Tuesday, November 24, 2009



On one side is the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, FPN [Fox Propaganda News], the tea baggers, and the far right that have spread lies and spent millions of dollars for lobbing and media ads to defend the status quo and profits of large corporations.

On the other side are the religions leaders - Labor, civil rights groups and community organizations - A majority of Connecticut and people in the U.S. - the AARP and the American Medical Association. They are fighting for working people and the disenfranchised in American for the basic human right of health care for all.

So it is decision time Joe, WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? You did the right thing by voting to allow debate to go forward on health care reform. We hope your heart, conscience and commitment are with working people and the disenfranchised. Vote YES on health care reform with a strong public option.

[The Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care prepares to deliver hundreds of prayers to Sen. Lieberman asking for his support for the public option at his office in Hartford, CT.]

On Tuesday, November 24, religious leaders representing multiple faiths delivered hundreds of personal prayers from constituents of Senator Joe Lieberman calling upon him to support healthcare reform with a strong public option.

[Photo above: Chaplain Bilal Ansari of the Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford is holding the prayer cards to be delivered to Sen. Lieberman. Only a delegation of five from the Interfaith Fellowship was allowed to go into the lower lobby of the office building to deliver the cards to a Lieberman staff member. The media and participants had to remain outside.]

Chaplin Bilal Ansari said, "We will not give up on those who are desperate for affordable health care. We will keep praying for Senator Joe Lieberman because we believe that a man of conscience will see that the public option is essential to achieving a health care system that works for those in need."


On Sunday, November 15, over five hundred people from across Connecticut gathered outside the senator's Stamford home for a candlelight vigil organized by clergy and congregants from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Unitarian Universalist congregations. During the interfaith service, hundreds of people wrote personal prayers to the Senator urging his support for a public health care option.

However, when rabbis, priests, and imams attempted to deliver the completed cards, they were turned away on order of building security that had been directed not to accept any offerings. And when a neighbor residing in Senator Lieberman's building who attended the vigil tried to deliver the prayer cards, she was turned away as well. So the Interfaith Fellowship went to Sen. Lieberman's office on Nov. 24 to deliver those prayers. [For details of the vigil outside of Sen. Lieberman's home see blog entry below - Nov. 16th "Health Care Vigil..."]

Other photo's of the Nov. 24 event in front of Sen. Lieberman's office follow: [Click on photo for full screen]

Posted by Tom Connolly

Chris Murphy Briefs State Legislators on Health Care Reform

[Photo Above: Congressman Chris Murphy, center, briefs state legislators on health care reform. House Speaker Christopher Donovan is setting to his right.]

Congressman Chris Murphy (CT-5), at the invitation of House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan (D-Meriden), briefed state legislators and health care advocates on the progress of health care reform legislation in Washington on Monday.

As a current member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over health care, and the former Chairman of the Connecticut legislature’s Public Health Committee, Murphy has become one of Congress’ leading voices for health care reform.

Murphy spoke about the H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, which:

  • reforms insurance law to stop discrimination based on pre-existing conditions;
  • ends the practice of patients losing their insurance if they get too sick;
  • provides tax credits for businesses that provide health insurance coverage to their employees;
  • strengthens Medicare by beginning to close the prescription drug donut hole immediately, cutting co-payments for preventive services, and slashing waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare system;
  • and reduces the deficit while covering 96% of Americans.

The US Chamber of Commerce recently ran a series of vicious adds intentionally misrepresented H.R. 3962 and attacking congressman Murphy for voting for the bill. The US Chamber and the Republican Party has targeted congressman Murphy for defeat in the 2010 election.

Posted by Tom Connolly

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NAACP to Lieberman -- Support Health Care Reform



(HARTFORD, CT) A Connecticut delegation of civil rights groups met with Senator Joseph Lieberman’s staff yesterday to urge the Senator to support comprehensive health care reform and to discuss his intentions for Connecticut residents. Specifically, the delegation asked the Senator to support key provisions in H.R. 3950, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was introduced late yesterday afternoon.

Included in the delegation lead by the Connecticut NAACP State Conference, were Scot X Esdaile, President of the CT NAACP State Conference and NAACP National Board Member, Valerie Shultz Wilson, President of the Urban League of Southern Connecticut. The delegation was staffed and Hilary Shelton the Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and the Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy.

“Senator Lieberman’s staff heard our concerns, but were unable to assure us that the Senator would support the full Senate moving to an ‘up-or-down’ vote once the debate on health care reform ended,” stated Scot X. Esdaile, President of the Connecticut NAACP State Conference. “The Senator informed us that he is still considering his options, and is unsure of whether he will support or join a filibuster of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this Saturday.” “What Senator Lieberman doesn’t seem to realize is the longer he delays this debate the more people living in Connecticut, and throughout our Nation will find themselves going bankrupt from exorbitant health care costs, or worse, unnecessarily dying from a lack of adequate health care,” added Esdaile. The vote on whether or not to enact cloture on the bill or filibuster it is currently scheduled to take place this Saturday, November 21.

The Connecticut civil rights leaders urged Senator Lieberman to quickly pass a bill that is at least as comprehensive as the House bill, complete with a public option provision that provides ample health care coverage to as many Americans as possible; ensures that all Americans can afford health insurance and that pre-existing conditions are covered; and takes aggressive steps to end racial and ethnic health care disparities. Specifically, the group asked that Senator Lieberman support provisions which:

  • Expands health insurance options, by allowing individuals and families to stay with the insurer they currently have, choose a different private insurer, or to go with a newly created government run public option;
  • Offers subsidies to help low- and moderate-income households to purchase health insurance;
  • Protects and expands Medicaid to provide free health care to all Americans with incomes below 150% of the federal poverty level;
  • Bans the health care insurance industry from implementing bans on lifetime limits, charging people more due to health status or gender, or denying coverage for preexisting conditions;
  • Provides for the cost of prevention and wellness services to be covered by health insurance; and
  • Includes cultural competency and linguistic appropriateness provisions, empowerment zones, workforce diversity, Office of Minority Health, Office on Women’s Health, Indian Health Services, data collection and reporting.

“The Connecticut State Conference of the NAACP is calling on Senator Lieberman to support cloture of H.R. 3950, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act before Thanksgiving and to personally meet with communities of color throughout the state during his Thanksgiving home work period. This is among the most important pieces of legislation for residents of Connecticut and the country to come before him in recent years. Senator Lieberman needs to hear from his constituents living in communities hardest hit by our nations broken Healthcare system. There are many families across Connecticut that won’t be giving thanks next week, they’ll be worrying about how to pay for medical bills or how to just stay healthy” concluded Esdaile.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Photo Above: Two leaders from the The Interfaith Alliance for Universal Health Care , Rabbi Stephen Fuchs and Pastor Abraham Hernandez, tried to deliver the written prayers to Sen. Lieberman but where stopped by police.

Join the Interfaith Alliance and ask Sen. Lieberman to accept the prayers on:


TIME: 11:30 AM

PLACE: Joe Lieberman’s office - 1 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, CT 06103 where the Interfaith Alliance will once again try to deliver the cards of prayers and wishes for health care reform. Please make every effort to attend and let Lieberman know that he needs to stop his opposition to the public option.


The Interfaith Alliance for Universal Health Care conducted a prayer vigil and candlelight procession for Joe Lieberman on Sunday night in Stamford with over 500 people in attendance.

They began at Stamford High School Auditorium where they had people write down their prayers and wishes for health care reform, and proceeded by candlelight to Lieberman’s residence. There, a dozen faith leaders prayed for Lieberman to end his opposition to health care reform and a public option.

Two leaders, Rabbi Stephen Fuchs and Pastor Abraham Hernandez tried to deliver the written prayers and wishes to Lieberman, but were rebuffed by police and building management.

Shirley Binin, a resident of the same building Lieberman lives in and a participant in the vigil and procession, agreed to deliver the cards to her neighbor. She was informed by the condo association President that was not permissible under their rules.

So join us on Tuesday, November 24, 11:30 AM at Joe Lieberman’s office 1 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, CT 06103 and witness the prayers being delivered to Sen. Lieberman.

Monday, November 16, 2009


[Click of photo for full screen]

Over 500 Connecticut supporters of health care with a strong public option gathered in front of Sen. Joseph Lieberman's home for an interfaith prayer vigil Sunday, in response to his statement that his conscience would not allow him to support such a bill. Participants traveled from all parts to Connecticut to join the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care in a candle light march from Stamford High School, Lieberman's alma mater, to his home across the street.

The march reflected anger and frustration throughout the state at Lieberman's refusal to respond to public opinion, despite thousands of letters, phone calls, e-mails and rallies outside his Hartford office. The clergy, of all denominations, made it clear that the time for health care reform and health care for all is now.

By the end of 2009 over 300,000 Connecticut residents and millions of Americans will be without health care, while the insurance industry collects billions of dollars in profits. A Quinnipiac Poll issued Thursday showed 56% of Connecticut voters in support of a public option with 37% opposed.

Rabbi Ron Fish noted that the American Medical Association and the largest senior organization in the United States, AARP, have endorsed health care reform. He said the clergy were adding their voice as a matter of conscience. Recently Sen. Lieberman said he would filibuster any health care reform with a public option. Last week told Chris Wallace on Fox News, "If the public option plan is in there, as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote."

Rabbi Fish stated, "The moral imperative for our time is clear. Anyone whose guide in public policy is conscience, anyone who argues that faith and religious traditions should direct our actions, such a person must stand for universal health care in America."


A police officer in front of Lieberman's home stopped Rabbi Fuchs and Pastor Abraham Hernandez from delivering prayer cards that were written by the hundreds of people who attended the candle vigil. The police explained that the doorman could not accept the prayer cards and is just doing what he was told. The crowd started shouting, "Take our prayers - Take our prayers." But the police refused.


Shirley Binin is a neighbor of Sen. Lieberman and was participating in the vigil. She volunteered to deliver the prayer cards to Sen. Lieberman's condo.

[Photo Above: Shirley Binin, is holding the candle and the prayer cards]

[Photo Above: Ms. Binin passing the police officer on her way to dilivering the prayer cards to Sen. Leiberman.]

The event received coverage in a few mainstream media outlets, breaking through the barrier of media silence. Mainstream news outlets have ignored previous actions calling upon Lieberman to support health care with a public option. Connecticut's only statewide papaer, the Hartford Courant, did not cover the event.


[Photo above: Rabbi Ron Fish]

[Photo Above: Pastor Mark Scott]

[Photo above: Rev. O'Rourke]

[Photo Above: Chaplain Bilal Ansari]

[Photos Below are pictures of some of participants in the pray vigil.] Click of photos for full screen.

By Tom Connolly

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Court Rules for Blumenthal in Pratt & Whitney Jobs Fight

Thu. November 12, 2009-- GOIAM newsletter

The battle to save more than 1,000 jobs at two Pratt & Whitney plants in Connecticut took a favorable turn this week when a federal judge ruled state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal can join an IAM effort to block the company from moving about 1,000 Connecticut jobs out of state and overseas.

In making her ruling, Judge Janet C. Hall swept aside objections by Pratt & Whitney officials that the attorney general was too aligned with the union and granted permission for him to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of an IAM lawsuit seeking to block the massive job transfer.

“This federal court decision promises a fairer fight and recognizes Connecticut's serious stake in protecting jobs and workers and our local economy,” said Blumenthal, who also claims that Pratt & Whitney failed to seriously consider a $100 million state incentive package and other options to avoid the layoffs.

“Pratt cannot conscionably defend its disregard of the state's offers and its job destruction,” said Blumenthal.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Take to the streets for health care rally!
Come to a rally Thursday in Hartford
Sponsored by MoveOn

DATE: Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009

TIME: 4:30 PM

PLACE: 1 Constitution Plaza, Hartford, CT (in Hartford)

The House just passed health care reform—and now comes the major challenge: getting real reform passed through the Senate. At this rally, we'll kick off a massive organizing drive to push the Senate to pass health care this year with a strong public option.

Pray for Sen. Lieberman at His Home

You Are Invited to Join With The Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care at an Interfaith Prayer Vigil for Senator Joe Lieberman.

WHEN: Sunday, November 15 at 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: Stamford High School (in Lieberman’s neighborhood), 55 Strawberry Hill Avenue, Stamford, CT [Google Map Directions]

WHY: Pray for Senator Lieberman: Call on him to stand up for national health care reform that includes a strong public option

Please join people from across Connecticut – representing all walks of life and all faith traditions. Remind Senator Lieberman that we are united in our call for quality, affordable health care we can count on!

“Our various faith traditions and our various experiences as pastors, rabbis, priests, imams and people of faith from all walks of life have taught us that no one should be left behind in receiving care that heals the body and quiets the mind.”
– Efrain Agosto, Academic Dean, Hartford Seminary

RSVP online at the healthcare4every1 site or on Facebook.

For more information, contact info@healthcare4every1.org or call (203) 639-0550

Youth to Seniors Fight for Health Care Reform -- Four in Hartford Arrested at Lieberman Protest

By Clark Peters, Tom Connolly

(Hartford, CT) Several dozen demonstrators gathered in front of Senator Joseph Lieberman's Hartford office at Constitution Plaza yesterday to question the Connecticut Senator's position on universal health care and the public option. Senator Lieberman has vowed to filibuster any health care bill that includes such a provision. The action was organized by "Mobilization for Health Care for All", a committee which includes students from Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut.

The Constitution Plaza demonstration eventually resulted in four arrests.

The demonstrators arrived at Lieberman's office shortly after 10 am. A picket line was set up after the group was refused entry into the building. Several phone calls to the Senator's office were put on hold and then disconnected. A spokeswoman finally came outside to tell the group that “ all views would be considered...” When asked if she would get Senator Lieberman on the phone to discuss their concerns with him, the staffperson refused.

Two demonstrators noted that a 25 year old friend has had to resort to fundraisers to raise money for her cancer treatment, referring to her as “a victim of the private health insurance industry”. The Lieberman spokeswoman offered no response (nor any constituent assistance).

Shortly afterwards, four demonstrators were arrested by Hartford police for staging a sit down at the building's entrance and refusing to leave until they heard from Lieberman.

A spokeswoman for the demonstrators said that they had been trying repeatedly without success to get Senator Lieberman to have a discussion, hold a meeting, or schedule a public forum on the health care issue. Among the protestors was one of nine persons arrested at a sit-in at Senator Lieberman's Washington, DC office last week.

Yesterday's demonstration followed several other health care protests held around Hartford in the last few months, as various organizations continue to mobilize in support of health care reform.

In 2009 about 28,000 Connecticut residents will lose their health insurance, bringing the total uninsured to over 300,000 by the end of this year. Roughly two thirds of the state's residents now support a “public option”.

Seniors are also taking more aggressive steps to support health care reform and the public option. The Alliance for Retired Americans, affiliated with the AFL-CIO, and AARP have endorsed health care reform with the public option. The serior groups, in coalition with labor and others, have recently produced a video explaining the lies told by Fox [Propaganda] News and the “tea-bagger” types regarding health care reform and the public option. Go to:

http://www.youtube.com/seniors2seniors or http://www.retiredamericans.org/ to see the videos that are being show thoughtout Connecticut and the country.