Forum, March 15: Why Increase Military Spending?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Why Increase Military Spending?

I support our need to have a strong military and am willing to pay for a secure and free country, but when have we spent enough? In 2015, the United States accounted for 36 percent of all military spending worldwide, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. That is roughly the same amount as the next eight countries spent altogether:  China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, U.K., India, France, Japan and Germany.  Our military budget accounts for 54 percent of all U.S. federal discretionary spending, a total of $598.5 billion (according to the National Priorities Project, nationalpriorities.org).

Meanwhile, President Trump wants to increase U.S. military spending. Do others find it alarming that your and my taxes pay for a military that dwarfs all others, but we will not spend our tax dollars on universal health care, affordable higher education and child care, environmental protection, investing in renewable energy, a living wage, defending civil liberties, etc.?

The GDP of the U.S. is at least four times the size of that of every other country, with the exception of  China (China’s GDP is about two-thirds the size of the United States’). We are the financially wealthiest country in the history of the world. Surely we can arrange our priorities to help those in need and our environment, instead of allocating our resources to increased military spending, corporate welfare and gutting civil liberties and the environment.

Amos Kornfeld


Supporting Goundrey

Orford voters, please support Paul Goundrey’s candidacy as selectman for the town of Orford.

I have known Goundrey for several years and served with him on the board. He has extensive experience as a selectman and as a participating member on other town boards. He is very knowledgeable of town governmental affairs, is very conscientious and will act in the very best interests of the town.

I hope you will give Paul Goundrey your full support on Thursday.

Ann Green


Class Warfare and Health Care

Regarding the Valley News editorial of March 12, “Careless Legislation.”

A.) Your premise that Trump fooled “most of the people” is seriously flawed. Actually, a plurality of some 3 million did not vote for Trump, despite a seriously corrupted electoral process. When one takes gerrymandered districts and voter suppression into account, it is clear that what we have is an illegitimate exercise of power by the Republican Party.

B.) I do agree that the so-called Health Care Reform Act is aptly characterized as one more Republican scam to significantly cut taxes on the already wealthy, in consequence increasing inequality in American society, as well as intending to take away the access of millions of Americans to decent health care. They can’t smuggle this past us fast enough! Perhaps this can be compared to the Bush tax cuts of 2001, that signature exercise in “compassionate conservatism.”

If this isn’t class war, I don’t know what is.

C.) This is indeed care-less. And we haven’t yet come to the Republican plan for “tax reform.” And who do you think will be asked to pay for added “defense,” a wall, etc.

Trump is but the symptom: The Republican Party is the disease. Its proper cure: for now, active (peaceful) resistance and organization; and vote the rascals out in 2018.

Boris G. von York

Springfield, Vt.

‘Wealth Care’ From the GOP

If nothing else, the Republicans’ plan to replace the Affordable Care Act reveals their true colors. Their plan would take subsidies away from people who need them and give subsidies to people who don’t. It would cut the topmost-bracket taxes that have been helping pay for the ACA. And in order to reduce those taxes on the rich, the plan would rely on tax credits as its funding mechanism. 

This reliance on tax credits is a familiar form of Republican doublespeak. What the use of tax credits really means is “deficit spending,” so that Republicans can pretend to be the party of fiscal responsibility while running up bills that the children of working people will have to pay. 

The Republican plan will make health care unaffordable for a lot of working Americans and revive the fear and uncertainty about health care for a lot of others. This economic anxiety has an additional benefit for the wealthy. Labor costs are an expense that cuts into profits and people in financial distress are cheaper to hire.

 The bottom line of the Republicans’ plan reveals their true agenda with regard to the ACA.  What they really want is to repeal a plan that provides health care and replace it with a plan that provides wealth care.

Elfie Forbes

East Thetford

Stand Firm on Grammar Rule

I would encourage Willem Lange (“The English Language Must Evolve, But There Are Limits,” March 9) to stand firm in his opposition to “media” as a singular. “People” is a similar plural, and we don’t say “people is.” This is not merely a minor grammatical imperfection. To say “the media is” is very different from saying “the media are.” The former is in fact a rhetorical figure that distracts attention from the many differences between various media and thereby undermines media credibility. (That effect may or may not be the intention of the speaker or writer.)

We live in a sea of such rhetoric, which gives “belief without knowledge” (Plato, Gorgias), and which we barely recognize.

Dennis Thron


Protect the Pups on Campus

I write in response to Willem Lange’s moving column of March 1.

It related how his daughter, a student athletic trainer at a college, rescued a pup from the abuse of football team members who were feeding it beer, pushing it down the stairs and whatever else. It was so interesting to me that the dean called her family to say that it had come to their attention that she was harboring a pup in her room, and it had to go. And no mention of taking to task the abusers. A happy ending then ensued, as her family adopted the pup.

Here is my quandary. Were any of the abusive criminals prosecuted for animal abuse? Or were the “hallowed jocks” immune? And that the administration’s overriding concern was not that a pup was being abused, but harbored in a dorm room?

Now here is my big question. I have seen at least two pups residing in fraternities on Dartmouth campus. How are they treated? Are they too being given beer and mistreated? Is there any oversight for those pups? Is anyone checking on them?

Be assured, as a four-pup owner myself, I know what a comfort pups can be especially for kids away from home. But beer and abuse should not be condoned, no matter what.

Karen Hoffmeister


The Scoop in Hanover

In the March 9 edition of the Valley News, Jerry Madden wrote a letter about dog-waste hazards. Thank you for bringing this problem to the attention of readers.

I have been trying for several years to have dog owners pick up at Mink Brook. Now that spring is almost here, let’s make Hanover a poop-free community.

Liz King


Incomplete Coverage

I have attempted for several years to seek your aid in uncovering what I consider a criminal conspiracy in Hanover to hide illegal polluting of town waters, where children swim and where state and federal laws have been broken. I am required by my oath as an Army officer to fight against foreign or domestic enemies of the Constitution.

The fact that your article (“They Put Me in a Cage,” March 4) describing our latest difficulties did not include a visit by its author is disgraceful. No interviews of the others here whose rights are also being violated. No pictures of our blockaded and fenced-over legal deeded right-of-way. I guess this shouldn’t have surprised me. Your paper never ran an article about the illegal polluting of the water at our farm, destruction of our farmhouse and theft of our property.

Too bad you don’t respect your readers enough to attempt to protect them by informing them before they are abused. Live Free or Die!

David B. Vincelette


Editor’s note: The letter writer was interviewed by phone for the March 4 story.

Celebrate, but Not So Loudly

Let me preface this letter by saying I fully support and applaud the organizers and sponsors of the Vermont Special Olympics for the wonderful program they provide every year at Suicide Six in Woodstock/South Pomfret.

What I don’t appreciate is the rather archaic practice of setting off 20-plus minutes of fireworks rounds from the top of Mt. Tom (Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park) as part of the opening celebration. While the sound and light spectacle may delight a select few, it is extremely disturbing to the larger population of pets and wildlife in the area.

While my village home literally shook with each blast, my pets ran wide-eyed around the house trying to understand what was happening. While that’s annoying enough, I can calm them down. More concerning to me is the lack of environmental sensitivity to the wildlife in the area. Mt. Tom is habitat to a wide variety of large and small mammals and early returning birds, many of which if not waking from hibernation, have a slowed winter metabolism, or are searching for limited food sources and are subject to extreme stress from this unnecessary intrusion. 

This event should be celebrated!  But why not something more site-specific and directly related to the ceremony on the village green?  I would love to see an event that openly recognizes the uniqueness of all individuals and “advances the mission to change attitudes and transform lives.” Take it one step further to include all life.

Jack Rossi


Protect Transgender Citizens

A Granite State update:

It is still legal to discriminate against the transgender citizens of New Hampshire.

What a shame, disgrace and injustice that some New Hampshire politicians recently refused to even hold an official vote on the “Gender Discrimination Bill” (Bill 478).

As a result, the bathrooms of New Hampshire do remain a possible dangerous place for some New Hampshire residents. Let’s be honest, however, the danger only exists for transgender individuals who are forced to use the bathroom determined by their assigned gender as opposed to their affirmed gender.

I would urge that residents of New Hampshire contact their state representatives to express their opinions about this subject and insist that a vote on this bill be taken.

Until a vote is taken, the often quoted and cherished New Hampshire motto “Life Free or Die” sadly remains only a distant dream for the transgender citizens of New Hampshire.

Jack Turco