Thursday, December 06, 2012

Strange Brew

They tried. They really tried. Despite all of the efforts of the last state legislature, NH only came in third place in a recent Mother Jones story about the worst state legislatures. Tennessee and Oklahoma took the coveted first and second place titles. In Tennessee there was a bill to outlaw saggy pants and one that defined miscarriages as murder. There were more, so many more, including the state rep who sent out an email warning constituents that President Obama was planning to stage a fake assassination attempt to prevent the 2012 election from happening.

Oklahoma had GOP state Senator Ralph Shortey’s bill to ensure that human fetuses didn’t get into food products, in “their search for artificial flavors.” He had no evidence that any company was doing this, or intended to, but he just wanted to make sure no one was going to have ramen noodles with fetus flavoring.

If you’re thinking that those made the Magna Carta bill and the WARNING signs at the NH border bill sound almost sane, you’re right. Ilya Gerner of Comedy Central described NH as: "a bunch of part-time real-estate agents throwing monkey feces at a wall." As Mother Jones points out, that’s not entirely fair. Some of them are lawyers, too.

NH’s newly elected legislators were sworn in on December 5. A number of last session’s worst offenders were not re-elected, but some were, and some new ones were added. Former Speaker of the NH House, Bill O’Brien barely squeaked out a win in a district gerrymandered to keep him in office. He was photographed sitting (ignominiously) in the rear of the House chamber on swear-in day. The former speaker should take heart, though. Gene Chandler was voted to be the House Minority Leader, proving that scandal and malfeasance have a short half-life in our state.

Newly re-elected Rep. Dan McGuire, a Free Stater from Epsom is bringing back a bill that went nowhere last session. HB 1400 allows the DOT commissioner to sell the naming rights (not limited) to bridges, overpasses, exits, and state buildings. There’s a doctored picture of the Albany covered bridge making the rounds on the Internet, wearing a McDonald’s sign. The companies would pay some sort of annual fee for this privilege, and they’d be responsible for putting up the signs and maintaining the signs. Why not have the “Budweiser NH Dept. of Safety Building”? From my past as an instructor of the state’s DWI program, I know that their products have a role in the commission of drunk driving offenses in our state.

This bill comes from the same Free Stater who tried to get a bill passed to divert the Suncook River back to where it was before a big storm:  in front of his house. Rep. Grifter’s river diversion bill would have cost the taxpayers of our state over $4 million. Dan McGuire is the ultimate poster boy for the FSP. He doesn’t want to pay his taxes, but he’ll happily use yours to feather his own nest. In the mind of Free Staters, everything is for sale, and there should be no such thing as public property. Next up: Mount Walmartshington!

NH has a new legislature, but we still have the same NHGOP, comprised of Tea Partiers, Free Staters, and John Birchers. At first glance, these may seem like disparate groups, but they are all interconnected. In fact, their origins can all be traced to the same place. Koch Industries. The Koch Brothers are the financial engine behind the Tea Party. Fred Koch was a founding member of the John Birch Society, and Free State Project founder Jason Sorens is an affiliated scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The Mercatus Center is a think tank funded by the Koch Family Foundation. On the FSP web forum just last month, Sorens was huffy about being portrayed as having ties to Mercatus. Evil forces, apparently, are making this all up. His bio on the Mercatus Center website must have just landed there by accident. We are all defined (to some extent) by whom we take money from. He’s a guy who hates all things public, who teaches at a taxpayer-funded university.  Sorens is no stranger to hypocrisy.

Many folks are surprised to find that the John Birch Society still exists. They associate the JBS with commie scares and being anti-fluoridation. These days they’ve turned their sights on the UN. Apparently the UN is the purveyor of all that is evil, and is just waiting to turn us into “one world” where we all join hands and sing kumbaya together. Or something. It was rumored that there were 12 Birchers in the last legislature. The only one to publicly acknowledge it was Norm Tregenza, whose re-election bid was unsuccessful. The others weren’t brave enough to come out as Birchers. The same is true for the Free Staters, most of whom do not acknowledge their ties to the FSP. Why? Both groups are unpopular. They also wish to avoid scrutiny. It wouldn’t help the FSP at all to have their ties to the JBS uncovered and discussed.

For those who don’t remember, the JBS opposed the Civil Rights Movement. Their president, Robert Welch, called Eisenhower a communist and a traitor. Their new hobbyhorse is the UN’s Agenda 21, and they sent a known white supremacist to Conway, to lead a discussion on a film about it.

In fact, the Northeast Regional Field Director of the JBS, Hal Shurtleff, has been turning up on the Sun’s op-ed pages and FB page. I owe my thanks to Mr. Shurtleff for his vociferous defense of a former state rep and Free Stater, which inspired me to dig for the connections between the groups. These two groups may have some surface areas of disagreement, but they speak at each other’s events and conferences. They share members. They’re two peas swimming in the same cup of libertea that the Tea Party has been brewing.

It’s not a brew that has the best interests of our state at heart. It’s a selfish, Randian brew, and one that bears watching.

© sbruce 2012
This was published as an op-ed in the December 7, 2012 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper.


Anonymous said...

A wonderful, informative account of the various reactionary forces that would undo many of NH's progressive legislative actions.

Anonymous said...

Real research is so rare these days. Thanks Susan. Miss you in our local paper. Maureen M

Anonymous said...

Irony in action and behavior appears to be only a human animal trait and here we watch FSP, the Koch's and others perform out right before our eyes. Irony is the fact that they scream liberty and are mostly the 1%. Irony is that being the 1% THEY ARE the world gummint they profess to fear so much. Irony is their speech is racist and intolerant with shades of KKK but they deny it. World gummint isn't something the 99% is capable of creating. This is something that only the 1% can boast invention and creation of. The long reach of the Koch Brothers encircles our earth, and they do a fine job of indoctrinating the idiots who follow them. the Koch Brothers surely have many like minded friends with deep pockets here and abroad. One big club.

Anonymous said...

Susan Bruce ought to know about strange brews firsthand.. This is the ranting of a drunk woman. The tea party was never funded by Koch Bros, and isn't now.

susanthe said...

Oh a teabagger is feeling miffed. Some of them just don't want to give up the fiction that the tea party was anything less than a grassroots movement. It's akin to Charlie Bass's ongoing unwillingness (despite ALL evidence to the contrary) to admit that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Here you go, anonymouse:

The tea party was never a grassroots movement.

Anonymous said...

Excellent - the "I" words are fully functioning here. Irony and Idiots! How come those on the so called "left" are never proved wrong? Because right isn't right and Teabaglicans don't drink tea unless it comes with high alcohol content out of a bottle or a fuel tank. Oh the sheer irony!

W3ATB said...


Thanks for your informative blog post that's long on opinion and pretty short on facts.

Are you aware of that one old saying? "A half truth is a whole lie."

You lightly brush up against the boogyman in Agenda 21. I've got a few questions for you:

Have you taken the time to read the book "Behind the Green Mask: UN Agenda 21"? What's fascinating about the author Rosa Koire is that she's cut from the same political ideology as you seem to wrap yourself in. Agenda 21 is not a left / right issue. Not by a longshot.

If you've not taken the time to read her book, why is that? Remember, excuses are reasons for failure.

Finally, have you taken the time to read the <a href=">HUD Grant Instrument</a> that's the basis for the Granite State Future? If you do, make sure you read all the supplementary documents mentioned on page one of the grant instrument.

Why? Because you'll quickly discover that these are all legally binding agreements that are attempting to transfer the planning process of NH to the Federal Government.

That's Agenda 21.

I really feel your blog would attain a much higher level of credibility if you would take the time to be fair and balanced.

We'll discover the depth of your credibility if you approve this comment. I see that you moderate them. Why is that?

susanthe said...

Dear New Anonymous:
I moderate comments because this is MY blog, and I get to do whatever I want with it. It's my property. I thought you teabircher types were big on property and rights? Only when it comes to the property of certain approved individuals, is that it?

I'm sure this will come as a surprise, but I don't have any interest in whether you find my writing credible or not. I have nothing to prove to small minded bullyboys who make anonymous comments.

I'm not here to provide a forum for you and your ilk. You have one at the NH Tea Party blog, where, interestingly, they don't allow comments. Why don't you go badger THEM about that, sparky?

W3ATB said...

Dear Susan,

I was the New Anonymous. I thought for sure that Google would recognize my profile. Looks like they didn't.

BTW, I've got some bad news for you. You don't own the blog. It's Google's property. Go read the TOS. You're pretty much a sharecropper here.

Susan, why are you so combative and unpleasant? How do you expect to get anything accomplished working on common problems with your really poor attitude?

I'm really curious as to why your so upset with the Tea Party people. Would you mind answering a few questions?

First, have you ever had an extended civil conversation with a few Tea Party members? If not, why?

Second, have you ever attended a Tea Party meeting? If not, why? I'd love to attend some liberal group meeting(s), but you can't find them anywhere. Are there ones you attend? Could you extend an invitation to me?

Finally, are you willing to drive just 30 minutes or so to broaden your perspective on the issues and meet friendly people who want to talk with you?

I ask this because my wife and I cordially invite you to our Lakes Region Christmas Party - actually it's the Lakes Region Tea Party Christmas Party. That's a mouthful!

It's this coming Wednesday night at 7 pm at the Moultonborough Life Safety building. Moultonborough is not too far from Conway. I know as I drive through Moultonborough and then your fine town frequently to volunteer up on Mt. Washington. I'm a ham radio operator and our club provides communications for events on the Rock Pile. But I digress.

My wife and I are co-leaders of the Lakes Region Tea Party. We're very interested in trying to work with folks like you to solve the serious issues we all face.

Please consider coming to our festive party on Wednesday night, December 12th. You only have to bring one thing - an open mind.

Tim Carter
Lakes Region Tea Party

P.S. It was really early this morning when I first posted. I forgot a quotation mark in my original post. Here's the link to the HUD Grant Instrument.

P.P.S. Thanks for publishing my first comment. I never thought it would make it through the gauntlet.

susanthe said...

Thank you so much for the pedantic commentary on who owns my blog. That you can write that condescending pap, then wonder why I don't have love for teabaggers is the very definition of irony.

I'm curious - why am I obligated to like tea partiers? Why do you expect me to "work" with them on common problems? Do you assume that other writers around the state are working on common problems? Have you asked Joe McQuaid if he's working on common problems with the lefties and socialists?

I thank you for the invitation to the party - it's very gracious. But let's be honest, Tim. You and I don't have areas of commonality. I know enough about the tea party world view to know that we don't share a similar vision of what our state or our country should look like. Some of your fellow tea partiers are terrible human beings- like the FB profile known as Christopher J Gadsden that has been slandering me on the Conway Sun's FB page. He's the 4th anonymous on this comment page, the one calling me a drunk. There's a post about me on the Official NH Tea Party website, obviously written by the same man. I'm a little befuddled as to how, in light of the commentary being made about me by the NH Tea Party organization, you can wonder why I might be combative. I'm combative because I've had to deal with insult, threats, death threats, and vicious personal attacks. I'm combative because I will not be bullied, and I find the Tea Party to be full of misogynist men who are very comfortable with bullying women.

I'm sure you and your wife are probably very nice people. I can't say that about the NH Tea Party as a whole. Jack Kimball is not a nice person. Bill O'Brien is not a nice person. The people who send me anonymous threats are not nice people, and whomever is functioning as Christopher J Gadsden is most assuredly not a nice person.

I've never met a liberal tea partier, nor do I believe there is any such thing. The Tea Party is the far right wing of the GOP, as far as I can tell. I've seen nothing to disprove that.

Do you have an open mind about the people you call liberals? What about socialists? Atheists? Feminists?

It's amusing that I'm expected to have the open mind. I've never yet encountered a tea partier who has one.


W3ATB said...


I feel I'm making headway. That's good.

Okay, let's start with this. I think we can agree that we have severe problems here in NH and the USA.

I believe we can agree that we all have to get along. The alternative simply wastes so much emotion and resources.

I believe we can agree that it's NEVER fair for a deal or agreement to be one sided.

If you're willing to concede those points - meaning just agree to a point - then that suggests it's time for BOTH conservatives and liberals to find whatever common ground exists and use that as a foundation for future communications.

Since you didn't answer my questions, I'm going to assume you've never taken the time to really talk with a Tea Party person.

So, I'll extend the invitation to you once more. What do you have lose but maybe three hours time and $10 worth of gasoline? You most certainly won't lose any dignity.

I'm more than willing to sit with you and listen to your point of view. All I ask is that you do the same.

We don't have much time to solve the major issues that face us.

What say you? You have so much to gain by coming to our party. You will NOT be treated like an enemy. For goodness sakes, it's Christmas.

If there's ever a time to try to mend fences and get a new perspective, it's now.

If you're not willing to come to our party, extend me an invitation to a liberal gathering. I'll come.

I know we must start to work together. If we don't, the future looks very bleak.

Tim Carter
Lakes Region Tea Party

susanthe said...

Tim - If you feel as if you're making headway, that's because you're having an imaginary dialogue with me. You certainly aren't paying a bit of attention to anything I've actually said.

W3ATB said...


It's not imaginary at all. It's really you that's typing the responses.

The sad sad thing is that you don't seem willing to help try to solve the problems.

Let me ask you this question.

When you get in a fight with your best friend or soulmate, do you just sulk and dig in your heels not trying to work things out?

That's what you're doing here. You're running away from the problems instead of running towards them.

It sounds like you have no interest in working together.

That's precisely why this country is so bitterly divided right now.

Do an autopsy on the whole situation and it boils down to one simple thing:


People unwilling to talk, meet, work together, etc. are simply selfish. All they care about are themselves. They don't care about people that don't think like they do.

No one likes to hang around with selfish people.

No one likes to have selfish people as their friends.

Think about it.

Imagine what the Court of Public Opinion will rule as they read down through these comments and see what you've been typing.

I pretty much can anticipate your reply:

"I don't care about the Court of Public Opinion's ruling!"

Yeah, we get that.

Tim Carter
Lakes Region Tea Party

P.S. One final question. Why do you have your Blogspot profile blocked? You were bashing me at first for being anonymous, and it seems you're doing the same thing.

Anonymous said...

On the one hand, I appreciate it that Mr. Carter says he sees the value of starting to work together. I can't help but wonder if the impetus for some Tea Partiers to want to have conversations now, rather than lecturing those who don't agree with them, is that Republicans are not in power in NH anymore. I hope that is not the reason.

Am reminded by Mr. Carter's comments on Agenda 21 that there indeed needs to be an in-depth conversation on this particular issue. From what we've seen from Jack Kimball, Ken Eyring, and others, they believe they have "the facts", - so there is no need for conversation. Instead there are scare tactics and sometimes bullying of anyone who appears to stand in their way. This is one of the reasons the Tea Party didn't do too well in the recent elections. A lot of people are tired of this.

susanthe said...

Okey dokey, Mr. Carter. I've reached the end of my patience. You're condescending, and no, you aren't reading my words at all. You've failed to address any of my comments about the abusive bullies that are part of your Tea Party coalition, the people that send met threatening emails, the people at the OFFICIAL Tea Party website in NH who have a post up about me that allows no comments.

Instead, you forge ahead, whining that it's MY fault that teabaggers and normal people aren't finding common ground. Because I don't want to attend your party - I'm running away. It's like this - one condescending sexist is enough.. I do not need to go meet with a whole room full of them. You've patronized the shit out of me, and then you have the audacity to call me selfish?

There is no talking to people who lack any sort of self awareness. Your post makes it quite clear that it is me who is expected to do all of the compromising. Apparently I'm supposed to allow you to talk to me like an idiot, all in the name of "geting along." You're every bit as much a bully as the people who send me hate mail - you're just doing it in a more polite, albeit passive aggressive way. You would never dream of speaking to a man the way you've spoken to me.

You wrote this:

"One final question. Why do you have your Blogspot profile blocked? You were bashing me at first for being anonymous, and it seems you're doing the same thing."

That's proof that you haven't read a thing I've written. Go back and read the part about threats, death threats, and slander. There's your answer.

As far as my anonymity? Google my name and see how anonymous I am. Also - let's go back to the very beginning. My blog, run my way. I don't owe it to you or your bullyboy friends to post a detailed bio of myself unless I want to.

Goodbye Mr. Carter. I've had enough of your nonsense. Your free ride on my blog is over.