Five big stories Vermont media and politicians don’t talk about

By Guy Page

After a while, the big stories ignored by Vermont media and elected officials pile up so high that anyone with eyes can see them. Unless, of course, they are studiously looking in the other direction. Here are five:

1. Is Vermont’s Planned Parenthood soliciting Paycheck Protection $$? – On May 19 Tucker Carlson of Fox News released the bombshell story that individual Planned Parenthood affiliates have received $80 million in CARES Act Paycheck Protection Funds even though regulations say only parent organizations may apply on behalf of their affiliates, chapters, franchises, etc.

Apart from the affiliate application problem, there’s a real question of need, as well. The #1 service-related funding stream of PP income — abortions — has tragically continued as an “essential service.” They have continued even as virtually all other non-emergency health care were indefinitely delayed, resulting in huge financial losses and uncounted and uncountable human suffering. So compared to other employers whose business activity went into complete lockdown, does PP even need Paycheck Protection?

Guy Page

After the Carlson story broke, Vermont Daily got Planned Parenthood of Northern New England VP Lucy Leriche on the phone and asked her to respond. She didn’t answer the question then. She still hasn’t. The federal government hasn’t released the list of affiliates it says are in violation of the CARES Act. None of our politicians are curious. Neither is the press. Unless Vermont Daily missed it. And we’ve been watching pretty closely.

2. With U.S. cities on fire, Senate candidate Kesha Ram say “there is no such thing as a good officer” – This past Saturday, as most Vermonters discovered many of the nation’s cities on fire and police everywhere under attack, Vermont Senate candidate Kesha Ram Tweeted about a teenaged encounter with Los Angeles police which she wrapped up by saying, “that’s when I learned there is no such thing as a ‘good officer’ unless something drastic changes in the culture of impunity for law enforcement.”

The Tweet was soon taken down, but not before News Done Right Twitter hawk Brad Broyles captured and retweeted it. By Sunday 3 p.m. it had more than 1,100 views, including presumably several News Done Right Twitter followers from Vermont media outlets like Seven Days, WCAX, and the Valley News. Broyles even hashtagged several reporters. The result? Three deaf, dumb and blind monkeys. Sure, it’s “only” been two days. But 48 hours is an eternity for a hot story like a public figure making a seemingly blanket condemnation of every officer of the Thin Blue Line.

Why does this matter? After all, it was on Twitter, for heaven’s sake — who cares what’s said there? (Unless of course you are Maureen Dowd of the New York Times and every other media pundit this weekend who begged, begged Twitter to kick President Trump off its platform.) Here’s why it matters: Ram ran for lieutenant governor in 2016. Had she been elected, and had Phil Scott left office for any reason, our new governor would have been someone who in her heart of hearts believes there is no such thing as a good law enforcement officer.

At Gov. Scott’s press conference today, VT Daily read Ram’s statement and then asked Gov. Scott, Vermont Director of Racial Equity Xusanna Davis and Public Safety Commissioner Mike Schirling to comment. All criticized any blanket condemnation of police. “I don’t think it’s constructive to label all law enforcement as bad,” Davis said. She added that for people who have suffered police mistreatment, “it can feel to them as if” there are no good police officers.” Scott said, “I have a tremendous amount of respect for the law enforcement community,” and that despite some bad actors “we can’t paint the law enforcement community with a broad brush.”

Said Schirling: Most police officers are in the profession for the right reason, but “unfortunately it’s a profession that exists in a fish blow. Every event that doesn’t go well is magnified in that fish bowl, and rightly so.” The event that does go well “doesn’t make front page news.”

3. How will the Secretary of State seek to detect voter fraud? – As Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos pushes his second-in-the-nation (after Nevada) plan to mail every registered voter a ballot for the 2020 general election, 800 lb. progressive advocacy gorilla VPIRG is preparing to exploit it with an unprecedented voter harvesting campaign. And there is apparently no concern about, or plan in place, to detect possible voter fraud.

At a Senate Government Operations Committee hearing last Tuesday on a bill to push Gov. Scott behind the November general election decision-making ropeline, Rutland County Sen. Brian Collamore – with VPIRG president Paul Burns listening – asked Deputy Secretary of State Chris Winters whether focused third-party “harvesting” of absentee ballots could happen here under the new law. Winters conceded tersely that it could. That’s important because ballot harvesting in North Carolina was found to be rife with fraud as “harvesters” improperly pressured voters.

The blindingly obvious follow-up question was, “so what are your plans to prevent that from happening here, Dep. Secretary Winters?” Alas, no such question was asked.

Sen. Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) merely tossed Winters a softball question: she asked if the Secretary of State has found voter fraud in Vermont. Well, no, Senator, Winters responded. And that seemed to settle the issue for everyone. None of the officials present, nor any of the media coverage afterwards (other than Vermont Daily and a post by Rob Roper of the Ethan Allen Institute) saw fit to ask the guardian of the chicken coop how he plans to keep out the foxes. Neither did Winters offer the information, saying rather, “It’s not that we’re not concerned about voter fraud. We have not seen it happening in the state of Vermont. We’re always on the lookout for it.”

When our children tell us they can’t find their shoes, we ask them where they’ve looked, and then insist they look again. No such curiosity or direction seems to be forthcoming on behalf of the chickens/voters from either the Secretary of State’s Office or the Vermont Senate.

4. Has SunCommon laid off 27 workers? Word about layoffs gets around. When it reaches the media, depending on the size of the layoffs and the perceived importance of the affected business, it’s usually a pretty big story.

Last week a reliable source told me a family member was among 27 employees permanently laid off from SunCommon, the Vermont solar installer co-founded by former VPIRG president James Moore shortly after he led his organization as it pushed through legislation offering guaranteed, high-cost subsidies for solar power. On the strength of these subsidies and VPIRG-generated government support for solar power, SunCommon quickly developed a large market share.

So, last week Vermont Daily left a phone message and emailed SunCommon. Alas, no response. Never shy about seeking positive media coverage, SunCommon apparently believes that bad news is no news. That’s not unexpected for a business, but the media and elected officials (including several legislators with current or past employment ties to SunCommon) might be expected to speak out.

5. And finally, Guv candidate rallies statewide candidates (including two people of color) to run for office – Today, in the wake of the Floyd killing, Gov. Scott announced he will convene a task force to (among other things) ensure more minority participation in Vermont elections. This could be very good news for the grassroots political campaign led by John Klar of Brookfield.

Until Scott threw his hat into the ring last week, Klar was the only announced Republican candidate for governor. Without big financial backing, Klar’s grassroots campaingn has managed to attract 19 candidates for statewide and legislative office, most of them first-timers who share his ‘outsider’ view that the State House needs more fiscal frugality and rural representation.

A previously unknown gubernatorial candidate with virtually no budget rallying to his banner other first-time candidates from all across the state? How is that not news?

Yet at last week’s duly announced press conference on the State House steps, only one ‘mainstream’ reporter came with camera and questions – Calvin Cutler of WCAX. The only others in attendance were Vermont Daily and True North Reports.

Had they attended, they would have met many new faces to the Vermont political scene. They also would have heard a stirring impromptu speech (seen and heard here at 19:24 on video shot by Vermont Senate candidate Erika Redic) by House (Windsor 4-2) candidate Alice Flanders, an African-American and retired Navy engineer and instructor. She said the most racial discrimination she has ever felt has been from progressive white people who aren’t happy that her politics don’t match their prejudice about how black people should vote. Also standing with Flanders and Klar was African-American Levar Cole, a Chelsea farmer and also retired military.

The real power of the press isn’t how it spins the news. It’s how it decides what’s news at all. And perhaps more important, what isn’t.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/The All-Nite Images

9 thoughts on “Five big stories Vermont media and politicians don’t talk about

  1. One does not have to be a documented citizen to vote in VT – just prove residency – however out of state homeowners are still able to vote? *facepalm*

    • Oh my……if Vermonters watch that we’ll have some massive cranial hemorrhaging in their stretch limousine. Well done.

  2. 6. Rampant censorship
    7. Lobbyist and political operatives hiding as non-profits
    8. Vermont Corruption
    9 Poverty Traps disguised as affordable housing
    10. One of lowest ethical states in nation
    11. Vermont Press – complete operatives of NWO Pimps
    a) Ashe and 7 Days, cozy relationship
    b) Vt Digger funded by? Censoring of political speech….

    • VTD is funded in large part by the Johnson Family Foundation of NYC (via The Vermont Community Foundation) and the Lintilhac Foundation.

      • VT Digger has changed all it’s policies for replies and comments. Because they saw, and everyone else who read….that the leftist/enviros slant to ALL articles was soundly disliked. I’ve had up to 200 “likes” of my posts. Usually with Digger, on;y about 60% of what I wrote made it past the admin censor. NOW? VT Digger has blocked me from either being able to post reply, OR EVEN READING the comments. I am shut down, shut out now.. I wish somehow the IRS would examine them. They are NOT a non biased, non profit, they pay no taxes as non profit!….they are a completely total fraud in that they are nothing but a censorship filled Poltical Action Committee!

  3. 1. Planned Parenthood – If their “health” services are so vital, why don’t those who need “health” services, known to many ss the death of an unborn child, fund this carnage? Why should tax payers opposed the Planned Parenthood be forced to fund this organization?????
    2.Kesha Ram, GO BACK TO LOS ANGELAS.
    3. Condos could care less about the integrity of the ballot box. As long as ballots are in the mail, he goes AWOL.
    4. SunCommon – Laying off 27 is the first positive step this solar operator has taken. Step 2, close your doors and leave.

  4. Re: Item #2: Not only does Kesha Ram claim “there is no such thing as a good officer”,
    Vermont Business Magazine published a commentary by the Vermont ACLU stating:

    “The United States was founded on white supremacy and it will take far more sustained efforts, particularly on the part of white people—including public officials, elected representatives, individuals, and communities—if we are going to root it out. The ACLU is committed to doing everything in our power to make that happen, in solidarity with communities directly impacted by systemic racism and police violence every day.”

    OK. As long as the ACLU is painting with a wide brush… we should agree that the George Floyd murder by a white police officer is a reprehensible action that reflects systemic and prolific racism in our society. This circumstance, added to the possibility that dozens of other similar circumstances have occurred, could be the tip of an iceberg. I get it.

    So, what are we to think about the people protesting the Floyd murder? Does the ACLU still have its ‘wide brush’ handy? As long as we believe the police officer who murdered Floyd was a reflection of systemic and prolific racism in our society, what are we to think about the tens of thousands of protesters who violently attacked police, property owners, the press, and innocent bystanders? Not only did they cause millions of dollars in property damages, loot and steal, hundreds of people were injured. A black security officer working for the Federal Protective Service was shot and killed by protestors in Oakland, CA. Another officer was injured in the same shooting incident. More than 100 police officers have been injured.

    If one blatant instance of police brutality leads people to protest against systemic and prolific racism in our society to this degree, will the ACLU assign the same proportionate level of concern to the actions of the tens of thousands of violent, law-breaking anarchists in cities across the United States? What possible level of protestations can the ACLU justify, not to the lawlessness of the tragic Floyd murder, but proportionately, to the lawlessness of the tens of thousands of people who reacted so violently to it?

    • The alternative to Caucasian supremacy likely would be Chinese supremacy.

      Hong Kong folks do not like the Chinese supremacy.

      Chine must really enjoy seeing the Caucasian race in suffering mode, and likely will do nothing to help ease the US virus pain nor the US racial pain.

      Folks inciting unrest, and aiding and abetting unrest in the US, in fact, are weakening/undermining US strength.

      It delays solutions to various problems.

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