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 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.


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 far.........from your favorite Bigmouth.


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 POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT 05775 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 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:

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:

Vermont Municipal Bond Bank report:

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:

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

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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