Next Steps for a Damaged Republic

It would have been comforting to have Trump out of our minds in the last few months of his reign of chaos, but egomaniacs such as he do not move on graciously. We will continue to be enveloped with the shroud of madness until January 20 and that is a disgrace for America.

It eases the pain of the last four years for many of us that Biden and Harris were elected by a five million vote margin. We can look forward to January 21, 2021 when this country will no longer be governed by tweets and when division and rancor will no longer be the tone from the White House.

But we also have to recognize the fact that over 72 million people voted for Trump. That means that this country remains deeply divided and it means that Biden will not be able to easily heal the wounds of the past four years simply by trying to be a nice guy who says he wants to be the President for all Americans.

The Long Winter Ahead

When the pandemic started to take over our lives the spring season of growth and rebirth was providing us with some positive energy. As bad as things seemed, many were able to adapt to a life outdoors making the best of a bad situation.

If the federal government had made an effort to mount a unified response to the pandemic we would now be able to hunker down for the winter with the hope that the spread of the virus was controlled to some degree. Instead, the virus is out of control and the number of new cases continues to climb every day.

Interview with Brattleboro Town Clerk

Elliott Greenblott interviews Hilary Francis, Brattleboro Town Clerk about the voting in this year’s election.

Remember to vote ~ Make your vote count ~ Follow the instructions

The Other Pandemic

When people in power continually lie and rule with bluster and bullying instead of with intelligence and compassion we all suffer. If these kinds of bad apples are in our neighborhood or in the sphere of our daily life we can try to keep away from such a toxic individuals. We know that keeping away from them is the best thing we can do to preserve our mental health.

But when that person is the President of the United States it is nearly impossible not to be affected by the toxic atmosphere that is constantly being created. It seems that when such high level power brokers do so many bad things they create a juggernaut of a unique kind of disease that feeds on itself and that grows in intensity. Their behavior feeds a beast of never-ending chaos.

A new kind of political epidemic is poisoning the entire world. The coronavirus is a physical threat and this new political virus is quickly harming the mental health of people all around the world. Trump is not the only bad player who is spreading this virus, but he has given greater legitimacy to other world leaders who are trying to solidify their power bases by building a world of lies with their own version of bluster and bullying.

March for Medicaid

On October 3 the Vermont Workers’ Center will hold a March for Medicaid in Bellows Falls. This is part of a national week of action coordinated by the Workers’ Center and the Nonviolent Medicaid Army, a growing national force fighting for universal healthcare and all economic and social rights for poor and working class people. The campaign is calling on Governor Scott to protect Medicaid by cutting the state’s contract with OneCare, a for-profit company siphoning off millions in Medicaid funding that should be spent on people’s healthcare, and to make good on Vermont’s commitment to universal healthcare as enacted in Act 48.

Will It Be A Funeral Or A War For Democracy?

Just when it looked as though the current political climate in this country could not get any worse, events unfolded that have pushed us closer to unprecedented constitutional and human crises. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Supreme Court justice who changed the world for the better, has passed on. Her legacy will last for generations and life will be better for many Americans years after her death.

But the Republican politicians in Washington want to shorten the mourning period and act quickly to move the court as far to the right as they can. They have vowed to place a Trump appointee as quickly as possible and, because our government no longer serves the people, the minority viewpoint will prevail and the court will tilt to the right for too many years.

Two Plagues, One Cure

I am trying to see all of the positive things that have come about as a result of the pandemic. We have more time to do the things we have been putting off for so long, we can read all of those books that have been on our reading list and we have time to connect with family and friends even though in-person contact is rarely an option.

But it seems to me that most people have had enough of the pandemic and they have run out of patience. After all, most people are not taking the long view because their lives have been so disrupted and they are struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table. It didn’t have to be this way and that is the greater pandemic tragedy that Americans have been subjected to.

Election Season 2020

No handshaking and very few face-to-face encounters. Those are some of the major changes to political campaigning during a pandemic. The use of social media will be valuable as we head toward the first Tuesday in November.

Money will still rule because advertising on all levels gets a candidate’s name out there and television, print and other media ads do work. But there is also a potential for lower voter turnout because people may not be bombarded with the usual campaign activity of former years.

My hope is that, on the national level at least, voter turnout will be high because a majority of sensible Americans want to end the great American nightmare and make America sane again.

Tech Dinosaurs, VHS Tapes, and Groundworks Collaborative

I have a collection of VHS tapes (movies). They’re virtually all in good shape. I had hoped to donate them somewhere, but most places no longer accept them. I just can’t consign them to trash.

Proposal: I want to get rid of all of them in one “package.” You must take them ALL. What you do with them afterward is up to you (yard sale, whatever). After we agree on an amount, you’d make out a check to Groundworks Collaborative and give it to me. I’ll see that they get it. I am in no way associated with Groundworks; just want them to benefit by this donation.

Independence Day Funeral

Instead of fireworks, barbeques and parties on the Fourth of July, Americans should be walking silently in funeral processions. The great American experiment in Democracy has fallen far too short in its vision for a better life that was described in the Declaration of Independence. The current Black Lives Matter protestors are making that clear and their marches are some of the best efforts we have to move us closer to the ideals that the founding fathers imagined.

We need to be reminded of some of the principles this country was founded upon, even as we recognize that those who wrote the words of the Declaration of Independence were slave owners and white men of privilege.

Time To Retool

Now that it is clear that commerce, trade and most of life as it existed prior to COVID will never be the same, it is time to figure out ways to reconstruct the world so we can move on. Rather than re-opening restaurants with changes that reflect government policies, owners should be looking ahead a year or two and developing new business plans.

No doubt there are many forward thinking business owners who are sitting down and making plans for how to move beyond basic survival and how to thrive in the new world that has been thrust upon us. Large retail stores and supermarkets can probably do well with a few simple measures in place such as requiring that employees and customers wear masks and that crowds be controlled.

Referendum Petition for Annual Municipal Ballots Alternative to the Brattleboro Common Sense Version

Registered Voters can deliver #ReferndumPetitions in an envelope addressed to the Municipal Clerk’s Office into the black box at that says, “For Tax Payments” at the parking lot entrance of the Municipal building.

REFERENDUM PETITION for Annual Municipal Ballots

Whereas the 2020 Selectboard has approved a budget without resolve of enslavement reparations, police and prison abolition, the undersigned voters of the Brattleboro/Wantastegok Municipality hereby petition for referendums pursuant to Charter article 3 section 4; motioning a direct democratic public vote on the entire FY21 and budget ballots (which the 2020 Selectboard, acting as Representative Town Meeting, approved April 16, 2020) to be scheduled, warned, and accessible online.

Deadly Priorities

Why do so many Americans value the lives of others so little? Why are they willing to allow the spread of disease, disability and death with such arrogant defiance so they can eat at restaurants, have their hair cut and mingle in public crowds at beaches and rallies?
Some argue that if more businesses do not re-open then the economy will suffer too much. We have a society that worships commerce and the power of the dollar and that is one of the reasons so many Americans are deciding to stop taking measures to spread the COVID virus.

We must re-tool our economy in the face of the pandemic while also making the decision to value life above all else. Our collective ethos is heading in the wrong direction and a lot of people are going to suffer and die.

Next Steps

American protestors have forced the world to examine racism and the issues that contribute to it. It is a monumental milestone in American history but these protests, fueled by the death of George Floyd, will hopefully be the opening round of the battle for systemic social reform that has been needed in this country for too many decades.

The length and breadth of the protests show that there are significant numbers of Americans who are willing to use their voices to promote short and long-term change. The big question hanging over all of this is whether or not politicians and policymakers will listen thoughtfully and work to implement meaningful systemic change.

Not Another Day In Paradise

Another black man is murdered by American police. People are outraged and they take to the streets. Their protests help to ease the pain of injustice every black person has to endure every day while trying to enjoy the privileges and rights of citizenship that the rest of us take for granted.

Those in power will sit back and do nothing to change the root causes of injustice that have led to yet another horrific moment in American history. They will engineer sound bites and they will pick out easy political memes to try to ease their base of the brain-dead followers who also are in the same political camp as the rich and privileged. They will even go so far as tear-gassing crowds of people near their home so they can take a walk whose purpose is to use the Bible as a prop in a culture war of their own creation.

Saying No To Power and Yes To Life!

I was part of the Vermont Peace Movement from 1882 to 1984. A very short time indeed. However it was packed full of intense moments of friendships and activism with David Dellinger (who then lived in Peacham, Vermont) and Abbie Hoffman both of the Chicago 7. We were arrested numerous times during those Nuclear Freeze days of Helen Caldicott. When David Dellinger endorsed Jesse Jackson for President in the 1984 Vermont primary I deeply pondered what it would take to bring about a world where “Imagine All the People Living Life as One”. How do you vote in a change of heart?? So here is another page of my life to consider as once again our country is in the midst of anguish and pain. Thank you, Melevav of the old Common Loaf Bakery, Brattleboro.


Radical of Radicals – Depth of A Movement

Hundreds of Protestors Fill Brattleboro’s Main Street In Response To Floyd Killing

George Floyd protest1

Hundreds of protestors in Brattleboro on Sunday joined in the nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd.

Lining Main Street from one end to the other on both sides of the streets, were social-distanced people with masks and signs, chanting and singing. This crowd was probably as big if not bigger than the Iraq War protests in 2003.

A sampling of signs:

Black Lives matter

Justice for Floyd

2000 Vermonters Demonstrate Against Racist Murder of George Floyd – Cities Across The U.S. In Rebellion

Tonight, over 2000+ Vermonters converged on the Burlington Police Department in protest of the racist murder of unarmed Black man George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis PD. Over the last 48 hours, rebellions & demonstrations have broke out in a multitude of US cities. In Minneapolis citizens overran the police department building where the officers responsible for the killing were based. Violent confrontations have flared between protesters and law enforcement in many urban centers outside Vermont. President Trump has called for looters to be shot, and has threated to mobilize the U.S. military.

In Burlington, the demonstrations were lead by Black Lives Matter. Amongst the many protesters were VT AFL-CIO District Vice President Dwight Brown, AFSCME Local 1343 President Damion Gilbert, and Progressive State Representative Brian Cina (who is also a member of DSA).

Unusual Demonstration on Putney Road

another world is possible

There was an unusual demonstration on Putney Road, this past Sunday.

Messages of hope. A number of people in fantasy costumes. Some of the banners and signs had a symbol which I am not familiar with — anyone have any ideas what it is?

We Are All Lab Rats

As the death toll continues to climb in the U.S. and worldwide during the COVID 19 pandemic, economic and social needs are becoming more of a priority than the prevention of morbidity and mortality. Societies are opening and trying to be as cautious as possible, but even scientifically based efforts and careful monitoring are nothing more than a crap shoot. Every move we make is nothing more than wishful thinking, because we still do not know a lot about the potential of the virus

If you want to stay safe during the coming months the only way to do so is to minimize your contact with other people, wear a face mask in public places and use hand sanitizer liberally. This may sound like the same old mantra and it is, because the COVID 19 virus is still multiplying among us and we have no cure and only supportive treatment for those who contract the virus.