Jul 21

Marilinda Garcia and the billionaires

Political fundraising is a demeaning exercise under the best of circumstances, but it must have been particularly humiliating for Marilinda Garcia when she went looking for handouts from some of the nation’s richest men during the Koch brothers’ secret billionaire summit last month.

Two enterprising inewsource reporters infiltrated the exclusive St. Regis Monarch Bay resort in Dana Point, California and got an insider’s view of the mega-donor conference. As Garcia, a young Latina running for Congress in New Hampshire’s second congressional district, was likely making her way to the luxury resort, the journalists eavesdropped on attendees hanging out in the hotel bar:

They talked about political prospects, and one man remarked that he liked “Herrera,” possibly a reference to Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represents Washington’s 3rd congressional district.

“You’re into Latinos, eh?” the other replied.

The man who said he liked Herrera talked about working on Rick Santorum’s campaign, and how it was the “Tylenol quote” that killed Santorum’s chances in the 2012 Republican primary. Foster Friess, one of Santorum’s most prominent backers, told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell “back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly,” he said.

They talked about how things said in private would sound terrible in public.

“My wife is a spik, I call her a wetback sometimes,” one man said, laughing.

Jul 20

Garcia taps Koch brothers’ million dollar donor club

Marilinda Garcia by Gage Skidmore, on Flickr

Image: Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0 

When a consulting firm with deep ties to the Koch brothers picked Marilinda Garcia as its first client, they promised to market her to the Koch brothers’ “exclusive fundraising network.” Those connections are now paying off for Garcia.

Garcia’s campaign manager Tom Szold confirmed she was a guest at the Koch brothers’ secret billionaire summit last month in California. “These folks know how to create jobs and nothing is more important to the citizens of New Hampshire than creating jobs,” he told Kathleen Ronayne (presumably with a straight face).

In addition to receiving matching $2600 donations from David Koch and the Koch Industries political action committee, Garcia’s latest FEC filing shows she has pulled in thousands of dollars in contributions from members of the Koch brothers’ “million-dollar donor club" — individuals singled out by Charles Koch as having donated over $1 million to right-wing causes:

Leslie, Marvin and Richard Gilliam ($13,000). Richard Gilliam founded one of the nation’s largest private coal mining companies before selling it to Massey Energy for nearly $1 billion in 2010. The Center for Responsive Politics reported he and his wife donated over $1.2 million to federal candidates in the 2012 election cycle.

Richard DeVos ($2000). Forbes reports Devos, the cofounder of Amway and owner of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, is worth $7.3 billion. Since 1970, Mother Jones reports DeVos family members have donated at least $200 million to dozens of right-wing groups including anti-gay organizations. DeVos has come under fire for his comments opposing marriage equality.

Foster Friess ($1000). Friess, the primary donor to the Super PAC backing Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential bid, is one of Wyoming’s richest men. He made headlines during the campaign when he brushed off concerns about contraception saying, “You know, back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”

Jul 18

Quiz: What makes James Pindell blush?

In his Political Standing column this week, WMUR.com political director James Pindell wrote, “Before this past week, when was the last time you blushed when you read about people in New Hampshire politics?” Pindell was referring to:

_____ 1. A sexting scandal involving explicit Facebook messages from conservative radio host Rich Girard?

_____ 2. Explicit allegations accusing state Senate candidate Rep. George Lambert (R-Litchfield) of sexual misconduct?

_____ 3. A racy anti-Scott Brown video by Lady Parts Justice that gave a whole new meaning to the term “carpetbagger?”

_____ 4. All of the above.image

GOP lawmaker responds to Ukraine crash by accusing president of not caring about U.S.

Obama & Reagan by isriya, on Flickr

Image: isriya / CC BY-NC 2.0 

Just hours after Malaysian Air Flight 17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine, state House Rep. Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro) was on Facebook mocking the President’s response:

"What a marked difference between Obama’s reaction to the Malaysia jet being shot down (brief statement then jokes) and the 1983 Reagan handling of the Korean airliner shot down by the Russians," he wrote. "We need a leader who believes in and cares about this country.”

Cordelli, a GOPAC 2014 Emerging Leader, linked to a FoxNews video in which host Megyn Kelly praised Reagan’s 1983 speech (delivered four days after the Korean airliner was shot down) and described the President’s response as, “Wow, what a tragedy. I’m outta here.”

Writing in the Washington Post, Andrew Rudalevige provides the historical context. “[I]t is worth recalling that Reagan’s own response in 1983 did not get good reviews from the Fox News of the day,” he wrote:

True, the president’s nationally televised address on Sept. 5 was full of strong rhetorical condemnation: Reagan called the Soviet action “monstrous,” “murderous,” and “born of a society which wantonly disregards individual rights and the value of human life.”

But little action followed. Reagan demanded an apology to the world and continued a number of sanctions — but he decided not to end grain sales to the USSR or to suspend arms control talks. … The Manchester Union-Leader editorialized that “if someone had told us three years ago that the Russians could blow a civilian airliner out of the skies – and not face one whit of retaliation from a Ronald Reagan administration, we would have called that crazy. It is crazy. It is insane. It is exactly what happened.”

In which Bill O’Brien receives a succinct reply

Push the RED button AGAINST Right to Work for Less by Protect NH Families, on Flickr

Image: Protect NH Families / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

"Last night I sent out an invitation to a luncheon and presentation this upcoming Thursday on Right to Work," notes former state House Speaker Bill O’Brien on his Facebook page. “I probably should have mentioned that RSVPs aren’t necessary if invitees aren’t attending.”

from: Bruce Toker <btoker@myfairpoint.net>
to: William O’Brien <williamlobrien@gmail.com>
date: Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 7:03 AM
subject: Re: Pre-notice of AFP Foundation / American for Tax Reform Invitation for Luncheon and Presentation on Right to Work

blow me

Jul 16

Lady Parts Justice (‘kicking politicians out of women’s vaginas since 2012’) takes on Scott Brown

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They’re bold, they’re profane, they’re funny. They’re Lady Parts Justice, a group that describes themselves as “the first not safe for work, rapid response reproductive rights messaging hub that uses comedy, culture and digital media to get people off their asses and reclaim their rights.”

Led by Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show, LPJ is using comedy to reshape the narrative on reproductive rights — and to serve as a catalyst for activism. “Women need to put their foot down, their uterus down, and take to the street,” Winstead told Elle.

Yesterday, the group launched an interactive web site highlighting threats to reproductive rights in each of the 50 states. The “five terrible things” about New Hampshire include state House Rep. Jeanine Notter’s claim that birth control causes prostate cancer and Rep. Peter Hansen referring to women as “vagina’s” [sic].

And then there’s the video (NSFW):

Guardian reporter goes in search of Scott Brown, Brown takes shelter in the bathroom

Sen. Scott Brown by lukexmartin, on Flickr

Image: Luke X. Martin / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In an attempt to clarify Scott Brown’s position on the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, the Washington correspondent for the Guardian joined him on the campaign trail:

I found Brown at a table at a restaurant called Priscilla’s, introduced myself as a Guardian reporter and enquired if I could ask him some questions. Brown smiled nervously and replied: “What do you want to ask me about?”

"Hobby Lobby? That would be a start," I said.

“I’m all set,” he replied. “We’re enjoying ourselves right now.”

“But you’re standing for Senate. It is routine for journalists to ask you questions and usually the candidates answer.”

“Not without notifying my office.”

Brown stood up, walked to the back of the diner, and took shelter in the bathroom.

Brown’s reluctance to embrace the Hobby Lobby decision is curious. As a senator, Brown supported legislation that would have would have gone even further, by allowing any employer to refuse to cover any kind of health care service based on “religious belief or moral conviction.’’

"Remember the Blunt Amendment?" Brown recently asked pro-life blogger Ellen Kolb. "I voted for it. That cost me the election [in Massachusetts] and I’d support it again.”

Jul 14

Foster’s snarky editorial more ironic than intended

Las Vegas skyline at night by justin fain, on Flickr

Image: justin fain / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 

Fosters recently published a snarky editorial, titled “A Touch of Irony,” which noted the 9th International Conference on Climate Change was to be held in Las Vegas, “home of opulence and overused resources:”

It seems incongruous that conventioneers would gather in a place so anathema to their cause.

For climate change believers this is one of the last places in which you would expect them to gather.

But then Al Gore, patron saint of the climate change movement, lives in a mansion and flies in a jet, which contribute to global warming.

So, go figure.

The title “was apter than you intended,” replied state House Rep. Timothy Horrigan (D-Durham) in a letter to the editor:

Ironically, this conference’s title was much less apt than your editorial’s headline. The so-called “9th International Conference on Climate Change” is in fact an annual gathering of climate change deniers sponsored by the ultraconservative Heartland Institute.

In all fairness to your editorial writer, there is another annual event with the same name which is indeed a gathering of mainstream climate scientists. The “6th International Conference on Climate Change” was however held June 27-28, 2014 at the University of Iceland, in Reykjavik, Iceland — not in Las Vegas.

NRA signals N.H. legislative agenda: MOAR GUNZ!

In its 2014 questionnaire to New Hampshire legislative candidates, the National Rifle Association signals its legislative agenda for the next term.

The questionnaire, which will be used to determine the candidate’s NRA rating, first asks about legislation the NRA opposes, including universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons. Candidates are then asked if they will support a series of legislative proposals which include making it easier to obtain a fully automatic firearm and repealing the license requirement for concealed carry:

Would you support state legislation to repeal the state background check system for handguns, which is costly, unnecessary and requires the same criminal background check as NICS, and instead use NICS for transfers of both long guns and handguns?

Would you support legislation that would lower New Hampshire’s concealed carry application age from 21 to 18?

Would you support legislation that would — without diminishing the enforceability of any other firearms laws concerning prohibited persons, prohibited places, or prohibited conduct — treat open and concealed carriers alike by repealing the license requirement for the carrying of a concealed firearm?

Would you support repealing the state licensing requirement for Federal Firearm License (FFL) holders, who must already comply with federal firearm requirements?

Would you support “Employee Protection” legislation that would allow law-abiding citizens to keep lawfully transported firearms locked in their personal vehicles while they are parked in a location they are permitted to be?

Would you support legislation requiring law enforcement departments to auction or sell their confiscated sporting and self-defense arms to FFL dealers [rather than destroy them]?

Would you support state legislation that would make [the process of acquiring an NFA-regulated item, such as a firearm sound suppressor or fully automatic firearm] more objective by requiring [chief local law enforcement officers] to sign such forms if the applicant if not otherwise prohibited from obtaining an NFA item.

Would you support “No-Net-Loss” legislation in New Hampshire [which requires that if an area currently open to public hunting is closed to the public, the same number of acres of public land must be opened to hunting elsewhere]?image

Jul 11

GOP lawmaker hits Tea Party ‘wing nut element,’ calls Marilinda Garcia ‘Michele Bachmann’s twin’

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Image: facebook.com

State House Rep. Bob Elliott doesn’t think much of Second District congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia — or her supporters.

The Salem Republican, who has endorsed former state Sen. Gary Lambert, shared his thoughts after this week’s WMUR Granite State Poll came out. “Poll also shows Kuster beating Garcia by 14 points… Kuster is ahead of Lambert by only nine. He’s gaining points, Garcia is losing points,” Elliott wrote on Facebook.

"And Kuster hasn’t even started on Garcia’s extremism yet with Libertarians, and Free Staters as her supporters, not to mention the ‘wing nut’ element of the Tea Party," he continued. "It’s deja vu all over again (as Yogi Berra would say), with Michelle Bachman’s twin. Go Gary, Go!!!"

Havenstein to Tea Party: Drop dead

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Image: youtube.com

The war of words between conservative activists and GOP party regulars escalated this week as Walt Havenstein, the party establishment’s choice to take on Gov. Maggie Hassan, refused to apologize for referring to Tea Party activists as “teabaggers.”

A video clip of Havenstein’s original comments, which he made during a 2010 talk at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business, was posted on YouTube last week. In it, Havenstein tells the group, “We’ve got a lot of problems in this country. The teabaggers, or whatever they are, they’ve been telling us that all summer long.”

Early Tea Party activists embraced the “teabagging" double-entendre, urging protesters to “Tea Bag the White House” and to “Tea Bag the Liberal Dems Before They Tea Bag You.” However, by late 2010 when Havenstein made his comments, most Tea Partiers regarded it as a derogatory epithet.

In a gathering with the Belknap County Republican Committee on Wednesday, GraniteGrok’s Skip Murphy asked Havenstein for a public apology. "No," replied Havenstein.

"I did not know the nature of that word at the time I used it," he explained. "It was a poor choice, not because I didn’t know, it was a poor choice because it was inappropriate, not for the context of my talk."

"Frankly," he continued, "I was giving credit to the Tea Party in that talk for the extraordinary changes that were about to come as a result of the election that had happened the day before. And if you look at the full context of my remarks, that’s what I was talking about," Havenstein said. "So for me to apologize for something I had no contextual reference for is inappropriate and I won’t do that."

It’s not the first time the party’s Tea Party activists and party regulars have clashed. In November, GOP National Committeeman Steve Duprey referred to the “far right fringe of the Tea Party” as “flat earth believers" at a state party executive committee meeting.

Video: John Stark

Jul 08

A closer look at the 2012 N.H. House vote

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In an email to Republican House candidates, former Speaker Bill O’Brien boasted House Republicans “outperformed all other offices above us on the ballot” in the 2012 election.

"In the aggregate, of all the discrete New Hampshire Republican election campaigns in 2012 – House Republicans, Senate Republicans, Republican candidates for Congress and the Republican nominees for President and Governor — House Republicans achieved the highest percentage of votes," he wrote.

New Hampshire’s multi-member districts and overlapping floterial districts make meaningful comparisons difficult. Simply adding up the total vote, as O’Brien suggests, doesn’t offer much insight. That count is skewed by votes from large multi-member districts in Republican-dominated towns in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties.

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