Tag Archives: Liz Cady

Dregs of the Ballot: Stealth Candidates

Let’s start here. Everyone has the right to run for elective office. But if you run, you ought to be honest about who you are and what you believe.

But there’s a movement among adherents of QAnon conspiracy theories to run for local office while concealing their extreme ideologies. And some of it is happening right here in Vermont. Voters need to watch for the warning signs of a stealth candidacy, and news media need to be more diligent in their often formulaic coverage of local elections.

The biggest tell that you’ve got a QAnon type running for school board or select board is a complete absence of any policy positions. Instead, the candidate emphasizes family, community ties and activities.

Take, for example, Ingrid Lepley of Tinmouth. In a social media announcement of her candidacy for the Mill River Unified Union School Board, she wrote paragraph after paragraph about her participation in numerous community activities while saying little to nothing about education policy. She offered a couple of bromides about loving her community and the local schools, and hoping they “continue to grow and do well.”

Meanwhile, she reportedly ran an online jewelry design business that featured numerous pieces that seemed to signal QAnon adherence. She used coded phrases and symbols from the QAnon lexicon. And some of her customers specifically praised her for selling QAnon jewelry. She has apparently scrubbed her site of the more overtly coded pieces, but there are still large quantities of “Q” and rabbit designs. (“Follow the white rabbit” is one of Q’s dog-whistle slogans.)

After the jump: Advice for the news media.

Continue reading

We Have Another Contender for Worst School Board Member in Vermont

Ladies and germs, allow me to introduce you to Stephanie Stoodley, very angry member of the Rutland City School Board. The image quality is horrible thanks to the worst streaming of a public meeting I’ve ever seen. But it fits her to a tee: Lacking focus, out of control, and kinda scary.

Thanks to her performance at a January 11 school board meeting, Stoodley has become a top contender for Worst School Board Member in Vermont. Essex-Westford’s Liz Cady remains the front-runner followed by Mill River’s Todd Fillmore, but Stoodley has the potential to out-yammer them all.

Stoodley was one of six trustees to vote in favor of restoring the high school’s old nickname “Raiders,” but she was the most obnoxious of them all. She repeatedly interrupted trustees on the other side, she had trouble getting out coherent sentences, she said the same buzzwords over and over, and she made it clear that she didn’t give a tinker’s damn for anyone’s opinion but her own.

Background: The previous board adopted “Ravens” after a lengthy process, on the grounds that “Raiders” and the arrowhead were offensive to Native Americans. In last March’s school board election, enough pro-Raider trustees were elected to create a one-vote majority in favor of racism. Stoodley is one of those new trustees.

The board’s action also clearly violated Robert’s Rules of Order, which the board had voted to follow in their meetings. The Rules only allow reconsideration of a past measure under certain circumstances (which didn’t apply here) and they don’t allow a measure that contradicts a previously adopted one. But pro-Raiders board chair Hurley Cavacas refused to consult Robert’s, and trustee Charlene Steward asserted that “semantics about Robert’s Rules have been suppressing our vote.” Yeah, they were not about to let “semantics” get in the way of bringing back the Raider name and arrowhead logo.

But let’s get back to Stoodley’s performance, which was miles beyond anyone else’s.

Continue reading

The Moral Panic Merchant

Has my old frenemy Bradford Broyles become a pillar of purity? Or does he simply see a marketing opportunity in fanning the flames of hate? It’s hard to tell, but my bet’s on the latter. Either way, he’s jumped with both feet onto the book-banning bandwagon, hectoring a Vermont high school for including a transgender person’s memoir on its library shelves.

Oh, you need some background? Broyles is a wannabe Hollywood producer of tediously unfunny right-wing “comedy” in partnership with Len (billed as “Lenny” because comedy?) Britton, former ski resort operator and very unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010. (Pat Leahy spanked him by a better than two-to-one margin.)

Brad and Lenny are best known around these parts for producing “News Done Right,” a series of short videos critical of Vermont’s left, Phil Scott included. The “stars” of NDR were a couple of aspiring actors willing to don flannel shirts and pretend, not convincingly, to be Vermonters.

Last I heard, Broyles and Britton were flogging a sitcom starring Kevin Sorbo, the guy who played Hercules for five years on the teevee and went on to became a QAnon-style conspiratorialist. Sorbo plays a politically incorrect (read: asshole) suburban dad in “The World According to Billy Potwin.” A handful of episodes have been produced; somehow, it has yet to be picked up by any major media outlet. (You can find clips and a whole episode on YouTube if you’re a glutton for punishment.)

Lately, Broyles has been making waves, or should I say ripples, here in Vermont. Last summer he was the campaign manager for Republican Burlington City Council candidate Christopher-Aaron Felker. I don’t know why Brad bothered; Felker was a sure loser in a Prog-heavy ward even before his history of transphobic remarks on social media was uncovered. Afterward? Well, he finished with 14% of the vote. (And he is now, because desperate times call for desperate measures, the chair of the Burlington GOP.)

Broyles’ latest caper involves sending a letter sent to the Essex-Westford School Board (and sharing it for publicity purposes with Vermont Daily Carbuncle), decrying the inclusion of “Gender Queer,” a graphic memoir by Maia Kobabe about Kobabe’s search for gender identity, in the high school library. (The story was picked up by, you guessed it, John Klar on True North Reports.)

Continue reading

Wow, It Must Have Been a Bad Year for the VTGOP

Paul Dame, freshly squeezed Vermont Republican Party chair (pictured above in his natural state), has put out an end-of-year best-of list designed to buoy VTGOP spirits. But when you read it, well, it’s kinda sad.

In his latest weekly email blast, which I get in my inbox So You Don’t Have To, he offers the party’s “Top 5 Moments of 2021.” (It was also posted on Vermont Daily Carbuncle because they need all the free content they can get, and you can find it there if you care to.) And I tell ya, the strain really shows. He had to dig pretty darn deep to get all the way to five.

And one of those five had nothing to do with Vermont. At all.

Meanwhile, Gov. Phil Scott’s management of Covid-19 doesn’t make the list. This, despite the fact that Scott managed things quite well for the first seven months of the year and since then, has hewed to Republican principles in refusing to impose new mandates despite the worsening of the pandemic. You’d think that would count for something, but not in VTGOPland. Scott famously has as little to do with his party as possible; apparently the feeling is mutual.

Anyway, let’s get to Dame’s chosen top five.

Continue reading

Weenies of the Revolution

The most annoying thing about the Qanon/anti-mask/Forever Trumpers is not their ideological rigidity or their passionate devotion to a lying cheating grifter. It’s that they talk like warriors ready to fight to the death when in fact they are…

… complete cowards.

You see this everywhere you look in Trumpland, starting with Captain Bone Spurs himself. Here’s a guy who loves to talk tough, but when it’s fightin’ time he scuttles away like a cockroach under a heat lamp. Remember all those draft deferments? Remember every time he urged supporters to physically attack someone — while he himself stayed out of the mosh pit? Remember on January 6 when he said “we” were marching to the Capitol?

Yeah, he went back to the White House to watch it all on the teevee.

Likewise all those Bravehearts who stormed the Capitol to stop Biden from stealing the election, hang Mike Pence, and do God knows what to Nancy Pelosi and The Squad.

Continue reading

Local Embarrassment Goes Regional

Hey, remember this nutjob? This is Duly Elected Local Embarrassment Liz Cady, d/b/a Essex Westford school board member. She won her seat last April thanks to some very deceptive campaigning that hid the true nature of her QAnon-adjacent beliefs. Her campaign flyer didn’t mention her rabid conspiratorialism around the Black Lives Matter movement, expressed in public statements like this.

…chaos does not happen in one drastic move overnight. It happens gradually as people stand aside and say, “Well, it doesn’t really affect me so I won’t say anything.” But eventually it will affect you. The Nazis’ rise to power happened slowly. It began in 1930 with riots, burning of stores, and violent acts. And that sounds very similar. Very similar of the early tactics of National Socialism in Germany, and the tactics employed by the BLM organization. It’s striking.

Well, Cady is now doubling down on this toxic line of “thinking.” In a recent opinion piece posted on True North Reports because of course it’s on True North Reports*, she compared fighting the Covid-19 pandemic to, yep, Nazi Germany.

*Sorry, not linking to this intellectual turd.

Cady begins her excursion down the rabbit hole by claiming to be something of an expert on Nazi Germany because she read Anne Frank’s diary as a child and Her Eyes Were Opened. It’s this kind of thing that prevents Ms. Frank from resting in peace.

Cady then wrote that she has “read many commentaries to VTDigger and comments on news stories” asserting that we should set up separate medical facilities where unvaccinated health care workers can ply their trade.

Huh? What? Never have I ever.

She then substitutes “Jews” for “the unvaccinated,” and hey presto, the unvaccinated are being treated just like the Jews in Nazi Germany!!!

This insult to the concept of “rhetoric” drew the attention of the Anti-Defamation League of New England, which tweeted its disgust for her drivel and tagged the Essex Westford School district in the process. Which prompted district superintendent Beth Cobb to reply:

On behalf of EWSD, School Board Chair, Erin Knox and I, as Superintendent, would like to state unequivocally that nothing in Cady’s article represents the policies or beliefs of our school district.

Kinda looking forward to the next school board meeting.

Continue reading

Another BLM Brouhaha, This Time in Essex

Hey, remember when a couple of QAnon-ish Trumpers ran for Barre City Council because they were upset over the flying of the “Black Lives Matter” flag? Well, we got us another BLM hater.

Meet Liz Cady, candidate for Essex Westford School Board (election 4/13). Her brand of fringe politics is more subtle than the Barre Boys, but it’s pretty out there. Since the Essex Reporter’s bland ‘n boring candidate profile didn’t dig into her anti-BLM advocacy, it falls to this here blog to fill the gap.

Cady is running against two-term incumbent Liz Subin. And if you carefully read the above campaign mailer, you’ll see quite a few plausibly deniable conservative dog whistles. But let’s get to a couple of telling details first.

Cady doesn’t say so on the flyer, but both of her children are in private school. She tries to elide this inconvenient fact on the flip side of her mailer, which starts “Like all parents, I want my two school-age children to receive the best education possible.”

She’s a district resident and (presumably) a taxpayer, so there’s nothing wrong with her running for school board. But if I were a district voter, I’d think twice about electing someone who has pulled her kids out of the schools.

But the bigger deal is her antipathy toward Black Lives Matter. Last year, after more than 100 students signed a petition to fly the BLM flag, the school board voted to do so. Last September, Cady spoke to the school board during public comment time and unleashed an often ungrammatical screed that, I am not kidding, called BLM a carbon copy of the Nazi movement. (Meeting is archived online; her comments start at about the 18:50 mark.)

Continue reading