Tag Archives: Mike Smith

Milne foresees invasion of North Korea

Even by his own unpredictable standards, Scott Milne made a stupefying comment in a broadcast interview on Thursday.

Appearing on WDEV Radio’s “Open Mike,” the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate said that if North Korea didn’t come to its senses, “they’re going to have to be taken out.”

Cough.

In case you’re wondering about context, here’s the paragraph that ended with Milne calling for Korean War II. It began with Smith asking what we should do about North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear capability.

I, I think we need to, um, support a strong South Korea, we need to not provoke ‘em, but we need to be, if they continue down this nuclear path, we don’t want to be drawing lines in the sand in my opinion, we want to have quiet diplomatic dialogue with them, hopefully there’s a change in the regime there, but they’re gonna have to join the, um, the world as we know it now or they’re going to have to be taken out.

“…they’re going to have to be taken out.”

Talk about dangerous ignorance of global relationships.

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Phil Scott is not a chicken, but he’s running a chickenshit campaign

Almost two weeks ago, I contacted the Phil Scott campaign asking for some simple but crucial information. It ought to be readily available, a simple email away.

The response to my repeated emails and phone calls?

Nothing. Not even a courtesy “Hey, we got your message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.”

Crickets.

Here’s my question. Phil Scott regularly claims that over the past six years of Democratic governance*, taxes and fees have increased by $700 million.

*He never refers to Peter Shumlin by name, it’s always the collective Democrats. Hive mind? 

All I want is the numbers. Which taxes and which fees have increased by how much? When you add them up, do they equal $700 million?

That’s all.

C’mon, if I were running a campaign and making that kind of claim, I’d make sure I had the figures close at hand. Indeed, he shouldn’t in good conscience make that claim unless he knows it’s true.

Right?

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Ducking and Knuckling — UPDATED with Minter reax

I see from Paul Heintz’ “Fair Game” column that one feature of every electoral season is in high gear: the debate over debates.

Apparent front-runner Phil Scott is doing what front-runners do: insisting on conditions that minimize his exposure. To wit, he wants beloved nutcase Bill “Spaceman” Lee to take part in all debates.

So, this week’s one-on-one with Sue Minter might turn out to be a one-off.

Which would be a shame, and a disservice to the electorate. The real contest is between Scott and Minter. There should be a thorough exploration of their ideas, and they need to be put to the test in direct confrontation without any moonbats cluttering up the stage and hogging one-third of the available time.

Scott insists he’s not being chicken, but let’s keep it a hundy. He is.

And now, let us consider two media outlets who have responded very differently to Scott’s ultimatum. Let’s see if you can guess which is which.

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The Punditry Sausage Party

Friday afternoon I was reading a report on vpr.net about young people entering politics after being inspired by Bernie Sanders. It was a perfectly cromulent time-filler, not particularly long on insight or depth  (quotes from only two candidates, no attempt to identify a larger trend).

Near the end came this passage:

Eric Davis, a professor emeritus of political science at Middlebury College, says it’s too soon to tell:

“In this year’s presidential cycle, Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has certainly inspired many young people to get involved in politics,” Davis said. “The question I have, and I believe it’s too early to provide an answer to this question, is whether these impacts of the Sanders’ campaign are going to continue beyond the end of 2016.”

… and my left eyelid started twitching.

I’ve got no beef with Davis, a reliable source for a useful bit of conventional wisdom. But what suddenly struck me and my eyelid is the absolute ubiquity of the same handful of pundits quoted endlessly by Vermont media.

Davis is far and away number one. If someone decides there’s been a little too much Davis, they might make a call to Garrison Nelson. Or Chris “Undiscolsed Conflict” Graff. Or, in the case of Channel 3, Mike Smith and Steve Terry.

(Not to mention VTDigger’s political columnist, Jon Margolis.)

It’s a small punditical pool. And there’s a distinct ball smell about it.

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EB-5: the tar baby of Vermont politics

I was wondering when a candidate would dip his hand into the EB-5 cookie jar. It’s easy pickin’s if you want to criticize Democratic leadership of state government. And here we go, Phil Scott’s dug in for some sweet treats.

After positing his support for EB-5 “with proper oversight,” he laid into the Shumlin administration on a specific point:

I was disappointed to learn… that the Shumlin Administration enabled the owners of the EB-5 projects in the Northeast Kingdom… to continue to solicit investors for months after the SEC had suspended that permission for Jay Peak. … By the Administration’s own admission, it was a ‘calculated risk.’  Yet, they’ve not yet explained why they took this risk or why they allowed the problem to continue to grow.

Now, here’s the problem.

The Shumlin administration made that decision in the spring of 2015. (More on that in a moment.) In June of that year, VTDigger’s Anne Galloway broke the news that federal authorities were investigating Jay Peak.

For months after that, Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott expressed his wholehearted support for Jay Peak. Indeed, in November he criticized the administration for inserting itself into the process, thus delaying payments to contractors.

Despite the issues at Q Burke, Scott says he still supports Vermont’s EB-5 program. He added that he sympathizes with [Jay Peak contractor] PeakCM, as he owns his own construction company.

So, hypocrite. But wait, there’s more.

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The VTGOP’s convention dilemma

This coming weekend will feature the Democratic (Saturday Sunday in Barre) and Republican (Sunday Saturday in Burlington) state conventions. The Dems will be trying to accommodate the Bernie Sanders crowd enough to forestall any open warfare; and the four superdelegates who plan to support Hillary Clinton are girding themselves for a Bernie Bro onslaught.

But the real entertainment value is likely to come from the Republican gathering, where party leaders and potential candidates will have to deal with the unpleasant fact of Donald Trump at the top of their ticket.

And the national GOP is sending a clear message to state parties: Bow Down Before The Donald.

Republican activists chose party unity over “never Trump” resistance Saturday, with party leaders in one state after another pressuring their members to fall in line behind the presumptive nominee — and even punishing those who refused.

Eleven states held annual Republican conventions or party leadership meetings Saturday, offering a platform for those who still object to Donald Trump… But at almost every turn, they slammed into state leaders who closed ranks around a candidate who many once said they’d never support.

Interesting moment for Phil Scott, the VTGOP’s shining star and likely gubernatorial nominee. If the convention falls in line with Trump, he’ll be an isolated, neutered figure in his own party.

Especially if his challenger Bruce Lisman chooses that moment to finally endorse Trump — which he’s almost certain to do sometime.

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Bull Invited to China Shop

Lock up your daughters, good people. Yours truly will be a panelist on tonight’s edition of “Vermont This Week,” Vermont PBS’ often-somnolent weekly news-in-review show. (It tends to proceed at a stately and predictable pace, as if trying to hike through the forest without breaking any twigs.)

I am honored, truly. The show is a little too staid for my taste, but heck, it’s not my show. And I have no plans to wreck the place; the panel’s role is to analyze the news, not burn the house down. Just as, when I sit in for Mike Smith on WDEV Radio’s daily talk show, I treat guests and their views with courtesy and respect.

I will try to enliven the proceedings a bit. But don’t expect any foul language or ad hominem attacks.

Of course, the show is taped a few hours in advance, so if I can’t control myself, the result is unlikely to befoul your living room. If my reputation proceeds me, they might designated a control-room operator to hold a finger above the CUT button whenever I’m talking. Which would be an honor of a different sort.

Vermont This Week, tonight at 8:30 7:30* on your favorite public television station. Also posted online for your convenient viewing pleasure.

*More evidence that I Am A Idiot.