The Truth No Longer Matters

We live in a time in which the truth has less and less bearing on how the world operates. This is something that has evolved over a long period of time but it feels like we are, more acutely, feeling the effects of allowing ourselves to be influenced by those who are willing to lie to get whatever they want.

It may seem like this is something new, but the world of politics has witnessed this phenomenon for as long as the political game has been played.

The difference today is that the years of not stopping the lies forcefully enough have finally caught up with us and there are now millions of people around the world who are easily convinced that lies have somehow been magically converted into the truth because someone in power has told them to believe them.

It’s Time To End The British Monarchy

If you want to see an institution out of step with the world in 2022 then look to the British monarchy. It was created in the 10th century when Anglo Saxon England moved from an elective monarchy to a primogeniture system after England was conquered by the Normans in 1066.

That means that British citizens have accepted this family business over the centuries and they have done little to stop one family from accumulating massive wealth while strutting around like peacocks. The royal family has had some power to alter history over the years but in 2022 they do little but bolster some of their pet causes and promulgate a lifestyle of pomp and circumstance.

The Perils of Campaign Finance

If you want some insight into the problems that current campaign finance laws create, the Vermont Democratic primary for the U.S. House may prove instructive. Windham County Senator Becca Balint and Lt. Governor Mollie Gray squared off in what proved to be a lopsided race. Balint handily defeated Gray. If Balint wins the general election she will be the first woman and first openly gay member of Vermont’s congressional delegation.

According to VT Digger, ” …LGBTQ Victory Fund, which spent just shy of $1 million on Balint’s behalf in the race, had recently benefited from a $1.1 million donation from Nishad Singh, a top executive at the cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The political action committee’s financial disclosures make clear that the lion’s share of the outside spending supporting Balint’s run came from Singh’s donation.”

Special Drawing Rights by the Treasury Department

Today we face a crisis like never before, and we have the power to help.

COVID, climate disruption, rising food and energy prices, and war have created a “megacrisis.” At home we feel the pain of rising temperatures, gas and grocery prices. Low income countries have it even worse with millions more people pushed into hunger and poverty.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With the stroke of a pen, President Biden can trigger a simple, rapid, and cost-free solution: a new issuance of at least $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This little-known option gives immediate help to recover from shock and meet human needs. No strings attached, no added debt burden, and zero costs to taxpayers.

Lipstick on a Pig

The legislation just passed by the Senate, the Inflation Reduction Act, has been sold by Democrats as something that will save seniors a lot of money for prescription drugs. They are all puffed up about how the Medicare program will finally be able to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers. It is too little too late and worse than putting lipstick on a pig.

Forty nine million Medicare beneficiaries have bought into the flawed Medicare D program that provides coverage for prescription drugs. The program was created to support the drug and insurance industries. Medicare is only a middleman because enrollees have to pay premiums to insurance companies just for the privilege of being able to buy drugs at outrageous prices.

If someone does not sign up for the program as they initially enroll in Medicare they are forced to pay a penalty. There are many other punitive aspects to the program but, for some people who take more than five or six medications daily, it may save them a little money.

Mid-Term Elections May Determine Our Future

Primary elections are taking place throughout the country in the lead-up to the November mid-term elections. Predicting the outcome of elections is one of the more useless and inaccurate activities that pundits and the media engage in. Yet, they all continue and then offer hindsight analysis after the ballots are counted.

November’s election has the potential to feed the beast of change this country is on toward right wing control of the courts, the environment and women’s bodies. The recent decisions by the Supreme Court may portend the world to come if the House and Senate majorities change to Republican.

Will Justice Prevail?

You don’t have to be a lawyer to come to the conclusion that there is enough evidence to convict Donald Trump on a number of charges. If he were a less prominent citizen he would have been found guilty by now and would be sitting in a jail cell.

But our criminal justice system does not provide a great deal of equality when it comes to prosecuting and punishing people who break the law. The more money and influence you have the less likely you are to be punished.

The hearings being conducted by the January 6 committee are providing the findings of fact that are needed to prosecute Trump. The committee is doing much of the work that the justice department needs to be done to move forward with a case. They are doing a good job of showing how Trump and his allies planned an insurrection to seize control of the government in an attempt to subvert the constitution and the rule of law.

Action On Abortion! Talk The Talk. Walk The Walk

People want to do something about Roe. Protest demonstrations and resolutions are not enough. The Brattleboro selectboard will soon consider a resolution with many whereas’s and no force, supporting the right to abortion. A resolution is effective when it publishes a new idea, or when the signers’ name or numbers strengthen an idea. But no one’s mind will change because the Brattleboro selectboard makes a resolution that liberals like to hear. We ask assistance in promoting the amendment below, because the resolution without it is ineffectual. With this amendment we make a new model for enforceable local action.

This amendment should be added to the end of the resolution.

The Supreme Court A Moral and Ethical Disgrace

The current U.S. Supreme Court majority has created an institution that has little regard for the world we live in. Recent decisions by the court make it clear that they want to reconstruct a world that existed in 1788 rather than provide guidance for a world in the year 2022.

When supreme court justices hide behind the original wording and intent of the constitution they deny all of us the possibility of living in a world that has evolved since the founding of this country.

In a recent article in The Nation Louis Michael Seideman provides a perspective on the supreme court that makes it clear just how flawed the court is as well as pointing out that the U.S. Constitution has become irrelevant to the way we live today.

Update: The Civil Rights For All Banner in the 4th of July Parade 2022

The Civil Rights For All banner in the 4th of July parade 2022
We will all wear black.
My daughter Margaret suggests that people who march with the banner wear black. It’s a great way to make a statement.

We’ll meet at the brook side of the Preston lot on Flat Street, opposite the transportation center, 9 am to 10 am. Look for the bamboo pole with the surveyors tape tied to it. That’s us.The parade committee recommends parking at the Coop.
March begins at 10: up Main Street to the Brattleboro Common.

More Women’s Prisons and Orphanages

July 1, 2042- Twenty years after Roe v. Wade was overturned the Unites States is in the midst of a boom in the construction of women’s prisons as well as a revival of the warehousing of young children in orphanages.

Although the Supreme Court, as well as a majority of states, outlawed abortion women have continued to have the procedure done despite the legal consequences. When the law first changed there was a surge in abortions throughout the U.S. because the mechanisms for punishing those who defied the law were not well established.

As states changed their abortion laws and developed procedures for punishing women who had abortions, as well as those who provided the service, law enforcement agencies began to arrest women, nurses and doctors in numbers that were unanticipated. Thirty five states also passed laws that made it illegal for women to go to a state where abortion is legal if they live in a state banning abortion. The Supreme Court upheld states’ rights to punish women crossing state lines for abortions.

Abortion Discussion Event: Speakers Wanted

SPECIAL PROJECT OPENINGS: BCS will be producing a series of discussions on topical issues. For our part the purpose of the series is civil discussion itself. This event, to be held in September, will be a public discussion of abortion and Proposition 5. We are seeking speakers for both sides: three pro-choice and one pro-life.

Also a stipend is offered for a pregnant woman as an expert or lived-experience witness. BCS prefers to have no moderator, but the exact format of the event will be determined after proposals by the speakers. Since we believe public discourse is the fabric of society we hope the public will witness people disagreeing respectfully on a serious moral issue. This is tantamount for the event and the series.

A World Without Guns

June 20, 2055- After more than 30 years of grassroots activism a constitutional amendment has been passed in the United States that will make it illegal for most citizens to possess firearms. The 28th amendment is short. It states that, “No citizen, with the exception of military, law enforcement and certified hunters shall be allowed to possess and use firearms. Hunters must be subject to a federal certification process requiring background checks and verification by one mental health professional of suitability to hunt.” The amendment also describes provisions for removing guns from circulation.

The organization No More Dead Children was created in the wake of deaths of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas in 2022. Chapters of the organization formed in communities throughout the U.S. and became the voice for gun reform. Many of the leaders of these organizations were survivors of mass shootings at schools.

Slow Response to Housing Crisis

Brattleboro officials notice the housing crisis: 500 units are needed — NOW. But recent proposals for construction of a dozen or so units are a pathetic response.

The selectboard and committees are fixated on new construction, as if that is the only way.

Brattleboro Common Sense (BCS) proposed rent controls and just-cause eviction controls (JCE) two years ago, and town government has done nothing. BCS is also proposing emergency measures to create new housing by increasing occupancy limits and allowing RV’s to be rented as bedrooms and mini-houses in private driveways.

The World As It Is vs. The World As We Would Like To See It

I have been writing weekly commentaries for 28 years and I am beginning to realize that the time has come to think outside of the box. All those words may have had some impact on the world. People have learned a few things, but I remain impatient for the kind of change I would like to see.

So I have decided to try something new. I will write what might be called wishful thinking news stories, not fake news. These will be stories written in a news format that describe how the world might be if we made some of the changes that many Americans would like to see.

Thoughts of Expatriation

It usually happens when a president is elected. His politics are antithetical to mine and I wonder how my country could have elected such a person who will set the U.S. on a bad course. I harbor thoughts of leaving the U.S. and moving to a place that is more aligned with my vision for a better world.

But there are so many political, economic and social changes happening in this country now that I am feeling the same unease I felt when the Bushes and Trump were elected. It has nothing to do with Biden, although I would like to see better positions on a number of issues.

I have come to accept the fact that the U.S. political process is so broken that it will never be fixed in my lifetime or in the lifetime of many more generations.

We Need New Strategies To Stop Gun Violence

Mass murder in this country will continue unabated no matter what happens next. More dead children. More grieving families. More meaningless words spoken by politicians of all viewpoints.

If we are ever going to have any hope of diminishing the level of gun violence in this country we have to stop looking to politicians as our only hope for change. Guns kill people and no matter how you twist it, mass murder would be difficult without access to automatic weapons as well as guns of any kind.

The issue is about guns. Those who don’t think so will never change their minds and we have to accept that reality if we are ever going to change anything. That means moving away from the political arena into the court of public opinion. Mass protests and demonstrations can make a difference and that is the only way we will ever slow the death rate from gun violence in this country.

Abortion, The Supreme Court, and the Death of Democracy

American women will soon find it more difficult to make decisions about pregnancy thanks to the persistent bullying of a minority of Americans. When the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortion will be an issue that will be controlled by individual states.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, “If Roe were overturned or fundamentally weakened, 22 states have laws or constitutional amendments already in place that would make them certain to attempt to ban abortion as quickly as possible. Anti-abortion policymakers in several of these states have also indicated that they will introduce legislation modeled after the Texas six-week abortion ban.”

Lament of A Hopeful Pessimist

There is something programmed into the human psyche that hopes for a better world than the one we have. Hope is important.

The problem is that what some people think makes a better world can be at odds with what others think. That is the world as it is.

When the pandemic unfolded it looked as though the leaders in this country were finally beginning to understand how dysfunctional our health care non-system is. It became clear that those at the lower end of the economic ladder did not have access to the same level of health care as those with more resources.