Oct 31, 2013

Meet a Real Life Farmer!

... and catch a movie, too!

It's Riggiween!

Holy Mother of Bejeezus!

She's Back. Michelle Riggi

It's Back: Her annual Fellini-esque "Cinderella Hosts Halloween and Tosses $100 Bills to the Local Peasants" happening at her North Broadway Jersey style banquet house

They Comply: As predicted in our last post, the Saratogian bites; hook, line and sinker.

Prediction: The other local outlets will no doubt be "live and on-scene" as well.

Suggestion: Nanoburgh suggests showing up and asking: "I was told there'd be brewskis and hired women at this shindig! Now what's with the crazy lady and the 50 dogs?"

Oct 25, 2013

The Empire Strikes Back: NXIVM Attacks Loudmouth Critic

It's War: Cult Unleashes Legal Army

Dirty Little Secrets = A Touchy Issue

Blogger Shuts Down Site After Search Warrant

"I've Got Nothing to Lose" Motto Put to Test

Free Media Supporters Set to Defend Rights

Well, this one woke us up out of hibernation...

John "That Blogger' Tighe heard a knock on his door Thursday morning. Upon answering, he was handed a piece of paper.  From there, all we need to do is reprise that famous line from The Dead's classic song Truckin':

"If you got a warrant, I guess you're gonna come in."

Yes sir: say hello to the friendly folks from New York State's Bureau of Criminal Investigations and their State Police brethren.  So it goes when one is called on to pay the piper for a life of dealing dope, children, hookers or explosives; right?  Wait...what?  No, no, no: none of those forms of nastiness are part of this troubling development.

Instead, Mr Tighe has a different problem -- and one that just might be even more of a long-playing headache for him than any of those above-mentioned infractions. It's called NXIVM.

Cue the actors and let's refresh ourselves on this "you couldn't make this shit up" script:

- A Boy Wonder type, claiming to be the smartest guy in the world, starts a multi-level marketing / buyer's club firm in the Capital Region

- Said firm is shut down by consent decrees (and a hefty fine) after various AGs deem it to be an illegal pyramid scheme.

- Boy Wonder, not to be discouraged, meets up with a nurse who shares his big ideas infatuation with human potential motivation, cooks up a buffet of various West Coast psycho-fads, adds a touch of Ayn Rand superior beast pepper and (oh yes) sprinkles in that good old MLM math model to create a learning system / philosophy / curriculum  / seminar series called Executive Success Programs.  Its promise: empower individuals to unshackle the ties that bind and proceed to rule the world. Or something like that.

- From here, it gets weird --  REAL weird. Our hero adopts the moniker of Vanguard and seminar attendees are convinced to ante-up into a hush-hush, secret-secret handshake club/family (called NXIVM) lead by an all-knowing, top-down leadership structure deeply suspicious of outsiders and ever-protective of its inner workings.  But it somehow worked, as the organization built up a reputed membership roll (called Espians) of thousands.

- What followed in the years proceeding years was a slow motion wave of accusations that NXIVM was something more than its self-claimed shiny happy people fairy tale. From the initial "I just got out of this strange meeting" chit chat at Albany area business mixers to full blown exposes in international news publications, its all been put out there:  accusations of everything from NXIVM being one big sex orgy to murderers to a political plot to a freaky mind-bending cult to a child-kidnapping ring to it being the second coming of Jonestown or Waco.  Meanwhile, others observers think it's just a simple (yet creative) rip-off of wealthy, slim, brown-haired women with self-confidence issues (you'd really have to look into the back story to figure that part out).

Wherever the truth lies in that spaghetti bowl of craziness, one thing is for sure: NXIVM doesn't take criticism well. If said criticism comes from either internal off-the-bus family members (traitors) or outsiders, the response is the same: scorched earth destruction.  The court records are littered with the names of people that felt NXIVM didn't pass the smell test. Still others claim that non-court remedies are also part of the retribution, including allegations of midnight harassment, residential break-ins, vehicular assault, dumpster record-diving, phone and bank record hacks and even (get this one) a failed toss of a nationally-known cult critic over the rails of a cruise ship.  Some of these claims seem substantiated, others have yet to be. But it's all out there.  See, I told you we were in who-hoo-hooo land on this.

Enter Mr Tighe and his Decline of Saratoga (aka Saratoga Politics) blog. Following in the trailblazing footsteps of several local blogs preceding his own version (all of who also took on NXIVM), this born & bred Saratogian continued that noble fight. In fact, he took it the the Nth degree.

Despite private warnings and ample evidence that this was an opponent that would counter any attacks with a full-fledged war room mentality. Need proof? Just ask the mighty Vanguard's former paramour how this all worked out for her. Or better yet for you Saratoga folks: ask former Man About Town (and one-time NXIVM director of its dirty tricks department) Joe O'Hara where exactly he's been hiding for the past few years since he started asking 'WTF is going on around here?".  Or countless others.  A clue: it ain't pretty.

But Tighe persisted -- and that hasn't been pretty either. His reporting style is in your face and sloppy (as in: not always accurate). It's first person: you're getting his take on issues and not necessarily the take of others. While I have had my issues with him -- specifically his insistence of unleashing vitriolic and completely personal attacks on local election candidates -- I also appreciate the role he played in opposing the queendom of former Mayor Val Keehn and in his long running effort of exposing the soft white underbelly of this alternate universe called NXIVM.  My recommendation to anyone not familiar with the tale: read thru the back pages of the blog. Warning: buckle the seat belts.

So here's what we know: a warrant was executed to raid the home of Mr Tighe and two other individuals (one in Rochester, one in Schenectady), based on a 2012 complaint from (guess who) NXIVM LLC. While no arrests were made, computers were confiscated.

The guess here is that this is related to Mr Tighe's publishing the NXIVM membership (Espians) list, which took place right about that time. A good public service, in my view --  but I digress.

The questions become:

1) Are they seeking evidence that Mr Tighe's computer trails can lead them to the individual who fed him that list OR are they seeking evidence that he was the actual hacker?  We shall see.

2)  But the more problematic question is this: if Saratoga In Decline's name were The Saratogian (or Saratoga Today or Saratoga Wire or some other so-called mainstream media outlet), would the same warrant have been signed?   If not, are we witnessing the inability of a judge to realize that the media world has changed, that these new-fangled outlets such as Saratoga In Decline have arisen because of the failure of those old school titles to provide anything more to the local community than high school field hockey scores, police logs and helpful summer gardening tips? Maybe, just maybe....

Most of the cafe-hanging yahoos don't quite get this as the pressing issue here. "He deserves it, the crazy bastard" seems to be the chorus. They then bury their heads back into one of the local rags to read about how lucky they are to have a new national chain store opening up on Broadway or what Michelle Riggi is up to.

As said; we here at Nanoburgh haven't been real happy with Mr Tighe's election coverage as of late (Disclaimer: the author of this essay is part of mayoral candidate Joanne Yepsen's circle).  But  we might soon be leading the call to circle the wagons around this guy, if our Freedom of the Press limitations and fears are realized.

We'll certainly stay on top of this as more facts are brought to the open.  But yes; we are again awake.