Friday, February 28, 2014


Anyone whose writing appears in public has made at least one big embarrassing spelling error. I once (to my shame) wrote about a well attended pubic meeting.

Will that stop me from mocking the  grokbros? Not a chance. Here's the screengrab:

NH Dist. 1 Exec. Council special election heats up

One seldom sees this kind of honesty in political advertising: 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Spinning Kenney's Fundraising Fail

We last saw Joe Kenney when he was the GOP sacrificial lamb  ran for governor in 2008. He's trying another comeback, running for Ray Burton's Executive Council seat in the ridiculously sized District One. Ray's family has endorsed Mike Cryans, the Democrat in the race. Joe's been endorsed by a cross section of the far right fringe. In Carroll County that means well known racist Ray Shakir, birther Laurie Pettengill, Bircher Norm Tregenza, and bellicose bigot Frank McCarthy.

Some of the other fringe support he has comes from the libertea crowd:  Rep. Leon Rideout, Free Stater Rep. Michael Sylvia, and Rep. Jane Cormier, who wrote a marvelous spin on Joe Kenney's inability to fundraise, posted over at the home of libertea fratboys

Joe Kenney is running a grassroots campaign in his election against Michael Cryans in the District 1 Executive Council seat. In yesterday’s Laconia Daily Sun, there was an article regarding Cryans receiving a “2 to 1 advantage in funds raised”. For those who have been watching the political left’s ability to ‘raise funds’, it is not surprising that Cryans is 2- 1 ahead.


I actually like the fact that Joe Kenney is willing to take $40,000 out of his own pocket to SERVE NH. It proves Joe has no problem putting his money where his mouth is. Those of us who know Joe, know he is a man of honor. Whether it was as a Colonel in the US Marine Corp or a legislator with a 14 year conservative voting record, voters understand there is a real and substantive difference between the politically backed progressive that is Michael Cryans, and the humble public servant that is Joe Kenney.

There ya go - it's not that career politician Joe Kenney can't raise money. This isn't a self-funded vanity campaign - it's the grassroots campaign of a humble public servant. 

Apparently we aren't supposed to wonder WHY a humble public servant with  14 year record is having such difficulty raising money. 

Joe didn't mind taking money from special interest groups in 2008.

Any mention made of Joe being a career politician is scrupulously scrubbed from his candidate page.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Our Citizen Legislature

Our state’s august legislative body finally wrapped up the voting on 2013 bills about 2 weeks ago. They should have been done much sooner, but the liberty crowd did their very best to obstruct and needlessly bog down the process. There were endless roll call votes on issues that didn’t merit such attention. They didn’t win anything; they just wasted taxpayer dollars and the time of their colleagues. Their war cry is “gummint is broken” and so they’re doing their level best to break it so they can say neener neener. The lesson? Do not elect people who hate government to be the government.

All the delay and obstruction means that the 2014 bills are behind, and the weather has conspired to put the legislature even more behind. After next week, legislators can count on two session days each week for most of March. It’s unfortunate that leadership (minority or majority) can’t seem to do anything about the obstructionist cabal.

The committee process is where one can still find representatives actually working together and listening to new information. At a recent executive session on HB 1170, the bill to repeal NH’s death penalty, 4 legislators came forward and said that because of all they had learned, they’d changed their minds about the death penalty. They’d come into the process as supporters. They cast their committee votes to recommend that the full House repeal the death penalty. This is what we always hope we will see: our citizen legislature working together for the good of our state.

We don’t always. At a hearing of SB 319, a bill to establish a 25-foot buffer zone around women’s health clinics, Senator Sam Cataldo was far more interested in airing a grievance about a union work site that he’s been nursing since 1966. He brought it up at least half a dozen times to women who testified in support of the bill. It was so disrespectful. One of the men who came to testify in opposition to the bill is affiliated with a terrorist group, the Army of God. Remember them? Eric Robert Rudolph, Clayton Waagner, and James Kopp are some of the more famous bombers and murderers. In no other aspect of our society would protestors and self-styled “sidewalk counselors” be allowed to harass people.

Just imagine the outcome if a group of earnest sober people started counseling patrons at our highway liquor stores. Or if a group committed to nonviolence began counseling about anger management in front of a gun shop. This harassment is allowed to continue because after all, this only affects women. We turn a blind eye to enabling terrorists because after all, it’s only women. If we were attempting to legislate MALE reproductive systems, all protests in front of all medical facilities would end forthwith. Fortunately, the Senate voted to pass the bill, so now it moves on to the House.

The Senate also voted to pass SB 318, a bill to establish the crime of domestic violence. It’s always been prosecuted under other statutes. At the hearing for this bill, Senator Boutin suggested strengthening the bill by adding stalking to the statute, a suggestion everyone applauded. It was added to the bill as an amendment.

As always, there are endless gun bills, and other bills aimed at eliminating revenue streams from our state government. Meanwhile, NH has the 11th worst infrastructure in the United States. We have over 300 bridges on the red list for structural impairment. We cannot finish work begun on highways because there is no money – and still we are told that NH has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. We do have a spending problem: we’re averse to raising enough money to spend on fixing our decaying infrastructure. We will firmly bury our heads and pretend that it’s some other guy’s problem for as long as we can. When a dam fails, or a bridge collapses – well then maybe we’ll start thinking about the future.
Meanwhile, companies will continue to relocate to states that have the kind of transportation and telecommunications infrastructure that will support their business needs.

A bill to increase the minimum wage will be coming up soon for a vote. Already Americans for Prosperity and other similar minded special interest groups are howling with outrage about how this will kill jobs. NH has the lowest minimum wage in New England. Massachusetts and Vermont have the highest. Both states are faring far better than NH in adding new jobs. Most people who are paid minimum wage are adults. Most are women, trying to support children. No one works harder than low wage workers.

At the same time, NH has some of the highest housing costs in the nation, and there is great resistance to building multi-unit housing, because THOSE PEOPLE will move to town. We heard it for years in Conway. Welfare recipients from Massachusetts were just waiting to move to affordable housing. All the public transportation and safety net programs we offer here were a veritable beacon to the impoverished.

A new study from the Economic Policy Institute finds that 83% of the income growth in NH between 2009-2011 went to the top 1%. Meanwhile, the jobs that have been created since the recession are mostly low paying service jobs. This is not unique to NH. This is what’s happening all over the country. 

At some point we (the societal we) will have to make some decisions about work, pay, poverty, and the future. If not, we’re likely to hear the sounds of tumbrels rumbling in the distance.

Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind. ~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

© sbruce 2014
Published in the Conway Daily Sun Newspaper. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Free Staters Love Small Gummint....Except When They Don't

                                                    (Just a meme - not O'Flaherty.)

Our friends from the Free State Project claim to worship at the altar of small gummint. They claim to believe that gummint shouldn't be involved in our personal lives.

It's completely consistent that Free State legislators Tim O'Flaherty and Carol McGuire sponsored a bill to repeal the crime of adultery: HB 1125 . It's an old, outdated crime that's still on the NH books.

The bill comes out of the Children and Family Law Committee with a 15-0 recommendation that the entire house should pass the bill.

Quickly we veer off into the land of inconsistent, with HB 1218. Rep. O'Flaherty is the only sponsor of this bill  - one that redefines the "acts" that constitute the crime of adultery.

From the bill:

645:3 Adultery. A person is guilty of a class B misdemeanor if, being a married person, he or she engages in sexual intercourse with another not his or her spouse or, being unmarried, engages in sexual intercourse with another known by him or her to be married. In this section, “sexual intercourse” shall include anal penetration.

This bill doesn't seem to fall into the "gummint should stay out of our personal lives" belief system that our Free Stater brethren claim to adhere to. 

I'm guessing that this is a BIG IRONY move on the part of O'Flaherty. He's gonna teach us statists a lesson by making a mockery of the system. Former (one-term) Representative Seth Cohn made an amendment to a bill to repeal marriage equality that would have banned left handed people from getting married. Cohn's move was aimed at getting national attention for himself. O'Flaherty (coached by Cohn) wants to make a mockery of the system that he hates being part of. 

Rather than do any actual work to get support for the repeal bill, O'Flaherty filed two bills - the better to waste the taxpayer's dollars, and the time of his colleagues.

O'Flaherty  admits it "turns his stomach" to be a part of the legislature. If he had even an iota of integrity, he'd resign at once.

Prediction: Seth Cohn will comment within an hour of this blog going online.

Related: Rep. Against Big Gummint Until She Is For It


Rep. O'Flaherty's expanded adultery bill was soundly voted down. Curious that he didn't mention oral sex, isn't it? Free Staters are so male-centric it wouldn't occur to them to think about/include women. 

Rep. O'Flaherty's bill repealing NH's antique adultery statute did pass. 

Someone must have duct taped Seth Cohn to a chair.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

NH Rep. Burt Calls Colleague a Terrorist

From Merriam-Webster


 noun \ˈter-ər-ˌi-zəm\
: the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal

This is a comment from  a Facebook page made by State Representative John Burt from Goffstown. He's calling State Rep. Ed Butler from Hart's Location a terrorist. 

Eric Robert Rudolph is a convicted terrorist. He was responsible for the bombing at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. The bombing killed one person and injured 111 others. He also bombed several abortion clinics, and a gay bar. He killed a cop and critically injured a nurse in the clinic bombings. 

Timothy McVeigh was a convicted terrorist. He was executed. 
He bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1995. There were 168 people killed in the bombing, and over 600 injured. 

Dzhokar Tsarnaev is an alleged terrorist. He has not yet been convicted. He and his brother are alleged to have perpetuated the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013. Three people were killed and at least 264 were injured. 

Ed Butler, on the other hand, hasn't blown anyone up. 

Why the careless, violent rhetoric? Ed's the chair of the Commerce Committee. His committee was (mistakenly) assigned a gun bill, aimed at tightening loopholes for background checks in NH firearms sales. Ed did the best he could with it, and for that he was rewarded with constant harassment and threats. Ed's from NY, (not NJ) where he was a nursing home administrator. The Freedumb crowd put that through their Magic 8 Ball and decided that meant that Mayor Michael Bloomberg (gun nutz Public Enemy #1) was in league with Ed - had, in fact, planted Ed here by buying him an inn. 

We can see that bit of "intelligence" displayed here in a tweet from an exchange about me that a bunch of intellectuals were having on Feb. 11: 

They were all a bit cross about this blog post about the harassment of NH legislators. 

The fact that David Dinkins was Mayor of NYC when Ed bought the Notchland Inn would only confuse this crowd. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Who Sabotaged Joe Kenney's FB Page?

Joe Kenney is running for the District One Executive Council seat that belonged to beloved north country icon Ray Burton.  Like anyone running for office in 2014,  Joe has a candidate Facebook page.

Things went awry at Joe's FB page the other night, and as luck would have it, I got a screenshot. Was Joe's page hacked? Did someone prank him while he wasn't looking?  Does he have a high fever that is causing him to hallucinate? Someone logged in as Joe Kenney and gave some rather ill-tempered (and badly punctuated) replies: 

Despite the protestations of supporters, Joe is a career politician. He's far too slick to answer Erik Corbett (a business owner who lives in District 1) so rudely. That does leave one wondering - who would? 

The questionable responses have since been removed, with no explanation. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

NH Man Wants to Start Shooting

The gun fondlers gathered to comfort one another Tuesday night, fearful of the upcoming vote on background checks. They fear background checks - and for good reason. Some of them would never pass one. From their FB page:

Note the comment from Dover resident Sheridan Folger. He thinks that he and his pals should start shooting at those folks who dare disagree with them. 

What you don't see are any of his pals telling him that that kind of violent rhetoric isn't acceptable. And why should they? There are no consequences - the mainstream NH media ignores their increasingly violent rhetoric. 

And as you can see in part 2, one of Folger's friends is State Representative Leon Rideout, from Lancaster. Rep. Rideout didn't caution Folger of the perils of that kind of talk. 

Qui tacet consentit. 

FSP Rep. Against Big Gummint Until she Supports It

State Rep. Emily Sandblade is a Republican from Manchester. She's also a member of the Free State Project, the group of libertarians attempting to colonize our state, and dismantle our state government. Sandblade and the freedumb and libertea crowd rail against big gummint. 

Rep. Sandblade was opposed to the bill requiring background checks for firearms purchases. She is, however sponsoring HB 1328 , a bill to require health care navigators to undergo criminal background checks – and additionally, to be fingerprinted. NH General Court: “Applicants for a health insurance exchange navigator’s license shall submit directly to the department of safety a notarized criminal history records release form, as provided by the New Hampshire division of state police, which authorizes the release of the person’s criminal records, if any, to the department. The person shall submit with the release form a complete set of fingerprints taken by a qualified law enforcement agency or an authorized employee of the department of safety.” [HB 1328]

It seems Rep. Sandblade's distaste for big gummint is selective, at best. 

Guns Don't Kill People - Divorced Women Kill People

NH State Rep. Gary Hopper of Weare sent this email to a constituent who contacted him recently:

From: Gary S Hopper <>
Date: 02/11/2014 2:37 AM (GMT-05:00)
To:  Renee, All Reps
Subject: Re: Support HB #1589

I fully appreciate you desire to keep our children safe. The rise in gun violence, suicide rates, child abuse and other crime rates began in the late 70s. These were all symptoms of a diseased society. Republican responded to this by getting "Tough of Crime" or in other words putting people behind bars. This approach worked well as far as reducing crime rates. There is a cure for the underlying disease but it requires sacrifice. In the 70s in the name a personal fulfillment we changed the very nature of our families. Pryer to the 70s when people had children their obligation was to the children NOT to themselves. In the 70s that was turned on it's head, the passing of laws like no-fault divorce took a 20% divorce rate (many of whom waited till the kids were out of school before divorcing) to a 50% divorce rate. As we devalued marriage many people saw little benefit to it, which resulted in a sharp increase in out of wedlock births and single parent homes. I know this isn't what people want to hear but the truth is Strong Families produce strong kids.

If only the women had stayed in their place, none of this would be happening.

Of course one of the first school shootings in the US took place in Louisville, Kentucky in 1853, but why bother with history when you can rewrite it?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gun Nuts Harassing NH Legislators

Tomorrow HB 1589, the bill to institute background checks on most gun sales in NH will be voted on by the NH House. The opposition to this bill is fierce. Doing background checks is akin to "takin' our gunz away" or "starting a gun registry" to the nutter crowd. 

They've made it their mission to call all 400 Representatives, but they've singled out the Democrats for special levels of harassment. Reps are getting calls and emails, and in some cases Reps are getting   rants and threats. 

Because threatening someone is the way to win them over to your side. 

It's my guess that a lot of the nutters who call aren't from NH and don't have the faintest idea of how our legislative system works. If you read some of the emails going around, it's obvious. 

The bill was assigned (mistakenly, in my opinion) to Commerce, where Chair Ed Butler has been singled out for special attention from the nutter crowd, as you can see with a visit to this forum:

The committee wants to "study" taking away our rights:

I have also found out some other "interesting news" Rep. Butler owns an inn Harts location.

So when you call his published number you get..
The front desk :)

The front desk tells you to call his cell phone...

"Rep. Edward Butler, (603)666-6666 (this is the Inn he lives at...) please call 603-666-6666 (cell)" was what members were being told today. Keep calling the inn. If he is rich enough to own a inn, he can afford to pay the staff to take notes for him...

Please keep up the calls, please ask them politely to take a message and ask them to have Rep. Butler call you back. Emails also work and so does calling Rep. Butlers cell phone. 
The Committee chair is accountable to the entire state and needs to hear from the entire state.


Yeah, keep on calling the guy and disrupting his business. Because a guy who owns an inn in northern NH and relies on tourism must be fabulously wealthy.

Ed Butler is one of 400 state representatives who serves in the state legislature for $100 a year. The harassment and bullying is one of the perks. 

I'm betting our buddy "Design" couldn't find Hart's Location on a map if we held one of his own guns to his head. 

This blog so upset the gun crowd that they're discussing how they ought to be shooting people on one of their Facebook pages - a page that thanks to Miscellany Blue has been edited rather strenously. 

The libertea crowd doesn't like scrutiny. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Oh, Romeo, Romeo - Another Lamentable Tragedy

It's been nearly a year since Rep. Romeo Danais made a big fool of himself on the NH House internal email system.  Last April he distinguished himself by giving his fellow legislators what he called "a lesson in irony," by posting a conservative spam e-mail that compared food stamp recipients to wild animals. Rep. Danais found this "lesson" so amusing that he posted it to the House internal list-serve TWICE in the same day. 

We humorless lefties were the bad guys. Apparently we were supposed to see the humor in a multimillionaire mocking the poor. 

But now - a year later, he's giving us another chance, this time to enjoy his sense of humor on the topic of the minimum wage: 

Reply-To:Romeo Danais 
To:~All Representatives 

The real answer to this situation is not 'increase the minimum wage', its get the minimum wage worker into an area where s/he is not delivering minimum results for their labor! In other words get the minimum wage worker educated so they can deliver higher value labor, thus they will earn a higher wage.

OK, how do we do that? Well, for one, we need to get the young person into a situation where they can learn quickly that if they want to be stupid and not work on their education, then they can live the rest of their lives on minimum income and suffer the consequences. How? I think we should have mandatory, two-year, military service for every one in the 18 - 20 year age category.

Whoa, before you all get Up in Arms (no pun intended), everybody doesn't have to be infantrymen, there are every job category in civilian life in military life Plus more. And, you get a dose of reality while your in the military! Which most juveniles have no idea about reality one bit, because its not taught in schools.

Once out of the military, veterans will have a very different outlook on life and an education to boot (once again no pun intended) and a better outlook on what it takes to succeed. They will almost automatically get higher paying and better jobs than those of today who have not had military training.

No, its not a one-shot solves all answer, but, its a very good start to solving the problem of minimum wage living standards.

Rep. Danais

Rep. Danais seems to believe that those who earn minimum wage are lazy and stupid. If they were to go into the military, they'd come out and be better educated and get higher paying jobs. 

It's clear that Rep. Danais knows as much about the NH workforce as he does about grammar. Employers do not pay minimum wage because they have lazy/stupid employees. They pay minimum wage because they can. The rate of unemployment and underemployment are so high that people will take those jobs, because they are trying desperately to get by. Minimum wage is an employer's way of saying, "I'd pay you less if I could." 

Is the military a solution?

6.4% of NH veterans are unemployed. 
8% of the NH homeless population is comprised of veterans. 
5,000 NH veterans rely on food stamps. 

 A solution is for NH employers to pay NH workers fair and just wages. 
A  solution is to invest in NH and put people to work at decent paying jobs. 

Another solution is to stop sending dunderheads to the legislature. What do you think you're odds of that are? 

h/t to anonymous source 

Sunday, February 09, 2014

FSP Fails in Grafton

Last year Free Staters boasted about cutting the police budget in Weare, blocking school spending in Keene, and cutting the budget in Grafton by 10%.

This year things seem to be taking a different turn. 

Not only were the Free Keeners unable to slash school spending - they were mocked by their community. 

Grafton had rather a colorful deliberative session. The better part of two hours were spent debating the rules of decorum  that were handed out by the moderator, and a voter registration issue. The Constitutional "experts" of the FSP don't seem to understand the rules that govern town meeting. 

The rules prohibit cursing, name calling and personal attacks against people or their motives, and give the moderator the authority to ask the police officer in attendance to remove from the building any person conducting himself or herself in a disorderly manner.

That's how town meeting works everywhere I've ever been, yet there was much  moaning and wailing about First Amendment rights. 

Bottom line:

The meeting, which started at 9 a.m., lasted about 11 hours, but all the warrant articles “survived” and none were thrown out or changed dramatically, said Selectboard Chairman Steve Darrow.
Grafton residents have always been reluctant to spend money, Darrow said, but the Free Stater’s role last year in cutting the budget arbitrarily caused a larger turnout this year. The Free Staters were vocal, but they couldn’t control key votes.
People wanted to show up to make sure what happened last year didn’t happen again,” Darrow said late Saturday night. “There was strong support from people who didn’t want the budget cut arbitrarily.”

Let's summarize, shall we? Last year the Free Staters boasted about their success in cutting the budget. This year,  the townspeople decided that wasn't going to happen again this year, even if it meant sitting through 11 hours of meeting. 

Once again, town meeting works exactly the way it is supposed to. The way it has for hundreds of years. 

Making Friends and Keenely Influencing Politics

It's that time of year in New Hampshire - the time when we move toward town meeting, and the cities and towns that adopted SB 2 have their deliberative sessions. 

One such session took place in Keene yesterday - the deliberative session for the school budget. 

From the Keene Sentinel 

A majority of Keene voters had a clear message Saturday for a small group that sought to slash the budget and reduce some of the school board’s powers:
No, thank you.

Most voters showed their disdain for the ideas, amending each of seven warrant articles and describing most of them as a waste of time or irresponsible
Who was this small group?  It was future POTUS  Darryl W. Perry  Conan Salada, and Ian Freeman of the Keene branch of the Free State Project. 
Freeman tried to reduce the budget by $5 million, saying that rising taxes are driving people from Keene. His motion failed 75-15.
Some wondered aloud why, if taxes in Keene are so high, they haven’t driven out Freeman or Perry. Others groaned at their proposals or laughed at some defeated amendments.

When the Free Staters started moving to NH, they waxed on  about how much they loved town meeting as a form of government. It's listed as one of their 101 reasons to move to NH. I'm sure that from a theoretical standpoint, it seemed like the bestest thing ever. 
Town meeting is the bestest thing ever. Most of the time ridiculousness gets a sound thrashing, as Messrs. Perry, Salada, and Freeman experienced on Saturday.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Don't Believe Everything You Read

“Don’t believe everything you read” was the mantra of one of my high school history teachers. As hoary a maxim as it may be, it is one that we should recall when reading through any letters to the editor section of a newspaper. (Or when reading opinion columns, for that matter.) 

Two weeks ago I wrote about HB 1573, a bill before the NH House that would eliminate the 9 regional planning commissions in our state. I described the hearing I attended, where a lot of people spoke about how zoning and planning will lead to the takeover of the country by the United Nations. Several people wrote pithy responses to that column. Careful readers discovered that in all of the pith were no incidences of overreach by NH RPCs. There was plenty of hand wringing, but no proof, coming from conspiracy buffs that pore over documents, looking for sinister portent. It’s somewhat reminiscent of late 60’s Beatlemania. (Newsflash: Paul wasn’t dead!)

The writer of one such letter huffily informed us all that the ACA lists fishing tackle as medical equipment.  A simple Google search reveals that his claim was debunked long ago. It started because of a glitch in the cash register system at Cabelas. The mistake was rectified and anyone overcharged was given a refund. But - that receipt was spread all over the internet, and sent out on the endless stream of propaganda emails that conservatives send around to one another. All of us read things that we want to believe because they confirm our worldview, and we don’t always take the time to verify. We should. Don’t take my word for it. Do your own search. This is one link:

The Municipal and County Government Committee has recommended to the House that HB 1573 should be voted ITL, which stands for inexpedient to legislate. The vote was 15 -0.  From the House Journal:

HB 1573 has come before this committee in numerous forms over the past several sessions. This time we heard testimony that regional planning commissions are tools of the United Nations and its Agenda 21, and that the RPCs, by conforming to the department of Housing and Urban Development standards, are violating our local property rights.
Membership in a regional planning commission is entirely voluntary. No community is forced to join or required to remain a member. 

This is a part of the recommendation from a bipartisan committee. It was their finding that “abolishing the RPCs would be foolhardy.”

Other recent letters to the paper illustrate a level of unfamiliarity with how things work in the NH House. That one of those letters came from a former member of the House is especially unfortunate. The GOP is all ginned up about HB 1589, a bill that requires a background check for all firearms sales. Given the ongoing slaughter taking place across the nation, one might think that our GOP brethren might applaud background checks, to make a start at keeping guns out of the wrong hands. One would be wrong. Any attempt at regulating guns is cause for screams about their RIGHTS. In their minds, the Second Amendment was written by God and gives them the right to stockpile nuclear weapons if they so wish.

It seems likely that most of the screamers wouldn’t pass a background check, and that’s why they fear them so. We are expected to tacitly accept the growing pile of small coffins as collateral damage because …freedom. The tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of 5 year olds.

HB 1589 is before the House Commerce Committee. Rep. Ed Butler is the committee chair. A simple search of the bill on the legislative website will link you to the text and the sponsors of the bill. The recent spate of letters about this bill suggest that Rep. Butler is a sponsor of the bill and is somehow responsible for the fact that the bill was assigned to his committee. Neither is true. There are 8 sponsors listed. Butler isn’t one of them. Committee chairs don’t pick out what bills they want to work on. Bills are assigned to committees by leadership. 
Gun bills are a huge time and resource suck for a committee, and are accompanied by threatening phone calls and harassing emails from the libertea crowd. No committee wants these bills.

The bill goes through the committee process, including public hearings, committee work sessions, maybe a subcommittee session, and an executive session where the full committee votes on whether to recommend that the bill ought to pass or ought to be deemed inexpedient to legislate. The folks on the committee vote the way they want to. It’s not as if the chair is…holding a gun to their heads to make them vote his/her way.

Frank McCarthy should know all this, given that he spent one term in the House. He has chosen to misrepresent, insinuate, and even outright lie about this bill and Rep. Butler. Why? As you can read for yourself in his letter this week, Frank McCarthy has some unpleasant prejudices that he is unafraid to trumpet in public. This was his excuse to make a lot of ugly comments about Representative Butler being gay, none of which have anything to do with HB 1589. 

There’s nothing in the bill about a gun registry, or any of the other sky-is-falling nonsense that McCarthy insists will be next. The purveyors of propaganda hope desperately that you won’t do your homework. They want you to don a shiny chapeau and repeat their lies. 

I’ve said it many times, and will undoubtedly have to say it many more - NH has a media problem. We are not well served by a statewide media that consists of one network TV station and one newspaper that both serve as stenographers for the Republican Party. The further north one travels, the less statewide news there is – and with good reason. The small dailies and weeklies can’t afford a “Concord bureau” to report on the legislative session every year. They’re struggling to stay afloat. Most people from our area don’t go to the State House on a regular basis, they’re too busy working. That lack of trustworthy media means that people rely on the bits and pieces they see in the paper and what they hear from family and friends. When distortions and dishonesty are passed around enough, eventually the lies become truth. Just ask the Kenyan socialist, fascist, Marxist in the White House.

Or, as Ronald Reagan used to say, “Trust, but verify.”

© sbruce 2014  
published in the 2-7-14 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper

Sunday, February 02, 2014

A Hoell Lot of Nanny State

JR Hoell, at the Concord City Council meeting on August 14, 2013. One of the issues the City Council was taking up at this meeting was whether or not to accept a federal grant to purchase a BearCat armored vehicle. Rep. Hoell is the tall man in a blue blazer, standing against the wall on the far right next to a tripod. He's the state Representative for the towns of Bow and Dunbarton. Concord is not part of his district. At the time I wondered how Rep. Hoell would respond to Concord Representatives coming to tell the Dunbarton selectmen what they ought to be doing. 

Hoell's a gun guy. His whole purpose in the legislature seems to be to write gun legislation. Bow's population is about 8,000 and Dunbarton's is around 2500. It just seems unlikely that thousands of constituents call Hoell on a regular basis and beg him to write another gun bill. On average he writes five a year. The gun bills aren't getting that closed bridge in Dunbarton fixed. The gun bills aren't creating jobs in Bow or Dunbarton, or lowering their property taxes. What does he do for his district? Nothing really, unless you think MOAR GUNZ are the answer to everything. To be fair, he's also opposed to state revenue, education, and women having bodily autonomy.  His agenda appeals to a small cadre of like minded thinkers in the two towns. The rest of his constituents don't know what he's up to, because the media doesn't report on it. When Hoell threatened armed insurrection recently, it went unreported by most of the NH media. Only Tuck at  Miscellany Blue and Tony Schinella of the Concord Patch covered the story. 

After his time in the spotlight around the BearCat issue, Hoell decided that he could ride that pony a little further, and wrote a bill to make sure that NO town or city in the state should be able to purchase armored vehicles - or weaponry that isn't available on the open market. His co-sponsor for  HB 1307 is Rep. Timothy O'Flaherty, a Free Stater from Manchester.

The Concord Monitor published a story about this piece of legislation. This is telling: 

None of the activists who flooded the Concord City Council’s public hearings on the BearCat last year came to yesterday’s hearing. Only Hoell testified in favor of the bill, while Keene’s police chief and a state Department of Safety official testified against it.

None of Hoell's Free Stater buddies came to testify in favor of his bill. None of his libertea colleagues came to testify. Even his co-sponsor didn't testify in favor of the bill. Ouch. 

Specifically, Hoell’s bill would prohibit state agencies and municipalities from acquiring, purchasing or accepting any military-style equipment, including vehicles and weapons, that aren’t available on an open national commercial market. The National Guard would be exempt from this.


Several members of the House Executive Departments and Administration committee said the bill appeared to take away local control. Rep. Mary Nelson, a Nashua Democrat, asked Hoell what he sees as the appropriate role of the Legislature in telling communities how to spend their money.

“The role of the state, in this case, is to make sure the citizens have the best law enforcement and not one that’s overly militarized,” said Hoell, who added that he is in favor of local control.

Hmm. This bill says otherwise.