Every Labor Day, a holiday created by the labor movement to honor workers and highlight the need for labor reform laws, anti-union politicians pretend to support the rights of American workers with generalized platitudes about the economy and jobs.
This year, Republican state Senate candidate JP Marzullo went even further and chose the holiday as a day to attack labor unions and declare “true Right to Work the meaning of Labor Day:”
Labor unions are controversial, and with good reason. Many of them have been run as criminal enterprises, with deep connections to organized crime; many operate in a blatantly coercive and undemocratic fashion. Union demands and strong-arm tactics, while providing security and good wages to members, have crippled some American industries, and limited jobs as well.
Publicity for Unions come when one tries to protect a member who should be punished, (i.e. when the baseball players’ union fights suspensions for player insubordination, domestic violence or even drug use) or when school districts are afraid to fire incompetent teachers because of union power, or when the members of public unions protest cutbacks in benefits that their private sector counterparts would be grateful for. It is true that today’s unions often embody longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer’s observation that “Every great cause begins as a movement, degenerates into a business and ends up as a racket.”
The unionists who died fighting for our economic rights deserve better, writes Salon’s David Sirota:
Labor Day was not designed to be cast as an apolitical holiday that everyone should pretend they honor because they simply support the apolitical notion of work. The “labor” in Labor Day refers not to generic “work” but to organized labor — as in unions. That makes it a deeply political occasion celebrating the ideas of worker solidarity against corporate power and organizing for collective economic rights. It is a day, in other words, to honor what even President Ronald Reagan recognized: namely, that “the right to belong to a free trade union” is “one of the most elemental human rights” and that “where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.”
The editors of the Portsmouth Herald, who today endorsed Walt Havenstein in the Republican gubernatorial primary, were not impressed with his opponent Andrew Hemingway.
"Hemingway has launched some tech startup businesses but his biggest accomplishment in this state, chairing the Liberty Caucus’ efforts to elect Bill O’Brien as speaker of the House in 2010, is something we view as an extreme negative," they wrote.
"Hemingway also seems to lack maturity and during an editorial board meeting with the Portsmouth Herald displayed a level of rudeness and arrogance that reminded us of the reign of O’Brien," they continued. "He does not seem to have yet developed the diplomatic ability to work collaboratively with people whose point of view is different from his own."
Gov. Maggie Hassan put her political capital on the line to help broker a deal between warring Market Basket factions, says UMass Lowell business professor Scott Latham.
Latham told the Lowell Sun that she and Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick “deserve credit for sticking their necks out — to borrow a term used by Market Basket workers and customers in support of Arthur T. Demoulas.”
Other politicians shied away from the negotiations, Latham said, knowing the risk involved if negotiations fell through or produced results that angered the public.
Market Basket chairman Keith Cowan agreed. He said the governors’ involvement “made a significant difference” in the negotiations.
“Governor Patrick and Governor Hassan worked tirelessly and creatively to help shareholders find solutions that brought them together to reach agreement,” Cowan said in a statement. “The beneficiaries of their efforts are the 25,000 associates of Market Basket, its two million customers and all of the communities it serves.”
The 2012 Democratic wave swept many of the most ideological Republicans out of office in New Hampshire. A number of those lawmakers, who were defeated in 2012 or chose not to run for reelection, are on the ballot this year. Here are three of the most extreme who are attempting a comeback.
Jerry Bergevin (R-Manchester)
Jerry Bergevin made national headlines in 2012 when he claimed teaching the theory of evolution led to Nazi atrocities and the Columbine school shooting. The one-term Manchester Republican introduced legislation that would have required evolution to be taught as a theory “including the theorists’ political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism.”
"I want the full portrait of evolution and the people who came up with the ideas to be presented," he told the Concord Monitor. “It’s a worldview and it’s godless. Atheism has been tried in various societies, and they’ve been pretty criminal domestically and internationally. The Soviet Union, Cuba, the Nazis, China today: they don’t respect human rights. … Columbine, remember that? They were believers in evolution. That’s evidence right there,” he said.
Other bills sponsored by Bergevin included a resolution that would have urged Congress to amend the Internal Revenue Code to permit churches to engage in political campaigns; a bill that would have protected the right to discriminate against gay couples; and legislation that would have proclaimed March 31 of each year as a day to remember Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman who became a political football after she fell into a persistent vegetative state.
Bergevin is one of three Republicans vying for a seat in Hillsborough District 45, a two-member swing district (PVI: D+1) which includes Manchester Wards 10, 11 and 12.
David Bates (R-Windham)
David Bates is remembered most for “chasing homosexuals” (as Rep. Steve Vaillancourt described it). In 2011, Bates was the prime sponsor of legislation to repeal marriage equality in New Hampshire.
Bates argued same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue because homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. Bates told the Union Leader that “civil rights have to do with intrinsic qualities that a person just can’t change” such as race or gender. Homosexuality doesn’t meet that criterion, he said. “There’s no other example of any basis that we afford a civil right based upon a behavior or a preferential choice.”
As chairman of the House Election Law committee, Bates also supported “birther” legislation that would have required candidates to present their long-form birth certificates when filing to run in New Hampshire’s presidential primary. He told Talking Points Memo he couldn’t say for certain if the president was born in the United States. “I don’t know where the guy was born, I don’t care,” he said.
Bates is one of six Republicans competing for a seat in Rockingham District 7, a four-member overwhelmingly Republican district (PVI: R+15) in Windham.
Susan DeLemus (R-Rochester)
Susan DeLemus made national headlines when she disrupted a meeting of the Ballot Law Commission, which had ruled against an attempt by Orly Taitz to keep Pres. Obama off the ballot in the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary.
The Union Leader reported DeLemus and Rep. Henry Accornero (R-Laconia) were so aggressive that Assistant Attorney General Matt Mavrogeorge feared for his safety and retreated to a locked office where he called security.
"It just makes me want to throw up," DeLemus said of the commission’s decision. “Let’s just bury the Constitution now and have a funeral.”
Delemus recently accused the president of committing treason for authorizing a prisoner exchange to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. “Our entire federal government is completely lawless!!!” she wrote on Facebook. “None of them can be trusted and should be considered FEDERAL TERRORISTS!!! The fact that Impeachment and recalls are not on the table right now screams and reeks of corruption.”
Susan DeLemus is running against incumbent Democrat Anne Grassie in Rochester Ward 4, a Democratic-leaning district (Strafford District 11 PVI: D+3).
Data scientist Sam Wang, founder of the Princeton Election Consortium, has developed statistical methods to analyze U.S. presidential election polls with unusually high accuracy.
The associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton was not swayed by last week’s WMUR Granite State Poll, which declared Scott Brown and Jeanne Shaheen are in a “dead heat” for the U.S. Senate seat:
People. Please. If Jeanne Shaheen (D) loses to Scott Brown (R) in NH-Sen, I promise to eat a bug.— Sam Wang (@SamWangPhD)August 22, 2014
Update: Prof. Wang responds:
@miscellanyblue @NHGOP I’ll gladly give them even odds: a bug for a bug. They can even choose the bug that *someone* will eat.— Sam Wang (@SamWangPhD) August 27, 2014
Frank Guinta blames the recent influx of Central American migrants on a 2012 executive order by Pres. Obama that temporarily defers deportations for some migrants who entered the country as children — without mentioning the fact that the program only applies to those who have been living in the United States since 2007.
"The New York Times reported just late last week that almost 300,000 Central American migrants had been detained since April, which includes the more than 50,000 children, and that is because of an executive order issued by the president back in 2012," Guinta told radio host Jack Heath in a July 8, 2014 interview.
"President Obama issued a memorandum that’s enforced by the Department of Homeland Security which essentially says if you’re under the age of 31 but you came to this country before the age of 16, you can stay here for an additional two years," the 1st district congressional candidate continued.
"It’s called DACA, the deferred action for childhood arrivals program. So that is essentially amnesty for anyone who wants to come into the country that meets that simple age requirement," Guinta said.
As the Department of Homeland Security notes, “deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual, nor does it excuse any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.” To be eligible for consideration, applicants must have “continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007.”
Nevertheless, Guinta claimed “the immediate problem” will be resolved if the president rescinds DACA. He called the influx of migrants a “manufactured crisis.”
"There’s no coincidence that the president took this executive action and then all of a sudden we had double the amount of migrants coming over the border in the course of one year," Guinta said.
"I think they’re trying to force amnesty through executive fiat and then say, well now we need two billion dollars to take care of the people that are coming across the border," he said.
"So this is somewhat of a manufactured crisis from an executive order?" asked Heath.
"I think it is," replied Guinta.
The Nashua Telegraph today endorsed former state Sen. Gary Lambert in the 2nd congressional district GOP primary. Republicans “are fortunate to have three earnest, smart candidates,” they wrote, but Marilinda Garcia “would be our third choice in this race:”
Garcia, a state representative from Salem, has been called a rising star in the Republican Party, and she may yet emerge as the future of the state GOP, but we think a vote for Garcia would be a vote for something Washington has plenty of already — gridlock. […]
Garcia is bankrolled by the Koch brothers-wing of the party and would fit right in with the crew of tea-party Republicans who opted, less than a year ago, to shut down the government rather than raise the federal debt ceiling… .
At PorcFest last year, state House Rep. Mark Warden (R-Goffstown) had some advice for fellow Free Staters who were contemplating a run for political office. “We all suggest that you run in whichever party you’re more likely to get elected in that town,” he said. “Look at the voting numbers, look at the statistics, see what the voter advantage is on one side or the other and then start getting involved in that party.”
Now the shoe’s on the other foot.
In a letter to the editor published last week in The Goffstown News, Warden accused “big government apologists” of masquerading as Republicans in the race to represent Goffstown in the state House of Representatives. “This is blatant political cynicism and disrespect for the process,” he complained. "Sadly, these folks are exploiting the process by expediently running in the party where they have the best chance of winning, even though their ideology is firmly in the left-leaning camp."
h/t: Pam Manney
On his website, Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway says we should make literacy our first priority by rejecting national educational standards.
"When told, in a meeting with the Monitor’s editorial board, that in states with low standards a high school student who only reads at an elementary school level would nonetheless graduate, Hemingway said, ‘Who cares?' “
This situation illustrates two things very clearly. One: Government, by its very nature, is a treacherous beast which instinctively feeds on the liberty of its citizens. And two: It is high time that we begin a relentless quest to bring constitutional carry to New Hampshire.
— Douglas Habecker, Republican candidate for the state House of Representatives in Nashua, on changes to the state’s concealed-carry pistol license application.
In 2007, then chair of the New Hampshire GOP Fergus Cullen sowed the seeds for the party takeover by the folks he now disparages as “Tea Partiers, Ron Paul apostles and fringe figures.”
Hoping to put build a coalition to reverse Democratic gains in 2006, Cullen told Dave Weigel, “I’m excited by the fact that Ron Paul is turning on some libertarians and I hope they’ll want to get active in the Republican Party or support our Republican candidates.”
Fast forward to 2014 and Cullen now laments that the party has been overrun by an invasive species. In a Union Leader op-ed, he wrote, “Political parties have a responsibility to weed themselves of people who don’t represent their views, and primary season is the best time to do that.”
"Take the free staters," he wrote.
Former New Hampshire Republican Party chair Fergus Cullen caused quite a stir among New Hampshire libertarians this week when he called out Free Staters for “masquerading” as Republicans:
In recent years a growing handful of free staters have managed to get elected to the New Hampshire legislature through, shall we say, false pretenses. Some have masqueraded as a conventional Republican or cross-dressed as a mainstream Democrat, keeping their true views hidden from voters. Mall security guards call this sort of thing willful concealment.
Free State Project chair Aaron Day, who is leading an attempt to purge the party of undesirables, responded in kind:
In recent years a growing handful of establishment Republicans have managed to get elected to the state legislature through false pretenses. Some have masqueraded as fiscally conservative — signing pledges not to raise taxes and then immediately voting for bloated government spending once elected. They have hidden their true views from voters long enough.