Thursday, August 29, 2013

Updates from Post-Racial Murka

AP/Lewiston Sun photo

In Sabattus, ME a selectmen is finding himself in some (deservedly) hot water:

A Sabattus town official is under federal investigation and facing fierce criticism after he posted a message on Facebook calling for President Obama to be shot and referring to him with a racial slur.
The message said, "Shoot the ..." and included a racial slur.David Marsters, 68, who is running for selectman, says he told Secret Service agents who questioned him Tuesday that he was not threatening the president when he posted the message at 8:17 p.m. Friday. It appeared above a picture of Obama and a link to a story about how some Republican lawmakers think the president deserves to be impeached.
"I think it's a lot of hogwash," Marsters said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I did not threaten the president. ... I might have used the wrong words. ... I didn't say I was going to do it."
He said his post was taken out of context.
"What I really meant to say is, 'When are we going to get rid of this (expletive),'" he said. "I should have said, 'I hope the bastard dies.'

Can someone explain to me how a thing can be taken out of context when it's what you said?
Marsters is having a big year. He was big news back in March:
SABATTUS, Maine — Retiree David Marsters says there ought to be a law which mandates every Sabattus head of household to own a gun.
He’s not joking.
If each Sabattus home had a gun, “it would provide and protect safety of the city,” Marsters said.

Okay, but:
According to Marsters, felons, those with a history of mental illness and those whose religion would prohibit gun use would be exempt. He acknowledged “there’s not that much crime rate in Sabattus,” but if word spread that every home had guns, robbers would stay away out of town.
Marsters, 68, is a retired police officer from Malden, Mass. He’s a father, a grandfather, and is involved in his local politics, serving on several committees.

Indeed, what a cunning plan. Because EVERYONE knows that robbers never steal guns. 

I'm just surprised that a racist gun nut from Massachusetts moved to Maine, instead of moving to NH to run for the state legislature. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Carla Gericke Must Resign At Once!

The Free Stater front group No More Bearcats had a press conference yesterday. About 6 people were there.  Here's a video of the speakers, including Pamela Ean, who says she's a former police officer. State Senator Andy Sanborn, who very patronizingly said, "Our boys and girls in blue do a great job." Boys and girls? They aren't five year olds. Why the need for the diminutive terms here, Andy? And the BearCat is not an armed military weapon. There are no weapons on the inside or the outside. It is ARMORED, not ARMED. 

Next up was Brian Blackden, who claims he, too,  was a police officer. There seems to be some question as to whether that's true. One thing is true, Blackden has been arrested on a number of occasions for impersonating  EMTs or law enforcement. The last speaker was State Rep. George Lambert, who wants to put the goober in goobernatorial. He isn't from Concord, but he wants to get his face in front of any camera that is attached to freedumb and libertea. He's a real gifted speaker. He actually went to actual police training about actually tasing people. Ooh, George Lambert, IS COMING FOR THAT TANK. I'm sure that the folks of Concord appreciate his interference in their local control. 

 Carla Gericke, President of the Free State Project spoke the longest. One might think that after the reviews of Carla's last speaking engagement (at the Concord City Council) that she'd try to tone it down. One would be wrong. Once she got warmed up, Carla reached her usual operatic vocal heights.  At one point, only dogs could hear her. Some of my favorite moments from her speech:

"We chose to come here!" Clearly, the FSP was doing NH a big favor by choosing NH as the state that the FSP  wanted to invade, colonize, dismantle the state government of, and then enable it to secede from the union. "We chose to come here to this peaceful wonderful place!" A wonderful place that you want to turn into some neofeudal Randian paradise. Don't do us any favors, okay? Feel free to make the choice to leave. 

"You cannot say to us just because we have ideas that are slightly different to yours that we are domestic terrorists." That's true. But, you have proven to be a group that has no respect for the laws, courts, law enforcement, or educational systems in our state. You are all armed, and claim to adhere to a nonaggression policy, yet every time you open your mouth, Carla, what comes out is aggression. And the same is true for many others in your cult. If you want to be thought of as peaceful and non-threatening, lay down your arms. 

As I've said before, Free Staters don't ever do anything for anyone outside of the FSP unless there's a camera rolling. Carla felt compelled to point out TWICE that she volunteers at the Concord Library in a child reading program. She gave the usual rant about THEY LIED ABOUT US in their FRAUDULENT LYING DOCUMENT and THEY SHOULD ALL RESIGN AND FALL OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH!!! PERJURY! 

Then she looked out at the group of 6 and said, "We have a lot of reporters here." 

That was a lie, Carla. There were not a lot of reporters there. You talk about accountability and responsibility and demand that others resign for telling lies, so - if we hold you to your own standards, than you, too should be held accountable. 

Why Would They Need a BearCat?

Mike Marland, right on target, in the Concord Monitor.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Front Group for the Free State Project

Since the Concord City Council Meeting on August 13, when the Free Staters gave full voice to their victimhood, they've been mighty quiet. Perhaps even they, as tone deaf as they are, finally understood that all of their thin skinned self pity was beginning to wear.... thin. 

Maybe the fine cartoons done by Mike Marland at the Concord Monitor (August 19, and again on August 21) had something to do with it. I'd link to them, but I can't. I've already gone through my freebies at the Monitor, and I can't afford a subscription. "Live Free and Overreact to Everything" was a thing of beauty. 

But that silence is misleading. The FSP has just created a front group, intended to be untainted by their name. The group that has claimed "we're all Free Staters now" seems to be coming to terms with the fact that they are about as welcome as herpes. 

The front group is called No More Bearcats . There's a petition for Concord residents to sign. Apparently the FSP learned that having a lot of out of towners testify to their victimhood at the Concord hearing wasn't the best strategy. 

The group doesn't identify who they are. An ordinary group of local concerned citizens would make a point of identifying well known opinion leaders in the group as a means of attracting others. This group does not. What it does do is link to 4 videos from the night of the August 13 hearing. All four videos have one very important thing in common. All were produced by a Free Stater named "Biker Bill." 

The site is very carefully designed to avoid any taint of Free Staterdom - but they blew it with the videos. And they blew it by having it be over designed and sanitized. 

The City Council will be voting on Sept. 9. 

For more about the poor victims of the Free State Project and the mean Concord PD:

The cult of perpetual victimhood

The non-aggression principle.

Free Staters and that Pesky First Amendment

Friday, August 23, 2013

Testerman's Genteel "Requests"

A potential new candidate is testing the waters for a run against Senator Jeanne Shaheen next year. Karen Testerman, the founder of Cornerstone Policy Research -  a purveyor of far right fringe Christian values, once quoted as saying teenagers shouldn't be allowed to hold hands because it "leads to other things," is testing the waters for a Senate race. 

She announced today that if she got 5000 "requests" she would run for Senate. Naturally I stopped by her website to request that she run, since a debate with her in it would be the best thing since the invention of fleece socks. 

I found out that "request" doesn't mean what I thought it did. I thought request meant asking for something. And in this case it does. It means she's asking for 5000 DONATIONS. One can't merely sign up in support of her candidacy and say, "Go Karen!" One must first cough up some cash. 

Apparently just coming out and saying, "If I get 5000 donations, I'l run for office" was just a little too crass for Mrs. Testerman. Couching it as a "request" is so much more genteel. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013


The Oxford Dictionary defines serendipity as the occurrence and the development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. Other descriptions include: a happy accident, pleasant surprise, or fortunate mistake. Serendipity is the act of finding of something good or useful while not looking for it. The Urban Dictionary defines it as, “A very good coincidence, often leading to something really awesome.”

The term serendipity comes from “The Three Princes of Serendip” by Horace Walpole.  It’s a fairy tale that takes place in the country of Serendippo, where the sons of the king were heroes who “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.” Serendipity has been voted one of the ten hardest English words to translate. It is a word that is nearly impossible to say without smiling. It is a word that feels good in one’s mouth.

It was one of David Emerson’s favorite words. He saw serendipity everywhere, happening all around him, all the time.

David and I met at the Conway Library, and bonded over a discussion of the sorts of cards Hallmark doesn’t make, but ought to. They don’t seem to make cards for unusual family situations – or for unusual families. Over the years we laughed often about the differences in our childhoods. He was surprised (and a little horrified) to learn that my family didn’t raise chickens. Of course he grew up on a farm, and I grew up in middle class suburbia, which was not chicken friendly in the sixties and seventies. Neither one of us turned out the way we were supposed to. I was supposed to marry a doctor and David was supposed to become a Baptist preacher. Oops.

David loved chickens, an enthusiasm I never shared. I came to embrace some of his interests, but not the chickens or any of his birds. Some who are reading this will remember David’s giant turkey Jerome, who loved to ride with him in the car. Jerome didn’t love me.  He had a parrot named Darwin who talked incessantly to him, but never said a word if I was in the house. Fortunately he had plenty of bird-obsessed friends, so it didn’t matter that I didn’t share his enthusiasm. He often went on chicken related adventures that resulted in some excellent stories, like the night a guy in a Wal-Mart parking lot taught him how to artificially inseminate a chicken with a plastic spoon. Those were the kinds of things that happened to David with some regularity, and the kinds of stories he most loved to tell.

My family belonged to a small ski club in N. Conway when I was a child, something that David relentlessly mocked me for, in the way that only a native can. (Or would.) We came up on ski trips in the winter and work weekends in the summer, where the men would work on the club building, have barbecues, and then we’d all swim in the Saco. It was always my parents’ dream to move to North Conway, and in 1974 they did, not long after my daughter was born. They went to live in the mountains, and I stayed in the city in Massachusetts. In the late seventies my father went to work at the Reporter, the old weekly newspaper. For a couple of years he gave me a gift subscription. The papers would arrive every week, and I would read them with great curiosity. What I saw in those papers bore no resemblance to life as I was experiencing it. I was a young mother living in a city, reading about rural, northern, small towns. It was like visiting a foreign country.

The Reporter had weekly columns from town correspondents, a tradition that is carried on to this day by the Conway Daily Sun. The content was a bit more formal back then, with updates on the social lives of various town members who received callers all very formally written: “Mrs. Alexander G. Bell received Mrs. Model T. Ford and Mrs. Oscar Myer for tea on Wednesday afternoon.” These weeklies were an important source of news and carefully couched gossip for the community. It’s sad to see them disappearing or being taken over by conglomerates that churn out sanitized blandness as a means of selling advertising.

In the Reporter, my favorites were the columns from Stow, Maine, written by the late Gwen Tarbell. Stow sounded like the strangest place in the universe to a young city dweller. Gwen Tarbell lived on a farm, and that was what she wrote about. One year she wrote about getting a bunch of new chicks in the spring, and naming them all Doris – or something like that. They all got the same name. Her stories of the farm, the comings and goings of her family, and the doings in Stow, Maine were all told with warmth and good humor.

I’d never been to Stow. I had no frame of reference – and this was long before Google. It was a strange, almost exotic place for me, and I was fascinated. One of the regular characters in Gwen’s stories from Stow was a young man who lived up the street. His name was David Emerson.


There was no way to know as I was reading those stories that twenty five years later I would marry that young man.


I’m sorry that I never got to meet Gwen and tell her that story, but she was long gone by the time David and I figured it all out. I like to think she would have gotten a kick out of it. We certainly did.

“History is an intricate web of timing, people, circumstances, and serendipity.”  Don Rittner

David Emerson: March 27, 1949 – August 30, 2009 

© sbruce 2013    Bi-weekly column for the August 23 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ohio GOP - Desperately Seeking Janet

Stephen Luntz was a little puzzled by the Ohio GOP's recent emails trying to establish a relationship with him. 

Especially since they kept calling him Janet.  Well, and then there's the slight issue of his being from Australia. Read the whole fabulous takedown right here.
 If your approach to generating a database is to randomly select email addresses from the Internet and then call them all Janet it does not surprise me that Obama so convincingly beat you at the last two presidential elections, despite Karl Rove’s refusal to accept the outcome – something he has no doubt had great practice in with his denial of clearly established science over a period of many years.

Bless you Stephen Luntz  (and you, too, Simon) for starting off my morning with a laugh.  

I've corrected an error, thanks to the fabulous Simon Roberts  - Mr. Luntz is from Australia, not New Zealand.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Panderers to the Prosperous

Here's what we've all been waiting for:  the America Is For The Prosperous - NH Legislative Scorecard. Greg Moore, who was former Speaker O'Brien's babysitter for a while (to the taxpayer tune of $75,000 a year) is now the executive director of Pasty and Pecunious. They've just come out with their legislative report card, based on 13 key votes. The votes included right to work for less, and of course anything that included a revenue stream was on their shit list.

The scoring key was designed by someone who spent many lonely, acne covered hours playing Dungeons and Dragons in high school:

A = Advocate of Prosperity
B = Guardian of Prosperity 
C = Friend of Prosperity
D = Neglector of Prosperity
F = Opponent of Prosperity

Best of all is A+  =   PROTECTOR OF PROSPERITY!  That comes with a trumpet fanfare! 

Al Baldasaro is a PROTECTOR OF PROSPERITY.  Almost all Democrat scored F's, even the fairly conservative ones. Those who did not were the Free Staters:

Joel Winters, Democrat and Free Stater scored a 31% - an F.  Sorry Joel. You are an OPPONENT OF PROSPERITY. 

The Free Staters who ran as Democrats in order to fool their constituents scored higher than some Republicans. Convenience Democrat and Free Stater Michael Garcia had a score of 100%. He's an ADVOCATE OF PROSPERITY. Convenience Democrat/Free Stater Anarchist Tim O'Flaherty scored a 91%. He still qualifies as an ADVOCATE OF PROSPERITY.  

Gene Chandler - lifelong Republican and House Minority Leader scored 92%. He gets an A for ADVOCATE OF PROSPERITY.  But - Republican David Bickford only scored 40%. He gets an F. He's an OPPONENT OF PROSPERITY. Republican James Belanger scored 67%. He's a NEGLECTOR OF PROSPERITY. Brad Bailey scored an 89%. He's a mere GUARDIAN OF PROSPERITY.  How can this dude even hold up his head in public? The man who wants to be our next governor, George Lambert scored 100%, but it was not a perfect score, so he's only an ADVOCATE OF PROSPERITY. It must gall him a tad that his buddy, JR Hoell had a perfect score and has won the coveted title of PROTECTOR OF PROSPERITY.  

The scoring has nothing to do with missed votes. Republican Ronald Belanger missed 9 of the 13 votes, but he still got a score of 100%. Ronald is an ADVOCATE  OF PROSPERITY. We all know Kyle Tasker missed a bunch of votes this session. Kyle still  gets a 100% score, making him an ADVOCATE OF PROSPERITY.

This scorecard is telling on 2 levels.  These are not people who are thinking about the future of our state. They are thinking about keeping their seats in the next election. 

And any Democrat who gets a high score isn't one. 

Free Staters and that Pesky First Amendment

My friend Tuck over at Miscellany Blue started up a real snitstorm a couple of weeks ago when he posted 2 letters published in NH newspapers that were in response to the Free Stater's Outraged Victimhood over being named as potential domestic terrorists. 

There were 308 responses, most of them from angry Free Staters. They don't take criticism well. In fact, unless one writes about them in the most positive and glowing of terms, their thin skins puncture, and outraged blood begins to flow. It's pretty simple, New Hampshire: a group of armed colonizers is going to try to take over our state - but unless we agree with their simplistic randian fantasies, we're supposed to just shut up. 

This was admirably illustrated by Free Stater Seth Cohn: 

Seth and victoriap are discussing a booklet written by some folks attempting to warn others in their community about the Free State Project. 

As you can read, not only is Seth irate about the booklet, he's also miffed that it was printed anonymously. So much so that he attempts to compare an anonymous pamphlet about the Free State Project with actual racism. 

The Free Staters are not an oppressed group. No one has ever forced them into slavery because they were Free Staters. No one has ever denied them employment or housing because they were Free Staters. They have not been rounded up and sent to a concentration camp. They are not forbidden to come to our state.  They do not experience segregation. They are not routinely assaulted or killed for being Free Staters.

The Free Staters are mostly white men - not exactly at the top of the list of groups who have experienced oppression. Once again Free Staters show how incapable of any sort of self reflection about themselves or their project they really are. 

Seth goes on to bleat that he isn't going to tolerate anonymous attacks on "me or others." He goes on to say: "if you hide yourself to attack FSPers, you are no better than a racist by any other name, and I will call you that." 

Irony overload. 

The folks who want to bring you freedumb and libertea aren't going to tolerate you using that pesky first amendment! As a dunce told me at the gun melee in June, the second amendment is the most important one. (He was stumped when I asked him why, if that were the case, the first one 

Yup, if you make an anonymous criticism of a Free Stater, you're a racist! Seth Cohn says so! 

On the other hand, if you make an anonymous criticism of me on my blog, you're usually a Free Stater.  IOKIYAFS

Friday, August 16, 2013

Who Needs Local Control?

Remember local control? We NH folk used to be in favor of it. A couple of excitable state representatives NOT from Concord decided that local control was for ....NOT them the other night at a Concord City Hall meeting.  This picture shows Rep. George Lambert (short guy in far right (!) corner with red tie) and next to him, Rep. JR Hoell, the taller one with the blue blazer, peering over the shoulders of the Concord City Councilors. 

Lambert is from Litchfield. Hoell is from Dunbarton. Neither of them represent the City of Concord. 

This was an open meeting, and the Council was gracious enough to hear a great deal of testimony from people who aren't from Concord. Other state reps said their piece and went back to their seats. Not these two. They hovered, desperate to hijack the hearing. 

Hoell was updating his Facebook page while hovering. An excerpt:

Local control be damned, Concord! State Rep. JR Hoell (from Dunbarton) thinks you have issues, and you need to replace your City Council! Who needs local control when you've got  Hoell?  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Same Tactic, Different Religion

It seems that Manchester state Senator Lou D'Allessandro is having a forum tonight, (August 14)  to discuss the ACA, aka "Obamacare." This discussion is deeply offensive to the proponents of freedumb and libertea in our state.

There's a group of these folks in Nashua who cleverly call themselves Nashua Liberty.
Nashua Liberty Facebook Page

The discussion of an actual US law is so upsetting to those who worship at the altar of the Free Market, that this is what they decided to do:

If you show up in opposition to the ACA, the NH chapter of America for the Prosperous will feed you a free meal. 

It's just like going to the Salvation Army for a freebie. They make you pray before you get to eat. 

Same tactic - different religion. 

Scenes from the Concord City Council Meeting

This was the crowd in front of City Hall when I arrived at 6:15. All of the fliers and notices I saw about the protest said to be there at 6:00 pm. About a dozen people were milling around in the little park near the City Hall Annex next door:

This is Will Thomas (of NH Veterans For Peace) and his great tee shirt. To Will's front left is a tall man with a blue blazer. That's State Rep. JR Hoell of Dunbarton.  (Dunbarton is not part of Concord)

Finally, at 6:39, a big  procession of Free Staters began coming up the street. They all began to assemble in front of Concord City Hall. (pro tip: if your lit says 6 pm, you should be there at 6 pm)

There was a guy with a bullhorn who sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher. I have no idea what he was saying. Carla Gericke spoke. She did not give any of the other groups represented the opportunity to address the crowd, even though there were Occupiers and people from NH Peace Action. This was all about the Free State Project and their BIG HURT FEELINGS. 

This was supposed to be about the BearCat, military contractors, waste, and the militarization of police. 

The FSP does not play well with others. 

The City Council chambers filled quickly. Some of us were stuck in the hallway for a while, and couldn't really hear what was going on. The Council and the City Manager were very polite and welcoming, and clear that if everyone that wanted to testify did, there would be no decision made that night. 

I've already written about FSP President Carla Gericke's testimony. Other notables included Rep. JR Hoell of Dunbarton, and Rep. George Lambert from Litchfield. As I listened, I couldn't help but wonder what Hoell would think if say...Rick Watrous or Mary Jane Wallner came to tell the Dunbarton Selectmen what to do. Hoell wanted Chief Duval to know that Washington DC was turned around by the police getting involved with the citizens of the community. A less charitable person than myself might have found Hoell's comments patronizing. 

Even better than Hoell was Rep. George Lambert. Lambert wants to be our next governor, so he's seizing every single opportunity to get his face on camera, in a bid to increase his non-existant name recognition.  (note to Lambert: not all publicity is good publicity.) 

Lambert told the Council and the assembled throng that they should watch the video of the man who was tased out in front of the State House in June "for using his right to free speech." Lambert actually wanted to play them the video! The voices in his head told him that if folks saw this video, they'd understand injustice and police brutality! I was at the event in question, and I'm pretty sure that if the Council had seen footage of that near riot, they'd approve that BearCat (and possibly a few more) without further consideration. Apparently verbal harassment, resisting arrest, and grabbing at cops are all part of the famed Non-Aggression Principle that our FSP colonizers are so fond of citing. 
And of course, just like Hoell, one can't help but wonder what Lambert would make of Concord State Reps appearing to tell the good people of Litchfield what they ought to be doing. The exercise of free speech appears to be a one-way street for the Free Staters and their allies. 

A suggestion was made that the grant application be changed to remove the language that was offending people. Somehow that turned into a sidebar in the corner with a City Councilor, Carla Gericke, and desperate attention seekers Lambert, and Hoell. This went on for quite a while until another member of the Council objected strenuously to the sidebar, and the possibility of some sort of secret deal. The sidebar broke up. Lambert and Hoell lacked sufficient shame and grace to walk away. They hovered right there in the corner where the Council sits. 

That's them in the far right (!) 

I left at 10. I'd heard enough, and I was feeling sickened by the whole thing. I'll write more about that later on. 

The Council adjourned without decision, and have since stated that they'll have a special session on this matter in September. 


Anyone who wants a refresher on the gun nuts staging a near riot in front of the State House in June will find pictures and video in these links:

Photos from the Gun Melee in June 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Non-Aggression Principle

(Carla Gericke, President of the Free State Project, speaking in front of Concord City Hall last night before the City Council Meeting began.)

The Non-Agression Principle (NAP) is what members of the Free State Project always point to as an attempt to illustrate to us that they are peaceful, nonviolent individuals. They are adherents of this principle, therefore they come in peace. That they are armed and claiming peaceful intent isn't supposed to occur to us, because hey, they're non-violent! They say so!

This is from the NAP wiki:
The non-aggression principle (NAP)—also called the non-aggression axiom, the zero aggression principle (ZAP), the anti-coercion principle, or the non-initiation of force—is a moral stance which asserts thataggression is inherently illegitimate. NAP and property rights are closely linked, since what aggression is depends on what a person's rights are.[1] Aggression, for the purposes of NAP, is defined as the initiation or threatening of violence against a person or legitimately-owned property of another. Specifically, any unsolicited actions of others that physically affect an individual’s property or person, no matter if the result of those actions is damaging, beneficial, or neutral to the owner, are considered violent or aggressive when they are against the owner's free will and interfere with his right to self-determination and the principle of self-ownership.

Supporters of the NAP often appeal to it in order to explain the immorality of theftvandalismassault, and fraud. In contrast to nonviolence, the non-aggression principle does not preclude violence used in self-defense or defense of others.[2] Many supporters argue that NAP opposes such policies as victimless crime laws, taxation, and military drafts. NAP is the foundation of most present-day libertarian philosophies.

It's not exactly clearly defined. And there's a huge component missing from it - verbal aggression. The Free Staters are very verbally aggressive.  

Last night, Free State President Carla Gericke spoke to the Concord City Council, concerning the poor FSP's wounded feelings about being named as potential domestic terrorists in a grant application by the Concord PD. The Concord PD is trying to get an armored vehicle. The folks turning out to that meeting last night were supposed to be there to protest the militarization of police and the wasteful spending by the Dept. of Homeland Security, but Carla and the Free Staters managed to turn the whole issue into being about them. 

From my notes:
Ms. Gericke was allowed to speak first. She started off by saying that the Free Staters are productive citizens moving here to be part of the shared values of the state. By then she was warmed up, and began to get loud. I hate the word shrill as an adjective because it's so often applied unfairly to women, but she was shrill.  She accused the police chief of perjury. "We're good people. I volunteer for Concord Reads at the Concord Library, and I am deeply offended by this misleading, fraudulent, secret application!" She bellowed that as President of the FSP, she has called for the retraction of this grant and a letter of apology! The people in that room didn't respect her enough to respond to her! And here's where she reached operatic heights: "I will be filing a complaint with the Dept. of Homeland Security!" (An agency of the very gubmint she claims disdain for) She called for the public resignation of all of the people involved with this application. When people make false statements, the penalty is PRISON. 

She was screaming by the end of her comments. She was red faced and angry when she left the room. 

If her intent was to show the City of Concord that the Free Staters are peaceful and nonaggressive, Carla failed in an epic manner. 

Friday, August 09, 2013

Carl Drega, Folk Hero to Free Staters

Those of us who lived in northern NH when Carl Drega went on his murderous rampage see something like this and get the chills. The chills mixed in with some serious pissed off. 

Carl Drega was a guy from Bow who had a small vacation place in Columbia - a small town near Colebrook. He was not a beloved member of the community. Drega was an angry man who was sure everyone was out to get him. He'd had code enforcement problems in Columbia. He wanted to use tarpaper as siding on his house. His house was on the riverfront, and a flood had washed some of his property away. His response was to dump a load of fill in, to "replace what he'd lost." Dumping fill into the riverbank wasn't met with applause. When there was an issue with a tax assessment, he shot over the heads of the selectwoman and tax assessor who came to speak with him. (The selectwoman was Vicki Bunnell)

After that, he started putting motion sensors up all over his property and stockpiling weapons. On August 19, 1997, he went out and started killing. He killed 4 people, and wounded several others. He killed 2 state troopers, Officers Scott Phillips and Les Lord. He killed Vicki Bunnell, the judge at Colebrook District Court, who was a Colombia selectwoman. Bunnell had a restraining order against Drega. When she saw him and his gun, she stopped to warn others in the building. Drega shot her 8 times in the back. He also shot Dennis Joos, the editor of the Colebrook News and Sentinel. He tried to disarm Drega after he killed Vicki Bunnell. 

Drega went on to wound NH Fish and Game warden Wayne Saunders, NH State Troopers Jeffrey Caulder and Robert Haase, and US Border Patrol agent John Pfeifer, before he was finally killed by State Trooper Charles West and US Border Patrol agent Stephen Brooks. 

I remember all this. I was working the night shift at a restaurant, and we were glued to the news. This kind of senseless violence on such a big scale wasn't something any of us were used to seeing in our relatively quiet and crime free state. 

Time Magazine did a half decent story about Drega and his massacre. 

Why am I bringing this up? In an email exchange last night, a friend mentioned Carl Drega while we were discussing the BearCat tank the Concord PD wants to get. I remembered the story, of course, but I googled Drega anyway, for a refresher. 

What I found was that to a certain segment of the population, Drega has become a hero. One of those people who have turned Drega from a domestic terrorist into a poor heroic victim is a guy named Vin Suprynowicz. He penned the tome you see in the picture above; The Ballad of Carl Drega. 

A Google search of Vin Suprynowicz revealed something of great interest. Vin's a Free Stater. That's right - Vin is a signed member of the Free State Project. He signed up in 2002. In fact, in 2002, he proclaimed himself one of the most famous and respected FSP members, on the FSP internet forum where he was holding forth about how poor Carl Drega was a victim, a man who'd had too much and had "only one option to find justice." 

Forgive me, but there's only one thing to say about Vin: what an asshole. 

Suprynowiscz also wrote a piece called Live Free or Die: How Many More Carl Dregas? that was published in the Libertarian Enterprise, the same publication where the founder of the Free State Project, Jason Sorens, published his original manifesto a few years later. 

It's painful to read - to see this guy attempting to turn Drega into the heroic man o' the people who'd been done wrong by the Man - instead of what he really was - a violent,  paranoid nutcase who hated everyone and thought he was above the law. 

A far better read is this point by point refutation of Vin's nonsense by a guy named Jim Macdonald who actually lived up there and knows the story far better than a long distance libertarian from Nevada. 

This is Vin Suprynowiscz. He's a Free Stater. This is the kind of person that the Free State Project wants to bring to our state. 

(For additional, unrelated fun, Vin's blog is filled with the kind of misogyny and racism that always make my heart sing.)

I Can Smell the Testosterone From Here

This is what the Concord PD wants to procure:

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Tanks for the Memories

Last year it was Keene. This year it’s Concord, trying to get a grant for over $250,000 from the Dept. of Homeland Security to buy a LENCO BearCat G3, an armored police vehicle (often called a “tank”). The BearCat could be used in the case of terrorist activity, including chemical weapons and gases, as well as weapons.

LENCO is, thanks to the Dept. of Homeland Security, the leading purveyor of armored vehicles in the US. The huge grants given out by the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to buy these vehicles have put LENCO firmly on the world map as a contractor.  Defense contractors that have been scoring big taxpayer dollars from the Pentagon are now trying to move into the lucrative market of arming police forces. We’ve seen an increase in the militarization of the police since 9/11. Vast sums of “homeland security” money have gone to  potential terrorist targets like Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Keene received a grant for $285,933 to purchase the BearCat. Keene has a population of about 23,000. It’s not exactly a hotbed of criminal activity. There have been about 2 murders in the last decade. Why did the police need a $300,000 armored vehicle? They didn’t. But they could have one, and that’s the difference. The money is there, and police love shiny new toys more than just about anything. That’s why the war on drugs is still being funded, not because it’s a success, but because police departments rely on the funds they get to perpetuate it.

The increasing militarization of police should be of concern to us all. When the Boston PD broke up the Boston Occupy encampment, they had a sound cannon with them. The LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) can produce sounds that induce pain, and can result in permanent auditory damage. The LRAD is commonly known as a sound cannon. They’ve been used by the US military against Somali pirates. US police departments have used them to attack non-violent protestors. The sound cannon brought to the Boston Occupy encampment wasn’t used on the unarmed, nonviolent protestors. Not that day, anyhow. In 2011, an LRAD was used when the Oakland police busted up the Oakland Occupy encampment. One was used against Occupy Wall St. protestors. An LRAD was used during a NATO march in Chicago in 2012. A portable LRAD was used on nonviolent protestors this year in the capitol building in Madison, WI. Police across the country are responding with increasing violence to non-violent protests.

The widespread use of the oxymoronically named Free Speech Zones during the Bush administration was the first sign that our Constitutional rights to peaceably assemble were under attack. Anti-war protestors were put in these zones, to keep them from getting media attention. Political protestors were kept out of the view of the media and visiting dignitaries. The Bushistas were desperate to sanitize the media viewpoint for their protection.

The ginning up of fear around terrorism has been steady and constant since 9/11. That manipulation translates into the bulk of our tax dollars being spent on defense and homeland security. It’s also worth pointing out that the Dept. of Defense and the Dept. of Homeland Security are the only cabinet level agencies that cannot pass an audit. We the people have no way of knowing where our money is going, or what it’s being used to do in our name.

Meanwhile, we’re being told that we have to cut food stamps and Social Security because “we’re broke.” Yet we aren’t too broke to buy tanks for small town police departments. Funny how we never hear the conservatives who cry about food stamps saying a word about shoveling money at defense contractors. We can afford weapons. We just can’t afford poor people. A mindset that only serves to increase the population of impoverished US citizens.

Does the Concord PD need a BearCat? About as much as Keene did. The grant will cover the price of the vehicle, but the Concord taxpayers will be the ones paying for the care and feeding of the tank. A friend in Keene tells me that the Keene Bearcat has never been out. Various suggestions have been made at City Council meetings about what to do with it, including using it as a planter in Central Square. Given the trouble that the meter readers in Keene are having with harassment by the Free Keene branch of the Free State Project, perhaps the meter readers could use while they work.

That leads us to the second part of the story. Chief Duval of the Concord PD cited groups like Sovereign Citizens, NH Occupy, and the Free State Project as potential agents of domestic terrorism. The Sovereign Citizens movement does have a history of racism and violence. Occupy does not. Occupy was/is a very intentionally non-violent movement. Occupy NH fell apart because it was co-opted by members of the Free State Project, people who insisted on wearing guns to meetings and events. There were peaceful Occupiers who were uncomfortable with this, but the FSP’ers weren’t willing to leave their strap-ons at home, because FREEDUMB. They have the “right” and that’s all that matters. Their rights always trump those of others. The group splintered into the guns and gun nots and that was the end of that. Citing Occupy as a group with domestic terrorist potential is completely wrongheaded. If Chief Duval can come up with an act of violence perpetuated by a NH Occupy group, I’d be interested to hear about it.

Of course the same is true of the Free State Project. They haven’t engaged in any acts of domestic terrorism, either. They are an armed group of insurgents moving in with the intention of taking over our state – but so far they haven’t hurt anyone. They openly disdain our laws and our courts, and they harass the police whenever possible, but again, so far they haven’t hurt anyone.  By naming them on the grant application, Chief Duval has given them the greatest gift possible - the opportunity to do what they love best: crying victim.  The story of the tank is now all about the Free Staters. The wasteful use of our tax dollars, the outrageous amounts of money DHS appears to have to give away, the skewed priorities that this spending reveals are all going to be obscured by the ceaseless whining of the FSP.

BearCat fever hasn’t spread to the North Country yet. Who will be the first? Chatham? Albany? I’m pinning my hopes on Hart’s Location.

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

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The Cult of Perpetual Victimhood

Right now the Free Staters must be happier than pigs in poo. The City of Concord, NH gave them an opportunity to engage in the two things they love most: crying about what victims they are, and relentless media whoring. 

The City of Concord has applied to the Dept. of Homeland Security for a grant to purchase a Lenco Armored Bearcat, which is also described as a tank. From Mother Jones

In an application to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seeking more than $250,000 to purchase an armored police vehicle, the capital city of New Hampshire specified the local branch of the Occupy movement and the Free State Project, an effort to recruit "liberty-loving people" to relocate to the Granite State, as potential sources of terrorist action.
"The State of New Hampshire's experience with terrorism slants primarily towards the domestic type," the filing reads. "We are fortunate that our State has not been victimized from a mass casualty event from an international terrorism strike however on the domestic front, the threat is real and here. Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges."
The wailing, moaning, and gnashing of teeth from the FSP began immediately. FSP President Carla Gericke demanded an apology, in her trademark drama queen style, complete with the threat that her letter will be sent to all of their media contacts. It's surprising that she hasn't yet filed a lawsuit. Gericke is a lawyer, though she's no longer able to practice law in the state of California where she emigrated from. Regular readers will remember how the Free Staters crowed when they were able to influence the vote in the town of Weare to cut the police overtime budget. They were congratulating themselves on saving the town money. The very next day, Carla Gericke filed a 32 count lawsuit against the town, thereby negating any potential savings.
Now, to be clear, I am opposed to the town of Concord getting a tank. I'm concerned by the ongoing militarization of the police in this country. I'm also concerned that the Dept. of Homeland Security clearly has more money than it knows what to do with. DHS has only been around for about 8 years, yet they cannot pass an audit. Can't or won't. Given the kind of deals they're making with contractors it's likely that they wish to avoid public scrutiny. DHS has really put LENCO on the map, as The Equinox discovered, when the city of Keene was gearing up to purchase a Bearcat. On this much the Free Staters and I are in agreement. Sadly, now this whole issue is all about them. The Concord PD has given them the opportunity to nail themselves to the cross, and they're running with it. 
Occupy was cited as a potential threat. Occupy NH fell apart because of the Free State Project. Occupy was very specifically a non-violent movement. Free Staters who got involved refused to leave their guns at home. They insisted on wearing them at meetings, even when asked not to. It was "their right" - and when it comes to the FSP, their rights always trump the rights others. That they were making others uncomfortable didn't concern them, because FREEDUMB! Apparently one's cup of Libertea isn't served with a side dish of good manners. 
As for the Free Staters - it's true that they haven't engaged in any domestic terrorism, thus far. They claim to be a peaceful entity, though one wonders at how a group of armed colonizers can claim to have peaceful intent. (The white Europeans who colonized the west told the Indians the same thing.) I witnessed Free Staters at the near riot by gun nuts in Concord in June. They were part of the group that were shrieking at a group of unarmed people trying to have a solemn memorial vigil. They were bellowing at speakers and trying to drown them out. Is that how people intent on "peace and liberty" behave? 

So far, the answer is yes. That is how they behave, because their rights supersede those of others. Always. And the opportunity to cry victim is the very best gift that the City of Concord could have given them. When a NH State Rep aired some of her concerns about the FSP, they cried about it for months. For a good six months they flogged that horse until it was dead, had decomposed, and returned to the dust from whence it came. How dare anyone speak a word against them? OMG IT WAS THE WORST THING EVER! The poor victims of the FSP cannot tolerate Free Speech - not when it comes to anyone having the audacity to criticize them - or tell the truth about them. That they are affiliated with the John Birch Society (a known hate group), and a number of Koch Brothers funded entities is true - but they go into screaming banshee mode when it is pointed out. They are thin skinned and intolerant, as they've demonstrated time and time again. 
Thanks to the Concord PD, they have the opportunity to do it all over again. So, watch where you put your feet down, friends, because there are apt to be pearls all over the ground from all the clutching going on. 
Here's a group of Free Staters in front of the NH State House on July 4. One is reading a speech written by Adam Kokesh, a libertarian activist, who directed people around the country to read his speech in their state. The guy who is reading, clearly has the courage of his conviction, given the bandana he's wearing to obscure his face. Unfortunately, the bandana also makes him sound as if Charlie Brown's teacher is rather ineptly reading a speech from an iphone: 

It's a shame that the FSP lacks any ability for self reflection. They are an armed group coming to take over the state. Can they REALLY be surprised that some might consider them potential domestic terrorists? 

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Some of the Inspiration Behind the Execution Channel

Michael McCord at Daily Kos  writes about some of the real people who inspired his recently published political satire, The Execution Channel:

My trade secret was challenged last week when a reader of the book saw that conservative media provocateur James E. O’Keefe III had made a huckster pit stop in New Hampshire. Said reader made a connection: Is Jason Bravart based on O’Keefe? Time to confess: Yes, sort of.
In the fact-based world of today, O’Keefe was recently in my state to speak to the Mad Hatter faithful and to hawk his new book (“Breakthrough”) about his holy crusade to save democracy by exposing fraud. O’Keefe last made headlines in New Hampshire during presidential primary day in January 2012 when he and a group of pranksters tried to prove voter fraud was possible by registering to vote in the names of people they knew were dead. It was a tasteless and pathetic ploy but typical of the Mad Hatter creed that massive voter fraud must exist because they believe it exists, despite all fact-based evidence to the contrary. According to one press report, O’Keefe played the all-purpose victimization card (he being the subject of government bullying) and, seemingly with a straight face, added that “Our goal is to make society more ethical and transparent. But you have to break through a media firewall to do it.” (It was not without irony that O’Brien introduced O’Keefe at the New Hampshire House Republican Victory PAC of some 40 souls who paid $50 a plate for the honor. It’s hard to imagine two more perfectly match peas in the Mad Hatter pod than O’Keefe and O’Brien.)
In my satirical fiction of tomorrow, the character of Jason Bravtart was certainly informed by O’Keefe. After all, who couldn’t be inspired by a brave soldier in the fight against the insidious poor among us? It took a feat of courage for O’Keefe to take down ACORN whose main crime (in the Mad Hatter version of reality) was to advocate for the poor, especially the urban poor. O’Keefe has become an honored member of the Mad Hatter media and entertainment complex with his infamous career as an agent provocateur and class clown. Of course, he now has a ready-made audience to buy his books and his juvenile-antic, huckster approach to journalism and politics – and he can even become respectable by starting a nonprofit organization with the laugh-out-loud ironical name of Project Veritas.

We first met young Jimmy O'Keefe when he dressed up in his mommy's chinchilla jacket trying to convince us he was a pimp. 
The corporate media bought into his smear campaign against ACORN - and ACORN became THE WORST THING IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE EVER. Imagine the nerve of those folks trying to get poor people to register to vote? Moochers got no business voting - especially brown moochers. 
The fact that ACORN was absolved of all wrong doing didn't matter. Ever. Congress has voted 12 times to defund ACORN since 2011. ACORN was disbanded in 2010. 
Naturally we in NH are quite familiar with Jimmy's attempt at voter fraud in NH. The GOPsters claimed this proved something. They were right, it did - it proved that it's Republicans who perpetuate voter fraud in the state of NH. 
Jimmy and the rest of the Breitbart bunch are so desperate to be taken seriously that every year they have a media conference of their own, in whatever city Netroots Nation is taking  place in. Netroots Nation is a huge conference of lefty and liberal bloggers. The wingnut coterie is considerably smaller, and not taken seriously by anyone, which leads to things like poor Jimmy showing up at Netroots Nation in Providence, RI in 2012, trying to get some media attention. Adam Weinstein of Mother Jones had a little on camera chat with him. 
As Michael points out - the name Project Veritas is laugh out loud funny. A bunch of people engaging in criminal activities, lies, and carefully edited videos who then present themselves as revealing the truth says something both ironic and tragic about the state of US media. 
The Execution Channel - where facts and fiction blur - for your entertainment.