[By way of a preface: I'm bitter tonight. If you read the essay you'll understand why. There's a good possibility I won't be continuing to update this blog -- although Pro Libertate will continue -- and should that be the case there are some things I want to make sure are put on the record.]
"Do you think Will could ever come back to the staff of the John Birch Society?"
That question was posed via telephone to my wife Korrin a few weeks ago (while I was out running errands) by a Section Leader in the northeast. He is a man of character, learning, and accomplishment, the father of a large and impressive family. In many ways he is typical of the people I was blessed to meet through the JBS.
I honestly don't think he could imagine that the leaders of the organization are capable of the utter viciousness they displayed toward me and my family. If he could, he wouldn't have asked that question of Korrin.
As I write these words, Korrin is being ravaged by the sickness with which she was diagnosed in April 2006. It is a disease that is life-altering, and potentially life-threatening. Unlike some disorders, the sickness that has seized Korrin threatens our entire family. It has disfigured her in ways that transcend mere physical appearance: She remains radiantly beautiful, just as she was when we were married ten years ago, but her affliction is taking from me, and from her, much of what she is -- much of what made me fall in love with her.
I'm losing her. And I'm helpless to do anything to prevent it.
Her condition was known to the four -- I'm sorry, I just can't call them "men"; "functionaries" is a better word -- who decided in committee to deprive my family of a steady income and health insurance coverage last October. Korrin supported me when I chose not to submit to an ultimatum those four former friends gave me, knowing I would be honor-bound to reject it. But the stress of managing a large household without a steady income, and dealing with the financial burden of repeated hospitalizations, has exacerbated Korrin's condition, as any reasonable person would expect.
Bill Jasper has been a faithful and exceptionally generous friend. The same is true of others on the field staff and home office staff, as well as current and ex-JBS members and at least one member of the Council.
From the four who collaborated in the decision to kick my family to the curb, however, has come only silence.
Since last October, the only communication I've received from any of them (apart from a copy of an e-mail Jack McManus sent to Art Thompson, which was mistakenly cc'd to me, and a terse note from Jack when I replied to that message) was a perfunctory phone call from Gary Benoit on the morning of October 3 (which I've described before) in which he expressed formulaic concern for my family and then praised the wisdom of the decision to fire me.
Alan Scholl has had much to say about me, most of it studiously dishonest, but he has never had the dangling anatomy to say anything to me (when responding to lies Alan has put in circulation about my termination, I've made a point of cc'ing the e-mails to Alan, a courtesy he's never practiced). Art Thompson has spoken with others about me, apparently in the hope that he could bank-shot a message to me. He needn't take a Rube Goldberg route to communicate with he; he has my phone number and e-mail address, as do the others.
In one such conversation that was reported to me by a friend here in Idaho, Art said that I would be welcome back "anytime [I] agree to follow the rules." Implicit in that statement is a lie, namely that I had broken the rules. I never did.
Which brings me to the official reason I was terminated, as described in the only legally relevant source: The October 3, 2006 letter of termination sent to me over Art's signature.
Here is the full text of the rationale as contained in the letter, which consists of one charge and one specification:
"You do not understand that once you are a public figure everything that you say or do publicly reflects on the organization you work for, particularly when these things are in opposition to the position and principles of The John Birch Society and Robert Welch. Also, you do not understand that once we have rejected an article or nuance, you cannot go around us to post it elsewhere, identifying it as rejected material and publicly criticizing your employer for the rejection.
It is not a matter of freedom, or control, it is a matter of responsibility to your employer."
I can't disagree with the first part of the last sentence, since nothing about the JBS under its current management has anything to do with freedom. Leaving that aside, what this letter says, if read literally and carefully, is that I was fired for daring to publish a rejected "nuance."
Read the relevant statement again: "... once we have rejected an article or nuance, you cannot go around us and post it elsewhere, identifying it as rejected material and publicly criticizing your employer...." (My emphasis.)
Isaiah refers to people being made a sinner for a word. I was apparently made an ex-employee over a "rejected ... nuance."
To be specific, I was fired for re-publishing this essay in my personal, after-hours blog. As for the "criticizing [my] employer," here's the offending commentary explaining why I was re-publishing the forbidden essay:
"On June 22, I published a Birch Blog entitled `Phony Immigration Debate vs. Real Police State Threat.' Within hours it had been, um, misplaced, and never appeared in that space again -- even though it had been forwarded throughout the Blogosphere, and was reproduced in its entirety on Alex Jones's `Prison Planet' newssite.
`Where did it go?' more than one puzzled Birch Blog reader inquired of me. `Why was it deleted?' I knew where it had gone, and had been told why it was disposed of, and beyond those acknowledgements I'm really not at liberty to discuss the matter."
Why was I determined to reproduce that essay? Because it was important: The entire GOP-centered Right Wing, including the JBS under its current caretakers, was being neutralized by the immigration issue at a time when the Bush Regime was building an executive dictatorship supported by a police state.
Nobody in Appleton willing to acknowledge this in public, assuming that they even noticed. Somebody in a position of responsibility at the JBS had to go on record about this in a timely fashion.
After I first ran that essay in the Birch Blog the previous June, Alan Scholl called me to threaten my job. It mattered not whether what I wrote was the truth, sniffed Alan; the only thing that mattered was the "corporate decision" that the JBS would "ride the Republican wave." If I couldn't support that decision, then an "adjustment" would have to be made.
Alan spent more than an hour trying to bury me in marketing bromides. And while he did, as I've pointed out before, Korrin was literally dying in front of me: She was hospitalized just hours later, and had I not acted as I did she would have died within a few days.
I'm convinced that Alan decided at that time to arrange for me to be fired. He succeeded in killing the Birch Blog -- without telling me about that decision -- and suggested that I would be playing a reduced role in The New American, although I was still very heavily involved in the magazine literally up to and after the point I was fired; I sent my last article to Appleton on October 2, just a couple of hours after receiving the ultimatum from Art Thompson via telephone.
In that brief and unfocused conversation, Art mentioned the huge and worsening revenue shortfall and suggested that some of what I'd published in my Pro Libertate blog would drive away donors (something he was told by Alan, who claimed to have numerous resignations "on my desk"). The only thing that could be done, Art said in a voice theatrically tinged with panic, would be either to fire me, or force me to take down the blog, apologize for everything I'd written in it, and promise never to write a line or utter a sentence in public without obtaining Appleton's Nihil Obstat.
But here's the really odd thing about that claim:
At the very time Alan and his little clan were firing me for the supposed sin of blogging, they were running a fund-raising ad on The New American's website listing "Will Grigg's blog" as a reason for people to "help us with a donation...." At the time, remember, the Birch Blog was dead; there was only one blog being put out by Will Grigg -- the one for which I fired.
So I was fired for publishing a "rejected ... nuance" on a blog that supposedly threatened everything the JBS stands for, which is why the same people who fired me were using that blog to raise money.
That august committee defined my moral sin as that of "criticizing [my] employer": "Is a firing offense," wrote Alan to a member, using a phrase that -- appropriately enough -- reads like something a Soviet commissar would say. That committee included three individuals -- Art Thompson, Alan Scholl, and Jack McManus -- who, on company time and with company resources, actively worked to bring down the previous CEO.
I was accused of expressing views contrary to the "principles" of the JBS by a committee that included one individual, Jack McManus, who spent years bloviating about the Jewish Menace in front of schismatic Catholic groups for whom anti-Semitism is a religious dogma. (That same Jack McManus once left me horrified by describing neo-con scribbler Ben Wattenberg, admittedly not my favorite public figure, as "a slimy New York Jew," so it's not as if he deals with the issue only in rarefied theological terms.)
I was discarded as a financial liability by a committee that included the individual -- Gary Benoit -- who provided the key swing vote that permitted Vance Smith to ensconce himself at Robert Welch University, thereby helping himself to the material means to file lawsuits that left the JBS financially drained.
Most amazing to me is the fact that exactly a year earlier, I had quit my job at JBS to protest the way Vance Smith was attempting to blackmail Jack by threatening to go public with excerpts from Jack's anti-Semitic speeches. I have no brief for Jack's views, but I couldn't accept a paycheck from an organization headed by a blackmailer.
We're not just dealing with hypocrites, albeit hypocrites of significant accomplishment. There is, once again, something utterly vicious about people who would treat a long-term employee (13 years on staff, 16 years as a TNA contributor) this way -- let alone one with a large family to take care of and a seriously ill wife.
As I said, I'm bitter tonight. Bitter about what has happened to an organization I thought was worthwhile; bitter about being back-stabbed by people I had considered to be friends; and bitter about the fact that my wife is being taken from me, piece by piece, and I can't do anything to stop it.