Tag Archives: Impeach Donald Trump

Mark your calendars! Speak out!

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Get back to the root…Today Jett and Lilac were back at it. These photos taken yesterday. pics: R.T.

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Your Voices Matter!

After a three-year process, Worcester’s Urban Agriculture Ordinance is moving forward!

It will be vetted at the Planning Board Hearing on May 3rd at 5:30 pm in the Levi Lincoln Room of City Hall.

Your testimony and presence will make a difference in passing this ordinance.

Why might you care?

Are you an aspiring small farmer?

The Urban Ag Ordinance grants the right to farm in certain zones throughout the city, and allows farming by permit in many others.

Are you a beekeeper?

We are working with the city to fine tune the beekeeping regulations. Your voice and opinion is vital here!

Are you an avid gardener who might like to sell some of what you grow?

The city ordinance makes provisions for on-site farm stands to allow sales from your garden.

Are you a foodie who would like more fresh local produce in your neighborhood?

More local farms means more fresh produce available in your neighborhood and throughout the city.

Are you a business that depends on access to local foods, or would like to feature local produce more prominently in your retail or restaurant operation?

This ordinance will increase access to high-quality, locally grown produce in the city for consumers and businesses.

City Manager Augustus eloquently stated, “Urban agriculture can improve access to fresh, locally grown foods, put vacant or underutilized land to productive use, and has the potential to create economic and entrepreneurial opportunities.”

The Worcester Urban Agriculture Ordinance embraces zoning changes that will support small scale gardeners, community gardens and food entrepreneurs who wish to farm commercially in Worcester.

Please come and share your story about why we need to pass urban agriculture!
If you can’t come but have something to say, send an email … we can read your remarks. Please email testimony to martha@worcesterfoodpolicycouncil.org, and please include your zip code to show city residency.

Thank you so much!

Martha Assefa
Manager of the Worcester Food Policy Council

This Sun.

🎵🎶🎵 music to our ears!

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Ora Szekely

From Clark University …

(I’ve made some sentences bold. – R.T.)

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.

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SPEAK OUT AGAINST TRUMPISM!!!

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Chiderah Okoye

NSBE Boston invites you to join us at the March for Science Boston on Saturday, April 22nd from 1pm – 4pm, at the Boston Common.

This is a family friendly event and it will be outdoors.

March For Science is a celebration of people who love and support science.

The Boston rally is part of the National March for Science taking place in Washington, DC.

NSBE Boston is an exhibition partner for the 2017 the March For Science Boston and will have an exhibition stand. NSBE Boston chapter President, Chiderah Okoye, will be a featured speaker at the Rally.

Date: April 22
Time: 1 pm – 4 pm
Location: Boston Common

Volunteer with NSBE Boston : If you are a interested in being a volunteer at the Boston March for Science, please contact Lenny – PCI@nsbeboston.org

March for Science champions publicly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity.

We are committed to making science accessible to everyone and encouraging people from diverse backgrounds and experiences to pursue science careers.

Diverse science teams outperform homogeneous teams and produce broader, more creative, and stronger work. This group is inclusive of all individuals and types of science.

For more information, please visit the March for Science website – www.marchforscienceboston.com

Innocence Project director to speak at Clark University, April 20:

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Justin P. Brooks

The California Innocence Project, founded in 1999, espouses three goals:

to free innocent people from prison

to help train law students to become great lawyers

and to change laws and procedures to decrease the number of wrongful convictions and improve the justice system.

The California Innocence Project’s founding director, Justin P. Brooks, will talk about the organization’s crucial efforts to accomplish those key goals, during a talk at Clark University, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20, in the Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons, Maywood and Florence streets.

This event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by Clark’s Study Abroad and LEEP Center, and by CAPA – The Global Education Network.

Brooks is executive director at the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy and professor of law at the California Western School of Law, in San Diego, where he also directs the California Innocence Project, a law school clinic that is a founding member of global Innocence Network and has helped launch organizations throughout Latin America.

“Over the years, it has given me great joy to see our work go global in an ‘innocence movement’ that grows bigger and stronger every day,” Brooks writes.
Brooks has spent his career litigating wrongful conviction cases. He recently was featured in Time magazine, and presented popular TED Talks. His high-profile cases include the exoneration of Brian Banks, a former NFL player wrongly convicted of rape when in high school.

Brooks teaches a global seminar, titled “Wrongful Conviction,” at the CAPA London Study Center.

The seminar is open to Clark University students.

Global Seminars are three to four-week, 1-2 unit summer programs providing students with intensive study and experiential opportunities.

Happy Easter!

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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:

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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.

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pic: Franny McKeever

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Here is Dorrie’s newest cutie, precious Peke, Peggy Sue💙! Dorrie brought her home Friday:

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💛💛💛💛 pics: Dorrie Maynard

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Happy Easter, Peggy Sue!🌺🐰

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And with bunnies on the brain. From PETA.ORG …

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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.

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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.

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With every vegan, cruelty-free product purchase, you’re sending a message that you don’t support archaic tests on animals.

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Saturday … “S” is for special … 🎵

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pics: R.T.

Soup!

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Text and recipe by Chef Joey

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.

Onion 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

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💗💗💗💗💗🎵

3 tbsp butter

2 tbsp sugar

8 cups water

Beef Bouillon

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!

Enjoy!

Mark your calendars for an REC Special day:

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The Stripes!

Stephen!

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

But first …

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

From Jim’s office:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music 🎵🇺🇸 to our ears!

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Congressman Jim McGovern

From Jim’s office:

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.”

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Trump needs to fire some staff – especially Bannon

But first …

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By Steven R. Maher

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not private sector

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

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

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

Bannon feuds with Ryan

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

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

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

More 🎵🎹🇺🇸 to our ears – thanks, Jim!💚

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Go, Congressman McGovern, go!

From Jim McGovern’s office:

Congressman McGovern: GOP Health Bill a Reverse Robin Hood! – Stealing from Working Class to give tax cut to Billionaires!

Today Congressman Jim McGovern led floor debate for House Democrats as Republicans began the process for consideration of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

Congressman McGovern – who was the top Democrat at the more than 12-hour markup of the bill last night – called out Republicans for rushing the bill to a vote without any hearings or input from experts.

Congressman McGovern also called out Republicans for refusing to even tell members of Congress what is in the bill, which has constantly been changing as President Trump and Republican leadership have scrambled to get their members to support the bill.

Congressman McGovern’s Floor Speech – Excerpts Below:

“Republican Leadership and the White House are huddled behind closed doors as we speak, making deals that will have very real, very serious, very dangerous consequences for millions and millions of Americans.

“According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – this bill would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“In fact, Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And Republicans are cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding.

“This ‘reverse Robin Hood’ will steal from the working class and give to the wealthy. Under the Republican plan, 2.8 Billion dollars – that’s billion with a B – in tax breaks will go the 400 richest families in America each year.

“Now my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to be rushing this through in hopes that no one will figure out that it’s a tax break for the rich masquerading as a healthcare bill.

“Let me just remind my colleagues again that we’re talking about people’s lives here. I’m pretty sure the middle-class Americans who Republicans claim to be helping would be okay with delaying this reckless bill for a little while to give us a chance to find out what the impacts will be!

“Don’t jam a disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. Let’s go back to the drawing board. It’s clear Republicans never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.”

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Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Remarks:

“We aren’t here to debate the Republican health care repeal plan. We aren’t here to debate that, because Republican Leadership and the White House are huddled behind closed doors as we speak, making deals that will have very real, very serious, very dangerous consequences for millions and millions of Americans. Instead, we’re here to debate a martial law rule that will allow Republicans to rush their bill with its brand-new backroom deals to the floor today without any proper deliberation.

“As a matter of fact, it would let them rush any bill to the floor today – or any day through Monday.

“It’s a blanket martial law rule that lasts past the weekend – not specific to their health care bill, and not even specific to the topic of health care! What other bills could they be contemplating considering? We saw the Buffalo Bribe is already in the manager’s amendment, but this rule lets them bring up any other bill before the public has a chance to know what it is. Something on the Russia investigation, perhaps? I’ve seen a lot on that in the news lately. Or maybe we’ll give President Trump’s friend Putin a Congressional Gold Medal. It’s the least the Republicans could do after his help with the election!

“But let’s talk about what we have learned so far in the press. We first learned from news reports last night that Republicans were considering changes to the bill that would kill the Essential Health Benefits in current law.

“Let me say that again. Essential – as in “absolutely necessary; extremely important” as defined by the dictionary.

“And sure enough, we reported out this martial law rule in the dark of night, which will allow Republicans to bring the new and unimproved version of the bill – again, now with even more backroom deals – to the Rules Committee later today, or in the dead of night, and take it straight to the House Floor.

“Apparently, there’s no time for it to even sit for one day so members can read it, let alone get analysis from the non-partisan experts at CBO.

“Are they hoping that if they move quickly enough, no one will figure out what they’re up to?

“Well let me lay it out for everyone: essential health benefits require insurance plans to cover basic, essential benefits such as: emergency services, maternity care, mental health care and substance abuse treatment, pediatric services, and prescription drugs.

“The New York Times this morning pointed out that this late-breaking Republican proposal could lead to plans that cover aromatherapy, but not chemotherapy. Really? Are Republicans seriously contemplating making a change this massive without hearings? Without a markup? No CBO estimate of the impact? No chance to read the bill??? I’ve seen a lot in my years here, but this is truly unbelievable. You guys take my breath away.

“And that’s not even considering the already-dangerous bill we were supposed to be down here considering right now. Let me just make clear what that bill actually is.

“First, it is a massive tax cut for millionaires and billionaires, paid for by taking health insurance away from 24 million people. Period.

“Anyone who takes five minutes to look at any unbiased analysis of the bill knows that this is true. Massive tax cuts for the well-off, at the expense of 24 million people. Let me paint a picture of how big that number is: 24 million people is basically the entire population of the country of Australia. It is more people than live in the states of Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia – combined.

“You know how I know the bill is a tax giveaway for the wealthy, and not a health care bill?

“Because according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – it would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“Second, their bill will cause people to pay more out of pocket dollars, for lower quality health insurance. That’s right, Republicans are asking people to pay more for less coverage. In particular, lower-income and older Americans will see their costs skyrocket – those people who can least afford to pay more.

“Third point, and this is a big one: the bill guts Medicaid and Medicare.

“Don’t take it from me: the AARP said, and I quote, ‘This bill would weaken Medicare’s fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64, and put at risk the health care of millions of children and adults with disabilities, and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program for long-term services and supports and other benefits.’

“In fact, Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And Republicans are cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding.

“All this, to give tax cuts to the rich and to corporations. The bill must look like a cruel joke to the most vulnerable among us.

“Representative Mo Brooks, a member of the Republican Conference, said just the other night, and I quote, ‘Quite frankly, I’m persuaded that this republican healthcare bill, long term, is a detriment to the future of the United States of America.’

“Finally, even before imposing martial law last night, this process was horrendous. The Republican majority rushed their bill through the committee process without any hearings. None. Zero. Just holding marathon markups where no Democratic amendments were accepted. None. Not one. They didn’t even wait for a CBO score!

“Then, when a score finally came, it showed that the bill would kick 24 million people off their insurance. Did they stop then? No! Of course Not!

“Yesterday, in the Rules Committee, we rushed ahead with a cobbled-together managers amendment – I’m sorry, four cobbled-together managers amendments, since the originals had errors – and again, no CBO score on the updated bill. Didn’t my colleagues learn their lesson from last week?

“And even worse – the main manager’s amendment, which we received just 36 hours before our meeting, is so full of backroom deals like the Buffalo Bribe, a cynical and likely unconstitutional agreement with wavering New York Republicans who know the republican healthcare plan would devastate New York.

“And now, they’re saying ‘Don’t Worry. If you don’t like this bill, it’s just step one of three. You’ll get another chance to vote on Healthcare during step three.’ Never mind that they can’t give us the full slate of bills that are part of this mysterious step three.

“Or maybe I should just take Republican Senator Cotton’s word for it. He said, and I quote, ‘There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin.’

“Republican Senator Ted Cruz, from my colleague’s state of Texas, called the third prong of this three-bucket strategy, and I quote “the sucker’s bucket.” That’s your own member calling you a sucker if you vote for this!

“We heard testimony all day yesterday, and well into the night, about how disastrous this bill would be for hard working Americans. We heard about how countless major health organizations oppose this plan from the American Medical Association, to American Hospital Association, to the National Rural Health Association, to the AARP, to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, to the National Alliance on Mental Illness – and I could go on and on and on.

“This ‘reverse Robin Hood’ will steal from the working class and give to the wealthy. Under the Republican plan, 2.8 Billion dollars – that’s billion with a B – in tax breaks will go the 400 richest families in America each year.

“Now my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to be rushing this through in hopes that no one will figure out that it’s a tax break for the rich masquerading as a healthcare bill. And now, we find ourselves on the floor debating a martial-law rule that will take this reckless process from ‘light-speed’ to ‘warp-speed.’

“Let me just remind my colleagues again that we’re talking about people’s lives here. I’m pretty sure the middle-class Americans who Republicans claim to be helping would be okay with delaying this reckless bill for a little while to give us a chance to find out what the impacts will be!

“This process is beyond the pale. I’m honestly still stunned that we’re even here debating a martial law rule on legislation of this magnitude when changes to people’s basic essential health benefits are being contemplated without so much as a single hearing, let alone a CBO score. And again – we have no real clue what Republicans will be bringing to the floor later today.

“Now – I’m just going off of what I read in the news, since we haven’t gotten any actual updates from the other side of the aisle.

“This rule would allow them to bring anything to the floor today. Or tomorrow. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. Or Monday. Literally anything.

“Will there be a new bill? Who knows! Will it even be on health care? Beats me!

“What mystery changes are they contemplating that are so broad they can’t even narrow their martial law authority down to the topic of healthcare?

“Please, I would ask my colleagues to slow down! Be thoughtful – this is not a game. You don’t get extra points for being fast. This health care repeal affects millions upon millions of Americans.

“Don’t jam a disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. Let’s go back to the drawing board. It’s clear Republicans never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.

“This is a sad day. This is a sad day for this institution, but it is an even sadder day for the American people.”