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Forum, March 29: We argue about the wrong things

Published: 3/28/2020 10:00:12 PM
Modified: 3/28/2020 10:00:10 PM
We argue about the wrong things

The country and world are going through very difficult times. If any good can come from this we should all do some serious, bipartisan thinking as perhaps the issues we argue about each day are not the real issues of the time.

In the last century, President Dwight Eisenhower warned that if we let the military-industrial complex rule the world we were doomed. In our present pandemic, we are learning that we allowed these related issues to push to the back burner the new threats of today. Watch Bill Gates’ 2015 Ted Talk (at www.ted.com) on the threat of a pandemic from a virus.

There are smart people who were way ahead of most of our current leaders. We perhaps should learn that we need to pick smart leaders with knowledge and vision rather than the best-funded, slick-talking candidates who tell us just what we want to hear while favoring those actions that line their own pockets and those of their donors who, because of Citizens United, can now keep the cycle going.

I am sure we will survive the current disaster, but will we learn anything from it? Perhaps it is time to reduce the military budget, which is more than the next 10 countries combined, and use that money to move forward with the many needs of our country, such as health care, education, infrastructure, the environment, clean energy, etc., while taking care of our former military who suffer physical and mental injuries today. The current administration’s measure of success, the stock market, has shown us how fragile it is when we need to face the real issues of the day. These are world issues, not just ours.

With an election coming, we should use this time to think about our views that have been so heavily influenced for most people by the news outlets of information and disinformation to which we have all been exposed.

BARRY D. SMITH

Norwich

No excuse for unending commercials

As a member of the age group especially prone to assault by the coronavirus, I implore President Donald Trump to take one simple action to help us get the information we need in these frightening times. With experience in broadcasting and congressional media relations, I can appreciate the extreme value of broadcast media in providing this service.

The three news networks I watch (in alphabetical order, CNN, Fox and MSNBC) are filling valuable time and space with almost unending streams of commercials. There is no excuse for this behavior in these times. (It’s bad enough in normal times.) The networks are also still colluding by running commercials at the same times during each broadcast hour. This quite possibly illegal practice prevents us from switching channels during commercials to avoid obnoxiously trite messages.

The president should now issue an executive order (or direct the relevant agencies) to force the networks to slash time for commercials by at least 50% and end the collusion they now practice. Anticipating the heartfelt resistance that the networks will raise to this action, I’d like to stress that they have the money to absorb any losses this patriotic move could induce. They simply need to charge more for each commercial and cut the exorbitant salaries paid to their stars, many of whom could live well on 2% of the income they currently command.

I have sent a version of this letter to the White House. Let’s hope the president proves his mettle by granting us the chance to learn all we can from the broadcasters that are bound by federal law to act in the name of public service to America.

H. DEAN BROWN

West Lebanon

Scouting deserves more attention

I am in my third year of Scouting counting Cub Scouts. I have noticed that there is very little in the newspapers about Scouting. The only time I hear about Scouting in newspapers is when there is a huge Scout event or when there is bad publicity.

To me, I think Scouts are so awesome because Scouts give back to the community, and also you learn so many new skills that even adults might not have learned. Those skills include public speaking, nuclear science and even plant science. Other merit badges I have earned are wilderness survival, programming, geology, scholarship, robotics, law, emergency preparedness and orienteering. I could go on for days. There are skills that Scouts learn that adults are missing out on these days.

I think there should be a weekly article about Scouts and their accomplishments in the Upper Valley. These can include merit badges earned, service hours and volunteer work performed, as well as about Scouts who have earned their Eagle rank. This positive display of Scouts can help improve Scouting in the Upper Valley and take away some of the negative news about Scouts in the country.

Scouts have so much to give back to the community, it would be nice to get the support of the community to help young people like myself.

BRYANT TURNER

Weathersfield

Coverage yields outpouring of support

Upper Valley Giving Emergency Aid and Resources (UVGEAR) would like to sincerely thank the Valley News and the generous donors from our community.

The Valley News brings attention to the problem of homelessness and how the coronavirus pandemic is amplifying this problem. UVGEAR, The Haven and Listen Community Services work closely to meet needs at all levels. By highlighting our efforts and needs, there has been an outpouring of support. In an unprecedented time, instead of closing off from society, we have received generous donations that highlight the ability of our community to come together.

KAREN ZOOK

Lebanon

The writer is director of Upper Valley Giving Emergency Aid and Resources.




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