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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bernie Sanders
A Sprung Spring

Posted By on Sat, Mar 31, 2007 at 6:51 PM

Went downtown this Saturday afternoon - the coffee & newspapers run - and the heart of the largest city in the state of Vermont, the smallest "largest" city of any state in the United States, was positively jumping with homo sapiens. Blazing sun more than made up for the still chilly temps.

Having the University of Vermont four blocks from the Church Street Marketplace doesn't hurt, but I met folks from way out-state, like the ladies from Brownsville, Vermont in the photo with Bernie Sanders, or Joe from Enosburg Falls who comes to the Big City to work on his websites via laptop at Uncommon Grounds (which just started providing online access for customers).

Actually, I go there to get away from the keyboard & mouse at home and put newsprint between my fingers and conversation between my lips, as do a few others.

[Five minutes into the NBC Nightly News, the anchorman just announced Vermont's other U.S. Senator - Patrick J. Leahy - will be on Meet the Press Sunday morning.}

United States Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) went there today to meet up with the dude who succeeded him as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont way back in 1989 - Peter Clavelle.

Ol' Mayor Moonie has not enjoyed similar post-mayoral electoral success, losing the 2004 gubernatorial race to Vermont's Republican "master of the message" - Jim Douglas. Peter's out of the politics game for now, at least candidate-wise.

Came away from our chat with an upbeat U.S. Senator with the clear impression he's getting into the energy issue big-time as a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

I know, if you live long enough, you see it all - Bernie Sanders turns energy-efficient tree-hugger!

Hey, it's all about the cost of energy...and the amazing potential for innovation and invention on the technology front.

When's someone going to invent a light bulb that lasts for 10, 15 or 20 years?

How many power plants would not have to be built?

Dozens and dozens.

Money makes the world go 'round,
the world go 'round,
the world go 'round......

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Noblesse Oblige?

Posted By on Sat, Mar 31, 2007 at 9:02 AM

The Associated Press eventually decided to describe it as a news conference in which Democratic House Speaker Gaye Symington of Jericho (at right with House Democratic Caucus Leader Carolyn Partridge of Windham), "became emotional a few times out of frustration."

Other possibilities included "getting teary-eyed" or "choked-up" or "showing signs of stress."

Hey, we're all human.

Regardless of the description, Friday's was a House Speaker's Brown-Bag Lunch you didn't want to miss - even if there were no "brown-bag lunches" in sight. And lucky for Speaker Gaye, no TV cameras showed up either.

The cause of the Vermont House Speaker's "frustration" was the crash-and-burn of the education spending "reform" bill she wants passed this year. Unfortunately for Gaye, her beloved "reform" bill is so Caspar Milquetoast weak, lame and inconsequential, it fails to excite even enough of the 100 Democrats and Progs to get the 76 votes needed for passage in the 150-member House.

Members of the Statehouse press in attendance at the Speaker's Friday "Brown Bag"" in addition to your favorite blogger were Ross Sneyd of the Associated Press, Louis Porter of the Vermont Press Bureau, and Nancy Remsen and Terri Hallenbeck from the Freeps "Capitol Bureau."

The Symington Spin is that the "reform" bill (which would have "saved" all of $9 million in a $1.2 BILLION annual state public-school bill) got pulled from the House Floor this week because of Republican Gov. Jim Douglas' "lack of leadership." It's all his fault, damnit!

Here's a taste of the back-and-forth:

Madame Speaker: "I did not expect that the governor was going to be  as out-of-the-picture, as in terms of trying to move something through.

"I didn’t expect, I didn’t know, (guffaw), the governor had not asked - I mean, the leadership of the Republican Caucus was never asked to garner support for the bill. The governor basically figured it was enough to sit in his office and say it doesn’t do very much and that was leadership?"

Press: "This is what I don’t get. You’ve known for weeks that the governor has not been real crazy about this bill. He hasn’t kept that exactly secret. You really thought that, while he was out in public hammering it behind the scenes, he’s trying to win votes for you? There was never a conversation between you in all that time?"

Madame Speaker:  "There were conversations every week saying, ‘Governor, this isn’t going to pass without your being part of helping it pass.’”

Press: "Did he ever commit and say 'I’ll do that', or 'I want this to pass?'"

Madame Speaker: "Did he ever commit? He never said ‘I promise I can get you X votes.' They understood that I needed their help to move this bill."

Press: "And the Progs [the Progressive Party Caucus of six members] said that they had never been approached. That doesn't add up to trying to line up votes for this thing."

Madame Speaker: "That’s where we are now. I’m realizing it falls entirely to the Legislature to make this bill pass."

[About fricken' time, eh? How long has she been in the House?

Oh, only 10 years!]

Press: "Why didn’t you talk to the Progs?"

Madame Speaker: "I don’t understand why the [Democratic] Leadership wouldn’t have talked to the Progressives. I can’t answer that question."

Press: "What kind of score would you give your leadership, Madame Speaker?"

Madame Speaker: "I believe I’ve worked really hard to move this bill through, and given the level of resistance to many of the ideas in the bill....I think that the leadership, that our leadership, has -  I’ve done well in terms of moving this bill forward."

Pat on the back - self-inflicted! Nice work, Madame Speaker!

Madame Speaker: "Well, I think there’s a certain amount of gamesmanship going on now in terms of just, ‘Let’s watch them fail.’

"That’s gets back to the point are we playing games here and playing politics? Or are we gonna try to move  forward with what’s best for the state and if people just want to play games with it, that’s one thing."

Press: "Isn’t it always both, though?"

Madame Speaker: "Well, that’s the constant rub in this position, and you know, I have to tell you, there are so many other things I could be doing with my life than this. So many other."

Press: "Name three?"

Madame Speaker: "Being with my kids. Being with my husband. Traveling...I don’t sit in this position because I enjoy the role of making one group of people look better than another.

"I’m trying to sit in this position because, I am sitting in this position, because I’m committed to figuring out what’s best for the kids of this state. I know it sounds old-fashioned. I know it sound hokey, but there is no other reason that I get up in the morning and take this job."

Press: "Madame Speaker, those are your intentions and those are noble intentions, indeed. No one would question that, but what would you say to those who would say you have a personal style, one you are echoing again right now, of the desire to take the politics out of politics?"

(Scene from Julian Scott's Battle of Cedar Creek painting at Statehouse.)

Madame Speaker: "You know I have to tell you I think the people of this state are sick of the politics in politics. I think the people of this state believe that good policy can be good politics. I think the people like that, not everybody. It makes for less spectacular events, but I think in general people want to have their politicians focusing on what’s right for the state, and working together and they get sick of the back-and-forth and the gamesmanship and they tune it out!" 

And the winner of the 2007 Vermont "Noblesse Oblige" Award is _________________?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bernie Sanders
Montpeculiar Drumbeat

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2007 at 6:31 PM

Meet Buddhist Sister ICHIKAWA. She's the one on the right beating the drum.

Shot her around 11 a.m. today in Montpeculiar, Vermont. She is, god bless her,  on Day Six of a Nine-Day "WALK FOR A NUCLEAR FREE FUTURE." Started March 24 in Greenfield, Massachusetts. At Johnson State College on Friday and in Burlap this weekend.

That's Hattie Nestel seated behind the good sister. Hattie's with Citizens Awareness Network. More here.

I'm telling you, Sixties flashback-fever starting to break out all over.

"End the War in Vietnam, Bring the Troops Home!"

Ooops, Iraq.

However, inside the Statehouse, not a single soul was aware of the good sister's peace protest out front. It was the usual political, Inside-baseball soap opera, and Republican Gov. Jim Douglas was in the zone.

The tiny six-member House Progressive Party Caucus tried to upstage Gov. Scissorhands' one o'clock weekly with a nooner of their own in Cedar Creek. Their message?

According to Burlington Prog Rep. Chris Pearson, "The Governor is a master illusionist. He talks circles around issues and has been beating on the legislature - getting away with half-truths, empty promises and clever phrases."

Pretty catchy, eh?

That's Progressive Reps. Dexter Randall (Troy) and Susan Hatch Davis (Topsham) behind the rather cutesy "shell-game" prop.

The "Master Illusionist," himself,  was around the corner wowing the fifth graders from Fair Haven. The State of Vermont's most successful Republican then proceeded into his weekly face-off with the press in his State House Ceremonial Office, and in the first two minutes got in every one of those clever phrases that make Jim = Winner.

The Douglas "Affordability Agenda" and the Douglas "Pathway to Progress" and "Promise Scholarships" are all part of what make Jim Douglas successful.  Redundancy, repetition and catchiness produce results in politics.  Just ask Bernie Sanders, eh?

Look, the fact is neither the Democrats nor the Progressives under the Golden Dome are going to change that. What they have to do is come up with a few catchy phrases of their own.

Washington County Sen. Bill Doyle's annual Town Meeting Day poll results are out.

Question 12: "Do you believe Governor Douglas is doing a good job?

50 percent answered "Yes."
29 percent answered "No."
21 percent were "Unsure."

Press: "Put any credence in the Doyle Poll numbers?"

Gov. Douglas: "Well, it's not scientific, but I think it's always over time an interesting reflection of the views of Vermonters who respond to it, who go to Town Meeting and take it up. So it's instructive but not dispositive."

Press; "50 percent think you're doing a good job.  Do you have a problem with that?"

Gov. Douglas: "Well, I think probably statewide it's even a little better than that, but it's well above the General Assembly's approval ratings, so, I'm pleased with that."

Yes, indeed.

Doyle Poll Question 13: "Do you believe the VT Legislature is doing a good job?"

38 percent "Yes."
35 percent "No."
27 percent "Not sure."

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Bernie Sanders
Aging Gracefully?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2007 at 8:30 AM

So I'm minding my own business in beautiful downtown Burlington late Wednesday afternoon, and this wise-guy cop, a lieutenant, approaches.

He's pulling money out of his pockets and mumbling something about, 'Do I have any marijuana I can sell him?'

Actually, Lt. Emmett Helrich was kidding, something he's very, very good at. Instead of weed, he bought the coffee at Uncommon Grounds.

Couple Burlington old-timers are we. I landed for good in 1979; Emmett in 1981.

Babyboomers.

We remember Martin Luther King Jr. and Eugene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy. JFK, too.

Next, month, said Lt. Helrich, he'll mark his 26th anniversary as a Burlington copper.

And I've been here for all of them plus some!

Ah, yes, memory lane is long and deep. The town has, ah, changed a bit, hasn't it?

Back in 1981 when Emmet first wore the Burlington Blue, that screaming leftist with the Brooklyn accent was serving his first term as mayor of Vermont's Queen City.

Now, I flip on C-SPAN2 and Bernie Sanders, excuse me, Senator Bernie Sanders, is presiding over the Wednesday debate on the floor of the United States Senate.

Cool.

And Sanders' Church Street senate office is today's target of antiwar protesters.

Cool.

Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan says he will not bring charges against the eight patriotic peace people arrested Wednesday for trespass at Ol'Bernardo's office. Got better things to do.

Bernie agrees. The peace people, he argues, are his people. He's opposed the Iraq War from the get-go and currently supports the bill with the deadline for withdrawal.

Also, just heard a pro-impeachment radio spot on WDEV. And here's a link to a Vermont-specific impeachment website.

The times, they are a changin'.

Just talking about the impeachment of George W. Bush makes ordinary folks feel good!

How long before the Democrat leaders in Congress and Democrat leadersof the Vermont Legislature - Speaker Gaye in the House and PresidentPete in the Senate - wake up and realize it?

 

It's all about truth, justice and the real American Way.

Bush and Cheney lied about Iraq.

Everybody knows.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Oklahoma Republican Targets UVM $$$

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 1:43 PM

He said what?

Hey, that's Oklahoma Republican United States Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. on C-SPAN late Wednesday morning and he's got an amendment to the "Emergency" supplemental $100 billion-plus spending bill that's supposed to fund the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and more, including a little "pork."

Only Sen. Coburn's amendment is designed to remove a certain porky "earmark" attached to the spending bill currently on the floor by an unnamed senator that would send $2 million of U.S. taxpayers money to the University of Vermont to establish an academic chair in education quality named for former U.S. Rep. and Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont.

Coburn, the Oklahoma physician-turned-politician (like Ho-Ho?), called the Vermont earmark:

"An earmark for which we don’t have the money. We’re not going to be able to pay for it...

"It's another $2 million to a university that’s already gotten $400 million of taxpayers' money (since 2000). I don’t think there’s any question in the average American’s mind in regards to that.

"Let me just read what the University of Vermont has gotten:

2000 - $54 million

2001 - $60 million

2002 - $69 million

2003 - $76 million

2004 - $70 million

2005 - $68 million

"There’s a lot of money that’s already gone up there. A lot of it borrowed. At the present time the University of Vermont has an endowment of $282,594,000.

"Now, interest on that at 6 percent gives you about, close to $15 million-a-year, just the interest off that endowment.

"I believe they’ve got plenty of money to fund this chair to honor Senator Jeffords.

"The endowment grew 16 percent last year. It’s growth last year was 20-times the amount of this earmark.

"Certainly not an 'emergency.'"

Coburn's got a point, eh?

“When we queried the University of Vermont about this earmark, we asked what were the estimated costs of the project longterm?

“They couldn’t give us an answer.

“Who was going to finance it after the program was established?

“They couldn’t give us an answer.

“How will the federal funding be expended?

“They couldn’t tell us that.

“Did the university request the funding?

“We don’t know the answer to that either. None of these questions have been answered by the University of Vermont."

Plus, $400 million to UVM since 2000?

How come no football team?

Just heard via email (1 p.m.), from U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy's veteran Press Secretary David Carle.

Yes, the $2 million for the Jeffords Institute is a Leahy earmark.

AND it looks like Coburn's won the day.

"At this moment," Carle informs us,  "there’s still hope of finishing the overall bill this week – which includes the earmarks - for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

"To raise the chances of that being possible there are efforts by the leadership to thin the remaining issues that have to be debated and voted on, and to further that process," writes Mr. Carle, "Senator Leahy this afternoon has agreed to the leadership’s request that the Coburn amendment be accepted by voice vote, and he plans on resuming the effort [to get the money for UVM's Jeffords Institute] in the FY08 appropriations bills."

How's that song go?

"You've got to know when to hold 'em,
know when to fold 'em,
know when to walk away,
and know when to run.....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bernie Sanders
Eight Peace People Busted at Bernie's

Protesters are arrested in Sanders' office re: Iraq war, which he opposed.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2007 at 8:37 PM

Almost a quarter-century ago, the antiwar protesters were upset by U.S. policy in Central America. In fact, Phil Fiermonte, pictured here in the white shirt at left, was himself an antiwar protester back in those days. Even got himself arrested for unlawful trespass in 1984 as part of the infamous Winooski 44 occupation of GOP U.S. Sen. Robert T. Stafford's Winooski office in the Champlain Mill.

Ah! The good old days.

Today Phil heads up U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' Burlington office, and it was Fiermonte, a former Progressive city councilor, too, who gave the word to the peaceful Iraq War protesters earlier this evening that they'd be arrested if they did not leave Sanders' Church Street office.

Eight, including some veteran Vermont peace activists like Marmette Hayes, 82, were arrested by Burlington cops, removed from the building and released on citation after Sen. Sanders office officially closed for the day.

Sen. Sanders did not speak with the demonstrators by phone from Washington, but his Capitol Hill Chief of Staff Jeff Weaver did.

Weaver told "Freyne Land" that the protesters (getting the word to clear out from Deputy Police Chief Walt Decker, at right), had called and asked for an appointment with Bernie, "but nobody else demands attention on less than 24 hours notice."  Weaver noted the Burlington crew had kept Ol' Bernardo's Burlington office open an extra half-hour to accomodate the antiwar protesters.

"Even our hard-working staff has to go home at some point," he told us.

Weaver, a former Marine, also noted he had been arrested back in 1986 for protesting apartheid at Boston University. Got suspended from school for it and he returned home to Vermont where he went to work for an Independent gubernatorial candidate named Bernie Sanders. Was his driver. The dude didn't win the governor's race that year, but he stayed in the game. Has been in Congress since winning a U.S. House seat in 1990 and holding it until he won the U.S. Senate seat Jeezum Jim Jeffords retired from last November. 

Weaver's moved up a bit from driver, too.

The antiwar protesters say Bernie the Senator should not vote for one more penny to fund George W. Bush's Iraq War.

"The Vermont delegation is united," said Weaver. "We want the war to end as quickly as possible. We're all on the same page."

As for the protesters demands, Weaver told us, "It's easy to be on the outside and criticize. We're on the inside trying to get something done."

Stay tuned.

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Under the Dome Vets

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2007 at 7:06 AM

Look at these two guys, will you?

I've been looking at them for 20 years!

This shot taken the other day in the Statehouse cafeteria. Nice place. Lots of "light."

On the left, Rep. David Deen (D-Westminister), chair of the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife & Water Resources.  A trout-fishing guide and protector of the Connecticut River and all things in Mother Nature's bosom.

Seated on the right, a veteran Statehouse business lobbyist, Gerry Morris. "The Gerr" has been working the building for 20 years with his sweet South Boston twang, flashing wit, and gift of the gab. Also an A-list of corporate clients (Vermont Yankee to Viagra to Budweiser and more), plus two talented female associates to lobby in the places he simply cannot go, if you know what I mean.

As "Morris the Cat," of Morris, DeMag & McCarty said with a smile, he and David Deen have never agreed on any bill!

Go get 'em, boys.

I'm here at the ranch all day - "Inside Track" Day - any last minute tips accepted before noon: 658-9555.

Interesting. Just noticed the Tuesday Freeps, aka The Burlington Free Press, is playing Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter Welch's upcoming, early April trip to Iraq and Afghanistan on Page One.

Over on Ch. 3 last night, Marsillyiss Parsons buried that story on the 6 O'Clock News. Vermont's only congressman heading to the war zone and it's not news in WGOP Land, eh?

Hmmm.

Monday, March 26, 2007

March Monday Madness!

Posted By on Mon, Mar 26, 2007 at 12:24 PM

Hey, for the last two hours, MSNBC's been nothing but this (right) as the news story, the only news story, the world needs to know: Anna Nicole Smith died from an accidental drug overdose.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I can go on with my life now! And so can George "WMD" Bush, too, eh?

I know, I know, I'm just procrastinating while I delay writing the "Under the Dome" column for the April edition of Vermont Business Magazine. Things have changed "under the Dome," as they say. But isn't change inevitable?

I just think I'm showing my age.

Also inevitable, is it not?

And having the sudden, personal engagement with cancer that 2007 has brought me, has certainly sharpened many of my senses.

And when presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton made note of the fact on "Good Morning, America"  that two-thirds of the American people who DO NOT have health insurance DO have jobs, one's ears get pricked.

I'm lucky. I have insurance, but still, the U.S. health care system is one big boat anchor, is it not?

Do check out David Sirota's well-deserved, sizzling sizzle of Katie Couric for her "60 Minutes" crotch-diving last night into the motives of  John and Elizabeth Edwards for going public with Elizabeth's cancer recurrence.

Since I first noticed my "lump" on January 1, I have entered a new "society," a beautiful one, too,  that's crowded with good and decent people and many a familiar face. In many ways, it's been a new beginning in life, an up-tick, rather than a downturn.

Once upon a time, cancer was something one kept in the closet.

Fear ruled.

No more.

We're all in this together. The more talk, the better!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Jig is Up, eh?

Posted By on Sun, Mar 25, 2007 at 1:10 PM

U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat from Vermont and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was front and center Sunday morning on CBS News' "Face the Nation."

And, sure enough, the tall, bald, one-eyed Montpelier kid gave great face while offering up Bob Schieffer and the TV-tuned-in nation some great lines like:

"Our founders devised this system of checks and balances. Thisadministration’s been used to going unchecked. The balance has kickedin last November and they’re going to have to deal with that reality."

"Deal with reality?"

Has a ring to it, eh?

And the reality this Sunday morn' is that even Republican members of Congress like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who appeared with Leahy via satellite, wish the Bush White House would get real when it comes to "telling the truth" about the firing of the eight U.S. Attorneys for political reasons, reasons that track bread crumbs all the way back to political whiz Karl Rove's door.

Sen. Graham - "The attorney general [Alberto Gonzalez], has been wounded because of his performance, not because of politics.

"And he is willing to come before the Senate and explain himself under oath, and I think he should and we should allow him to tell his side of the story....I’m very disturbed by the way this has been handled."

Schieffer: Eventually, is he going to have to leave if he can’t explain this to your satisfaction?

Sen. Graham: "Well, he has said some things that just don’t add up. I like him as a person, but he has been wounded. He’s going to have to  come to the Senate and reestablish his credibility."

Schieffer noted Republican Rep. Heather Wilson and Republican U.S. Sen.Pete Domenici "called the prosecutor out there and wanted to know whyhe wasn’t prosecuting Democrats. Is that out of order?"

Sen. Leahy: "Yes. That’s totally out of order. During the years when Iwas a prosecutor if an elected offical called me and told me toprosecute somebody or not to prosecute somebody, I would have just hungup the phone on him. I would not allow that kind of political pressurein my office as a prosecutor."

Republican Sen. Graham was on the same page.

Sen. Graham: "What I’d like to find out is what happened. There is an absoluteobligation to treat this as a co-equal branch situation. The problemis, you can get a US Attorney dismissed for almost any reason, but youcan’t dismiss them because they failed to prosecute your enemies, orwill not leave your friends alone.

"So Leahy’s right. Senators Leahy and Specter are right to find outwhat happened. We were misled, apparently, by Department of Justiceofficials."

As for President George "WMD" Bush's adamant refusal to have Rove testify before Leahy's committee under oath, Leahy was clear as glass.

Sen. Leahy: "On the question of whether these people can testify or not, we haveample precedent during the Clinton Administration and previousadministrations of White House officials testifying. For the BushAdminsitration to suddenly waive the Constitution?

"They’ve ignorded theConstitution for six years and now they suddenly want to use it?

"Thatdoesn’t fly. The American people ought to know what happened here...

"The White House has said they’d only allow them to come if it’s behindclosed doors, no oath, no transcript, limited number of people askingthe questions and a limited agenda. That’s a non-starter. I want themin the open, under oath, publicly, where both Republican and Democraticsenators can ask questions."

Afternoon Update:

And the sun came out, didn't it?

Went downtown for a little caffeine & newspapers at Uncommon Grounds. Sat with Bruce the Banker, another Church Street old-timer.  All the tables there have four chairs and many people in our modern 21st Century society are solo flyers - single types comme moi. If it's packed, I always ask another solo flyer if I could join them and they always say "yes." Often leads to good conversation.

Picked up a few things at City Market and then, walking up Orchard Terrace, I came upon the first outdoor barbecue of 2007. Yes!


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bernie Sanders
Antiwar Vermont

Posted By on Sat, Mar 24, 2007 at 5:45 PM

Didn't get to the Iraq War Protest at City Hall in Burlap until it was over - been running late, a little out-of-sync. I figure it's the lingering effects of Wednesday's six-hour chemo.

Hey, doing fine. And the Freyne Brain looks like it's not a cause for concern. The MR Spectroscopy "actually didn't show much," says Dr. Penar, the neurosurgeon. It was "not technically an adequate diagnostic study." Some problem on radiology's end. He suggests we may well be able to get a refund from FAHC because of it.

Cool.

As things stand, no other seizure-related symptoms.  Eating well, energy's decent. Up and at 'em.   

Burlington Police Cpl. Ray Nails (above left),  at Church & Main, told us that "about 300 people" participated in the antiwar demonstration. There was a march and rally on the steps of Burlington City Hall. In a state with about 75 percent of the population against the war and the White House that's running it, you'd think there be some top name pols playing to the receptive crowd, eh?

Think again.

No Sen. Patrick Leahy (stayed in Washington D.C. to appear Sunday morning on CBS News' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer, which airs at 10:30 a.m. on WCAX). No Sen. Bernie Sanders (nothing on his website indicating what he's up to this weekend and no Sanders schedule in our in-box.) No Congressman Peter Welch (dittos on schedule).

Cpl. Nails, born and raised in Chicago, "My Kind of Town," where my memories of the anti-Vietnam War protests in Grant Park and along Michigan Avenue during the 1968 Democratic National Convention will always be fresh, said State Rep. David Zuckerman, the ponytailed,  Burlington Prog who chairs the House Agriculture Committee in Montpelier, was the highest ranking Vermont politician to address the protest crowd.

Zuckerman for ___________?

Although Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss (right, in the blue), also a Prog, was in attendance, Cpl. Nails said he did not speak to the gathering.

Ah, yes, that's Kiss - a man of few words.

He is still the mayor, isn't he?

And also on hand a contingent of Iraq War Veterans Against the War.

Their presence makes a powerful statement.

One that supporters of the war choose to ignore.

Perfectly understandable, eh?

As folksinger/songwriter Phil Ochs sang it in Grant Park way back when:

"Oh, we're fighting in a war we lost,
before the war began.
We're the white boots marching in a yellow land."

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