Thursday, February 02, 2017

Failure is the Goal

We’ve all been watching as the various nominees of our new president go through the confirmation process. Most of them are spectacularly unqualified or burdened with serious conflicts of interest, not that that is an impediment in this regime. This week there have been hearings regarding Betsy DeVos whose most important qualification to be Secretary of Education appears to be the hundreds of millions her family has donated to the GOP.

New Hampshire often serves as a mirror, reflecting locally what is going on nationally. That’s never been more apparent than it is right now, with our Trump-supporting new governor, Chris Sununu, sitting in the corner office.  This week the Executive Council had a public hearing on Sununu’s nominee for Commissioner of Education.

Frank Edelblut is a businessman from Wilton. He has a BA in business and a Masters in Theology. His seven children were homeschooled. Frank Edelblut has no background in education, and none of the experience that we would hope a qualified contender for this important position might possess. While serving a single term in the legislature he supported a bill that would have forced all state funded facilities (including hospitals, day care centers, halfway houses) to allow guns on their premises. He’s never been to a school board meeting. He’s never been to a parent teacher conference. He does, however, oppose public education, while supporting taxpayer funded religious education, and charter schools. He’s utterly unqualified for this position. Would you hire your barber to remove your gall bladder?

None of that will matter in either the case of DeVos or Edelblut. These are ideological appointments, and there aren’t any Republicans with principles any more. They have no interest in what’s best for the nation or the state – all they have is obedient cowardice. Doing the right thing isn’t even on the radar screen. Edelblut will be approved because Republicans have a 3-2 majority on the Executive Council.  He’ll be approved, because thanks to gerrymandering, the kind of people who are elected to office in this state hate public education, and refer to them as “gummint schools.” He’ll be approved because the goal here is failure.

There are bills coming up this week in committee hearings in the House and Senate that you won’t hear anything about. One such bill is HB 209. If this were to pass, NH would leave Eastern Standard Time behind, and move into the Atlantic Standard Time Zone. We’d be joining Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and most of Labrador. The Atlantic Time Zone also includes a number of Caribbean islands like Barbados and Martinique. This bill is co-sponsored by Free State Project members Keith Murphy and Carol McGuire, who are concerned that Massachusetts may change to AST, and they want NH to emulate what Republicans and their libertea brethren usually refer to as the socialist republic to the south.

HB 532 would deny state benefits to anyone who desecrates the US or the NH state flag. People who engage in a constitutionally protected act would be punished, by a denial of food stamps or tuition assistance. Lest you think that this bill is in reaction to a sudden outbreak of flag burning, it is not. The last flag burnings I’m aware of were done either by college students or by members of the Free State Project. If it passes, it’s a guaranteed court challenge, which means a lot of money wasted by our allegedly fiscally conservative legislators. Why even write this silliness? To demonize low-income folks, whom the sponsors seem to believe are most likely to burn flags.

SB 154 would allow pharmacists to dispense oral contraceptives without a prescription, after an initial consultation with a health care provider. This sounds like a good thing for women, until one remembers that prescription medications are covered by health insurance. Non-prescription medications are not. And oral contraceptives can be costly.

We are constantly presented with businessmen as candidates, as if that were the best possible qualification. NH has been sold the sob story that we’re a poor state for so long that voters buy into the businessman making tough decisions as the ideal. Not a one of these businessmen would run their businesses the way they approach running the state. Sununu wouldn’t fail to keep the ski lifts in good repair at Waterville Valley, but he’ll make sure NH lacks sufficient revenue to fix our roads and bridges.

If anyone wonders why NH won’t legalize marijuana, and take advantage of all the revenue that would bring in – that’s exactly the reason why. The last thing we want in this state is revenue. 

The last thing we want in this state is success.

published as an op-ed in the February 3 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper 

1 comment:

tworavens said...

It's terrifying and now we are living a nightmare. And when we reach that special place where the children of teapanties are getting sick and dying from tainted water, buildings, air, poor medical service, etc. and they are so fantastically ill educated they cannot secure or keep jobs, I have to wonder what their grandstanding non-plans will be? Even Mexico has such good training that when corporations move there, the workplace is ready that day to get to work. Not so here in our state or nation. The chaos that is going to ensure is going to very possibly be the end of us all. The right which has practiced such blatant hypocrisy by screaming patriotism to the rest of us, is now under the thumb of a man who headed up the Stasi and is making his very own takeover "a cakewalk".