Forum, Aug. 19: Meet the Candidates; America and Its Wars; Co-op Transparency

Meet Legislative Candidates

To the Editor:

All Norwich, Sharon, Strafford and Thetford voters are invited to a forum for the primary candidates for the Windsor-Orange-2 state representative seats, sponsored by the Norwich Women’s Club and the League of Women Voters of the Upper Valley. The forum will be held tonight from 7-8:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room of Tracy Hall in Norwich. Nancy Dean of Norwich will moderate the event.

The primary election is on Tuesday, Aug. 26. Any registered voter may vote in the primary. The four Democratic primary candidates for the two Vermont state house seats are Tim Briglin, Jill Michaels, Jim Masland and Irv Thomae. The two winners of the Democratic primary will then face Independent candidate John Freitag in the general election on Nov. 4. There is no Republican candidate for these seats.

The Vermont State Legislature will address many significant issues affecting all Vermonters in the next several years. These elections are your chance to influence who will decide those issues on our behalf. We encourage all voters to meet the candidates and learn about their positions. Your vote is your voice.

Ann Day

Norwich Women’s Club

Ellen Blumberg

League of Women Voters

America’s Pretext for War

To the Editor:

By reprinting Washington Post news articles, the Valley News does its readers a disservice. Corporate media feeds include all major U.S. news outlets and have increasingly become the vehicle for U.S.-led propaganda and disinformation. The news that Obama has authorized a restart of bombing in Iraq is accompanied by the “narrative” that it is to save a minority tribe. Once again we hear the rhetoric of “humanitarian” interventions involving more bloodshed. Unreported in the story is that the area of bombing — Erbil, the Kurdish region of Iraq — is a hub for U.S. oil companies.

In comments steeped in hypocrisy, Obama declared that the U.S. could not “turn a blind eye” when the Iraqi religious minorities were threatened with a massacre. For the past month, the Obama administration has fully supported the Israeli slaughter of Palestinian civilians and leveling of large areas of the Gaza Strip. The propaganda campaign over Iraq’s minorities recalls the hue and cry in the international media in 2011 over the alleged threat to the population of Benghazi. This served as the pretext for imposing a no-fly zone over Libya as part of the regime-change operation to oust Col. Muammar Gaddafi. Now the tattered banner of humanitarianism is again being raised in Iraq to justify military operations to shore up vital ruling elite (imperialist) interests in the Kurdish Autonomous Region and Iraq more broadly.

The “new” terrorist group the Islamic State is a result of the criminal operations of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East over the past two decades. Faced with mounting resistance to its illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, Washington deliberately inflamed sectarian Shiite-Sunni divisions. This played directly into the hands of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which transformed into the Islamic State. Its militia have been part of the U.S. backed regime-change operation in neighboring Syria, aimed at ousting President Bashir al-Assad, which is being funded and armed by U.S. allies.

Meanwhile, President Obama, whose accomplishments to date include waging a war on Libya without congressional approval, starting a covert drone war in Yemen, maintaining a secret “kill list” which includes U.S. citizens, and approving drone attacks on civilians during funeral gatherings, is now heading the “demonize Russia” campaign in a series of U.S./NATO-backed staged events in Ukraine.

Randy Cole


The Co-op Needs Transparency

To the Editor:

There may be a silver lining to the Co-op’s Wal-Mart-style firings of Dan King and John Boutin. Many of us slumbering Co-op members have finally woken up and have been reading board minutes and financials. What happened while we were sleeping?

The visible signs point to financial trouble, but the financial report was omitted from the 2013 Annual Report to members.

Co-op management rented itself a locked suite on Buck Road, where you are most unwelcome. Cost of this? The Co-op’s audited financial statements as issued show a materially significant increase in general and administrative expenses (because of Buck Road?), but there is no detail. Obscured are management’s wages and benefits, Buck Road bunker costs, and consultant fees.

How does someone hide our Co-op’s financial details? By management’s decision to use “aggregate” accounting — where expenses are lumped together, hiding details. That means we owners cannot see and understand the Co-op’s financial condition.

Everyone who wants to see justice and transparency returned, anyone who wants to shop there once again and see a rejuvenated staff morale is invited to Storrs Pond for a drop-in “Dan and John” picnic at the main picnic area. That’s Sunday, 5-9 p.m., with a $5-$10 suggested donation (Co-op employees free). No RSVP needed. Local beef burgers and organic veggie burgers will be served with plenty of side dishes and desserts.

Hear Dan and John personally update us, learn what needs to be done and find opportunities to join a variety of action committees to help bring the Co-op back from its “black-box” Buck Road bunker management nosedive.

Robert Spottswood