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North Meets South: Vermont Secessionists Meet with Racist League of the South

by Hei­di Beirich
South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter
June 2008

From 1777 until 1791, Ver­mont was an inde­pen­dent state com­plete with all the trap­pings — a con­sti­tu­tion, a flag, even a mint to pump out its own mon­ey, the Ver­mont cop­per. But in 1791, Ver­mon­ters hap­pi­ly joined the new Unit­ed States. Now, some of the locals want out.

In 2003, the Sec­ond Ver­mont Repub­lic (SVR) sprang up to push for the inde­pen­dence of Ver­mont, a tiny, idyl­lic North­east­ern state with few­er than 630,000 res­i­dents. In its seem­ing­ly quixot­ic quest, SVR took up the mantra that small is beau­ti­ful, argu­ing that seces­sion would lead to sus­tain­abil­i­ty, eco­log­i­cal bal­ance, an end to mil­i­tary entan­gle­ments over­seas, and a bet­ter life. SVR activists designed a new green flag for Ver­mont and start­ed sell­ing T‑shirts, par­tic­u­lar­ly pop­u­lar with the state’s many tourists, that read, “U.S. OUT OF VT!”

But in recent months and years, SVR’s actions have gone from way out to wor­ry­ing. Start­ing in 2005, SVR leader Thomas H. Nay­lor — along with SVR’s very close ally, the Cold Spring, N.Y.-based Mid­dle­bury Insti­tute that is head­ed by long­time left­ist Kirk­patrick Sale — began open­ly col­lab­o­rat­ing with a col­lec­tion of South­ern extrem­ists to build a nation­al seces­sion move­ment.

SVR’s dis­turb­ing new part­ner is the white suprema­cist League of the South. The Alaba­ma-based group is against inter­ra­cial mar­riage, believes the old Con­fed­er­a­cy nev­er sur­ren­dered, and wants to reestab­lish “the cul­tur­al dom­i­nance of the Anglo-Celtic peo­ple and their insti­tu­tions” in a new­ly seced­ed South. It seeks to accord dif­fer­ent class­es of peo­ple dif­fer­ing legal rights in what sounds very much like a medieval theoc­ra­cy of lords, serfs and cler­ics. League intel­lec­tu­als have defend­ed both slav­ery (which was “God-ordained”) and seg­re­ga­tion, a pol­i­cy described as pro­tect­ing the genet­ic “integri­ty” of both blacks and whites. Right after Hur­ri­cane Kat­ri­na, league mem­bers put up “whites only” hous­ing offers, includ­ing one from Alaba­ma offer­ing a trail­er to a “white fam­i­ly of three or four,” and anoth­er from Ten­nessee offer­ing to tem­porar­i­ly house a “White Chris­t­ian fam­i­ly.”

Many Ver­mon­ters have been shocked by this alliance. After all, the Green Moun­tain State was the first to abol­ish slav­ery in 1777, and its men fought fierce­ly to pre­serve the union in bat­tles dur­ing the Civ­il War, some of which are proud­ly com­mem­o­rat­ed in paint­ings dis­played inside the gold-domed State House. But Nay­lor isn’t wor­ried about his fel­low Ver­mon­ters’ con­cerns, hot­ly defend­ing as crit­i­cal his new­found alliance with mem­bers of the rad­i­cal right.

“For the last 30 years, peo­ple have been spec­u­lat­ing on the idea of far left meets far right, and I saw the pos­si­bil­i­ty for that not to be fan­ta­sy but to be real,” Nay­lor told the Intel­li­gence Report. “The objec­tive is to bring down the Empire.” The League of the South, Nay­lor added, though “not per­fect,” is “not racist.”

Birthing a move­ment

Talk of seces­sion has been heat­ing up in Ver­mont since the ear­ly 1990s and even before. In 1991, then-Lt. Gov. Howard Dean mod­er­at­ed debates in sev­en towns that then vot­ed for seces­sion. That same year, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont pro­fes­sor and cur­rent SVR advi­sor Frank Bryan argued for seces­sion in a series of well-pub­li­cized debates with Ver­mont Supreme Court Jus­tice John Doo­ley. With the elec­tion of George Bush and the onset of the increas­ing­ly unpop­u­lar Iraq war, seces­sion­ist sen­ti­ment in tra­di­tion­al­ly lib­er­al Ver­mont picked up, with a 2006 Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont poll show­ing 8% of res­i­dents inter­est­ed in the idea.

It was Nay­lor who turned that sen­ti­ment into a move­ment, found­ing SVR after self-pub­lish­ing The Ver­mont Man­i­festo in 2003. Nay­lor was spurred to cre­ate SVR by the 9/11 ter­ror­ist attacks, which he does not believe were orga­nized by Osama bin Laden, a “fun­da­men­tal­ist liv­ing in a remote cave,” but rather were the ulti­mate result of Amer­i­can arro­gance. In his man­i­festo’s pref­ace, Nay­lor writes: “Our nation has tru­ly lost its way. Amer­i­ca is no longer a sus­tain­able nation-state eco­nom­i­cal­ly, polit­i­cal­ly, social­ly, mil­i­tar­i­ly or envi­ron­men­tal­ly. The Empire has no clothes.” A peren­ni­al cur­mud­geon, Nay­lor reg­u­lar­ly berates gov­ern­ment offi­cials. He calls Ver­mon­t’s elect­ed offi­cials “ene­mies of the state” and has labeled six-term Ver­mont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Demo­c­rat, “a world-class pros­ti­tute.”

To most Ver­mon­ters, SVR was orig­i­nal­ly seen as a far-out out­fit that engaged in pub­lic­i­ty stunts to push seces­sion. At least in the begin­ning, its most enthu­si­as­tic sup­port­ers seemed to be the Glover, Vt.-based Bread and Pup­pet The­ater troupe, a mer­ry band ded­i­cat­ed to “cheap art” whose build­ing host­ed SVR’s first statewide meet­ing in Octo­ber 2003. One SVR atten­tion-grab­ber was a “memo­r­i­al ser­vice” held on March 4, 2005, com­mem­o­rat­ing the day in 1791 that Ver­mont joined the union. The ser­vice includ­ed every­thing from a read­ing from Eccle­si­astes to the strains of Chopin’s “Funer­al March.” A funer­al pro­ces­sion with a New Orleans-style jazz band car­ried a flag-draped cof­fin con­tain­ing the “deceased First Ver­mont Repub­lic” to the State House in Mont­pe­lier, where it was placed at the feet of Ver­mont Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War hero Ethan Allen’s stat­ue. SVR even achieved a sym­bol­ic polit­i­cal suc­cess, per­suad­ing the leg­is­la­ture to des­ig­nate Jan. 16 as Ver­mont Inde­pen­dence Day to com­mem­o­rate the estab­lish­ment of the First Ver­mont Repub­lic in 1777.

Nay­lor’s left­ist cre­den­tials were enhanced great­ly by his close friend­ship with Kirk­patrick Sale, whose Mid­dle­bury Insti­tute he helped found in 2005. Sale, a con­tribut­ing edi­tor at the left-wing jour­nal The Nation and a chron­i­cler of the mil­i­tant, 1960s-era Stu­dents for a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Soci­ety, is best known as the author of The Con­quest of Par­adise: Christo­pher Colum­bus and the Columbian Lega­cy, a 1991 his­to­ry that was the first to denounce Colum­bus for “found­ing” the New World and ush­er­ing in the destruc­tion of its native peo­ples. Between 1965 and 1968, he was edi­tor of The New York Times Mag­a­zine. Thir­ty years lat­er, in 1995, Sale was named as a “vision­ary” by the Utne Read­er, a lib­er­al jour­nal. Sale also is known for his hatred of tech­nol­o­gy, once famous­ly smash­ing a com­put­er to bits on a New York stage.

In 2005, the Ver­mont seces­sion­ist move­ment also spawned a pop­u­lar inde­pen­dent news­pa­per, Ver­mont Com­mons, that the SVR describes as a “sis­ter orga­ni­za­tion.” The news­pa­per pro­motes non­vi­o­lent seces­sion and a “more sus­tain­able Ver­mont future.” Both SVR and Ver­mont Com­mons argue that the Unit­ed States has become an unsus­tain­able “empire” in need of dis­man­tling.

From Mis­sis­sip­pi to Mont­pe­lier

The image of SVR as a quixot­ic band of ide­al­is­tic Ver­mon­tophiles fight­ing for an inde­pen­dent Green Moun­tain State has tak­en a pub­lic beat­ing since 2006, when Nay­lor and Sale began open­ly work­ing with the League of the South and oth­er neo-Con­fed­er­ates. But the fact is that from the begin­ning, the SVR has been in many ways a South­ern import that push­es 19th-cen­tu­ry claims about states’ rights and a revi­sion­ist take on Lin­coln and the Civ­il War.

Nay­lor, the SVR’s 71-year-old founder, is a born-and-bred child of the Deep South. He appar­ent­ly devel­oped his seces­sion­ist ideas under the guid­ance of for­mer League of the South mem­ber and Emory Uni­ver­si­ty philoso­pher Don­ald Liv­ingston — a man Nay­lor told the Intel­li­gence Report is the “philo­soph­i­cal guru of the Sec­ond Ver­mont Repub­lic” and who is also pub­lished in Ver­mont Com­mons. Liv­ingston — who told the Report in a 2001 inter­view that “the North cre­at­ed seg­re­ga­tion” and that South­ern­ers fought dur­ing the Civ­il War only “because they were invad­ed” — has attend­ed most of SVR’s events. Liv­ingston is also fea­tured in the SVR video, “U.S. Empire and Ver­mont Inde­pen­dence,” along­side SVR stal­warts Frank Bryan and Jim Hogue, who is an Ethan Allen reen­ac­tor.

Nay­lor is a
native of Jack­son, Miss. Some of his father T. H. Nay­lor Jr.‘s cor­re­spon­dence is found in the archives of the infa­mous Mis­sis­sip­pi State Sov­er­eign­ty Com­mis­sion, a secret state spy agency that was formed to bat­tle inte­gra­tion. The elder Nay­lor was even fea­tured in the noto­ri­ous film, “Mes­sage From Mis­sis­sip­pi,” which pro­mot­ed the joys of seg­re­ga­tion. Now retired, Nay­lor taught eco­nom­ics at Duke Uni­ver­si­ty in Durham, N.C., for 30 years, and has writ­ten 30 books, rang­ing from tomes on com­put­er sim­u­la­tions to polit­i­cal works on Gor­bachev. In the ear­ly 1990s, he worked as a con­sul­tant for com­pa­nies in the USSR. Dur­ing that time, he became con­vinced that the break-up of the Sovi­et Union was a har­bin­ger of Amer­i­ca’s future.

Although the younger Nay­lor told the Intel­li­gence Report that while in col­lege he refused to stand when “Dix­ie” was played at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mis­sis­sip­pi’s foot­ball games, his ide­ol­o­gy is now rife with neo-Con­fed­er­ate ideas. By 1997, Nay­lor, in his book Down­siz­ing the U.S.A. — co-authored by William Willimon, the dean of chapel and a pro­fes­sor of Chris­t­ian min­istry at Duke Uni­ver­si­ty in North Car­oli­na — was call­ing the Civ­il War the “War Between the States.” Par­rot­ing the neo-Con­fed­er­ate anti-Lin­coln line, Nay­lor calls Lin­coln “arguably the worst” pres­i­dent in Amer­i­can his­to­ry. “Lin­coln invad­ed the Con­fed­er­ate States with­out the con­sent of con­gress,” he wrote in his Man­i­festo, adding that Lin­coln “may have also been the father of Amer­i­can inter­nal impe­ri­al­ism.”

And he adopt­ed a revi­sion­ist view of the caus­es of the Civ­il War that has been round­ly reject­ed by most seri­ous his­to­ri­ans. “Most Amer­i­cans think the Civ­il War was fought about free­ing the slaves, but rather it was fought to pre­serve the union and build an empire,” Nay­lor told The (U.K) Inde­pen­dent last Octo­ber.

Nay­lor also is down on deseg­re­ga­tion. In a 2007 essay, “Minor­i­ty States NOT Minor­i­ty Rights,” Nay­lor crit­i­cizes seg­re­ga­tion but also “forced racial inte­gra­tion,” com­plain­ing that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment was in the 1950s and 1960s “order­ing me to asso­ciate with minori­ties whether I like it or not.” Over­all, Nay­lor can’t abide by the idea that since civ­il rights leg­is­la­tion was passed in the 1960s, “minor­i­ty rights always trump states’ rights.” He asks if inte­gra­tion “dis­em­pow­ered minori­ties, dilut­ing their influ­ence over their com­mu­ni­ties and imply­ing that every solu­tion to their prob­lems always lies in the hands of the major­i­ty-backed gov­ern­ment?”

New Friends

Nay­lor’s rea­sons for mov­ing to Ver­mont are explained in Down­siz­ing the U.S.A. He por­trays his then-home­town of Rich­mond, Va., as over­come by crime and angry African Amer­i­cans, say­ing it was in a “death spi­ral.” When he moved to Ver­mont in 1993, Nay­lor almost imme­di­ate­ly start­ed call­ing for an inde­pen­dent state. He pines for a sep­a­rate Ver­mont, per­haps allied with oth­er Atlantic mar­itime enti­ties, that would resem­ble Switzer­land or Lux­em­bourg — coun­tries Nay­lor con­sid­ers as close to per­fect as pos­si­ble. In Down­siz­ing the U.S.A., Nay­lor sounds a theme sim­i­lar to that of many white suprema­cists, sug­gest­ing that some parts of the coun­try could be bro­ken up accord­ing to eth­nic­i­ty. “If Pales­tine could be divid­ed into a Jew­ish state and an Arab state, why can’t inde­pen­dent African Amer­i­can, His­pan­ic, and Native Amer­i­can states be carved out of the Unit­ed States?”

In Ver­mont, Nay­lor grew close to an unlike­ly seces­sion­ist, the renowned diplo­mat George Ken­nan, described by Nay­lor as “the god­fa­ther of the move­ment.” In his 1994 auto­bi­og­ra­phy Around the Cragged Hill, Ken­nan had sug­gest­ed break­ing the U.S. into “a dozen con­stituent republics” for rea­sons that don’t sound that dif­fer­ent than Nay­lor’s. In a let­ter to Nay­lor quot­ed in The Amer­i­can Con­ser­v­a­tive, Ken­nan wrote of “unmis­tak­able evi­dences of a grow­ing dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion between the cul­tures, respec­tive­ly, of large south­ern and south­west­ern regions of this coun­try” and wor­ried that “the very cul­ture of the bulk of the pop­u­la­tion of these regions will tend to be pri­mar­i­ly Latin-Amer­i­can in nature.” Ken­nan ques­tioned whether Amer­i­can soci­ety should be “reck­less­ly trashed” for what he called “a poly­glot mix-mash.”

Though he has spent his entire life in the New York region and been a reg­u­lar on the pro­gres­sive intel­lec­tu­al scene in New York City, Kirk­patrick Sale, too, has sound­ed very Con­fed­er­ate of late. When address­ing the League of the South’s con­ven­tion last fall in Chat­tanooga, Tenn., Sale came off like a new­ly mint­ed neo-Con­fed­er­ate. Describ­ing him­self as a “North­ern­er but with the blood of the South run­ning through my veins,” Sale told the cheer­ing audi­ence that he was descend­ed from the Sale clan of Vir­ginia and Ken­tucky and that one of his ances­tors, Charles “Chic” Sale, wrote a pop­u­lar sto­ry in South­ern ver­nac­u­lar on build­ing out­hous­es called The Spe­cial­ist. At the end of the league con­fer­ence, the audi­ence stood and sang “Dix­ie” togeth­er. In a more recent essay, Sale described his view of what hap­pened when the South seced­ed the first time: “They were ruth­less­ly attacked and their soci­ety even­tu­al­ly destroyed.”

Ear­ly last Octo­ber, Sale’s insti­tute co-host­ed with the league the Sec­ond Annu­al North Amer­i­can Seces­sion Con­fer­ence in the same Chat­tanooga venue. With about 60 atten­dees, most of the con­fer­ence’s speak­ers were mem­bers of the league or promi­nent neo-Con­fed­er­ate activists. The event also attract­ed inter­est in white suprema­cist cir­cles out­side of the South. For exam­ple, pub­lish­er Bill Reg­n­ery, backer of the white suprema­cist Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute, which issues reports on such things as “The State of White Amer­i­ca” and “Con­ser­v­a­tives and Race,” was on hand. For a move­ment sup­pos­ed­ly led out of Ver­mont and New York, South­ern­ers seem now to be at least co-dri­ving the bus.

Left meets right

Four years ear­li­er, in Novem­ber 2004, SVR held its first seri­ous con­fer­ence in Mid­dle­bury, Vt., in con­junc­tion with Fourth World, a left-wing British seces­sion­ist group sup­port­ed by Sale. That was the begin­ning of the close part­ner­ship between Sale and Nay­lor.

Attend­ed by 35 peo­ple, the con­fer­ence pro­duced “The Mid­dle­bury Dec­la­ra­tion,” named for the place where it was signed, the Mid­dle­bury Inn. The orig­i­nal sign­ers were Nay­lor, Sale and Don­ald Liv­ingston, the for­mer league leader. The dec­la­ra­tion asserts that “[t]he Amer­i­can empire, now impos­ing its mil­i­tary might on 153 coun­tries around the world, is as frag­ile as empires his­tor­i­cal­ly tend to be, and that it might well implode upon itself in the near future.” Hence the need for a “new pol­i­tics” based on sep­a­ra­tion. Seces­sion­ists with League of the South con­nec­tions were soon involved. Nay­lor said they approached SVR “as a role mod­el.”

Speak­ing at a Ver­mont Inde­pen­dence ral­ly that same year was John Rem­ing­ton Gra­ham, an expert on the Fran­coph­o­ne inde­pen­dence move­ment in Que­bec, Cana­da, and an affil­i­at­ed schol­ar at the League of the South’s Insti­tute for the Study of South­ern Cul­ture and His­to­ry. The main out­come of the meet­ing was a deci­sion to cre­ate a think tank to explore seces­sion around the world. That idea came to fruition with the estab­lish­ment of Sale’s Mid­dle­bury Insti­tute in 2005 as a sort of seces­sion­ist gath­er­ing point that posts mate­r­i­al on its web­site about seces­sion­ist groups around the world. The insti­tute also holds con­fer­ences on seces­sion, two of which have promi­nent­ly fea­tured league mem­bers as well as oth­er neo-Con­fed­er­ates.

In Novem­ber 2006, SVR and the Mid­dle­bury Insti­tute co-host­ed the First North Amer­i­can Sep­a­ratist Con­ven­tion in the Mont­pe­lier State House (which, iron­i­cal­ly, is graced by a large stat­ue of Lin­coln). The seces­sion­ists-only con­fer­ence brought togeth­er sev­er­al groups, includ­ing the Free Hawaii move­ment and mem­bers of the Alaskan Inde­pen­dence Par­ty. But the bulk of the crowd even then was made up of South­ern groups includ­ing the racist League of the South; Chris­t­ian Exo­dus, a theoc­ra­cy-mind­ed out­fit head­ed by a for­mer league leader from Texas; and the Abbeville Insti­tute, which was estab­lished by Don­ald Liv­ingston i
n 2003 after he final­ly left the League of the South due to its “polit­i­cal bag­gage.” Liv­ingston’s insti­tute is devot­ed to the “South­ern tra­di­tion,” includ­ing what it describes as the ignored “achieve­ments of white peo­ple in the South.”

In Octo­ber 2007, the league, Nay­lor and Sale met again in Chat­tanooga for the Sec­ond Annu­al North Amer­i­can Seces­sion con­fer­ence, an event orga­nized by the Mid­dle­bury Insti­tute and this time offi­cial­ly co-host­ed by the league. The con­fer­ence issued the “Chat­tanooga Dec­la­ra­tion” — a doc­u­ment that pro­nounced the “old left-right split mean­ing­less and dead” and called for “diver­si­ty among human soci­eties.” It was while in Chat­tanooga that Sale spoke so fond­ly of his South­ern roots.

Sale defend­ed the league to reporters, telling The (U.K.) Inde­pen­dent that fall that he want­ed to show the “folks up north” that league mem­bers are “legit­i­mate col­leagues” who have been wrong­ly declared “racists.” (Sale declined to dis­cuss the league, its his­to­ry or any­thing else with the Report, say­ing by E‑mail that he did not trust it “for one instant to be fair or truth­ful.”) Sale has hot­ly con­test­ed the SPLC des­ig­na­tion of the league as a hate group, telling The Asso­ci­at­ed Press in 2007 that the league — whose leader, for­mer uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor Michael Hill, has engaged in such activ­i­ties as send­ing out E‑mails mock­ing the names of his African-Amer­i­can stu­dents — “has not done or said any­thing racist in its 14 years of exis­tence.”

Hard to Star­board

Nay­lor and Sale don’t just share seces­sion­ist chitchat with their new neo-Con­fed­er­ate friends. Over the last two years, they have both become ensconced in the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment and col­le­gial with sev­er­al extrem­ists. For exam­ple, Nay­lor serves as an “asso­ci­at­ed schol­ar” at Liv­ingston’s Abbeville Insti­tute, whose ranks are filled with cur­rent and for­mer league mem­bers. Anoth­er Abbeville “schol­ar,” Scott Trask, has writ­ten for the white suprema­cist newslet­ter Amer­i­can Renais­sance, which is devot­ed to prov­ing the intel­lec­tu­al infe­ri­or­i­ty of minori­ties and recent­ly claimed that blacks are inca­pable of cre­at­ing any civ­i­liza­tion.

SVR, the Abbeville Insti­tute and the League of the South Insti­tute for the Study of South­ern Cul­ture and His­to­ry all share as an advi­sor Thomas DiLoren­zo, a pro­fes­sor at Loy­ola Col­lege who has done more than any­one to push the idea that Abra­ham Lin­coln was a paragon of wicked­ness, a man secret­ly intent on destroy­ing states’ rights and build­ing a mas­sive fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. “It was not to end slav­ery that Lin­coln ini­ti­at­ed an inva­sion of the South,” DiLoren­zo writes in his 2002 attack on Lin­coln, The Real Lin­coln: A New Look at Abra­ham Lin­coln, His Agen­da, and an Unnec­es­sary War. “A war was not nec­es­sary to free the slaves, but it was nec­es­sary to destroy the most sig­nif­i­cant check on the pow­ers of the cen­tral gov­ern­ment: the right of seces­sion.”

Appoint­ed to the SVR advi­so­ry board in 2005, Mar­co Bas­sani, an Ital­ian col­lege pro­fes­sor, is also an asso­ci­at­ed schol­ar at the Abbeville Insti­tute. More impor­tant­ly, he is a mem­ber of the xeno­pho­bic and anti-immi­grant North­ern League, whose leader, Umber­to Bossi, has described African immi­grants as “bin­go-bon­gos” and sug­gest­ed open­ing fire on the boats of would-be ille­gal immi­grants to Italy.

Besides speak­ing at league con­fer­ences, Sale’s speech­es are for sale at Geor­gia League of the South leader Ray McBer­ry’s Dix­ie Broad­cast­ing, where Sale is described as a “social lib­er­al who sup­ports the Con­sti­tu­tion­al con­cept of the right of seces­sion.” The league adver­tis­es on its web­site that it will par­tic­i­pate in the Third Annu­al North Amer­i­can Seces­sion­ist Con­ven­tion, to be put on by Sale’s Mid­dle­bury Insti­tute next fall.

In the last two years, Sale and Nay­lor even signed on as guests for the now-defunct Ten­nessee-based hate radio pro­gram “The Polit­i­cal Cesspool,” run by white suprema­cist Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens board mem­ber and David Duke pal James Edwards. Nay­lor, who has been a guest twice on the pro­gram whose guest line-up reads like a Who’s Who of the racist rad­i­cal right, appeared dur­ing its cel­e­bra­tion of “Con­fed­er­ate His­to­ry Month” in April 2007.

In the case of Israel, Sale has views that are com­mon to the far left and the far right. In a 2003 arti­cle for the left-wing jour­nal Coun­ter­punch called “An End to the Israel Exper­i­ment? Unmak­ing a Griev­ous Error,” Sale asks “[w]hether the 50-year-old exper­i­ment known as the state of Israel has proven to be a fail­ure and should be aban­doned.” He points out that “[t]he [Jew­ish] dias­po­ra, after all, has exist­ed since 70 A.D., far longer than the state has, and might even be thought of as the nat­ur­al or his­toric role of Jew­ry.”

Nay­lor sees it sim­i­lar­ly. “We have a gov­ern­ment that is uncon­di­tion­al­ly allied with the state of Israel, which is an apartheid ter­ror­ist state,” he told the Report. He com­plained that the entire con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion of Ver­mont “sup­ports Israel.”

‘Hat­ing Amer­i­ca’

Some Ver­mon­ters con­tin­ue to stand by Nay­lor despite con­cerns. Ver­mont Com­mons Edi­tor Rob Williams told the Intel­li­gence Report that although his orga­ni­za­tion is com­plete­ly sep­a­rate from SVR, Nay­lor is “no racist” and a man whom he con­sid­ers “a col­league” and whose essays his paper will con­tin­ue to pub­lish. A mem­ber of SVR’s speak­ers bureau, Williams added: “The ‘racism’ charge, by the way, has become a con­ve­nient way for a few out­spo­ken Ver­mon­ters who may not agree with our goals to throw stones at us.” The real racist, Williams said, is “the Unit­ed States empire.”

But play­ing foot­sie with neo-Con­fed­er­ates has cost SVR, as sev­er­al mem­bers have left the group or dis­tanced them­selves from it in recent years. For­mer exec­u­tive direc­tor Jane Dwinel quit the group in 2006, telling the Report lat­er that she had had sharp dis­agree­ments with Nay­lor. John McClaugh­ry, a sup­port­er of decen­tral­iza­tion, told the Report that SVR has “shad­ed over to hat­ing Amer­i­ca.” Accord­ing to the Ver­mont Seces­sion blog, Dan Dewalt, a for­mer SVR advi­so­ry mem­ber, was dis­missed from the group for mere­ly rais­ing irk­some ques­tions about Nay­lor’s con­nec­tion to groups includ­ing the league.

Even many of those who remain Nay­lor’s col­leagues are wor­ried by SVR’s new South­ern friends. “You’ve got to watch whose con­fer­ence you go to. There’s no doubt about it,” SVR advi­sor Frank Bryan told the Report. Added long­time SVR ally Jim Hogue, “If [Nay­lor] was very flat­ter­ing toward the League of the South, and they’re racist, that was prob­a­bly a bad idea.”

In the face of these crit­i­cisms, Nay­lor remains defi­ant. “I don’t give a shit what you write,” he told the Intel­li­gence Report. “If some­one tells me that I should­n’t asso­ciate with the League of the South, it guar­an­tees that I will asso­ciate with the League of the South.”

Sale seems to be los­ing friends, too. Roane Carey, an edi­tor who has worked with Sale at The Nation, told the Intel­li­gence Report: “The Nation has no sym­pa­thy for or con­nec­tion to the League of the South or any group of that ilk. A cou­ple of years ago, we found out that the Ver­mont seces­sion move­ment had the aston­ish­ing­ly poor judg­ment to make an alliance with the [League of the South], whose thin­ly dis­guised racism and closed-mind­ed­ness we con­demn with­out reser­va­tion.

“It’s one thing to call for devo­lu­tion, local self-rule, small-is-beau­ti­ful pol­i­tics — even, in some cir­cum­stances, the idea of seces­sion — in the cause of end­ing empire and enhanc­ing democ­ra­cy, per­son­al lib­er­ty, equal rights and envi­ron­men­tal san­i­ty,” said Carey. “It’s quite anoth­er to make nice with groups, such as the League of the South, that use the lan­guage of seces­sion and region­al or local self-rule as a means of pro­mot­ing Old South revan­chism.” Carey added that he hopes Sale “comes to his sens­es.”

Despite SVR’s best efforts, for now the union appears to be safe — Ver­mont seces­sion­ists failed to obtain the sig­na­tures need­ed to put inde­pen­dence res­o­lu­tions on 2008 Town Meet­ing Day bal­lots. They will try again in 2009.


12 comments for “North Meets South: Vermont Secessionists Meet with Racist League of the South”

  1. Note that this for­mer League of the South mem­ber was also the self-declared “offi­cial blog­ger” for Rand’s dad in 2012:

    USA Today
    Rand Paul staffer expressed sup­port for Lin­coln assas­sin
    James R. Car­roll and Joseph Gerth, The (Louisville, Ky.) Couri­er-Jour­nal 2:33 p.m. EDT July 9, 2013
    Paul’s direc­tor of new media has called him­self the ‘South­ern Avenger’ since 1999.

    WASHINGTON — A mem­ber of Sen. Rand Paul’s staff who helped him write one of his books is a for­mer pro-seces­sion­ist radio com­men­ta­tor who wore a Con­fed­er­ate flag mask dur­ing pub­lic appear­ances, accord­ing to a news report Tues­day.

    Jack Hunter, who is Paul’s direc­tor of new media and cred­it­ed writer with the sen­a­tor on the 2011 book The Tea Par­ty Goes to Wash­ing­ton, has called him­self the “South­ern Avenger” since 1999 and has expressed sup­port for the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln, accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Free Bea­con, a con­ser­v­a­tive online news site.

    Paul, a pos­si­ble 2016 Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, has spent recent months urg­ing the Repub­li­can Par­ty to “be like the rest of Amer­i­ca” by embrac­ing minor­i­ty vot­ers.

    Hunter’s views sharply con­trast with that mes­sage.

    In one com­men­tary, Hunter com­plained that white peo­ple are not allowed to cel­e­brate their race while His­pan­ics turn “every­where they set­tle into north­ern out­posts of their Mex­i­can home­land,” the Free Bea­con report­ed.

    “Not only are whites not afford­ed the same right to cel­e­brate their own cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty, but any­thing that is con­sid­ered ‘too white’ is imme­di­ate­ly sus­pect,” Hunter said. “The term ‘diver­si­ty’ has become noth­ing more than a code word for ‘not white,’ and it’s a shame that just because we have fair skin, we are always denied fair treat­ment.”

    In 2007, Hunter wrote that “a non-white major­i­ty Amer­i­ca would sim­ply cease to be Amer­i­ca for rea­sons that are as numer­ous as they are obvi­ous — whether we are sup­posed to men­tion them or not.”

    In anoth­er com­men­tary, Hunter equat­ed the Unit­ed States’ use of atom­ic bombs on Japan that end­ed World War II with the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ists attacks.

    Hunter told the Free Bea­con that he no longer holds many of the views he expressed.

    “There’s a lot of peo­ple who write in print and radio that go out and beat their chests and try to just say the cra­zi­est things they can because that’s how you make a liv­ing,” Hunter said. “For a while, that’s how I made a liv­ing. ... And it’s not that you don’t mean it — it’s just you express it in ways that does more harm than good.”

    Paul’s Sen­ate office paid Hunter $40,000 in salary from Aug. 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013, accord­ing to data col­lect­ed by LegiS­torm, a non­par­ti­san group that mon­i­tors Con­gress.

    Hunter still main­tains a web­site, http://www.southernavenger.com, where he says he was the offi­cial blog­ger for the 2012 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign of for­mer Rep. Ron Paul, R‑Texas, the father of the sen­a­tor from Ken­tucky.

    “From 2010 until today, I have con­stant­ly been accused of being a pro­pa­gan­dist for Rand Paul,” Hunter wrote Jan. 27. “It is true. I believe in Sen. Paul 100%. I have been wait­ing for a polit­i­cal fig­ure of his type to emerge my entire life. In 2010, he even hired me to co-author a book with him. It was an hon­or. I have worked for him in the past and will con­tin­ue to be at his ser­vice.”

    He did not men­tion that he is a paid Sen­ate staffer for Paul.

    Accord­ing to his biog­ra­phy on his site, Hunter began his polit­i­cal com­men­taries in the late 1990s on WAVF-FM radio in Charleston, S.C., mov­ing in 2007 to WTMA-AM in the same city. He also penned a col­umn in The Charleston City Paper and began pro­duc­ing videos for his own YouTube chan­nel. He also has writ­ten for The Amer­i­can Con­ser­v­a­tive and The Amer­i­can Spec­ta­tor and has been a guest host on Sirius/XM radio.

    Paul spokes­woman Moira Bagley pro­vid­ed a state­ment on the Hunter con­tro­ver­sy: “Sen­a­tor Paul holds his staff to a stan­dard that includes treat­ing every indi­vid­ual with equal pro­tec­tion and respect, with­out excep­tion.”

    She declined a Couri­er-Jour­nal request for inter­views with the sen­a­tor and Hunter.

    In Decem­ber 2009, dur­ing his bid for the Sen­ate, Paul fired then-spokesman and trea­sur­er, Christo­pher High­tow­er, after his cam­paign acknowl­edged that High­tow­er main­tained a page on a web­site that includ­ed racist remarks and that sug­gest­ed that the gov­ern­ment bore some respon­si­bil­i­ty for the 2001 ter­ror attacks.

    The page includ­ed a deroga­to­ry ref­er­ence to African Amer­i­cans in a poem.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 9, 2013, 11:56 am
  2. Note that Jack Hunter was­n’t just a mem­ber of the League of the South. He used to be a chair­man. With a resume like that it’s no won­der his ser­vices are in such high demand!

    Neo-Con­fed­er­ate Rand Paul Aide A Dai­ly Caller Con­trib­u­tor, Fox Reg­u­lar
    “South­ern Avenger” Jack Hunter Also Helped Write Her­itage Pres­i­dent Jim DeM­int’s Book


    Jack Hunter, a con­gres­sion­al aide to Sen. Rand Paul with a his­to­ry of “neo-Con­fed­er­ate” and “pro-seces­sion­ist” views, has pro­duced dozens of arti­cles and video com­men­taries for The Dai­ly Caller and appeared as what one Fox Busi­ness host termed a “reg­u­lar” guest on that net­work. He also helped then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R‑SC), cur­rent­ly the pres­i­dent of The Her­itage Foun­da­tion, write his most recent book.

    The con­ser­v­a­tive Free Bea­con report­ed today that Hunter, a “close” Rand Paul aide who also co-wrote the Ken­tucky Repub­li­can’s 2011 book, “spent years work­ing as a pro-seces­sion­ist radio pun­dit and neo-Con­fed­er­ate activist ... Hunter was a chair­man in the League of the South, which ‘advo­cates the seces­sion and sub­se­quent inde­pen­dence of the South­ern States from this forced union and the for­ma­tion of a South­ern repub­lic.’ ”

    Free Bea­con also quot­ed Hunter’s South Car­oli­na radio com­men­tary under the pseu­do­nym “The South­ern Avenger” in which he expressed ado­ra­tion for Lin­coln assas­sin John Wilkes Booth, indig­na­tion that white Amer­i­cans are treat­ed to a “racial dou­ble stan­dard,” and oppo­si­tion to Span­ish-speak­ing immi­grants. Hunter report­ed­ly “told the Free Bea­con that he no longer holds many of these views,” includ­ing his pro-Lin­coln assas­sin views, but “declined to say that he no longer sup­ports seces­sion.”

    Free Bea­con fur­ther report­ed that “[d]uring pub­lic appear­ances, Hunter often wore a mask on which was print­ed a Con­fed­er­ate flag” and includ­ed the fol­low­ing pic­ture:
    [see pic]

    While Free Bea­con’s report was crit­i­cal of Hunter and his asso­ci­a­tion with Sen. Paul, it did not men­tion Hunter’s ties to The Dai­ly Caller, Fox, and DeMint. The piece instead men­tioned that Hunter had writ­ten for “pale­o­con­ser­v­a­tive web­sites such as the Amer­i­can Con­ser­v­a­tive and Tak­i’s Mag­a­zine,” and even quot­ed Jim Antle, edi­tor of the Dai­ly Caller News Foun­da­tion, who com­ment­ed on Rand Paul’s efforts to “over­come that per­cep­tion” that he is too close to fringe ele­ments.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 9, 2013, 12:23 pm
  3. It looks like Rand Paul is stick­ing with the “South­ern Avenger”. It’ll be inter­est­ing to see how the Avenger’s oth­er employ­ers respond. It’s not that Paul approves of dis­crim­i­na­to­ry atti­tudes. It’s that he has­n’t seen any evi­dence of it:

    Huff­in­g­ton Post
    Rand Paul Stands By His ‘South­ern Avenger’

    Post­ed: 07/11/2013 7:35 am EDT | Updat­ed: 07/11/2013 5:00 pm EDT

    WASHINGTON –- In an inter­view with The Huff­in­g­ton Post, Sen. Rand Paul stout­ly defend­ed an aide who, as a radio shock jock in South Car­oli­na, praised John Wilkes Booth, heaped scorn on Abra­ham Lin­coln and wore a ski mask embla­zoned with the stars and bars of the Con­fed­er­ate Bat­tle Flag.

    Paul (R‑Ky.) stressed that he opposed such views, many of which have been recant­ed by the Sen­ate aide, Jack Hunter, who co-wrote Paul’s first book in 2010 and who is now his social media advis­er in Wash­ing­ton.

    “I’m not a fan of seces­sion,” Paul said. “I think the things he said about John Wilkes Booth are absolute­ly stu­pid. I think Lin­coln was one of our great­est pres­i­dents. Do I think Lin­coln was wrong is tak­ing away the free­dom of the press and the right of habeas cor­pus? Yeah.

    “There were great peo­ple who were for eman­ci­pa­tion. Lin­coln came to his great­ness. One Repub­li­can con­gress­man described it as ‘on bor­rowed plumage.’ I love the descrip­tion, because there were some great fight­ers [for eman­ci­pa­tion] and Lin­coln had to be pushed. But I’m not an ene­my of Lin­coln, like some who think he was an awful per­son.”

    Paul said that Hunter had nev­er act­ed in a dis­crim­i­na­to­ry way, and that his ear­li­er work in South Car­oli­na was a form of youth­ful polit­i­cal show­man­ship.

    “Peo­ple are call­ing him a white suprema­cist,” Paul told me in his Sen­ate office. “If I thought he was a white suprema­cist, he would be fired imme­di­ate­ly. If I thought he would treat any­body on the col­or of their skin dif­fer­ent than oth­ers, I’d fire him imme­di­ate­ly.

    “All I can say is, we have a zero tol­er­ance pol­i­cy for any­body who dis­plays dis­crim­i­na­to­ry behav­ior or belief in dis­crim­i­nat­ing against peo­ple based on the col­or of their skin, their reli­gion, their sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, any­thing like that,” Paul told me. “We won’t tol­er­ate any of that, and I’ve seen no evi­dence of that.

    “Are we at a point where nobody can have had a youth or said any­thing unto­ward?” the sen­a­tor asked rhetor­i­cal­ly.

    Hunter is 39 years old. He was a well-known fig­ure in South Car­oli­na for years before he caught Paul’s eye with some well-cir­cu­lat­ed YouTube videos.


    Paul insist­ed that he had only known “vague­ly” about Hunter’s work. But even if he had known all of the details, Paul said, he would not have shied away from hir­ing Hunter because he is a tal­ent­ed con­ser­v­a­tive writer.

    “Let me put it this way,” Paul said. ”I’m aware of some of your columns, but not all of them. And some of them I find very unfair, call­ing me a con­spir­a­cy nut, things like that. But I chose to talk to you today. So that means we have a rela­tion­ship now. But it does­n’t mean that I agree with all of your past writ­ings.

    “It’s the same way any time you meet some­body who’s got a large body of work,” Paul con­tin­ued. “So if I hired you to work in my cam­paign, there would be some things I agreed with, and some things I dis­agreed with.

    “I think it’s hard. The thing is, I grap­ple with this. What am I sup­posed to do? I’m going to have a lot of peo­ple work­ing for me. They’ve all got writ­ings and opin­ions.”

    Hunter, he said, “is incred­i­bly tal­ent­ed.”

    Behind the flashy and provoca­tive rhetoric, Paul said, Hunter often made thought-pro­vok­ing argu­ments. “Look and lis­ten to the actu­al words and not to the head­lines, peo­ple,” Paul told me.

    What about the ski mask? I asked.

    “It was a shock radio job. He was doing wet T‑shirt con­tests. But can a guy not have a youth and stuff? Peo­ple try to say I smoked pot one time, and I was­n’t fit for office.”

    Paul clear­ly thinks that he is.

    And, by the way, he told me, he was head­ed to Neva­da this week­end — Neva­da being a key ear­ly-nom­i­nat­ing state in what would be a 2016 GOP nom­i­nat­ing race.

    Before he gets there, Paul will have to deal with myr­i­ad net­tle­some issues that come from his family’s polit­i­cal roots in the lib­er­tar­i­an, states’ rights and nativist soil deep in some reach­es of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics.

    A major theme of Paul’s short career has been the ten­sion between the grass­roots tea par­ty enthu­si­asm and lib­er­tar­i­an online donors he inher­its from his father -– peren­ni­al pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and for­mer Texas Rep. Ron Paul -– and Rand’s own strate­gic plan to be seen as a main­stream-able GOP fig­ure.

    The two imper­a­tives seemed to have col­lid­ed in the per­son of Jack Hunter this week, and Paul stood by his friend. He could hard­ly do oth­er­wise. Hunter is too close to him, for one, to be eas­i­ly jet­ti­soned. But more impor­tant for Paul, fir­ing him would have been allow­ing oth­er peo­ple to tell him what to do.

    Paul/Hunter 2016!!!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 11, 2013, 9:31 pm
  4. Rand Paul decid­ed to reit­er­ate that Jack Hunter’s dis­avowed writ­ings were total­ly not racist:

    Rand Paul On Seces­sion­ist Ex-Aide’s Writ­ings: ‘None Of It Was Racist’
    Eric Lach 10:22 AM EDT, Wednes­day August 7, 2013

    In a radio inter­view on Tues­day, Sen. Rand Paul (R‑KY) said his for­mer aide Jack Hunter, who spent years in the 1990s and 2000s as a pro-seces­sion­ist activist and radio shock jock, was unfair­ly treat­ed by the media last month. Paul said that while he dis­agreed with much of Hunter’s past writ­ings and state­ments, none of Hunter’s words were racist.

    “If you’ll read through a lot of his things, I think some of the things he wrote, or many of the things he wrote, were stu­pid, and I don’t agree with,” Paul said dur­ing an inter­view on NPR’s On Point pro­gram. “I do think though that he was unfair­ly treat­ed by the media, and he was put up as tar­get prac­tice for peo­ple to say he was a racist, and none of that’s true. And if you look at his writ­ings, I think there are a lot of prob­lems, and a lot of dis­agree­ments, and none of it do I sup­port. But none of it was racist.”

    Paul went on to say that Hunter, who resigned his posi­tion in the sen­a­tor’s office last month, had “got along fine with every­body in the office, treat­ed every­one fair­ly, regard­less of race or reli­gion.” In the late 1990s, Hunter was a mem­ber of the League of the South, a group which advo­cates the seces­sion and sub­se­quent inde­pen­dence of the South­ern States. In the ear­ly 2000s, Hunter began con­tribut­ing anony­mous polit­i­cal com­men­tary on South Car­oli­na radio under the moniker “South­ern Avenger.” Among his asser­tions from that time: the Lin­coln assas­sin John Wilkes Booth’s heart was “in the right place” and that white peo­ple in the U.S. are sub­ject to a “racial dou­ble stan­dard.”

    Dur­ing the inter­view on Tues­day, On Point’s guest host, John Har­wood, also read Paul an Econ­o­mist arti­cle argu­ing that lib­er­tar­i­an politi­cians have risen to pow­er through ties to “racist and nativist move­ments.”

    “Don’t you have some­thing bet­ter to read than a bunch of crap from peo­ple who don’t like me?” Paul replied. “I mean, that won’t make for much of an inter­view if I have to sit through read­ing after recita­tion of peo­ple call­ing me a racist.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 7, 2013, 8:23 am
  5. A man that loved Jesse Helms so much that he moved to North Car­oli­na just to be a lit­tle clos­er to his hero is now shock­ing­ly close to his hero’s old seat:

    TPM Livewire
    Sen. Hagan Tea Par­ty Chal­lenger Attend­ed Seces­sion­ist Ral­ly

    Daniel Strauss – Decem­ber 16, 2013, 10:54 AM EST

    North Car­oli­na Sen­ate can­di­date Greg Bran­non ® cospon­sored and deliv­ered a speech at an event spon­sored by the seces­sion­ist League of the South.

    Accord­ing to a new Moth­er Jones report on Mon­day, Bran­non, who is run­ning in the GOP pri­ma­ry to defeat Sen. Kay Hagan (D‑NC), spoke at ral­ly which sup­port­ed nul­li­fi­ca­tion (the argu­ment that states are able to inval­i­date fed­er­al laws) in Octo­ber.

    Bran­non, fur­ther­more, has also repeat­ed­ly said that if elect­ed he would mod­el his tenure as a sen­a­tor after for­mer Sen. Jesse Helms ®, the long­time North Car­oli­na sen­a­tor who sup­port­ed racial seg­re­ga­tion. Bran­non also said at an event spon­sored by RedState.com that he decid­ed to move to North Car­oli­na because Helms was his hero.

    The Moth­er Jones report also notes that Bran­non, who has been endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R‑KY) in the GOP pri­ma­ry, has also argued that bipar­ti­san agree­ments in Con­gress “enslave” Amer­i­cans and that the planks of Com­mu­nism espoused by Karl Marx “are law in our land today.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 16, 2013, 8:56 am
  6. Check out Jack Hunter’s lat­est gig: He’s head­ing up a lib­er­tar­i­an ver­sion of the Drudge Report that’s dou­bling as the plat­form for show­cas­ing the new kinder, gen­tler Jack Hunter:


    The Avenger With­out a Mask

    A con­tro­ver­sial Rand Paul aide has shown that he has the Pauls’ knack for the come­back.
    By David Weigel

    Sen. Rand Paul left the stage, the applause died down, and the lead­ers of Young Amer­i­cans for Lib­er­ty had a problem—there was time to kill. A pan­el of lib­er­ty-move­ment con­gress­men was en route to North­ern Vir­ginia from the Capi­tol, where they’d just held late votes. So Jeff Frazee, the 31-year-old who has led YAL ever since it was spun off from Ron Paul’s 2008 cam­paign, came onstage to intro­duce “a good friend of the cause.”

    “I’m sure every­one here is Face­book friends with him,” said Frazee. “If you’re not, you should be. … He’s been very help­ful with the growth of our mis­sion, and our mes­sage. I think he’s a very artic­u­late gen­tle­man.”

    With that, Frazee brought out Jack Hunter. One year ear­li­er, when Hunter still worked for Sen. Paul, the Wash­ing­ton Free Bea­con dug through every­thing he’d pub­lished as “the South­ern Avenger,” a truth-teller in a Con­fed­er­ate flag luchador mask. Accord­ing to the younger Hunter, John Wilkes Booth’s heart was “in the right place,” and whites had lost the “right to cel­e­brate their own cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty.” Amer­i­cans wor­ried about keep­ing their coun­try were not “wrong to deplore the mil­lions of Mex­i­cans com­ing here now.”

    Paul stood by Hunter for more than a week, until he resigned and Paul could could dis­tance him­self from his for­mer aide’s “stu­pid” oeu­vre. Hunter scaled back his par­tic­i­pa­tion in that year’s YAL con­fer­ence.

    But now he was back, onstage, in front of hun­dreds of peo­ple who’d just fin­ished chant­i­ng for Rand Paul to run for pres­i­dent.

    “Tell some jokes!” said Frazee./

    “They don’t want to hear those,” said Hunter. “They’re pret­ty bad.”

    The sto­ry of Jack Hunter’s come­back is the sto­ry of the Pauls, a polit­i­cal fam­i­ly with sur­vival skills that rival the Road Runner’s. The 2008 dis­cov­ery by James Kirchick of Ron Paul’s race war sur­vival­ist newslet­ters did not force the elder Paul from that pres­i­den­tial race. The media’s redis­cov­ery of that mate­r­i­al, in late 2011, did not stop Paul from amass­ing del­e­gates in 2012. An “estab­lish­ment” cam­paign to stop the younger Paul from win­ning his 2010 Sen­ate nom­i­na­tion, mean­while, failed com­plete­ly. The Ken­tucky sen­a­tor arrived in Iowa this week as one of the most pop­u­lar fig­ures in the GOP, the leader of the party’s out­reach attempts to black vot­ers and young vot­ers on issues like civ­il lib­er­ties and drug war reform.

    Since leav­ing Paul-world, Hunter has become the cre­ative force behind a thriv­ing con­ser­v­a­tive news site. In April 2013, Cox Media launched the web­site Rare, hop­ing to cre­ate a lib­er­tar­i­an news site along the lines of what the Huff­in­g­ton Post has done for lib­er­al read­ers. Rare put­tered along with low traf­fic in its ear­ly days—at the start of 2014, the site report­ed­ly had few­er than 1 mil­lion unique views per month. Staffers who’d hit the exits were dish­ing about a bro­ken prod­uct mod­el and rud­der­less edi­to­r­i­al team.

    Then came Jack Hunter, who had churned out pop­ulist com­men­tary for years—from radio, to YouTube videos, to Ron Paul’s 2012 cam­paign blog. In those days he had become pop­u­lar enough to, well, work for Rand Paul and co-write one of his books. In Novem­ber 2013, after his res­ig­na­tion, Hunter pub­lished his “con­fes­sions” in a long piece for Politi­co Mag­a­zine, in which he denounced all of his works as the South­ern Avenger. “Lib­er­tar­i­an Repub­li­cans are chang­ing minds and chang­ing the par­ty,” he wrote. “They changed me.”

    This led to a con­ver­sa­tion with the peo­ple behind Rare. Hunter had always imag­ined a lib­er­tar­i­an-focused news site to com­pete with the Drudge Report. “Some of the lib­er­tar­i­an sto­ries were find­ing an audi­ence that they wouldn’t have found before,” he said. “I’d remem­ber, even on Ron’s cam­paign, I’d see a sto­ry and say: Why isn’t this a head­line?”

    Hunter had actu­al­ly been plot­ting out this new lib­er­tar­i­an media strat­e­gy before any­one thought to dig through the South­ern Avenger’s archives. For years, before and after join­ing the Paul cam­paign, Hunter had been in a run­ning dia­logue with the lib­er­ty move­ment. In Jan­u­ary 2013he respond­ed to crit­ics who thought he had “pro­pa­gan­dized” for Ron and Rand Paul. “I will remain a ‘pro­pa­gan­dist,’ ” wrote Hunter, “for… any oth­er fig­ure, group, blog or vehi­cle, now or in the future, that I believe advances our ideas in a way that we even­tu­al­ly become the new main­stream.”

    This sort of mate­r­i­al attract­ed readers—much of what’s writ­ten about the Pauls and their move­ment gets sol­id traf­fic. Even­tu­al­ly, Leon Levitt, VP of strat­e­gy at the Atlanta-based Cox, began “a con­ver­sa­tion” with him about how Rare might go. “[I] need­ed to per­son­al­ly become com­fort­able with his views and who he real­ly was,” Levitt said. “He essen­tial­ly con­vinced me.”

    On Jan. 20, Hunter returned to polit­i­cal com­men­tary with a pair of posts that the South­ern Avenger nev­er would have writ­ten. One com­pared the NSA abus­es revealed by Edward Snow­den to the tar­get­ing of the civ­il rights move­ment. “As we remem­ber Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. for his civ­il rights tri­umphs,” wrote Hunter, “let us also remem­ber his civ­il lib­er­ties lessons.” The oth­er explained how Sen. Mike Lee and—yes—Sen. Rand Paul were bat­tling the “new Jim Crow” by work­ing to reform drug laws. For Paul, wrote Hunter, “manda­to­ry min­i­mum sen­tenc­ing reform has become a pri­ma­ry issue and he has been out­spo­ken about the inher­ent racism of the cur­rent sys­tem.”

    Rare became Hunter’s site. “He’s essen­tial­ly the edi­tor,” says Levitt. Copy­cat con­ser­v­a­tive opin­ion was replaced by viral sto­ries about mar­i­jua­na legal­iza­tion, the right to tape-record police offi­cers, gun-tot­ing cit­i­zen vig­i­lantes, and, nat­u­ral­ly, the adven­tures of Rand Paul. Traf­fic final­ly start­ed to tick up. Accord­ing to data col­lect­ed by Quant­cast, Rare was attract­ing just 1.3 mil­lion unique users as recent­ly as April, but was up to 6.2 mil­lion by June. It dipped slight­ly in July, but the site had found a niche, with lib­er­ty-fla­vored Rare links going viral on a reg­u­lar basis.

    “Ini­tial­ly we tried to be a lot of dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple,” says Levitt. “We made good and bad deci­sions, but truth­ful­ly, what we always want­ed to rep­re­sent was the lib­er­ty approach.”

    On Aug. 1, the third day of YAL’s con­fer­ence, about 300 stu­dents and activists lis­tened and scrib­bled notes as Hunter explained that “the Ron Paul Rev­o­lu­tion lives on.”

    “[Ron Paul] turned count­less minds toward the ideals of lib­er­ty in a way no politi­cian ever had,” he said. “Lib­er­ty, actu­al­ly, was the only phi­los­o­phy that tru­ly appealed to mil­len­ni­als.”

    “If keep­ing gay mar­riage ille­gal is the defin­ing issue of our time, young peo­ple don’t want any­thing to do with that,” said Hunter to a mod­est burst of applause.

    “If keep­ing mar­i­jua­na ille­gal is what it means to be a Repub­li­can, young peo­ple don’t want any­thing to do with that either,” he said to loud­er applause.

    Then came the kick­er: “If you’re wor­ry­ing that black and brown peo­ple are invad­ing the coun­try and tak­ing it over—young peo­ple sim­ply don’t want any­thing to do with those ideas or rhetoric.”

    It was the biggest applause line of the speech up to that point. As the cheers sub­sided, Hunter added a foot­note: “A lot of con­ser­v­a­tives, includ­ing me in the past, have been guilty of such rhetoric.”

    When the speech end­ed, Hunter grabbed a chair in a com­mon area, kicked up his black cow­boy boots, and reflect­ed on Rare’s suc­cess. It’s the “pre­miere site for where con­ser­vatism is head­ed,” he said.

    “I remem­ber being on talk radio and say­ing those things I regret,” he added. “I remember—God—all I want­ed for pres­i­dent [was] some­one who didn’t want to get us into the next war, and some­one who would stop the ille­gal immi­grants who would ruin the coun­try. But being part of the Ron Paul cam­paign. … I saw that they didn’t give a crap about any of that stuff about immi­grants. It doesn’t mat­ter. It makes us worse peo­ple. They influ­enced me.”

    Hunter, who’s now 40 years old, dis­cussed how he used to talk more flam­boy­ant­ly because it made him sound more cred­i­ble. The South­ern Avenger web­site has now been mem­o­ry-holed, its con­tent avail­able only with Web archive search­es.

    “I real­ly shift­ed my views over a cou­ple of years,” he said. “What mil­len­ni­als believe, the sort of pol­i­tics they’re attract­ed to, is minus a lot of those ugly aspects of con­ser­vatism. The way some peo­ple talk about the migrants on the bor­der, call­ing them drug dealers—these are chil­dren! They’re not all gang mem­bers. It blows my mind that these fam­i­ly-val­ues, alleged­ly Chris­t­ian peo­ple are doing the most un-Christ-like things imag­in­able.”


    “I remem­ber being on talk radio and say­ing those things I regret,” he added. “I remember—God—all I want­ed for pres­i­dent [was] some­one who didn’t want to get us into the next war, and some­one who would stop the ille­gal immi­grants who would ruin the coun­try. But being part of the Ron Paul cam­paign. … I saw that they didn’t give a crap about any of that stuff about immi­grants. It doesn’t mat­ter. It makes us worse peo­ple. They influ­enced me....I real­ly shift­ed my views over a cou­ple of years,” he said. “What mil­len­ni­als believe, the sort of pol­i­tics they’re attract­ed to, is minus a lot of those ugly aspects of con­ser­vatism. The way some peo­ple talk about the migrants on the bor­der, call­ing them drug dealers—these are chil­dren! They’re not all gang mem­bers. It blows my mind that these fam­i­ly-val­ues, alleged­ly Chris­t­ian peo­ple are doing the most un-Christ-like things imag­in­able”.

    Oh wow, so it was while work­ing on Ron Paul’s cam­paign — where Hunter saw how they did­n’t real­ly “give a crap about any of that stuff about immi­grants” — that Hunter had his big world­view shift. So...that would have been dur­ing the 2012 cam­paign, and not the 2008 cam­paign, right?

    Think Progress
    Is Ron Paul Soft­en­ing His Tone On Immi­gra­tion?

    by Andrea Nill Sanchez Post­ed on April 29, 2011 at 3:20 pm Updat­ed: April 29, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Back in 2008, pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ron Paul released a nasty cam­paign ad show­ing undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants sneak­ing across the bor­der. “Ron Paul wants bor­der secu­ri­ty now,” declared the ad. “Phys­i­cal­ly secure the bor­der, no amnesty, no wel­fare to ille­gal aliens, end birthright cit­i­zen­ship, no more stu­dent visas from ter­ror­ist nations,” pro­claims the nar­ra­tor. Watch it:


    Now, it appears Paul has soft­ened his tone. In an inter­view ses­sion with John Stos­sel, Paul expressed some doubts about the restric­tion­ist posi­tions that usu­al­ly char­ac­ter­ize the far right:

    I don’t believe in the open bor­ders. But I don’t like the idea of peo­ple want­i­ng to build walls and fences and guns and think­ing that the immi­grant is the evil mon­ster and the immi­grant becomes the scape­goat of every­thing. I think that’s very very bad.

    I do not sup­port amnesty. [...] I’m not for amnesty but it’s absolute­ly impos­si­ble to think that any­body — no mat­ter strong­ly feel against ille­gals — they’re not going to round up 12 or 15 mil­lion peo­ple. It doesn’t make any sense.

    Watch it:


    Paul also point­ed out that “the purist Lib­er­tar­i­an view­point is total­ly open-bor­ders.” Yet, he quick­ly clar­i­fied that, “I don’t endorse that, I don’t think we are quite able to do that as long as peo­ple can come in here and take advan­tage of the wel­fare sys­tem.”

    If that’s Paul’s only hes­i­ta­tion, he may want to take a clos­er a look and who actu­al­ly qual­i­fies to receive pub­lic ben­e­fits. Undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants don’t qual­i­fy for any of the ben­e­fits of the “wel­fare sys­tem.” They do receive emer­gency care and their chil­dren can attend pub­lic schools. That is about it when it comes to the ben­e­fits that they are allowed to receive.

    Of course, an open bor­ders pol­i­cy is total­ly unre­al­is­tic. Yet, Paul’s tem­pered posi­tion stands in sharp con­trast to that of his son’s. Sen. Rand Paul (R‑KY). When Sen. Paul was run­ning for office, he infa­mous­ly pro­posed build­ing an under­ground elec­tric fence. He lat­er “clar­i­fied” that he would pre­fer it be built above ground.

    Ron Paul announced ear­li­er this week that he is form­ing a pres­i­den­tial explorato­ry com­mit­tee.

    Hmmm...yeah, that was prob­a­bly the 2012 cam­paign that impact­ed Hunter so deeply. The 2008 Ron Paul did­n’t sound like the kind of can­di­date that would induce immi­gra­tion-relat­ed epipha­nies.

    So it would seem that Jack Hunter has had a pret­ty recent con­ver­sion to what­ev­er it is he’s embrac­ing now. Let’s hope for Hunter’s sake that he does­n’t end up get­ting influ­enced by Rand’s pre­sumed 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. It could be ‘two steps for­ward, three steps back’ for Jack.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 9, 2014, 2:17 pm
  7. There goes Rand being Rand. Again:

    The Dai­ly Ban­ter
    Rand Paul Promis­es to Repeal All Exec­u­tive Orders… Ever

    Bob Cesca on Sep­tem­ber 17, 2014

    The oth­er day on his pod­cast, Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks bragged that he’s nev­er been wrong when bet­ting on the win­ner of pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, then offered this:

    “If you’ve got Rand Paul run­ning on a ‘Let’s stop mess­ing around in the Mid­dle East because we’re get­ting killed, and it’s doing absolute­ly no good for us’ cam­paign ver­sus Hillary Clinton’s ‘Let’s keep doing the same stu­pid shit we were doing before that you hat­ed before’ cam­paign… If I was a bet­ting man, and I am… right now I’d lay mon­ey on Rand Paul being the next pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States.”

    Two things here. First, Cenk knows that Sen. Rand Paul (R‑KY) will win the next elec­tion, more than two years before the actu­al elec­tion will take place. Sec­ond, Cenk still thinks Rand Paul is opposed to mil­i­tary action in the Mid­dle East. How sweet.

    Here’s to hop­ing Cenk los­es a pile of mon­ey wager­ing on this one. As we’ve cov­ered numer­ous times over the years, Rand Paul is a flip-flop­ping mess, and prob­a­bly won’t win the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion much less the gen­er­al elec­tion. He sim­ply can’t win — mean­ing, he’s unable to win giv­en how con­ser­v­a­tive GOP vot­ers will line up against him, and he shouldn’t win because he’d be a ter­ri­ble pres­i­dent. In addi­tion to being a polit­i­cal light­weight and an emp­ty suit, Rand Paul promised to repeal all exec­u­tive orders ever issued in the his­to­ry of the Unit­ed States.

    I think the first exec­u­tive order that I would issue would be to repeal all pre­vi­ous exec­u­tive orders.

    Yep, the knuck­le­head who Cenk Uygur thinks will be our next pres­i­dent vowed to repeal all oth­er exec­u­tive orders… by sign­ing an exec­u­tive order when he’s elect­ed. It sounds like a joke, but he was evi­dent­ly quite seri­ous about it. He hates exec­u­tive orders so much that he would get rid of all exec­u­tive orders by decree of an exec­u­tive order. This is sort of like pass­ing a law that bans all laws. Talk about the con­tra­dic­tion to end all con­tra­dic­tions. When I said on the Stephanie Miller Show that Rand Paul con­tra­dicts him­self almost in the same sen­tence, I didn’t actu­al­ly think he’d do it, but there it is.

    He con­tin­ued:

    Democ­ra­cy is messy, but you have to build con­sen­sus to pass things. But it’s also in some ways good, because a lot of laws take away your free­dom. So it should be hard to pass a law. And it, frankly, when you do it the prop­er way, is.

    Democ­ra­cy is messy. Not doubt about that. But this makes me won­der whether Paul actu­al­ly knows what exec­u­tive orders actu­al­ly are. They’re not laws, nor are they bind­ing inso­far as the next pres­i­dent can sim­ply sign an exec­u­tive order revers­ing a pre­vi­ous order. Who would’ve guessed that a pres­i­den­tial fron­trun­ner would vow to sign one that repealed all of them — because he hates exec­u­tive orders. Frankly, Paul knows all of this, but he’s play­ing his sup­port­ers like the near­sight­ed suck­ers they are.

    So, what are some of the exec­u­tive orders that would be repealed upon the elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Rand Paul?

    1) The Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion. (Lin­coln)
    2) The deseg­re­ga­tion of schools. (Eisen­how­er)
    3) The re-nam­ing of the NASA Launch Oper­a­tions Cen­ter in Flori­da to the “John F. Kennedy Space Cen­ter.” (LBJ)
    4) The cre­ation of the Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (FEMA). (Carter)
    5) The resump­tion of fed­er­al fund­ing for embry­on­ic stem cell research. (Oba­ma)
    6) The cre­ation of the War­ren Com­mis­sion. (LBJ)
    7) Pro­hibit­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion based on sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion in the fed­er­al work­force. (Clin­ton)
    8) The cre­ation of the pres­i­den­tial board of advis­ers on Black Col­leges and Uni­ver­si­ties. (Bush 41)
    9) Pro­tect Against Iden­ti­ty Theft. (Bush 43)
    10) Pro­hibit­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion based on race, col­or, reli­gion, sex, nation­al ori­gin, hand­i­cap, or age in the fed­er­al work­force. (Nixon)

    All of this would be repealed under a would-be Paul admin­is­tra­tion. There are lit­er­al­ly thou­sands of oth­ers that are vital to the prop­er func­tion­ing of the Exec­u­tive, and Rand Paul thinks this high­ly dys­func­tion­al Con­gress or any Con­gress for that mat­ter is capa­ble of pass­ing laws cov­er­ing the full range of these orders. Hilar­i­ous.


    Well, in Rand’s defense it would be point­less­ly nice for #6 to get repealed. It will also be fas­ci­nat­ing to see if this par­tic­u­lar mind worm can man­age to become part of the GOP’s mantra and “brand” going for­ward. Because there would be noth­ing stop­ping the next non-GOP pres­i­dent from rein­stat­ing all those exec­u­tive orders fol­low­ing the Paul admin­is­tra­tion so repeal­ing and then rein­stat­ing the Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion could be one of those weird de fac­to rit­u­als every time the White House switch­es par­ties. That kind of flip flop­ping could make for a use­ful jux­ta­po­si­tion that could add some much need­ed clar­i­ty:

    The Nation­al Memo
    Does Rand Paul Want To Repeal All Exec­u­tive Orders? Depends When You Ask
    Sep­tem­ber 15, 2014 5:42 pm Cat­e­go­ry: Memo Pad, Pol­i­tics
    By Hen­ry Deck­er

    Does Sen­a­tor Rand Paul (R‑KY) want to repeal the Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion? It depends on when you ask him.

    Sen­a­tor Paul raised the sub­ject dur­ing a Thurs­day night appear­ance in Man­ches­ter, New Hamp­shire. Dur­ing a ques­tion-and-answer ses­sion with Repub­li­can activists, a young man report­ed­ly asked Paul, “If you were to receive the pres­i­den­cy, would you repeal pre­vi­ous exec­u­tive orders and actu­al­ly restrain the pow­er of the pres­i­den­cy?”

    “I think the first exec­u­tive order that I would issue would be to repeal all pre­vi­ous exec­u­tive orders,” Paul replied, as quot­ed by Real Clear Pol­i­tics.

    This would be prob­lem­at­ic for a num­ber of rea­sons. Although Repub­li­cans would pre­sum­ably love to do away with Pres­i­dent Obama’s exec­u­tive order pro­tect­ing some young immi­grants from depor­ta­tion, for exam­ple, repeal­ing oth­ers would be a tougher sell. Would Paul real­ly want to reverse Pres­i­dent Lincoln’s order free­ing the slaves, Pres­i­dent Truman’s order deseg­re­gat­ing the armed forces, or Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s order bar­ring dis­crim­i­na­tion in the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment?

    Well, not when you put it that way.

    “Well, I mean, I think those are good points, and it was an off­hand com­ment, so obvi­ous­ly, I don’t want to repeal the Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion and things like that,” Paul told Real Clear Pol­i­tics when ques­tioned on the broad­er impact of his plan. “Tech­ni­cal­ly, you’d have to look and see exact­ly what that would mean, but the bot­tom line is it’s a gen­er­al­ized state­ment that I think too much is done by exec­u­tive order, par­tic­u­lar­ly under this pres­i­dent. Too much pow­er has grav­i­tat­ed to the exec­u­tive.”

    In real­i­ty, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has issued few­er exec­u­tive orders than any pres­i­dent since Franklin Roo­sevelt. But still, Paul’s point is clear: He was speak­ing extem­po­ra­ne­ous­ly, and doesn’t actu­al­ly want to repeal all exec­u­tive orders.

    That excuse would be eas­i­er to swal­low if Paul hadn’t made the same promise to the Louisville Cham­ber of Com­merce in August:

    Asked direct­ly if he would issue exec­u­tive orders as pres­i­dent, Paul said the only cir­cum­stance would be to over­turn the ones made by his pre­de­ces­sors.

    “Only to undo exec­u­tive orders. There’s thou­sands of them that can be undone,” said Paul. “And I would use exec­u­tive orders to undo exec­u­tive orders that have encroached on our jurispru­dence, our abil­i­ty to defend our­selves, the right to a tri­al, all of those I would undo through exec­u­tive order.”

    Paul lat­er backed away from that com­ment in much the same way, telling reporters that “It wasn’t sort of a response of exact­ness.”

    In fair­ness to Sen­a­tor Paul, it seems high­ly unlike­ly that he real­ly wants to reseg­re­gate the mil­i­tary in an effort to roll back exec­u­tive over­reach. But his clunky attempt to get on both sides of the issue has become a theme for him, which has repeat­ed itself on Medicare, immi­gra­tion, for­eign aid, and a mul­ti­tude of oth­er top­ics.

    His Demo­c­ra­t­ic rivals have tak­en notice.

    Rand Paul’s prob­lem isn’t that he changes posi­tions — it’s that he insists that he can simul­ta­ne­ous­ly hold mul­ti­ple, con­tra­dic­to­ry posi­tions on a litany of key issues,” Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee press sec­re­tary Michael Czin said in a state­ment. “As Paul gears up for a pres­i­den­tial run, he changes posi­tions to suit the moment or to match the views of the group in front of him. From con­fronting ISIL to end­ing aid to Israel to whether he sup­ports the Civ­il Rights Act or the Vot­ing Rights Act, Rand Paul disin­gen­u­ous­ly tries to have it every way.


    “Rand Paul’s prob­lem isn’t that he changes posi­tions — it’s that he insists that he can simul­ta­ne­ous­ly hold mul­ti­ple, con­tra­dic­to­ry posi­tions on a litany of key issues”. That’s right, Rand’s not a flip flop­per. He’s the quan­tum can­di­date, capa­ble of hold­ing mul­ti­ple, con­tra­dic­to­ry pol­i­cy posi­tions simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. The can­di­date of the future is already here.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 17, 2014, 11:17 am
  8. With Scot­land nar­row­ly reject­ing seces­sion, Reuters polled 9000 Amer­i­cans about whether or not they would like to see their state secede. The results: almost of quar­ter of Amer­i­cans sup­port the idea. And for self-iden­ti­fied Tea Par­ty mem­bers it was a major­i­ty:

    One in four Amer­i­cans want their state to secede from the U.S., but why?
    By Jim Gaines
    Sep­tem­ber 19, 2014

    For the past few weeks, as Scot­land debat­ed the wis­dom of inde­pen­dence, Reuters has been ask­ing Amer­i­cans how they would feel about declar­ing inde­pen­dence today, not from the Unit­ed King­dom, but from the moth­er coun­try they left Eng­land to cre­ate. The exact word­ing of the ques­tion was, “Do you sup­port or oppose the idea of your state peace­ful­ly with­draw­ing from the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment?”

    It was hard to imag­ine many peo­ple would sup­port seces­sion. For­get the fact that the cau­tion­ary les­son of the Civ­il War is top of mind for many peo­ple as we com­mem­o­rate its 150th anniver­sary; just in terms of dol­lars and cents, who in their right minds would give up all the mon­ey they’ve already paid into the Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare sys­tems? Besides, most states get more back from the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment than they put in.

    Then the results came in. You can see them for your­self here, and you can fil­ter them any way you want—by age, region, income, par­ty affil­i­a­tion, etc. Any way you slice it, the data are star­tling­ly clear: Almost a quar­ter (23.9 per­cent) of those sur­veyed said they were strong­ly or pro­vi­sion­al­ly inclined to leave the Unit­ed States, and take their states with them. Giv­en the polling sam­ple — about 9,000 peo­ple so far—the online survey’s cred­i­bil­i­ty inter­val (which is dig­i­tal for “mar­gin of error”) was only 1.2 per­cent­age points, so there is no ques­tion that that is what they said.

    Seces­sion got more sup­port from Repub­li­cans than Democ­rats, more from right- than left-lean­ing inde­pen­dents, more from younger than old­er peo­ple, more from low­er- than high­er-income brack­ets, more from high school than col­lege grads. But there was a sur­pris­ing amount of sup­port in every group and region, espe­cial­ly the Rocky Moun­tain states, the South­west and the old Con­fed­er­a­cy, but also in places like Illi­nois and Kansas. And of the peo­ple who said they iden­ti­fied with the Tea Par­ty, sup­port­ers of seces­sion were actu­al­ly in the major­i­ty, with 53 per­cent.


    Fol­lowup phone calls with a small, ran­dom sam­ple of pro-seces­sion respon­dents to the Reuters poll, how­ev­er, sug­gest that while their wish to leave the union may not be quite what it appears, it is not amus­ing at all.

    Those we spoke to seemed to have answered as they did as a form of protest that was nei­ther red nor blue but a poly­chro­mat­ic riot — against a recov­ery that has yet to pro­duce jobs, against jobs that don’t pay, against mis­treat­ment of vet­er­ans, against war, against deficits, against hyper-par­ti­san­ship, against polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion, against ille­gal immi­gra­tion, against the assault on mar­riage, against the assault on same-sex mar­riage, against gov­ern­ment in the bed­room, against gov­ern­ment in gen­er­al — the pres­i­dent, Con­gress, the courts and both polit­i­cal par­ties.

    By the evi­dence of the poll data as well as these anec­do­tal con­ver­sa­tions, the sense of aggriev­e­ment is com­pre­hen­sive, bipar­ti­san, some­what inco­her­ent, but deeply felt.

    This should be more than dis­con­cert­ing; it’s a sit­u­a­tion that could get dan­ger­ous. As the Prince­ton polit­i­cal sci­en­tist Mark Beissinger has shown, sep­a­ratist move­ments can take hold around con­tempt for incum­bents and the sta­tus quo even when pro­test­ers have no ide­ol­o­gy in com­mon.

    The Unit­ed States hard­ly seems to be on the verge of frac­ture, and the small seces­sion move­ments in a hand­ful of Amer­i­can states today rep­re­sent a tiny per­cent­age of those polled by Reuters. But any coun­try where 60 mil­lion peo­ple declare them­selves to be sin­cere­ly aggriev­ed — espe­cial­ly one that is frac­tious by nature — is a coun­try invit­ing either the sophistry of a dem­a­gogue or a seri­ous move­ment for reform.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 19, 2014, 10:35 am
  9. For­mer Rea­gan speech­writer Dougas MacK­in­non just can’t stop whistling Dix­ie Rea­gan:

    Raw Sto­ry
    Author says South should form new nation with­out gays and His­pan­ics called ‘Rea­gan’
    Travis Get­tys
    22 Oct 2014 at 13:51 ET

    A con­ser­v­a­tive colum­nist and for­mer aide to Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan called on south­ern states to secede and form an ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive new nation named after his old boss.

    Dou­glas MacK­in­non, a for­mer speech­writer for Pres­i­dents Rea­gan and George H.W. Bush, appeared Tues­day on The Janet Mef­ford Show to pro­mote his new book,“The Seces­sion­ist States of Amer­i­ca: The Blue­print for Cre­at­ing a Tra­di­tion­al Val­ues Coun­try … Now,” report­ed Right Wing Watch.

    He told the reli­gious con­ser­v­a­tive host that south­ern states – start­ing with Flori­da, Geor­gia, and South Car­oli­na – should leave the Unit­ed States so they can imple­ment a right-wing Chris­t­ian sys­tem of gov­ern­ment.

    MacK­in­non envi­sions oth­er states join­ing, but he hopes to leave out Texas because “there have been a num­ber of incur­sions into Texas and oth­er places from some of the folks in Mex­i­co.”

    “A grow­ing num­ber of our lead­ers seem deter­mined to erase our bor­ders,” he wrote in a recent syn­di­cat­ed col­umn pro­mot­ing his book, “do away with the rule-of-law, expand the nan­ny state into a the­ol­o­gy, bank­rupt or pun­ish Amer­i­can com­pa­nies in the name of fight­ing cli­mate change, do away with the 2nd Amend­ment, cen­sor or demo­nize the his­to­ry of west­ern civ­i­liza­tion and replace it with mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism, give every kid a tro­phy and turn them into wimps, con­tin­ue to sup­port the com­plete­ly unfund­ed pub­lic-employ­ee pen­sions which are destroy­ing the finan­cial sol­ven­cy of cities, coun­ties, and states across our nation, add bil­lions every day to our $17 tril­lion in debt, destroy our health-care sys­tem to sub­sti­tute social­ized med­i­cine, vil­i­fy fos­sil fuels, and attack all faith in God with a par­tic­u­lar and unhinged bias against the Chris­t­ian faith.”

    He argued on the radio pro­gram that the South had “seced­ed legal­ly” and “peace­ful­ly” in the months pri­or to the Civ­il War.

    “Pres­i­dent Lin­coln waged an ille­gal war that was, in fact, not declared against the South after the South basi­cal­ly did what we’re talk­ing about in this book now in terms of peace­ful­ly, legal­ly and con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly leav­ing the union,” MacK­in­non said.

    How­ev­er, MacK­in­non brushed aside Mefford’s con­cerns that seces­sion would trig­ger anoth­er Civ­il War, say­ing only that “it wouldn’t remote­ly come to that” because news cov­er­age is faster and more thor­ough in mod­ern times.

    He said the new coun­try should be called Rea­gan, at least until vot­ers there could decide on a per­ma­nent name.

    MacK­in­non did not specif­i­cal­ly address dur­ing the radio pro­gram whether slav­ery would be legal in the new seces­sion­ist gov­ern­ment, nor did he describe the sta­tus of black peo­ple liv­ing in Rea­gan.

    But he made clear that LGBT peo­ple would be sec­ond-class cit­i­zens – or worse – say­ing that advances in their rights as cit­i­zens was a major fac­tor in his call to break up the Unit­ed States.

    “If you do believe in tra­di­tion­al val­ues, if you are a Chris­t­ian, if you are evan­gel­i­cal, if you do believe in the gold­en rule, then you’re see­ing all of this unrav­el before our eyes dai­ly,” he com­plained.

    MacK­in­non said he devised his plan with the help of a mil­i­tary vet­er­an friend, along with a group that includ­ed “a con­sti­tu­tion­al law expert, two for­mer mil­i­tary offi­cers, two for­mer diplo­mats, a min­is­ter, anoth­er spe­cial oper­a­tor, and experts on bank­ing, ener­gy, farm­ing, and infra­struc­ture.”


    So MacK­in­non did­n’t address what the sta­tus of black peo­ple would be in “Rea­gan” but he did hope to keep Texas out due to “a num­ber of incur­sions into Texas and oth­er places from some of the folks in Mex­i­co.” Aha.

    It’s also worth not­ing that, should “Rea­gan” become a nation, Venezuela had bet­ter watch out. MacK­in­non is on to you Venezuela!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 22, 2014, 5:22 pm
  10. The War on Christ­mas just got real:

    Lit­tle Green Foot­balls
    White Nation­al­ist Peter Brimelow: Texas Must Secede to Pro­tect ‘White Rights’
    The founder of VDARE speaks at a con­fer­ence of racists, and sounds a lot like Chuck C. John­son

    Charles John­son
    May 21, 2015

    The lat­est buz­zphrase con­stant­ly tossed around by white suprema­cists is “cul­tur­al Marx­ism,” and racist icon Peter Brimelow was toss­ing it with aban­don at the “Amer­i­can Renais­sance” con­fer­ence in Ten­nessee last month, as he called for Texas to secede from the Unit­ed States to pro­tect “white rights.” (Via Right Wing Watch.)

    Speak­ing at the white nation­al­ist Amer­i­can Renais­sance con­fer­ence last month in Ten­nessee, con­ser­v­a­tive author and one­time CPAC speak­er Peter Brimelow argued that instead of pro­mot­ing uni­ty, Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. Day “has just turned into anti-white indoc­tri­na­tion.” Unless “cul­tur­al Marx­ists” who are behind “polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness” and “the war on Christ­mas” are resist­ed, Brimelow con­tends, the U.S. will col­lapse.

    “Whites have rights,” demand­ed Brimelow as he advo­cat­ed for the seces­sion of Texas from a fail­ing U.S.

    Brimelow also com­plained white nation­al­ists are now vic­tims of per­se­cu­tion by the cul­tur­al Marx­ist “lynch mob,” appar­ent­ly with no sense of irony what­so­ev­er. Accord­ing to him, he’s find­ing it hard­er and hard­er to get on radio shows these days (which sane non-racist peo­ple con­sid­er a good thing).

    You might think Brimelow is a fringe fig­ure, and he is in a way, but he’s also high­ly con­nect­ed to pop­u­lar con­ser­v­a­tive pun­dits like Michelle Malkin, whose columns are pub­lished at the hate site found­ed by Brimelow, VDARE. Anoth­er well-known con­ser­v­a­tive pun­dit pub­lished at VDARE: Ann Coul­ter.


    That’s right:

    Unless “cul­tur­al Marx­ists” who are behind “polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness” and “the war on Christ­mas” are resist­ed, Brimelow con­tends, the U.S. will col­lapse.

    One these years peo­ple...One of these years...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 26, 2015, 2:46 pm
  11. Back in Feb­ru­ary, 15 upstate New York towns on the bor­der with Penn­syl­va­nia appeared to have enough sup­port for a rather con­tro­ver­sial idea: why not join Penn­syl­va­nia, where the grass is green­er and the gas, while extreme­ly ungreen, is legal­ly extractable which could put a lot of “green” in local landown­ers pock­ets:

    South­ern Tier towns look­ing to cut NY ties

    By Car­o­line Gog­gin

    Feb­ru­ary 18, 2015 Updat­ed Feb 23, 2015 at 12:08 AM EDT

    Con­klin, NY (WBNG Bing­ham­ton) The local econ­o­my is push­ing one orga­ni­za­tion in Upstate New York to pose a ques­tion: Is it pos­si­ble to secede to Penn­syl­va­nia?

    The Upstate New York Towns Asso­ci­a­tion is research­ing this very top­ic. The group says a few fac­tors push­ing its research are high prop­er­ty tax­es, low sales tax rev­enue and the recent deci­sion to ban hydraulic frac­tur­ing in New York.

    “The South­ern Tier is des­o­late,” said Con­klin Town Super­vi­sor Jim Finch ®. “We have no jobs and no income. The rich­est resource we have is in the ground.”

    Finch said the ground in Con­klin is rich with nat­ur­al gas in the Mar­cel­lus Shale. How­ev­er, that shale is unable to be tapped. He described this ban as a vio­la­tion of his nat­ur­al rights as a prop­er­ty own­er.

    There are 15 towns inter­est­ed in the seces­sion, accord­ing to the Towns Asso­ci­a­tion. These towns are in Broome, Delaware, Tio­ga and Sul­li­van coun­ties. The asso­ci­a­tion declined to name the towns with­out their per­mis­sion and also declined to com­ment on specifics at this time. As of now, research is ongo­ing. The group will be updat­ing Action News with all of their find­ings in the com­ing weeks.

    The asso­ci­a­tion said it’s com­par­ing tax­es and the cost of doing busi­ness in the two states. It says the facts show there is a huge dif­fer­ence between the two.

    Also being con­sid­ered are things like work­ers comp, sur­charges, unem­ploy­ment and health insur­ance. The asso­ci­a­tion’s under­stand­ing is that the seces­sion would have to be approved by the New York State Leg­is­la­ture, the Penn­syl­va­nia State Leg­is­la­ture and the U. S. gov­ern­ment.

    “We’re com­par­ing the tax­es in Penn­syl­va­nia com­pared to those in New York,” said Finch. “There’s a great, great dif­fer­ence. Right now, we are being deprived of work, jobs and incomes.”


    Sen. Thomas Libous ® recent­ly sent out a fly­er in the mail, ask­ing his con­stituents what they think about the seces­sion. He sent Action News the fol­low­ing state­ment:

    “After the one-two punch to our com­mu­ni­ty from the recent casi­no and gas drilling deci­sions, my office received many emails, phone calls and mes­sages from con­stituents call­ing for a South­ern Tier seces­sion from New York State. While get­ting my con­stituents’ opin­ion on spend­ing the $5 bil­lion sur­plus was our top pri­or­i­ty, I thought a ques­tion on seces­sion should also be includ­ed in the sur­vey.”

    Here is a state­ment from the Upstate NY Towns Asso­ci­a­tion on this sto­ry:

    “On Decem­ber 17, 2014, when it was announced that high vol­ume hydraulic frac­tur­ing would be ban in New York State and there would be no casi­no license in the “true” South­ern Tier, a super­vi­sor, whose town is a mem­ber of the Asso­ci­a­tion, told a reporter from the Wall Street Jour­nal that we should all secede.

    That super­vi­sor dis­cussed the idea of seced­ing to Penn­syl­va­nia with the Asso­ci­a­tion. The Asso­ci­a­tion began com­par­ing tax­es in New York with tax­es in Penn­syl­va­nia and com­par­ing the cost of doing busi­ness in New York with the cost of doing busi­ness in Penn­syl­va­nia. The Asso­ci­a­tion also is study­ing whether or not deci­sions made in Albany are dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly ben­e­fit­ting Down­state.

    The recent media atten­tion to seces­sion appears to have start­ed with the Pock­et­book Sur­vey put out by Sen­ate Deputy Major­i­ty Coali­tion Leader Tom Libous. Ques­tion 4. In the sur­vey states: “Some Kirk­wood & Con­klin res­i­dents want those towns to secede to Penn­syl­va­nia. Would you sup­port that?” Sen­a­tor Libous told the Huff­in­g­ton Post, “After the recent Casi­no and Gas Drilling deci­sions, my office received many emails, phone calls and mes­sages from con­stituents call­ing for a South­ern Tier seces­sion from New York State.”

    The Asso­ci­a­tion will review the results from Sen­a­tor Libous’ sur­vey and review the Association’s study com­par­ing tax­es and the cost of doing busi­ness in New York and Penn­syl­va­nia as well as look at what was found regard­ing deci­sions made in Albany dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly ben­e­fit­ting Down­state. With all this infor­ma­tion, the Asso­ci­a­tion will decide what action should be tak­en. Options such as seced­ing to Penn­syl­va­nia, par­ti­tion­ing the state, as well as oth­er options that may come up will be looked at.”

    So is Penn­syl­va­nia about to get 15 new frack-hap­py towns? It’s too ear­ly to say, but keep in mind that it’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly just New Yorks wannabe frack­ers that might be inter­est­ed in mov­ing the state lines.
    For instance, how about the Oath Keep­ers? Might they be inter­est­ed in such a move? Why yes, yes they are. And they’re far from the only ones. But seces­sion isn’t the only option they’re con­sid­er­ing. Turn­ing the state into two almost-inde­pen­dent autonomous regions with a large­ly pow­er­less state gov­ern­ment is also under con­sid­er­a­tion:

    USA Today
    Upstate groups want to secede from New York

    Joseph Spec­tor, Gan­nett Albany Bureau 8:21 p.m. EDT August 25, 2015

    ALBANY, N.Y. — More than a dozen groups in sup­port of gun rights and hydraulic frac­tur­ing are orga­niz­ing a ral­ly Sun­day to build sup­port for turn­ing upstate New York into a sep­a­rate state.

    At the crux of their cur­rent frus­tra­tions is Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov. Andrew Cuo­mo, his sup­port of the New York Secure Ammu­ni­tion and Firearms Enforce­ment Act of 2013, and his deci­sion last year to direct state reg­u­la­tors to ban frack­ing for nat­ur­al gas.

    “Why seces­sion? Seces­sion is about reclaim­ing the eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ties upstate has lost and restor­ing the lib­er­ties Upstate res­i­dents once enjoyed,” the gun group, Shoot­ers Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Edu­ca­tion, said in a state­ment. “Down­state has dom­i­nat­ed upstate for decades, and upstate has no future in a state con­trolled by New York City’s needs and desires.”

    The groups chose Bain­bridge, N.Y., a vil­lage of few­er than 1,500 res­i­dents about 25 miles north of the Penn­syl­va­nia bor­der, for their two-hour ral­ly 1 to 3 p.m. ET Sun­day. It is locat­ed in part of the Mar­cel­lus shale for­ma­tion that extends into New York and con­tains vast nat­ur­al gas reserves.

    The seces­sion effort is not the first time activists have asked to split the state in two. GOP state Sen. Joseph Robach of Greece, N.Y., intro­duced bills in 2009 and 2011 to allow coun­ties to have a ref­er­en­dum on the idea of seced­ing.

    The bills nev­er have made it out of com­mit­tee. Long Island law­mak­ers also pitched the idea of a sep­a­rate state for their coun­ties ear­li­er this year.

    This time around the pro-seces­sion groups are study­ing two options:

    • Requir­ing the leg­is­la­tures of New York and Penn­syl­va­nia to approve the split as well as Con­gress.

    • Cre­at­ing a small­er New York state gov­ern­ment with two autonomous regions, upstate to be called New Ams­ter­dam and down­state to retain the name New York. That would require either leg­isla­tive approval or a con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion.

    What the groups may not have inves­ti­gat­ed is rev­enue.

    The Cen­ter for Gov­ern­men­tal Research in Rochester, N.Y., found that upstate New York ben­e­fits from the tax rev­enue sent to Albany from New York City and its wealthy sub­urbs. Wall Street alone rep­re­sents about 19% of all state rev­enue.


    Seces­sion has worked before, but it’s been a long time: Ver­mont split from New York in 1777, even­tu­al­ly becom­ing a U.S. state in 1791; Maine split from Mass­a­chu­setts in 1820 after res­i­dents launched a 35-year cam­paign for state­hood; and West Vir­ginia became a sep­a­rate state in 1863 after the rest of Vir­ginia joined the Con­fed­er­a­cy dur­ing the Civ­il War.

    The groups orga­niz­ing Sun­day’s event include Amer­i­cans for Restor­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion, Deposit Gas Group, Divide New York State Cau­cus, FundamentalHumanRights.org, Landown­er Advo­cates of New York, New York­ers Unit­ed for Kids, NY2A, Oath Keep­ers, Red Drag­on, Sap­bush Road Group, Shoot­ers Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Edu­ca­tion, Tri-Coun­ty Tea Par­ty, Upstate New York Towns Asso­ci­a­tion and We the Peo­ple of New York.

    Frack­ing and guns for every­one! And Oath Keep­ers! Sounds like a blast!

    Of course, if New York breaks itself in two and Upstate New York becomes “New Ams­ter­dam”, the ques­tion of rev­enue shar­ing is going to be a rather sig­nif­i­cant issue since Upstate New York is a sig­nif­i­cant net-ben­e­fi­cia­ry of Down­state New York’s tax­es. So those regions that are plan­ning on replac­ing all that Wall Street tax mon­ey with their new frack­ing econ­o­my had bet­ter hope their pro­jec­tions for the amount of frack­able gas aren’t wild­ly overop­ti­mistic. Because oth­er­wise...:

    The Upstate/Downstate Divide

    Daniel Spe­wak
    11:25 a.m. EDT August 28, 2015

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — In 1777, the state of New York lost Ver­mont to seces­sion.

    Dur­ing the past 238 years, though, New York has held itself intact. Here and there, a hand­ful of seces­sion­ists have tried to split the state into two, includ­ing some state law­mak­ers, a failed 1969 may­oral can­di­date in New York City and, more recent­ly this win­ter, a few South­ern Tier towns.

    And now, there’s “New Ams­ter­dam.”

    A col­lec­tion of gun rights groups, pro-frack­ing advo­cates and oth­er activists will ral­ly Sun­day in a small town near Bing­ham­ton to unveil two pro­pos­als:

    1) Take upstate New York coun­ties — essen­tial­ly all coun­ties north of Pough­keep­sie — and merge some or all of them with Pennsy­va­nia

    2) Cre­ate a sep­a­rate region for upstate, offi­cial­ly named “New Ams­ter­dam.”

    Stephen Ald­stadt, a Cold­en native and the Pres­i­dent of the Shoot­ers Com­mit­tee on Polit­i­cal Edu­ca­tion, will attend the ral­ly this week­end.

    “It all comes down to the upstate and down­state divide,” Ald­stadt said, “that the major­i­ty of peo­ple upstate feel very much... that they have very lit­tle voice in what goes on.”

    Prob­lem is, an autonomous upstate New York could yield dis­as­trous eco­nom­ic results, accord­ing to data from mul­ti­ple sources.

    Bruce Fish­er, the direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Eco­nom­ic and Pol­i­cy Stud­ies at Buf­fa­lo State Col­lege, stud­ied the downstate/upstate eco­nom­ic divide in 2009. His research con­clud­ed that Erie Coun­ty alone receives $1 bil­lion more than it pays in tax­es to the state gov­ern­ment on a year­ly basis, essen­tial­ly mean­ing that upstate New York pays less but gets more from New York, all thanks to down­state rev­enue. In 2011, the Rock­e­feller Insti­tute echoed these results, con­clud­ing that upstate coun­ties “get sig­nif­i­cant­ly more than they give.”

    “Let’s be clear,” Fish­er said. “With­out New York City, West­ern New York would be West Vir­ginia. It’d be pret­ty poor. We would­n’t like it. Let’s not do that.”

    Fish­er not­ed the fol­low­ing: upstate New York would lose its affil­i­a­tion with the State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York sys­tem, it would lose the Buf­fa­lo Bil­lion, it would lose tax rev­enue, it would lose pub­lic works fund­ing and it would lose Med­ic­aid rev­enue.

    “I don’t think the advo­cates real­ly expect that they will suc­ceed. But what they’re doing, is get­ting the sto­ry out there,” Fish­er said, “in a way that helps them polit­i­cal­ly.”


    State leg­is­la­tors — includ­ing some from West­ern New York — have intro­duced bills peri­od­i­cal­ly to explore seced­ing from the down­state area, but they’ve nev­er gained much sup­port.

    “It seems to be very unlike­ly,” con­sti­tu­tion­al law expert Bar­ry Covert said. “It seems to need a whole lot more momen­tum than a cou­ple of angry peo­ple.”

    Con­sid­er the first pro­pos­al: to merge upstate coun­ties with Penn­syl­va­nia. Covert explained that the New York leg­is­la­ture, the Penn­syl­va­nia leg­is­la­ture and the Unit­ed States Con­gress would all need to approve this pro­pos­al before seces­sion could occur.

    The sec­ond pro­pos­al, to cre­ate “New Ams­ter­dam” under the umbrel­la of a uni­fied New York state, would also require state and fed­er­al approval. How­ev­er, that pro­pos­al could avoid the New York leg­is­la­ture in the event of a “Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion,” which has­n’t hap­pened in this state since 1967. Every 20 years, vot­ers may decide to hold a con­ven­tion– and the next vote comes up in 2017.

    “But it real­ly does­n’t seem like it’s pos­si­ble,” Covert said.


    “Let’s be clear...Without New York City, West­ern New York would be West Vir­ginia. It’d be pret­ty poor. We would­n’t like it. Let’s not do that.”
    Sounds awe­some.

    And note the fun loop­hole avail­able in cre­at­ing “New Ams­ter­dam”: in 2017, New York gets to vote on whether or not to have a state con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion. And if decides to go ahead with that, the state and fed­er­al gov­ern­ment would­n’t even need to approve the plan:

    “It seems to be very unlike­ly,” con­sti­tu­tion­al law expert Bar­ry Covert said. “It seems to need a whole lot more momen­tum than a cou­ple of angry peo­ple.”

    Con­sid­er the first pro­pos­al: to merge upstate coun­ties with Penn­syl­va­nia. Covert explained that the New York leg­is­la­ture, the Penn­syl­va­nia leg­is­la­ture and the Unit­ed States Con­gress would all need to approve this pro­pos­al before seces­sion could occur.

    The sec­ond pro­pos­al, to cre­ate “New Ams­ter­dam” under the umbrel­la of a uni­fied New York state, would also require state and fed­er­al approval. How­ev­er, that pro­pos­al could avoid the New York leg­is­la­ture in the event of a “Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion,” which has­n’t hap­pened in this state since 1967. Every 20 years, vot­ers may decide to hold a con­ven­tion– and the next vote comes up in 2017.

    “But it real­ly does­n’t seem like it’s pos­si­ble,” Covert said.

    So if you’re liv­ing in New York, don’t be too sur­prised if the “con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion will solve all of our problems!”-meme sud­den­ly becomes trendy over the next two years. While such a plan may not “seem like it’s pos­si­ble” at this point, keep in mind that push­ing a con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion at the fed­er­al lev­el is a grow­ing GOP pri­or­i­ty across the nation. Also keep in mind that we’re liv­ing in the era of Cit­i­zen’s Unit­ed and longer you live under a Cit­i­zen’s Unit­ed-type sys­tem, the more pos­si­ble the seem­ing­ly impos­si­ble becomes...assuming the seem­ing­ly impos­si­ble makes Big Mon­ey into Big­ger Mon­ey.

    So we’ll see what hap­pens, but what­ev­er comes of this, it’s pret­ty clear the dream of a Tea Par­ty-ruledNew Ams­ter­dam” prob­a­bly isn’t going away any time soon.
    Some dreams nev­er die. Even when they might kill you.

    In the mean time, if you’ve ever want­ed to enjoy the water­ways and wildlife of Upstate New York, espe­cial­ly along the South­ern Tier, now might be a good time to sched­ule that vaca­tion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 29, 2015, 3:04 pm
  12. With Alaba­ma leg­is­la­ture already fac­ing the accu­sa­tion that its deci­sion to close a bud­get deficit by mak­ing it hard­er to get reg­is­tered to vote in every pre­dom­i­nant­ly black coun­ties across the state’s “Black Belt” was part of a GOP attempt to sup­press the the black vote, sto­ries like this prob­a­bly aren’t going to help with the vot­er-sup­pres­sion sus­pi­cions:

    TPM Muck­rak­er
    Alaba­ma GOP­er Who Spoke At Neo-Con­fed­er­ate Event: It’s No Hate Group!

    By Cather­ine Thomp­son
    Pub­lished Octo­ber 7, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

    A Repub­li­can state offi­cial in Alaba­ma has come under fire in recent weeks for speak­ing to a neo-Con­fed­er­ate group about his efforts to return por­traits of seg­re­ga­tion­ist for­mer Govs. George and Lurleen Wal­lace to the state Capi­tol rotun­da.

    But in a Tues­day phone inter­view with TPM, state Audi­tor Jim Zei­gler ® flat­ly dis­missed crit­i­cism of the neo-Con­fed­er­ate League of the South as a hate group—and said he’d be hap­py to speak before the group again.

    “There was no hate in that meet­ing except for one thing,” Zei­gler told TPM. “They hat­ed it when the fried chick­en ran out.”

    Zei­gler, 66, was elect­ed to pub­lic office last Novem­ber for the first time since he served on the state’s Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion in the 1970s. He was active in the Con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians of Alaba­ma and oth­er reli­gious polit­i­cal groups, accord­ing to The Asso­ci­at­ed Press, and as audi­tor has dubbed him­self “Waste Cut­ter.” Ear­li­er this year, Zei­gler crit­i­cized the removal of Con­fed­er­ate flags from state Capi­tol grounds and accused Gov. Robert Bent­ley ® of order­ing the removal of Con­fed­er­ate flag mer­chan­dise from the Capi­tol gift shop in what he called a “purge of Con­fed­er­ate his­to­ry.”

    But Zei­gler’s been most per­sis­tent in call­ing for the return of the Wal­laces’ por­traits to the Capi­tol rotun­da. The Alaba­ma His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion decid­ed late last year to move the por­traits to the build­ing’s first floor in order to make way for Bent­ley’s por­trait and to allow for a more “ ‘sequen­tial’ pre­sen­ta­tion of the state’s his­to­ry,” accord­ing to AL.com. The por­traits’ relo­ca­tion prompt­ed some to spec­u­late that the com­mis­sion had bowed to polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, giv­en George Wal­lace’s noto­ri­ety as a seg­re­ga­tion­ist. Wal­lace is infa­mous for his inau­gur­al promise of “seg­re­ga­tion now, seg­re­ga­tion tomor­row, seg­re­ga­tion for­ev­er” and for phys­i­cal­ly block­ing a door on the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alaba­ma cam­pus to pre­vent two black stu­dents from enter­ing and inte­grat­ing the school. His wife, Lurleen, suc­ceed­ed him as gov­er­nor and car­ried on his seg­re­ga­tion­ist poli­cies for more than a year until she died from can­cer in 1968.

    The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter’s Hate­watch blog first report­ed last month that Zei­gler addressed the Sep­tem­ber meet­ing of the League of the South’s Alaba­ma chap­ter in Wetump­ka. Hate­watch report­ed that Zei­gler dis­cussed his efforts to return the por­traits to the Capi­tol rotun­da at the meet­ing, but fur­ther details were unclear.

    So TPM spoke with Zei­gler about the event, which he likened to a “Sun­day school pic­nic.” He explained that the head of the group’s Alaba­ma chap­ter, real­tor Mike Whor­ton, is a friend of his who took an inter­est in the efforts to return the por­traits of the Gov­er­nors Wal­lace to their “right­ful and his­tor­i­cal place” in the Capi­tol rotun­da. Whor­ton then invit­ed him to speak on that top­ic at the Sep­tem­ber meet­ing, he said.

    “It was like a Sun­day school pic­nic. Nicest peo­ple I’ve ever met, 70 or 80 peo­ple there,” Zei­gler recalled. “They’re fam­i­ly-ori­ent­ed. It start­ed with a prayer, Bible read­ing, then my speech and a lot of ques­tions.”

    The League of the South’s nation­al pres­i­dent, Michael Hill, told TPM on Tues­day that he attend­ed the meet­ing. He recalled that Zei­gler spoke for 35–45 min­utes, large­ly on the sub­ject of the Wal­laces’ por­traits, and received sev­er­al ova­tions.

    The group’s for­mer web­site states that one of its core beliefs is advo­cat­ing for “the seces­sion and sub­se­quent inde­pen­dence of the South­ern States from this forced union and the for­ma­tion of a South­ern repub­lic.” For his part, Hill described the group as “tra­di­tion­al­ist” and more con­ser­v­a­tive than express­ly Repub­li­can.

    But the group has long held down a spot on the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter’s list of hate groups.

    “This is a group that as a mat­ter of faith is opposed to inter­ra­cial mar­riages. They’ve defend­ed seg­re­ga­tion,” SPLC spokesman Mark Potok told TPM. “They’ve defend­ed slav­ery as being ordained by God. The list goes on and on and on.”

    Potok point­ed to some recent writ­ing of Hill’s in which he argued blacks, whom he referred to as “negroes,” were “more impul­sive than whites” and would lose a “race war” for that rea­son. He chid­ed Zei­gler for claim­ing that the League of the South is no hate group.

    “The idea that a statewide, con­sti­tu­tion­al offi­cer would address a group that sees the south as belong­ing to white peo­ple and white peo­ple alone is incred­i­ble,” Potok told TPM. “Zei­gler is sup­posed to be tak­ing care of our state’s financ­ing and serv­ing all Alabami­ans, black and white alike. He appears to be too thick to fig­ure out what this group real­ly is or per­haps the bot­tom line is that he’s sim­ply sym­pa­thet­ic.”

    Asked if he agreed with the League of the South’s seces­sion­ist views, Zei­gler respond­ed: “I don’t know any­thing about that.”

    “They did­n’t give a speech to me,” he told TPM. “It was the oth­er way around. I gave a speech to them. I think they agreed that the por­traits of the two Gov. Wal­laces, the only female gov­er­nor we’ve ever had and the only four-term gov­er­nor that we ever had, should be put back up where legal­ly they’re required to be.”

    The audi­tor even said he embraced the SPLC’s crit­i­cism of his address to the League of the South.

    “I thank the South­ern Polit­i­cal­ly Cor­rect Law Cen­ter for crit­i­ciz­ing me. I hope they crit­i­cize me some more,” he told TPM. “I’m a Repub­li­can offi­cial in Alaba­ma and it has helped me that they have harassed me about exer­cis­ing my First Amend­ment right to go speak to what­ev­er group I choose.”

    The League of the South issued a state­ment to Huntsville, Alaba­ma TV sta­tion WAFF last week that praised Zei­gler for sup­port­ing the state’s “tra­di­tion­al, South­ern Chris­t­ian her­itage.”

    “The League of the South is proud to have had State Audi­tor Jim Zei­gler speak to us recent­ly on the mat­ter of the removal of the George C. and Lurleen Wal­lace por­traits from the rotun­da of the Alaba­ma State Capi­tol,” the state­ment read. “When attacked by the very lib­er­al South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter for hav­ing met with us, Mr. Zei­gler, unlike most elect­ed offi­cials, stood his ground and sided with those who built Alaba­ma’s tra­di­tion­al cul­ture rather than those who are busy try­ing to tear it down. The League encour­ages oth­er Alaba­ma elect­ed offi­cials to stand with Mr. Zei­gler — and against the SPLC and their lib­er­al, anti-Chris­t­ian allies — in sup­port of our State’s tra­di­tion­al, South­ern Chris­t­ian her­itage.”

    Zei­gler told TPM he was not a mem­ber of the League of the South and that the speech was his first inter­ac­tion with the group. Hill con­firmed Zei­gler was­n’t a mem­ber of the group.


    It’s also worth not­ing that Wal­lace’s por­tait was­n’t sim­ply moved out of the capi­tol rotun­da ear­li­er this year. It was remove from its place of hon­or in the capi­tol rotun­da:

    Time march­es on: Por­traits of George and Lurleen Wal­lace removed from Capi­tol rotun­da

    By Charles J. Dean
    on Feb­ru­ary 01, 2015 at 6:02 AM, updat­ed Feb­ru­ary 02, 2015 at 6:55 AM

    MONTGOMERY, Alaba­ma — The fourth-graders from Bre­itling Ele­men­tary School in Grand Bay stood in the sec­ond floor rotun­da of the Capi­tol sur­round­ed by four Alaba­ma gov­er­nors, all look­ing out on them from their offi­cial por­traits.

    Fourth grade is where stu­dents are taught Alaba­ma his­to­ry. Who knows how many hun­dreds of thou­sands of them have made this same field trip over the years to vis­it the Capi­tol and walk with his­to­ry.

    But the kids from Bre­itling on this par­tic­u­lar day were among the first to see a sub­tle but I think impor­tant reorder­ing of the state’s painful racial his­to­ry, par­tic­u­lar­ly that his­to­ry dur­ing the Civ­il Rights era.

    You see, the stu­dents were among the first in about a half cen­tu­ry to vis­it the rotun­da and not see the offi­cial por­traits of Gov. George C. Wal­lace and Gov. Lurleen Wal­lace, Alaba­ma’s first and so far only female gov­er­nor and the wife of George Wal­lace.

    The Wal­laces are still in the Capi­tol but they have been moved down to the first floor, to the south wing of the old build­ing where they now adorn the walls lead­ing to and from the Alaba­ma Sec­re­tary of State offices.

    It is still a promi­nent place to show the two por­traits but in terms of what is con­sid­ered the most promi­nent place of hon­or in the Capi­tol, the south wing is not close to the spe­cial place the rotun­da is.

    I know that because in the ear­ly 1980’s the Alaba­ma Leg­is­la­ture passed a joint res­o­lu­tion say­ing it was the wish of the House and Sen­ate that the Wal­lace por­traits hang in the first floor of the rotun­da to hon­or the mem­o­ry of the two gov­er­nors.

    Some­time in the 1990’s the two por­traits were moved to the sec­ond floor but still remained in the rotun­da

    Leg­isla­tive res­o­lu­tions are not bind­ing. They don’t have the force of law. But they do serve to express the will of law­mak­ers, at least those who vot­ed for the res­o­lu­tion 32 years ago.

    And there the two por­traits hung until late last year when the Alaba­ma His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion decid­ed the time had come to take the them down.

    Stephen McNair, direc­tor of his­toric sites for the His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion, said the deci­sion to move the por­traits should not be viewed as a dimin­ish­ing of the lega­cy of the Wal­laces or as a bend­ing to polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness in an effort to appease crit­ics of par­tic­u­lar­ly George Wal­lace, who in the 1960’s epit­o­mized the often times hate­ful and vio­lent resis­tance by the South to inte­gra­tion.

    Instead, McNair said the com­mis­sion’s deci­sion cen­ters on its view that a more “sequen­tial” pre­sen­ta­tion of the state’s his­to­ry would help vis­i­tors to the Capi­tol bet­ter under­stand that his­to­ry.


    Inter­est­ing­ly, Stephen McNair, Alaba­ma’s Direc­tor of His­toric Sites, was dis­missed from his posi­tion short­ly after the removal of Wal­lace’s por­trait, although it appar­ent­ly was­n’t in response to the removals. Instead, as the arti­cle below sug­gests, McNair was actu­al­ly dis­missed for a very dif­fer­ent rea­son: In an attempt to save mon­ey in the face of a mas­sive bud­get deficit, McNair was was try­ing to con­sol­i­date the com­mis­sion with oth­er state agen­cies to save mon­ey (some­thing rather relevent giv­en the clos­ing of offices that make vot­ing eas­i­er in pre­dom­i­nant­ly black coun­ties), which appar­ent­ly did­n’t go over well with some of his super­vis­ers. So McNair may not have been fired for remov­ing those por­traits, but that did­n’t stop Jim Zei­gler from tak­ing cred­it:

    Don’t count on Audi­tor Jim Zei­gler for your news (Opin­ion)

    By Charles J. Dean | cdean@al.com

    on March 23, 2015 at 6:47 AM

    Jim Zei­gler is one of those guys who knows just enough to be dan­ger­ous.

    The lat­est evi­dence of that charge is a week­end post on his Face­book page. The post was tak­en from a Zei­gler press release.

    “Alaba­ma’s Direc­tor of His­toric Sites has been dis­missed, accord­ing to state audi­tor Jim Zei­gler,” the post begins.
    “Dr. Stephen McNair had removed the por­traits of gov­er­nors George and Lurleen Wal­lace from the Capi­tol rotun­da in Jan­u­ary. Now, McNair has been removed.

    Zei­gler says he will renew his Feb­ru­ary request to return the por­traits to their tra­di­tion­al places.

    Zei­gler had request­ed McNair return the por­traits, say­ing the move was unau­tho­rized, vio­lat­ed a joint res­o­lu­tion of the Leg­is­la­ture, and was an attempt to revise Alaba­ma his­to­ry.

    McNair qui­et­ly took the two por­traits from the sec­ond floor rotun­da of the Capi­tol. This is a wrong that needs to be right­ed. I will request a vote of the His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion to return the por­traits and that a pub­lic hear­ing be held.”

    McNair was indeed fired Fri­day from his job. From Zei­gler’s Face­book post you might believe (because Zei­gler wants you to) that McNair’s fir­ing is relat­ed to the mov­ing of the two por­traits.

    And that’s not true.

    Based on inter­views with sev­er­al sources with knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion, McNair’s fir­ing has no con­nec­tion to the removal of the por­traits. Instead McNair appears to have been let go as a result of an old Mont­gomery tra­di­tion: Pro­tect­ing your turf.

    McNair, who has been praised for the work he has done with the com­mis­sion, had sup­port­ed and pushed to con­sol­i­date the com­mis­sion with sev­er­al oth­er state enti­ties as a way to end dupli­ca­tion of some ser­vices and to improve over­all fund­ing. Some on the com­mis­sion opposed McNair’s push but he con­tin­ued to work the issue.

    On Fri­day, com­mis­sion Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Frank R. White fired McNair for insub­or­di­na­tion. Nei­ther McNair nor Wood returned emails seek­ing com­ment.

    I’m struck that Zei­gler likes to pro­mote him­self as a cham­pi­on of cut­ting waste in gov­ern­ment. He has even adopt­ed the phase “Waste Cut­ter” to describe him­self. But it appears to be McNair who might have actu­al­ly been try­ing to cut waste, or at least try­ing to cre­ate more effi­cien­cy in the spend­ing of state tax dol­lars.

    One oth­er mis­lead­ing thing about Zei­gler’s post. He wants you to believe that McNair just woke up one morn­ing and decid­ed to remove the por­traits. That’s not true. The deci­sion to move the por­traits was reached after months of con­sid­er­a­tion involv­ing a num­ber of key state offi­cials.

    I have no idea whether McNair’s push for con­sol­i­da­tion was or is the right thing to do. The state bud­get that funds enti­ties like the com­mis­sion is fac­ing a mas­sive bud­get deficit and leg­is­la­tors and Gov. Robert Bent­ley are at odds over how to fix the prob­lem. One might think that any efforts to more effi­cient­ly use state dol­lars would be appre­ci­at­ed, but con­sid­er­a­tions like that take a back seat when a gov­ern­men­tal enti­ty is pro­tect­ing its turf.


    Now, in fair­ness to crit­ics of McNair’s pro­pos­al to con­sol­i­date the His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion with the Alaba­ma Depart­ment of Archives and His­to­ry, the plan does­n’t appear to actu­al­ly gen­er­ate sav­ings. But in fair­ness to McNair,
    the rumor is that he was tasked to devel­op the plan by the GOP lead­er­ship in secret and was only fired after it was dis­cov­ered:

    Alaba­ma Polit­i­cal Reporter

    Strat­e­gy to Com­bine Archives, His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion Sub­ject of Con­tro­ver­sy

    Cre­at­ed on 23 Mar 2015

    By Bill Britt

    MONTGOMERY—A clan­des­tine strat­e­gy to com­bine the Alaba­ma His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion and the Alaba­ma Depart­ment of Archives and His­to­ry has devel­oped over the last sev­er­al months, accord­ing to two Goat Hill insid­ers.

    This is said to be anoth­er “over­reach” in the Repub­li­can Super­ma­jor­i­ty’s quest to con­sol­i­date and gov­ern under the ban­ner of “right-siz­ing gov­ern­ment.”

    Accord­ing to those close to the project, the His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion would be dis­solved and its duties rolled into the Archives. Respon­si­bil­i­ty for the commission’s his­tor­i­cal sites, archae­ol­o­gy, edu­ca­tion­al and his­tor­i­cal learn­ing pro­grams would shift to the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and Lands.

    How­ev­er, the secret plan has report­ed­ly not shown a sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings, in dol­lars or man­pow­er and may be aban­doned for the moment.

    “For instance, the Archives does not have a full-time per­son­nel offi­cer. There is a gen­er­al admin­is­tra­tive ser­vices per­son that does pur­chas­ing, per­son­nel, bud­get and about four or five dif­fer­ent things. If you com­bine the two agen­cies you wouldn’t elim­i­nate a per­son­nel offi­cer because they do not have a full-time ded­i­cat­ed per­son­nel offi­cer. Every­body would be doing the same work, it would just switch around,” said our insid­er.

    In fact, it is believed the con­sol­i­da­tion would cre­ate a deep­er bureau­cra­cy, overex­tend­ing the direc­tor to the point of need­ing a deputy direc­tor or oth­ers to man­age the com­bined enti­ties.

    It is rumored that Dr. Stephen McNair was tasked by Repub­li­can lead­er­ship to design the con­sol­i­da­tion plan. McNair, until recent­ly, was the Direc­tor of His­tor­i­cal Sites at the com­mis­sion. It is unclear at this time why McNair was ter­mi­nat­ed from the posi­tion he has held for the last two years. Rumors sug­gest that McNair was relieved of his duties after it was dis­cov­ered he was secret­ly devel­op­ing the con­sol­i­da­tion plan.

    Recent­ly, McNair had become the focal point of the con­tro­ver­sial removal of the por­traits of gov­er­nors George and Lurleen Wal­lace from the Capi­tol Rotun­da.

    In a press release, State Audi­tor Jim Zei­gler said, “ Dr. Stephen McNair had removed the por­traits of Gov­er­nors George and Lurleen Wal­lace from the Capi­tol rotun­da in Jan­u­ary. Now, McNair has been removed.”

    Zei­gler says he will renew his Feb­ru­ary request to return the por­traits to their tra­di­tion­al place and also call for a pub­lic hear­ing on the mat­ter.

    McNair is also the son-in-law of for­mer Demo­c­rat State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Charles Oliv­er New­ton, who lost an elec­tion after switch­ing par­ties in 2014. Newton’s broth­er is act­ing Finance Direc­tor for the Gov. Robert Bent­ley admin­is­tra­tion.

    The His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion focus­es on his­tor­i­cal sites and struc­tures, while Archives works pri­mar­i­ly with records and muse­um arti­facts owned by the State.


    So who knows what to make of all this, but it looks like Stephen McNair removed George and Lurleen Wal­lace’s por­trait from their hon­ored posi­tions in the capi­tol rotun­da and got fired short­ly after their removal, but not for remov­ing the paint­ings but instead for try­ing to push an agency con­sol­i­da­tion plan that he was secret­ly tasked to cre­ate by the GOP lead­er­ship, although the plan appar­ent­ly would­n’t actu­al­ly save mon­ey. And fol­low­ing his fir­ing, Jim Zei­gler, the state’s audi­tor and an appar­ent friend of the pro-seg­re­ga­tion/pro-seces­sion League of the South, hap­pi­ly pro­claimed that McNair’s fir­ings were a result of the paint­ing removal. And this all hap­pened short­ly before Alaba­ma decid­ed to shut down DMV offices in all of the pre­dom­i­nant­ly black coun­ties in the state due to a bud­get crunch. It’s all a some­what con­fus­ing mess, although most­ly just revolt­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 7, 2015, 12:17 pm

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