The nature of international conflict has evolved in recent decades.
Rather than conflict between state militaries, warfare increasingly takes place within regional conflict systems involving both states and non-state armed groups.
Understanding the internal dynamics of these organizations is an important part of understanding the nature of international conflict, according to Ora Szekely, Clark University assistant professor of political science. Their sometimes surprising policy choices have important (and sometimes unintended) consequences for both their long-term prospects and for the conflict itself.
Szekely explores these dynamics within the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict in her latest book, “The Politics of Militant Group Survival in the Middle East: Resources, Relationships and Resistance.”
Szekely draws from field research conducted in Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Egypt to compare the performances of four key non-state actors of the Arab-Israeli conflict ecosystem: The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hamas, Amal, and Hizbullah.
Her research reveals how strategic domestic and foreign policy choices affect certain groups’ ability to “militarily resist and politically recover from confrontations with far more powerful adversaries.”
“We tend to think of wars as being either traditional interstate wars, like WWII, or smaller, local civil wars,” Szekely said. “But today, most conflicts take place as part of complex conflict systems involving multiple states and armed militant groups. Yet, even within the same conflict system, different militant groups often demonstrate very different abilities to resist attacks by their enemies, and to recover politically afterward. Understanding the roots of those differences can help us understand the dynamics of these conflict systems more broadly.”
In the course of researching the book, Szekely attended events organized by Hizbullah in Beirut and political protests led by communists in Amman.
She interviewed former PLO members in both the spacious Ministry of the Interior of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and in the decidedly less well-appointed offices of various Palestinian factions based in the in refugee camps of Damascus and Beirut, as well as members of the Palestinian parliament sympathetic to Hamas in the West Bank.
“I met with members of the Lebanese parliament from parties across the political spectrum, veterans of the Israeli military, and Palestinians in both refugee camps and political offices,” she said. She also spoke with journalists, aid workers, and UN officials around the region. “These interviews, combined with secondary sources, helped me to understand and compare the internal dynamics of a set of extremely complicated organizations in an extremely complicated region.”
Szekely’s research straddles the intersection of comparative politics and international relations.
She focuses primarily on foreign and domestic policies of non-state and proto-state military actors (rebel groups, guerrillas, insurgents, terrorists, etc.), particularly in the Middle East.
At Clark, she teaches courses on Middle Eastern politics, identity politics, civil war, and forced migration. She also is affiliated with the University programs in Peace Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from McGill University.
Central Mass Kibble Connection dog and cat food give-away with Dorrie!🌻 – outside the Mustard Seed on Piedmont Street, every Wednesday🌷, 4 – 5 p.m pics: R.T.
At the Mustard Seed soup kitchen with volunteer “Autumn” – free meals each day at 6 p.m. – for the needy and homeless.
At the Worcester Historical Museum Alden Family gallery – opening. photo:WHM
Central Mass Kibble Connection dog and cat food give-away with Dorrie!🌻 – every Wednesday🌷, 4 – 5 p.m.💐
Thank you, Dorrie!!!!
Let’s let spring keep springin’!:
Do you believe in climate change?
By Heather Moore
A recent report by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans believes that the climate is changing, mostly because of human activities, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back.
If you’re one of them, or if you’re concerned about pollution, water scarcity, food shortages or deforestation, then you really should go vegan. And Earth Day, April 22, is a fitting time to do so.
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, animal agriculture adds 7.1 gigatons (that’s a lot) of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year. And animal agriculture is the single largest source of both methane and nitrous oxide, which are 25 and 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, respectively.
So, if you really want to scale back carbon emissions—and curb other, more potent, greenhouse gases—then scale back your consumption of cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, pulled pork and other animal-based foods. Research shows that meat-eaters are responsible for around 2.5 times more dietary greenhouse-gas emissions per day than vegans.
A recent Arizona State University study found that Buddhists in China offset roughly 40 million tons of greenhouse gases per year just by eating plant-based meals.
Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have calculated various ways to combat climate change and found that cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from transportation and energy use alone isn’t enough. They concluded that curbing meat and dairy consumption is the key to bringing them down to safe levels.
Still proud of yourself for switching to LED light bulbs?
Well, you should be—but just don’t stop there. You can do more. Buying a hybrid car and installing solar panels might not be affordable for everyone, but anyone can prioritize vegan foods over meat, eggs and dairy products. Choosing bean burritos over beef is an easy—and effective—way to combat climate change.
Oh, you say that you’re one of the 12 percent who don’t believe in climate change?
Well, it’s a big world with plenty of other problems caused by animal agriculture that need to be addressed, too. Do you believe in pollution? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that nearly 70 percent of the nation’s lakes, ponds and reservoirs and more than half of its rivers and streams are too polluted for their intended use. The EPA places the blame largely on animal agriculture.
And speaking of water, it takes a whopping 850 gallons of water just to produce 8 ounces of beef but only 174 gallons to produce 8 ounces of soy burger.
And Food Tank reports that just 43 gallons of water can produce a whopping 16 ounces of dried beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils. Plus, the production of beans releases only 5 percent of the volume of greenhouse gases as beef production—if you’re worried about that kind of thing.
If you aren’t, well, did I mention that scientists at Florida International University say that the demand for meat is likely to cause more worldwide species extinctions than any other factor?
Or that researchers with the Institute of Social Ecology in Vienna believe that the best way to meet the expected global food demand in the year 2050—without sacrificing any forests—is for everyone to go vegan?
Believing that our climate is changing isn’t the only reason to go vegan—there are billions of other living, breathing, feeling, mooing, oinking, clucking “reasons” as well.
But if you agree with the 70 percent of people who told Yale researchers that they do believe in climate change, then it’s only sensible for you to choose (and enjoy!) vegan meals on Earth Day and beyond.🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸
Heading to a family gathering today🌷🌷… Have to be up and ready early (ugh), have to get my political funnies in pre-dawn😂😂!! Have a holy day🎻! No more wars, Mr. President! Stop bombing everybody! Save the planet! Stop killing the trees, birds, bears and bees! Please!!!! pic: Rose T:
***** Also, from Franny:
If you are interested in adopting a rabbit or just want to know more about caring for a house rabbit or even sponsoring or fostering a rescued rabbit, you can contact the House Rabbit Network of Woburn, Ma. either by email at www.rabbitnetwork.org or tel 781-431-1211 There is always someone available to call you or email with advice.
pic: Franny McKeever
Here is Dorrie’s newest cutie, precious Peke, Peggy Sue💙! Dorrie brought her home Friday:
💛💛💛💛 pics: Dorrie Maynard
Happy Easter, Peggy Sue!🌺🐰
And with bunnies on the brain. From PETA.ORG …
Do you check PETA’s database every time that you shop and look for our cruelty-free bunny? Or do you toss whatever product is nearest to you in your shopping cart without thinking twice? Whether you’re a die-hard label-checker or someone who’s never even thought about checking a label, we’ve got a cruelty-free checklist for you!
It’s hard to believe that some companies still test on animals purely for vanity’s sake, as we don’t need to have animals burned and blinded for yet another mascara, shampoo, or body wash. With so many compassionate companies in our cruelty-free database, we think it’s the perfet time to clean out your cabinets, purse, and shower and get rid of your old products that may have been tested on animals. With that in mind, we want you to figure out how cruelty-free your products really are.
Here’s how this will work:
Print this image, and tape it to your bathroom mirror. Voilà! The checklist is yours to use.
Go through all the items on the list, giving yourself a pat on the back for each cruelty-free product you own and tossing out the offenders.
Whether you’re new to checking labels for PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies logo or you’re a compassionate queen or king, here are some of our favorite products to help you round out your cruelty-free morning routine:
1. For body wash or soap, try Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soap, Lush Wash Behind Your Ears Shower Gel, or Method, which can be found at Target.
2. If you’re looking for your new favorite face wash, try Aveda’s Outer Peace Foaming Cleaner or Pacifica’s Kale Water Micellar Cleansing Tonic.
3. For shampoo and conditioner options, try Avalon Organics Scalp Normalizing Tea Tree Mint Shampoo or Carol’s Daughter Rhassoul Clay Enriching Conditioner.
4. In terms of toothpaste, Nature’s Gate Crème de Peppermint Toothpaste or Desert Essence Ultra Care Toothpaste are fantastic options.
5. We love freshening up with JĀSÖN mouthwash and Tom’s of Maine Wicked Fresh! Mouthwash.
6. Herban Cowboy and Kiss My Face both offer heavenly deodorant scents.
7. Le Labo and Flower Beauty are just two of the many perfume companies that carry vegan options.
8. We love Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics and Pacifica for all their lovely vegan nail polish shades.
9. You don’t need beeswax or animal tests to keep your lips moisturized! Try Crazy Rumors or Shea Moisture.
10. wet n wild MegaVolume Mascara and Urban Decay Perversion Waterproof Fine-Point Eye Pen will give you bold eyes without the cruelty.
11. Get your eye shadow on with Lime Crime palettes.
Tragically, hundreds of thousands of rabbits, rats, mice, guinea pigs, and other animals who are full of life and personality are kept inside barren cages in laboratories and killed after substances are dripped into their eyes or rubbed onto their raw skin—or after being forced to inhale or ingest massive quantities of test substances.
With every vegan, cruelty-free product purchase, you’re sending a message that you don’t support archaic tests on animals.
As Christians remember Christ’s crucifixion as the final sacrifice and celebrate His victory over death in the resurrection, let us resolve to emulate His compassion in our own lives by showing mercy to animals.
There’s no better place to begin than the dinner table. As we break bread, let’s break ties with some of the most violent and ungodly places on Earth — slaughterhouses and factory farms.
Before they become Sunday’s centerpiece, animals on factory farms are denied everything that God designed them to want and do. They never breathe fresh air, nurture their young, play with other animals, or do anything to live out the biblical concept that “God’s mercy is over all His creatures.”
For example, pigs spend their entire lives in filthy concrete pens, and cruelty is rampant, as witnessed by PETA investigators.
PETA’s investigation of Belcross Farm, a pig-breeding facility in North Carolina, resulted in the first-ever felony indictments for cruelty to animals by farm workers in the U.S.
PETA’s undercover investigation at Seaboard Farms, Inc. has resulted in the filing of felony cruelty-to-animals charges against a former manager at the facility.
Easter is also no celebration for hens on egg farms, who suffer constant confinement to tiny, filthy wire cages. Male chicks are killed — often through suffocation — since they don’t produce eggs, and female chicks have their beaks painfully seared off to keep them from pecking one another.
Cows on dairy farms are kept continually impregnated, and their calves are snatched away just after birth so that their mothers’ milk can be consumed by humans.
At the end of their short, miserable lives, these animals are crammed into trucks, with little protection from the elements, to suffer the ultimate terror of the slaughterhouse, where workers hang them upside-down and slit their throats.
What You Can Do
Plant-based foods can be found in supermarkets (editor’s note: check out TRADER JOE’S in Shrewsbury, Rt 9, just over the bridge) and on the menus of many chain restaurants.
Since eating vegan is easier than ever, there’s simply no reason for any animals to end up on our plates!
Homemade Vegan Easter Eggs!🐰🐰
There are a variety of places online where you can order vegan Easter candy, and finding vegan chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs, or jelly beans — just like those you remember filling your Easter basket with as a child — is no longer difficult. However, if you’re like me and you’ve waited until the last minute to plan for the sugar fest that often comes with the holiday, finding these goodies won’t be quite as easy.
But don’t fear! Those of us who tend to procrastinate — or are just super-crafty — can go the homemade route!
Below is a recipe for basic chocolate eggs, which you can then turn into a variety of designs.
1 8-oz. package nondairy cream cheese, softened at room temperature
Beat the nondairy cream cheese in a mixing bowl until it is smooth.
Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until it is well blended.
Add the melted chocolate and vanilla and mix well.
Refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls or egg shapes and roll them in the nuts, cocoa, or coconut.
Store the finished chocolates in the refrigerator.
Makes approximately 5 dozen chocolates
🌷🌼Some “eggs-traordinary” ideas!!🌼🌷:
Roll egg-shaped chocolate in chopped nuts.
If you can find a cute Easter-themed mold, simply fill it with the chocolate and refrigerate.
Allow the chocolate to cool in a thin layer, then cut out your favorite shape with Easter-themed cookie cutters.
Decorate egg-shaped chocolate with dyed coconut. I recommend adding a few drops of food coloring to water and then adding your coconut. Allow to soak for a few minutes in the water, then remove and allow to dry completely before using to decorate.
Use plastic Easter eggs to get your desired shape, scoop out the center, and fill with peanut butter, nuts, or another favorite candy.
Close the plastic egg and refrigerate until both sides are firm and have joined together.
Cover egg-shaped chocolate with holiday color foils or ribbons.
Cover egg-shaped chocolate with vegan nonpareils or another small vegan candy.
You can shape and decorate the chocolate any way you’d like, so get creative with it!
St. John’s Food Program: Helping the Working Poor Survive – And Saving Lives!
By Dorrie Maynard
ICT editor Rose called me a month ago and asked me to write a story about St. John’s church (located on Temple Street in Worcester) – specifically the church’s amazing food distribution center/pantry/kitchen. I balked – told Rose there have been many stories written about St. John’s and that I would not have anything interesting to add. However, she pressed the issue, like she always does, so I took the assignment … and onward I went!!!
ICT’s intrepid Dorrie Maynard at St. John’s church community kitchen!🌺
First, I had to talk to the program’s director Bill Riley to see if he was interested in doing a story for InCity Times and go from there. Volunteering with Central Mass Kibble Kitchen, I am at St. John’s twice monthly passing out pet food to the working poor who have cats or dogs to feed, so I know Bill. I went in and asked him if he was up for another story – a cover story. To my
surprise, he agreed! He told me to be at the church’s St. Francis food center (named after the patron saint of the poor) the following Tuesday at 7 am when the doors open and I could shadow him for the morning.
I called Rose to tell her that Bill had agreed. She was ecstatic! I told her Billy wanted me at St. John’s for 7 a.m!!!! I like my beauty sleep!😉 I don’t get out of bed to go to my
real job until 7:30 a.m! So “heading to church” for 7 a.m was not something
I was looking forward to! I had to have my early bird sister give me a wake up so I’d be sure I was up at 6 am the following Tuesday.
When I got her call that day it was
still dark out!!!! …
My dogs were a bit confused as
well! We never get up at this “unGodly” hour, but I had made the commitment, now I had to walk the walk! I got to St. John’s about 7 a.m. when the doors to their community kitchen open, there was a line already out the door – folks waiting to get a free, nutritious breakfast to start their day. About 70% of the folks who go to the food kitchen are the working poor – THEY HAVE JOBS BUT AFTER PAYING RENT AND OTHER BILLS THEY HAVE TROUBLE BUYING GROCERIES FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES. St. John’s supplements their usually minimum wage pay checks. The rest of the “guests” are the homeless/struggling.
Church and school groups offer their time and people power! They volunteer at St. John’s food pantry/kitchen, helping to feed the hungry, as Jesus Christ preached to the world! pics: Dorrie Maynard👼
Rubbing the sleep from my eyes I made my way in to the food pantry to find Bill. He suggested that I stick around – work the food line for the day – and get a real feel for the place. I would see how things ran … I was already up, so even though I wasn’t happy about the game plan, I decided to take a step and observe the busy-ness of the place.
Bill showed me around a bit and then handed me my apron and told me to get behind the counter and start serving!!! Pronto! I was put in the front line at the bread station. I was
giving out bread and placing ham on it so people could make sandwiches to either eat there or “to go. ” Diners next stop was the girl beside me who was putting cheese on the ham. Then from her, “guests” put on condiments.
It really was quite assembly line – a bit crazy at times, but once I got the hang of it, it was smooth sailing!
There was such volume …
Some of the hundreds of pounds of donated food!
…and people wanting ham but not thr cheese! Or two pieces of ham – not three! Some folks wanted wheat bread, some wanted white, some didn’t want the ends, some didn’t care.
At one point, I heard someone yell at me: “Hey, aren’t you the cat food lady?” They remembered me from my Kibble Connections visits!
I said: YAH!
There are many people who visit St. John’s for their breakfast and lunch and then visit the Mustard Seed soup kitchen for their dinner. I volunteer at the Mustard Seed too – giving out pet
food every Wednesday through the Kibble Connection. And I also help the poor or himeless by giving out items that people need on a regular basis – so
there were many familiar faces at St. John’s!
Bill told me they feed several hundred people daily!!! He feels for the people who pay their rent and bills and don’t have enough money to feed themselves (as their food stamps have been cut back) or buy extra items that are needed. Some people are indeed homeless and
struggling with addictions.
Everyone is welcome at St. John’s, assuming they can adhere to the “tight ship” that Bill runs and maintains. Bill is a former prison guard who tolerates no games, no dealing, no rudeness, no cutting in line, no problems on the premisses. There is a Worcester Police officer on duty at all times to enforce this policy, if needed.
Bill pretty much knows everyone by name and shows everyone respect and goes above and beyond to make people happy.
People come to him with special requests: asking for a cake
for a birthday, some ice cream for a family celebration, some cottage cheese, some fruit,etc. Bill either goes in
the back to find it himself or asks one of his many dedicated volunteers to make the journey into the many places where these goodies can be found! He’s a truly selfless man!
St. John’s has been blessed with the support/partnership of the Stop & Shop supermarket chain …
Bill has two vans that are out daily making pick ups of food that hasn’t sold but is still completely edible. Bill also gets many donations from other retailers that are unable to sell things for one reason or another. On the day that I was there, he was fortunate enough to receive a large donation of
new bed pillows! There was something wrong with the UPC labels that made them
unsalable. Bill is super generous and asked if I would like to have some for the women at Abby’s House. Knowing that we can always use items for the shelter guests, I quickly said YES!
Another person I need to mention that has generously contributed to the success of St. John’s Xavier Food Center is Frank Carroll. He has helped to build the building and the new cooler that was much needed. Frank is on the board and is a member of the Church community. When Frank’s wife died, Bill and several of his volunteers stood outside on the sidewalk between the Church and the center when her body was driven by in the hearse to pay their final respects.
Pastor Father Madden is also a very visible figure at the Xavier Center! He runs a ROBUST AND WELCOMING ST. JOHN’S CHURCH THAT EMBRACES COMMUNITY!
I had the pleasure of meeting Fr. Madden the day that I was there and was present when he said grace before the meal. Everyone stood together, and even though they may have been different from each other on many levels, it was so great to see everyone standing together and praying and hoping for the same things!
At the end of the day, Bill turned to me and said: “Dorrie, you got your story.”
And that I did💗.
St. John’s Xavier Center is a place that people can go to to get a good meal,a smile, mutual respect and, if they are lucky enough, a new bed pillow!💗💗
The hours at St. John’s Xavier food Center are Monday through Friday, 7 am – 11 am. Food is served there and food is also given away. Families seeking food boxes must live within the 01604 zip code.
Saturdays 8 am -10 am – the St. John’s church free veggies and fruits (and other goodies!) give away. The location is 20 Temple St.
Free veggies and fruit at St. John’s, every Saturday morning!
Instead of meat, feast on these mock-meats! Available at TRADER JOE’S, RT. 9, SHREWSBURY (just over the bridge):
REC-CITY OF WORCESTER EARTH DAY CLEANUPS – this Saturday!
Dorrie and CENTRAL MASS KIBBLE CONNECTION! Every Wednesday at the Mustard Seed on Piedmont Street! Dorrie gives out free cat food and dog food to people who are struggling – but have pets they love and care for! And need to feed!
Jett thinks the world of Dorrie!
A fundraiser to benefit the military veterans of Veteran Homestead!
Get your friends and colleagues together for a FUN night of go-kart racing, food, drinks, music, prizes, networking and of course mingling with our veterans at the Second Annual Veteran Homestead Star Spangled …
… Go-Kart Challenge!💗
290 Wood Road
Thursday, 6 April
5 pm to 9 pm
We have only one team available, so act NOW and tickets are also on sale if you don’t want to race – so don’t miss this opportunity and the fastest way to help our heroes, the veterans who are responsible for our freedom.
Compete for a place on the podium and the 1st place trophy or come and cheer on your comrades. Either way, you’ll have a blast and help support our veterans through the great work of Veteran Homestead.
There are two ways to participate:
1. WE HAVE ONE TEAM LEFT TO FILL – Sponsor and organize your 4-person team to race in the 90-minute endurance race. We have corporate and individual sponsorships available.
It’s fun and safe and each of your drivers take turns at the wheel of the F1Boston racing kart. You’ll race against as many as 11 other teams all for the glory of supporting our veterans and winning the illustrious 1st place trophy.
2. Buy a ticket and attend the event to cheer on your favorite team, enjoy food and cocktails, music, networking, shoot a game of pool (all included in the ticket price) and of course meet our veterans.
Tickets are $150 per person and all proceeds go to Veteran Homestead.
For more information on Veteran Homestead visit veteranhomestead.org
For more information on F1Boston visit f1boston.com
As this wacky weather tries to confuse us, one thing is certain on a cold raw day … soup. Soup is good food, inexpensive and nutritious. All you need are a few veggies and the basis of most soups – ONION!
For centuries humans have had some sort of soup – hence the word to “SUP” or SUPPER – it means soup.
Here is a quick onion soup recipe that is easy to make, and the first few steps are the basis to many soups – like lentil, barley, minestrone – you just keep adding to it.
If you ever make a soup with pasta or rice – cook those items separately and add them to the soup last minute. What you don’t eat can be frozen separately. When you add these items to a soup, they continue to swell and take over the broth!
Basic Onion Soup – serves 6
3 Large onions, peeled cut in half then sliced
3 cloves of garlic chopped fine
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
8 cups water
3 tablespoons flour (cornstarch for gluten free)
If using cornstarch, mix with cold water then add to soup to prevent lumps.
In a large soup pot, melt the butter and add the onions and garlic.
Stir to make them sweat, then add ¼ cup water and cover.
Simmer until soft.
This is the base for most soups.
For French onion, add the sugar and stir constantly. As the water evaporates the onions will start to brown. As they get nice and caramelized, add the flour mix by sprinkling a spoonful at a time and stirring. Once incorporated (or thickened with cornstarch), add the rest of the water and your beef base (follow the instructions on the container). I like the Knorr MSG free individual containers.
Basically, that’s it. Stir and let simmer for a ½ hour.
Salt and pepper to taste – if it seems too watery add some more base.
For other soups: add your veggies or lentils or barley or mix them – they are 70 cents a bag and can feed 8 people and the protein is amazing.
Cube up a couple of potatoes and carrots. Add celery tomatoes and corn – and you have a minestrone!
McGovern: Republican EPA Bill is a Giveaway to Corporate Polluters
McGovern Slams GOP for Putting Profits Ahead of Public Health
Today U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern led debate for House Democrats on the House floor against the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, a bill from House Republicans that limits the participation of scientific experts at the EPA, and would lead to a disproportionate representation of big business and corporate special interests.
Below are excerpts of today’s remarks:
HOUSE GOP IGNORES REAL ISSUES
“Today we are considering a piece of legislation that seeks to prevent the EPA from protecting public health and the environment. This bill was brought [up] in an emergency meeting last night. I think the American people have a pretty good idea of what is and what isn’t an emergency.
“We have no shortage of actual emergencies that we should be dealing with – a devastating opioid epidemic, crumbling roads and bridges, mounting evidence of Russian meddling in our election, and people being killed every day due to gun violence, not to mention Flint, Michigan is still dealing with the residual health effects of toxically-polluted water. These are just a few examples of actual emergencies that Congress is doing nothing to address.”
“As we learned last week, the American people are paying attention to what we do here. They are smart enough to know what an emergency is. And this bill isn’t addressing an emergency. it’s creating one!”
GOP BILL ATTACKS SCIENCE, HELPS POLLUTERS
“The Science Advisory Board at the EPA provides a way for the agency to use sound, independent, and objective scientific data to help make their decisions. “This bill limits the participation of scientific experts at the EPA, leading to a disproportionate representation of big business and corporate special interests. Are these really the people we want making decisions about the health of our kids and the policies that should be protecting our environment?
“There’s nothing scientific about corruption and that’s exactly what this bill will open the door to.
“This bill is about allowing the Republicans’ big corporate cronies a direct route to the decision-makers at the EPA. It’s about disrupting the EPA’s ability to fairly enforce the rules, hold corporate polluters accountable, and protect our health. It’s about undermining scientific fact with political cronyism.
“Americans can’t afford to have the EPA run by people who live in a fantasy land where facts and science don’t matter. Our environment and the health of our families is too important. This bill defies logic, it defies reason. It will hurt the people who sent us here and it will help polluters. Republicans are putting corporate greed ahead of public health and the American people will be the ones who will suffer. Americans deserve better. We should be fighting for them.”
FIRST GRADE SCIENCE LESSON FOR GOP
“Let me tell my Republican friends what I tell first graders that I visit back in my district in Massachusetts. Science is important. It’s a big deal.
“Scientists tell us things that are really important, like climate change is caused by greenhouse gases, something my Republican friends continually deny. They tell us that polluted air can give children asthma. They tell us that lead in children’s drinking water causes learning problems. They tell us pesticide exposure can cause cancer. These are important things.
“You know, the first graders I speak to, they get it. They understand the importance of science. Unfortunately, many of my colleagues in this chamber do not. I would bet that those first graders understand the importance that it is scientists that sit on scientific advisory boards and not corporate cronies.”
Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Floor Speech:
“ I rise in strong opposition to this rule and the underlying legislation. This is the 23rd closed rule of this short new Congress. Both Democrats and Republicans have been denied the opportunity to amend nearly 60 percent of the legislation that has been brought to the Floor through the Rules Committee. This effort by Speaker Ryan and the Republican leadership to halt a fair and open debate in the People’s House is outrageous. We’re supposed to be a deliberative body – where both parties get to deliberate. These Putin-esque rules – that shut down all debate – need to stop. This isn’t the Kremlin.
“I think Representative Rooney – a Republican – said it best last week. Quote, “I’ve been in this job eight years, and I’m wracking my brain to think of one thing our party has done that’s been something positive, that’s been something other than stopping something else from happening,’
“Well, today we are considering a piece of legislation that seeks to prevent the EPA from protecting public health and the environment. Not exactly positive. This bill was brought to the Rules Committee in an emergency meeting last night. Let me emphasize that – an emergency meeting.
“I think the American people have a pretty good idea of what is and what isn’t an emergency. A tree falls on your house? That’s an emergency. Your rose bush needs pruning? Not an emergency. Timmy fell down a well? That’s an emergency. Timmy might stub his toe? Not an emergency. On April 28th, the government will run out of money. That’s an emergency, even if it is self-inflicted by the Republicans.
“And we have no shortage of other ACTUAL emergencies that we should be dealing with – a devastating opioid epidemic, crumbling roads and bridges, mounting evidence of Russian meddling in our election, and people being killed every day due to gun violence, not to mention Flint, Michigan is still dealing with the residual health effects of toxically-polluted water. These are just a few examples of actual emergencies that Congress is doing NOTHING to address.
“Instead, the underlying bill — the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act — was brought to the Rules Committee and to the House floor as emergency legislation. As we learned last week, the American people are paying attention to what we do here. They are smart enough to know what an emergency is. And this bill isn’t addressing an emergency. it’s creating one!
“The Science Advisory Board at the EPA provides a way for the agency to use sound, independent, and objective scientific data to help make their decisions. Science, you may have heard of it. It’s kind of a big deal.
“But this bill won’t help the EPA to include more scientists in their decisions – it will force them to include people with potential financial conflicts of interest on the Science Advisory Board, so long as they disclose them. Do we really want people on our advisory boards if they could profit from a decision they are about to make? There’s nothing scientific about corruption and that’s exactly what this bill will open the door to.
“This bill also limits the participation of scientific experts at the EPA, leading to a disproportionate representation of big business and corporate special interests. Are these really the people we want making decisions about the health of our kids and the policies that should be protecting our environment? Is that what we want?
“So what is this bill really about? It’s about allowing the Republican’s big corporate cronies a direct route to the decision-makers at the EPA. It’s about disrupting the EPA’s ability to fairly enforce the rules, hold corporate polluters accountable, and protect our health. It’s about undermining scientific fact with political cronyism. Maybe things have changed lately – it’s been a while since my last science class – but I’m pretty sure there’s no step in the scientific method that says “consult corporate cronies.”
“The truth is that this Republican majority wants the EPA to base their decisions on fiction, not fact. Americans can’t afford to have the EPA run by people who live in a fantasy land where facts and science don’t matter. Our environment and the health of our families is too important. This law is going to have real life consequences. It will undermine science, hurt the environment, and help polluters.
“We need to allow the EPA to make decisions based on fact. We need to ensure the EPA is always free from financial conflicts – not making decisions based on panels filled with industry insiders like the ones this bill would create.
“This bill defies logic, it defies reason, and it defies sanity. It will hurt the people who sent us here and it will help polluters. Republicans are putting corporate greed ahead of public health and the American people will be the ones who will suffer. Americans deserve better. We should be fighting for them.
“Let me tell my Republican friends what I tell first graders that I visit back in my district in Massachusetts when I go to visit their schools. I usually begin by telling them that science is important. It’s a big deal. And it’s such a big deal that all our schools teach it. And if you do your homework, and you study hard, and you pay attention, you might grow up someday to become a scientist.
“Scientists are people who dedicate their lives to protect the health and well-being of all over the world. And they dedicate their lives to protect our planet. Scientists tell us things that are really important, like climate change is caused by greenhouse gases, something my Republican friends continually deny. They tell us that polluted air can give children asthma. They tell us that lead in children’s drinking water causes learning problems. They tell us pesticide exposure can cause cancer. These are important things.
“And we all learned in school, thanks to science, that the Earth orbits around the sun. That gravity causes this pen to fall when I drop it. That plants turn sunshine into energy. That dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago.
“You know, the first graders I speak to, they get it. They understand the importance of science. Unfortunately, many of my colleagues in this chamber do not. I would bet that those first graders understand the importance that it is scientists that sit on scientific advisory boards and not corporate cronies.”