Monday, January 28, 2008

Race Matters

Last year, perhaps as a response to this blog having gone live and certainly as an effort to gin up the quality of the image of supporters of the Second Vermont Republic after disclosure of its ties to the League of the South , Naylor wrote of his correspondence with George Kennan, the so-called "father of containment" of communism theory and who also possessed a fondness for European dictatorships.   Naylor hopes that Kennan might someday be thought of as the godfather of SVR. [1] [2]

In his piece Naylor excerpted one letter from May 1, 2002, where Kennan wrote,
“All power to Vermont in its effort to distinguish itself from the U.S.A. as a whole, and to pursue in its own way the cultivation of its own tradition.”
Nowhere in Naylor's piece about Kennan's support for SVR is there what I found in the Bill Kaufmann piece in The American Conservative magazine about SVR, presumably from that same 2002 letter Naylor quotes from:
"Ah, but there is a complication. Kennan was attracted to the Second Vermont Republic partly because he deplored the Hispanicization of the United States. Instancing Mexican immigration, Kennan saw 'unmistakable evidences of a growing differentiation between the cultures, respectively, of large southern and southwestern regions of this country, on the one hand,' and those of 'some northern regions,' including Vermont. In the former, 'the very culture of the bulk of the population of these regions will tend to be primarily Latin-American in nature rather than what is inherited from earlier American traditions.'”

“'Could it really be that there was so little of merit' in the American Republic, asked Kennan, 'that it deserves to be recklessly trashed in favor of a polyglot mix-mash?'” [3]
"Complication" indeed.   SVR being viewed and applauded by Kennan as a potential antidote to or bulwark against the untidy results of race-mixing.   The "race mixing" problem is one that is also a concern of other SVR supporters such as David Duke admirer, James Edwards.

I remember that then SVR Co-chair Rob Williams, who now runs "Vermont Commons", said at the 2006 Secession Conference in Burlington, VT, that "Secession is not a racist plot!" [4]   Why is it then that one needn't dig very deep into the thinking of SVR's intellectual supporters, like the LoS or Kennan, to find white supremacist or anti-miscegenational sentiments?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thomas Naylor's State of Denial About the Second Vermont Republic

Just when I thought that there wasn't much else that Thomas H. Naylor could do to make the Second Vermont Republic appear more ridiculous than it already is, he just climbs right back into that clown car and heads for the cliff.

On Monday, after having already insulted many millions of Americans by scheduling his poorly attended North-South Secession Summit celebratory dinner where he entertained Southern racist bigwigs from the League of the South in the Vermont capitol on the birth date of an American hero , Dr. Martin Luther King, Naylor issued a ludicrously entitled State of the Second Vermont Republic statement on the Martin Luther King Day holiday itself.   This followed closely on the heels of his equally ridiculous and pompous "Dispatch To The Governor Of Vermont: Mayday! The Ship Is Going Down!"   In Tom's comic opera, imaginary world where a Second Vermont Republic has come to exist, I suppose that it logically would fall to me to deliver the rebuttal to his, uh, address.

2007 was a very bad year indeed for Thomas Naylor's Second Vermont Republic.

It began with Vermont bloggers exposing his previously unnoticed connections to the white separatist organization called the League of the South.   Green Mountain Daily's John Odum and JD Ryan at five before chaos, as well as this small blog, spread the word about the previously unknown connections of SVR and Naylor to, and his outright support for, out-of-state racialist ideologues, Lincoln historical revisionists, a League of the South ex-con, gold "expert," and religious fanatics who proposed a theocratic, exclusionary, heterosexist state.   Initial reaction from SVR leaders was to engage in pure sophistry, likening any interaction with people such as the League of the South and Christian Exodus for the purpose of furthering mutual advancement and success, to that of supporting free speech. Hardly a fair comparison. It's one thing to advocate respect for a neo-Nazi to speak; it's quite another to help him to find the matches to light the ovens.

Alliances and Working With Racists and Anti-Semites

While Naylor regularly railed against the racism of the United States government, he clearly had no compunctions about inviting known racist ideologues to join his advisory board; or with jointly sponsoring conventions and "summits" with known white supremacist groups; or by participating repeatedly in hate radio station interviews with a well-known white supremacist, who is an ardent supporter of former Klansman and neo-Nazi, David Duke, and a proponent of holocaust denial, James Edwards of the Memphis based Political Cesspool, a fact that Naylor makes no mention of in his many boastful recitations of his press coverage.

Revanchism, Retrenchment and Recriminations

As outrage across the state mounted and the SVR leadership's response grew increasingly combative and offensive, to the point where Naylor sought to damage the employment of one blogger by lodging a false charge, the Vermont press began, for the very first time, to cover the SVR story as something more than a typical Vermont "story" of quirky cuteness.   Naylor cancelled a March public meeting fearing the growing public demand that he directly address the allegations and say, once and for all, that he would not ally Vermonters with out of state white supremacist organizations.   Vermont's Bread & Puppet Theatre ended its public relationship with SVR.   Naylor at SVR and Williams at VTCommons began a purge of members of the advisory board and editorial staff who raised questions and took issue with the policy of ignoring the possible racism of the out of state advisory boards members.   Community ire grew over Naylor and Williams unwillingness to transparently confront the concerns that had arisen, and not merely to the charges of a growing number of bloggers and journalists.   After author and environmentalist activist Bill McKibben's copyrighted works were abruptly removed from VTCommons this Spring, McKibben's environmental efforts were then criticized by Naylor.

Major Media Setbacks at Home

Even as SVR and VTCommons board members and editors were successfully orchestrating favorable, uncritical and "isn't that Vermont quirky" puff pieces in the national press, things at home took a decided turn for the worse.   Vermont newspapers echoed the concerns of most Vermonters and called on SVR to severe ties with its racist allies.   Vermont's Pulitzer prize winning newspaper, The Rutland Daily Herald printed an editorial opposing secession.   Writer and former Washington correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, and regular panelist on Vermont Public Television's "Vermont This Week," Jon Margolis, wrote a stinging op-ed lumping SVRers in with a cast of state "whiners."   At the height of statewide media and public furor of the growing revelations, and in perhaps SVR's greatest setback on the propaganda front, Vermont's largest award winning, weekly alternative publication, Seven Days, suddenly dropped a quarterly distribution deal of 40,000 copies of Vermont Commons, run by then SVR co-chair Rob Williams. The VTGuardian, which had also distributed VTCommons in its early days and had permitted an SVR member to write uncritical and largely favorable articles in the past without disclosing his relationship to the group, also called on SVR and VTCommons to disassociate themselves from racist and Christian Identity elements of the secession movement.

The Poll

As a part of a concerted plan to show that support for secession exists and is growing, SVR/Naylor has repeatedly alluded to a "UVM poll" in 2007 called the Vermonter Poll that shows support for secession grew from 8% of eligible Vermont voters in 2006 to 13%.   Problem is that there is no published poll from UVM showing those results, just the claim from Naylor and his colleagues.   This blog discovered and published the first questions and methodology (see links section at right), and serious questions remain about who, in fact, created the poll, as well as the validity and value of the results.   Worse still has been the national media's failure to perform its obligation for due diligence in merely repeating Naylor's questionable assertions about the poll.   In a Summer interview on The Political Cesspool Naylor admitted that SVR had commissioned the poll.   Will Thomas Naylor release the questions that he used for his poll in 2007 for comparison to his questions in the 2006 poll?   If they differ, it's unlikely that he'd release them as that would further undermine his claims about support.


In the late Spring, Naylor announced the formation of an SVR Legislative Team.   Naylor named Peter Moss as the team's leader whose stated "objective is to recruit, support, and eventually elect enough secessionists to call a statewide convention to consider and adopt articles of secession calling for the return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic."   Moss spoke to a nearly empty Vermont State House Chamber on January 14 of this year.   No Vermont legislator, statewide office holder or member of Vermont's Congressional delegation has indicated support for SVR or secession in any fashion whatsoever.   No Town Meeting has indicated that they will carry a question about secession, let alone the 200 that is now being reported by out-of-state pro-secessionists.   In an apparent concession to its obvious lack of any success whatsoever, SVR has deleted all reference to its legislative team from its website.

In the Fall of 2006, the SVR announced that it had three strategic objectives:
1. Approval of articles of secession by a two-thirds majority of a state convention called by the Vermont legislature.
2. Recognition of the independent Republic of Vermont by the U.S. government and the international community.
3. Political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental sustainability.
So far, SVR has been completely unsuccessful in each of these endeavours.


In his address Thomas Naylor denied a charge that to the best of my knowledge has never been publicly made, and so that denial now raises more important questions.   Who has paid for the print run and distribution of VTCommons?   Who subsidises the conferences, summits, dinners and travel stipends to which SVR brings its racist colleagues from the League of the South?   Who paid for the 2006 and 2007 Center for Rural Studies/UVM "Vermonter Poll"?

Questions for SVR in 2008

Will SVR continue to alienate so many Vermonters by failing to confront its deeply troubling affiliations with racist groups and theocratic ideologues?   Will Thomas Naylor abandon committing deeply offensive symbolic acts that violate the sensibilities of the average Vermonter, such as his recent meeting with the white supremacist League of the South on Martin Luther King's birth date?   Will Thomas Naylor persist in incorporating Vermont into his goofy Potemkin village built of phony polls, of grand sounding pronouncements about empty programs and of insults directed at virtually all segments of the state's community?   The answer is, only if his agenda is not that of the Southern racists to whom he has given so much of his effort and allegiance to advance.
Who knows what new revelations will come out in 2008 concerning Thomas Naylor and his friends at SVR and VTCommons, as well as his many friends in the neo-Confederate community?   Well, here's a sign of the direction that Naylor may be heading in from a recent grand sounding pronouncement issued by SVR:
Lakota Independence Resolution

Be it resolved that the citizens of the Second Vermont Republic do hereby recognize the Lakota Indians as a separate and independent nation with whom we pledge our solidarity and support.

Be it further resolved that other Native American tribes also be encouraged to declare their rightful independence from the United States of America.

January 15, 2008
The Second Vermont Repubic [1]
After having looked at quite of few of the hundreds of stories written about this so-called secession of the Lakota nation, that may in fact be nothing more than another small group like Naylor's, rather than the Lakota tribal council, it's clear that SVR hasn't a firm grasp of the many issues involved in this incident.   But I'll save that for another post, like perhaps when Naylor names an ambassador or diplomatic delegation to the "new" Lakota nation.

Stay tuned.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Day

I don't normally post on holiday occasions but this is one holiday that is of immense importance to millions across the country, as well as to many Vermonters.   Those of us who were a part of the civil rights struggle in the 60's and beyond have a special affinity for this occasion.   Dr. King, the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Congressional Gold Medal and so many other awards and accolades including, my own personal favorite, a Grammy, was one of the great 20th century contributors to peace and to human history.   The Montgomery Bus Boycott that he led inspired a generation.

What a shame then that on January 15, the anniversary of Dr. King's birth, Thomas H. Naylor, head of the Second Vermont Republic, held a dinner to which he invited leaders of the white separatist organization, League of the South, that I've written previously about, celebrating their attendance at a North-South Secession Summit he had convened here in Vermont.

After so many months of his denying any connection to the leadership of the LoS, it seems odd that Naylor would then go out of his way to schedule two conferences with the LoS, one of which was held on the King birth date.   Or maybe it isn't so odd after all.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Secessionists Stage State House Sideshow

This past Monday a letter appeared in the Burlington Free Press from Peter Moss who in June of last year became head of the Second Vermont Republic Legislative Team, and who was tasked with "recruiting candidates for the Vermont Legislature who are committed to Vermont independence."   Moss touched on a number of issues in his letter to the Free Press.   Unfortunately, while doing so, he chose to use the language of intolerance by announcing that he'd "formed a temporary coalition of independents to "take back" the state government."   A controversy over similar usage erupted two weeks ago over at Green Mountain Daily when someone attempting to "reinvigorate" the discussion on health care used similar "hot button" terminology that hearkens back to a time Moss certainly must remember, when intolerant Vermonters sought to marginalize and oppress many of their neighbors in the gay and lesbian community.   Given SVR's continuing perception problem over alliances with other champions of intolerance, such as the League of the South, I would think SVR's Legislative Team leader might have been better advised than to use code words for intolerance that have been directed in the past at his fellow Vermonters.   Most reasonable people cringe when they hear those words "Take Back" used in any political discussion, and rightfully so considering its awful usage in the past.  

Moss' letter in the Free Press was also an announcement of a publicity stunt scheduled for the same day in the House chamber of the State House, where he appeared with "Vermont Commons" contributing editor Jim Hogue.   During the event, Moss announced to a nearly empty chamber:
"This coalition has two positions. To uphold the Constitution, and to replace the criminals that masquerade in these hallowed halls."
Hogue, who has previously run for governor in 2004, stopped short of announcing a candidacy for statewide office, although the purpose of that day's event was to do exactly that.   Hogue said,
"Last time, I ran on a platform of 9/11 fact-finding, paper ballots and bringing soldiers back from Iraq. If I ran again, I don't see why those three items wouldn't remain, in addition to impeachment."
Impeachment?   Given that the inauguration for Vermont's statewide offices occur only a week or two prior to the inaugurations at the Federal level, and given that George Bush and Dick Cheney, the present targets of the Vermont impeachment efforts will leave office within weeks of Hogue's potential ascension to a statewide position, just how could he possibly achieve such a result even were he to, say, unseat Peter Welch, not to mention his embroiling our already financially strained state government into such obsessions as 9/11 conspiracism?

Like the SVR North-South Secession Summit dinner held the following night across the street from the State House, the Moss/Hogue stunt was poorly attended.   And while Moss attributed the low turnout due to the snowy conditions that day, I would note for my Southern readers that the amount of snow that day in the capitol area, though of a depth that in the southern region of our country causes massive disruption, here in Vermont people just go about their daily business when such minor amounts fall.

Maybe the SVR/VTCommons legislative team will rely on a convergence of what their fellow bloggers at VTCommons have said about "creation beams" and sunspot activity [1] [2] [3] to fill out their ticket and develop their upcoming election strategy.

We should all hope so, if only for the entertainment value.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thomas Naylor's Ho-Hum Banquet

There's really no other way to describe the turnout for the Second Vermont Republic's so-called Vermont Independence Day Banquet other than to say it was disappointing.

For an organization that originally claimed a membership of 125 [1] and growing, the assemblage of 20+ guests (taking into account that number included North-South Secession Summit participants, SVR leadership family members and a surprisingly small "Vermont Commons", uh, "contingent") was an unusually low turnout.   The Winter edition of VTCommons was nowhere to be seen, just a stack of leftover Fall edition copies in the banquet hotel lobby.

The conversation was pretty much as I expected, just more of Thomas Naylor's Middlebury Institute colleague Kirkpatrick Sale and his cherry-picking facts to arrive at intellectually dishonest conclusions and the like.

Did learn one new thing though.   One League of the South member doesn't have such a peaceable view of the coming governmental response to secession and how that might be addressed.   While speaking to a local author Thomas Moore, a VA LoSer and head of the Southern National Congress, said that "When this criminal regime comes for us," state militias like Vermont's National Guard will have an important role defending the secession process.

Whoa, never saw that one coming!   Naylor, et al, have stressed repeatedly that for secession to succeed in must be a peaceable process or at least that's what they say in their press releases.   Sometimes I guess you have to be the proverbial fly on the wall to hear the real story.   Nowhere have I read in their literature that they plan for potentially mobilizing state Guard units in the event that the federal government might seek to roundup secession leadership, most likely pursuant to the holding in Texas v. White that acts of secession by legislatures are null.   I'd suggest that they learn something about Vermont's National Guard history [2] before they bet the farm on the Guard supporting a secession scheme hatched by our magnolia Vermonter and his racist pals at the League of the South.   When Gov. Chittenden, a newly elected Federalist, sought to return the state militia that was under federal military control from New York state during the War of 1812, "The officers of the brigade... flatly refused to obey." [3]

Perhaps if Tom took his Southern secessionist friends over to Vermont's State House, as I suggested below, and if they stepped into the Hall of Inscriptions that houses Lincoln's large bust they might have looked at the inscription by our thirtieth president and fellow Vermonter,
"If the spirit of liberty should in the other parts of the Union and support for our institutions should languish, it could all be replenished from the generous store held by the people of this brave little state of Vermont."
- Calvin Coolidge, 1928

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Suggestion For Thomas Naylor and His League of the South Visitors For Tomorrow Afternoon

Thomas N. Naylor, founder of the now discredited Vermont based secessionist group, Second Vermont Republic, and his partner at the Middlebury Institute, Kirkpatrick Sale, are continuing their effort to convince the outside world that there is a broad secession movement in the United States.   Just as they put together a "2nd Secessionist Convention" held in Chattanooga, TN on Oct. 3 & 4, 2007 that just happened to piggy-back with the annual League of the South convention, also to be held in Chattanooga on Oct. 6 & 7, they've scheduled a Vermont Independence Day Banquet in "conjunction" with their North-South Secession Summit dinner.

An examination of who attended their convention in October shows that the bulk and real base of the "secession movement" continues to be almost exclusively the neo-Confederate white nationalist/separatist/supremacist movement, nearly all of whom are present and former League of the South (LoS) members.   Here's a glimpse into the makeup and the minds of the secessionists who attended Naylor and Sale's effort to create the impression that there's a large, growing secession movement.   Barely 15-20 people at the table, with a few observers and press scattered about the room, and yet Naylor would have us believe that the body of the group represented a great national cross section of secessionists that he refers to as some sort of new Red State-Blue State hogwash, er, paradigm "committed to the peaceful breakup of the Empire."   Nor do tomorrow night's banquet and dinner represent the first time that the MSM has missed the connection between Sale and the LoS.   Here are delegates from the Chattanooga convention:
Cory Burnell - virulently homophobic head of Christian Exodus and former northeast Texas LoS regional director
• Eugene C. Case - LoS Director - MS
• Dexter O. Clark - Vice Chr, Alaska Independence Party
• Lynette Clark - Chr, Alaska Independence Party
Michael Hill - President of LoS - AL
Walter D. Kennedy - an LoS founder and a co-author of The South Was Right! and Myths of American Slavery - considered a presidential run for the Southern Party in 2000 - in 2008 set up a presidential exploratory committee for a run in the GOP primaries - GA
• Larry S. Kilgore - TX Secession and former colleague of Cory Burnell at TX LoS - Also, a fundamentalist Christian candidate in the March 2008 Republican Texas Senate Primary whose platform includes "Texas seceding from the United States to become a sovereign Christian Nation and the implementation of Biblical Law."
• Thomas R. McBerry, Jr. - LoS Director and GA gubernatorial candidate, who also runs DixieBroadcasting, an online radio hosting service that carries, among other hard line neo-Confederate programming, the racist and anti-Semitic James Edwards' Political Cesspool - GA
• Thomas Moore - Chr, Southern National Congress and author of The Hunt For Confederate Gold - LoS - VA
• Thomas N. Naylor - SVR, now of VT but for much of his life VA, MS and a longtime friend of the LoS
• Robert Pritchett - unk
• Kirkpatrick Sale - Middlebury Institute - NY
Franklin Sanders - ex-con - LoS Director - TN
• Mark A. Thomey - LoS Director & Chr, LALoS - LA
• "General" David Towery - Chief of Staff/Chief of Security, Confederate Legion - TN
• Michael C. Tuggle - Chair, NCLoS & LoS Director
It's important to note that there were almost no "delegates" not directly associated with the Middlebury Institute (Naylor & Sale) or the League of the South, except for an Alaskan husband and wife who had their travel expenses paid by the Middlebury Institute and the LoS.   This is not the first time that Naylor and Sale have paid the way of people to a convention so that there'd be someone (anyone!) there that wasn't a dyed in the wool, fire-breathing neo-Confederate from the white supremacist League of the South.   As a matter of fact, Naylor and Sale used the same method of paying for window dressing at their last convention in Burlington and, you guessed it, the Alaskan couple were there.   This type of strategy, designed to give the impression of broader support for secession and their events than actually exists, is what leads Naylor to pull such cheap tricks like his bait & switch banquet designed to fool Vermonters into having dinner with his League of the South friends at the Capitol Plaza Hotel tomorrow night.

Given the number of readers of my post below who are now aware of Naylor's seedy scheme to trick Vermonters into dining with his neo-Confederate friends, you'd think that he'd at least have been a little more forthcoming by now but, nope, not a chance.   The calendar notices and advertising for his event, that he'll more likely use later as publicity misinformation, have been few indeed.   Not even his sister organization, VTCommons, has publicized it.   Here's the calendar submission for his event that he has in this past week's SevenDays that once again has not a word about the North-South Secession Summit dinner that he's holding for his LoS friends in conjunction with his Vermont Independence Day Banquet in the same room:
Would-be secessionists hobnob with environmental and anti-sprawl activists at a celebration of Green Mountain State self-reliance. Keynote speakers include Middlebury Institute Director Kirkpatrick Sale and Stephen Morris, author of The New Village Green. Capitol Plaza Hotel, Montpelier, reception 6 p.m., buffet dinner 7 p.m., speakers 8 p.m. $35. Reservations and info, 425-4133.
Maybe he's hoping to dupe unsuspecting Vermont legislators who stay at the banquet hotel, the Capitol Plaza, when the legislature is in session as it is this week.

That said, maybe there'll be time before the dinner for Naylor to take his Southern guests across the street to Vermont State House Hall of Inscriptions to see the large bust of Abraham Lincoln carved by Larkin Goldsmith Mead, who also carved the original statue that first topped the State House dome.   There probably won't enough time for them to hear about Vermont's many efforts, contributions and sacrifices to thwart the secessionists of 1861 that originated from that building during the Civil War but certainly, if they take a moment to ask today's Vermont legislators or visitors to the VT State House, they'll learn how proud Vermonters are of their ancestors contributions and sacrifices to end the Southern slave economy and preserve the Union.

Certainly they won't want to go back home having missed the large wall-sized painting in the Cedar Creek Room on the second floor of the State House commemorating the Civil War Battle of Cedar Creek where the Vermont Brigade delivered a crushing defeat to the Confederacy, ending any further rebel threat to Washington, D.C.   It'd give them something meaningful to discuss at their dinner that, unfortunately for them, won't take their minds far from their unbroken record of failure in the cause of secession.

So long as Naylor and Sale make hobnobbing with racists a tine of the trident in their weapon metaphor for the "new" so-called non-violent secession movement, they're doomed to continue this long record of failure.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Vermont Secessionist's Call To Arms

Marc Awodey, over at VT Secessionist, has posted a call to arms, at both his blog and at, to Vermonters who wish to move past the disaster that Thomas N. Naylor, founder and supreme ruler of the Second Vermont Republic, has made of the idea that Vermonters might secede and form a republic meaningful to all Vermonters and not just as an adjunct to an elite corps of Naylor's neo-Confederate schemer friends from the League of the South.

Awodey says that...
"... (Thomas N. Naylor's) role as a leader and founder of contemporary Vermont secessionist thought will always be acknowledged, however, as one of our leaders he should realize that his personal statements and affiliations matter. Those prominent in the movement should live up to the mantle of leadership they’ve assumed by abandoning pet causes, and by speaking judiciously to the media and to our citizens. Lincoln revisionism, for example, has crept into Vermont secessionist dialog: why? It's (a) slap in the face of Vermont's (Civil War )history. Vermont contributed more troops per capita than any Northern state to defeat the slave holding oligarchy, and out troops suffered an unequaled 15% casualty rate in the war. The descendants of those farmers and tradesmen who went to war are the people we should honor in our noble cause of Vermont Independence - not alienate by saying their grandfathers were stooges or duped into their graves."
Further, that...
"... (p)et causes enmeshed with the independence movement do it great harm. Why have Vermont secessionists found it important to band together with other North American secessionist groups, regardless of beliefs? At the First North American Secessionist convention, in Burlington in 2005, representatives from fundamentalist Christian groups, neo- Confederates, and other right wing extremists were welcomed into the Green Mountain State. There is no reason to form alliances with such groups, especially ones that an overwhelming majority of Vermonters would certainly consider unsavory."

"Our secessionist movement should focus on gaining allies WITHIN our borders. We must be working from our own history..."
Getting to the heart of it, Awodey says that
"(w)hile there is no elected leadership in the Vermont independence movement there clearly are leaders, and I’m concerned that the personal agendas of some high profile people in the movement have diminished the independence movement's impact."
"... destructive to our credibility has been adherence to the 9/11 “truth” fad. 9/11 conspiracism is totally alien to the sober mindset of most Vermonters, and indeed virtually all of the central tenants of truthers have been thoroughly refuted..."

"We can let extreme positions in cause célèbre issues like Peak Oil, and 9/11 conspiracism project our identity to Vermonters. Or we can begin to lay a firmer foundation built an understanding of Vermont’s history, and what the concerns of moderate Vermonters actually are. The latest incarnation of the Vermont secession movement will whither and die in the post Bush era, unless it begins to appeal to moderates in Vermont’s body politic."
I would only add that the proponents of these extreme positions, Naylor, Sale and Williams, are in reality more closely aligned to anarcho-primivitist claptrap than to a rational view of how we might successfully deal with societal resource dilemmas that face us all in future.
"Secessionist leaders - including contributers to the online editions "Vermont Commons"
- who have painted themselves into a corner with 9/11 conspiracism need to start repairing the damage by focusing on Vermont concerns, rather than trying to fix the United States."

"Vermont first, Vermont foremost. And let Vermont independence be our only cause. Perhaps the time has come for a Republic of Vermont secessionist legislature to be formed, to inaugurate a leadership that will formulate real political policy?"

"... We’ve embarked on a very long march toward the goal of establishing a nation state that lives within its means, respects other peoples, and treads lightly on the environment. One hundred years from now our descendants will see us as either prescient, or as babbling idiots. Which shall it be my friends? Which shall it be?"

Marc Awodey,

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Is The Ron Paul Revolution Really Just Revolting?

I'm going to diverge only slightly today from my usual monitoring of the activities of Thomas Naylor's Second Vermont Republic to exam an aspect of the growing power of secessionist supporters like Ron Paul.   During the course of gathering information for this blog over the past 11 months, I've repeatedly come across secessionist principals associated with Thomas Naylor's SVR and "Vermont Commons", as well as secessionist websites and chats, supporting Ron Paul's candidacy.

Perhaps as interesting has been the support that Ron Paul has also been getting among neo-Confederates, Aryans, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and the like.   Many of them view him as a stealth candidate for their interests.   Many of their websites fund raised on his behalf.   This fall Ron Paul refused to return the campaign donation that he'd received from Don Black, the owner of the neo-Nazi website,   We know the furor that erupted when Hillary accepted and returned a contribution from a convicted felon but it was barely a one day story when Paul keep the money from this neo-Nazi convicted felon, Don Black.   Recently there's been a war of words among various white nationalists and neo-Nazis about whether or not Ron Paul meets with other white nationalists at Virginia Thai restaurant (am I the only one who finds something humorous about swaggering, knuckledraggers meeting in a Thai restaurant?).   Some of the argument has come down to Paul's accuser, a neo-Nazi named Bill White, not being Gentile enough.   Some libertarian bloggers have complained about Ron Paul's support for the League of the South.   Like Naylor, Ron Paul is a favorite interview of James Edwards on his racist and anti-Semetic Political Cesspool.

Today The New Republic published a piece on Ron Paul.   There's a lot in it about earlier Ron Paul publications that should be of concern, including his neo-Confederate views and apparent bigotry, that you can read about via the link, but I want to point these statements.   Paul's campaign spokeman, when first asked by the article's writer about Paul's involvement, said...
...that, over the years, Paul had granted "various levels of approval" to what appeared in his publications--ranging from "no approval" to instances where he "actually wrote it himself." After (the writer) read Benton some of the more offensive passages, he said, "A lot of [the newsletters] he did not see. Most of the incendiary stuff, no." He added that he was surprised to hear about the insults hurled at Martin Luther King, because "Ron thinks Martin Luther King is a hero."

In other words, Paul's campaign wants to depict its candidate as a naïve, absentee overseer, with minimal knowledge of what his underlings were doing on his behalf. This portrayal might be more believable if extremist views had cropped up in the newsletters only sporadically--or if the newsletters had just been published for a short time. But it is difficult to imagine how Paul could allow material consistently saturated in racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and conspiracy-mongering to be printed under his name for so long if he did not share these views. In that respect, whether or not Paul personally wrote the most offensive passages is almost beside the point. If he disagreed with what was being written under his name, you would think that at some point--over the course of decades--he would have done something about it.
Today he did.   Here's the "new" Ron Paul position on the matter from his campaign website statement:
Ron Paul Statement on The New Republic Article Regarding Old Newsletters
January 8, 2008 5:28 am EST

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – In response to an article published by The New Republic, Ron Paul issued the following statement:

“The quotations in The New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts.

“In fact, I have always agreed with Martin Luther King, Jr. that we should only be concerned with the content of a person's character, not the color of their skin. As I stated on the floor of the U.S. House on April 20, 1999: ‘I rise in great respect for the courage and high ideals of Rosa Parks who stood steadfastly for the rights of individuals against unjust laws and oppressive governmental policies.’

“This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It's once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary.

“When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.”
Here's one of the Ron Paul newsletters from March 1990.

With supporters like Ron Paul, Thomas Naylor's secession plans have far bigger problems than its many Vermont opponents.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Much more here.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bait & Switch

Despite 2007 having been a God-awful year for Thomas H. Naylor's Second Vermont Republic, Naylor has started off this new year with another stab at salvaging something from his plan to use Vermont as the front man for his phony assertion that secession advocates hail from across the political spectrum and are united, notwithstanding their many differences. The Thomas H. Naylor "Blue State/Red State" pretense continues, this time in the form of his revamped Vermont Independence Day celebration:
The Vermont Village Green: Alternative to Empire
Speakers: Kirkpatrick Sale & Stephen Morris
January 15, 2008
Montpelier, Vermont

On January 15 the Second Vermont Republic will host a banquet at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier celebrating Vermont Independence Day. The celebration will begin with a reception (cash bar) at 6:00 P.M. followed by a buffet dinner at 7:00 P.M. and talks by Kirkpatrick Sale and Stephen Morris at 8:00 P.M. The theme of the celebration will be “The Vermont Village Green: Alternative to Empire.” Music will be provided by guitarist Xander Naylor.

Kirkpatrick Sale is Director of the Middlebury Institute and author of After Eden, Human Scale, and numerous other books.

Stephen Morris is Publisher of the Public Press, Editor of Green Living Journal, and author of The New Village Green among other books.

In Vermont village greens are small communities devoted to life, liberty, land, and locality rather than death, doom, and destruction of the planet earth. They are an integral part of the Vermont mystique. America could use a lot more village greens and far fewer cruise missiles, 747s, and SUVs. It needs a new metaphor, an alternative to empire. Vermont stands ready to provide such a metaphor, the Vermont village green.

For reservations send your check for $35 to P.O. Box 544, Charlotte, Vermont 05445 or call 802-425-4133.

We invite you to join our genteel revolution of thoughtful citizens committed to saving Vermont, America, and the rest of the world from the American Empire by leading our nation into peaceful disunion.
The only other promotion of this event that I can find, other than at Naylor's own SVR web site, is a post at Alex Linder's infamous Vanguard News Network .   Last year's Vermont Independence Day event was promoted extensively by both SVR and its sister organization, "Vermont Commons".   So far this year there hasn't been a peep out of VTCommons about the event, nor is it listed as a sponsor as it was last year.   What a difference a year can make, eh?

What you won't learn from Thomas Naylor's Vermont Independence Day Banquet announcement is that he's also scheduled a simultaneous event in conjunction with the banquet called the North-South Secession Summit.   In addition to Kirkpatrick Sale and others, unnamed white wing leaders from the racist League of the South are to be fêted:
North-South Secession Summit
January 14-15, 2008
Charlotte, VT

Following on the heels of the highly successful Second North American Secessionist Convention, which took place in Chattanooga, TN in October, leaders of four secessionist organizations will meet in Charlotte, VT on January 14 and 15 to develop strategies for maintaining the momentum of the emerging national secession movement.

The North-South Secession Summit meeting will include senior representatives from the Middlebury Institute, the League of the South, the Southern National Congress, and the Second Vermont Republic. Recognizing that the American Empire is immoral, illegal, unsustainable, ungovernable, and unfixable, these secessionists have called for the peaceful dissolution of the United States of America. Through a “Genteel Revolution” they hope to help save America and the rest of the world from the American Empire.

The Vermont Secession Summit is being held in conjunction with the celebration of Vermont Independence Day in Montpelier on the evening of January 15. There will be a banquet that evening at the Capitol Plaza Hotel beginning at 6:00 p.m.

For information about the Secession Summit or reservations for the Vermont Independence Day dinner, contact Thomas H. Naylor, 802-425-4133.
BTW, Kirkpatrick Sale is this year's recipient of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Weirdest Political Alliance Award:
Weirdest Political Alliance Award
The honors here go to Kirkpatrick Sale, director of the New York-based Middlebury Institute, dedicated to secessionism. Known for decades as a left-wing intellectual, Sale last year buddied up to the white supremacist League of the South (LoS) — a group that opposes racial intermarriage, defends segregation, and calls for a return to “European cultural hegemony” in the South — to the point of actually co-sponsoring the Oct. 3-4 Second North American Secessionist Convention in Tennessee with the LoS. Now, the left-right love affair promoted by Sale has turned positively torrid, with a “North-South Secession Summit” planned for January. Attending will be top officials of the Middlebury Institute, LoS, the Southern National Congress, and the Second Vermont Republic, to seek “the peaceful dissolution” of the United States.
After last year's uproar when this blog, along with other Vermont blogs, exposed Thomas H. Naylor's decades long close ties to white supremacist groups, it should come as no surprise that our magnolia Vermonter isn't also telling prospective attendees to his Vermont Independence Day Banquet who else he's inviting to dinner.

In his banquet announcement, Naylor claims that the night's theme is "the celebration (of) “The Vermont Village Green: Alternative to Empire.”   The criminal, racist leadership at League of the South that unsuspecting Vermonters may meet at the banquet are hardly the type of people that you'd normally find on a Vermont village green.   The AP photo to the right is from a "visit" that the LoS made to the Civil Rights Memorial (dedicated to 40 who were slain during the years of the civil rights struggle 1954 thru 1968 and located on the SPLC grounds) three years ago on the day that a funeral was being held for the mother of the Southern Poverty Law Center's founder, Morris Dees.   The teen racing about with the Confederate flags is shown doing so around the memorial upon which the names of those slain are etched. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Nice bunch, Tom.   Little wonder you're embarrassed to let Vermonters know who you'll have tricked them into breaking bread with that night.