It's about time the number of nonprofits and their competitive missions were exposed in a publication [Give and Take: "Too Much of a Good Thing," July 4]. On a per capita basis, Vermont has the highest number of nonprofits per population among the other 49 states, twice as high as the national average. What's also interesting is that Vermont ranks 46th of 50 in charitable giving. Philanthropic funding, grants and public taxpayer money seem to be the major funding sources to sustain their existence in Vermont. Shouldn't taxpayers know just how much of their money is spent on these nonprofits?
Big Bucks for Blue Cross
I thank Seven Days for its articles on the world of nonprofits in Vermont. This was an incredible series. I knew that this world was extensive but was surprised at how extensive it is. Quoting from ["Cheap Date?" June 27]: "Over the last 50 years government in the Green Mountains has withdrawn from providing many direct services to Vermonters in need. Instead, the state has outsourced that job — and hundreds of millions of dollars — to an ad hoc network of dozens of private nonprofit groups."
As an activist for universal care in Vermont who fights it out inside the Statehouse every year, I have seen these mental health agencies struggle like beggars for a few dimes. I was surprised, however, to see in this article that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont tops the list in receiving subsidies funded by the taxpayer.
The article said that the state payments to Blue Cross in 2017 were $140,044,735. Its CEOs make enormous salaries. For all the ways we subsidize them though Medicare, Vermont Health Connect and tax advantages, it is crazy that we cannot get universal primary care or Medicare-for-all for Vermonters through Blue Cross.
Editor's note: As part of the "Give and Take" series, Seven Days published a more in-depth story about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont on July 11.
Age Is Irrelevant
Robin Lloyd is a wonderful example of what can be done if we are determined to make changes in the world ["True Believer," June 27]. I can admire her spirit from the perspective of being past 70, although I was never willing to get myself arrested.
This is such a wonderful article, but I do have a problem with the theme of "She's 80; look what she can do."
This world needs to stop looking at anyone over 60 as being incapable of continuing the life and work they love.
Do the stories, but don't emphasize age, please, please, please.
Jo Ann Duprey
Laying Down the Law
Picking up on your fine tribute to Robin Lloyd ["True Believer," June 27], it was indeed Robin's concerns about accountability for former president George W. Bush's illegal war in Iraq that caused her to support my 2008 race for attorney general and to turn over part of her home to the campaign. To be sure, it had its moments of levity (as I noted at her 80th birthday party), but overall it was very serious, and I commend all who worked on it for their courage and dedication to the concept that no one is above the law, not even the president.
The fact that Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, is not only a Bush-appointed federal judge and Washington, D.C., insider, but one who has written that a president should not be criminally indicted while in office shows how far our highest elected officials will go to avoid accountability for their illegal acts.
As I wrote in my 2010 book, The People v. Bush, "We have just lived through eight years of a rogue presidency. The question is: Have we set the stage for another rogue presidency in the future? ... One way to prevent that is by prosecuting high-level officials for crimes committed in office ... Many Americans, pressed by hard times, are forgetting that the epidemic of lawlessness during the Bush era was a major cause of their misery. The Republican right wing is inflaming discontent. Dark times could happen again, and they could be worse."
Now is the time to insist — in myriad ways — that the American people will not tolerate criminal behavior by their president.
[Re Off Message: "Walters: State of Vermont Settles EB-5 Civil Cases," July 12]: I am convinced the governor and the attorney general have only slapped the two main culprits in the EB-5 scandal on the back of their hands. Money is not going to replace the damage that has been done here in the Northeast Kingdom. One of the culprits has lived in the area for many years. He should be ashamed of being a willing partner in this debacle.
State criminal action should have been carried out against both of these men, as well as against people in state government. Hopefully the United States attorney will bring future criminal action against them. It is a big black mark we must live with!
The Enemy Is White Supremacy
Kidnapping, forced unlawful imprisonment, child abuse and other horrors observed by Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) are being visited upon asylum seekers at our southern border [Fair Game, June 20]. These are illegal acts in every state where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement commits these crimes, as well as being federal offenses. Federal, state and local police should arrest the offending officials or, failing to do so, be removed for dereliction of duty.
These are very serious laws, and enforcement of them is not to be selectively suspended depending upon the citizenship, age, language, skin color or ethnicity of the victims, per the Constitution. It is illegal to kidnap and abuse children even if they are nonwhite. We have a gangster-led rogue state assaulting a minority group, with the same ideology and rhetoric used in Germany to justify the early roundups of Jews and Roma; above all, it is a continuation of centuries of genocidal terror committed by the U.S. government against nonwhites.
The enemy destroying this country is white supremacy, and failure to call it that openly and oppose it illustrates the cowardice of most of our nation's Republican elected officials, such as our own Gov. Phil Scott — even if, like Scott, they don't seem personally bigoted.
We need to demand that state violence against vulnerable people be ended immediately and that those responsible be prosecuted. The officials who value their careers over the lives of innocent and vulnerable refugees need to be voted out for their moral complicity in these crimes against humanity.