editor’s note: I’ve made some sentences bold. – R.T.
U.S. Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), and Barbara Lee (D-CA), led a letter signed by 64 House Democrats to rebuke President Trump’s inconsistent and dangerous statements regarding U.S. policy towards North Korea, notify him that military strikes without Congressional approval would violate the Constitution, and urge him to instead adhere to the diplomatic approach recently articulated by his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The 64 signers represent the 64 years since the Armistice Agreement was signed to end hostilities in the Korean War.
“The U.S. and the international community must deal with North Korea and negotiate a tough agreement that freezes further nuclear development and tests and, ultimately, takes their nukes off the table,” Congressman McGovern said. “That requires cool heads and hard-nosed diplomacy. Erratic tweets and saber-rattling with nuclear weapons are not solutions, they’re a fast-track to catastrophe.”
Congressman John Conyers, Dean of the House of Representatives and one of two remaining Korean War Veterans serving in Congress, said “President Trump’s irresponsible statements on North Korea endanger our troops, our regional allies such as South Korea and Japan, and global security more broadly. As someone who has watched this conflict evolve since I was sent to Korea as a young Army Lieutenant, it is a reckless, inexperienced move to threaten military action that could end in devastation instead of pursuing vigorous diplomacy.”
“As a daughter of a veteran of the Korean War and a member of the Military and Veterans Appropriations Subcommittee, I will continue to demand that President Trump provide Congress with a comprehensive strategy for deterring North Korea that puts diplomacy and non-military strategies first,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “This letter reinforces the constitutional responsibility of the President to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering any use of U.S. military force.”
Responding to Trump’s recent comments that appeared to threaten military action against North Korea, the letter states that “While both the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973 provide the Office of the President with the authority to act in cases of emergencies, both require an affirmative authorization from Congress before our nation engages in military action abroad against a state that has not attacked the U.S. or our assets abroad.”
The letter notes that “Military action against North Korea was considered by the Obama, Bush and Clinton Administrations, but all ultimately determined there was no military option that would not run the unacceptable risk of a counter-reaction from Pyongyang.” The letter says that debate over any potential military action against North Korea is crucial, as the North Korean reaction to such a strike “could immediately threaten the lives of as many as a third of the South Korean population, put nearly 30,000 U.S. service members and over 100,000 other U.S. citizens residing in South Korea in grave danger, and also threaten other regional allies such as Japan.”
The letter urges Trump to “adhere to the diplomatic approach recently articulated by Secretary Tillerson,” who recently stated that the Trump Administration’s sole goal is to “seek a denuclearized Korean Peninsula” without pursuing a regime change that could potentially risk a devastating conflict. The letter instead calls on the Administration to engage directly with North Korea and explore the possibility of a negotiated resolution to the nuclear issue.
An Economist/YouGov poll conducted from April 29 to May 2, 2017 found that 60 percent of Americans support “direct negotiations between the United States and North Korea” to end North Korea’s nuclear program, while 10 percent were somewhat opposed and 8 percent strongly opposed. 63 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of Republicans support direct negotiations with North Korea, while 70 percent of Hillary Clinton voters and 68 percent of Trump backers were supportive.
The letter also urges the Administration to “address humanitarian issues of mutual concern such as the reunification of Korean and Korean American families as well as the repatriation of the remains of US servicemen left in North Korea following the War.”
“Last fall, traveling to Pyongyang to discuss the return of US Korean War servicemen’s remains collected over the years by the North Koreans, I flew over where my father’s plane went down. It was the closest I’ve been to him since I was three years old,” said Rick Downes, Executive Director of the Coalition of Families of Korean & Cold War POW/MIAs. “Like thousands of other American families who pray to bring their loved ones home, I hope to go back and bring my father home. Calls for diplomacy like this make that opportunity much more real.”
As of late March 2017, there were 61,322 surviving family members among the list of those waiting to reunite with relatives in North Korea, and more than 62 percent of them are over the age of 80, according to Nan Kim, an associate professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and author of Memory, Reconciliation, and Reunions in South Korea: Crossing the Divide.
Signers of the letter included 5 Democratic Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the leadership of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The 64 letter signers included: Alma S. Adams (NC-12), Karen Bass (CA-37), Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Don Beyer (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Michael E. Capuano (MA-07), Salud O. Carbajal (CA-24), Judy Chu (CA-27), David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Katherine M. Clark (MA-05), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-01), Emanuel L. Cleaver, II (MO-05), Steve Cohen (TN-09), John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04), Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-03), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Dwight Evans (PA-02), Bill Foster (IL-11),Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04), Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Alan S. Lowenthal (CA-47), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Richard E. Neal (MA-01), Rick Nolan (MN-08), Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Bobby L. Rush (IL-01), Janice D. Schakowsky (IL-09), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), José E. Serrano (NY-15), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Louise Slaughter (NY-25), Darren Soto (FL-09), Mark Takano (CA-41), Niki Tsongas (MA-03), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07),Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Peter Welch (VT-AL), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24)
Full Text of Letter:
May 23, 2017
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
We write to once again draw your attention to your constitutional responsibility to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering use of U.S. military force, which would include any military action against North Korea that is not in response to an attack by that country. The mandate requiring Congressional consultation and authorization is prescribed in both the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
While both the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973 provide the Office of the President with the authority to act in cases of emergencies, both require an affirmative authorization from Congress before our nation engages in military action abroad against a state that has not attacked the U.S. or our assets abroad. As Section 2 of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 makes clear, absent a declaration of war or a specific statutory authorization approved by Congress, only a “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces” can justify military action undertaken without Congressional authorization.
Few decisions are more needing of debate than a move to launch attacks, or declare war, on a nuclear-armed state such as North Korea. Military action against North Korea was considered by the Obama, Bush and Clinton Administrations, but all ultimately determined there was no military option that would not run the unacceptable risk of a counter-reaction from Pyongyang. This reaction could immediately threaten the lives of as many as a third of the South Korean population, put nearly 30,000 U.S. service members and over 100,000 other U.S. citizens residing in South Korea in grave danger, and also threaten other regional allies such as Japan.
In such a volatile region, an inconsistent or unpredictable policy runs the risk of unimaginable conflict. That is why we strongly urge you to adhere to the diplomatic approach recently articulated by Secretary Tillerson, who stated that your Administration’s sole goal is to “seek a denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” and that you “do not seek regime change” and “do not seek a collapse of the regime,” both of which could lead down a path that could risk nuclear war. We support Secretary Tillerson’s statement that the preferred method for resolution is “direct talks with North Korea,” including persuading them to relinquish their nuclear weapons by assuring them that they “do not need these weapons to secure the existence of [their] regime.”
We respectfully request more information about the steps your Administration is taking to advance the prospects for direct negotiations that could lower the potential for catastrophic war and ultimately lead to the denuclearization of the peninsula. We would also urge the Administration to outline steps to address humanitarian issues of mutual concern such as the reunification of Korean and Korean American families as well as the repatriation of the remains of US servicemen left in North Korea following the War.
We look forward to receiving details about your plans for a negotiated resolution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, and, in the event that your plans do include an ill-advised military component, we stand ready to exercise our constitutional duty to approve, or reject, any such military action.
Nearly 100 Republicans and Democrats have come together in support of an important bill — Rep. Hank Johnson’s (D-Ga.) Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training (BEST) Practices Act (H.R. 1243).
If enacted, this bill would help doctors, medics and others save the lives of injured military service members by replacing ineffective and expensive trauma-training drills on animals with superior and less costly human simulation models.
I am a service-disabled veteran who spent nearly 28 years as a physician in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, and I currently serve as president-elect of the National Medical Association. I support this effort to modernize military medical training.
Many military medical personnel currently receive Cold War-era training that involves inflicting traumatic injuries on pigs and goats to learn how to repair injuries in humans. Some animals have very different anatomies from humans, which can inhibit successful translation of medical skills across species.
For instance, goats have 13 sets of ribs as opposed to 12 sets in human beings. Compared with humans, goats and pigs have smaller torsos, thicker skin and major differences in internal organs. Goats have a four-chamber stomach compared to the human one-chamber stomach, making goats poor models for teaching human abdominal procedures. Placing an epidural needle in pigs is different from doing this procedure on humans, as the respective spinal cords for pigs and humans end in different vertebral sections, and incorrect placement in humans could cause severe nerve damage.
Goats’ veins and arteries sit on top of the muscle and are easy to visualize, grab and clamp to stop a hemorrhaging wound. Human veins and arteries run through the muscle, and when damaged, they contract, making them difficult to grab and clamp to stop a hemorrhage.
Also, the pressure required to properly apply a tourniquet on a human’s limb is significantly different from that needed to apply one to a small goat’s limb. Failing to learn how to properly stop hemorrhaging wounds can have potential life-or-death consequences.
A recent study found that nearly a quarter of combat deaths from 2001 through 2011 were potentially survivable, and in 90 percent of these cases, avoidable deaths were due to massive blood loss.
Military medics shouldn’t be burdened with translating skills learned on an anatomically foreign, sedated goat or pig to a bleeding and screaming comrade on a chaotic battlefield.
A better training method would use anatomically correct, advanced human simulators that can breathe, bleed and even die just like real people.
The BEST Practices Act would help the military make the transition to using superior human simulation technology in place of animals for trauma training.
A recent Army study found that the agency could even save millions of taxpayer dollars with this transition.
Last month, the U.S. Coast Guard announced that it had suspended all animal use for trauma training. This policy shift will allow medical personnel to master emergency skills on realistic human anatomy, improve providers’ skill confidence and save the agency money.
The Department of Defense should follow suit by giving its medical personnel the human-simulation training tools they need to better save lives and permanently banning inferior, animal-based trauma-training methods.
Doris Browne, M.D., M.P.H., is a retired colonel who served nearly 28 years as a physician in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and is the president-elect of the National Medical Association, the largest and oldest national organization representing the interests of more than 30,000 African-American physicians and the patients they serve.
WORCESTER CITY COUNCILORS, PLEASE SUPPORT COUNCILOR Khrystian KING’S RESOLUTION Tuesday night (May 9) and VOTE YES to SUPPORT a STATE-WIDE MINIMUM WAGE of $15/hour!
By doing so, you will save Worcester’s inner-city neighborhoods/urban core.
If we continue on this road, if you do not show your support and VOTE YES to pay the working poor more than peanuts, Worcester will go the way of NYC and Boston: a city where the VERY RICH and VERY POOR live – but no “in-betweeners” because they are priced out of the city. The upper middle class and wealthy will go to their special schools, restaurants, venues in the city; the other class – really the underclass – will live in Section 8/govt subsidized housing and have its own world, sometimes just several blocks away. We see this happening in Worcester now – our urban core these days is not the urban core in which I grew up. The American dream no longer takes hold in places like lower Vernon Hill, Union Hill, Green Island. Our economy does not support it! Instead, we have Section 8 meccas filled not with the working stiffs and stiffettes of yesteryear (like my late mom) toiling their way on/up the economic ladder, raising their kids in a no-bull-shit manner, making them go to school because education was valued as one of the sure ways out of poverty. Instead, these days, our inner-city neighborhoods are brimming with people whose lives are played out somewhere far from the American Dream, a landscape filled with guns, drugs, anger, depression, morbidly obese women, scrawny kids (1 in 4 kids goes to bed hungry in Worcester). They are not part of a world that creates aware, healthy, educated, aspiring Americans.
These once amazing old neighborhoods … where the original owners have died and their kids, detached suburban dwellers who want no part of the inner-city scene, sell their inheritances for top dollar to absentee landlords and developers who buy the buildings and make them Section 8 so they can make steady, good money, courtesy of the federal govt. These new landlords do very little or nothing for their properties; they couldn’t care less about the situation – even the law breakers and drug dealers they often rent to. As long as they get their Section 8 checks – a lot of $$ – every month – like clockwork – from Uncle Sam.
Section 8 housing – Endicott Street
Their tenants? Well, the working poor are priced out of these places! If you work full-time at minimum wage, you can’t afford these apts! Instead, the places are rented to people who have a Section 8 voucher for LIFE. This guarantees the absentee landlord (or slumlord) top rental dollar for LIFE. The tenants add nothing to the economic or cultural or educational fabric of Worcester. They usually bring drugs, violence, ignorance and zero respect for teachers, police, the rules of society into their new abodes. It’s the world of the under class – an entire swath of our population that cannot function in civil society. They are, for the most part, unemployed folks who game the WELFARE system with a kind of insolence that stems from knowing they’ll never be called out and the gravy train just goes on and on. It’s not a lot of $$ but just enough to keep you afloat and in housing. Then you can abuse the system to get extra $$/perks. Folks have no desire to get off welfare and become self sufficient BECAUSE BEING ON WELFARE IS JUST AS OR MORE LUCRATIVE THAN WORKING A 40 HOUR MINIMUM WAGE JOB! For lots of folks, it’s a better deal!
Which is why we need to raise the state minimum wage to $15/hour.
WE NEED TO WIDEN THE $$$ GAP BETWEEN the working poor and the scammers. We need to make WORKING 40 HOURS A WEEK AT AN ACAP AUTO OR CVS worth more $$$ than sitting on your ass in your Section 8 apartment becoming depressed or agoraphobic or morbidly obese or a pot head or a junky – all the while collecting the welfare package: free or low low rent, free utilities, free food, free health care.
This federally subsidized package – which should be a temporary leg up and not a permanent hand out/way of life – should not be worth as much money as a PAY CHECK. From a 40 hour a week job – or from 2 or 3 part-time jobs.
WORKING FOR A LIVING – no matter what you do – should mean YOU CAN PAY FOR YOUR LIFE. Not a fancy one, but a stable, basic, healthy one – with a few perks thrown in, like a vacation at the shore, a jalopy that you drive around town to work etc – or to the Cineplex or the Olive Garden on a Saturday night. Certainly digs you can afford!
Welfare scammers should see that being a part of the legitimate American economy – on any level, even at Wal-Mart pushing a broom – IS VALUED by our society.
It gives folks pride and hope and spending money, which they WILL spend, boosting the economy, boosting neighborhood biz. Worth WAY MORE THAN SITTING ON YOUR ASS IN YOUR SECTION 8 APARTMENT SMOKING WEED, the way my downstairs neighbor does. Or renting a room out to a boarder and getting cash under the table and using your Section 8 apartment as a kind of business/rooming house – the way my downstairs neighbor does! Or bringing in your girlfriend, who collects welfare $$ because she had your baby and you do not marry her so she can move all her free govt benefits$$ into your apartment so you can afford to buy a shiny silver Acura! The one you zip around in with such absurd pomposity. I am describing the violent little tenant-turd at 48 1/2 Ward St. I guess that’s what babies are for!!
The madness must stop!
The cheating is almost universal in the urban core. The ingenious ways folks have of gaming the system here boggles the mind! And its done with TOTAL INSOLENCE. People feel it is OK to pull this crap – cheat the American taxpayers who are the ones SUBSIDIZING their lifestyle, if you wanna call acute dysfunction a “lifestyle.”
This is why Donald Trump was elected president. Lower middle class and working class resentment.
Enough is enough!
Time to support WORKING PEOPLE. In our hoods they used to and still do bring: a work ethic, stability, respect for property, respect for the rule of law, respect for teachers and public education, respect for all public servants. I grew up in a minimum-wage household years ago on Lafayette Street, in Green Island. I know first hand how tough it is to PLAY BY THE RULES and keep a family afloat on minimum wage. But my single working mom did it. She paid our bills by working for minimum wage at the dry cleaners down the street: 40 hours regular time, 20 hours under the table. Accounting for the cost of living/housing back then, minimum wage was worth about $10/hour in the 1970s. Still, my mom, my two kid sisters, “Bapy” and I lived hard lives: We never owned a car – or even a clothes dryer; vacations were the stuff of dreams (though we kids did have a lot of fun in the hood and cousins’ houses!); we – or at least I – wore a knit hat to bed during winter because our tenement was drafty and always cold in Jan and Feb, and we had to keep our gas bill down. Our only source of heat: the gas “log” in the kitchen stove. Meals were basic but healthful, Polish peasant food: lots of cabbage, potatoes, beets, onions and the cheapest cuts of beef – the meat more as a side dish or even a garnish. Looking back, my mom was feeding us well but, if you were a fussy eater, you might not like what was on the Mrs. Tirella menu. I was not a fussy eater – I was a little Hoover vacuum cleaner who sucked up all the food Ma put on my plate. My sisters were picky – and pretty skinny because of it.
Below: One of Rose’s kid sisters, goofin’ on their 3rd floor back porch, in Green Island. Many moons ago!
But we survived. It was rough and tumble, but we had good shoes, good to nice clothing, went to the movies, bought records and portable record players… I grew up adoring my amazing mother, valuing work, family and God, enjoying healthy competition, getting up with a bounce in the morning to go to Lamartine Street School to study hard and get those all-A report cards for Ma – a lady who admired resourcefulness, competence and drive because she had it all in spades.
“Ma” (left), sharing a laugh with her fave sister (and Rose’s fave Auntie) in the Lafayette Street flat.
Councilor King’s Worcester City Council colleagues – Konnie Lukes, Michael Gaffney, Gary Rosen, Moe Bergman and Tony Economu – should support his resolution just like Worcester City Councilors Candy Mero-Carlson, Kate Toomey, Sarai Rivera, (mayor) Jos Petty and George Russell have. We need more Mrs. Tirella’s. But we need to pay them a living wage because, without these urban stalwarts, our inner-city neighborhoods will never wholly rebound.
Where it all began: In “The Block,” on Bigelow Street, in Green Island. Rose’s fave Auntie💛 (again), with the beloved “Bapy.”💗💗💗
What we as parishioners and members of the Mount Carmel Preservation Society see as the heart of the matter:
Mount Carmel Preservation Society (MPS) stated it will come up with the $120,000 (the cost the City Building Commissioner had originally said it would take to make Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church safe) to help alleviate the burden of cost upon the Diocese (the real owners of the building).
We said we would be happy to turn over the money raised to the Monsignor after the Monsignor opened the doors for Masses.
The Monsignor accepted that, and at a meeting with the MPS board said he would hope to have it by June 2017.
We proceeded and raised enough funds in pledges and cash and placed it on hold until the Monsignor opened the doors to our church.
We also, at that point, suggested and requested that Masses be conducted, temporarily, in the Recreation Center until the Church was made safe.
The Monsignor rejected that suggestion.
We had the Church positioned for the National Historic Register, which would make the building available for grants and tax credits that could save up to 40% of repair cost.
He rejected that option.
We offered a sustainability plan he was not interested in reviewing.
He then turned around and said the interior of our church needs to also be “proven” safe by a certified engineer. He then asked that the MPS pay for the engineer.
When we had an engineer ready to schedule an entry, the Monsignor sent us to the Diocese facility manager to set up an appointment to enter the building. The facility manager, about a month later, told us we had to ask the Monsignor to let us in.
When we apprised the Monsignor of this, the Monsignor refused to allow our Engineer enter the church and said there will be “no further discussion.”
Every effort the MPS made to reach out to the rest of the parish community the Monsignor censored, blocked, criticized or simply rejected, as if it were a personal attack, which of course it never was.
We are parishioners who simply want to save our beloved Church rather than walk away from it. To us it is a meaningful and Holy sacred place, an anchor to our families, our heritage and our identity as Italian American Catholics and Worcesterites. We simply haven’t given up on our Church like so many Catholics have after the pedophile cases came to light.
Shouldn’t the Church be working to save all that is holy and to save its flock, rather than risk loosing it?
This Sunday’s May 7 Church Bulletin we find the Monsignor spinning his own story, again painting an incorrect perspective about his own parishioners who are members of MPS, pitting our parish against itself.
The Church needs repair. Perhaps it can be doable over the years. We have a sustainability plan that proved it possible. Furthermore, it may also be possible to have Masses at the Church in a short time while a section of the church is under repair. We could also, if need be, have Masses on campus at the Recreation Center while major work is conducted.
Our engineer could have given us a definite answer to that question – IF THE MONSIGNOR WOULD HAVE LET HIM IN THE CHURCH TO INSPECT IT. But he didn’t.
The Pastor and the Diocese continually blame a declining congregation population. We have not seen scientific proof of declining numbers. I remember a time when the count conducted at Mount Carmel consisted of someone standing in the choir loft finger counting heads before Mass. That same person then sang in the choir during Mass.
So what about those in the church who were seated in the ten or so pews below the Choir loft – the people who couldn’t be seen from the choir loft? What about those who came late to Mass, while the choir member was engaged in music ministry? Where’s the real evidence? Where is the real transparency?
Is it really necessary to close the church?
Is it really necessary to merge our parish with another parish that is in deep debt to the Diocese for reasons we are not really fully aware of?
Real transparency would answer those questions, but no one knows the answer to them because there is a lack of transparency. Parishioners have paid to build and sustain the church over the years, a church we do not own, and yet, in this latest church bulletin, the Monsignor spins his story in such a way as to blame parishioners for the neglect of the owners, THE DIOCESE. He opines the fact that the owners had to put money into their own building, even though he knows, if he opens the church for Masses, MPS would come up with that money.
Wow! Can you imagine if all building owners could get their tenants to make a loan, from the owner, to pay to repair that owner’s building?
We also found many model plans for the Church to be preserved as a living shrine, which can have limited masses and serve a community of faith. This was also rejected without discussion.
Talk about transparency!
Can the Monsignor tell us why Our Lady of Loretto church is in such deep debt?
Can he tell us if the Diocese is really loosing parishioners left and right? Why is it so and where are they going? Can he tell us what he is doing to convert or retain parishioners? He doesn’t seem to care about the thousands of Catholics and Christians and others that agree with and support our mission. Can he tell us where ALL the money parishioners donate (including all weekly baskets, legacy giving, and other donations) is really going to pay for?
Can he tell us why he is betraying his flock and the Word of Christ by chastising our members and calling our efforts foolish? Can he tell us where we can find the “Holiness” in all of this?
Here is a link to the church bulletin:
A Must Read – One reason Why Loretto and the Diocese May be in Debt:
MPS BOARD WORKING MEETING Monday, 5:30 p.m. Please contact Mauro for details.
Thank you and God Bless,
Mauro DePasquale, Mount Carmel Preservation Society
The Worcester Housing Court has issued its tenth Execution to evict disabled foreclosure activist Marjorie Evans from her home at 158 Orient St. Worcester, tomorrow (Thurs 5/4) at 9:30 am, by Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) which claims to be the new owner.
According to Worcester resident and statewide anti-foreclosure organizer Grace Ross, this will be st least the tenth attempt this year to evict Ms. Evans.
In Ms. Ross’s words, “The Housing Court has decided to proceed with this eviction without Freddie Mac ever proving ownership and right to evict, and issued an execution while Marjorie was under a “stay” on the proceeding by higher courts (the Appeals Court, Supreme Judicial Court, and the Bankruptcy Court).”
The Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team has called for a mass turnout of members and friends to stop the eviction by blocking the Constable and movers access to the property. A dramatic confrontation is very possible. A colorful protest and a good story with many opportunities to interview participants is guaranteed.
Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team
Below, full statement by Grace Ross and the WAFT leadership team:
We are writing requesting your urgent attention and assistance in the egregious eviction case of Marjorie Evans. Like, a huge number of folks, who’ve been illegally foreclosed on in Massachusetts, Marjorie Evans had a manageable disability prior to the damaging downward slide of her housing situation – starting with a declaration from Freddie Mac (who did admit to being the owner of the mortgage) that she was in default.
Freddie Mac declared her in default while she was still paying her mortgage, they stopped accepting her payments. That is where the nightmare began for her.
On Thursday May 4, 2017, at 9:30 am, Freddie Mac once again is scheduled to illegally evict Marjorie based on documents that Freddie Mac obtained from the Worcester Housing Court while she has a bankruptcy stay in place so that they would be able to go ahead and illegally evict her.
The stress from the years of fighting prior to the actual foreclosure of her home was bad enough. Since the illegal foreclosure of her home (known as “void”), Marjorie knew her rights enough to know that she could stay in her home. She knew that post the purported foreclosure would be her first chance in front of a Judge – where the foreclosing party would have to try to prove its foreclosure was valid, and their alleged right to possession of her home.
However, while Marjorie had gathered more evidence than most homeowners’ ever get their hands on in their case, and has proof, not only showing the declaration of the default while she was still paying, but numerous other legal violations – any one of which shows that the foreclosure was illegal.
Then, having made her first few conceptually straightforward legal motions in this case to defend her home, her health, her future, her financial base; she planned ahead and hired an attorney; she then lost her attorney almost immediately to a heart-attack.
Having preemptively hired a lawyer knowing that she would not be able to handle these multifaceted interactions in the stress of the court, Marjorie found herself without an attorney less than a month away from the jury trial.
She was now confronted with the complexity of a legal trial by herself. Given the heavy stress of her fundamental right to her home being on the chopping block, her health began to deteriorate. Because of the behavior of the opposing counsel, and the Worcester Housing Court, the complex interaction of a trial situation is exactly the kind of situation in which Marjorie’s disability is profoundly aggravated and limits her handling.
She was then forced to request more time from the Worcester Housing Court and in doing so, she had to reveal her disability to the Judge. In strict compliance with Title II of the ADA Act, the legal history in the Massachusetts courts is: once you have informed to the Court that you have a disability that will limit your ability to participate in your case without a reasonable accommodation – it becomes the court’s job (burden) to sort out with you how the proceedings can continue to meet legal standards but also be adjusted to ensure your full participation.
This is especially central as a defendant defending one of your three constitutional inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property once it is under threat.
Instead, the Judge, once Marjorie informed the court, became the inquisitor; she forced Marjorie to endure more than 20 minutes in open court in front of opposing counsel on the public record to answer a series of invasive questions about: what was the medical condition, her educational history, her work history, her present physical limitations, her finances, and even about whether Marjorie filed taxes the year before. She did all this while making eye contact with opposing counsel when she would answer.
You can imagine what a gross and complete violation this was of Marjorie’s rights. In her belief that the court should be exposed for what it was doing, she allowed the questioning to wind itself down instead of, for instance, leaving against the court’s rules to protect her rights under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and her privacy. To leave would also to a certain extent protect her from the serious post-traumatic stress that not surprisingly has resulted.
That post-traumatic stress from the Judge’s unethical behavior as well as the general limitations that she would have in handling the court proceedings has rendered her unable to appear in court.
Backed by strong doctor’s orders that she must not participate, Marjorie has attempted (and very eloquently we might add) to defend her right to her home in writing and through numerous filings. With every single filing and every single opposition to a filing from the other side, she has included consistent requests for a reasonable accommodation that would allow her filings to be fully addressed by the court. The court has denied each request.
As folks who have been backing Marjorie now for over a year, we are horrified by the destruction of this brilliant and amazing woman’s health under the grueling and incessant stress of not only the court case – but, the shocking disregard of the facts and the gist of every single filing that she has made in the Worcester Housing Court – and the absolute and complete disregard of any of her rights under Title II of the ADA Act.
The record is, in fact, rife with the explicit and repeated statements in writing by the Judge that she will be ruled against Marjorie simply for her inability to appear and verbally argue her case in front of the Judge.
This, of course, flies directly in the face of Marjorie’s personal report of her disability condition (certainly sufficient under Title II of the ADA), and the fact that she has provided two notes from physicians currently treating her and helping her manage her disability. Yet, the Court has never even approached the physicians if it had any doubt as to Marjorie’s report of her disability that she has struggled with since childhood.
We need your help now!
Marjorie has managed to stave off 9 or 10 illegal eviction attempts. Evictions that are not only illegal because Freddie Mac does not own her home (given the illegality of the foreclosure), but evictions illegal in and of themselves; the Court has decided and issued Freddie Mac papers and authority to carry out evictions without Freddie Mac ever proving ownership and right to evict, and while Marjorie is under a “stay” on the proceeding by higher courts (the Appeals Court, Supreme Judicial Court, and the Bankruptcy Court).
The passionate and amazing commitment that Marjorie has shown refusing to have her rights to her home be taken away without her case ever being adjudicated – especially given the additional barriers of being self-represented, with a disability. Her competence, incisive understanding and leadership are critical to our movement to end illegal foreclosures.
We believe her insistence that she has equal rights under our constitution to her home should be a model to everyone – as it is to us – regardless of one’s physical disabilities. All of us should always insist and enforce our equal rights under the law, otherwise as you know, we won’t have them.
We cannot plead to you strongly enough for the need for your help and support in backing our courageous sister, Marjorie Evans in her fight for justice under the law.
Please consider the following:
• Share Marjorie’s story throughout your networks.
• Contact every elected official that you have a relationship within the state of Massachusetts. She is a constituent of the following elected officials. District Representative:
• For Freddie Mac, Melvin Watt, Director of FHFA 202-649-3001 or 202-649-3006 OfficeoftheDirector@FHFA.gov
• US Senate: Elizabeth Warren
(202) 224-4543 www.warren.senate.gov/?p=email_senator
• Congressional: James P McGovern phone: 508-831-7356
• State senate: Harriet L. Chandler 617-722-1544
• State rep: Mary S. Keefe 617-722-2210
• Governor’s Council Jennie L. Caissie 617-725-4015, ext. 7
• District Attorney Joseph D. Early (508) 755-8601
Further, we request your presence (and anybody you know) to help blockade this illegal eviction. If Freddie Mac continues to go forward with it and the courts are not willing to enforce the stays that they themselves have imposed on the Worcester Housing Court actions.
– Please be at Marjorie’s home by 9:00 am this Thursday, May 4th, at
158 Orient Street, Worcester.
– Honor the leadership and discipline chosen by WAFT’s leadership
– We are calling on everyone to create a large enough nonviolent presence
the constable will be afraid to go ahead with this illegal eviction.
Further, the Supreme Judicial Court, (“SJC”) of Massachusetts is aware of this situation and has been called on to act. While it is not their normal procedure to act this quickly, under the circumstances where a court has been allowed to engage in this kind of absolute egregious disregard of the rights of a homeowner – a woman of color, with a disability – without legal representation beyond her quite amazing brilliance on these issues, please call on the SJC to act now!
Please show a solid presence with us as we back and if necessary, some of us, put our bodies in the way to protect Marjorie Evans rights to her home, against Freddie Mac who does “not” have any legal rights to her property.
Eating breakfast today, thinking Worcester politics. Thinking: You’ve got to be shitting me! Coreen Gaffney is running for Worcester District 4 City Councilor?! The wife of Worcester City Councilor Mike Gaffney – Michael Gaffney: our very own Alabama Governor George Wallace?!!? Our very own Donald Trump stuffed with Joseph P. McCarthy? – a guy whose made his politcal name in Worcester by throwing minorities under the bus? … a guy who exploits the “race issue” every chance he gets and throws our city into paroxysms of pain for mere political gain?
The insanity! The arrogance!
Manipulative and cynical are words that do not begin to describe Coreen’s chubby hubby, Michael Gaffney – a guy who, along with his consigliere – Worcester’s very own Jerry Springer: TURTLE BOY-Aidan Kearney – has done nothing but create racial discord in Worcester.
Every racially divisive, hurtful slug fest in Worcester these past few years can be traced to Michael Gaffney and Turtle Boy Aidan Kearney. For political gain (the Gaffer wants to be mayor – ha ha) and for click bait (Turtle Boy-Aidan Kearney is also a racist hater).
The Worcester rally for immigrants and refugees.
Gaffney has purposely misinterpreted each of these issues to stir up fear and hatred in our community and to destroy Worcester Mayor Joe Petty. And the Turtle Boy blog has been with him every pernicious step of the way!
And now – just because they’ve lived in Main South’s Junction Shops for a year – wife Coreen has decided to run for city councilor in District 4 – Worcester’s majority-minority district, a district where all the above issues play out daily, hourly … a district that has been ably and compassionately served by incumbent D 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera, a pastor, educator and local civil rights leader with deep roots in and a deep love for District 4.
The gall of Coreen Gaffney!
To think that this political couple from hell – using Coreen as their tool – can win, or even make an electoral dent – in D 4 is laughable!
For Coreen to expect to get the support and votes of the hundreds and hundreds of Latinos, blacks, immigrants and their families AND the progressive community activists/hippies who live in Main South, Green Island, Lower Vernon Hill and Piedmont Street shows you just how arrogant and deluded she is. Just like her intellectually sharp but emotionally and spiritually ugly husband, Michael.
District 4 – the district whose people, issues, kids/students husband Michael has used as a political punching bag – Coreen Gaffney is now running to “represent”!
Mrs. Gaffney, please chew on this …
… You have a snowflake’s chance in hell of winning (winning over) D 4!!!
… my pal and I running my errands in all the old familiar places … zipping back and forth over the inner-city Worcester streets I know so well … I got it. Fresh. Like I did the first time. Because on this day I was playing tour guide and seeing my spaces through my friend’s “tourist” eyes. On this day I saw just how “HARD HIT” half of “balkanized” Worcester – my side of town💗 – really is! Grafton Street, South Worcester, Webster Square, Main Street, 4 Corners, Piedmont, Green Island, lower Vernon Hill … once sturdy, blue collar neighborhoods that provided poorer/immigrant Worcesterites with a boost up the first rungs of the AMERICAN DREAM ladder, now engulfed in poverty, the Section 8 cheats, the drug takers and the drug pushers, …
… malnourished little kids, the morbidly obese, the rampant garbage-dumping …
in the front yard of an Endiott Street multi-family – shameful!
… the ranters and ravers…
It was all there for the two of us to see as we drove around paying bills, buying milk. Not to mention the unseen but simmering-just-below-the-surface shit: the guns, the assault rifles, the bags of smack, the used syringes. In my years of living in Worcester, after returning here from sojourns in Hartford and Springfield, I’ve come up against all these devils. It’s funny: the Worcester of 2017 – in the old neighborhoods, at least – now reminds me of the Hartford and Springfield of the mid-1990s – the mid-sized cities I fled: dangerous, impoverished, dirty, gun-infested.
Which is why I left those cities in the first place and headed back to my hometown!
Worcester! The city that works! More working people here – purposeful folks adding to community life – fewer folks living dangerous, alternative lives on the periphery.
But that’s changed.
The poverty and despair of the Springfield and Hartford of my younger self have caught up to Worcester! At least on my streets! The many good jobs of yester year for the average joe and jane are NO longer in Worcester – in all the mid-sized and small cities throughout the land! The economy has changed, despite what Pez Prez Donald Trump, wants us to believe. Often times, our smart and resourceful but “uneducated” kids shun the McJobs here and figure out they can make a great living selling drugs! And they do just that until the authorities – or gang bangers warring over turf – catch up to them. And maybe kill them.
Bang bang …
I know, I know, I sound negative, doom ‘n’ gloom. According to the Worcester Police Department, our crime stats show that homicides are down in Woo, the murder rate plunging. But it feels like the violent crimes are up! It can feel so dark and foreboding here!
In the cold, gray afternoon light with winter’s rawness still engulfing the city and the now dirty snow still clinging unmelted to sidewalks and our souls, I found myself making excuses for my part of Worcester to my friend, who lives in one of Woo’s well-heeled suburbs.
Well, you know, I said to her, it’s the snow, the tail end of winter … that’s why things look so rough. The city is bound to look a bit bedraggled, frayed at the edges …
Or: Let’s get out of here – I don’t wanna get us in the middle of a deal… (I did not say the word “drug” before “deal”!)
The Misfortune Parade was overwhelming! The old alcoholic guy in the liquor store, the panhandler with cardboard sign, stumbling …
“He doesn’t look so good,” my friend said, as she reached down into her pocketbook for loose change for the panhandler.
Yes, I was making excuses for my city’s poverty and all the sad, violent social ills that get toted along with it. I didn’t want this suburban gal pal – of course, she knew! – to see the Worcester I see every day. I didn’t wanna make us both wince! And yet I wanted to tell her stuff, recall the scenes that make me feel this city isn’t “home” at all:
1. The Kid in the Worcester Dumpster.
Yep. As I was illegally throwing my little bag of crap into a dumpster in the ‘hood I came upon – in the dumpster! – a 10-year-old boy wading in the garbage.
A kid, who should have been in school learning, chest deep in shit – expressionless as he was making his way through it, looking for receipts, possibly with credit card numbers on them…??? There was a man sitting in a car a few yards away waiting for the boy. He obviously deposited him in the big dumpster to look for receipts and goodies. The boy was in the middle of doing his “job” when I stumbled upon him.
The man just sat in the car waiting, as I stared at him and back at the boy. They most likely had other dumpsters for the boy to dive into. They probably had a route. This was income-generating.
Surreal. In my city, Worcester.
2. The Kid Being Pushed Out of a Van to Sell Lollipops:
Then in Greendale, on West Boylston Street in Worcester: A guy pushing a little boy – another little boy! – out of a van with a bouquet of stale looking big round lollipops. To sell to people. Two bucks a pop, according to the little sign stuck amid the big jaw breakers. The kid looked positively miserable yet robotically did what was expected of him. I watched him as he entered each store in the strip mall – lifeless, on task – so unlike your average 10-year-old boy. He would go to the person at the cash register, asking if they wanted to buy a big pop for 2 bucks, like his little sign said. There was no non-profit or worthy cause he was plugging. Just himself. He looked pale, hair unwashed … jeans hanging from his skinny waist. He sold a few pops. People felt sorry for him. The few donations came his way – just like his boss, the creepy guy in the van, had expected.
I called the Worcester cops after witnessing this city scene: IT’S SLAVERY, I TELL YOU!!!!! I screamed into my cell phone, totally bent out of shape. IS HE MOLESTING THE BOY??? I SEE STUFF LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME!!! I yelled at the police officer, screaming into my cell. I sounded unhinged because I was unhinged! I had connected the dots and I was terrified for the boy – all little boys!
PLEASE! GET DOWN HERE ASAP! I yelled at the police officer over my cell. Please!
The WPD police officers, I imagine, have seen it all. So maybe they thought: YES, THIS DISTRAUGHT BROAD IS ON TO SOMETHING. Or: HERE IS A POOR GUY, A POOR DAD, USING HIS SON TO MAKE SOME EXTRA DOUGH – THE WRONG THING TO DO, BUT TIMES ARE TOUGH. This broad is over-reacting.
I chose to believe the officers took down the information I gave them over the phone and investigated the incident.
Or maybe the cops just thought I was … nutsville. Which I was, at that moment! Because I saw the pain in that little boy’s wan face!
And I remembered the 10 year old boy I saw wading in the dumpster not so long ago.
And I had had an epiphany: THIS SORT OF THING IS HAPPENING TO LITTLE KIDS ALL THE TIME! In my America!
3. The Plant Girls
Then there are the girls walking outside Worcester strip malls selling small, anemic plants to anyone who’ll buy … but maybe selling more than their half-dead plants. Some of the “girls” look older than 18, some really look like girls – about 14 or 15 years old. I remember, I told my friend while driving around with her running my errands, seeing a guy every week sitting alone in a car in a Worcester strip mall parking lot, facing the street, looking straight ahead, as if waiting for something … just as the plant girls were making their rounds selling their half-dead little plants.
It upset me to think that I had just “figured it out” then, at that moment, in my friend’s car, as we drove around: that blow jobs were what was selling those days – way faster than little plants.
You see Worcester’s future in our kids. You see the country’s lopsided economy that has left so many parents behind. And yes, if you’re young and rich and educated and fueled by the Internet, the new Worcester and American economy is for you. But if you’re not – like half of us here – it’s very hard to survive.
It was all so clear to me on a gray March day, running errands with my friend.
And Rose’s house plants get no relief from her crazy feline!
Remember last year’s potted poseys, posted on this website? Rose’s foray into indoor plantings? All gone! Every frond, bud, root hair. Cece’s peed in, pawed at, puked over all of Rose’s flowers … All gone…
Fake flowers fill the void. Ugh.
Cece chewing on one of three live hold-outs:
This spring all of Rose’s new plants will be MOVING ON UP … out of Cece’s radar…
These baskets tied to kitchen curtain rod will soon hold flora…away from our adorable brat.