There’s something very unifying about a global crisis — a great inescapable event that affects us all at the same time. Such crises seem rare but in modern times, they happen often. We have world economic crises, a global climate crisis, and a crisis of faith in our leaders that’s led to widespread social uprisings around the world. These sorts of crises affect everyone to some extent, but the effects are hard to gauge. Some people are affected disproportionately, others not at all.
Strange times, eh? And such a quick, sudden shift for just about everything. Aside from whiplash, how are you holding up?
I find myself going back and forth between trying to continue some semblance of business as usual, and being in shock at how this is not business as usual at all.
Super Tuesday is over and the air waves are quiet. As you can imagine, I was very disappointed with the results; both with Bernie’s unexpected losses in Texas and here in New England but also when Pete And Amy precipitously threw their support to Biden along with Betto O’ Rourke. And even more when I heard that there had been a meeting of the party leaders before all that where I’m sure they pressured the moderate candidates to give their support to Biden. And Obama weighed in and Harry Reid and others. Then, in the “unkindest cut of all” Bloomberg bows out and moves to give Biden the use of his money! And now I here that the party is pressuring Warren to stay in to take votes away from Bernie. What kind of an election is this?
Being the first Tuesday in March, it is Town Meeting Day in Vermont. Here, unlike much of the world, there are only two layers of government; state & local. And for the vast majority of our 246 towns & cities, local government is composed of a legislative branch that includes EVERY citizen as may gather at an annual (and special) Town Meeting. Most communities introduce, amend, and pass all agenda items (like the town budget, tax rates, election of officers, ordinances, etc.) through a (public) floor vote by all the assembled citizens. This is our traditional Town Meeting system. And having ALL the citizens included in the legislative branch of local government lends itself to working people (who are the great majority) being more informed and more thoughtful about the positions they take (as their opinions, under such a system, very much matter). Vermont is a better place for it.
Many endorsements for the Brattleboro selectboard tout the candidate’s open-mindedness, integrity, intelligence and compassion. If you have heard David Schoales’ positions on the board over the years, or if you read the long list of issues that he has championed, you know that he is all these things plus much more. If you’re a public employee you may remember that David led the board in support of a successful effort to negotiate a much better health insurance plan for town workers. More recently, he supported the successful effort for the town to hire a Sustainability Coordinator, a position critically to address the challenges ahead that go well beyond climate change. David also spent many cold days with others campaigning for the ban on distribution of single use plastic bags in Brattleboro. By any measure, he is a true champion of the environment, local businesses, and fiscal responsibility.
At the last two meetings of the Brattleboro Selectboard, members of the board and the Chief of Police implored people NOT to use social media for official business, such as reporting crimes.
“Don’t rely on social media,” said board member Tim Wessel. “Social media has never been a form of reporting things,” added Chair Brandie Starr.
Where could the public have gotten such a crazy idea as to use social media for town business? Perhaps from members of the Selectboard?
On Election Day in March, Brattleboro voters will have the opportunity to tell the Selectboard to consider replacing the five-member Selectboard with one mayor.
The complete wording of the article which will appear on the ballot: “Shall the voters of the Town of Brattleboro advise the Select Board to amend the Brattleboro Town Charter to replace the Select Board form of governance with that of a mayoral form of governance?”
I encourage voters to reject this proposal for a number of reasons.
Millions of Americans have been under attack since Trump and his thugs took power. The list of inhumane, racist and xenophobic actions is long and most of the people who have been targeted are low income, vulnerable because of their health or socio-economic status or because they live in fear of having their families torn apart.
The vulnerable among us are experiencing a type of bullying never before seen in this country, but this kind of cowardly action has become the norm for our rogue government. One of the more recent assaults on Americans who are working hard and trying to get ahead is a proposed rule change that would cut food stamp (commonly referred to as SNAP) benefits to about three million people.
Some members of the Brattleboro Selectboard appear to be having private communications during public meetings.
On a few recent occasions, some Selectboard members have looked at their phones, read some form of communication to them, and have made comments about it. Just the other night, Daniel Quipp said that Tim Wessel had texted him. Until that point, no one knew that Wessel was a participant. He had been presented to the room as absent.
We moved our web design business to Brattleboro in 2001. People around Brattleboro were mostly using modems, and Sovernet was just beginning to sign people up for (relatively slow) DSL connections. We limped by, overpaid, and designed local web sites for low bandwidth knowing most people were stuck at low speeds around here.
As time went on, things didn’t really speed up much here, but friends (and competitors) in bigger cities were leaping ahead. While we were lucky to get 3-7 Mbps here, they were enjoying 200 Mbps or more.
The Deep State Is Assassinating Him!
“Wiki Leaks founder and journalist Julian Assange appeared in court to fight his extradition to the United States, sluggishly reciting his name and date of birth in a zombie-like state — displaying signs of either sleep deprivation, torture or poisoning.”
“The only purpose of war is make the rich richer and the poor poorer.” Major General S. Butler USMC
There is a big NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) brouhaha about the F-35 being stationed in Burlington, Vermont. The plane has certainly lived up to its appellation as Fubar-35 (finagled up beyond all rationality) and the environmental pollution and deafening noise are certainly factors to consider. Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon know the plane is a disaster; nevertheless, it’s a bonanza for the Military Industrial Mafia who profit from it: Pratt Whitney, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and hundreds of military suppliers. Contrary to reason and rationality, bring this noisy mechanical economic failure here to our Green Mountain State!
I spent all of yesterday devouring UFO stuff. In this morning’s reverie, it all came together.
Why have governments devoted enormous resources to denying their existence?
They are afraid that we’d “panic”. Yeah, right!
The Climate Strike. What an incredible outpouring of commitment, community, passion and determination.
Hundreds of people-( some counts are as many as 1000!) many of them elementary and high school students took to the streets to voice their fears and anger about the mess adults have made of this earth and the terrible legacy they are left with.
Hopefully more and more people will join the growing movement to have Brattleboro either step up or tear down the parking garage. A huge number of people no longer park there because The Town of Brattleboro has abdicated its basic duty to taxpayers and citizens to upkeep the garage. Let’s go through some basic undisputed facts about the current state of the garage:
Trash and stains punctuate the parking garage. Parking Enforcement told me there used to be a full time caretaker of the garage and now that person was cut to only 4 hours. Everyone feels this is unacceptable; there needs to be a full-time caretaker.
The anti-war and anti-US-meddling wings of all parties should be very happy today. John Bolton, the evil warmonger who has been Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor for the past year and a half has just exited the White House, stage right. Trump fired him, says Trump. I quit, says Bolton. Who cares? He’s gone and the world feels slightly less scary as a result.
Ya want to hear a conspiracy theory?
19 disaffected Muslim men armed with box cutters and led by a sick Saudi on dialysis in a cave in Afghanistan hijacked 4 commercial planes, flew them around unhindered in any way for an hour or so then crashed them into 2 skyscrapers in New York and the US Pentagon, outwitting the most sophisticated intelligence network in the world.
The plastic bag ban in Brattleboro banned plastic shopping bags. Grocery stores immediately complied, removing them from the available options to shoppers. Reusable bags were offered for sale.
Paper bags, always a free convenience for shoppers, suddenly had a price tag. Depending on the store, paper bags to carry purchases from a store now cost 5 or 10 cents. I’m speaking primarily of grocery stores and supermarkets.
Ask cashiers why a previously-free store amenity suddenly costs money, the answer is often “You have to blame to Town of Brattleboro.” But this isn’t true. Brattleboro did not mandate charging for paper bags.
Libyans in Tripoli are again under siege, anti-imperialists should be encouraged to use this window of topicality to have the public know the truth about the colonial powers’ annihilation of Africa’s most prosperous nation. Let us look back at a peaceful and prosperous Libya, just five weeks before the UN Security Council voted to bomb it. the UN Quality of Life Index of 2010 ranked Libya 53rd highest nation in the world.
Americans, who flinch at the sight of their nation’s flag, never forget the rage in the voice of former President Obama’s pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright during TV news bites of him shouting, his finger pointing to heaven, “God bless America? No, no! God damn America for her crimes against humanity,”