Serious Word Play

With so much trouble in the world, in so many realms, I can’t help but ask myself, what is my responsibility? Where to begin? Problems seem innumerable. Where is the onus? 

Yet today, for some reason, I looked at that word, onus, and couldn’t stop seeing it as comprised of its parts; on us. The burden is… on us. Is that etymology on purpose? An answer to the elusive question hidden in plain sight?

Now It’s Personal

For most of my life I have tried to keep an open mind about the perpetual conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. When there is a near-constant state of war both sides do things that oppress innocent people and make life difficult.

As a full-of-myself 20 year old I thought I had all the answers. It seemed black and white to me when I was in Israel in 1970. The Israelis had all the power and they were suppressing the Arab population. When I met my father’s cousins who had walked from Russia to Palestine in 1920 to escape the brutality of the Czar’s pogroms against Jews I told them I thought Israel was treating Arabs the same way that the Jews had been treated by the Nazis. They were outraged and didn’t speak to me for a few days. They decided to chalk up my remarks to youthful arrogance and innocence.

Over the past 54 years I have come to understand that this conflict is always in the grey area and I have tried to be sympathetic to both sides. But everything changed last week when Hamas attacked Israel.

What I Heard About The EMS Process in Brattleboro

What they said:

We’ll have an open and transparent public process. We want to have a great public process. We need to hear from the public. I’m not hearing enough from the public.  We’ll give the public a chance to weigh in. This will be an open and transparent public process. Your comments are really important.

Then they said:

The website comments are self-selecting and biased. You’ve already spoken for three minutes! You need to wrap it up. So emotional. Those news articles don’t apply to us. No looking back. Look to the future, now!  We know the majority of the public says they want Rescue but we’re voting against it. We have information the public doesn’t have. 

“It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over; It’s Not Over ‘Til We Get It Right.”

Remember the quote attributed to Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” Now, consider the Starship’s lyrics, “It’s not over ’til it’s over; It’s not over ’til we get it right.”

Please review the following articles in September 27, 2023 edition of the Commons:

A squandered opportunity by William E. Kraham
Use of ARPA funds can only be seen as evidence of its bad faith by F. David Levenbach
Brattleboro town department heads ‘blindsided’ by Barbara Mellish

Is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Trustworthy?

Below is a brief Forbes piece discrediting Robert Kennedy, Jr. The key sentence is the following:

“This week he posted to his Instagram account a photo of Gates with the wild words ‘The digitalized economy? We get rid of cash and coins. We give you a chip. We put all your money in your chip. If you refuse a vaccine, we turn off the chip and you starve!’”

I knew Kennedy is untrustworthy when I fact-checked his video, “The Real Anthony Fauci” and discovered that at the very beginning of the video: Kennedy, setting the stage for what the video will prove, makes a serious, factually untrue statement, which he has never subsequently corrected. If you are going to expose the mainstream media and medical establishment for propagating false narratives; then you yourself, Kennedy, better be impeccably truthful.

Open Letter to the Brattleboro Selectboard re: EMS

In the September 11 edition of the Reformer Selectboard member Daniel Quipp is quoted as saying “a pretty clear vocal majority,” referring to those who “would like the board to contract with Rescue again.” Majority of what is not clear, so I checked with Daniel. He told me he meant the majority of those who have expressed their opinion on this matter to the board. When I checked the Town’s “Fire-EMS Transition Project” web page (9/12): a quick run-through of the feedback submitted by email does show an overwhelming majority of Rescue supportive comments. I counted 75 out of 77.

Here are some thoughts from a member of the minority expressing an opinion. I hope they resonate with the majority of citizens that have been silent on this matter.

Inconvenient Truths Are Not Personal Attacks

I think defining what is a personal attack, and how it differs from a strong but fair statement is often not understood.

Today, on the Brattleboro Facebook Discussion page, Steve West accused me of having make a personal attack because I had written that a deceptive statement about the Rescue EMS response time was allowed to stand unchallenged by town department heads and the town manager at Tuesday’s EMS forum.

Letter to the Editor – Brattleboro EMS Petition

While trying to gather names in support of keeping Rescue, Inc. ,at the Senior Center, I was informed that this was not allowed. This was not a partition for any political party, it was a partition involving the health and welfare of the people of Brattleboro.

Let us go back just a bit. Originally the Town Representatives voted for monies to go to Rescue, Inc. not to be put in the Town Budget as an axillary line item. So they hire a Town Manager, who we find out later that had ties with Golden Cross. When this happened why did this not alert our Selectboard to question these ties. Instead of admitting that they dropped the ball they continue to try to ram this down the throats of the Brattleboro residences, even with the multitude of responses that we want Rescue, Inc .

Brattleboro EMS Options

Ever since the relationship between Rescue and Brattleboro was ruptured in 2022, the Town has been faced with the challenge of arranging for EMS services. While the explanations for the 2022 break have been vague and unconvincing, the plan is for the Selectboard to decide how to proceed at its 19 September meeting. There are three options. Details on the three are worked out in Town Manager Potter’s 1 September “Transition Update” memo and a 7 September “Supplemental” memo (hereafter first and second memos); both of them, and much more information, is posted at the dedicated Fire-EMS Transition section of the Town website. . It is important to note that Mr. Potter’s analysis of the three options are focused on the first year–FY25 impacts—on the General Fund. Longer-term financial impacts for a Town EMS are not estimated.

EMS Deception

Although I have made a comment or two on decrying the autocratic manner of selectboard members (we make the decisions, we don’t have to explain), I have been reluctant to speak out about the EMS controversy as I have not made a truly serious effort to become informed. After watching the September 12 EMS forum, I still do not feel capable of analysing which choice is better; but on a gut-feeling basis, I do not trust the Dog-And-Pony-Show put on by Town leadership. A “consensus” of 11 Town employees concerned with their jobs reciting matching opinions, is hardly a genuine consensus.

Still, I wondered what if they are right and EMS run by the fire department actually would be better?

EMS Forum: Brattleboro Municipal Staff Are In Favor of Municipal EMS

I took notes for last night’s public… uh, lecture? …spanking?…justifications? ….gaslighting?  It certainly didn’t seem much like a forum on EMS options.

For example, Town Manager John Potter introduced the evening by saying that one goal for the evening was to NOT go into detail of any of the EMS options.  A goal.

This was followed by over an hour of Town staff, many who live on towns served by Rescue, explaining why each and every one of them think the BFD is great!  A member of the public called BS on this pretty quickly, but was ignored.

Below are my notes (cut and pasted from the comments of another thread.):

Brattleboro Selectboard’s EMS Surprise

Thursday’s delayed Brattleboro Selectboard meeting almost seemed like a last-minute confessional. In the movie version it would have gone like this:

Board: “Forgive us, voting public, for we have committed the sin of omission.  When we said it was about the one letter from Rescue, it wasn’t the full story…”  (Cue ominous music)


I’m not sure if it was the late hour, or a lack of air conditioning on a hot evening, or an impending sense of guilt, but moments before the the meeting was to wrap up, (with the next steps being a public information session then a board vote on EMS services,) board members revealed that they had other, important information that they have been keeping from the public.

Like Israel Only Worse

My biggest fear is that Trump ends up in the White House again. It would be a disaster for this country and for the world, but it is something that could happen. Remember how improbable it seemed the first time around?

The best way we have to prevent this catastrophe is to vote and to make sure that a majority of the people who vote have functioning brains and a sense of justice and morality based in a world where the truth matters.

It is also possible that even if Trump ends up in prison he could still win the election. If that happens the United States would lose its standing as a world power and it is very likely that our economy could end up in the toilet. The world repercussions would be staggering.

Democracy Expands in Brattleboro and From Brattleboro

At BCS we’re shouting hallelujah, You can imagine, with the overwhelmong selectboard lawsuits against our homeless shelter it’s great to have this good news. It’s been ten years. Brattleboro is the first city — the only city in America that gives its young people a voice as voters and as elected officials. This may stem the tide of youth moving out of town. We were just talking with Addie Lentzner of the Vermont Youth Lobby. We’re thinking about a state-wide campaign. If we proceed BCS will advocate for full voting membership on school boards.

Young Brattleboro students have a great range of options for political expression. On one hand the student member of the school board is formal but tokenized and not allowed to vote. On the other hand Rio and other Youth Vote workers also disrupted the selectboard and the Heifer Parade to declare a climate emergency. The Youth Vote amendment creates the best option, both formal and powerful, if the young voters choose to own their power.

Loss And Gain

It’s helpful to check in and try to understand your place in the universe every so often. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day madness of the world and move around less thoughtfully than is healthy for us. Taking time to just sit back and reflect can be a form of self-guided therapy.

The older we get the more the ledger moves toward loss and away from gain. As the decades roll by it seems as if we are climbing some sort of imaginary hill adding years and experience to our working and personal lives.

Of course making generalizations is always dangerous and what I am talking about is the perspective from my little corner of the world. There comes a point where the scales seem to tip more toward loss than gain. The changes are subtle at first.

Memorialize USA Lies About Each Mistaken Undeclared War Americans Remembered Today Gave Their Lives

‘Decoration Day,’ a day to decorate the graves of soldiers, who died fighting on either side of the American Civil War is the origin of today’s (changed name) ‘Memorial Day.’ Because America’s subsequent wars have been in other people’s countries, the compassionate idea of a day dedicated to the families and friends decorating the graves in remembrance of loved ones, who were soldiers of either side in a past war, is lost, since one side’s soldiers were not Americans.

So, for instance, loving commemoration of the death of fifty-eight thousand American soldiers during the American war in Vietnam, is not accompanied by commiseration for Vietnamese family and friends remembering their more than a million Vietnamese soldiers who perished in America’s war in their country,