Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rob Williams - the Public Banksters Flack

A reader has pointed me to a recent letter to the editor in Seven Days from the publisher of a defunct "journal" that is now little more than an online nest of anti-Semitic, conspiracy addled hate bloggers - that's Rob Williams hatesite, of course.

Williams, a self described "journalist" and "media dude," who, rather than do the right thing by directly contacting the 7Days publishers or editors with his complaint instead engaged in a little flacking on behalf of the recently failed public banking effort in the Vermont Senate by suggesting that that failure should have received notice in 7Days' recent Money issue. This is by no means Williams first beef with Vermont media professionals. He's repeatedly lectured real editors and publishers on how to do news despite his having run his own tiny bi-monthly into the ground a couple of years ago and now proudly proclaims at his remaining hatesite,
"We make no pretense to “Objectivity”..."
all the while considering himself qualified to critique those real journalists about how they should cover what is, or as in this case, what wasn't newsworthy.
"Missing Story?"

"I always enjoy reading your weekly newspaper. But did you really just publish a Money Issue [April 9] and not do a stand-alone story on the emerging, grassroots, statewide campaign calling for a public bank for Vermont? That 15 Vermont towns passed town-meeting resolutions calling on the state legislature to create such an entity? The UVM Gund Institute's 40-page research study explaining how a Vermont public bank could create 2,000-plus jobs and reinvigorate Vermont's entrepreneurial, infrastructural and economic landscape? Maybe next time."
The rest of his letter is devoted to not one, not two, but three ways to contact the unregistered lobbyist for the small public banksters interest group, the California based Public Banking Institute executive director, Gwen Hallsmith. Given that Hallsmith is making her out of state media appearances (more on that in another post) stressing her position with PBI, you'd think that Williams might have noted that fact. But that would have undermined his claim that this public banking stuff is a truly Vermont based effort. As for "statewide campaign," there were only two towns in southeastern Vermont, half of whom voted down this dog; none in southwestern and west central Vermont or northwest Vermont. Hell, the remaining dozen and a half towns that passed a non-binding resolution supporting this public banking turkey were none other than the hometowns (past & present) of the public banksters themselves, amounting to less than 5% of the state's population. And finally, Williams does not take the time to mention that a number of the claims from the so-called "study" that he referred to were soundly refuted by Vermont's Treasurer, Beth Pierce, but then by his own statement he's not really "objective" in his representations when it suits him.

"Emerging?" The Vermont secessionists have had this public banking crap on their "to do first" for a half a dozen years and have three failed passes at the legislature to show for it. The "small community" of Vermont seceshers (their description) has said repeatedly that the primary method to extract Vermont from "the Empire" is to disengage economically from its financial institutions, no matter what the financial costs to Vermonters pensions, investments and the State economy.
"Example #1 - If Vermont can form a public bank that allows ordinary Vermonters to reap the benefits, Vermonters will have one less logistical and psychological tie to Wall Street and the Empire it enables."
So now there's an effort underway reframe their repeated failures as a success in this year's legislative session. As I said, more on that soon.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014


As a break from exploring the many connections between the public banksters and Rob Williams' Vermont secessionist movement, I thought I'd mention that there's a year old blog that's been doing some interesting stuff on seceshers (League of the South), neo-Nazis (Traditionalist Youth Movement, Stormfront, etc.) and other assorted low-life, anti-Semitic, homophobic, racist, white separatist scum. It's called "spe-lunk-ing".


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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Voter Suppression, Vermont Secessionist Style

Voting rights are under attack in this country as state legislatures nationwide pass voter suppression laws under the pretext of preventing voter fraud and safeguarding election integrity. These voter suppression laws take many forms, and collectively lead to significant burdens for eligible voters trying to exercise their most fundamental constitutional right.
From the ACLU report "Fighting Voter Suppression"
Normally, when we consider what an act of voter suppression might be we perhaps think "GOP; baseless claims of voter fraud; efforts to inhibit voter participation in the guise of protecting election integrity." In fact, voter suppression efforts are not confined to Republicans. For instance, gerrymandering in some states benefits Democrats but it's clearly the Republicans who are masters of this particular bit of electoral legerdemain and it's why Republicans, who could not get the majority of votes for the House in 2012, still maintain control there.

Getting back to what voter suppression might look like in Vermont we need only look to the communities that still vote from the floor on Town Meeting day. In communities where Australian (secret) ballots are used, the elderly and disabled can receive assistance in casting their votes in their homes. Even their care givers who may themselves find it difficult to get to the polls can have their vote counted. Town meeting floor voting has often had a touchy-feely image - think of Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms series and its depiction of someone speaking from the Arlington, VT town meeting floor. The portrait is often used in conjunction with sloppy, wet embraces of town meeting but it was really about the Freedom of Speech, which includes the freedom to not speak. Part of the myth of town meeting is the notion that discussion and interaction are essential to informed voting, a conceit that has more to do with getting a crack at the opposition and having the opportunity to intimidate and cow opponents and those that may harbor similar opinions.

Now comes Vermont secesher political oligarch and pooh-bah of the "small" remains of the Second Vermont Republic, Rob Williams, a proponent of neo-Confederate principles i.e., Lincoln historical revisionism and that the South had the right to secede to preserve slavery which led directly to the Civil War, with a bold Completely shameless plan to make town meeting even more restrictive with a novel voter suppression element. I won't link to his plan since it's at his anti-Semitic, conspiracy oriented hate site. Williams proposes eliminately all absentee balloting. While painting it as a device used primarily by "sun birds" who can't be bothered from their recreating while others (meaning him) do the hard work. You see, according to Williams, you can't be informed and cast an intelligent secret ballot unless you're on the receiving end of his hectoring at "a community forum that offers time for questions, comments, reflection and discussion." Somehow the disabled and elderly will magically become less disabled and perhaps even younger in May. And people who normally work weekends or hours when his compulsory meeting/discussion/reflection/comments session would be held will now have the time to meet his voting criteria. Oh, and he's including a cookout, along with child care from a group of non-professionals, just in case you haven't gotten your fill of basking in his charismatic aura. The more likely affect of lengthening the meeting will be to drive attendance and voting even further down so that the primary advocacy groups will have the meeting pretty much to themselves and should be able to impose their agenda on a community whose right to vote was so conscribed and afflicted. Williams wants to improve the QUALITY (his ALL CAPS) at the expense of the QUANTITY (again, his CAPS). Right. Perhaps this is the new (if not improved) secesher plan to impose an extremely minority, fringe plan for Vermont to secede from the U.S. on the more than 99% who do not support their kooky and illegal idea.

Rob's got two big problems right off: (1) there's no constitutional requirement that such a contrived, QUALIFYING (my CAPS) event take place, and (2) it's very unconstitutional to erect such "intelligent/educational" hurdles. Perhaps Williams, a self-described "historian" and "educator" has forgotten the nearly 50 year old Voting Rights Act of 1965 [1] [2] and its ending of the practice of institutionalized disenfranchisement of selected groups - in this case, if not the people he wants to harangue, the certainly the elderly, the disabled, their care providers, and the working poor, to name only few of the groups that would be left out because they wouldn't have enough "skin in the game" of voting to satisfy him. Even if Williams could muster the votes to impose this clearly unconstitutional endeavor, it'd only be one filing away from being cast onto the ash heap of electoral history. Remember the part of the top paragraph that read,
"...preventing voter fraud and safeguarding election integrity(?)"
Williams is just reworking that to prevent uninformed voting, according to him only and for which he provides no evidence, just like those "preventing voter fraud," and "safeguarding" qualitative "voting integrity."

His third problem, and this is where his voter suppression plan really shines through, is that he wants to do this electoral run around on a Sunday in May. The first weekend has Green Up Day on Saturday, so there goes the weekend; the second weekend is Mother's Day Sunday and even he can't be that much of a dick as to dump his mother for such an event (but, wait, maybe that is the plan!!!); the third weekend is the only open one before Memorial Day weekend and most of us are trying our damnedest to get the garden in (maybe that's a good suppression plan); and then, of course, unlike Rob, Memorial Day weekend actually means something to many of us, and if your aim is to suppress the vote, hold it on a holiday weekend.

Nice try, Robbie, but this dumb idea is just as dead as virtually all of your other campaigns, before it even gets started. Your contempt for the intelligence of Vermonters really shines through on this one, pal.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Public Banksters - Part XI (UPDATE)

In the post below came public bankster and executive director of the Public Banking Institute's Gwen Hallsmith, the failed unregistered lobbyist for a Vermont public bank and the economic guru for the Vermont secessionist political oligarchs, with her sky-is-falling prediction that the U.S. dollar is on the ropes. Well, I thought I'd take a slightly closer look at that doom and gloom prophecy, without using Hallsmith's reliance on anti-Semitic sources; here's what I found:
“Since late January 2013 the ruble is off almost 16 percent against the dollar and 17 percent against the euro,” says Chris Weafer, senior partner at Moscow-based consulting firm, Macro Advisoryw, wrote in e-mail to RT.
And that's from the friggin' Russian television propaganda outlet (previously called Russia Today) RT on January 27 of this year, headlined "‘Mise-Ruble?’ Russia’s currency hits 5-year low". Full piece here.

Now add to that three months of Russian fumbling in Ukraine and today Reuters reports this,
"... the entire development is clearly negative for the market (and raises) renewed fears of another wave of sanctions from the West."

"Russian markets also tumbled. The rouble and Moscow's main stock market were down around 0.7 and 1.5 percent, while the country's key bonds stayed under pressure as the cost of insurance against default increased."
And from Bloomberg News here,
"The ruble slid 0.6 percent against the dollar..."


"Russia’s Micex Index fell 1.4 percent, taking its loss since President Vladimir Putin’s incursion into the Crimea region at the beginning of March to 7 percent.
Gwen never lets real facts get in the way of her economic meme weaving but, as with her Vermont legislative campaign in consort with Vermont's "tiny community" of conspiracy addled seceshers, people know bullshit when they smell it.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Public Banksters - Part XI

I'd thought that enough had been said about the unregistered lobbyists of the public banksters until someone sent me Gwen Hallsmith's Twitter feed from the night before last wherein she's predicting that the "day of the dollar is probably over." Interesting stuff. And what does she base her pithy analysis on? A link to a article that posits the Russian ruble will become the currency du jour through economic alliances with Germany & China.

And Gwen's sources for this economic bombshell? A piece in the notorious publisher of thoroughly debunked anti-Semitic conspiracy theories with the occasional descent into Holocaust denial nuttery,, written by a contributor from the Voice of Russia, and a second piece by the longtime peddler of anti-Semitic crap, The Financial Times (paywall). The New Republic has a good piece on the Jew-baiters at FT here. Both publications subscribed to the anti-Semitic trope that Jews control the world's banks, the media, Congress, world governance, President Obama, yada, yada, yada...

The size of the economies that would continue use the dollar dwarf the supposed axis of Russia and China (Germany, no way) 20 to 1.

Projecting that sort of wishful insight probably explains some of Gwen's employment "issues." Or not. Who, other than Gwen, really cares at this point?

Why is it not surprising that someone who has hitched her wagon so tightly with the oligarchs of the Second Vermont Republic secessionist movement, who have extensive past affiliations with white supremacist secesher hate groups and their own extensive track record for anti-Semitic bile, would rely on such dubious sources?

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"Loathing Lincoln"

For years the Vermont secessionist movement has been a proponent of Abraham Lincoln historical revisionism. Lincoln bashing by the Second Vermont Republic leadership has been a staple of the local seceshers, along with promotion of the scribblings of Lincoln hating "writers" such as avowed neo-Confederates like Thomas DiLorenzo and Donald Livingston; both served as advisory board members of the then nascent SVR.

Next week the Louisiana State University Press will be releasing John Barr's Loathing Lincoln which examines both 19th century and modern day Lincoln bashers and historical revisionists. Today's Lincoln haters permeate the present day neo-Confederate and secessionist movements. Imagine my utter lack of surprise when I found in the book's bibliography a notation about the neo-Confederate Livington's contribution to then SVR co-chairman Rob Williams' hate journal.

One of the very first times that I heard Williams, a Vermont secesher leader and an adjunct faculty member at Champlain College in Burlington, VT, speak about Lincoln was on a local radio program. Williams railed:

"We have to get over our hero worship of Abraham Lincoln. He really was instead of the "Great Emancipator", we like to call him the "Great Centralizer." (sic) He essentially invented a new and novel unconstitutional interpretation and then foisted it upon half the country that was trying to leave..."

"Lincoln was very clever and maneuvered the South into firing the first shots..."
Hogwash! Or as one caller to the radio program directly challenged Williams, "Academic nonsense." Williams' media acumen was lauded by neo-Nazi and eventual member of Williams' exclusive Free Vermont listserv, James Duncan aka "Donnachaidh," at the hate forum of the Vanguard News Network ("No Jews, Just Right") here. Duncan so loved the Vermont secesher movement that he even minted an SVR coin in silver with his very own profile on the coin face. At the listserv he liked to swap wisecracks about lesbians, race mixing and rounding up Vermont law enforcement for some kind of trials when the seceshers took over. Duncan was the seceshers largest out of state contributor to its gubernatorial candidate, Dennis Steele, who when he learned of Duncan's background still publicly opted to keep the money. Duncan had more than 6,300 deeply anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic and neo-Confederate posts on the neo-Nazi hate forum. What he never disclosed there or elsewhere was his predilection for salt and pepper porn. Go figure. Duncan/Donnachaidh disappeared from the Internet (at least using those identities) shortly after his hateful neo-Confederate activities were exposed by this blog.

A noted researcher of the modern neo-Confederate movement, Ed Sebesta, wrote of Barr's new work,
"What I think is going to be interesting is when the public realizes that there is this modern movement that hates Lincoln. Lincoln is the personification of the modern democratic egalitarian America. This is why he is hated so much by neo-Confederates who dream of a hierarchical society. The attacks on Lincoln are attacks on modern democratic egalitarian America."

"Some so-called "heritage" groups are going to seem much more ominous to the American public as the public realizes how hostile neo-Confederates are to Lincoln, that it isn't a few cranks, but a movement, and further realize that this movement is hostile to modern democratic egalitarian America. Also, it will be realized that indulging the Lost Cause view of the Civil War has consequences."
More details about Barr's Loathing Lincoln can be found at Sebesta's anti-Neo-Confederate blog here.

To preorder Barr's excellent work use this Amazon link.

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