Saturday November 24, 2012

Umbrage taken at Reformer editorial on Israel/Hamas

Editor of the Reformer:

I take offense at your editorial, "A Call for Diplomacy" (Nov. 20) as well as the accompanying political cartoon by Paresh. These are common anti- Israeli/anti-Zionist positions that have dogged Israel since its founding over 60 years ago. This repudiation of the Israelis’ right to self defense against a known terrorist organization, Hamas, that along with Israel’s other neighbors in the region seek its destruction is unacceptable.

By restraint do you mean that Israelis should head to Masada for the final leap? No other country on the planet is held to the standards that Israel is held to? No other country’s right to self determination and self protection is debated as often or as intently as that of Israel. Your anti-Zionist stance, for that is what it is, and the depiction of Netanyahu riding a missile into the city of Gaza is thinly veiled anti-Semitism.

More than 60 years after its founding Israel faces boycotts, divestment and challenges to its right to exist; I see no other comment on your part or others condemning Hamas or others for missile strikes against Israeli towns and cities. This morning a bus was blown up in Tel Aviv and more than 20 civilians were injured. Where is the outcry and call to Hamas for restraint. Your editorial is just one more contribution to the sustained anti-Israel de-legitimization campaign and contributes to the denial of the Jewish right to national self determination.

To quote Efraim Karsh, Israel Affairs (July 2012), "Since Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, and since Zionism is the Jewish people’s national liberation movement, anti-Zionism, as opposed to criticism of specific Israeli policies or actions, means the denial of the Jewish right to self-determination. Such a discriminatory denial of this basic right to only one nation ... while allowing it to all other groups and communities, however new and tenuous their claim to nationhood, is pure and unadulterated ant-Jewish racism ...." All this while Israel fights an enemy that plants missile launchers in schools or hospitals and then decries the loss of "civilian" life when those targets are surgically eliminated. Perhaps in your next editorial you should request that Israel dismantle the "Iron Dome" and permit missiles supplied by Iran to the Hamas dominated terrorist government in Gaza to rain down on Israeli citizens so that the playing field can be leveled.

Open your eyes, Israel is not the enemy; Israel is the bastion of Democracy in a region fraught with dictatorial and terrorist governments bent on its destruction and it is a staunch ally of the United States. Israel needs our support, not poorly thought out criticism.

Stephen R. Green,

Guilford, Nov. 23

Advertising is abusive, invasive and insulting

Editor of the Reformer:

I consistently wonder why the American people have not awaken to the abusive nature of advertising -- print, telephone, television, radio and, worst of all, the Internet.

The average 30 minute television program (with it’s low-level content) is roughly 50 percent advertising.

The evening news promotes itself as part of its "advertising" content.

Robotic, voice activated, telephone calls are among the most egregious abuses.

Over the top are the incredible abuses to be found on the Internet:

-- Tracking methods that push ads before my eyes based on my searching activity and web site visits.

-- For those who like to do online crosswords or almost any other such activity, you are forced to view an advertisement before you can get to the game -- this is a trivial example of site behavior

-- Go to a YouTube video, and you are most likely to be presented with at least 3-4 advertisements: 1) something you generally must watch before seeing the video; 2) the occasional option to "Skip Ad Now"; 3. The pop up box with content that indicates that they know who you are and what you are interested in; and 4. The 2, 3 or 4 other ads on the page which flash, blink, rotate, and otherwise seek to grab your attention.

-- The most obscenely abusive advertisements promote: insurance plans, health care services, legal services, particularly for litigation and, above all, pharmaceutical drugs, laden with ominous warnings that include even death.

At age 65, I’ve seen several generations of changes. The institutions that suffer from the greatest lack of self-awareness are media and advertising.

A social theorist some 40-50 years ago (his name escapes me) suggested that the fastest way to bring about substantial change in our society would be to outlaw the use of advertising in all its forms. The more I observe around me, the more I believe that this is absolutely true. Advertising is the primary method by which corporations manipulate human behavior.

Is anyone as tired as I am of the quintessential hegemony of corporate interests in our society and in our "government?"

Many people think I’m a freak, but if we do not wake up from our hypnotic trance, it will be too late.

Frederick A. Lucies,

Brattleboro, Oct. 16

Alternate use for Home Depot space

Editor of the Reformer:

June 2013 will mark five years that the Brattleboro Home Depot and its acres of parking lot have been vacant. The government made a mistake by allowing prime farmland to be destroyed for this purpose. It’s time to correct the mistake. There are two good options, either of which will require the government to buy the building. One is to remove the building and parking lot and return the area to farmland. The government could sell the land to a farmer, or sign a long-term lease, either way with the condition that the land be farmed organically, and that it be kept as farmland in perpetuity.

The second good option is to follow the lead of Mashpee, Mass. In 2002, that town worked with a private company to purchase a vacant big box store and its acres of vacant parking lots. The site was converted to a neighborhood that looks a lot like downtown Brattleboro, with narrow streets, wide sidewalks and two and three story buildings with stores at street level and apartments upstairs. The new neighborhood has a park that’s similar to the Brattleboro town common.

If you would like to sign a petition in support of these options, please contact me at ewilliams@valleypost.org or 802-254-2531.

Eesha Williams,

Dummerston Nov. 21

Thanks to the Carey family

Editor of the Reformer:

I wish to confirm the letter from Verne Carey of Newfane dated Nov. 19.

I know for a fact that Verne will do as he promised.

Back in 2008 I had a heart attack while living on Upper Eager Road in Newfane. Verne and Verne Jr. called for an ambulance and also stayed with me until the ambulance left for Dartmouth. Also brought me back from the hospital. So you can say I owe my life to Verne and his son. Something to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day 2012.

I also wish to thank the Carey Family for teaching them to help one another. God Bless.

Henry Pinckney

Townshend, Nov. 19

Heroine Highway?

Editor of the Reformer:

In the article about Archer Mayor’s new book, "Paradise City" (Nov. 16) and the heavy trade in drugs from Northampton, Mass., through Brattleboro, then on to elsewhere, your article announced that indeed, I-91 might be dubbed "Heroine Highway." Poor Molly Stark, up to now our genuine heroine, will be upset, I feel sure. Sigh.

Augusta Bartlett,

Marlboro, Nov. 19