Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thin-skinned John Bircher

Apparently I've gone and ticked off the John Birch Society. Check out this poorly written screed, filled with a lot of interesting assumptions on Mr. Hal Shurtleff's part about what I "have no problems" with.

The writer is Hal Shurtleff, a regional field director for the John Birch Society. The conversation I've been having with him is beginning to cause him to unravel. This is one thin-skinned employee of a hate group:

Conway Daily Sun

Here's a video of Hal dispensing some agitprop to his flock:

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, really? It's just such a silly, and unimaginative lie. Obama isn't nearly interesting enough to have been friends with them. He's a very conservative centrist Democrat. The right wingers have worked damned hard to persuade the mouth breathers of the nation that Obama is  a Commie, a socialist, a pinko, - when in reality, he's less liberal than Richard Nixon was.

But, for the JBS, any port in the storm to try to discredit the guy in the White House. That the guy  happens to be black is surely just a coincidence, where the JBS is concerned.

A little Carlin to cleanse your palate:

Thank You, Have a Nice Day

On November 8 (the day after the election), the NY Times had an article in their style section titled: “NH’s All-Mother Congressional Delegation (and Governor),” written by KJ Dell’ Antonia. Ms. Dell’Antonia writes about how NH has become the first state to send an all female delegation to Congress. Both of our US Senators, and now both of our Congresspersons are all women. So is our new governor. Not only are they women – they’re all mothers. OMG! Imagine that!

It’s clear that we haven’t come a long way, baby. Not when women are writing stories for the NY Times with awful headlines, focusing on how all these women are mommies. If we’d elected an all male delegation, it would not have been a story, just business as usual. And no writer would have commented that all of these men are daddies, wondering how that might impact their decision-making.

Switzerland has had four women presidents, including one that served two terms. Finland, Iceland, Ireland, and Argentina have all had female leaders. Right now there are 20 women around the world serving as leaders of their countries – the most ever women serving simultaneously as leaders of their countries. Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Kosovo, Costa Rica and Slovakia are some of those countries.

Here in the US, we still appear to be light years away from a woman serving as our chief executive. Instead, we have the NY Times breathlessly praising an all female Congressional delegation, 92 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment. Make no mistake: I’m delighted that NH is making history. I know that Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster will be fine Congresspersons. At the same time, I also know that women in the United States earn less than their male counterparts, and are underrepresented politically. So, yes, this is an outcome worth noticing and praising, but it’s also worth keeping in perspective. In other words - it is indeed a big deal, but the fact that it is noteworthy only underscores how very far behind we are.

Some history: Marilla Ricker paved the way for all women who run for office in NH. Marilla was widowed (and financially independent) before she was thirty and spent the next 50 years working to ensure women got the right to vote. She was the first woman in NH to try to vote, arguing that since she paid property taxes, she should have the right to vote. In 1910, a progressive Republican named Robert Bass was running for governor. Marilla decided to challenge him. She ran on a platform of property tax reform (Basses and property tax – nothing ever changes in NH) and voting rights for women. The secretary of state wouldn’t put her name on the ballot because, he said, she wasn’t a voter, so she couldn’t be governor. Nine year later NH became the 16th state to ratify the 19th Amendment.

The next year, NH women voted. They ran for office, too. Two of them won. The first women to be elected to the NH legislature were Jessie Doe, a Republican from Rollinsford and Mary Farnum, a Democrat from Boscawen. Jessie Doe served one term after her election in 1920, and then ran (and won) again in 1930. In 1932 she was a delegate to the Republican National Convention. UNH named a residence hall after her in 1964.

Mary Farnum was a physician who graduated from the Boston University School of Medicine in 1900. She was elected to the NH legislature in 1920. She served as the vice president and secretary of the NH Association of Women Legislators during her term. Dr. Farnum only served one term, but in 1922, three more women were elected to the legislature. In 1924 more than a dozen women were elected, some in near unanimous votes. At long last there were women voting and women holding office. Eventually there were women in leadership positions in our state.

Eventually, there may be a woman serving as president of the United States. That is, if we continue to have a United States. One of the more amusing outcomes of our recent election has been the number of states bleating about secession. Texas has revived their desire to secede. I say: let ‘em go. Before they head out the back door, however, they have to take their share of the federal debt with them. Oh, and no more gummint contracts and no more defense dollars. Thank you, and have a nice day.

Meanwhile, secession talk (and petitions) are underway in Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, both Carolinas, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Are you seeing a theme yet?

It’s sad when you think about it. These people were so desperate to oust the black guy from the White House that they chose the whitest, least charismatic Republican they could find - and now they’re so miffed that he lost that they want to leave the union. Seriously, they couldn’t find anyone better than Romney? I say, let ‘em go. Of course, it would mean no more red state welfare. All of those states (save for Texas) get back more than a dollar for every tax dollar they send in. Mississippi is in second place, getting back $2.02 for every tax dollar. No more red state welfare, no more gummint contracts, and take your portion of the debt with you. Buh-bye.

Naturally NH wouldn’t be left out of the fun. Someone named “Kevin A” from Conway has filed a petition at to secede. A new group calling themselves the Foundation for NH Independence has secession as their goal. This is also the goal of the Free State Project. Some of the (all male) board members of the Foundation for NH Independence are Free Staters. In Manchester, two Free Staters who are roommates ran against one another for a state rep seat. One ran as a Republican and one as a Democrat. The Democrat, Tim O’Flaherty won. He’s said on his Facebook page that he’s in favor of secession. Next month, he is supposed to swear an oath to uphold the NH and the US Constitution. Will he be honest enough to refuse to swear the oath? Or will he just cross his fingers behind his back? Isn’t running for office under false pretenses considered election fraud?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Free State Project Loses One of Their Own

Remember Frank Szabo? He was a candidate for sheriff in Hillsborough County, who gained global attention for announcing that he would use deadly force to prevent doctors from performing abortions.

In an interview on Wednesday with local television station WMUR, Szabo said he believed sheriffs were granted special powers under the Constitution. That means, he said, he would be empowered to arrest or even use deadly force against doctors for providing legal abortions for women.
“I would hope that it wouldn’t come to that, as with any situation where someone was in danger,” Szabo said. “But again, specifically talking about elective abortions and late term abortions, that is an act that needs to be stopped.”

He refused to drop out of the race, even after he was criticized by folks like Speaker O'Brien. Even the strange simmering stew that comprises today's NH GOP wasn't nutty enough to own up to supporting Szabo. At least not in public. He was trounced in the primary.

Poor Frank. Some guys just slither off into the shadows when they lose an election. And some take their ball and go home. From the Concord Monitor:

On Sunday night, Szabo announced on Facebook that he had left the United States. He didn’t name his destination, though other recent posts indicate he’s in the South American nation of Chile.

He didn't stay long:

Szabo, an aspiring organic farmer who moved to Goffstown from Pennsylvania in 2011 as part of the Free State Project, ran as a Republican for county sheriff, losing in the Sept. 11 primary to incumbent Sheriff Jim Hardy.

Apparently not being able to shoot doctors was a sign that Frank was never going to see "liberty in his lifetime" and he decided to leave the country. I think he made a brilliant decision, and hope that more of his Free State brethren choose to follow his example.

Bye Frank!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It's a Fine Line

Any business putting up political signs is walking a fine line. During this past election, a chain restaurant that is new to the area put up nearly every GOP sign that was available. They hedged their bets before the primary, with signs for both Ovide and Kevin Smith. 

Those signs sent me a message, loud and clear. The signs told me that the owners shared the views of Smith and Lamontagne, notably the desire to regulate female reproduction. Those signs were themselves a sign. A sign that I would not spend a dime of my low income in their restaurant. 

Leavitt's Bakery allows any candidate to put up their signs. That's smart. 

These signs, put out by a local business were not smart:

( Photos courtesy of Gary Montford, and used by permission) 

The decorative details on Obama's collar points are little hammer and sickles. 

Then there was this banner, on the front of a shed that was not readily visible from the road:

(photo by susanthe)

What business was making these rather inflammatory statements? Our local Kawasaki dealership in Albany: 

(photos by Gary Montford, used with permission)

A complaint was made to the Kawasaki home office about the banners (not by me!) and they were subsequently removed. The Lewinsky banner on the shed was the only one that stayed, as you can see:

(susanthe photo) 

The Obama banners were certainly obnoxious, dishonest, and not without a tinge of racism. 

The "Lewinsky" banner is equally offensive. Women are the fastest growing segment of the motorcycle buying population. Monica Lewinsky was a young woman who made a number of really poor decisions. Those decisions were broadcast all over the world. She became the butt of jokes made by every comedian. Monica Lewinsky got a public shaming on an unprecedented level. 

Dredging that up, and mocking this woman AGAIN, to make some kind of coarse sexual/political joke sends a strong message to women, though not perhaps the message the owners intend. Something along the lines of: "Hey women, we don't want your business." 

What's your sign?

Seen on Election Day in Madison, NH 

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Ousting Extremists

 Well, we had us an election.

Once again, NH has surprised me. In 2010, when the Tea Party/John Birch/Free Stater contingent took over our state it was a surprise. A lot of respected legislators were ousted, and replaced with people in possession of varying degrees of competence and sanity. The new majority promised a laser like focus on job creation, yet created policy that cost our state jobs, and increased unemployment. They turned the laser on social issues, and worked tirelessly to regulate ovaries, homosexuals, and poor people. They cut revenue streams, ensuring that NH would continue to be unable to afford the kind of investments in infrastructure and education needed to move our state into the future.

Thanks to the last legislature, NH became fodder for comedians on late night TV. We went from being a small state that no one paid much attention to until presidential primary season, to being a national and even international mockery. The volume knob on NH crazytunes was turned up a little bit higher each week that the legislature was in session. That probably wasn’t what most of you were hoping for when you cast your ballots in 2010.

You were probably hoping for property tax relief. You didn’t get any. Instead you got Free Stater Jennifer Coffey filing a bill to put up warning signs at the MA border. The voters in her district firmly ousted her. You got birthers – state legislators using their status to attempt to prove that President Obama is not a US citizen. Local birther Laurie Pettengill was gerrymandered right out of her seat by her own party. Harry Accornero was not given a second term by the voters of Laconia. You also got a bill to put quotes from the Magna Carta in new legislation, and a bill calling for vegetarian diets in our prisons and jails. Sponsor Robert Kingsbury was ousted by his constituents in Laconia.

Rep. Gregory Sorg last year chaired a committee aimed at ensuring NH received no federal aid for anything. In his report, he decried weatherization and fuel assistance programs, saying that NH residents should arrange their affairs so that they required no such assistance. As I wrote at the time:

“In short, we must all manage our affairs so that we do not get old, do not develop a serious health problem, do not lose our jobs, and do not suffer from sudden poverty caused by the destruction of the US economy. Based on these findings, Rep. Sorg should be expecting 3 ghosts to visit him on Christmas Eve. “

Apparently the voters in his district concurred. Rep. Sorg was voted out.

On the local level, Frank McCarthy was ousted. In a one on one conversation, Frank can be quite personable. His public persona, however, is probably what cost him the election. For two years he’s written bellicose diatribes to the newspaper, filled with inaccuracies and right wing propaganda. At the House candidate’s forum I attended, he didn’t need the microphone. His bellowing was audible in the next county. On the next planet.

Extremist Norman Tregenza was soundly defeated in his attempt to win the newly gerrymandered floterial district. Voters were apparently not won over by his laser like focus on the issues of Ron Paul and the John Birch Society – or by the ugly campaign he ran.

Ovide Lamontagne lost his second attempt at the corner office. In his concession speech, he complained that his positions on issues had been distorted. That translates as: they told the truth about me. The media was intent on presenting him as some sort of moderate, but his stance on social issues revealed him to be anything but. Lamontagne has now lost three elections because he’s just too extreme for NH. That’s the take away from this election. NH is many strange and wonderful things, but we aren’t a state that is willing to be governed by far right ideologues. 

On some level, I suspect that many local Republicans are aware that ceding their party to the extremists was a bad idea. They’ve paid a high price for allowing racists, homophobes, and misogynists to speak for them.

By far and away, the biggest mistake made by the GOP on every level (state and national) was the war on women. They might have gotten away with restricting abortion, but trying to restrict contraception proved to be a bridge to nowhere. GOP spokesman Rush Limbaugh called college student Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute for testifying before Congress about a mandate that insurance companies cover birth control. That was spun quite successfully and dishonestly as “taxpayer funded birth control.”

 By far and away the most damaging move made by the GOP was allowing itself to become the party of redefining rape. Missouri Congressman Todd Akin told us that in the case of “legitimate rape” a woman can’t get pregnant, because “the female body has ways of shutting that down.” Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock told us that a pregnancy resulting from rape is something God intended to happen. All over the country Republican men were telling women that a rape baby was going to be a little blessing for them – and one that they would be forced to bear. Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan was part of an effort to redefine rape, attempting to ensure that only victims of “forcible rape” would be eligible for federally funded abortions.

Women across the country proved that they have ways to shut THAT nonsense down. They voted Akin and Mourdock out. A record number of women will be US Senators in 2013. New Hampshire has made history with an all woman Congressional delegation: both of our US Senators and both of our newly elected Representatives are women. We elected a female governor. Record numbers of women will be serving in the US Senate and the US House.

There are women now serving in every single state legislative chamber. It’s shameful that it’s taken all this time to get there, but we are there now. The GOP would do well to take notice.

© sbruce 2012

Published as an op-ed in the November 8, 2012 Conway Daily Sun newspaper. 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Tregenza and the Mystery of the Unregistered PAC

My sincere condolences to Norman Tregenza, Jr. and the rest of the Tregenza/Lyman family on the loss of Norman Sr. Even when someone we love has been ill for a long time, we're still never prepared for that moment when they aren't with us any longer. Losing a parent is a big, big loss, and one that takes a very long time to grieve.

I'm truly sad for Norman.

But, sad or not, he's still running for the NH legislature. And losing his father doesn't erase the fact that he's run a disgusting, mean-spirited, and dishonest campaign against Ed Butler as they vie for the newly created seat in the newly gerrymandered floterial district.

Someone advised Norman. He's not clever enough to have thought to focus on the so-called "bathroom bill," a meme that is being used all over the state. That's straight from Speaker O'Brien and his pal Kevin Smith, formerly of Cornerstone Policy Research. I suspect he was told to go on the offensive and stay the course. It's not surprising. As we've seen in two weeks of newspaper ads, Norman doesn't have any legislative accomplishments to boast about. Norman focused on sponsoring bills asking Congress to return to the gold standard, asking Congress to withdraw the United States from the UN,  and affirming the state's powers based on the Constitution for the US and the Constitution of NH. Another bill he sponsored urged Congress to amend or repeal legislation expanding the constitutionally delegated powers of federal government. Then there was a bill urging Congress to withdraw the US from NAFTA, and  one urging the NH delegation to support bills requiring a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve. The UN withdrawal bill he filed in 2011 and again in 2012. In fact, a number of his do nothing bills were filed both years of the biennium: The withdrawal from NAFTA, the affirming state's powers bill, and the audit the Fed bill.

Each bill filed by a legislator costs taxpayers approximately $1500 - for researching and writing up by legislative services, publishing costs, etc.  Each of those bills norman filed twice cost us $3000. He wasted $12,000 on bills that had nothing to do with state government, and were absolutely meaningless, just to prove some Ron Paul/John Bircher point. And he has the audacity to speak of fiscal responsibility.

Because Norman is so bereft of accomplishment, someone decided that he should run an ugly and mean attack campaign. For a couple of weeks now we've been treated to the daily newspaper ad from his campaign, alleging that former Rep. Butler is aiding and abetting perverts. To fight perversion, Tregenza urges employers to cut out his ads and post them on bathroom doors. Apparently in Bircherville,  any pervert who catches a glimpse of Norm's Arayan youth photo in the ad will flee from the ladies room, never to be seen again.

The ads became unpopular. People started writing letters to the newspaper. It was apparent at the candidate's forum held at the VFW that Norman had nothing else to offer in his campaign. He wants to protect loons from lead sinkers in our lakes, which may be the only laudable cause he's involved in. He wants to fix our roads - or so he says - but he voted for a budget that slashed spending on roads and bridges. When asked about the bill in question, Ed Butler's response was so calm, so informed, and so adult that Norman was left with nothing else to say on that subject.

In a desperate measure to look as if he'd done something good, he ran an ad about being a co-sponsor of a bill that renamed a bridge in Grafton County. The bridge was renamed after a young man who died  at age 17.  Norman failed to ask permission from the family to use their dead son as a tool in a political ad. They were outraged. Norman responded by taking out another ad:

He apologizes to the family, but whines that he was trying to do something positive in the midst of all the negative advertising - as if he'd played no role in the negativity. And in this ad, he not only exploits a dead boy for political gain, he also exploits his recently deceased father, telling us that he designed this ad while he was holding his dying father's hand. I know better than many, that grief can cause someone to be unhinged. This ad is proof. Then bizarrely he has a text box at the bottom to show inform us that HE isn't dead, it's his father who died. Weird. Really weird.

Today's ad was not as strange, but still out there. He informs us that he's STILL ALIVE, that it was his father who died (a plea for the sympathy vote) and then, after bleating the day before about negativity, he jumps right into phony outrage about bathrooms. And yes, it is phony outrage. Norman voted against women at every opportunity - so his oft professed concern about what transpires in ladies rooms  is as phony as it is hypocritical.

At the bottom of Norman's signs and his numerous newspaper ads is a statement about who is paying for the ads and signs. It reads: "This ad is paid for by Mt. Washington Valley Campaign Fund to Elect Tregenza, Lisa Hayford, fiscal agent, PO Box 205, Madison, NH 03849" In other words, a political action committee, or PAC, was formed to handle the contributions and expenses of the campaign. This is very common. The Secretary of State's website has plenty of them listed: Friends of Fenton Groen, Committee to Elect Gene Chandler, Friends of Jeb Bradley - you get the idea. The rules that these PACs must abide by are also listed at the Secretary of State's website, in the Election Division section of the site. The very first rule is:

Any political committee, except that of a political party, must register with the Secretary of State not later than 24 hours after receiving any contribution in excess of $500 OR before making an expenditure in excess of $500, but in no event later than 14 days after the formation of the committee. 

As I mentioned earlier , I was at the Secretary of State's (SoS) office yesterday going through candidate and PAC reports. These are, of course, a matter of public record. In the course of my research I learned that there is no "Mt Washington Valley Campaign Fund to Elect Tregenza" registered with the Secretary of State. You can see this for yourself on the SoS website, where all of the registered PACs are listed. I wanted to be sure, though, so I asked. This committee has never been registered with the SoS.

 I did find 2 candidate reports that Norman had filed. The first was received September 19.

This report makes no mention of the committee. This is his report for the primary segment of the election. He claims a total  for the primary of $4, 211. 07 in campaign receipts. (That means contributions) He claims $1095.50 in expenditures on this report, and $1,441. 55 in prior expenses. His campaign expenditures to this date total $2537.05, which leaves a reported balance of $1684.07.

Now, on to the itemizations:

As you can see, there are no itemized receipts (contributions), so we have no idea where the money came from. There is one expenditure, to Mt. Washington Graph-fix and Printing for signs, to the tune
of $1095. 50.

The only other report thus far is from the General Election, received by the SoS on October 17.

This report makes no  mention the Mt Washington Valley Campaign Fund to Elect Tregenza. Norman brings forth a balance of $1674. 07. (He's only off by $10, according to the last report.) He reports $950 in contributions thus far in the general election cycle, with $0 previously reported during the general election. Adding the balance brought forward and the new contributions, he claims a new balance of $2634. 02. This new balance includes the $10 he was previously off by.

There are 3 items in the receipt section. One donation from the Carroll County Republican Committee for $350.00. The second is a $200.00 contribution from Margaret Devine of N. Conway. The third is a donation of $100 from Barbara Jane Tupper of West Ossipee. Try as I might, I can only get those donations to add up to $650, not the $950 claimed on the front of the form. There is one expenditure, for $1000 to the Conway Daily Sun newspaper for advertising.

Let's just say that the math doesn't exactly work out - but there's no smoking gun in the math,  just a person who appears to be inept at filling out forms.

The smoking gun is the committee. Why do Norman's signs and newspaper ads refer to a PAC that is not registered with the Secretary of State? Why are thousands of dollars in donations not itemized?

What's really going on here?

Why in the world would we trust this guy with taxpayer dollars, if he can't be trusted to engage in honest record keeping?

There You Go Again, Maynard

Poor Maynard Thomson. He was the Chairman of the Carroll County GOP, until he had to step down because he filed faulty PAC reports. Since he stepped down on the same day that the cease and desist letter was sent by the NH Attorney General's Office, with the flimsy pretext that he was leaving to serve the Rick Perry for President campaign in some capacity.

I mentioned this incident in a recent column, since Maynard of the deliberately incomplete paperwork is now running for the NH House. He's counting on the fact that no one will remember what happened a year ago in 2011, or care. In fact, he was quite miffed at me for bringing it up, as one can see in his rather hastily penned letter to the editor that appeared in the October 26 edition of the Conway Daily Sun:

She’d also know that the state required me to re-file the forms because I’d done a sloppy, hurried job, and one of the local Democrats complained. There was no effort to conceal anything in the original filings — sorry, but the Carroll County Republicans were passed over when the sinister, right-wing billionaires were handing out the money — and no sanction for my errors, or any finding of wrong-doing.  The forms — originals, and corrected — are available for viewing on line.

As one can clearly see, Thomson admits to filing forms that weren't correctly filled out. As one can also clearly see, despite the oft sung GOP mantra of personal responsibility,  Thomson refuses to take any. He's not to blame for filing incorrect paperwork - a Democrat is to blame for reporting him.

What is interesting about this letter NOW, is that I wrote about his fall from grace on several occasions in 2011, and Thomson said nothing. In GOP Values on Display, which was published in the October 7, 2011 edition of the Conway Daily Sun, I wrote about Thomson's shoddy paperwork:

It seems that under the stewardship of romance novelist Thomson, the Carroll County GOP failed to properly report, itemize, and provide receipts for their expenditures during the 2010 campaign. It seems that some expenditures went on Chairman Thomson’s own personal credit card. According to the AG’s letter (which I have a copy of), the report that was submitted just lumped everything together as one big expense, without itemizing. From the letter: “Your conscious decisions to fail to report the committee’s expenditures for political advertisements until after the General Election and to lump them together with the committee’s cable bill violates RSA 664:6.” 

In an October 6, 2011 diary at the blog Blue Hampshire I was even more direct about Thomson:

As many of us know, political committees, just like candidates, must file expenditure reports as soon as they have taken in more than $500 before an election. Those reports must contain itemized receipts and expenditures.
According to the AG's investigation, Maynard Thomson's first report was filed on Sept. 22, 2010. It reported $10, 842.90 in receipts and $3,218.70 in expenditures. Unless they had a sudden windfall, Thomson was rather tardy in filing this form. About $1200 worth of tardy, in fact. None of the receipts or expenditures in the report were itemized.
The AG's office also learned that Thomson (on behalf of the CC GOP Committee) signed agreements with 2 radio stations to air political ads. He spent $879.75 at both stations. The bill went on Thomson's credit card, dated October 13, 2010. The fiscal reports from Thomson to the state on October 13th and 27th, 2010 do not list the expenditures.
The November 10, 2010 shows a lump expenditure of $6,215.30 for the CC GOP cable bill, advertisements in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper, and the advertisements on Mt. Washington Radio. No itemized anything. No receipts. The AG's office refers to  this as "conscious decision" to fail to report this until after the election.

At the time, Thomson told the Conway Sun that he had "no inkling" that anything was wrong with his reports. As anyone who has ever run for office knows, the reporting is pretty simple and straightforward. One reports the donations coming in, and one reports the expenses going out. Anyone who keeps a checkbook should be able to manage this. Maynard Thomson is an attorney. It's difficult to imagine that he had "no inkling" or that he was incapable of properly filling out the forms.

In any case, I wrote those two pieces in 2011, and Thomson undoubtedly saw both of them, yet he didn't write to the paper to correct me. He didn't send me a behind the scenes letter, or threaten to sue me, as he has in the past.

He's counting on the fact that voters have forgotten, if they ever even knew about his problems with the NH Attorney General's office. Being the stalker/misogynist he is, he feels compelled to attempt to discredit ME for reminding everyone of his borderline criminal actions.

It's fortunate for Mr. Thomson that the state doesn't enforce the rules of their rather shoddy reporting system.

But - as granny used to say, a leopard doesn't change his spots. I was in Concord yesterday at the Secretary of State's office, going through candidate reports, when I came upon the only report Thomson has filed since the primary. It seems that old dog is up to the same tricks:

This is Thomson's October 17 report. As you can see, he's claiming a sum of $3, 615. 37 as being brought forward from the donations he received during the primary, and this is listed as his total receipts  taken in to date, for the campaign. Receipts is the term used for contributions.

Thomson listed $655.27 in expenditures for this report. On the line asking for total of expenditures previously reported, he's claiming zero. The receipts and expenditures are supposed to be itemized. Under receipts he has a zero. Under expenditures  he has written: "see attached." There was no attached.  There you go again, Maynard.

There's also a rather epic math failure here. Instead of subtracting the amount of expenditures from the receipts, Thomson added the expenditures to the receipts, and listed the amount as a deficit balance. If he'd subtracted the expenditures (as he is supposed to),  he'd be reporting a surplus balance of $2960.10.

Thomson has been attempting to belittle my intelligence for years, and I'll confess I did fail remedial math once in high school, owing largely to a lack of motivation on my part. Thomson trumpets his education and experience proudly on his website:

 After graduating from law school, I became an Assistant Attorney General in Ohio. From there, I went to the Kennedy School at Harvard, where I got a Masters in Public Administration.
We then went to Washington, where I worked for the Federal Trade Commission. That was where I developed my enduring interest in the economics of health care, and my conviction that there’s almost no problem that won’t be made into a far larger problem by a well-intentioned, government intervention.

All that education, yet seemingly he can't subtract, and clearly he will not properly fill out a simple campaign finance report. Do you really want to have him working on our state budget????

Thursday, November 01, 2012 Should Engage In Some Self Reflection

This is the mailer I received from MoveOn yesterday. Should I feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that I'm an excellent voter? Thing is - I already knew that. Some poor tree died a redundancy induced death on my account.

As it happens, I went to the post office with an elderly woman yesterday. She got one of these, too. Here's the email I sent MoveOn, as a result:

Dear Move On,
I received my voter report card from you in today's mail. I am rated as an excellent voter, which is no surprise to me. I'm a writer and an activist, and I vote.
I'm also a part time caregiver for an elderly woman. I drove her to the post office today, and she got her voter report card. She's classified as a "good" voter, because she hasn't voted in the last few elections. In the last 5 years, she's had a stroke from which she's never fully recovered from. She was forced to close her business. She doesn't know what year it is most of the time. She has dementia - and she has no business voting.
You have no idea why people aren't voting. Sending out blanket report cards to everyone means that some people,  like my elderly friend are being hurt, needlessly, by your organization.
I have to tell you, I think this sucks. I've watched this woman go from being a successful artist and business owner to being someone who can't remember to get up to use the toilet. Every time we go somewhere, someone who knows her greets her effusively - and she's canny enough to fake it, but she can't remember who they are. Some days that really depresses her. She didn't need another reminder of what she isn't any more from Move On. My advice to you is simple: don't ever do this again.

Susan Bruce

Their response:

We're terribly sorry for sending our mailing to your client. Obviously, it's not appropriate for her situation.
Please accept our sincere apologies for the mistake.
Voter Report Card
Washington, DC

I guess I was hoping for a "yeah, we screwed up, we shouldn't have done this", or  a "we screwed up and shouldn't have done it this way." Or even a "we're going evaluate this project based on the mail we're getting." 

So much for my hopes. 

MoveOn lost me a long time ago. This was an organization that began in response to the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. In 2008 they endorsed Barack Obama for president, despite his campaign promise to escalate the war in Afghanistan. As an anti-war group they lost all credibility with that endorsement. 

I hope they hear from a lot of people who weren't thrilled to get that voter report card.