Guest Blogs

Sunday
Jan142007

Know Your Government

by Tom Sutliffe

QUESTION OF THE DAY:

Question:

Do you know what the taxpayers of the State of New Hampshire provide in premium costs / per employee for family health care benefits?

Answer: $22,500.  That's right Twenty-two thousand five hundred dollars anually is paid by you "the very generous taxpayers of New Hampshire" for each state employee who is on the family plan for health care benefits.  Fortunately, this is approved by your State Represenatives, who are always looking out for your best interest!  Municipalities are you picking up on this?

Saturday
Jan132007

An Open Letter to Governor John Lynch

By Marshall Cobleigh

First of all, congratulations on your re-election by such a historic margin and the taking control of both houses of the General Court and the Executive Council. You now have a great opportunity for unprecedented leadership.

There are many paths you may choose to take. You can continue to follow the Mandy Grunwuld philosophy of coming out repeatedly and strongly against those things in the polls people despise, and address but don't do anything about the problems people really care about facing New Hampshire. After all this approach of smiling often, promising bi-partisanship, emphasizing ethics and incessantly attacking sexual predators (incidentally do you know anyone who is for sexual predators) worked well during your first term.

Or you can take the promise I made in my inaugural address to the House (which I can't believe was 38years ago) when I told the legislature "I do not subscribe to the credo of Boston's notorious mayor James Michael Curley, who used to love to say "there go my people, I must follow them because I am their leader." "The problems confronting us require well considered, vigorous, bold and progressive action. They shall receive it, to the extent I can provide it."

The biggest problem facing both political parties today is reliance on political polls to determine policy decisions. Everyone is so eager to get re-elected that they worship at the alter of political polling. As you know a poll only tells you what was popular yesterday. A poll never tells you what needs to be done to solve a problem. A poll never tells you what the correct course of action is. It just tells you what is popular. Unfortunately today even the media is more apt to tell the people what the polls say, rather than what the governor says.

Political leaders of opposite parties often have conflicting views of how to solve the state's problems. However few students of New Hampshire's Constitution believe that our founding fathers really wanted basic tax policy and the fundamental laws making education policy to be determined by the Court rather than the Legislature. Yes the Court should reign in egregious behavior and devious interpretations of our Constitution. Failure to legislate and failure to adopt the judge?s most favored tax structures are not violations of our Constitution. The five sitting judges can dream up all the tortured reasoning at their command but "cherish education" does not mean the court should set education policy or determine what type of tax structure New Hampshire should have. Those subjects are and should be the province of the Legislature.

MY FIRST RECOMMENDATION: ESTABLISH A PANEL OF TOP NOTCH LEGAL AND LEGISLATORS TO HOLD A SERIES OF FORUMS TO DETERMINE HOW BEST TO AMEND ONCE AND FOR ALL NEW HAMPSHIRE'S CONSTITUTION TO MAKE IT CRYSTAL CLEAR THAT THE LEGISLATURE?S JOB IS TO LEGISLATE AND THE COURT'S ROLE IS TO INTERPRET. No matter what your real position on Education or broad base taxes is the Court and Legislative roles clearly need to be redefined.

You talked a lot about being bipartisan and you personally clearly spent a lot of time smoozing the Senate President and Speaker during your first term, but much of that effort was negated by having Kathy Sullivan and Ray Buckley constantly attack republicans with half truths, personal attacks and politically vitriolic rhetoric. THERE IS AN OLD SAYING IN POLITICS THAT YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.

IF YOU TRULY WANT A GENUINE BIPARTISANSHIP RELATIONSHIP, YOU MUST ESTABLISH CONTROLS ON YOUR PARTY'S POLITICAL ACTIONS. NO ONE RESPONDS WITH TRUE UNDERSTANDING AFTER YOUR SPOKESMAN KICKS THEM IN THE SHINS. With Kathy Sullivan?s resignation and the yet unproven charges against Ray Buckley, you have a real opportunity to get your party to focus on bipartisanship, ethics and morality, if that is what you truly want.

I am proud of the lifetime friendships that I had with the Democrat Leaders of my time; Governor John King, Senator John Durkin, House Minority Leaders Bill Craig and Bob Raiche, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Spanos. Yes, we differed strongly in political philosophy, but we maintained our friendly relationships by avoiding personal attacks, half truths and misleading personal attacks. Bob Raiche and I often shared one babysitter for our children after spending the day disagreeing on the approach to policy matters.

IT IS NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU TO BE THE GENTLEMAN THAT YOU ARE, IF YOU ONCE AGAIN CONDONE AND ALLOW YOUR PARTY TO GO BACK TO THE POLITICAL SLANDER AND MISLEADING POST CARD ATTACKS OF TYPIFIED BY RAY BUCKLEY AND HIS SYNCOPHANTS.(incidentally the most amazing aspect of the Buckley episode to date is his statement "I AM ANGRY BEYOND BELIEF THAT THE POLITICS OF PERSONAL DESTRUCTION HAVE COME TO NEW HAMPSHIRE" this from the man who started and specialized in just such attacks!

I am not talking about honest differences of opinion on how to best solve the problems facing you. These differences should be debated and decided on the merits of the arguments on all sides of the issue.

But when Buckley, for example, sends out thousands of post cards accusing an opponent of causing traffic jams and highway tie ups because of a vote opposing the funding of a railroad study funded by the gas tax after such a study was ruled unconstitutional by the NH Supreme Court, that is not a difference of opinion, that is dishonest. And you cannot ask for bipartisanship and ethical behavior when the spokesman of your party at the same time repeatedly utilizes such scummy tactics.

As the late President Gerald Ford said when accepting the 'Profiles in Courage' award from Senator Edward Kennedy, "Courage is not something to be gauged in a poll or located in a focus group. No advisor can spin it. No historian can backdate it. In the age old contest between popularity and principle, only those willing to lose for their convictions are deserving of posterity's approval."

Or as my favorite Governor Mel Thomson proclaimed, "I believe that leaders must in their pursuit of service to the people and in the development of a worthy heritage for our posterity, be willing to risk defeat at the polls."

I and the people of New Hampshire wish you well as you embark on your second term. I urge you to remember that to be truly bipartisan and ethically responsible IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO BE PERSONALLY PURE IF YOU DO NOT REIGN IN YOUR POLITICAL HENCHMEN.

 

Tuesday
Jan092007

Epping Fails Again!

By Tom Sutliffe

The Epping School Board and Town officials spend time influencing  the outcome of ballot related items, using taxpayer resources.  They might serve the public more wisely, influencing the children to learn.  New schools won't change the condition the Epping students are in today... good teachers will!

Click here> Epping NCLB results

Sunday
Jan072007

IF RAY BUCKLEY HAS NOTHING TO HIDE, THEN WHY ARE THE DEMOCRATS HIDING HIM?

IF RAY BUCKLEY HAS NOTHING TO HIDE, THEN WHY ARE THE DEMOCRATS HIDING HIM?

(AND WHO DID LYNCH TELL, AND WHAT AND WHEN DID HE TELL THEM?)

by Ed Mosca

In quitting the race for state chairman of the Democrat Party, Ray Buckley unequivocally denied allegations which, according to press reports (the allegations themselves have not been published), involve child pornography: “These politically motivated allegations are completely false. I have no doubt that the allegations will be proven baseless but I am angry beyond belief that the politics of personal destruction have come to New Hampshire.” The obvious question brought to mind by Buckley’s remonstration is this: Why, if the allegations are “completely false” and “baseless,” did Buckley nonetheless quit the state chairmanship race, which by all accounts he already had sewn up? The apparent answer is that Governor Lynch made it known that he wanted Buckley to step down, which in turn raises this question: Why did the Governor ax Buckley?

The answer is easy to surmise. If the allegations are “false” and “baseless” as Buckley claims, then there are no witnesses or physical evidence, which would have resulted in the pending criminal investigation being resolved in Buckley’s favor well in advance of the March 29th election for Democrat state chairman. In other words, porn-gate unlike phone-gate would have turned out to be a tempest in a tea pot. Presumably what happened is that when the Governor’s politicos asked Buckley the predictable question whether it was possible that he could be found guilty of any crimes and thereby embarrass the Governor if the Governor continued to support Buckley, Buckley did not answer in the negative. The question is whether this conversation with Buckley occurred at a time and in a manner that could have compromised the criminal investigation by tipping off Buckley and allowing him to destroy evidence.

One report suggested that current Democrat state chairman Kathy Sullivan refused to say whether investigators had seized computers from state Democrat headquarters. Nonetheless, she did say that “Raymond will be exonerated, and I believe he will be vindicated of these politically motivated charges.” Pay attention to the words chosen by Attorney Sullivan. She clearly knows the substance of the allegations against Buckley and the identity of the alleger. This brings us back to the Governor.

The Governor received the letter containing the allegations against Buckley on December 29th. It was referred to the Attorney General on January 2nd. The delay was attributed to the holiday weekend. But the Governor’s politicos also shared the information with as yet unidentified Democrat party power brokers at yet unidentified times, apparently in some detail. In addition to Ms. Sullivan, there is State Senator Peter Burling who fired off the following Burling-Broadside in response to the allegations against Buckley: “The charges made against Raymond are false, libelous, scurrilous, vicious and hogwash.” Unless Attorney Burling would reflexively use these adjectives to describe any charges against Buckley or unless the Attorney General is in the habit of sharing information regarding pending criminal investigations with the Senator, he was made aware of the charges by the Governor’s politicos. The same can be said about Ms. Sullivan. How many others were told?

Well, the Governor’s politicos apparently went into spin-control mode as soon as they were made aware the allegations against Buckley. No sooner had we learned that Buckley had stepped down, that we learned that Jim Craig, the former Democratic House leader, was stepping up to replace him, and that Craig already had secured the support of Lynch, Senate President Sylvia Larsen and House Speaker Terie Norelli. It is hard to believe that Larsen and Norelli would jump on Craig’s bandwagon without asking what in the world was going and receiving the answer. Presumably, other power brokers in the Democrat party were brought on board in the interim as well.

The question, then, is this: Did the Governor’s politicos possibly compromise a criminal investigation by disseminating information regarding the child pornography allegations and the referral to the Attorney General to Buckley or to people who may have passed the information on to Buckley? It certainly looks like that is what happened. Mr. Lynch needs to identify who was told, and what and when they were told.

 

Friday
Jan052007

Nanny-Nanny Boo-Boo Death Penalty

by Ray Will

The recent execution of Saddam Hussein and the minute or two before the actual event has gotten me thinking again about the death penalty. Before I begin I feel I should say that I am a death penalty advocate. However I have some real problems with how it is being implemented as well as the overall attitude of my fellow advocates. I believe that while I am in favor of it as a tool, the implementation of the death penalty represents a failure. It is failure of society to mitigate the crimes of the accused in any other way than through execution.

Real crime fighters know that it costs more to execute a single criminal accused of one crime then to prevent hundreds of crimes from occurring with an increase in police presence, and the rule of law and social justice. If you really want to fight crime then spend the money and effort where it is needed: police presence and community oriented efforts to have neighborhoods and police work together to fight crime. Isn't this better than waiting until a crime is committed, a family suffers, or an officer in blue is wounded or killed due to our inability to combat crime together as a nation?

Sometimes I think some "tough-on-crime" death penalty types don't really want to be tough on crime as as much as they want to be tough on criminals. They want to lie in wait for a crime to be committed so they can engage in "criminal target practice". Only after the crime has happened a family has suffered, or an officer hurt do they feel the need intervene. And like clockwork when crime is on the rise they propose to broaden the death penalty to other crimes, drawing money away from crime prevention and community policing.

The death penalty, if you are in favor of it, is a tool in the toolbox of fighting crime. It is not an excuse to whoop and hollar and yell some bloodthirsty version of "nanny-nanny boo-boo" at the death of criminals who have done inhuman things to others and society as a whole. The death penalty is the ultimate price to pay for crime so this penalty should be respected, not doled out like soft drinks at a ball game for people's entertainment. Other penalties like stiffer jail times or life in prison without parole are actually less expensive than the millions the state would need to provide needed legal defense to be sure the accused was not accused falsely.

Make no mistake, I believe Saddam Hussein should have been executed. He committed genocide against his own people and the evidence was airtight. To place Hussein in prison would have given him even the slightest chance to regain power. But I won't cheer. I won't smile. A horrible tool was used to deal with the horror that was Saddam Hussein. It is certainly nothing to cheer about.