Monday, September 15, 2014

The Purple Purse Challenge - NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

The NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence is having a fundraiser. It's the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge.  NHCADSV is the only NH organization participating in the challenge. The scoop: 

The Allstate Foundation is launching The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge, a fundraising campaign for charities benefiting domestic violence survivors. 

Everything launches on Tuesday, September 2nd at 12:00pm ET and runs through Friday, October 3rd at 11:59:59am ET. 

- The team that raises the most during the Challenge wins a $100,000 donation 

- Second place gets $75,000

- Third gets $50,000 

- Fourth gets $25,000 

- Fifth through Tenth place each get $10,000 

And, there will be weekly Bonus Challenges for charities to win up to another $80,000. 

And, the best part of the Challenge is that even if you don't win any of the grand prize money, you get to keep the money you raise during the campaign. So, so great. 

By donating to NHCADSV between now and October 3, you can help the Coalition raise even more money to do their vital work. The awareness of domestic violence is heightened right now with professional athletes involved in domestic violence cases. 

Most of us know this is a problem. A boyfriend once dislocated my jaw. I've had 3 stalkers, one who stalked me off and on for 10 years. Domestic violence recently re-entered my life in a vivid and personal way. (I'll have more to say about that in the months ahead.) Please help the NH Coalition. They do important work, they lobby against bad legislation and for good legislation - the kind that protects the rights of victims. And lets be clear - both women and men can be victims of DV. 

For more than 35 years, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence has been working to create safe and just communities through advocacy, prevention, and empowerment for anyone affected by sexual violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
Domestic violence affects 1 in 4 women, and the number one reason victims remain in relationships with their abusers is that they lack the financial resources to break free. We're taking action to stop financial abuse, but we need your help. The Coalition is the only New Hampshire organization participating in the Allstate Foundation's Purple Purse Challenge and we're using this opportunity to leverage your donations with corporate dollars to fund our economic empowerment work. With your help we could even win $100,000!
The odds are high that you have a friend, a relative, or a neighbor that has been abused. Please donate generously to our  friends at the NH Coalition so that they can continue to help everyone who needs help. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Conservative Guru Urges Voters to Stay Home

That's Charlie Arlinghaus on the right, watching Bill O'Brien (disgraced former Speaker of the NH House) as he performs the hand jive.

On September 9, the day of the recent primary elections held in NH, Charlie Arlinghaus of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Failed Wingnut Policy Initiatives had an op-ed in the Union Leader. It was titled Don't Apologize for Not Voting, and contained some curious sentiments:

Most of us shouldn’t vote, and when we do we should skip some races. In most parts of the state, there was no earthly reason for Democrats or those leaning that way to bother. None of the big races have primaries, and why bother when you aren’t actually deciding anything?
Even when there are primaries, too many of us inclined to bother casting a ballot are low-information voters. If we had heard any real information, we might have had a preference, but none of the campaigns managed to get us much information. In all probability, we know little about each candidate except how he or she looks and that their opponents believe they have a secret plan to sell the state to the Soviet Union. So, on one level, you really shouldn’t vote. If you don’t actually know enough about two candidates to decide between them, you aren’t making an informed judgment. You should skip that race. Every year I skip races on the ballot when I don’t know enough about the candidates. That or I pick the name that I think sounds the most melodious because that’s the quality we need in a county treasurer.

"Most of us shouldn't vote." Now there's an interesting take on civic participation. As we dig deeper into this piece,  the inherent snobbery of the author begins to shine through. He tries to conceal it by writing about "us." Most of "us" are low information voters. Speak for yourself, Charlie. Many of "us" do the work of researching candidates. In fact, many of "us" are actively involved in our local and county governments. Charlie doesn't seem to want "us" to do that work. 

I thought all that money in politics meant we'd have MORE information? Is Arlinghaus saying that money really isn't speech? Or is he saying that all of that money has so corrupted the process that voting is now a useless act? 

I’ll probably vote in November to move things an inch or two one way or the other. But most of you reading this probably won’t.

That's the heart of this whole piece. Charlie, will vote to move things along - because he's someone who SHOULD vote. The rest of us? We should just stay home. 

Charlie Arlinghaus is treated as some sort of a guru by the mainstream NH media, even though he's been shilling the same economic policies that have been failing us since Saint Ronald Reagan was in the White House. Republicans do well when there's low voter turnout. Republicans rely on low information voters to march in party lockstep. Its no wonder we see Arlinghaus urging the "uninformed" (translation: non-Republican) voters to stay home. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Murray Energy Corp. Employees Forced to Donate to NH Candidates

From a story in The Charleston Gazette, we learn that a former foreman is suing Murray Energy:

A former Murray Energy preparation plant foreman is suing the company, alleging she was fired because she did not make campaign contributions to Murray CEO Bob Murray’s preferred political candidates, according to a legal complaint filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court.
Jean F. Cochenour also alleges that her firing from Murray Energy discriminated against her because of her gender. She was the company’s only female preparation plant foreman, the legal complaint states.
Murray Energy Corporation owns coal mines. They're the 12th largest coal company. Back in 2007, there was a cave in at one of the Murray mines that resulted in 6 miners being trapped underground. Ten days later, three rescue workers were killed in a second collapse. The bodies of the 6 miners were never found. The mine had been repeatedly cited for violations. 

Company CEO Robert Murray is a long time donor to the Republican party. In 2012, Alec MacGillis in the New Republic wrote a piece about Murray employees that turned out to see Mitt Romney. 

This year, Murray is one of the most important GOP players in one of the most important battleground states in the country. In May, he hosted a $1.7 million fund-raiser for Romney. Employees have given the nominee more than $120,000. In August, Romney used Murray’s Century Mine in the town of Beallsville for a speech attacking Barack Obama as anti-coal. This fall, scenes from that eventseveral dozen coal-smudged Murray miners standing behind the candidate in a tableau framed by a giant American flag and a COAL COUNTRY STANDS WITH MITT placardhave shown up in a Romney ad.
The ads aired even after Ohio papers reported what I was told by several miners at the event, a bit of news that an internal memo confirms: The crowd was not there of its own accord. Murray had suspended Century’s operations and made clear to workers that they were expected to attend, without pay.
Employees are also expected to donate:

The pressure to give begins as soon as employees enter the company, the Murray sources say. At the time of hiring, supervisors tell employees that they are expected to contribute to the company PAC by automatic payroll deductiontypically 1 percent of their salary, a level confirmed by a 2008 letter to employees from the PAC’s treasurer

And they're expected to donate to specific candidates. Many candidates have gone to Murray Energy with their begging bowls, including NH's very own former Senator John E. Sununu:

Later, the sources say, Murray sends letters to employees’ homes asking them to give to specific candidates. The letters feature suggested amounts depending on their salary levelone middle manager was encouraged to give $200 to then–Oregon Senator Gordon Smithand include forms to fill out and return, with checks, to Murray headquarters. The letters come with great frequency. Before the 2008 election, there were nine fund-raisers in less than three months. Guests included then–New Hampshire Senator John E. Sununu, then–Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, and Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe.

Given all of this expectation and arm twisting, it's no surprise that Murray would fire an employee for refusing to play along. 

Once again, there is a NH connection:

In that May 29, 2014, letter, Bob Murray wrote, “The coal industry and our jobs are being destroyed by President Barack Obama, his appointed bureaucrats, and his political supporters in the U.S. House and Senate. Our only hope to stop them is by electing friends of coal and our families and by wresting control of the U.S. Senate from these enemies of coal, maintaining our current U.S. House majority, and electing strong, effective state-level leadership.”
The letter asked for $200 contributions each for four Republican U.S. Senate candidates, Scott Brown in New Hampshire, Edward Gillespie in Virginia, Terri Land in Michigan, and Mike McFadden in Minnesota. The letter noted that a “huge fundraising event” was being planned in June in Harrisburg, Illinois, and asked that contributions be submitted to Murray in time for that event.

There really is no such thing as clean coal. 

ht/to PS

Sunday, September 07, 2014

This is What Pledge Politics Looks Like

Today in the Concord Monitor:

The Sewalls Falls Bridge will close earlier than expected, but its replacement could be delayed.

The Concord City Council voted in March to tear down the nearly 100-year-old bridge and build a new one in its place. The bridge was scheduled to close when construction began in the spring. Based on the bridge’s poor condition, city officials have recommended shutting it down Dec. 1.

“It looks like (the Sewalls Falls Bridge) would not survive us maintaining it in the winter,” City Manager Tom Aspell said.

Federal dollars are supposed to pay for 80 percent of the $10 million project, but the $8 million promised to Concord hasn’t shown up yet. As the federal government struggles to find money for highway projects, City Engineer Ed Roberge has reported the dollars for the Sewalls Falls Bridge won’t be available until at least the start of the next federal fiscal year in October.

Concord is the capitol of NH, the first in the nation primary state. 

This is what pledge politics looks like when they're played out on both the state and the federal level. 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Batshit Crazy

From the you've gotta be shitting me files:

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -It was a case of mistaken identity that, authorities say, could have gone very wrong. 

Authorities say, apparently, a group of heavily-armed border militia members mistook conservationists researching bats for illegal immigrants or smugglers. 

It happened Aug. 23 in the Gardner Canyon area near Sonoita where the small group of conservationists was out in the middle of the night conducting a wildlife population survey, in this case, counting bats. 

Yup. Scientists. Counting bats. Not "those people" with "calves like canteloupes."

It's only a matter of time till one of these yobbos kills someone. Jacked up, angry yahoos, armed with everything but brains. 

Jerry DeLemus: Calm, Level-Headed Candidate for Sheriff

This is Jerry DeLemus:

Jerry's running for Sheriff in Strafford County. He's just the kind of calm, level headed individual you'd want to have running the Sheriff's department. 

He was Cliven (welfare rancher) Bundy's security guy during the Big Bundy Ranch Faceoff. In fact, Jerry's the guy who sent Jerad and Amanda Miller away from the ranch. They went on to Las Vegas and killed 2 cops and a civilian. Jerry's one of Glenn Beck's 912 acolytes, and has a group in Rochester. He's also an Oath Keeper, and a proponent of the Constitutional Sheriff's movement. 

As you can see in the video, Jerry's a big fan of the Second Amendment. 

He sure doesn't like Scott Brown. He hates Obamacare too. 

Those of you who have been wondering what the GOP plan for health care is? MOAR GUNZ. That way when you get sick, you can just shoot yourself. 

h/t James Pindell

Scott Brown Solicits Free State Project Votes

WMUR posted a video segment from last night's GOP candidate's for US Senate. Story and video at this link.

At the end of the video we see former Senator Scott Brown, formerly of Massachusetts urging folks to come out and vote for him - including the Free Staters.

Anyone who doubts that the FSP isn't just another wing of the GOP might want to rethink their position.  

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Know Your Candidates

The midterm primary elections are coming up on September 9. In a state where most of the media skews to the right, getting an accurate picture of candidates can be challenging. One must go beyond the conventional (newspaper and TV) sources and dig a little deeper. Candidate research is crucial in order to avoid electing people who will be a huge embarrassment right out of the gate. With a 400 member House, there will be others who will require more time to maximize their embarrassment potential.

The highest profile primary contest is for the GOP nominee for US Senate. The winner will go on to face popular Senator Jeanne Shaheen in November. The three top candidates are Scott Brown, Jim Rubens, and Bob Smith. Brown and Smith are both former US Senators, Smith from NH and Brown from MA. Brown’s campaign has been strange. In Colebrook he knocked on the doors of supporters and called that “campaigning.” In N. Conway he ran away from a reporter and hid in the bathroom. Days ago on the radio in Massachusetts, he urged folks to come to NH and use our same day registration policy to vote for him. He has a lot of money, the party establishment has lined up behind him, and he looks pretty. Will that carry the day?

Rubens is a Dartmouth grad who has made a boatload of money. He once had a public blog called When some of the content from that blog went public, the blog went private. No longer can we peons read about the perils of being wealthy: “I have bathed in camera light during press conferences, political opponents skulking in the rear of ballrooms, forced to tolerate my applause lines, sycophants and well-wishers beaming and waiting in line to shake my hand or offer their help.” Rubens also ran afoul on that same blog by suggesting that the increasing number of women in the workplace has resulted in mass shootings. The implication being, of course, that those women are taking men’s jobs away from them. Rubens signed on to the campaign finance reform bandwagon and won the support of Lawrence Lessig and his MayDay PAC. He’s also jumped on the libertea bandwagon, and has attempted to be photographed in every gun store in NH.

Former Senator Bob Smith lost his bad toupee in Florida. He may have updated his hair, but not his ideology. Smith is working overtime to appeal to the farthest right fringe, but they seem more interested in Rubens. He’s unlikely to do well in the primary.

In the GOP primary for governor, the contest comes down to Walt Havenstein and Andrew Hemingway. Havenstein was the CEO at BAE Systems. BAE is a defense contractor. Walt boasts about the jobs he created there. He may have hired people, but those jobs were actually created by US taxpayers. The obscene US military spending is made possible by folks like you and me. Without the public teat to suckle from, Walt wouldn’t have been hiring.

Havenstein also entered the race with some confusion about his residency. He claimed that he’s always lived in NH, but he signed a homestead deduction in Maryland that stipulated he lived there in order to save a few thousand a year. The NH ballot commission ruled that he is a NH resident, and Maryland sent him a bill for the tax money he defrauded them for. He’s “considering” whether or not to pay it, a luxury not available to the rest of us.

Andrew Hemingway is the darling of the libertea crowd. A look at his website reveals he’s promoting the same old “solutions” that have been failing NH for decades. Neither Havenstein nor Hemingway mentions the word “infrastructure” on their campaign websites.

In Congressional District 1, the race comes down to former Congressman Frank Guinta and former Dean of the former Whittemore School of Business at UNH, now renamed the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics.

Frank Guinta slid into Congress during the red tide of 2010. He stayed for one term. Guinta “found” a bank account that provided his campaign with a $350,000 infusion of cash in 2010. That “find” didn’t match up with his income. The FEC investigation appears to be moving at the speed of the tectonic plates. Frank also distinguished himself by campaigning loudly about Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter’s alleged abuses of the Congressional franking system. In 2011, he spent more on franked mail than any other Congressperson. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) rated him one of the most corrupt legislators.

Dan Innis became the Dean of the business school at UNH in 2007. In 2008, the business school received a big wad of cash ($25 million) from alumnus Peter T. Paul. The school built what his now known as the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics. Peter T. Paul amassed a fortune selling subprime mortgages, and later devising ways to package and sell mortgage debt to investors – a practice that has been cited as a key factor in the economic meltdown of 2008. In 2013, Innis stepped down from his position as Dean to explore a run for Congress. In 2014, Peter T. Paul created a Super Pac to help his friend Dan Innis beat Guinta in the primary. If Innis gets to Washington what kind of regulatory oversight will he be providing? Will he protect voters or his benefactor?

This is why it’s important to know the candidates. Do they already have a record of corruption? Where do their loyalties lie? Are they bought and paid for?

On the local level, we’ll also be electing House and Senate candidates, and various county positions. Last biennium, the House and Senate were both filled with rabid ideologues and obstructionists who did their best to subvert the process. Anyone who tells you that cutting taxes and eliminating regulations is the key to job growth in NH is lying. NH has failed for decades to invest in our state and the results of that failure are now hobbling our economy. The GOP inability to be honest about that is a shameful and deliberate failure.

In order for the NH legislature to accomplish anything, there has to be some bipartisan cooperation and compromise. Electing people who claim government is bad and broken leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s up to voters to decide whether they want to elect serious people who are interested in working to fix some of NH’s very real problems, or if they want bellicose obstructionists trumpeting the usual slogans.

                          *                                *                                       *

This was written as my regular column in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper, in NH's First Congressional District, which is why I didn't include the CD 2 race. 

I've been encouraged to add in information about the GOP primary in CD 2, to determine who will run against Congresswoman Ann Kuster. 

There are 3 Republicans in the race. 

Marilinda Garcia is a former state representative. She was one of former Speaker Bill O'Brien's acolytes. She's also distinguished herself by being heavily funded by the Koch brothers. A young attractive woman with a Latino surname who espouses the beliefs of the far right libertea fringe doesn't come along every day for the GOP. She wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the same GOP plan that has failed us all for decades - the marketplace! She mentions Bowles Simpson which is a coy way of saying she wants to privatize Social Security. She wants to cut gummint spending.

Garcia's inexperience showed at the debate last week when she refused to shake opponent Gary Lambert's hand, because he "lied about her positions." Time to toughen up Buttercup. This isn't the 400 member NH House, this is hardball. 

She's also made the classic rookie mistake of airing all this on her campaign blog. Repeating what he's said in his ads is giving him double the advertisement space. Former Rep. Garcia is not ready for prime time. 

Gary Lambert wants to force women to serve as involuntary incubators, secure our borders, repeal Obama care, and give us MOAR GUNZ! He has a Wake Up Washington Pledge on his campaign website, full of promises of term limits and not taking a pension or a pay raise! Funny how these guys who claim to hate career politicians are desperate to become career politicians. 

Jim Lawrence promises to Win Back NH for NH. He's going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the same old market "solutions." He's going to secure our border! He's going to fix the IRS! He's going to give us a strong foreign policy! He's going to prevent NH from having wind turbines! He's going to eliminate regulations and give everyone MOAR GUNZ! 

Three far right fringe candidates with no new ideas. Welcome to today's GOP. 

© sbruce 2014
published as an op-ed in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper, Sept. 5, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

FSP: Stand Against Violence in Ferguson by Moving to White NH!

                                                                        Carla Gericke

As the events in Ferguson, MO unfolded, I couldn't help but wonder where the libertarians were. Oh, sure, Rand Paul penned a late-to-the-party piece for TIME magazine, but he didn't exactly hustle off to Ferguson to put his toupee on the line to defend black folks.

And what of Cop Block, the anti-cop organization? It turns out they have one guy on the ground there. Is anyone there from New Hampshire - the place where Cop Block was founded?


Last year Free Keener Garret Ean made some big noise about going on the Cop Block Police Accountability Tour. One might think that the situation in Ferguson merited another road trip, but one would be wrong. 

Why? Why in a situation where there is escalated police violence are our friends from the Free State Project ignoring the opportunity to document what's going on? Free Staters are the biggest media attention whores around - so why are they passing on the chance to get their names and faces up in lights by bravely risking tear gas and bullets in Ferguson? 

Perhaps Carla Gericke can provide us with some enlightenment. 
From the President of the Free State Project

Ferguson, MO, is a stark reminder of the importance of the Free State Project’s mission: to concentrate enough liberty lovers together to make a real difference in our own lives.
Come stand with the community that has been fighting against police militarization for years. Come stand with the community that believes in government accountability and that affirmed the right to record police officers in public.

The subtext? Come make your stand in nice, safe, white NH. 

If this were happening in a white community, Cop Block and the FSP would be all over it. (That this wouldn't happen in a white community is moot.) They'll use Ferguson as a way to ramp up anticop/antigubmint fear and as a tool for their own fundraising, without ever risking their own asses. And without ever questioning the racism inherent in the libertarian movement.

Of course, if you point out that the FSP is comprised mostly of white men, you'll be accused of racism:

Why Blacks Aren't Libertarians:

Cop Block history: