Green Mountain Daily Editors Urge Vermont Congressional Delegation to Oppose Reid/McConnell Debt Ceiling Bill


John Odum
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The following Editors and Contributing Editors of Green Mountain Daily, after consideration and discussion, do not and cannot in good conscience support the Reid/McConnell U.S. Default bill. The legislation is not, as its sponsors claim, a “compromise” solution to a default crisis manufactured by GOP maneuvering. The bill, in its current form, is not a “compromise” under any reasonable use of that word. The bill accedes to radically extreme Republican Tea Party demands and does so at the expense of government responsibility. The bill does not solve the Republican manufactured default crises. Instead it rewards the Republican Tea Party for their reactionary intransigence, and their unwillingness to take their congressional responsibilities seriously.

At the same time, it is clear that default on our debts is not an option. Executive Branch options available to President Obama to avoid default without congressional approval, while distasteful and unprecedented, would all be preferable to the option currently under consideration. Unilateral action under the 14th amendment would be far preferable to the wholesale dismantling of critical discretionary programs and the crippling of medicare through unsustainable cuts to providers, that would ultimately be triggered under the Reid/McConnell bill. In addition, the destructive consequences of draconian cuts to other critical programs and jobs as our economic is showing signs of failing would be intolerable.

We therefore urge Senator Leahy and Representative Welch to follow the example of Senator Sanders and vote against the McConnell/Reid bill which would be harmful in the extreme to Vermonters, as well as middle and working class families across the country.

Jack McCullough
Maggie Gundersen
Sue Prent
Caoimhin Laochdha

Press Release


  1. Pat Cashman :

    It would be interesting to know a little more about an organization that you appear so willing to print press releases from. There appears to be only two actual names on the list provided. Instead of repeating what an anonymous group writes on the wall of their treehouse, perhaps VT Digger could do some investigation of the group itself and create some actual new knowledge.

    • Doug Hoffer :


      This crew has published hundreds of diaries and thousands of posts on numerous topics over the years (including some interesting original reporting). Their names and views are well known to anyone with an internet connection.

      As for creating new knowledge, are you suggesting that some press releases are more equal than others? Why is it OK to publish press releases (and other material) from groups like the GOP or the Chamber but not GMD?

      Moreover, do press releases actually create new knowledge? Or is vtdigger simply providing an outlet for any number of groups to reach people with information or opinions?

      Finally, regarding your desire for an “investigation,” have you also called for an investigation of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom (which does not publish its membership or funding sources)?

  2. Edd Foerster :

    Who cares what these self-important people at GMD think about the debt-ceiling bill? They appear to be delusional.

  3. walter carpenter :

    Why are they delusional? The Reid/McConnell bill is a terrible bill. And the GMD people are no more and no less self-important than the other folks, like the Vermont GOP, for example, that also post press releases on here.

  4. Mike Curtis :

    I do find it odd that they don’t use their real names.

  5. Patrick Cashman :

    Mr. Hoffer,
    I have an internet connection, yet I don’t know who most of these people are. You apparently also have an internet connection, so perhaps you could enlighten me: who is BP? What’s his/her background? Does she/he actually exist? What’s his/her involvement in other organizations or in government that may color his/her views and demand taking any position offered by him/her with a grain of salt? Or kestrel9000? Caoimhin Laochdha? greenvtster? JDRyan? NanuqFC? More importantly, why do you find it impertinent to ask who these people being given a podium by VT Digger actually are so I can form my own judgment of their positions?
    As for publishing this release, if VT Digger aspires to be a public bulletin board where anyone can pin up their press releases or concert posters and lost cat ads, then more power to them. However if an organization lays claim to being “led by journalists” then I for one would expect such releases to be provided with some context and background.

    • Doug Hoffer :

      Mr. Cashman

      GMD has been an active political blog for years. If you haven’t heard of it, a google search would take you to its Facebook page where they name names and where they identify themselves as progressive Democrats.

      As for why vtdigger didn’t provide a complete organizational bio, I assume it’s because GMD is so well known among those who visit these types of sites. In any case, it’s simple enough to go to GMD, read a bit, and get answers to your questions.

      I have never known vtdigger to do anything but post press releases. That is, it doesn’t provide readers with background or context and (presumably) assumes readers are free to do that on their own.

      Hey, they even do press releases for groups like Vermonters for Health Care Freedom that don’t publish the names of all the “members” or where they get their funding.

      Finally, Vermont Business Magazine has been posting press releases for years without questioning the veracity of the information presented. I wonder if you have ever challenged them to do what you’re asking of vtdigger.

  6. Actually, if you take the whole crew into account, we’re down to about 50% “progressive Democrats” these days, and the rest progressive non-affiliated independent sorts (which makes it a pretty different site now than it was when we started it, oh-so-long ago).

    On the other hand, it’s encouraging to see Mr. Cashman renewing his stalker crusade. It’s been a few months. Time for another round of statewide letters-to-the-editor demanding GMD be exiled, or somesuch Patrick?

    I look forward to the next wave of your, what – 3 year long, now? – hobby/effort. I have popcorn ready.

    On the other hand, you could instead simply take advantage of freedom of speech the same way we have and start your own blog. Rather than being obsessed with castigating people you don’t agree with for practicing their rights as Americans, maybe you should try exercising your rights in the same way and let the marketplace of ideas sort things out?

    (And – despite the inappropriate use of quotation marks, suggesting a quote, nowhere has anyone claimed that GMD was “led by journalists” – that was sort of an odd red herring)

  7. Pat Cashman :

    Mr. Hoffer,
    Thanks for the tip, but I’m afraid your information is incorrect. The GMD Facebook page does not provide identities. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say it provides 175 “member”(s) pages but unfortunately doesn’t show which actual name is associated with their chosen “handles”, such as those used by at least six supposed individuals in the above letter. If you are advocating a “self help” approach to putting the letter in context, then please feel free to provide the real names of those associated with it. It is hard to imagine they are concerned with their privacy if they went to the trouble of writing and providing a press release. It’s also a little hard to determine bias when someone lacks the conviction to associate their name with their professed opinion.
    However, if instead your assertion of GMD’s notoriety is true then this would seem like an excellent opportunity for VT Digger to provide one of the “explainers” they speak of in their About section. If for no other reason than at least one serving Rep (Shap Smith) and one candidate for statewide office (yourself) have provided exclusive interviews to this anonymous group.

    • Doug Hoffer :

      Where to start?

      If you had read GMD (which Odum suggests you’ve been doing for years; hence the built-up anger), you would know full well the “biases” of the principles. Indeed, your suggestion that they lack “conviction” is odd (and unfair) since they put themselves out there almost every day and take whatever readers throw at them.

      As for the names, they are on the Facebook page as was noted. If you are troubled by those who used their familiar AKA’s in the press release, you could easily match them up by doing a little reading and internet research. If it’s “identities” you’re after, I’m not sure what to tell you. Why is it so important? You have literally thousands of words of their (often personal) writings available to help answer the question. Indeed, it is rare indeed to know so much about correspondents. Can you say the same about mainstream reporters? Or the folks on local TV?

      And BTW, when someone whose name is not well known posts here on vtdigger or any other blog, the only thing we have to go on are their written words. Time permitting it would be nice to know more about the people we interact with online but (at least for me) I’m satisfied with addressing the substance of their remarks without obsessing over any biases not evident in the post.

      And finally, I love your comment about how the Speaker and I provided “exclusive interviews to this anonymous group.” First, do you really believe the Speaker would agree to be interviewed by an “anonymous” group? Please.

      And as for me, I was interviewed for numerous media outlets during the campaign (and don’t remember an “interview” with GMD in any case). So your assertion that such interviews were exclusive is in error.

      Oh yeah, why not tell us something about yourself Mr. Cashman? And of course we could talk about the subject of the press release.

      • Doug … a quick correction … it is false to claim “[Green Mountain Daily headliners] put themselves out there almost every day and take whatever readers throw at them”.

        They actually have proved themselves to be nothing more than bully wannabes who screech at and pile on anybody who would have the temerity of non-GMD headliner sanctioned thought.

        I know – been there – done that – received it – gave it up.

        Back to the topic at hand.

        The use of fake names in editorializing is nothing new. One need do nothing more than read Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography to understand this practice has existed from the very first printing presses in what became the United States.

        Some of the anonymity that came from phoney names was needed: after all who wants to be hung for making political statements simply because they didn’t want to NOT be recognized? But also, and I refer you back to Franklin, anonymity was used for personal vendettas and personal political gain.

        I for one accept without reservation the need for groups like ‘Anonymous’ or other political agitators to produce statements without personally identifying information.

        There are also valid concerns about one’s employment … come out strongly on the wrong side of an issue your boss also feels strongly about and what have you? Unemployment (until the Republicans with the cowardly acquiescence of the Democrats finish taking it away).

        I suspect that in reality none of the above applies to most who post items on the internet. Cachet seems to be the primary reason.

        In one respect Cashman is correct – VT Digger should have ascertained there was a genuine need for anonymity. This is purported to be a news site first and foremost, and I still remember well the anonymity based Cheney/Miller/NY Times pipeline that fed us so many lies regarding Iraq and WMD and connections to al Qaida.

  8. Pat Cashman :

    Mr. Odum,
    My “led by journalists” quote is from the banner here on VT Digger. I assure you I have never described you or your group as journalists.
    Of course, given their anonymity perhaps one of the six internet handles above belongs to an actual journalist. I guess we’ll never know.

  9. Well I guess I’m technically a journalist, since I’ve done freelance work for the Guardian. Euan Bear (NanuqFC) was the editor of “Out in the Mountains” for a time, so she counts. Maggie Gundersen worked as a journalist – I think in Connecticut, but I may be wrong. Eddie Garcia (kestrel9000) is a longtime radio professional – not a journo, but a professional media guy.

    I believe that’s the extent of the collective professional cred of the current crowd. We’ve had other journos pass through on their way to bigger and better things.

    But seriously – everybody’s name is out there. I just choose not to lay it out for you on a silver platter because of your weird borderline-personality style agenda to git us. It’s tiresome. I can’t believe you don’t have more productive things to do with your time.

  10. Pat Cashman :

    Mr. Hoffer,
    The great thing about knowing actual names is that it allows the reader to inform his own opinion. Those letters to the editor from myself that Mr. Odum is upset about? Knowing my name you can look them up and determine for yourself if they were valid concerns or if I’m a nutjob. Your request to tell you about myself? You have my name, look it up.
    Unfortunately that isn’t an option with those on the letter above. They very well may be prolific writers of letters to the editor themselves for every topic from politics to UFO’s, or not. As I said in the beginning; some context and background would be nice.
    Unfortunately it appears from your comment “do you really believe the Speaker would agree to be interviewed by an ‘anonymous’ group” that there are those allowed to know who they are and then there is everybody else. Personally I have a problem with my elected representatives donating their time and energy to an anonymous group (which was the subject of my letters to the editor). Especially a group like GMD that tends to make fairly hostile and extremist statements on many topics. Perhaps you don’t. So be it.
    Finally, Mr. Odum’s claim that all the information is already “out there” if you look hard enough would make some sort of sense if we were talking about people who don’t want attention. But in this case these people were seeking attention by releasing a press release stating an opinion, presumably because they felt their opinion should be given consideration. They even applied their internet “callsigns” to the letter in order to claim ownership of the statement by their secret internet alter-egos, but didn’t apparently feel an obligation to actually apply their real names. I’m still trying to decide if that is more sad or disturbing.
    However in the end we don’t know anything more about them then the guy who scribbles “Call Ginger for a good time” on the wall of a truck stop bathroom. So why not just sign the letter in the first place? And in the absence of signatures, is this site going to be in the habit of publishing unsigned and anonymous press releases? Personally I hope not.

  11. Edd Foerster :

    Does GMD still use the tagline, “Reality Based Commentary”? That one was at least as much of a joke as Fox’s “fair and balanced.”

  12. A quick point of correction to Rama: you did not “give it up,” you were, in fact, banned from GMD for repeated abusive and inappropriate behavior, despite a lot of people trying very hard to give you as much leeway as possible.

    • Sorry, Odumb, but you’re wrong … you banned me for a month because I insisted on pointing out to you how you violated your own terms of use for GMD. I chose not to return.

      There is a record available, isn’t there?

  13. “Odumb”

    This sort of behavior is why you were banned.

  14. Pat Cashman :

    Mr. Odum,
    That’s not wholly true.
    To be accurate you actually attempted to place Mr. Schneider in the equivalent of a “time out” after he gave a low rating to one of your comments. Oddly enough he appeared to have a problem with that and no longer posted at your site. There actually is a record which the morbidly curious can read and form their own opinions, the title is “Paula Routley can’t be that stupid” from 6 October of last year on the GMD site. Personally I have to say that the really illustrative quote for me was actually written by one of the signatories above (AKA “kestral9000”) in response to Mr. Schneider’s statement that your post constituted a troll comment in his book.

    “Your book is irrelevant. The book here is written by odum.”

    Good stuff.



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