Oppenheimer Offers Opportunity

by Henry Lowendorf, GNH Peace Council

Oppenheimer, the film, is a biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the leader of the scientific team researching, developing, and producing the first atomic bombs, with U.S. B29s dropping two on Japanese cities 78 years ago. The movie reveals two time bombs that started ticking in 1945. One scores 90 seconds to midnight on the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock. The second exploded as the Cold War, right after the U.S. and its Soviet ally victoriously ended World War II, and, like cluster bombs, repeatedly bursts forth to maim its victims.

The film explores the morality of waging war not just on civilians but on civilization itself. But Oppenheimer, the physicist, realized that he had no moral authority over, or physical control of, his nuclear offspring once they were turned over to the generals and the commander in chief.

Expressing his anguish was not politic. Second thoughts about creating the existential monster of monsters that incinerated noncombatant men, women, and children in 1945, and possibly billions more, landed him in the clutches of Congressional thought-minders. The McCarthy era tore Oppenheimer’s life apart, ruining his reputation and removing his security clearance and his ability to conduct research.
McCarthyism, a product of the 1950s, continues now. The U.S. administration censors dissenting voices by members of Congress who call for diplomacy to end the war in Ukraine. The corporate media, led by the New York Times, slander activists in the peace movement who demand the same.

Beyond watching the riveting drama, what actions can viewers of Oppenheimer take? The Greater New Haven Peace Council has been handing audience members entering and leaving the theater a flier with a QR code on side one to sign a petition offered by CodePink calling for the U.S. to sign on to the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and lead the other eight nuclear-weapons states to follow suit. The petition is here: https://www.codepink.org/nonukes. Side two spells out the ongoing manmade disaster called the military budget.

To download your own file of the flyer to use: https://nhpeacecouncil.org/oppenheimer-flier-handout

Cox Case Settled For $45M

by Thomas Breen and Laura Glesby, NH Independent, June 9, 2023

The City of New Haven has agreed to pay $45 million to Richard ​“Randy” Cox to end a lawsuit stemming from paralyzing injuries the 36-year-old Black New Havener suffered while in police custody — marking the largest municipal settlement in a police misconduct case in this country’s history.

The settlement ends a $100 million civil lawsuit that Cox and his family brought in federal court in September. That lawsuit against the city, the police department, and city police officers Betsy Segui, Oscar Diaz, Jocelyn Lavandier, Luis Rivera, and Ronald Pressley sought damages for the officers’ alleged violations of Cox’s civil rights following his arrest on June 19, 2022.

The mayor [Justin Elicker] said the city looked at other cases ​“where people were unable to walk, paraplegic cases” — as opposed to other police misconduct cases — when trying to understand ​“the long-term cost it will take to care for Randy and ensure he has the resources he needs.”

Read the whole article here: https://www.newhavenindependent.org/article/cox_case_settles_for_45_million

News from Palestine from Dr. Qumsiyeh

by Stanley Heller, Director, Middle East Crisis Committee

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Director of the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability, spoke twice in Connecticut in August, once at the Palestine Museum US in Woodbridge and the next day in Hartford at the Unitarian Society. He brought us up to date on the impressive activities of his institute and the Palestine Museum of Natural History, which is one of its projects.

Qumsiyeh lived in Connecticut at the start of the 2000s as he headed the Cytogenetics Department at the Yale Medical School. He was very active in Palestinian human rights work and co-founded the Palestine Right to Return Campaign. He returned to Palestine a decade ago. In his talks, he maintained that despite what is usually said, Palestine was a peaceful area for most of its thousands of years history. He dated recent problems to the Zionist movement and its settler colonial project.

As a bit of activism at the events we passed out copies of a picture of a two-year-old boy named Mohammed Tamimi, who was shot to death by an Israeli sniper on June 1. The ultra-right Israeli government almost immediately excused the sniper from all responsibility and expressed “regret.” We briefly chanted “Justice for Mohammed Tamimi.”

The one bit of good news discussed was the open letter called the “Elephant in the Room,” which was signed at the time of the meetings by over 700 academics and public figures decrying Israeli apartheid and telling Jewish leaders in the U.S. that democracy in Israel could only be maintained if it included equal treatment for Palestinians. The number of signers, overwhelmingly Jewish, has since swelled to more than 1,800. The wall of Jewish support for the Israeli government has a deep fissure.

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide Launches New Website

by Joan Cavanagh, Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

Thanks to co-hosting and considerable technical assistance from the Patients Rights Action Fund (PRAF), Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide (PAMAS) now has its own website, pamasprogressives.org. It’s an ongoing endeavor (and the three of us managing it have a steep technical learning curve) but we’re on our way! We will be adding updates, news, and information as things develop.

As PAR readers know, PAMAS formed in 2021 to open a path for leftist and progressive opposition to legislation enabling physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminate their patients’ lives. We believe that those who are committed, as we are, to universal, comprehensive, fully accessible, unrestricted, high-quality health and palliative care must stand equally strongly against MAS, which will contribute further to the already existing deadly discrimination against the most vulnerable among us.

PAMAS members disagree with those who favor these laws but we agree on many other issues. We support and advocate for reproductive rights, disability justice, labor rights, the rights of LGBTQIA people, and for prison and police reform. Many of us are lifelong war resisters and several of us worked to help repeal the death penalty in our state. We see MAS as a serious threat to the lives of the most vulnerable among us and to our vision of a just society. The website provides links to testimonies, as well as articles by others and several links to outside sources. More will follow. We hope that you’ll visit.

With allies in the disability justice movement, we helped to defeat the most recent MAS bills proposed in Connecticut. Each year, the well-funded proponents bring up more legislation, and we are sure they’ll be ready to go in 2024. We plan to be ready, too.

One further appeal: we need a progressive, experienced videographer who agrees with us on this issue to help us produce a video as soon as possible. We’ll try to raise some funds, although this would need to be a labor of love as well. If you’re interested, please contact me at [email protected] or the group at [email protected].

Out of the Darkness Walk New Haven County/ Hamden at 11 a.m. October 1 

Many people’s introduction to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) comes through the Out of the Darkness Walks, taking place in cities nationwide. In our community, campus, and overnight walks, those affected by suicide – and those who support them – raise awareness and much-needed funds, strongly sending the message that suicide can be preventable, and that no one is alone.

Suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined.

In 2020 (latest available data), there were 45,979 reported suicide deaths in the U.S.
Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 19 in the U.S.
Currently, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to be there for one another and take steps to safeguard our mental health and prevent suicide.

There will be numerous on-site activities on the day of the walk. Check-in time is 10 a.m., and the walk starts at 11. Meet at Town Center Park (2761 Dixwell Ave), Hamden.

Register today and be part of the movement to walk #OutOftheDarkness.

Walk Chair: Caleb Warner, 203-980-7869, [email protected].

To register: https://supporting.afsp.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=register.start&eventID=9362.
If you or someone you know is in a crisis, dial 988 or text TALK to 741-741.

Latest Legislative News from CT Green Energy News

Legislative Republicans Seek to Hit the Brakes on Implementing California EV Regulations

CT News Junkie. ​”Legislative Republicans called Wednesday for the reversal of proposed regulations that would require all new vehicles to be electric by 2035 as a result of a state law tying Connecticut’s emissions standards to those of California…they argued that electric vehicles were too expensive for many consumers and voiced concerns that Connecticut lacked the infrastructure and energy to support a mandated transition to electric vehicles.

Massive Turbines Arrive at New London State Pier, and About 3 Dozen Assembly Jobs

CT Examiner. “Twelve 318-foot blades are waiting to be unloaded from a cargo ship in the Thames River. They will soon arrive at State Pier, where they’ll be assembled into turbines and shipped out to sea to the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the country…The 12 blades – more than twice as tall as the Gold Star Bridge – will outfit four of the 12 turbines that will make up South Fork Wind. Two more shipments of blades will follow in the fall to build all 12 turbines. As Connecticut Aims to Phase Out Gas-Powered Cars, Service Station Owners Face an Uncertain Future

CT Insider. ​​”While the service station industry has survived many challenges in its century-long history, none looms as large as the emergence of electric vehicles…Last month, Gov. Ned Lamont formally announced the development of new regulations that will phase out the sale of new internal-combustion engine vehicles by 2035, in line with about a dozen other states that have made a similar pledge toward cutting carbon emissions.

Park Saved; New Housing Plan Dropped

Thomas Breen, NH Independent, June 15, 2023

A Boston-based affordable housing developer (TCB) has dropped its plans to buy the Kensington Street public park between Chapel Street and Edgewood Avenue in the Dwight neighborhood to construct 15 new apartments in its stead — prompting the Elicker administration to move to end a related years-long lawsuit on the grounds that the contested public greenspace will remain public and green.

On Thursday afternoon, city spokesperson Lenny Speiller announced via an email press release that The Community Builders (TCB) no longer plans to build 15 new income-restricted apartments atop the Kensington Playground site.

Kishaun Jenkins celebrating “the coolest spot to be.” (Thomas Breen photo)

The upshot: After nearly three years of political and legal debates on the matter, Kensington Playground will remain a public park. TCB will not be building any new apartments atop the site. And the city will not be selling the park to any other developer.

Patricia Wallace, a long-time Dwight neighbor and the lead plaintiff in the state lawsuit, welcomed the news of TCB dropping its park-to-housing development plans and of the city moving to end the court case.”Housing can be built on other City-owned land in neighborhoods with ample green space.”

Wallace’s group, https://www.kensingtonplayground.org, is still raising money to cover the legal costs of pursuing the lawsuit, and also plans to fundraise for a new playscape to be built at the park.

Local attorney Keith Ainsworth, who has represented the friends group in its years-long legal challenge to the city’s sale of the park to TCB, also heralded this latest turn in the case as ending up with the right result.

Read the article in its entirety: https://www.newhavenindependent.org/article/park_saved_new_housing_plan_dropped

Why Hiroshima/Nagasaki Vigils Again This Year? 

by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

Why is it important to commemorate the sudden slaughter of 200,000 mostly civilians in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, actions taken 78 years ago? Why do the U.S. government and corporate media generally ignore or downplay the consequences of decisions made three-quarters of a century ago?

Today, a brutal war is devastating Ukraine in central and eastern Europe, where four participating states, the U.S., Britain, France, and Russia, hold nuclear weapons arsenals on high alert, ready to throw into the fray.

Their leaders have the ability to incinerate every city around the planet and wave civilization goodbye.

At 90 seconds to midnight, the probability of nuclear cataclysm represented by the Atomic Clock is now set at its closest since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. This threat is not what the U.S. government or its corporate media megaphones want to advertise.

Consequences of the current war in Europe, in addition to wanton death and destruction, include seismic changes in the supply of energy and food, which will have an impact on much of the world.

Citizens of poor and wealthy countries impacted by someone else’s war are unable to afford fuel and food. Giant economies are in recession as industries shut down.

The only winners in this war are the Merchants of Death—Lockheed and Raytheon, among others—and the U.S. fossil fuel industry.

We have been told that only one state caused this war. The vigils on August 6 and 9 remind us, however, that ultimately we must engineer its end, not through a Pyrrhic victory, but by demanding diplomacy and negotiations as all wars end.

The anniversary vigils on August 6 and 9 offered a variety of short presentations–history, the political moment, poetry, peace songs. New Haven Mayor Elicker spoke against the giant nuclear budget. Atomic soldier Hank Bolden, on whom the U.S. military tested the effects of nuclear radiation, told us that he was sworn to secrecy until the 1990s, unable to explain even to his family his many cancers and other illnesses associated with radiation poisoning.

Channel 8 WTNH ran a story on the Hiroshima vigil that you can find here: https://tinyurl.com/HiroshimaNewHaven23. More photos and video here: https://www.facebook.com/NewHavenPeaceCommission

City Housing Plight Brought to the ‘Burbs

by Lisa Reisman, May 15, 2023, New Haven Independent

It might seem incongruous for a wealthy shoreline suburban community to pull out all the stops for a radical Catholic homelessness rights activist from the Hill.

Not at all, said Mark Colville, leader of the Amistad Catholic Worker House, as roughly 100 attendees enjoyed vegetable terrine … at a ​“Breaking Bread” fundraiser in the basement of Guilford First Congregational Church.

“Homelessness is a result of a lot of things, a lot of break-down of relationships in families, and that’s not specific to any one group or social class,” Colville said at Saturday’s event. …

Mark Coville addressing the audience. photo: Lisa Reisman

The occasion, Colville said, marked ​“the first in a series of planned public events organized by a coalition of people and organizations in the New Haven area trying to do something substantive to decriminalize homelessness in the city of New Haven and the state of Connecticut.”  …

He said Saturday’s fundraiser was part of an ongoing campaign that started in 2013 when he read a United Nations report on which U.S. cities comply with the 1948 United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 2013 report detailed municipal laws across the country, he said, ​“making it a criminal act to take refuge on public land when the state fails to provide you with public housing, and those include New Haven.”

That means, he said, ​“if you’re homeless in New Haven tonight, and you’re not able to access a shelter bed — and, as far as I know, there are literally hundreds who can’t — then anywhere you take refuge, you’re subject to either arrest or some kind of sanction.”

The report was an eye-opener. ​“We came to realize that no matter how many people that we took in, the people outside the door were still considered criminals.” …

Then, in early 2020, came the pandemic, shelters being closed by the city, and an Amistad House worker talking with people who had taken to sleeping in the side stairwells around City Hall.

“From those conversations, we convinced about six of those people to take a chance on a plan we had to offer hospitality on public lands, to set up a tent city, and to do it in a public way,” Colville said.

The larger problem is a shelter system that ​“mimics the criminal justice system,” he said. ​“When you walk into a shelter after you get patted down, you have to give up your privacy, your agency, autonomy, your property, all the things you give up when you go to jail.”

He compared the human right to shelter to health care. ​“If you don’t have health care, you’re going to go outside the system, whether it’s a faith healer, herbal medicine, or a drug not approved by the FDA,” he said.

Criminalizing homelessness is tantamount to ​“making it a crime to make herbal tea to cure yourself,” he said.

The new strategy, to set up tiny houses on the property as Rosette Neighborhood Village, ​“a model tent city in our own backyard,” has as its ultimate goal ​“to change the policy away from criminalization so that people can have legal status as neighbors and not criminals.”

Read the complete article at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/article/guilford_congregational_church_helps_amistad_house_say_yes_in_my_backyard.

New Haven-León Sister City Project News: A Report from Eréndira

Hello from León, Nicaragua dear friends,

We are pleased to share our first updates from 2023. Over the next few weeks, we will share many good stories and progress from our programs. Despite these successes, there are also many challenges we continue to face in supporting the rural communities of the city of León.

Señora Petrona with her EcoStove

We always want to offer our most sincere thanks to our network of friends, our donors, our Board of Directors, and our co-workers in New Haven. Your hard work, empathy, and commitment to a more equitable society make it possible for us to reach the communities of Goyena and Troilo with programs that support people’s basic needs: food security, quality education, public health, care and preservation of the environment, and economic empowerment of women.

With this support, we continue to contribute our grain of sand toward a more just, respectful and empathetic society. So, thanks for all the support!

¡La lucha sigue! Much love, Eréndira

Less Cost, Better Health: Ecostoves in León
“My name is Petrona Muñoz Centeno and I am 58 years old. I am a housewife and I live in the Troilo community in the Nueva Esperanza neighborhood (El Polvoncito). I have benefited from an ecological stove, and this has helped me a lot at home, since today I can cook my food in a safer place. I have been able to see that this kitchen helps me save firewood. Before, I spent 200 córdobas a month buying firewood. Today I only spend half of this.”

Wanted: New Home For Compost Trailblazer

by Allan Appel, New Haven Independent, May 5, 2023

“Now I feel I’m more like a waste hauler than a visionary composter,” said New Haven’s pioneering organic-scraps-repurposer and eco-idealist Domingo Medina.

That’s because Medina now has to find a new place to make mulch thanks to the pending sale of the Fair Haven farm site that he and his pedal-powered composting colleagues have long called home.

Medina’s Peels & Wheels Composting charges subscribers $7.50 per week to help them divert food waste from the landfill and the incinerator and repurpose it as nutrient-rich soil.

He expressed that sober yet still optimistic assessment on a crystalline bright Wednesday morning as he surveyed the Phoenix Press Farm site, at the end of James Street across from Criscuolo Park. Medina, who founded his composting business in 2014, is now in final preparations to leave that site as the press is in the concluding stages of selling the property.

Eco-idealist Domingo Medina of Peels & Wheels, photo: Thomas Breen

Although Peels & Wheels is thriving now and will continue, Medina is able to process into mulch only two of the four tons of organic scraps he and his fast-pedaling employees collect from 470 customers every week.

For growth to continue, however, and for Medina’s vision of a kind of perfect circle of environmental development and environmental justice to evolve, he urgently needs to find a new site to accelerate his capacity.

“I spend more time in the truck,” he lamented, as he pointed to his grey pick-up, hauling the waste to a composting site at the Common Ground High School (which operation he was instrumental in developing); to West Haven’s com-posting operation (on which he also consulted); and, soon to the transfer station in Hamden, where the load will then be transported to an anaerobic digester in Southington.

“So my cost is doubled to take care of moving this material out of the city and every week I have to rent a trailer. That goes counter to my model of recycling within our community. I don’t know where it’s [ultimately] going, and I have to pay tipping fees [for it to get there],” he said.

The problem is that for the past year or so Medina has not been able to find a permanent site where he can invest in equipment and increase his own capacity.

Read the article in its entirety at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/article/composting_visonary_eyes_new_haven

Latest Legislative News from CTNewsJunkie.com

Gov. Ned Lamont Pressures Lawmakers to Include Debt Cancellation Provision in Budget by Hugh McQuaid
Lamont wants funding in the budget to help people by canceling their medical debt. Connecticut would be the first state in the country to do that. His budget proposal called for using $20 million in pandemic relief in a plan that … could eliminate $1 billion in medical debt.

Coalition Presses for Early Voting Funding For Municipalities by Hugh McQuaid
A coalition of advocates and Connecticut mayors called Thursday on the legislature to provide adequate funding for towns and cities to implement the early voting policy that lawmakers expect to approve in the coming weeks.

House Votes in Favor of Decriminalizing Psilocybin
By Hugh McQuaid
Possession of small amounts of psilocybin would become a ticketable infraction in Connecticut rather than a crime carrying potential prison time under a bill passed Wednesday on a divided vote of the House.

State Senate Passes Financial Literacy Bill By Julie Banks
The state Senate on Tuesday night passed a bill that will make financial literacy education a graduation requirement for all Connecticut high schools.

Inventory Crisis Creates Housing Shortage By Mike Savino
As families took advantage of remote work and flocked to the suburbs during the height of the pandemic, CT’s housing market was one of the big winners. But that momentum came to a halt last year, with the state’s population growing by only 2,850, or 0.08%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

Group Home Workers Strike For Higher Wages by Christine Stuart
Over 1,700 group home and day program workers who provide care for individuals with disabilities in Medicaid-funded agencies across Connecticut launched an indefinite strike Wednesday. They are demanding higher wages, affordable healthcare, adequate retirement funding and … a pathway to a minimum wage of $25 per hour, a significant increase from their current entry-level wages of $17.25 per hour.

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