Updates: Bernie, the Pope, the Escape & Norm McAllister

Well all the King’s Horses and all the King’s Men finally caught up to David Sweat, so that’s all she wrote.

Meanwhile, back in Franklin County, Vermont, this story was posted to the WCAX website. Kudos to Franklin County Republican Senator, Dustin Degree for joining those who would vote to expel McAllister.

To those who would not, Republican, Democrat and Progressive, one can only ask WTF?


There are so many things happening right now that not all receive sufficient attention on GMD.

Our model is extremely democratic, so the array of topics reflects the impulse of the moment rather than the gravity of a single subject weighted against many other equally important ones.

A cavalcade diary might be in order, touching on some of the news that fell between the cracks over the past week or so.

The Dannemora prison escapees, or rather the one remaining escapee, continues to make daily appearances in the news, although the expectation that authorities were “within hours” of capturing David Sweat seems to have lost some of its cache, as it has been repeated now for what seems like days on-end.  

I see that digital pop culture has more or less institutionalized the prison break du jour with its own Wikipedia page.  

Not much is being said about the unsustainable nature of America’s current incarceration habits.

It should be little surprise that as we grew the corrections industry to gargantuan size by incarcerating more people than any other country in the world, we also opened the door to the kind of qualitative decline in skilled labor that tends to accompany a “Big Box ” management model.

The details of this escape by truly dangerous criminals from the ‘honor block’ of a famous maximum security prison should lend a lot of credence to the argument that we need to ratchet down our legal system to focus on successfully incarcerating the truly dangerous people under skilled supervision, and stop tossing every petty drug offender in the clink. It may have generated a highly profitable business for the corrections sector, but it’s actually making us less safe for reasons too innumerable to go into here.

Talking about the need for major changes in America’s institutions, that great Agent of Change for 2016, Bernie Sanders is gaining on Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire polls.  I believe the spread is down to eight points now and closing.

Bernie’s secret? Consistent messaging since roughly 1972.  

In an era when Americans are tired and cynical and fully aware that big money controls most political conversation, they like what they’re hearing from Bernie because he says what he truly thinks, not what the latest polling says he should think, or what the deepest pockets say he must think.

Which is not to say that Hillary isn’t authentically progressive in her heart of hearts, but her exceptional talent and intellect was unfortunately appropriated by conventional politics (and a significantly less intelligent and disciplined husband) far too early in her own career to enable her to soar far above the fray as Bernie now can.

Change seems to be in the air in even more traditionally conservative arenas, as the Supremes hit two out of the park last week. That followed recent addresses by Pope Francis that both elevated Climate Responsibility to a moral obligation and gave nuclear energy a thumbs down, referring to it as a “Modern Day Tower of Babel.”

Unfortunately, in Franklin County, Vermont, owing to a lack of leadership by the Vermont Senate Pro Tem,  John Campbell, and the hierarchy of the  Vermont GOP, a necessary change is proving stubbornly difficult to achieve.

Accused sex offender, Norm McAllister, continues to resist calls from his constituents to vacate his senate seat.

Mr. McAllister, as you may recall, has been recorded by the State’s Attorney’s office discussing his grotesque behavior with a couple of his ‘alleged’ victims.  Details of the calls, as partially recounted in the St. Albans Messenger and other sources were extremely graphic and left no doubt in the mind of the reader, that McAllister owned the involuntary nature of the sex acts committed against his accusers, even if he was unwilling to stipulate to their criminal implications.

The recordings also left no doubt that he was in violation of his oath of office, at the very least.  That is why it is incomprehensible to many (probably most) Franklin County residents why he has been allowed to continue claiming his seat in the senate.

Fed-up with the lack of leadership, several Franklin County ‘civilians’ have taken it upon themselves to begin a petition on Facebook and on paper, asking Mr. McAllister to voluntarily resign.

I am one of the people who is collecting signatures on paper in support of the petition, and on Saturday alone, I personally collected close to 100 signatures without breaking a sweat.

I might add that those are all signatures of Franklin County adults, and I had to refuse a number of people from Quebec and Chittenden county whom I encountered who would have dearly loved to sign, too.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for the moment… stay tuned for updates.

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

3 thoughts on “Updates: Bernie, the Pope, the Escape & Norm McAllister


    And speaking of Bernie.

    Sanders was interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition last week. The host David Green seemed unfamiliar and surprised with Bernie- who just didn’t/wouldn’t respond to all the usual questions in all the usual expected ways.

    “So the implication is I guess somebody should decide who the candidate is and we should all go to sleep,” Sanders said. “Well, that’s a good idea; that’s what really democracy is about, right? That’s an absurd point. The point is that we need serious debate about serious issues in this country. …


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