester status quo boats. She wanted to keep her City of Worcester job and her HUGE City of Worcester paycheck. Screw advancing her people, exposing minority kids to important role models …Screw bringing Worcester out of 1965!

Pathetic.

Which should remind us all HOW GREAT Martin Luther King, Jr. was!

He died for his people!

He died so black teachers could teach in Southern schools.

He gave his life so Stacey Luster could have a high status, high paying job in the Worcester Public Schools!

Forget the losers!

Honor, MLK! Celebrate, MLK! But most important, LISTEN TO HIM!!!

His message is UNSTOPPABLE!

P.S. Can you imagine? MLK just stopping by to give a little talk to your junior high school?! Wow.

TEARS OF JOY! RINGLING SHUT DOWN!!! VICTORY FOR WILD ANIMALS! ….(yet so sad one of their final stops will be in Worcester! PLEASE BOYCOTT RINGLING! One last time!!!)

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By Rosalie Tirella

We’ve been in the fight for wild animals for 15 YEARS!

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been abusing wild animals for almost a century and a half!

Now it’s all over for them!

AMERICA HAS CHANGED! It’s not 1871 – when Ringling started out – several years after the Civil War!, an era when Black men, women and even little children were sold in manacles (the babes had theirs on their little necks!)! Mere beasts of burden to American society – one shirt for a man per half year, children went naked – even in winter – women were raped by “masters,” disease ravaged families … unimaginable suffering. America faces her ORIGINAL SIN – slavery – every day!

Back then wild animals in Ringling were shackled, too! Slaves, too! The slavery continued…

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Until this past Sat. nite when Ringling told its workers…NO MORE.

FREEDOM!!!!!!!!

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An AMERICAN IDEAL becoming A FACT OF LIFE every day!

Compassion!

We embrace it, in spite of president-elect Donald Trump and his henchmen!

Americans saw and UNDERSTOOD the plight of tigers, lions, elephants, chimps – all feeling and knowing “mystery achievements”! – in circuses, road side zoos, zoos … and our hearts were broken! We boycotted Ringling, didn’t take our kids to the circus but instead educated them.

Vegetarianism (low, low meat) is the hip way to eat! Tofu is mainstream! (Farm animals suffer, too!)

InCity Times has been at the vanguard of a new, more compassionate America for ALL animals … and Worcester County! FOR 15 YEARS!

So, I’m proud, proud, proud to write this:

FINALLY! RINGLING CIRCUS SHUTTING DOWN! THANK YOU, PETA, CONCERNED PARENTS AND KIDS AND CITY AND TOWN LEADERS throughout the land! On the Worcester front, Thank You, Steve Baer, Deirdre Healy, Deb Young and all THE TERRIFIC INCITY TIMES WRITERS (including moi😉) who’ve educated Worcester County and Worcester about the horrific lives wild animals live in circuses! Story, after story, after story! We’ve worked so hard!

I will always love our animal rights writers!!! For being so kind! For being so fearless! For being so selfless! For being so political! … And for being such kick-ass writers!

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Rose and her rescued lil’ girl, Cece. (3 days ago/pic:R.T.)

THANK YOU!

It’s been an HONOR TO PUBLISH your circus, circus elephant and wild animals cover stories, columns and photos!

WE DID IT!

TEARS OF JOY!!!

WHAT A GREAT WAY TO BEGIN 2017!

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From PETA.ORG:

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All other animal circuses, roadside zoos, and wild animal exhibitors, including marine amusement parks like SeaWorld and the Miami Seaquarium, must take note: society has changed, eyes have been opened, people know now who these animals are, and we know it is wrong to capture and exploit them.

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Beautiful voices!

Read it for yourselves! The spymasters’ report! TRUMP and prostitutes, Russian spies, oligarchs …

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A cry for help in Trumpland!

This 35-page “top secret” report on madman Trump’s ties to the Russians is as lurid as his hair color!

THIS DANGEROUS,  RIDICULOUS PAWN will soon be our next president!

Sad.

Click on the blue-colored link below to read the report…

– R.T.

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984-Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.html

So important in Trump times! Tomorrow! Immigrants, refugees – KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! … and More Woo News You Can Use!

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And …

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Community Concussion Education Lecture

Concussion education is the first step in creating a safe environment for all of our children!

FREE!

Concussion Workshop – Wednesdays, January 11 and 25

Time: 5 pm

Place: YMCA OF CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS,
766 Main St.

Open to ALL!!!

Speakers:

Jessica Gravel PT, DPT Outpatient Concussion
Dr. Robert C. Cantu Concussion Center

Matthew White MEd, ATC, PES Head Athletic

Trainer, Dr. Robert C. Cantu Concussion Center

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Next Date: 1/18/17 from 11:30 am-1 pm

Office of the Attorney General Maura Healey

Questions? Call (617) 963-2313 |

www.mass.gov/ago

Please note: Though attorneys from the Attorney General’s Office can advise people generally of their rights, the AGO cannot represent individuals, nor can attorneys from the AGO provide legal advice to individuals.

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Perfection …

Steve here … InCity Times Book Review📚📚🎈📚

Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East

By Michael Doran, (2016, Simon & Schuster, 292 Pages)

Reviewed by Steven R. Maher

This writer has reviewed several biographies of Dwight Eisenhower. Historians rate Eisenhower as one of America’s greater Presidents. Eisenhower balanced the budget (“better dead than in the red”), ended the Korean War, did not overreact to the Soviet Sputnik launch into outer space, and refused repeated requests from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to launch pre-emptive strikes against Red China.

It is against this backdrop of presidential success that one should read “Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East” with a considerable grain of salt. Author Michael Doran is a neocon. He was a Director of the National Security Council during the Presidency of George W. Bush. He was an assistant to Elliott Abrams. Abrams was pardoned by the first President Bush for withholding information from Congress in the Iran-Contra scandal.

In a February 2003 article in the highly prestigious Foreign Relations Magazine, Doran endorsed the invasion of Iraq which took place one month later, stating: “If an American road to a calmer situation in Palestine does in fact exist, it runs through Baghdad.” “Calm” is not an adjective used often to describe Palestine after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

It does mention in Ike’s Gamble’s biographical section, on the back flap, that Doran “has served as a Middle Eastern adviser in the White House and as a deputy secretary of defense.” It does not mention that this was during the Bush 43rd Presidency. The book is totally silent on Doran’s connection to Bush.

The reviewer starting researching Doran’s background after finishing the book becomes deeply suspicious of what he had read. Doran’s approach reminds one of Dick Cheney’s cherry picking of evidence on Iraq’s nuclear weapons to justify the Iraq invasion. Doran had slim proof to back up some of his assertions, used highly questionable sources, and stated a version of events extremely different from the generally accepted story. The impression one gets is that Doran knew his association with George W. Bush would discredit this book in the minds of many readers.

Neocon hero

The book opens with Winston Churchill meeting Eisenhower after Ike was elected President in November 1952. This is significant: in the neocon world Churchill is an icon. George W. Bush kept a bust of Churchill in the oval office throughout much of his Presidency.

The British Empire was nearing bankruptcy because of World War II. It didn’t have the money to maintain its far-flung empire. Doran gives the impression the world would be a better place if Eisenhower had agreed to fund Britain’s empire. That would have made sense to the dyed in the wool imperialists, bankers and businessmen in London but was opposed by British subjects in Africa or Asia who wanted their independence.

Doran conveys this through “the James Bond” analogy of American bankrolling the British through international institutions while Britain maintains its empire. He cites the first novel in the James Bond franchise, Casino Royale, where Bond loses all his money at a game of baccarat with a Soviet agent. The day is saved by American agent Felix Leiter, who gives Bond a wad of cash and a note reading: “Marshall Aid. Thirty-two million francs. With the Compliments of the USA.” Doran notes, “Resuscitated with American funds, Bond continues to play, and of course,” trounced the Soviet agent. Leiter is the role Doran wishes the U.S. had played throughout the 1956 crisis. He morosely noted: “Eisenhower was no Felix Leiter.”

1956 Suez Crisis

In 1956 Nasser negotiated the British to withdraw their 80,000-man garrison from along the Suez Canal. Nasser’s military was not strong enough to drive them out. After the British withdrew, Nasser nationalized the canal. Enraged, the British and French persuaded the Israelis to enact a farce: Israel would attack the Egyptians in the Sinai and then the British and French, playing the role of unknowing innocents, would seize the canal on the pretext they were separating the warring countries.

In October 1956, the Israelis attacked and quickly overran much of the Sinai.
Eisenhower believed that if the United States were to support Britain and France in their gunboat diplomacy, the U.S. would become identified with western colonialism in developing countries. He also thought that if the U.S sided with Egypt in his crisis, the U.S. would be accepted as an honest broker to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Ike forced the British, French and Israeli forces to withdraw from the territories occupied during a brief war with Egypt. Doran portrays Eisenhower as a naïve President with a simplistic viewpoint of the Middle East. Doran asserts Eisenhower’s poor judgments collapsed American’s position in the Middle East in favor of Nasser. This wasn’t exactly the case. The Israelis seized the Sinai in the 1967 war and Nasser died three years later without achieving his dream of being President of a unified Arab super-state. Anwar Sadat later negotiated the return of the Sinai after the Yom Kippur war.

Sources

There is a controversy over whether Eisenhower came to regret his actions in the 1956 Suez crisis. He had few sources to substantiate this assertion. Incredibly, one of these sources was Richard M. Nixon. Doran preferred to believe Nixon over Stephen Ambrose, an award-winning Presidential biographer.

Ambrose hadn’t resigned the Presidency after being accused of high crimes and misdemeanors, but Doran found him less credible than Tricky Dick. That should tell the reader all they need to know about this book.

Steve parked 🚙 in Rose’s space … InCity Times Book Review

Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel

By Dov Waxman, (2016, Princeton University Press, 316 Pages)

Reviewed by Steven R. Maher

If you’re looking for a well sourced, even handed account of the split among American Jews over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict Over Israel” may be for you. But if you stumbled across it in the “New Books” section of your local library and decided to read it because of a general interest in the Middle East, you may be bored.

This is due to Waxman’s effort to present each side in a neutral, objective style. He has compiled an enormous amount of material and stuffed it into a small amount of space but did so in a bifurcated manner that makes getting the full story more difficult. This is unfortunate because with a crisper, punchier writing style, this could have been a much more compelling story – and a goldmine of information for historians.

First, a few stats. “Trouble in the Tribe” is 316 pages in total, of which 215 pages is the body of the book. There are 72 pages of end notes and 16 pages in the bibliography. There were 563 end notes; chapter 2 alone had 164 end notes. The documentation of the author’s sources was so thorough that their page length was equivalent to 40% of the corpus of the book itself.

This is not a bad thing. Serious historians should cite appropriately to sources. But the author appears to have dumped a great deal of specific information into endnotes, which should have been better served in the main text, or attached as footnotes on the pages where they are cited.

A good example was the author stating that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to mobilize American Jews against the July 2015 Iran nuclear deal “although initial polling showed that most Jews actually supported it.”

If you go to the end note cited as the source, it reads: “The most reliable survey of American Jewish public opinion regarding the Iranian nuclear deal, conducted on behalf of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal shortly after the agreement was announced, found that American Jews supported the deal 49 percent to 31 percent (more than Americans in general) and that 54 percent of American Jews wanted Congress to approve the deal, compared with 35 percent who opposed Congressional approval.”

To get to this information, you had to turn ahead more than 200 pages and read the end note itself! Doing this every time a vague comment is end noted is too time consuming for the average reader.

Six-Day War

Waxman did bring up some interesting points about American Jews’ less than enthusiastic support for establishing the state of Israel. After Israel declared its independence in 1947, American Jews’ interest in the nascent state waned.

In 1967 Israel’s existence was threatened by Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser, who talked of wiping Israel off the map. This was traumatic for American Jews, who had spent much of the prior two decades learning details about the Holocaust.

There was a prolonged period of agony as Israel sought to resolve the crisis diplomatically. Unable to do so, Israel struck preemptively and achieved what Leon Uris called the greatest Jewish military victory in 6,000 years. In six days, they captured the Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. It was an astounding military achievement.

From 1967 to 1977 was the golden era between American Jews and Israel. At the time, Israel was run by a socialist government, was an extremely progressive society, and was applauded and supported almost unanimously by American Jews.

This changed in 1977 when Menachem Begin and his Likud party were elected. Begin, was a militant, messianic figure who was called a terrorist in the pre-state days after his followers bombed the King David hotel, killing 94 British soldiers. Begin began the mass building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. This led eventually to 650,000 Jews (the same population as the entire state of Israel when it became independent in 1947), living on land formerly owned by Palestinians or the Kingdom of Jordan.

It also led to an emotional conflict between the Israeli government and many American Jews, which Waxman describes at length.

It is doubtful an Israeli government will emerge with the political gravitas or skills to relocate these 650,000 Jews into the pre-1967 Israeli borders. The last Israeli Prime Minister who was in such a position, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated by a Jewish right-wing extremist.

Palestinian birth rates are far higher than Israeli birth rates. Soon Palestinians will be the majority in Israel and the occupied territories. Unless a Palestinian state is created, Israelis will be confronted with the choice of suppressing the democratic rights of a majority of its citizens – or adhering to their democratic principles and allowing a Palestinian majority to vote themselves into control of the state of Israel.