Tag Archives: Americans

Steve parked in fashion … LIVING IN TRUMPLAND

Donald Trump as POTUS – be afraid. Be very afraid.        pic:R.T.

By Steven R. Maher

Donald Trump’s surprise election as President of the United States has created deep-seated anxiety among American voters who favored Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Some fear Trump will destroy the environment, bring terrorist attacks to American soil with his inflammatory, hate-filled rhetoric, cause a nuclear war; others fear he will cut off their social security benefits, Medicaid, health insurance. Still others are afraid that Trump will turn America into a quasi-fascist state. These fears are particularly pronounced among women who fear Trump’s misogyny, immigrants who fear being singled out for hate and harassment, the LGBTQ community who fear vice president-elect Mike Pence’s history on gay rights … the list goes on. And on.

I Googled the phrase “Trump anxiety.” Up popped help-line telephone numbers, suicide emergency websites and “Trump anxiety hotlines.” Well, I too have concerns about a Trump Presidency, but they haven’t reached the level of suicide. These are some factors liberal Democrats should keep in mind:

Oldest constitutional democracy

The United States of America is the greatest country in the world. Starting out as a conglomerate of feuding states with competing interests, it managed to defeat the greatest empire since Rome, evolved after a fierce civil over African-Americans to the point where we twice elected an African American President, and flowered into a nuclear monopoly that sent men to the moon. Betwixt these events, America rescued the planet from the twin evils of fascism and communism.

We are the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. Amid a ferocious civil war, Abraham Lincoln went forward with an election for a second term that no one believed he would win. But he did. The 1930s depression would have sparked a class war in any other country. We got instead the calming words of Franklin Roosevelt: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Democrats should keep Roosevelt’s words in mind as Trump raises his right hand in January 2017 to swear fealty to the constitution.

We have survived the challenges of the past 240 years because our government was created by the founders with someone like Donald Trump in mind! They didn’t expect every President to be like George Washington. They expected voters to occasionally elect a Richard Nixon or a Donald Trump.

To mitigate the damages such individuals could cause, they set up a government of checks and balances. Power to create laws, raise revenue, and declare war was restricted to the Congress. Power to command the armed forces (greatly restricted after Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam war and Nixon’s Watergate scandal) and run the executive branch were given the President. Power to interpret the laws to the constitutional provisions is left to an independent judiciary. To safeguard the rights and property of the citizenry, the first Congress passed a “Bill of Rights,” the first 10 amendments to the constitution.

In short, Donald Trump will not be walking into a dictatorship or monarchy.

He won’t be able to push a button and eliminate freedom of the press.

Nor will he able to fulfill some of the more bizarre promises he has made to his supporters.

Members of the military have warned Trump they will not torture prisoners; nor will they kill innocent noncombatants because their family members are terrorists.

There will be 200 years of constitutional precedent in defense of our rights and masses of lawyers both ready and eager to take Trump on.


Incentive grants awarded to five career centers to promote continued workforce training and hiring of veterans

BOSTON – The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development today announced that five of the state’s 32 One-Stop Career Centers have been honored for outstanding service to Massachusetts veterans.

Through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Jobs for Veterans State Grant Program, the Massachusetts Department of Career Services (DCS) annually awards incentive grants to recognize One-Stop Career Centers for their efforts in demonstrating improvement and modernization of employment, training and placement services for veterans; rewarding and celebrating excellence in priority of service; developing a library of best practice techniques; and improving performance outcomes for veterans.

“Veterans have proudly served our Commonwealth and country, gaining tremendous skills that can be applied in today’s workforce,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein. “Assisting veterans with workforce training and employment opportunities is an important initiative for the Patrick Administration as well as the Obama Administration. We thank the U.S. Department of Labor for continuing to help Massachusetts recognize leading Career Centers for their hard work and innovative programs in support of these brave men and women.”

“Massachusetts is the national leader in providing comprehensive veterans’ services for many reasons, but none more so than the strong collaborations we have made to maximize our resources and provide world-class, comprehensive benefits to our veterans and their families,” said Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Coleman Nee. “Finding employment is an essential component to a successful transition for any veteran. The work of the Division of Career Services and the career centers is another great example of federal, state and local resources combining to ensure veterans succeed in that transition. I applaud the Secretary and her team and congratulate all recipients.”

At a recent Workforce Partners’ meeting including career centers, veterans’ agents and workforce investment boards, Secretary Goldstein and DCS Director Alice Sweeney recognized the outstanding efforts of the selected One-Stop Career Centers, acknowledging the substantial contribution, high quality service and dedication to improving employment opportunities for veterans and whose contributions involving veterans extend to the local community at large. Through the U.S. Department of Labor’s non-competitive Jobs for Veterans State Grants Program, the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) offers employment and training services to eligible veterans. Under this grant program, funds are allocated to State Workforce Agencies in direct proportion to the number of veterans seeking employment within their state.

The five recognized Career Centers for the 2013 Jobs for Veterans State Grant Incentive Award include:

Gold Award: $10,500

ValleyWorks Career Center, Lawrence and Haverhill

ValleyWorks Career Center currently boasts the highest veteran entered employment rate across the Commonwealth. ValleyWorks Career Center was also recently awarded a grant through the Walmart Foundation to “Close the Gap” in services for veterans, supporting occupational training for veterans who are ineligible to receive other state or federal job training. ValleyWorks Career Center, which emphasizes a strong partnership with local veteran organizations in the community, developed the Merrimack Valley Veterans Coalition. Staff also apply a holistic approach in serving veteran jobseekers, providing a Veteran Services Referral form to identify, connect, and track services to Veterans. Eric Nelson of Haverhill and Clifton “Bryhn” McLeod of Georgetown  are the Veteran Employment Representatives for ValleyWorks Career Center.


“The ValleyWorks Career Center staff is committed and dedicated to assist veterans by providing quality training and employment services that utilize their former skills to re-enter the workforce, earning a good wage with career ladders,” said Arthur Chilingirian, Executive Director of the ValleyWorks Career Center. “We prioritize our services to those men and women who selflessly served our country.”

Silver Award: $8,250

Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Northampton

Franklin Hampshire Career Center demonstrates effective collaboration and applies innovative resources to better serve the veteran community. As a 2012 Jobs for Veterans State Grant Incentive Award winner, Franklin Hampshire Career Center used a portion of its award to purchase flash drives for their veteran customers to facilitate storage for discharge documents, resumes, and other documents and pre-loaded the flash drives with Job Search tools and veteran specific support information, a best practice recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. Gary Howe of Easthampton is the Veteran Employment Representative for Franklin Hampshire Career Center, and created user-friendly in-house outreach assessment forms for veterans to assist with service and case management.

“Gary Howe has been employed in the Franklin Hampshire Workforce system for over 20 years working as a job developer, youth programs coordinator and for the past 3 years as a Veterans Representative. He has excelled in all assignments,” said Michael Truckey, Executive Director of the Franklin Hampshire Career Center.

Bronze Award: $6,125

Career Source, Cambridge

Career Source promotes innovative programs to better serve the veteran community including the creation of a six-week pilot program to co-facilitate a veterans CONNECT group. CONNECT is a collaboration of six non-profits organizations, providing peer support, motivation and encouragement in one location to assists veterans to move into employment and a career path that will lead to self-sufficiency. By the end of the six week series of meetings, six of the eight participating veterans obtained employment and a seventh received an offer letter. With the success of this pilot, Career Source plans to continue the CONNECT group series two to three times a year. Dennis Pellegrino of North Andover is the Veteran Employment Specialist for Career Source.

“The job search strategies shared by the group facilitators were an important component of this project,” said Linda Rohrer, Executive Director of Career Source. “However, key to the effort of this success was the bond that formed among the veterans as they shared their stories and provided valuable support to each other.”

Upcoming Star Award: $2,563

Job Net, Boston

JobNet has demonstrated effective collaborations to assist veterans in obtaining their career goals. In May 2013, Job Net partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Massachusetts Committee, the Red Sox Organization, and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to hold a “Hiring our Heroes” veterans hiring event at Fenway Park that attracted over 480 veterans. Throughout the year, Job Net also arranged services from a local law firm to provide monthly pro-bono services to help Veterans with a CORI record to potentially seal those records and to lead to sustainable employment. Michael Falasca of Peabody is the Veteran Employment Specialist at Job Net.

“I believe that there is no greater service than that given by the men and women who put their lives on the line for their country,” said Rosemary Alexander, Executive Director of JobNet Career Center. “It is an honor and a privilege to serve those who have served. I firmly believe that it is only fitting that we should provide priority of service for our veterans utilizing the Career Centers. Our own veteran staff person at JobNet – Michael Falasca, DVOP – does an outstanding job of ensuring that veteran customers receive the highest quality career development services. We thank our veterans for their service.”

Upcoming Star: $2,563

The Greater New Bedford Career Center, New Bedford

The Greater New Bedford Career Center has made providing front-line services, including unemployment matters, for veterans a top priority. The Greater New Bedford Career Center was one the first Career Centers to utilize the work study program through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, providing veterans the opportunity to learn about workforce development while also attending school and receiving a stipend to supplement income. For example, a veteran participating in the work study program first worked at New Directions South Coast, a career center partnering agency, and recently obtained employment with the Commonwealth at the center. Paul Champagne of Rochester is the Veteran Employment Specialist at the Greater New Bedford Career Center.

“We provide an exceptional level of service to all our customers and we take pride in providing the highest level of service possible to all our veterans,” said Steven Martins, Operations Manager at the Greater New Bedford Career Center.

The Patrick Administration is a leading provider for veteran services and continues to implement employment assistance and workforce training programs for members of the armed forces, veterans and their spouses. Veterans receive priority service at each of DCS’s 32 One-Stop Career Centers around the Commonwealth. Each One-Stop Career Center has a staff member dedicated to assisting veterans. In the last fiscal year, DCS provided services to approximately 14,000 veterans in the Commonwealth. In 2011, the Administration launched an aggressive employment campaign focused on increasing the hiring of Massachusetts veterans. Among these initiatives, the Patrick Administration has partnered with major trade associations to encourage them to hire veterans, circulate information on veterans’ benefits and educate local employers about the skills service members gain the military.

To lead by example, Governor Deval Patrick called for the establishment of an Interagency Taskforce on Hiring Veterans within the Executive Branch. The Secretary of Administration and Finance charged the head of the Human Resources Division along with Taskforce members to take a critical look at the Executive Branch’s current policies, processes and practices on hiring veterans and completed a plan in 2012. In March of this year, the Governor signed an executive order to help small businesses owned by disabled veterans gain access to contracts for public projects in the areas of construction, design and goods and services procurement and also announced the establishment of guidelines to assist members of the armed forces, veterans and their spouses with professional licenses so that they can prepare and apply for job in the Commonwealth.

To learn more about services for Massachusetts veterans, visit www.mass.gov/veterans or about the Massachusetts Department of Career Services, visit http://www.mass.gov/lwd/employment-services/.




Curbing prostitution along Main South’s Main Street corridor: a one-year Community Policing pilot

By Worcester District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller

Last September, neighbors stood shoulder-to-shoulder at a press conference at the corner of Main and Hitchcock streets to acknowledge that prostitution was embedded along Main Street from Madison to Webster Square: “Our children, our spouses, and ourselves are being victimized every day by prostitution.

It is not just seeing the prostitutes ply their trade or the johns stalking in their cars and trucks. It is not only the ugly and physical domination of pimps, the unwanted solicitations to our youth and young women, the frequent foul language, and the painful addiction behaviors.

Nor is it solely the fear of our apartment buildings being invaded by desperate individuals. It is all of this for sure. But the real cry comes from the sense of hopelessness that is descending on us that says ‘This is how it is and this is how will be.’”

The group was made up of myself, members of the Main South Alliance for Public Safety, the Main South CDC, Clark University, each of the six crime watches in Main South, St. Peter’s Parish, and local business owners.

After a particularly bad summer of constant prostitution activity we were calling for resources to truly end this blight on our present and future. At the community meeting that followed, Bill Breault (Main South Alliance for Public Safety), Casey Starr (Main South CDC), and myself committed ourselves to form a Curbing Prostitution Task Force to develop a strategy to be implemented by April 2011. Various community members, staff from the YWCA’s Daybreak Program, Worcester Police Department, District Attorney’s Office, and Probation Department met throughout the fall and winter where we rolled up our collective sleeves and produced a consensus community policing strategy.

The key parts of the strategy:

1. Make curbing prostitution a city public safety priority.

2. Continue monthly task force meeting or the next year to assess success/failure and to make the strategy more robust.

3. Active reporting of prostitution behaviors by the community.

4. Decrease demand (males buying sex for a fee).

5. Decrease supply (females selling sex for a fee).

6. Collect and evaluate data on where prostitution is happening.

I am pleased to report that the strategy is now being implemented. You may have recently read about or seen some police stings. These will continue, with particular emphasis on arresting the johns. Probation and the District Attorney’s Office will increase their work to have both female and male offenders sent to the DAWN and CARD programs as a condition of their sentences.

Daybreak and Probation will drive these education programs and collect data on the number of people attending and track recidivism.

The City Manager and the task force will work to find resources for an outreach worker and resources to help women exit prostitution. The Main South Alliance, the Main South CDC and I will soon distribute information to Main South neighbors on how to effectively report prostitution activity.

How you can help:

 · OBSERVE prostitution trolling by females and males, · CALL 508 799 8606 and say, “I am reporting prostitution activity,” · REPORT street locations (corner of …, in front of …), activity (female soliciting, male soliciting, etc.), and descriptions (female with white jacket, male in green sedan, etc.), and · JOIN a neighborhood/business association.

Do not expect the police to show up. I repeat, DO NOT EXPECT THE POLICE TO SHOW UP. While this may happen, the purpose of Observe, Call, Report, and Join is to gather data on where and when prostitution is happening. This data will be used to set up stings, increase public safety and community presence in an area, track where the prostitution traffic is moving, and track increases/decreases in prostitution activity along the corridor.

If you want to join the task force, learn when and where a neighborhood association is meeting, need more info, or have some ideas about how we can make a difference, call/email me.

Stay in touch.

Never Forget: Bad Wars Aren’t Possible Unless Good People Back Them

By Michael Moore

We invaded Iraq because most Americans — including good liberals like Al Franken, Nicholas Kristof & Bill Keller of the New York Times, David Remnick of the New Yorker, the editors of the Atlantic and the New Republic, Harvey Weinstein, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and John Kerry — wanted to.

Of course, the actual blame for the war goes to Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz because they ordered the “precision” bombing, the invasion, the occupation, and the theft of our national treasury. I have no doubt that history will record that they committed the undisputed Crime of the (young) Century.

But how did they get away with it, considering they’d lost the presidential election by 543,895 votes? They also knew that the majority of the country probably wouldn’t back them in such a war (a Newsweek poll in October 2002 showed 61% thought it was “very important” for Bush to get formal approval from the United Nations for war — but that never happened). So how did they pull it off?

They did it by getting liberal voices to support their war. They did it by creating the look of bipartisanship. And they convinced other countries’ leaders like Tony Blair to get on board and make it look like it wasn’t just our intelligence agencies cooking the evidence. Continue reading Never Forget: Bad Wars Aren’t Possible Unless Good People Back Them