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Vermont Guardian

For The Independent Mind

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posted October 6, 2006

Correction: Bob Sherman was the chief of the Vermont Press Bureau before landing a job with Gov. Madeleine Kunin’s administration. This information was incorrect in the Sept. 29 edition.

Pristine ridgelines?

Gigantic towers spanning the ridge tops in giant swathes of clear-cut trees, some with obnoxious flashing aircraft lights; hideous, unsightly appendages fatal to birds and bats; gallons of lubricating oil in imminent danger of spilling and contaminating the ground; electromagnetic interference causing annoying static on the airwaves and endangering human health; the whole unsightly enterprise a blight on the scenery and depressing to property values.

Wind turbines? No. Power lines and transformers, not just on a few ridge tops, but on every street in the state. Let’s get rid of them. Then we can rip down these unsightly AC electrical poles and towers ruining the view on every street and many ridges. We can restore the pristine views that people come to Vermont for. And especially the ridge tops — we can’t have anything on them, except of course for antennas, cell towers, ski areas, power lines, etc.
Gary Flomenhoft

VY protest is October 16

Because Vermont Yankee is dangerous and needs to be shut down, and because no official body is willing to take that responsible action, I plan to join others from New England on Oct. 16th in an action intended to provoke revocation of the operating license of Vermont Yankee.

Vermont Yankee emits radioactive waste into the air and water, increasing cancers and birth defects throughout the region. It takes millions of gallons of water from the Connecticut River and puts back only a small percentage of that water into the river. Even that small amount that goes back is so hot that the flora and fauna are being destroyed and communities downriver are losing water valuable to agriculture, fishing, and recreation.

There are no viable evacuation plans, and if an evacuation becomes necessary, millions of us will forfeit our homes that are uninsured from nuclear accidents. An evacuation has the potential of making most of New England uninhabitable for thousands of years. New England would become a veritable dead zone, people and agriculture irradiated.

This placement of corporate greed over health, well-being, and security is unacceptable. There are alternatives, including energy efficiency, wind power, and solar. Let’s rise to the challenge and shut down Vermont Yankee.

Bread and Puppet will participate in a parade starting in front of the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital at 9 a.m. and walking though town to Entergy headquarters. For more information, contact Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance at 533-2296 or Citizens Awareness Network at (413) 339-5781.
Hattie Nestel
Athol, MA

Douglas did the right thing

Your criticisms of Gov. Jim Douglas may be valid on a few points, but I think you are wrong on the Wilderness Bill (Editorial, Sept. 29).

As I recall, after lengthy (and heated) debate and public input, the U.S. Forest Service proposed to put an additional 27,000 Vermont acres into wilderness. All of a sudden, our congressional delegation ramps it up to 44,000? Why is it unfair for Douglas to say, “Wait a minute, that’s not the original plan”?
Walter Judge

What would Rainville and Tarrant do?

The extent of criminal fraud committed by government contractors in Iraq is unprecedented. Not only have they stolen billions of dollars from the Treasury; their crimes have endangered the lives of our troops and civilians working in Iraq.

The Republicans are in charge, and they refuse to do anything to hold these crooks accountable. They block oversight hearings, then impede civil lawsuits brought by whistleblowers and victims. They do not prosecute the bad guys.

Martha Rainville’s television ad says she won’t be bought or bullied by anyone in Washington. OK. But will she demand intensive House oversight hearings now into the waste, fraud, and theft committed by government contractors in Iraq?

Will Rich Tarrant call for Senate investigations now to put a stop to this abuse? Will they both speak out now to demand passage of the War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2006? We should ask them the next time they appear in public.

Some Republicans in Congress are already in jail and others are on their way as punishment for bribery and other forms of corruption. But it is just as bad to refuse to investigate the massive theft and fraud committed by government contractors or to block efforts to stop continued abuse.

I don’t think sending two more Republicans to Congress will change things, no matter how nice or honorable they may be. This time, I plan to vote for independents and Democrats.
Michael Palmer

Politics of fear

As Tarrant’s attack ads illustrate, what passes for leadership in the Republican Party these days is counting on its proven ability to manipulate the baser fears of the U.S. public: fears of child molesters, of terrorists, of immigrants, fill in the blank with your favorite boogeyman.

Republican leaders cynically invoke the national trauma of 9/11 every time they want to “re-interpret” (read subvert) the Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, and the Holy Bible. Letting the ideologies of the Bush regime define this country’s religion and values is like letting radical imams define Islam.

In the Bernie Sanders-Tarrant Senate race, we have, for once, a clear choice between candidates for public office. Now is the time for all good Vermonters to come to the aid of their country — by voting with their brains and listening to the better angels of their nature.
Peggy Whiteneck
East Randolph

Attack ads are smarmy

Rich Tarrant’s negative campaign ads are an insult to the intelligence of Vermont citizens. Only the most ardent of Tarrant’s supporters could believe that Bernie Sanders is a friend to rapists, child molesters, and kidnappers.

It was probably bound to happen — Tarrant ran out of ways to pat himself on the back for his lifetime accomplishment of making himself a wealthy man, and went on the attack. These attack ads are smarmy, and nothing short of appalling. Only someone clueless about the general decency of Vermont citizens would think this is an effective way to run a successful campaign.

Tarrant isn’t a statesman in real life; he just plays one on TV. Vermonters deserve a positive force representing them in the Senate, not some pretender who can’t get his “facts” straight. Sanders is our positive force and can stand on his record of service to this state and its citizens.
Monica Litzelman

Tarrant wages “classless warfare”

Because Bernie Sanders has spent his career fighting for the interests of middle-class and working people, Rich Tarrant is fond of accusing Bernie of waging “class warfare.” Unfortunately, Tarrant is guilty of waging “classless warfare.”

Child molesters? Drug dealers? Rapists? Pornographers? Are we beginning to sense a pattern here? Tarrant is merely following the instructions of his Republican masters who specialize in sleazy tactics and personal attacks. The Republican’s real vision and agenda for the country is one that values wealth more than people, and corporate convenience over constitutional democracy.

Tarrant wishes to avoid any real discussion about issues such as jobs, the economy, real health care reform, and the disastrous Republican foreign policy because he knows that the Republican agenda he has given so much money to over the years is rejected by the vast majority of Vermont voters. He hides behind distortions and misinformation because he knows his only chance of getting Vermonters’ votes is by avoiding discussion of the views he and his Republican Party hold.
John Gallagher

Promoting unconstitutional laws

Rich Tarrant has been running TV and radio commercials castigating Bernie Sanders for voting against legislation that would have set up a national coordinator for the Amber Alert system. Sanders believed that bill to be unconstitutional because it restricted the discretion of federal judges in setting sentences for a wide range of crimes. (Former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist cautioned Congress that the bill would “seriously impair the ability of courts to impose just and reasonable sentences.”)

Apparently, Tarrant believes that a senator should vote against his conscience and for legislation that he believes to be unconstitutional. If Tarrant intends to be that sort of senator, we have another reason for dismissing his candidacy. I personally am glad that Sanders did not vote for legislation that he believed to be unconstitutional.
Tom Bertone
East Dummerston

Vicious campaign

I am outraged by the recent negativity blitz that Republican U.S. senatorial candidate Rich Tarrant has brought to Vermont politics, in his baseless attempt to smear Bernie Sanders.

In his latest slickly-produced attack ad, Tarrant makes the ridiculous accusation that Sanders sides with rapists’ rights over those of the women whom they attack.

This is simply untrue. We have known Sanders in this state for a long time, and in that time, he has amassed a record that we can all be proud of, fighting for working families, the elderly, veterans, and women.

We have known Sanders for a long time, electing him over and over again with overwhelming majorities, but Tarrant would have us believe that somehow, we were wrong all along. In effect, he is calling us stupid for having voted for Sanders.

I, for one, am sick of the negativity. It is clear to me that Tarrant has nothing substantive to run on, and has resorted instead to a vicious campaign of mudslinging.

We should not stand for this type of politicking in Vermont. I urge all of you to reject Tarrant’s negative brand of politics, and elect Sanders, the man we know and trust, to the Senate on Nov. 7.
Michael Engel
South Burlington

Global warming: Fact or fiction?

In some court cases, particularly high profile ones, both the prosecutor and the defense attorney hire so-called experts to help win their cases. Today, we have experts claiming that Earth is in peril because of “global warming.” There also are many experts who refute this claim, but they get much less media attention.

From about 800 A.D. to 1300 A.D. we had the Medieval Warm Period, followed by the Little Ice Age from about 1550 to 1850. Dr. Philip Stott, professor emeritus of bio-geography at the University of London stated, “During the Medieval Warm Period, the world was warmer even than today, and history shows that it was a wonderful period of plenty for everyone.”

Dr. Richard Lindzen, a meteorologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, stated that “there is no consensus, unanimous or otherwise, about long-term climate trends and what causes them. … Climate change is a complex issue where simplification tends to lead to confusion, and where understanding requires thought and effort.”

Drs. Craig Idso and Keith Idso of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Global Change at Tempe, AZ, have conducted thousands of experiments. They have proven beyond any doubt that with more CO2 in the air, plants grow bigger and better in almost every way.

There is no solid scientific evidence to support global warming. Many distinguished scientists do not agree with global warming predictions. It would be tragic for our nation if we had to cut CO2 emissions (like the Kyoto Accords Treaty demands) to cure a non-existent problem.
Dominick Odorizzi
Northridge, CA