Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Public Banksters - Part XII

This should probably be subtitled as the Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire edition.

Nearly a month ago the Executive Director of the California based Public Banking Institute and unregistered lobbyist for a small group calling itself Vermonters for a New Economy, Gwen Hallsmith, appeared on the little watched GRITtv's Laura Flanders show. (NB: Even public banking supporters describe Gwen's work as "Lobbying for Public Banking") Flanders is a self described journalist whose interviewing style is to repeat back a program guest's talking points in the form of a question. If you have 17:20 minutes to waste of your life, you can watch the entire interview here.

At the 1:10 mark in the Flanders Show vid Hallsmith says about the non-binding public banking article the she and her little group managed to get onto a handful of Town Meeting warrants,

"It was great to hear all the returns coming in from around the state, 'cause towns all over the state voted for it. It wasn't just a little cluster here or there."
Holy whooper, Gwen! That's precisely what the results showed. Perhaps a "smattering" of towns would have been more accurate. Most of the less than a score of towns (out of more than 200) are clustered in north central Vermont, and in most of those they were only one or two towns in an entire county; no county (that's five or more than a third of Vermont's counties) along the entire New York State border had a town that considered the public banking article. Two towns each in the two southeastern counties considered the public banking article and not all of them supported it.

At the 14:27 mark of the vid Hallsmith delivers another of her misrepresentations that has been soundly refuted by Vermont Treasurer Beth Pearce,
"(W)e discovered in our (so-called) study is that existing state lending agencies already have plenty of unrestricted assets that could be used to capitalize the state bank. They have more than what would be required for a state bank. There's no additional bonding or capitalization needed."
Of course, Flanders let this stinker go by without a challenge or mention of the fact that it has been repeatedly refuted by state officials. Treasurer Pearce clearly states in her report to the Senate Committee on Government Operations of February 5, 2014 that,
"Capitalization would be expensive." Source
Also joining Treasurer Pearce in refuting the claims that were then being made by the public banksters in an October 23, 2013 VTDigger piece,
"VHFA (Vermont Housing Finance Agency) director Sarah Carpenter is not convinced about the merits of public banking.

“I’m a little perplexed about how that group thinks they’re going to get the capital,” Carpenter said. “Most of the money comes in as taxes and goes out as paying bills. So I’m not sure how they would have access to long-term capital, which is critical to most lending activities.
The so-called "study" that Hallsmith referred to was something pulled straight out of the ass of secessionist political oligarch and rocket scientist, Gary Flomenhoft, who a few years back engineered a seditious plot to supplant the Vermont Supreme Court and judge the work of Vermont's executive and legislative branches using a self-appointed "council" of secesher hacks. One of the hacks, Gaelan Brown, went so far as to suggest capital punishment for errant legislators. Hallsmith herself has had long ties to the moribund Vermont secesher movement. She was a featured speaker at the secesher's 2012 Statehouse Stunt that dazzled tens of Vermonters on a warm, late summer day. (You can read my reports on the 2012 Statehouse Stunt here, here, here, here and here.

At the 8:55 mark of the Flanders Show vid, Hallsmith laid the groundwork for what can only be described as a baldfaced lie when she says,
"I think this year we'll be able to claim some level of victory because it starts to look like the 10% that we talked about, transferring from the Treasurer's account into direct economic lending in Vermont will go through.

They've moved that into a new bill called S. 220 which I believe passed
(Ed's Note: No, it hadn't and wouldn't for at least another four weeks, and then in quite a different form than Hallsmith described.) The banking license, however, which of course is part of the tool kit that we (need) to make all of this work is not going to pass this year. But we'll keep working on this next year because I think as the state gets more and more used to this idea of being a bank, they'll start to see the logic and they'll start to see the benefits of it.
Ironically, S. 220 is a bill first proposed by Assistant Minority Leader Sen. Kevin Mullin (Rutland - R), State Chairman of the shadowy ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council as "an act relating to furthering economic development."

What S. 220, passed in the waning hours of this year's legislative session this past weekend, does is formalize through legislation the existing investment in local businesses plan of the Vermont Treasurer's office and provide for discretionary funding for the Governor's office, not unlike many other states programs designed to entice business investment, for both Vermont and elsewhere, far below the 10% boasted about by Hallsmith a month ago. The Vermont state government's capitalistic plan in support of local investment will continue as it has for more than a year and is being expanded to entice out-of-state investment in a way never conceived of by the public banksters. More on S. 220 from VTDigger here.

Vermont public bankster's unregistered lobbyists like Hallsmith and Flomenhoft would be well advised to stop trying to bullshit their way to their goal. This from Seven Days,
"We're very dependent on (lobbyists) for facts. Whereas, in a larger legislature, you'd turn to your staff," says Rep. Chris Pearson (P-Burlington).

But, he cautions, "A lobbyist doesn't get too many chances to get it wrong. If somebody's not trustworthy, you're not going to go back to them."

Seven Days, pg. 33, April 30, 2014
NOTE: An example of the undemocratic nature of Vermont's tiny group of public bank proponents can be found in this hubristic post,
"Erik Esselstyn and Peg Elmer, who were responsible for the Town Meeting votes in East Montpelier and Royalton, made the trip to the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday to represent all the people who voted to tell the legislators to support the legislation for a public bank in Vermont."
I'm not sure how Esselstyn or Elmer can take credit for the votes in some of the smallest communities in Vermont of other Vermonters unless they're making some sort of admission to vote tampering or manipulation or some other kind of voter fraud but I took the time to check both East Montpelier's and Royalton's Town Meeting warrants and neither warrant had the voters consider a question regarding who would represent them before a Senate committee, other than, of course, their own elected representatives in the Senate. Esselstyn's and Elmer's "representation" was of the self-appointed, narcissistic sort.

This isn't the first occasion when Hallsmith's honesty in her presentations has been questioned. When she was fired from her gig as Montpelier's Planning and Community Development Director last fall, published reports mentioned charges of dishonesty:
From Vermont Today: "In his four-page letter to Hallsmith, dated Nov. 6, outlining his reasons for placing her on leave, (Montpelier City Manager Bill) Fraser accused Hallsmith of damaging relationships around City Hall and on the City Council and Planning Commission, unprofessional behavior and insubordination, inappropriate use of city resources, and dishonesty." Source
From Seven Days: "City Manager Bill Fraser wrote in a letter to Hallsmith at the time that her dismissal was the result of insubordination, dishonesty and poor relations with colleagues and elected officials." Source
From Vermont Public Radio: "“We have a city employee who was terminated by our city manager (Bill Fraser) for a long list of causes relating from inappropriate use of city resources, dishonesty and a few other things,” (Montpelier Mayor John) Hollar says. “It’s matter of public record and if anybody wants to investigate that they can.” Source
It's gotten so that when I read or hear a new misrepresentation of fact from Hallsmith that I'm reminded of the John Lovitz character on SNL, Tommy Flanagan, the Pathological Liar and find myself expecting to hear Hallsmith at the conclusion of her typically dissembling verbal perambulations exclaim, "Yeahhh! That's the ticket!"

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