Sunday, December 29, 2013

NH conservative calls for open hunting season on "democrats"

Over at the Nashua Telegraph a story about ducks being killed has a lot of conservative ignoranuses venting their copious spleen - and one, a Joseph M. Weber of Newington, making actual threats:













None of Joseph M. Weber's fellow conservatives have suggested that he tone down the rhetoric. 

I feel certain that if we held one of Mr. Weber's own guns to his head, he'd be unable to properly define the word "socialist" - but the fact that he's posting calls to violence in one of NH's major newspapers only shows how comfortable he is uttering such threats. 

This type of violent, threatening rhetoric is increasingly commonplace among NH Republicans. 

That it is also becoming acceptable is something that should concern us. 

Edited to add this screen capture - when one guy suggested finding Rep. Campbell's address and phone number so that they can harass him, the person who responded was State Rep. Kyledoesn't bother to vote - 
needs to be drunk to do his job - quick draw mcgoo Tasker: 











Yup. A sitting State Representative fanning the flames, and aiding morons who would harass and threaten one of his colleagues. 

Here's the thing, boys. This kind of tactic can be turned right around and used on you. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013: A Year in NH GOP Shame


A brief overview of embarrassing commentary by NH GOP legislators. (Not intended to be comprehensive.)

January: 
Rep. William O’Brien, speaking at a “right to work” hearing:
“New Hampshire wages are artificially high, a symptom of stagnation.”

February: 
Rep. Donald LeBrun in a committee hearing (Health and Human Services) was quoted as saying: “Rather than spend money on people with disabilities we have another choice, Voluntary Euthanasia….”

h/t Tuck at Miscellany Blue

March: 
Rep. JR Hoell speaking on one of last session’s gazillion gun bills: “Maybe Democrats want a young mother to allow her children to be murdered as she runs under a table to hide instead of take a weapon from her purse and save her most precious loved ones?”

h/t to Tuck at Miscellany Blue

April:
Rep. Peter Hansen, posting on the House internal email system for legislators gave his opinion on what was missing from the debate on the stand your ground bill:  Why children and vagina's of course.”

Rep. Romeo Danais used the House internal email system to compare feeding poor children to feeding wild animals – twice in the same day.

Rep. Al Baldasaro testifying before a committee hearing on a bill to phase out lead sinkers and jigs – because they’re killing the  loon population:
“If you take a look at other areas, uh, what’s going on around the country under Agenda 21, this isn’t get – the nose is already under the tent. This now is pushing the foot under the tent, to slowly get the fishermen off the lake. That’s what this is gonna do.”

Rep. Stella Tremblay gave her opinion on the Boston Marathon bombings on Glenn Beck’s website: “Just as you said would happen. Top Down, Bottom UP. The Boston Marathon was a Black Ops “terrorist” attack.”

May:
Rep. Jane Cormier, in a lengthy floor speech on SB11, a bill to allow municipalities to work together on financing and building water and sewer projects: “The EPA now considers rainwater a pollutant.”

June:
Rep. William O’Brien gives a speech from the floor, describing the budget that was just passed as “his legacy.” 

He had also just voted against the budget.

July:
Senator Andy Sanborn:
Sanborn, R-Bedford, was the guest host of the afternoon radio show on WTPL-FM in Concord Tuesday afternoon. During one segment he was talking to former State Sen. Ray White, also a Bedford Republican, about the new national health care law. Sanborn has been vocal opponent of the law.
At one point Sanborn said the new law "is barreling down on us like a jet landing into San Francisco. It’s (laughter) it should make people really concerned."
After the program Sanborn didn't recall the remark, but after hearing the audio of the program said he apologizes for it.
"It was my mistake. If I offended anyone I am sorry," Sanborn said.

Two people were killed and 168 injured in a plane crash in San Francisco just 2 days before Sanborn was yucking it up on air.

August: 
Rep. William O’Brien, at an Americans for Prosperity rally against the ACA:
And what is Obamacare? It is a law as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that allowed slave owners to come to New Hampshire and seize African Americans and use the federal courts to take them back to slave states.

h/t to Tuck at Miscellany Blue

September:
Rep. Al Baldasaro retweeted something posted by his friends at Americans for Prosperity: RT if you want to be exempt from #Obamacare like members of Congress! Yes!”  Sadly for Al, that proved to be a falsehood.

h/t to Tuck at Miscellany Blue

October:
Former Rep. Pete Silva  tripped over his racism during a particularly ugly special election battle. Silva was trying to regain his former House seat. He said that on the day of the primary election "I thought I was in New Delhi." His opponent is Latha Mangipudi, who is of Indian descent. His further comment about how Indian voters would be "coming out of the woodwork" to vote for Mangipudi seemed, to many, to carry the unappealing aroma of racism.

November:
Representatives Laurie Sanborn and Neal Kurk on the subject of expanding Medicaid:

Is it fair that eligibility for expanded Medicaid is based on income only and not assets, so that a 50-year old who lives on a yacht and has a very low income qualifies for free health insurance?

December:
Rep. JR Hoell was the gift that kept on giving in December. First, from an interview he did on wingnut radio:

“We’re not here to threaten anybody. We’re here standing on our soapbox as opposed to standing with our ammo box in hand to make a point politically. The message needs to get out that Scott Brown does not represent New Hampshire.
If things continue the way they are, there may be a day or a time where firearms and ammo are necessary. It happened in the Revolutionary War. I’d like to think we’re not there yet, but as things continue to unravel, that may be the next step.
h/t to Tuck at Miscellany Blue

This lead to more tantrums:
“Regardless of where Brown lives, he BROKE his oath of office by stating he wanted to ban certain semi-automatic rifles.
Brown does not support NH values!
(BTW, he has taken an oath to up hold the constitution on at least 3 separate occasions: Swearing in as a National Guard member, MA legislature and US Senate)”

And finally, this little gem from the NSFW files.



The wheels are coming  off the GOP clown car, kids. Stay tuned, and Happy New Year to all of my readers.


PS: Thank you Tuck. Not only could I not do this without you, it would be so much less fun. 

Treason's Greetings



New Hampshire’s junior US Senator has been in the news lately, full of outrage at the new budget deal being struck. Sadly for us all, she’s not outraged about it for the right reasons. Senator Ayotte is all puffed up about cuts to military pensions. The NH mainstream media, in their role as GOP stenographers, trumpeted the outrage with no critical analysis and little fact. They howled their horror that Senator Shaheen would vote for this! OMG!!

The abhorrent “bipartisan” budget deal trims military pensions by about $6 billion over a 10-year period. It’s a reduction in cost of living increases for retirees that applies only while they’re still of working age. These are frequently retirees on their second careers – many working for defense contractors. This isn’t taking food out of the mouths of the poor grunts stuck in Afghanistan. Like many things, it sounds bad, until you know the details.

Our Kelly counts on an uncritical media, and she is rewarded for her devotion most of the time. The GOP media panderers have failed to point out that she hasn’t voiced any objection at all to cutting off benefits for the long term unemployed – many of whom are also veterans.

Ayotte, in her explanation of why she wasn’t voting for this budget wagged a finger and said that surely we could find $6 billion elsewhere. She’s absolutely correct about that. One aspect of the budget she agreed with is increasing defense spending by about $22 billion. Take that increase away, and there’s no reason to commit austerity against any veteran. The Pentagon doesn’t need an increase. Their budget should be shrinking, and Ayotte should be fighting against Pentagon waste. The F-35 fighter plane that doesn’t fly is still being lavishly funded with our tax dollars. The M1A1 Abrams tanks are still rolling off the assembly line and going straight to storage, because the Army doesn’t want them. The C-27J Spartan cargo planes are still being built, and going right to boneyards. The Air Force doesn’t want them. There have been 16 built, and five more scheduled to be produced in 2014, at an estimated waste of $432 million.

Ayotte an only pay lip service to Pentagon waste, because actually looking into it won’t make Senator Ayotte popular with her supporters or her financial backers. Ayotte’s #1 donor industry is the securities and investment sector. Goldman Sachs is her fifth largest donor. Many of the same investment companies that back Senator Ayotte also fund defense contractors. Goldman Sachs touts their socially responsible investment practices, while loaning money to nuclear weapons manufacturers. Fidelity, another Ayotte funder also is very generous in loaning to big defense contractors. A closer look also reveals that BAE Systems, Honeywell International, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon are also Ayotte donors. They all have the distinction of being the recipients of the largesse of the big banksters like Goldman Sachs and Fidelity. It’s a nasty little circle, and to keep all of them filling her campaign coffers, Ayotte has to continue to increase the defense budget. A cynic might also add that she has to continue to increase the number of veterans as well.

Senator Ayotte would much rather take food away from low income children, which is rather short sighted, given that some of them will grow up to be the kind of cannon fodder required to fight the endless wars that she and her ilk would like to inflict upon us.

The uncritical, GOP toadies of NH media continue to fail us, by not even bothering to look at the reasons behind Ayotte’s vote.

They’ve failed us a lot lately. The wheels are coming off the clown car known as the NHGOP, and that, too is going unreported. The freedumb/libertea faction is at war with the more traditional members of the party. The traditional Republicans are aware that they don’t have any kind of a bench, and that the people signed up to run against Senator Shaheen are silly candidates. The campaign of Jim Rubens was over the same day he announced his candidacy. The campaign of former Senator Bob Smith is an embarrassment to the party. They’re working to recruit and squeeze as much out of former Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts as they can. He’s got name recognition and he’s got money. That interests them. That he was only able to finish out a term before getting kicked to the curb doesn’t seem to be an issue. He was elected in current century and doesn’t have a bad toupee, which makes him a star already.

The freedumb and libertea crowd hates him, because he’s actually in favor of putting some restrictions on gun ownership. Brown was scheduled to be appearing at a fundraiser, even as the NH media debated whether or not he’d run for Senate, if he was moving to NH, and if they could hang his picture in their lockers. This led to State Rep. JR Hoell of Dunbarton talking about how Brown was unacceptable, and it might be time for armed insurrection, just like “it happened in the Revolutionary War.” Even the worst students are aware that the Revolutionary War was not fought over a political candidate that a faction of the Republican Party objected to. This is the equivalent of a toddler having a tantrum because he is told he can’t have candy for dinner. The NH media did not report this story. It was mentioned by out of state news groups, and even reported internationally, but the only NH media outlet that reported Hoell’s rather treasonous threats was the online Patch news group. 

Hoell has since gone on to bellow that Scott Brown has BROKEN HIS OATH to uphold the Constitution at least 3 times. In Hoell speak, that means that Brown discussed banning some semi-automatic rifles. Try as I might, I can’t find any mention of semi-automatic rifles in the 2nd Amendment. In fact, I can’t find the right to own as many guns as one wants in that rather brief amendment. Brown, at least, was a part of a well-regulated militia, which is more than we can say for Rep. Hoell.

It’s generous of the NH media to gloss over Ayotte’s vote, or give Hoell the gift of not reporting on his lunatic pronouncements. It’s also deeply unfair to voters who deserve to be well informed. A simple explanation of the $6 billion in cuts to military pensions should have been included in the news stories. And everyone who lives in NH should be aware that there is a dangerous faction of the NH GOP that threaten “revolution” every time they don’t get their way.


© sbruce 2013  published as biweekly column in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper. 

Frosty the Fratboy




































Monday, December 23, 2013

Deep Thoughts


Rep. John Burt







White = Good.





Ongoing Tantrums

















Another self-styled expert on the Constitution weighs in. 

SECOND AMENDMENT



AMENDMENT II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Yep - that's all it says. No mention of the right to keep ALL arms. No mention of semi-automatics. Representative Hoell (like all teabaggers) is quick to throw that "breaking his oath" thing around. 
Of course this is JR Hoell we're speaking of - a guy who filed a criminal complaint against 189 members of the NH House because he was peeved about the way they voted on the so-called Stand Your Ground law. 
This is the same JR Hoell who is threatening armed insurrection because he's miffed at his own political party for flirting with Scott Brown as a candidate for US Senate. 
There does seem to be a pattern here. Whenever people don't do what JR Hoell wants, he has a tantrum. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Homeless Memorial Day, Concord NH


Homeless Memorial Day Vigil - Concord, NH - December 20, 2013




Thirty or so people gathered in front of the NH State House (and the nativity scene) to remember those who died homeless in NH over the last year.  There were 30 names. 

One man spoke of being homeless for 16 years. I'm unable to understand how we, as a society, can accept that. 

I long for a world where homelessness was a much, much greater outrage than the remarks of some reality TV duckhead. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

NH Media Default Setting = GOP

A number of media outlets around the nation have picked up the story of NH State Rep. JR Hoell's ill advised remarks about armed insurrection  if his party chooses Scott Brown as a US Senate candidate in NH. 

Think Progress,  Opposing ViewsHuffington PostTalking Points Memoand Right Wing Watch have all documented the story, which was first brought to our attention by Tuck at Miscellany Blue.

It is interesting to note is that the NH media isn't uttering a peep about this. A couple of weeks ago when State Rep. Peter Sullivan made an unflattering remark about GOP congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia, the media was in a huge, huge huff. The NH Patch network was OUTRAGED. All of the GOP faux media (like Pat Hynes vanity project, NH Journal) were screaming so shrilly the Queen's corgis could hear them across the ocean. The Union Leader, the Concord Monitor, NHPR, WMUR - all were in high dudgeon. Political reporters Pindell, DiStaso, and Cline were aghast! 

Peter Sullivan, it should be pointed out, didn't threaten to kill Marilinda Garcia. He compared her to Bill O'Brien and Kim Kardashian. For this, he's received an inordinate amount of abuse, including phone calls, emails, and death threats. 

The NH media, secure in their role as GOP lapdogs, were all over that story. When Free Stater/TeaParty/JohnBircher ally  and State Representative JR Hoell threatens to start shootin' if he doesn't get his way - he gets a pass from the very same easily outraged media. 

I'm betting that if Hoell threatened to shoot Kim Kardashian he'd still get a free pass from the sycophants and toadies that take dictation from the NH GOP and call themselves journalists. 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

NH State Rep Will Shoot Unless He Gets His Way





My friend Tuck over at Miscellany Blue  finds that NH State Rep. JR Hoell is mightily miffed at the idea of Scott Brown as NH's next US Senator. Ole JR and the freedumb/libertea crowd aren't peeved that Brown is a carpetbagger from out of state, who has never lived in NH, and seems to be something of a lightweight. No, they're annoyed because he's not a gibbering gun nut, like them.

Hoell, in an interview with the mighty intellects at Granite Grok, had this to say:


We’re not here to threaten anybody. We’re here standing on our soapbox as opposed to standing with our ammo box in hand to make a point politically. The message needs to get out that Scott Brown does not represent New Hampshire.
If things continue the way they are, there may be a day or a time where firearms and ammo are necessary. It happened in the Revolutionary War. I’d like to think we’re not there yet, but as things continue to unravel, that may be the next step.
Allow me to translate: "we aren't here to threaten anybody - BUT - unless the small crowd of pinheads I hang out with get their way on every issue, you bet we're gonna start shooting. For your own good, of course."

Big h/to to Tuck for listening to that interview so that the rest of us don't have to. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ayotte Dodges Retirees




The NH Alliance for Retired Americans represents some 13, 000 retired NH workers. They've been asking Senator Kelly Ayotte to meet with them for months. She's failed to respond to their repeated requests. 

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, and Congresswoman Ann Kuster have all met with the NHARA. 

In attempt to create a little awareness of Senator Ayotte's failure to even respond to the NHARA, I put out a couple of tweets today, asking why she's afraid to meet with them. 

That led to State Representative Leon Rideout  deciding to insert himself into the mix: 



Sadly, poor Leon doesn't seem to grasp the difference between a town hall meeting and a constituent meeting. Even more sadly, he wasn't smart enough to leave out the reference to special interests. 



Saddest of all, when I confronted him about it - he just didn't get it.   That was when he started speaking in vowels. 

At Open Secrets I took a look at PAC donations that Senator Ayotte has received thus far for 2014:





That list is broken down into the top 20 PACS:




















Number 11 on the top 20 list is weapons manufacturer BAE systems, which doesn't only have a special interest PAC, they have a NH location. And Kelly Ayotte has been there to meet with them!


NASHUA – U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, is visiting the area Wednesday, as part of a three-stop tour to push the passage of recent legislation designed to halt proposed cuts to the U.S. military budget.

Ayotte, who helped write the legislation called Down Payment to Protect National Security Act, is scheduled for a 2 p.m. press conference at BAE Systems, 65 Spit Brook Road. She is also scheduled to visit Nanocomp Technologies in Merrimack and Raytheon in Andover, Mass., which includes 1,200 New Hampshire residents on its workforce.

That was February 22, 2012. Apparently SOME special interest groups are perfectly okay to meet with. Especially if they have big money to fill the campaign coffers of our very ambitious US Senator.  Those retirees of the NH ARA can't hope to compete with the PAC $$ from a weapons manufacturer. 

If churlish Leon Rideout hadn't decided to twitterstalk me, I'd wouldn't have taken this little journey into the land of special interests. Defense contractors are Senator Ayotte's 4th largest source of campaign funds. 

NH's retirees can't begin to compete with the kind of access that all that money can buy. BAE was awarded a $7 billion dollar contract in November of 2012. That austerity/sequester thing didn't hurt the Pentagon. It hurt real people - like the retirees that Ayotte is dodging. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

MOAR GUNZ!



The annual state-by-state health rankings are in from the United Health Foundation. NH is in 5th place nationally when it comes to the overall health of its residents. This places NH in the middle of the top ten, which is surely nothing to sneer at. That’s the message in every NH mainstream media story about the health rankings thus far. What the NH media isn’t pointing out is that in 2012, NH was in third place. In 2011 we were in second place. Fifth place isn’t terrible, but to get there we had to drop two places, something that one might think is worthy of media mention.

That kind of slippage is the new normal in NH. Our health isn’t as good; our child poverty rate has risen at what should be considered an alarming pace. Our roads and bridges are in terrible condition, our state parks are in increasing disrepair, some of our highway rest stops are still closed, and our telecommunications infrastructure is an embarrassment. Poverty, hunger, and homelessness are on the rise. But hey, NH has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the nation and THAT, my friends, is what is really important. So important that at least a dozen gun bills have been filed for the 2014 legislative session.  Perhaps if we all go out and wave our guns at one of the hundreds of red listed bridges in our state, they will magically repair themselves.

NH has never been a forward thinking state, and now we’re sliding backward. Today’s NH GOP has been taken over by Tea Partiers and libertarians, who think MOAR GUNZ is the answer to everything. They hate planning of any sort, and are actively trying to prevent it on county and regional levels. The libertarians don’t believe in public anything, or that the state should be in charge of roads and bridges. The private sector would do a better job. The Free Staters have yet to volunteer to fix a bridge or repair a highway to show us how well this will work in the future, when they succeed in transforming us into Aynrandshire. Surely a network of differently maintained toll roads will be a real asset when one is attempting to attract business to the state.

Tourism is the #2 business in New Hampshire. Our Fish and Game Dept. is in trouble financially because of our regressive tax structure. Rather than address that, Republican Senator Bob Odell has filed a bill that would require canoe and kayak owners to pay an annual $10 fee for using their non-polluting vessels on our rivers and lakes. The best part of this (from a GOP standpoint) is that the bill (sponsored by a Republican) is being blamed on Democrats. This is right up there with last session’s bill sponsored by GOP Senator Nancy Stiles that would have forced senior citizens to buy a season’s pass each year to use our state parks. Currently, NH residents over the age of 65 are granted free access to state parks. This bill would have initiated a $20 fee for a senior citizen pass. Unfortunately, the NH GOP is far from being ashamed of the lengths that they will go to (gouging old people and canoe owners) to prevent NH’s 27,000 millionaires from paying their fair share of taxes.

NH Republicans made sure that there would be no state exchange system set up to handle the ACA. Now they complain about how things are working (or not working) without state exchanges. The states that created their own exchange networks early on are doing quite well with the ACA. NH Republicans also torpedoed the expansion of Medicaid that would have provided basic insurance coverage to some 50,000 low-wage workers in our state.  This is the kind of thinking that caused NH to drop to 5th place nationally in terms of overall health. NH’s health ranking has always been a matter of pride for our state, and one that is used as an enticement for companies and families to move here. The Free Staters use it in their advertisements to entice more anarchists to move here to take over the state. Given how many states have embraced expanded Medicaid, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that NH’s numbers will continue to be on a downward spiral while other states will see improved health numbers.

We don’t care about the health of our residents. (Though to be fair, Representatives Neal Kurk and Laurie Sanborn do worry about subsidizing health care for NH’s substantial population of low-income yacht dwellers.) We don’t care about the health of our highways, roads, dams, and bridges. We don’t care about the health of our telecommunications infrastructure. We have a long history of not caring about education. NH ranks a firm 50th in the nation in state spending on our university system. What do we care about? Spending no money, and MOAR GUNZ!

Recent studies have also shown that NH is not bouncing back from the Great Recession as well or as quickly as our fellow New England states. We have no one but ourselves to blame. NH has failed to invest in the future for decades, and it’s begun to marginalize us and hurt our economy. Nothing short of a disaster is likely to turn that around. If one ever doubts the accuracy of the nickname “granite state” one has only to spend a Wednesday at the NH House of Representatives listening to floor speeches.





© sbruce 2013. Published as a bi-weekly column in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper. 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Today's Steaming Pantload Award



Today's award goes to Grant Bosse for his column in the Concord Monitor about food and hunger. 

Some of the highlights: 

The New Horizons food pantry is limited to low-income Manchester residents, handing out $200 worth of groceries each month to about 900 families. Sherman says that wouldn’t happen without the program’s largest donor, Hannaford Supermarkets.

But - later in the same piece:

Big city unions fight to keep Walmart, now America’s largest grocer, out of town. 

"America's largest grocer" isn't the largest donor to NH food pantries. In fact, once "America's largest grocer" comes to town, they drive out the competition. That's exactly what happened in Gorham, NH - a town that once had several markets to choose from, including an excellent Shaws. Not any more. "America's  largest grocer" is the only choice. It's shabby and dirty, and not  overburdened with healthy choices. 

 If we can get people into the supermarket, food has never been cheaper.

Food has never been cheaper? Has Grant Bosse EVER been inside a supermarket? 

According to the USDA, food prices went up in 2011 anywhere from 2.5 to 9%. Prices were expected to rise again in 2012, just not as much. We who shop for food can testify that prices did go up over the last 2 years. 










Raw ingredients like sugar, flour, rice, potatoes, onions, celery, carrots and bananas are cheap, and the start of a good pantry. Now, it’s too cheap to meter. Eggs, milk, chicken and beef are reasonably priced. Every supermarket offers fresh fruit, greens and seafood all year long. If you were to plot the cost of a calorie over the last hundred years, the line would be approaching zero.

For an overpaid purveyor of agitprop, the price of food may seem "too cheap to meter." For the ordinary underpaid workers, however, this is  hardly the case. Housing costs are outrageous in NH. Low wage workers can spend as much as 50% of their income on housing alone.  Add in utilities, transportation, clothing  - and one can assure Mr. Bosse that the cost of food is very, very visible on the meter. 

Food is cheap. But meals are expensive. Prepared, packaged and preserved foods cost a lot because we’re not paying for the food. We’re buying time. It’s when we stop cooking that food prices soar. Naked DC writer Emily Zanotti took the SNAP Challenge, feeding two people on $63 a week, and managed to eat like a “full-blown foodie hipster.” Her first meal was “Chicken Milanese with frise salad and shredded parm, mushroom and herb risotto.”

Naked DC is a right wing blog. Emily Zanotti is the editor. Emily Zanotti also works for Hynes Communication - the company fronted by NH's very own Pat Hynes. Try as I might, I couldn't find the actual story of Ms. Zanotti's SNAP challenge. She posted a picture of  the "full blown foodie hipster" meal that Mr. Bosse was so impressed with. She didn't post the receipts from the supermarket. Zanotti claimed she fed 2 people on $63 a week - but she provided no proof of her claims. I looked. It seems shills of a feather flock together. 

Bosse works for the far right fringe "think" tank known as the Josiah Bartlett Center. It is his job to churn out craven nonsense like this. That the Concord Monitor would both pay for and publish it is an affront to their readers. 


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Former NH State Rep sez Work Makes you Free



Former NH GOP State Representative Steven J. Connolly came by to troll the blog today. From the comment section:









I'd love to see this scheisskopf go to Berlin (NH) and tell everyone about how much work there is, and how lazy they are. 

Moving Beyond Coal in NH

Note from susanthe: This is a special guest blog. 


New Hampshire has so much potential for greatness. We live in a democracy where our voices matter. We have 400 state representatives because the people of New Hampshire believe in citizen participation. Our political system is designed to help us build the clean, healthy and prosperous world we all envision. A world where we can open our doors every morning, step outside and breathe clean, crisp air. A world where our friends and family work in a local economy where everyone has jobs that support the natural beauty and uniqueness of New Hampshire. A world where we don’t have to choose between keeping the heat on in the winter and polluting our air and water with toxic chemicals. And right here in New Hampshire we can make that world a reality.

Citizens for Clean and Fair Power works to do just that. Over the past three months, we’ve been talking with elected officials, telling them our stories and enlisting their support to responsibly retire Merrimack Station in Bow, and work for a clean air and a sustainable energy future in New Hampshire. We’ve collected over 1,300 signatures from New Hampshire residents calling on our state legislators to take action. We’ve built a coalition of over 25 state-wide groups to join our call, and had 101 local business sign on their support. Just last week, we held public forums in Concord and Portsmouth where over 100 people, including U.S. Senate Candidate Jim Rubens and State Senator Martha Fuller-Clark, joined us to discuss New Hampshire’s future beyond coal. By having these conversations and enlisting the support of politicians, experts, small business owners and everyday people, we can create a clean, healthy and prosperous New Hampshire we all want and believe in.
New Hampshire yearns for a return to politics of togetherness and the realization of our mutual goals. It’s going to take more than what we’ve done over the past three months to achieve this vision, but with every new person that signs one of our petitions, with every elected official who becomes a champion for the people, with every person who stands up and says ‘I want to live in a healthy, clean and prosperous world,’ we bring that future closer. And that is what Citizens for Clean and Fair Power is all about. 

Zack Deutsch-Gross

Zack Deutsch-Gross is an organizer for Toxics Action Center, a New England non-profit that supports local community groups such as Citizens for Clean and Fair Power to clean up pollution in their communities.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Annual Pretense




The holiday season is upon us, and that means it’s time for our annual, national, pretense of concern “for those less fortunate.” Food banks have been expressing great need for some years now. Their empty shelves have been exacerbated by the cuts to the SNAP program. Some of you may have read about a food drive that took place at a Wal-Mart in Ohio – a food drive for employees. The Waltons are some of the richest people in the world, but can’t manage to pay their employees enough to feed themselves. McDonalds has an internal guide to the holidays that suggests employees sell Christmas gifts to stay afloat. That consumers fund a consumer economy appears to be lost on Corporate America. Over the course of my lifetime the US has shifted from fighting the War on Poverty to waging the War on the Poor.

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson announced the War on Poverty, which was a part of his Great Society program, a new New Deal. At that time the poverty rate in the US was 19%. New programs invested in education, medical care, urban areas, and transportation.

It’s worth noting that at the time that the poverty rate was 19%, the unemployment rate was 5.2%. It would seem that a large percentage of working folks weren’t able to earn a living wage. Spending on poverty eradication was increasingly limited by the spending on the war in Vietnam. Sound familiar?

Over time, ideology shifted in the US, and in fewer than 20 years the war on poverty was in disfavor. It didn’t work, the naysayers said – and still say. And in 1980, the first general to wage war on the poor was elected. Ronald Reagan gave us homelessness as a permanent condition, and he gave us the kind of contempt that we see from members of his political party for the poor. “Welfare queens driving Cadillacs.” The language has changed with the times, but not the sentiment. We’ve moved from contempt to outright hatred for the poor, an attitude that is increasingly apparent in NH.

Earlier this year, NH State Representative Romeo Danais of Nottingham got such a case of the giggles over an email he received that comparing food stamp recipients to feeding wild animals that he posted it twice on the NH House internal email system. Feeding hungry kids is just like feeding wild animals. Haw haw haw.

The recent debacle over Medicaid Expansion was revelatory on many levels. State Representatives Neal Kurk and Laurie Sanborn had an opinion piece published in Fosters. They had plenty to say about the many reasons why low wage workers in our state should continue to get the shiv, but the absolute best was their concern that we shouldn’t be providing help to low-income yacht dwellers. A new take on the old dog whistle.

Michael Sununu, one of the many scions of the disgraced philatelist, had an opinion piece published in the Union Leader where he compared expanding Medicaid to the “roach motel.” That he felt so comfortable making such a public analogy indicates that comparing the working poors to cockroaches was quite intentional. Rep. Dan Itse told a long, rambling story from the State House floor comparing pigs to low wage workers. The GOP plan for the 50,000 uninsured workers in our state is simple: Die Poors.

Child poverty jumped from 12% in 2011 to 15.6% in 2012, the largest increase to occur in any state. The term “child poverty” is an interesting euphemism that manages to delicately avoid pointing out that if a child is poor, so is his/her whole family. How is it that one of the wealthiest states in the nation is seeing such an increase?

There’s more. The number of households in poverty spending over 50% of their income on housing increased from 65% in 2009 to 68.3% in 2010. Our low wage workers pay a high price for shelter. The number of families “doubled up,” – living with family or friends increased 370% between 2009 and 2010. The number of homeless students in NH increased by 1000 between 2008 and 2011. Almost every NH County has seen an increase in homelessness. In Coos it’s a 23% increase. In Carroll it’s 11%, and in Belknap a whopping 28.9%. In Carroll County family homelessness increased by 44.4%. The unsheltered homeless increased 240% in Carroll County. This can’t be considered surprising, given that Carroll County is the only county in the state that doesn’t have a single homeless shelter.

The War on Poverty was well intended, but it was never fought strategically and it was underfunded. The war on drugs began in 1971, and has failed abysmally, but it continues to have enormous amounts of money shoveled at it. If the War on Poverty had been funded in the same way that the war against non-existent weapons of mass destruction was/is, the outcomes would have been quite different.

But - Americans love myths, and we cling to them even when they’ve been disproven. We love the mythos of the boy who goes to work in the mailroom and works his way up to being CEO. We cling to the myth of the American Dream, even as millions are hungry and homeless because they can’t earn a living wage. We love the myths and we hate the poor. That they can’t make it to the top is because they’re lazy! It certainly can’t be that the deck is stacked against them. We love the myth that any boy can grow up to be president. Is there anyone who thinks that if George W. Bush had been born into a poor family he’d ever become President of the United States?

The working poor are the backbone of our state. We rely on them to serve our meals (the minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13), make us coffee, sling our burgers, wash our cars, scoop our ice cream, and ring up our purchases of cheap goods made in China. The transition to a service economy means poverty for workers. There’s a lot we could do to create decent jobs, but we’d rather blame the poor. Over 60% of the federal discretionary budget goes to the Pentagon, but we’d rather cut food stamps than stop the billions spent on M1A1 Abrams tanks that go straight to boneyards because the Army doesn’t want them. Blaming the poor is better. It takes so much less effort, and it’s become socially acceptable.


Except during the holiday season, when we engage in the Annual Pretense.



© sbruce 2013. Published as a bi-weekly column in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper. 

Verizon Wireless: 4 Days of Harassment





The first call came in on Saturday. A young woman (with a southern accent so thick I really could have used an interpreter) called to harangue me about the overdue balance on my phone. My payment was 10 days late. The amount that was unpaid was $66.18. If I didn't pay up promptly, they might suspend my service AND charge me a reconnection fee. At

I explained that the bill would be paid the following week, before the holiday. 

The call was followed up by a text message. 

There was a call on Monday. And another text message. 

There were 2 calls on Tuesday. 

All this for $66.18  

I've had an account with Verizon wireless for at least a decade. I'm hardly ever late with a payment, and I always pay. 

Yet Verizon was so desperate for $66.18 that they felt the need to dun me repeatedly over a 4 day period. 

It's unseemly. And it's what we get for having a lousy telecommunications network in our state, giving Verizon a monopoly. Monopolies breed corporate bullies. 

Like Verizon. 


PS - I sent the check out on Monday.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cornerstone: No Representation Without a Donation



Cornerstone Policy Research - a group claiming to be dedicated to empowering families has worked overtime to ensure that NH doesn't expand Medicaid and provide access to health care for thousands of working poor families. 

Ashley Pratte, the current-but-soon departing Executive Director sent out an email just now: 

Senate Medicaid Expansion Plan Successfully Tabled 



During the past few months, our State Legislature has been debating the merits of expanding Medicaid under Obamacare.  Cornerstone has shared our concerns regarding this policy and are pleased to report that the bill was successfully tabled in the New Hampshire Senate.  

We would like to thank three conservative Republican State Senators: Senator Sanborn, Senator Carson, and Senator Prescott who took a stand today and voted against the NH Senate proposed plan.  They lead the charge against it, knowing it was fiscally irresponsible and would inevitably hurt New Hampshire's middle class families with an income tax, should this program be expanded in the Granite State.
Cornerstone wants to acknowledge and thank these Senators for standing up for our values and fighting for NH families. We are grateful that the Senate bill was tabled and it is our hope that the House bill will be defeated later this evening because we believe that NH deserves better than expanding a broken program.


For Families,

Ashley Pratte
Executive Director


Underneath Miss Pratte's signature was a link to click on, to make a tax deductible donation to support Cornerstone. For that's what this is all about. Cornerstone pretends to care about families - but not the families of the working poor. Hell no! They don't click on that link to make donations.


email available at Cornerstone's Facebook page.