Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Voter Suppression, Vermont Secessionist Style

Voting rights are under attack in this country as state legislatures nationwide pass voter suppression laws under the pretext of preventing voter fraud and safeguarding election integrity. These voter suppression laws take many forms, and collectively lead to significant burdens for eligible voters trying to exercise their most fundamental constitutional right.
From the ACLU report "Fighting Voter Suppression"
Normally, when we consider what an act of voter suppression might be we perhaps think "GOP; baseless claims of voter fraud; efforts to inhibit voter participation in the guise of protecting election integrity." In fact, voter suppression efforts are not confined to Republicans. For instance, gerrymandering in some states benefits Democrats but it's clearly the Republicans who are masters of this particular bit of electoral legerdemain and it's why Republicans, who could not get the majority of votes for the House in 2012, still maintain control there.

Getting back to what voter suppression might look like in Vermont we need only look to the communities that still vote from the floor on Town Meeting day. In communities where Australian (secret) ballots are used, the elderly and disabled can receive assistance in casting their votes in their homes. Even their care givers who may themselves find it difficult to get to the polls can have their vote counted. Town meeting floor voting has often had a touchy-feely image - think of Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms series and its depiction of someone speaking from the Arlington, VT town meeting floor. The portrait is often used in conjunction with sloppy, wet embraces of town meeting but it was really about the Freedom of Speech, which includes the freedom to not speak. Part of the myth of town meeting is the notion that discussion and interaction are essential to informed voting, a conceit that has more to do with getting a crack at the opposition and having the opportunity to intimidate and cow opponents and those that may harbor similar opinions.

Now comes Vermont secesher political oligarch and pooh-bah of the "small" remains of the Second Vermont Republic, Rob Williams, a proponent of neo-Confederate principles i.e., Lincoln historical revisionism and that the South had the right to secede to preserve slavery which led directly to the Civil War, with a bold Completely shameless plan to make town meeting even more restrictive with a novel voter suppression element. I won't link to his plan since it's at his anti-Semitic, conspiracy oriented hate site. Williams proposes eliminately all absentee balloting. While painting it as a device used primarily by "sun birds" who can't be bothered from their recreating while others (meaning him) do the hard work. You see, according to Williams, you can't be informed and cast an intelligent secret ballot unless you're on the receiving end of his hectoring at "a community forum that offers time for questions, comments, reflection and discussion." Somehow the disabled and elderly will magically become less disabled and perhaps even younger in May. And people who normally work weekends or hours when his compulsory meeting/discussion/reflection/comments session would be held will now have the time to meet his voting criteria. Oh, and he's including a cookout, along with child care from a group of non-professionals, just in case you haven't gotten your fill of basking in his charismatic aura. The more likely affect of lengthening the meeting will be to drive attendance and voting even further down so that the primary advocacy groups will have the meeting pretty much to themselves and should be able to impose their agenda on a community whose right to vote was so conscribed and afflicted. Williams wants to improve the QUALITY (his ALL CAPS) at the expense of the QUANTITY (again, his CAPS). Right. Perhaps this is the new (if not improved) secesher plan to impose an extremely minority, fringe plan for Vermont to secede from the U.S. on the more than 99% who do not support their kooky and illegal idea.

Rob's got two big problems right off: (1) there's no constitutional requirement that such a contrived, QUALIFYING (my CAPS) event take place, and (2) it's very unconstitutional to erect such "intelligent/educational" hurdles. Perhaps Williams, a self-described "historian" and "educator" has forgotten the nearly 50 year old Voting Rights Act of 1965 [1] [2] and its ending of the practice of institutionalized disenfranchisement of selected groups - in this case, if not the people he wants to harangue, the certainly the elderly, the disabled, their care providers, and the working poor, to name only few of the groups that would be left out because they wouldn't have enough "skin in the game" of voting to satisfy him. Even if Williams could muster the votes to impose this clearly unconstitutional endeavor, it'd only be one filing away from being cast onto the ash heap of electoral history. Remember the part of the top paragraph that read,
"...preventing voter fraud and safeguarding election integrity(?)"
Williams is just reworking that to prevent uninformed voting, according to him only and for which he provides no evidence, just like those "preventing voter fraud," and "safeguarding" qualitative "voting integrity."

His third problem, and this is where his voter suppression plan really shines through, is that he wants to do this electoral run around on a Sunday in May. The first weekend has Green Up Day on Saturday, so there goes the weekend; the second weekend is Mother's Day Sunday and even he can't be that much of a dick as to dump his mother for such an event (but, wait, maybe that is the plan!!!); the third weekend is the only open one before Memorial Day weekend and most of us are trying our damnedest to get the garden in (maybe that's a good suppression plan); and then, of course, unlike Rob, Memorial Day weekend actually means something to many of us, and if your aim is to suppress the vote, hold it on a holiday weekend.

Nice try, Robbie, but this dumb idea is just as dead as virtually all of your other campaigns, before it even gets started. Your contempt for the intelligence of Vermonters really shines through on this one, pal.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Public Banksters - Part XI (UPDATE)

In the post below came public bankster and executive director of the Public Banking Institute's Gwen Hallsmith, the failed unregistered lobbyist for a Vermont public bank and the economic guru for the Vermont secessionist political oligarchs, with her sky-is-falling prediction that the U.S. dollar is on the ropes. Well, I thought I'd take a slightly closer look at that doom and gloom prophecy, without using Hallsmith's reliance on anti-Semitic sources; here's what I found:
“Since late January 2013 the ruble is off almost 16 percent against the dollar and 17 percent against the euro,” says Chris Weafer, senior partner at Moscow-based consulting firm, Macro Advisoryw, wrote in e-mail to RT.
And that's from the friggin' Russian television propaganda outlet (previously called Russia Today) RT on January 27 of this year, headlined "‘Mise-Ruble?’ Russia’s currency hits 5-year low". Full piece here.

Now add to that three months of Russian fumbling in Ukraine and today Reuters reports this,
"... the entire development is clearly negative for the market (and raises) renewed fears of another wave of sanctions from the West."

"Russian markets also tumbled. The rouble and Moscow's main stock market were down around 0.7 and 1.5 percent, while the country's key bonds stayed under pressure as the cost of insurance against default increased."
And from Bloomberg News here,
"The ruble slid 0.6 percent against the dollar..."

[snip]

"Russia’s Micex Index fell 1.4 percent, taking its loss since President Vladimir Putin’s incursion into the Crimea region at the beginning of March to 7 percent.
Gwen never lets real facts get in the way of her economic meme weaving but, as with her Vermont legislative campaign in consort with Vermont's "tiny community" of conspiracy addled seceshers, people know bullshit when they smell it.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Public Banksters - Part XI

I'd thought that enough had been said about the unregistered lobbyists of the public banksters until someone sent me Gwen Hallsmith's Twitter feed from the night before last wherein she's predicting that the "day of the dollar is probably over." Interesting stuff. And what does she base her pithy analysis on? A link to a article that posits the Russian ruble will become the currency du jour through economic alliances with Germany & China.

And Gwen's sources for this economic bombshell? A piece in the notorious publisher of thoroughly debunked anti-Semitic conspiracy theories with the occasional descent into Holocaust denial nuttery, globalresearch.ca, written by a contributor from the Voice of Russia, and a second piece by the longtime peddler of anti-Semitic crap, The Financial Times (paywall). The New Republic has a good piece on the Jew-baiters at FT here. Both publications subscribed to the anti-Semitic trope that Jews control the world's banks, the media, Congress, world governance, President Obama, yada, yada, yada...

The size of the economies that would continue use the dollar dwarf the supposed axis of Russia and China (Germany, no way) 20 to 1.

Projecting that sort of wishful insight probably explains some of Gwen's employment "issues." Or not. Who, other than Gwen, really cares at this point?

Why is it not surprising that someone who has hitched her wagon so tightly with the oligarchs of the Second Vermont Republic secessionist movement, who have extensive past affiliations with white supremacist secesher hate groups and their own extensive track record for anti-Semitic bile, would rely on such dubious sources?

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"Loathing Lincoln"

For years the Vermont secessionist movement has been a proponent of Abraham Lincoln historical revisionism. Lincoln bashing by the Second Vermont Republic leadership has been a staple of the local seceshers, along with promotion of the scribblings of Lincoln hating "writers" such as avowed neo-Confederates like Thomas DiLorenzo and Donald Livingston; both served as advisory board members of the then nascent SVR.

Next week the Louisiana State University Press will be releasing John Barr's Loathing Lincoln which examines both 19th century and modern day Lincoln bashers and historical revisionists. Today's Lincoln haters permeate the present day neo-Confederate and secessionist movements. Imagine my utter lack of surprise when I found in the book's bibliography a notation about the neo-Confederate Livington's contribution to then SVR co-chairman Rob Williams' hate journal.

One of the very first times that I heard Williams, a Vermont secesher leader and an adjunct faculty member at Champlain College in Burlington, VT, speak about Lincoln was on a local radio program. Williams railed:

"We have to get over our hero worship of Abraham Lincoln. He really was instead of the "Great Emancipator", we like to call him the "Great Centralizer." (sic) He essentially invented a new and novel unconstitutional interpretation and then foisted it upon half the country that was trying to leave..."

"Lincoln was very clever and maneuvered the South into firing the first shots..."
Hogwash! Or as one caller to the radio program directly challenged Williams, "Academic nonsense." Williams' media acumen was lauded by neo-Nazi and eventual member of Williams' exclusive Free Vermont listserv, James Duncan aka "Donnachaidh," at the hate forum of the Vanguard News Network ("No Jews, Just Right") here. Duncan so loved the Vermont secesher movement that he even minted an SVR coin in silver with his very own profile on the coin face. At the listserv he liked to swap wisecracks about lesbians, race mixing and rounding up Vermont law enforcement for some kind of trials when the seceshers took over. Duncan was the seceshers largest out of state contributor to its gubernatorial candidate, Dennis Steele, who when he learned of Duncan's background still publicly opted to keep the money. Duncan had more than 6,300 deeply anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic and neo-Confederate posts on the neo-Nazi hate forum. What he never disclosed there or elsewhere was his predilection for salt and pepper porn. Go figure. Duncan/Donnachaidh disappeared from the Internet (at least using those identities) shortly after his hateful neo-Confederate activities were exposed by this blog.

A noted researcher of the modern neo-Confederate movement, Ed Sebesta, wrote of Barr's new work,
"What I think is going to be interesting is when the public realizes that there is this modern movement that hates Lincoln. Lincoln is the personification of the modern democratic egalitarian America. This is why he is hated so much by neo-Confederates who dream of a hierarchical society. The attacks on Lincoln are attacks on modern democratic egalitarian America."

"Some so-called "heritage" groups are going to seem much more ominous to the American public as the public realizes how hostile neo-Confederates are to Lincoln, that it isn't a few cranks, but a movement, and further realize that this movement is hostile to modern democratic egalitarian America. Also, it will be realized that indulging the Lost Cause view of the Civil War has consequences."
More details about Barr's Loathing Lincoln can be found at Sebesta's anti-Neo-Confederate blog here.

To preorder Barr's excellent work use this Amazon link.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Public Banksters - Part X

Ya know, there're times when I wonder how deep the stoopid goes with secessionists like Gary Flomenhoft and his kinda newish allies in the national public banking movement. Do his public banking colleagues have any idea as to who this asshole really is? And why didn't they do their homework before hooking up with the the faux economist and promoter of the junk, failed and bankrupt economic hokum of Henry George.

Their bill to establish a state run public bank, S. 204, died in the Senate Finance Committee in part because of its reliance on falsehoods presented in a report written by Flomenhoft in his role as a propagandist for the Gund Institute and the Vermont secessionist goal of withdrawing from the economy of "The Empire." Here's how the Vermont public banksters are framing the narrative at Jim Hogue's Vermont Bankster Partnership website of their complete failure to advance a public banking bill to any degree in the Vermont legislature:

March 26 Update

"The Senate Finance Committee did not advance S.204 by the deadline for crossover on March 21.
[Ed. Note: Crossover date was March 14 for non- budget items and this bill was not included in the state budget] That means the bill is effectively dead for this session of the legislature. At the one and only hearing on the bill held by the Finance Committee, Chris D’Elia, President of the Vermont Bankers Association, the (Vermont) State Treasurer (Beth Pearce) and the CEO of VEDA, all opponents of a state bank, and Anthony Pollina, who is a supporter of a state bank were asked by the committee to testify. People who had worked on the town meeting campaigns had to practically beg to be given an opportunity to testify."

"The Government Operations Committee (sic) had previously taken testimony on the bill and sent a memo to the Finance Committee urging them to adopt the 10 Percent for Vermont Program and move 10 percent of Vermont’s unrestricted funds to VEDA which would use it to foster economic development and renewable energy initiatives and to create the authority described in S.204 to continue to look into the creation of a state bank."
[Ed. Note: Untrue; this is just public bankster fluffing of what the legislative process used means. This meme weaving is so lame that the writer didn't even get the name of the committee - the Vermont Senate Committee on Government Operations - right. This inattention to detail and real facts is also a fundamental weakness and flaw of the "study" manufactured made up by Hogue's colleague, Gary Flomenhoft.]

"In spite of the fact that the bill died in the Finance Committee, support for a state bank has been steadily growing.
[Ed. Note: There is no factual basis for such an assertion. There has been no polling done that would scientifically support such a statement. The writer's engaging in wishful thinking, at best, and can provide no real proof for such an opinion.]. We will continue with efforts to increase support to the point where the powers that be can no longer continue to ignore us. [Ed. Note: Again, untrue; "the powers that be," that is, the elected representatives of the people, a station never even remotely achieved by the many secesher aspirants to legislative and statewide offices, did not ignore this citizen request for self-serving legislation. The senators properly received it, properly reviewed the representations made by the proponents, and then properly let such a faulty bill die in committee.] Keep checking for what we are up to [I will.] and ways that you can become involved. We will also continue to send updates containing more reasons why we need a state bank and events concerning our efforts."
Based on the past "successes" of secessionists Hogue, Flomenhoft and the publisher of the Vemont secesher hate blog, Rob Williams in the pursuit of a breakaway republic of Vermont, it's fair to conclude that these hoople heads will deliver in appreciably the same way - much ado about nothing.

One can't help but wonder why the national public banking proponents have thrown in their lot so firmly with such an unsuccessful group like the Vermont seceshers whose track record is so awful. It says much about the thoughtfulness of those running the national group.

Note: in recent months the Vermont seceshers have been scrubbing their websites of some of their more egregious, hateful posts. Of more immediate interest is that the website created by Flomenhoft for his seditious group, the illegally re-constituted Vermont Council of Censors that I reported about nearly three and a half years ago and have also reported on in this "Public Bankster" series has now been taken down. Ever the internet bonehead, Flomenhoft seems unaware that his crappy website and its links are readily available here.

Finally, the perennial "find Rowley" search has been underway again during the past few weeks. Must be that the Public Banksters series has gotten a few knickers into a twist. I hope the searchers won't be too surprised to learn that they too can be spoofed by e-breadcrumbs. Or that at the length truth will out, no matter what.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rob Williams' Second Vermont Republic Hate Blogger Dennis Morrisseau Engages in a Little Old Fashioned Jew Baiting

Pawlet, VT's Dennis "Hit List" Morrisseau, a longtime friend to the still dead secessionist leader Thomas H. Naylor (you may remember him for his plot to create a white homeland in northern New England and the Canadian Maritime provinces, and for his alliances with southern white supremacists at the League of the South) and also a friend to the failed secesher Vermont Senate candidate from Ripton, VT, Robert "Needed Killin' " Wagner, who's issued a "news release" last weekend that reeks of blatant Jew-baiting.

Morrisseau's ALL CAPS riddled rant, which you'll find reprinted at the bottom of this post, singles out a Jew, who sits on no US Senate committee with a any pull in foreign affairs, for not having spoken out about, well, it's not entirely clear what Denny would have U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders speak out about given the incoherency of the "communique" from Denny's Morrisseau World Newsservice, which doesn't have a website but is, rather, an irregular email blast to a long list of people who never use his crap. Content of the emails depends more on Denny's then state of mind than on anything that would normally be considered news. Denny's always on the watch for Semitic contagion, particularly in governance. Here's the money quote for his latest unhinged missive:

"WHO is it really that is pushing this crap on Ukraine? WHO are the actual people behind all this? Do they have Jewish names by any chance? Do you know? Do you even know?"
That's the sort of list making "news commentary" one would associate with neo-Nazi websites like Stormfront.org or the deeply anti-Semitic Veterans Today where Denny likes to post some of his seething commentary. I give you Denny's entire email; don't forget to wash up when you're done.

"I HAVE NOT HEARD HIM SAY ONE SINGLE WORD, HAVE YOU?

Why is that, do you know? There is this huge, overwhelming, dangerous, pile of horseshit, pile of crap, that the present US "leadership" and US media clowns are trying sooooo hard to shove down our throats in Ukraine, and that is being shoved down the throats of ordinary Ukrainians too--believe me, and if you don't, then just watch carefully for awhile--watch this whole orchestrated and very very dangerous LIE being pushed by "ourselves in Ukraine [and in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Venezuela and god knows where else--here at home too for Chrissake......[and WHO is it really that is pushing this crap on Ukraine? WHO are the actual people behind all this? Do they have Jewish names by any chance? Do you know? Do you even know? Are they Neocons, do you know?]

And we have not heard one single word about any of this from the NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES....FROM THE GREAT & so SMART [little] STATE OF CLEAN & GREEN VERMONT....YES.....BERNAAAAAARD SANDERS!!!! Ta Da!

Not one word......so far.........from your favorite Bigmouth.

Capice?

Is Bernie really a Neocon [or NeoLib--have it your way] UNDERCOVER ?

Are WE now serving as Bernie's cover?

Do you--really?-- Understand?

Dennis Morrisseau 2LT USArmy [Armor] ret Lieutenant Morrisseau's Rebellion FireCongress.org POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT 05775 dmorso1@netzero.net 802 645 9727"
Dennis Morrisseau, a disgraced and cashiered Vietnam era Army "officer" who dodged active duty (but he has always been about the benies), still crazy after all these years. Unsurprisingly, Denny is a "veteran" blogger at Rob Williams' anti-Semitic hate blog. I am so looking forward to what seems to be Denny's 2014 run for the Vermont Senate if his website header is to believed.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Public Banksters - Part IX

Remember when Gwen Hallsmith's Vermonters for a New Economy boasted that they'd gotten a question about public banking on Vermont Senator Bill Doyle's annual town meeting day survey?

"The other really good news is that Washington County State Senator Bill Doyle has agreed to include a question asking people if they support a state bank on his annual town meeting questionaire so even those who live in towns that will not be discussing a state bank as part of the town meeting agenda will be able to weigh in on the question."
After town meeting day the public banksters pumped up the volume on their claim of "statewide" support for public banking and put their supporters in the national alternative press into full spin mode as in this piece from Gwen Hallsmith's California based Public Banking Institute where she serves as executive director,

"As John Nichols reported in The Nation on March 9, "In many cases, the votes were overwhelming... Curiously, in light of the overwhelming support for a state bank displayed in the results of the town meetings campaign, the Barre Montpelier Times-Argus called the proposal "politically unpopular" -- and offered no contextual explanation for that description. "
Whoa! The public banksters unregistered lobbyists have variously described the support in Vermont for a state run public bank as "widespread" and "statewide" without ever providing any proof for such statements. It's a lot like that thumb-on-the-scale study provided by the Gund Institute fellow flunky Gary Flomenhoft. His fictions and falsehoods were directly refuted by the Vermont State Treasurer in her report to the Senate Committee on Government Operations of February 5, 2014. And now we have the results of the Sen. Bill Doyle town meeting day survey that earlier Hallsmith and her allies in the Vermont secession movement were so delighted to have been included in. The results for the public banksters were, um, underwhelming. As the Burlington Free Press' political reporter, Terri Hallenbeck, put it, "Vermonters... are not so quick to embrace a state bank."

First I should say that the Doyle survey is by no means scientific since participants are self selected but as Vermonters know, give a sense of where the public feeling is on an issue. Certainly a better sense than the handful of towns where the public banksters hail from and hold some sway with their neighbors.

So, here are the results of the responses to Doyle's very brief question 11 - "Should Vermont create a state bank?":

23% (yes); 38% (no); 39% (not sure)
The results can be parsed a number of ways but the one thing that stands out is that fewer than 1 out of 4 Vermonters (of more than 14,000 survey participants vs the several hundred that may have attended the handpicked meetings carefully vetted beforehand by public banksters and seceshers) express support for a public bank.

Now let the public bankster spinning begin. Since they were the only group incessantly getting their message out, I wonder how that spin might go. Did the banking lobby buttonhole the Vermont public? If so, it must have been one on one since they mounted no publicity campaign. Did the elected guardians of the state's and the public's financial weal somehow hoodwink the survey takers? More likely it was the poorly run campaign based on fictions, falsehoods and a demonstrated inability to play well with others that led to the perception that the real public has for the so-called state run public bank advocates.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Public Banksters - Part VIII

Gwendolyn Hallsmith has the public banking Sadz.

This past week Hallsmith, supposedly the executive director of the California based Public Banking Institute, posted at Rob Williams' hate blog a ludicrous claim that the Vermont secessionist allies at her Vermonters for a New Economy front group had scored a win in the Vermont Senate. You really can't blame her for trying to make lemonade from such a steaming pile of lemons.

First off, I should explain to recent readers of this blog that Rob's hate blog has long been host to some of the most extreme, hateful thinking centering around the Vermont secesher movement. Back when Rob was co-chairman of the Second Vermont Republic he had on his advisory board an assortment of hate group members from the white supremacist League of the South, the racist and anti-immigrant Lega Nord (Northern League of Italy), anti-Semites like Kirkpatrick Sale and Thomas DiLorenzo (who has written neo-Confederate claptrap for a Holocaust denial journal), along with other lowlifes. Rob's hate blog has included the contributions of anti-Semites like Dennis "Hit List" Morrisseau and the castration fixated misandrist Carol Moore, white supremacists like UVM's Robert S. Griffin and a League of the South Board of Directors member (and convicted felon), Franklin Sanders, as well as the anti-Semitic, racist co-founder and baas of the Second Vermont Republic, the still dead Thomas H. Naylor who, along with the Canadian racist and anti-Semite Sebastian Ernst Ronin, was a proponent of a white homeland in northern New England and the Canadian Maritime provinces, and a host of conspiracy theorists including Rob himself - 9/11 Truthers, contrail hoaxers, aliens trading technology with the US military for mineral assets on the darkside of the moon, to, well, you name the nuttiest conspiracy you can think of and it's got an adherent at Rob's hate blog.

Gwen Hallsmith's own particular delusion has to do with her imagining that she can claim a win in the effort to convince the Vermont Senate that her public banking proposal has merit. Here's what she said at the hate blog:

"... it starts to look like we’ll have a modest win on the public banking front as the 10% for Vermont theme struck by Senator Anthony Pollina will likely make it through the legislature, and 10% of the money the state has on deposit will be transferred to the Vermont Economic Development Authority. To win that, it is also likely that VEDA will not get a banking license, but it will still be a step in the direction we all want to go – reclaiming public, democratic control over one of the critical drivers of economic health – the monetary system itself."
Not so fast there, Gwen. That's just the kind of "we-didn't-lose" sort of spin that one expects to hear from a lobbyist, even the unregistered sort like Gwen and her secesher cohort Gary Flomenhoft. Fact is, Vermont has been doing just such a thing for more than a year before the secesher public bankster proposal made it to the legislature but then Gwen and Gary probably already knew that.

In her report the the Vermont Senate Committee on Government Operations of February 5, 2014 the Vermont State Treasurer, Beth Pearce, speaking directly to the 10% local investment plan outlined in the Hallsmith/Flomenhoft plan put forward in the Senate under the bill S. 204 by Senator Anthony Pollina, Pearce advised,

"I want to emphasize that I do support the local investment concept incorporated in S. 204. That said, I differ on significant portions of the proposed mechanics of achieving local investment through the creation of a state bank. The 10% of the state’s cash for local investment in Vermont is something I support..."

"Over the past year we have already made commitments that will get us to $17 million in local investments from our treasury funds (under Act 87). That’s roughly half way to the 10% objective. I am committed to getting us the rest of the way. But as fiduciary I want to address this in a way that is a win-win for Vermont. While I support the concept of 10%, will work to achieve it, and hope to even exceed it, there are portions of the bill that I believe need to be revised to make it a true win for Vermont. Without these changes, I believe there would be great risk—unnecessary risk—for Vermont taxpayers.
Addressing Hallsmith and Flomenhoft's larger plan to morph the Vermont Economic Development Authority into a public bank, Pearce added,

"What I do not recommend is expanding VEDA’s authority to accept deposits from municipalities or other entities, or to engage in banking operations..."
So, Gwen claims credit for that which the Treasurer has been doing for more than a year. Pret-ty chees-ey. And to suggest that the 10% local investment plan came about because,"(t)o win that, it is also likely that VEDA will not get a banking license" is nothing but a straight out lie. There was no quid pro quo and Hallsmith damn well knows that. She not just spinning here, she's bullshitting in a way that shows complete contempt for the ability of average Vermonters to know better.

As for Gwen's reference to Pollina's theme, here's what he's said that's being repeated by public banksters around the country,

"it 'doesn’t make any sense for us to be sending Vermont’s hard-earned tax dollars to some bank on Wall Street which couldn’t care less about Vermont or Vermonters when we could keep that money here in the state of Vermont where we would have control over it and therefore more of it would be invested here in the state.'”
Treasurer Pearce directly refutes Pollina's untruthful assertion by stating in her report to the Senate committee,

"The Treasurer recently sold just under $25M in bonds to Vermonters and approximately 80% of VMBB financings are sold to Vermont investors. Other instrumentalities have significant local investment. We hope to do even more with local investors. Further, when we sell bonds to investors outside of Vermont, capital actually surges into the state and then trickles back out as principal and interest are repaid. Replacing this outside capital with the state’s operating cash would actually represent a loss of state financing resources."
The truth here is that the Hallsmith/Flomenhoft/Pollina public banking proposal scored no "win" or change to existing state investments policy. The proposal died in committee and no action was taken on any part of Senate bill S. 204.

For anyone keeping track at this point, I'd predicted nearly two years ago on April 9, 2012 that Gary Flomenhoft's economic hokum would come to naught when brought again before the Vermont legislature. I'm making the same prediction today should he and Hallsmith take another stab at it with the legislature. And just to make it interesting, I'll predict that Hallsmith will be just as unsucessful in her new scheme to liberate Detroit from the clutches of government and capitalism.

Gwen Hallsmith, buh-bye.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Public Banksters. - Part VII

A Vermont State Public Bank - Too Great of an Idea to Fail?

According to the folks at the California based Public Banking Institute where Vermonters for a New Economy co-founder and public banking cheerleader Gwen Hallsmith now serves as its executive director (although the PBI makes no mention of such a role at its website), the notion of a public bank is "a no-brainer."

The public banksters frame the narrative in this way:

"(Is public banking) riskier than the current system? In fact, the opposite is true. The only thing that saved the private banking system from complete bankruptcy in late 2008 and early 2009 was a backroom deal in which the U.S. taxpayer bailed out the so-called “too big to fail” (TBTF) banks..."
This is just another one of the fact contorting misrepresentations that have come to define the factual assertions of the national and local public banking proponents. Let's just take a look at the public banking failure noted by Vermont Treasurer Beth Pearce that puts the lie to the public banksters claim that they are the sole source of banking purity on the scene:

"In 1807, the Delaware General Assembly passed an act to establish the “Farmers’ Bank of the State of Delaware,” and in 1837, the General Assembly authorized the state’s purchase of 40% of the common stock of Farmers’ Bank. The Farmer’s Bank became the state’s exclusive depository and took on various revenue collection and accounting functions. The state’s ownership was later increased to 49.8% giving it effective control. While the Framers’ Bank was in operation for many years, the bank, according to one study, was “permeated by cronyism, politics, lack of oversight, and crisis management.”i In 1976, the bank became saddled with bad loans. This put the state’s uncollateralized deposits at risk. It escaped failure only after the FDIC bailed it out using extraordinary measures that had been used but five times since 1950."

"The State of Delaware was also required to join in the bailout, tying up millions of dollars. The state’s purchase of a new class of preferred stock at Farmers’ Bank for $20 million pushed its ownership up to 83.8% in exchange for the FDIC purchase of non-performing debt.iii In the end, special legislation enacted by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor in 1978 permitted the expedited sale of the bank. Legislation authorizing the sale stated that “the sale of the state’s interest in the Bank will limit such financial jeopardy to the public.” iv It was finally sold to Girard Bank of Philadelphia in 1981, which was subsequently acquired by Mellon Bank and is now Citizens Bank as a result of the Citizens/Mellon asset purchase."
Sounds like a "backroom deal" to bail out a TGTF (Too Great to Fail) public bank to me, no? And that was less than 35 years ago! Is it at all surprising to find that when people are involved the potential for fiscal or political problems never seem to change or go away?

Treasurer Pearce exposed yet another lie from the unregistered lobbyists in their proposal that didn't escape her notice:

"A recent document from one public bank advocate (at a website created by longtime Vermont secessionist Jim Hogue) states that Vermont “sends roughly $80 million per year to out of state financial institutions in interest costs and administrative fees. This money stays out of state.” Treasurer’s Office debt payments to investors are in that approximate range, but in fact, many of those dollars go to Vermonters."
Treasurer Pearce then dropped this bombshell on one of the myths of the public banksters, specifically that the Bank of North Dakota is well run:

BND’s History Demonstrates it is Not Immune to Politics

"As discussed above, BND’s board of directors is the Industrial Commission, which is composed of, amongst others, the North Dakota governor, agriculture commissioner and attorney general. While I am impressed with its current management, BND struggled as it developed alongside changing political landscapes. In 1985 BND was criticized by an independent audit firm (then Touche Ross and Co.) for making loans against the advice of its top management and for inadequate loan documentation. The bank CEO at the time was quoted in news articles as saying that due to ''political reasons'' the bank got involved with ''some loans that we probably wished we wouldn't have.” According to reports, auditors also “criticized BND for not having any long-range plans or any measure of departmental performance.” In the mid-1990s there was significant discussion about questioned loans."

"Political or external pressures to reap success in certain investments could take precedence over a state bank’s long-term view and fiduciary responsibilities. The state might also be pressured to get projects off the ground by charging less for loans than the market rates. The State Treasurer is bound by the prudent investor provisions in state statute."
And this was by no means the BND's only occasions of questionable banking practices. Improper assessment fees was another controversey that BND was involved in but you'll never hear about BND's repeated banking improprieties from the public banking lobby. No, it's just the fairy tale that the public banksters want Vermonters to know, not anything close to the whole truth.

Treasurer Pearce continues:

"Vermonters buy our bonds and both the VMBB and the Treasurer’s Office have expanded their use of retail or “citizen bonds” providing Vermonters the opportunity to invest in Vermont. The Treasurer recently sold just under $25M in bonds to Vermonters and approximately 80% of VMBB financings are sold to Vermont investors. Other instrumentalities have significant local investment. We hope to do even more with local investors. Further, when we sell bonds to investors outside of Vermont, capital actually surges into the state and then trickles back out as principal and interest are repaid. Replacing this outside capital with the state’s operating cash would actually represent a loss of state financing resources."
What the unregistered lobbyists for the public banking proposal for the State of Vermont haven't disclosed is that their California based leadership has another great idea - county public banks. And they've solved that pesky capitalization problem that plagues their statewide proposal; simply seize public employee pension's investment assets to fund their bank. Never mind that pension fund employees have a seat at the investment table; merely seize the pension funds by legislative fiat. What could possibly be wrong with that?

This sort of dictatorial, "what's yours is mine" is the very essence of neo-Georgist economic hokum on steroids. If they dare, I'd expect the Vermont secessionist public banksters to be just as spectacularly unsuccessful with this scheme as they were with their proposal outlined in Senate bill S. 204.

Next up in the Public Bankster series: Gwen Hallsmith declares victory!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Second Vermont Republic's Racist Ally in Northern Italy Fakes a Secession "Referendum"

For the past two days the European tabloid press and the always reliable (heh) RT website have been a twitter over a stunt orchestrated by the Lega Nord (Northern League of Italy), a racist, homophobic and anti-immigrant group that was long an ally of the essentially defunct (if we're believe the anti-Semitic, segregationist hate blogger, Waco conspiracy theorist nutjob and Wikipedia coatracking specialist at Vermont Commons, Carol Moore). The white separatists at the Lega Nord are promoting the idea of secession for Venice and the surrounding Veneto region from Italy's browner southern part. In a move reminiscent of Vermont secesher leader Gary Flomenhoft's unconstitutional, seditious and illegitimate reconstitution of the long disbanded Vermont Council of Censors, the racist Lega Nord is conducting a "referendum" this week that has no legal authority; more a methodologically challenged poll really. It's online for crissakes! The Italian constitution only permits referendums to abrogate existing laws or to accept/reject constitutional reforms or to adjust provincial/state borders.

As readers of this blog know, the Second Vermont Republic advisory board was riddled with racists, neo-Confederates, anti-Semites, homophobes and immigrant bashers from its inception. I exposed that fact in early 2007. One of those bigoted assholes on the SVR advisory board was the Lega Nord's Marco Bassini. As the SVR began to unravel, the bass of SVR, the still dead Thomas H. Naylor and his Renfield, Rob Williams, sacked the board, although Williams had never seemed to have been able to give two shits about whether his allies were racists.

"Is (Don Livingston) a racist? I don't know. And frankly, it is none of my damn business, at a personal level."


I expect to hear some crowing soon from Vermont seceshers about the Lega Nord fake vote (much like Williams/Flomenhoft/Hallsmith's fake statewide consensus on the public bank proposal of theirs) that inflates the importance of an illegitimate "referendum" a la their touting the results of a non-binding vote by fewer than 5% of this state's town meeting voters. It's all they got so it's what they do.

We Are All Italian Now!

Just to test the value of the results of such a "referendum" I conducted a little test. With the assistance of Google Translate it took about 7 minutes to complete the referendum voter registration process at Plebiscito.eu. Any kind of eight digit identification number will do. Pick any community in the Veneto region for your own and have fun making up your own Italian sounding street (via) name. Come up with an age that you'd like to be for the moment and you're done. I wonder if they'll appreciate the irony of a Giuseppe Garibaldi voting in their referendum. This process hasn't even the integrity of Survey Monkey. I got such a kick out of my sudden enfranchisement in a far off land's secesher referendum that I dumped my cookies and registered a new fake identity to vote again. This show "referendum" should produce the results any secesher would love. Too bad I didn't get to check out this option for the Crimea referendum.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Public Banksters - Part VI

in the previous five parts of this series there's been a lot on the characters and unregistered lobbyists pushing this proposal and their deep ties to the remnants of the Vermont secession movement.

Today's post will focus on the Vermont State Treasurer's report to the legislature. The links below will take you directly to the League of Women Voters of Vermont website, who sadly seem to have drunk to a little too readily from the vat of Kool-Aid provided by Gwen Hallsmith and Ellen Brown's California based Public Banking Institute. There you can read Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce's report and its attachments for yourself. Pearce dismisses out of hand the neo-Georgist Gund Institute (Gary Flomenhoft, really) claim that "concerns about impact on our bond rating (are) unfounded." In essence, with regard to the creation of a state public bank, Treasurer Pearce says like, "Nuh-uh!"

Treasurer Pearce's analysis of the public bank proposal sent to the Senate Committee on Government Operations: http://lwvofvt.org/files/Pearce1.pdf

Also of considerable interest are reports from Vermont's financial advisory firm, Public Resources Advisory Group and the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank. The PRAG "feel('s) that that the establishment of a state bank introduces additional risk to the State, which may in the future negatively affect the State’s credit rating and could increase the State’s cost of borrowing." The VMBB report expresses similar concerns and, like Treasurer Pearce, contests directly the Gund Institute/Flomenhoft assertion that a state bank could be capitalized from unrestricted state assets, saying essentially that such a critter doesn't exist.

Memo from the Public Resources Advisory Group: http://lwvofvt.org/files/Pearce3.pdf

Vermont Municipal Bond Bank report: http://lwvofvt.org/files/Giroux.pdf

Nothing seems to have changed much since the first legislative review of the public banking proposal in 2010 that seceshers threw such a hissy fit over then: http://lwvofvt.org/files/JointFiscal.pdf

One particular concern repeatedly raised by state officials is the potential for political machinations, cronyism and corruption that would be allowed for in the current proposal by the public banksters unregistered lobbyists. It's happened before with other public banks, most of which have failed, and includes the vaunted Bank of North Dakota which has its own very dirty laundry that was not disclosed by the public bank proponents to the legislature or to Vermonters. In short, the Gund Institute/Flomenhoft fictions just ain't gonna cut it with State officials or the state legislature - again.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Public Banksters - Part V

UPDATE 7:03 PM According to the Senate calendar posted a couple of minutes ago, the public banking bill (S. 204) is not scheduled for a Second Reading tomorrow on March 14. That would then seem to mean that the bill is dead unless an extension is granted, which is not very likely to happen. March 14 is the last day that crossover may occur to the House so that makes it doubtful that any bill could be passed in the 2013-2014 biennium. In short, it's probably back to the drawing boards for the seceshers and the unregistered lobbyists in pulling the Vermont economy out of "the Empire." And that'd be two times in recent history that the legislature has properly given the public banking scheme the boot.

Unregistered public bank lobbyist* Gwen Hallsmith, co-founder of Vermonters for a New Economy and the acting executive director of the California based Public Banking Institute, has been shopping around a series of articles on public banking to various online outlets.

One of her more recent forays into meme weaving on the Internets is an opinion piece that she submitted to Al Jezeera America in which she contends that "voters (love) the idea. In 17 towns around the state, a vote to endorse the idea of a public bank passed overwhelmingly last week at the town meetings." What she didn't say was that most of the towns are strongholds of the tiny Vermont secesher community and that they represent as few as 5% of the state's voters or that town meetings themselves normally produce the smallest electoral turnout of Vermont's elections or that the meetings are subject to the hijinks of a small group of activists. She further pumps up the meme with the header, "Vermonters support state public bank, and you should too". Really? And then she adds, "Citizens across state vote to use local dollars to help economy, not Wall Street". Okay, now that's just pure bullshit but, hey, what do they know at Al Jezeera? There was no mention whatsoever of Wall Street in the article presented on the warrant at various town meetings so that's just an outright lie.

Decontextualized fragments of facts is a well worn tactic of the Vermont seceshers and Hallsmith seems to have fallen under the sway of secesher leader and rocket scientist Gary Flomenhoft. The seceshers have a history twisting "facts" of their own creation into a narrative that ultimately is not borne out by electoral results. For years the seceshers claimed that support for secession was growing by leaps and bounds and that as many as 60,000 of the electorate supported secession but when crunch time came more than 99.24% of Vermonters voted for someone other than the secesher gubernatorial candidate, more than 30 times less than their fictional estimate of support. This twisting of the known facts by Hallsmith has the same smell about it.

Significantly, she gave the most personal ink in her piece to longtime secesher propagandist Rob Williams of Waitsfield. That pretty much cements the ties between the unregistered public banking lobbyists and the tiny Vermont secesher community.

ADDED 3/14: In Hallsmith's Al Jazeera opinion piece can be found another example of the contortionistic juxtaposition of facts taken from their proper context to create a self-serving inference that significantly leaves out all of the relevant facts that would lead the Al Jazeera readers to a different conclusion. In a spin taken from the secesher playbook of how to make something out of nothing Hallsmith would have those readers believe that the votes "of a few (less than 5%) seem like a broad consensus" across the state for a proposal that appears to have died in "the statehouse" Senate Finance Committee. Hallsmith notes that the non-binding public banking article considered at Montpelier's town meeting "got more votes than the mayor did in his bid for re-election" without telling the readers that more votes were cast for the mayor than for his opponent who was Hallsmith! Which then begs the question as to why Hallsmith would leave out such a pertinent fact for the readers to know. Hallsmith's campaign grew to be so nasty that she revealed the incomes of the mayor's supporters in a crass appeal to classism. Oh, and Gwen, if you were from Vermont you might have known that there is no governor's mansion in Vermont, unlike what you said. You must have been thinking of California.

* (Note: I've been queried about my contention that Hallsmith, Flomenhoft, et al are, in fact, subject to the requirement to register as lobbyists. The law seems fairly clear that they are required to register due to their having expended in excess of $500 on their effort to influence legislative action on behalf of their public bank proposal. Under Title 2, Chapter 11 of the Vermont Statutes lobbying is defined, in part, as, "(a) to communicate orally or in writing with any legislator or administrative official for the purpose of influencing legislative or administrative action, and (b) (the) solicitation of others to influence legislative or administrative action." Expenditures may be for items like travel, and by their own admission they've done lots of that to persuade voters to contact legislators in support of their public bank proposal, and for things like studies submitted to influence legislators. They've declared on their website that they spent "months" creating their "study," and any study worth reading would certainly have cost more than $500 to fabricate - the law makes no distinction between cash spent or an in kind contribution by one of the lobbyists.

The Vermont Secretary of State's Guide to Vermont’s Lobbying Registration & Disclosure Law recommends:
"Our conservative advice to all is to err on the side of caution, by reporting or registering in any situations where you have any question as to whether your activities would trigger registration and disclosure."
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Monday, March 10, 2014

Public Banksters - Part IV

(This post is part of a series intended to shed some needed light on the state public banking plan being lobbied for by unregistered lobbyists from the groups Vermonters for a New Economy, The Public Banking Institute (a California based outfit) and the Gund Institute before the Vermont Senate Finance Committee. The earlier posts have generated some considerable interest but rather than authorizing comments I'm urging readers to contact the Vermont Senate Finance Committee Assistant, Barbara Dall, with their concerns bdall@leg.state.vt.us)

To suggest that there is a "Flomenhoft Mystique" is something of an exaggeration. While the neo-Georgist Gund Institute's Gary Flomenhoft, an "educator" and onetime rocket scientist, has been up to his eyeballs in the decision making processes of the Vermont secession leadership and with the public banking lobbying effort, he's not terribly mysterious or mystical, although for some insane reason VT seceshers seem to hang on his every word.

This post might also have been subtitled the Mad Men edition of the Public Banksters series for a few reasons. Certainly the public relations assault being orchestrated by the unregistered lobbyists for a state run public bank is visible for all to see except, of course, for the willfully blind. (The entire effort is being spearheaded by Flomenhoft's comrade Gwen Hallsmith, co-founder of Vermonters for a New Economy and acting executive director of a California advocacy group called The Public Banking Institute, so why aren't these people complying with Vermont's lobbyist registration law?). But it's the past mad, mad, mad, mad history of one central figure in the campaign for a public bank that is the topic of today's post. This isn't Flomenhoft's first time at the rodeo but he's yet to score a victory in any of his entries. Let me cover some of the highlights:

The Vermont Council of Censors

During a meeting in the spring of 2009 at a Goddard College get together organized by secesher deadenders who were trying to find a way out of the mess that had been created by their national alliances with racists, homophobes and anti-Semites of the extreme radical right, alliances which led to the secesher alienation from all levels of the Vermont polity and critical coverage in the Vermont press, Flomenhoft presented his latest idea (well, not really his original idea but I'll get to that): a reconstitution of the Vermont Council of Censors, a governmental organization that was lawfully disbanded by the legislature in the 1870s.

The Vermont Council of Censors was a group that met at 7 year intervals to report of the constitutionality of the actions of the legislative and executive branches of Vermont government. These duties had come to be covered more regularly and effectively by the judicial branch, thus obviating the need for a redundant organization that met less often. While the original council members were elected to the office, Flomenhoft and his secesher pals proceeded to self-appoint themselves to their conjured Council with the only apparent qualification being that one be a secesher.

The problem with Flomenhoft's idea turned out to be that this was another example of the seceshers ties to the goals and thinking of the radical right. Oh, and that I found out about it.

The first proponent of the creation of a Council of Censors was a Nebraska conservative, Republican party county chairman and Teabagger, Glenn Freeman, who created the National Council of Censors in 2003. Like Freeman, Flomenhoft eschewed any democratic form of creation; he just issued his report/statement/claptrap, like Freeman and created the unelected and supposedly reconstituted Vermont Council of Censors. It's a Teaparty kinda thing so Flomenhoft was attracted to it like a moth to a flame. The national council has done pretty much nothing; after a feisty start that was basically a few meetings and a website, Flomenhoft's Vermont group also came to a screeching halt when I posted about their seditious creation here.

Flomenhoft's Council of Censors proposal and his appointment process of seceshers only reveals his contempt for both judicial review and participatory democracy. Flomenhoft's embrace of a flagrant malapportionment designed to give him and his secesher allies an unwarranted amount of power in state governance pretty much gives you all that you'd need to know about how the seceshers would rule Vermont if they succeeded in their effort, although I'll go into more of his and the other seceshers power delusion in the section following this one.

The Free Vermont Listserv

Later in 2009 Flomenhoft was one of the earliest members to what he and the Vermont seceshers called the Free Vermont Listserv, a place where they believed that could chat in private about the upcoming 2010 election. It didn't turn out to be quite so private.

On the listserv the chat proceeded from Flomenhoft recommending that secesher candidates, like secesher gubernatorial candidate Dennis Steele, keep their policy position vague so that voters wouldn't zero in on items they might take issue with to some really whacked out stuff that anyone in their right mind would take issue with, such as: racism; anti-Semitism; violence laced misogyny; homophobia; appointing themselves minister of this and that; conspiracist claptrap like the notion that the U.S. Is receiving advanced alien technology in exchange for resources being mined on the dark side of the moon; putting members of Vermont's law enforcement community on trial for who knows what; making legislators subject to capital punishment if they don't live up to secesher standards for participation in governing; and on, and on, and on. You can read their chat for yourself at the Free Vermont Listserv provided at the end of this post or this earlier post of mine here.

The Creation of a Provisional Capitol for the Secessionist Second Vermont Republic in Hancock, VT

Perhaps my personal favorite of the lunacy that Flomenhoft has for years been a central figure of is when, hot on the heels of their crushing 2010 defeats for guv, lite-guv and a smattering of legislative seats, he and a small group of confederates met at a ramshackle B&B in Hancock, VT and declared the place to be their "provisional capitol." Dickie Drysdale's Herald of Randolph had a piece on the affair here.

'Nuff said.

Now is often the point when Flomenhoft or one of his pals scream ad hominem! That is, however, a fallacy. What's really happening here is that Flomenhoft is presenting himself as an economic expert without revealing his true agenda - separating from the economic construct of "the Empire" to further the effort for secession - or without revealing that on every occasion that Georgist economic principles have been applied to a community the effort has failed. Flomenhoft's track record for nutty proposals that come to naught speak directly to his credibility as an authority, not unlike the spiteful mayoral candidacy of his colleague and similarly unregistered lobbyist for the lobbying group Vermonters for a New Economy. The character of the proponents of a plan that so radically alters the Vermont economic landscape with the real goal in mind of secession is valid to consider.

This is by no means all of Teh Crheyzy that permeates Flomenhoft's secesher activism but what's significant is that the Vermont Senate Finance Committee has even given this last secesher pipe dream, a plan that the remnants of the Second Vermont Republic have cited on their hate blog as their #1 priority intended to escape economic entanglement with "the Empire," as much attention as they have.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Public Banksters - Part III

Unregistered public bankster lobbyist Gwen Hallsmith crushed in Montpelier mayoral election. Legally registered commercial bank lobbyist John Hollar gets more than 66% of the vote.

Go figure.

(The post on the unregistered public banking lobbyist Gary Flomenhoft's mystique is stilltocum)

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Public Banksters - Part II

A fundamental part of political persuasion is propaganda. Contrasting and comparing is an elemental part of the charade meant to convince others that one "product" is superior to another. Proof is irrelevant. And any well oiled lobbying effort is very aware of this.

Repetition is an essential element of the propagandist, coupled with endorsements from important figures like politicians. Both of these were missing from the first go around by Vermont secessionists in their pursuit of economic separation from "the Empire." The first effort relied considerably on bluster, argument and a large dose of imperiousness. They were on a learning curve. Now they've hit the basics both with endorsements from political mouth breathers and a more than year long propaganda effort that's been supported by a single source of truth that is controlled solely by themselves in the form of the Gund Institute.

The Gund Institute is committed to the fanciful economic theory first espoused by Henry George in the late 19th century known as Georgism. The problem is that where it's been tried Georgism has always failed to deliver on its promise. Marx saw Georgism as a socialism-capitalism hybrid while capitalists have seen Georgism as Stalinism-lite. Both are right and wrong. The Georgists at the Gund Institute have been peddling the failed crap of Georgism for years with little success. The secessionists have been hanging on Gund Fellow Gary Flomenhoft's every utterance for years and have had similarly sad results. I'll have more on Flomenhoft's sorry record in a future post. And Flomenhoft isn't the only Gund honcho with ties to the secessionists; there's also a then Gund boss Robert Costanza, a past editorial contributor to the defunct secesher rag once known as Vermont Commons.

The point here is that with this go round the secessionist leadership that has been primarily in charge of the state bank proposal has adhered to propagandist principles in a more disciplined way. So they present conjecture as fact while ignoring facts that raise serious questions about the efficacy of what they propose. As they work to achieve a bandwagon effect with little public support - the petition of support at longtime secesher Jim Hogue's website has gotten a whooping 19 signators, although that may say more about Hogue's following than it does about support for public banking - they disparage their opponents in a way intend to exclude them from the discussion; you know, state public bank lobbyists good/commercial bank lobbyists evil. One has to wonder why public bank lobbyists have failed to register as such with the Vermont Secretary of State's office as is required by statute.

In the small number of town meetings where the seceshers were able to get their question about a public bank on the warrant (accounting for less than 7% of the state's population - in one town only about 15 voters were needed to make the mark). Expect much to be made of a piddling showing on their question. Many of the small number of towns involved are the hometowns of individual seceshers (Rob Williams - Waitsfield; Jim Hogue - Calais; etc, ad nauseum; funny thing though, the point guy Flomenhoft wasn't able to get the needed signatures in his hometown, Burlington, which says loads about the groundswell of support that is supposedly growing day by day, eh, Gary?) who have a sufficiently number of friends to get to the 5% threshold needed to be considered for the ballot, although in some cases a simple majority of the town's governing board is all that's need.

The recent kerfuffle over the firing of one the public banking lobbyist's, Gwen Hallsmith, from her government job included her accusing her supposed tormentor, Montpelier mayor John Hollar, as being an evil commercial bank lobbyist - horrors! Unfortunately for the public banking lobbyist and former Montpelier community development director, Hallsmith, the Vermont media has extensively reported on her effort to enlist Vermont's governor in a scheme intended to intimidate the commercial bank lobbyist, unsuccessfully I should add. It also raises a valid question about who's really the evil one. You can read two of the better stories by Seven Days VT's Paul Heintz and Vermont Public Radio's Peter Hirschfeld here and here. The whole soap opera aspect to this hasn't been missed by the pols looking at the public bank proposal and as a part of the propaganda effort it can't be doing the public bank lobbying team much good.

So look for more the propagandist's tricks and tools to be put to use by the public banking lobbyists in the coming days - faulty cause and effect based on shaky "facts," repetition, testimonials, name-calling, transference, and emotion laden words - but it's definitely not looking especially good for them. At this point the best outcome for them just might be that they not get a Second Reading by the Senate Finance Committee.

But ya never know how these things are going to turn out. Maybe after all these years of one loss and defeat after another, the secessionists are on the cusp of their first success. I wouldn't bet on it, though.

Next up: The Flomenhoft Mystique.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Public Banksters - Part I

For those of you who may be unaware (and that would be most of you) the Vermont secessionists are at it again.

They're making their second attempt at getting a public bank established in Vermont. In 2010 the seceshers first started making noise about creating a public bank, eventually bringing a plan to the Vermont Legislature to create their dream bank. At that time they grounded the public bank plan in the debunked economics of Henry George, a late 19th century, charismatic contemporary of Karl Marx. The legislative committee tasked to dealing with these clowns heard them out but left their scheme "on the wall," the legislative equivalent of a graveyard.

This year they're back and they've learned a thing or two about horse trading and are leaving their lightening rod members in the background for the moment. But make no mistake about the fact that the seceshers have made public banking their number one priority since they see it as the first step to disengaging economically from "the Empire."

The Senate bill, S. 204, would create an advisory committee that would forward recommendations for implementation of the public bank plan in 2015. The bill does not address capitalization issues related to creating the bank that estimates for range from thirty to as much as seventy million dollars. I'm sure that the Finance Committee will be able to find that in-between the cushions of the Senate chamber since where they're not likely to find a loose 30-70 mill in the budget. One of the Senate sponsors' longtime hobbyhorse, a Vermont state credit card, is embedded in the next to last page of the bill (that's an example of the horse trading that I mentioned above) and that is likely to prove to be a poison pill for this bill since the bonding necessary to let this bird fly will probably come in at a conservative quarter of a billion dollars - minimum.

This whole public bank shebang has a few ways that it can go but rather than speculate I'm going wait to see what direction the Senate Finance Committee takes. It's safe to say though that this probably hasn't much of a chance of surviving the committee smell test.

UPDATE: 5:28 PM the Senate has just published its calendar for tomorrow, February 28, and no Second Reading of the bill is scheduled - tick, tock.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Look Back at Yet Another Year of Misses, Missteps and the Mistakes of Vermont's Foundering Secession Movement

Two years ago today the screwballs of the Vermont secessionist clowncar announced their opening salvo of a Takeover Vermont movement - they were "amassing" candidates to occupy the entire Senate of the Vermont Statehouse, step into the governor's and lieutenant governor's office, along with a fistful of House seats. History will note that none of their candidate's came even remotely close to anything more than a piddling showing in any race. Perhaps that was because two months before the 2012 election I'd exposed their super-secret listserv where they waxed poet about their love for antiSemitic, misogynistic, racist and homophobic tropes, as well as their contempt for Vermonters who they believed to be gullible. Fortunately, those same Vermonters didn't fall for the crap that the seceshers were passing out. So I thought that today might be a good day to look back at the year that followed the 2012 debacle, 2013.

Last year at this time Vermonters throughout the state were breathing a collective sigh of relief that the decade long attempt to establish a dictatorship of the seceshatariat and associated argle-bargle had come to an abrupt end with the passing of the Magnolia Vermonter, Thomas H. Naylor, who was by any reasonable estimate a racist and Jew hater. Gone too is his dream for a do-over on women's reproductive rights and marriage equality. My criminy, if only he'd lived long enough to troll Duck Dynasty rednecks who're into making duck sounds on dick-like instruments with other duck dudes while disparaging gays, blacks and other non-Christopsychos, who knows how much he might have seceded, er, succeeded into making this a world more appreciable of other neo-Confederate "scholars" like his longtime butt-buddy Kirkpatrick Sale. We can all remember when Second Vermont Republic co-founder Sale said of the state Israel that it could be "unmade." Nothing could speak to the delusions of these secesher clowns more than that kind of looney ideation about the end of the Jews once and for all... a final solution proposed by the very core of the leadership of the SVR.

In 2013 the hoopleheads at the hate website Vermont Commons still ground out misinformation and the latest anti-Semitic, conspiracist garbage but not at anywhere near the same rate as they had in the past. The promise to have a new print junk journal resuscitated for 2013 turned out to be more pure secesher bullshit. Rob Williams, who presides as the top mouth breather at the VTCommons hate blog, idiotsplains to everyone who doesn't see him coming but realizes that would have been a good idea once he gets into his wet-dream shtick about "the emerging Vermont independence movement" that they're going to prevail, that's despite getting no one elected and no legislator to announce support for their fantasy. Ain't. Ever. Gonna. Happen. Rob. And that's no matter how many bumper stickers (that people throw away once they get clued into the racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of hate that comes with it) and useless commentaries and Facebook posts that Rob, Matt Cropp, Juliet Buck and the other tiny group of bedwetters plaster onto the Internets. Vermonters won't forget Williams' role as the then vice chairman of Second Vermont Republic in bringing neo-Confederate racists and segregationists to our state to arouse a secesher dream of division and exclusion. The KKK inspired and slavery loving group that Williams thought so much of that he had them on the SVR advisory board was the infamous League of the South, a group he has yet to denounce although only a bit more than a year ago he claimed to have put an end to the criticism of his group for having sought to affiliate with racists. (How's that going, Rob?) Like the neo-Confederate wing of the hate based secesher movement, Williams' hate blog will no doubt keep chugging along promoting attacks on Israel, Jewish "international bankers", the Vermont legislature, rule of law, etc. in its usual ineffectual way.

Vermont secession theology, like most faith based ideologies and theologies, has a well developed eschatological component. The world as we know it is going down (peak oil, peak fracking, peak F-35s, you name it) and there's only one way to escape the horrors and that's through the secesher rapture (Now where have I heard that before?). Tie that with their confiscatory economic theories that promote the largest grab of private property since the Stalin era and you can get a sense of why their political campaigns have been so, like, totes failed.

VTCommons contributors were able to maintain their reputation as being invariably late to the media party, such as when Gaelan Brown, the renown VTC house derp, who wrote about the compost sales tax debacle six months after it had been covered much more responsibly and professionally by Vermont's print and electronic media. Brown failed to disclose his own bottom line interest in the composting industry in his piece for VTCommons', uh, journal hate blog, a huge journalistic no-no. Me wonders how his conspiracist exposé of the collusion between the U.S. military and space aliens over extraction mineral resources from the dark side of the Moon in exchange for advanced alien military technology is going - oh, and don't forget the hidden truth about aircraft contrails that Brown has the scoop on since that's bigger than the Snowden disclosures (except for the difference that Snowden's dealing with, like, facts and truth, and not the attenuated sort of truth churned out by Teh Secesher Crheyzies!).

2013 entertained no new secesher conventions such as the small nations thing that was to be funded by some bored prince that Naylor and the mini-Naylor, Rob Williams had been sucking up to, nor has any secesher made a meaningful announcement to run for office in 2014 - heck, for their 2012 run debacle they wouldn't shut up even when they had no right to speak, so why are they so silent now? No Jim Hogue "Ethan Allen" drag shows that I noticed. Not even a peep for months from the not-so "Senator" Robert "Needed Killin' " Wagner despite his still having an inactive 2014 campaign website of sorts. Speaking of never-gonna-be senators, I've been following the random, mostly just for nothing Denny "Hit List" Morrisseau comments which read more like deranged outbursts as he derps the net and should give'em a mention but I've misplaced my Morriseau-to-English dictionary and without that they still don't make sense. Suffice it to say that, aside from Naylor himself, Morrisseau, who describes himself as "The Very Foreign Minister of SVR but is more aptly the "impacted bowel" of SVR, is possibly the most staggeringly anti-Semitic passenger of the Vermont secesher crazy train. You can read about his proposed "hit list" for Jews here.

The death of Naylor, the longtime and apparently only Vermont secesher sugar daddy, spelled the end to the gravy train of show conventions and videos attended by tens of people (mostly out-of-staters and sometimes not even that many/few) over the years. One could even speculate that the unseemly association with a group and an e-"publication" that has long term ties to racists, homophobes and anti-Semites in its past and present "issues" led to the departure this summer of one sham radical from a frontline position in the leadership of the minuscule anti-Vermont National Guard group (or as they like to frame themselves, the anti-F-35 movement) or maybe she just got tired of holding the reins on stoopid.

Profoundly failed 2012 gubernatorial wannabe (99.24% of Vermonters all voted for someone else), Dennis Steele, managed to finally snag an interview in 2013 where he mentioned America but not a secesher Vermont while promoting an addictive product that the CDC has been found to contain substances harmful to humans, including carcinogens. Steele even asserts, without presenting any evidence whatsoever that,
"there are a growing number of people who are moving from cigarettes to electronic cigarettes..."
But as the American Cancer Society has noted,
"(while) e-cigarettes have not been shown to be effective tobacco cessation tools and are not FDA approved, some distributors are marketing them for smoking cessation."
Nice going with the new craptacular project, Dennis. Given that New Hampshire has banned them and that New York is well on its way to doing so and that Vermont isn't likely to continue to allow them, you've certainly seemed to have latched onto another big loser. Perhaps you'd have saved something of what's left of your reputation if you'd just taken some more money from out-of-state racists, misogynists and homophobes and had not climbed aboard the poisonous gravytrain of Big Nicotine.

Anti-Semitic "journalism" continued to be a niche product among many VTCommons contributors throughout 2013 including a tasty bit of Rothschild-Federal Reserve conspiracism late last year that cites as a source a video favorite of the head bangers that congregate at Holocaust denial raves. In an apparent end of year attempt to seize the low ground in foisting anti-Semites into the Vermont discussion of, you know, The Jew, VTCommons has highlighted the work of Robert K. Moore, a noted anti-Semite and writer for the Canadian Holocaust Denial work in progress, Michel Chossudovsky’s Global Research hate site.
"As overseer of the anti-U.S., anti-globalization website GlobalResearch, Chossudovsky has manufactured a long list of eyebrow-raising accusations that often read more like wild-eyed conspiracy theories than serious political discourse: the U.S. had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks ("Of course they knew!"); "Washington's New World Order weapons have the ability to trigger climate change"; the U.S. knew in advance about the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, but kept it to themselves (apparently so they could ride to the rescue of devastated coastal regions); big banking orchestrates the collapse of national economies. Of course, all that talk of banking conspiracies can lead one into some bigoted territory. B'nai Brith Canada has complained to the University of Ottawa about anti-Semitic postings on Chossudovsky's site." Source
You know, the Jews, such complainers. So what's their problem, anyway?

Robert K. Moore, an aficionado of drunk culture, seethes Jew hatred in that uniquely 21st century fashion that talks about The Jew without saying the word Jew, "but we all know who we're talking about" kinda way. You know, Rothschilds, Tri-Lateral Commission, architects of the Federal Reserve, the money masters, blada-blada-blada, sorta like wearing a transparent jockstrap for the huge wood he harbors for world Jewry. He also posts his garbage at the vehemently anti-Semitic website of Pater Meyer's called, oddly, Serendipity.
"I regard Judaism as, among all religions, the least worthy of admiration," Peter Meyer, 2004
Similarly, in 2012 when the secesher brain trust was bursting onto the senator/guv campaign scene they connived on their super-secret campaign listserv where they waxed fondly about their similar feelings about world Jewry. There they'd been charmed by their largest out-of-state contributor who happened to be a regular then at the neo-Nazi Stormfront.org website. Williams had cautioned the head of the ticket, Dennis Steele, about sounding as whacked out on the topic as their VTfuhrer, Thomas Naylor, but with little success.

Sadly, VTCommons house anti-Semite, grande dame Carol "Shit-fer-brains" Moore has drifted from her once primary role as the ardent, incessant Jew hater and segregation proponent at VTCommons and at her blog into merely lamenting her Medicare eligible physical form (target weight: 180 lbs!) that's rendered, according to her, her slinky black leotards a mere figment of her imagined past. Maybe in this moment of self revelation she'll finally come clean about the tale that she tells about "choosing" to live in a minority neighborhood because she's, you know, so-o-o committed to whatever the fuck it is that she's up to at the moment - it's really just a marginal area investment property duplex owned by a Maryland Libertarian Party cohort of hers who no likely feels sorry for her tired ass. Oh, and did she ever find a taker for her role as cook for whatever loser would be willing to hump her ass and play the docile, self loathing male that she advertised for on her blog a year or so ago? Sad, Carol, really sad.

This past year also gave us the duplicitous spectacle of VTCommons hate blog publisher Rob Williams showing his contempt for the public by crowd sourcing the promotion of a mobile Yak BBQ food cart without ever telling the potential suckers that he'd put his yak herd/ranch on the market four or so months earlier. Didn't he think that sort of disclosure, as in like transparency, was necessary for the marks to really make an informed investment decision, huh? Must be making Champlain College proud of Perfesser Williams, no? That's just the sort of sleazy practice that makes it harder for legitimate kickstarters but, hey, WTF? The kids gotta learn. Heh... And as if to show how unconcerned he is about having provided a hate platform for years at VTCommons, from one of its very earliest issues for the likes of UVM's white supremacist professor Robert S. Griffin, convicted felon & racist LoS Board of Directors member Franklin Sanders to today's stable of anti-Semites, Williams proudly points to his role as publisher of the hate blog on his Champlain College bio. Don't go looking for Griffin's white supremacist essay from VTC issue #2 or Rob's own cheerleader-like hummer for Lincoln hater, white supremacist and LewRockwell.com nutter Thomas DiLorenzo in VTC issue #3 since they've been scrubbed. More intellectual transparency from Champlain College's own inhouse anti-Semite, Herr Doktor Rob Williams.

Looks like the Vermont seceshers won't be crowing, "We winned!" any year soon. Rumor has it that they may be lowering the 2014 "achievement" bar to adopt steal a salute (just like they tried to steal the Vermont National Guard's Green Mountain Boys flag) from the French anti-Semitic, Holocaust denying comedienne Dieudonné called "La Quenelle", "a gesture which involves touching the right upper arm with the left hand whilst keeping the right arm pointed downwards," also called the "reverse Nazi salute." I can almost see the 2014 secesher alumni photo being taken in front of the Vermont Statehouse - not quite enough people to make up a full calendar but with the entire group saluting in a manner that points to the ground in both a symbolic gesture acknowledging the passing of the baas, the Dixie singin' Thomas Naylor, and the death of their movement. I'm sure that the French bigot Dieudonné won't mind and might even welcome the appropriation from a companion anti-Semitic organization. Then the tiny group could do a statewide tour of synagogue's and take selfies of their doing the salute in front of such places - it's all the rage among anti-Semites these days.

The Second Vermont Republic: Vermont's own Y2K but with even less impact. 2014 should prove to be even less impressive as Williams (sans Naylor) continues to shake his fist impotently at Vermonters, the state legislators, statewide office holders, the congressional delegation and passing cars. Rumor also has it that Rob "The Champlain College Media Internets Expert" Williams has been doing a makeover/re-boot of his hate blog at VTCommons; it's pretty much the same ol'turgid, conspiratard nonsense (like the Boston bombing was a "false flag" operation) and anti-Semitism that the site is noted for with some of Naylor's vintage, sage/suckest mind farts cut and pasted on because there's nothing like re-worked failure to keep a website on life support. No doubt that the teevees rollout of the fifth season of Duck Dynasty is on the secesher "must watch" list for tonight. I'll keep you posted.

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For the archive of the Free Vermont Framework listserv, click here.

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Secession Obsession

Recently I saw an exchange on "Dr." Rob Williams' Facebook page that gives truth to that old adage that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

He was getting some serious wood over the northeastern Colorado secession movement in a couple of Facebook posts when he received a challenge from a longtime ally and friend, Carolyn Baker and another person. Baker's a new agey lecturer that secessionists and gloom-and-doom types swoon over and covet every utterance as though unicorns shoot from her ass.

Even Baker was having a hard time swallowing Rob "Baghdad Rob" Williams' endorsement of the nascent Coloradan secesher troupe led by three Weld County Colorado commissioners with encouragement from the counties' virulently racist representative to Congress, Cory Gardner.

Rob rebounded by citing the pro-fracking, anti-gay, racist Colorado secesher movement as yet another thing that his failed Vermont secesher plot could disassociate from. Here's how the exchange went:
Rob Williams shared a link via Vermont Commons. 7 October "A "peaceful decentralist revolution" in Colorado, says the The New York Times? Welcome to the party, Rocky Mountaineers. Free #Vermont!"

Samantha Campisi: "Except those people are against gay marriage..." 7 October at 16:30

Rob Williams: "But Vermont will decouple itself from such intolerance, Samantha." 7 October at 17:40

Carolyn Baker: "Nothing to get excited about. A bunch of frack-loving racist rednecks. As a pro VT INDEPENDENCE fan I'm not impressed with these folks." 7 October at 20:10

Rob Williams: "That's why we want to disassociate, Carolyn. They are helping our Vermont independence cause, right?" 7 October at 20:21
Given Rob's degree of pathology when it comes to anything secessionist, he seems incapable of recognizing or remembering that it was just this sort of cavorting with racists and homophobes back in 2007, then in the form of the racist League of the South and the deeply homophobic, Christian separatist Christian Exodus, who he'd invited to Burlington to lecture Vermonters on the true path to salvation, that led to his defunct hate journal's loss of a distribution deal with state's largest weekly, Seven Days, and the eventual demise of his "movement" into a sniveling group of 20 or so chronic and profoundly ineffectual complainers. Even Rob's co-founder and mentor, the Dixie singin' Thomas H. Naylor, had the good sense to throw in the towel last year, actuarially speaking.

No, it remains true that Rob, the old dog, is incapable of a new trick when it comes to homophobic, racist separatists - he continues to celebrate them. Claiming to be positioning himself to eventually "disassociate" from such hate groups isn't so much a new trick as it is mere evidence of the depth of his delusion.

There'll be no secession of northeastern Colorado, just as there will be no secession of Vermont.

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For the archive of the Free Vermont Framework listserv, click here.

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