(A differing opinion on the 9/9/14 Primary. - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)
Why All 2104 Republican Candidates (and you) Should Vote For Mark Fisher On 9/9/14
As we learned with Scott Brown's special election in 2010, there is a very large, untapped group of people who will come out and vote - but only when offered a candidate who staunchly opposes the left. Scott Brown's message of "41, the 41st vote against Obamacare" resonated throughout Massachusetts and attracted people to the polls - many of whom did not usually vote.
We also learned with Scott Brown's re-election bid, that most of those who rallied around the message of opposition will simply stay home when a candidate's message is that of being a moderate - even with name recognition and lots of money - it's simply the fact.
UPDATE: I've heard from Barbara Anderson that this take may not be right. in Real Estate school they teach you that the actual value of the house doesn't matter for taxes. That cities and towns just mess with the tax rate to keep the levy from rising more than the prop 2 1/2 amount it can rise. But Prop 2 1/2 also says that you can't levy more than 2.5% of the total property value, that would be a maximum tax rate of $25/$1000 valuation. In Springfield, Chicopee, and Holyoke where many homes go for way under $100,000 that means tax bills of under $2,500. Which may not be able to run the city.
First Martha Coakley didn't know what the gas tax was. Now, from "trickleup" at Blue Mass Group we find out that Martha Coakley doesn't even know how the property tax system in Massachusetts works.
I tuned into the debate late so I did not hear the question, which I gather was about the economy.
Coakley set up her reply by referring to Wall Street "gambling" with our money, with the result that many lost their homes and homes lost value. Deft enough way to claim some Elizabeth Warren cred, and kudos to the team that prepped her. But then she said,
Cities and town are suffering from a lower return on their property taxes because of that.
This is fundamentally wrong and suggests that the likely next Governor of the Commonwealth is ignorant of perhaps the most basic fiscal fact of state government.*
Local property-tax revenues do not rise and fall with property values. If property values appreciate, the tax rate declines. If the values drop, the tax rate grows.
Cities and towns are where the Commonwealth delivers most of its services, including schools, sanitation, and protection from crime and fire. Each municipality in Massachusetts is responsible for executing important state programs and mandates.
It boggles my mind that any serious candidate for governor, let alone the frontrunner, could be so completely wrong about how those services are paid for.
We are not talking about fiscal minutia but about the heart muscle of Massachusetts. And she is exactly wrong.
I do not want Charlie Baker to make mincemeat of Martha Coakley, but I cannot escape the feeling that if he does it will be justified.
Our good friend Ed Lyons took months to write a 30,000 word autopsy of the Connector Authority. He has published it with a Creative Commons 4.0 license which means we can publish it here. His original version can be found at this link. I suggest going over to it. Here is the summary and overview: by Ed Lyons
This 31,000 word report covers the entire story of the troubled Massachusetts Health Exchange project, and provides expert commentary from an IT expert. It was created to help the public fully understand what happened, and why.
The bulk of the report is a timeline. This was done to show the difference between what was known internally, and what the public was aware of. It shows that severe problems with the exchange were hidden from the public all the way to the launch. Afterwards, the problems continued to be hidden, or were minimized. Worse, the government consistently put out false information about the project before, during, and after the launch. The report also aggregates newspaper stories about people who were harmed by problems renewing their health insurance, and points to previously unreported evidence that there are customer service logs at the health connector documenting how serious many of the problems were. The report comes to the following conclusion:
Our government was so proud of its health policies, and so worried about the image of the policy-makers, that it decided nothing else mattered as much: not good government, not sound management, not telling the truth, and not even the people who needed health care.
What's new in this report
There have been many stories in the newspapers about episodes in this story, but these are items previously unreported:
* An analysis of unreported weekly and monthly audit showing that the project was in trouble from the very beginning, long before July of 2013, which the press discovered in January.
* A series of misleading and false claims in public documents from the Health Connector about the state of the exchange. These documents were published after they knew the failure of the exchange was "likely" yet they say that everything was fine, and that people would be getting features that the Connector leadership knew they would not be getting. The most absurd is the Health Connector annual report, which comes out weeks after the collapse, and says everything went great.
* A strong link to Governor Patrick's cabinet. The Executive Director of the Health Connector, Glen Shor, leaves to becomes Chairman of the Board in January of 2013, and also joins Governor Patrick's cabinet. Glen Shor is the previously unnoticed link between problems in the Connector to the Governor's cabinet, making it hard to believe Patrick didn't know about problems with the exchange.
* Numerous false or misleading statements to the public by Health Connector Excutive Director Jean Yang.
* Strong evidence that it was the government who was primarily at fault for the failure of the exchange.This is in contrast to the government's repeated claim that it was almost entirely the fault of the primary vendor, CGI.
* Evidence that Governor Patrick's statements about the exchange in January and February are at odds with what he was in a position to know. For example, he claims that the government didn't know how bad the condition of the exchange was until late November. This is untrue.
* Evidence and commentary showing that the technical management of the exchange project was in violation of many standard practices and features utterly irresponsible decisions, such as launching a complex web application without any testing done by the users.
"In the Republican contest, former gubernatorial nominee and health insurance CEO Charlie Baker is coasting to his party's nomination with a 70-11 percent lead over conservative and Tea Party favorite Mark Fisher, according to the poll of 400 likely voters."
Need to do better than 11% folks. The respondents in the SUPRC poll were well screened so these numbers have to mean something.
Keep calling Charlie a RINO. It's working...for him.
(Interesting question, my answer... they were both excessive - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)
Why was it okay for the police in military gear to raid and search homes without warrant in Watertown, Massachusetts when looking for ONE of the Tsarnaev brothers, but it was bad for the police in Ferguson, Missouri in an attempt to control massive rioting crowds throwing molotov cocktails, burning buildings, and starting riots armed with guns? Why do police in Watertown get a standing ovation and the police in Ferguson get lives threatened and removed from their jobs?
Wasn't the force used in Watertown as excessive as it was in Ferguson? Perhaps even more so?
Wasn't Tsarnaev 'innocent until proven guilty', just the same as Mike Brown?'
In Watertown, the police were looking for a single person who they knew was wounded. In Ferguson they were dealing with crowds that were chanting 'Kill the police!!".
How are police supposed to know when it is okay to use force when the rules keep changing?
We touched on Ferguson, and how the response by the Ferguson police made the situation worse. How, because of terrorism, Mr. Bucci believes some militarization is needed, but he stressed the ease at which they use the equipment in routine warrant serving is not exactly what the equipment is for. We talked about regulatory agencies playing army.
In addition to police militarization we had a sobering chat about ISIS. It's worse than you might even imagine.
Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance seem to be busy this August. You can see what they've been doing over at the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Many of these reports have been filed without needing to by law as they are before the 90 day general election window. Earlier this summer they inserted their Legislative Scorecard into many local newspapers. Here is a copy of that insert, listing all 200 lawmakers, 3 key votes and a score based off their online scorecard.
More recently, they have been sending mail and it looks like a lot of it. looks like their mail is going into 20 legislative districts and are considered "electioneering communication" (EC) which is educational as opposed to what Super PACs do which are "independent expenditures (IE)." ECs typically refer to a lawmakers voting record and many have a call to action, as does Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance's. The only real reason the word "electioneering" or "election" is mentioned is because of its proximity to an election (90 days to an election). You can go to the Mass Fiscal website and download a copy of one of their mailers. They have a detailed explanation for their 4 votes.
Their mail piece is good, right to the point and unfortunately for the lawmakers who are receiving them, it's focused on their voting record on those 4 key votes. Paul Craney, the group's executive director, told me they sent it out via Every Door Direct Mail, which means everyone in the district got one, including non-voters and businesses.
While I am no longer as involved in the printing businesses as I used to be the paper engineer in me is to see this amount of mail going out and advocating for the issues many of us care about.
It should be interesting to see what they do next.
Disclosure: In 2012 I designed a series of mailers for MassFiscal. I have not been involved in any of the mailer design this year.
(I was on WGBH on Tuesday in this segment. - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)
One of Baker's most strident defenders was on Greater Boston recently to rally the troops by reminding us all that Charlie is a centrist who is unable to distinguish himself from Martha Coakley, Steve Grossman, and maybe even Don Berwick. The Republican primary is just how many days away?
It's pretty easy for Baker to appear centrist and moderate when his right-wing opponent is supporting an end to all tax credits for certain industries, and declaring that health care insurance should be like auto insurance, covering only catastrophic claims, or arguing that the state should not have enacted recent gun control measures.
...Baker can continue to hold on tightly to his more moderate and centrist ideology...
Baker is who he is, and he is not a right-wing Republican.
...when recently asked whether he is a conservative or not, Baker flatly refused to adopt the label.
Just think how rare that is - a Republican running away from being considered a conservative.
The last time Republicans gained a seat in the Massachusetts Senate was during a special election in March 2004 when Scott Brown won the seat vacated by the resignation of Senator Cheryl Jacques. Is this November the time we see the decade of decay reversed and Republicans starting to build themselves into a meaningful force in the Senate again, or are we doomed to be disappointed again?
Some disappointment is inevitable. There are Republican candidates on the ballot in only half of the Senate districts (not counting Mr. Bastien's write-in campaign in the Worcester & Middlesex District or any similar campaigns). But nobody is seriously thinking about majority control or even a veto-sustaining minority yet. I'd just like to see a gain of a seat or two.
I've got some ideas about the most likely seats, but I'm curious about how others see it. What do you think? Which three or four state senate seats give Republicans their best shot and why?
(Remember the original Romneycare site cost approximately $5 million total to build and maintain. - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)
Friday's Boston Herald has a story of how the MA health connector system needs another $80 million to get up and running and problems are still being discovered such as broken 'Out of pocket calculations' and errant messages about financial assistance. So I ask you - Who thinks this thing will be ready by mid November?
November 15th is the deadline for applying for coverage under the state system. With as many as 450,000 people to get enrolled that would mean getting 5,000 people a day enrolled if it were up and running starting today. it is not yet running and every day it isn't is one more day closer to the deadline...
State Obamacare czar Maydad Cohen said there is enough time to fix any problems with the site, which features a "single front door, one place for everybody to use" as they shop for insurance or enroll in MassHealth.
The state still has to reach between 400,000 and 450,000 consumers in temporary or legacy coverage programs before Nov. 15, however, so that they'll know that they have to take action to maintain their coverage, said Jason Lefferts, a Health Connector spokesman.
Mind you, the deadline for applying/reapplying is November 15th. Those of us who applied before and never heard back from the health connector have been promised coverage until December 31st... Whether the system is up and running or not...
I think there is no way the problems can get fixed by November 15th and perhaps the Democrats are going to announce further extensions to temporary coverage to push this past the mid term elections. Think about it - if 400,000 people try and get onto the system and find out it doesn't work - the Dems are screwed in the midterms. I think they will try and use an extension to push past the November 15 deadline...
The state will have spent in excess of a quarter billion dollars to replace a system that was working reasonably well. How can that be justified? How can any Democrat say there is even a smidgeon of success in this process? Of course, this is just the story of one state, and a state that was already using a similar system. How much will it cost to implement an Obamacare system in a state where they are starting from scratch?
For no other reason everyone in Massachusetts ought to vote Republican right down the ballot. Also, Chalrie Baker - you can still make this a much more interesting campaign if you get up and say 'Let's go back to Romenycare!".
Sometimes you just can't make stuff up. Today, the Gun Owner's Action League sent out a press release whining that the Governor wouldn't let the m come to his gun grabbing party.
GOAL SLAMS GOV FOR NOT INVITING GROUP TO GUN VIOLENCE BILL SIGNING
BOSTON - The Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts (GOAL) blasted Governor Deval Patrick today for not inviting the group to the bill signing ceremony for the recently passed gun violence bill. GOAL was a key force in helping craft the bill alongside gun control advocates - making it the first bill in the state history, and recent United States history, where both gun control and gun rights advocates came together to agree on a gun violence bill.
"So much for celebrating the historic nature of this bill," said Jim Wallace, Executive Director of GOAL. "We worked tirelessly on this bill and were instrumental in getting it passed - and he can't invite us to the bill signing ceremony? This just proves that gun owners in this state are, and will continue to be, regarded as 2nd class citizens just because they choose to exercise their 2nd amendment rights."
The Boston Globe subsequently reported that the Governor's office apologized to Jim Wallace personally.
Today Governor Patrick broke his long silence on the the Market Basket dispute and told the striking workers they should go back to work. The Associated Press has the story:
Gov. Deval Patrick is urging Market Basket employees to go back to work while a deal to sell the chain is hammered out.
Patrick told reporters Wednesday he's spoken to the chairman of the board and with ousted former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.
Patrick said everybody is interested in a sale and both sides have an understanding or are very close to a sale price.
What the Associated Press doesn't tell you is that Dianne Patrick, the Governor's wife, essentially runs the Ropes and Gray law firm. Ropes and Gray is the law firm for the Market Basket Board of Directors, who have asked employees to come back to work.
Diane Patrick is co-managing partner of Ropes & Gray's Boston office. She has over thirty years of experience representing and advising employers in connection with a broad range of labor and employment-related matters. She provides strategic counseling to clients regarding their compliance with federal and state employment laws, represents clients before the National Labor Relations Board as well as other federal administrative agencies, counsels employers on matters involving wage and hour regulations, and provides general advice on employment policies and practices. Diane has an extensive practice negotiating collective bargaining agreements, providing counsel on contract administration, and representing employers in labor arbitrations. She regularly assists federal contractors in meeting their federal contract compliance obligations and has successfully defended numerous employers during federal contract compliance reviews.
In addition to helping to run the Boston office she is apparently a labor law attorney with the firm. The Governor should disclose her relationship with the negotiations and whether or not she is working directly for the Board of Market Basket.
We've just added two new votes from the House and two new votes from the Senate to the MassFiscal Scorecard! Because the votes are on the same bills, the formatting below is a bit different, as you'll see. However, you can still check out a brief explanation of each new vote, then head over to the site itself to find out how your representative and senator voted.
Campaign Finance Bill Conference Report (H. 4366)
This conference committee report made several changes to campaign finance law, including new reporting requirements for certain political ads, but declined to address the union contribution loophole.
Major upsets in primaries are sending shockwaves across the political landscape nationally, and Massachusetts gubernatorial underdogs may yet ride low voter turnout to longshot wins against Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker, experts say.
But there's a long road ahead if second-tier Democrats Steve Grossman and Don Berwick and Republican Mark Fisher want to take a serious shot at the two front-runners, but low voter turnout in the primary just a week after Labor Day can lead to upsets, experts say.
So, if you're Baker or Fisher, the darling of the Tea Party, where do you go for votes? Consider that in the last contested statewide Republican primary for the special U.S. Senate seat, Gabriel Gomez won with just over 96,000 votes statewide. That's a paltry amount when you consider that there are well over 2 million registered independents in Massachusetts. If just a sliver of independents - all of whom are eligible to vote in the Republican primary - join with Tea Party activists and vote for Fisher, Baker could suffer a surprise attack similar to what former Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor experienced when he lost to fellow Republican David Brat in June.
In today's Boston Globe there is an article about Minority Leader Brad Jones entitled "House GOP Leader Sees Small Victories." The story reinforces that when you have a small agenda, you get small results.
Jones, for his part is excited about the coverage.
Entering into each year without a clear bold agenda, leads to these results. What is the legislative agenda of the Republican Party? Is it to just react to current events or are there clear priorities? Jones chastises members for being distracted by current events.
On Beacon Hill, too, he sees legislators distracted by events in the day's news cycle, he said, whether it be rushing to pass legislation against so-called up-skirting photographs or attention to the federal corruption trial of former state probation commissioner John J. O'Brien.
But isn't that what his leadership style does? Reacts to events, instead of creating them himself.
If the Republican Party wants to become the majority party, instead of just accepting that they are the minority, leadership needs to articulate a clear vision of what their priorities would be. What government under a Republican legislature would look like.
These bold priorities need to be articulated every day, in a clear communications strategy. Until they are, the Republican Party will remain the party of small results.
When you have small goals, you get small results. It is time to be bold.
Former State Representative Paul Adams (R-Andover) has resigned his seat on the Republican State Committee and current State Representative Jim Lyons (R-Andover) has announced he is running for that seat.
Adams told his State Committee colleagues today in a letter.
Dear State Committee Colleagues:
It has been a great honor fighting for our values and party with you these last 7 years. I appreciate your friendship and continued service and loyalty to our party.
Yesterday I submitted my resignation letter to Chairman Hughes. My wife Patricia and I are excited about an amazing new job that has come up in another state, but it is with sadness that I must depart and resign as a state committee member.
I will always look upon my years of public service with confidence and joy, knowing that much good was accomplished and lives changed for the better. I also look forward to future opportunities to serve.
Massachusetts will always be home, so I will be back regularly and look forward to seeing everyone out on the campaign trail. My email and phone will remain the same, so please stay in touch!
In victory - your friend and ally,
It didn't take long for a candidate to replace Adams to surface. Representative Lyons told Red Mass Group that he announced his candidacy last evening by contacting members of local town committees.
Republican State Representative Lenny Mirra (R-West Newbury) has a primary opponent on September 9, 2014. He doesn't deserve one. As a conservative you should be helping him if you can. In full disclosure in 2012, I supported and provided professional services to his primary opponent.
Mirra has been a conservative ally in the House of Representatives. Mirra has a 96 percent rating with the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. This puts him in a two way tie for fifth most conservative representative with Kevin Kuros (R-Uxbridge). The average republican score for current representatives is 92 percent.
Mirra has stood with conservatives on controversial votes:
Despite pressure from supposed gun rights group GOAL, Mirra voted against infringing on your right to own a long gun without government interference.
Mirra has been a strong voice against runaway debt. He believes we have borrowed too much and cant afford more.
Mirra's one truly bad vote came on his support for the new Buffer Zone legislation last week.
For the reasons above, and more, conservatives should rally around Lenny Mirra. You can visit his campaign website at www.LennyMirra.com. If you would like to donate please send a check (up to $500 and from personal not corporate or LLC funds) to his campaign committee:
Committee to Elect Lenny Mirra
PO Box 213
Georgetown, MA 01833
Do what you can between now and September 9, 2014 to help Lenny Mirra continue to be a voice for conservatism on Beacon Hill.