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

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

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