Brattleboro Town Meeting Expresses Concern

Calling for investigation of the possibility
of treason and crimes against humanity

By George Harvey

One of the wonderful things we have in the Vermont is a real democracy, in which the voice of the people can be heard. The Representative Town Meeting of Brattleboro, Vermont voted on the following motion, which I brought to the floor on March 25, 2017:

I move that the Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting express its concern that the federal government is ignoring the health and well-being of its citizens, violating the guarantees of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, violating our right to a government that represents its citizens; concern that these acts may involve collusion with a hostile foreign power; and that for that reason, the identities and actions of the parties responsible should be investigated and, as it is found fitting, prosecuted for treason against the United States and crimes against humanity.

I addressed the issue as follows:

According to the World Health Organization, another person dies of problems associated with outdoor air pollution about every ten seconds. The problem arises mostly from our use of fossil fuels.

Here in Vermont, our health is at risk. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, air pollution in the US cost the country $500 billion in 2010. The American Lung Association in California said the medical costs associated with use of fossil fuels in Vermont for transportation alone come to $330 million per year. That’s $480 per person, mostly masked in medical insurance and taxes.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, nearly the entire state of Vermont is in a different hardiness zone than it was in 1990, meaning that it is ten degrees warmer on the coldest winter nights. This has allowed increased numbers of deer ticks, bringing us Lyme disease. The change in climate is almost certainly due to our use of fossil fuels.

Our environment is at risk, and with it the well-being of future generations. According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, we have lost about 73% of our sea bird populations in the last sixty years. According to the World Wildlife Fund, we have lost about 60% of our wildlife populations worldwide in the last forty years, and we are seeing another species go extinct about every ten minutes. Most of the loss is associated with the use of fossil fuels.

The geographical ranges of moose and ticks have never overlapped, so moose have no instinct to groom for ticks. Now, with climate change brought about mostly by fossil fuels, dead moose are being found with upwards of 60,000 winter ticks on them. According to an article in the Boston Globe, over 70% of moose calves in New Hampshire and Maine are killed by winter ticks. This is just one more example of the problems of climate change.

Flood insurance claims in the US came to $82 million in 1978. With growth of the population and inflation, we could expect that to rise by a factor of six since then, but it has not. It has gone up by a factor of 42. This is according to data from the US federal government. A major factor in the increased costs is climate change.

The current federal administration is clearly focused on the benefit of big businesses of or associated with the fossil fuels industry. These industries put hundreds of millions of dollars into buying supportive congressional seats. Their election goals appears to have been supported covertly by the government of Russia, which has for years been hostile to our country, and gets 65% of its export revenue from the sale of fossil fuels.

(I would note that Richard Painter, the White House ethics attorney for George W Bush, refers to the possible connections between the Trump administration and Russia as potentially treasonous.)

No one rose to speak against the issue, and it was passed without further substantive discussion with very few votes in dissent.

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