• Support food labeling
    April 23,2012

    Monsanto’s use of its massive financial, legal and political clout to destroy all who stand in the way of its efforts to bully Americans into acceptance of their GMO foods in our kitchens is simply unacceptable. In a free country one of our most basic rights is to know what we eat, and one of the government’s most basic responsibilities is to protect our food supply.

    In a world where corporate giants claim the right to do whatever they see fit to our food supply under the banner of a “free market economy,” over 90 percent of consumers demand that the content of what goes onto their kitchen table be clearly and accurately labeled. The real “Free Market” has spoken with exceptional clarity and the moral choice and responsibility of government is clear.

    Fifteen years or so ago, Monsanto espoused the need for the public to know about their GMO products, and actually promoted them in an advertising campaign in France. Quoting their statements of the time: “You have the right to know what you eat, especially when it’s better … After several months of debate, Europe has just adopted a new law for the labeling of food that comes from genetically engineered plants … We believe that products that come from biotechnology are better and that they should to be labeled.” But that was before the massive consumer backlash that all but killed the market for genetically modified foods in Europe.

    It is clear from the turnout of citizens at the Vermont Department of Agriculture hearings on GMO that Vermonters, like Americans in general, are nearly unanimous in their agreement with our European neighbors. They simply want to regain control over the quality of their food and demand it’s accurate labeling. It’s time that our government and the 4th estate line up to support them in the fight against Goliath.

    Fred Schwacke


    Lisman has no solution

    In the recent op-ed, Bruce Lisman writes, “Is health care reform important? Of course it is. Yet politicians in Montpelier are ‘rocketing’ us to a new system without showing us the cost.” Really, Mr. Lisman is apparently ignorant of or is ignoring four official studies commissioned by the state on health care costs since 2001.

    These include the Lewin report in 2001; the Thorpe report in 2006; the Hsiao report in 2011; and BISHCA report in 2011. The findings of these reports show that a “single payer” health care will control costs better than any other system. Ten plus years of studies isn’t exactly “rocketing” toward a new system. The obvious intended target of Mr. Lisman here is the Green Mountain Health Care Board and the transition to “single payer.”

    The above criticism by Mr. Lisman regardless of the facts shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that is familiar with this issue. Many of those against real reform are opportunists using fear to generate opposition to a new system for political and/or economic gain. The health insurance industry and their political allies have been guilty of such misrepresentations and propaganda numerous times.

    The “Harry and Louise” ads in 1993-94 against the Clinton health plan are a prime example, along with “Death Panels for Granny” more recently. Some other opponents such as right wing pundits oppose any government run program strictly on ideological grounds. They would have us believe a universal health care plan such as “single payer” will cause the end of western civilization as we know it! This is in spite of Medicare that has elements of a “single payer,” being a model of efficiency compared to health insurance plans in the private sector. I personally know of this since I’ve had experience with both types of health coverage.

    It should be pretty obvious that Mr. Lisman is attempting to use his fortune in the form of the expensive media blitz, “Campaign for Vermont,” to become a “player” in Vermont politics. This similar to the political ambitions of Rich Tarrant and Jack McMullen whose wealth, in their opinion, immediately entitled them to high political office. Since Mr. Lisman has claimed that he favors health care reform lets hear what his solution is to this staggering problem. Otherwise he is apparently satisfied just to attack Green Mountain Health Care without providing an alternative.

    Jerry Kilcourse


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