Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Thursday
Sep132012

Next NH Governor Will Oppose The Death Penalty

 
Twice within the last 14 years, the New Hampshire House has voted to repeal the death penalty only to have the issue fail further down the line, once through the veto pen of Governor Jeanne Shaheen (who, along with then Rep Ray Buckley was about the only elected Democrats in the state to support capital punishment), once in the Senate.
Come next year, anti-death penalty advocates in New Hampshire (and a considerable number of Replicans, albeit not a majority are in this group) will have their best chance ever to enact the repeal.
For different reasons, both Democrat Maggie Hassan and Republican Ovide LaMontagne are on record as opposing the death penalty, so it would most likely become law if votes can be mustered in the House and Senate.
Ovide, along with no small number of pro life Republicans (like Rep. Kathy Souza from Manchester Ward 4) oppose the death penalty in an admirable quest for consistency--if you oppose killing with an abortion, they believe we should not be killing with capital punishment either.
This puts Ovide clearly at odds with Republican Speaker Bill O'Brien who actually rammed through an extension of the death penalty this past session.  However, if Democrats make major gains as expected, enough Republicans would join them to form a majority,  For example, Judiciary Chair Robert Rowe, a former judge, has always opposed the death penalty; he told me this morning at the Republican unity breakfast.
Filing begins Monday for incumbents who won their primary contests; expect a death penalty repeal to be filed sooner rather than later.
Former Hampton Rep Rennie Cushing, whose father was murdered, has spoken out eloquenty against the death penalty in the past.  With Rennie not present this past session, I noted on the floor how my father was also murdered; back in the mid-50s (I have no recollection of him), but I have always opposed the death penalty which is banned in every civilized country in the world.  My friends in Europe never could figure out how we still resorted to it--the wild west mentality, I always tried to tell them.
With nearly every Democrat against the death penalty (and Raybo no longer has a vote), I would expect repeal to pass the House.  Would either Governor Hassan or LaMontagne expend political capital to get it through the Senate?
That's an interesting question, one we very well could see answered next year.
Tuesday
Sep112012

Little Enthusiam For Today's Primary


 
Maybe it's just me.  Maybe in fact it's because I'm old and jaded, but I can honestly say that never have i awakened the day of an election with so little interest as this morning.  If Secretary of State Bill Gardner is correct with his turnout projections--and he usually is--only 160,000-170,000 New Hampshire citizens (hopefully they are all NH citizens) will vote today.
Bill terms the turnout average, and I suppose it is, but I find very little interest in today's exercise in democracy.
Blame it on Ted Gatsas.  When Ted decided not to run and we were left with the choice of two extreme right wing Republicans for governor (not to mention Robert Tarr), I obviously couldn't get excited about the top of the ticket. 
Here's a trivia question I'll answer later.  What do you think I did.
A--Left the spot blank.
B--Wrote in Libertarian John Babiarz.
C--Wrote in Jackie Cilley.
D--Wrote in Maggie the Dog Torturer Hassan. 
or E--Wrote in Ted Gatsas.
The wording of the options should eliminate D as a choice.
I've said here often the past six months, were I a Democrat, I would vote for Jackie Cilley.  If Republicans take both the New Hampshire House (no sure thing) and Senate (a fairly sure thing), a Democrat in the corner office may be the only thing standing between the good citizens of New Hampshire and an extreme right agenda including the repeal of gay marriage.
Try to question again.  Here's a hint.  I don't believe in blanking top of the ticket races...although I left several blank lower down the ballot (including the Republican choice for Register of Probate).
For once, I don't feel like making any predictions today.  Jackie Cilley seems to have the momentum, if what I hear on Channel 9 is correct.  Channel Nine's James Pindel picks Cilley; the Telegraphs's Kevin Landrigan picks the Dog Torturer (but by only three points).  The Monitor and Fosters have endorsed Cilley; the Keene Sentinel and Telegraph have endorsed the Torturer, but I suspect Cilley will still do well in Keene.  Look for Concord, Durham, and Hanover to make the difference.  I had given The Torturer the edge when people asked me who I thought would win. 
Today I'm just not sure.  Maybe Kennedy will prove to be a spoiler, but I think not.
Were I a Democrat, I'd vote for Jackie Cilley.  In fact.....!
Oh yes, I don't consider it a prediction because it's simply going with the flow, but Ovide will certainly win the GOP primary, and I suspect it'll be by more than pundits are saying, as much as two to one.  I'd be absolutely shocked if Kevin Landrigan is correct and Robert Tarr gets two percent--more like two votes I would think (surely I jest).
The most interesting Senate race is between incumbent Rep Ken Hawkins and incumbent Senator (from another district) Andy Sanborn in the Bedford area.  I could make a case for either.  Bedford should dominate the turnout, and Hawkins is well known there--in previous races for State Rep, he's usually finished about in the middle of the pack.  On the other hand, I suspect that Sanborn probably has some type of a ground game in play what with all the money he's raised and Libertarian activists wanting to see him back in the Senate.
Gun to my head prediction?
No, I'm not playing that game today.
I  suspect that Senate President Peter Bragdon and former Senator Dick Green will survive challenges from more right wing Republican Senate challengers.
I suspect most of the six Republican Reps challenged by their party's right wing will also survive.
I expect to survive as well, but I'm not about to spend 13 hours holding a sign, and I can honestly say that while in the past, defeat would have hurt a great deal, I'm not sure it'll hurt at all if voters turn me out today.  The thrill is gone.
While I wouldn't want to quibble with Bill Gardner, somehow I don't see Republican dominating the turnout quite to the extent he does (106,000 to 60,000 I think I read).  The state is evenly divided in registration.  Undeclared voters can vote in either party, and there must be at least as much interest in Cilley-Torturer (Kennedy) as the right wing extremist Republicans.  Of course there are far more down ballot contests on the Republican side, but these races don't usually drive up turnout.
Tune in tomorrow for the answer to the great primary day trivia question--we've got it narrowed down to B, C, or E.  Think hard enough, and I'm sure you'll see the answer.
If I were a Democrat....
Author

 

Tuesday
Sep112012

Beckel Brags About Stealing Elections

 
You just can't make this stuff up, and you would think that someone who was engaged in stealing elections would actually remain quiet about it rather than brag about his cheating prowess.
That wasn't the case last night.
On the Hannity show on Fox News Channel, Fox paid spokesman and long-time Democrat operative (remember how he helped Walter Mondale to victory in one of 50 states in 1984) Bob Beckel actually boasted about how in the past he used to rig elections.
Perhaps he was joking, but there was no indication to that effect as Beckel responded to how Democrats could have assured they obtained their necessary two-thirds to suspend the rules regarding God and Jerusalem at last week's convention in Charlotte.
Beckel boasted that the way it was done when he was involved in the past was for the mikes to be turned down when the nos were called and for the mikes to be turned up when you the yeses were called.
At last, we learn how Bob Beckel has been operating all these years, cheating pure and simple.
Inquiring minds want to know how many votes Beckel actually stole by this tactic.
Inquiring minds want to know if in fact this is how Mondale won the nomination.
This confession (or boast) by Beckel is the best evidence yet for those who ask that roll call votes be taken.
When you can't trust the call of the chair on an important voice vote, our democracy means nothing.  When certain operatives are actually going out of their way to cheat with amplification techniques, our democracy is hopeless, at least when Bob Beckel is in the wings.
If what Beckel says is true, he should be fired by Fox News.  In fact, he should be investigated for criminal charges.
No wonder people have so little faith in our democracy with hacks like Beckel still on the scene.
By the way, the Democratic convention apparently required a photo ID for delegates to get in.  Polls show at least three out of four Americans favor some type of ID for voting--I showed mine when I voted at Ward 8 in Manchester earlier this morning.  However, Democrats continue to fight against this popular initiative at the same time they require ID from their own delegates.  Apparently getting into a convention where Beckel says more cheating should be involved is more important than casting an honest ballot.
I repeat.
You just can't make this stuff up.
Memo to Rupert Murdock--if your News Channel is to retain any credibility, it's time to fire Beckel, the master of Minnesota!
At the very least, Beckel's four colleagues on Five should ask him how often he cheated when he was given the opportunity. 
As I wrote yesterday, when New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O'Brien fudged a voice vote and wouldn't allow a roll call, I called him out.  Democrats need to be called out as well when they cheat, especially when they admit to cheating.
Monday
Sep102012

Republicans Would Devour Their Own

Even as Democrats Jackie Cilley and Maggie Hassan (not to mention Mr. Kennedy--hey at least he's mentioned in the media--that's more than can be said for Republican Robert Tarr!) politely battle for their parties gubernatorial nomination, Republicans are engaged in a far meaner, viler, and more destructive game of destruction.
As reported by Gary Rayno in the Union Leader, six of the more moderate (some dare call them RINOs) Republicans have been targeted for primary extinction.
I knew this was going on because last week I spoke with Rochester Republican Rep Julie Brown who earned the lowest score from the conservative House Republican Alliance (HRA) last year.
She's been targeted with negative mailings along with Priscilla Lockwood of Canterbury, Peter Bolster of Alton, and according to Rayno, Tim Copeland of Stratham, Bill Remick, of Lancaster, and Susan Emerson of Rindge.  Two years ago, similar groups knocked out a handful of good Republicans, including Cynthia Dokmo and Tony DiFrusia, in the primary.
When I spoke with Emerson last week, she wasn't aware of the targeting, but I'm not surprised.  After all, she had the audacity to oppose Speaker Bill O'Brien.  Ironically, two terms ago, she was one of the leading Republican voices on the HRA.
My friend Irene Messier from Ward 10 in Manchester most likely would have been targeted also, but Republicans couldn't find anyone to run against her.
The targeting, however, doesn't stop with Rayno's list.  I myself have been targeted for the first time (in a primary; Democrats often target me come November).  On Saturday, I found in my mailbox a mailing from the National Organization for Marriage out of K Street in Washington D.C.   Talk about hypocrisy.  This special interest group claims I have sold out to "special interests" on gay marriage and trans-gender right.
These neanderthals, of course, don't refer to rights at all.  I support equal rights for all while they would continue to discriminate against certain segments of our population.
This Washington special interest group digs out an unflattering picture of me (isn't that the way it always is?) and claims I voted against traditional family values.
Apparently the message has gotten through...at least to one constituent because when I opened my emails, sure enough, there was a message from someone who had received the mailing.  He mentioned that he hadn't planned to vote, but was reminded how I have always stood for individual liberties and now will go vote for me.
Oh yes, there was another piece in my box, one from the New Hampshire-based NH Republicans for Freedom and Equality.  It praised me for working to:   balance the budget, cutting the tax burden, reducing regulations that hurt job creation, and preserving individual, parental and family rights.
That's all true, and I thought that was what being a conservative Republican was all about.
Apparently not from those Washington special interests who rail against special interests.
It's been a while since I've said this, but YOU JUST CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP.
This attack by Republicans on Republicans comes the very day Republicans at the national level are moaning about the Obama bounce out of North Carolina and Mitt Romney's inability to fight back.  I don't take polls this week all that seriously, but I take very seriously the attempt by Republicans to destroy their own.
If you lose people like the six Republican mentioned earlier (not to mention me) in primaries, Democrats are very likely to claim those seats in November, and anyone with half a brain (not that these bigots out of DC have even half a brain) should realize that these very Republicans will be necessary in what is expected to be a close House next year.
Not only that, but remember the admonition that if you try to kill Caesar and fail, beware what Caesar will do to you.  None of us are Caesar, but we're not fools either, and I suspect that survivors may be just a bit less inclined to support those who vilified them.
Bring it on...or as that Republican icon Clint Eastwood would say, "Go ahead, make my day!"
 

 

Monday
Sep102012

Fascism And Fetishism On Liberty Express

Talk about eclectic!
I just finished taping this week's Liberty Express which airs Monday night at 10 p.m. on Manchester TV23 (rebroadcast Thursday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 6 a.m. and noon; always available at vimeo.com/channels/libertyx).
As promised, I saved the last 15 minutes for highlights of the Fetish Festival weekend which I filmed Labor Day eve in Montreal.  I intersperse footage of the colorfully clad festival goers with talk of the Quebec election which was going on at the time.  Where else can you get fetishism and Quebec politics in the same segment?
For the rest of the show, I was going to talk about the primary but since it will be over by the time the show reairs, I discuss it only briefly; I also don't spend much time with the latest polls since they appear to be in a state of post-convention flux.
Since I tend to use the word "fascism" a great deal, I decided to look the word up in the dictionary, just to make sure all the people I refer to as "fascists" truly deserve the term.
I wasn't disappointed, so I spend much of the show exploring that worst of all political philosophies, fascism.
At least two dictionaries I checked defined Fascism as "a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and race and stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader,severe economic and social regimentation and forcible suppression of opposition."
After exaltation of nation and race, I would add the clause "at the expense of individual liberties".
That's fascism, and clearly it can come in from either the left or the right, from Democrats with their slavish devotion to centralization of economic control and regimentation to Republicans who, try as they might, cannot seem to get away from their suppression of individual freedoms for those who think differently than they do.
Libertarianism is the antithesis of fascism.
Democrats are fascists when they pretend to have two-thirds vote to put god and Jerusalem back in their party platform (when in fact they may well not even have had a simple majority; I run the clip).  But Republicans like Bill O'Brien are fascists when they call close votes without allowing a division to prove that their hearing is adequate.
I'm quite satisfied with calling a spade a spade and a fascist a fascist.
I don't do it lightly; that's why I decided to explore a definition of the word on this week's show.
It goes well with fetishism which perhaps best epitomized the freedom we should all allow others.  Besides, the costume are rather...shall we say...FABULOUS.  If you can't make it to Montreal for Labor Day, try Easter weekend in Barcelona, I heard.
Life is too much fun for petty politics!