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Entries in NH Democrats (931)

Saturday
May032014

NHDP - Note to N.H. GOP: Women can be sports fans 

Penny Pitou, former United States Olympic alpine skier who, in 1960, became the first American skier to win a medal in the Olympic downhill event, penned the following Op-Ed that ran in the Concord Monitor, Conway Daily Sun, Laconia Sun, Fosters Daily Democrat, and Seacoastonline.
 

 
Note to N.H. GOP: Women can be sports fans

The usually vile N.H. GOP Twitter account hit a new low on Saturday night, when it lashed out at Sen. Jeanne Shaheen for congratulating the Boston Bruins on their recent victory. The @NHGOP tweeted, "You don't know the first thing about hockey."

Why would the New Hampshire Republican Party assume that Sen. Shaheen doesn't know the first thing about hockey? She has celebrated Bruins victories for decades. She was a collegiate basketball player. She coached her daughters' sports teams. She has grandchildren who play hockey. So why, then, would they assume that she doesn't know "the first thing about hockey"? Could it be because she is a woman?

This type of stereotyping is something I've battled as a female athlete.

"You're a girl. You can't be an Olympic skier." "You won an Olympic medal?" "This isn't a sport for girls."

When I was a freshman at Laconia High School, women weren't allowed to join the ski team. So, I tucked my hair into my hat and went by the name Tommy. They told me I couldn't be a female athlete. And now, 61 years later, Jeanne Shaheen — the first woman to be elected as both a governor and a senator in U.S. history — is being told that she can't possibly be a sports fan. Because she's a woman.

The audacity of the N.H. GOP never ceases to shock and disgust me. This is the same party whose former chairman recently compared Shaheen to Betty Crocker cake mix in an op-ed. And it was a N.H. GOPer who, last week, decided that pay discrimination exists because women are less motivated than men.

The string of aggressive tweets that came out of the N.H. GOP were perhaps so unsettling because they came out of nowhere other than from what seemed to be a very angry, bitter place. They were unprovoked and nasty, and made giant presumptions about Sen. Shaheen based on her gender. The Republican Party clearly still has a problem with women and women's issues.

Meanwhile, Scott Brown happily tweeted a congratulatory Bruins tweet from his account with no backlash suggesting that he wasn't a true hockey fan.

Perhaps because his name is Scott, and hers is Jeanne.


Penny Pitou

Gilford

Editor's note: Penelope Theresa "Penny" Pitou is a former United States Olympic alpine skier who, in 1960, became the first American skier to win a medal in the Olympic downhill event.

Thursday
May012014

NHDP - Scott Brown AGAIN Sides With Koch Brothers, Big Oil, and Wall Street, Against Raising Minimum Wage

Concord, NH— Scott Brown is once again showing that when it comes to important issues for New Hampshire, he'll side with the Koch Brothers, Big Oil, and Wall Street special interests at the expense of Granite Staters.  The latest example comes from Brown's opposition to an increase in the minimum wage, which his fellow Koch Brothers Republicans voted down this afternoon in the U.S. Senate.

The Senate bill would have given more than 110,000 people in New Hampshire a much needed raise, including approximately 67,000 women, by boosting the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Reports also indicate that increasing the minimum wage would help lift more than 10,000 Granite Staters out of poverty. 

The Koch Brothers and their opposition to an increase in the minimum wage has been well documented, and Brown's decision to join their opposition is just the latest example of him supporting their agenda, not ours.
 
Earlier this year appearing on Fox News, Brown asserted that increasing the minimum wage would lead to “fewer jobs and higher prices.” Brown claimed establishing a more livable wage was “trying to put more people out of business,” and has shown that he is out of step with working families and more concerned with pushing the agenda of his out-of-state special interest backers like the Koch Brothers who would rather protect special breaks for Big Oil and Wall Street at the expense of the middle-class. 
 
“By opposing an increase in the minimum wage, Scott Brown is once again standing with the Koch Brothers and his Wall Street, Big Oil billionaire backers instead of the people of New Hampshire who need a raise,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Julie McClain. “Scott Brown is for Scott Brown, the Koch Brothers, and the Big Oil and Wall Street special interests that fund his campaigns, not the people of New Hampshire.”
 
The Koch Brothers, who vehemently oppose even having a minimum wage altogether, have spent over a million dollars trying to buy Scott Brown a Senate seat.
Tuesday
Apr292014

Sununu Calls On Co-Conspirators Reid And Shaheen To Pull Coordinated Third Party Ad 

 

 

Hampton Falls - Former New Hampshire Governor and former White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu today called on Senator Harry Reid and Senator Jeanne Shaheen to pull their third party ad pending the outcome of a federal review into potentially illegal coordination. The Associated Press reports that the New Hampshire Republican Party yesterday formally filed a request with the Federal Elections Commission for an investigation:

 

"Serious questions have been raised about potential illegal coordination between Senator Harry Reid and Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and now a federal investigation is pending. While the Federal Elections Commission investigation is ongoing, the people of New Hampshire should not be subjected to this kind of misrepresentation on the airwaves. Today I am calling on co-conspirators Harry Reid and Jeanne Shaheen to immediately take the potentially illegal ads off the air. Holding elected office is a matter of public trust, and in this case it appears the public trust has been violated. Until we know for sure what has happened, these ads must come down."

Tuesday
Apr152014

NHDP - Portsmouth Herald: Brown-bagging it on Granite State campaign trail

Key Points: “Granted, Brown's decision to tweak the state motto once more at his official announcement on Thursday was not a gaffe, but it did feel like the work of an intellectual lightweight in search of a sound bite… Really, Scott Brown? It's your big day. You're officially announcing your candidacy for the United States Senate. And this is your money line?”

“When Shaheen challenged him take the same pledge in 2014 — stop the presses — he declined. In the old days that was called flip-flopping. As in, he was for limiting the influence of deep-pocketed special interests launching attack ads before he was against it.”

“But I definitely don't want a senator who, when asked by The Associated Press whether his Bay State baggage might be a problem for Granite State voters, responded, ‘Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. Cause, you know, whatever.’"
 
 
Portsmouth Herald: Brown-bagging it on Granite State campaign trail

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20140413-OPINION-404130321
By John Breneman
April 13, 2014
PORTSMOUTH — Some say Scott Brown's bid to weasel his way back into the Senate by moving north from Massachusetts is doomed because Granite State voters will see him as a "carpetbagger."
 
But others feel New Hampshire may jump at the chance to elect a handsome pickup truck-driving senator who as a young man posed nude in Cosmopolitan and who even inspired a "Saturday Night Live" skit about how sexy he is (with "Mad Man" stud Jon Hamm playing Sen. Brown).
 
This means Jeanne Shaheen, whose deep Granite State political roots include three terms as governor prior to her 2008 election to the Senate, is not dealing with just any carpetbagger.
 
To paraphrase the esteemed political pundit Austin Powers: "He's a shagadelic carpetbagger, baby!"
 
Unfortunately for Brown — a one-time Republican rising star who famously won "Ted Kennedy's seat" in a 2010 special election before losing his job to Elizabeth Warren — his much-anticipated announcement Thursday night at the Sheraton in Portsmouth was preceded by several vintage gaffes.
 
"Live Free AND Die," Brown says in one video clip, butchering his new home state's signature motto, "Live Free or Die" — words that underscore New Hampshire's reputation for having a skeptical, independent-minded, politically savvy electorate.
 
Perhaps he was tired from his whirlwind move from Wrentham to Rye, but he's also on video telling a reporter he believes Granite State Republicans are thankful for his efforts to "raise awareness as to the issues that are affecting people not only here in Massachusetts, uh, in New Hampshire ...;"
 
Granted, Brown's decision to tweak the state motto once more at his official announcement on Thursday was not a gaffe, but it did feel like the work of an intellectual lightweight in search of a sound bite.
 
Playing off his top talking point — brain-dead blather about how Jeanne Shaheen and Barack Obama are destroying America and stealing our freedom by helping millions of people obtain health coverage — he dropped this zinger.
 
"It forces us to make a choice: Live free or log on."
 
"Guess what? In New Hampshire, we choose freedom."
 
Really, Scott Brown? It's your big day. You're officially announcing your candidacy for the United States Senate. And this is your money line?
 
I'm sure that will resonate with the tea-flavored Kool-Aid crowd, but I doubt most intelligent New Hampshire voters, whatever their political leanings, spend much time complaining about how Jeanne Shaheen is taking away their freedom.
 
According to a newspaper up in Coos County, Brown was visiting the home of GOP state Rep. Herb Richardson, railing about Obamacare being a horrific "monstrosity," when Richardson — a Republican, mind you — responded that the controversial law had been a "financial lifesaver" for him and his wife.
 
Now candidate Brown must be scrambling to figure out his position on New Hampshire's likely move to use governmental action to expand health coverage for lower-income residents. That's a big no-no for the folks most likely to pour millions into his campaign war chest, and for those looking to fund anti-Shaheen attack ads as Republicans try to reclaim a majority in the Senate.
 
But you can't fault Mr. Brown for putting most of his eggs in the "Obamacare is evil" basket.
 
After all, Obamacare has the word "Obama" in it. And in our current sickly dysfunctional political climate, all Republicans must vigorously oppose all things connected to Obama as anti-American, or risk being "primaried" by more conservative opponents.
 
At least that scheme tops the one he used the last time he tried to beat a woman for a Senate seat. Running in 2012 against Warren — a brilliant and passionate fighter for regular Americans in a system now rigged to benefit only the rich — his main strategy was to mock her for claiming she was part Native American. (Retroactive spoiler alert: She scalped him.)
 
In that race, Brown challenged Warren, and she agreed, to take a "People's Pledge" promising to limit the outsized, some say insidious, influence of corporate cash that has transformed modern-day politics.
 
When Shaheen challenged him take the same pledge in 2014 — stop the presses — he declined. In the old days that was called flip-flopping. As in, he was for limiting the influence of deep-pocketed special interests launching attack ads before he was against it.
 
Perhaps Scott Brown will pick up his game. He's trying to score a few Brownie points — reminding local folk that he was born at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Given his propensity for gaffes, I half expect him to share a heart-warming anecdote about going with his grandfather to open his first savings account at Strawberry Bank.
 
However, he still has a track record of odd statements that raise doubts about his honesty and intelligence, such as boasting that his experience in the Senate included "secret meetings" with "kings and queens."
 
Now, I don't want to be accused of stereotyping people who've posed for sexy pictures in national magazines. And perhaps it is not my place to suggest that in Mr. Brown's case, the emperor — I mean, former Massachusetts senator — has no clothes.
 
But I definitely don't want a senator who, when asked by The Associated Press whether his Bay State baggage might be a problem for Granite State voters, responded, "Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. Cause, you know, whatever."
 
My senator doesn't have to be an Einstein, but I do want representation in Washington from someone I believe is both smart and sincere.
 
Scott Brown seems like a very nice man with a very nice family. Nice pickup truck. Nice barn jacket. Nice smile. Nice carpet bag stuffed with tattered talking points and odd remnants.
 
But for me, perhaps the biggest question about Scott Brown — that rare politician to successfully transition from stripping for Cosmo to posing for Politico — is this.
 
How did he get those chiseled, super PAC abs?
 
Herald columnist and copy editor John Breneman can be reached at jbreneman@seacoastonline.com(Twitter: @MrBreneman).

 

Saturday
Apr122014

NHDP - ICMYI: AFP Running Misleading Attacks Deemed FALSE

With the Americans for Prosperity Freedom Summit rolling into town this weekend, it’s important to remember that AFP has a history of using Koch Brothers Big Oil money to run misleading, and often false, negative and nasty attack ads.

 

Politifact: Americans for Prosperity claims people are getting less at a higher cost under Obamacare
 
Americans for Prosperity has been active on the airwaves already this election cycle. The group, which opposes Obamacare, has run a handful of ads featuring people telling health care "horror stories" meant to tug on the heartstrings. We’ve looked at a couple andexplained how they can be misleading.  

But a pair of new ads take an entirely different tack to undercut support from Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Udall of Colorado. (It has also run against Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.)

In these ads, a woman on screen trashes political ads in her 30-second personal pitch.

"People don’t like political ads. I don’t like them either. But health care isn’t about politics," she says. "It’s about people. And millions of people have lost their health insurance, millions of people can’t see their own doctors, and millions are paying more and getting less."

We’ve tackled claims about lost insuranceand access to personal doctors before. But we haven’t heard someone say that the health care law is causing people to pay more for less, so we decided to check it out.

Paying more

There are a lot of factors in the health care law — and health insurance in general — that make it difficult to pin down whether people are paying more or less for coverage.

In general, insurance premiums were increasing every year well before Obamacare became law. In fact, rates have increased consistently during the last 15 years. But there are signs that the rate of the increase has declined since the law was passed.

Kaiser Family Foundation, for example, surveyed people who purchase insurance through their employer. Here are the average annual cost of premiums:

Year Single % increase Family % increase
1999 $2,196   $5,791  
2000 $2,471 12.52% $6,438 11.17%
2001 $2,689 8.82% $7,061 9.68%
2002 $3,083 14.65% $8,003 13.34%
2003 $3,383 9.73% $9,068 13.31%
2004 $3,695 9.22% $9,950 9.73%
2005 $4,024 8.90% $10,880 9.35%
2006 $4,242 5.42% $11,480 5.51%
2007 $4,479 5.59% $12,106 5.45%
2008 $4,704 5.02% $12,680 4.74%
2009 $4,824 2.55% $13,375 5.48%
2010 $5,049 4.66% $13,770 2.95%
2011 $5,429 7.53% $15,073 9.46%
2012 $5,615 3.43% $15,745 4.46%
2013 $5,884 4.79% $16,351 3.85%

 
Other than a sharp increase between 2010 to 2011, the Obama years have experienced the smallest rate increases of the last 14 years. Throughout much of the early 2000s, premium increases of 9 percent or more were the norm.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid also found a slowdown in the increase in health costs during the last four years, including a modest 4 percent increase from 2011 to 2012.

The government attributed the decrease in health costs to the economic downturn. Kaiser, too, said the recession accounted for much of the decline, though they said the health care law may have played a role, too.

Because of the law, people making up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level are now eligible for subsidies to buy insurance, and for many of them, costs are going down. Those costs are capped at a percent of their income.

But some people may see rate increases on existing policies or as they transition to new plans.

Insurers can no longer deny individuals with pre-existing conditions, and there is now a much larger pool of people looking to purchase coverage. For younger, healthier people, this means they are now taking on some of the financial burden so older or sick people can buy insurance at a reasonable price. (This is especially true for young males, since young women were often charged more, and even more so if they don’t qualify for premium subsidies.)

There were also people who previously purchased very cheap plans. But those policies provided very little coverage or capped their benefits at low levels, which the new health care law bars. So they’re getting more coverage, albeit at a greater cost.

Getting less?

Which gets us to our next point.

We found it strange that the ad claimed that people are getting less under the Affordable Care Act. In fact, we’ve usually heard the opposite from critics of the law that people are now paying for types of coverage they don’t need.

The favorite example is single men who now will now have maternity coverage if they buy a plan on the individual market. In October 2013, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., grilled Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on this very point.

"An insurance policy has a series of benefits whether you use them or not," Sebelius said during her testimony on the Hill.

"And that is why the health care premiums are increasing this high," Ellmers said. "We’re forcing them to buy things that they will never need."

"Individual policies cover families. Men often do need maternity coverage for their spouses and for their families," Sebelius responded.

"To the best of your knowledge, has a man ever delivered a baby?" Elmers asked. The discussion ended there.

So are you getting less coverage, or getting more than you need? We asked Americans for Prosperity to clarify their position.

"Getting less speaks to a multitude of data points that has been America's Obamacare experience so far: botched website, shrinking provider networks, a string of broken promises, missed deadlines, and unilateral rule changes that have kept the entire country in limbo ever since this debacle rolled out," said spokesman Levi Russell.

That’s a pretty ambiguous definition of "less." We think most people would assume "less" is referring to the amount of coverage or benefits under the law.

Americans are getting more benefits under the law in a number of ways -- including, in some cases, being able to buy affordable insurance for the first time.

In addition, insurance purchased in the individual and small group marketplace must meet 10 essential health benefits. This includes coverage for emergency services and hospitalization, prescription drugs, free preventative coverage for things ranging from basic immunizations to HIV screening, and maternity care.

The law also caps out-of-pocket costs, providing greater protection from exorbitant hospital bills. The most a person could pay for health care in a year is $6,300; the most a family can pay is $12,600.

Before the law passed, some insurers capped annual or lifetime benefits, forcing people who thought they were covered to pay large hospital bills once they passed the threshold.

People with pre-existing conditions are also seeing a lot more benefits, since they previously couldn’t buy a policy at all.

So it’s a tough sell to say millions are getting less. And for many, they aren’t paying more, either.

Our ruling

Americans for Prosperity said "millions are paying more and getting less" under Obamacare. We found their explanation of "less" rather dubious. Most people on the individual market are getting more benefits under the law. At worst, they’re paying more to get more, though in many cases they’re actually paying less.

We rate this claim False.