Friday, May 31, 2013

More From 2009 - Troy Newman Is a Lying Sack of Whiny Shit

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Tearful Troy Newman

This picture is from Operation Rescue's website.

This weekend the NY Times published an article about the abortion clinic protesters in Kansas. It's an amazing read - the antichoice folks do a little too much whining, and show no empathy for Dr. Tiller's family.
Although Operation Rescue worked for years to close down Dr. Tiller’s clinic, his death was never the outcome Mr. Newman wished for, he said. Of the man charged with killing Dr. Tiller, he tearfully said, “This idiot did more to damage the pro-life movement than you can imagine.”

Aw, poor Mr. Newman! Poor Operation Rescue! For years you picketed Dr. Tiller's clinic, held up pictures of mutilated fetuses, screamed about murder - and now you're pissed off because one of your whack jobs killed the golden goose?

This is the thing. The fetus fetishists had control of the White House, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court - yet they did nothing to stop abortion. Why? Because for the GOP and the Christian Taliban - abortion really is the golden goose. It's a way to keep money flowing, keep crazy people busy, and get folks all stirred up - without Operation Rescue having to do very much work at all. Tearful Mr. Newman of Operation Rescue was undoubtedly raking in a nice big salary for blabbing on endlessly about a cause he probably could care less about, as long as the faithful were sending in donations. How much more cynical, and transparent could these people be?

Scott P. Roeder, a Kansas City man charged with murder in Dr. Tiller’s death, was not a member of Operation Rescue or a contributor to it, Mr. Newman said. But the authorities found a slip of paper with the organization’s name in Mr. Roeder’s car when he was arrested, as well as the name of one of its leaders and her telephone number. He had also met Mr. Newman at least once.

“I have been racking my brain to see if there was something I could have done,” Mr. Newman said of Mr. Roeder.

Dr. Tiller’s clinic was the one — the big one — Mr. Newman had always hoped to close. Still, he said, if it closed now it would be no victory for Operation Rescue.
“Good God, do not close this abortion clinic for this reason,” he said. “Every kook in the world will get some notion.”

Apparently his brain isn't very big. It's pretty easy to discern what Mr. Newman might have done. The Operation Rescue staffer, Cheryl Sullenger, whose name was in Roeder's car had been convicted of clinic bombings in the past. Perhaps Mr. Newman could have avoided hiring convicted terrorists.. Perhaps he could have instructed his terrorist army to tone down their rhetoric. He could have instructed his army of terrorists not to put up websites with pictures of doctors, their families, maps to their homes and churches, etc. There are plenty of things he could have done. He didn't do a single one of them.

I won't be surprised to find that Mr. Newman's organization helped fund Scott Roeder. A guy with no job, and $10 to his name needed money for gas to keep driving across the state to glue clinic doors locked. Someone was funding Roeder.

Troy Newman worked for an organization that (at the very least) helped to ensure that this happened. For him to whine about it shows incredible hubris. This arrogant little whiner has blood on his hands - and lacks the grace and intelligence to feel guilty for having helped to incite a murder.

The Assassination of George Tiller

Rachel Maddow did a short documentary about the killing of Dr. Tiller by antichoice terrorists.

The documentary can be viewed here.

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue denies any ties to Scott Roeder, the convicted terrorist who killed Dr. Tiller. Roeder didn't have a job. He was driving around Kansas vandalizing abortion clinics. Two days before he killed Dr. Tiller, he was reported for gluing a clinic's locks. No action was taken by the FBI. As I've said before, this murder was allowed to happen.

In Roeder's car was Cheryl Sullenger's phone number. Cheryl Sullenger is a convicted terrorist who is second in command at Operation Rescue.

Someone was subsidizing Roeder's activities. He had no job, no money. It came from somewhere.

I do not believe Roeder acted alone.

Four Years Ago Dr. George Tiller was Assassinated by Terrorists

Four year later - no  results from an investigation that at best can be described as half hearted. This is the editorial I wrote at the time:

Thursday, June 04, 2009

This Murder was allowed to Happen

On Sunday, May 31, Dr. George Tiller was gunned down in the lobby of his church, in Wichita, KS. He was murdered as he handed out church bulletins to his fellow congregants at the Reformation Lutheran Church. His wife was there. A terrorist came in and shot Dr. Tiller. Dr. Tiller was one of the few remaining doctors who performed late term abortions. Anti-abortion extremist groups had targeted Tiller for assassination. There is an irony in how religious these groups are. Their websites are covered with scripture – and yet George Tiller was murdered in the house of God.

Abortion clinics have been the target of violence since Roe v Wade became law in 1973. Bombings, arson, butyric acid attacks, and anthrax mailings have all been staples of these domestic terrorists. The killings started in the early 1990’s. Dr. David Gunn was murdered in Florida in 1993. That same year, a woman named Rachelle Shannon shot Dr. George Tiller in the arms. She is serving an 11-year term for attempted murder, as well as some additional time for 6 arson and 2 butyric acid attacks at clinics. In 1994, Dr. John Bayard Britton and his clinic escort were shot and killed by Paul Hill, who also shot and injured another clinic worker that day. That same year, Dr. Garson Romalis was shot and wounded at his home in Vancouver, BC. James Kopp is the suspect. In 1994, John Salvi shot up two clinics in Brookline, Ma. He killed Shannon Lowery and Leanne Nichols, and wounded 5 others. In 1995, Dr. Hugh Short was shot and wounded at his home in Ontario. James Kopp has been charged with attempted murder in this case. Kopp is also a suspect in the 1997 shootings of a doctor in Rochester, NY and one in Winnipeg. In 1998, a clinic bombing in Birmingham killed Officer Robert Sanderson; AL. Nurse Emily Lyons was seriously injured. Eric Rudolph is serving a life sentence for bombing that clinic and another, as well as a gay bar, and the bombings at Olympic Park. In 1998, Dr. Bernard Slepian was shot and killed at his home in NY by James Kopp, who is serving a life sentence.

This was a murder that was allowed to happen. Dr. Tiller had been a target for decades. There is a web page with his picture, the picture and address of his clinic, his home address – and a map, pictures of his wife, and interestingly, a picture of his church – along with the address. The unnamed group responsible for the site didn’t go as far as photoshopping a bull’s eye on any of the many pictures of Dr. Tiller, but their intent is obvious.

There was a steady barrage of harassment and threats against Dr. Tiller for years. Some of it came from the far right extremist media. Bill O’Reilly has been beating the drum about “Tiller the killer” for the last five years. Naturally, O’Reilly denies any culpability - but, then again, he’s a well-known liar. Fox has almost nothing to do with news, and everything to do with ginning up their followers. As the old saying goes, “If you hang around a barber shop, you’re going to get a haircut.” If you continually indulge in inflammatory, violent, hate speech – you’re going incite some violence.

Extremist anti-abortion groups have all been screaming about how, since they didn’t pull the trigger, this isn’t their fault. We are supposed to believe their websites, protests, and endless hate rhetoric all exist in a vacuum. The only reason these groups exist is to inflame the passions of their followers and incite them to action. Only 3 days after Dr. Tiller’s murder, antiabortion extremist blogger Jill Stanek (a frequent Fox News guest) put up pictures of the next target, Dr. LeRoy Harrison Carhart. She included pictures of his clinic, too – and a helpful link to the same website that had all of the Tiller information. Dr. Carhart’s hit page contains pictures of him, his wife, his daughter, the clinic – and a request for more information and better pictures. Apparently they don’t have his home address, and that of his church. Still, there’s plenty available for a gunman to work with, presumably after he reads the helpful scriptures and quotes.

This is a murder that was allowed to happen. Scott Roeder was a well known anti-abortion terrorist. He’d done time for having bomb-making materials in his car. The FBI is charged with protecting abortion clinics and staff. Roeder had been twice reported for gluing the locks of a clinic in Kansas City – the second time was the day before Dr. Tiller’s murder. The staff person who caught Roeder, called the FBI, and reported the incident, and provided the plate number on the car Roeder was driving. The FBI told the staffer that they couldn’t do anything until a federal grand jury convened. Roeder drove to Wichita in that same car, and killed Dr. Tiller. This is a murder that was allowed to happen.

Abortion is legal. The violence continues – because no one is willing to defend abortion and a woman’s right to choose. It has been determined that abortion protestors have a right to stand in front of clinics and harass women. To interfere with their right to harass patients, staff, and doctors would be a violation of their right to free speech. I’m guessing that a group of protestors outside urology offices chanting and handing out pamphlets about “IMPOTENCE – GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU” would not be given similar latitude. Abortion – and women- make us squeamish.

Abortion is legal. Murder is not. What are we going to do about it?

“If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” Florynce Kennedy

“If the anti-abortion movement took a tenth of the energy they put into noisy theatrics and devoted it to improving the lives of children who have been born into lives of poverty, violence, and neglect, they could make a world shine.“ Michael Jay Tucker

For thorough documentation of clinic violence:

This was published by the Conway Daily Sun on May 5, 2009 as an op-ed. 

© s.bruce 2009

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Obstructionist Theater

The New Hampshire legislature is a mirror, reflecting what goes on in Washington. In Washington, petty obstructionism is the order of the day. The same is true in the People’s House here in the Granite State.

The loon and lead sinker bill is a good example. SB 89 was aimed at ending the use of lead sinkers and jigs weighing an ounce or less. These lead sinkers are the leading cause of death in the adult loon population. They’re also littering the bottoms of our lakes and ponds. We don’t use lead in water pipes any more, or in paint because now we know that lead is bad.  The wrangling over this bill went on for well over an hour, because the liberty crowd is convinced that this bill has something to do with Agenda 21. Rep. Al Baldasaro opined in April that this was a UN attempt at getting fisherman off the lake. After enduring what one can only assume was copious public and private ridicule, he’d changed his tune by session day, and told media that this was just a “feel good bill.”

Rep. Burt of Goffstown openly mocked the concerns of those who supported the bill, dismissing the idea that lead was dangerous. The loonkillers lost, and the bill passed on a roll call vote (yep, they wanted this enshrined in the public record) of 225-142. You can look up your representative’s votes on the House website. This whole process took nearly 2 hours – and the loonkillers lost, big time. What else can we call this but obstructionist theater?

The big vote last week was on SB 152, the casino bill. That debate lasted for a little over 4 hours, but that debate was justified. The result of the vote was destined to have a big impact on the state no matter which way it came down. We all now know that the House voted down the bill. The why of it isn’t being honestly being told. All of the NH media seems united in presenting this as legislators being either for or against gambling. No nuance need be discussed. While sitting through the committee vote, and then the 4-hour debate on the House floor, I heard plenty of nuance expressed. The real problem with the bill is that it was bad. Many representatives who support expanded gambling voted against it because it was a raw deal for the state.

SB 152 ensured that NH would get 30% of the take from the machines of Millennium Gaming, the gaming corporation that the state is courting. In 2012, a similar bill gave NH 49% of the take. In 2008 it was 50%, and in 2004 it was 55%. Pennsylvania gets 55%. Thirty percent was a great deal for Millennium – but not so great for the state. Millennium was also given the opportunity to write the regulations governing the casino. Putting the fox in charge of the henhouse has never been successful, but our state senators were keen on trying.

A commission authorized by Governor Lynch a few years back found that the regulations for a casino should be in place before any negotiations with a company began. There was money put in the budget to put that regulatory infrastructure into place. It was never done. The idea of letting the casino write the regulations defies all common sense. The bill was voted down on a vote of 199-164. A motion to reconsider failed on a vote of 212 – 152.

There were nearly a dozen bills that were unheard in last week’s session, and so were brought forward this week. The NH Liberty Alliance (essentially a front for the Free State Project) hands out gold (naturally) sheets to folks heading in to Representatives Hall. These sheets give the Liberty perspective on bills, and generally provide a blueprint for how much obstructionism to expect on any given bill.

SB 96, a bill aimed at curbing vexatious litigants (nuisance lawsuits) was deemed Anti-Liberty. Given the Free State Project’s propensity for filing nuisance lawsuits, this came as no surprise. In Randia we will all be able to sue each other all the time. Gold! Austria! The bill passed, despite the protestations of the residents of Libertopia.

SB 100, was a bill to allow employers to stop issuing paper checks, and give wages on cards – like debit cards. The problem here is that those cards (issued by companies like Visa) have fees associated with them. This is a mode of payment that is reserved almost entirely for low wage workers. Carl Nelson does not get his paycheck in the form of a plastic card with user fees attached. This benefits employers at the expense of employees. It also benefits banks and credit card companies, all who want a piece of the low wage pie at the expense of workers. Shameful. The bill was defeated on a vote of 235 -93.

The most interesting fight of the day was over SB 11, a bill allowing municipalities to work together on water and sewer infrastructure projects. Sounds sensible, right? What you don’t know is that this is a sneak attempt by the UN to achieve global domination through your toilet. The John Birch Society and other wearers of tinfoil berets decided this bill (written to aid Stratham and Exeter in particular) was part of the nefarious Agenda 21. This is a bill that came out of committee with a recommendation of ought to pass on vote of 18-0. Normally it would have been put on the consent calendar, but this legislature isn’t exactly normal. All who were present donned their sunglasses to block the glare of 100 tinfoil berets.

A motion to table the bill failed. Rep. Jane Cormier of Alton gave a one-woman filibuster against the bill that included all manner of bizarre assertions (well stealing, property takeovers) including her belief that “the EPA now considers rainwater a pollutant.” A move to recommit the bill (send it back to the same committee that unanimously passed it) failed.

Rep. Abrami (Republican from Stratham) finally had the chance to speak, and pointed out that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hadn’t visited Stratham, and that the bill had nothing to do with Agenda 21. He also said, “I’m a conservative guy. You think I’d stand up here and allow the state to steal our wells?” The bill was finally passed on a roll call vote of 254 -74, after all that posturing and bloviating. With each vote (table, recommit, final vote) the tinfoil crowd lost votes. Their goal isn’t winning – they know better. Their goal is posturing and obstructing. Just like Congress.

© sbruce 2013 
Published as a regular biweekly column in the Conway Daily Sun Newspaper. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Glare of 100 Tinfoil Berets

Today at the NH State House, all of the bills that were not dealt with last week came before the House. There were 11 bills. Some came out of committee with near unanimous votes. One came out of committee with a vote of 18-0 and got the full loon/lead sinker treatment. For the same reasons, though they weren't spoken aloud either time. 

During the opening rituals, Rep. Peter Schmidt of Dover sang the national anthem, acapella. And he rocked it! This man can sing! He tells me that he can dance, too. Rep. Schmidt is apparently something of a renaissance man - who knew? 

First up, SB 96, relative to vexatious litigants. The NH Liberty Alliance found this bill to be "anti-liberty" because of course in Randia, everyone can sue all they want. Committee recommended OTP (ought to pass) as amended (OTP/A). Despite some complaints from the land of Freedumb, the bill passes 198-130 on a division vote. 

SB 100: authorizing electronic payroll. This bill would allow companies to stop writing paper checks and issue little debit card like things to employees. The thing about little debit card like things is that they also come with debit card like user fees. Another thing about those payroll cards is pretty simple: they are almost alway issued to low wage workers. You don't give the guy who's making $100k a year a little debit like card with user fees. As Rep. Tim Smith put it: This benefits employers,  NOT employees." Rep. Smith also referenced "company scrip" - thereby invoking the days of the company store.  

The bill doesn't just benefit employers. It also benefits banks and card companies. Everybody gets a piece of the low wage pie - at the expense of the low wage worker. Apparently this bill was written at the behest of Cranmore Mtn. Ski Area. One of the supporters of the bill pointed out that there was a credit union within 5 miles of Cranmore, for people to use. He failed to note that there is no public transportation for those low wage workers to use to get to the credit union.

The liberty frat boys in the back row of the House were mocking - "bet this is the argument blacksmiths used against cars, haw haw haw" to suggest that the people who oppose this were anti-technology. If the company were willing to eat the user fees instead of passing 'em on to employees, there would be greater support for this bill. 

The bill went down on a division vote of 235-93. 

SB 143, relative to benefits for unemployed persons who are trying to start a business. This bill would enable a small percentage of unemployed persons to commit to starting up their business, as opposed to looking for full time work. Some 2.5% of NH unemployed persons would be eligible. Naturally this was opposed by those who claim to be focused like a laser on job creation. Reps. Ulery, Daniels, and Flanagan all objected and presented misinformation. Flanagan demanded a roll call vote. The bill came out of committee with an OTP recommendation, and it did, on a vote of 183 - 149. 

SB 153: relative to legislative approval of collective bargaining agreements entered into by the state. 
The anti-union folk were out in full voice. Vallaincourt waxed on about the need for such a bill. The members of the House have long been under the delusion that they should oversee everything in the state, so this was no more of an overreach than we've seen in the past. Rep. DeSilvestro pointed out that this would insert politics into process. That, of course, is the point. The bill came out of committee with an ITL recommendation, and in a roll call vote it was officially ITL'd 191 - 135. 

SB 11, the controversial waster and sewer bill was moved till the end of the calendar at the request of Rep. Tucker, to accommodate a legislator who wasn't there yet. There was actually a division vote on this special order. 275-45 in favor of adopting the measure. 

SB 179, clarifying the definition of "renewable generation facility" came out of committee with a recommendation of OTP/A on a vote of 14-4. This didn't get the full lead sinker treatment, but it did get a division vote, which resulted the bill's passing on a vote of 256-63. 

SB 20 concerned modifications to the  DUI ignition interlock program. The bill came out of committee with a recommendation of OTP/A on a vote of 15-1. This bill  was opposed by the Liberty Alliance who claimed that there were provisions in this bill for installing cameras and GPS tracking. There was no language in the bill that indicated such a thing. O'Flaherty (the anarchist Free Stater who ran as a pretend Democrat) spoke on behalf of the minority. Apparently they were more interested in squirting to mark territory rather than actually swaying anyone, O'Flaherty not being a persuasive speaker. 

Back to SB11. We all donned our sunglasses to keep from being blinded by the sudden glare of a hundred tinfoil berets. 

This bill came out of committee with a recommendation of OTP, on a vote of 18-0. 

Somehow the Birchers decided that SB11, a bill to allow municipalities to work together to finance and build water and sewer projects was really the UN trying to achieve world domination through septic systems. None of those who spoke against the bill referenced the Agenda 21 hysteria, but some of those who spoke in favor of the bill were quite candid about it. The tinfoil brigade was desperate to shut this down without discussion. So Rep. LeBrun moved to table the bill. A division vote was requested, which morphed into a roll call. On a roll call vote of 86 - 244, the motion to table failed. 

Rep. Jane Cormier gave a one-woman filibuster of nonsense about Maryland and Oregon, and claimed the EPA "now considers rainwater a pollutant." Horse hockey. This may have been aimed at running down the clock till JR Hoell could arrive. 

Flanagan moved to recommit the bill (send it back to committee). The same committee that unanimously passed it. A division vote was requested and the motion to recommit failed 98-229. 

Rep. Abrami of Stratham (a town that would benefit from this legislation, as they do not have town water) pointed out that Secretary General Moon of the UN had not visited Stratham to help write the bill. He also said, "I'm a conservative guy. You think I'd stand up here and allow the state to steal our wells?" 

Rep. Burt asked for a roll call. Hoell made it in time to vote. The bill passed on a vote of 254-74. All that posturing and bloviating was for naught - with each vote they lost more of the tinfaithful. 

The same kind of petty obstructionism going on in Congress is being mirrored right here in the NH House, where the fauxliberty crowd persists in giving every bill the lead sinker treatment, even when they know they can't possibly win. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Support Expanded Medicaid on May 29, in Concord

From our friends at the NH Citizens Alliance: 

Just wanted to make sure you had the latest information about our upcoming events related to Medicaid expansion. Please be sure to sign the petition as well. The 22,300 more Granite Staters who will be uninsured without Medicaid expansion are counting on you to get involved!


protestersNH Citizens Alliance is gathering Medicaid expansion supporters for a rally outside Senate President Bragdon’s $100-per-person fundraiser. Senator Bragdon’s vote on this is especially troublesome because he wouldn’t make time to meet with constituents to discuss Medicaid expansion before his vote, despite multiple requests. We’ll have plenty of signs, but feel free to bring your own! Be sure to invite your Facebook friends.
Where: Sidewalk outside O Steak and Seafood, 11 South Main St., Concord
When: Wednesday, May 29, 4-5pm
RSVP: Email me, call 603-724-4047, or say you’ll come on Facebook.

Phone Banks

Please sign up for a phone bank! You’ll be able to grab a slice of pizza and call fellow progressives in target State Senate districts and patch them through to their Senators to ask them to support Medicaid expansion. Stop in for an hour or stay for the evening.
Where: 3rd floor, 4 Park Street, Concord
When: Wednesday, May 29, 5:15-8:30pm (right after the rally) and Wednesday, June 5, 5-8:30pm
RSVP: Email me, call 603-724-4047, or RSVP on Facebook for May 29 or June 5

Press Conference

Please come to the press conference on Medicaid expansion hosted by NH Voices for Health. Hear stories from people who will be impacted by Medicaid expansion’s benefits for NH’s families, communities, and businesses, and show you care! Check out the Facebook event for more information.
Where: Legislative Office Building (LOB), 33 North State Street, Concord
When: Tuesday, June 4, 11am
Hope to see you next week! Don’t forget to sign the petition!

Monday, May 27, 2013

UNH Logo - Tempest in a Teaparty Pot

The University of NH has been trying to find a logo to replace the current Thompson Hall tower logo. A NY design firm was engaged and came up with some less than stellar concepts.

Naturally, in the state that ranks a firm 50th in the nation for state funding of our university system, that's created a bit of a buzz. Oh, the outrage! The clutching of pearls!

Just exactly who is it that is yanking on those strands of pearls?

Greg Moore, state director of Americans for Prosperity, who said he's been digging into the finances of UNH and the USNH system, said,” this appears (unfortunately) to be an all too common a pattern in terms of a lack of disregard of the mission of both the school and system, which is providing a quality education at the lowest cost possible for the families of NH.”

Greg Moore....Greg Moore - that name sounds so familiar. Oh, I remember!

Speaker O’Brien, after numerous clownish debacles in the early weeks of the legislature, has hired a fellow named Greg Moore to be the “House Policy Director.” Moore was formerly the policy and communications director for John Stephen. Apparently the new Policy Czar will prevent the Speaker from trying to improperly toss Democratic legislators out of office. Perhaps he will ensure that no more embarrassing bills will go public, like the one Rep. Lars Christiansen filed to get rid of the judge who convicted a child rapist Christiansen seems to have taken under his wing. We taxpayers are paying the Speaker’s babysitter $75,000 a year. 

Mr. Moore certainly wasn't worried about providing quality services at the lowest possible  cost to the taxpayers of NH, when he was feeding from the taxpayer funded trough. That's a mighty hefty salary for a guy who repeatedly failed to prevent the Speaker from bringing shame to the state.  Then there's the fact that  Americans for Prosperity is a right wing political advocacy group. This guy gets paid to bloviate on behalf of the Koch brothers. We should listen to him....why?

“$100,000 is an obscene misuse of taxpayer money. Yes, taxpayer. I don't care what fund it comes from, taxpayers support UNH,” Alicia Preston, group member and alumnus, said.

You may remember Alicia Preston, who served as communications director for Craig Benson, the only one-term Republican governor in recent NH history. The GOP governor that the NHGOP never mentions. He is their Voldemort. Ms. Preston has a PR firm, and has worked for Guiliani, Pataki, Jeb Bradley, and Frank Guinta. Are you starting to see a pattern yet?

Alumni John Hikel said, “The logo is just a symptom to another part of the problem.”  

This alum is Rep. John Hikel of Goffstown, who recently filed a criminal complaint against 189 of his fellow legislators because he was unhappy with the way they voted on a partial repeal of NH's Stand Your Ground law. 

All right wingers. ONLY right wingers. It's the NH version of the war on Christmas. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Jeb Bradley's Intentions

In the pink shirt, we have multimillionaire NH State Senator Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro, stumping for his fellow multimillionaire, Mitt Romney who has a vacation mansion in Wolfeboro. 

The NH Senate had a big voting session today. They've made it their mission to overturn any good that might have come out of the NH House during this legislative year, and they're doing a fine job.

Today they voted on HB 501, a bill concerning the minimum wage. Let's be clear, folks, this bill had nothing to do with an INCREASE in the minimum wage. All this bill did was return to statute the simple concept that NH had it's own minimum wage, and could actually set it higher than federal law. The last GOP legislature overturned this rather benign statute out of sheer malice.

I was listening to the rather capricious streaming of the session. Senate Majority Leader, Jeb Bradley told the assembled throng that this bill was written "by people with good intentions." He mentioned those good intentions several times as he spoke against the bill. A bill that I repeat: Did Not Increase the State Minimum Wage.

Then he voted against it. What does that tell us about HIS intentions?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sinkers, Loons, and Knaves

It was a long day at the NH House. SB 126, a bill concerning business practices between manufacturers, distributers, and dealers took a long time. Free Stater Emily Sandblade of the Commerce Committee supported the bill, but the rest of the tinfoil brigade were quite annoyed about it. JR Hoell (the next best thing to a Free Stater) was wearing a button that seemed to suggest that passing 126 was likely to end NH as we know it.

They pressed on to SB 89, a bill aimed at eliminating the use of lead sinkers and jigs (weighing an ounce or less) for the fishermen in our state. One of the reasons for this, is that lead sinkers are the leading cause of death for adult loons. Also: lead bad. That's why we don't use it in paint or water pipes any more. Lead bad.

The tinfoil hat brigade defended their right to kill loons to the bitter end.

Rep. Webb introduced a floor amendment to give the manufacturers of lead tackle more time to comply. Apparently the 3 years specified in the bill wasn't long enough.

Best of all though, was Rep. John Burt from Goffstown. Burt spent a lot of time mocking the whole thing, saying that "the science just isn't there." That bald eagles kill loons. When asked why all the other states around us have passes similar legislation, Burt responded, "monkey see, monkey do. He asserted that the lead isn't dangerous, the lead in the water isn't dangerous, that there's mercury in the water - a hodgepodge of distractionary nonsense.

Rep. Manley, a science teacher, gave us some schoolin' on the science. Like: lead bad. We view lead as damaging to the environment. We regard lead as a threat to water.

Lots of consternation from the GOP - do lead sinker manufacturers donate heavily to GOP campaigns or something?

Michael Garcia, the Free Stater and fauxDem says the only way this practice will end is to change the culture. "It will impact small businesses. Who will want to buy back banned products?"

Anecdote: I know some guys who fish. None of them have any lead tackle.

Apparently this bill didn't go anywhere last year, and the committee last year agreed that the bill wouldn't come forward again in 2013. The possibility of losing their seats doesn't seem to have occurred to them. The guys who did get reelected seem quite miffed that this bill came forward AFTER a different group agreed that it wouldn't.

Best part of the hearing? Al Baldasaro walking by the media section saying, "this is just another feel good bill." Really, Al? Just last month, Al was claiming this bill was part of the UN's clever plan to take over the US via tackle box. “If you take a look at other areas, uh, what’s going on around the country under Agenda 21, this isn’t get – the nose is already under the tent. This now is pushing the foot under the tent, to slowly get the fishermen off the lake. That’s what this is gonna do.”

Al must have had an adjustment to his tinfoil beanie since then, because no one mentioned Agenda 21. Or maybe they've been mocked so much about Agenda 21 that they don't want to bring it up in public.

This was a long, painful debate that really boiled down to this: do you want to do the right thing, or do you want to reserve the right to kill loons? 

The loonkillers lost, on a roll call vote of 225-142.

After that came SB 122, concerning the establishment of a commercial shrimp license.
The tinfoil crowd was all wound up about this. Not sure why.  The voice vote failed. Free Stater Rep. Carol McGuire asked for a roll call vote. The bill passed 257-122.

                                             This is a high end casino: Montbleu in Stateline, NV. 

After lunch came SB 152, the casino bill. Last week the 45 member supercommittee of Finance and Ways and Means voted to ITL the bill. The full House needs to overturn the ITL before it can begin hearing and voting on the 20+ amendments to the bill that are just waiting in the wings.

Strange little caucus groups spring up around the chamber. O'Brien/Ober. Itse/Lambert. Baldasaro/smart phone. Even Stellaaaaaaaah is here this afternoon.

At one point, O'Brien, Itse, Lambert, Baldasaro, and Warden all slither out to the anteroom to plot. O'Brien all puffed up, and plotting. And why not? He refused a committee assignment, so he hasn't done any work this session.

Groups swap partners. Itse/O'Brien. Ober/Hoell. Baldasaro/Twitter.

Rep. Lovejoy spoke in favor of not overturning the ITL. She cited revenue, regulations, and social costs as reasons for her decision. Baldasaro gets a question. Al, it seems, worked in Delaware (this guy must have the longest resume in the United States. He had 10 different jobs in 10 different states all at the same time before he moved to NH. But, in Delaware, he tells Rep. Lovejoy,  he didn't see no crime, and no hookers like you're talking about. (she hadn't mentioned hookers.) At the end of her lengthy and respectful answer to Rep. Baldasaro,  Lovejoy added, "I don't expect there will be a big influx of hookers to Salem. I hope that doesn't disappoint you."

Rep. Sapareto repeating last week's line about "booze, butts, and bets." It was better last week. He also said of the legislature, "We're about 25 years behind the people we represent." (You can carve that in stone.) Sapareto also said that we have no other way to raise revenue.

(new sideline caucus: Rideout, Itse, Hoell, Lambert)

Rep. Webb reminded us that the bill addresses our social concerns, there's a fund built in to help problem gamblers. This always reminds me of the fund to help problem drinkers - to fund treatment, education and prevention. The fund has never been fully funded since 2003, when it was highjacked by the legislature and siphoned into the general fund. Also, his mother gambles at Foxwoods and she's not a criminal. When people come here to gamble, they'll buy our cheap booze and cigarettes. And buy gas, and pay the gas tax! Now, there's a sore subject, since the Senate finance committee just ITL'd an increase to the gas tax.

Gionet (revolution!) and Webb do a little theater performance of pretending to ask and answer questions.

No one ever mentions that casinos feed gamers free booze as long as they're playing. There will be a new crop of dual addicted folks: booze and gambling. It's never mentioned. I saw it all the time out in Tahoe.

Rep. Vallaincourt gives an inspired speech on how this bill (written by lobbyists from Millenium Gaming) cheats the state of NH, and what a bad deal it is for us. Pennsylvania gets 55% of the take from Millenium. They want to give NH 30%.

(sideline groups: Baldasaro/Chandler. Cormier/O'Brien. Warden/Winter)

Vallaincourt claims the state will lose over a billion in revenue in a 20 year period. "We will never get a do-over if we pass this." "Better do nothing now than try to fix this later."

Rep. St. James - this bill is good for NH.

Rep. Rideout: supports ITL. Is in favor of expanded gambling but opposes the monopoly that this bill would give Millenium. "Money is supposed to go to the north country - but the bill says nothing about it." "This bill is a goulash of government."

Rep. Butler: overturn the ITL. Bill will create 2000 jobs.

Rep. Azarian: the casino will provide the money to expand 93 and fix our infrastructure.

Rep. Groen moved here from NJ, and spoke about the big promises made by casinos there. They kept dropping the state's share of revenue every year. The developers promised to make Atlantic City the pearl of the Eastern Seaboard. "We got a sliver of glitzy buildings surrounded by a slum."
"The only thing worse than a gambling addiction is a state addicted to gambling revenue."

Rep. Hess: None of us (the committee) had any experience in regulating a casino. We were at the mercy of the lobbyists and lawyers of the industry. The revenue streams are fanciful at best. NHFPI finds that the casino may well result in a net loss for our state. "How can we meet unmet needs by creating more needs?"

Finally, at 4:40 pm the roll call vote on overturning the ITL finally takes place. The ITL upheld on a vote of 199-164.  Rep. Richardson makes a motion to reconsider. He wants the House to vote against reconsideration. (thereby killing the bill dead, dead, instead of just dead.) Rep. Walner asks for a roll call.

Richardson comments that this bill has had more scrutiny than any bill in NH history except possibly the loon and lead sinker bill.

The roll call on the motion to reconsider: 152 yea and 212 nay - the motion fails. SB 152 is dead, dead.

This is not a high end casino. Winners Casino in Winnemucca, Nevada is more like what NH will be getting 30% of the take on. 

You Say Ayotte I say Eye-otte....

This picture (from the Nashua Telegraph) was taken on October 14, 2012, when RNC Chair Reince Priebus and Senator Kelly Ayotte were out doing door-to-door for Mitt Romney.

Now, fast forward to May 20, at the NH GOP dinner where Senator Aqua Buddha was the keynote speaker, and Reince Priebus was once again gracing our state. From our friends at Concord Patch:

At the NH GOP’s sold out dinner on May 20, Priebus mispronounced Ayotte’s name not once, but twice, calling her “Eye-yotte” and not “Ay-yotte.”

You'd think a guy named REINCE PRIEBUS might have some interest in proper pronunciation of names.

It seems that Kelly Ayotte's decision to be the filling in the Graham/McCain sandwich might have damaged her rising GOP star status, if a guy who had spent a day with her back in October couldn't be bothered to pronounce her name correctly.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Homeless Camps in Concord Get a Temporary Reprieve

A couple of weeks ago, a group of homeless men were evicted from the area where they were living on land that is owned by the state. There's been a crackdown on homeless camps by the city for the last few months. 

The homeless population in Concord is estimated to be around 150. There is one homeless shelter with 26 beds. The math doesn't work. And some homeless folks aren't going to be eligible for a shelter, even if there were one the size of a hotel. 

Barbara Keshan, a lawyer for the NH CLU, was in court yesterday on behalf of 3 homeless men who are bringing a suit against the city, arguing that they can't be prohibited from camping on state owned land. 

The state is putting up no camping signs, and wanted the homeless camps to be vacated by the 24th. The judge gave a 10 day extension, saying that the state can't enforce evictions for 10 days, till the 30th, at which point they will be back in court again. 

A number of activists and members of the faith community gathered outside the courthouse yesterday afternoon, in support of the plaintiffs and the entire homeless community. Barbara Keshan spoke briefly about the dangers inherent in criminalizing a group of people based on their status: being poor and homeless. In the 1700's the city of Concord purchased a tract of land for a poor farm, recognizing that poor, homeless people had to go somewhere. 

A man known as "Stretch" asked, "If the cops want us gone, why do they keep giving us summons, so that we can't leave?" 

Why, indeed. 

These people have to live somewhere. They are among the most vulnerable in our society. Can we resolve this in a kind and compassionate way? 

Prayer for Homeless People

Hear our prayer today for all women and men, boys and girls who are homeless this day.
For those sleeping under bridges, on park benches, in doorways or bus stations.
For those who can only find shelter for the night but must wander in the daytime.
For families broken because they could not afford to pay the rent.
For those who have no relatives or friends who can take them in.
For those who have no place to keep possessions that remind them who they are.
For those who are afraid and hopeless.
For those who have been betrayed by our social safety net.
For all these people, we pray that you will provide shelter, security and hope.
We pray for those of us with warm houses and comfortable beds
that we not be lulled into complacency and forgetfulness.
Jesus, help us to see your face in the eyes of every homeless person we meet
so that we may be empowered through word and deed,
and through the political means we have,
to bring justice and peace to those who are homeless.  Amen.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Another Douche With a Blog

Every time I write about the Free State Project, some members of the hive elect to respond. Their responses are always condescending, because only an idiot who doesn't understand their marvelous theories would dare disagree them.They just can't imagine that anyone could research their whole belief system and still decide it's a clown show. 

The latest responder is this guy. robotnotes takes FSP commentary to a new level. He's responding to my most recent column for the Conway Daily Sun. I wrote about the recent Senate finance committee hearing at the State House:
People who have disabilities and rely on wheelchairs were there to speak about how much they need and value their personal care attendants, and how little these people are paid for the great work they do. A family with a deaf son was there to speak about his special needs. Other families spoke about their fears for their children with disabilities, and the possibility of being put on the infamous developmental disability wait list. This is all painful stuff, put out there in public, while members of the committee listen for hours with their eyes glazing over. It’s a process that is awful for everyone involved, a process that lacks any sort of kindness or compassion.
robotboy's response to this:

So pathetic and exploitative were their performances, these people had no shame bringing out their own mentally-disabled children, bring them in front of a room full of people, point at them, and tell the committee and all there to hear how worthless and incapable they are, how they will never amount to anything, never overcome their struggles, never make anything of themselves, and can only survive on the government dole. Seriously. That level of dependency was a disgusting sight to see.
In any other circumstance, my heart would go out to these struggles. The pains of life can be heavy. I know it. But to see these “my life is so hard, so unfair, give me your money” was vile. To parade your mentally-disabled children, who had no idea why they were trotted along to sit through a totally boring hearing, to be used as props to get free money is pathetic.
Allow me to summarize roboboy's remarks: people in need are vile. They will never make anything of themselves. They are dependent and disgusting. To his credit, he's far more honest here than most of them. They only hint at their contempt. roboboy is saying it out loud and proud! 

This is what the FSP thinks of the residents of our state. 

The cultists dream of a world where "gummint" is gone, and they will all be manly men doing brave deeds, and engaging in free enterprise. But - there's always a new boss, and he's often same as, or worse than the old boss. Someone is subsidizing the roboboys, and the day Someone takes over, the subsidies will end, and roboboy is going to find out what it's like to work for a living. They'll shove his copy of "The Ethics of Liberty" up his ass sideways and send him out to spread nightsoil on the turnip fields.

roboboy describes himself thusly:

I’m an atheistic yet spiritual, Rothbardian-inspired anarcho-capitalist homosexual with a degree in Computer Science, Animation, currently living the caveman/paleodiet lifestyle, desiring AI to learn from our unfortunate hubristic mistakes, and about to bring some LA sensibilities to this god forsaken place called New Hampshire.
Gag me with a shrugging atlas. The most honest thing this guy says:
Or, really, I’m  just another douche with a blog.

h/t to Eric Jackson for the nightsoil and turnips.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

TD Bank: Greedy Bastards

When I was a wee lass, my father was a banker. It was a far more honorable profession back then, in the early 1960's. 

After we the people bailed out the banks in 2008, to show their gratitude, they refused to give loans to small businesses, and foreclosed on homeowners. Another way they've chosen to say thank you, is by adding numerous fees and charges to our accounts, our credit cards, and our debit cards. 

I recently received a letter from my bank to inform me of a change to one of those fees:

When I opened this checking account, it was at a small locally owned bank: North Conway Bank, in North Conway, NH. It was repeatedly sold up the corporate banking food chain till it went from TD Bank North to plain old TD Bank. 

Now, despite years of customer loyalty, unless I have a daily balance of $250, the bank is going to charge me a monthly "maintenance fee" of $10.  

How much work can it be to "maintain" the bank account of a poor person? Is my account dirtying the  carpets or getting fingerprints on the windows? 

I'm barely employed. I don't have $250 in that bank account as I type this. Is my poverty  INCONVENIENCING them, somehow? It sure as hell is inconvenient for me! 

Banking: Second Most Hated Industry:
The overall negative ratings for this industry has increased significantly from 20% in 2001 to 53% this year. The percentage of positive ratings has also declined by nearly 50% since 2001. The poor image of the banking industry is fairly straightforward, having “been involved in major issues since Lehman brothers in 2008, and it still looks like a problem,” Newport says. In addition, Americans’ perception may be affected by the high fees banks charge consumers.The high volume of scandals both in the U.S. and in Europe exposes flaws in the industry and undermine the public’s confidence in its effectiveness.Bank of America has built an infamous public image with false foreclosures, property seizures, misleading mortgage adjustment programs, and other controversial conduct. Scandals like these could be fueling the perception that the banking industry is only profit-oriented and functioning at the expense of the average American.

It's not a perception. It's reality. They're shameless greedy bastards. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fingers in Ears: LALALA

The NH House is currently dealing with the Senate’s casino bill, and the NH Senate is dealing with the House budget. These are the two Big Important things of this year’s legislative session. Last week, as part of the budget process, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing in Representatives Hall so that lobbyists, organizations, and members of the public could make their case to the Committee for increased funding for their needs.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Morse was clear from the beginning that he would impose no time restrictions on those who came to speak. The hearing was supposed to last four hours, but went for an extra two, thanks to the no time limit policy.

People who have disabilities and rely on wheelchairs were there to speak about how much they need and value their personal care attendants, and how little these people are paid for the great work they do. A family with a deaf son was there to speak about his special needs. Other families spoke about their fears for their children with disabilities, and the possibility of being put on the infamous developmental disability wait list. This is all painful stuff, put out there in public, while members of the committee listen for hours with their eyes glazing over. It’s a process that is awful for everyone involved, a process that lacks any sort of kindness or compassion.

All that waiting made the two pieces of performance “art” enacted by members of the Free State Project that much more egregious. The hearing began at 3. At some point before the dinner break at 5 pm, a man calling himself “Adam Sutler” was called to speak, and delivered a theatrical and senseless rant. Adam Sutler was a character in the movie “V for Vendetta.” Much later in the evening, a second man calling himself “Edgar Friendly” was called to speak, and engaged in another theatrical rant, before Chairman Morse told him to get lost. His rant was a mash-up of lines from “Network” and “Demolition Man.” “Demolition Man” is where the character “Edgar Friendly” originated.

Apparently this was supposed to prove something grand and profound to the people of NH. What that was remains unclear. The FSP may have succeeded in pranking the committee (boy howdy, now there’s a triumph!) but it was at the expense of those folks sitting there with developmentally disabled children, folks sitting in wheelchairs, and every member of the public who was sitting there waiting to speak about their own needs or the needs of their family. The point they unwittingly made is that the Free State Project is largely comprised of narcissistic individuals who are incapable of consideration for those who live outside of their cult.

The GOP controlled Senate passed a rule change this year that enables them to avoid hearing any House resolutions that they wish to ignore. No longer do the dignified members of our Senate have to stick their fingers in their ears singing “la-la-la.”

There are 2 kinds of resolutions that can make it as far as the Senate: House Continuing Resolutions (HCRs) and House Joint Resolutions (HJRs). Most resolutions die on the House floor and never make it as far as the Senate – and for good reason.

In 2011, there were 27 HCRs and 4 HJRs. There was a resolution in support of the Arizona immigration law, one urging the UK to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece, and another urging the Park Service to exhume the remains of Meriwether Lewis to determine his cause of death. There was also a resolution that year to urge Congress to begin the process of overturning Citizen’s United, the Supreme Court decision that allows corporations to spend as much as they want to influence our elections.

In 2012, there were 16 HCRs and 4 HJRs. There was yet another resolution in support of the Arizona immigration law, one calling on the US to withdraw from the UN (thank you, Norm Tregenza), one urging the privatization of all aspects of Social Security, and my favorite, a resolution declaring brain power to be a state resource.

Most of those never made it as far as the Senate. This year, there were only 3 HCRs and 2 HJRs, which makes the Senate rule change all the more curious.

There are 2 HCRs and 1 HJR that made it out of the House. HCR 1 is a resolution urging Congress to fund a comprehensive health care delivery system to enhance specialty care for New Hampshire veterans. New Hampshire is the only state in the union that has no full service VA hospital.

HCR 2 is a resolution urging Congress to begin the process of overturning Citizens United. HJR 1 directs the joint legislative committee to acquire and display a portrait of legendary NH suffragist Marilla Marks Ricker.

Apparently these three items are all too coarse for the dainty ears of our NH Senators, since they refuse to hear them.  Not a one of them is a frivolous or ideological concern. Some Senators at least claim to be concerned about money influencing politics. Usually the GOP is the first to bang on the drum of veterans needs.  And given the big problem that today’s Republican Party has with women, you’d think the GOP men of the Senate would be out scouring the state for portraits of Marilla Ricker, or that multimillionaire Jeb Bradley would be paying for a portrait out of pocket, and unveiled at a big public event. (ha!) But, all kidding aside, celebrating a long dead woman who fought hard to secure voting rights for her gender can’t do anything but make these guys look good. And they won’t do it. They won’t even hear the resolution.

It’s a petty subversion of the democratic process. Each of those resolutions cleared the 400 member House to get to the Senate. That the Senate can’t be bothered to take the time to even hear those 3 resolutions is pathetic.

The Senate Finance Committee refused to limit the amount of time anyone could take to testify before them, resulting in a poorly run hearing that took hours longer than it should have, and inconvenienced hundreds of people who didn’t deserve to be treated so badly. That same Senate allowed the Free Staters to make a mockery of their hearing – but they refuse to hear 3 resolutions that reflect the will of the people of our state merely because it might inconvenience them.

  © 2013 sbruce
published in the May 17, 2013 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper.