Vermont Democratic Party: Senator's use of the word "rape" to describe environmental impact of wind projects inappropriate

Vermont Democratic Party: Senator’s use of the word “rape” to describe environmental impact of wind projects inappropriate

The Vermont Democratic Party is blowing its whistle over Sen. Joe Benning’s repeated use of the word “rape.”

The Republican from Caledonia County has used the term in reference to Green Mountain Power’s 21-turbine Kingdom Community Wind project on Lowell Mountain. During a Senate floor debate on Tuesday, he defended his use of the term. For more on that story and to listen to the audio clip, click here.

On Wednesday, Vermont Democratic Party Director Julia Barnes issued a public statement.

“Using the word ‘rape’ in this context is inappropriate and desensitizes a very serious issue,” she said. “Instead of finding another term to express himself, Sen. Benning has repeatedly used ‘rape’ to illustrate his point in his public remarks.

“With all due respect to the passionate feelings Sen. Benning has on this issue, the objection is not to his use of hyperbole to defend his feelings, rather the reliance on this word particularly, which means something much different to the millions of women who have experienced rape,” she added. “If there is any confusion about when you should or should not use the word ‘rape’ in political discourse, let me clarify: You only use the term ‘rape’ when you’re talking about rape.”

Benning’s response to Barnes? “No comment.”

Andrew Stein

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  • “You only use the term ‘rape’ when you’re talking about rape.”

    Yep. Nothing more really needs to be said there.

  • Eric Rosenbloom

    The problem is obviously that Barnes considers descriptions of what was done to the Lowell ridge as inherently hyperbolic. But they aren’t. It was indeed “an outrageous assault or flagrant violation”. It is Barnes who has been desensitized to her party’s complicity in that crime against the environment.

    • Timothy MacLam

      Rape is a very appropriate term for what has happened and the corporate serial rapists will strike us again. And of course from the corner office of the Statehouse, the fox guards the hen house.

  • Kathy Nelson

    Oh, please, Ms. Barnes do grow up. The word “rape” is not specific to women and you know it. Stop trying to denigrate Sen. Benning for trying to do the right thing in spite of gross obstruction from a bunch of corporation-kissing democrats who can’t read a dictionary. Lowell Mountain has been brutally stripped and penetrated. A rape of mother or father earth if you will.
    I have a message for you from Keith Ballack, Delegate to the Vermont State Democratic Committee and Caledonia County Committeeman: “Senator Benning is absolutely correct in his use of the word rape to describe what has happened on Lowell Mountain and what happens to any ridgeline these industrial wind developers assault. Perhaps Ms. Barnes should make the simple effort of going to see the damage for herself and stop flinging sexist insults at an honorable man”.
    Please do go have a look, Ms Barnes, if you can release yourself from the corporate embrace of Paul Burns and Gabrielle Stebbins that is. I would appreciate it also if you would discontinue your disingenuous attitude toward women, and I am one, and stop using the tragedy of the sexual rape of women for the gain of your political party.

  • What right does some prissy-poo finger-wagger have to speak for all women?

    She certainly does not speak for me.

    Senator Benning’s use of the word was attention-getting, that is all. Otherwise, I did not bat an eyelash. The term was appropriate, and it may also refer to theft: see Alexander Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock” (about stealing a young lady’s curl) or Peter Paul Rubens’ painting, “The Rape of the Sabine Women.”

    All in all, a very clumsy attempt to detract attention from what transpired yesterday: the rape of our democratic rights.

    Ellin Anderson
    Browington, Vermont

    • Ellen,
      Rape is an understatement. It was a gang rape by a well-organized bunch of very determined folks, including toady legislators, who want to get to as much federal and state subsidies as possible, and as quickly as possible, to build their RE businesses. They dug their tunnel to the vault and do not want the vault moved.

      It has nothing to do with CO2 emission reduction, because if that were the case, energy efficiency of vehicles and buildings would be at the top of the agenda, as they emit 75% of Vermont’s CO2.

      In Vermont, doing RE first and EE later is like pouring water into a leaking bucket; it is an irrational waste of money, which is not growing on trees these days.

      EE is the low-hanging fruit, has not scratched the surface, is by far the best approach, because it provides the quickest and biggest “bang for the buck”, and

      – it is invisible
      – it does not make noise
      – it does not destroy pristine ridge lines/upset mountain water runoffs
      – it would reduce CO2, NOx, SOx and particulates more effectively than renewables
      – it would not require expensive, highly-visible build-outs of transmission systems
      – it would slow electric rate increases
      – it would slow fuel cost increases
      – it would not lower property values
      – it would not harm people’s health
      – it would slow depletion of fuel resources
      – it would create 3 times the jobs and reduce 3-5 times the Btus and CO2 per invested dollar than renewables
      – all the technologies are fully developed
      – it would end the subsidizing of renewables tax-shelters benefitting mostly for the top 1% at the expense of the other 99%
      – it would be more democratic/equitable
      – it would do all this without public resistance and controversy.

      • Rather than “a tunnel to the vault,” don’t you mean “a path to the trough”?

        This is farm country, after all.

        Ellin Anderson
        Browington, VT

        • Ellen,

          In White River Junction, an $10 million, 2.2 MW solar facility was put up by some Boston multi-millionaires as a tax shelter. They get paid 30c/kWh for 25 years under the SPEED program; NE grid prices are about 5.5 c/kWh.

          About 15 acres of trees and other vegetation and topsoil were cleared and the area was leveled with bulldozers, i.e., raped.

          The whole is surrounded by 8-ft tall fencing.

          It is likely having Chinese panels and German inverters. Vermont supplied the supports, brackets and miscellaneous bric-a-brac. Few, if any permanent jobs were created.

          Investors and system installers are smiling, because they are building their fortunes on subsidies, at every one else’s expense.

          For the multi-millionaires it is a license to avoid taxes and a license to print money.

          For already-struggling households and businesses, it means steadily increasing electric rates.

          An irrational, expensive energy policy to minimally reduce CO2 emissions at a high cost/metric ton.

    • Ellen, gang rape and plunder is more apt.

  • David Black

    If you actually think about what is happening in Montpelier and Vermont’s ridgeline, the term ‘rape’ is appropriate.

  • Kevin Hurley

    Eric, Agreed.

    According to Merriam Webster, “Rape” means: “to seize and take away by force”

    “You only use the term ‘rape’ when you’re talking about rape?” Well, unless Barnes disagrees with the dictionary, the statement is kind of silly. Regardless of your opinion on the wind project, his use of the word is not inappropriate.

    • Rolf Mueller

      Definition of rape according to the Webster-merriam link clearly is in regards to persons.
      Using the term rape for taking down mountains is hyperbole.
      It does diminish the meaning of raping a human being.

      Then again, to make political points it seems common to employ hyperbole.

      • Eric Rosenbloom

        The political hyperbole is in Barnes’s expression of umbrage. Anything to avoid actually facing what they have done — and will continue to do — to the mountains of Vermont.

  • Annette Smith

    One of the dictionary definitions of rape: “figurative; the wanton destruction or despoiling of a place or area.”

    Sen. Benning’s used the right word to describe what has happened to the Lowell Mountains and the surrounding area. What GMP did fits the definition perfectly.

    Why does the Democratic Party chair feel it is necessary to tell the Senator that he is only allowed to use the word “rape” in one context? It does have other legitimate contexts.

    I spent the day visiting with neighbors of a big wind project today. Near tears talking to a reporter about what has happened to them, they are sick, they are looking at having to leave their homes. What would you call what has happened to them?

    • Rolf Mueller

      I have sympathy for neighbors of the big windmills when they feel that they are sick because of them.
      Fact is that looking at windmills doesn’t make you sick unless you believe it does.

      • Eric Rosenbloom

        That sounds like the sick and twisted reasoning of “legitimate rape”.

      • Annette Smith

        I spent yesterday visiting with neighbors of Iberdrola’s Hoosac Wind project just over the Vermont border, including a Vermonter who is considering having to abandon his home because of sleep disruption. Iberdrola built 19 1.5 MW GE wind turbines in an area full of wetlands, way too close to homes. Just as people around the three big wind projects in Vermont are really suffering, people around this new project that came online in Dec. 2012 are also really suffering.

        They are awakened at night, cannot get back to sleep, get headaches. One home has been abandoned, others are struggling to figure out what to do because their health and quality of life has been so degraded they realize that unless something changes they cannot stay in their homes.

        Here is an interview with one neighbor who lives 5000 feet away
        He was in favor of the project before it was built.

        The latest garbage “studies” that the Wind Spinners are waving around contain fatal flaws that Jim Cummings of the Acoustic Ecology Institute describes in detail Every effort is being made by Wind Spinners to deflect discussion away from the real issues. In addition to the ecology, people’s lives are being destroyed by these big wind machines.

        Has the Democratic Party no heart?

      • Randy Koch

        The fact is, my friend Rolf, that before you dismiss claims that wind turbines make one sick, you ought to, well, give it a whirl.

    • Jason Wells

      Annette, Sorry but I could care less what the proper definition of rape may be. Just think what is the FIRST THING that comes to mind when you say that word? Ok can we end that one now? You say you spent all day visiting neighbors of a big wind project and I was wondering if you would care to share who paid for your visit and how many billable hours you racked up? It would be nice to know who is working for whom in this debate. One last thing are you “on the clock” when posting comments?

      • Annette Smith

        Pretty funny question. Billable hours. You mean like lawyers? The least expensive lawyers in Vermont charge $125 an hour. I once calculated my hourly rate, and someone told me that is what they pay people to stand in line in Washington DC, somewhere between $14 and $17 an hour based on how many hours I work.

        VCE is a non-profit supported by Vermonters. Many people contribute, some send $5, some send $15,000. Your donations are welcome.
        VCE is now Vermont’s lead environmental organization protecting our most sensitive natural resources, high elevation water quality, and public health.

        Given the recent ridiculous allegations about the funding sources for people who are working to protect our environment and communities from industrial wind corporations, I offer this disclaimer: we believe in extreme weather/climate change and recognize that protecting our water resources and mountains are critical to climate change adaptation, we do not accept corporate funding, we do not receive funding from fossil fuel or nuclear interests. We are a grassroots organization of the people, by the people, and for the people.

        • Jason Wells

          Funny thing is I did take a peek at your website and found no mention of who you do not take money from but yet you say here you dont take it from corps, oil, nuke etc. Although I do thank you for clearing that up. However your response did not answer either of the questions that were asked. As for the recent allegations you refer to I have no idea about any of that. I will say though donations of 15,000 does not sound like the average Vermonters you refer to and certainly not anyone I know.

          • Steven Gorelick

            Jason, since it seems you believe that people can be bought with donations, does it bother you that the largest single campaign donor in Vermont’s statewide election in 2012 was wind developer Dave Blittersdorf? Shumlin alone got $4,000 from Blittersdorf’s All Earth Renewables company, another $2,000 from his Georgia Mountain Wind company, and another $2,000 from him individually. Does it bother you that pro-wind enviro groups VPIRG and CLF have received $195,000 and $605,000 respectively from the John Merck Fund, whose board of directors includes the owner of Independence Wind, a wind developer from Maine? The fact is, those opposed to industrial wind in Vermont have been greatly outspent by the wind industry itself, which even has its own PR and lobbying arm, REV.

          • John Greenberg


            I think it would be great if all of the organizations on both sides of this debate were to fully and publicly disclose all of their funding sources. We should all get to evaluate who’s buying what from whom.

          • Jason Wells

            Steven, All campaign contributions bug the heck out of me but as far as Shumlin goes we all knew way before the first election he was pro-wind that should be no surprise to anyone. I am not really sure of the numbers you mention nor do I have time to check but the CLF is really not a major player in pushing for wind a few comments and studies here and there but they are not out pushing that agenda all day from what I can tell anyways. VPRIG does however push the pro-wind agenda and really I have no problem with that per se. At least we can find out with out to much difficulty where their money comes from. On the other hand Annette’s group (VCE) seems to do not much else other than fight wind yes there are a few other things listed on the website but from what I see hear and read whenever some anti-wind activity is going on Annette is at the center or not very far behind. The questions I asked of her that still have not been answered seem perfectly reasonable to me if we know who funds the pro-wind side then should we not know who funds the other?

          • Steven Gorelick

            Jason, you say with regard to VPIRG that “at least we can find out without too much difficulty where their money comes from”. Not so. Even though one can look at a non-profit’s Form 990, which shows how much revenue they received from grants and donations, the donors are not listed. I found that John Merck Fund has made large donations to VPIRG and CLF only because they were announced on the John Merck Fund’s website. If big wind developers donated to VPIRG, they wouldn’t advertise the fact, nor would VPIRG. So finding out how much money VPIRG received from wind developers is not only not easy, it may not even be possible.

        • Patrick Cashman

          For any who are curious, any non-profit (including this website) must present their form 990 on demand.

  • Townsend Peters

    One wonders if Ms. Barnes has even heard of ecofeminists and the link they make between male domination of women and domination of the earth. Are they too demeaning women?

    While I don’t agree with Sen. Benning, I think the Dems are reaching with this one.

  • Stan Shapiro

    Barnes obviously got the word to go ahead with her statement. The party is very disciplined and control comes from the top. The above comments are as usual well stated. It may be dawning on some that IWT ‘s and their proponents represent the worst in distorting a principle ( ecological protection) with incredible greed , unfairness , and the abuse of power. Climate change has been cooped by the smartest guys in the room. That why opposition now will only grow .The backgrounds of opponents of IWT’s in Vermont is remarkably varied.They are united by the notion that something is terribly wrong ,in so many ways with this particular technology for this state.Senator Bennings word choice embodies the violation that is felt at many different levels and ultimately justice will be served.

    • Kathy Leonard

      Stan: “Climate change has been (co-opted) by the smartest guys in the room.” Enron executives actually went to jail and Ken Lay committed suicide over that gold rush gone wrong.

      The drumbeat of gotta build MORE is false here. We’ve gotta use LESS and employ many solutions, including those that ask sacrifices of each of us.

      Vermont is choosing small farms vs industrial farms.
      Vermont is choosing downtowns rather than big boxes.

      These choices make us who we are. I don’t see how doing violence to the hills that host us so generously is the correct answer. We need to do the hard work of change.

      • Jason Wells

        Kathy: Fact Check! Kenneth Lay did not commit suicide he had heart issues and died of a heart attack.

        P.S. In no way does that mean I support him or his actions. Death in prison would have been preferable in my mind.

        • Eric Rosenbloom

          Ken Lay pretty much created the modern wind industry after Enron bought Zond (the makers of GMP’s turbines in Searsburg). Not only did he cobble together the various tax breaks to protect profits, he also invented the “green tags” (renewable energy certificates, RECs) to sell the energy twice.

  • David Dempsey

    Ms Barnes, this is an inappropriate way to mindlessly bash the dreaded enemy.

  • Rob Pforzheimer

    Typical response from the dumocrats and wind shills, denigrate those they oppose rather than address the issues they present.
    Shoot the messenger.
    Dare anyone question the blind faith wind proponent zealots that are raping our mountains and rights for their useless “green” symbolism.
    Thank you Joe Benning and the other legislators for attempting to bring sanity and reason to the debate.
    A wind project near Ms Barnes home might broaden her definition of the word rape.
    Use Less

  • Pam Arborio


  • The Democratic Party is inappropriate.

  • I don’t think Barnes has ever peeped into a dictionary. Either that or her mind has been squeezed shut to the multiple and wonderful definitions of an English word.

  • Ross Laffan

    Part of the Webster’s definition of “rape” should be “rape has many definitions and can be offensive depending on one’s political views and the issue being discussed.”



  • Lisa Boisvert

    The cruz of the problem is that Ms. Barnes does not recognize the gravity of the situation for the land. Susan Miller thoroughly explores this topic from a feminist perspective in her book Women and Nature. I am grateful to Senator Benning for making the connection, it is indeed valid and accurate from a feminist and literary perspective. We need more creative imagination in the world to make it a better place and to understand our own errors.
    From Amazon, “In this famously provocative cornerstone of feminist literature, Susan Griffin explores the identification of women with the earth—both as sustenance for humanity and as victim of male rage. Starting from Plato’s fateful division of the world into spirit and matter, her analysis of how patriarchal Western philosophy and religion have used language and science to bolster their power over both women and nature is brilliant and persuasive, coming alive in poetic prose.
    Griffin draws on an astonishing range of sources—from timbering manuals to medical texts to Scripture and classical literature—in showing how destructive has been the impulse to disembody the human soul, and how the long separated might once more be rejoined. Poet Adrienne Rich calls Woman and Nature “perhaps the most extraordinary nonfiction work to have merged from the matrix of contemporary female consciousness—a fusion of patriarchal science, ecology, female history and feminism, written by a poet who has created a new form for her vision. …The book has the impact of a great film or a fresco; yet it is intimately personal, touching to the quick of woman’s experience. ”

  • Stan Shapiro

    Mr. Mueller , Looking at turbines won’t make you sick. Noise,infrasound, sleep deprivation ,excacerbation of hypertension,and worsening of cardiac arrhythmia due to adrenergic surge certainly will. Gag orders from courts have accompanied just about every settlement of those compensated because of living in proximity to wind turbines . (Just one more violation) .The visual issues have not been an issue. The noise and health are and emerging evidence is there, at least enough to merit a moratorium on further projects. I hope if you are ever stricken with a malady that no one would be so insensitive to say it is just in your head.

    • Rolf Mueller

      If you think that noise, infra-sound, electro-sensitivity etc. makes you sick it does.

      Check out “What you think matters most when you’re ill” at


      • Randy Koch

        On the other hand, a family member of mine who farms in the flatlands of Illinois was quite gung-ho in favor of the many dozens of wind turbines being installed several miles away from his house where they were visibile but inaudible. That is until his sleep was completely disturbed and other symptoms appeared of exposure to infrasound.

    • Rolf Mueller

      Can Expectations Produce Symptoms From Infrasound Associated With Wind Turbines?

      • Annette Smith

        Jim Cummings is an acoustician who is trying to find the middle ground on the wind noise/health issue. He did a thorough evaluation of the two so-called studies that the Wind Spinners are now waving around.
        About the “study” you cite, he notes: “the infrasound exposure source was a 5Hz tone at 40dB. This is so low a volume that it could also be considered a sham signal; typical human perception curves suggest infrasound must be over 100dB at 5Hz to be perceptible, and no symptoms are expected unless exposure is over that level. Wind turbine sound at 5Hz tends to be in the 65-70dB range at typical home distances.”

        These sham studies are just more evidence of the lengths and expense to which Wind Spinners will go to perpetuate the idea that it is myth that people are getting sick from wind turbines. People do not abandon their homes for no reason. If you would like to do your own experiment, I know of several homes that people are making available near big wind turbines so you can do your own evaluation. In the human context, denigrating sick people is really deplorable. What happened to compassion?

        • John Greenberg

          I find it curious that Annette Smith would cite the AEI critique of the Australian wind studies.

          While Mr. Cummings expresses reservations about the 2 studies (some of which are his reservations are questioned by HIS commenters), his conclusion points very much in the same direction as the Australian studies: “I can easily accept the idea that the negative experiences being highlighted by community groups are indeed one of several factors that increase the anxiety and stress levels of residents, which may itself cause many of the symptoms reported, as well as fostering negative expectations, which has been recognized and studied as a contributing factor in public health for years. In addition, like many observers, I’m unconvinced that Wind Turbine Syndrome is a clinically or epidemiologically credible disorder or complex of symptoms. It appears that the vast majority of health symptoms are related to stress and sleep-disruption (stemming directly or indirectly from the presence of wind turbines), while a few may be due to unusually intrusive sound qualities in particular locations, or specific susceptibility factors (extreme auditory acuity, noise sensitivity, pre-existing vestibular issues, perhaps other psychological factors). That is, I don’t see clear evidence that wind turbines inherently “make people sick,” though they certainly can disturb sleep, and it seems apparent that dealing with their varied and sometimes intrusive noise can trigger a cascade of direct and indirect effects that may result in psychological and/or physiological symptoms.” (pp. 3-4 of the PDF)

  • Bud Haas

    Benning is an opportunist using wind to propel himself into Vermont politics. Was he also waving his copy of the “constitution” in the air?
    He’ s a blowhard.
    We need to find a way to replace him in the Senate.

  • Ms. Barnes, while you’re looking up the definition of the word “rape”, take a look at the word “inappropriate”, and you’ll find a description of precisely your own most “unfitting, improper, unsuitable and improper” response to Sen. Benning’s language.
    On whose authority and with whose encouragement do you condemn and define the use of the word “rape”? Could it be the corporate developers who fund Democrat campaigns, who (like rapists) commit their crimes on helpless victims, overwhelming them with power and control, exercising intimidation to the point of silence wrapped in utter fear? Well, Ms. Barnes, like pornography, we environmentalists know rape when we see it, and our mountains have been raped. Have you and/or will you exercise your personal courage and climb the raped mountains to witness for yourself? You will learn what rape looks like.

  • Joy Karnes Limoge, Esq.

    This is what lawyers call a “red herring”. This is nothing more than a poor attempt to deflect from the issue. While Senator Benning’s choice of words may have had an inflammatory effect the fact is it was an appropriate choice for what is happening to the ridge line. Let’s stay focused on the issue instead of getting lost in the weeds!Thank you Senator Benning for defending your position and not backing down.

  • Steven Farnham

    If we can’t use the word “rape” with out the Democratic Party Chair’s permission, then what are we to call the source of canola – “molestationseed”? As far as I know, trying to hamstring one’s ability to communicate is forbidden by the bill of rights. Come on people. Many Democrats are really trying to make Vermont a better place, and agree with him or not, so is Sen. Benning. Let’s not subvert the momentum of the work done by both parties by engaging is petty censorship.

  • NEXT IN THEIR SIGHTS: The matchless ecological treasure of the Unified Towns and Gores of Vermont (Averill, Avery’s Gore, Ferdinand, Lewis, Warner’s Grant and Warren Gore):

    To the UTF town fathers and mothers: You have been chosen as stewards of something rare and beautiful beyond belief. If you let the rapists in, if you admit the vandals through the gate, you will have destroyed something so precious that you may be cursed by God as well as man. Instead, you can choose to become a byword for wisdom and fortitude.

    Remember that scene in “Gone with the Wind,” when the carpetbagger shows up at Tara with his trashy wench in tow? Scarlett O’Hara flings dirt in their faces. Please give these heartless, rootless parasites the sendoff they so richly deserve.

    Ellin Anderson
    Brownington, VT

  • Don Henley

    Some rich men came and raped the land,
    Nobody caught ’em
    Put up a bunch of ugly boxes, and Jesus,
    people bought ’em
    And they called it paradise
    The place to be
    They watched the hazy sun, sinking in the sea
    -The Eagles, “The Last Resort”, 1976.

  • Eric Rosenbloom

    Here’s a cartoon by Jens Hage showing the rape/murder of Mother Denmark: The CEO of Vestas is saying “As long as it’s green, it doesn’t hurt!”

  • Pete Novick

    It’s really a shame to see piecemeal wind farm projects go up, ridge line by ridge line in Vermont.

    There is a better way to “do wind”.

    The two most northern provinces of Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, offer some of the best wind envelopes for RE in the western hemisphere.

    These are sparsely populated areas as well, for reasons that should be obvious.

    Wind farms consisting of thousands of towers could easily be built and tied into the grid.

    The energy industry already has the business model for operating and maintaining large scale energy production systems. Just like the crews operating oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, the wind farm crews could fly in for their 21 day shifts.

    A 10,000 tower wind farm would do wonders for the economies of not only Atlantic Canada but of New England as well.

    There is no effective way to develop the economies of scale needed to achieve real cost reduction per KW/h with piecemeal wind farm projects consisting of only a few towers, especially when you consider total lifecycle costs for construction, operation and maintenance.

    It’s only a matter of time before 5MW towers are replaced by 10MW towers. And then…?

    I live in South Newfane. The house is at 1500 feet and faces west. From the house I have an unobstructed, 160 degree view of the eastern-most ridgeline of the Green Mountain National Forest with Cooper Hill (2600’), Rice Hill (2900’) and White’s Hill (2800’). Wednesday morning a little before 6 am, the full moon set in a crystal clear sky right behind the Cooper Hill Inn. And I got to watch it.

    My last boss liked to say, “it’s OK to make mistakes, just don’t be dumb in public.”

    Good advice for our elected leaders.

  • Ms. Barnes’ party is frequently referred to as the “D’s”. Now we know what the “D” stands for……Dynamite, the tool of choice of big wind for improving he environment.

    As for Ms. Barnes’ outrage, it’s nothing more than a effort to distract from the real issue, her party’s pitiful performance on S.30.

  • Jennifer Brown

    Doesn’t it bother anyone that instead of focusing on resolutions, time is wasted defending a choice of words? I imagine that if officials we allowed to do so, we might actually have solved some issues.

  • Jon Walker

    Rape – Transitive Verb
    a : to seize and take away by force
    b : despoil

    I’d say Sen. Benning’s use of the word was both accurate and appropriate.

  • noreen hession

    RAPE: An act of plunder, violent seizure or abuse, despoliation; violation: the rape of the countryside; to plunder (a place); despoil; From the Latin rapere to seize, plunder.

    Has political discourse been so reduced that the Vermont Democratic Party Director sits silently while pristine wilderness is plundered (for investor and multinational corporate profit) yet is compelled to protest the language used by opposing party members who merely describe the desecration? I’ve come to expect this of the AM radio shock jocks and Fox Cable News, but I hope for more from the Democratic Party.

    Ms. Barne’s complaint is an unfortunate deflection of the real issue at hand. By saying “yes” to the S30 Zuckerman amendment, sixteen Senators voted to:
    – remove ACT 250 environmental protections and allow violent seizure of our wilderness.
    – allow wealthy investors continued free reign to despoil our ridge-lines.
    – abuse the trust of citizens in targeted towns by undermining the legitimacy of town and regional planning.

    In this conversation, Senator Benning voted FOR Act250 protections. Senator Benning voted FOR towns and regions to have a meaningful voice in the process. If anyone is guilty of hyperbole (exaggeration, amplification, big talk, distortion, embellishment), I would ask Director Barnes to review the text of those big talking Senators who voted in favor of the Zuckerman Big-Business-Friendly-Amendment. They removed ACT250 environmental protections and voted to silence targeted towns – the small towns being outspent and bullied by deep pocketed multinational investors and their faux-renewable lobbyists.

    The only desensitizing that’s going on here is the misguided overuse of the “greater good” concept WITHOUT first doing Industrial Wind cost/benefit and risk/reward analysis. There’s scant evidence to suggest the state sanctioned plunder benefits the “greater good” (though no one argues the financial benefit to investors) and ample evidence to suggest destroying our ridge-lines and inflicting suffering on neighbors will do NOTHING to slow global warming.

    This, Ms. Barnes, is the very serious issue at hand.

    With all due respect to the Democratic Party Director, your outrage is misplaced.

  • Daniel Dolan

    Although I appreciate the sentiment of many of the above,and prefer Solar to all other means-I must remind you all that roads are being built everyday in almost every town to accommodate logging.Also I wish to remind you that Every breath you take is filled with particulates(soot,nucleotides,heavy metals)from the other means of power generation(coal,diesel,nuclear),invisibly affecting all.My small point being that what you are Not seeing is what’s killing you.I welcome towers, mostly in Your backyard, haha.
    Don’t want to see Wind towers everywhere?
    Let’s build a solar array along the median of I89.

  • That is a horribly offensive way to use the term. I think people should think about what they are about to say more. Bad comments are always causing problems for politicians these days.

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