Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memoriam N. B. R.

Come all you laboring hands that toil below,

Among the rocks and sands, that plow and sow;

Upon your hired lands, let out by cruel hands,

'Twill make you large amends to Rutland go.
Although a Illinois native, Nathan B. Rowley, great-grandson of Vermont poet, town official and Revolutionary War veteran of the militia brigade called the Green Mountain Boys, Thomas Rowley, joined the 8th Missouri Volunteer Infantry at St. Louis, Missouri on June 26, 1861.

Such was his commitment to maintaining the Union that, like many of that time whose home regiments soon met their state quotas during the initial call for arms in the weeks after the attack by Confederates on the Union at Fort Sumter, he, like so many from the Peoria, Illinois area, found opportunity to serve in the 8th Missouri Volunteer Infantry.

He was killed in the US Civil War on May 22, 1863, during the siege of Vickburg.

"I hold it true, whate'er befall;

I feel it when I sorrow most;

'Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.

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

Monday, May 23, 2011

Which So-Called "News" Organization Has the Worse Journalistic Ethics: Fox News or the Vermont Commons Journal and Blog?

Admittedly, that's a hard call even for me to make but I think the evidence will show that News Corp, the parent organization of Fox News, has squeaked ahead of the self-described "statewide independent news journal," "Vermont Commons", at least with regard to the issue of proper disclosure of in-kind political campaign contributions.

Let me explain.

A story in last Sunday's New York Times details a policy change that may have come about after shareholder complaints concerning undisclosed campaign contributions made by News Corp to conservative organizations like the Republican Governor's Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
"After the controversy over those donations, the News Corporation’s board of directors decided to revisit its policies about disclosure, and on April 12 it adopted a policy 'to publicly disclose corporate political contributions annually on News Corporation’s corporate Web site.'"

"The first such statement will be published by July 15, and later statements will be published each January. A News Corporation spokeswoman declined to comment further."

"The decision may have stemmed from shareholders who raised questions about the donations at an annual meeting last October."
A piece by Julie Carr Smyth in last Friday's HuffPost adds:
"... (T)he RGA donation was prompted by (News Corp media magnate Rupert Murdoch, who controls the company and) his friendship with then-Ohio governor candidate John Kasich."

"Kasich, a former Republican congressman, spent several years as a commentator and occasional guest host on Fox. Since winning the governor's race in November, he has remained a frequent guest on the network."

"Kasich won the election after an expensive campaign against incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland. According to Ohio campaign finance reports, the RGA spent at least $5 million in the state from May and October."
Murdoch's News Corp had donated $1 million dollars to the RGA.
"The Democratic Governors Association filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission during the campaign alleging Fox provided Kasich with an illegal in-kind contribution when they displayed his website address during one of his appearances on "The O'Reilly Factor."


"The liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America, a frequent critic of Fox, on Friday called News Corp.'s new disclosure policy a tacit admission that "they were on shaky ground" with the 2010 contributions."

"Unfortunately, the new policy has the style but not the substance of transparency," executive vice president Ari Rabin-Havt said in an email. "Filing contribution information in the next calendar year in no way meets standards of disclosure. The public deserves to be informed about News Corp.'s financial backing of candidates before an election, so that they can assess for themselves the bias of the coverage they see on Fox News."
Similarly, it appears that VTCommons may have been engaged in its own bit of campaign chicanery during the 2010 election cycle.

Perhaps no freelancing journalist has been more responsible for peddling
the myth that the Vermont seceshers are relevant to the Vermont body politic than Brooklynite Christopher Ketcham. In fact, he says he's writing a book about the seceshers.

You see, back in August of last year Ketcham wrote a piece about the Vermont secesher candidate for governor, Connecticut native Dennis Steele, for the Huffington Post. In it he repeated the nonsense about how a 2007 "poll" is supposed to show that 13% of Vermonter voters support the idea of secession,
"And they have a surprising degree of support from the street: when last polled on the matter of secession, in 2007, 13 percent of Vermont voters were for it."
(Disclosure: Last fall Christopher Ketcham had asked to interview me and it was in large part because of Ketcham's promotion of this blatant piece of political disinformation in his HuffPo piece that I saw no need to submit to what would have likely been similarly misrepresenting treatment in the interview.)

I've posted at length about the shenanigans associated with that poll in particular. Such as, Second Vermont Republic's Thomas Naylor doing interviews in which he repeatedly says that "UVM did a poll, blah, blah, blah," when the truth is that Naylor commissioned the poll questions from University of Vermont's Center for Rural Studies to do in conjunction with their annual Vermonter Poll. Naylor, the baas of SVR, made the disclosure that he'd commissioned the poll while he was speaking on-air to James Edwards, the racist, anti-Semitic, Holocaust denying host of the Memphis TN based, white supremacist Internet radio program, The Political Cesspool.

Had it been published, the methodology that Naylor used would have been so damaging to his carefully crafted results that he's had to go to great lengths to hide the questions. "Vermont Commons", which calls itself "Vermont's statewide independent news journal", contributed to the deception by deleting the poll questions PDF from their archive when it was revealed on this blog, thus attaining a new low in news management - even if you've already printed/posted it, if it hurts the "cause" then just disappear it. Not so classy, Rob. (Some of what I've revealed about Naylor's poll puffing can be found in the Poll Section in the column to the right.)

Then last fall the secesher gubernatorial candidate garnered a mere 0.79% - that's right, barely three quarters of 1% of the vote or as Steele liked to call it, "Third." Even Naylor characterized Steele's showing as suffering from a "paucity of votes.":
"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."
Naylor likely was referring to me. Thing is that I never received a cent in my life from any super-spook source, nor did I spend anything. But then it's not unlikely that someone like Naylor, who's fudged poll results with shady questions, would hesitate to just make up facts for which he had no evidence.

What's interesting is that in March of 2010 I warned Williams that I'd be monitoring his upcoming campaign and mentioned specifically that I'd be reviewing the campaign contributions made to SVR associated candidates. The rest, as they sometimes say, is history, the short version of which is that I found an out-of-state contributor which then led to finding their super-secret listserv. No tip or funds from the CIA or Mossad, just an a plain, old fashioned, cyber-paperwork investigation. During the campaign, public statements from Steele took a more hateful, anti-Semitic turn and I later found on the listserv that Williams counseled Steele to tone down the hateful campaign rhetoric since it sounded like anti-Semitism, from what seemed, by Williams' words, to have come from media (as in Jewish controlled?) indoctrination of Vermonters:
"Since most Americans have been conditioned by years of corporate media training to associate anti-Israeli sentiment with Anti Semitism, talking about the Israeli Mafia smacks of antiSemitism blah blah. Holocaust, SVR are racists, etc ad nauseum. I have spent 4 years defusing the SVR/LOS nonsense and it is finally done, even in the blogosphere. Why go there again?"
Willaims, as a listserv honcho, certainly had to be aware of the racist and homophobic comments of Steele's #1 out-of-state contributor and that a standard practice is to return such funds. Steele wouldn't return the funds even when confronted on this blog and that no doubt had more to do with his ignominious defeat than any conspiracy alluded to by Steele's baas and money stream, Thomas Naylor.

As a result of the "cyber-paperwork investigation" for this post, I learned that in March of this year Ketcham made an amazing revelation that appeared at the CounterPunch website:
"Then, last September [s/be August]... as a favor to my friends in the Vermont secessionist movement, [I] wrote a piece at HuffPo about the secessionist’s (badly losing) candidate for governor, whose main platform was the destruction of the American empire. Due to the many eyes flitting about on HuffPo, the piece – for which I was not paid, as is the case for the vast majority of the “bloggers” at the website – was widely read and re-posted and Dugg and whatever, and brought some needed attention to the sales pitch of the crazy Vermonters."

"By my own logic, obviously, the more people blathering on digitally about a Vermont secession would render the subject contemptible and irrelevant. And so it came to pass: The article disappeared after a few days; produced no new converts to the secesh movement that I know of; garnered no campaign contributions for their gubernatorial candidate
[true]; and, in effect, made the whole movement look like a hiccup in the digistream [my point for years]. It may be that the movement is a hiccup, in Vermont itself as in electronic reality, or perhaps my writing wasn’t convincing over the long haul."

"For a brief moment, however, the article was good advertising."
At last, the truth: "advertising," as well as the startling admission that rather than having "a surprising degree of support from the street" as Ketcham had claimed in his August piece, the ad "made the whole movement look like a hiccup." A "mild belch" might be a more apt metaphor to describe Steele's barely three quarters of one percent showing in the vote totals.

Ketcham posted his ad (more like a sloppy, wet kiss) for the ultimately failed Vermont secesher gubernatorial candidate, Dennis Steele, at HuffPo on Monday, August 30, 2010, after 10:00 PM. Hours later, just before dawn and in the wee hours of the following morning, Rob Williams, publisher of VTCommons and a campaign advisor for Steele, posted this for his VTCommons readers, along with the complete text from Ketcham's HuffPo piece:
"Thanks to independent journalist Christopher Ketcham and the Huffington Post for this article about our emerging independence movement here in the once and future republic of Vermont."

"Free Vermont! Long live the UNtied States."
You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to know that this was hardly a coincidence of events, especially with Ketcham's admission that:
"... as a favor to (his) friends in the Vermont secessionist movement, (he) wrote (the) piece at HuffPo"
Funny thing is, I didn't see an "in kind" contribution disclosure for that advertising on sesecher gubernatorial candidate Dennis Steele's frequently late campaign expenses and contributions disclosure forms when I last checked them. They haven't been amended yet this year either, according to Vermont Secretary of State records.

I'd long suspected that much of what Ketcham has been writing about secession is little more than flacking for the secesher crowd and said as much to him in response to his interview request. The scam works like this: someone like Ketcham writes a piece in support of his "friends" without revealing that the piece is a "favor," then the seceshers point to it endlessly as they did with his Time piece from January, 2010 and the HuffPo piece, even going so far as inserting the pieces as a reliable source (WP:RS & perhaps even more importantly WP:SPS) into Wikipedia articles without revealing the incestuousness of the process that is known at Wikipedia as coatracking.

Ketcham has written about secession in the past and there are also problems with his reporting then. He got so carried away with the puffing he was doing on behalf of SVR that he wrote this easily refutable bit of fiction:
"One day two years ago, I heard Sale speak before 1,500 attendees at a meeting of the SVR."


"The crowd exploded, but gently. They were young and old, hippies and farmers, old Right and new Progressive, college educated and tenth-grade educated. The room where they gathered, the great hall of the Vermont State Legislature, was hung with purple velvet, and built of fine wood and marble, and smelled clean."

Many Vermonters have at one time or another been to their statehouse and the idea that anyone could pack 1,500 people into the House chamber of the statehouse is absurd. By law, capacity to the House chamber is limited 350 occupants; the entire building, including all floors, is permitted for under 1,000 and is not available in its entirety for such events.

Here's a picture of one such secesher "crowd," taken nine months after Ketcham's article on the uncredible crowd of 1,500, this one seated on the east side of the House chamber :

Indeed. By then SVR baas was reporting that the "crowd" now attending had drifted downward to the vicinity of 200:
Over 200 people visited the House Chamber of the Vermont State House on November 7 for a festive event sponsored by the Second Vermont Republic.
Photos of the event suggest a somewhat lower total (Note: After I post on SVR files they are often taken down - screen caps are maintained for this blog's files.)

Last year, after Ketcham's fawning January 31, 2010 piece in Time about the inexperienced and somewhat megalomaniacal 7 or 8 secessionist candidates who'd announced their ill-fated campaign for various Vermont executive and legislative offices, I started to pay attention to his work. What Ketcham fails to mention in any of his bios attached to the articles he's written is that he can be seen to be very much in the tank and entangled with the Vermont seceshers.

The question, you might ask, is why would Ketcham jeopardize whatever reputation for objectivity as "a freelance writer, (who) has written for Vanity Fair, Harper's, GQ, The Nation, (and) Mother Jones" that he might have by making such a disclosure, to wit, that what he writes regarding secession may at times be viewed as advertising, coatracking and/or fact picking?

The answer would seem to be that in his zeal to disparage Huffington Post's creator, Arrianna Huffington, Ketcham's injudiciousness has much to do with a lack of reasonable self-constraint that typifies the secesher advocates, with the exception that he's not foul mouthed like Naylor, middle finger waving Dennis Steele, Peter Garritano and so many other of the Free Vermont listserv "cowboys," of whom Ketcham also was one - yes, he's even posted at their "secret listserv."

For those of you who may not be familiar with the listserv, it was a message board where the "cowboys" felt comfortable chatting about conspiracies (like a secret US military and alien, dark-side of the moon, resource/technology exchange), race mixing, the ickiness of lesbians, income and asset caps for Vermonters, putting today's Vermont law enforcement on trial in the New Vermont Republic, creating capital offense charges for legislators who lie, forming alliances with other extremist groups like the Oath Keepers - you know, fun "cowboy" stuff. For some reason none of that, including this listserv message from Ketcham to the "cowboys", made it into Ketcham's piece:
"Hey all - wanted to get your take on this: What can be said about the socio-economic make-up of SVR supporters, and those who generally support secession in Vermont? By that, I mean: is it only professors, students, middle class intellectuals, and guys who work for Oracle and solar energy companies?"

"Any truckdrivers or gravediggers or construction workers? How about average Vermont farmers, not the CSA folks and the organic crowd? How about Vermont gun-nuts and 2nd
Amendment types? Any interest from Tea Party types? The Tenth Amendment folks?"

"You might have noticed that there was an Oath Keeper guy at the Jan. 15 announcement of the candidacies. (You're familiar with the Oath Keepers, I assume). He was drunk, and slurring his words, and when I interviewed him he generally made little sense except to say that he was a supporter of SVR and of secession. Not sure yet what to make of the Oath Keepers. They may just be right-wing morons playing the same old game."

Of course, lack of actual support for SVR from average Vermonters or incidents of real support for SVR from whackjobs made it into Ketcham's ads, er, articles; we just got allusions to the phony poll commissioned by Naylor from Ketcham.

Ketcham's a bit miffed that he can't turn a profit while propagandizing on behalf of SVR. I'm just guessing but I'd bet, based on what I saw Naylor contribute in the way of reported financial support for his first ever secesher gubernatorial candidate, that the SVR baas and paymaster, Thomas Naylor, is as tight as Arriana Huffington is said to be by Ketcham when it comes to compensating for content generation. Really, shouldn't Naylor have been the one to pay for the advertising for his hand-picked candidate?

So, like Naylor himself who lambasts Vermonters Fred Phelps-style when Vermonters enmass never do what he wants and says will be best for them, Ketcham lashed out in his piece entitled "Arianna Huffington as Parasite," and so "joins the flock of 'media oxpeckers who ride the backs of pachyderms, feeding on ticks,'" but without even the meager ethical standards of a Fox News employee.

In April of this year, Ketcham wrote about the lack of true objectivity among journalists and seemingly about himself in this ironically titled piece, "Intellectual Prostitution and the Myth of Objectivity." It's worth a read, especially where he gets into news-pegs, which seems very much like what he was doing in his HuffPo advertising piece.

Ketcham writes:
... "The pretense and veneer of objectivity is the goal. This renders idiot mistakes and outright falsities so much easier to sell to the public. After all, the marketer of the junk is presented as the all-seeing eye..."
Ketcham closed with quote from 19th century journalist John Swinton:
"We are intellectual prostitutes.”
Speak for yourself, Chris.

Perhaps Naylor, Steele, Williams and Ketcham will get together and discuss the worth of Ketcham's advertising on a well-known, national web platform, and then make the needed in-kind campaign contribution disclosure that is required under Vermont law. Ketcham has made an issue of not being paid by HuffPo and he certainly has a payment in mind that he'd consider appropriate for his work. Ketcham himself called what he did "advertising," so the exception "to any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication which has not been paid for" in 17 V.S.A. § 2801a does not appear to apply. 17 V.S.A. § 2892 would appear to control since I'm sure that Ketcham would value his work at better than $150.00.

Will the Vermont seceshers at VTCommons, the listserv and their flacks rise at least to the level of Fox News and commit to transparency (kinda) and disclosure of campaign contributions? We'll see. Oh, and I'm looking forward to reading Ketcham's future book on the secession "movement." I can't wait to read the chapters on flacking, polls, planting stories and how to inflate the importance of a moribund movement while keeping a straight face and, hopefully, makin' a buck.

I'll update when or if they do or do not amend the September 2010 campaign contributions and expenditures disclosure report that was filed last year.

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

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Saturday, May 21, 2011


To the person attempting to pass along information on Donnachaidh via comments:
Since this will need to be substantiated, please try contacting me via this blog's email address, vermont(dot)secession(at)yahoo(dot)com so that we may discuss this further.

Thomas Rowley

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


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Vermont Commons Blogger's Conspiracy Worries: First They Came For Our Bike Paths...

Last August The Denver Post's Christopher N. Oshner wrote of a Tea Party candidate's worry that a UN agency's "(b)ike agenda spins (US) cities toward U.N. control." The Teabagger, Republican gubernatorial candidate, Dan Maes said that at first he thought that:
"the mayor's efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes "that's exactly the attitude they want you to have."

"This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms," Maes said.

"He added: "These aren't just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor. These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to."
Ah, yes, he wasn't going to be fooled by the supposedly benign assistance of a UN group of present day, freedom hating Blue Meanies who are coming here to "do everything they can to oppress the place."

Vermont Commons blogger and sovereignty movement legal type, Simha Bode, noting that "Burlington, South Burlington and Brattleboro have membership with the (UN's) International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), throws in his own deep concerns,
"Personally I don't want to be represented by this "International" NGO. If you are a public official, council, committee or planning board member within an ICLEI membership town, be aware you are infringing on the sovereignty and constitutionally protected rights of US citizens, by breaking Article 1 Section 10 of the US Constitution. If you have made an oath to uphold the constitution, you are also breaking your oath."
Sure. For eighteen years this agency in Denver, devoted to evironmentally sound alternatives had worked quietly on behalf of bike paths in Denver and suddenly, as a Republican constituency, the automobile dealers feel the pinch, there's a conspiracy afoot to take away our freedoms!!!

Bode then gives us oddles of links in his post to conspiracy addled groups that confirm his "suspicions."

OY! Leave it to "Vermont Commons" publisher Rob Williams to find a looney tunes conspiracist like Bode to round out the group over at VTCommons.

Be warned of "(t)he commie UN conspiracy to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids, with bicyles."

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

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

9-11 Truthers Are a Staple of the Purported Vermont Secessionist Movement

Part of the problem with the Vermont secessionists' leadership is that they seem to believe that if their ideological inspirators get away with peddling lies, they can peddle the same lies as true because, you know, someone says so and no one's going to challenge their junk.

The "Vermont Commons" publisher, an exporter of boutique meats of the non-native sort, a campaign advisor to failed secesher gubernatorial candidate, Connecticut native Dennis Steele, and a lead propagandist for the supposed Vermont secession "movement," Rob Williams, is a good example of this sort of secesher self-delusion.

It's kinda like when Williams bragged last year on his "super-secret" (until exposed on this blog [1] [2] ) listserv regarding this blog's revelations regarding his secesher movement's cozy relationship with the racist, white supremacist League of the South:
"I have spent 4 years defusing the SVR/(League of the South) nonsense and it is finally done, even in the blogosphere."
Spoken too soon, eh, Rob?

Not only do Vermont seceshers continue to maintain ties to the racist LoS, they also keep in their ranks racists and homophobes like Steele's largest out-of-state campaign contributor and Second Vermont Republic essayist, James Duncan, and VTCommons anti-Semitic blogger, Carol Moore.

In a wordy, overwrought and insipid come back, Williams relies on the "exhaustive research and writings," better described as troofer nonsense, of known 9-11 Truther, David Ray Griffin.

Grifter, er, Griffin is well-known for his tin-foil hat conspiracy representations, so much so that he is a featured crank in Jonathan Kay's (the managing editor and columnist at Canada's National Post newspaper) Among The Truthers: A Journey Through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground. Jacob Heilbrunn, a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review and a senior editor at The National Interest wrote of Kay's recent book:
"Some of Kay’s most illuminating passages center not on what conspiracy theorists believe — even to dignify it with the word “theory” is probably to grant them more legitimacy than they deserve — but on why they are attracted to such tedious rubbish in the first place. He divides them into different camps, including the “cranks” and the “firebrands.” Cranks are often reacting to male midlife crises — combating conspiracies, Kay says, offers a new sense of mission. Cranks, he adds, are frequently math teachers, computer scientists or investigative journalists."

"A leading case, according to Kay, is David Ray Griffin, a former professor at the Claremont School of Theology who has devoted his retirement to writing no fewer than 11 books that examine each minute of the 9/11 timeline. Then there is Paul Zarembka, a professor of economics at the State University of New York, Buffalo, who has scrutinized “such arcane subjects as the price of individual airline stocks in the run-up to 9/11, and the tail numbers of the hijacked 9/11 aircraft.” And Barrie Zwicker, a mainstream Canadian journalist turned truther, insisted on interviewing Kay while Kay was interviewing him, hitting buttons on a chess clock to regulate the amount of time each had."

"Once upon a time such people would most likely have operated in relative anonymity. But with the emergence of the Internet, Kay says, they have established their own cult followings, along with the sense of superiority that is created by seeming to enjoy direct access to what actually makes the world tick. Kay writes: 'Many true conspiracy theorists I’ve met don’t even bother with Web surfing anymore. . . . From the very instant they first boot up their computer in the morning, their in-boxes comprise an unbroken catalog of outrage stories ideologically tailored to their pre-existing obsessions.' ”
Heilbrunn's complete review may be read here. See also the Publisher's Weekly review here.

A quick search of the VTCommons website revealed more than a score of references to Griffin's "cogent" research by various inhabitants of the VTCommons blog nutsack. Six other references can be found on the website for Griffin's 9-11 "exposé" The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 911. Here's what Chip Berlet, a noted investigative journalist who studies the spread of conspiracy theories in the media and on the Internet, as well as white supremacists, homophobes, political cults and anti-Semites, has to say about Griffin's book:
"This book by David Ray Griffin is largely a compilation and restatement of materials from a variety of print and electronic sources, as the author points out in his Introduction and Acknowledgments. Griffin’s book reflects a relentless disregard of substantial evidence from multiple sources that contradict the claims he is making. Griffin repeatedly uses classic Fallacies of Logic (a Wikipedia article in progress on Fallacies of Logic may be read here) in his presentation rendering whole sections of the book refutable on this basis alone..."


"Griffin is constantly stating that he does not know what actually happened, but that he is just analyzing possible scenarios that need to be investigated. This is disingenuous at best. While Griffin repeatedly refers to the “claims” of “critics” of the “official” account of the events of 9-11-01, he is clearly endorsing these views. In a number of cases Griffin becomes an apologist for authors (such as Thierry Meyssan or Illarion Bykov and Jared Israel) whose assertions have been thoroughly demolished by an armada of writers across the political spectrum. Griffin accomplishes this by selectively highlighting certain aspects of their work while sidestepping their most lurid and outlandish conclusions in which they claim the functioning of vast conspiracies on the flimsiest of evidence..."


"Many of Griffin's cites track back to unsubstantiated claims..."
The complete, lengthy review of Griffin's paranoid hodge podge of conspiracist "pyramiding, a process used by conspiracists whereby an unproven allegation in a prior section is converted into a factual basis to introduce a following section" may be read here.

'Course, there's nothing that prevents conspiracist whackjobs like Griffin, Rob Williams and Vermont secesher Jim Hogue from churning these unsubstantiated tall tales. Where it does become truly vile is when Griffin suggests that the cell calls received by family members of the passengers were faked and that somehow multiple call receivers, including Ted Olson, a United States Solicitor General at the time who had been married for five years to Pentagon Flt 77 victim Barbara Olson, were fooled into thinking a faked electronic voice was a loved one. You'd think that the Vermont seceshers would be capable of some modicum of decency and would not give the improbable claims of Griffin such prominence in their endeavours. You can read more on this mean-spirited, vile act by 9-11 Troofers at VTCommons here.

Some of Griffin's conspiracist crap is based on French conspiracist, Thierry Meyssan, "work," neatly disposed of by here.

I look forward to reading in future VTCommons journal issues and blog post updates from Rob on the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping Hoax, the Apollo Moon Landing Hoax, the Real story behind the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Illuminati Freemason Conspiracy, as well as something new on the Lincoln Assassination Hoax. Some guy says that he saw Lincoln shot but he's dead now so the assassination is unconfirmable - prob'ly just another gubmint plot, no?

"And as for "defusing the SVR/LOS nonsense" as being a "finally done" deal, "even in the blogosphere," well, not by a longshot, Rob, not by a very long shot. I never can say goodbye, boy."

(Editor's Note: David Ray Griffin is not to be confused with another contributor to the VTCommons journal, Robert S. Griffin, a white supremacist author ["Rearing Honorable White Children" published in the racist journal American Renaissance], a "professor" at University of Vermont and who has written for the racist journal, The Occidental Quarterly [3 - scroll way down]

Additionally, VTCommons publisher and all around douchebag, Rob Williams, incorrectly asserts on his blog that I have called him a "stoopid moron." In fact, I called Peter Garritano a "moron."

One need only read Garritano's barely comprehensible blog posts for confirmation that this secesher, political wannabe operates largely in the conspiracist realm, with a distinct fixation (or hatred, really) for members of today's Vermont National Guard. Maybe it's an effort to increase his cred among the small community of Vermont sovereign citizen and Oath Keeper types.

I'd described their conspiracist nonsense as "stoopid." Ya'd think Williams, a so-called publisher, would be capable of fact checking and proofing his own post. Maybe he's just incapable of "read(ing). Or just (is)n't thinking clearly."

I'd also suggested that "Williams and Garritano (were) locked in contest with Douglas Feith to see who'll be "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth."

Clearly, Williams is the hands down winner in that contest with his fellow political bottom feeder, Garritano. His promotion of inexcusably hurtful jerks like Griffin [either one] puts him over the top with that sort of vile, conspiracist, racist douchebaggery.)

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

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Vermont Secessionists Refuse to Give Up...

... on one of the stoopidest conspiracy theories since the whole Birther nonsense gripped the Teabagging community.

It goes like this: Osama Bin Laden isn't dead and the Obama administration is lying and there is no proof of Bin Laden's death. This now from Peter Garritano. Moron.

That one's dumber (if that could be possible) than Rob Williams' overtly racist attack on Obama last week where he pictorially blended the president with the al-Qaeda bogeyman, Osama Bin Laden. Get it? Obama and Osama sound similar - what could be funnier? If you can look past the insipidly dull, racist undertone to such a conflation, you gotta say, "That Williams - what a funny guy. He's a real hoot."

Earth to two of the most needy attention seekers that I know of, Williams and the utterly delusion Garritano, try this:
"Al-Qaeda has confirmed the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden"
Al Jazeera, May 6, 2011
Maybe the CIA has tricked the entire Bin Laden family into believing that Osama Bin Laden is dead as well.

Williams and Garritano - locked in contest with Douglas Feith to see who'll be "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth."

My money's on Williams - he'll be the last guy to ever back down when it comes to being stupid in the face of easily obtainable facts.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

University of Vermont Professor Frank Bryan Quits the Vermont Secession Movement

It probably had to happen. Breakups are never a pretty thing and this one has been going on in slow motion for years.

The basis for the relationship was never really all that strong. Sure, they
shared a liking for some of the same things and they had even shared professional interests. Maybe relationship is too strong a term; mutualistic might better describe what was going on.

Alright, this is all getting a little confusing so perhaps asking the question, "How did Frank M. Bryan, a quirky, respected professor at University of Vermont get hooked up with an anti-American poseur and would be founding father of an independent Vermont Republic, Thomas Naylor?" might clear things up. Or not.

For sure, only Frank will ever be the one to answer that question for himself, but what is clear is that he has "left the (Vermont secession) movement." This, according to Ohio secessionist Harold Thomas, from an email sent by Bryan three months ago to Thomas:
"I left the (Vermont secession) movement for the following reason:"

"I love America. I tear up when I hear America the beautiful sung correctly. I say the Pledge of Allegiance and mean it when I do."

"I could not stand by and watch the American flag burned. I honor our soldiers past and present and so on."

"I viewed secession as a divorce breaking up a marriage when both partners may still love one another. (It happens.) Plus I felt (and still do) that Vermont could survive and prosper as an independent Republic. With all that said I simply could not stand my own hypocrisy any longer."

"Actually I stayed on the advisory committee of the SVR (Second Vermont Republic) longer than I should have because (I) was told that 'some people' were calling us racist. I was so put off by that kind of McCarthyist tactic that I didn't want to seem to verify it by resigning at that point."
'Course, here Bryan has again made the same empty charge about being called a racist that Naylor, Rob Williams, and the rest of the Vermont secesher wingnuts have, that early on they were all called racists. The charge was then that the Second Vermont Republic advisory board had been packed with racists from the League of the South. Thomas Naylor has made no secret of his longtime alliance with openly racist groups like the LoS. Williams, when faced with the fact that some of his LoS type pals could be racist responded:
"Is he a racist? I don’t know. And frankly, it is none of my damn business, at a personal level."
You'd think that Bryan, a professor of political science, could at least get the basic facts right.

The split up between Bryan and Naylor's SVR is more than two years old. Naylor drummed Bryan out of his fantasy, secessionist republic in this statement found in a March 2009 edition of UVM's campus publication, The Vermont Cynic:
"Bryan agrees that Vermont is not ready to secede at this point in time and Naylor has said that 'Frank Bryan is not a secessionist' because of this belief."

"'If you said Vermont could secede tomorrow, I would say to you, we're not ready to secede tomorrow. I'm glad I'm not going to see Vermont secede from the union because I'd be desperately lonely. I don't think I even want my kids to [see it happen],' Bryan said.

"(Rob) Williams is on Naylor's side."

On that point we can all agree that Bryan is correct. The deceptive and dishonorable campaign conducted by Naylor, Williams and their lackeys has been so offensive - particularly the undisguised hatred for the vast majority of Vermonters and their institutions - that the very idea of SVR and VTCommons ever succeeding in seceding has become a statewide joke that no one, aside from the "small community" of secesher "Internet cowboys" wants to "see it happen." Between Naylor's increasingly shrill, tweedy tirades against Israel & Vermonters, while at the same time lauding Holocaust denying Ahmadinejad, and Williams' increasingly embarrassing attempts to gain relevance by inviting the uninterested into meeting with him to explain themselves to him, prior to which he launched an Islamophobic, racist attack on President Obama, it becomes progressively clear how unhinged the leadership of the secesher movement (a figure of speech only) has become.

Here's what Naylor has said about the Iranian leader whose country, under his leadership, "remain(s) the most active state sponsor of terrorism": [1] [2]
"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is one of the few leaders in the world who possesses the courage to confront the United States and Israel."

The Bryan/Naylor squabble spilled into the public eye in this Seven Days story from late last summer, as well as in a report about it here:
Frank Bryan, a UVM political science professor who spent years arguing for Vermont’s secession, says running candidates was always a goal of the movement. But he argues its current approach is wrong.

“One of the problems with all the secessionists is they’re impatient,” says Bryan, who has turned his back on secession. “They want to go to the top immediately with candidates who really don’t have a lot of experience in governing.”

What candidates like Dennis Steele should do, Bryan argues, is run for school board and city council before seeking statewide office, to establish a record, gain experience and earn the trust of voters.

Naylor calls that argument “totally absurd."

(Connecticut native) “Dennis Steele has done more for the Vermont independence movement in the last six months than anyone has done in the last seven years,” Naylor says. “The only way you could have that platform is by running for governor.”

Naylor knows his candidates face an uphill battle. Even though one UVM poll suggested 13 percent of Vermonters favor secession
(VS Editor's Note: a push poll bought and paid for by Naylor - see polling section in right column of this blog), he doesn’t expect that to translate directly into votes. Naylor would be happy if Steele got 10 percent, he says, itself a lofty goal.

Naylor knows the word “secession” carries some very negative connotations. “Secession is anathema. Secession is failure. Secession is civil war. Secession is racism,” he admits with obvious frustration. “Those are hard things to overcome.”
It's now known that Steele failed to get anywhere near the 10% that Naylor said he'd be "happy" to get. Rather, Steele got a fringer's usual less than one percent (0.79%).

Carol Moore, an anti-Semitic blogger and one of Rob Williams' contributors at Vermont Commons, is a coatracking specialist at Wikipedia who has been trying to hide the fact that Frank Bryan has left the SVR advisory board for years, as well as conceal the fact that there's a dearth of true believers in the Vermont secesher movement. No less a true believer than Vermont Commons' publisher emeritus and Naylor pal, Ian Baldwin, has labeled the movement "our small community of secessionists." [1] [2]

The Vermont secession movement has been based on historic misrepresentations, deliberate deceptions and has relied on the half-baked ideals of a coterie of bigots, anti-Semites, homophobes, racists and/or regional supremacists.

With that sort of a foundation for the relationship, a breakup just had to happen.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Vermont Secessionist's 2011 Legislative Scorecard

The House of Representatives of Vermont's General Assembly adjourned today, and early to boot.

If you don't remember the legislative promise made by the utterly failed
secesher Senate candidate for one of Vermont's Addison county's two senate seats (4% of the vote or as he must like to call it "fifth" [out of five]), Robert Wagner, well, don't feel bad. Much of what he said was unmemorable, like when he castigated his neighbors and potential constituents in Middlebury for addressing a local problem with local funds rather than sucking at the state teat as he recommended for his own town here.

Just prior to get swamped, er, edge out of a win for the senate seat Wagner wrote on November 1, 2010 in the Rob Williams secesher propaganda rag at "Vermont Commons":
"I intend to write and introduce legislation whether in the Senate... or part of the Loyal Opposition, as a citizen legislator. As Vermonters, we have this right and this duty. I have some draft tax reform legislation which I'll be running before you, the people, before submitting it."
Three days later Wagner scrubbed Montpelier, Vermont from every kid's list of memorized state capitols and declared Hancock, Vermont, just over the mountain from the casa Wagner to be the secesher provisional capitol of Vermont - screw whatever the proposed constituents of the proposed Second Vermont Republic might think - Daddy Wagner and the nine or so seceshers who met in Hancock on December 12 of 2010 know best.
"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."
'Course, we never heard back from Wagner about the legislation or the tax reform, nor did he say that none of the SEVEN secesher candidates came anywhere near a win. Instead, he circulated a petition proposed by another group that's gone nowhere.

• Legislation Circulated - None
• Legislation Proposed - None
• Legislation Passed - None

Figures. Here in an agricultural area he's what you'd call an extra political nipple .

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vermont Birthers Move Over, There's a New Game in Town

Or more to the point, there's a new "pig" for the Angry Birds© over at the "Vermont Commons" blog to hurl themselves towards.

Led by VTCommons publisher Rob Williams, the nattering nabobs of nuttiness there have dived headlong into the latest conspiracy theory - "The Death of Osama Bin Laden Is a Lie!"

Amongst all the other bird-brained ideas that spin out from the VTCommons propaganda machine, 9/11 Truthiness has been a constant staple feeding the wingnutters.

Williams lobbed this bit'o bird crap today, as a follow up to his attack on Monday.

Monday's offering from Williams here sports this rant from last Fall's secesher Lieutenant Governor candidate and all around fowl ball, Peter Garritano - it's a beaut:
"Osama Bin LadenObama poll numbers falling!!! Time to kill the boogie man In one of the most unbelievable stories ever to come out of the White House, Osama Bin Laden has been killed and his body dumped at sea. Don’t worry we got some DNA to prove it!! In the age of guilty before proven innocent, and torture to provide evidence, wag the dog has provided us with yet another timely news item. After 9 years of fake audio tapes made on a cassette recorder from the 50’s, we can now put an end to this sad chapter of CIA fakery. It is sad that Osama’s body was dumped at sea because he should have been buried with military honors. The Pentagon propaganda machine kept him alive and the military industrial complex raked in the dough. Osama’s time had come though because Obama is feeling the heat with the bad economy, endless military aggression, foreclosures, and plunging dollar. Nothing better than a lynching to pep up the population. The five seconds of news(sic) video I was able to stomach seemed like a clip from an old Frankenstien movie, burning torches and wild eyed hungry people. It’s time to focus people. Osama is not the reason for your woes. Corporate terrorists have caused the condition that now grips the world economy. Guantanamo’s inmates should include the CEOS from Goldman Sachs, Monsanto, Lockheed Martin, Pfizer, and Halliburton to name a few. Osama’s funeral at sea is only a temporary fix and like most news items, it will have little effect on our daily lives.. The carnival will leave town and the naked truth of the creeping fascist state will emerge once again. Big brother is watching, he’s well armed and well paid, and will be forever indebted to Osama Bin Laden."

Submitted by Peter Garritano on Mon, 05/02/2011 - 7:15pm.

Betwixt the Williams posts comes this one from Jim Hogue, reënactor horribilis, also spinning the Osama lives/been dead/never happened or whatever myth.

No doubt the other little Angry Birds© will be chirping it up soon, what with all this new seed...

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More Bad News For The Vermont Secession Movement

The baas of the Second Vermont Republic, Thomas Naylor, as well as his toady, Rob Williams must be having another bad day.

It seems that the most successful secessionist/separatist/sovereignty movement in North America, the Bloc Québécois, took a whooping in the Monday night's elections in Canada. Naylor's and William's websites have hailed the Bloc Québécois as "powerful" and as potential allies.

The Bloc Québécois went from holding 15% stake in Canada's parliament (47 seats), to barely 1% (4 seats), a showing not dissimilar to SVR's own gubernatorial hopeful, Connecticut native Dennis Steele's paltry 0.79%. Bloc Québécois took only 1 seat in Montréal/Laval and none in Québéc City.

Read more about the Bloc Québécois collapse here and here.

Quelle horreur! Quelle surprise!! Quel dommage!!!

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