Friday, September 28, 2012

Carpetbagger in Costume

Meet Michael Garcia. He's running as a Democrat, in Hillsborough District 34.

Members of the Free State Project became as popular as herpes during the 2011-2012
NH legislature, where they danced to the tune of Speaker O'Brien and helped him advance his radical right agenda. All of the FSP members who ran in 2010 ran as Republicans, and none of them disclosed their FSP affiliation to their constituents.

The FSP'ers all claim to be PROUD to be part of the Free State Project, but they get mighty defensive about having to disclose their affiliation. It's not a political party they say. We don't all agree on everything, they say. The simple truth is they know they aren't as popular or as welcome as they claim. They also know that if they were to disclose their FSP affiliation to voters, that they'd never get elected.

Since the FSP popularity is especially questionable in light of their fealty to O'Brien, in 2012, they've adopted a different plan. Members of the FSP are running for the legislature again, but at least 3 of them are running as Democrats. One of them is Michael Garcia, from the video above.

Garcia is no Democrat. He's spouting the same sloganese that is the language of the FSP. (freedom, liberty, sovereign citizens, etc.)  This  is a person who is pretending to be a Democrat in order to get elected. This is a carpetbagger in costume.

A reminder from the original Free State Manifesto written by Dr. Jason Sorens, the founder of the FSP. Sorens - a man so bitterly opposed to all things public that he teaches at the State University of NY at Buffalo.

Once we've taken over the state government, we can slash state and local budgets, which make up a sizable portion of the tax and regulatory burden we face every day. Furthermore, we can eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds and the strings attached to them. Once we've accomplished those things, we can bargain with the national government over reducing the role of the national government in our state. We can use the threat of secession as leverage to do this. 

That's what the Founder of the FSP has in mind for NH. In a state that has the 11th worst infrastructure in the nation, not taking highway funds is certainly an audacious plan. Some might even go so far as to call it a painfully stupid plan.

In any case, as one might guess,  Sorens hasn't moved to NH. He's still busy teaching at the publicly funded university. Sorens was funded for years by the Mercatus Institute, which was founded by Charles Koch of Koch Industries.

This CounterPunch  story is full of all manner of revelations about where the FSP really comes from. More right wing baloney, packaged with the freedumb label, and washed down with libertea.

Given the deceptive nature of the FSP grifters, be sure to check out every single candidate of both parties this year before you vote.

NH Legislator Report Cards

From our friends at Granite State Progress:

Legislator Report Cards

It’s hard to know whether our legislators are doing what we thought they would when we elected them for two years. Granite State Progress has selected more than 200 roll call votes on a wide variety of legislation to demonstrate the voting record and drive of your individual legislator. In addition we've also included details about the representative's affiliations and relevant press releases, news clips or videos.
To get started find your legislator's name from the drop-down box below, or visit the "Find My Legislator" link to figure out who your representatives are and then return to the report cards to learn more about them.

This is a great resource that GSP has put together. There's plenty of fodder here for opposition research, letters to the editor, and for sharing with friends, neighbors, and relatives.

Read it and seethe! Read it and weep! Above all, read it and ACT!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Advantage?

The NH Advantage. This is the phrase constantly invoked by the trickle-down Republicans and defined as: no state income tax and no sales tax. This is touted as the reason for our great success as a state. The tricklers tell us that it’s the reason we weathered the most recent recession/depression. They also tell us that the evil unions and burdensome regulations prevent our state’s 27,000 millionaires  from getting to work on job creation. 

Earlier this week a group of economists got together at the Manchester Chamber of Commerce to discuss the economic growth of our state. The news isn’t good. NH is losing ground. Our economic strength compared to our evil taxated neighbors declined significantly in the last year, and has been on the decline for the last decade. Both Massachusetts and Vermont (states that are constantly derided as being socialist taxation empires) are gaining jobs just as fast as NH is losing them. Last year Massachusetts added 41,000 jobs. Vermont added 3,000. NH lost 2,000. Both MA and VT have state income taxes and sales tax. Neither VT nor MA is a right to work state, and presumably (since they’re full of tree hugging commies) both states are loaded with “burdensome regulations.” They’re growing jobs. NH is losing them. Where’s the advantage in that? 

NH has always been seen as a state with a fast growing population, with plenty of migration from other states. According to Dennis Delay, an economist at the NH Center for Public Policy Studies, this is no longer true. That trend is beginning to reverse. Delay also finds that not only is our population growth slowing, so is our private investment growth. 

This fits in with the CNBC report, “America’s Top States for Doing Business.” This report showed that NH ranked 2nd in the nation for being business friendly. The “burdensome regulations” we hear so much about are pure bunkum. The NH economy came in 34th place, a huge drop after being in 10th place in 2011. (Google “Flat Earth Mode” to read the op-ed I wrote in July about this study.) A 2011 US Chamber of Commerce report found that the states investing in infrastructure and education were the most successful in bringing in new jobs. This is the opposite of what NH is doing. What NH is doing is very clearly not working, when the socialist republics are doing so much better than we are. 

For too long, NH has been governed by bumper sticker slogans that were fresh 40 years ago. Taking the pledge is considered an economic plan by all Republicans, and sadly by most of our media. It was very clear during the buildup to the recent state primary. Gubernatorial candidates who took the pledge were not pressed on their economic plans, no matter how insubstantial they were. Jackie Cilley, the only candidate brave enough to refuse the pledge was constantly hammered by the media, who didn’t care about the amorphous plans of the other candidates. She was also hammered relentlessly by the NHDP and the NHGOP working together against her, a rare instance of bipartisanship in our state. Republicans always bluster about Democrats wanting an income tax, but it’s a lie. The NHDP hierarchy is just as invested in the pledge as the Republicans who wrote it. In both cases the reasons for the fealty are the same – it’s the politics of fear. That’s how both political parties rule their membership. The fears are different, but the tactics are certainly the same. (Note: Susan Bruce left the Democratic Party in 2009.)

Ovide Lamontagne and the other Republicans running for the legislature have no plan that will reverse the downhill trend NH is currently experiencing. Their plan is just to cut even more spending; a plan that’s failed brilliantly so far, taking us from the 10th rated state economy to the 34th in a year. It’s policy that has cost us thousands of jobs and kept our unemployment rate inching up since the Republicans took control of the legislature in 2011. It’s the same policy that ensures our infrastructure will continue to be amongst the worst in the nation, and that our young people will continue exit our state, finding affordable colleges and better job opportunities elsewhere. 

Why are we losing out to Massachusetts and Vermont? Both states are investing in education and infrastructure. Vermont in particular has invested heavily in telecommunications infrastructure, and the VT Telecommunications Authority has set a very aggressive goal of statewide cellular and broadband access by the end of 2013. VTA meets very regularly. NH has the Telecommunications Planning and Advisory Board, which has no stated goal, and according to their website, hasn’t met at all during the last year. 

NH is in denial. We’ve been lucky so far, coasting along on the past. The legislature of the last biennium can’t take us anywhere but further down Stagnation Road. There are few Republicans running who have any vision for our future. Most have a vision of staying in the past. This is true, of course, from the top down. Mitt Romney, in his broadcasts from the Let Them Eat Cake Bakery, reveals a complete disconnection from reality, never mind sound fiscal policy. Lamontagne has been allowed by the NH media to present himself as a moderate, who is only interested in job creation, not in social issues. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because you’ve heard it before. That was the NHGOP message in 2010 – the laser like focus on job creation. Once they took office, they began working to repeal NH’s marriage equality law, regulating NH women’s reproductive decisions, and passing the unnecessary and ridiculous voter ID law. It was all social engineering and no job creating. How do we know? The record speaks for itself. NH lost 2000 jobs last year. 

The last legislature made NH the butt of jokes and late night comedy around the world. A friend from Pennsylvania recently described NH as “the Texas of the northeast.” This shouldn’t be a goal. In fact, the last legislature may be one of the factors in our state’s decline. A company wanting to expand might not choose to come to a state where legislators claim that kindergarten causes crime, where warning signs are needed at the borders, where the Magna Carta should be quoted in new legislation. 

NH can do better. Indeed, we must, if we ever intend to join the 21st century. 

h/t to Brian Gottlob/polecon for the graph

© 2012 sbruce 
published as an op-ed in the September 28, 2012 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Water Shenanigans in Fryeburg

The Fryeburg, ME Water District met on Tuesday night. The Water District is an independent board that was created in 2005 by the Maine legislature. It's the last vestige of independent oversight of water in Fryeburg. The Fryeburg Water Co. is the privately owned water utility for the town, and for some residents of East Conway, NH.

Fryeburg Water Co. has a deal with Nestle, the international corporation that mines water around the world for peanuts and sells it for a huge profit. Nestle owns Poland Spring, the Maine company. Fryeburg Water Co.(FWC) is trying to make a new deal with Nestle. Bottled water sales have fallen off in recent years, and Nestle hasn't been taking as much from our local aquifer. The water company would like to have a guarantee in place, and a long term contract with Nestle. The contracts have been in 5 year increments. FWC would like to extend the terms of the contract to span a 25 year period, with a set amount of water withdrawal.

 This pending deal has sparked some of the trustees of the Fryeburg Water District into action. A former board member, Dick Krasker, was reelected to the board after a lengthy absence. A week after being reelected to the board, he proposed rendering the Water District inactive. It seems his whole purpose for rejoining the board was to shut it down.

 The meeting on Tuesday night was supposed to be the trustees voting on moving the district into inactive status. Apparently the media attention and local noise generated by this decision made some of the trustees uncomfortable, so they've opted to push this vote back until June, when the vote will be put to all customers of the Water Co. The reasoning being offered for this move to put the Water District into inactive status is money. They have to pay for a PO Box, and annual elections. They have to fundraise to keep the board active. It costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 a year, and this is a terrible burden. Krasker maintains that the reason the Water District was created was to buy the Water Company should it be up for sale. It isn't, so there's just no need for this board to remain active. This is the simplistic view of the Water District's function that is being presented. According to the WD charter, the District has other powers, including the power to act in water emergencies. Under questioning, we learn that no one (not even Krasker!) knows how to do this, if they can do it, or how to render the WD active again in the event of a shutdown.

 John Weston may hold the title of Chairman of the board, but it was very clear from the start of the meeting that Dick Krasker was in charge. He was repeatedly dismissive of the people from outside the water district who were there, referring more than once to people with "agendas, issues, and emotions." Fryeburg can solve it's own problems, he said, without any outside interference.

 Not even inside interference was being tolerated by Krasker. When trustee Scot Montgomery was explaining something, Krasker - with an assist from Fryeburg Police Chief Phillip Weymouth, got Weston to shut him down, on the grounds that what he was saying had nothing to do with their purpose for being there. Chief Weymouth is an interesting character. He was a selectman in Hollis - a Nestle company town. He was the police chief in Rangeley, ME during the time when Nestle was trying to establish a toehold (and a bottling plant) in Kingfield, ME. Now he's in yet another Nestle company town. What a remarkable coincidence!

 Nestle/Poland Spring divided the town a long time ago, and the results were on display at this meeting.

Krasker's performance was astounding. He told us that the quality of the water is perfect! The aquifer cannot possibly be sucked dry! Our rates are some of the lowest in Maine! He presented all of these statements as the kind of fact that surely intelligent people would not question. He did read a letter that he claimed was from Poland Spring, saying that they would stop pumping if the town were to say so. The town manager agreed that this letter does in fact exist. The letter was not offered up for viewing by the local populace.

Krasker offered up some articles for consideration that he would like to see on the June ballot. Trustee Scot Montgomery pointed out that these were carefully written to create certain outcomes, and stated he didn't like either of them. Bottom line - rendering the Water District inactive will come back. It may be on a ballot in June. The official reason for making the WD inactive is money. I can't help but wonder, if money were off the table what would be their next excuse?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Because you can't be fighting like hell to maintain the status quo while calling yourself progressive.

pro·gres·sive:  favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, especially in political matters: a progressive mayor.

Status quo

the existing state or condition.

TheFreeDictionary Thesaurus
regressive - opposing progress; returning to a former less advanced state
backward - directed or facing toward the back or rear; "a backward view"
progressive - favoring or promoting progress; "progressive schools

Ovide Takes Another Pledge

Ovide Lamontagne has taken the Cornerstone Family Resources organization's pledge Concord Monitor:
A conservative New Hampshire group unveiled its agenda for the upcoming legislative session that it says puts families first by repealing gay marriage and enacting strict limits on abortion, an official said yesterday.

The agenda calls for allowing employers to deny services to customers and not pay for birth control in their health plans if it violates the employers' religious beliefs. It also calls for creating a conscientious exemption to any mandate in a private health insurance policy for those who buy the policy.

This is the Christian Taliban at work, forcing THEIR religious mindset on the rest of us, and GOP goobernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne is right there with them - signing their pledge. Let this be a red flag to all of those who think Ovide is some sort of moderate.

GOP pledges are always bad for NH.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New ID Law Fails NH

The primary on September 11 was the first election since the implementing of the Voter ID bill passed this year by the legislature. This is the same legislature that promised a laser-like focus on job creation. That campaign promise fell quickly by the wayside, as the legislature turned immediately to ensuring less government intrusion into our lives by attempting to regulate marriage, regulating the uterine bearing segment of the population, and now passing a Voter ID bill, despite the absence of any proven voter fraud.

Rep. Umberger had a column in last week’s paper about Voter ID that was long on anecdote, and short on provable fact. She mentioned people who live in one town and vote in another, live in one state and vote in another. I would hope that Rep. Umberger immediately reported any such transgressions to the proper authorities.

That’s the funny thing about this voter fraud scam. Every Republican has a story about someone who commits voter fraud. Under questioning the story always falls apart. Usually it’s third party nonsense – they’re repeating a story told by some other storyteller. None of them have actually witnessed fraud at the polls.

This new, badly written law provided all manner of opportunities for abuse.
The Conway Sun quoted Bartlett town clerk Leslie Mallet as saying she was requesting photocopied ID for absentee ballots. The absentee ballots were exempted from the new law, so Ms. Mallet was essentially making up her own rules. Electronic road signs were up at both ends of Newington, reading: “New Law, Bring Photo ID.” Other towns had signs up stating that Voter ID was required. It was not required for the primary. It was requested by ballot clerks, who were then intended to hand folks a piece of paper explaining the new law and what would be required for the November election.

The end result of the poorly written law is confusion. Some towns are making up their own rules. Voters were turned away in a number of places, including a couple of wards in Manchester. The most notable case of that was in Ward 8, where twice ballot clerks told Eva Castillo that she must present an ID. It behooves me to point out that Eva is a US citizen, who came here from Colombia. She has an accent. That accent may have had some bearing on the situation. Eva is also a Police Commissioner for the City of Manchester. Oops, ballot clerks in Ward 8. The Union Leader is following this story. (Disclaimer: I know Eva Castillo.)

Claire Ebel of the NH ACLU reports hearing of voters having problems in a number of towns, including: Barrington, Boscawen, Canterbury, Chichester, Epping, Farmington, Goffstown, Kensington, Londonderry, Manchester, Newmarket, Pelham, Peterborough, Rollinsford, Salem and Thornton. It’s obvious that it’s not just voters who need more education about this law. Town and ballot clerks need to be further educated, and instructed on actual procedure. Voters without ID were supposed to be issued a voucher for their “free” ID, but when asked about that, Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlon said that the NH DMV is not ready to provide those IDs, so no vouchers were issued.

In other words, voters will be expected to have ID in November. If you need one of the “free” IDs that the state is supposed to provide for you, that’s going to be your tough luck. It’s a beautiful Catch-22. You’re supposed to have an ID, and according to the law, low-income folks can get free ID from the DMV, who can’t actually give you that free ID. This is not surprising. Remember last year’s plowing debacle, when the Dept. of Transportation didn’t have enough money in their budget, so they were going to cut plowing down on secondary roads? It’s the same thing. The NH legislature is controlled by people who think they can cut their way to prosperity, something even the pinkos at the US Chamber of Commerce acknowledge as being bad strategy. The states doing best right now are states investing in education and infrastructure. NH is doing neither. This irresponsible body passed this Voter ID bill without a fiscal note spelling out how it would be paid for. (Kind of like George Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.)

There is one especially interesting aspect of the new law. A person who purposely or knowingly uses false proof of identity to procure a ballot in NH is to be charged with a Class A felony, and given a mandatory sentence of no less than 30 days in the county correctional facility. Why hasn’t faux journalist James O’Keefe (of the Brietbart crime syndicate) who committed exactly this crime – on videotape – been extradited to NH to be tried and imprisoned?

There is election fraud, in the US; it’s just not the kind that showing an ID will address. The biggest case of election fraud took place in Florida, in November of 2000. Republicans don’t wish to discuss that. The real fraud is committed with electronic voter machines. The ID issue is just smoke and mirrors, to get low information voters all wound up about a nonexistent problem. Republicans go on and on about how it’s Democrats who are committing all manner of massive voter fraud – the dead are voting, union thugs from out of state, and so on. If Democrats are clever enough to commit voter fraud on such a massive scale, why aren’t they running the state? The country? Why do they lose so many elections? Apparently we’re not supposed to follow that so-called logic all the way through.

This new law is intended to gum things up at the polls, and disenfranchise some voters. (The elderly, students, people of color, women, and the poor.) The legislature never proved that voter fraud was a problem in our state. We’re told it was necessary because it COULD happen. If that’s how we write laws these days, ALL of us should immediately go to prison, because we MIGHT commit some crime. It’s a flimsy pretext, but in a world where politics has become partisan shouting, and facts don’t matter (see: Romney, Mitt) it is no surprise that the corporate shadow group ALEC has been so successful in getting this sort of bill passed in a number of states around the country.

If the GOP/ALEC could legislate that only angry white male Republicans were allowed to vote, they most certainly would have done so.

© sbruce 2011 published as an op-ed in the September 13, 2012 edition of the Conway Daily Sun.

Deep thoughts

Can one credibly be progressive and regressive at the same time?

How can NH Democrats take the NH GOP pledge, while claiming the progressive mantle?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Get Out and Vote!

If you see any problems today with the new Voter ID law, be sure to speak to the moderator at the polls. Take pictures. Take video if you can.

In addition:

NH Secretary of State:

NH Attorney General's Office:

This pdf from the NH League of Women Voters gives all of the facts about the new Voter ID law. Print some up, and bring them along with you when you vote - and be observant.

Go forth and vote!

It's primary day in NH

and I still haven't had a single email from the Kennedy for Governor campaign.

I signed up for his email list on August 24, and haven't gotten a single email. I've had countless emails from other candidates since then - people both in and outside of my voting district.

Will we ever know what was behind this phony candidacy?

Probably not.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Jackie for the North Country

The Conway Daily Sun newspaper endorsed Jackie Cilley for governor. Here are some of the salient points for those of us who live in the top half of the state:

Two factors tip the scale for us. Cilley is a Berlin native with a special interest in the north country, and she shows a rare streak of political independence and willingness to break ranks with her own party — qualities we see less of in Hassan.


Asked at an editorial board at the Sun why she's visited Berlin only once in her campaign, Hasson said the geographical realities of running a statewide campaign keep her in the southern part of the state. That makes political sense, but the north country will be better served by a governor who cares more about its future than the number of votes it represents on election day.

In other words - "I can't be bothered. The votes are in the southern part of the state." Hassan should have consulted with Carol Shea Porter about that.

Jackie always says, "we can't leave any part of the state behind." For far too long, we who live in the north have been ignored and left behind by politicians who aren't very familiar with the areas north of Concord, and weren't all that interested.

Jackie won't forget us. And in her own words:

Cilley, who grew up poor on the third floor of a triple-decker in Berlin, has been quoted, "I'm from Berlin, I don't roll over." That's north country attitude worth voting for.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Million Dollar Maggie's Concern for Workers

Some years back, the Conway Daily Sun was fined an enormous sum of money by the NH Dept. of Labor. They'd changed their payday schedule for employees from weekly to biweekly. Doesn't seem like a big deal - BUT- they hadn't filled out a form requesting permission from the NH Dept. of Labor to make this change. They were fined for not having that permit in place for 20 years, and it cost a small fortune. They appealed and lost.

I'm a caregiver for an elderly woman. She had been quite hale and hearty, but had a stroke which resulted in some physical limitations. She needed daily care. Her son, who lives in a nearby state was worried sick about his mother, and commuting back and forth from his house to hers, frantically trying to set up care for her while keeping his own business (which had been hit hard by the recession) going. He hired some caregivers. He didn't realize at the time that he was starting a business. He just thought he was taking care of his mother. He got some not-so-great advice from an accountant about things he did and did not have to do. As a result, he didn't do a thing he needed to do, and the NH Dept. of Labor threatened him with a $150,000 fine. That's more than his payroll for two years.

In 2008, a bill to allow businesses to have one free warning from NH Dept. of Labor before being fined went before the NH Senate. It was co-sponsored by Senators Jackie Cilley and Jeb Bradley. It was heard by the Commerce, Labor, and Consumer Protection committee, chaired by then-Senator Maggie Hassan. Hassan was opposed, and the bill failed.

In 2011, after the toxic red tide swept through the NH State House, and the Democrats lost control of everything, the bill was brought back by Senator Bradley and passed easily. New Labor Laws in Effect. The text of the bill; SB 66.

Fast forward to 2012. Maggie Hassan is running for governor of NH. She's raised and spent a million dollars in her campaign, and she's still neck and neck with challenger Jackie Cilley of the grassroots, shoestring budget campaign. The Hassan camp is on a hamster wheel of desperation, throwing out all manner of stuff in an effort to find something that will stick.

For the life of me, though, I can't understand why the Hassan campaign views the failure of that bill as a triumph. I know that they do, because they keep on boasting about it themselves, or they get minions to do it. Hassan has used this bill to attack Jackie Cilley.

Hassan has cast Cilley's work on the bill as anti-worker. She said state labor officials already had the option of warning employers first when the violations were not serious.

"I think it's important to make sure we are being sensitive to those enforcement issues and that we have the right kind of flexibility for the executive branch," Hassan said. "The way I understood this particular bill, was that it was going to prohibit the Department of Labor from imposing financial penalties even when violations were significant and had a real impact on workers' lives."

Now, in a state that has no broad based taxes, creativity is required to scrape up enough cash to run our tiny government and keep our roads passable. A cynical sort might say that the NH Dept. of Labor was assigning enormous fines to bring in funds that no one could call taxes or fees. The kind of fines that could have a devastating impact on a small business.

Were workers being harmed by the Sun's failure to file a permit twenty years earlier? It seems most unlikely.

As for me, if that $150,000 fine had been imposed, my boss would have closed his business and moved in with his mother to care for her. I would have LOST my job which would have had a real impact on my life - thanks to Million Dollar Maggie's concern for workers.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Bill Kennedy - Legitimate Candidate?

Bill Kennedy is a candidate for governor of NH. He's running as a Democrat. He's raised a little over $5000, most of it contributed by either himself or relatives. He has no staff, no volunteers. His website is a joke. I signed up for his email list on August 24. There have been no emails. The NH primary is in 4 days. I'm getting plenty of emails from other candidates. Hell, I get 3 emails a day from the NH Romney campaign, and I'm hardly a likely Romney voter.

Despite a complete lack of money and organization, Kennedy has been regarded as a serious candidate - getting just as much on air time during the recent WMUR debate as Senator's Cilley and Hassan. The NHDP and their minions have treated Kennedy as if he were a serious candidate.

There are a lot of curious aspects to the Kennedy campaign. For starters, he doesn't sound much like a Democrat. He's in favor of a flat income tax. He's in favor of a 24 hour waiting period for abortions, since he also thinks that women are frequently coerced into having them.

Kennedy's website In his lengthy bio, which is long on military service and short on anything else is this statement:

Kennedy is a self proclaimed “Centrist” who entered the race after carefully reviewing the other candidates and their positions; realizing the current candidates were too far left and right.

So, Hassan and Cilley represent the right and the left? Or is he including the Republicans here, too? It's hard to tell, because nothing Kennedy says indicates any connection to the Democratic Party.

He does have signs, apparently, and a lot of them in the seacoast area, which is where he's originally from, and where his family members live. I haven't seen a Kennedy sign anywhere in Carroll County. Apparently that's what he's putting his $5000+ in campaign funds into.

Here's some detail from one of his signs:

The victory store looks like any other site that sells campaign merchandise. Google "cheap campaign signs" and you'll get pages and pages of these sites, as I discovered. One thing I didn't get, however, in the first 6 pages that came up, was the Victory Store. At the bottom of the Victory Store's website is this:

© Copyright Victory Enterprises, Inc., 2001.
Victory Enterprises provide all sorts of services for campaigns, corporations, and special interest groups. They have a lengthy
client list. A sampling from their candidate list:

Arkansas Republican Party
Illinois Republican Party
Indiana Republican Party
Republican Party of Iowa
Missouri Republican Party
Nebraska Republican Party
Legislative Majority Fund, IA
Indiana HRCC
Missouri HRCC
Connecticut HRCC
Tommy Thompson for President
Steve Forbes for President

Their interest group list is comprised of groups like the Heartland Institute, a GOP/libertarian think tank concerned with proving climate change is bogus, amongst other things. On their front page is a trailer for "Atlas Shrugged Pt. II. Another satisfied Victory Enterprises customer are the Concerned Women for America a religious right organization with an anti-choice and anti gay agenda.

It's curious that a Democrat would pick this sign company. It's even more curious that a Democrat who claims to be a believer in equality would do business with this company.

As anyone who has any familiarity with the workings of the NHDP is aware, they HATE primaries. The NHDP hierarchy would prefer to choose candidates for higher office, anoint them, and pass them along to the grassroots without any troublesome challengers cropping up. The NHDP wasn't at all happy in 2006, when grassroots activist Carol Shea-Porter challenged the chosen party candidate, former State Representative Jim Craig.

The NHDP hasn't come right out and endorsed gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan, but they may as well have, since the entire staff and former chair are all Hassan supporters. And perhaps that's why they and other Hassan supporters have treated Bill Kennedy as if he were a serious candidate, because they're hoping he'll take votes away from Jackie Cilley. The Democratic Party as a whole certainly doesn't take every candidate seriously, as I know all too well, as a former Kucinich staffer.

I don't mean to imply that Kennedy is some kind of put up job on the part of the Hassan campaign. This is a campaign that's raised and spent nearly a million dollars and is still running neck and neck with Jackie Cilley's grassroots shoestring campaign. If they were behind Kennedy, some of that million would have been funneled to him, to make him a legitimate, credible candidate.

Same thing for the GOP. If he were a Trojan Horse candidate for the GOP, it seems as if they'd have given him enough money to make him a real candidate.

Or maybe not. Maybe the goal here is just to siphon votes away from Cilley, to ensure a Hassan win. The GOP is hoping for a Hassan victory. Maybe Kennedy is just an egomaniac who decided there needed to be a man in the race. Given his patriarchal leanings, that's entirely possible. Maybe this is all just bizarre coincidence.

To borrow an old time north country phrase: "hard sayin' not knowin'."
spec·u·la·tion (spky-lshn)
a. Contemplation or consideration of a subject; meditation.
b. A conclusion, opinion, or theory reached by conjecture.
c. Reasoning based on inconclusive evidence; conjecture or supposition.

Bad Things Happen, Judge Tells Victim

From Think Progress:

Last summer, a drunk Arizona police officer named Robb Gary Evans drove himself to a bar, flashed his badge to avoid paying cover at the door, and then walked up behind a woman, put his hand up her skirt, and ran his fingers over her genitals.

and from Judge Jacqueline Hatch:

Bad things can happen in bars, Hatch told the victim, adding that other people might be more intoxicated than she was. “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you,” Hatch said.

Putting aside the judge's crime against the English language - the lesson for women is simple: If you leave your house, whatever men do to you is your fault.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Nestle/Poland Spring Protest, Sept. 1, 2012

The battle over water has been going on for almost a decade now in Fryeburg, ME. This pretty much explains what's going on right now. On Saturday, about 20 folks turned out in downtown Fryeburg in the hopes of creating awareness. There were signs, and folks handing out leaflets to the tourists stuck in traffic. This sign really says it all:

Some Swiss filmmakers made a documentary called Bottled Life that examines Nestle's corporate ethics and morals, and takes a look at how Nestle destroyed the community of Fryeburg, by pitting residents against one another. I've been following the issue for some years now. A sampling:

From Water to Kool-Aid

Judas Jobs

Poland Spring Fliers Contain Wrong Polling Hours

Now Nestle is trying to ensure that there will be NO citizen involvement in overseeing the water of Fryeburg.

10 Things You Should Know from the Bottled Life website.

The movie trailer:

Perhaps the most shocking part is that Nestle pays $10 for that tanker truck full of water, and sells it for $50,000. Fryeburg should be Eden. Instead, Fryeburg was looking at having downtown declared a slum and a blight to get federal monies to revitalize. The Conway Daily Sun, January 31, 2012.

This is a rotten business, and one NH should involve itself in, post haste. The local aquifers don't seem to understand borders and boundaries.