Thursday, November 13, 2014

In the United States, in the 21st Century

Three weeks ago, the news was all Ebola, all the time. Todd Kincannon, the former Executive Director of the South Carolina Republican Party announced, “the protocol for a positive Ebola test should be immediate humane execution and sanitization of the whole are. That will save lives.” The President was labeled inept and weak at handling the crisis! We needed more leadership! Retread Congressman-elect Frank Guinta insisted that there needed to be a travel ban. Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas accused Obama of unleashing Ebola on Murka to seize more power. Louie Gohmert (whose continual reelection is proof that we shouldn’t wait for Texas to secede, we should just go ahead and build a wall around the state) claimed that Ebola is “the Democrats war on women.” Women are nurses, you see. 

Corrupt blowhard and birther Donald Trump blamed Obama for Ebola, referred to him as “Barry Sotoro,” and called for his resignation. This, dear readers, is the same Donald Trump who was chosen by the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications as the keynote speaker at their First Amendment Awards dinner. The award was given posthumously to James Foley. James Foley was a reporter who lost his life in pursuit of reporting from dangerous areas of our world. Choosing Trump as the keynote speaker at an event honoring this brave man is a level of tone deafness that surprises even me, coming from the Loeb/McQuaid crowd. This can only be described as an obscenity. Trump used the opportunity to bloviate about Obama. He’s still bleating about the need for Ebola quarantines. The one true thing he said was to James Foley’s parents, “Your son was far greater than I, and far greater than I will ever be.”

Obama was even criticized for not having a Surgeon General. The reason we don’t have one is Rand Paul. The President’s choice for Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murphy regards gun proliferation and violence as a health problem. Senator Paul, Republican of the NRA district, placed a hold on Dr. Murphy’s nomination.

There have been 4 cases of Ebola in the United States. One man died.

New Congresswoman and juggler of hog testicles, Joni Ernst of Iowa was at an event the other day talking about Ebola. Reporter Charlie Pierce pointed out that there was (on that day) a single case of Ebola in the United States. Ernst’s response? “That’s your opinion,” she said. Buckle up kids. The next 2 years are going to be a bumpy ride.

There are zero cases of Ebola in the United States. That was accomplished without travel bans or humane executions. Now that there isn’t a low information electorate to whip into a frenzy of fear, we won’t hear much more about it. It’s not as if we actually care about sick people in Africa.

In other news, a whole lot of bizarre was just elected to legislatures across the land.

In Colorado, Tea Party Pastor Gordon Klingenschmitt was just elected to the state legislature, with 70 percent of the vote. Klingenschmitt claims to have performed numerous exorcisms on gay people. Gay people “want your soul,” he says. He also claims to have performed an exorcism on President Obama, to rid him of the demons of tyranny. How disappointed Klingenschmitt must be that Obama is still black.

This guy was elected by a huge percentage. In the United States in the 21st century.

In Georgia, newly elected Congressman Jody Hice is worried about lunar eclipses. It seems that the religious right thinks that lunar eclipses are signs of God’s impending judgment against Murka for the sins of gay equality and abortion. Jody Hice has a talk radio show, and told his listeners that the appearance of blood moons “has preceded world changing, shaking type events.” In another era, living in a cave, Hice would have been advocating blood sacrifices to the gods to appease them. In the 21st century, he was elected to the US House of Representatives.

New Wisconsin Congressman Glenn Grothman once warned that sex education classes are a secret plot to turn kids gay. He’s also said that money is more important for men than women, that days off from work are “a little ridiculous,” that Kwanzaa is a conspiracy promoted by white people, and that people on food stamps don’t act poor enough. In the 21st century, this man was elected to Congress.

New Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke told a Republican group that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is “the antichrist.” Naturally when he was called out for his comment, he claimed he was joking.

Joni Ernst isn’t just an expert on Ebola. She told Iowans last year that Agenda 21 agents were likely to start moving people off their agricultural land and sending them to the cities, after which their land would be confiscated. Agenda 21 is a non-binding treaty on sustainable development that was written over 20 years ago. Ted Cruz predicts Agenda 21 will bring an end to paved roads and golf courses. Both of these people are elected members of the US Congress, in the 21st century.

Ben Carson, a columnist at World Nut Daily is gearing up for a presidential run. He recently announced that he would cut back on voter fraud by undocumented workers by revoking their citizenship and deporting them.

Here in NH, the electorate has apparently determined that we need to revisit the 2011-2012 legislative debacle. The humiliation and destruction visited upon the state during those years was apparently easily forgotten, so now we have some retreads being sent back, along with a bumper crop of Free Staters and other dubious characters.

With the Republicans in control of the NH House, the position of Speaker is being hotly contested, and the rumors are rampant. Bill O’Brien wants desperately to return to his position as Official Petty Tyrant, and has reportedly sent out a hatchet man to threaten, cajole, and bribe various members to support him, with promises of committee chairmanships. The Tea Party-John Bircher- Free Stater crowd loves O’Brien. He’s unencumbered by truth or ethics.

On the other side of the GOP, Senator Kelly Ayotte, former governors John Sununu and Steve Merrill, former Congressman Charlie Bass, and former Speakers Doug Scamman and Donna Sytek are all urging House members to support Rep. Gene Chandler as Speaker. The decision will be made next week.

An O’Brien Speakership on the cusp of the First in the Nation Primary can only be a disaster for the NH Republican Party. That he’s even being considered for the position should frighten any thinking person.

This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.”  ~ Charlie Pierce

 © sbruce 2014
published as an op-ed in the Conway Daily Sun on November 14, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bill O'Brien - Unencumbered by Honesty or Ethics

This screengrab is from State Rep. William O'Brien's Facebook Page

O'Brien is lying. The bill has NEVER been to the House floor for a final vote. Note the link at the bottom of his post. It takes you to the text of the bill,  not to the status of the bill. Allow me to assist you:

As you can see, in March the bill came out of committee with a 12-1 recommendation that it be sent to interim study. The House adopted the committee recommendation, on a roll call vote. The roll call was 174 to 105. The bill has never been up for the vote that O'Brien claims. The bill was NOT defeated, it's still in interim study, for crissake. 

O'Brien deliberately lied. He lied to his minions, and based on his chortling, he was almost certainly in league with Corey Lewandowski in creating and sending out these dishonest and possibly illegal fliers. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Packing NH's Sleazy Mailers: The Plot Thickens

NH State Representative Robert Cushing has filed a complaint with the AG regarding the last minute sleazy attack mailers that went out the weekend before the midterm elections. 

Packing NH:
Another Shady Group Funding Attacks

Another Ace in the Hoell

Last Minute Attacks by Shady Non-Profit Affiliated with Americans for Prosperity

Packing NH's initial filing with the Secretary of State stated that they would not be making independent expenditures during the upcoming election. 

They lied. 

They sent out dishonest SCARE postcards (with really shoddy graphics) targeting Representatives Renny Cushing, Ed Butler, and Steve Shurtleff. 

Packing NH consists of State Representative JR Hoell of Dunbarton and Susan Olsen of Weare. 

The plot thickens:

As you can see from this independent expenditure report, Packing NH used Marantha Printing, at 523 Mason Road in Milford, NH. 

That's the home address of newly minted former Executive Councilor David Wheeler.


Turns out there is no such business registered with the Sec. of State:

Sunday, November 09, 2014

#Free Pindell

During a media shitstorm a few years ago, when Jack Kimball, Kevin Smith, and other Republicans were loudly calling for my head - James Pindell was the only reporter in the state who actually called me to get my comments. Every other reporter just wrote up the wingnut version of the story. 

WMUR ranked third in the US for running US Senate related ads this year. Over 10,000 of them. It's no wonder there are marble floors in the WMUR lobby. They have a very lucrative monopoly which serves to benefit 2 entities: WMUR and the GOP. I've spent the last two years at the State House watching Josh McElveen pander shamelessly to the GOP - running straight to JR Hoell of all people, nearly every time he entered the House chamber. He never speaks to a Democrat unless he absolutely has to. He doesn't even bother with a pretense of fairness. 

Reporters all over the country are being silenced by Big Money. Dave McKinney recently resigned from the Chicago Sun Times because management caved to the Rauner campaign and made it impossible for McKinney to do his job. Rauner is now mayor of Chicago, and there will be fewer reporters covering him. That's how it's going everywhere. The Telegraph ditched State House Reporter Kevin Landrigan. There are 3 AP stringers in NH - down from 12. This biennium there will be only 2 seasoned reporters at the NH State House - Garry Rayno and Josh Rogers. 

I don't think that James should be fired for making Scott Brown uncomfortable. I don't think James should be fired because of the influence of Big Money. 

Furthermore, WMUR is broadcasting over our public airwaves. They should be held accountable. 

Cop Killing With Cantwell

This is Chris Cantwell. This is his Halloween costume, worn at a recent Free State Project convention in Keene. 

He moved to NH as part of the Free State Project, the armed band of miscreants that are moving, en masse, to colonize NH, take over and dismantle our state government, then threaten secession. 

Cantwell wants to kill cops. Well, not really - he wants to "inspire" other people into killing cops. Cantwell lacks the courage of his convictions. He doesn't want to go to prison, because he's too important. The lesser folk should do his dirty work for him. It's all part of his desire to violently overthrow the US government.

The FSP publicly kicked him out in 2013, but that was all for show. He's still part of the cult, living in Keene (at the behest of the Free Keene cult leader Ian Bernard) across the street from the Church of the Free Load. Cantwell was on the CopBlock panel at the recent convention in Keene. We are asked to believe CopBlock has good, nonviolent intentions, yet Cantwell was part of the panel. One of these things is not like the other. 

I've written about Cantwell before:

Free Stater Blames Brentwood Cop for His Own Death

Cop Killers Love CopBlock

CopBlock Backpedaling Furiously

Big Turd Lands in Free State Punchbowl

He's eulogized a number of cop killers. The latest is Eric Frein, who killed one cop and wounded another, then hid out in the Poconos for almost 2 months. Frein was recently captured, and Cantwell waxes on about what Frein should have done:

I can’t help but think that his efforts would have been better spent moving to New Hampshire, and joining a community of people who also see law enforcement as a threat to their safety. He could have trained others to shoot, and survive. Instead of laying down his own life for the cause at such a young age, he could have been a force multiplier for all of us.

Yeah, I'm sure we all agree that it's a real shame Frein didn't move to NH. 

By the way - we're always told that Free Staters are peace loving folk. How does talk of "force multipliers" fit in with that peace loving stuff? Wouldn't you need "force multipliers" if you were planning an armed takeover? 

The only reason I’m alive is because I saw an alternative. I saw a way to do more for the cause of liberty by staying alive, than I could by dying. I can’t help but think the world would soon be a better place if people like Eric Frein, Jerad and Amanda Miller, Justin Bourque, Paul Ciancia, Tim McVeigh, and others, had seen that alternative too. What I wouldn’t give to today be surrounded by such brave warriors…

Jerad and Amanda Miller killed 2 cops and a bystander. Justin Bourque killed 3 RCMP officers and wounded 2 others. Paul Ciancia killed a TSA agent, wounded 2 other agents and a teacher. Heroic might not be the term you'd use to describe these folks. 

Cantwell refers to Timothy McVeigh as a "brave warrior." In 1995, Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and wounding 450 others. Nineteen of those killed were children - children that were in the day care center on the second floor. 

A man who blows up 19 children is not a "brave warrior." That Cantwell and his acolytes can justify that act, and treat McVeigh as some sort of hero is monstrous. 

The Free Staters love to tell us they come in peace. People who come in peace don't come armed to the teeth. People who come in peace don't bring guys like Chris Cantwell. 

FSP President Carla Gericke's cries of outrage reached the ionosphere last year when the FSP were called potential domestic terrorists in an application for an armed vehicle filed by the Concord PD.

Were the Concord PD  wrong? 

"We call them ‘libertarians” because ‘sociopath’ is such an ugly word." ~ TBogg

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Another Ace in the Hoell

Representative Renny Cushing wasn't the only recipient of the largesse of our  friends at Packing NH. 
You remember Packing NH - the PAC that filed paperwork with the Secretary of State's Office saying they weren't going to be making any independent expenditures. They lied.

This is the card that went out in Ed Butler's district. You can almost hear the SCARE VOICE: Democrat Ed Butler brought his New York City ways to New Hampshire.....

This is coming to you from JR Hoell - who brought his Hoboken, New Jersey ways to New Hampshire at the same time Ed moved here. 

The "more tax" stuff is just nonsense. When the libertea crowd cuts revenue sources to our state - they can thump their chests about THE BUDGET - but they never tell the whole story. When revenue streams are cut, your property taxes go up. 

Here's the real arrant nonsense. Ed isn't serving in the US Congress - he's in the NH state legislature. He didn't impose Obamacare on anyone - it's a federal law. 

Expanded Medicaid is going to end in NH when it stops being funded by the Feds. Another libertea lie from Representative Hoell. 

As for the ratings: The NH Firearms Coalition is a bunch of wingnut gundamentalists. The NH Liberty Alliance was started by the Free State Project - the armed miscreants who are moving to NH en masse to take over and dismantle our state government, then threaten to secede. JR is closely allied with the Free Stater crowd. NH Families for Education is a group that seems intent on eliminating public education, and the NH Federation of Small Businesses is the local affiliate for a lobbying group based in Tennessee. Joe Average doesn't give a squirt about any of these groups. 

But, Hoell and Co. count on the fact that most voters are just going to read this nonsense about TAXES and CIVIL RIGHTS, OMG, OMG, OMG!! and react emotionally. They sent this out at the 11th hour so that someone like me wouldn't be able to do the research and call them out on their lies.  They have to lie to win. 

That's the kind of integrity that the homie from Hoboken brought to NH. 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Another Shady Group Funding Attacks

This last minute FEAR attack comes from a group called Packing NH, whose mission claims to be support for Second Amendment candidates. This group was formed by JR Hoell, a NH State Rep from Dunbarton, and Susan Olsen, a gundamentalist from Weare. Apparently there is a terrible threat to NH gun ownership - so much so that the gazillion other gun groups in NH weren't sufficient. We needed one more. 

As you can see by the cheesy postcard, the mission seems to have veered from supporting Second Amendment candidates, to attacking legislators they don't like. Packing NH's stance on guns is too radical for most NH residents, so they're attacking from a different angle, to divert attention from themselves. Most people think background checks are a good idea. Not Packing NH. 

These cards were sent out attacking Representatives Robert Cushing, Ed Butler, and Steve Shurtleff. They hate Ed Butler because he  thinks background checks on gun buyers are a good idea. They hate Steve Shurtleff because he's a former US Marshall who apparently doesn't believe every citizen should  have a rocket launcher in their pocket. They hate Renny because he's respected on both sides of the aisle, and impervious to their whimpering about guns. If they can get somewhere with getting these guys voted out, it sends a message to anyone else who might threaten their rights to GUNZ, GUNZ, and MOAR GUNZ! Because clearly, MOAR GUNZ is the solution to all of NH's problems. 

It's almost funny if you think about how scared these people are. They live in one of the safest states in the nation, but they're scared spitless to leave their homes without a personal arsenal. 

 Packing NH is a PAC registered in June with the Secretary of State. It seems they weren't exactly honest in their filing:

As you can see, they claimed on their paperwork that the PAC would not be making independent expenditures. As you can see, there was another box to check. If they had checked the box that reflects what they're actually doing, I couldn't call them sleazy and dishonest. 

To their credit - the PAC has filed subsequent reports noting their donations. They have not filed any reports (including the October 29 filing) that listed expenditures. 

To summarize: Gundamentalists form PAC to support their fellow gun nuts running for office. In their filing, they say they will make no independent expenditures. They report their donations. They report no expenditures. Yet attack postcards go out under the name of this PAC - postcards that don't address the Second Amendment, which is allegedly their reason for being. 

Sleazy and dishonest? You decide. 

They have filed a report of their expenditures  with the Secretary of State. 

Secretary of State Election Division

Last Minute Attacks by Shady Non-Profit Affiliated with Americans for Prosperity

This is one of the mailers that has just gone out attacking NH State Representative Robert (Renny) Cushing. Note the stereotyping, the use of FEAR language (WELFARE CARDS!) and of course the incredibly sexist stereotype of a conservative view of what a low income woman looks like. 

There's also something else noteworthy about this mailer. It references HB 1213, a bill that was held over by the legislature for interim study. The House voted in March to send it to interim study. The roll call vote was 175 to 105. (Some fairly reactionary Republicans voted to send it to interim study.)

There have been a number of subcommittee work sessions on the bill, and it's slated to be brought back to the House floor.  This is a craven scare attack on a legislator that is considered a threat. 

That brings us to Part 2. This mailer was paid for by the New Hampshire Advantage Coalition. Who is the NHAC? It is a group originally formed in 1998, aimed at protecting the so-called NH advantage. The founders:

George Lovejoy - Barrington
Roy Stewart - Bedford
Thomas Colburn - Pembroke
Judith Thayer - Manchester
Siobhan Tautkus - Manchester
Bryan Gould - Concord
Diane Gilbert - Epping
Jim Root - Bristol
Ovide Lamontagne - Manchester

They filed only one annual report with the Secretary of State, and that was in 2000. It listed Lovejoy as the president. The non-profit was dissolved/suspended in 2006, and formally dissolved with the IRS in 2011. It was brought back to life later that year by these folks:

Corey Lewandowski - Salem
Ed Sibeleski - Salem
Diane Wolfgang - Windham
Richard Morin - Salem
Matthew Worthen - Hampstead

Corey Lewandowski is employed by Americans for Prosperity - the Koch funded group that is allied with the far right, the John Birch Society, and the Free State Project in NH.

The NH Advantage Coalition has never filed an annual report with the Secretary of State. NH Secretary of State Corporate Search.

In 2012 NHAC received money from AFP.  Americans for Prosperity dutifully reported the $20,000, as you can see by scrolling down to page 24. Note there is no tax ID number  for the NHAC listed on the paperwork.

NHAC also got money from Grover Norquist's group, Americans for Tax Reform in 2012. NHAC was given $15,000 to fight for "right to work" legislation. The group used the tax ID number from the defunct original corporation that was dissolved with the IRS.

It sure does look as if on top of never filing annual reports with the Sec. of State, the New Hampshire Advantage Coalition is accepting money with an invalid tax ID number. 

This group is obviously scared witless by a decent and principled legislator - so much that they'll lie and commit tax fraud to try to take him down.