Guest Blogs

Friday
Jan262007

It's A Civil Matter!

by Tom Suteliffe

I don't know if you have experienced this or not, but likely you will.  When you ask your local police to enforce a civil law of some sort, for trespass or such, and they advise you that "It's a civil matter, you''ll have to get a court order!" Does this ring a bell?  Have you heard this before?  It seems that this is the way to pass the buck of inaction.  It seems that this virus has infected the entire municiple police forces statewide.  Not only that, but the Sheriff's departments as well don't enforce civil law .  In fact you can't get any civil laws enforced in New Hampshire by anyone.  Why, because they only enforce criminal law!  

But wait, now you go to court and get an order..... but they still won't enforce the order..... why, because the order doesn't state specifially how they are to enforce the court's order!  I guess this is their way  of looking out for the public by keeping down your tax rate for their services.  Can you believe it?  Well, that's the way it is.  There are no laws on the books presently, that specifically state who is to enforce any of the civil laws!  Most citizens think that the police are there to enforce the laws, but they aren't.  They are there to enforce criminal law only.  Same goes for the Sheriff's Department. 

Now, is your chance to help change this.  The Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committe is conducting hearings to rectify this.  If you have had any of the aforementioned experiences with enforcement of civil law in New Hampshire, they want to hear from you.  HB 187 is an act establishing a study committee to determine which law enforcement agencies are responsible for enforcing civil judgements.  The hearing will be in Room #204 in the Legislators' Office Building in Concord January 30th, 2007 @ 1:00pm.  Your input will help to correct this untenable condition.  Remember, be civil!

Wednesday
Jan242007

THE MYTH

By John Clark

The "Pledge" and the "New Hampshire Advantage" are a steady drumbeat every two years, and at every other opportunity, repeated 'ad nauseum' to a point of total ignorance. As several recent letters appearing in the newspapers have pointed out, even basic knowledge of tax structures clearly indicate the fallaciousness of the premise for either notion.

Federal Income tax is paid by everyone in these United States of America based on annual income, and on a sliding scale increasing as income increases. Other taxes such as State Income tax and local Property taxes are "offsets" or deductions from the Federal Income Tax liability. Put very simply, a State Income tax would not affect the "after-tax" pocket book of either individual or business tax-payers. The Federal Government would be the big loser.

Another loud cry heard whenever School spending is questioned, is that whilst "the Feds" mandate so-called education programs, the funding does not follow. So, if a State Income Tax were to be called a State Education Tax, and the raised amount was really spent ONLY on schools as direct education, then that "bogeyman" could finally be put to rest. The State Constitution would need to be amended to ensure that Property taxes receive total benefit of such an Education tax.

At least twenty six percent of people do not pay Federal Income Tax, various deductions move them below the threshold, All New Hampshire residential and commercial property owners pay Property taxes, Tax-Exempt properties do not pay either local or federal tax. The burden on home -owners in New Hampshire is reaching a crisis for all levels of income.

This question has nothing to do with Republican or Democrat, Thinking people must agree that a better balanced tax system is urgently required. A State Education tax based upon a percentage of Federal Income tax would enable the "New Hampshire Advantage" to be neither a State Sales Tax, or having to sell your house to buy food !

Sunday
Jan212007

SHEA-PORTER’s FIRST 100 HOURS

by Peter Bearse Ph.D.

What should one expect of a new Representative who has been elected by the media, aided by their relentless onslaught regarding Bush and Iraq? Should one expect a proactive approach, like introducing a House bill to deny financing for a “surge”?, or mobilizing Congressional District (CD) constituents for anti-war demonstrations? Or voting like the previous go-along, get along Congressman, like a good Party regular? Or playing to the media to give people the impression that one is doing things for them?

The answer? -- the last two – the sorts of Congressional activity that has given the U.S. House of Representatives a bad name. Here in New Hampshire’s First C.D., a least, the 2006 Congressional elections have provided another round in the game of musical chairs. The music goes on but nothing has really changed. How sad -- voters sold another bill of goods by a media-made Member of Congress!

The evidence? Look at the Democratic Party’s “First 100 Hours” of accomplishment, including Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s votes to approve:

Ø new ethics rules

Ø implementation of several 9/11 Commission recommendations

Ø an increase in the minimum wage

Ø increases in federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research

Ø letting the government negotiate the price of prescription drugs under Medicare

What do these votes represent? Let’s look at each one.

The “new ethics rules” are a gloss or band-aid to cover the gaping, fundamental corruption of Congress. They try to lend a new aura of respectability to an institution that is still “the best Congress that money can buy.” Big money continues to dominate Congressional politics. Corporate lobbyists were buzzing around the heads of the Republicans. Now they’re buzzing around the heads of Democrats. Democratic fund raisers that include lobbyist invitees are already going on to pay off 2006 campaign debts and gather funds for 2008 reelection campaigns. The House is the house of big donors, not “the people’s house.” Nancy Pelosi and Carol Shea-Porter are peddling a false populism.

The 9/11 Commission Report was “dead on arrival” at the White House. Passage of a resolution to urge the “implementation” of the Report’s recommendations is nothing more than political posturing, especially since the Democrats had no plan for Iraq to present before, during and after the 2006 elections. A marker as to real performance by Rep.Shea-Porter on the Iraq issue? -- Call and ask whether she has introduced or co-sponsored a bill like that introduced on the Senate side by Ted Kennedy – a bill to withhold funding for the President’s “surge” of additional troops to Baghdad.

The “Yes” vote to raise the federal minimum wage also represents show and tell rather than a meaningful move. First, only 2.5% of the nation’s hourly workforce is affected and 1/4 of these are youth. Second, the attention paid to the issue obscures the fact that the Democratic majority has assigned lower priority to the far more important issue of another adjustment affecting the incomes of many more people – the “COLA” for Social Security payments to reflect true increases in senior citizens’ cost of living.

Shea-Porter and her fellow Democrats also postured on the issue of embryonic stem cell research. They seem to pretend to voters that their left-over good intentions are on the right side. They and their media allies overlook the fact that the vote insulted the moral sensitivities of many others, for no good reason. Scientists have found that stem cells to generate remedies for most major diseases can be extracted from many, non-embryonic sources, including placentas and amniotic fluids.

Asking the Federal Government to negotiate drug prices is another hypocritical farce, playing to the seniors’ gallery while providing nothing but fodder for media editorialists and talking heads. Leave it to Democrats to deny market forces, especially when the “force” they point to, the Federal Government, is not the one buying the drugs in question. Federal bureaucrats as price setters? Next stop: price controls?

Fellow economist Robert Samuelson calls all of this “The Politics of (made for media) Symbolism…mostly about gestures…long on self-promotion...not about hard choices.” So, people may well ask: When is the Congress going to stop playing the media game, move beyond ‘Reality TV’ and start producing real solutions to real, hard problems? When are Nancy Pelosi, Carol Shea-Porter and other Democrats, who now claim to be promoting a “people’s House” in Washington, going to inform and empower us rather than themselves?

Wednesday
Jan172007

PRESIDENTS HOOVER & EISENHOWER DEPORTED MILLIONS OF ILLEGALS

by Tom Sutliffe

I did not know of this until it was pointed out to me, that back during the great depression, President Herbert Hoover ordered the deportation of all illegal aliens in order to make the jobs available to American citizens that desperately needed work.

Then again in 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower deported 1.3 million Mexican nationals called Operation Wetback in order that returning American WWII and Korean veterans had a better chance at jobs.

It took 2 years, but they deported them! If they could deport the illegals back then, they can sure do it today!!

If you have doubts about the veracity of this information, just type Operation Wetback into Google and confirm it for yourself.

Reminder: Don't forget to pay your taxes.....12 million illegal aliens are depending on you!

Monday
Jan152007

Candidates and schools

By Robin Read  (former State Rep. from Portsmouth)

The normally sensible Portsmouth School Board didn't enhance its reputation in its discussions last month on former Sen. John Edwards' campaign's request to rent Little Harbour School to formally announce his candidacy for president.

And the Herald was negligent in not reporting further on the meeting, the potential implications of the board's action on future similar requests, and the comments of board members and city officials.

To its credit, the board approved the campaign's somewhat last-minute request to rent the school for the event. But the board also voted to require that future requests from candidates be submitted at least 30 days in advance. Asking a presidential campaign to know 30 days ahead when and where it wants to hold an event is like parents attempting to require a teenage son or daughter to tell them in July their plans for New Year's Eve. For a variety of reasons campaigns are basically incapable of making decisions that far in advance, particularly in the last month or two before an election. The policy could seriously limit opportunities for Portsmouth students and residents to see and hear candidates and participate in the democratic process.

Also, Foster's Daily Democrat reported that at the meeting City Attorney Sullivan said that allowing one political group to rent the school would require the board to rent to other groups like the KKK. This is no reason to deny candidates or someone representing them access to public buildings. (Should the city have prohibited First Lady Laura Bush from reading to children at the Portsmouth library during the 2004 campaign on the chance that the spouse of a Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon might ask permission to do the same?). A policy can be developed to handle such contingencies. In addition, board member Nancy Clayburgh was quoted as saying, "What if you get some kind of radical group that wants to come in next week?" Who's going to define what groups are "radical" and by what criteria?

The Herald reported that Board Chairman LePage said that this is the first time a Portsmouth school has been "rented for such a purpose." This may be true if he's speaking of a candidate using a local school to formally announce his candidacy. But, fortunately, Portsmouth schools have been venues for presidential campaign events in the past. A few examples: President Carter held a political event at Portsmouth High School in 1979 at the start of the 1980 presidential primary campaign. Candidate Jesse Jackson spoke at events at Portsmouth schools before the 1984 and 1988 primaries. In 1988 Michael Dukakis' presidential campaign even rented the Portsmouth Middle School as headquarters for a weekend door-to-door canvass. Presidential candidate Bill Bradley hosted a forum in 1999 at Little Harbour School with students, teachers, and school administrators.

Ironically, on Dec. 26, a few days after the School Board meeting, the Herald published a long, complimentary Associated Press article on how the administration, faculty, and students at Concord High School, presumably with the consent of the Concord School Board, have been actively recruiting candidates for president to come to the school since 1988. Two have appeared at forums at the school in the last few months. In 2004, four presidential candidates visited Winnacunnet High School and Gen. Wesley Clark visited Somersworth High.

New Hampshire schools have hosted presidential campaign events since the first modern New Hampshire presidential primary more than 50 years ago without, to my knowledge, any serious problems with the KKK or any other group. And, thankfully, candidates for other local, state and national offices often visit our schools.

Finally, the Herald should report on the opinions of other Portsmouth residents, educators, legal experts, and public officials on this important issue.

The School Board is obviously justified in requiring candidates to pay rent up front, pay for police, clean-up, etc. (Also, such rentals do provide some much-needed income to the school system). Board member Clayburgh was correct to say, according to the Herald, that, "It could be very exciting to have a potential president make his announcement at one of our schools."

To increase the chances of that happening the 30-day advance notice policy should be re-examined. The board also could review the policies of Concord and other districts before finalizing its policy on candidate events at schools. And it should go on record as encouraging candidates for president and other offices to hold forums and other events in our schools, not discourage them.