Absentee Voting in Connecticut

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ned Lamont has signed an executive order allowing all registered voters in Connecticut to vote absentee in the Aug. 11 primary elections. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has announced that she intends to mail every registered voter in the state an application that they will need to fill out and return in order to obtain an absentee ballot. That application, which will be sent via U.S. Postal Service, will include a postage-paid return envelope.

Dear PAR Subscribers,

After two months of being available only on-line, we’re glad to provide you with the printed PAR newsletter. We still encourage all our subscribers to sign on to get PAR notices on-line so you can be kept informed of events that weren’t known in time to be included in the printed version. You can subscribe at par-newhaven.org.

PAR does not print in July or August. The next newsletter will be the September issue. Because there are still so many restrictions on gatherings, we are unsure of when, or which, of our regularly-scheduled events will take place. Many meetings, conferences and rallies are taking place via the internet. We urge you to contact the organizations you are interested in to find out how you can participate in their work.

Enclosed in this issue is the War Resisters League’s famous “pie chart” flyer, Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes. It analyzes the Federal Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, published in February 2020. FY2021 is 1 Oct. 2020 – 30 Sept. 2021. We recently contacted the War Resisters League to see if these figures are still accurate, due to the emergency spending necessary for the pandemic, massive unemployment and economic crisis. We were told the current Pie Charts are based on figures for the FY2021 Federal Budget, not the current budget, so those figures are not affected by expenditures connected to the pandemic.

Wishing you a healthy, safe and peaceful summer.

PAR Planning Committee

C3M Calls for Car Caravan Rally Against Planned Fracked Gas Plant June 5

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Friday, June 5, will see sign-covered autos traveling to Hartford to circle the block upon which the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) building sits. It has been approving the permits needed by the NTE company to build another fracked “natural gas” plant in Killingly, in eastern CT. The CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M) is sponsoring the car caravan.

Now when there is a glut of fossil fuels, when oil wells are being capped because there’s nowhere to store the unneeded petroleum pumped by oil producers, the idea that another natural gas (methane) burning plant will be built is ludicrous. Even before the pandemic Gov. Ned Lamont admit-ted CT didn’t need the energy from another gas burner. Supposedly it was needed by the New England region. So the project appears to be rolling on.

Of course, need is a flexible term. What the region desperately needs to do is to cut back on carbon emissions. Global warming gases can destroy civilization. Civilization will survive if there’s less electricity to power gadgets and air conditioners.

One permit that needs to be won by NTs to be won by NTE would allow it to discharge 90,000 gallons of toxic wastewater daily. The goop would include lead, ammonia, petroleum, phosphorous, copper and other metals. The town of Killingly would have to treat the polluted water to make it usable. A very fine article about this by UCONN law student Tennyson Benedict was published in the Courant. Search online for the article headlined: “Killingly gas plant wastewater discharges are another reason for worry.”

The time of the car caravan on June 5 is 3-4 p.m. To find out more information see @ctclimate on Twitter and the C3M website www.ctclimatecrisismobilization.org.

June 2 Hearing: City of NH Peace Commission Ballot Referendum

A public hearing (by Zoom) will be held on Tuesday, June 2 at 6:30 p.m. before the Health and Human Services Committee of the New Haven Board of Alders. The hearing seeks support to place the following non-binding referendum question on the November 3 ballot in New Haven.

“Shall Congress prepare for health and climate crises by transferring funds from military budget to cities for human needs, jobs and an environmentally sustainable economy?”

“Deberia el Congreso prepararse para una crisis de salud y clima mediante la transferencia de fondos del presupuesto militar a las ciudades para las necesidades humanas, los empleos y una economia ambientalmente sostenible?”

A 2/3 vote by the New Haven Board of Alders is required to put the question on the ballot. Please join the hearing and testify as to why you think the question should be on the Nov. 3, 2020, ballot in New Haven.

Cuts are being figured into our City budget that is already less than bare-bones thanks to more than a decade of under-funding from Yale and from state and federal sources. The bloated US war economy comes at the high cost of under-funding human needs and implementation of just climate change solutions.

Please confirm your participation by leaving a message at (203) 624-4254 or sending an e-mail to Peace Commission acting chair: joellefishman@pobox.com.

Update from Nicaragua as the Pandemic Arrives

by Susan Bramhall, New Haven/ León Sister City Project

In March and April, as the world began to face the historic public health crisis caused by COVID-19, the Nicaraguan government flagrantly ignored recommendations of health and human rights organizations by encouraging mass gatherings and requiring school attendance. During the April holidays, people were encouraged to celebrate semana santa as usual with trips to the beach and large gatherings. As of this writing, there are still no recommended social distancing measures and professional sports events continue to draw fans.

In the last few weeks, reports of the coronavirus illness have begun to emerge in the larger cities and there is now an outbreak in Chinandega – not far from our Sister City, León. There is still no acknowledgment that the pandemic is the cause but hospitals are reporting many cases of atypical pneumonia and a rise in sudden deaths from heart attack and stroke. Nicaraguans are reporting that when patients die, the bodies are buried immediately, often before families are notified. Testing, treatment and results are kept secret leading to more fear and suspicion.

The staff of the New Haven/León Sister City Project are currently healthy and trying to work from home but it is difficult to do social distancing or self-isolation. It is common for homes to contain large extended families and multiple generations and often a small store open to the public. During March and April, our staff was able to continue visiting the rural communities bringing some protective gear (masks) and, most important, information about the facts of the situation. As the community has begun to hear of the cases in nearby areas they are becoming more fearful of people from the city and our staff are now doing as much as they can from their homes.
Our León Director, Erendira Vanegas, reminds us that this is a new crisis within the existing crisis created by the 2018 crackdown against protest and the devastating effect that was already having on the Nicaraguan economy. The crisis created by the pandemic on top of the economic challenges already in play have been overwhelming and has created increased food insecurity. Our Nicaraguan team advises that an urgent need is enhanced access to food for the rural population. The Sister City Project has long been supplementing the meal that children get at school – a meal they may miss if they are not in school. We are currently researching organizations we can partner with to ensure food security for Goyena and Troilo.

If you would like to make a special donation to bolster our programs please visit our website at newhavenleon.org/get-involved/give.

As always, muchisimas gracias to all our supporters in the area.

Activism and Twitter

by LouAnn Villani, Middle East Crisis Committee

With social distancing making in-person rallies impossible, people are looking for ways to get their message across. Virtual rallies via Zoom now take place in addition to ‘Twitter Storms.’ Participants are asked to go on their Twitter Feed and message their representatives all at the same time.

Since Trump took it up and won such a following all politicians and media people have taken to it. It’s easy to use and it’s easy to see which of your messages are popular (being retweeted).

Supposedly politicians and the media think the remarks they see on Twitter and the volumes of approval and disapproval there really reflect what the U.S. public thinks. It’s probably not true (only 1 in 5 Americans use Twitter regularly), but if it influences political discourse, activists should use it.

Twitter is free and it takes just minutes to make an account at twitter.com. It will want a first and last name, an email and date of birth. You’ll have to verify the email by responding to its email. Twitter gives you a user-name based on the name you gave it. So if you enter John Smith you may get @jsmith493. You’ll need to create a password and to “follow” the Twitter Feeds of a couple of people and then you’re in.

Twitter messages are no more than 280 characters (about the size of the second paragraph of this article. You can also attach photos and memes (they don’t count as characters). Usually you include in your tweet user-names of people or media that you are trying to influence. Example: @nytimes @GovNedLamont Politicians and the media search for their twitter handles to see what people are saying to them. The media @NickKristof will sometimes respond to people who are trying to contact them.

The easiest thing to do is to follow certain people or media sources and retweet the things you like. To “retweet” means to click on the double-curved arrow button below the tweet. This puts the message into your Twitter Feed with a tiny message that you retweeted it. Your follower gets to see it and the creator of the original tweet gets a bit of support. More at pepeace.org/twitter-techniques.

Where to Turn for Help

There are a number of agencies and websites to turn to for information about the coronavirus and places to go for help. Here are some of them:

Call 211 for resources, information on food pantries, medical assistance, and various hotlines.

Yale New Haven Health has set up a call center to respond to questions about COVID-19, give assessments to patients by phone or video, and determine whether someone needs to be tested. The number to call is (833) ASK-YNHH. That’s (833) 275-9644.

https://medicine.yale.edu/intmed/news-article/23180/

https://covid19.newhavenct.gov/

Regional Groups and Support Networks:

New Haven Area Mutual Aid

https://www.facebook.com/groups/639466263512268

Mutual Aid/Support Waterbury, Bridgeport, New Haven and Surrounding Areas https://www.facebook.com/ groups/501197987165893/?fref=nf

Document for sharing resources that helps you connect with others around physical, emotional, educational and social needs. http://bit.ly/2Wg2pvc

It is available in Arabic: المساعدة المتبادلة في ووتربيري، بريدجبورت، نيو هافن

And Spanish: ESPAÑOL — Ayuda Mutua Hartford, Waterbury, Bridgeport, New Haven

Awarding Syrians the Gandhi Peace Award

Stanley Heller, PEP Administrator

Promoting Enduring Peace (PEP) will give its 2020 Gandhi Peace Award to two people born in Syria. One is Dr. Zaher Sahloul, a Syrian-American, the other is Mayson Almisri, a refugee living in Canada. The award has been given out since 1960 by PEP, a peace and environmental organization. It comes with a medal made of peace bronze forged from the metal of retired nuclear weapons and with a $5,000 cash prize that will be shared by the two honorees.

The Board of PEP decided that our best contribution this year would be to give the prize in hopes it would help reorient the peace movement and the Left on an issue where many progressives have gone astray. It’s said that most generals prepare for their last war. Most of the peace movement has done the same with Syria, making simple-minded comparisons with the U.S. war against Iraq. Most have ignored the agency of Syrians and their efforts for a democratic uprising. Our award this year is to the medical workers and rescuers of Syria.

Dr. Zaher Sahloul is past president of the Syrian-American Medical Society which has built and rebuilt hospitals in Syria, in recent years underground or in caves. He’s now president of Medglobal which helps not just in Syria, but in 14 countries. He’s a pulmonary specialist in Chicago where he’s currently helping treat patients with the COVID-19 virus. He caught the virus himself, but after weeks of isolation is back at work.

Mayson Almisri is from Deraa, where the mass demonstra-tions began in Syria in 2011. She is a leader in the Syrian Civil Defense, known in the West as the White Helmets. They are the heroes who dig out survivors and bodies from under the rubble of Assad’s or Russian bombs. They have enraged the Assad regime by making videos of their work, showing devastation caused by the barrel bombs. During the recent ceasefire, they work at disinfecting, hoping to ward off the virus inside the remnant of Idlib province.

We always present the award in a big public ceremony, but because of the coronavirus we cannot make plans for the date or location of the ceremony.

Reach Out New Haven: Call if You Need Help

In these anxious, isolating and uncertain times, many people don’t know where to turn for resources and someone to talk with. The Clifford Beers Center has launched a warmline to help connect you with various programs for your needs. Also, if you want someone to talk with, have questions on how to get information about COVID-19, or need help, we are here with compassionate listeners who are trained in providing mental health guidance. Please call us for help! The number is (203) 287-2460.

Visit our website for more information and a listing of links for useful information at www.cliffordbeers.org/covid-19-resources.

Food Assistance Resources During the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coordinated Food Assistance Network has put together this online guide (English and Spanish).  It is updated very frequently: https://bit.ly/nhvfoodcovid.

CFAN has also developed a pantry delivery system for low-income folks who can’t get out during this crisis. It’s called Pantry to Pantry. If you know anyone in need, they can call the hotline: 888-910-2960.

The Dwight substation food pantry (142-158 Edgewood Avenue) will be open on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays 9-11 a.m. Other New Haven food resources can be found here: https://covid-19-1-newhavenct.hub.arcgis.com/pages/food.

Urban Resource Initiative Honors Graduates with a Tree

by Anna Ruth Pickett, URI

Greetings!

URI is excited to help honor New Haven graduates by planting trees in front of their homes thanks to a partnership with the City of New Haven. Will you help us find graduates to celebrate? We will plant trees in front of their home, or the home of a family member or friend, school or a local business (as long as it is in New Haven and there is someone willing to water the tree). Adopt your Graduation Tree today!

Graduation Trees were the idea of Metropolitan Business Academy student Adrian Huq. Adrian says, “As a current high school senior, I understand the letdown the Class of 2020 feels in not being able to spend their last months with their teachers and classmates, enjoy senior activities, and of course, have a graduation. Graduating marks a new chapter and our transition into adulthood and further independence. What better way to honor this accomplishment and mark this new beginning than to plant a tree? No matter how far from home you go after high school, this tree will remain grounded, waiting upon your return. It will grow and thrive for years to come – just like you! – and stand as a reminder to this important milestone.”

Help us announce this opportunity by forwarding this email or sharing our posts on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) using the hashtag #GraduationTree and providing the link: yalef.es/treerequest.

Take care and be well, Anna

Call to adopt a tree: (203) 432-6189 Email: uri@yale.edu Or sign up online: yalef.es/treerequest

U.S Military Threat Against Iranian Tankers: An Act of International Piracy That Can Escalate into a War

by Al Marder, for the Executive Committee of the U.S. Peace Council

Iran’s daring decision to dispatch five oil tankers carrying the much-needed fuel for the struggling people of Venezuela is a definitive challenge to U.S. government’s illegal policy of unilateral economic sanctions and its naval blockade of Venezuela. Iran’s action has created a decisive test of the Trump administration’s willingness to continue its violations of international law and the UN Charter by taking military action against Iranian tankers.

The U.S. Peace Council strongly condemns any military actions against the Iranian tankers and calls upon the Trump administration and the U.S. government to put an end to its violations of the UN Charter immediately.

As Iranian tankers approach Venezuelan waters — the first tanker is expected to enter Venezuelan territorial waters on Sunday [May 24] — the Trump administration is scrambling to decide how to respond to a challenge that can determine the future of its policy of unilateral coercive measures against one-quarter of humanity. “We’ve got it [Venezuela] surrounded, it’s surrounded at a level that nobody even knows but they know. We are watching to see what happens,” he commented on the situation on May 20th.

Indeed, this has created a serious dilemma for the U.S. government. A military action against these tankers would be a clear case of international piracy that could lead to military confrontations, not only with the Venezuelan armed forces who are planning to escort these tankers in Venezuelan waters, but also in the Middle East as Iran would be expected to respond to such an act. It would also lead to increasing tensions with Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry has already warned against any U.S. actions to block the Iranian tankers.

Allowing Iranian tankers to port, on the other hand, would be the first sign of inability of the United States government to enforce its sanctions policy even near its own shores, and would trigger numerous additional acts of defiance by other sanctioned states. This could mean the beginning of the unraveling of U.S. unilateral sanctions policy, something that would have significant negative repercussions for U.S. imperialism’s policy of “full-spectrum dominance” of the world.
The outcome of the current challenge posed by Iran and the resistance of Venezuela — if the U.S government does not act irrationally — will have determining effects on the future of international relations and world peace. It will pave the way for a new phase of peoples’ struggle against illegally-imposed unilateral coercive measures and for restoring peoples’ rights to national sovereignty and self-determination throughout the world.

We call upon all supporters of peace and international law around the world to contact the U.S. White House at (202) 456-1111, and demand that the U.S. Government respect international law and not interfere with the porting of the Iranian oil tankers.

U.S. Peace Council
PO Box 3105
New Haven, CT 06515
(203) 387-0370
USPC@USPeaceCouncil.org
www.uspeacecouncil.org

How You Can Help At-Risk People in Our Community

by Mark Colville, Amistad Catholic Worker [edited. See last month’s PAR for full statement]

Friends,

This is an urgent call to come together as advocates, caregivers, organizers, activists and allies, in response to the ongoing unmet needs of some of the most at-risk people in the New Haven community. We’ve seen the city and some of its institutions take bold and proactive steps. At the same time, there is a growing fear that those efforts are falling short in terms of providing safe spaces for significant numbers of people who still lack the wherewithal to follow the statewide directive to shelter in place.

There is an effort underway to erect a tent city, in open space somewhere relatively close to the city center. This is being organized collectively and with a fair degree of urgency. It will integrate the requirements of social distancing and sheltering in place, but the rules and regulations will be developed and agreed upon by those dwelling in that space. Thus the responsibility for its operation in a safe and sanitary way, maintaining the peace and respecting the privacy of its residents, will also be assumed collectively.

We are now looking for camping supplies, especially tents, sleeping bags, warm blankets and tarps. If you can donate any of these or other items, please call or text me: (203) 645-5417; markcolville9761@gmail.com. For anyone interested in taking an active role in getting the project off the ground, I’m happy to discuss that as well.

Stay safe everyone.

Gratefully,

Mark Colville

In the Public Interest: Donald Trump, Resign Now for America’s Sake: This is No Time for a Dangerous, Law-breaking, Bungling, Ignorant Ship Captain

by Ralph Nader, consumer advocate, lawyer, and author

Where are the calls for Trump’s resignation? Since his first months in the White House, Trump has been the most impeachable, most lawless, most self-enriching, most bungling President in U.S. history. He relies entirely on lying and scapegoating to avoid taking responsibility for his failures. Trump didn’t even win the popular vote – the Electoral College selected him. President Trump has fomented chaos and corruption in his administration without encountering insistent demands for his resignation.
The supine Republican Senate shields Trump from any political accountability. Dominated by the evil “Moscow Mitch” McConnell, the Senate prevented Trump from being convicted under the impeachment clause of the Constitution. But Trump makes the case against himself – “I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.” Trump makes good on that statement every day, making decisions with reckless abandon and doubling down, falsely accusing people of crimes, turning our government over to big businesses, and firing inspectors general investigating crime and corruption in Trump’s regime of corporatism, favoritism, and nepotism.

Trump exercises his pouting, unstable ego as the determinant of misgoverning on a deadly scale, as with his delaying, downplaying, over-riding science and providing lethal advice regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. For which he boastfully gives himself a perfect ten.

Trump keeps flailing, failing, and using foul-mouthed rhetoric because about 43 percent of voters stick with him, no matter what.

Well – the parents of many Trump supporters did not stay with Richard Nixon in 1974. Public demands for “Tricky Dick” to leave office ultimately included much of his “base” including scores of Republicans in Congress, led by Mr. Conservative Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ). Why? Nixon had defied a Congressional subpoena and committed an obstruction of justice. Trump, on the other hand, has defied many Congressional subpoenas and engaged in over a dozen obstructions of justice, many of which are ongoing.

Why no demands for resignation? Have too many Americans lost their proper sense of honest public service and accountability? From 1974 to now, the American Bar Association (ABA) – supposedly a first responder against the destruction of rule of law and constitutional observance – has done nothing to challenge above-the-law presidential abuses. (In 2005-2006 the ABA displayed some courage and charged the Bush/Cheney administration with three sets of unconstitutional behavior. See: https://nader.org/2013/04/19/aba-white-papers).

Many Trump voters seem to expect more of virtually every public figure who isn’t Trump! Ask Trump voters if they would support their local fire chief if he or she lied daily about the fire department’s readiness to fight fires? Would they support a fire chief who appoints firefighters with no experience? Would they support a police chief who accepts no responsibility for a street crime wave while disabling the force?

Would they support a CEO of a major hospital who promotes, against the advice of his/her medical scientists, chemicals and drugs that can take the lives of patients? Would they support a super predator bank CEO who gives sweet-heart deals to the rich at the direct expense of customers of modest means? Would they support a CEO of a big construction company, spouting anti-immigrant hate, while hiring hundreds of poorly paid undocumented foreign laborers taking jobs away from American workers? The answer is pretty clear.

These people in positions of power would have lost their jobs if they engaged in such reckless and unjust behavior. Corrupt Donald, on the other hand, has done all of these continually and remains an escapee from justice. In addition to these previously acknowledged failings, Trump has wrecked the federal health, safety, and economic protections including many life-saving controls on deadly pollution, dangerous business practices and business theft of your earnings as consumers, workers, and savers.
In addition, here is a top betrayal: Trump promised his voters a big infrastructure repair and upgrade program in all communities – with good-paying jobs. He betrayed them, giving instead about 2 trillion dollars in tax cuts to the rich and big corporations, like the drug and banking industries and even his own family!

Trump voters need to ask themselves – what else does Trump have to do to our livelihood, health, safety, and dignity before you say – “no more!” If you want more details about Mr. Trump’s lying betrayals, read Fake President by Mark Green and me and judge Trump by his own contemptuous words and misdeeds.

Most puzzling are the many columnists – both Democratic and Republican – who week after week show how disastrously unworthy and unfit Trump is, yet never conclude with a demand for his resignation or further impeachment. Many in the opinion class may believe it would never happen. My response is that judging the odds is not the primary responsibility of a columnist. Making the demand is telling readers that your critique is serious enough to warrant a necessary remedy.

Devastating critics like Dana Milbank, Republican Michael Gerson, Eugene Robinson, Margaret Sullivan, and conservative Max Boot of the Washington Post, or Charles Blow, Paul Krugman, David Brooks, Maureen Dowd and Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times have cogently taken Trump apart on very serious matters since 2017, yet they leave their readers without the obvious conclusion -Trump has to go. A clear daily peril to innocent Americans “I’m in total control,” why not try bleach, etc. The country cannot wait until January 2021 – assuming dictatorial Donald and his determined GOP don’t criminally suppress enough votes to postpone Trump’s departure until January 2025.

Chat with Others about The Struggle News Programs On-line

Stanley Heller, The Struggle Video News

When you premiere a show with YouTube, you get to have a chat column on the side where you and your viewers can converse. We had fun with it last Sunday and we’re hoping to do this every Sunday at the same time.

Watch The Struggle #851 on Sunday, May 31, 8:30 p.m. at http://www.TheStruggle.org. Stay for the chat!

The Struggle #850 was shown May 24 and featured the following: Verdict in murders of Dawabshe family *** poem “72 Years a Birth Certificate” for Palestine *** #Act4Daraa to warn world of Assad threat to Daraa *** new look for RPM.world *** Martha Klein talks about the threat of pipelines and fracked gas plant *** Tony Cherolis on transportation and climate *** What We Didn’t See at the Botanical Garden (NY) during Coronavirus 2020.

Remember, you can always access past shows on our website http://www.TheStruggle.org.

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