Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Thursday
May102012

On Gay Marriage, Obama Is Rather Conservative

            Not for the first time, the main stream media seems to have missed the point in its reporting that President Obama has come full circle and is now in support of gay marriage.

            In fact, Obama’s statement, while in fact showing personal evolution, should be viewed as a most conservative position.

            He did not come out in favor of gay marriage at the national level.  He in fact said that every state should decide the issue, an especially conservative position considering that the majority of states so far have come down on the side against gay marriage.

            Even worse for gay rights advocates, Obama gave no indication that courts have a legitimate role in deciding that gay marriage must be legalized on the basis of civil rights.

By leaving the decision up to states, the President in fact seems to be weighing in against the case working its way up to the Supremes.

            The millions of dollars Obama has raised from left wing elements since his pronouncement yesterday notwithstanding—only a cynic would content that was the motivation of his statement--the Anointed One in fact deserves very little credit.

            Action speaks louder than words, and the President offered no real action yesterday.

            He merely stated the obvious, that he is like millions of other Americans.  He has evolved on the issue of gay marriage.

            That’s not a lie; that’s not deceit; it’s not even a flip-flop.

            It is merely a recognition that society is changing, and he’s changing along with it.  Those who favor gay marriage, as I do, could in fact expect more from our leaders, and as society continues to evolve, we will certainly get more.

            Gay marriage opponents should not be overly joyful about the North Carolina vote Tuesday.  It’s kind of like the media’s obsession with the West Virginian convict who got 41 percent in the Democratic primary Tuesday.  No sane person believes Obama was ever going to win West Virginia anyway, and not many pundits see him carrying the Tar Heel state again either (despite the fact that Dems are heading there for their convention; it's not really a swing state).   I don’t say that to disparage either state; I would never want to live in either state, but then citizens there might not want to live in “the live free or die” state either.  Freedom means more for those of us in New Hampshire than in the WV and NC; that's just a fact of life.

            I feel badly for gay people in North Carolina who will not be able to live as freely as other citizens, but hey, at least they can move to the Northeast.  Some places evolve more slowly than others.  That’s sad, and Obama has done little to remedy the situation, but that would probably be asking too much of any presidential candidate.

            Let various states decide for themselves.  That’s really all Obama has stated, and while that be may be good enough (at least for now; this is after all EVOLUTION), it’s hardly a radical idea.

            Pundits from Charles The Wise on Fox News to James The Less Wise on Channel 9 (not a slam; we're all less wise than Krauthammer) were right in their proncouncments yesterday that Obama's statement is not going to have much impact on this election (except as a fund raising tactic).  We're more than 15 trillion (or is it 16 by now?) in debt; there's no end of Obama socialism in sight, and people have more things on their mind than gay marriage. 

             Yes, I agree with the Anointed One on equal rights for gay people, but I would never vote for him.  Why?  Because I see him as determined to destroy economic rights for not just gay people, but for ALL people.  I suspect that not many people will vote against him on this issue either.  I suspect his people have polled this issue every which way, and he would not have come out with his evolving position had it not scored well with focus groups.  Call me a cynic, but as always, I think I'm simply a realist.

            Now if we could only get the feds to take a similar position on marijuana decriminalization and other issues of freedom—let each state decide—we’d be much better off.

Wednesday
May092012

Constitutional Convention Decision Required This Year

            Along with voting for President, Governor, U.S. Representatives, State Reps and Senators, and a slew of other offices this year, voters will face the question of whether or not to authorize a constitutional convention in New Hampshire.

            The Constitution requires that every ten years, voters—by a simple majority vote—get to decide whether or not to set in motion a full-fledged Constitutional convention.

            If you haven’t heard about this, it’s because for the past 20 years, voters have turned down the call for a ConCon.

            In 1992, the vote was 210,346 (49.15 percent) for it, 217,575 against.

            In 2002, the vote was 177,721 (49.13 percent) for it, 184,042 against.

            There are two ways to amend the Constitution.  An amendment can either be submitted by a 60 percent both of the House and Senate and then approved by two-thirds of voters at the next election; or an amendment could be offered by a similar 60 percent of a Constitutional Convention and then approved by two-thirds of voters at the ensuing election.

            Those who have been around for a while may recall the long lines at the polls in November, 1984 (the Reagan-Mondale year).  That was because the ConCon from the previous year offered so many amendments that voters had a considerable amount of reading to do in their polling booths.

            I recall more than an hour’s wait at Jewitt Street School in Ward 8, Manchester.  Of course, Reagan won big, and the GOP sweep was on in New Hampshire.

            Among the Constitutional Amendments approved that day was the call for annual sessions.

            While there is no real way of telling whether more Democrats or Republicans tend to vote yes for a ConCon, there are indications that Democrats tend to be in opposition.  How do we know?  Because the vote was less in Democratic strongholds of Strafford and Cheshire Counties; greater in Republican areas such as Carroll, Hillsborough and Rockingham Counties.

            Should the call for an education funding amendment (CACR 12) fail in the House or Senate in the next couple weeks, the support for a ConCon could increase.  However, keep in mind that if history is any indication, many of those elected to a ConCon are the same who are elected as State Reps and Senators.

            It would require a separate election, but we don’t need to think about that unless the vote in November is favorable.

            I’ve thought about it, and I will vote against the call for a ConCon.  I think I voted for it ten years ago, but I have less confidence than I used to in the ability of people to refrain from tampering with what is basically an entirely sound document.  In other words, I suspect a ConCon could do more harm than good, but that’s a debate we’ll have in the fall.

            If history is any indication, it’ll be a close call.

            Keep in mind that while an amendment requires two-thirds, the call for a ConCon needs only a simple majority.  (If you look in the 2003 Red Book, beware.  The vote totals are reversed for the two issues which were before the public that year.  I’ve given the correct numbers here).

Tuesday
May082012

Media Watch--O'Reilly Wrong On Nuremberg

 

Quite by coincidence, the very day I quoted Robert Conot's book "Justice At Nuremberg" in this blog, I tuned into Bill O'Reilly, who usually gets his information right, and found a rather egregious errors on the Nuremberg trials.  The Fox News superstar misinformed his millions of views by claiming that Nuremberg trials were by a military tribunal!

Wrong, totally wrong, and O'Reilly owes his audience a correction.

I was so flabbergasted I dug out the Conot book and rediscovered that two very famous non-military Americans were involved in the trials.  Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson served as one of the prosecutors, and Francis Biddle, an Attorney General under FDR, was one of the judges.

Also, while O'Reilly didn't specifically say that all the Nuremberg defendants were found guilty, he implied that, and it simply is not true.

In fact, three (economist Dr. Schacht--an extremely fascinating man, the one who rescued Germans from rampant inflation in 1923--diplomat Von Paper, and propagandist Fritzsche) of the 21 Germans on trial at Nuremberg were found not guilty on all charges.

Of course, had drones been sent in to kill everyone, being not guilty would not have made much of a difference, now would it.  As I recall, the Russians wanted everyone found guilty (they also sought the death penalty for Rudolf Hess), but the American, British, and French judges actually listened to the evidence, and a 2-2 vote resulted in dismissal of charges.

Conot quotes Judge Lawrence that Papen "engaged in both intrigue and bullying.  But the Charter does not make criminal such offenses against political morality, however bad these may be."

Fritzsche was actually held for trial because Goebbels had committed suicide.  While Fritzsche was deemed to have engaged in acerbic propaganda statements, Conot writes, "The Tribunal is not prepared to hold that they were intended to incite the German people to commit atrocities on conquered peoples, and he cannot be held to have been a participant in the crimes charged."

Thus, unlike with drones killing those merely thought to be guilty of crimes, there was JUSTICE AT NUREMBERG, and it was NOT military justice.

Dr. Hjalmar Schacht, NOT guilty at Nuremberg

Tuesday
May082012

The Week In Polls--May 8--Romney Moves Ahead With Politico

            Were it not for a Reuters/Ipsos poll which appears to be a real outliar (it shows Obama up seven, 49-42), Mitt Romney would be ahead for the first time in averages from both Real Clear Politics and Pollster today.  As it is, the Reuters numbers are figured into both those averages which show Obama clinging to the narrowest of leads. 

            RCP has Obama up 46.2-46.0, a mere 0.2 percent while Pollster has it 46.7-46.1, a margin of 0.6 percent.

            That’s because after having Obama in the lead last week, Gallup has Romney back ahead by three points today (47-44), and Rasmussen has Romney’s margin bigger than it’s ever been, all the way up to five points (49-44).

            When we look back in November at President Romney, this week could well be remembered as the turning point.  The Politico/GWU/Battleground poll, which is highly respected because it teams a Republican and Democratic pollster, came out yesterday; it shows Romney ahead by only one point (48-47), but he’s up by ten with Independent voters (48-38) and by six among those who say they are “extremely likely” to vote.  With the base set for both candidates (more thabn 90 percent for each), it appears more and more likely Indies will determine this election.

            Mind you, this is the same Politico poll which showed Obama up by nine in February, bad news indeed for Democrats.  All the internals of this poll are all intriguing; check them out at politico.com. 

            It also shows Republicans up two points (45-43) in the generic Congressional ballot (Rasmussen has GOP up three points, 44-41 today).  Politico finds 65 percent believe Republicans will maintain control of the House, but only 41 percent believe Democrats will keep control of the Senate (I’m sticking with a GOP gain of at least six seats, most likely seven).

            Undoubtedly, the poor economic numbers out last Friday are influencing this week’s polling data.  Obama’s popularity have slipped below par again, minus 0.6 (47.3-47.9) with RCP, even worse, minus 1.5 (47.0-48.5) with Pollster.

            Most pundits see long-term Republican Senator Dick Lugar losing by more than a close margin in today’s Indiana primary (Mourdock led by ten yesterday), but unlike Maine (where Snowe’s departure means the seat will likely go Democratic in November), Mourdock is considered the favorite in the general election.

            Two Senate races are dead even today.  The Washington Post has Kaine and Allen tied at 46 in Virginia, and despite the Indian cheekbone kerfuffle, Rasmussen has Elizabeth Warren tied with Scott Brown at 45 in Massachusetts.

            News is worse for Democrats in Montana where incumbent Democrat Tester has fallen behind Rehberg by ten (Rasmussen, 53-43) and Arizona where Magellan has Republican Flake up four (44-40) over Carmona in a seat Democrats had hoped to "steal".

            Although Pollster shows Romney and Obama virtually even, it has begun running an electoral projection, and it shows Obama currently with enough to win (282-170).  That means that Romney will have to win most of the close states, but rather than look at numbers there, we should assume that once the national numbers start to turn, the state total will follow suit.  Virginia and Ohio, for example; a Washington Post poll has Obama up seven (51-44) in Virginia, and Quinnipiac has Obama up two (44-42), but those will undoubtedly move closer to Romney’s column with new data later this week.  Quinnipiac has Romney up one (44-43) in Florida, but Obama up eight (47-39) in Pennsylvania. 

            Rasmussen has stopped polling Santorum and The Eft against Obama, but it’s still sampling Ron Paul, and he’s actually tied with Obama at 42-42 today.

            Long Live Lady Liberty!

            Ron Paul For President!

            Actually, this could be bad news for Romney.  My Libertarian friends tell me that Dr. Paul, unhappy with strong arm tactics being used by Romneyites in delegate battles in some caucus states, may not endorse the GOP nominee.  The way things are looking today, that could be Obama’s sole salvation.

            Here’s an interesting quote from the Politico poll.  “While there is general support for high tax rates for millionaires, voters harbor deep suspicions about how Obama would spend the money.  Seven in ten said they want any additional revenue to help pay down the deficit, but 61 percent think the president would use it for increased domestic spending.”

            Go figure.

            Politico shows that Romney has also quickly healed from primary season damage.  56 percent of ALL voters now approve of him on a personal level, but a rather high 16 percent say they hold his Mormon faith against him.

            Go figure.

Monday
May072012

"Liberty Express" Marks WWII Ending In Berlin

            To commemorate the 67th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, “The Liberty Express” will take you to the spot in Berlin, Germany (Karlshorst) where the unconditional surrender was signed at midnight, May 8, 1945.

            I filmed this half hour segment 20 years ago, in 1992 when Germany had been reunified but the Russians were still in Berlin (on their way home in fact).

            It’s a half hour because the building was (in 1992; I doubt it still is today) a museum controlled by the Russians.  It tells (told) the history of the war from the Soviet perspective.  In fact, our guide was a young Russian woman who had learned her propaganda very well…not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Is there?

            The place wasn’t exactly crawling with tourists.  In fact, my friend Jim and I were the only two people there; we were given our own private tour.  My friend was fond of meeting Russian soldiers; in fact, he was talking with one while I was filming the tanks which served as the vanguard of the Russian attack on Berlin in May, 1945.  When I asked Jim if the soldier spoke German, he responded, “Only Russian.”  Somehow Jim always managed to communicate despite language barriers.

            The guide spoke rather charming English.  When she pointed out General Zhukov, one of the great military men who helped defeat the Germans, I waited until she turned away to quietly note, “He was also sent back to Berlin to watch over things when the wall went up in 1961.” 

            The film ends with something else I’m sure the Soviets would not totally have approved of, but hey, the building was open to the public!  I had just read Robert Conot’s book “Justice At Nuremberg” and I had copied a particularly gruesome passage on the fate of the Nazi war criminals.  Lo and behold, photos of the men (laid out after being hanged) were hung in the museum.  I filmed them as I read the passage from Conot.

            I’m rather proud of the segment, the passage read being coupled with the death throes of some very bad men.  At one point, the Russian guide had to point out Sauckel for me.  (Goring of course had, as they say, “cheated the hangman” by chomping on a cyanide capsule just before the big day; his dead body, however, is alo pictured; truly gory; you'll love it).

            In six weeks or so, I’ll take you back to another museum in Berlin, one which was commemorating the June, 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union.  I have more than 50 hours of such fun stuff, including a trip to the Krupp mansion in Essen (maybe next week).

            History sure is fun.

            “The Liberty Express” is always available at vimeo.com/channels/libertyx.  It airs on Manchestertv23 Mondays at 10 p.m., Thursdays at 9 p.m., Sundays at 6 a.m. and again at noon.

Justice at Nuremberg