Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another Reputedly Early Vermont Secession Proponent Gets Some Distance Between Himself and the Secesher Wingnuts

Years ago Vermont writer Bill Mares wrote a book with University of Vermont professor Frank M. Bryan titled "OUT! The Vermont secession Book" that flatlanders (only) scooped up
while they were bagging up leaves to take home to prove that they'd visited Vermont during foliage or, as those same flatlanders often as not called it, "foilage" season.

Since the "small community" (their words, not mine) of Second Vermont Republic (SVR) secessionist droids appeared on the scene in 2003, Mares has kept his distance.  Bryan not so much.

Early on, Bryan served on the SVR advisory board for years despite it being well known that his fellow board members were members of white supremacist groups both here and abroad.  When Bryan finally quit the group he said that he only took so long because he didn't want to look like he was being forced out because of charges of racism against SVR. I wrote at length on Bryan's departure, no, getting his ass kicked out by that Magnolia Vermonter, Thomas Naylor, who said that Bryan wasn't a sufficiently doodah secessionist here.

You'd think a professor would have had more balls than to hang out with the Dixie singin' Thomas Naylor crowd long after it became well known that Naylor was routinely rubbing shoulders with some of the most despicable, racist Lost Cause characters that you couldn't possibly make up on your own.

Any who, Mares indirectly sinks the shaft into Vermont seceshers with a commentary that aired on VPR today.  You can listen to it here or read it below.

Mares: Secession Revisited
Vermont Public Radio
Wednesday, 11/28/12 5:55pm

By Bill Mares

"..(Host) With post-election petitions to secede flowing into the White House, writer, former state legislator and commentator Bill Mares reflects on real and fanciful moves to leave the Union."
"..(Mares) Since President Obama's re-election, numerous petitions to secede from the union have arrived at the White House. They're made up of approximately 600,000 signatures from all 50 states - or roughly 2 tenths of one percent of all Americans. The hotbed of this modern-day secession movement is Texas , whose governor Rick Perry referred to it publicly during his brief run for the presidency. The Texas secede web site insists that, " is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it's citizens' standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties..."

"Secession is a topic I've thought about before. 25 years ago, UVM prof essor Frank Bryan and I wrote a book that speculated about how Vermont might secede from the union. We titled it, "OUT, The Vermont Secession Book" with the sub-title, "We won't make that mistake again." We invented a covenant supposedly signed by Ethan Allen and George Washington giving Vermont the right to secede whenever we became sufficiently angered by federal actions. We imagined a currency backed by pure maple syrup which was stored in the Granite quarries of Barrie . We proposed to sell products like fresh air, Bag-Balm, dried cow manure and hand-size plots of land (100 square inches) so that millions could own "a piece of Vermont." And so on . We me ant the book to be a satirical spoof. But these New Secessionists - like the "birther movement" to cast doubt on Obama's citizenship - are no joke."

"I grew up in Texas so I know from experience how some residents of the Lone Star State view the world . My elementary school textbook was titled "The true history of the war between the states, from a southerners' point of view." We were taught that in 1845, the United States joined Texas in a new Union. And a popular song of the era was "Save that confederate money boys, The South will rise again."

"But the urge to secede isn't limited to either the South or the Conservative Right. Before the Election six different friends sent me an open internet letter proposing that the Blue states should secede if Romney won - because, among other things, they claimed that:
62% of those in the Red states believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say that evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11 , and 38% that Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale.
Fortunately, in most of the country cooler heads have prevailed. At Mississippi State University campus newspaper student editors warned against this "internet sensation" this way:

"To those who signed petitions to secede from the union, think long and hard about what that signature implies. Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.'"

"Finally, the secessionist fire no longer burns in Rick Perry's belly. According to his press secretary, "the Governor believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it."
Move over Bernie Sanders, Bill McKibben and virtually every other Vermonter who hasn't boarded the Naylor crazy train. It looks like Mares just got himself a prime seat on the enormously long Naylor shitlist.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Vermont Now Has Its Very Own Secession Petition at the Website

(See Update At The Bottom Of The Post)

Fittingly, the cut and paste petition, Peacefully Grant the State of Vermont to Withdraw from the United States of America and Create Its Own NEW Government(sic), was initiated by a New Yorker. I mean, why the hell not? Who better to represent the interests of Vermonters in an unconstitional endeavor that an out of state resident?

The vast majority of the 81 signators are, naturally, from away. Perhaps a petition that proposes that all out of state signators of a petition that would directly impact the individual and collective sovereignty of real Vermonters be declared persona non grata and forever be denied access to or use of Cabot cheese or Vermont maple syrup.

Update: Wednesday, November 14, 9:10 PM: While secesher trolls are signing petitions that take self-determination from the citizens of the states that the trolls seek to extract from the Union, Vermonters who'd first given the secesher boneheads at Second Vermont Republic and VTCommons the benefit of the doubt are now galvanized to bring sanity to the discussion.

Coincidentally, VTCommons has finally entered the fray but its blogger follows the usual pattern of conflating unrelated issues so I won't be linking to it other than to note that once again they're late to the party.

Please consider registering at the website (although racist FauxNews drones would argue that it'll make it all the easier for FEMA types to cart you off to the Obama death camps) and then sign Vermonter (unlike the vast majority of the signators of the Vermont secesher petition) ntoddpax's petition "Educate Secessionists On Constitutional Authority" here

(Update: Thursday, November 16, 10:16 AM) After a weak start on the Vermont petition the total of signators to the petition is (drumroll, please) 246! Of the 246, 21 signers show as being from Vermont. The bulk are from places like Texas, Tennessee or Georgia. None of the Vermont signers appear to be from amongst our local, homegrown seceshers in - although in most not originally from - Vermont.

The organizers of the national secession (something of an oxymoron, no?) campaign are flooding the website with these loyal cadre of signers from across the country. Question is, couldn't they have found one Vermonter to initiate the petition?

(BTW, ntoddpax, they didn't need your mischievous help! I plastered the link onto a gaggle of Teabagger, Obama-hater messageboards and websites last night. I'm a little disappointed with the turnout but the morning is young and there's been a burst of support while I've been writing from the South, Mid-Atlantic and like anywhere but Vermont, so the total is now 320!.)

Update: Thursday, November 15, 9:15 PM: Of the 1,125 signators from every state in the country only 37 (or 3.2%) are discernibly from Vermont. This tally is getting to be worse than a Vermont secesher running for elective office. As, um, organized as this out of state effort appears to be, without real Vermonters, it's running on empty and will only serve to embarrass more than its past failures have. Not a good situation considering that the Vermont seceshers have a few upcoming failures to look forward to as well.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Secessionist Loopy Lous Pulling Out All The Stops...

... and are sailing off into new unconstitutional waters, mixed metaphor-wise.

(See Update At the Bottom of This Post)

Let me explain.  Over the past few days the mailbox here at Vermont Secession has been flooded with reports on, and arguments for,
numerous petitions advocating for secession that have been filed at the White House website that is maintained for that purpose that is called We the People: Your Voice in Our Government.

I really didn't pay any attention to effort since it is stupefyingly destined to fail.  So far there are 36 state specific petitions (in some cases 2 or 3 for some states, an unsurprising situation given the fractious, peevish nature of the average secession supporter).  Somehow it's escaped the attention of the secesher braintrust that (1) the President has no constitutional authority to entertain secession petitions; (2) in order to petition for the secession of a state one should at least have standing, that is, live in the frickin' state that your signing the petition on behalf of (some of these clowns are signing multiple petitions from a host of states - one North Dakota malcontent is the initiator of one of the two New York petitions); and (3) if they haven't heard of the Civil War, I'm sure then that the case White v. Texas (1869) will be well beyond the ken of the average secesher bonehead,
"(a) U.S. Supreme Court case in which it was held that the United States is “an indestructible union” from which no state can secede..."
"Writing for the court, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase commented that the federal Constitution 'in all its provisions looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States.'"
One of the originators of this secesher cry for attention is a Texan whose racist blood boiled over when President Obama was reëlected, as reported in Fort Worth's Star-Telegram and in a post at the Trail Blazers Blog at The Dallas Morning NewsMother Jones has a similar piece here.

Speaking of secesher boneheads - I'm looking at you Second Vermont Republic - one notably missing petition is the one from here in Vermont. Perhaps the White House threshold for notice and response is too high,
"As of October 3, 2011:"

"To cross the first threshold and be searchable within, a petition must reach 150 signatures within 30 days."

"To cross the second threshold and require a response, a petition must reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days."

Vermont seceshers have been notorious failures at getting signitors for their various petitions on their hobbyhorse du jour.  Maybe SVR or VTCommons have a submission but we'll never know unless they hit that magic one-five-oh, and there's zero chance that they'll get 25,000 real Vermonters to sign their petition.

We all get to play, no?

Update: Tuesday November 13, 9:53 PM: Vermont blogger ntoddpax had this whole sordid mess up two days ago here and here and his piece is now front paged at Vermont's top progressive blog, Green Mountain Daily.

Like me, ntoddpax would like to know where TF Vermont seceshers are on this muddled petition effort.

Update: Wednesday, November 14, 12:54 PM: A petition has appeared that would require that should a state leave, its portion of the national debt would be subject to collection on its way out that's titled Force All States to Pay Their Portion of the National Debt Before They Can Secede from the Union. Setting aside or the moment that no state may leave the Union (see Texas v. White (1869) above there history pertaining to the Union having acquired the debt of the states that began in 1790, a small portion of which may be read here. None of the many secesher petitions at the site address how they'd handle their portion of the debt - I wouldn't recommend taking a check from these clowns.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

More on Those Addison County 2012 Senate Results

Nationally recognized expert on Vermont and national politics, Eric Davis, professor emeritus of political science at Middlebury College weighed in on the 2012 Addison County state senate race between incumbent Sen. Claire (D), Democratic former Vermont House member (as well as having served in a number of other community service posts) Chris Bray and never-ever likely to be  Senator Robert "Needed Killin' " Wagner, a recurring Vermont secession movement candidate who, from  what I can find, has never won any office here or in Brooklyn, NY where he hails from.

This from today's Addison Independent on the race:
"While the 5,073 tallies registered by Wagner were considerably more than the 1,127 he garnered in 2010, political observers did not attribute that to Wagner gaining more traction with his campaign in which he championed, among other things, eliminating the personal income tax and instead taxing natural resource extraction as well as unearned income from land speculation. Eric L. Davis, a political analyst and professor emeritus of political science at Middlebury College, said Wagner’s beefed-up numbers likely came from tallies tossed to him by Republican voters who did not have a GOP candidate to vote on in this year’s race for state senate. For the first time in decades, Republicans did not field a single candidate for Addison County’s two state Senate seats. GOP officials have cited as reasons the rigors of campaigning and the senatorial district losing Brandon (a Republican stronghold) and gaining Huntington (which leans Democratic) through reapportionment. 
Davis noted the election returns show that roughly 17,500 Addison County residents voted for president on Tuesday. Those same people had two votes to cast in the state Senate race, which could have produced a total of around 35,000 votes. But only around 28,000 votes were cast in the state Senate race, meaning that approximately 7,000 voters did not make two selections in that contest. 
“The Wagner vote represents Republicans who wanted another name on the ballot and there were no Republicans to vote on, so they voted for Wagner,” Davis said.But Wagner, reached on Wednesday, discounted Davis’s analysis. 
“We don’t know until we ask people why” they voted the way they did, he said.Wagner said he believes most Vermonters classify themselves as independent, and he perceived his vote total as evidence of growing support. And he believes any votes tossed his way on Tuesday were a statement against majority party rule in general, rather than just a jab at Democrats. He said he is likely to run for state Senate again in the future."
Davis' analysis jibes with what I first posted about months ago and mentioned again two nights ago as the election came to a close: Wagner would pick up votes from some Republicans who had nowhere else to go.  At his website Wagner continues to inflate the importance of his showing but it's all starting to sound too contorted - sad, really.

Meanwhile, in another matter related to Wagner's conflicting positions, there's been no word yet about whether Wagner will be
returning the $288.30 Federal subsidy he received while flying out of the airport in Rutland, VT, which is exactly the kind of Federal subsidy that he "is strongly opposed to" and has argued harms Vermonters that I revealed he'd hypocritically availed himself of (as in sticking his snout in the federal money trough) here. Wagner must publicly give back that subsidy money or he'll be exposed for the hypocritical fraud that many of us Vermonters now know him to be. baas the Dixie singin' Magnolia Vermonter Second Vermont Republic "Vermont Commons" Rob Williams "target="_blank * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * For the archive of the Free Vermont Framework listserv, click here.

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"Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics" Concerning the Addison County Election Results for 2012

"Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to  (Benjamin) Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'"Mark Twain - 1906
The quote above is one that comes to mind whenever I hear pols and their would be brethren, spin election results.  After the brief post preceding this one, which was put up primarily to be the first (and likely the last) to chronicle the never-ever-gonna-be Senator Robert "Needed Killin' " Wagner's latest loss in his bid to unseat Addison County's real Sen. Claire Ayer (D), I thought a little light needed to be shed on his assertions about the Addison County election results in 2012.

The Vermont secession movement candidate, Robert Wagner, is now pointing to his having finished dead last as, well, I should let him explain it to you from his testy concession post that he grandiosely titled Great Accomplishments in 2012,
"Thanks to you I have shot up to 18%, with no money spent. Vote count has tripled to 4273 (from 1278) two years ago. My home town, Ripton cast 30% of its votes for me."
Here's the weakness in Wagner's self-serving analysis: Republicans didn't
 field any candidates for the two Addison County senate seats, one of which was an open seat.  As I pointed out months ago, Wagner stood to benefit from the absence of any Republican candidate for the county senate seats, and the numbers bear that fact out.

It's no secret that there are many, Republicans and Democrats, that can't vote ever for someone in the other party.  That seems to have been borne out in by the return he cited for his present hometown, Ripton, VT - official results have yet to be posted at the Vermont Secretary of State's website so let's just assume for the moment there's some truth to what he says in this instance and that his thumb isn't on the scale.  What Wagner doesn't tell you is that in 2010 the percentage of people in Ripton, VT who didn't vote for a Democrat was virtually identical to this year.

Wagner has an ongoing relationship with the Republican fringe over at the Ron Paultard inspired Liberty Candidates, Teabagger website here and his results around Addison County would seem to confirm his Republican affiliated ties.

Wagner announced early on that he was targeting the Addison County senate seat of incumbent Democrat Claire Ayer, which reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of how the county legislative electoral process works on his part.  In short, Sen. Ayer soundly kicked his ass in every town in Addison County, ultimately crushing her putative opponent (at least in his mind) by 30% points.  Similar to the Ripton results, the Wagner vote count in the other towns generally mirrored past Republican results.  So as Wagner himself has asked in his own post on his stunning defeat despite the field of candidates have been clear of opposition from the Republican quarter,
"Cui bono? Who benefits? Draw your own conclusions."
we can adduce, "Che ha beneficiato della mancanza di un candidato Repubblicano a Addison County" or who benefits from the absence of Republican candidates in Addison County (that is, besides the Democrats).  It's safe to conclude that was the non-Dem in the senate race, Robert Wagner.

The problem for Wagner is that Republicans aren't likely to continue to concede the field to the Democrats and nor are they going to feel inclined to endorse a purported independent candidate who has vowed to take Vermont out of the Union.

Speaking of which, one of Wagner's announced plans from way back in 2010 was to field a slate of secessionist candidates for every Senate seat in Vermont's General Assembly that he said not a word about in his Great Accomplishments in 2012 post, a group he called "The Thirty." Early on he even went so far as to lie repeatedly about how many he'd already "recruited" in June of 2011, saying that he had 6 seceshers ready to go (here and here).  As it turned out, only two others - perennial flake Peter Moss in Franklin County and Terry Jeroloman in Chittenden County - longtime secesher supporters, as in Kool-Aid drinkers, made Wagner's anti-American cut.  Like Wagner each came in dead last in their respective races - Moss with 4% and Jeroloman with 1%.  Truly sad, the whole, small lot of them.  "The only way is up," huh, guys?

As the election season disastrously closed for this year's tiny crew of Vermont secesher office seekers, their baas, the Dixie singin' founder of the moribund Second Vermont Republic whose failed utterly in his plan to take Vermont out of the Union, Thomas H. Naylor, has announced that he's expanding his horizon beyond that unachieved object to now, get this,

"SVR has broadened its mission to include a commitment to... the peaceful breakup of meganations such as the United States, China, and Russia"
Sure, Tom. Get right on that. No doubt the U.S., China, Russia and whoever else you've got in your cross hairs are preparing to capitulate given your stunning lack of success here in Vermont.  More likely not.  Certainly President Obama wasn't specifically referring to Vermont's "small community of secessionists" (as one founder of SVR, Ian Baldwin, refers to them) when he gave his victory speech in the wee hours of November 7 but Naylor, Baldwin, Wagner and the remainder of the dwindling Vermont secesher movement should pay heed to his closing words:

"We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United (emphasis, the President's) States of America."
Meanwhile, in another matter related to Wagner's conflicting positions, there's been no word yet about whether Wagner will be returning the $288.30 Federal subsidy he received while flying out of the airport in Rutland, VT, which is exactly the kind of Federal subsidy that he "is strongly opposed to" and has argued harms Vermonters that I revealed he'd hypocritically availed himself of (as in sticking his snout in the federal money trough) here. Wagner must publicly give back that subsidy money or he'll be exposed for the hypocritical fraud that many of us Vermonters now know him to be.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

BREAKING! Addison County Vermont Senate Election Result

Well, maybe not so much.  Wagner's numbers are up slightly at this point from two years ago but given that no Republican ran against the Dems Ayer and Bray, it's surprising that Senator Robert "Needed Killin' " Wagner did so poorly.  Why Wagner couldn't do better since there are so many Republicans that can't bring themselves to vote for a Democratic candidate might have to do with his dissing Republicans on other websites and Facebook; maybe some of the Republicans who did throw him a vote just hadn't heard that Wagner is a bigtime proponent of neo-Georgist/Marxist economics for Vermont.

No matter.  Wagner continues to be a major Vermont secession movement loser - he didn't replace 1 of the 30 Vermont senators that he'd vowed to have voted out, nor did any of his endorsed indy newbies make an electoral dent as he claimed that they would.

Wagner now supplants weirdo Dennis Steele (2010 secesher gubernatorial candidate) as defacto head of the list of majorly defeated, delusional seceshers that remain on the Vermont political scene.  If he follows his past practice, he'll announce his next campaign sometime tomorrow - not a very Vermont thing.  But, hey, this native Brooklynite who's only lived here a few years and has taken to calling others who've lived here decades longer as being "flatlanders" probably hasn't figured that out yet.

Meanwhile, in another matter related to Wagner's conflicting positions, there's been no word yet about whether Wagner will be returning the $288.30 Federal subsidy he received while flying out of the airport in Rutland, VT, which is exactly the kind of Federal subsidy that he "is strongly opposed to" and has argued harms Vermonters that I revealed he'd hypocritically availed himself of (as in sticking his snout in the federal money trough) here. Wagner must publicly give back that subsidy money or he'll be exposed for the hypocritical fraud that many of us Vermonters know him to be.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Addison County's On Again, Off Again, Vermont State Senate Candidate, Robert Wagner, Seems to Be At the End of the Line For the 2012 Election Cycle

After having dropped out of sight for weeks, nay, months, Vermont's obsessively negative campaigner and the not-ever-likely-to-be, self declared "Senator" Robert "Needed Killin' " Wagner has indicated that he's dropping in and/or out again.  In a persistently, yes, hateful campaign full of distortions, an exceedingly negative tone, and repeated mistruths about his opponents and those of other candidates for whom Wagner's offered uniformly unrequited support, Wagner has taken his campaign to a low that was only equaled by his 2010 secessionist running mates, Dennis Steele and Peter Garritano.

Last week, after I posted that his campaign's been on an oddly extended hiatus as the 2012 election cycle winds to a close, Wagner belatedly began posting again about his campaign machine moving into overdrive - door-to-door outreach, sign waving - but nothing really seems to be coming of his, uh, late "October surprise" campaign twirl.

Early voting began during the last week of September, while Wagner was on break, but Wagner's announcement of his going door-to-door in Addison County didn't come until the last week in October - not exactly a winning strategy.  Town clerks from across the state are reporting early voting is up and "in some communities it's expected that as many as a third of all voters will cast their ballot before Election Day."  Funnier still, last week Wagner announced that he'd be doing a campaign sign wave event in downtown Middlebury on Saturday, October 27, between 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM.   I didn't  find him there at 12:00 PM but when I swung through again shortly after 1:30 PM, there he was with his swarm of supporters, er, buddy.  And they weren't waving.

In what passed more for a sign (two) vigil that was oddly marked by the grimaces and scowls that Wagner and his cohort cast at passing motorists and pedestrians, I was amazed by the whole gloominess of the event.
 By the time I could find parking and returned at about 1:45 PM, Wagner and his bud had scooted, more than an hour and a quarter early.  Maybe it was because, from what I observed, they got totally ignored by residents, who no doubt remembered that when they'd identified a community need and had met the challenge by raising the funds locally, and not at the state teat as he has, he shit all over their efforts at the opening of the Cross Street bridge in 2010.

I did manage to get one person at the corner to memorialize my attendance but, as can be seen, no Wagner.

When Wagner has campaigned this year, both in person and online, it's been as possibly the most negative of the minuscule, non-party candidates that's ever reared its/his nasty head.  He's even invoked the name of George Aiken in his campaign material:
"... as did George Aiken: local solutions first."
Whether he was focusing on local energy or local infrastructure, Aiken never would have embraced the likes of Wagner.  Aiken never was a secessionist nor could it be inferred from anything he ever said that he would have been.  He was a Republican (old school) who served in the United States Senate for 34 years.  Those of us who lived here when "the Governor" was alive know exactly what he'd think of Wagner's secessionist, neo-Georgist/Marxist, crybaby campaign.  Wagner had better hope that Lola Aiken never finds out that he's drafted her husband into his hateful campaign.

George Aiken, unlike Wagner, served Vermont first at the local level, then in the multiple state and federal offices.  Wagner, who after his failed attempt at inserting a secesher poison pill ordinance at this year's Ripton Town Meeting, hasn't attended a single select board meeting; he has no record of public service in any community that he's passed through that I can find.  No, but he's ready to serve in the Vermont Senate with an economic agenda that accounts for some of the greatest suffering in the last century.  He's claimed to have engineered an effort to replace every member of the Vermont Senate that he's called "The Thirty."  The two remaining dimwits that he'd originally touted didn't make his recent list of candidates that he's endorsed in the past few days - Dexter LeFavour and Dick Tracy for Vermont Senate and Tim Ryan, Ben Eastwood, Teo Zagar and Will Stevens for House - candidates who haven't endorsed back at him or responded to his various FB posts about them on his page or theirs.

Robert Wagner, despite his delusions of grandiosity in Vermont, is no George Aiken.

Post election, I'll have much more on his and the Vermont secession movement's neo-Georgist/Marxist nonsense.  Suffice it to say that at this point the Wagner campaign is done.



Meanwhile, in another matter related to Wagner's conflicting positions, there's been no word yet about whether Wagner will be returning the $288.30 Federal subsidy he received while flying out of the airport in Rutland, VT, which is exactly the kind of Federal subsidy that he "is strongly opposed to" and has argued harms Vermonters that I revealed he'd hypocritically availed himself of (as in sticking his snout in the federal money trough) here. Wagner must publicly give back that subsidy money or he'll be exposed for the hypocritical fraud that many of us Vermonters know him to be.

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