Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Struggle for Rail in New Hampshire Not Diverted by Senate Vote

Caltrain, a commuter rail that links San Fransisco and San Jose California.

Although the Republican controlled New Hampshire senate voted to kill funding for an engineering survey and study of the cost and logistics of building rail in New Hampshire, supporters and activists close to the effort to get rail in New Hampshire say they are not deterred. As activists state in the associated press report issued last week, supporters and activists will move forward with their work.  This is good news as the current Tea Pots in power do not represent the needs or the wants of the majority of New Hampshire citizens who (as much as 75%) want to see commuter rail extended into New Hampshire.

Supporters of Commuter Rail not Deterred by Senate Vote

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Supporters of a plan to bring commuter rail from Boston to New Hampshire said the Senate’s decision not to fund the next stage of the process is a bump in the road rather than an end to their efforts.

“(We) look at this as a pause in a marathon as opposed to tripping in a sprint,” said Tracy Hatch, president of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce.

Senators rejected efforts this week to put $4 million in the state’s next capital budget for an engineering and environmental impact analysis. Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan included the money in her budget, and the debate over rail has largely fallen along party lines. Democrats say extending rail into New Hampshire is necessary for economic development and attracting young people; Republicans question the economic benefits and whether the state should subsidize the project.

Bringing rail to New Hampshire is a long-term project: Former Gov. John Lynch signed a bill creating the rail transit authority in 2007. A study completed by the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority last year found that operating rail to Nashua and Manchester would create up to 5,600 permanent jobs and 3,600 new housing units by 2030.

Michael Izbicki, chairman of the transit authority, said his group will press forward with the project and explore public-private partnerships to fund it.

“We’re moving full steam ahead,” he said.

Senators already have passed a bill creating a committee to study public-private partnerships for intermodal transportation. Izbicki hopes the committee will produce a plan allowing the transit authority to explore this type of funding for the rail project.

State law says the Legislature must take a final up or down vote on whether to bring commuter rail into New Hampshire, if the plan ever reaches that stage. New Hampshire already has the rights from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to operate rail up to Concord, Izbicki said.

Michael Skelton, president of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said his organization is committed to providing more data about the benefits of commuter rail. But, he said, the state should have a responsibility in continuing to invest in the project.

“What I’ve heard from legislators is they want more information, they want to see the business case for passenger rail, and that’s something we’re very interested in providing,” Skelton said.

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Chomsky: Democracy is a Threat to Any Power System

From video description :

“To mark The Nation’s 150th anniversary, John Nichols was joined in conversation by the eminent radical intellectual Noam Chomsky at the Tucson Festival of Books in Arizona on March 15. Discussing issues ranging from media accountability and voter participation, to money in politics and income inequality.”

Thanks to The Nation magazine

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ALEC Violates Federal Rules Governing Non-Profits

The organization that formed with Ronald Reagan’s support in the 1980’s has drawn some attention for its active role in promoting and pushing pro-corporate agendas among legislative bodies throughout the country.  The act of promoting and representing the interests of any specific group to a government in an effort to sway that body to make legislation or rules favorable to the group paying or supporting the promoters is called lobbying.

[Learn more about ALEC from ALEX Exposed and Sourcewatch]

Most people think of lobbyists as existing on the national level.  Must media press makes mention of the Washington DC lobbying culture; of the money floating around Washington DC and of the revolving door of congress members from service in the house or senate to obtaining paid staff positions with lobbying firms.  It stands to reason; their high level of insider knowledge and their exposure to sensitive information through committee and top secret work enables these former public servants to charge a high price for their knowledge and insider access.

But many folks don’t consider the open market available to corporations on the state level.  In contrast to the competitive and sometimes difficult market of capturing a congress person’s attention can cost dearly.  In contrast state legislatures offer an easy to capture market of state legislators eager to make a name for themselves, a national media unable to micro-focus on ever state issue and a public not always paying attention to or taking seriously their state legislature.  But folks should take it very seriously, just as ALEC does.  Corporations, no matter how large know that often state regulations can often lead to federal regulations if the citizens gain success also that dismantling the regulatory system can best take place over the long term, one state at a time.

But not only has ALEC embraced pro corporate causes that attempt to break down citizen action regulations and ordinances, ALEC also has welcomed social conservative activist groups as well.  ALEC has provided the support and manpower to push national agendas by way of gaining restrictions on such issues as reproductive freedom, on a state by state basis.  The ulimate goal of such, as stated by pro-life groups for years, is that by causing restriction on the local level, people will be further and further removed from the concept of accessible reproductive services as they dry up in their community.  This creates apathy to the national struggle for reproductive rights and effectively knocks out pockets of opposition to the national effort to restrict a woman’s freedom of choice.

No 501 (c) 3

Federal tax law is explicit in its rules about the functions of a charity non-profit classified as a 501-(c) 3. As outlined on the Federal IRS page titled Activities Which are Permitted But Must be Limited the limits of the law are pretty clear”

Basic Rule

501(c)(3) organizations may engage in insubstantial amounts of lobbying
or legislative activity. The courts have generally interpreted this to mean
5% or less of overall activities, financial expenditures, staff hours
or other measurable standards. Organizations that exceed this guideline
will have their 501(c)(3) status revoked, unless they have filed IRS
Form 5768 to elect the more liberal limits of section 501(h). (Not all
501(c)(3)’s are eligible to make this election.)  The rules that follow
apply only to those organizations that have made the election.

Direct Lobbying, Electing Organizations

  1. Definition

General discussion of controversial issues does not, alone, constitute
lobbying. In order for the IRS to find that direct lobbying has taken
place, there must be three elements:

  1. Specific Legislation
    This could be a bill or other piece of legislation already introduced in
    the legislature, or a specific legislative proposal.
    b. Reflecting A View
    In order to be lobbying, a discussion must take a position with respect
    to (support or oppose) the specific legislation.
    c. A communication with a legislator or a government official

Special rule – Discussion of initiatives and referenda are considered direct
lobbying (subject to more generous percentage limits) even though
communication is with the general public.

  1. Limitations

If all three of these elements are present, you have “Direct Lobbying.”  The rules  
for an organization which has made the section 501(h) election are as follows:

  1. The organization is allowed to spend up to 20% of its overall budget
    on direct lobbying without penalty.
    b. If more than 20%, but less than 30%, of the budget is spent on direct
    lobbying, there will be a penalty tax, but the 501(c)(3) status is not in
    jeopardy.
    c. If expenditures for direct lobbying average more than 30% of the
    organization’s overall expenditures over a four year period, the IRS can
    take away the 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

(Caution! If the organization’s budget exceeds $500,000 per year, these
“safe harbor” percentages are reduced!)

III. Recordkeeping

  1. Keep track of the total amount spent directly for this kind of lobbying – long distance phone calls, postage, travel, payments to lobbyists.b. Paid employees, if any, should keep logs to determine the percentage of their salaries and benefits to be allocated to lobbying.c. Arrive at a reasonable method for allocating overhead and similar costs to the lobbying activity.

Considering that the ALEC organization exists solely for the representation of groups and even development of favorable legislation for them with the goal of influencing legislators voting decisions, it appears that they clearly qualify as a lobbying group.  Why hasn’t the federal government revoked their tax-free status, fined them and make them pay back the money they have taken from the taxpayer?  Continue with the video from Undercurrent below on this topic:

Thanks to Matt at NH Labor News

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So Why Isn’t the NRA Supporting This Open-Carry Group?

Humm.  Now what do you think might be different about this group, the Huey P. Newton Gun Club as opposed to the traditional hunt club/country boy NRA affiliated gun groups?

We don’t want to cause any readers the temptation to draw conclusions, but also consider that the mainstream media covers open carry protests that have people that look a lot different than these folks.

In addition we’d like readers to consider the differences in rhetoric between the traditional NRA related groups (and the NRA itself), these groups speak about policing their own communities, they speak about protecting themselves against police violence.  Why not the same kind of talk about the mythical ‘other’ that the traditional gun crowd likes to talk about? You know, the violent thugs that invade pristine communities and threaten the women and children.  Again, we see a stark difference; one talks about protecting their community from establishment while the other talks about protecting themselves “in their homes” (a favorite phrase reflecting a culture of individualism) against those outsiders (reflecting also acceptance of a desire to preserve socially segregated communities).

It serves well to note who’s nervous in what setting.  While police have repeatedly been shown being respectful some citizens that open carry, even when they may potentially threaten the public safety, it doesn’t take much for cops to get real jumpy about the wrong people and some perceived threat these wrong people pose to their person.

Contemplate.

Black Open Carry Protesters Are Marching On Capitol Against Police Brutality

From counter current news, link to story at bottom

capitol-march-huey-p-newton

They call themselves the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, named after the co-founder of the Black Panther Party For Self Defense. Like the defunct organization which called for reform of community policing, demanding that police come from the neighborhoods they serve, the Huey P. Newton Gun Club says they are marching “to promote self-defense and community policing” in response to the recent high profile stories about police shooting unarmed African Americans across the country.

To the protesters, “community policing” is more than just a word. Communities should be protected by members of the community, and held accountable. Ironically this was the original vision for community policing, articulated in 1812 by Sir Robert Peel. That’s right, it may surprise many to discover that our communities have only had police as we know them for a little over 200 years. Even then, it took a little while for Peel’s concept of police forces to make its way to the United States. Since then it has become a norm that many cannot imagine a time before.

In Texas, the Huey P. Newton Gun Club are following in the footsteps of Newton, who was a law major, striving to stay within the bounds of legality. Though the historical Black Panthers had a notable slip-up which led to then Governor Ronald Reagan signing the Mulford Act which prohibited carrying loaded guns in public space. The goal of the Panthers, as they explained it, was to assert the rights of the people to defend themselves against corrupt police, within the bounds of the law. The Huey P. Newton Gun Club says that’s exactly what they are doing today with their open carry protests.

Police have kept a close eye on the protesters, while also trying to keep their distance. One officer we talked to said “there’s really nothing we can do about it. Open carry protests are not against the law.”

Others refused to comment.

For rest of story visit Countercurrentnews

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Jade Helm 15 Coming to New Hampshire! Crap Your Pants eh.. Get Under the Bed Pronto!

h/t: Tim and Jan

As Tucker reports on his site Miscellany Blue the local New Hampshire wingnuttia has spun itself into a frenzy over someone’s sighting of a tank in Nashua.  This to them, offers proof that the dear citizens of Nashua and most likely those beyond may soon find themselves hauled off to FEMA camps no doubt hidden in any wooded areas nearby — or possibly in the gulags of nearby “self proclaimed SOCIALIST!” Bernie supporters.  Gulags of socialist oppression we’re sure where they’ll be forced to eat vegan foods, offered a hit of the best weed, some nice cold micro-brew and a yoga session before being set free with well wishes and invites to return.

Here’s Tucker’s story:

Jade Helm 15 update: ‘Tanks massing in New Hampshire’

image
(Photos: thecommonsenseshow.com)

The Obama administration to preparing to invade Texas, declare martial law and wage war on the American people.

If you missed that news, you haven’t been paying attention to conservative talk radio and Internet conspiracy sites. Fortunately, Jack Kimball is paying attention. The former state GOP chair and Ted Cruz advance man has been keeping his followers updated about the impending military takeover on Facebook.

Kimball first warned his supporters in March. “Wake up America! Operation Jade Helm 15 (look it up) has now expanded to 10 States,” he wrote, with a link to an Alex Jones InfoWars video.

Jade Helm 15 is a two-month long military training exercise scheduled for this fall in which American special operations forces will conduct counterinsurgency war games.

Conspiracy buffs grew suspicious when they discovered a Defense Department planning document for the exercise that labeled Texas and Utah as hostile territory. They noted those conservative states were depicted in red while states friendlier to the president were colored blue.

As Matt Yglesias writes, “The Pentagon’s official line is that they are not planning a takeover, but again, that’s what you would expect them to say.”

Kimball doesn’t buy it. “Jade Helm 15 just got worse! Pleeeeeese wake up America!” he implored earlier this month. “Massive movement of Military equipment across the US continues,” he warned.

For the rest of the story including some video visit Miscellany Blue

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ACTION ALERT: SAVE IMPORTANT MOUNT SUNAPEE FORESTS AND TRAILS!

urgentAfter a nearly seven year battle the Mount Sunapee ski resort in Newport, New Hampshire is inching very close to approval for an expansion that will wipe out important old-growth forests and related wildlife and important hiking trails in the area.

Your action is needed now to stop what will amount to a complete decimation of one half of Mount Sunapee’s forest area by the resort adding an entirely new skiing area complete with a base lodge, a new lift, new trails, a parking lot and even plans to approve the building of condos.

From the Sierra Club email correspondence:

Take Action Now

Mt. Sunapee State Park is the jewel in the crown of New Hampshire’s State Park system where people can explore, enjoy, and protect the natural wonders of our forests. The nearby Pillsbury-Sunapee Highlands Corridor connects the park with over 30,000 acres the Sierra Club included as one of the 52 exceptional wild places in the country. The park, however, may change forever.

black bear cub

Send a letter to protect Mt Sunapee State Park.

The NH Dept. of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) has drafted a decision that will allow ski expansion into an area designated by the NH Natural Heritage Bureau as an exemplary natural forest with trees over 150 years old. The proposed ski lift and trails would bisect the area despite its “high ecological value” and rarity. Further, the proposal will disrupt the Summit Trail in several places.

The public comment period ends on June 5th – send your letter today!

A group Friends of Mount Sunapee along with the New Hampshire Sierra Club have diligently and determinedly fought this battle but now they need your help!  The state commissioner for the New Hampshire park system has the power to either approve or disapprove this deal.  Commissioner Rose has given a temporary approval of the expansion but he has allowed for a comment period to hear from concerned citizens.

Friends of Mount Sunapee Change.org petition: Protect Mount Sunapee State Park: Say ‘No’ to Private Resort Expansion

Everyone can comment, you don’t have to be a New Hampshire citizen just someone who is concerned about human destruction of precious forests and habitat.  Mount Sunapee Resort has had a long campaign of pressuring employees and their “guests” (customers) to put in their comments, so we need plenty of concerned folks to chime in as well.

Please read go to the link of the Friends of Mount Sunapee website or at the Sierra Club website petition page and put in your comments.  NOTE: YOU MUST PUT “I OPPOSE” OR SIMILAR VERBIAGE IN THE BEGINNING OF YOUR FIRST SENTENCE OR YOUR COMMENT WILL BE DISCARDED OR COUNTED AS SUPPORTING — THESE ARE CONSIDERED AND COUNTED LIKE BALLOTS. 

The commissioner will be counting the pro and the con ballots and this will have some weight on whether he decides to approve this expansion.  There exist many reasons why this should not be approved, please read up!

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The War on Women Starting Up Again

As we look to the national front, it appears that the aptly tagged “war on women” is starting in full swing again.  Scott Walker has thrown his hat into the presidential ring and what better way to start out than to make his mandatory pledge to hate women.  As reported by TPM, Walker thinks that requiring women to undergo an ultra sound is “just a cool thing“.

Of course Walker openly admits that the required procedure would be to shame women into changing their minds about terminating their pregnancy, mostly based on the fictitious idea that a fetus is in fact equivalent to a fully term, birthed baby, “We just knew if we signed that law, if we provided the information, that more people if they saw that unborn child would make a decision to protect and keep the life of that unborn child,” Walker said.  Again, Walker has no problem with using state force to coerce a woman in a decision that if they were “liberty minded” as the GOP recently seems to claim they are, would be between the woman and her doctor and not the state.

walker signs bill  we now have control of your body

Also, its important to note that Walker completely overlooks the controversy sparked by some state GOP legislators, particularly in Virginia, who proposed that women considering abortions be forced to undergo a vaginal ultrasound.  Thanks to the statesman in Virginia when the word “ultrasound” is mixed with “vaginal” and especially “state mandated” the hair on the back of the necks of most women begins to rise.  The vaginal ultrasound reminds one that legislators have no problem with state sanctioned rape and its apparent that Walker has no problem with state sanctioned shaming either.

Oh but wait hold the presses, we have found information from our friends in Wisconsin via Blue Cheddar that Walker did in fact support a bill for forced “transvaginal” ultrasounds, then known as SB 206 in Wisconsin in 2013.

But, its not just Walker that’s stepped up to show his chivalry towards the ladees.  While some GOP pols like to focus on what ladees do with their ladyee parts, Jeb keeps it simple and focuses on how we ladees live our lives.  Such as in Jeb Bush’s statement about women and “traditional marriage’ recently.  Bush refers to the gay marriage issue up front but his position on shaming single mothers and pressuring them to stay in abusive or otherwise unacceptable marriages, or we suspect, using her magic powers to keep a wondering man home says,

If we want to create a right to rise society, where people – particularly children born in poverty, if we want to have them have a chance…we have to restore committed, loving family life with a mom and dad loving their children with their heart and soul.

How can you not get behind that? At least the “committed, loving family life” part.  Just that Jeb has a very narrow view of marital relationships and of relationships in general.  Lack of exposure to how regular people live their lives seems a problem that runs in the Bush family and may contribute to his 19th century views.

But what about women and children who did all they could but were abandoned or had to leave the household with just the shirts on their backs to escape abuse?  Back in 1994 during the halcyon days of welfare reform when all a good candidate had to do was commit to some good old slut shaming, Jeb was reported to have not missed the opportunity himself:

During his 1994 run, he made welfare a main issue in his campaign, vowing to get tough on recipients of public assistance–even if it meant, he said at one point, having the state take away the children of parents who were too lazy to find a job. At event after event, Jeb talked about the welfare mom who, given all the various freebies available to her like Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Medicaid and so forth, was pulling down an extravagant $15,000 a year in benefits.
Source: America’s Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p. 13 , Feb 15, 2007
and another reports:

His appearances became revival meetings.and as he went from country club to country club telling stories about [welfare fraud] to his all-white audiences they would shake their heads along with him, conjuring up their own image of what the lazy welfare mother looked like, and the color of her skin.” During his campaign Bush openly espoused a conservative “constrain the beast” philosophy toward government. He proposed to dismantle the State Department of Education and to refuse federal money for welfare. He would have forced mothers and children off welfare after 2 years, with no provision for job training or child care beyond the small amount available at the time.”Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p. ÿ6 , Dec 11, 2009

Then there’s the re-entry of Republican Rick Santorum, from Pennsylvania.  Rick made himself famous in last election bids for his seeming endless obsession with people’s sexual habits.  So much that his name even became related to a not-so-sexy part of a sex act.  His extreme views on abortion — that any termination of a pregnancy is murder are well publicized.  See On the Issues for a good summary of where all the candidates stand on issues that effect women’s liberty and future, from reproductive rights to assistance in times of poverty.

And then there’s the media.  The conservative internet news onslaught on Planned Parenthood.  Look up keywords “Planned Parenthood News” what comes up? On one of our users computers (and possibly because of doing research on conservative politicians?), what did come up were reams of christian-fundie propaganda against planned parenthood.  One of the most outrageous:

On the top of the list is a story from a site called “mrc Newsbusters” that has the tagline “Exposing and Combatting Liberal Media Bias” about a teen actress that testified about how planned parenthood saved her from an unplanned pregnancy.  The story goes on but ends with a paragraph stating:

While Whitman’s writing appeared genuine, Teen Vogue didn’t address concerns about Planned Parenthood regarding teens – concerns from how the taxpayer-funded abortion giant teaches teens “there’s nothing bad or unhealthy about having a big number of sexual partners” to instructing them in BDSM, including whipping and tree-tying.

Just for disclosure, the words “teaches” and “instructing” linked back to other supposedly damning proofs that PP is up to no good.  We’re not interested in linking the site seeing as how this story alone pretty much sums up their breathless projection.

Also, warriors can’t be warriors unless they also attack the young and no better proof of this applies than this very recent story of a young teen girl punished by having her honor society distinction removed because of her “inappropriate dress” in school year book pictures.  She had on a strappy sun dress.  So the school thought it appropriate to shame her and also remove her earned reward for her diligence toward her studies.  The message to girls with this kind of prioritizing? ‘Your value lies in how you look.’ and most importantly, that her subordination to male authority is more important than her intellectual achievement or her own future.   Stories like these rise up all too often, this girl’s is not an isolated case.  Couple that with cuts across the nation in state legislators of domestic violence funding and restrictions on sex education and you have a mixed bag of multi-faceted attacks on women’s personal sovereignty.

We urge our readers to visit the real Planned Parenthood US Newsroom site for real information on the continued full-fledge attack on women’s rights or visit Planned Parenthood Local for news on the New Hampshire front.  Keep on top of the rhetoric against women’s rights because its coming on strong already and most likely will only grow as the election heats up.

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Senator Warren Says Independent Contractors “Might” be a Problem

A report from The Hill shows Elizabeth Warren being cautious and careful after answering a question about the proliferation of independent contractors, otherwise known as “1099 employees” (an oxymoron if there ever was one) across the country.   As The Hill reports:

The topic came up during an on stage appearance at a conference produced by news organization Re/Code, when a BuzzFeed News reporter asked whether “1099” workers, named after the tax form they fill out as contractors, should instead be seen as more traditional workers for the many startups that rely on their labor.

Warren didn’t answer, but she did express concern about the way companies in general are using their contractors.

“I think there is evidence that increasingly employers use independent contractors not in ways that were originally intended but in ways that permit them to treat employment laws differently than they otherwise would be responsible for, and I think that’s a real problem,” she said. “And I think the Department of Labor is looking into this and I think they’re right to do that.”

It was not clear what Department of Labor investigation she was referring to, though the agency does run investigations into whether employers are misclassifying their employees as contractors.

The facts show though that Warren should have no hesitation to call out what has become a major economic problem across the country.  While Republicans claim that the social security system might fall short in the future what they fail to explain is the only way in which that could happen; through lack of current pay-ins to the system because workers and employers across the country have failed to pay into the system.

whatever 011

Picture of a NH UBC banner line conducted last year in Seabrook shaming a large tri-state drywall firm for their labor practices. See more at: Carpenters Get Hot on Cheating Contractors

Social security, workers compensation and payroll taxes all fall under protections given to the workers that employees and employers jointly pay into.  All of these programs act as insurance against lost time due to work injuries, lay off periods and a savings program to offer some means of subsistence when either one suffers disabling injury or is too old to work.  While the last two social security programs fall under different lines of qualification and management, the fact remains that their intention was to protect workers and the disabled from abject poverty.

Under federal labor law certain criteria exist to judge a worker as an independent contractor or as an employee. Unfortunately many workers do not know their rights and believe what unscrupulous employers tell them.  This isn’t anymore prevalent than in the construction trades where according to a study done by the National Employment Law Project, estimates place misclassification as high as 30% across the board in all employment.

In New Hampshire the issue is particularly contentious as labor leaders such as the United Brotherhood of Carpenter’s Joe Donahue struggles with the issue in the construction field as profiled in this 2014 report by New Hampshire Business Review.  In the report Donahue and others point to the confusion about employee classification due to conflicting and confusing regulations on the federal and state level.  Unfortunately the September 2014 summary of the New Hampshire Join Agency Task Force on Employee Misclassification Enforcement isn’t naming any significant increases in enforcement over years past.

In addition to construction other industries seem rife for misclassfication issues as well including hotel workers, IT workers, landscape and others that typically operate out of the public eye and under the supervision of smaller, employers that have sub-contractor relationships with larger, more public companies.

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Governor Hummer Still a Bummer

susanthebruce takes out her sharp pen again and takes a stab at the weakly and lying position of Planet Fitness owners, coming to the state house to have a public cry-fest over their responsibility to pay their fair share of taxes.

Susan’s reference to “Governor Hummer” comes also from one-term (first in 78 years) Governor Craig Benson‘s proud and open use of a bright yellow Hummer SUV during his service as Governor and a time (early to mid 2000’s) when fuel prices were spiking. People noted at the time also proud insistence on driving the highways at 75 miles an hour in the 5-7 mpg vehicles commonly referred to in popular lexicon as Penis Extenders.

Onto susanthebruce:

The NH Senate has decided that the best thing we can do for our economy is to slash state spending on infrastructure and education, then give tax cuts to business.

Today in a Senate hearing:

NH1

Planet Fitness officials say they will move their headquarters out of state to avoid paying high taxes when they go public.
Senate Republican leaders today propose and a panel endorsed a tax break for any firm in the same position.
The change would exempt the ownership of a limited business partnership from having to pay taxes on profits from the sale of shares made when it took the company public.
Backing the Planet Fitness bid at a public hearing on the tax break was former Gov. Craig Benson.
Benson failed to mention he had served on the company’s board and recently was described in published reports as “one of the leading Planet Fitness Club owners.”
Craig Benson was so unpopular and corrupt during his only 2-year term that he failed to be reelected.
This is a guy who had brilliant ideas like closing down the notches in winter, so that we wouldn’t spend so much on plowing. That those are the ONLY access roads to the north didn’t seem occur to him. He got stuck in traffic one day, so he shut down the Hampton toll booth. He illegally dredged in front of his oceanfront house in Rye.
For a Republican governor not to get a second term in NH is telling.
Senate President Chuck Morse says any elected leaders should be responsive to this request.
“Any citizen who called and said they were moving 500 jobs to another state, myself, the governor, the speaker would have reacted,’’ Morse said.
The CEO of Planet Fitness is threatening to move his HEADQUARTERS out of state. It seems unlikely that 500 people work at the headquarters.
The state of NH should not negotiate with hostage takers. Tell Governor Hummer he’s still a bummer.
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Bernie Sanders is no Eugene Debs

From the Socialist Worker, May 26

by Howie Hawkins

Howie Hawkins is a veteran activist, working Teamster and leader of the Green Party nationally and in his home state of New York. Last November, his campaign for governor against incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo won 200,000 votes, nearly 5 percent of the total–the most successful left-wing independent campaign in New York in more than 50 years.

Here, Hawkins contributes to the discussion on the left about the Bernie Sanders campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Bernie Sanders is no Eugene V. Debs

BERNIE SANDERS’ entry into the Democratic presidential primaries should be seen as his final decisive step away from the democratic socialism he professes to support. He will raise some progressive demands in the primaries and then endorse the corporate Democrat, Hillary Clinton. Nothing changes.

Sanders is violating the first principle of socialist politics: class independence. The socialist movement learned that principle long ago when the business classes sold out the workers in the democratic revolutions of 1848 that swept across Europe and parts of Latin America.

Drawing out the lesson from these failed revolutions that the middle-class proprietors and professionals could not be trusted as allies of the workers in the battle for democracy and workers rights, Karl Marx told exiled German revolutionaries in London in 1850 that the workers needed to form their own party to look out for their own interests:

Even where there is no prospect whatsoever of them being elected, the workers must put up their own candidates in order to preserve their independence, to count their forces and to bring before the public their own revolutionary attitude and party standpoint. In this connection, they must not allow themselves to be seduced by such arguments as, for example, that by so doing they are splitting the Democratic Party and making it possible for the reactionaries to win. The ultimate intention of all such phrases is to dupe the proletariat. The advance which the proletarian party is bound to make by such independent action is infinitely more important than the disadvantages that might be incurred by the presence of a few reactionaries in the representative body.

The Democratic Party that Marx was referring to in his 1850 speech was the most pro-democracy of the German parties based in the business and professional classes, which were fighting for universal suffrage against the ruling feudal landed aristocracy, but stopped fighting for workers’ rights once propertied men had the vote. But the argument applies just as well to the Democratic Party in the U.S. today–a party that poses as the champion of working people, but serves business interests.

Sanders has now gone into coalition with the billionaire class he professes to oppose and that finances the Democratic party. Sanders won’t see the billionaire’s money. But he has made it crystal clear that he will support their candidates by promising to support the winner of the Democratic presidential nomination.

Continue reading at: Bernie Sanders is No Eugene Debs

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