Richard Barnes

A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson



Merrimack Town Council Fireworks

In Merrimack political issues are never simple and this week proved this once again.

In a shocking turn of events Dave McCray was voted out as chairman of the town council.   The reason given was "inappropriate behavior".  Dave is someone everyone in town knows to be passionate and in some cases tempered.  This was well known when the other members of the council voted him in as the chairman.

As the past few weeks progressed this was slowly building as a result of the heated discussions surrounding the land for the Merrimack Court house.  In a non public meeting the council voted 3 to 2 with 1 absent and 1 abstain that they would not donate the land to the state for a new court house.  One of those who voted not to donate said afterwards that she felt she did not have enough information at the time to make a vote.  Dave McCray claimed the selectmen (the town was recently chartered hence the change from Selectmen to Council) had always agreed they would lease the land and he disagreed with the idea to donate the land.

Soon after, members of the past selectmen Dick Hinch and Chuck Mower came out insisting Dave was lying saying the idea was always to donate the land.  This I think helped cause decention in the council and helped feed the fires of disagreement as now in reading that argument it would have appeared the newer council members may not have been given all the information.

Dick Hinch however had sent a letter to the state in January 2006 (reprinted in full in this weeks Merrimack Journal) from the Selectmen that backed up what Dave was saying and completely went against what both he and Chuck Mower claimed in the Union Leader.  Here's an excerpt from that letter:

To that end, the Board of Selectmen is committed to securing and designating a minimum of two (2) acres of land that can, in turn, be leased to the State of New Hampshire for the construction of a new Merrimack District Court. We must trust that the appropriate State officials will view this commitment letter as a gesture of partnership to ensure the expeditious construction of a new facility.
On behalf of the entire Board, I thank you for your time and consideration in reviewing this request.

I understand Dave's concern as if the town donates the land vs leases it, Merrimack could eventually open up the door in the future for the state to turn around and use the land for something else.  I'm sure though that the town could put stipulations on such a donation in that if the state stopped using it for a court house ownership would revert to the town.

Any rate, over the past couple weeks of discussing this issue tempers rose and there was some behind the scene fighting between Dave and other council members.  Leading to last night during which a 4 to 1 with 2 abstains vote removed Dave as the chairman.  The council also voted to donate 1/2 acre to the state for the court house reverting the earlier vote with Dave continuing to contest the idea.

I don't know if donating vs lease was the right idea.  Heck for all I know Merrimack may have been better off letter Bedford donate their land.  I do know however that this issue blew up far beyond what it should have and allowed members to get far more heated with each other then was called for.  I'm sure there is more to their disagreements then just this one issue as anyone who has ever followed politics knows that political discussions lead to disagreements.  It's their very nature.  I'm also fairly sure that this story hasn't ended here either with the new court house or with the dynamics of the Merrimack Council.  One thing is for sure though... I will have plenty to write about!


Disappointed with the Union Leader

Yesterday my wife and I happened to glance at the Union Leader and were a bit shocked by it's front page.  Yesterday marked the 6th anniversary of 9-11.  We still have boots on the ground over seas with troops dying on a nearly daily basis.  Throughout the state memorial services were held in honor of those who died and those continuing to die on our behalf.  Even the flip side of the coin had news in that several of the 9-11 conspiracy groups choose yesterday to have their own memorials or protests.  So in all of what is going on I would expect the major papers of NH to lead with a story somewhat related to the events going on, what did Union Leader lead with?  A story about a high school kid upset because the school doesn't want her to use a picture with a flower in her hands due to their no prop policy.

I'm sure this is a major story for that little girl and her family but front page news on the anniversary of 9-11?  Shame on the editors of the Union Leader! 


Ed Brown's Dwindling Support

Ed Brown as many of you may recall was convicted for tax evasion.  During the first part of his trial he argued that there was no law requiring him to pay income tax and even said he would agree to pay if the courts would show him the law.  They never did.  He was found guilty, along with his wife and both sentenced to 5 years in prison.  You can read my original take here.

I have been following the Ed Brown story, as he is still held up in his home and recent events have me questioning whether Ed is truly nuts or if he is going out of his way to try to open himself up to an insanity defense once he is brought in.  Aside from some of the wacky comments that have been made in by Ed both in the news and on the ineternet he has gone above and beyond what I though capable of him.

Just this week I've learned of his "murder list" which is comprised of about 50 names of people Ed feels should be murdered.  The site this list was mentioned on is currently down, should it come back up I will supply a link.

When you start taking this approach, I'm sorry but you lose ANY support from reasonable people.  When Ed argued that he should be shown the law, that was a reasonable request.  The courts were wrong to not sit him down and show him the law and if the law did not exist then he had a valid argument.  But all valid points are lost once you turn to the idea of violence and push your supporters to kill on your behalf.

 So is Ed really out of his mind or is he simply trying to copy a insanity defense?  Or was this list simply a rumor of someone trying to help diminish any support Ed has in order to make it easier for the police to eventually move in and arrest him?


Why Do Republicans Fear Ron Paul?


After the Republican debate this week I've come to the conclusion that the Republican party as a whole fears Ron Paul.  Democrats do too but not nearly as much as Republicans do.  I can think of no other explanation for their behavior.

This week poll after poll shows Ron Paul as the candidate who won the debate yet Republicans and leading news sources continue to either ignore or dismiss the results.  Sean Hannity after the debate seeing Ron Paul won the FOX news poll claimed that his supporters cheated by voting multiple times.  After hearing this I tried to vote multiple times on the FOX poll... I couldn't.  The poll correctly confirmed I had voted and would not allow me to vote a second time.  Hannity should know this being it was his own network that set up the poll.  At the time of my writing this Ron is leading the NH Insider's own poll 9% over the next leading candidate.

foxnewskipsronpaul.jpgAfter the Iowa Straw poll results came out showing Ron Paul finishing in the top 5 Fox news out right lied by omission showing the results of 6 candidates skipping Ron Paul as if he didn't finish in the top at all (Tom Tancredo was also left from the results as he too was in the top 5).


The actual results had Ron Paul with 9.1%.

There have also been reports among some of the more open Ron Paul supporters that they were bared from some GOP events. 

Considering that most Americans support a pull out of Iraq and Ron Paul is the ONLY Republican who isn't taking a pro war stance I think that other leading Republicans are afraid of that message being heard because the general public will take Ron seriously.  And when you factor that in with his 100% constitutionally correct voting record and his proven small government voting record anyone can see why RINO's like Giuliani would be concerned with his being taken seriously.

I've even seen polls of Democrats showing that among Democrat votes Ron Paul STILL comes out in the top.  Yet political talk show hosts continue to try to down play him, news sources continue to try to ignore him.

It's quite clear though when you stop to look at the big picture why the political machines of either party would want Dr. Paul kept out of the lime light.  They all know he is the best choice going for either side.  Look at the more recent elections.  Democrats have won by running against Bush and his policies with the war.  That's the only reason they won in 2004, as evident by the approval ratings of congress dropping even lower then Bush's own ratings due to their failure to follow through on what they said they would do if elected.  And Republicans know that the top choices right now for Democrats no longer have the anti war edge.  If you listen to Hillary, her views are very similar to Bush's own.  Ron Paul is one of the only true choices from either party who has proven to be against the war with his votes.  That gives him an edge with the majority of voters who want us out of Iraq.  And when you compare him to the few Democrats who are truly against the war (unlike Hillary) it becomes a race of policy.  Democrats know Ron would win that hands down.  His proven 100% constitutional record and proven small government record would make their big government policies stand out like sore thumbs.  And I think most leading Republicans know that their party was beaten solely because of Iraq.  If Ron was given enough attention that people saw him as a true choice and his being the only Republican against the war... I think you can put two and two together there.


45% pay increase

Let me ask you all this, if you ran a company similar to the state which found it's education department is underfunded and it's highway department is underfunded and the over all budget going up by 17.5% would you feel that is the appropriate time for a pay hike for employees (in some cases raises of 45%)?  That's what state democrats have just done.

Nearly 1 million in raises over the next two years for 100 employees and these don't even include the step raises (4.2%) that are already in the budget and go into effect Jan 1st. This was done in an 8 to 4 vote by the Legislative Facilities Committee with all four Republican members voting against it.

Where do Democrats think all this money is coming from?