Campaign Forming to Stop Ruger Sales to Israel

by Stanley Heller, Middle East Crisis Committee

A number of groups are joining to try to save Palestinians from being shot by guns produced by Sturm Ruger & Co. which is based in Fairfield. The guns are barbarically being used for “crowd control,” that is, Israeli soldiers are shooting .22 caliber rounds into leaders of and participants in demonstrations, killing some and maiming others. Internet searches have shown more than 60 times Palestinians were killed or injured by Rugers over the past decade. The last was a youth killed on his 15th birthday last December.

The Middle East Crisis Committee had an effort in 2018 trying to get Ruger to take responsibility for its gun sales. Letters were written to Chris Kiloy, Ruger CEO; an op-ed was published in the New Haven Register; and three CT groups banded together for a march to Ruger headquarters on a sweltering June day. A company VP met with activists for literally a couple of minutes and said the company was following all U.S. law.

A website is being prepared. See NoRugerGunsToIsrael. godaddysites.com. We’re working on an action on March 30th which is Palestinian Land Day and the day the Great March of Return began in the Gaza Strip 2018. That effort lasted well over a year. According to the UN, “214 Palestinians, including 46 children, were killed, and over 36,100, including nearly 8,800 children, have been injured.”No Israeli soldier was killed over all that time and only one soldier was injured.

We hope this campaign will be sustained and, in view of growing support for Palestinians among U.S. citizens, U.S. Jews, and even among Congress, will have more success.  #NoRugerGuns2Israel

A Third of COVID Deaths Tied to Lack of Insurance as Dems Reintroduce Medicare for All | Democracy Now!

A new report by Public Citizen finds about one-third of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. were tied to a lack of insurance. Nearly 537,000 deaths have been reported since the start of the pandemic. Millions of infections would likely have been prevented under a Medicare for All system, says Public Citizen.

This comes as Democratic Congressmembers Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell are introducing the Medicare for All Act of 2021 today — one year after the first COVID-19 cases were confirmed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill has over 100 co-sponsors. President Biden has rejected Medicare for All, even though the majority of Americans support it.

Source: Report Finds a Third of COVID Deaths Tied to Lack of Insurance as Dems Reintroduce Medicare for All | Democracy Now!

Medicare 4 All CT Action Alert on Universal Healthcare in CT! | Action Network

We need you to contact our CT Legislators to support Universal Healthcare! We now have two opportunities this week to make our elected leaders hear our demands!

We have all been made exhausted by this year of the pandemic, but our healthcare system has been making us tired even long before then. We now have a real chance of making a statewide single-payer system a reality in Connecticut that would ensure we can all be in good health no matter our wealth!

Write to The Human Services Committee to tell them to support this bill! Click here to be taken to the letter writing form!

Then, Next Tuesday, March 30, at 2 PM EST, you have a chance to speak to our legislators at the General Assembly when The Human Services Committee will hold a public hearing on S.B. 1090, a bill that we at MEDICARE 4 ALL CT have written that will study the benefits of a HUSKY for All program. As Bernie Sanders would say, WE WROTE THE DAMN BILL!

 

This key bill will finally allow resources to go into a formal study that will prove to everyone in Connecticut for all that not only will the costs of single-payer healthcare create a great savings for the people of Connecticut, it will finally ensure that everyone can be covered and finally be healthy!

Do you have your own healthcare story you need to tell? Are you a member of a union or organization that wants to be able to focus on other issues for your members? Do you have astronomically high co-pays, deductibles, and premiums that make it almost irrelevant to have for-profit healthcare coverage at all?

Then please step up to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Follow these steps to take action NOW!

  • Use this form here to contact all members of The Human Services Committee to tell them you support S.B. 1090 and that they need to vote to move the bill on to the next step of the legislative process! Vote to send SB1090 out of committee!
  • You can draft written testimony to submit to the committee or simply submit “Say YES to S.B. 1090!”. If you have any questions or need any assistance writing your testimony, please sign up here and we will contact you for help.
  • If you plan to submit oral testimony over Zoom, please register here before Monday, March 29, at 3 PM.
  • The order of speakers to deliver oral testimony will be randomized and published by the Committee by 8 AM EST on the day of the hearing.

Green Party of Connecticut Calls Dems’ HR 1 a ‘Poison Pill’ Linking Needed Voting Reforms to Attacks on Third Parties, Independents

An otherwise progressive proposal that would enhance voting rights for many Americans is being used in a stealth attack by the Democratic Party to suppress third parties and to entrench the power of rich people in choosing who Americans can vote for. The Green Party of Connecticut supports many of the important reforms in HR 1, the so-called “For the People Act,” but calls on Democrats to amend the bill to truly do what it says – protect democracy.

Justin Paglino, the Green Party’s 2020 candidate in Connecticut’s third congressional district, said of H.R. 1, “Reforms in this bill that empower voters are welcome, including early voting, public disclosure requirements for donors to corporate Super PACs, and a plan to end partisan gerrymandering. But hidden in HR 1 are measures whose clear purpose is to strengthen establishment power and weaken voices of dissent. HR 1 skyrockets the amount of money that party leadership can give to a candidate from $5,000 to $100 million – and that is not a typo! Even worse, at a time when 62 percent of US voters say we need a new major party, HR 1 dramatically raises the hurdles that third parties already face, instead of lowering them. HR 1 quintuples the donation threshold candidates must meet to earn matching funds, and eliminates the 5%-of-the-vote threshold for federal grants, a provision that has long been the light at the end of the tunnel for third party candidates.”

Paglino, who recently announced his intent to run for Congress again in 2022, added “Connecticut’s third congressional district shows exactly what’s wrong with our election laws. The two-party system has given us a thirty-year incumbent Democrat who refuses to support widely popular policies such as Medicare for All or a Carbon Tax, and Republican challengers whose only prerequisite qualification is that they have large sums of money to run their campaigns.”

Community Sustainability & Free Organic Vegetable Gardening Virtual Workshops

by Tebben Lopez, Neighborhood Housing Services

Considering the circumstances we are in and the exacerbated concerns around food security, we are offering this year’s classes free of charge for everyone. The series will be virtual to ensure everyone’s safety.

Are you or a loved one a gardener who can’t wait for the ground to thaw? Prepare for Spring with our last two classes in our organic vegetable gardening series taught by Advanced Certified Master Gardener Rachel Ziesk! All classes are virtual and take place on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

March 6: Seed Starting – Start your own seedlings! Learn about when to start indoor seedlings, watering, using lights, and dealing with common problems. We will also review which crops can be planted directly outdoors and when.

March 13: Weeds: the Good, the Bad, and the Tasty – Some “weeds” are actually native wildflowers benefitting your vegetable garden’s pollinators. Some are invasive horrors with plans to take over your garden. And some are edible, delicious little morsels that can be harvested and enjoyed.
For more information, please contact Kathy Fay, (203) 562-0598 ext. 225, kfay@nhsofnewhaven.org.

Support a Fossil Fuel Power Plant Moratorium to Protect Our Health and Climate

by Melinda Tuhus, climate justice activist

Climate activists around the state are prioritizing a bill (SB 718) in this year’s General Assembly session that would create a moratorium on fossil fuel power plant construction, with an eye specifically to stopping a fracked gas power plant to be built in Killingly, which is nearing final approval by the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

In a conversation with climate activists on Feb. 17, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Christine Cohen, said she was frustrated that, despite a full-court press by those advocates to get a public hearing on the bill in the Energy & Technology Committee, that didn’t happen. She said it might still happen through another bill or possibly by creating some studies to enable the state to take action to stop Killingly, for which the owners of the plant, NTE, have signed a contract with ISO-New England, the regional grid operator. Gov. Ned Lamont says he doesn’t want the plant but that he is stuck with this agreement forged by his predecessor, Dannel Malloy, who was a huge proponent of gas. ISO-NE, on the other hand, says that states always have the final say on siting energy infrastructure.

There are many reasons why the plant shouldn’t be built. Connecticut’s Global Warming Solutions Act, in line with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change science, requires that greenhouse gas emissions in our state must be reduced below 2001 levels by 45% by 2030, and 80% by 2050. To achieve these mandated reductions, Connecticut must stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure, including power plants and pipelines.

Connecticut doesn’t need more dirty energy. Analysis from EIA (US Energy Information Agency) shows Connecticut has been a net energy exporter for a decade.1 Analysis by Synapse Energy shows that a significant surplus of electric capacity exists, and is projected to exist, in New England.2 And DEEP’s Draft Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) says that “Connecticut now hosts a disproportionate share of the region’s fossil-fueled generation”3

To meet our climate goals, including Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 3 calling for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, we must build clean energy capacity while retiring dirty energy, not building more dirty power. Acadia Center calculated that by 2030 Connecticut and New England would experience a net gain in employment under a No New Gas scenario.4

Finally, fossil fuel generation causes poor air quality and inequitable health outcomes, as these facilities are most often placed in low-income and/or people of color neighborhoods. Killingly ranks well below the state average in income and already has an operating fracked gas power plant.

Take action! Contact the co-chairs of the Energy & Technology Committee and urge them to incorporate the basics of SB 718 in another bill so it has a chance to be voted on. That’s Sen. Norm Needleman (norm.needleman@cga.ct.gov) and Rep. David Arconti (david.arconti@cga.ct.gov).

Footnotes
1. https://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=CT
2. https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/CSC/1_Dockets-medialibrary/Docket_470B/Prefiled_exhibits/grouped/DO470B20190411NAPPSCTestimonyFaganGlickpdf.pdf
3. https://www.google.com/url?q=https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/energy/IRP/2020-IRP/2020-CT-DEEP-Draft-Integrated-Resources-Plan-in-Accordance-with-CGS-16a-3a.pdf&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1612307098281000&usg=AOvVaw15H4cjW5Hp_vcg_qIRhWGz
4. https://362kp444oe5xj84kkwjq322g-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Acadia_Center_Decline_of_Gas_Brief.pdf

The Myopia of Medical Assisted Suicide

by Joan Cavanagh, member, Second Thoughts CT

“In Austin, Texas, at a ‘You Can’t Close America!’ rally, hundreds of demonstrators, nearly all-white, defied social-distancing guidelines by gathering on the steps of the Capitol…A woman wearing a Keep America Great cap waved a sign reading, ‘My Life, My Death, My Choice, Personal Responsibility…‘” [bold emphasis added.]

See Linda Villarosa, “Who Lives? Who Dies? How COVID-19 has revealed the deadly realities of a racially polarized America,” New York Times Magazine, May 3, 2020, p. 50.

“My life, my death, my choice” is the slogan of Compassion and Choices, the national organization devoted to promoting Medical Assisted Suicide (MAS). That it found its way to a Trump-supporting super-spreader event is not surprising, since the implication is that individual behavior has no impact on the lives of others. One of many reasons to oppose MAS is because the premise of these bills is the same.

“Death with dignity” is a phrase often used by MAS proponents, suggesting that the level of care required by many who are disabled, elderly, or very ill somehow demeans them and is a burden on others and on society. This is a fundamental denial of our human connection and responsibility to and for one another.

Even more insidious, Medical Assisted Suicide can easily morph into treatment-rationing for patients whose health care is deemed too expensive for hospitals and insurance companies to sustain. The COVID crisis has dramatically revealed the ways in which poor, disabled, elderly, black and brown people are already discriminated against within the medical system.

Its advocates argue that MAS is intended only for those with a “terminal illness.” But definitions of what is “terminal” are fluid and subjective, life expectancy projections often mistaken. Treatment (or lack thereof) is too often determined by what a patient’s insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, will and will not cover. Many diseases are “terminal” if left untreated. Allowing doctors to prescribe lethal medication offers a cost-effective “out” for insurers.

While it may provide an individual “choice” for a select few, among its many evils the legalization of Medical Assisted Suicide also opens the door to increased limitations on health care, which is an existential threat to the many. Please tell your state representatives to vote “No” on HB 6425, now pending in the Public Health Committee.

Paid Internships for High School Students Interested in Journalism

Do you know any local high school students who might want to learn about journalism? Then please share this information about the Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s Youth Arts Journalism Initiative.

Students admitted to our program have a chance to participate in a virtual, after-school activity where they’ll get to learn about journalism and get paid $75 for every story they write for the Arts Council’s digital publication, The Arts Paper. They’ll also get a stipend of $250 for their participation in our roughly 9-week program.

Please share our application with all the high school students you know. Applications are due March 6. https://www.newhavenarts.org/yaji

Job Opening at Neighborhood Housing Services

Neighborhood Housing Services is looking for a Resource Development Specialist. In this position, the Specialist is responsible for identifying and securing new grant opportunities and maintaining existing partnerships, event sponsorships, individual donations, and in-kind donations to fund/support the programs and initiatives at Neighborhood Housing Services and the New Haven HomeOwnership Center.

NHSNH requires that the applicant has a bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in English, Marketing, Public Relations, Communications, or a related field; plus two (2) or more years’ experience in grant writing and/or fundraising.

For additional details about skills requirements and how to apply for the position, see the job posting on Idealist: https://www.idealist.org/en/nonprofit-job/ec42ed20c56c49ed9ca4e3090a54f58a-resource-development-specialist-neighborworks-affiliates-new-haven.

New Haven Climate Movement Activities

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven Climate Movement

Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride 2021: We’re excited to share that Rock to Rock is moving ahead for this spring. We are already working with over 15 partner organizations to take real action in response to the climate emergency and raise critical support for local environmental organizations while respecting public health guidance. Register now at https://www.rocktorock.org.

Sign petition to support New Haven Climate Justice and Green Jobs Fund of $1.1 million that would go annually to staff and other expenses related to clean energy jobs creation, energy efficiency, outreach/education/programs (to save families money and create jobs), increased climate education, and transportation improvement (to reduce air pollution and help people get to work/school). https://www.newhavenclimatemovement.org/climate-justice-gj-fund.

Book Review: The United States of War

by Jeffry Larson, PAR reader

Highly commendable is a dense and well-researched history of “the American way of war”: The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State. By David Vine, published by the University of California Press: 2020, in the California Series in Public Anthropology. Available in local libraries.

This admirable history could serve as a fitting documentation of the historical discussion at the beginning of the article from the New Haven Sunday vigilers on the recent attempted coup d’état at the U.S. Capitol that appeared in the February issue of the PAR Newsletter.  This comprehensive reference guide to the “American way of war” describes the aggressive, imperialistic wars that our country has waged since its foundation.

In his preface, Vine makes what may be a minor correction to the vigilers’ dating the U.S.’s regime-changing violence as starting in the 20th Century when he writes: “Some tend to think that this [present] period of forever war is exceptional. Some assume, as I did, that it’s unusual that most new U.S. recruits and new U.S. college students have no memory of a time when their country wasn’t at war. To the contrary, this state of war is the norm in U.S. history.  According to the …Congressional Research Service ,..  the U.S. military has waged war, engaged in combat, or otherwise engaged its forces aggressively in foreign lands in all but eleven years of its existence.” (p. xiv)

The “American way of war” was set forth in General George Washington’s orders to Maj. Gen. John Sullivan about what to do with indigenous tribes who sided with the British in the War of Independence: “Lay waste all the settlements around, that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed… (Chapter 3: Why Are So Many Places Named Fort? p. 50). Little wonder that this soon-to-be first U.S. president was dubbed “Destroyer of villages” by the indigenous inhabitants.

Vine traces the development of U.S.’s aggressive imperialist policy through the lens of forts constructed largely in foreign lands; he supplies informative maps, tables, and charts.  A companion book by Vine is his Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, also available in local libraries through the state’s collective online library catalog; this book serves as a catalog of the 800 foreign bases run by what Americans call their “Department of Defense,” Vine reaches out to families of US soldiers lost in our “forever wars;” he is admirable in his generous treatment of these indirect casualties of U.S. aggression.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

By now, we hope PAR readers know that residents 65 years of age and older can get the COVID-19 vaccine. As of this printing, eligibility will shortly be given to front-line workers and people with underlying health conditions. Please call 2-1-1 for updated COVID-19 information. As we said last month, we want all of our readers to continue to wear masks and observe the recommended 6-feet anti-social distance guidelines. It won’t be for too much longer. Remember, it’s better to be patient than to be a patient.

You can get an appointment online or by phone.

To register online, please visit the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) at https://dphsubmissions.ct.gov/OnlineVaccine. When accepted into the registration portal, you will receive emails detailing the next steps necessary in the scheduling process.

To register by phone, please call (877) 918-2224 during weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
You can also call the City of New Haven Health Department at (203) 639-2245, and Yale New Haven Health at (833) ASK-YNHH [(833) 275-9644)].

For more information on Coronavirus and the vaccine, visit: https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus. Or call the CT Virtual Assistant: (833) 250-7633. For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, please use 7-1-1 for relay services.

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