I had a good laugh last night when I spotted this piece on Rutland that is your classic Leftwing tactic to smear the critics (with the racist, Islamophobic label) and divide the local critics of the UN/US State Department Refugee Admissions Program from the national movement (pockets of resistance***) by smearing yours truly and Jim Simpson at the Center for Security Policy.
First here (at the Times Argus) is what the poor baby who felt he had to take a shower (after reading their facebook pages) says of the local groups in opposition to Syrian resettlement for Rutland:
This week, against my better judgment, I decided to wade into the muck to explore what those opposed to Syrian refugee resettlement in Rutland are saying on social media. I say muck, because, holy hell, my curious clicking took me to a dark, dark corner of the local Facebook community.
Opponents to resettlement have expressed consternation about being painted as uneducated bigots. While I understand the frustration of those who feel that they are being unfairly characterized as intolerant for their dissent — indeed, some folks have managed to express their opposition intelligently and eloquently — it’s hard not to draw that conclusion based on the rhetoric coming out of that camp.
Hosting extremist speakers such as James Simpson to discuss, as the Rutland Herald put it, “the coming plague of sex crimes, diseases such as latent tuberculosis and mosques led by radical imams preaching jihad,” makes it difficult not to paint the opposition as paranoid and dangerously misinformed. When the individual spearheading the effort to put the refugee issue to a city-wide vote suggests that Muslim lives are not as valuable as those of Christians, it’s hard not to dismiss the whole group as narrow-minded, Islamophobic bigots.
Besides Simpson, who the mayor calls the leader of a hate group and champion of “pockets of resistance” here, local musician, writer and self-proclaimed mixed drink (alcoholic beverage) expert Jim Sabataso weighs in on Refugee Resettlement Watch as a hate group leader having an unduly large influence on the local people suggesting that they don’t have intelligence of their own to sort through the facts and make judgments about what is good for their own community.
Refugee Resettlement Watch: Founded by Ann Corcoran, a major voice in the anti-refugee, anti-Muslim community. The blog is also monitored by the SPLC for its extremist content.
I love it actually! For eight or so, of the nearly 9 years, I’ve been writing about this issue, I was looking forward to the day I would be “monitored” by the SPLC because if they were truly monitoring my work they might learn something. They might learn that refugees are exploited for cheap labor and that Chambers of Commerce want refugees to buy used cars and rent Section 8 housing.
Clearly young Jim Sabataso hasn’t read many of the 7,623 posts we have written or he wouldn’t be telling local concerned citizens to stay away from RRW.
All of the issues he mentions below have been reported at RRW for nearly 9 years. These are the primary issues we report here every day!
So there you have it. Absent from these two groups is any substantial or grounded discussion of issues of government transparency, employment, housing, education, economic impacts or support for veterans and homeless Vermonters — issues, which those in opposition have said are at the root of their dissent. “We need to look out for our own first” has been a common rallying cry, but that talking point was nowhere to be found in my search. If those opposed to refugee resettlement in Rutland want to be taken seriously and not dismissed as ignorant bigots, they best reconsider the company they keep.
Here is what young Jim, writer/bartender/cocktail explorer (he plays guitar for money!), newly-minted expert on refugee resettlement, said on twitter a few days ago:
I just spent the last three hours reading through Rutland’s anti-refugee Facebook groups. I need a shower. Also, my soul hurts.
Continue reading here about what the sensitive soul, Jim, has to say about us. Having read some of his other work, he does have a fear of “dark” places. And, by the way, I probably have now read more of Jim’s work than he has of mine (yet he describes RRW as a hate group).
A couple of related nuggets:
Be sure to read the supposed news article from the Rutland Herald last week that reads like an op-ed and also mentions the haters and extremists at RRW and the Center for Security Policy.
The article scoffs at the notion that tuberculosis could come in with the refugees, but guess what? It is already in Vermont as we learned here this morning from the media expert (Michael Patrick Leahy) on TB in refugee populations in the US.
Go here for our ‘Health issues’ category (300 posts) for all of the recent shocking news about ACTIVE TB in US refugees.
*** The ‘pockets of resistance’ label was originally used by the federal government to help create a propaganda campaign (the ORR actually hired a contractor to create the campaign) against any community that might question the placement of large numbers of refugees secretly in to their towns and cities. We first heard about it from federal officials in PA in 2013. The three ‘pockets’ the feds named at that time were in New Hampshire, Tennessee and Georgia. Some of us liked the label and now there are dozens and dozens of ‘pockets of resistance’ that have grown up spontaneously throughout the US. Welcome Rutland, VT!