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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home