Forum, March 15: Sen. Sanders is an opportunist

Thursday, March 14, 2019
Sen. Sanders is an opportunist

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is back in the news as a Democratic candidate for president (“Sanders returns to his roots: Senator opens campaign in New York, says he’s the one to beat Trump,” March 3). But Bernie is not a Democrat, and he never has been. He is instead an opportunist who has used the Democratic Party for years to serve his own political ambitions.

For just one recent example, after winning last summer’s primary as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, Bernie immediately announced that he would run in the general election as an Independent — without a Democratic opponent.

Bernie is also divisive. The Russians understood his potential for disruption when, according to last year’s indictment of 12 Russian hackers, they worked to support Bernie’s candidacy as well as Donald Trump’s.

Some of Bernie’s policy proposals, like universal access to health care, appeal to many Democratic voters. But we can support Bernie’s progressive ideas, now embraced by many other candidates, without allowing Bernie to once again pose as a Democrat, divide the Democratic Party, and help re-elect Donald Trump.

We should accept the message and reject the messenger.



‘Live hearing’ concerns correct

With reference to your recent story on Dartmouth College’s revisions to its sexual misconduct procedures and policies (“Sex assault adjudications criticized: Proposed change would allow for live hearing, questions,” March 7), I believe that the Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault is correct in objecting to the inclusion of a “live hearing” in the procedures for resolving sexual assault complaints.

Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes in our country. Don’t take my word for it; that assertion comes from the U.S. Department of Justice. If the college truly wishes to encourage more reporting of these crimes, which it says it does, it should be listening more acutely to the professionals who work with survivors, like WISE, and less to its own lawyers.

One thing Dartmouth might do (and perhaps it is without my knowing it), is to join forces with other educational leaders, such as Boston University President Robert Brown, to push back against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ regressive attempts to undermine gains made by survivors under the Obama administration. As the Student and Presidential Committee statement alludes, there are less harmful ways to enable the accused’s voice to be heard. DeVos, however, despite all of the evidence that indicates false reporting of sexual assault is extremely rare, has decided to side with the accused.

These complex issues have no easy answers, but that is the legacy of being more diverse and inclusive. By deciding to recruit women (and minorities and the disabled, etc.), the college implicitly agreed to manage these challenges so that all students, employees and alumni who wish to return to campus may feel safe and welcomed by the community.

In allowing alleged perpetrators to confront survivors during a “live hearing,” Dartmouth would be reneging on that promise. Need more proof? Ask Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former Air Force combat pilot, why she never reported her rape by a superior officer to her chain of command: She “felt the system was raping me all over again.”



Bully gets a pass in Claremont

Reading Patrick O’Grady’s recent article made me furious all over again about the heinous behavior of Claremont City Councilor Jonathan Stone toward one of his constituents (“Council opts against censure: Member drew heat for online comments in spat over holiday display,” March 1). Thank you to the three councilors, Abigail Kier, Nick Koloski and Claire Lessard, who voted in favor of censuring Stone. I appreciate and applaud their integrity.

Vilifying the Killays (or indeed anyone with whom you disagree) whether in person, on Facebook or via any other media, is just plain unacceptable.

The votes by Mayor Charlene Lovett, Assistant Mayor Allen Damren and Councilors Andrew O’Hearne, Jeremy Zullo and Scott Pope gave Stone a pass for this ugly bit of bullying. Apologizing on behalf of a colleague’s misconduct is nice, but making it clear that our elected officials should never behave in such a manner is what was truly called for.



Misleading headline confused health care, health insurance

Health insurance is not health care. Health care may be provided by a medical professional. Health insurance is a business.

The headline of the March 12 Associated Press article about managed care companies in New Hampshire first called them “health care companies” and then referred to them as “insurance companies.” This is confusing and misleading. They are health insurance companies, not health care companies.

It is important to continually make the difference clear and distinct if we are to make any progress on the problem of increasing medical costs.

For that matter, health care and medical care are not necessarily the same. For example, washing your hands regularly and covering your coughs are as important for health care as anything a medical professional can do. Guess which one is most cost-effective?



Losing sight of what is best

I would like to ask our Vermont legislators to explain their position on legislating for the health and welfare of all Vermont citizens, especially our younger generations, because I can’t understand what it is.

On the one hand, they want to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes from 18 to 21, which will do nothing to prevent teenagers from starting to smoke. If they want to smoke, they’re starting well before age 18 anyway, and have already found avenues to access tobacco.

On the other hand, they irresponsibly passed a marijuana legalization bill that cannot be enforced and makes it easier to access a drug that impairs the mind. This against the opinions of their own experts in the medical and law enforcement fields (and also while the state Agency of Education promotes mind-challenging STEM programs). Now they want to expand access to marijuana by instituting tax-and-regulate legislation, while disregarding any discussion of how to assess impairment or regulate abuse of the drug.

All I can see is that they seem to legislate by populism, rather than by what’s in the public’s best interest. And with open sales and taxation of pot, all they can see is dollar signs. How long before the state becomes so dependent on drug money that it starts spending tax dollars to promote drug use? How does the state promote educating the minds of our children while also promoting a drug which impairs them? How does the state protect against impaired drivers when it has no ability to enforce over-indulgence?

I’d like to hear from our legislators, because I’ve lost a lot faith in them to do what is best for Vermont.



Many were cold, few frozen in pursuit of clear ice

Thank you to the ice men and women of the Upper Valley who have kept the ponds and rinks clear.

Matt Bing, Sam Kidder and Matt Perry have been out on Occom Pond almost every day since Christmas. Keeping three to four acres of ice cleared and planed is challenging. Weird weather, including heavy snows that sank and flooded the ice plus four rainy thaws, hurt. However, thanks to the support from Dartmouth College and the hard work of “Binger,” Sam and Matt from L&M Contractors, lots of safe and super skating was possible.

The Occom Pond Party on Feb. 10 attracted maybe 2,000 winter lovers. Dedicated volunteers maintain many outdoor skating rinks around the Upper Valley — Norwich, Lyme, Thetford, Etna and many others. “Many were cold, but few were frozen” is an old Catholic school joke. Please join the “chosen cold” ice keeper volunteers in your community and enjoy our winters while we still have them.



All politicians need a dose of the dismal science

Wouldn’t it make sense to require all elected politicians (local, state and federal) to successfully complete a course on basic economics before they are allowed to propose or vote on any legislation that deals with fiscal policy, including taxes, spending and wages?


West Hartford