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For The Independent Mind

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posted November 3, 2006

Seeking budget input

The Windsor County budget process, like most county budget processes in the state, will be getting under way soon, as the assistant judges gather information on which to base the county budget for fiscal year 2007-08 that starts July 1, 2007.
Anyone wishing to review the county budget, set at $833,317 for the current 2006-07 fiscal year, may find a copy at the courthouse in Woodstock or at the town offices in each of Windsor County’s 24 towns. Anyone interested in reviewing the statutory elements that a county budget must address should review Title 24, sections 71-139. The statutes are available at the courthouse, most libraries, or online at the Vermont Legislature website,
All suggestions are welcome and all will have fair consideration. I’m looking forward to hearing from town selectpersons, town managers, and Windsor County citizens of all sorts who have ideas for improving the county budget.
As usual, the budget process will be open to all and will include at least two public hearings warned well in advance. In order to be even more inclusive, I am inviting anyone who has a budget suggestion to write to me, describing the proposal and any argument in its favor. I will respond to every written suggestion and I will make sure each is considered by the side judges as we develop the first draft of the budget.
My address is: William Boardman, Assistant Judge, Windsor County Superior Court, 12 The Green, Woodstock, VT 05091. You may also reach me by e-mail at
William Boardman

Every day is Halloween with Bush

Who needs Halloween to be spooked? Every day is a haunting with George W. Bush at the helm. Especially Oct. 17, the day Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
This law continues the ongoing consolidation of power into the president’s hands.
Our so-called president, with the approval of our corrupted Congress, can now do as he will to anyone considered an “unlawful enemy combatant.” U.S. citizens included. So keep in mind that our federal government can now legally hold anyone considered an enemy without charge, torture them as deemed necessary for self-incrimination, put them on trial based on hearsay evidence, and sentence them to death without appeal. Habeas corpus, R.I.P.
If this news infuriates you, please remain calm and refrain from revolting. I’d hate to see you considered an enemy for your grievances.
Owen Mulligan

People with mental illness: Part of our lives

Stop. Look around when you’re at work, driving in your car, in your classroom, grocery store, library, or church. One in five Vermonters is personally affected by mental illness, and will need mental health care at some point during their lifetime. More than 40,000 Vermonters suffer from serious mental illness — but only about half seek and receive any type of treatment.
What is mental illness? Research tells us that it has its roots in disruptions of brain function. Being sick with mental illness is not much different than being sick with any other chronic illness, like diabetes or heart disease. With proper care, all these illnesses can improve — though they may require lifetime treatment.
Mental illnesses can profoundly disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, and ability to relate to others. They include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders (including post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]), borderline personality disorder, and other severe and persistent mental illnesses.
Mental illnesses affect Vermonters of every age, race, religion, and socioeconomic status. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. They are not the fault of parents, or the person with the illness.
But even Vermonters, with their proud tradition of accepting those who are different, often express undue fear, prejudice, and discrimination against people who are mentally ill. Because of this stigma, many people with mental illness remain “in the closet,” unwilling to reveal their condition to their neighbors, co-workers, schoolmates, and even their family members.
Thus, stigma is a key obstacle to seeking and getting treatment for those living with mental illness. It’s also getting in the way of current efforts to improve our system of mental health care in Vermont.
The potential consequences of untreated mental illness for the individual and society are staggering: unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, and suicide. The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than $100 billion each year in the United States. On the other hand, with treatment, people with mental illness can and do get better. More than 60 percent of those with a diagnosed mental health condition are employed.
If mental illness affects you or your family, you are not alone. Support and education can make a huge difference in your ability to cope, get treatment, and work toward recovery. Established in 1990 by Congress, Mental Illness Awareness Week promotes greater public understanding of the nature of mental illness, and encourages people to get help when they need it.
Look around you. If you see a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or family member struggling with symptoms of a mental illness, you have a choice. Instead of turning away, consider reaching out to them. When you see that next fifth person, remember that it could be you.
For more information about mental illness, or to learn more about the services and programs of the Vermont chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, visit
Larry Lewack
Larry Lewack is the executive director of NAMI-VT.

Good job, liberals

The yuppie liberals who have taken over the peace (without justice) movement here in Vermont and nationwide have done a very good job since 2002 by way of suppressing radical action and censoring critical thought. The U.S. corporate Reich and the Bushies couldn’t have done it better; I believe some of these peace without justice types must be on the “payroll.”
This last July, American Friends Service Committee and assorted peace groups declared that acts of civil disobedience would commence in Vermont and nationwide after Sept. 21. Well, as Walter Cronkite would have put it: “September 21st has come and gone.”
This year’s elections are being handed to the Republicans again.
All in the name of “not alienating people,” except, I guess, those people in the world we allow to be bombed and plundered through our silence and candle fondling. This is called process, which begets accommodation, which begets collaboration, which begets totalitarianism (see Old Testament).
Black and White, Basic Truth, Right and Wrong, Good and Evil are old-fashioned “reactionary”’ concepts to the yuppie liberal. Everything is complex, has a dozen different sides and spins; is grayed-over, blurred beyond recognition. Here’s some of what we get instead:
The yuppie liberal left has lost us the vote because fighting computer voting “alienates” people, especially their special friends in positions of power.
It denigrates any examination of conspiracy in 9/11.
It supports the troops, which is the same as supporting war.
It votes down local funding for schools and libraries (“My property taxes! My property taxes!”).
In its small businesses, restaurants, and quaint shoppes, the yuppie liberal left denies its workers livable wages, unions, health benefits, childcare, etc.
The new yuppie liberal left has begot a new litany of shame. Wal-Mart and Halliburton, thank you. As does Georgie — he’s not swift enough to be insidious.
When the real people in the world invade, take over, partition, and “reconstruct” the United States, they’re going to hold us all accountable for our actions and inactions. Perhaps Vermont will become their Camp X-Ray! After all, some people have a sense of humor.
Because, if the yuppie liberal left had allowed a more politically-incorrect and radical sense of humor to take hold in 2002, we could have swept the 2004 elections, and Bush, Cheney, etc., would now be in cages in Guantanamo, eating genetically engineered-bananas and being tortured with tapes of three-day corporate seminars on “Consensus, Sustainability, and Diversity — How to Lobotomize a People, and Make Them Pay for It.”
Instead, we’re going to see what’s left of the United States become a commodity handled by corporate ghouls who, by comparison, make pimps look like social service workers. And, we’re going to have to have different, colored-coded “Diversity Candles” to “vigil away” all of our new invasions and rapes of countries and cultures that won’t get with the process and the program.
But, we wouldn’t want to “alienate” anyone, would we? Bad for business as usual. And what the hell, now when you liberals go to vote you can do your Christmas shopping on the E-Bay link on the voting computer; check your e-mail, too. Call it “power voting.” Don’t forget, the Republicans are the red squares.
Peter Buknatski
Peter Buknatski is the co-founder of Vermonters for Voting Integrity.

Guardian is not “independent”

Your logo is: “For the Independent Mind.” Independent? Really? Look at your letters to the editor this week (Oct. 27) and, frankly, every week. Every single one — without exception — bashes Rich Tarrant, Martha Rainville, and Jim Douglas, and trumpets Bernie Sanders, Peter Welch, and Scudder Parker.
The ultra left-wing readers you cater to certainly have the right to have a paper for their voices (although I’d argue it’s quite redundant of Seven Days, and the Vermont Progressive Party and Vermont Democratic Party websites), but to call it “independent” is simply disingenuous spin. Independent of what? The left-wing political culture that already dominates Vermont? C’mon. The only paper that could honestly call itself independent in Vermont these days would be a right-wing newspaper.
Your paper reflects the prevailing self-righteous and happy-with-itself-thank-you-very-much culture and hardly reflects independent thinking. Feel free to continue publishing to the choir, but, please, change the logo to something like, “for the prevailing left-wing mentality.”
Walter Judge

Close Yankee, save lives

If there is a major radiological event at Vermont Yankee (and this, after all, is what most concerns local people, even though a response plan is necessary for other emergencies), no evacuation plan is going to work. Let’s start being honest about this. There are 102 other nuclear reactors in the Unites States. How many of them have evacuation plans that have been tested and deemed workable? It’s politic to assure the public that their elected leaders are safety-conscious and have plans for emergencies, but in reality, any evacuation plan for a major accident or attack at Vermont Yankee would be unworkable.
Despite the “One, Two, Know What To Do” program, many people will be confused about what to do and where to go. They won’t be prepared. Suitcases won’t be ready with potassium iodide, food, meds, toiletries, clothing, cash, telephone numbers. Many will panic, be afflicted with shock, or immobilized by fear. Roads will become gridlocked. There will be accidents, injuries, and deaths. Families will get separated. We are quite out of our minds to think that an evacuation plan can ever work.
The obvious way out of this impasse is to close Vermont Yankee.
How many times must it be pointed out that with energy conservation, energy efficiency, and the safe, non-polluting, and sustainable energy resources that are available, we would not even need Vermont Yankee’s production of 30 percent of our power.
It is past time for officials (and citizens) in all towns within the Vermont Yankee Emergency Planning Zone to acknowledge that evacuation plans are pipe dreams and nothing more. Vermont Yankee must be shut down as soon as possible.
Bill Pearson