Tag Archives: Facebook

Look who the VTGOP is honoring tonight

The Vermont Republican Party is holding a fundraiser tonight at the Barre Elks Club. They’ll have speeches by candidates, a silent auction, and generally fun, food and frolic as only the Republicans can do.  (Think disco-era David Bowie with a whole lot of American flags.)

And oh yeah, they’re continuing their tokenistic Salute to Our Vets with a round of applause and a few parting gifts for three Actual Veterans!

(As usual, the proceeds of the event aren’t going to vets’ causes, or even a small portion thereof. It’s all going into @VTGOP’s coffers.)

And one of the three vets rang a faint bell in my mind: Paul E. Gibbs, Jr., of Springfield. After a bit of Googling, I discovered that Mr. Gibbs is a spectacularly unsuccessful two-time candidate for the legislature. He ran as a Republican for the House in 2010, and for the Senate in 2012. Got thoroughly trounced both times.

Sheesh. Not only are the Republicans using our brave veterans as window-dressing for a political fundraiser, they’re recycling old candidates from their Fail Pile and presenting them as randomly selected stand-ins for the defenders of our freedom.

That’d be shameful enough. But then I put on my Wellies and took a stroll through the muck and mire of Mr. Gibbs’ Facebook page, which is full of rabid archconservative propaganda.

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Shumlin identifies the real culprit: “Anonymous blog sites”

In response to the killing of social worker Lara Sobel and three other women, Governor Shumlin has issued a plea for change. But he’s not calling for tougher gun laws or even better enforcement of the ones we have*. He’s not calling to boost staffing to make the Department of Children and Families more effective. Heck, he’s not even calling for better security arrangements for state workers — although he has “ordered a full review of our security procedures,” so we’ll see where that goes.

*Reportedly, Jody Herring should not have been able to acquire the gun used in the murder spree.

The real problem is “hateful speech” delivered on “anonymous blog sites and unfiltered social media.”

I realize the Internets provide an easy target in times like these, especially for a politico capable of writing “anonymous blog sites” without a trace of irony. But even aside from that inelegant phrase, there’s a real “You kids get off my lawn” feel to the whole piece.

Yes, “anonymous blog sites” can be wretched hives of scum and villainy. But is this our real problem? Was Lara Sobel’s death triggered by “anonymous haters who use vicious language to incite public ill-will toward others,” as Shumlin seems to argue?

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A grim reminder

In recent years, there’s been a lot of criticism aimed at Vermont’s Department of Children and Families. Heck, there’s even a Facebook page entitled “VT and DCF Exposed,” which is a compendium of every news item, large or small, that reflects poorly on DCF. The coherence of its argument is best encapsulated in a comment posted by one Jeannie Flanagan Marchese:

Personal opinion, dcf takes kids away that shouldn’t be. Leaves kids that should be taken!! It’s a crap shoot!!! No excuses for them!!! Sorry just have seen a lot and read a lot!!

Okay, so DCF simultaneously does too much and too little. Got it.

Well, if the senseless tragedy of last Friday’s quadruple murder should teach us anything, it’s that DCF has an impossible job, as do its overburdened, oft-criticized social workers.

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Lookin’ for love in at least one wrong place

Update: Looks like he’s done a bit of spring cleaning. “Simple Pickup” has been removed from Fiske’s Facebook page. Let it never be said that theVPO doesn’t have influence!

Update II: Rep. Fiske has responded in the Comments. I’ve attached his response to the end of this post.

Just like all hip and with-it 21st Century Vermonters, State Rep. Larry Fiske has a Facebook page. The Franklin County Republican has posted 22 “Likes” on his page. Most of them are just what you’d expect from a Republican, if you’ll excuse the stereotype: sports teams, fellow Republicans, local businesses. Ethan Allen Institute, natch. Former local news anchor Bridget Shanahan.

And whoa, what’s this?

“Simple Pickup.”

That’s odd. Let’s see what we’ve got here.

Simple Pickup proclaims itself “the foremost company in the world teaching on dating and relationships.”

Our mission is to ensure that all people — men and women — achieve their romantic goals.

“Men and women.” How equitable. Unfortunately, their method for ensuring that “all people… achieve their romantic goals” is to teach young men how to be pickup artists.

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Our ever-vigilant keepers of the public order

Oh boy, a cop scandal of our very own. And thankfully, it doesn’t involve shooting someone dead on little or no pretext. Just a digital cornucopia of hate speech from one of Vermont’s Finest.

The Vermont State Police is investigating one of its own for material that the trooper posted to social media.

One of the latest Facebook posts from Cpl. Jon Graham’s personal page is an article from Right Wing News. A photo of a smashed Virgin Mary Statue. And a comment from the trooper reading, “and these animals will kill you if you speak badly of Mohammed….tolerance.”

…The posts go back years, seemingly undetected by state police. Some allegedly penning his thoughts like one from 2014, “was just behind a Prius with a Bernie Sanders 2016 sticker…oh how I wanted to spin her vehicle out.”

Others make comments about actual crimes, “Officer involved shooting in Windsor tonight…officer okay…scumbag in hospital…as it should be.”

More specifics in a moment. First, though, a couple of notes that cut to the heart of the problem.

— Graham has been a state trooper for 15 years.

— He’s been posting hateful, racist, sexist stuff on Facebook for years. And his bosses never noticed?
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Oh, those wily Republican budget hawks

So this just popped up on Ye Olde Facebooke:

Paul Dame hypocrite

Ahem. This would be the stout conservative Paul Dame who’s been Tweetbragging about his anti-tax votes in the House. And now he’s Facebragging about a vote that would add six million bucks to the budget. (Correction: I’ve been told it would have added three million, not six. I guess that makes Dame only 50% of the hypocrite I thought he was.)

Myself, I’m all for maintaining LIHEAP. It’s one of several budget cuts that will hit Vermont’s poor and working poor the hardest. But Paul Dame has no business bragging about a vote to increase spending.

This is part and parcel of the House Republicans’ two-faced game on the tax and budget bills. They’ve fought hard against tax increases and painted the Democrats as the tax-and-spend party, but they’ve also fought against many of the budget cuts proposed by Gov. Shumlin and House Dems. And, as reported earlier, House GOP leader Don Turner negotiated spending INCREASES in exchange for Republican votes on the big bills.


Concerning the further misadventures of RecruitFour, the one-man Facebook page attempting to identify write-in candidates for the four statewide vacancies on the VTGOP ballot — Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary of State, and Treasurer. 

When last we visited that sorry precinct, RF had put forward nominees for three of the four slots, only to have two of them decline the “honor.” Turned out, RF was promoting people without asking them first. Which would seem to be, y’know, a prerequisite. 

Anyway, the RecruitFour guy has scrubbed the page of all its references to the two decliners. Congrats on a belated burst of common sense, RF Guy. 

The third prospective write-in candidate, however, has stepped forward and accepted the honor. Burlington attorney Shane McCormack has launched a campaign for the Republican AG nomination. He’s got himself a nice basic WordPress site with minimal content, as befits a minimal candidate. 

Not that this will make any difference to incumbent Dem Bill Sorrell, but it’s nice to see that RecruitFour’s “efforts” haven’t been entirely misdirected. Its page still promises to identify write-in candidates for Auditor, Secretary of State and Treasurer; presumably, if RF Guy picks a name out of the phone book or whatever, he’ll have the decency to contact the potential candidate before putting him/her out in public view.

Well, somebody’s trying to fill all those empty slots

Last night I was having dinner with The Loyal Spouse, and we were talking about the Vermont Republican Party’s dearth of statewide candidates — no official hopefuls for Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary of State, or Treasurer. I half-jokingly said I was thinking of starting a “Me for AG” write-in campaign — asking my Tens of VPO Readers to consider writing me in for Attorney General on the Republican primary ballot.

I guess somebody out there was listening, because That Very Same Evening, the following showed up in my Twitter feed: Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 3.57.43 AM

That’s the Burlington Republicans, or whoever does their Tweets, soliciting write-in votes for a Burlington lawyer for Attorney General. The Facebook link is to a newly-established FB page for a group called “RecruitFour.” Its purpose is to find Republicans willing to run for those statewide offices.

Guess this puts the kibosh on my own candidacy. But sorry as I might be to lose a chance at some Fred Tuttle-style low comedy, I’m heartened to see somebody — ANYBODY — step up and try to fill this embarrassing shortfall. It’d be a bad thing, really, if a random collection of write-ins (or a coordinated joke write-in campaign, ahem) were able to snag these precious ballot slots. As much as I revel in Republican misfortune, it is one of our major parties, and it has a role to play in the process. Not really a good thing for democracy if the Republican ticket were to include the likes of Yours Truly, Vermin Supreme, Lobsterman, and Annette Smith.

So far, Recruit Four has gotten all the way up to One. McCormack is a very youthful looking attorney with the law firm of Burak, Anderson & Melloni. According to his bio page on the firm’s website, he got his law degree from Boston University in 2000, and was admitted to the Vermont Bar in 2004.

RecruitFour describes Shane-O-Mac’s view of the AG’s office thusly:

Shane would make a great Vermont Attorney General because he believes this office needs to do more to curb our legislature from entering into unwarranted action that only leads to millions in legal costs–money we cannot afford.

Good old Republican thinking, that. Although I doubt that a Republican AG would get very far with that argument in a one-sidedly Democratic Legislature.

Anyhoo, best of luck to Mr.McCormack and RecruitFour. Even if it does force a premature end to my own political ambitions, it’d be good to have some actual Republicans running on the Republican ticket.