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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673
802-496-3928
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Why are we letting big corporations and big government cheat us?

Two articles in the December 2 issue of The Valley Reporter left the same kind of stench in my mouth, though not because of bad journalism.

MINT Restaurant gets their insurance claim denied by Union Mutual Insurance even though the owners had the right flood insurance (which an insurance agent sold them policies on, twice). The owners of MINT did everything and are getting cheated. This is a blatant example of in-your-face fraud, akin to someone having their property stolen while the neighbors watch.

Next, we revisit the sad saga of a local school board being forced to mistreat a paraeducator (and some students) because of an admittedly flawed big-government federal "education standard." Dozens of well-meaning Vermonters have been forced by these federal "standards" to waste tens of thousands of dollars to fight each other about how badly to mistreat a respected veteran paraeducator in order to comply with "federal law." Everyone is simply doing their job, but the result is utterly wasteful and sad.

The federal "No School Left Un-terrorized" program is not a law; however, it's a one-size-fits-none rule book that schools must comply with in order to get "federal" money. (That is, money that we pay to DC for which we get the privilege of begging them to get some back if we spend it exactly how they tell us to.)

This is all more than sad, this is outrageous. Are we going to stand for this, as a community? Is this the kind of community the Mad River Valley is, one that allows this? Is this the Vermont we know and love?

No, it's not. This is the way things work in corrupt third-world dictatorship and failed communist regimes. This is not Vermont. This cannot stand.

We, the people of Vermont, are in charge of making the rules; we reserve our constitutional 9th and 10th amendment rights to self-government and maintaining justice. Real Vermonters do not sit idly by as their neighbors get mistreated by big corporations or big government. Real Vermonters do not allow faraway bureaucrats to terrorize our schools and divide our community. Real Vermonters know that we are perfectly capable of making our own decisions about our education, and that our teachers are a hell of a lot more in touch with our children's needs than any bureaucrat in DC.

As anyone paying attention to global events knows, there are daily examples of corporations and governments doing unbelievably horrible things without consequence. IMF Global and Obama-supporter John Corzine just blatantly stole $1.2 billion from investors, yet Corzine has not even been questioned by the police or "regulators." The U.S. Senate just passed a bill allowing the U.S. military to openly operate on U.S. soil (unprecedented) including the ability for military personnel to indefinitely detain American citizens to Gitmo, without charges, if the American does "suspicious" things such as stockpile more than seven days worth of food in the house. On November 28, the Federal Reserve secretly bailed out the EU.

It's time for Vermonters who sympathize with the Tea Party and with Occupy Wall Street, to unite and realize that we are all on the same side: Vermont. We have major work that must be done to protect our communities from injustice. Clearly the systems and institutions in place are failing, and we cannot let this failure force us to turn against each other.

We are on our own, and it's time we started taking care of ourselves.

System failure. Reboot.

There are lots of Vermonters who understand this and are active in organizations like Rural Vermont, Occupy Vermont, Vermont Campaign for Liberty, Vermont Commons, Prosper Vermont, Women's International League of Peace and Freedom, Currency Commons Vermont and Transition Vermont to name a few.

Maybe if more than 5 percent of us were active in these kind of organizations, things would change. A single protest or boycott or tax revolt supported by 30 percent of us would have instant and infinite power.

We will either continue to give up our rights, or we will have to fight for them. Our rights will not be given to us, and the only protection our communities have is that which we provide ourselves. This much is clear.

Brown lives in Fayston.

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