Tag Archives: conspiracy theories

How not to prove you’re not a xenophobe

The Rutland Firsters claim that all they want is more information about the proposed settlement of Syrian refugees in their city. Well, now we know what kind of information they’re looking for.

On Tuesday night, that not-at-all nativist, not-at-all racist, not-at-all xenophobic organization held an “informational” meeting — and invited two speakers from the InfoWars School of Nutbar Conspiracy-Mongering.

The opening act was Philip Haney, who claims the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the U.S. government, and that the global Islamic terror network is “operating in plain sight” right here in America.

The headliner was James Simpson, making his second appearance in Rutland this year. Simpson whips up a toxic brew of terror, Sharia Law, and secret United Nations plots to undermine America and create one world government. He also claimed an “affiliation” between the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Black Lives Matter.

I guess he missed the connection with the fake moon landing. It was Arabic civilizations, after all, that pioneered numbers, mathematics, and astronomy. Making people believe in the moon landing is obviously a way to promulgate the Grand Caliphate Conspiracy: get us believin’ in that space and science stuff they fabricated, and it’s one small step to global Muslim rule.
Continue reading

In which I join the ranks of the Vermont Illuminati

Yeah, somebody forgot to invite me to the secret ceremony — or maybe The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy intercepted my invitation, hmmm? — but apparently I have joined the ranks of the secret elect. Yes, I’m in the Firmament of Evil alongside Peter “Capo di tutti capo” Shumlin, Mary “Whirling Blades” Powell, Paul “Carbon Tax” Burns, Shap “The Fixer” Smith, Crea “Moneybags” Linthilac, and whoever else.

I learned of my elevation in a curious way: via Twitter, from one of our staunchest conservatives.

Oooooh, “Orwellian”. Me likey!

Some explanation is needed, I’m sure, for the casual reader.

Continue reading

Down the rabbit hole with Annette Smith

Vermont’s most notorious eco-scold Annette Smith is known for walking a fine line between activist and crackpot. She manages to retain a measure of political clout in spite of her habit of brandishing cherry-picked junk science in her perpetual battle against wind turbines, solar arrays, and anything else big, shiny, or corporate that might dare to penetrate the borders of our green and pleasant land.

For those who think the “crackpot” label is excessively mean, consider this: Annette Smith is, or has been, a proponent of the ultra-fringey “chemtrail” theory. In that, she is a full-fledged member of the Tinfoil Hat Brigade.

In case you hadn’t heard (lucky you), chemtrails are supposedly secret chemical seedings of the atmosphere from high-flying jets. The purpose is either mind control or poisoning the people or geoengineering or fomenting climate change in the service of globalism or the fossil fuel industry or — well, pick your own secret government plot.

Of course, they’re really nothing but contrails: lengths of harmless water vapor that typically disperse within a few minutes.

But if you believe that, you’re just one of the SHEEPLE who has yet to realize THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE!!!!!!!

I’ll provide examples of Smith’s chemtrail advocacy below. But just in case I need to explain the relevance, well, as a good lawyer might say, “it goes to the witness’ credibility.” If she believes in something as loony-tunes as chemtrails, why should we take her seriously on wind or solar energy?

Okay kids, now take a deep drag on your hookah and follow me into Wonderland…

Continue reading

The briefest of persecutions

That didn’t take long.

After an investigation that lasted a couple of weeks or so (and probably involved nothing more than reviewing documents and law books), the Attorney General’s office has declined to pursue any charges against anti-renewables scold Annette Smith for practicing law without a license.

Being an obstacle to progress and a spreader of misinformation, well, those aren’t illegal. So Public Enemy Number One of Vermont’s renewable energy goals will carry on, tilting at windmills and fomenting baseless fears amongst the populace.

Too bad the investigation was so brief. Too bad for her sake, that is; she was relishing her self-proclaimed role of Free Speech Martyr. Her organization, Vermonters for Exporting Our Ecological Damage a Clean Environment, was raising money on her alleged persecution.

Those days are over.

Not really; I’m sure she will proudly brandish this incident as “proof” of the Blittersdorf/Iberdrola/Gaz Metro/Peter Shumlin/Illuminati plot to bring her down.

Continue reading

Oh hey look: another VTGOP climate change denier

Here’s a little compost sprinkled on your cornflakes, courtesy of one Eileen Rodgers, “communications director for the Burlington Republican Committee”:

Along with plotting to place wind turbines on 200 miles of ridge lines and scheming to occupy thousands of acres of our fields with solar panels, the central planners in Vermont are busying themselves with projects that are guaranteed to squeeze our cars off the roads.

There’s a whole lotta hate in that little paragraph, which is the kickoff of an opinion piece by Rodgers posted on VTDigger this morning. Plotting, scheming, central planners squeezing our cars off the roads.

So tell me, when exactly did Old Joe Stalin resurrect himself and take over Vermont?

In the guise of Bill McKibben, no less?

Climate change has been a very convenient phenomenon. It has given a sense of validity to all sorts of projects the big guys support. Energy from the wind and sun will take care of our electricity needs and our transportation needs will be met with … bicycles!!

Yeah, that’s… uh, wait, nobody is saying any of that. Except maybe the voices in Eileen Rodgers’ head.

And “big guys”? Since when are Republicans against “big guys”?

Continue reading

Story Time, 2010 Primary Edition: in honor of Deb Markowitz

Well, the briefest of gubernatorial trial balloons has settled to the floor, like the birthday balloon that got a half-shot of helium. Deb Markowitz, Agency of Natural Resources Secretary throughout the Shumlin administration, has taken her name out of the running. In an email to Seven Days’ Paul Heintz, she wrote:

“I will not be running for Governor this time around. I want to be able to continue to fully focus on the important work of the agency to address the important environmental, energy and economic issues facing Vermont.”

Fair enough. It kinda seemed like she was a token woman on everybody’s list rather than a real top tier contender. Which is a shame, because she could very easily have been Governor instead of Peter Shumlin. And the way his administration has turned out, we might have been better off with Markowitz.

We’ll never know, of course. But let’s take a stroll down Memory Lane, just to show how close we came to that particular alternate reality. And how a possible bit of trickeration (the Nixon folks called it ratf*cking) might have kept her out of the corner office.

Continue reading

How the philosophical exemption was lost

A few weeks ago, the state legislature had apparently decided not to open the Pandora’s box of vaccination policy. The general feeling was, let’s let the 2012 law play out a while longer and see where it goes.

And then, for reasons still unexplained, a couple of key state Senators (Kevin Mullin and John Campbell) grabbed that box and threw it open. They amended a barely-related Health Department housekeeping bill, H.98, to include an end to the philosophical exemption on childhood immunizations. The Senate Health Care Committee gave it a mere two hours of hearings, one for and one against; it sailed through the committee and the full Senate.

Even so, it seemed likely that the House would let the amended bill lie. Leadership decided to have the House Health Care Committee hold hearings on H.98, even though the bill was never officially given to that committee. Those hearings were quickly scheduled, and they were quite extensive. At the time, it seemed like a ploy to run out the clock. Even more so as the hearings continued through the penultimate week of the session.

Funny thing, though: the more time passed, the more things seemed to shift entirely. By the end of last week, the momentum was clearly on H.98’s side. A House vote seemed certain and passage seemed likely, if not a sure thing. Monday’s public hearing was a chance for all parties to sound off, without actually affecting the process.

Which brings us to Tuesday, covered in my previous post. The Donahue amendment lost by the narrowest of margins, and then H.98 passed the House with ease.

This time, I’m here to explain why this happened. Not how it happened; you’d have to get John Campbell and Shap Smith into a rubber room and fill ’em full of truth serum to find that out. As for the why, here’s my two cents. Or three, if you prefer.

Continue reading

The circus came to town

The corridors of the Statehouse were abuzz Tuesday. Seems that all and sundry were talking about the appearance of a real live Kennedy — RFK, Jr. to be precise. He was in Montpelier to testify about the evils of vaccines and the necessity for parental choice as the last line of defense against the predations of Big Pharma and the corrupt regulators in the industry’s pocket, all conspiring to strap ’em down and shoot ’em up.

I believe that’s the mission statement of the Centers for Disease Control. You know, the secret one they chant before their confidential off-site meetings with their Big Pharma masters. Yeah, them.

But I digress. Kennedy, a widely respected environmental activist turned vaccine truther crank, testified before the House Health Care Committee and also held a media briefing. Both attracted overflow crowds. I contented myself with a quiet afternoon at House Government Operations, listening to embattled liquor control chief Mike Hogan defend his honor. Well, not really, but more on that another time.

I decided it wasn’t worth the effort to cram myself into the Son Of A Great Man’s presence because when I heard he was coming to Vermont, I did some reading to find out what he was going to say.

Continue reading

Vermont Republicans adopt the Fox News playbook

I don’t know what the hell has happened to Vermont Republicans. With a couple of exceptions (Phil Scott, Kevin Mullin), they seem to have gone batshit crazy.

And crazy in a very particular way. They have taken up the chief weaponry of national Republicans and the Fox News crowd by distilling a complicated issue to a single word.

The issue is health care and the word, of course, is GRUBER!!!!!!

Republicans have not been deterred in the last by Gov. Shumlin’s renegotiation of Gruber’s contract, cutting off further payments to Gruber and thus saving the state $120,000 — some of which will go to independent checking of Gruber’s work.

But it doesn’t matter, at least not to Republicans. They’ve decided “Gruber” is an all-purpose cudgel to attack Shumlin, the Democrats, and the cause of health care reform. Their entire health care focus is on Gruber.

It was only a couple weeks ago that the VTGOP had a big post-election news conference to call for repeal of Vermont Health Connect. We don’t hear that anymore; it’s all Gruber, all the time.

It’s the first time I can remember that virtually every notable Republican and conservative activist seems to be singing from the same hymnal. Kurt Wright sounds just like Rob Roper, and Heidi Scheuermann’s doing her best Darcie Johnston.

This fact hit home for me while reading Rep. Wright’s opinion piece in the Sunday Freeploid. Wright asserts that Gruber’s work on single-payer “will undermine the entire process and debate going forward.” When there’s no evidence that Gruber has done anything more than provide top-flight economic modeling. No matter; as ACORN allegedly poisoned the electoral process and Lois Lerner allegedly proved an Obama conspiracy against the right, the mere presence of Gruber fundamentally undercuts everything about single-payer.

So I guess, by Wright’s logic, we have to throw out all the work that’s been done on single-payer over the last three years and start over? Or is he arguing that by axing Gruber now, when the work is virtually complete, the entire process will be purified as if by cleansing flame?

Wright’s words are identical in meaning to Rob Roper’s. Over at his Koch-funded nonprofit, the Ethan Allen Institute, he claims that Gruber’s entire body of work is useless and cannot be used at all. And Darcie “Hack” Johnston, Tweeting out her policy stances, pronounes Gruber’s work is “tainted” and…

Just watch him, Darcie.

Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Benning is clearly intoxicated by his sudden Fox News fame, referring on his Facebook page to Gruber as “the gift that keeps on giving.” Which sounds disconcertingly like naked political opportunism. He goes on to brag that “FOX wants me back!”

Of course they want you back, Joe: you fit right in with their agenda. And I don’t mean that as a compliment.

On another front, House Republicans have filed a public-records request for Gruber’s work for the state and for communications between Gruber and the Shumlin Administration, I’d applaud them for trying to learn the truth, but given all their public remarks, it seems more like a Darrell Issa-type fishing expedition. What they’re really hoping for is more Gruberisms.

And then there’s the proto-Republicans at Campaign for Vermont, still flogging their online petition calling for Gruber’s firing. Too bad that since Shumlin’s termination of payment, CFV’s petition has pretty much stalled out. As of this writing, it’s at 233 signatures, and it’s been in the low 200s for several days now.

This isn’t about the truth. It’s about using a handful of remarks by Jonathan Gruber to try to undermine the push for single-payer health care.

The weird thing about this is, we just went through an election that provided two object lessons (Phil Scott and Scott Milne) in how Republicans can win in Vermont: by presenting a moderate, inclusive image. Now they’re all foaming at the mouth as though the election never happened and “Angry Jack” Lindley is still running the joint.

They would be well advised to rein in their inflammatory rhetoric lest they alienate the very voters they just managed to attract.

Hey, I think we finally found a conspiracy theory too nutty for Vermont

Saturday was a big day for a certain group of Internet-based nutbars. Namely, the Chemtrail folks — the ones who believe the water-vapor contrails emitted by jet planes are actually “chemtrails” meant to control the weather and make us sick. Or something like that.

Well, it would’ve been a big day if anybody had showed up. It was promoted online as the Global March Against Chemtrail and Geoengineering. Its webpage showed a map with dozens of protest sites around the planet… including one in Montpelier, Vermont!

Problem is, the actual turnout at the marches was so underwhelming as to be positively comical. Each city’s “march” had its own Facebook page, and some of the post-event comments are downright sad.

Some poor sap in Rhode Island was the only one who showed up for his “mass protest.” The ringleader in Philadelphia posted some photos that show no more than a handful there. Louisville had four. A dutiful correspondent in Denver plaintively inquired, “Am I missing something? I saw no one here.” A similar “Nobody showed” from Hartford, Connecticut.

The diligent nutbars in Omaha posted a brief video of their march — featuring four protesters.

The NYC organizer posted a photo of three people leaning on a railing — but he had perhaps the ultimate conspiracy theorist’s explanation for the dud turnout: the sky was clear. CLEAR, do you understand??? “They” called off the Chemtrail spraying for the day “which, of course, portrayed protesters as ‘fringe crackpots’ in an attempt to take the wind out of our sails.”

Ohhhhh. I see. No vapor trails in the sky for one day, so all your thousands upon thousands of invisible NYC supporters stayed home. Uh-huh. Don’t let nothin’ stand in the way of your pet theory.

Nice, professional-looking logo anyway.

Nice, professional-looking logo anyway.

Anyhoo, the alleged Montpelier event apparently didn’t happen. No sign of anyone posting on its Facebook page — not before, not during, and not after. Most of the Facebook pages had at least a smattering of people promising to attend — and then not doing so. And the plaintive wails of the few who did.

But in Montpelier? Not a whisper.

I didn’t think it was possible for there to be a fringey cause beyond the pale of us quirky Vermonters, but I guess I was wrong. Congratulations, Vermont: your annoying streak of crazy has its limits.