Forum, April 14: The FCC has pirated my PBS station

Saturday, April 13, 2019
The FCC has pirated my PBS station

During a recent pledge drive, I turned my TV on to watch Nova and was greeted by a banner at the bottom of the screen saying that on April 2 my local PBS station will move from channel 41 to 28. It also revealed that some viewers may not get reception. I was disappointed to find I was one of them.

Meanwhile, viewers of New Hampshire PBS found channel 50 relocated to 36, which I don’t get. And I’m not the only one.

Even though this tale of woe is applicable to both sides of the river, I visited Vermont PBS website, which assured me that, “If you’ve rescanned and can’t get Channel 28, we want to help! Please complete the following form and we will be in touch.” I did just that, and after April Fools’ Day came and went, so did the programming.

I remember watching a talking head extol the benefits of becoming a sustaining member. He claimed doing so is a “sound investment you can trust” Ha! Broadcasts are built on the quicksand of the Federal Communications Commission. Having had no luck in the past persuading Commissioner Ajit Pai to do the right thing (on net neutrality, Sinclair Broadcasting or various telecom mergers), I wrote to the FCC and copied my state representatives.

I said Pai must stop disrupting essential broadcasts. He and his band of co-conspirators should know that, especially in these days of eroding democracy, it is essential to have informed voters. And by blocking the daily broadcast of news, these pirates aid the plutocracy and engage in treasonous activities.

Vermont PBS volunteered to give me an antenna which, when assembled, failed to draw either relocated Vermont or New Hampshire stations, while the programming-free Ascutney signal came in loud and clear. Apparently the transmission changes are just another FCC attempt at silencing independent news sources.

Assuming I’m not the only malcontent, we must demand that PBS and our government pick up the gauntlet against Pai’s pirating of our airwaves.


White River Junction

The Act 46 mess in Vermont is about to get a lot messier

School districts are creatures of state law. They can be formed and dissolved by state action and by no other means. Act 46 determined that there be fewer of them in Vermont, and directed the districts to work out the details. If you ask me, that is more considerate than imposing a solution, or asking them to draw straws.

But a deadline passed, and 30-odd districts refused to act. Instead they sued the state, saying, “How dare you leave it to us to decide our own fates — that is unconstitutional!”

The courts are bogged down with these cases. They could take years to decide. Districts abolished by this process, supervised by the Agency of Education, are claiming they have a right to stay in business. Their members refuse to convene as reconstituted boards sanctioned by the state. Paperwork flies back and forth, a field day for lawyers.

Meanwhile, deadlines for warning and approving budgets, for renewing teacher contracts and who knows what else have passed, and the distinct possibility exists that a substantial number of children will have no legally constituted schools to attend next September. Why? Because some school board members do not wish to lose the jurisdictions over which they preside, and in some cases, the schools that go with them.

Now, the Legislature is on the verge of granting a reprieve for such plaintiffs as have refused to obey the law. They, but not the others, will get a one-year extension, Or maybe all will be told to stand down. Who knows?

Meanwhile, those deadlines have still passed, and with them the legitimacy of the old districts. Any hope for a speedy end to the lawsuits can be given up, as any such action by the Legislature will throw those cases in to limbo. The result: the sort of chaos only an anarchist could love.

The execution of Act 46 in Vermont is a mess about to get messier. If the legislators in Montpelier are not sure what to do, perhaps they should do nothing.



The enemies of our democracy

The 88 percent of Republicans who are still supporting the monster in the White House are attacking our country just like the Russians have and continue to do. They must have forgotten that Russia is not only our worst enemy but the worst enemy of our world.

I take that back. The worst enemy of our democracy is those who are still supporting the traitor in the White House, Republicans in Congress, and all of President Donald Trump’s crooked, hand-picked people, including Attorney General William Barr.

If any of Trump’s supporters had family members who fought in World War II, how would they feel about supporting a president who thinks that some Nazis are good? Hitler became the German people’s messiah, and they accepted him as their cult leader. He had a spell on them and they would do anything he told them to do, including turning a blind eye to the atrocities they knew their messiah was committing.

President Ronald Reagan told Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, “Tear down this wall!” That ultimately ended the Soviet Union and the world breathed a sigh of relief. How do you think Reagan would feel about supporting a president who sees Russia as our best friend and is helping Vladimir Putin to rebuild the Soviet Union?

In my opinion, they are fooling themselves by thinking they are better than all those groups that have experienced hate crimes. Perhaps they should reread the New Testament, Luke 14:7-9, a parable on the conduct of invited guests. The lesson is: Do not choose the places of honor at the table. Rather, take the lowest place. “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”