Thursday, January 10, 2019

More Guns and Grifters

Photo by Holly Ramer of AP 

As I predicted, the rabid gundamentalists got all worked up about the proposed rule change in the NH House that would prevent them from carrying their concealed firearms on the House floor, in the gallery, the cloakroom, and the anteroom. They would still be able to strap on as many weapons as they needed to feel safe leaving home, driving to Concord, and then walking the mean streets from their parking spot to the State House. They’d just be asked to lock up (in a storage unit provided at the State House) their firearm (s) while on the floor, in the gallery, the anteroom or the cloakroom. The 2-A crowd brought signs into the State House, which is not allowed. They meekly surrendered them, with no mention of first amendment rights. 

There was wailing, moaning, and gnashing of teeth from the gun fetishists. They NEED their weapons on them at all times! They might have to protect the women! The State House isn’t going to be a “soft” target – a gun free zone! Gundamentalist groups, the NRA, and ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council invented the concept of “constitutional carry” around 2012. Nowhere in the constitution does it say that you have the right to bring a concealed firearm into the NH House chamber. It’s also worth noting that Vermont had “constitutional carry” years before everyone else. Guess what you can’t do in Vermont? Bring a weapon in the State House.

Honest, curious people who read more than just propaganda are also aware that mass shooters don’t choose “gun free zones.” School shootings are done by people who had some connection to the school. There’s also the fact that 98% of mass shooters are white men, many of whom have a history of domestic abuse. Most of those shooters were “law abiding gun owners” up until the moment they started shooting their fellow humans.

The floor debate raged. Convicted gun felon, Representative Max Abramson (R. Free State) gave an impassioned speech about gun rights, the kind he doesn’t legally possess any longer. These are the people who want the rest of us to trust them with guns. The vote was 220-163 to ban guns from the House chamber. The response from the cultists was to shriek that they’d carry anyway, because rules don’t apply to them.

After the gun vote was a vote to add mandatory sexual harassment awareness training to the House rules. There have been a number of incidents in the legislature that have come to light in the MeToo era. Some involved payoffs, some involved cover-ups. There are many older men in the legislature who wail that it’s the women who are to blame – they can’t say anything any more without it being taken the wrong way!

Rather than take an opportunity to stop wailing and learn something, members of the libertea crowd became incensed at the thought that they should be expected to attend the kind of training they would be given no choice about attending in any professional workplace. Perhaps they don’t look at themselves as professionals. Perhaps they don’t see themselves as working.

Most amusing was the overlap. Many of the same people who were braying about the need to protect the wimminfolk refused to take the sexual harassment training. That’s right – they need to protect the women with guns – the same women who are lying about sexual harassment! (It would make for an interesting Venn diagram.) The House voted 284 – 92 in favor of the rule change. 

Governor Sununu is back in the news. There’s some very timid reporting going on about the way his first inaugural fund is being dispersed. Large amounts of it seem to have landed in his pockets, and those of a variety of family members and advisors. The Governor has refused to comply with Right to Know requests that those records be produced.  If it all sounds familiar, there’s good reason for that. Sununu was very clear in his first campaign that he is a strong Trump supporter. We know Trump used his inaugural fund as a slush fund to shovel money back into his own businesses, which means into the pockets of his family. Lesson learned. 

Why is this a concern? Where the money comes from and where it goes is always a concern when it comes to politicians. Transparency means accountability, and we should all want our politicians to be accountable. We should know exactly who the donors were, how much they gave, and where that money went, and where the remainder of the fund will go.

The Union Leader has done some surprisingly good reporting on this. Surprising only because of the UL’s history of being the media arm of the NH GOP. This reporting so incensed the governor, that a Union Leader reporter and photographer were denied entry into this year’s inaugural event. It appears our governor has learned another lesson from his mentor, Donald Trump.

“No power without accountability.”  Billy Bragg