As economy collapses, Vermonters begin protests, plan march on capital to end shutdown

Americans fed up with governors collapsing state economies have staged protests in about a dozen states this week, and Sunday and Monday saw Vermonters join in with protests in Johnson and Montpelier, which are set to continue into the week.

Facing skyrocketing unemployment rates that have soared from low single digits to as high as 20% in some states, Americans have begun breaking away from stay-home orders and are staging protests in state capitals and other towns and cities.

Since last week, thousands have protested in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, Colorado, North Carolina, Utah, New York state and Washington.

In Vermont, a group called Vermonters Against Excessive Quarantine has planned a peaceful rally to take place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday in Montpelier.

Bill Moore

Hundreds of Vermonters came out Sunday in Johnson to protest potential closings of colleges in the Vermont State Colleges System.

“Join in this as other States are also doing the same in their Capitols protesting the abuse of our God-given Liberties and to end this shutdown,” says the group’s event description posted to Facebook.

The event will follow protests that occurred Sunday in Johnson, in Lamoille County, and Monday in Montpelier. Organizers there gathered local residents using social media to protest the newly announced recommended closure of Northern Vermont University’s Johnson and Lyndon campuses, as well as Vermont Technical College campus in Randolph.

Vermont State Colleges System (VSCS) Chancellor Jeb Spaulding announced the recommended closings Friday, as a response to a funding meltdown resulting from Gov. Phil Scott’s decision to shut down schools last month.

“The VSCS must prepare for a possible declining enrollment of 15-20 percent at its residential campuses due to COVID-19 concerns and a corresponding budget deficit approaching $12 million, even after substantial budgetary actions,” the Friday announcement states.

Spaulding said in a statement that “the impacts of COVID-19 will linger for months, maybe years. We cannot wait and hope for recovery, we must act decisively to chart a course toward long-term viability.”

Bill Moore, a policy analyst for the Vermont Traditions Coalition, attended the rally in Johnson and said hundreds of people turned out to demand that officials find other solutions. The plan announced Friday would cut 500 employees, close Northern Vermont University, consolidate Vermont Technical College’s operations at its Williston campus, and close the VTC campus center in Randolph.

“Johnson town leaders helped bring this about,” Moore said. “There was a lot of kids, there was balloons, there was flags and signs, it was a good old-fashioned hippie protest, and their voices were heard, I believe.”

Scott has said he will do everything he can to support efforts to keep the schools open.

Bill Moore

Johnson residents hold signs that read “save NVU.”

The Facebook group Protest Vermont State College (Permanent) Closures! is organizing the protests. On the page, Catherine Cook, of Ryegate Corner, posted her opinion on the closings: “I hope this decision can be reversed. These colleges are critical not only for students who cannot travel as far to school, but for helping young adults stay in state to work.”

The threat of closures spawned a petition at to have Chancellor Jeb Spaulding removed from the Vermont State Colleges System.

“This blatant attack on public institutions of higher education, and particularly rural areas, cannot stand,” the petition states. “Remove this man and his incompetence from the position of Chancellor.”

The petition was at 2,052 signatures as of Monday evening; organizers are seeking to get 2,500.

On the cause to reopen the economy, commenters on Twitter have begun expressing their frustration.

Another person tweeted about how even landscaping delivery jobs were shut down.

Not everyone is happy to see the protests. Patrick Salomon, who works at Middlebury College, posted on Facebook that he thinks protests are going to get more people sick.

“In attending this rally you’re likely playing into an astroturfing campaign initiated by a group who is not interested in your health or well being,” he wrote.

As of Monday evening, 38 people have died in Vermont from the coronavirus.

The protests across the nation share a common theme —  that the collapse of the U.S. economy due to the closing of non-essential businesses and stay-home orders will cause greater calamity than COVID-19.

In Ohio, protester Tom Zawistowski told Breitbart News that Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine is hurting the state with his restrictions.

“We’re here because we understand that it’s not acceptable, right? Economic suicide is not acceptable,” he said. “We understand, the people understand — that this disease is not as dangerous as killing the economy. We need jobs, so we’re going back to work whether Governor DeWine wants it or not, because we will not commit suicide.”

Civil disobedience is spreading into local governance. Wisconsin’s Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling is among the first sheriffs to say he will not enforce excessive measures.

“Overreaching measures taken by State government will have dire lifetime consequences for businesses, homeowners, and families,” he said.

Pressure to reopen Vermont is building as jobless claims have reached more than 82,000 since Scott formally declared a state of emergency about a month ago.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Bill Moore

15 thoughts on “As economy collapses, Vermonters begin protests, plan march on capital to end shutdown

  1. The crux of the matter is the true infection fatality rate (IFR), sometimes called the case fatality rate (CFR). (I’m using them interchangeably although there’s a difference that isn’t so important in what follows.)

    A recent study from Stanford found that there are 50-85 times more infected people in Santa Clara county than assumed from the current CFR; this means that the true IFR is far lower than the headline numbers.

    A study done by the Center for Evidence Based Medicine found much the same thing: a good estimate of the true IFR seems to be around 0.1% and 0.37%. Since a flu pandemic has a CFR of 0.1%, this puts COVID in the category of a bad flu, and serves as no justification for forced economic collapse.

    An unpublished study by a Finnish physician has found much the same thing: the IFR of COVID is very close to that of the flu. When we hear that the CFR of COVID is something like 1% or higher, we have to remember that this is deaths compared to tested cases. The remarkable thing about COVID, which is lost in the media fixation on every single turn of this disease, is that a huge number of infected people have mild or no symptoms; about half have no symptoms at all. But since testing is limited, for the most part we’ve only tested those who have symptoms, and this results in “selection bias” in our headline presentations of the CFR.

    The tremendous focus on the crude CFR– the death rate not of all infected individuals, but only of those who are tested– is giving us a misleading picture of the lethality of COVID, and the very best evidence we have now is that the CFR isn’t 3.4%, as the WHO said, but much closer to that of a bad flu pandemic (and not worth an economic collapse.) In fact even Dr. Fauci, who testified to Congress that COVID was 10x deadlier than the flu, stated earlier in the New England Journal of Medicine that COVID was similar to a bad flu: “the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968)….”

    This is a serious disease and should be handled accordingly, but it’s been well-established that huge numbers– the vast majority– of infected cases have either no symptoms or mild symptoms. While this is being spun to suggest that one could get COVID from an individual who doesn’t know they have it, it also means is that a disease that leaves so many unharmed simply isn’t the new black death and is no cause for this highly destructive forced economic collapse. We were warned of this from the very start, but the voices of fear and panic were given the megaphone instead of voices of reason and perspective.

    We’ll never get out of this if we panic at the first sign of “new infections.” We have to recognize that many, many new infections will be mild and of no concern, and that the real concern is with those who are elderly and those who have serious underlying co-morbidities. This is crystal clear from the best evidence we have so far. We need to protect the most vulnerable, stop the excessive fear-mongering, and get back to work.

    • Don’t believe for a moment this “orchestration” won’t be used as a tool in the future. This is no “accident”. It is no accident that nobody is talking about your comment, CFR which is the whole crux of us closing down. It’s no accident that “pandemic” is used to scare people, when you look up pandemic on Wikipedia their definition contradicts itself when using examples.

      Did we close down the world for H1n1 or Aids, nope. That’s a problem with internet sources, they can change and be modified. Once you print a book it’s out there, same for print.

      Interestingly our political party from a couple of years ago, who’s name I can’t mention was on Wikipedia, now it no longer exists! Huh, isn’t that interesting, wiped off what is supposedly an unbiased site for information. Why would they do that?

    • Question

      Why wouldn’t every paper, every news organization, including our state internet press Vermont Digger have the CFR the most important statistic everyone one is looking to pin down?

      Why not? Accurate numbers would reveal danger or safety….it’s the whole reason for drastic measures. It’s the whole reason we’re afraid to go outside. It’s the whole reason we closed America!

      So why is this not the focal point? Why in FAQ at VT Digger, this isn’t even on the list? Why, why, why, why?

      Who, What, Why, When and Where? Aren’t these the questions journalists ask to find the truth?

      You can tell a tree by it’s fruit. You can tell an organization by their actions. Do they allow freedom and open discussion? Is the fruit fear or facts? Cool heads or panic? How do they go about finding, presenting and solving the problem? We need to wake up from our slumber, not all in America is what it seems or definitely how it is presented to us.

      Keep bringing the truth Jim…..great comments as usual.

      • Why? Because they’re not journalists but political hacks and stenographers for VT Democrat Party, aggregator for op-eds by and for nonprofit lobbyists, UN mandates and NWO.

        – Silencers censoring all voices that do not conform to their narrowminded leftist position
        – Use their so called ‘digging’ to in fact bury the truth
        – Routinely publish false/misleading info to deceive the public

        “Pursuit of truth” horsecrap fits nicely into ‘ever learning – never able to come to knowledge of truth’ biblical truism bc it’s not what it was ever intended to do. A moneymaking ego-driven news publishing power grab by and for VT leftwing losers via misuse of public funds in violation 501C3 rules.

        Looks like some of the underlings have Ann-the-sham’s number and aspire to fulfill the high standard of journalism which she has never done going back to TA days. With unionization expect some of this to change as one of the demands is that news reporters have equalized power in decision making.

      • Why, why, why, Neil? Because no one, to my knowledge, has challenged Vt Digger in court. VTD is, and has been, guilty of ‘Content Based Discrimination’ for years. All that’s needed is someone, or a class action group, to sue VTD in Federal Court to have its non-profit status revoked. There are two legal advocacy groups, The Institute for Justice and the Alliance Defending Freedom, that take up causes such as these, and I, for one, have been accumulating ‘evidence’ of VTD’s practices in this regard for a couple of years, in hopes of joining a legitimate effort in this regard.

        One step at a time. Time will tell.

  2. Hey folks, if you contact covid-19, get sick or WORSE, eating and working won’t be high on your agenda. Perhaps Scott is being overly cautious, however two old bromides come to mind, prepare for the worst and hope for the best, also, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Oh, another one, this too shall pass. Hopefully, things will gradually get back to normal. We’re already seeing some baby steps in that direction as I write.

    • The sky is falling? Peddling fear? Could you expand upon your argument? Any science or numbers backing things up? You’ll find arguments like Jim’s above that shed some light and are looking to solve problems and find the truth. You’ll find people are open to a healthy discourse on this site, perhaps a bit passionate on some of their positions, but open.

      The death rate is the only reason we closed down our country, it’s the only reason to be afraid. It is also the topic nobody wants to discuss in public. The question is why not?

    • Still sticking with the story that the Wuhan virus is deadly for everybody when the WHO & CDC have been fudging the numbers and hospitals are mostly empty? We’re done listening to people like you, so you can tell Scott that you’re overpaid.

  3. Vermont Tech is the one college in Vermont where you are almost guaranteed a job when you graduate. Who else is teaching diesel mechanics, vet tech, respiratory therapy, paramedicine, agribusiness, automotive technology, etc. Keep the Randolph Campus open! Not everyone can afford UVM. Vermont Tech teaches hands-on, real world, marketable skills at an affordable price.
    Jeb Spaulding has been sitting behind a desk for w-a-y too long.

    • Mr. Pelletier makes an excellent point on legislative cronyism…i.e. the government picking winners and losers. VTC is a threat to traditional academic institutions like UVM, Champlain, St Michael’s and Middlebury College, to name a few. Unfortunately, VTC isn’t in the Burlington area and doesn’t have political leverage.

  4. The protests are a good idea even though Scott is a timid man who acts from a position of fear instead of strength. He is following the Chicken Little approach to governing.

  5. The Covid-19 policy in Vermont and all these states that have Commie governors are really doing their best to solidify their power by issuing orders that will collapse the economic systems of their respective states. They are using fear and loathing to see just how far they can go to control the American populace. A real good practice run for when s really hits the fan. As of Sunday April 19th 38 people have died from Covid-19 in VT. Most that have died are on the Route 7 side of VT in Burlington and Bennington, 17 of which were in a nursing home. You can not ignore the geographic aspects to Corona. Vermont has a population of about 623,657, so If I’m doing my math right 1 person for every 16,412 people have died from the virus. That’s is .0000609 % of the population of VT has died from Corona or it’s complications. So can anyone tell me why the whole economy of Vermont is shut down? We took a ride to some of the very rural areas of VT yesterday. Little shops and convenience stores in tows like Weston, Belmont and Mt. Holly shut up tighter than a drum. At the post office in Newfane last Friday I got dirty looks from a few of the people standing outside waiting to get inside. Was it because of my Trump 2020 hat or because I had no face mask or both? You have sheeple that are so scared or stupid they are wearing masks driving their cars and walking on dirt roads with nobody around them, riding their bicycles in the middle of nowhere. And of course the Commiecrats in Montpelier never to let a good crisis go to waste have created an internet snitch line to the VT state police so you can rat out any of your neighbors for not being a good enough “comrade”. Of course all in the name of education or do they mean indoctrination? The Commiecrats love this Corona crisis. They would like nothing more than to collapse our economic system and our constitutional republic so they can think of more orders to issue while sitting on their asses. Thank God some of the people are waking up. Over 3 million firearms have been sold in the last month and a half. If these Commiecrat politicians can treat us this poorly when we are armed to the teeth imagine what they would do to us if we weren’t.

    Are we that stupid ? They shut down the whole state of VT when only .0000609% of the population have died from this virus. The geographic areas that are highly contagious should be treated as such but to issue orders to see just how far they can go to control us then we deserve the serfdom they are dishing out.

  6. This pandemic’s effect on Vermont’s economy could be like a dry run on the economic effects caused by the onslaught of green legislation coalitions and their political partners.

Comments are closed.