Monthly Archives: October 2014

Its All Over

Occupy protester arrest

Protesters from Occupy in New York City forcibly removed from a bridge sit-in.

Vote.

Its the easiest muscle in your democratic body to exercise.  It takes the least work, its required only once every few years and most of the time you have to intentionally not listen to not know the issues at stake.

The above picture shows people engaged in the brief, short lived Occupy movement across the country.  One person once corrected me saying, “It was never a movement!” I disagree, it was.  But it was short for multiple reasons but the action of democracy flows under the shiny trappings of capitalist consumption and greed.  It flows under the frozen crust of alienation and dissatisfaction.  It flows because the water of justice cannot be stopped, it flows because the movement of a people yearning for decency in their lives, security, safety and peace will not stop.  Going to the polling place is the easiest.  Exercise that muscle, because sooner or later we’ll all be called on to either run or fight.  Better be fit and ready now.

Now, onto Susan Bruce’s excellent analysis of what’s at stake in New Hampshire:

It’s Almost Over

It’s almost over. A few more political ads ought to help us choose what candidates to vote for. Is there really anyone left who is undecided? Nationwide, over $4 billion is being spent on the midterm elections. Good thing we don’t have anything important we could be spending $4 billion on. The corporate taps are open wide and the dark money is flowing.

Thanks to all that money, we know that Scott Brown knows only one number. 99. We know that he’s attempting to whip white NH into a frenzy about immigration and Ebola. The fear is supposed to divert you from paying attention to why he’s here. He’s here because he lost his Senate seat in Massachusetts, and he’d like to use NH as a springboard to higher office. I’ve been to debates and forums where Brown spoke, and his ground support is thin. What can anyone say about him? He’s never done anything in NH except vacation and run for office. Brown grew up in Massachusetts, went to school there, was married and had a family there, had a career there, got into politics there. If Elizabeth Warren hadn’t beaten him, he’d still be there. The first time Scott Brown casts a vote here it will be for himself.
This is a man who has repeatedly refused to speak with members of the press, going so far as to hide in a bathroom to avoid a reporter. As you ponder his name on your ballot ask yourself this: Should New Hampshire’s US Senate seat be a consolation prize for a guy whose ambition is the only reason he’s here?

Please continue reading here:  Its Almost Over, by Susan Bruce

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Give Scott Brown A Map and Send Him Home!

 

In tonight’s last debate with Jeanne Shaheen, hopeful carpetbagger and perpetual hope of the plutocrats, Scott Brown demonstrated how it takes at least a modicum of brains to be a pretender.  As seen in the video below that is flying everywhere right now, Scott Brown mistook Sullivan County for the North Country and proceeded to use his trained seal talking points to not answer the question but instead provide the listener with a lot of irrelevant campaign trail jibberish.

Like a robot that jumped a gear or two Brown also made a strange gesture with his right hand while attempting to talk himself out of the corner he put himself in.  As he tries to clarify that he meant ‘north of concord’  he puts his hand up to his head with his pinkie out and his thumb up.  What’s he doing, gesturing that he needs to call a friend?  Is he signaling that his secret in-ear wireless isn’t working?  Either way, the man had no idea where Sullivan County was much less any unique issues or problems about Sullivan county.  It was a great question and exposed him as the hired plant that he is.

It became very clear, even with the moderator’s pathetic effort to help pull him out of the swamp he fell into, that Brown knows absolutely nothing about New Hampshire and is, as he was when he attempted to challenge Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, nothing but a tool and really not very bright.

You’d think with all the money they have to spend that the plutocrats could find better servants to carry on their mission of destroying democracy, locally and nationally.  But then again, possibly that’s just the Gordian knot they are stuck in, because if you have contempt for the people you aren’t going to be able to understand them enough to find a suitable foil for them.  Most importantly as well, if you have contempt for democracy and see the people and their fickle ways as just an encumbrance to your efforts at making the world your personal playground, then possibly you just might not really take the electoral process very seriously anyway.

But see for yourself, the video is viral on facebook, click on the link provided below:

Brown Geography Lesson

UPDATE:

Apparently WMUR’s Pindell has been getting weary of the claims from the Brown camp that when Brown said “ski areas” in his scripted reply about Sullivan County he really meant Sunappee, even though he never mentioned any particular ski resort by name.  Good save Brown and Co. and good to at least train your seal to never be too specific as that might just paint him in a corner.

https://twitter.com/JamesPindell

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Actions Around NH

Last week during the Shaheen-Brown debate in North Conway, the environmental group NextGen Climate set up a display to draw attention to Brown’s ties to big oil.  Politifact  NH has looked into the claims made by the democratic supporting PACS, in particular Senate Majority and finds the claims  true in that Brown does in fact receive a large portion of his funding from big oil and gas.

nextgen protest scott brown

Of course to most people who pay attention this isn’t really big news since big oil and gas have always supported GOP candidates and races far more than Democrats.  Mostly due to the Democrats long standing tradition of standing up for and funding regulation for healthy people and communities.  While big oil fights government support for renewable energy development, the gas industry has been working double time to ensure continued support for fracking.

The degree to which the oil industry has chips to cash in with New Hampshire politicians should be of concern to residents as the north-east’s dependency on oil is greater than any other part of the United States.  Residents want other energy alternatives but without prioritizing government funds for subsidies or credits for such development, the dream of energy independence cannot be realized.  Geo-thermal and solar, two of the most important renewable energy opportunities still remain far out of reach of most residents and businesses.

Next Gen Climate will be holding actions all over the state during the election season, those interested in participating can contact them through their website at Next Gen Climate.org

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Carpenters Get Hot on Cheating Contractors

whatever 011On Thursday in Seabrook, NH, the carpenter’s local 118 got busy drawing attention to large contractors cheating labor out of pay and benefits and the state out of revenue. Focusing on a drywall company known as Metro-Walls, the carpenters held what they call a “banner line” to inform passersby of this issue.

The carpenters made their intent clear to remain in front of the construction site as long as Metro-Walls continued operating in violation of the law.

“Missclassification is the biggest problem in the industry right now, its destroying the industry slow but sure. We definitely intend to fight this to the bitter end, we’re not going anywhere, as long as misclassification continues, we’ll be on the front lines.”

“The real victims here are the guys being misclassified and they don’t even know it.” said Johnnie Berry, organizer for Carpenter’s Local 118.

Missclassification of workers involves the practice of cheating works out of workman’s compensation, unemployment eligibility and any future social security benefits.  Since the employer pays either all or a portion of the costs for these programs through payroll deductions, the incentive is high for unscrupulous employers to skirt payment of any of these, keep the employee entirely “off the books” and pay the employee cash instead, or “under the table” as commonly referred to.

We contacted Jim Craig, the Commissioner of Labor whose department handles the enforcement of labor law in New Hampshire. We asked to what extent its a problem in New Hampshire, “It hasn’t been qualified yet in New Hampshire, but I think there’s an enormous underground economy, I think its a national problem.”

We asked about why enforcement seems too slow for many, “You know the trouble with this is these guys move fast, ” explaining that in the construction business in particular a contractor may be on a project for a limited time and also the department handles many investigations that complicate their ability to allocate manpower on just this issue, “We also have to investigate many other labor issues.” he said adding, “We’ve come a long way — we have better enforcement, we have a couple inspectors working just on this issue now.”

We also asked Mr. Craig about the process wherein those found in violation often receive reduced fines and as such operate with labor fines as a cost of doing business, “We’re trying to change that and one way is with attorneys representing the department and we’re working on trying to change the definition of employee, making it more clear.”

As a result misclassification, employers unfairly compete for large contracts due to their reduced labor cost and also avoid responsibility for accidents or injuries on the job.  These costs then fall to the public in lost work time, unpaid medical care and strains on local assistance programs to deal with basic unmet needs to workers and families.

Metro-Walls is one of many companies working on two shopping center expansion projects on Lafayette Road in Seabrook, NH and has a substantial history of labor law violations according to reports made by Local 118 of the New England Regional Carpenters, Manchester New Hampshire.

One of many projects occurring on Lafayette Road.  Metro-Walls is contracted for hanging sheetrock.

One of many projects occurring on Lafayette Road, Seabrook, NH.  Metro-Walls holds the contract to hang sheetrock.

The Department of Professional Employees provides a detailed explanation of the most common types of misclassification on their website here.

More information can be found at the IRS website Independent Contractor (Self-Employed) or Contractor?

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