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Entries in Democrats (6)

Tuesday
Jun302015

Rep. Max Abramson - New Hampshire's Dumbest Lawmakers 

In response to the Red-Tailed Hawk disgrace, during which a group of fourth graders from my district were forced to watch from the Gallery as their simple bill was “mocked and ridiculed” by legislators, some of us have put together a family friendly contest for school age kids.  Called “New Hampshire’s Dumbest Law,” school and college students in New Hampshire are invited to find an outdated law on the books that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.  It is illegal, for example, to collect seaweed on the beach at night, to sell your clothes to pay a gambling debt, or to check into a motel under a nickname.  Several of us will select the silliest and most ridiculous rule still on the books, then cosponsor a bill to repeal that outdated, improbable law that no one could believe in.  There is a Facebook page of the same name with directions for how to search for and submit their idea for the silliest law before the September 15th deadline.
 
The New Hampshire House of Representatives looks very different from the inside, to be sure, than it does to the public.  As a freshman representative, the workload and effort to catch up and understand the process are tremendous.  Speaking directly with the likes of former speakers Bill O’Brien and Gene Chandler, Representative Pam Tucker, Senator Nancy Stiles, John Reagan, and Russel Prescott is a very different experience in person than seeing them on the news.
 
Seated on the bench just a few yards from the podium, waiting to speak in favor of the bill that would have made the Red-Tailed Hawk the state raptor, I watched in embarrassment as Representatives Bartlett, Burt, and Groen ridiculed the bill and brought the House of Representatives to a new low, something that few then realized would go viral and make us all infamous nationwide.  Rather than apologize for his own inaction during the fiasco, Speaker Shawn Jasper took the opportunity to write the fourth graders (see NHInsider April 1, 2015), who are in my district, and criticize members of the House for their behavior.
 
From the outside, though, the public is being told that the legislature just can’t agree with Governor Maggie Hassan, who has just vetoed an $11.3 billion budget, already 7% larger than the last one, because it doesn’t provide $40 million in pay raises and Medicaid Expansion.  The impression is given that the elected officials can’t get their act together.  The impression is largely correct.
 
From the outside, the mainstream media continues to report on the “civil war” going on among House Republicans, a problem that we don’t see on the Senate side.  Shawn Jasper, described by many legislators who knew him as a “self-inflated bully” (NHInsider, Japser Boasts About His Bullying Abilities, February 27, 2012) aligned with Democratic leadership to narrowly take the Speakership, giving the Democrats the power to defeat countless NHGOP “platform” bills.  Efforts to restore local control and parental oversight of schools, improve transparency in local government, strengthen self-defense rights, and reduce the burden of regulations and unfunded state mandates on businesses and towns has been defeated repeatedly by a coalition of 60 Jaspercrats (“Republicans” who vote like Democrats) and 160 Democrats who must vote as Flanagan and Shurtleff, respectively, tell them to.  For three months, every Republican platform bill went to defeat or was amended to death, finding only the support of about 140 conservative or “liberty” Republicans, often followed by derisive laughter from Jaspercrats and Democrats.
 
From the anteroom (formerly a bar, according to lore) behind the Hall of Representatives to the hallways of the Legislative Office Building, I am asked almost daily why Jasper still refuses to assign me to a committee, why he continues to ostracize pro-life conservatives, why he “acts like a 61 year old baby.” I am warned by over 30 different reps not to go into his office alone, that he is liable to just make things up afterward and perhaps later claim that I threatened or came at him. “That’s a set up!” several warned.  All bullies are cowards, and all are two-faced.  Even Jasper had friends before he had the power to hurt those who wouldn't kiss up to him.
 
From the outside, there remains a need to appear congenial and bipartisan, giving the appearance of professionalism and working together.  From the inside, Democrats are holding the entire state hostage and threatening a winter shutdown of our highways in order to squeeze a few tens of millions more out of the taxpayer.  In other states, they turn whole communities into ghettos and fill states with people dependent on handouts in order to build safe Democratic holdouts, albeit at the expense of dramatically higher crime, taxes, and urban sprawl.
 
From the inside, platform Republicans are asking what our message is after Hassan has followed through with her threat to veto the budget.  Myself having consulted with authors, business owners, inventors, and tech startups about marketing and branding decisions that have to be made early, I am left wondering why no one is working on this critical part of the NHGOP effort.  Again I propose “smaller government, local control,” which everyone agrees with, but no one remembers to repeat it.  No other message is brought forward, and I wonder what people are thinking in caucus.
 
As a member of Laurie Sanborn’s Business Caucus, Bill O’Brien and Pam Tucker’s Republican Majority Caucus, Carol McGuire and Leon Rideout’s House Republican Alliance, and the Pro-life Caucus, I am amazed at how much legislators talk over each other.  As something of an expert on many areas of public policy, I watch members raise their voices and argue over each other.  Their heart is in the right place, but they are pushing efforts and positions that should never leave the room, some of which turn into proposed legislation.  Watching the sausage get made with the wrong ingredients is often a frustrating view of Amateur Hour, adults acting like ten year olds.  Advocates of SB113, the casino bill, were stunned when it went down to a terrible defeat, losing by about 50 votes in the House.  Now that it’s too late to resurrect, they are only now talking about actually getting input from legislators who were reluctant to support it.
 
Governor Hassan and the Democrats are now going against the will of suburban moms, an act of political suicide and sheer insanity in the modern two party marketplace.  Democrats have voted against and vetoed everything from giving local control to school boards to making the unpopular Common Core optional, from increased funds for charter schools to keep them open to letting parents opt out of politically motivated or objectionable material on these standardized PACE or SBA tests.
 
Jaspercrats are even joining Democrats to oppose letting businesses buy health insurance from out of state preferred provider networks (HB128), adding an obscure mold remediation licensing mandate ( SB125, despite the fact that the EPA already offers a free course and certificate that won’t count toward this new mandate, and that only two other states require one), enacting a very unpopular fee schedule set by the Department of Labor (SB133, even though both parties vocally decried fee schedules as terrible policy), and adding many other regulations that will just make life more difficult for Granite State businesses, a longtime Republican mainstay.
 
Worse, Jaspercrats and Democrats locked together to push through numerous “crony capitalist” bills, including the infamous SB30 “Balsams Bailout,” the $28 million loan guarantee that we were repeatedly told had nothing to do with the Balsams.  I’d love to be able to live out in the middle of nowhere and get to force the taxpayers to back a huge five star resort in my backyard so that my offspring won’t have to go to the trouble of moving to southern New Hampshire to get work like the rest of us schmucks.  While we’re telling people with physical and mental disabilities to go take a hike because the State is broke, maybe we could spend another $28 million on job training and scholarships for those recovering from work injuries, disabled vets, or those with permanent disabilities instead.
 
Questions were raised about SB221, which sounded like it would turn over $950 million in assets to private investors for just $100 million, with rates guaranteed by ratepayers in order to convince some wealthy investors to take nearly a billion in assets off our hands for about ten cents on the dollar.  With careful money management like this, it’s no wonder that our elected officials are so handsomely compensated.  Our annual reimbursement of $100 would almost be enough to bring half of your family to Water Country for the day, provided that you walk there and don’t eat, drink, or rent a locker for your sport blazer and winter boots.
 
Under the ever-present threat of removal from their various “leadership” positions, chairs, vice chairs, majority leaders and whips must steadfastly vote as N.H. Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley tells Speaker Jasper to tell Majority Leader Flanagan to tell them to vote, no matter what the cost to the taxpayer or Republican party unity.  Only three votes against “leadership” will get any chairman removed.  Rep. Laurie Sanborn was pulled from the House Finance Committee after she steadfastly refused to support the ill-fated 8 cent per gallon gas tax increase.  Others have been threatened with being pulled from Committees of Conference if they will not do what Ray Buckley tells Jasper to tell Flanagan to tell them to do.
The tragedy of the House of Representatives is that the Speaker wields absolute, unaccountable power.  Since the Democrats vote as they are told (or get removed by the union officials at the upcoming election) this gives a few wealthy liberals total control of the output of the House, even though the voters actually voted Democrats out for these very reasons.  This is the real reason why 240 Republicans cannot currently downsize government, root out waste, fraud, and abuse, or take on the power of the trial lawyers.
 
The response to New Hampshire’s Dumbest Law from the House Clerk and the Speaker’s Office is that cannot be announced to the full membership or included in the House Calendar as it would not be fitting with “the decorum of the House.” New Hampshire’s Dumbest Law can be discussed and promoted anywhere else.  The “self-inflated bully” was chosen by House Democratic leadership to turn the House into a fiasco and a national embarrassment.  It worked.
 
Representative Max Abramson
representing the towns of Hampton Falls and Seabrook
 
(Despite numerous requests of the Speaker, I am still the only member of the House without a committee assignment.)
Saturday
Oct252014

Rep. William O’Brien’s - New Hampshire identified as the Worse State for Young People in the Nation

Speaker Candidate Rep. William O’Brien’s Statement on the Investment Group Motley Fool Identifying New Hampshire as the Worse State for Young People in the Nation

On the surface it is a paradox that the Democrat Party, which claims that it is the party for women, minorities, young people, and whatever other group it can conceivably define as aggrieved, invariably harms each of them.  So after years of pandering and false claims of racism and wars on women, under Democrat control in Washington and Concord, labor force participation for women is at more than a 30 year low under the Obama Adminstration. Unemployment among black Americans, especially among young people, as well as their rates of poverty, are at levels not seen since the Great Depression.
 
In Concord, we have listened to this rhetoric for three of the last four legislative terms and it has always lead to more spending.  And it is in that fact – the growth of Government generated by ever increasing spending by Democrats – that lays the solution to this paradox in New Hampshire.  When government grows, the economy stagnates and it is the most vulnerable among us- the young, minorities, the historically disadvantaged, who suffer first, suffer the most and suffer the longest when the economy isn’t growing.
 
In New Hampshire these past two years under Maggie Hassan and House Democrats there has once again been demonstrated that this law of economics – too much government spending leads to too little economic growth - invariably trumps the laws of Big Government, producing the opposite of the desired effect.   A well-respected investment organization geared to young people known as Motley Fool has, for the first time, identified New Hampshire as the worse state in the country for young people.
 
As the report indicates, when legislators vote too much spending, people will vote with their feet and leave.  And that is what young people have done in New Hampshire.  They have left and our population of 25 to 34 year olds is shrinking.
 
There is an alternative however.  All of us can vote at the ballot box on November 4 to remove the over-spenders in Concord, from Maggie Hassan through House Democrats and, in doing so, ask our younger citizens to stay and come grow the economy with us.

Tuesday
Nov272012

Ed Mosca - THE DEMOCRAT WAR ON TAXPAYERS

Hold on to your wallets and purses; it has begun. I am referring of course to the Democrat War on Taxpayers, which is sometimes antiseptically referred to as formulating the next state budget.

            With a nominal party advantage of 221 to 179 in the House (it’s actually higher, as a practical matter, when fiscally-challenged Republicans are considered) and paradigmatic party-discipline, it is manifest that House Democrat leadership has the power to pass whatever budget they want.  And it is a safe bet that the budget they get passed will materially increase spending (the Democrats owe the public sector unions big-time) and raise some existing taxes (the tobacco tax for sure), and perhaps impose some new taxes.  But if history is any guide, and it should be in this case because the House Democrat leadership will likely be mostly the same crew that created an $800 million deficit between 2006 and 2010, the budget passed by the Democrat-controlled House will grossly overestimate future tax revenues in order to make the budget appear balanced.

            While House Republicans lack the numbers to prevent fiscal bad behavior by House Democrats (as noted above, the 179 actually overstates the true Republican strength in the House), they can accomplish two important things: (1) they can set the tone and provide an example for the Senate where Republicans, if they wish, can pass a fiscally responsible budget and (2) they can begin making their case to the voters for 2014.  Here are three things House Republicans should do:

            First, go big.  Establish an overarching objective that is consistent with Republican principles.  Examples are: no increase in spending from the prior budget, increasing spending only by the rate of inflation, spending at a certain percentage of anticipated revenue (using a realistic projection, of course) and dedicating the remainder to the rainy day fund and/or tax relief.   

            Second, watch what you say.  Believe it or not, folks outside Concord hear “cut the budget” and think that spending is actually going to be less than it was in the prior budget (which allows Democrats to argue that Granny is going to be left at the curb to die), when “cut” often refers to merely reducing the extent to which the Governor’s budget wants to increase spending.  Unless you are actually proposing reducing spending from the level in the prior budget, don’t use the word “cut.”  And if you just can’t resist, how about “cutting new spending” or “cutting new spending from the Governor’s proposed budget,” rather than the misleading “cutting the budget.”  But the best thing would be to, whenever possible, “go big” and eschew debating the merits of individual programs which give Democrats the opportunity to demagogue.

            Third, understand the purpose of amendments and debate.  They are not going to change Democrat minds.  They can be, when utilized properly, a tool to educate the public and to establish a record to run on and against.

Tuesday
Nov132012

Carolyn McKinney - We let Democrats define the terms of our defeat

By Carolyn McKinney, chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire

When Democrats set the terms of the 2012 campaign for state and federal offices, Republican leaders blew their horns about jobs and the economy and counted on their position of strength and the glaring weaknesses in their enemy’s lines to secure victory. Republicans lost because they forgot to tell the troops about the Democratic weaknesses. Democrats took advantage of the oversight and rolled over the field.

Democratic victories last Tuesday quite simply reflected a tactical failure of top-ticket Republicans to defend the party’s message. This wasn’t a failure of Republican principles, but a failure to define and defend Republican principles. Democrats successfully distracted voters with complete fabrications of reality, and Republicans let them do it without response.  

Predictably, Republican Party leaders assumed that the people had enough of the social issues and wanted to focus on the economy instead—and by in large, Republicans successfully governed on economic recovery issues during the past two years. Democrats understood the visceral nature of social issues and successfully tarnished liberty as the enemy of their carefully crafted relationship between business and government. Republicans didn’t respond, despite the prescient need. They thought that by ignoring the problem it would go away.

Even if it was a good idea—and I strongly contend that it is not—the Republican Party is never going to rid itself of social conservatives, and it won’t dismiss the libertarian faction either, if the libertarians don’t dismiss themselves, first. Due to the way the two-party system has been solidified in state and federal law, neither group has anywhere else to go if it wants any influence, and neither will the Republican Party have any influence without these two groups.

The only solution is for the Republican Party to fully embrace its platform, which is actually more conservative and libertarian than anything else. Had Republican leaders chosen to explain the Republican Party to voters, they just might have received some votes.

In other words, a “big tent” Republican Party includes moderates and the socially agnostic, but let’s be clear: the tent is held up by conservatives and libertarians. There is no tent without them. There’s just Democrats and Democrats-lite. I contend that New Hampshire truly wants neither—and so goes the nation.

Enough with the rhetoric, here’s some realism: Faced with the ludicrous and fallacious Democratic idea that Republicans want to end all abortions and take contraceptives away from women, Republicans should have explained that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land until it’s overturned. And at the same time, they should have explained that there are alternatives to abortion; that women deserve other options, such as child care services, especially if they’re going to college (tuition certainly does pay for it already). 

Republicans should have turned the tables on Democrats: “Who are the real extremists? Who removed from their platform the goal that abortion be ‘safe and rare’? Who supports living children being murdered when their body is already outside the womb? Who supports letting infants die on a surgical table because their abortion went wrong? Who wants taxpayers to foot the bill for this stuff? Really? Even if they morally object? Doesn’t a human being have an inalienable right to life, endowed by his or her Creator? So, tell me again why Democrats oppose Republican proposals to decrease the number of abortions in favor of alternative solutions that both respect women and favor life.”

Without a doubt, Democrats had the extreme agenda, but we didn’t tell voters about it! 

Let’s be clear: We Republicans can change some of our policy positions to more consistently represent the principles in our platform. On immigration, for instance, there millions of inalienably free human beings who simply want to live a better life in America, but our laws don’t allow it. While Republicans are known to support the rule of law, we are also known to be a group that favors Judeo-Christian values, which include love and charity. We must craft a common sense solution that balances the rule of law and the reality that these illegal immigrants must be treated with the dignity that we must afford to all human beings. We also must recognize that the large illegal immigrant population contributes to our economy in important ways, and we need to stop catering to the people who resist a common sense policy that allows for the free trade of labor across national boundaries. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for citizenship for all; that’s something that has to be earned. But a guest worker program would certainly go a long way to help the market meet its needs for labor without sacrificing national sovereignty or identity, and it would also be more conservative.

The bottom line is this: Republicans need to unite around their platform or they’ll all be lost to the isolation of their own personal perfection. There’s no doubt that herding cats is difficult, but that is the task for those who lead people who want to be free. Let’s hope they get it right next time, for the sake of us all.

Saturday
Nov062010

Broken Political Promises & Corruption

In 2006, a majority of voters - angry, disgusted and alarmed with our country’s direction under Republican control - swept Democrats to majorities in Congress. They were then lulled into accepting the Party’s self-serving rhetoric that if only voters delivered Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate and the presidency in 2008, they would be able to restore sanity and the rule of law to our nation.

Unfortunately, this turned out to be an intentional and cynical lie in the spirit of Lucy’s duping the ever gullible Charlie Brown into hoping that just this once she might not laughingly yank the football away at the last second, leaving him flat on his back in the dust (again).

Americans were eager to dismantle the Bush/Cheney policies, beginning from when the bogus “War on Terror” was launched and used as the pretext for fomenting mass fear and hysteria, followed by imperial “wars of choice”, ethnic and religious hatred, ideological industry-beholden flacks in charge of (not) policing Wall Street and big business, unrestricted surveillance, torture, ruinous deficits, pervasive cronyism, suspension of Constitutionally-guaranteed civil liberties, and unpunished blatant law-breaking by the President and his highest retainers.

Citizens should always be wary when politicians propose the canard called a “The War on _____”.  It’s intentionally designed as an unwinnable, endless campaign declared against an intangible foe waged for the purposes of the curtailment of liberty and the long-term transfer of truckloads of taxpayer money to crony corporations and special interests (e.g., “The War on Poverty”, “The War on Terror”, “The War on Drugs” – what’s next, “The War on Hurricanes?”).

Many of their hard-working supporters and activists began to suspect the true motives of the newly-elected Democratic majority in Washington and that the “fix was in” when one of Nancy Pelosi’s first acts as Speaker was to famously declare, “Impeachment is off the table”.  As it turned out, their suspicion was justified.

When the Democrats took majority control of Congress in 2006, having committed to extricating us from our  ”wars of choice”, America was engaged in (only) two such conflicts:  Iraq and Afghanistan.  Now four years later, our nation is deep into five “wars of choice”:  Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and agitating for a sixth in Iran.

Betraying a core campaign pledge, and building upon the foundation of unconstitutional powers unlawfully claimed by his predecessor, our Democratic President has seized further sweeping and unprecedented dictatorial powers to imprison indefinitely, render overseas, torture, try via kangaroo court, deny access to legal counsel, and/or kill by decree any person anywhere in the world including American citizens without charges or recourse.  A vast, secret shadowy government has grown its tentacles exponentially on this Nobel Peace Prize winner’s watch. Whistle-blowers who’ve alerted us to waste, incompetence, wrong-doing and corruption are prosecuted; high-crimes and treason by political elites and Wall Street are dismissed with the patronizing slogan: “We must look forward, not backward”.

What have the Democrats in Washington produced since their 2008 victory? More war, more police state, more debt; a health insurance bill that transfers upwards of $1 trillion over ten years to the self-serving health insurance industry in exchange for a few overpriced benefits that can be capriciously revoked without substantive penalty, and which forces another thirty million of us to buy their loophole-ridden and often worse-than-useless products;  a financial industry regulatory bill that’s mostly smoke and mirrors with its effective enforcement provisions hollowed out or deleted in backroom deals; and an undersized train wreck of an economic stimulus bill, riddled with one-time pork, ineffectual tax cuts and short-term local government subsidies.

Even when Washington Democrats did pass something worthwhile - student loan reform - in a craven, cowardly and shameful act of betrayal, they bundled it with an ultimately proven unconstitutional death warrant for ACORN, as the Democrats caved (again) to right-wing propaganda and lies.

As has been the case on numerous occasions over the last four years, it is also neither leadership nor courage for Democrats in particular or any elected officials in general to disingenuously claim credit for token voting in opposition to legislation, e.g., war funding or TARP, only after their leadership had already secured enough votes for passage.

Of course Washington Republicans, both before and after 2008, have been at least as destructive and dangerous to our Republic and as previously noted, perhaps even more so.  Lest we forget that it was still during Bush/Cheney’s reign in the fall of 2008 – not Obama’s – and enthusiastically supported by Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch Mc Connell, Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner and the majority of the Republican caucus in both Houses that TARP and the Federal Reserve transferred upwards of $27 trillion to Wall Street and “took over” several big banks, investment houses and insurance companies, enriching the crooks and leaving the rest of us to rot.

Experience clearly shows that campaign rhetoric to the contrary, neither Party intends to abandon their lust for empire, addiction to unrestrained military spending, growth of the security state, pork projects and vote-buying, pandering to special interests, destruction of individual liberty, cronyism, Wall Street and corporate favoritism and largesse, lawlessness and two-tiered justice, deficit spending, secrecy and executive power.

In Roman times, emperors held the support of the common people via what was referred to as “bread and circuses”.  Perhaps the only real difference between the major Parties may be that the Democrats distribute the “bread” and the Republicans the “circuses”.  Pick your poison.

Present-day euphoric Republican voters are cautioned to take note that Lucy’s sport knows no favorites among the gullible.

Perhaps it's time to cast off the unconstitutional and hopelessly corrupt stranglehold this broken "two-party system" has on our Republic. A good start might be to end automatic ballot access for the major parties - let everyone qualify each election cycle on a level playing field.

Nathaniel Gurien

Kearsarge