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Friday April 15, 2011

Looking to protest? Try war tax resistance

Editor of the Reformer:

I know that many people living in this area are much more aware than I am of the extent to which our society is militarized. The extent is evident in one fact alone: The U.S. spends as much on its military each year than the rest of the world combined. And the U.S. population is only approximately 5 percent of the earth’s total population. Hello? Is something seriously wrong here? What can one do about it?

I have one suggestion that deserves looking into: War tax resistance. The federal personal income tax is the vehicle through which most of the war tax dollars are collected. When so many vital social programs are being cut to the bone while the military budget is relatively untouched and war is never-ending, I am trying to prepare myself for a lot of people requesting information on war tax resistance.

So, there is an appropriate event scheduled for Tax Day, Monday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Brattleboro Post Office. Just look for a war tax resistance literature table, a couple of signs and a foolish looking person (myself) with a guitar, singing justice and peace songs. Anybody who wants to join with their voice or instrument is most welcome.

Daniel Sicken,

Dummerston, April 11

Who’s side are they on?

Editor of the Reformer:

I think I made a prediction after the election of Peter Shumlin as Vermont governor, the fight in the Vermont Legislature would be between, not Republicans and Democrats, but between a liberal Democratic governor and an ultra liberal Democrat. I don’t include the word progressive as that to me is just an ultra-liberal democrat with a new coat of paint, but still the same old tax and spend ideas.

Since the Republicans don’t have enough votes to hold a meeting in the broom closet, just let the libs and Peter Shumlin fight it out. Don’t fall into the trap of bailing Shumlin out like they did for Howard Dean. Dean spent most of his time fighting with his fellow Democrats. What he got through the Legislature was with Republican votes. Don’t make that mistake again.

Now that the Marxist mental midgets have decided to declare war on the Vermont middle class in the form of higher taxes (they say it’s the upper middle class) but don’t be fooled, it’s the whole middle the libs are gunning for.

Case in point -- a liberal Democrat Vermont House member from Bristol has proposed a 28-cents a gallon tax on spring water sold to companies in Vermont and Massachusetts. The guy who has the biggest operation in Vermont was quoted in the Rutland Herald that such a tax would put him out of business. He further said, and this is a direct quote, "I was doing business in 1977, long before these yahoos moved to Vermont." Exactly.

Robert Page,

Brattleboro, April 1

Grave concern

Editor of the Reformer:

On May 7, 2010, in the Reformer and as a parishioner, I wrote a letter stating a serious complaint about the pastor of St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church and the cemetery committee, in regard to St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery here in Brattleboro.

This pastor and the cemetery committee last spring ordered all and any articles off the graves at the cemetery, which was not right, especially when nothing was in the way of the other families graves and the maintenance crew.

The arrogance and lack of empathy of the pastor and cemetery committee did the removal job very well. Two of the committee members are special money donors, so they had a lot to say about the graves that do not belong to them. The former pastor, Stan Deresienski, never gave anyone a problem at the cemetery.

Last November I took the pastor and the committee to Superior Court in Newfane, to try to get those grave articles back on the graves, and lost. I then addressed the committee at a meeting right after the court date, at the request of the court judge, and lost again.

These graves are bought and paid for by the families and are taken care of by them. People "grieve" in different ways with different articles on their graves. Therefore, I plan to put my short shepherd hooks back on my families’ graves so I can hang my flower pots there again.

If they are removed again, then I will take the pastor and the cemetery committee back to Superior Court and keep going back until I win my case. This will be an appeal in court.

I hope that I have made myself clear, especially to the pastor and the two special money donors, that sit on the cemetery committee.

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Theresa Toney,

Brattleboro, March 31

Why was the victim’s record reported?

Editor of the Reformer:

African Americans are a small fraction of the Vermont population yet statistically it has been shown that statewide African American males are much more likely to be stopped and arrested for marijuana charges than white males.

I was very disappointed to read the article on April 6 about Christopher Bodisher. He is the victim of a life threatening, violent crime and instead of focusing on that the article primarily focused on his previous marijuana charges. Are you suggesting that his history explains why he was shot three times?

In my opinion, at least 40 percent of our local residents of all ages smoke marijuana. If the criteria for being shot is smoking marijuana then Brattleboro would be a ghost town.

I researched the Reformer’s archives and was not able to find other articles that described the victim’s crimes so I am curious to know why you felt it warranted in this case.

Personally, I intend to be watching this case very closely. I am sincerely hoping the victim receives the respect and compassion he is entitled to. I hope that the appropriate charges for the heinous crime are handed out to all those involved and their bail and their jail time reflects the seriousness of the crime and not the color of their skin.

Lastly, I want to add that even though I have lived in Brattleboro for almost 30 years I have never been asked to be on jury duty nor do I personally know of any other African American resident that has. Am I the only person that finds that strange?

Barbara Wauchope,

Brattleboro, April 9

Moran keeps office hours

Editor of the Reformer:

As we go into the final weeks of this legislative year, many issues need to be resolved before we can go home. Healthcare, Cuts to human services, energy, property taxes, education funding and governance, tax reform, just to mention a few.

As constituent feedback is crucial to my representing our district appropriately, I will continue to hold office hours in every town once a month through the end of May: On May 14 in at the Wardsboro town office at 9 a.m. and at the Dover Free Library at 11 a.m; and, on April 16 and May 21 at the Readsboro School at 9 a.m., the Stamford Library at 11 a.m. and at the Searsburg Town Office at 1 p.m.

Working together we can make this legislative session a success for all Vermonters. Thank you.

Rep. John Moran,

Windham-Bennington-1, April 5

On blood donations

Editor of the Reformer:

In regards to Mr. Schneck’s letter, ("Discrimination is dehumanizing," April 13), which deals with his being barred from donating blood, I offer the following: I retired after serving 21 years on active duty with the U.S. Army. During the 1980s, I served two-three year tours of duty in Germany. During that time, Europe was panicked by "Mad Cow" disease. Suddenly, because of those years on duty in Germany, my blood was no longer accepted because "there are no tests available to screen donors for vCJD or variant Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease" as the human version of Mad Cow disease is known. Prior to that, I had been an active blood donor with not quite two gallons donated to my credit. Nearly 30 years later, every time I pass a blood-drive site, it pains me as I reflect on how my blood will never be accepted, regardless of how critical the need.

Roy Lidie,

Bellows Falls, April 13