Friday, November 19, 2010

Guess Who Thomas Naylor Is Condemning Now

He's already condemned all of Vermont's congressional delegation, statewide office holders and the General Assembly, since they haven't gushed over his plans for a Second Vermont Republic. He's condemned prominent state environmentalists, the churches ("No group is more loyal to the American Empire than are the Vermont clergy"), attorneys, all of the instate media including his former SVR flack, Shay Totten, all of Vermont's colleges, university and public schools. He's likened the Vermont left to the "White Citizen Council" (sic) and the KGB. So what's left?

Why Vermont's voters, of course!

Yes, he's put up another of his tedious screeds. You may be familiar with the style. It's as though he's put all his catch phrases and half-baked theories on refrigerator magnets, swirled them all around on the door and hit print. The only thing new is this gem,
"In spite of the paucity of votes attracted by candidate Steele, his campaign seems to have been perceived as a major threat to someone."

"During the four weeks before the election, Steele and the entire Vermont independence movement were the object of a vicious, CIA-style, cybersmear campaign. Three websites and a well-organized network of anti-secessionists bombarded cyberspace with charges of racism, homophobia, and anti-semitism. The exact nature of the relationship between the smear network and the hostile websites was unclear. What was clear was that the entire effort was extremely well organized and well financed."
Good one, Tom! I've been laughing for days. Glad to see that you're getting a grasp of the obvious, something that's eluded Dennis Steele, his campaign manager Matt Cropp and the rest of that Tin Foil Hat Party campaign. That is, the "paucity of votes attracted by... Steele," your anointed candidate this time around, and that Vermonters weren't buying any of your SVR nonsense.

I did noticed that Naylor didn't go too deeply into why the racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism stuff came up or deny any of it. Figures. He couldn't deny what was posted on the campaign's listserv, could he?

Here's an idea: next time Naylor and his pals decide to launch a campaign where the goal is to not tell Vermonters too much about themselves, they shouldn't leave their collective flies open on a publicly accessible listserv. The racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, flying saucers, and the secretly, as well as illegitimately, reconstitution of governmental bodies makes the group sound a little, ah, nuts.

Meanwhile, Thomas Naylor's Second Vermont Republic finds itself still "on the radar" of the Southern Poverty Law Center. This morning's interview of SPLC Director Mark Potok on Vermont Public Radio can be heard here. Potok was originally scheduled to be speaking at the Kellogg Hubbard Library, 135 Main Street in Montpelier on Tuesday, November 23 at 7:00 PM. The program is called The State of Hate in America. Potok will discuss "the development of organized hatred and how it might be stemmed... (and) (w)hat accounts for the dramatic growth of hate groups in America."

Due to a larger than expected turnout the talk has been moved across Main Street to the Unitarian Church at 130 Main Street.

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For the archive of the Free Vermont Framework listserv, click here.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

How Low Can Rob Williams Go?

Apparently as low as a grave robber.

That's not so much a figure of speech as it is a statement of fact.

Without making too large of a point of it, it's pretty clear that the Vermont seceshers took a serious "shellacking" at the polls, enough so that comparatively the national Democrats would look like they'd won. Despite a poorly organized, deeply flawed and porous campaign, Rob Williams is not content with looking generally as though he's flailing about at how to explain it all. No, he persists in repeating his utterly unfounded charge that I am two other people (there are meds for that kind of delusion, Rob). No facts, no evidence, just his insipid reiteration of something that he's bragged about to the other goobers in the secesher clown car on their "secret" listserv. Kinda sad that that's the best he's got:
From: rob.williams at (Rob Williams)
Date: Fri Sep 17 12:56:45 2010
Subject: [Free Vermont Framework] Blogger Thomas "John John" Rowley,
etc. - an update

"Hi Vermont Commons friends,

As many of you know, our anonymous blogger friend Thomas Rowley seems to have emerged from his blogger cave and is a bit cranky with us again.

I thought some of you might be interested in reading my latest blog post - an invitation to our 3 1/2 ROWLEY (sic) for a public conversation.

Face to face and out in the open.

It took him just a few hours last night to decline my request, preferring instead to call us nasty names from behind the anonymity of his pseudonym. As always.

Back story: We are reasonably sure that Rowley is a Marshfield-based blogger named John Ryan, who conspired with GMD blogger John Odum to attack us anonymously at the Rowley blog 3 1/2 years ago, and has done so occasionally ever since. Thus, my "Thomas John John Rowley" nickname for him/them. Which appears to drive him/them crazy. (?)

At one level, this is a kindergarten pissing contest amongst bloggers, one that I'd rather not engage in.

At another level, though, failure to confront Rowley leaves the unfounded but emotionally visceral charge of "racism" and Vermont independence inextricably linked.

Witness blogger Jon Margolis' recent allegation on Vermont Public television.

I have written a letter to VPT host Stewart Ledbetter inviting him out to lunch to discuss the TV incident, and I will call Margolis today to do the same.

Kill 'em with kindness. And honesty. And truth.

But Rowley is another story.

My suggestion - if anyone asks about ROWLEY, we remind the asker that Rowley has remained anonymous for 3 1/2 years, and REFUSES to meet openly in public conversation, even when invited on HIS TERMS to do so.

(Tin Foil Hat) Vermont!"
Of course, I've never offered terms to speak to Williams. I try to limit my conversation to those who don't wallow in self-delusion, engage in factless speculation and think that any Vermonters, beyond their "small community," have a bit of interest in their tin foil world. Get some help, Rob.

But, to the point.

Yesterday was Veterans Day. Most have some manner of honoring veterans or, among with the loutish, not. But Rob's got his own world that he's living in.

He's chosen to troll a memorial website dedicated to honoring Vermont's fallen for Veteran's Day. Here's how the scumbag did it. He wrote, "Honor our Vermont veterans. Work for a Free Vermont beyond the "Global War on Terror," after which he affixed a copyrighted image that contained the faces of Vermont National Guard, soldiers, and Marines he'd lifted from the Vermont Fallen Families website.

Trolling for support for his tiny, irrevelant, measly and conspiracy befuddled group of seceshers at a website for the slain?

Has Rob no shame?

Here's an idea for Rob for the holidays: Not so far from Rob is a market that has coin canister for a cancer patient. When no one is looking, he could "fund raise" for the 2012 Free Vermont campaign. That'd be on a par with his last post. Or maybe he could find a homeless shelter where people who've had to wait in the cold until time for the evening meal and a place to slept for the night, will be so tired as to not be aware of his rifling through their belongings. And Rob, buses are a good place to "bump and pick." Dennis could work it with Rob with since he doesn't seem to care how he gets his funds. Really, just like Rob he's another classy guy.

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For the archive of the Free Vermont Framework listserv, click here.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Second Vermont Republic: A Vermont Fairy Tale

The recent Vemont election has finally exposed the Second Vermont Republic polls commissioned by Thomas Naylor to be the misleading and deceitful constructs that I've always said they were. (see Vermont Secession Polls section in the column to the right)

Naylor's handpicked candidate for Vermont governor, Connecticut native Dennis Steele, finished the race at what can only be described as a very distant and abysmal third place. Some of the independents who ran speak of this third place showing in an unreal way, as though the three "top" vote getters were all within a few votes of each other. Of the 241,605 votes cast, nearly 240,000 supported Dennis Steele's opponents. Steele has the support of approximately 0.79% of Vermonters who voted.

Given that Naylor has been telling the out of state press and anyone else who'd listen that a UVM poll (that he rarely tells people that he'd written and commissioned) showed that 13% of Vermont voters supported the notion of secession, something must have gone terribly, terribly wrong over the past 10 months for the tiny band that comprised the Steele campaign. Indeed, Naylor has "extrapolated" that his polls indicated somewhere around 60,000 of Vermont's voters support secession. Yet, now that the counting is finally done, Naylor's "extrapolated" projection of the support in Vermont for his and Steele's "imaginings" for secession has fallen short by more than 58,000 votes.

In Charlotte, VT, the town where Thomas Naylor retired to after spending most of his life in the South, and where people generally roll their eyes at the mere mention of Naylor's ambition for Vermont, only 10 people voted for Steele. That's 0.48% of the 2041 votes cast in Charlotte. In Waitsfield, home to "Vermont Commons" publisher and über propagandist for the SVR and Free Vermont crowd, Rob Williams, Steele got 9 votes. Perhaps worst of all, Steele got only 5 votes in his present hometown of Kirby, VT.

So, what went wrong?

Well, nothing really. You see, the so-called "Vermont secessionist movement," said to be making great strides in moving the secessionist ball forward in the United States, has always been an elaborately constructed hoax. Despite "secession activist Thomas Naylor('s)... left-leaning Second Vermont Republic movement" having been described as successful in generating popular support for Vermont's independence, it just ain't so. Steele's vote total is on a par to that of other bizarro fringe candidates that appear from time to time in Vermont.

A part of the structure of the hoax of a Vermont independence movement has been, in addition to the phony poll results, an academic veneer carefully applied during the past 7 years by people such as Naylor, "Professor" Williams, Ian Baldwin, Kirkpatrick Sale, Donald Livingston, Thomas DiLorenzo, Jason Sorens, and a host of other scholarly bullshitters scattered mostly in the South. These guys grind out papers and books at a remarkable pace for something without much success or substance - secession.

Another part of that hoax has been the writers who "corroborate" the overstatement that a movement is afoot and growing. Often these supposedly objective chroniclers of this story repeat unquestioningly the "facts" put forth by the leaders of secession without presenting other contradictory facts that they are aware of, including those that directly undermine the figment of a movement to address the deficiencies of difficult times - secessionism.

No one would dispute that these are difficult times but, really, when in the experience of humankind haven't the times been difficult? Hasn't there also always been a human need to consider something that might be possible to ease or offer a pleasing alternative to the difficulties? (And no, I'm not about to launch into an equation of secession to that other great opiate, religion.)

One such instance of an easier to think of alternative to the hardships of the time occurred in England during the Great War in 1917. It was embraced by theosophists who looked for evidence of the potential for evolutionary development of man. It had to do with the supposed existence of fairies. And it was a hoax.

In order to perpetrate a fraud, a hoax or a con, you need only the con and those who want so badly to believe in an easy path to something better.

Naylor and company have been industriously working at making their secession plan appealing to whoever, and in whatever manner it takes, so as to sell the gullible on their idea. Naylor's called his plan a Genteel Revolution and has come up with all sorts of cute catch phrases to suggest that nothing could be simpler than to opt out of what he calls "the Empire." Along the way he's mangled quotes attributed to early Vermonters, issued a form of currency that he calls a token, purloined the regimental flag of the Vermont National Guard, and has lashed out at virtually every Vermonter and local institution since we have not slavishly endorsed his enthusiasms as has his "small community of secessionists". I'm surprised that they haven't thought yet to conjure up a Vermont Secession fairy for there movement.

The truth is that the Vermont secession movement, like the Cottingley fairies, is simply a hoax. Naylor at first claimed to have 125 members in SVR and then discontinued membership claims. Based on a variety of sources, a more modest figure of somewhere between 20 to 25 people constitute the hardcore center of "membership" to the Free Vermont independence group. Before launching their campaign late last year, a party registration was discouraged. Obviously that was so the true dearth of secessionists would not be revealed. Even at the January 15 announcement this year of their campaigns for statewide and General Assembly offices, they only gathered the usual 20 or so deadender sesechers that always show up for Naylor's dog and pony shows.
"I've been writing about Vermont independence for nearly ten years... and, more often than not, it was for an audience of one."- Thomas Naylor (starts at 3:07)
Vermont has had a history of oddball candidacies, some more successful than others. Just six years ago Peter Stevenson ran for Lt. Governor on the Liberty Union party ticket and received nearly 1400 more votes (3291) than Steele and a higher percentage of the vote total, 1.08%.
"Umm, I, ahh, it would be my privilege to work as Vermont's next Lt. Governor. Umm, I'm a very loyal person. I'm a hard worker and I would do a lot for the people of the state of Vermont. They say a good friend would help you move. A really good friend would help you move a body. And my message to the people of the state of Vermont is, let me know if I need to bring a shovel. Thank You."- Peter Stevenson (starts at 3:33)
Fact is, fringe candidate Stevenson is more real, as well as a more successful candidate, than the fairy tale that there is a growing Vermont secession movement.

Just in case there is any doubt about the unhinged from reality quality that infects the Vermont secesher community, here's their latest InterTubes communiqué from the "provisional capital of Free Vermont," a dispatch, if you will, meant to cash in on all that nomentum they've built up from the election:
Ribbon Cutting & First Plenary Meeting

Posted on November 4, 2010
Center for Vermont Independence

Sunday 12/12 at the Center in Hancock!

Please keep this day open, bring your expertise and ideas.

In 2006 a single Free Vermont candidate ran for governor, a horse
farmer and a man of the theatre known to us as Ethan Allen. This
year, FORTY independents ran! This has led to many new organisational
initiatives. We want to keep the momentum going. Let’s coordinate, support each other, and be successful. Hancock is now the place to go, the provisional capital of Free Vermont.

Let’s please be clear that this is about Vermont’s Independence:
food/energy relocalization, our constitutional liberties, financial
independence from the corporate oligarchy, the post-carbon future of
Vermont. This is not just painting a pretty picture, this is DOING it. Want in?

Potluck meal, bring a dish if you can, then we’ll roll up our sleeves.

In a day the most we can hope to accomplish is to review the current
and future initiatives, and match up talent with those initiatives and future initiatives, and match up talent with those initiatives and
determine how to coordinate. There’s also dealing with media, lessons
learned from the 2010 election. A 2012 discussion will have to be
left for another day. (I’ve already declared for 2012, on Twitter of
all places.)

If people have concerns they should submit an agenda item in advance. New topics will be identified, interested parties can return to meet.

Robert (Wagner, notably unsuccessful secesher candidate for senator from Ripton, VT)
Likewise, Steele intends to cash in on his mandate by launching a new initiative:
Campaign Reflections and the Road AheadNovember 3, 2010

Today represents a beginning, not an end. When I agreed to take on the difficult and exhausting task of running for Governor as an independent this year, I did so with the hopes that my actions would serve to help lay the foundations for a robust, grass-roots movement that will carry the message of a Free Vermont forward. Towards that end, I’ve been collaborating with several supporters to found a democratic, state-wide organization. Dedicated to spreading the ideas of Vermont Independence, providing support for Independence-minded candidates for public office, and organizing volunteer activities that both serve our neighbors and help lessen our communities’ dependence on the Federal Government, it will serve as our movement’s new center and engine of growth. It will be organized by county, and I encourage anyone who supported my campaign to get involved in their county committee.

... Our next step is to build upon the foundations of this success and take our movement to the next level!

Dennis Steele
No doubt that next level is to be somewhere other than where he found himself at the close of the polls - flat on his face.

In the coming months I'll, of course, be reporting on their usual lack of substantive results and the attendant puffery from the "small community" of local seceshers, as well as their out of state supporters and flacks.

Official Vermont Secretary of State results for the 2010 general election may be found here.

Update 6:00 PM: Bleatings from that wisp of a propaganda minister over at VTCommons, Rob Williams - cheeky as always but not much more to him than that.

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For the archive of the Free Vermont Framework listserv, click here.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dennis Steele Election Results Analysis

"He will regret it but once, and that will be continuously."
- J.E.B. Stuart
Vermont election night results and analysis on the Steele campaign as they come in (if there are any and it is necessary). Why? Because who else would want to do it?

Update 9:00 PM: Here's this morning's re-post of piece by a secesher cheerleader, Christopher Ketcham, of the "sun-will-come-out-tomorrow" variety type at a Distributist Party forum. Of course, absent from Ketcham's analysis was the revelation of the Vermont seceshers listserv, of which Ketcham was a member of, as well as the truly dumb campaign flubs committed by Thomas Naylor, baas of the Second Vermont Republic, by way of Naylor's bluntly anti-Semitic sentiments; the acceptance of more than 10% of his campaign donations from a blatantly homophobic and racist out-of-state source, a fact available to listserv member Ketcham via Secretary of State campaign contributions records, that Steele adamantly refused to return the money to; a campaign theme that embraced the murderer Che Guevara to the very end of the campaign in its handout distributions as late as October 24, despite alleging that it'd dropped the ill-conceived imagery back on September 15, again a fact available to Vermont secessionist groupie Ketcham.

We'll wait to see what impact Steele's Cheney-esque wave to V.P. Biden may have had on his overall loss.

Update 10:55 PM: With 83 of 260 precincts reporting (32%), Dennis steele still about 59,400 shy of the 60,000 "extrapolated" by Naylor to be the base of support in Vermont for the secession movement. Steele and ALLCAPS Party favorite Cris Ericson trading places in an electoral death match. Must be a Steele surge a coming, no, Rob?

Update 11:35 PM: With 134 of 260 precincts reporting (52%), Dennis Steele's loss seems to be slipping from nearly 1% to 0.0887%. Say it ain't so, Thomas!

Update 11:55 PM: With 166 of 260 precincts reporting (64%), Dennis Steele's loss is now slipping from nearly 1% to 0.0839%. Oh, dear.

Update 12:55 AM: With 208 of 260 precincts reporting (79%), Dennis Steele's loss is slipping from nearly 0.0839% to 0.081%. Hmmm. This isn't good, eh Dennis?

Update 10:00 AM: With 233 of 260 precincts reporting (90%), Dennis Steele's still fractionally slipping but keeping the loss at 0.081%. Good time to call it a day, no Dennis? Dubie's well within the margin that would allow for a recount and he's already conceded.

Here's a new slogan for the seceshers: "Most Likely To Concede"

They could take a marker to all those now useless bumper stickers that say "Most Likely to Secede".

Update 1:00 PM: After placing a few calls to local Town Clerk offices I can reveal that in Waitsfield, the hometown of propaganda maestro Rob Williams, Dennis Steele received a whooping 1% of the vote! Nice job, Rob!

In Connecticut native Dennis Steele's current hometown of Kirby, his candidacy was "shunned" by 98.76% of his community, with him receiving 1.24% of the vote. What more can I say?

Still waiting for a callback from Charlotte.

Time to concede, Dennis.
"He will regret it but once, and that will be continuously."
- J.E.B. Stuart

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For the archive of the Free Vermont Framework listserv, click here.

It Looks Like Dennis Steele Has Lost Again Even Before the Voting Has Ended

No, I'm not talking about his failed 2009 run for election to his hometown's Planning Board in Kirby, VT.

In additional to making the list of cranks and goofballs that no one really wants to be on, the one with those people on it that the Secret Service has to surveille when a principal comes to town, Vermont's own Brawny Paper Towel Guy, Dennis Steele, has made it onto the this year's Esquire's Best and Worst Dressed Men on the Trail list that came out on October 26 and, no surprise, he's coming in at 9th out of 12:

The idea then, Dennis, would be to wear a blazer, not blaze.

Well, at least Mr. Blackwell didn't live to have to see this.

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For the archive of the Free Vermont Framework listserv, click here.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Dennis Steele: Keepin' It Classy

WCAX reports an encounter between Vice President Biden's motorcade and secesher gubernatorial candidate, Connecticut native Dennis Steele, the person hand picked by Thomas Naylor, baas of the Second Vermont Republic as their candidate.
"(Biden's) limo had a passing encounter with Independent for Vermont Governor, Dennis Steele. "Biden is one of the most corrupt Democrats," Steele said.

He gave Biden the middle finger -- his way of showing how he wants Vermont to break away from the United States and his frustration with U.S. spending on foreign wars."
Must be more of Steele's "thinking outside of the box" stuff. And Steele thinks that he's fit to serve as governor of Vermont.

Full WCAX video (short ad first) here.

Jack Thurston: "Steele gave Biden the middle finger. His way of showing how he wants Vermont to break away from the United States and his frustration with US spending on foreign wars."

Thurston continues by asking
Steele: "But the middle finger?"

Dennis Steele: "Absolutely! And it was fun. And it felt good."

More as it becomes available.

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For the archive of the Free Vermont Framework listserv, click here.

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Secessionist Candidate's Lament: A Bridge Too Far?

Ripton resident and secessionist blowhard, Robert Wagner, took a stand Saturday against local solutions to local problems in Middlebury.

As a would be Vermont senate representative for Addison County, recruited by Second Vermont Republic's Thomas Naylor, it would seem, even for a flake like Wagner, to be an odd position to take.

As reported on WCAX:
"Traffic has always been an issue in downtown Middlebury. Now a new 16-million dollar bridge spanning the width of Otter Creek gives drivers a few more options...

It took the joint effort of Middlebury College and the town to (resolve the traffic issue)...

"The money came from the community. The hard work came from the community. The need for a second bridge came from the community. And the community got it done."

"Easing traffic through Middlebury's downtown is one goal of this project. The plan started with the addition of this rotary a couple of months ago and will culminate with the bridge's grand opening tomorrow."

"I think this is going to take a great deal of traffic away from downtown and make Middlebury the quaint little town little village it really wants to be."
WPTZ covered the opening of the bridge on Saturday. It sounded like any community success story and played like a puff piece for that sort of thing, that is, right up to the very end where they interviewed the Tin Foil Hat, er, independent candidate for the state Senate, Robert Wagner of Ripton, Vermont:

"It doesn't cause any net change in the traffic flows," said Robert Wagner. "It doesn't really benefit anybody outside of a few tourists. And I'm against retooling the basic infrastructure of the sake of cars."
All in all, something of a principled position except for the fact that just around a month ago Wagner said something quite different about traffic concerns when he was talking about his town just 8 miles away.

You see, the state of Vermont's Agency of Transportation is to replace an aging state highway bridge on Rte. 125 in the small village of Ripton, VT, and Wagner doesn't like that one bit. It seems that he'd have to take one of two available detours around the project that his community will benefit from, although its share of the cost is the same as to you and me - it'll be funded by stimilus money. No, Wagner wants to "retool" the project at significant additional cost to his neighbors and fellow Vermonters, all for the sake of his convenience. He's under the impression that there's some kind of transportation repository of temporary bridges to draw from. Sorry to have to be the one to disabuse Wagner of that myth but they're leased, as well as entangled with federal monies.

Although there is no record of a complaint from public safety agencies, Wagner's invoked the specter of peril to the public safety. Such agencies are more than capable of, as well as accustomed to, dealing with temporary detours while maintaining their capacity to provide needed services.

But no, he's set up a petition that no one's really interested in and made the closure a kind of issue in his community. Nothing like a little fear mongering to get out the vote.

Perhaps the reason for his ire about the new Middlebury Bridge can best be discerned in the Free Vermont listserv where he's written about his neighbors and people at Middlebury College:
"I'm now hometeading in Ripton, building topsoil in a beautiful spot that keeps me broke with $5,800/year property taxes but no usable local services or public transport --- everyone just drives. A bedroom community where somehow the contradiction between affluenza and liberal-left environmentalism has been resolved into the Church of Global Warming. There is no pollution but CO2, thou savest the planet by buying new hybrid SUVs and lots of green products. Bill McKibben lives here, tried to talk to him but he wouldn't give me the time of day." (Oct. 2009, pg. 17)

"This is one of the affluent lawyers in my son('s)... school. We're already known as the only parents in the school who aren't affluent, and are treated accordingly..." (July 2010, pg. 1)
Something tells me that Wagner's "principles," vis a vis the new Middlebury bridge, are a bit more driven by his self-esteem issues and sour grapes than anything else.

Perhaps Middlebury Selectboard member (and a damned Middlebury College professor to boot, eh Robert?!) Vicor Nuova said it best in his Op-Ed in the Sunday Rutland Herald and Times-Argus of October 31 (no link, paywall),
"Nor would I want to ally myself with those ill wishers of state and federal governments and cite our achievement as proof that we can get along without them. I still like Middlebury being in Vermont and Vermont being one of the United States."
There's little surprise in the irony that unlike Middlebury's bridge, Wagner's ill thought out traffic solution for "the sake of cars" can't occur without help from the state and the Feds, with virtually no local financial input.

Update: 5:04 PM A few hours after publication of this post, Robert Wagner posted at the secessionist propaganda website that he intends, whether elected to the General Assembly or not, "to write and introduce legislation." Foil wrapped, no doubt.

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