Tag Archives: Bob Frenier

The Great Gouamba strikes again

“… when [the natives] have been condemned to eat nothing but vegetable food for several weeks, [they] have a positive craving for meat, and will do anything to procure it.

“This craving after animal food sometimes becomes almost a disease. It is known by the name of Gouamba, and attacks both white and black men alike. …Those who suffer from it become positive wild beasts at the sight of meat, which they devour with an eagerness that is horrible to witness.”

(From John George Wood, Natural History of Man, 1874)

This particular brand of madness came to my attention in the writings of the great A.J. Liebling, who diagnosed a case of Gouamba in the overwrought media coverage of a 1946 meat shortage blamed on postwar price controls.

Alas, a virulent strain of the Gouamba has overtaken Republicans nationwide and here in Vermont. Their hunger is not for steak, but for scandal in our electoral system. During the campaign, there were frequent press releases from the Vermont Republican Party alleging some kind of skulduggery and/or fecklessness by the office of Democratic Secretary of State Jim Condos, none of which had the slightest hint of merit.

This week, the Gouamba-besotted VTGOP Executive Director Jeff Bartley made a spectacle of himself at the site of an election recount. Indeed, according to VTDigger’s Jasper Craven, Young Jeff was so obnoxious that he was forcibly ejected from the premises.

Elsewhere, noted Gouamba-carrier Vermont Watchdog has yet another evidence-free “story” about security flaws in Vermont’s absentee balloting system. More in a moment, but first let us return to Mr. Bartley.

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Pfft! There goes another conservative talking point

Vermont conservatrives have been making some hay lately by raising fears about Medicare. The idea is that Governor Shumlin is plotting to take over Medicare, and who knows what will happen to your benefits after that.

Well, first of all, Medicare benefits are protected in federal law.

But more importantly, here comes a tidbit from VTDigger’s Anne Galloway: 

Two recent stories about the relationship between Medicare and Green Mountain Care, the state’s planned universal publicly financed health care program – often called single-payer – were inaccurate. The stories were based on statutes on the Legislature’s website that had not been updated.

The stories outlined accusations made by Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Dan Feliciano and Orange County Senatorial candidate Bob Frenier. The same charge has been made in a radio ad produced by the Ethan Allen Institute.

As Galloway explains, the legislature amended the health care law earlier this year, removing the section calling for state oversight of Medicare. And, she says,

State officials have said they are no longer seeking to administer Medicare as part of Green Mountain Care, and the law reflects that change.

The problem, apparently, is that the legislature’s website was not properly updated and still contains the old version of the law. And, as Galloway concludes, the charges about a state takeover of Medicare are “inaccurate.”

This should clear things up, but somehow I can’t see the conservatives dropping a nice juicy talking point just because it happens to be wrong.