Can’t Impeach-Prosecute Joe Biden For Illegally Continuing to Supply Bombs Dropped on Homes in Gaza

Biden has been guilty of breaking a U.S. law against providing U.S. weapons to a nation using them against a civilian population as Israel has been doing openly for five months.

“When the President of the United States becomes aware of the possibility of violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), the law mandates specific actions:

Prompt Notification to Congress: The President is required to promptly notify Congress about the potential violations.”

Those People

I have been trying to understand why having a visible population of people who either appear homeless or, who look as though their body or their mind is in a troubled state, cause people to react strongly to their presence. I don’t think there is a simple answer to this question, but I do believe that if we try to look at “those people” from different perspectives we just might be able to soften the fear and anger that is aroused.

It is frightening to many people to have to walk in close proximity to people they believe to be homeless or troubled. Part of the problem is that panhandling has become a common activity and when people are asked for money they feel violated and they may fear that they will be accosted if they don’t give people what they are asking for.

We live in a free society and that means that all of us have rights to pursue a vocation, whether or not it is socially acceptable, as long as it does not break any laws. Some places have tried to outlaw panhandling. Panhandling is a confrontational act and some people might say they have the right to walk in their own town without experiencing the fear that panhandling arouses in them. A lot of people react when they see a panhandler by assuming they are too lazy to get a job.

A Celebration of Earth: An Evening with Bill McKibben, Douglas Brinkley, and Ben Cosgrove at Next Stage

Join Next Stage for an evening of discussion and music inspired by the climate crisis and environmental activism. New York Times bestselling author and historian Douglas Brinkley and environmentalist and author Bill McKibben will talk about their writings on climate action and environmental history, in a discussion moderated by Vanessa Vadim.

The evening will open with music from traveling composer-performer Ben Cosgrove, whose music explores themes of landscape, place, and environment. The event will take place at Next Stage on Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 pm at 15 Kimball Hill in downtown Putney, VT. Tickets are $15. 

Ember Rebrina on “Here We Are”

A first person account of running for your freedom and safety as a non-binary person from Russia. After much red tape, detainment and hardship, Ember Rebrina is now in Brattleboro, receiving help and support through CASP, and volunteers in the community.

Humanitarian Advocacy Group Seeks a 2nd VT Organizer

Grab this dynamic opportunity to strategically engage members of Congress for progressive foreign policy change!  Action Corps is currently recruiting a second Vermont organizer to join our national team. We are building leaders for democracy in the U.S.; a ceasefire in Gaza, Yemen and beyond; and global climate justice. Join us as we continue our track record of effective collaboration and humanitarian results. 

Liv Berelson on “Here We Are”

Brattleboro is becoming home to asylum seekers and refugees.

Liv Berelson is on the front lines at CASP, (Community Asylum Seekers Project) and fills us in on the practical measures of support and services available, as well as the reality of their daily lives here and now. And the many ways their presence benefits our town.

A Little Something

I went out on a date this week, if you can call it that. All it was really was dinner. We knew each other quite well, and both of us had the taste for a certain cuisine from a very popular place. It was bound to be crowded at the dinner hour, we knew it would be. And it was. But nonetheless, we were game.

This establishment has a particular and rigid system in place regarding ordering. One line at a counter. For everything. To pick up take out. To eat in. Get a beverage. Whatever. A single line that delivers customers to the register one at a time like a gum-ball machine. You line up and wait your turn. No wiggle room to the method. There are tables, but no table service. Servers bring the carefully prepared items over to you when ready, but the only way to obtain food is to place and pay for an order when it comes your turn.

This brings me to the point of all this. The other night, on our “date”, I went up to order for us and it’d be fair to say there were half a dozen or so people ahead of me. Suddenly, a guy sidles up to the counter, we could all see it coming, and it wasn’t made any better by the fact he had his AirPods in, but anyway, he leans in- well, first he shut his music, angles in and then says, to all of us, “I placed my order before and got served already but forgot something, would you mind if I just slip in and add a little something?”

Housing Crisis Fake News ?

The town has waged a legal campaign against BCS for its emergency homeless shelters in RVs for a year now. Their charges are based on rumors and technicalities.

They can win only by their legal power. At our “trial” February 21, 2023 selectwoman Elizabeth McLoughlin objected to the chairperson referring to the housing emergency. She said BCS (Daims) was the only one declaring it that. BTW the housing crisis was already a national issue. The only deniers were on the Brattleboro selectboard. (The selectboard is the health board).

Never Forget

Should we continue to remind people of what an evil, manipulating and dangerous sociopath Donald Trump is? His followers will never accept any form of truth and the rest of us are living in fear of him becoming President again.

I was reminded of the statement by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller. At first he sympathized with many of the ideas in Nazi Germany, but when Hitler came to power he became a critic and ended up in prison. His words are as relevant today as they were in Nazi Germany.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

They’re Talking About Homelessness Again

It goes in cycles. The public conscience gets activated and politicians and policymakers talk about the crisis of homelessness and about how something needs to be done about it. There is a lot of talk, a few stories by major media outlets for a few weeks or months, and then not much changes.

To be fair, there are a number of programs around the country that create housing for homeless people and they do make life better for people as long as there is solid case management support and motivation for people to improve their lives. Brattleboro, Vermont has a number of organizations serving the homeless and, despite growing in capacity and comprehensiveness over the years, they are faced with a Sisyphean task.

Sadly, Vermont has the second highest rate of homelessness in the country. We have a severe shortage of affordable housing, prices for homes that are too high and high property taxes that make it difficult for too many people to stay in their homes as they age and try to live on fixed incomes.

Warm Winter Coats – Donation Boxes

Please donate clean, gently used coats and boots for men, women, and children of all sizes

Drop off boxes are on the porch of The General Store in Putney and at the Brattleboro Coop entrance

Groundworks is currently housing, feeding, and supporting 200+ neighbors experiencing homelessness.

GunSenseVT Candlelight Vigil Nov 2 Pliny Park Brattleboro

GunSense VT is holding a candlelight vigil in Brattleboro this Thursday, November 2nd at Pliny Park, 5 p.m. in support of the people of Lewiston, Maine, banning assault weapons, and passing common sense legislation to save innocent lives. It is one of several that are planned for the same day around the State.
As GunSense VT board member Laura Subin, whose daughter was in lockdown at Bates College in Lewiston last week, said, “The chilling proximity of the tragedy in Maine shatters any illusion of safety we might have previously felt here in Vermont. It is a harrowing reminder that no community is immune to this sort of heartache.”

The Windham County Heat Fund – The Need Continues After 19 Years

If you live in the Northeast chances are pretty good you have been using oil, propane or wood to heat your home for a few weeks. There are some people that set a date for turning on their furnace and they suffer through until then, partly as a matter of principle and partly because of the cost of fuel.

Then there are those among us, a growing number, who struggle to heat their homes. They rely on federal and state fuel assistance programs which do not start until late November. The politics of that have always troubled me and politicians say they understand the timing is not realistic, but the allocation doesn’t happen until well after the need for heat starts.

This is where the Windham County Heat Fund comes in. We try to have a reserve of funds at the start of the heating season so we can fill that gap for people who rely on government fuel assistance to keep warm. Our busiest times are now until late November and near the end of the heating season when people have used up their fuel assistance allocations.

Crime Research Group Study

Are you one of the 902?

We are working with Crime Research Group (CRG) on a study funded by the National Institute of Justice to help find people willing to participate in a study about the experiences of defendants of color in Southern Vermont criminal courts. Researchers are looking to speak with people over the age of 18 who have at least one closed criminal case since 2019 that was handled in Bennington, Rutland, Windham, and/or Windsor County. Participants will be interviewed about their experience before, during, and after court.

How Old is Too Old?

Our society needs to have a broad-ranging and serious discussion about the issue of when a person might be too old to take on specific responsibilities. We have been tinkering around the edges and the topic comes up more frequently now that the media has started to recognize the fact that the average age of U.S. senators is 65 and that of representatives 58.

Perhaps the most talked about age issue is that relating to President Biden who is 80 and would be 86 at the end of his next term in office. Leading candidate Trump is 77. Most of the leadership in the Senate is well over the 65 average and the infirmity of some members has been noted recently.

Some people might be inclined to rush to judgment when it comes to age and say that there should be absolute age limits for certain public offices. Other people argue that term limits would solve the problem without having to discriminate against people because of their age.

Medicare Drug Negotiation Is A Sham

If you want a good example of meaningless political activity and wishful thinking look to the current announcement that there will be negotiations for price cuts for 10 drugs in the Medicare drug program. People need to be reminded that Medicare D, the drug program created many years ago, was a gift to the pharmaceutical industry and did little to help seniors struggling to pay for medication. It has increased the profits of drug companies and that is no accident.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 mandated that the federal government negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry and now the Biden administration is trying to get PR mileage because they are going to “try” to negotiate to lower prices for 10 drugs commonly prescribed for seniors. I say try because big pharma is already lining up all of their legal teams to fight the negotiation process. It will be hard for the drug company CEO’s to buy another vacation home if profits are not maximized.

Supreme Court Poised To Make The Sackler Family Accountable

The Sackler family (primarily the Machiavellian Richard Sackler) the people who owned Purdue Pharma the company that promoted and pushed Oxycontin, have evaded criminal prosecution so far. They became big time drug dealers and pimps with a stable of sales whores as they created the opioid epidemic that persists.

A 2020 New York Times article cites a study by the Economic Research Bureau noting that, “And 65 percent of the growth in overdose death rates between 1996 and 2017 could be attributed to the introduction and marketing of OxyContin.” Oxycontin was put on the market in 1996 and it was aggressively marketed by people who showered doctors and other prescribers with gifts and a lot of misinformation to persuade them to give the drug to their patients.

The Sacklers were directly involved in all of the unethical and immoral tactics that surrounded the marketing of Oxycontin. All accounts make it clear that all they cared about was making a lot of money and they cared little for the lives they were ruining in the process.

Vermont Progressives Take On Climate Change

This is the summer that climate change got real for me, and after reading Richard Davis’ piece a few days ago, I realize I’m not the only one.  It may not be possible for us to solve all the problems of climate change (and environmental damage) that are underway now, but it’s been occurring to that even if the chances seem to be nil, I still owe it to the planet to care and to try to do my best to help out, or at least, not be part of the problem.  And yet, even setting the bar this low, it’s still hard to believe our efforts matter.  

But there’s impetus in numbers, and I was happy to see that the Vermont Progressive Party has decided to start organizing people to work together on the issue of climate change.  Their current project is focused on the state agency of transportation, VTRANS, in an effort to influence their thinking on climate change and how they spend $7 million in federal funds.

The Body Is Dying

When a body is close to death organs start to fail. The kidneys lose their ability to filter out poisons, the gastrointestinal tract slows and stops moving and processing food, muscles waste away and the brain slips into a stage of fog until the big sleep takes over.

I can’t help but think that there are a lot of comparisons to the way we die and the way in which our planet is decaying and looking more and more like a body nearing death. We look to global warming and blame it for many of the disasters that are unfolding. The warming of the planet is much like a deadly disease that has taken over the body.

When a disease takes hold that has little hope for slowing or stopping the body knows that death is at hand and systems move into a different mode.

Is it possible that our planet knows that it is on a death spiral and that the catastrophes we are experiencing a part of the process of the death of a planet?

Fireworks – The Wrong Message

I have always felt uneasy watching fireworks displays to celebrate a holiday or a special event. The only reason I have gone to these events is because people close to me enjoyed them. Standing at a spot to view the aerial artistry has made me feel like I am in the middle of a war zone and that is not the way I want to feel participating in a celebration.

I can understand why people love the display of pyrotechnics. The people who put these show on are highly accomplished artisans and it is a tradition that has been with us for thousands of years.

According to the web site 75APA, “Many historians believe that fireworks originally were developed in the second century B.C. in ancient Liuyang, China. It is believed that the first natural “firecrackers” were bamboo stalks that when thrown in a fire, would explode with a bang because of the overheating of the hollow air pockets in the bamboo. The Chinese believed these natural “firecrackers” would ward off evil spirits.