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posted October 27, 2006

Vote out GOP

Most Vermonters understandably vote for the person — without much regard to which political party the candidate belongs to.
The elections for U.S. House and U.S. Senate this year are different because we now have one party (Republican) rule in Washington. And if the Republicans maintain a majority in the House and the Senate it means one party (Republican) rule will continue. This means that the Republicans will control the agenda. It means that if you are concerned about the environment, nothing will happen to address your concerns because the Republican Party leadership in Congress are anti-environment.
So, no matter how good a voter might conclude Martha Rainville and Rich Tarrant are as individuals, the fact is their elections will only enhance Republican control of our country’s agenda — and veterans, senior citizens, working people (including most women and others who have had to fight for their rights), the environment, and public education will all be the losers.
In this November’s election, it really does matter which party the candidates are from. For our representatives to Congress, I urge Vermonters to vote for Peter Welch and Bernie Sanders.
Kit Andrews
Burlington

Scudder: A man of vision

I write in support of Scudder Parker for governor. Having listened to him speak, and then also met and talked with him, I have found him to be a man of vision, intelligence, and passion.
He understands the urgency of the environmental concerns that we face in this state, as well as on this planet, and is eager to work proactively, in creative, constructive partnership with all the stakeholders to address those concerns. Both from experience and inclination, he is intimately familiar with environmental issues such as alternative energy and wilderness legislation. He believes the time for study is past, and that it’s too late for slow, cautious, process-coddling little steps. Cleaning up Lake Champlain, for example, is too pressing a need to be left any longer to the timid measures that have failed, in the last four years, to make the lake one bit cleaner.
He understands the need for bold, visionary, and imaginative energy in our efforts to get control of the runaway horses of property tax and health care that threaten to run over so many of our state’s citizens. Rather than come up with superficial, short-sighted, politically banal Band-aids, Parker believes in building creative, broadly informed new solutions, derived from intelligent partnership and analysis of all the dimensions of these problems, seeing them in the complex entirety of their contexts.
Further, we need the kind of leader in the governor’s office who is not tied to any national agenda or policy, who can do better than business-as-usual, and is not linked with support of the ill-conceived and ill-managed war that has taken from us so many of our splendid young people.
Parker offers us an opportunity to choose the kind of confident, creative, and active leadership our wonderful state deserves. This is the kind of leadership I hope you’ll join me in voting into the governor’s office on Nov. 7.
Lydia Spitzer
North Pomfret

Send Rich to Florida

Rich Tarrant wants my vote to defy the will of Vermonters and vote with an extreme right-wing Congress and president that wants to continue the sad, useless, costly war in Iraq; deepen our deficit with tax cuts for the wealthy few; shred the Constitution with illegal wiretaps of U.S. citizens and outrageous suspension of habeas corpus; and strike down the long-recognized woman’s right to choose.
Does he honestly think Vermonters will forget his right-wing political motivations and be won over by stories about how he made his millions in software? No way, Tarrant. Please go back to Florida.
John D. Wagner
Montpelier

Rainville is in GOP’s pocket

During the campaign, Martha Rainville has tried to downplay her connection with the Republican Party. When the importance of her potential vote for speaker of the House has been pointed out, she said — at different times — that she would vote to reelect the current Republican leadership, that she might abstain, or that perhaps a more moderate choice might be available than Speaker Dennis Hastert. She’s also tried to argue that her vote for speaker is really not important.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. As a first-term representative, it’s very unlikely that either Rainville or Peter Welch will cast a more important vote in the entire two years of their term than the vote for speaker.
The Mark Foley and Jack Abramoff scandals should make one thing very clear: The current House leadership is corrupt to the core. The speaker ignored Foley’s improper messages to pages. Tom DeLay, (the speaker’s “exterminator”) and Rep. Robert Ney, the former chair of the House Administration Committee (ironically the watchdog over lobbyists and federal elections), were deeply involved in Abramoff’s crimes.
The House leadership should be thrown out of power (at the least). This nation needs a House of Representatives that has integrity and is more than a rubber stamp for the Bush administration.
That very same leadership has thrown $368,000 dollars into Rainville’s campaign for a reason: They know she will vote to maintain their corrupt rule.
It’s past time for a change in Washington. A vote for Welch is an important step in the right direction.
Richard Cassidy
South Burlington

Time for a change

We’re ready for a change. We’re tired of incompetence and unrelenting arrogance. We hunger for a change.
Political corruption and cover-ups are measures of the contempt they have for the people of this country. Our republic needs a change.
The values of our Constitution are in peril as we have become a nation that sanctions torture, spies on U.S. citizens without cause, and operates secret prisons.
The party of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Dennis Hastert, Tom DeLay, Jim Douglas, and Jack Abramoff has trampled our civil rights and brought suspicion and distrust upon us throughout the world.
Leaders Scudder Parker, Peter Welch, Matt Dunne, and Bernie Sanders behave with political integrity and hold traditional democratic values in the highest regard. Please join me in voting to protect our democratic rights and hold the Bush Republicans accountable.
Jim Moulton
Weston

Tarrant, Rainville should find true courage

Richard Tarrant and Martha Rainville, both newcomers to the field of politics, have made significant mistakes and have shown how successful leadership in one career cannot be easily transferred to another. Political campaigns often cloud good judgment. Who said what and why becomes obscured by the blind desire to win.
Poor judgment demonstrated by the never-ending ads that distort an opponent’s position under the guise of providing information, the obvious inexperience in dealing with the media, ignorance of key political issues, and an overall lack of political savvy makes most of us wonder why these two are seeking public office.
The most obvious reason why these two individuals should not be elected is that they are not in tune with the majority of Vermonters, who have rejected the Republican leadership in Washington by a vote of approximately two-to-one in the last two national elections.
Since the people of Vermont, one of the most sophisticated electorates in the country, saw through George W. Bush early on, both of these candidates have really little choice but to join the rest of us who profoundly condemn the misguided zealots in their party who have deceived us in Iraq, mismanaged the tragedy in New Orleans, plunged the nation into massive debt, ignored the science of global warming, squandered our capital in the international arena, and demonstrated bankrupt leadership at almost every turn.
My advice to Rainville and Tarrant: Find the integrity and courage I assume you possess and stop using the media to smear your honest opponents while our loyal men and women are dying in Iraq misled by the leaders of your party. That kind of courage, character, and independence would make this Vermonter proud.
Mark Furnari
South Burlington

Douglas and Dubie: Who’s milking whom?

Talk about sticker shock! Go to the National Priorities.org website, hit “Cost of War,” and watch the digital counter calculate the bill to U.S. taxpayers for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I watched dumbfounded as the digits smartly ticked past $335,769,293,002 on their inexorable climb toward the base sticker price of $368 billion, which only covers the expenditures up to March of 2007 and doesn’t include the interest on the original loan, disability benefits, and health care costs for wounded soldiers.
Experts estimate that the Bush administration’s original $50 billion price tag for a slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am liberation will shake out at somewhere between $1.2 trillion and $2 trillion for the gruesome occupation-turned-civil-war — depending on the length of the conflict and the extent of the downstream accounting criteria. Classic Republican “bait-and-switch.”
How much will Vermonters pay out? $488,193,945 million and counting. Look at the chart: Burlington, $25 million; Brattleboro’s $7 million; tiny Strafford, $958,011. And the tab for the Republican stronghold in Rutland County is closing in on $46 million.
Another Republican, Gov. Jim Douglas, speaking at the Renewable Energy Vermont Conference this month, pulled a more subtle form of “bait-and-switch,” one that confuses “cause and effect.” He claimed that Vermonters don’t have energy issues on their minds as much as “property taxes [read: local burden of financing public education], the cost of living, high tuition at our colleges, and the cost of health care.” Ah, the rising costs, for Douglas the “Cause.” For any thoughtful Vermonter, the continued shortfall in state and personal expenditures reflect the “effects” of a deeper crisis.
Why didn’t Douglas mention one deeper “cause” driving Vermonters’ financial worries: the steady erosion of federal contributions to basic services? The Republican Party of Douglas and Brian Dubie have succeeded in shrinking federal government by cutting the flow of our federal tax dollars to our public sector.
Under Republican leadership for the past six years, the $2 trillion surplus morphed into a $3 trillion national debt, interest payments on that loan have soared, almost 50 cents on the dollar goes to national defense (not including the extra cost of two occupations), while tax breaks continue go to the rich ($56.5 billion in 2006 alone). Meanwhile, Republicans have cut back on federal contributions to education, housing, health programs, and environmental and regulatory enforcement — our shared infrastructure. Vermonters find themselves, like taxpayers in most states, forced to pony up the difference.
Scroll down the “Cost of War” file and you can see for yourself how the cost of invading and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan have robbed Vermonters of a range of public services — health coverage for 292,332 children, public education (8,461year-long teaching positions), 4,395 housing units, and 23,266 four-year college scholarships.
Or by my calculations, in response to forecasts of soaring electric rates, Vermonters could have used the $488 million in blood debt to purchase the $550 million system of hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers — meeting about 20 percent of our current demand. We could have paid off the balance in the near future and positioned ourselves to allocate our 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour electricity in a projected 5 to 10 cents per kilowatt hour New England wholesale market. Now that would be fun. To own the “cash cow” outright means we could parcel out low-cost power to stimulate local industry and reinvest “profits” in taking Vermont closer to total energy independence.
Despite their ah-shucks-I’m-just-one-of-you personas and their I’m-Republican-but-independent claims, Douglas and Dubie have been working hand-in-hand with the national Republican Party. None of them have been milking cows. They’ve been milking us. To milk or to be milked? This November, that’s the key question for Vermonters.
Richard Foley
Brattleboro

Vote for Lorber

I would like to encourage all my neighbors and friends to vote for Jason P. Lorber as our representative in the House for another two years.
All of us like to think our elected representatives are honest; Lorber’s honesty and integrity also include sincerity; making him unique. When I first met him two years ago as he was campaigning he told me, “Call me whenever I can help.” Little did I realize I would be in need of his assistance and true to his word. In today’s world of cynical people and politicians, it is refreshing to know that my representative is genuine and sincere — a man of character.
With all that as background, add his commitment to health care and other issues contributing to our well-being. It is truly a joy to tell everyone how lucky we are to have Lorber as our representative. Go vote on Election Day. Go vote for Jason Lorber.
David E. Curtis
Burlington

ADDITONAL WEB LETTERS (THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH ROOM IN THE PAPER THIS WEEK TO RUN ALL THE ELECTION LETTERS).

Send Sanders to the Senate
On more and more occasions it is clear that Rich Tarrant is merely a political opportunist who, when Jim Jeffords announced his retirement, decided he could buy his way into the most exclusive club in the country, the United States Senate.
He is targeted to spend an obscene $10,000,000 of his own money to gain access to this club. It appalls me to think he could accomplish this aim without declaring a real goal, merely by attacking a dedicated congressman who has worked extremely hard to promote the causes of not only Vermonters, but the poor, the uninsured, the working people, and women across the country. While doing this, Bernie Sanders has also opposed the atrocious behavior of big business interests only concerned with the bottom line, and of politicians only concerned with furthering their own projects and gains. Some of Sanders’ voting actions may appear to be against mainstream opinion; however, in all cases, they were decided on the basis of attachments which stood to benefit their sponsors to the detriment of the general public.
Please join me in sending Sanders to the Senate. He will do his best to keep them honest and, at least, will help expose inappropriate behavior.
Harold Browne
Colchester

Can Tarrant be trusted?
As a long-time government employee, I had many occasions to contract with companies on behalf of my employer.
There are very strict rules about how such contracts can be drawn and when such contracts need special approval, mostly because of the amount of money involved. Many contractors tried to play the game of breaking up the contract into small pieces in order to get low level, faster approval. I was always irked by such shenanigans and find it very troublesome now that one of our senatorial candidates was involved in just such a scheme.
It seems that IDX, then owned by Rich Tarrant, did just that when involved with Fletcher Allen and was censured by the government when it got caught. At that time he was watching over his companies’ assets and taking money from the government. What can we expect if he is our senator and is watching over our tax dollars? Will his judgment improve? I am not willing to take the chance.
Peter J. LaBelle
Cavendish

Sanders earns my vote
With just days to go before the election, we can look back at campaign 2006 and make some conclusions.
Rich Tarrant, other than proving he can fund a multi-million dollar ad campaign, really had very little to say about his beliefs or the direction he would like to see this country move in. He did show that he is willing to run dishonest ads to get elected.
Sanders reconfirmed what we already know about him as we have watched him for 16 years in the House of Representatives. He is passionate, honest, and 100 percent dedicated to the interests of the average working family, and he runs positive campaigns.
Now let's all make sure we get out and vote. In my opinion, Sanders has earned our votes.
Harriet Piche
South Burlington

Tarrant is distorting the record
Seems like Rich Tarrant probably never realized that his ads distorting Bernie Sanders’ voting record in the U.S. House actually show Vermonters that Sanders will make a first-rate senator. All the discussion it’s led to about his votes has revealed that Sanders closely considers the content of each piece of legislation and votes carefully to safeguard our rights and interests. It also demonstrates that as an independent, Sanders votes with his conscience and his judgment, not under the thumb of party leaders.
In one example Tarrant has used, Sanders was forced to vote against the Amber Alert because it was folded into a bill containing new laws for sentencing that were unconstitutional. Those representatives who passed the bill looked good voting for the Amber Alert, but it was an empty gesture because the law was later rejected by the courts as unconstitutional. The bigger picture is that in 2004, Bernie wrote in support of full funding for the Amber Alert, and over the years has supported several bills in Congress increasing sentencing and other penalties for crimes against children.
Although Tarrant doesn’t say this, his ads imply that he would have voted for the bill including the cited Amber Alert bill, even though it was unconstitutional. Presumably, he would have voted for all the bills he is criticizing Sanders for opposing. Is Tarrant more interested in looking good or in doing the right thing? Would he bother to read the legislation he votes on, or simply vote as the Republican leadership tells him to? Tarrant can talk about how independent he will be, but the GOP of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney is infamous for forcing members to vote their way; that’s why Sen. Jim Jeffords felt compelled to leave the party. And with no prior legislative experience, Tarrant will be even more vulnerable to political pressure.
We don’t need any more yes men in Washington who will simply rubber-stamp the failing extremist agenda of Pres. George W. Bush and his cronies. We also don’t need more politicians willing to distort the truth at any cost. Tarrant’s sleazy attack ads demonstrate that he has a low standard of integrity and honesty. Change is needed in Washington; one-party rule by the Republican majority has been disastrous. With all we have at stake in this election, let’s elect someone who will do the job thoroughly, intelligently, and with honor. On Nov. 7, elect an honest independent: Sanders.

Christine Eldred
Burlington

Sanders will be effective
If you are a Vermonter who is rich or who has dedicated his/her life to becoming rich, you will want to vote for Rich (Tarrant), for his positions, if enacted into law, would serve you well. If you are any other Vermonter, you will want to vote for Bernie Sanders, for his positions, if enacted into law, would serve you well.
Tarrant answers this by saying that, as an independent, Sanders would be ineffective in getting his positions enacted into law. He is wrong.
It appears that the balance in the Senate will be close. If so, the Democrats will need Sanders’ vote to assure control of the Senate. To get it, the Democrats will have to support Sanders on his priority items. So, the stage is set for Sanders to be an effective senator. All we need to do is elect Sanders on Nov. 7.
Tom Bertone
East Dummerston

Dock the USS Bush
After reading about Gov. Jim Douglas trying to distance himself from Pres. George W. Bush now, I just thought how shameless this whole damn administration is. Oh, when they could bully and push everyone around because they had the power to, diplomacy was a forgotten word, it was their way or the highway. But now the USS BUSH is found to be made of straw, waterlogged and sinking fast ... just look at the rats jumping ship before it sinks. Talk about cut and run.
I don't know how anyone who supported this administration can possibly hold their head up and go to the polls with a clear conscience. Yeah, if you're wealthy and care just about yourself, at least you have a reason, not a good one but a reason nonetheless (selfishness). Now for the rest of you, what is your reason now that you know you've been hoodwinked? Pride? Party?
Douglas was the chair of the Bush re-election team in Vermont, but now he disagrees with Bush policies. Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie is off flying an airplane while the lieutenant governor's door is closed and we are still paying him. Good job if you can get it, wink, wink. Martha Rainville voted twice for Bush and now says she wants to be an independent voice while being bankrolled by the National Republican Party. Yeah, right!
And then there's Rich Tarrant: What more needs to be said except does someone have a shoe brush to clean this stuff off?
The Republicans have had complete control of this country for the last six years and these four where right there, staying the course with Bush by supporting him. They want us to believe they're the ones to make change happen now? Give us a break.
I do want change and that's why I'm voting for Bernie Sanders, Peter Welch, Scudder Parker and Matt Dunne — with my head held up I might add.
Reed Webster
Rockingham