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Fractivist Demagoguery and Media Indulgence, Yet Again

Fractivist Demagoguery - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


Fractivist demagoguery knows no bounds because, too often, the behavior is enabled by empathetic “journalists” who are quick to indulge it as the harmless antics of some lovable rogues.

No one has done a better job portraying a false image of themselves and their special interest advocacy than Vera Scroggins of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. She managed to turn a simple case of trespassing, where basically admits to guilt, into an international cause by portraying herself as a poor victim of the oil and gas industry. It is another case of fractivist demagoguery.

Vera is no lovable rogue. She’s anything but the Golden Girl activist persona she loves to act out to gain the attention of gullible and agenda-driven news outlets. She’s running a PR scam and looking to score big once again on Monday morning when her trespass case is heard again in county court.

Fractivist Demagoguery 

Rumor has it Vera Scroggins is soliciting support from New Yorkers to fill the Pennsylvania courtroom with supporters. If so, and she’s true to form, we’ll probably see her buddy Bill Huston from Binghamton there trying to create some sort of scene, or perhaps Isaac Silberman-Gorn, who is in the employ of the radical Democracy Alliance and “Citizen Action of New York,” will lead a protest. This is what these people do every day, after all–insert themselves into any matter they can find to make a statement for the purposes of stopping gas drilling and fracking in New York. It’s all about New York, all of time, for them and Vera’s little plays provide targets of opportunity to create publicity.

We have described the real Vera Scroggins many times before here and elsewhere. She’s a fouled-mouth agitator who couldn’t care less about her neighbors and who has a history of seeking out unpopular causes as a way of drawing attention to herself. Her video of herself issuing 35 filthy insults to Phelim McAleer in four minutes (one every seven seconds) is legendary, for example. New stuff keeps showing every day about her, in fact, such as this very strange movie called the Vomitorium (see trailer here) in which she appears as a statue. She’s also, apparently, a believer in some very strange causes indeed, as this retweet by her under her pen name of Vera Duerga indicates.

This trespass case illustrates how an individual, with absolutely zero credibility, can still secure favorable publicity by packaging herself as a victim to journalists more interested in the narrative than the truth.

It all began with Cabot Oil & Gas, having had quite enough of her persistent trespassing on its development sites (something she apparently admitted to doing with the author of this story) obtained an injunction to keep her off them. Here’s the actual injunction, granted on October 21, 2013:

Vera Scroggins Trespass Injunction

The key line in the injunction is this:

It is hereby ordered that Ms. Scroggins is restrained, enjoined and prohibited from entering onto property owned and/or leased by Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation including but not limited to well sites, well pads and access roads.

Media Indulgence of the Practitioners of Fractivist Demagoguery 

Any ordinary reader of this line, issued by the judge, will quickly understand, from the examples cited, the injunction is directed at keeping Vera Scroggins off natural gas production sites. Scroggins, though, and her cadre of anti-gas friends in and out of media, wanted the issue, not a correct interpretation, so she immediately focused on the fact the injunction covered leased lands and focused on the phrase “including but not limited to” to suggest the restrictions preventing her from shopping or going to the hospital.

This phrase “including but not limited to” is a legal term.  It’s not good use of the English language as this piece makes clear:

The only instance in which the phrase “includes but is not limited to” is acceptable is in a legal document* or a piece of writing that seeks to resemble one. Legal documents* are often intentionally and excessively redundant in their attempt to prevent every conceivable misreading of a passage. Because many people do believe that a list following the word include is exhaustive, lawyers must resort to redundancy to forestall even the remote possibility of a misinterpretation. In nearly every other professional context, however, we should avoid such phrases as “includes but is not limited to” and “including but not limited to.”

The purpose of the term, in other words, is to ensure no one interprets a phrase such as “well sites, well pads and access roads” to be the only place from which Scroggins is prohibited from entering upon. This prevents her from later insisting the Cabot offices in Dimock, for example, are just a fine place to hold a protest because they aren’t specifically listed. The same would apply to pipeline compressor sites or Cabot’s CNG fueling station, neither of which is specifically listed, but is obviously intended to be covered. It’s a standard approach, and one used all the time, as a consequence of the difficulty in being able to anticipate or think of everything at the time a list is compiled.

Courts, as well as most reasonable people, typically, and again out of necessity, apply a principle known as noscitur a sociis to such lists. It means comprehended, perceived, realized, recognized or understood from accompanying words. There is also another principle called ejusdem generis which is Latin for “of the same kind,” and is used to interpret phrases that list specific classes of things and then refer to them in general, which is the case with this injunction. The general statements, under this principle, only apply to the same kind of things specifically listed.

There are, to be fair, some court cases that interpret “including but not limited to” much more broadly in terms of what is covered, but that’s the case with every legal opinion; there’s always another saying the opposite. The point is simply this; only someone anxious to be a victim, someone desperate for attention and someone determined to demagogue an issue—someone like Vera Scroggins—would ever, under any circumstances, interpret this injunction to mean she is prohibited from visiting a hospital or grocery store because the land under those places is leased to a gas company.

Enabling of Fractivist Demagoguery – Some Examples

Yet, we see one sympathetic “journalist” after another willingly fall for the con as Vera and her allies spin the story with false outrage about having to go to courthouse and search leases to know what stores she can visit. It’s nothing less than bizarre and comes complete with the repeated pictures of Scroggins peering over her eyeglasses at courthouse records in what has to be the most transparently dishonest claims of victimhood since Washington Attorney Roy L. Pearson Jr. filed a $65 million lawsuit against his dry cleaner for losing a pair of his pants.

Fractivist Demagoguery - Vera Pretending to Search

Fractivist Demagoguery – Vera Pretending She Has to Search for Clinics She Can Visit – A Classic Case of False Victimhood

The narrative is a deliberately chosen one that bears no resemblance to reality. Its a joke. It is 100% pure unadulterated demagoguery and it’s practiced by fractivists and their indulgent friends in many media quarters. These reporters, writers and bloggers are the fractivist enablers. One even suggested it was an “injunction against the first amendment” or free speech issue, as if anyone has a right to trespass on someone else’s property to make their speeches. Here are a few examples of the headlines written since the injunction was granted, headlines from media outlets that know better but buy the scam because they like the scam:

The Anti-fracking Activist Barred from 312.5 sq miles of Pennsylvania; Court injunction brought in by oil and gas company makes even supermarkets off-limits for Vera Scroggins – The Guardian

A Fracking Company Got This Woman Banned From Her Grocery Store
And the local hospital, and her bank, and 312.5 square miles where the company has drilling rights – Mother Jones (partially funded by the Schmidt Family Foundation, owners of Google)

Fracking Company Gets 63 Year Old Eco-activist Banned from Her Hospital
Anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins is barred from 312.5 square miles of Pennsylvania that includes a county hospital, supermarkets, drug stores, restaurants and other locations she regularly visited before clashing with local authorities – Voice of Russia

If Vera Scroggins has her way, of course, we’ll see more of this on Monday because I’m hearing she’s planning to hold a news conference, pack the courtroom with her New York allies, do more spinning and turn the whole thing into a protest for the benefit of fractivist complaint media.  What she won’t have one thing, though, and that’s local support because her neighbors know who she is and it ain’t pretty.

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18 thoughts on “Fractivist Demagoguery and Media Indulgence, Yet Again

  1. It clearly states she is banned from “property” owned or leased. “Property” leased does not mean mineral rights leased below a property such as a hospital or grocery store.

      • Talisman Energy and others may end up following suit. In this case she was told 3 times to get off the construction site of this impoundment.

        • Don, Also notice how the trucks have to cross the yellow line to avoid hitting her. And she has just posted a new video of her at a Cabot site on 3-18-14.

          • Read the comments below the video on Youtube Frackdaddy.

            Donald Roessler 2 months ago

            Vera you should be arrested for trespassing. You won’t be happy until someone gets seriously injured because of your stupidity will you ?? You’re lucky you didn’t get hit by someone driving down the road. If one of those trucks would have hit and killed someone because they had to cross the center line to avoid you would you be happy ??

  2. Vera is a product of NYRAD, Mountain Kreepers, Artist Against Life, Food and Water Watch and The Park Foundation. Vera is a victim of her own movement and just as I predicted in 2010 when I said these groups would abandon the Saunters Julie & Craig, they will too abandon Vera. The difference here though is “NOT” the argument that Vera’s water was damaged by drilling, It is as Mr. Shepstone has written that Vera is a PR stunt with a history of involving herself in causes for self notoriety.

    I do not understand how these organizations can align themselves with a women who can blatantly and publicly attack the ethnic background in todays non tolerate society of bigotry as in the way Vera did when confronting Phelim McAleer in Toms link above.

    I do not understand how people who support Vera like NYRAD member Bill Huston, Who say that the gas companies are involved in a smear campaign against Vera when it is Vera’s own actions and own posting on line , the video’s that damn her for who she is?

    I believe that to support someone who advocates what most courtrooms would call sexual child abuse in itself is a measurement of that organizations moral aptitude and that “ANYONE” who is knowing of Vera’s self documented actions and clicks on the donate now button to any of these organizations is in fact supporting sexual child abuse and in approval of the actions of their choice of advocacy.

  3. Tom, it is also worth noting that in January Cabot offered to modify the injunction, to only include active NG operations and 150 Ft from permanent structures. Which was of course denied by her, Because it is not that great of a headline I assume.

    • Wow. Proves she wants the issue, not relief. Remember, there is also an injunction against her to stay away from the Heavenly Angels store and deli in Franklin Forks. She’s a wee-known commodity.

  4. The insightful and hilarious Greg Gutfeld recently authored a GREAT book about the mental-affliction of Vera and her brethren: “The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage”. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to join any tree-hugger protest-march against society. I can vouch for the insight it gave me into their psyche, as well as their embrace of the $ to be made by adoption of “a cause, and ANY currently-popular cause will do….”. Read the paper from the People’s Republic of Ithaca to find out about the latest trendy causes on the rise….but don’t believe the words printed there as justifications….

  5. Got something to say about everything don’t you .Let it play out .People’s civil rights are involved here .Not just the rights of the NG industry and Vera’s .

    • Trespassing is not part of your civil rights Bill. You wouldn’t like it if someone came trespassing on your property would you ??

      Do you also support her pedophilia views Bill ??

  6. Bill F
    No one has asked Vera to put her clothes back on no one has asked her to sit on the back of the bus. I have never seen Anyone deny Vera her civil rights. But here in America we have laws and government oversight of those laws designed to protect the people from themselves. Just as you cannot walk into an O.R. during open heart surgery and spray Raid to kill flies, Vera cannot and should not be tolerated to walk onto a drill site with 2o other people disrupting and endangering everyone’s safety, health, and understanding of a drilling process with her foul mouth accusations and chronic misinformation. Who would be liable should Vera slip in a mud puddle as a trespasser on a well site and get hurt. Vera has already shown she would sue anyone for anything faster then you can say ‘ stop fracking now’ at a Dryden town board meeting. Claiming that Vera’s civil rights are being violated in this case makes about as much sense having repeat offender of pedophilia run recess at our local grade school.

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  10. I am not in favor of fracking but I am not leaving a comment or debating the issue here. I am leaving a comment about Vera and her court jester Bill Huston. In the past year I have withdrawn from associating myself with Vera as the result of her own behavior and I know others who have as well. I don’t know many New York supporters she has left, myself included. The video of her vulgarity laced tirade with the Irish guy was enough for me. Last year when urged to file a police report when a drill worker mooned her, she said she couldn’t because she had called the police too often. In other words, like the boy who cried wolf, she had made too many frivolous and time wasting calls to the point where they no longer responded quickly. It is interesting to note that credible individuals within the New York antifracking movement do not publicaly align themselves with Vera and Bill. Those New York supporters are few and far between and I am sure Vera must realize this, hence her silliness with this case. She is yesterdays news.

    • Mary Lee that’s very interesting. Even though we may be on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to drilling I have to say I wasn’t expecting a comment like this from the other side. It’s people like her that give your side a bad name. I wish more from your side would speak out against her instead of showing her support.

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