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.

DIE POORS, Part 2




Appearing today in  Fosters is an opinion piece by GOP State Representatives Laurie Sanborn and Neal Kurk. It's titled: 

Expand Medicaid? Only if you want a state tax Increase

This tells you all you need to know about the level of concern these representatives have for the uninsured population of our state. Their quotes are in red. The opening lines:

Many people in New Hampshire believe that low-income New Hampshire adults should have health insurance. Some low-income adults have it now through their employers, but many do not.

Many people believe. Not these two! 

The sad reality is that, once New Hampshire expands Medicaid under Obamare, it will be politically impossible to stop it. Why? Because, for example, when costs inevitably rise, expansion supporters will successfully argue that the state cannot deprive 50-60,000 low-income individuals of their health insurance. 

Therefore the solution is to perpetuate the current level of deprivation! 

Are we discouraging people who are currently working part-time or in an entry level job from striving for full-time or a higher paying job, just to stay on taxpayer funded health care? 


Seriously? Do either of you two have a clue about the cost of living in this state, or the availability of jobs? Why not try talking to people outside of your sphere of glibertarian inanity? 

Is it fair to those who pay their full premiums, deductibles and co-pays to have fewer choices of hospitals and doctors than those who pay nothing for their health costs under Expanded Medicaid? 

LET THE POORS DIE! 

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?

I feel certain that the NH population of low income 50 year old yacht dwellers is roughly the same as the percentage of NH welfare recipients who drive Cadillacs.

Read the whole thing. Nowhere in this opinion piece will you find even the slightest expression of concern for the working poor in our state. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

TeaStater Jane Cormier Turns Educator




Rep. Jane Cormier of Alton is leading a discussion series entitled "Constitution 101" at the Gilman Library in Alton. From the Laconia Daily Sun:

This course, "The Meaning and History of the Constitution" is a 10 part presentation by Hillsdale College. Rep. Jane Cormier will moderate the classes and discussion, which will include a video and study guide discussion.

Hillsdale College is a private (no gummint funding!) school in Hillsdale, Michigan. The President of the college recently received some attention for his testimony before a subcommittee of the state legislature:


While testifying against the Common Core, which have been adopted in more than 40 states in an effort to standardize education, Arnn said he took issue with the idea of government interfering with educational institutions and went on to describe a letter he had received from the Department of Education shortly after becoming president at Hillsdale. The letter, he told the committee, said his college "violated the standards for diversity because we didn't have enough dark ones, I guess, is what they meant."

These comments led to the now-standard fauxpology:

Several hours after Arnn made his initial statements, Hillsdale College issued an official apology. “No offense was intended by the use of that term except to the offending bureaucrats," read the statement, which was published by MLive. It further said that while Arnn was sorry if offense was taken, his greater concern “is the state-endorsed racism the story illustrates."

In other words, he's sorry that he got negative attention for making the comments, but that's all he's sorry for. In 1984 Hillsdale stopped accepting federal funds, because of affirmative action. In 2007, Hillsdale stopped accepting state funds. In 2010, they issued a Resolution Against Federal Interference, which essentially says, you can't make us take dark ones if we don't wanna. The college advertises on Rush Limbaugh's radio show. The Mission and Moral Commitments document makes clear that this is not a gay-friendly institution. 

Hillsdale has a "Statues of Liberty" walk that includes statues of Margaret Thatcher and Saint Ronald Reagan. 

The Constitution 101 materials are generated by the Allan P. Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies at Hillsdale, where Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's wife Ginni is a consultant. Past speakers at their Constitution Day festivities include Paul Ryan and Charles Krauthammer. The Center is closely tied to the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. 

Representative Cormier is bringing a slanted curriculum from a college desperate to conceal its bigotry to the public library in Alton. That's no surprise. Rep. Cormier is firmly allied with the Tea Party/John Birch Society/Free Stater faction of our state legislature. The self-styled Constitutional experts of the NH legislature are many. They embrace the Second Amendment and the double triple secret 13th Amendment. The rest of those pesky amendments, eh....not so much. 

It amuses me that Cormier is so worshipful of a document (and the men who wrote it) that didn't even consider her a person. I'm further amused by the fact that Cormier and her allies hate all things "public" and "gummint"  - yet they always seem to use public buildings or spaces for their events.  Shouldn't those who want all things privatized find private space to use? Apparently the idea of opening her home to the great unwashed masses held little appeal for Rep. Cormier. Tee hee. 


PS I don't in any way intend this as a criticism of the Gilman Library. Our public libraries should be free speech zones, open to all views and speakers. 


                                         

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The NH GOP Brain Trust

Haw, haw, haw - in 2 parts.  From NH State Rep. John Burt's FB page:



Don't worry Jane. NO ONE thinks you're even slightly progressive. 



The fierce intellects of the NH GOP at work. Remember, we pay our legislators $100 a year. 

You get what you pay for. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

DIE, POORS!

 Charlie Pierce on Senator Kelly Ayotte's appearance this week on Meet the Press:


I have to tell you, it takes a rare performance by one of The Sunday Showz to so dominate the weekend's gobshitery that we hardly even notice that Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-Weathervane) burbled the following English substitute in response to a question on health-care from The Dancin' Master.

Well, I would say let's get to the table on a bipartisan basis and let's make sure that we have a plan that has more choice, not less. Let's have one where we're driving down costs and increasing competition. Have the insurance companies compete in a way that they aren't right now. Let's get together and figure out what are the best models from the state law on the high-risk pools to address pre-existing conditions. There are many ideas I think that we could do that won't harm people who have policies now that they would like to keep. And I think that's the problem that we're seeing, is a law that harms so many people who right now were trying to do the right thing and have health insurance, and now they're receiving these cancellation notices and higher premiums. And it seems to me that we should work together to address this health care reform instead of the way this was done on party lines.

In other words, Senator Weathervane (thank you Charlie!) wants to keep on having the same ineffectual "discussion" the GOP has been having for decades about health care. The "discussion" that involves a lot of moving lips and hot air - and absolutely no action. 

This especially offends me:

And I think that's the problem that we're seeing, is a law that harms so many people who right now were trying to do the right thing and have health insurance, and now they're receiving these cancellation notices and higher premiums. 

Apparently those of us (and yes, this group includes me) who can't afford insurance are doing the wrong thing by choosing to pay our rent instead of getting health insurance? Ayotte has had plenty to say about the folks whose insurance is cancelled, but she's never expressed any interest in or concern for those of us who can't afford health insurance. 

The GOP health care plan: DIE, POORS! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

NH Republican Rants about "Those People"



A former Republican state representative stopped by my blog to comment on this column that I wrote for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper.  Steven J. Connolly writes for the septic tank  known as NH Insider.  He defends the xenophobic remarks made by Pete Silva, who ran against Latha Mangipudi in a special election for a vacant NH House seat in Nashua. I suspect those remarks cost Silva the election. The whole exchange between us is worth reading. (you can read them on the link above)

This is the most unpalatable of his comments:

"Since you seem to have the inside track, perhaps you could share it with me." 
I do have the inside track. Having served two terms in the NH House myself and being active in NH politics since 1987. 
In terms of your 'endorsements' you might not have been holding a sign, but you've endorsed Rep. Latha Mangipudi or at least you were there in principle. 
Have you been to India Ms. Bruce? This is a country that is like a train wreck. This is a country that refuses to help itself. And other than bringing their cultures, their values and their ideas to the U.S. what do these individuals from India bring to New Hampshire and the NH House? 
Former Rep. Silva's comment about "New Delihi" is likely accurate. Instead of assimilating to values that have existed since the 1700s these people have chosen to remake and rebrand NH into how THEY want it. Including using economic models, values and ideas that fail and continue to fail in their own countries. 
Socialism is an economic model that has continually demonstrate that it can't work over time. Yet it is one that yourself and other continue to espouse and promote and an a direction that will tax and spend New Hampshire into oblivion. 

This is just ugliness. Rep. Mangipudi is a US citizen, which makes her one of us. She's one of the many flavors of the melting pot that is the United States. 

After Connolly came by to leave that fetid offering in my comment section, I did some research on Latha Mangipudi. She's lived in Nashua since 1989. Her kids went to Nashua public schools. When she came to the US she had a Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology. She has worked toward a PhD in Behavior Neuro-Sciences at BU. She's interested in education, health and human services, and encouraging community involvement. I've never met Rep. Mangipudi, but she sounds like an asset to her community and to our state. 

It's also worth pointing out how quickly we forget. At one time, people with surnames like Connolly were regarded as THOSE PEOPLE. 




PS:
Hey Steven Connolly what about this guy? You paleocons were eager to trot out Marion Noronha the immigrant from India who built his whole business all by himself with no gummint help....well, except for the help he got. Gonna tell him to go back to New Delhi? What about Bobby Jindal?

A Song for Rand Paul

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Elections and Eulogies




New Hampshire cities had municipal elections last week. After the Great Bearcat Media Event in Concord, a number of Free Staters decided to run for the City Council. Given that the Bearcat was a done deal, running on the anti-Bearcat platform wasn’t the best strategy. Most revealed a woeful ignorance of what the job entailed. They all lost.

City and town elections should be nonpartisan – they should be about electing the best person for the job. The key word there is “should.” We all know that partisan politics and ideology sometimes creep in. Former state Republican Party Chairperson, Fergus Cullen, ran for the Dover City Council. Despite billing himself as a humble small businessman (he failed to disclose that he’s the executive director of a far right think tank in Connecticut) he lost. Badly. Cullen has written about the dangers inherent in what the NH Republican Party has become, and now he’s experienced what he predicted.

In addition to the municipal elections, Nashua had a special election in Ward 8 for a state representative. It was an ugly business. Republican Peter Silva (former House Majority leader) had some unattractive things to say about his opposing candidate, Latha Mangipudi. Speaking to the Nashua City Republican Committee, Silva remarked that upon coming out of the polls on primary day, “I thought I was in New Delhi,” referring to the large turnout of Indian American voters. He told his fellow Republicans  “they’d be coming out of the woodwork” to vote for Mangipudi. That effort to rebrand the GOP to be friendlier to women and minorities sure is coming along nicely. Silva refused to apologize, whined about political correctness, and generally dug himself a deeper hole every time he opened his mouth. He lost.

That wasn’t the end of the ugliness in Ward 8. Inside the polling place, Karen Thoman, Secretary of the City Republican Committee was videotaping voters. Apparently she had permission from the City Clerk, who ran it by unnamed “state officials.” (One hopes that this is being investigated.) As one would expect, there was some backlash from angry voters. At least one called her a Nazi. She piously defended herself by stating that she didn’t videotape children. She has standards!  That this videotaping took place ONLY in Ward 8 underscores the sheer nastiness of this special election. The day will come when Republicans want minority votes. (HINT: this isn’t the way to get them.) This kind of conduct only serves to continue the erosion of confidence in our electoral system.

Alcoa stock prices have been on the rise this week, thanks to former state GOP Chairman Jack Kimball. Kimball sent out an email to 50 of his pals warning them that the UN was invading NH. Apparently his daughter saw a convoy of about 50 trucks on the highway. From the email: “It consisted of a wide range of military vehicles, many of them white and nondescript and unmarked." He said they later saw another group of around 10 to 12 18-wheelers, also nondescript and driven by military personnel,” Kimball told the Portsmouth Patch, “We’re on the watch for stuff like this.” The fact that white UN trucks have UN painted on them in big black letters was lost on Mr. Kimball. Turns out, those frightening white trucks belonged to medics from NH, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island National Guard units, who had been in Maine conducting training exercises. Ooops. Jack had to send out a retraction to his followers.

Kimball also told Patch, "We're all concerned about what's going on with Obama. We've all been talking about what's happening. We've got Chinese troops arriving in Hawaii... and Kansas. There’s a lot of things going on that are very suspicious. There are a lot of people that are very vigilant.

“We” appears to be Kimball’s fellow members of the shiny haberdashery club. Some cursory research reveals that the Chinese troops in Hawaii are there taking part in disaster relief exercises. They’re simulating post-earthquake relief operations. This sort of exchange is an annual exercise that is part of a security cooperation agreement established in 1998. I can find no reputable sources confirming the invasion of Kansas by Chinese troops. Perhaps they’re sneaking in, undercover, in UN trucks.

In other news, NH has lot a couple of the good guys to cancer in the last 2 weeks. Marty Capodice died at home in Concord. Marty was a retired research analyst with the NH Employment Security Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau. He was also a long time house manager at the Capital Center for the Arts. Marty was married to Arnie Arnesen, who can be heard discussing national politics and events on radio in at least 4 states. Marty was a truly happy man – he loved his family, his friends, and his community. He could convince even the most Eeyore amongst us (me) that they could do anything, give them a bear hug, and send them on their way, feeling as if maybe Marty was right. A big loss.

District 1 Executive Councilor Ray Burton died this week. Ray served the North Country in that capacity for 35 years. Since the council districts are based on population, Ray’s district covered 2/3 of the state. It’s a stupidly huge district, but Ray managed to be everywhere at once, handing out combs and remembering the names and faces of everyone he ever met. Ray was a staunch advocate for the oft-forgotten northern part of our state. He was a Republican, but not an ideologue, and he always returned my phone calls. It has also been mildly amusing to watch all of the people who were howling for his resignation 8 years ago offering up accolades now that he’s gone. As a tribute to Ray, I hope we can all agree that no one else can do what he did. District One should be divided into at least 2 parts. Ray had decades to figure it out, something the next person will not. Creating 2 manageable districts would keep the Council at an odd number (no tie votes), and ensure quality representation for the biggest part of the state.


The Feisty Shaheen

Republicans - desperate to deny women access to contraception and force them to serve as involuntary incubators are attempting to turn the problems with the ACA into a new meme, "Obamacare is bad for women." They're trying to counter the (accurate) accusation of a GOP war on women. 

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Dayspring said the law's problems will help his party combat Democrats' claim that Republicans are engaged in a "war on women" on matters such as access to contraceptives. His campaign committee is targeting Hagan, Landrieu and other female Democrats with messages saying "Obamacare could hurt hundreds of thousands of women," yet these Democratic lawmakers stand by the law.

I'm thinking that this is destined to fail, given the GOP talk about abortion, rape, and violence against women. Senator Jeanne Shaheen really lets them have it:

Republicans also are making the "Obamacare"-hurts-women argument in New Hampshire, where Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen faces re-election next year. Shaheen calls the claims absurd.
The Republican Party's basic position on health care, Shaheen said, "opposes contraceptives for women and is unwilling to provide access to abortion even in cases of rape and incest."
Now, she said, Republicans want people to believe "that the great new preventive coverage that women are going to get under the new health care law is somehow not going to be good for women and families."
"It's like being called ugly by a frog," Shaheen said.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Communiques from the Shiny Haberdashery Club





















(command center of former NH State Republican Party Chair Jack Kimball)


Jack Kimball issued a communique from his headquarters:

"I sent an email to select friends based upon info I received from my own daughter and son-in-law," Kimball said in a telephone interview. "They were on their way to Maine early a couple mornings ago and told me they had seen a 50 to 60 truck convoy. It consisted of a wide range of military vehicles, many of them white and nondescript and unmarked." He said they later saw another group of around 10 to 12 18-wheelers, also nondescript and driven by military personnel.

"We're on a watch for stuff like this," Kimball said. "I sent it to 50 to 60 people to let them know it was seen. The only thing I said was it was white so it could be UN because that's their color. We didn't really know."

Turns out it was a convoy of National Guard medical units from 4 states, returning from training exercises in Maine. Not a UN invasion of NH. Not this time, anyhow! 

Kimball had to send out an "ooops" email to his followers. 

Our friends at Patch asked him why he sent the first one:

"We're all concerned about what's going on with Obama," Kimball said. "We've all been talking about what's happening. We've got Chinese troops arriving in Hawaii... and Kansas. There's a lot of things going on that are very suspicious. There are a lot of people that are very vigilant.


Chinese troops are taking part in disaster relief exercises in Hawaii today, in what China's state media billed as the first time the country's soldiers have drilled on U.S. territory.
People's Liberation Army soldiers are taking part in humanitarian assistance drills in Hawaii until Thursday with thier U.S. counterparts, simulating relief operations after an earthquake hits a third country, according to a report on the website of the Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper.

That sure sounds ominous. Disaster relief drills for an earthquake prone country! 

The United States will have 50 people participate, including soldiers and civilians from U.S. Army Pacific, the Hawaii Army National Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. China is expected to bring 60 soldiers and observers.

The exchange is an annual exercise that is part of a security cooperation agreement established in 1998.

1998? That was before the Kenyan Muslim Socialist of a dusky hue was installed in the White House, amirite? 

This must all make sense if it's filtered through a tinfoil turban. 

As for Chinese troops invading Kansas - the only reports I can find of that are from Kimball's fellow members of the shiny haberdashery club. 

As a free marketeer, Mr. Kimball will be happy to learn that his watchful eye is undoubtedly responsible for this:


Keen observers, those Kimballs. 




Monday, November 11, 2013

"Sadist University; Turns my Stomach": NH Rep. O'Flaherty on his work as a legislator

The Free State Project (libertarians who intend to move into NH, colonize, and take over the state) had a "Keenevention" recently in the western part of the state. They claim it was a huge success with "over 100 participants, volunteers, panelists, and VIPs." One of their panels was on the NH legislature. The participants were former state rep. Seth Cohn who served one term and had no hope of getting reelected, Eileen Landies of the NH Liberty Alliance (an FSP offshoot), current State Rep. Tim O'Flaherty of Manchester who ran as a Democrat in order to get elected, but is closely allied with the far right, and former state rep. Spec Bowers who served one term and wasn't able to win reelection. In short, not a very inspiring panel.

This is what Representative O'Flaherty had to say about his experience representing the people  of his district:





Representative O'Flaherty will be returning to Sadist University in January 2014 when the legislature reconvenes.

Propagandist Complains about "Fractured Media Landscape"

When the Democrats took back control of the NH House and the Governor's seat, the Concord Monitor decided to add Grant Bosse to their roster of columnists, with the intent of making the paper more fair and balanced. Or something like that. Given the dearth of right wing voices in NH media, one can certainly understand the Monitor's desire to create such an opportunity. 

Grant Bosse works for the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a far right wing think tank. (They've stopped calling themselves non-partisan, at least.) He's the editor of their propaganda blog, NH Watchdog. He's also a frequent guest columnist at the Union Leader, the newspaper that serves as the stenographer for the NHGOP. Neither the UL nor the NH Watchdog feel compelled to match the Monitor's desire for fairness and balance. 

This is how we come to see Grant Bosse each week in the Sunday Monitor.  This week's offering was a combination of political predictions and media critique, with a side order of self congratulation. 

Our fractured media landscape makes it very easy for conservatives and liberals alike to seek out news and commentary from sources that share their beliefs. It’s hard to argue that one side has a monopoly on the echo chamber when Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow are both on the air. It’s important for voters to occasionally venture outside the bubble of political conformity, a service which I hope this column performs for Monitor readers.

Our fractured media landscape? This coming from a paid propagandist for the right? He's part of the cabal that broke the media! Then there's the attempt at creating a sort of equivalence between Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity. 

Sean Hannity barely finished high school and dropped out of college twice. His first weekly radio call in show was cancelled because of anti-gay comments he made. Like the time he told a lesbian caller, "I feel sorry for your child." Amusingly, the ACLU got his job back for him, but he chose not to return. In 2005, Jerry Falwell awarded Hannity an honorary degree from Liberty University. 

Rachel Maddow was a Rhodes Scholar.  She has a PhD from Oxford in politics. In 2010, Dr. Maddow was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Smith College. 

The most striking difference between them? Maddow's consistent use of provable facts. And - unlike Hannity,  Dr. Maddow has never been chased down Elm St. in Manchester by angry Ron Paul supporters. 


Back to Bosse:

Yet those who talk about politics for a living have little incentive to ever change their tune. We’ve seen from the Obamacare debacle how hard it is for elected officials to even acknowledge obvious mistakes, and they have to answer to voters. Why should cable news guests ever admit they were wrong? The good news is that Tuesday’s election results were mixed enough to reinforce almost any narrative.

I guess I missed Bosse taking Bush to task for lying to start a war that has nearly bankrupted the nation. I must have missed Bosse ever changing his own tune or admitting that he was wrong. Finally, I must have missed Bosse taking his own party to task...ever. 

Hubris. 

Friday, November 08, 2013

Wizard of Odd


Glenn Beck uses dolls and other props to tell us the story of Dorothy and Toto. People send this guy money. People consider him a trustworthy source for information. 




Mind boggling, innit? 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Former NH GOP State Chair Loses BIG in Dover

Former NH GOP State Chairman, Fergus Cullen, ran for an At-Large City Council seat in Dover, where he used some creativity in  filling out his candidate questionnaire.  It didn't help.

He lost. By a LOT.




















Overt Racism and Other Ugliness Fail in Nashua's Ward 8

They tried. In Nashua's Ward 8 special NH House election, the Republicans tried everything they could to get that seat back for former House Majority Leader Pete Silva. Pete himself tried, too. It turns out that the voters of Ward 8 weren't impressed with overt racism. Silva commented that it looked like "New Delhi" outside the polls on the day of the primary. That "they'd be coming out of the woodwork" to vote for his opponent, Latha Mangipudi. Silva not only refused to apologize, he ramped it up, decrying "political correctness." 

Last week I wrote:

Silva's refusal to apologize was stupid. By refusing, he's kept this story alive far longer than it needed to be. Unless he thinks he's going to win BECAUSE of those comments, the refusal to apologize is a big tactical error. Someday the NH GOP is going to want the immigrant community's votes. This isn't the way to get 'em. 

I wasn't wrong. 

Pete Silva lost.  And so did the Republican Party, BECAUSE they tried everything. The racist commentary wasn't all they tried.

Somegopone put out ugly fliers: Nashua Patch.

Racism and fliers weren't all though. From the Nashua Telegraph:

A few rumblings of controversy were heard on Election Day at Ward 8, when at least two voters took issue with being videotaped inside the polling place at Bicentennial Elementary School.
Karen Thoman, who tended a small video camera mounted on a tabletop tripod behind where the ballot clerks were seated, said, “One called me a Nazi.”

It’s all perfectly legal and permissible, Thoman said, producing paperwork as confirmation. “The only restriction is I don’t record children. That’s easy, because there’s no school today,” she said.
Anderson, the ward moderator, said Thoman had the OK because she got written permission from city clerk Paul Bergeron, who ran it by state officials early Tuesday.

Outside the school, GOP city committee member Ed Stebbins indicated the video camera idea was supported by the committee, but Thoman said she wasn’t part of an organized initiative.
“I’m not working for anyone; it’s just a project I wanted to do on my own,” said Thoman, who is currently the secretary of the GOP city committee.

She said the only other person involved was her husband, who spelled her from time to time. Her reason for recording voters, Thoman said, was “to see the process, that’s all.”

Apparently the Republicans decided to attempt to intimidate the brown skinned voters of Ward 8 with a video camera. Who were the "state officials" that approved this nasty bit of business? If anyone thinks that Thoman was doing this on her own, I've got a bridge in New Delhi for sale.