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Opinion: Look to our past when planning for Vermont’s future

Ten-point plan for restoring Vermont:
I. “Agri-Cultural Preserve.” For several decades Vermont has been systematically plundered of its physical and cultural resources. Further, we have lost over a hundred thousand acres of irreplaceable farmland to mindless, indiscriminate, irreversibly destructive development. We have moved from barn raisings to barn razings, where countless hundreds of historic barns, homes and community structures have been dismantled to be sold out-of-state, thereby plundering future generations of the rich irreplaceable heritage that shaped this state and its people.
Today, Vermont shall be declared an Agri-Cultural Preserve where all natural and manmade resources from the noble summits of the Green Mountains, the very soul of Vermont, from grazing pastures and maple groves to irreplaceable cultural resources such as ancient barns, architectural and historic landmarks, all structures and facilities over a half-century old shall be permanently secured and maintained for ourselves and our posterity.
II. “Urgency Rooms.” The state’s medical system is suffering from soaring inflation while countless individuals are underinsured or have no real effective coverage for medical issues. Every citizen suffers in some way from excessive cost. A first step to greatly reduce the overall cost of medical and hospital services is to establish Urgency Rooms. We have emergency rooms at all hospitals and some clinics. Very often the emergency room is a last resort for people having inadequate coverage, or, frequently, it is recommended for regular patients, when their personal physicians are not available. Often, the medical issue bringing the patient to the ER does not rise to the level of emergency but it take an emergency room setting and a backup staff of several doctors and nurses, absent the patient’s primary caretaker, to determine that status, at an expense of thousands. If a medical issue presents which is not of an obvious critical nature, the patient would now proceed to the Urgency Room. If it is not an emergency the patient’s visit cost would be measured in hundreds, not thousands, of dollars. This would save the state millions.
III. “Capitolism.” In 1786, in order to end the “imbecility” and the economic and political chaos resulting from the original American government, the confederation, and in order to “regulate commerce and trade” and ensure our sovereignty, we created a new Constitution which made our national a constitutional republic with a representative government, elected by the people. The noblest experiment in human society. A government of the people, by the people and for the people, the last best hope of Earth.
Now we have mutated into a system of mis-representation, providing government, in the lobbies by the lobbied for the lobbying. The core principles of our Constitution have been abandoned and we are reduced to taxation without representation.
Further, countless national and state agencies were established “to serve and protect the public good.” Many of these are unelected, unresponsive, unaccountable and in effect act as the facilitators of foreign and out-of-state encroachments with often-irreversible consequences to our state while effectively barring the citizens from any recourse or direct implementive voice.
IV. “Spirit of ’86.” Now in the “The Spirit of ’86” we must once again end this “imbecility” to secure our political and economic sovereignty. We shall take back Vermont, restore the Constitution and enforce the core founding principles.
Specifically, in Vermont the so-called Public Service Board shall be frozen for two years, until reactivated as an elected agency, to serve in a purely advisory capacity. All foreign takeover or outsourcing shall be banned. Liquidation, outsourcing or transfer of corporations for short-term gain shall be severely taxed. A Strategic Resource Administration and a National and State Sovereignty Act shall be enacted to ensure for all generations the sovereignty and enduring well-being of this land.
V. Fiscal Franchise. Recent Supreme Court rulings have established that corporations are “people” and have the same rights. I guess this means that we are truly a government of the “people” and by extension this means “one dollar, one vote.” Ultimately, every citizen has a direct and immediate impact on the economy and upon the actions of corporations. Every citizen has a moral and philosophical duty to ensure that his personal financial actions and the consequence of those actions ultimately serve the public good. We all have a direct link to the economic well-being and the very economic sovereignty of this country. We can control our destiny.
Economic well-being is ultimately a matter of choice, not chance. Every citizen can cast his Fiscal Franchise every day with every dollar he spends. You can travel 40 miles to the nearest mega mall and cast your vote for the colossal trade deficit, now over $250 billion, through the purchase of imported goods formerly manufactured in your own town, or you can choose the outlets and products that support our economy in your own town.
VI. “The MITUS Touch.” What do you call durable household goods manufactured in the United States? Antiques. In 1950 America produced more than half of all manufactured goods in the world. Now, by our own choice, we don’t even produce half of our own durable goods. What America needs desperately today is the “MITUS Touch.” That is, Made In These United States. This shall start in Vermont with the Vermont “MOOvement.” We shall once again Make Our Own. Considering our long and proud tradition of innovation, manufacture and philosophy of balancing agriculture, manufacture, commerce and trade and respect for the environment, our motto shall be “From Vermont — Naturally.”
VII. RIPE Centers, Green Bonds and Certificates of Good Earthkeeping. To facilitate this Vermont Movement we shall establish “RIPE Centers.” That is Centers for Research, Innovation, Prototyping and continuous move toward absolute energy innovation, conservation and independence. An inventory shall be made of the countless thousands of underutilized or empty facilities from old factories to Ma and Pa village stores for optimum reutilization.
VIII. 50 percent. Increase by 50 percent: energy production, home products. we must expand from high tech to include “home tech” (non-electronic goods), savings, investment in Vermont’s future. We must commence a program of massive salvage and restoration of the thousands of tons of perfectly salvageable and reusable goods continuously dumped at transfer and landfill stations. A training program shall be established where working-age adults living on partial or total state and federal support will be trained in the various disciplines involved in the reclamation of everything from bicycles to lawn mowers to furniture. Renovation centers will be created at the transfer sites housing this operation and necessary equipment. The salvaged goods will further go toward fulfilling the specific needs of the dependent, thereby reducing total public outlays by millions.
Decrease by 50 percent annually: imports; energy consumption; land conversions; poverty and unemployment; food waste, especially in schools; drug addiction.
IX: Passport to Vermont History. Given Vermont’s rich, exciting, heroic and unique history of both local and national relevance it is appalling how deficient the typical Vermont student is in the knowledge and comprehension of this vital aspect of our culture and society. The transmission of history and its relevance is fundamental to civilization itself. To address this issue every student from K-12 shall be issued a Passport to History at an annual fee of $10 year. In the passport will be enumerated all the major Vermont historic sites and all important historic festivals and re-enactments. All sites and events will have a certain point value. Each student with the accompaniment of family or school will be required to accrue a certain number of points to satisfy that year’s basic “experiencing history” criteria. To graduate, a total number of points and variety of “experiences” will be required.
This will greatly enhance the hands-on understanding, and as fees will go to the specific sites it will greatly help toward eliminating the current very deficient historic site receipts.
A major step toward reducing school-based property tax will be the establishment of a national criteria for balancing the inequity of low-density rural agricultural states and districts with the relatively greater per-capita revenue source of denser urban centers and states. It is not right that a state like Vermont, which struggles to remain agricultural to produce surplus quantities of food and fiber for all Americans be penalized through the resultant per-capita cost per students. All Americans need to pay their fair share in the preservation of our agricultural resources.
X. “Recology.” Recology is the art, the science, the philosophy, the action of continuously restoring our environment to an earlier, more productive and sustainable condition, nurturing and preserving it for all future generations. One process is the conversion to renewable energy. However, if in that process we are destroying our environment, especially our most precious resource, the Green Mountains, that is an abomination. The primary and ultimate purpose of renewable energy is to preserve the environment to provide life-sustaining cultural, moral, nation-defending landscape and environment for ourselves and our posterity. The summit of the hills belong to Him. We are merely the honored custodians and guardians.
Let us now go forward with a new beginning with a rebirth of founding principles. The true hope for Vermont lies in the restoration of its past.
Rustan Swenson
Candidate for Governor
Shoreham

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