Guest Blogs

Saturday
May172014

Mark Acciard - Get money out of politics, right?

The ever delusional Harry Reid wants to introduce a Constitutional Amendment to overturn CU, restricting, as he claims; "the ability of the Koch Bros. to buy elections". Of course last week he claimed they were "the main cause of Global Warming".

I never thought I would say this, But, Harry, I agree with you, and REPUBLICANS SHOULD TOO! YES! restrict ALL contributions, INCLUDING the 58 groups who donate vastly MORE than the Koch Bros.

But, Harry, you might want to think this one through, according to opensecrets.org 16 of the top 17 donors donate primarily to DEMOCRATS. Evidently THEY are the truly big money party.

So you want to limit the Kochs, You ALSO have to limit, ActBlue, SEIU, NEA, AFT, Teamsters, AFSCME, IBEW, UAW,National Trial Lawyers, etc. And for the UNIONS this means not only CASH, but "in kind" donations. The phone banks, bussing, canvassing, ALL OF IT!

In the 2008 campaign cycle, this would have CUT Obama's take by $563M. While only reducing Romneys donations by $233M. Go for it Harry!

This should be fun to watch.

Friday
May162014

Gary Lambert - The Politics of Tough Choices 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

 

The politics of tough choices

 

By GARY LAMBERT

 

Gary Lambert, R-Nashua, is seeking the Republican nomination for New Hampshire’s 2nd District congressional seat.

 

There is perhaps no sector of the economy more vital to sustained economic growth than American domestic energy production. To become more competitive in a variety of economic sectors – technology, manufacturing, transportation –we need affordable energy sources with stable pricing in order to compete globally and create more jobs domestically.

 

A reasonable person might expect that given the importance of a strong American energy sector, an 830,000 barrel-per-day pipeline would be a sure thing to be approved by an administration which has repeatedly asserted its commitment to an all-of-the-above energy policy.

 

A reasonable person would be wrong. After an exhaustive review by a multitude of executive departments, President Barack Obama has still not approved the Keystone XL pipeline. Democrats in Congress are perfectly happy with that outcome; it means embattled incumbents like Ann Kuster don’t have to face a politically tough issue in an election year.

 

Earlier this year, White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough had this to say about the president’s approach to the Keystone XL pipeline approval process: “What the President’s role is now is to protect this process from politics.” Judging by the other promises the president has made and broken (“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” anyone?), we shouldn’t be surprised he broke this one too.

 

When the president last month delayed approval of the Keystone XL pipeline until after the November election, he gave up on any pretext that the delay was based on substantive issues about the pipeline’s environmental impact. Rather, President Obama basically admitted that there is only one reason why this project has not been allowed to go forward – politics.

 

The president does not want to give House Republicans, who have fought the administration’s delaying tactics at every step, a win in an election year. On the other end of the spectrum, liberal activists have fought the president at every step to delay, sabotage, and stop the pipeline project because it isn’t an energy source popular with the left – no windmills, I guess. To make matters even worse for the president, labor unions have supported the Keystone XL project from the beginning and now they are making their voices heard in favor of approval. So President Obama and Washington democrats like Ann Kuster are in a political pickle – trouble to the right and to the left.

 

No wonder people can’t stand Washington politicians. After statements flaunting “shovel-ready projects,” after a two-year re-election effort which highlighted the president’s “maturity” and “desire to get something done,” and after a 2014 State of the Union speech which declared a “year of action,” an item which satisfies all of those promises comes to the president’s desk for approval, and he takes a pass. He whiffs. He takes the coward’s way out.

 

As typical as that kind of “leadership” may be in Washington, I still find the president’s capacity to put the politics above the people absolutely astounding. It’s unacceptable leadership for a great nation and its unacceptable leadership for a trying time in America. We need better.

 

If you send me to Washington as your representative, I’ll raise my voice and cast my vote as many times as necessary to make sure the Keystone XL pipeline is approved and construction begins as soon as possible.

 

I cannot promise you that I can fix Washington alone. I cannot promise you that you will agree with me 100 percent of the time. If I did, we all know I’d be lying. What I can promise you is this – I will never take the coward’s way out. I’ll step forward and take the tough vote, take the stance which is right and honorable and moves our country forward. I won’t represent you based on political polls and the punditry; I won’t make a decision which directly affects American jobs and economic growth based on politics. I’ll represent you on the basis of what is best for America, New Hampshire, and the 2nd District. If the career politicians don’t like it, so be it.

 

That is my campaign pledge, and it’s why I’m running for Congress. I want to serve. I did it for 35 years in the United States Marine Corps and I did it in good times and bad. Service is the same regardless of the circumstances – you have a duty to do what is best for others. If President Obama understood that concept and understood that what is best for him politically is not what is best for the country, the Keystone XL Pipeline would have been approved long ago.

 

Gary Lambert, R-Nashua, is seeking the Republican nomination for New Hampshire’s 2nd District congressional seat.

 

Wednesday
May142014

Ellen Read - Our State Senators are not listening to us

For the jaded among us this isn’t a surprise.  We’re cynical because we know our government is bought and paid for by the highest bidders.  Our legislators no longer have constituents, they have investors—groups not even from legislators’ districts with whom legislators spend 70% of their time fundraising, and who donate in order to obtain favorable policy.  A recent Princeton study showed definitively we no longer have a democracy, but an oligarchy—rule by the wealthy few.  It showed that public policy is dictated by the 0.000042% of Americans who give substantial contributions, not by the People, as we all believe.  But we don’t have to resign to apathy.

 

New Hampshirites, true to our independent spirit, are trying to restore government to the People.  Building on work of years past, this March resolutions were on 61 Town Warrants calling for a constitutional amendment that would:  1) guarantee the right of the people to regulate political spending, and 2) clarify that artificial entities such as labor unions, SuperPACs, and corporations are not entitled to the same constitutional rights as actual human beings.  Out of the 61 towns, 48 passed the resolution —and most by an overwhelming majority. The people of New Hampshire have spoken.

 

Yet when this same resolution, SB307, came before our State Senate, twelve Senators rejected the original language, gutting it—although 32 of the 48 towns that passed warrant articles were in these Senators’ districts.  For example, Senator Forrester voted against the purpose of the bill, but seven of the nine towns in her district passed similar resolutions.  And although all five towns in Senator Bragdon’s district and all four in Senator Bradley’s district also passed these resolutions, both of them also voted no.  Why aren’t they listening to us? 

 

A UNH Poll revealed 75% of New Hampshirites, across all political lines, want a constitutional amendment to return control of government to the People.  New Hampshire cares about this.  A lot.  There is a movement building in response to government corruption, and it stems from our collective innate sense of what democracy is--from the wisdom of leaders from James Madison and Teddy Roosevelt to Warren Rudman and John McCain.

 

It’s tempting to be apathetic, thinking the system is rigged.  It is rigged; that is why we have to fix it.  SB307 is now passing the State House, so it will go back to conference with the Senate, where our senators may try to weaken it again.  We have to make our State Senators hear us, on this more than anything else, because this is the one issue that decides whether we have a say in any other.  No matter your politics or cause, if you want to have a say in it then we have to get big money out of politics.  No one should have to have money to have a voice--not in a democracy.

 

Ellen Read, Newmarket

Bob Martens, Bridgewater

George Blaisdell, Bridgewater

Max Stamp, Bristol

Nancy Dowey, Bristol

Maria Weick, Dorchester

Herb Moyer, Groton and Exeter

Pam Martin, Plymouth

Kenneth McKenzie, Eaton

Richard Devens, Sandwich

Penny Voyles, Wakefield

Michelle Russell, Hancock

Gerald Debonis, Sharon

Lucy Edwards, Northwood

Peter White, Nottingham

Scott Abercrombie, Salem

George Manos, Danville

Carol Croteau, Kingston

Evert Lamm, Stratham

Joseph Bagshaw, Conway (passed previously)

State Senator Martha Fuller Clark, District 21, Sponsor of SB307

Tuesday
Apr012014

CACR 17 - Pushing Constitutional Protection For Sexual Preference 

by Bryan McCormack, Executive Director Cornerstone Action

Freedom and equality under the law for all.  In New Hampshire, we sometimes take this for granted. But our state constitution says that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied to anyone on account of race, creed, color, sex, or national origin. 

Yet twenty-three New Hampshire senators seemingly want to pick and choose who gets freedom and equal treatment, and who doesn’t.  Two weeks ago, they voted to add the novel legal concept of “sexual orientation” to the state constitution via CACR 17.) The proposed constitutional amendment will soon go to the New Hampshire House and—if it receives the necessary three-fifths majority--will go on the ballot statewide this November.

This intrusive restructuring of our state constitution would be a first-in-the-nation. No other state has attempted to place in a document that is supposed to protect everyone special protections for some, and coercion for others.  No other state has attempted to create victims of discrimination in such a fashion, nor attempted to compromise and unjustifiably burden First Amendment freedoms that should rightly be enjoyed by every citizen.  

New Hampshire legislators should recall that freedom is for all Americans.  Indeed, their first responsibility as lawmakers is to protect and uphold our constitutionally-protected freedoms, not pass and enact laws that guarantee specials safeguards for some, but bully and punish others. 

We are all currently protected under the New Hampshire constitution. So why the change? Why aren’t our lawmakers preserving freedom for everyone—something that is good for our economy, the business community, and our state.  No one should have to beg the state to exercise their constitutionally-protected freedoms.  Yet, that is exactly what this proposed constitutional amendment would do.  

Notably, only the prime sponsor, Sen. David Pierce (D-Lebanon) testified in support of this change.  But no senator questioned the detrimental impact of such a bill.  No senator questioned how adding such a malleable legal construct into the law would impact the economy and businesses.  Not a single senator asked about the religious liberty implications of such a constitutional amendment, or how it would impact those individuals and businesses that adhere to traditional views on sexuality and marriage. What will it mean for an adoption agency, for example, that seeks to place children in homes with both a mom and a dad? 

The day the CACR passed the full Senate, Sen. Pierce stated: "It’s a momentous day for me, personally, but it’s not about me. It’s a momentous day, I think, for the state that we’re committed to equality . . .” 

But this proposed constitutional amendment would enact the opposite of equality.  If would enact inequality under the law, allowing the selective selection of who gets freedom and who doesn’t—even punishing some New Hampshire citizens for simply exercising their freedoms. Such divisive treatment runs afoul of the nobility and diversity of our state.  Freedom is not negotiable and our lawmakers shouldn’t compromise our freedom.  

Everyone in New Hampshire, regardless of sexual orientation, deserves protection under the state constitution and enjoys such protection with its current language. New Hampshire lawmakers should be safeguarding these freedoms and not promoting unjust and coercive constitutional amendments under the façade of “equality.”  

Passage of CACR 17, however, would suppress these freedoms, and citizens of this great state will likely face lawsuits for simply trying to exercise their freedoms.  

Our state motto is “Live Free or Die.”  Let’s not enact a measure that would change that motto to “Live free and be sued.”  Legislators should oppose CACR 17 because freedom is not negotiable and sexual preference and behavior should never trump our fundamental freedoms.


Saturday
Dec072013

ALG - Destroying entry level jobs and teen opportunity 

Destroying entry level jobs and teen opportunity

By Rick Manning

Fast food restaurants will get the joy of having labor unions stage protests demanding an increase in their worker's wages and more than doubling the overall federal minimum wage this week. 

Everyone wants to make more money, so what could go wrong?

Perhaps it would be wise to ask Food and Commercial Worker Union members in the Washington, D.C. area.  These union members have priced themselves out of jobs as the consuming public is being trained to scan their own food items, cutting out the middle man.  The union workers are so concerned about their dwindling numbers that they are threatening to strike on December 20th with a major complaint being that the implementation of self-scanning technology is eliminating their jobs.

Now the same Big Labor economic geniuses whose demands for ever increasing benefits and wages threaten the grocery clerks very existence are being equally helpful to entry level fast food workers.  Workers who perform low skill functions for a minimum wage or just slightly higher.

At a time when Amazon has built a drone to deliver packages, and hopes to have them operational with full Federal Aeronautics Administration approval within four to five years, it takes little imagination in our current culture to see a fast food restaurant operating with very few personnel.

You punch your order in at a display screen, or in drive thru, Siri's younger, more advanced sister, takes your order showing you the results on the screen.  You put your credit card or cash into the ATM like payment system and drive to the pick-up window where you get your food that comes out when sensors tell the machine you are in place to receive it.  The food gets cooked by a series of machines that put the right patty on the grill, drop just the right amount of fries and automatically puts the appropriate soft drink cup under the right beverage.  A lid is attached and your meal is delivered to you when you drive up.

The restaurant has next to perfect food cost controls, and a labor force that doesn't sleep in on Saturday or shut the restaurant fifteen minutes early because it is slow and they are bored.

Automakers build cars using very exact automation, is it so unreasonable to believe that a burger could be made similarly?

Yet, protestors are going to blithely march around fast food restaurants demanding wages that virtually guarantee mechanized product delivery, a result that has disastrous consequences.

Fast food restaurants are gateway jobs, and are not intended for the vast majority of people to be anything but that – entry level.  This is a great thing. 

Teens learn that they have to get to work on time both from getting pinged by their bosses, and by having to stay late due to the tardiness of a coworker.  Teens learn about this FICA fellow who takes a bunch of their paycheck without their ever seeing a dime, and wonder how their $183.75 check for five, five hour days dwindled down to a mere $135.  And most importantly, teens learn that money to go to the movies, pay car insurance and put gasoline in the car has to be earned by trading time, energy and effort in a value creating way.

The demand that these entry level wage jobs be transformed into "living wage" jobs changes this fundamental dynamic. 

Those positions that do remain will be highly sought after by older, more experience people who never would consider a burger joint job, driving the stereotypically unreliable teen from taking their first step into the American economic workplace.

Already, our nation is seeing a destruction of opportunities for young Americans to enter the workforce which may be why almost two out of three teens aren't even trying to get a job in today's America.

Contrast this with teen expectations forty years ago.  In 1973, the economy was terrible.  Gas lines, oil embargoes, the economy reeling from the impacts of Nixon's wage and price controls, 1973 was a mess for those trying to get a job.  Yet, more than half the teens were in the workforce and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 46.9 percent of the teens aged 16-19 in October, 1973 were employed compared to 26.6 percent today. 

When three quarters of your teens are not working either by choice or due to the lack of employment opportunities, something is dramatically wrong.

It would be foolhardy in the face of a youth unemployment crisis to destroy the very entry level jobs that young people depend upon to gain the work experience and basic workplace skills to survive and thrive moving forward.

While doubling the minimum wage sounds like a swell idea on its face, the impact on our nation's youth will be devastating. 

It is time to just say no to those who would destroy our nation's entry level jobs under the mantle of doubling wages at fast food and other retailers.  After all, those jobs are for our teen children.

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government.