Sunday, December 20, 2015

Conservative Crybaby vs. First Amendment

This is Alexandria Knox. She recently ran for Alderman in Manchester, NH. She didn't do too well. 

As you can see, she was ousted in the September 15 primary. Forty-four people chose to leave the space blank rather than vote for her. And they didn't even know that in another age she would have been throwing books on a fire. 

Now she's running for state representative in District 10. 

Miss Knox claims to be a person of strong conservative values, who champions the Live Free or Die ethic of our state. Yet twice she's had me banned from Facebook for challenging her. One assumes she, like others of the libertea persuasion, worships at the altar of the US Constitution. 

Except for that pesky first amendment. 

One wonders how this magnolia blossom will handle the world of politics if she should ever get elected to public office. I've seen the things that go out over the all reps listserv. Miss Knox would spend the entire session on her fainting couch with the vapors. Live free or die, unless you make poor little Alexandria uncomfortable. 

Here's the comment that Miss Knox complained about today. 

This was a chance for her to explain to me why she had me banned the first time. Like a big girl might do. She could have said, "I don't like your tone, I don't like it when you respond to me, I don't have to explain myself to you" - or just about anything, really. Instead, she behaved like a frightened child. This frightened child thinks she has the strength and integrity to represent a district in the NH House? 

Here's the thing - I don't think anyone should get banned unless they harass or threaten a person. My daughter, for example, is seriously being harassed by a subhuman from Rockland, Maine, but to lodge a complaint on FB one has to make it from a computer, not a tablet or a phone. 

I've never threatened Miss Knox. I've challenged her twice. Rather than respond (like an adult might do)  she tattles.  It's clear that telling Daddy gives her a sense of power, and she's undoubtedly getting high fives from her fellow Constitution worshipping compatriots for showing "that commie bitch" who is boss. Knox's tattletaling is emblematic of her character.  She's someone who will rather run away than face a challenge. She's a coward. 

The screengrabs will make great campaign lit to hand out as I help campaign against her in Ward 10 next year. 

UPDATE: Less than an hour ago, Knox tweeted this out: 

Sadly, she thinks she's achieved some sort of stardom. If her goal was to reveal that she lacks the courage and strength to represent a NH House district, than she has succeeded. 

She came by my blog not long ago to leave a comment - full of sanctimonious blather.

And what did she do when questioned?

She deleted and ran. Unable to stand by her comments, unable to handle a question. 

A regular pillar of jello, our Miss Knox. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Wanted: Evangelical UU's

Late in September, I was the guest speaker at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Tamworth. I called on my fellow UU’s to fight back against the inflammatory racist and xenophobic rhetoric that are a part of our current national dialogue. Since the shootings in San Bernardino, the hate speech is ratcheting up – and that comes with consequences. This week a sixth grade girl in NY City was beaten up by a bunch of boys who hit her and tried to pull off her hijab while calling her, “Isis.”

A friend in the congregation suggested I publish my sermon as a column. With some adaptation, this is what I said on September 27. At a time when we hear so much angry religious rhetoric perhaps we can all try to be more UU.

After the accident last year, I spent two months in the hospital. I met women who worked there, women from all over the world. Many came here as refugees. There were women from Haiti, who told stories of political unrest and having to move their families to safety. There were women who were bringing up their grandchildren because their children had become addicts. They bathed me and cared for my broken body. They were so kind to me. We humans are capable of such kindness and compassion.

For months I was in an isolated bubble where I didn’t pay that much attention to what was going on in the world. It was my job to heal. It was my job to learn how to stand, and how to walk. As the months went by, little by little I moved back into the world. Then I went back to work, and I was immersed in reality again.

And then along came Donald Trump. He was something of a breaking point.

Racism, bigotry, homophobia, misogyny; all of these things are increasingly tolerated by our society. Throw in some science denial and rewriting of history, and this is a scary time. In an effort to show leadership skills, presidential candidates are trying to outdo one another with racist rhetoric or loathing for the poor. 

It’s time to stop tacitly accepting this. UU’s have a long history of action when it comes to all social justice issues. We also have a reputation for being quiet and relatively unobtrusive in our approach.

We don’t cause scenes or make a mess. We aren’t a big visible presence on the word stage. We don’t have mega churches or a values voter summit, like the Christian right does.

We ought to. Our values include justice, compassion, and love. Inclusion and not exclusion.  At a time where there is so much hate, violence, and ugly rhetoric, it’s time for us to vocalize and apply our UU principles loudly, proudly, and zealously.

As UU’s we are not bound by scripture or dogma. We have our seven principles, the first being our belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We need to try hard to love our neighbors, even the most difficult and bigoted. Love them loudly and proudly. When hate comes to town, we must counter it in the way that Dr. King suggested: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Our planet is suffering. There is no part of it that isn’t being affected by climate change. Here in the US a particularly virulent form of denial exists, the kind where non-scientists deny science. We need to get out there and preach about that interdependent web. We can’t live without our planet.

Our principles call for justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. That, too, is hard to argue with, but it is not the way that human interaction works these days. The right of conscience. The goal of world community, with peace, liberty, and justice for all. These aren’t feel good phrases. These are values, and they are values that need to be spread around with evangelical zeal.

There are so many angry people in our country, our state, and in our municipalities. You probably have one shouty uncle who rants on your Facebook page or at holiday dinners. You know, the one who thinks the president is a homosexual Muslim communist from Kenya.

It’s easy to ignore the angry. You can unfriend Uncle Al on Facebook. You can’t do is argue with them and have any kind of a reasonable discussion. What we can do is be kind to them. Talk to them – and really listen. Try to understand their fears. It’s harder to hate people when you’re talking to them face to face.

I realize this all sounds kind of humorous, especially coming from me. I am deadly serious. We’re in a mess, people, and love is the only way out.

We UU’s are uniquely qualified to take a greater role. Some of the greatest names in our nation’s history were UUs – names like Emerson, Thoreau, Vonnegut, Seeger, Anthony, Stone, Adams, Cummings, Bradbury, Darwin, and Nightingale. UU’s have been visionaries and activists. We still are. We’re just modest about it. I am suggesting that we need to speak up when there is injustice and hateful rhetoric on the national, state, and local level.

We need to get zealous. We need to become fundamentalist Unitarian Universalists, ready to preach the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Ready to preach about loving our planet. Wendell Berry said, Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”

People, the planet, equality and justice. These are the biggest things we face. They are all things we UUs have been talking about for years. Who better to lead the way in our communities than us?

We’ve been working quietly in the background for a long time. What’s next will make us uncomfortable – and that is true whether we do anything or not. We’re going to be just as uncomfortable if we stay in the background, so we might as well make some noise.

Unitarian Universalist 7 Principles:

1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all;
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

This was published as an op-ed in the December 11 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper 

Susan DeLemus: I've Never Been Involved in Politics

CNN aired a segment today where they spoke with some NH Trump supporters. 

This woman has a bit of a meltdown about the president - he gets on her teevee and LIES! She's never been involved in politics! 

Never involved,  except when Ted Cruz named DeLemus and her husband to his NH leadership team back in May. Did she ditch Ted for Trump? Did they break up? 


This woman is NH State Representative Susan DeLemus. She's serving her second (nonconsecutive) term in the NH House. 

Representative DeLemus distinguished herself during her first term, by causing a scene at a ballot hearing. DeLemus is a birther, and not afraid to say so. 

It was also reported on in The Atlantic.  

Susan DeLemus isn't the only infamous member of her family. Husband Jerry DeLemus was head of security at Cliven (welfare moocher) Bundy's Ranch debacle. In fact, it was Jerry who sent spree killers Jerad and Amanda Miller on their way. Refused admission to Bundyville, they went to Las Vegas and killed 2 cops and a bystander. Here's Jerry trying to weasel out of any responsibility

Here's Jerry, complaining about Scott Brown "trompling" on the Constitution. It seems former US Senator Scott Brown is a trompler.  This calm, level-headed individual was running for Sheriff in Strafford County. He's an Oath Keeper, a 9/12'er, a Tea Partier, and a proponent of the Constitutional Sheriff's movement. 

Back in June, Jerry announced that he wanted to hold a "Draw Mohammed" contest, as reported here by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

CNN should be embarrassed. Even the most cursory google search would have turned up most of this. Now they're being mocked - and deservedly so. 

[Note: she may have been trying to say The Donald has never been involved in politics, she's so incoherent, it's hard to know. One thing is for sure, either way she meant it - she's lying!]

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

An Account of the NHDP JJ Fundraising Event

I don't do it often, but from time to time I accept a piece written by another blogger. This next piece was written by someone who wishes to remain anonymous, and asked me for blog space. I agreed, because I know and trust the writer. I want to be clear - I was not at this event. The views expressed are those of the writer. It's also worth noting that I've heard similar accounts of this event from other people. 



Let me preface this by explaining who I am. I'm posting this anonymously, but I am a middle-tier political activist here in New Hampshire, who has been active in state level races and a few federal races supporting progressive candidates up and down the ballot. This cycle, I'm supporting Bernie Sanders' run for President. Over the last decade I've been active in New Hampshire politics, I've essentially been in the 'activist bubble'. Very little interaction with party insiders, very little in-person exposure to party leaders or elected officials. That said, I am a Democrat and I feel the need to be honest with my friends, hence this letter. 

Last night I attended the 2015 Jefferson-Jackson dinner, commonly known in New Hampshire as “The JJ”. I don't normally go to events like this, preferring to donate to candidates directly rather than to the party. This year I broke my pattern, and went with a VIP ticket. This got me into the VIP room before the event, and landed me a pretty good seat for the speeches. In the VIP room I got to meet Martin O'Malley, who was the only presidential candidate to stop in. He was quite cordial, ignored my white Bernie button other than to say “I hope I'm at least your second pick.”, and smiled when I assured him that he is. Both candidates for Governor were there, sitting Governor Maggie Hassan, former Congressman Paul Hodes, a few state senators and state reps – it was a 'who's who' of party insiders. I felt very out of place, but I expected it. Overall, the little pre-event dinner party was fun and an amazing chance to talk to some great folks. 

Then the actual event started, and things went south very quickly. Before I could even get to the room, I was accosted not once but twice by young intern-age men who I presumed to be ushers. Both were decked out in Hillary gear, checked my ticket and asked if I needed a sticker while trying to hand me an H sticker. Keep in mind I was wearing a white Bernie button on a dark shirt, which would have been very hard to miss. I said a polite “No.” to the first one, and kept walking. When the second one tried to push a sticker at me, I became officially annoyed. I stopped dead in my tracks and looked back-and-forth between my Bernie button, and the usher's confused face, 4 or 5 times before he got the message, and showed me through the door. Was this kid there to staff the event, or was he a Hillary staffer who had somehow gained access to the entry for VIP ticket holders? If he was staffing the event, put on by the party as a whole, why was he being permitted to try and solicit Hillary stickers to people? If he was a Hillary staffer, how did he get permission (and who from?) to be where he was doing what he was doing? We will probably never know.

The VIP tickets were color coded. Specific seats were not assigned, but groups of seats were marked with a color that matched the tickets, and it didn't look like there was a pattern or anything. I was near the middle of the pack and when I got in a lot of seats were already taken. The first thing I noticed was that the seats came littered with Hillary paraphernalia. There was a pair of “thundersticks” (those annoying as hell tube balloon things people have had for clapping at events this year), and a Hillary sign, on all of the available seats but nothing for the other candidates. In fairness, it is entirely possible that people had been dumping their unwanted thundersticks onto the empty seats, but it looked like a good number of attendees in the VIP section still had them so I personally don't think this was the case. I also don't know if the “regular” seats were prepared this way. I moved the thundersticks and sign to the floor and took my seat. The seating position I got was deep in the bowels of the party establishment. I was seated in the third row, near the side of the row, but I was surrounded by party elders, state senators, former elected officials, out of state party vice chairs, DNC members, and so on. Almost all of them were wearing Hillary buttons or stickers. I felt slightly uncomfortable, but told myself that these people are professionals and we're all in the same party, at a party building event, so things would be cordial regardless of which primary candidate people were supporting. Oh boy, was I mistaken.

Bernie Sanders was the very first speaker, right after the state chairman Ray Buckley made his opening remarks to start the event. They introduced Bernie before he was ready, and there was a very long delay between the introduction and Bernie taking the stage. It was so long that they had to loop his intro music a second time. This is when the commentary started from the crowd seated near me (see the previous paragraph for a reminder of who I was sitting with). There were more than a few “old jokes” suggesting that he had gotten lost in the hallway, things like “Old people don't move so fast”, etc. Then Bernie made it out, and started his speech. Just about every single sentence was an applause line. However, most of that applause and chanting came from the back of the room in the “regular” seats. It was very very clear in the first 5 minutes that the 'VIP' section and the 'regular' section weren't the same crowd. I can't help but wonder how many of the other folks in the VIP section noticed this disconnect, or how many would have cared if they became aware of it. Anyway, Bernie went through his normal stump and was given ample time to finish. Throughout his entire set of remarks, there were snide and rude comments from the people around me accusing him of pandering, copycating Hillary (ironically, on issues where SHE “evolved” to adopt HIS positions….). All of this was said in hushed tones and I wouldn't have heard any of it if I was one or two more rows back; a lesson in what the establishment crowd says when they think they're in closed company. For a double dose of irony, I recognized some of these same people as folks who had posted on facebook about Bernie supporters “viciously attacking” Hillary Clinton (which means mentioning her record). Anyway, I made it a point to observe the dichotomy between the reaction of the “front” and “back” of the room to the three candidates, and it was pretty clear the two crowds were most certainly NOT on the same page. Only O'Malley seemed to get equal reactions from both, but I'll get to him in a moment. During the section of Bernie's speech when he got into foreign policy, one of the folks near me made one comment in particular that I felt was incredibly rude and accused Bernie of “only talking about commander in chief issues because of Hillary, if she wasn't in this his entire platform would be about tax hikes.” I came to the event prepared to support all three candidates. I was wearing my Bernie button, but it was an event put on by the NHDP which is ostensibly neutral in the primary so I figured it would be a good time to celebrate the choices we have and sadly learned how wrong I was. After Bernie was done, more rude comments such as “well at least THAT's over with, now we can get on to business.” A few state legislators and activists were then recognized with awards to some deserved fanfare. One of them took a jab at Maggie Hassan's stance on refugees (one of several such jabs during the course of the evening) which flew like a lead balloon with at least two of the folks seated near me who remarked to each other about how inappropriate his comment was. Remember that while reading the rest of this. 

The next featured guest was O'Malley who was well received by the VIP crowd. He made eye contact and waved with a few people near me, it was clear he had met a bunch of them during his frequent trips to NH before he officially declared. His remarks were pretty strong, and got an enormous amount of applause including more standing ovations than the other two candidates. His willingness to call out Trump and the NRA by name is refreshing, but he also went in to the other Democratic candidates. One line he gave, that he was “not a recovering socialist, or a recovering republican” was a pretty direct barb referencing Bernie's long time identification as a democratic socialist and Hillary's having campaigned for Barry Goldwater. There were zero rude or sarcastic comments from people in the VIP seating during O'Malley's speech, at least none that I heard. 

The event also featured Senator Shaheen, and Governor Hassan, as headline speakers. Both of whom took the opportunity to give a plug for Hillary, which I felt was incredibly inappropriate at a party-building event. Did any of the other VIP section people feel that was inappropriate? Would they have felt it inappropriate if one of the featured speakers came out for Bernie or O'Malley? At least a couple of them felt it was inappropriate to merely mention refugees in the presence of Maggie Hassan. There were more awards given out to activists and state legislators, during which time Hillary staffers started handing out signs and foam glowsticks. Stop for a minute let this sink in – Hillary staffers were given access to walk the other side of the ropeline up near the stage to hand out paraphernalia while awards were being handed out. It was so absolutely brazenly inappropriate that one of them was called out by Ray Buckley from the microphone (but not stopped in any way) as he was trying to give out an award. Would staffers for the other campaigns have been given the same level of floor access? Would they have been allowed to hand out goodies to the VIP section? (Not that anyone would have taken them.) Whats worse, before Hillary came out her staffers flooded the stage to setup a special glass of water for her (the unopened bottled water wasn't good enough I guess), move the stool around, leave a copy of her remarks up on the podium in a box (seriously – in a box, compared to Sanders who had a stapled bundle of papers and O'Malley who I'm pretty sure spoke from memory), and then dimmed the lights. The lead-in to Hillary was more built-up than the other candidates or guests, and she was the last speaker. The impromptu light tricks, and presence of the glowsticks handed out by her staff with questionable levels of access to the event, were all a pretty over the top shilling that I can't help but suspect would not have been extended to the other candidates if they had asked. Take a look at the picture with this article, and consider that the attendees brought absolutely none of those signs, glowsticks, or anything else, to their seats – all were handed out or placed on seats in advance. But I doubt the other campaigns DID ask if they could hand out materials– and that's a whole other point. The Hillary campaign saw a party building event as an opportunity to co-opt it into an event for THEIR campaign, and party unity be damned. It either didn't even cross their minds that it might be inappropriate (which lends to a sense of entitlement I can't begin to describe) or they just didn't care. Pick your poison, but either one will make you sick.

During Hillary's remarks, I noticed a few interesting things. She got comparatively little applause, and the majority of it came from the VIP section. People around me were making comments like “such a visionary!” after she announced policy positions that Bernie had made barely an hour earlier and gotten snide remarks for from these exact same people. I didn't stand or applaud for anything Hillary said. I had told myself going in that I was going to support all three candidates, but by this point I was just so tremendously offended by the conduct of the party insiders I was seated with and the way the event was seemingly structured to puff up Hillary, that my hands just couldn't find each other when it was time to clap. Sorry folks, I just couldn't do it, even though I liked most of what Hillary herself was saying.

I very honestly wonder how many of the people who put the JJ together understand that events like this are supposed to be for party building, not plugging their pet candidate. I very honestly wonder how many of the insiders in the VIP section would have recognized how inappropriate the structure, and their own remarks, were if they saw it third-person with different candidates. Most importantly, I very honestly wonder how many of these party insiders understand how out of touch they are with the base of the party in the “regular” seats. I wonder if they even care….

Photo by the author