Friday September 21, 2012

93-year-old legs
make the cut

Editor of the Reformer:

Yesterday I did not go down to the Piraeus with Glaucon, but I did go down to the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital with many excellent runners and walkers to run in a 5k (3.1 mile) race to benefit the Brattleboro Walk in Clinic. That has to be the best organized race of its size I have ever run in. With a little more advertizement it could easily double the entry.

The Merchants in town are generous in donations of flowers, Cabot cheese and, gift certificates to all kinds of enterprises. I was given a cash certificate to Top of the Hill and being fairly new to this area had to ask my keeper what it was. I feel compelled to tell all the runners and walkers that although I was so slow (everybody had to wait until I arrived last for the after-the-race activities to start), be it known my 93-year-old legs and I were trying as diligently as possible. I’ll try harder next year.

The opening line above is from Plato’s Republic, arguably the greatest book ever written, 600 BC.

George Whitney,

Brattleboro, Sept. 16 Things were better
back when

Editor of the Reformer:

If you are over 60 and grew up in a family that had social and moral values, you probably know how our nation has changed since World War II, unfortunately for the worse. One really unpleasant change is how people are treated by other people, by the government and by businesses, including even local stores where people should be more courteous. Read on for a few of examples, all of them slaps in the face.

Banks take your money and give you only a small amount of interest. Public schools drop English, math, science and history and give kids stage, dance, video, Circus Smirkus and other dumb-down things to do. Average people need good jobs with good income, but the government gives the wealthiest 1 percent the tax breaks while ignoring the little people. Oil companies are enjoying the highest profits ever, but they keep raising prices of gasoline and home heating fuel.

The IRS and the state of Vermont used to mail our year-end tax booklets, but not anymore. Our town clerk’s office used to be open five days and Saturday morning, but now only four days in 10-hour lumps. Go in a store and three women clerks ignore you -- one is reading a magazine, one is playing on a computer and the other is pretending to restock a shelf at the back of the store. Call a business about a problem and you have to press this, press that and are put on hold sometimes for a half hour or more. Go in a store and they have items without any prices shown. When you check out there is no way to know if the prices are correct.

Age was mentioned because in the process of dumbing-down the American public, the young people are the worst damaged with constant television garbage, bad manners, kick the others when they are down, and drive a 300-horsepower car with a cell phone in one hand and the other hand hopefully on the steering wheel.

It’s all OK because we will soon be enveloped in a nuclear radioactive environment that will be the end of all living things on Earth.

Ted Schreyer,

Newfane, Sept. 18

Mitchell for Lt. Governor of Vermont

Editor of the Reformer:

My name is Ben Mitchell, and I am the Liberty Union candidate for Lieutenant Governor in Vermont. My platform is to get control of our state resources back into the hands of the people.

The framers of the Constitution were careful to build systems to prevent any individual or small group of oligarchs from gaining too much power -- checks and balances -- but now the billionaires -- less than .001 percent of the population -- can pick the winners and losers in our elections. Even "Public Radio" has moved to silence any voice but the well vetted, well financed voices of finance and energy.

The changes I would like to make:

Free the Money: We need to end the stranglehold of the financial sector on the global economy. Vermont needs a state-owned credit union to provide financing to small business. As for the thieves who wrecked the economy, any outstanding private loan for which the interest and fees exceeded the principal will be null and void. There is a very real moral hazard in letting all the brokerages, banks and insurance companies walk away with all that money.

Free the Sick: Take insurance out of medicine. We should triple the number of students admitted to Vermont medical schools. We pay for their education, and in return they work for the state for five years after residency. The health insurance industry is a form of extortion. Why are the greedy few entitled to a percentage of all our health care expenditures?

Socialized Energy: We need solar panels and windmills on every building. Energy is too important to leave to the "free market," which is killing our planet. They talk about "cheap" energy, but they forget to account for the costs of climate change and the cost of cleaning up after all the disasters. Take Vermont Yankee by eminent domain.

Free the Potheads: Vermont should be the Amsterdam of the U.S. It is good for farms and would solve many financial problems. Medical marijuana misses the point. Prohibition doesn’t work.

Build a Sustainable Local Economy: Many in Vermont support the effort to eat local foods, buy local products and shop in locally owned stores. It is time for the state to recognize the intelligence of this approach and join in with all of its resources. When the global corporate distribution network, which is unsustainable, comes to a grinding halt, all we will have is what we can grow and make ourselves. Let’s invest in this real, local economy.

Money out of Elections: I support the Buddy Roemer plan in which each voter has a $50 voucher to be allocated to the candidates of his or her choice. Furthermore, I believe that individuals or corporations who try to buy the election should be incarcerated. If corporations are people they should be incarcerated. Corporations are the one place I would support the death penalty. Chief Justice Roberts is the most violently "activist" judge in history, and he is a threat to our democracy. Vermont needs publicly financed elections and instant runoff voting.

Ben Mitchell,

Westminster West, Sept. 20