Praying today for the people – THE CHILDREN! – of Syria! Praying our President acts with grace and wisdom.
A scary, uncertain time. Peace! In the ‘hood, Syria, Russia, America! pics: R.T.
McGovern, Pelosi Call for Congress to Reconvene to Debate Military Authorization for Syria
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern, a senior House Democrat and leading critic of the expanded use of military force by presidents in both parties, joined House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers calling for Speaker Ryan to immediately call the House of Representatives back into session to debate an Authorization of the Use of Military Force for military actions taken in Syria.
In February 2017, Congressman McGovern led a bipartisan group of 19 lawmakers calling for Speaker Ryan to hold a debate and vote on the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) for U.S. military operations in the Middle East.
Following President Trump’s unilateral action to order airstrikes against Syria last night, Congressman McGovern is renewing that call with this statement:
“Every president must obtain congressional authorization to launch military strikes and President Trump is no exception. President Trump’s unilateral action to attack Syria without consulting Congress and obtaining authorization is an alarming violation of the checks and balances put in place by the Constitution – safeguards established to prevent presidents from taking our country to war without the consent of the American people.
“Americans must have a say when it comes to war. President Trump’s failure to work with Congress to achieve a bipartisan consensus on military action has shut out the voices of the American people and raised serious concerns about the possibility of military escalation without any input from their elected leaders. The time to debate U.S. military operations is before we drop bombs and send troops – not after.
“Today I am joining the growing bipartisan call for Congress to immediately reconvene to debate the path forward for U.S. military operations in Syria. If the President intends to escalate U.S. military involvement in Syria, he must to come to Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force which is clearly crafted to meet the threat and prevent another endless war. The American people and our men and women in uniform deserve nothing less.”
Full Text of Pelosi Letter to Speaker Ryan:
April 7, 2017
The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
H-232, United States Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Mr. Speaker,
I am writing to request that you call the House back in session immediately to debate any decision to place our men and women in uniform in harm’s way.
Bashar al-Assad ‘s chemical weapons attack on his own people places him outside the circle of civilized human behavior. Assad also continues to attack his own people with conventional weapons. Meanwhile, Russia props up the Assad regime and enables its brutal war crimes to continue.
The President’s action and any response demands that we immediately do our duty. Congress must live up to its Constitutional responsibility to debate an Authorization of the Use of Military Force against a sovereign nation.
As heartbreaking as Assad’s chemical weapons attacks on his own people was, the crisis in Syria will not be resolved by one night of airstrikes. The killing will not stop without a comprehensive political solution to end the violence. The American people are owed a comprehensive strategy with clear objectives to keep our brave men and women in uniform safe and avoid collateral damage to innocent civilians in Syria.
I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible on this matter of grave concern to our national security.
The same can be said for Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney – he is just as American-Democracy-hating and truth-twisting as Donald Trump. Gaffney is a lying, combative street fighter, just like his hero!
By Rosalie Tirella
So a few weeks ago we were on the telephone with the Holden police – Turtle Boy blogger Aidan Kearney now lives in the Jefferson part of Holden – and has become that Worcester suburb’s bete noire. I will not discuss why I called the good officers on the bad Turtle Boy, but I was surprised when the Holden copper told me he was familiar with Turtle Boy – that he had been getting phone calls about Turtle Boy-Kearney all week long!
I said: Well, hot damn! So you know how it spins with the Turtle! Worcester’s hater is now YOUR hater! Worcester’s community divider is now YOUR community divider! Worcester’s problem is now YOUR problem, officer!
Loathed in Worcester because of his loathesome Turtle Boy blog Kearney can now be loathed in Holden, a much smaller pond with a much larger collective memory. Like all small towns. We are hoping Holden will do to Turtle Boy Kearney what he has done to Worcester and its minority communities – box him in, marginalize him, stereotype him, laugh at him, accuse him of all sorts of crimes and misdemeanors.
Karma’s a bitch, Aidan!
Turtle Boy-Aidan’s exodus from Worcester makes sense: with his son now almost old enough (or old enough) to be going to school – being part of a school system/community – bully boy Aidan Kearney-Turtle Boy did not want to see the pitch forks turned on his kid. And his growing family. Which would happen here. Because he has trashed an entire city! Made a million enemies with his abusive and stupid blog.
Turtle Boy Kearney, his wife, little boy and baby girl had to pack it all up and … run away.
Now Aidan Kearney belongs to Jefferson-Holden – a white, mostly upper-middle class town where he doesn’t come in contact with the “wangstas,” “hoodrats” and skanks that he writes about in his blog every day and sees EVERYWHERE in Worcester and places like Southbridge, Gardner, Brockton, Lawrence … you know, the state’s Gateway Cities, once great factory towns now struggling to reinvent themselves. Kick a city when she’s down – that’s Turtle Boy Kearney’s M.O.
The Turtle Boy has taken a huge dump on these places, Worcester included. Turned our people into cartoon characters that just sit around in Section 8 housing smoking weed, selling their food stamps, abusing their kids, growing more morbidly obese or scrawny by the second. Turtle Boy has taken poverty, mental illness and poor job prospects for uneducated American workers and turned it all into one big dystopian joke that all the haters in Worcester can laugh at, feel superior to.
And Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney supports it all – has for years and continues to do so by purchasing $$$ ads on the Turtle Boy blog.
Gaffney’s one of the few advertisers left – including a gun seller and a place where there had been a murder. Gaffney is in fitting company!
A peek today at the once porn-ad-choked Turtle Boy blog shows us a gray, square ad with a “click here for a free consultation” typed over it. You click on the ad and you see … Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney! It’s an ad for Gaffney’s ambulance-chasing lawyering business.
Typical Gaffney charade like this one which the media uncovered a few weeks ago …
Up until a few weeks ago, for years, Gaffney had his decades-old photo and lawyer ad on the Turtle Boy blog, plainly visible, with the words “Attorney Gaffney” written for all to see.
Now the Gaffer is ashamed of being aligned with the Turtle (which he is) – now sees the Turtle-Boy-Gaffney-bond as a liability (which it is).
But not quite.
Gaffney still needs Turtle Boy Aidan Kearney and his followers/readers – many Worcester voters. Gaffney still needs his evil cheerleader and mouth piece. So maybe he can be Woo mayor some day!😱😱😱😱 So Gaffney creates and pays for $$$ a Secret Turtle Boy ad. Slippery as always!
So WHAT IS MICHAEL GAFFNEY – a city councilor who is so ravenous to be mayor that he will do or say anything, no matter how nefarious, to accomplish his political goal – REALLY SUPPORTING?
Besides the usual Turtle Boy hatred … this recent Turtle Boy blog post made me especially sad, reminded me of what Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney really stands for:
The recent Turtle Boy Aidan blog post I am writing about today was written by Turtle Boy a while ago. It’s about a little girl … around 7 years old who is identifying as a little boy. AG Maura Healey is supporting the little boy and his family – in the face of the Trump administration’s cruel roll back of transgender folks’ rights (kids will be physically hurt, bullied, deprived of expressing their true voices because of Trump!) Aidan-Kearney-Turtle-Boy, as in the dark on this issue as Donald Trump and his nightmare of a Cabinet are, just had to chime in on the news. The header of his recent post:
“Maura Healey Using This Confused 7 Year Old Who Thinks She’s Transgender As A Political Prop. Is The Most Disgusting Thing I’ve Ever Seen A Politician Do”
Turtle Boy-Aidan’s evil post begins:
“If your 7 year old girl says she’s a boy, what do you do? Pump her up with hormones, feed into the delusion, and give yourself the SJW medal of honor. Tell her that boys have penises and they’re disgusting and then give her a popsicle.”
And more nuggets of ignorance from the Turtle Boy blog post:
” … Trump announced yesterday that he was rolling back President Obama’s executive order that forces schools across the country to allow any student to use any locker room, so long as they declare themselves a member of that gender beforehand. I know, the horror. But the fact of the matter is that in states like Massachusetts the bathroom and locker room rules will not be changed … .”
” … Seriously, this girl’s parents should be ARRESTED. This is sick and twisted.”
” …. disgusting political stunts I have ever seen, Maura Healey brought up an 8 year old girl to condemn Trump for coming after her 7 year old “brother” Jacob, who has a vagina and is in fact a girl. This is really the most vile thing I have EVER seen a politician do:”
“Seriously, this girl’s parents should be ARRESTED. This is sick and twisted. They allowed their eight year old daughter to be Maura Healey’s political prop.”
“Right now we’re here to talk about why it’s important for your sister to undergo dangerous hormone therapy so Mom and Dad can pat themselves on the back for being progressive. Because for you puberty will be a natural part of life, but for your sister puberty is a disease and the only way to prevent this disease is to load her up with puberty-blocking hormones, because science and biology are bad.”
InCity Times was the first newspaper in Worcester to support and write about transgender folks and their fight for civil/human rights – see our story on Jesse on this website. So we come to this issue with a special passion! Turtle Boy Kearney is WRONG ON SO MANY FRONTS here!!!: No one can force a human being to be a certain sex; most trans people ALWAYS felt who they were meant to be – from teenie tiny kidhood! No one forces transgender folks to take hormones! – parents do not inject hormones into their kids! Most trans folks CHOOSE to make hormone therapy a part of identifying. And their desire to be who God intended them to be can be made a living hell by family, community and society if people (like Turtle Boy) don’t understand the issue. Contrary to what Turtle Boy writes on his blog, a kid self-identifying is not pulling some gag to mess up society and invade the “wrong” restroom – it’s a real and true THIS-IS-WHO-I-AM moment. It’s the need to USE THE CORRECT RESTROOM! To be HONEST with society! This can be so difficult in today’s America that psychotherapy is often a big piece of the transgender person’s “coming out.”
The amazing thing for me is not Aidan-Turtle Boy’s usual bashing, cruel and totally stupid, misinformed, DANGEROUS and possibly hate-crime-inducing take on the issue but THAT A BLUE COLLAR GUY, a TURTLE BOY reader!!, actually brought the EVIL of this Turtle Boy post home to me months before Aidan even wrote it … . The guy is a TB rah rah reader but he’s also married to a wonderful woman – a school principal. A year or two ago the guy told me his wife, the school principal, had a boy in a kindergarten class in her school who was identifying as a girl. He was serious when he told me this. Trying to understand. Thinking of what that really meant – for the 5 year old, for her family, for her teachers, for her classmates. How could the girl be supported at school? How could everybody learn? Accept? Love? He was so serious as he told me all this. As a dad with young kids he may have never thought about the issue, but he knows little kids don’t – can’t – lie about something like gender. Now that his wife, an educator, a professional with college and post-college degrees and psychology courses galore under her belt, was grappling with the issue, he was, too. Trying to figure it out. In a real way. This blue collar rough around the edges guy. He made me proud!
The fact that this guy is not getting his “facts” from the fucked up Aidan Kearney-Turtle Boy but from his wife, a pretty wonderful person, a caring human being wanting to do the right thing, makes all the difference. We wish this could happen to all the Turtle riders – including Michael Gaffney!
But it won’t. Turtle Boy and Worcester City Councilor Gaffney exploit the crises, revelations, changes and growth in Worcester. No room for illumination here, folks! Screw a BETTER WORLD! These two guys, each having his own motives that overlap, always muddy the waters, create sadness, perpetuate ignorance and fan prejudice. We’re certain every multi-cultural, diverse American place – WHICH IS EVERY WHERE in the U.S. – has a Michael Gaffney and Turtle Boy to sow the hate. Just as America has Donald Trump and his evil mouth piece and cheer leader, Breitbart editor Steve Bannon. They exploit the fears and prejudices of folks who long for a white, straight Worcester and America …
photo: Worcester Historical Museum
… a place that never really existed.
They kill community.
They kill people!
I write this because … Years ago, when I was a little girl growing up in Green Island, there was a woman – big, vulgar, brassy, tough – who had two daughters in their late teens. I’ll call them “Betty” and “Jane.” Jane was movie star beautiful – long blond hair, lovely pink 1970s lip-stick-slathered lips, pearly white teeth and beautiful smile. When Jane walked down Lafayette Street in her tight, faded bell bottom blue jeans and pretty blouse tucked in HEADS TURNED. She was always polite to my mother and me and my two kid sisters – fans who ooohed and ahhed at her loveliness like everyone else in the neighborhood – when we passed her on the street walking home from school or from the dry cleaners where my mom worked 60 hours a week as a “counter girl.”
Then there was daughter Betty. Betty was tall and lanky. She wore no make up and had short hair – a boy’s hair cut. Her stride was loping and she wore boy jeans. As a little kid I wondered if Betty was a young man but I never asked Ma. I just kinda followed her lead, which was: She was always nice to Betty – treated Betty exactly the way she treated her sister Jane: with respect, politeness, the same “hello!” and beautiful Ma smile …
Rosalie’s mother had the prettiest smile!
… My mother never lectured us. And she never ever bad mouthed or made fun of anyone. She led by example. Taught us through her deeds. And when it came to people in our already diverse inner-city neighborhood Ma was the Statue of Liberty! A beacon of beauty and hope!
So we kids followed Ma’s lead! “Hi, Betty!” we’d chirp, if we saw Betty walking down a street in Green Island. “Hi, Jane!” we’d chirp if we saw her sister walking down to the park.
The girls always smiled and said “hi” back. Though Betty’s smile was never as wide as her sister’s. She always seemed serious. Day after day. Year after year.
One day, Betty kind of disappeared. We still saw Jane in the ‘hood, but never Betty. She was gone. Maybe I asked Ma about it, maybe I didn’t. But we did learn that Betty had hanged herself.
This shocked me and my sisters. Betty was a part of our world, always nice to us – polite in a rough neighorhood filled with bullies. Now she was gone!
In many ethnic urban neighborhoods different kinds of folks took their lives. We called them “ghosts.” A Polish immigrant who never “got” America, never adjusted to life here on any level, who was always in his apartment and always looking so unhappy. A street person who drank and drank and then collapsed dead drunk in the bushes by the PNI club on Lafayette Street to sleep it off every day. … One day I asked Ma if I could give the guy a blanket. She said “Yes” and gave me a nice clean full-sized baby blue blanket to give to him. I ran out of our flat and walked up to him – he was all tottering disshelved mess, his fly open – and gave him the blanket. From Ma and me. No words exchanged. Just the doing, the deed. He took the blue blanket and went to his bushes behind the PNI, by the fence, to collapse. The boys in the neighborhood saw the giving of the gift, walked over to him, stole his blanket … and stoned him. Threw rocks at him. I never saw the old guy again.
Aidan Kearney aka Turtle Boy and Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney are those Green Island boys today, here in Worcester, in the 21st century.
Congressman Jim McGovern, co-chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, yesterday held a hearing on Syria’s humanitarian crisis and additional steps the U.S. can take to address it and increase civilian protection.
Congressman McGovern has been a leading voice on the need for the U.S. to strengthen its response to the crisis and take new steps to minimize innocent civilian casualties and increase aid to the families affected. In July 2015, Congressman McGovern traveled to the region with Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and other members of a Congressional delegation to meet with government officials and aid organizations.
“America must be a leader on human rights at home and abroad. I am grateful to Secretary Kerry and the State Department for their tireless work to achieve a ceasefire and urge them to continue these essential efforts. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed and millions have been internally displaced or have become refugees,” Congressman McGovern said. “The Syrian government must be held accountable for its continued targeting of civilians. When there is no accountability for human rights abuses and civilian casualties, conflicts and unrest like this only worsen. The World Food Programme and other aid organizations are at the border, ready to deliver food and humanitarian supplies. We must stop the bombing to ensure that humanitarian assistance gets to the Syrian people who so desperately need it.
“Congress should be talking about and debating these issues. We have strong Syrian communities in Worcester, Massachusetts, and cities across the country who are ready to welcome refugees and help provide these families with a safe haven and fresh start. When we hear about the Syrian conflict, too often it’s only discussed in terms of the U.S. and Russia,” McGovern added. “Ultimately, there must be a political solution – one which allows the Syrian people to determine their own future and respects the rights of all the Syrian people.”
In July 2015, Congressman Jim McGovern (second from left) with Senator Tim Kaine and other U.S. lawmakers in Erbil, Iraq during a Congressional delegation visit to the region
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an estimated 430,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war between March 2011 and August 2016, of whom 86,692 were civilians. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) calculates that 4.8 million Syrians have been forced to leave the country, and 6.5 million are internally displaced – half of the country’s total population of 22 million. In 2016, 13.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, among them 6 million children and 5.47 million who are in hard-to-reach areas, including close to 600,000 people in 18 besieged areas.
This humanitarian crisis, the largest the world has seen since World War II, cannot be characterized as mere “collateral damage” of the civil war. Rather, the war’s belligerents, particularly the government of Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State, deliberately target civilians and actively oppose humanitarian efforts aimed to mitigate the crisis. Furthermore, the Syrian regime has prosecuted the war with complete disregard for international humanitarian law, as evidenced by the use of chemical weapons and barrel bombs, the besieging of civilian populations, the systematic targeting of medical facilities and personnel, and the blocking of humanitarian assistance. The most recent partial ceasefire is at risk after the aerial bombardment of an authorized aid convoy. A negotiated end to the conflict does not appear to be in reach in the foreseeable future.
In this context, the hearing will examine what is being done and what more could be done to protect civilians in Syria. Witnesses from organizations operating on the ground in Syria will discuss their efforts to assist civilian populations inside the country, what they have achieved, the obstacles they face and their recommendations. Witnesses from organizations that specialize in protection and accountability will discuss measures to reduce the vulnerability of civilians as the war continues and to create the conditions for accountability for war crimes in an eventual post-war context.
WITNESSES AT YESTERDAY’S HEARING:
· Dr. Ahmad Tarakji, President, Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS)
· Joel Charny, Director, Norwegian Refugee Council USA
· Richard A. Leach, President and CEO, World Food Program USA
· Sarah Holewinski, Senior fellow, Center for a New American Security, and Board of Advisors, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)
· Naomi Kikoler, Deputy Director, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
· Chris Engels, Deputy Director for Investigations and Operations, Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA)
Massachusetts State Senator Harriette Chandler has been busy in the State House. Senator Chandler has amended the State budget for 2017 to include a new level of dental care. Being proposed by Senate Majority Leader Chandler helped to ensure the approval of the amendment by a 39-0 vote.
The amendment will create an “Advanced Hygienist Practitioner” … “who is a graduate of a registered dental practitioner education program of not more than 18 months provided by an accredited post-secondary institution, who has been certified by the Board to practice as an advanced dental hygiene practitioner pursuant to section 51B; and who provides oral health care services, including preventive, oral evaluation and assessment, educational, palliative, therapeutic, and restorative services as authorized.”
There seems to be some overlap between what a dentist can do and what an advanced hygienist practitioner can do. The amendment is being opposed by the Dentists’ association. During a telephone survey I had to say “I do not know enough to have an opinion” for many of the questions posed on the issue. It is clear that Advanced Hygienist Practitioners do not have to go through a dentist to be paid. The amendment specifically establishes that government payments go directly to the advanced practitioners.
“Advanced dental hygiene practitioners shall be directly reimbursed for services covered by Medicaid or the commonwealth care health insurance program.”
However, the relationship with a dentist or hospital is required for the Advanced Practitioner. How that works is seeming left to the parties to figure out.
“An advanced dental hygiene practitioner shall not operate independently of a dentist, except for an advanced dental hygiene practitioner working for a local or state government agency or institution or practicing in a mobile or portable prevention program licensed or certified by the department of public health”
The amendment seems to imply that the writer of the amendment was not sure if the new Advanced Hygienist Practitioner is needed. There is no evidence that it would improve oral health in the so called poor “underserved” communities. So called “minority” and disabled communities have been mentioned several times in the media as targeted communities.
“The Board of Registration in Dentistry, in consultation with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, shall develop an evaluation process that focuses on assessing the impact of advanced dental hygiene practitioners in terms of patient safety, cost-effectiveness, and access to dental services. The process shall focus on the following outcome measures: (1) number of new patients served; (2) reduction in waiting times for needed services; (3) decreased travel time for patients; (4) impact on emergency room usage for dental care; and (5) costs to the public health care system.”
I ran into my dental hygienist at a party for a friend. I found out that besides being a dental hygienist in a dentist office, she worked as a coordinator for families with children at Head Start. She said many of the children there did not get proper dental care and that she would follow up with the children after they went to the dentist. For these children there was access and affordability issues. She said bad teeth as a child usually means a mouthful of trouble as an adult. The children in Head Start all were required to have their oral health evaluated and cared for as a condition for attending the federal anti-poverty and education program.
It looks like the real issue is affordability for adults. Medicaid has restrictive benefits for adult oral care. MassHealth has limited dental insurance for adults. We bought the Dental Insurance from MassHealth several years ago. It did not cover anything. So, not wanting to throw good money after bad, we cancelled the MassHealth dental insurance.
Medicare does not have dental coverage.
Senator Chandler’s amendment seems to be a noble effort but details are consequences of it are a little fuzzy.
A program at community colleges will have to be developed. Then the courses have to be taken, which will take at least 18 months. So there will be no Advanced Practitioners for at least three years.
I think it would make as much sense to have Medicaid, Medicare and MassHealth increase their coverage of dental care.
An alternate purpose of the amendment might be to cut dentists out of the school care loop. Presently as my hygienist said all children in Head Start and on Medicare are referred to a dentist and their parents must provide a certificate of compliance. A visit to a UMASS clinic Advanced Hygienist Practitioner might do as well at a lower cost.
I am not certain about how this will turn out. I am certain that it will be difficult with our present economic challenges to provide the dental and health care that people need.
Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), joined fellow House Democrats Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) yesterday in introducing new legislation to protect children and other vulnerable groups in immigration proceedings by ensuring access to counsel, legal orientation programs, and other post-release services.
“Today’s bill is an important step to protect migrant children and other vulnerable groups who come to this country and ensure they have the legal resources they need to navigate immigration proceedings. In 2014, thousands of young children left the danger and chaos of their homes in Central America in search of a safe haven,” Congressman McGovern said. “Many were literally fleeing for their lives and it is moments like these when American values of fairness and due process must not be abandoned.
“I have been to the U.S.-Mexico border, I’ve met with many of these children and families, and I’ve heard firsthand what they endured and the dangers they left behind,” McGovern added. “I am proud to stand with House Democrats in introducing this important bill and urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to give it the consideration it deserves.”
Under current law, there is no right to appointed counsel in immigration removal proceedings, even if the respondent is a child. An overwhelming majority of children without attorneys are ordered deported while children with attorneys are five times more likely to be granted protection. The Fair Day in Court for Kids Act ensures due process for children and vulnerable individuals, and offers an alternative to ICE raids that deport vulnerable children to dangerous countries where they face threats of violence, abuse, or even death.
In August 2014, Congressman McGovern traveled on a two-day fact-finding mission to the U.S.-Mexico border to learn about the child migrant crisis. He met with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agents and other front-line border personnel and also visited migrant shelters in both countries run by religious communities who provide basic services to these vulnerable migrants. Click here for more information on Congressman McGovern’s trip to the U.S.-Mexico border.
BACKGROUND – FAIR DAY IN COURT FOR KIDS ACT:
Requires the government to appoint counsel to children, and vulnerable individuals, including those with disabilities and victims of abuse, torture, or violence.
Requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Attorney General to establish procedures to ensure that legal orientation programs are available to all detained immigrants.
Creates a case management pilot project to increase court appearance rates.
Requires DHS to submit reports to Congress on the number of individuals identified in the Act who were represented by counsel and the number of individuals who received legal orientation presentations.
“Do Not Send Us Bottles Of Water. Instead, Join Us In A Revolt”
A Letter From Michael Moore
Many of you have contacted me wanting to know how you can help the people of Flint with the two-year long tragedy of drinking water contaminated by the radical decisions made by the Governor of Michigan. The offer is much appreciated by those who are suffering through this and who have not drank a glass of unpoisoned water since April of 2014.
Unfortunately, the honest answer to your offer of help is, sadly, you cant.
You can’t help.
The reason you cant help is that you cannot reverse the irreversible brain damage that has been inflicted upon every single child in Flint. The damage is permanent. There is no medicine you can send, no doctor or scientist who has any way to undo the harm done to thousands of babies, toddlers and children (not to mention their parents). They are ruined for life, and someone needs to tell you the truth about that. They will, forever, suffer from various neurological impediments, their IQs will be lowered by at least 20 points, they will not do as well in school and, by the time they reach adolescence, they will exhibit various behavioral problems that will land a number of them in trouble, and some of them in jail.
That is what we know about the history of lead poisoning when you inflict it upon a child. It is a life sentence. In Flint, theyve already ingested it for these two years, and the toll has already been taken on their developing brains. No check you write, no truckloads of Fiji Water or Poland Spring, will bring their innocence or their health back to normal. Its done.. And it was done knowingly, enacted by a political decision from a Governor and a political party charged by the majority of Michigans citizens who elected them to cut taxes for the rich, take over majority-black cities by replacing the elected mayors and city councils, cut costs, cut services, cut more taxes for the rich, increase taxes on retired teachers and public employees and, ultimately, try to decimate their one line of defense against all this, this thing we used to call a union.
The amount of generosity since the national media finally started to cover this story has been tremendous. Pearl Jam sent 100,000 bottles of water. The next day the Detroit Lions showed up with a truck and 100,000 bottles of water. Yesterday, Puff Daddy and Mark Wahlberg donated 1,000,000 bottles of water! Unbelievably amazing. They acknowledged its a very short-term fix, and that it is. Flint has 102,000 residents, each in need of an average of 50 gallons of water a day for cooking, bathing, washing clothes, doing the dishes, and drinking (Im not counting toilet flushes, watering plants or washing the car). But 100,000 bottles of water is enough for just one bottle per person in other words, just enough to cover brushing ones teeth for one day. You would have to send 200 bottles a day, per person, to cover what the average American (we are Americans in Flint) needs each day. Thats 102,000 citizens times 200 bottles of water which equals 20.4 million 16oz. bottles of water per day, every day, for the next year or two until this problem is fixed (oh, and well need to find a landfill in Flint big enough for all those hundreds of millions of plastic water bottles, thus degrading the local environment even further). Anybody want to pony up for that? Because THAT is the reality.
This is a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. There is not a terrorist organization on Earth that has yet to figure out how to poison 100,000 people every day for two years and get away with it. That took a Governor who subscribes to an American political ideology hell-bent on widening the income inequality gap and conducting various versions of voter and electoral suppression against people of color and the poor. It was those actions that led Michigans Republican Governor to try out his economic and racial experiment in Flint (and please dont tell me this has nothing to do with race or class; he has removed the mayors of a number of black cities. This, and the water crisis in Flint, never would have been visited upon the residents of Bloomfield Hills or Grosse Pointe — and everyone here knows that). We have now seen the ultimate disastrous consequences of late-20th century, neo-conservative, trickle down public policy. That word trickle, a water-based metaphor, was used to justify this economic theory — well, its no longer a metaphor, is it? Because now were talking about how actual water has been used to institute these twisted economic beliefs in destroying the lives of the black and the poor in Flint, Michigan.
So, do you still want to help? Really help? Because what we need in Flint and across the country right now, tonight, is a nonviolent army of people who are willing to stand up for this nation, and go to bat for the forgotten of Flint.
Heres what you and I need to do:
Demand the removal and arrest of Rick Snyder, the Governor of Michigan. When the police have an “active shooter” situation in a building, they must first stop the shooter before they can bring aid to the victims. The perp who allowed the poisoning to continue once he knew something was wrong — and his minions who cooked the evidence so the public and the feds wouldn’t find out must be removed from office ASAP. Whether it’s via resignation, recall or prosecution, this must happen now because he is still refusing to take the aggressive and immediate action needed. His office, as recently as this past Thursday, was claiming the EPA had no legal authority to tell him what to do. You know the EPA — that federal agency every Republican politician wants eliminated? Governor Snyder is not going to obey the law. He has covered up the crime, and I submit he has committed an act of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter. Last month I posted a meme of me holding a pair of handcuffs with the hashtag #ArrestGovSnyder:
It went viral, so I posted a petition (link) to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to arrest the Governor and asking President Obama to send help to Flint immediately. As each day brought a new revelation of the Governor’s corruption or incompetence, and with Rachel Maddow on a nightly tear, the momentum built. MoveOn.org and Democracy For America joined me in circulating our petition. We are now on our way to having a half-million signatures! Then Bernie Sanders became the first candidate to call for the Governors removal. That same day, President Obama issued his first emergency order for Flint. The next night, Hillary Clinton fiercely called out the racist actions of the Governor.
You want to help? Sign the petition and get everyone you know to sign it. Now. Another half-million signatures could become the tipping point we need. All eyes are on Flint.
Make the State of Michigan pay for the disaster that the State of Michigan created. The Governor wants the President to declare Flint a federal disaster zone and have him send federal money to fix the problem. Not so fast. All relief aid for Flint currently coming from the federal government to Michigan is going through the Governor’s office to disburse. That is literally paying the fox to fix the chicken coop he destroyed. As a Michigan resident and voter, I think that the people who elected Governor Snyder must show some of that personal responsibility theyre always lecturing about to the poor. The majority of my fellow Michiganders wanted this kind of government (they elected him twice), so now they should have to pay for it. This year the state treasury posted nearly a $600 million surplus. There is also another $600 million in the states rainy day fund. Thats $1.2 billion just about what Flints congressman, Dan Kildee, estimates it will cost to replace the water infrastructure and care for the thousands of poisoned children throughout their growing years.
And before there is any talk of federal tax dollars being used (and, yes, they will be needed), the state legislature must remove the billion-dollars worth of tax cuts the Snyder administration gave the wealthy when he took office. That will go a long way to helping not just Flint but Michigans other destitute cities and school districts.
The Federal Government must then be placed in charge. The State government cannot be trusted to get this right. So, instead of declaring a federal disaster zone, President Obama must declare the same version of martial law that Governor Snyder declared over the cities of Flint and Detroit. He must step in and appoint a federal emergency manager in the state capitol to direct the resources of both the state and federal government in saving Flint. This means immediately sending in FEMA in full force. It means sending in the CDC to determine the true extent of not just the lead poisoning in the water, but also the latest outbreak that has been discovered in Flint a tenfold increase in the number of Flint people whove contracted Legionnaires Disease. There have now been 87 cases since the switch to the Flint River water, and ten people have died. The local hospital has also noted sharp increases in a half-dozen other toxins found in peoples bodies. We need the CDC. The EPA must take over the testing of the water, and the Army Corps of Engineers must be sent in to begin replacing the underground pipes. Like the levees in New Orleans, this will be a massive undertaking. If it is turned over to for-profit businesses, it will take a decade and cost billions. This needs to happen right now and Obama must be in charge.
Evacuate any and all Flint residents who want to leave now. Theyve suffered long enough and, until the water is truly safe, no one should have to stay there who doesnt want to. The state and FEMA should move people into nearby white townships that are still hooked up to Lake Huron water.
For those who choose to stay in Flint, FEMA must create a temporary water system in each home. One idea that has been suggested is to deliver two 55-gallon drums to every home in Flint. Each day water trucks will arrive to fill them with fresh clean glacial water from Lake Huron. The drums will have taps attached to them. People cant be expected to carry jugs of water from buildings that are miles away.
In the end, we will need to create a new economy and bring new employment to this town that created the middle class, that elected the first black mayor, and that believed in and created the American Dream. They deserved more than to be poisoned by their own Governor — a Governor who thought that, because the people in the town were politically weak, he could get away with this unnoticed and without a fight. He figured wrong.
A crime against humanity has been committed against the people of Flint, making them refugees in their own homes. Tell me honestly: if you were living in Flint right now, and you learned that your children had been drinking lead-filled water for two years, and then you discovered that the Governor knew this and the state lied about it tell me, just how fast would your head be spinning? With your children now poisoned, and with the poisoning continuing is the word nonviolence dominating your thoughts right now? Are you absolutely, stunningly amazed how peaceful the people in Flint have remained? Are you curious how much longer that can last? I hope it does. If you want to help Flint, sign the petition, demand that the federal government take action, and then get involved yourself, wherever you live, so that this doesnt happen to you and so that the people we elect know they can no longer break the law as they rule by fiat or indifference. We deserve much better than this.
Yesterday, while driving through Piedmont, we saw a mom and her little boy (and their dog) making their way home from a neighborhood Halloween party. Mom was shy when it came to accommodating this shutter-bug, but her little boy adjusted his skeleton mask and crossed his arms and stood with a purposeful-ness before the Chandler Elementary School playground that was … endearing. He let us take his picture for quite a few seconds and maintained his spooky stance all the while. In silence. Not a word spoken to me or Mom as he stayed in ghoulish character. Go, Piedmont boy, go!!! – R. Tirella
From the Worcester Police Department: Halloween Safety Tips for Kids and Adults
As kids prepare to put on their costumes and roam from house to house Saturday night, parents and neighbors should keep in mind that their presence on the road and around homes requires additional caution.
To help make Halloween activities safer, whether you’re going door-to-door, driving or passing out treats at home, keep these tips in mind:
*Be a safe pedestrian – look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks. Never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.
*Costumes should be white or light colored to keep children visible at night. Reflective patches or strips also help with visibility.
*Pay close attention when driving.
*Stay in your own neighborhood and only go to houses that have porch lights on.
*Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups with a trusted adult.
*Do not enter any homes at which you’re trick-or-treating.
*Avoid masks or accessories that obstruct or block vision.
*Never accept rides from strangers.
*Adults should inspect candy before eating.
*Carry flashlights on the trick or treating route.
*Make sure the path to your home is well lit for trick or treaters.
*Always walk and don’t run from house to house.
It is recommended that the hours of this event be held from 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
Please complete this survey to inform the Massachusetts Food System Plan!
Every voice must be heard as we develop solutions to inadequate access to healthy food.
It is available in English and Spanish.
If you do complete this survey, please take into account the role that wages play in access to food. Minimum wage/low-wage jobs don’t support access to healthy food. Healthy food isn’t expensive; unhealthy food is cheap and jobs don’t pay enough.
The Massachusetts Food System Plan will emphasize state-level recommendations to strengthen our food system.
The Plan will identify strategies to “reduce hunger and food insecurity” and “increase the availability of fresh, healthy food to all residents” among other goals.
We are seeking your insight into the challenges and solutions that you see with respect to obtaining healthy food and/or food that is produced locally (within Massachusetts or New England). Your responses will help us develop recommendations to be included in the Massachusetts Food System Plan, which will come out in early 2016.
The survey will be open until Friday, February 27, 2015.
If you know of other people who are working on this topic and would have information to share, please feel free to send them the survey invitation and link.
For more information, please visit the Massachusetts Food System Plan website at:http://www.mafoodplan.org/
Invitacion: Por favor completo Encuesta de Acceso Alimenticio, Seguridad y Salud.
From the Massachusetts Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Who: Parents and caregivers of children who have experienced sexual abuse
When: Tuesdays, 9:00-10:30am (starting January 27, 2015 and running in 8 week cycles). This is an “open” group; participants are welcome to attend one meeting, several, or all meetings.
Where: MSPCC, 335 Chandler St.
Goals and Topics for this Group Include (but are not limited to):
· Learning about ways to talk and respond to children after the abuse
· Recognizing and responding to the signs of trauma and other reactions
· Learning about treatment options
· Ideas for caretakers to cope with stress and take care of themselves
· Legal issues and dealing with the court and other systems
· Obtaining Victim Compensation
· How to create safety and prevent re-victimization
· Getting mutual support from other parents and caregivers with similar experiences
For more information/to refer, please call the Group Leader, Emily Ascolillo, at (508) 767-3097.
FROM YOU INC.
MOVEMENT TOWARD HEALING GROUP
For Girls ages 9-12
An active group for building confidence, self-esteem and body image through movement and dance.
When: Tuesdays 6:00pm-7:00pm
Start Date: February 24 (weekly x 7 weeks)
Location: 81 Plantation St.
MassHealth is accepted;
private pay arrangements can be made for clients
whose insurance does not cover group attendance.
For more information contact:
Jeannette Cardozo 508-849-5600 x 211 … or Central Referral at 1-855-4YOUINC or 508-849-5600 x421
STOP & RELAX:
A co-ed group for youth ages 6 – 10 with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD and other difficulties with self-regulation.
Using a visual curriculum and Louise Goldberg’s research-backed Creative Relaxation® techniques, this group will teach yoga and self-calming strategies.
When: Wednesdays 3:30 pm – 4:15 pm
Starting February 4 – every week for 6 weeks
Location: 81 Plantation St.
The group is open to all MassHealth and Fallon insurance plans.
Private Pay Options are also available
For more information contact:
Centralized Referrals 508-849-5600 x 421
Hope Rideout 508-849-5600 x 134
Jeannette Cardozo 508-849-5600 x 211
FROM THE CENTRAL MASS HOUSING ALLIANCE
Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance Housing, Homelessness, & Benefits Meeting:
Wednesday, January 21 from 11:30 to 1 at CMHA
6 Institute Road
Please RSVP to email@example.com by January 19 so enough lunch can be ordered.
All are welcome!
Foreclosure and Tenant Rights:
Due to recent uptick of foreclosure petitions in Worcester County, we feel it is important to discuss the rights and responsibilities of tenants in foreclosure properties.
CMHA meetings are open to anyone wishing to learn more about housing and homelessness in our community and benefits available. It’s also a great opportunity for organizations to share information about themselves.