With the world's attention elsewhere, unsettling signs of a re-ignition of the Balkan conflict are mounting. Former KLA commander Hashim Thaci was elected prime minister of Kosova on Jan. 9 and vowed: "I assure you that within a few weeks we will declare independence." (Reuters, Jan. 9) One week earlier, a bomb exploded at the offices of a Serb bank, the Komercijalna Banka, in the ethnically mixed southern Kosova town of Dragas, causing considerable damage but no injuries. Kosova's Serbs, backed by Serbia and Russia, pledge to resist any moves towards independence. NATO's 16,000-strong Kosova peacekeeping force is braced for unrest after Serb-Albanian negotiations ended in deadlock late last year. The US and most EU states are expected to recognize an independent Kosova, after Russia blocked its secession at the UN Security Council last year. (Reuters, Jan. 2) In an unlikely twist, New England's Green Mountain State has become at least a minor geopolitical football in the controversy. Russia Today newspaper Jan. 18 tried to stick it to Uncle Sam with a piece cheering on the burgeoning Vermont secessionist movement. Despite its clueless rendering of "secession" as "succession," it makes the point that the Vermont separatists view US support for Kosova's independence as a propaganda tool:
US state eyes independence
The move to independence in Kosovo is being closely monitored by a group thousands of miles away in the United States. For 230 years residents in the U.S. state of Vermont have harboured a desire to secede from the United States.
Vermont separatists are hoping Kosovo will set a precedent they can follow.
The state is known for green mountains, liberal views and the second lowest population in the United States. But thousands living in this small state are pushing for a very big change – to break ties with Washington.
Thomas Naylor is the man behind the movement known as the Second Vermont Republic.
"In our view the United States, the empire, has lost its moral authority. It's engaged in massive illegal activity both at home an abroad. It is unsustainable economically, militarily, politically, environmentally. The titanic is going down," Thomas Naylor says.
Vermont was independent for 14 years before joining the Union in 1791.
Naylor, a retired economics professor and published author says "the US is too large to be run by one central government", which he calls unfixable and corrupt on both sides.
The anti-war and eco-friendly supporters of the Second Vermont Republic created their own flag, manifesto and anthem.
The movement has even attracted attention from secessionists in other states like Virginia, Alaska and Texas, which culminated in a North-South Succession [sic] Summit that took place this week.
Among the topics of discussion was Washington's support for Kosovo's independence.
It's something secession advocate Kirkpatrick Sale is keeping an eye on.
"…Once they are for a secessionist state in Europe, than [sic] they can't be against a secessionist state here in America. How can they oppose Vermont's succession [sic] when they've already agreed to the principal of the right to succession [sic]?" Kirkpatrick Sale wonders.
While principal is one thing, Vermont and Kosovo aren't identical situations.
A decade ago, it was war, ethnic divide, and US and European military intervention that brought Kosovo to where it is today. And while the leaders of Kosovo want independence, Vermont's Governor and state representatives don't support succession [sic].
Attorney Paul Gillies says the move is technically legal, but believes it would be an economic disaster.
Meanwhile, a survey by the State's University found 13 per cent support succession [sic] from the United States. Not an overwhelming majority, but the movement is gaining popularity.
While the future status of Kosovo may be known relatively soon, Vermont secessionists believe their fight will take up to a decade. They vow to stay determined and focused, hoping to create a stand-alone republic that first broke free two centuries ago.
We also note that not all Vermont separatists were pleased with the "North-South Secession Summit" held in Chattanooga in October. The blog Vermont Secession harshly criticizes Thomas Naylor and Kirkpatrick Sale for making common cause with Confederacy-nostalgists and racists.
See our last posts on Kosova, the Balkans, secessionism and the struggle in New England.
See also our December 2004 special report, "Free Vermont!?" by Peter Lamborn Wilson.
Many, Many Problems With The Russia Today Article
For instance, Paul Gillies, a former Vermont Deputy Secretary of State, attorney and history, has made no statement asserting the legality of secession as the process is proposed by the small Second Vermont Republic group. He has said,
I saw the Russia Today piece and saw that with all its errors it really wouldn’t be worth the time to respond to it.
Fact is, the SVR secession plan went belly-up when its leadership refused to break their ties to Southern white supremacist groups and began to purge local Vermonters from their ranks for voicing their own objections to the leadership stance. Much of what’s left of the group is primarly out-of-state in origin and marginalized by their other extreme views on 9/11, sun spot activity as it relates to activist fortunes and creation beams.
That’s some serious wackiness, yo. But Mr. Rowely, we cannot figure out if you are pro-secession but critical of the current secessionist leadership, or if you are just flat-out anti-secession. Your blog is called “Vermont Secession,” yet all the info on it seems critical of the secessionist movement. Can you elucidate?
Fair question. For the sake of brevity, if you go to my very first post I lay out the reason for the blog and my position at that time. My blog gives the Vermont community information previously not known or even hidden by the Second Vermont Republic leadership and thus its name, Vermont Secession. I do include information from and about Vermont pro-secessionists who are also appalled by the SVR racist ties and its boss, Thomas H. Naylor, that I don’t think can be characterized as anything other than a fair representation of the facts. The facts are what they are and I leave it to the reader to decide for themself about secesssion.
Having found the character of the leadership of SVR’s associates and advisors to include criminals and white supremacist activists, and Vermont being the small state that it is, and knowing that racists in the secession movement have personnally attacked and threatened others that they perceive as critics, I began the blog anonymously. Turns out to have been a wise choice. The leader of SVR, Thomas H. Naylor, launched an attack on one critic in the form of threatening his employment, resulting in a short-term setback for the Vermont blogging community.
Many in the white separatist activist community have acquired doctorates to polish their credentials, like David Duke, J. Michael Hill, Donald Livingston, Clyde Wilson, etc., but that doesn’t change one whit the fact their ideas are flawed.
Here’s what “Dr.” Naylor, an academic and educator, wrote in his book “Downsizing the U.S.A; The Crisis In Higher Education: Metaphor for America”
As for my views on secession for Vermont today, I believe that the situation is such that secessionist here have only themselves to blame for the poor public perception that now exists for the subject. The damage they have done is enormous. On racism within their ranks their leaders have espoused a “Don’t ask, don’t care” policy; they utilize the language of intolerance when they recycled the “Take back” language of the Vermont homophobe community in a legislative move of theirs; they’ve personally attacked beloved local community leaders who have not responded to them as they first wished; they jointly sponsored conferences with the racist League of the South and invited their leaders into our community; they have purged local Vermont community activists like Dan DeWalt from their leadership when they won’t support their ties to racists; they’ve represented themselves as being from the Vermont leftist community when nothing could be farther from the truth. I could go on but I think you see what I mean.
Do I support secession for Vermont? I’d like to remain open minded on te topic, although the hardcore pro-secessionists call you anti-secession if you don’t gulp down their KoolAid without question, Jim Jones style. And certainly not if it means driving off a cliff in the clown car that is the Second Vermont Republic.
“Vermont neo-Confederate movement”?
The Plainfield-based Green Mountain Daily also calls out the sleazy politics of the self-appointed secessionist “leadership”:
Good for Green Mountain Daily for calling out these opportunist rascals—and leave it to the reliably execrable Counterpunch to give them an uncritical soapbox.
this issue is settled
Mr Lincoln settled this issue. Once you’re in, you don’t get out. Sorry boys, the slave trade is not returning, at least not over the counter (insert link to criminal justice system statistics here).
Abe Sure Didn’t Settle the Issue!
Nope! The scumbag Lincoln didn’t settle the issue. What he did was get over 600,000 people killed in a war against Southern Independence. All the scumbag had to do was buy the slaves. That would have been a whole lot cheaper.
He wanted the taxes. He wanted to use the wealth of the South to finance the railroads (he didn’t mind executing some Indians that stood in the way, either) and other Northern projects.
And the people that keep on talking about “white supremacists” causing our problems need to accept the fact that Jewish supremacists are the real problem (along with Zionist Christians who want to bomb all middle-eastern countries to support political Israel.
The folks that applaud succession in Kosovo and would deny it in Vermont are hypocrites of the lowest persuasion. Get a life! And while you’re at it, get a conscience. Start thinking for yourself!
I guess attracting such vile flies…
…is the price I pay for blogging about Ron Paul. Hey, don’t they teach you to close parenthesis down there in Alabama?
Lincoln and the Hoodwinking of America.
The fact remains that what is not explicitly stated in the Constitution as the domain of the federal government is specifically NOT the domain of the federal government.
The statements regarding the desires of Lincoln and the Union to dip into the wealth of the Southern states is quite true, but the reasons are unimportant. The fact that Lincoln and the legislative branch trampled all over states’ rights and set the downward spiral of federal concentration of power that has led us into the situations we find ourselves in today.
Regardless of one’s political leanings, the federal government has proven itself to be horrid at handling anything that they are given jurisdiction over. Housing: Screwed that up. Health Care for the elderly and poor: Screwed it up. Social Security: Screwed that up. Roads and infrastructure: Screwed that up. Education: Screwed that up too.
There was a time, when the education system in the United States was ranked number 1 in the world. During that time, the schools operated in a manner that was answerable to the state, while receiving blanket funding from the federal government. The Feds did not hand down mandates for what shoudl and should not be taught and did not require that teachers ply their crafts in a “government approved” manner. When the federal government took over via the Department of Education in 1981 (signed into law in 1979, thank you, Jimmy Carter), what occurred was a re-segregation of schools. No, not from a racial perspective (true desegregation never really ocurred, as any inner city teacher can tell you), but from an economic one. the schools that were struggling began to fall more and more behind, as the feds started trying to use national test scores in federally approved subjects to determine the amount of funding that each school received.
The problem with this funding scheme is that it was set up completely opposite to what should have been. The suburban and rural schools which were doign well on national tests were showered with funding while the inner city schools and others which traditionally did not do as well on these tests were treated as pariahs. Hence, the schools that needed funding for such frivolous things as TEACHERS and BOOKS and SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS were outcast and the schools that were doing well were boosted by more funding. It is the educational equivalent of the old “rich get richer and the poor get poorer” addage. Perhaps Bill’s target on the last post is the beneficiary of a DoE-administered education, resulting in a lack of closure of parentheses.
As far as health care goes, a couple little-known facts about the microcosms of socialized medicine that exist in this country:
The Veterans’ Administration
Medicare and Medicaid
Social Security was set up to make sure that the elderly were taken care of after they reached the traditional retirement age. It took part of the burden off of companies that had begun, independently, to set up retirement programs for employees after the Great Depession. The sentiment behind the Social Security Insurance Program was presumably a pure one, but there were several lapses in forethought when setting it up:
Baby Boomers, as a whole, were worried about pursuits other than families. These feelings, along with the advent of the birth control pill and other effective and safe forms of contraception and the emergence of the Women’s Liberation movement resulted in another population contraction.
These cycles and the ignorance of them by the original law establishing the Social Security Insurance program have led to the conundrum of the current post-Baby Boomer generation being expected to take care of a generation whose numbers far exceed what the work force is about to become. The numbers are not as dire as some pundits would have us believe, and Social Security is still viable, although lean, provided that the next point is changed.
Roads and Infrastructure
There is a specific design of bridge that is present in most of the eastern 2/3 of the United States that has proven itself to be faulty. The government employed the design and had the bridges built due to cost. The contractors who built the bridges used cheap girders to hold them up. The bridges are collapsing. While this is going on, Congress is grilling Andy Petitt and Roger Clemens about–steroid use in baseball.
How can anyone defend anything that the federal government is doing? It is pathetic and woefully under-qualified to handle the situations and programs that it tries to centralize.
Yes, this post seems to have gone WAY off-topic, but it all comes back to one thing: Lincoln and his horridly poor interpretation of the Constitution.
Yes, arguments can come on the side of “Constitutionalists don’t think, they just blindly follow the Constitution” and “The Constitution is a living document that was drafted in a time when the framers could never have imagined the world as it is today.” Those arguments have a point. The framers also realized this, and that is why they provided for amendments. If something is so important as to necessitate a change from the original vision of some of the greatest minds the world has ever seen, then, by all means, it should be addressed. It just needs to be addressed by the most stable and supreme law of the land and not by people who wish to usurp the power of the populace by trying to make them think “it’s for their own good” and other such nonsense. For mistrust of the people to govern their own affairs, and its mistrust of the states to govern affairs that are none of its business, the federal government needs to realize its fallacies and faults and return to what was proven to work and make rational, legal adjustments (by the Constitution and by observing the limits and separation of powers). Rather than passing easily thrown-out laws and overturned court rulings, Constitutional amendments a procedures are the only way to guarantee that the freedoms and protections required by the evolution of society are continually met and cannot be repealed by a select few who pretend to know what is best for all of us based on some printout or database with a skewed scope.
Of course, I expect the powers that be on this site to denounce what I am posting as glorifying some horrible social ill. Likely, that ill would be racism (due to my denouncement of Lincoln and the Civil War). The truth is that Lincoln created the wiggle room that allows the corruption that we (as “Paultards”, NeoCons, Socialists, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, whatever our label may be) continuously complain about. Lincoln was a great man for his accomplishments. Greatness can lead to beautiful things like the end of slavery. It can also lead to horrible tragedies, such as the de facto end of the government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Instead, we have a government of the power, by the power, and for the power, and any voice, regardless of the philosophy behind that voice, raises alarms.
We need to quit quibbling over the minute details of language, punctuation, and other unimportant aspects of communication. What we need to realize is that we are all here because we know something is wrong with this country and the direction it is heading. We are here because we were purposefully seeking information on bringing about change for the better. Sure, that seeking may have been for someone that is polarizing, such as a Ron Paul, a Dennis Kucinic, a Barrack Obama, or it could have been searching for a controversial term, such as “WWIV”, “Anarchy”, “Socialism”, “Constitutionalist”, or whatever.
We all reaize that this country is going in the wrong direction. I think it is safe to say that, at least initially, the founders of this country had a pretty good idea that came from a deep first-hand understanding of what living under a tyrannical regime was like. The fact that any of us, as US citizens, can walk outside and be labelled as “enemy combatants” and whisked away to Guantanamo Bay and never see a judge is the scariest thing we as Americans have ever faced. This fear is compounded by the realization that, since the idea of having one’s day in court is a pipe dream under the “Patriot Act”, it is the first law that can NEVER be struck down by the Supreme Court, since they, by design, can never hear the case.
Arguments are going to happen between those of differing ideologies. It’s a fact of life. What about the idea of working toward finding real solutions to bring about real change and real restoration of freedoms in the name of “resetting” and rebuilding the country in a coherent manner that makes sense, that protects the citizens and the sovreignty of the USA so that we can all guarantee that we are able to continue to have our differing opinions, voice those opinions, and act to bring about a re-emergence of the USA as a country to be proud of, no matter what one’s personal ideologies are?
And you are proposing…
…a frying-pan-to-the-fire maneuver? From an impersonal, inefficient and bureaucratized social safety network to none at all—just throwing people to the wolves? Leave it to the “magic of the market”? I’ve got news for you: the government got involved in healthcare and social security because the magical market wasn’t working. It wasn’t some arbitrary ideological imperative, as you Paulistas seem to think—it was a response to hard, cold, oppressive reality. Anyway, using all this to impugn the moral issues of the Civil War is beneath contempt.
Look, wrap it up, or go get your own website. I am not going to keep approving these self-important screeds forever.
> the government got
> the government got involved in healthcare and social security because the magical market wasn’t working.
Denying that is the big lie of the Reagan revolution. The struggles of organized labor and the up from squalor initiatives under FDR were not experienced and so are forgotten and or marginalized by the armchair theorists of the post Reagan right. From the safety of our unsustainable national lifestyle they rail against the poor/dark who are coming across the border/from the cities to take away their birthright to consume as much of the world as they want. Arguing Lincoln’s relation to ‘states rights’ in 2008 is the equivalent of comic book collecting or bitter racist theorizing (in above case I would say the former)
I’ll stop now. I don’t want to get my own website.
Read your history again.
Read your history again. The income tax (ostensibly enacted to support social betterment programs) immediately preceded the Great Depression. The economy took an immediate nosedive, and the jobless rate went through the roof. The year that the income tax was finally instituted (as it had been tried and struck down twice before) was considered, up until the market crash in 1929, the worst year in US financial history (up until that point), with a 10% drop in series 1 stocks for the year. The taxes collected did nothing to stave off the Great Depression.
Even with entitlement programs in place, without a strong economy overall, they mean precisely nothing. If the government gives a person a check for 300 dollars a month and the economy is weak, they are lucky to buy food for the month. In the presence of a strong economy and properly valued currency, that 300 dollars increases dramatically in worth. Regardless of how socialists, communists, and other collectivists spin it, if businesses are not healthy, neither is America or its citizens, from the bottom to the top of the financial food chain.
By the way, my previous post started out as a rant on Lincoln, but ended as an attempt to extend an olive branch. Said olive branch still stands, even in the face of your insistence of throwing insults at me in the other thread. Now, if you like, I can engage in that as well, but I would rather see if some common ground exists that we can build on.
Everything you know is wrong
The federal income tax was enacted in 1913—not “immediately” before the Depression. And we were not even talking about that—we were talking about Social Security, education and healthcare. And everything we have seen since Reagan indicates that the social health of America is inversely proportional to the “health” (read: corpulence) of the corporations.
That was a pretty funny olive branch. Listen, stop cluttering up my blog with ill-informed, reactionary malarky.
In economic terms, 16 years is rather immediate, considering that it took even longer than that for the average citizen to benefit from any of the “social betterment” programs that the income tax was supposed to fund. Either way, it doesn’t matter.
The fact is, you categorized my views incorrectly and I attempted to clarify them in a subsequent post.
I Am Proposing…
The Department of Education should be axed completely. Our educational system was the envy of the world less than 30 years ago (pre-DoE), and it is now considered mediocre at best, and with good reason.
SSI should be revamped into a growth account of some sort. Not privatized, per se, but when someone puts money in, he or she should see a return that is not diminished so easily. If some sort of ultra-low risk investment were made with the money, the low level of interest could conceivably shift the burden backward, so that you and I are paying for the current retirees, our children would be paying for people closer in age to themselves, and slightly closer with each generation. Eventually, the money paid can be used specifically for the generation that paid into the fund when they retire, making sure that the money going in is more proportional to the money taken out than it is today.
Further, there should be loophole-free laws prohibiting the use of Social Security funds for anything other than Social Security. I think we can both agree on that.
Health care can be made more affordable by reforming the torts that allow ridiculously high payouts from minor medical malpractice suits. By minor, I am talking about pure accidents not involving negligence that do not involve serious or permanent injury. Ask your doctor how much of your office fee goes toward malpractice insurance and you will see my point.
Now, I am not saying to protect physicians totally (this would be the effect of a totally socialized system, by the way) in the case of negligence resulting in serious and/or permanent physical, emotional, or psychological injury, but the trivial matters resulting in 7 and 8 figure payouts have got to stop. When that stops, then mandates limiting cost of malpractice insurance can be handed down, and then limits on charges can be enacted without driving physicians out of the country (and don’t think for a second that MDs who paid upwards of $100,000 to $200,000 for college and medical school, usually in loans, not to mention the time invested in education won’t go somewhere where they can get paid enough to make it worthwhile). After all that, then there is a possibility of a workable socialized health care. Kucinich had the right idea, but he is as unelectable as Ron Paul is.
On the contrary, Bill, I am not for throwing anyone to the wolves. I am looking for ways to make things more simple and easy for the layman to understand and navigate, thus ensuring that those who need help get it. Additionally, streamlining things so that those who do not really need the help are not given said help could make these programs and others more palatable to fiscal conservatives like myself.
obviously didn’t finish the job.