Former New Hampshire Republican U.S. Senator Bob Smith has announced he will run in the Republican Primary looking to be the nominee against Jeanne Shaheen. Smith is the third Republican to announce against Shaheen.
Given the lawlessness being perpetuated by President BarackObama (& his obsequious lackey in the US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid), you'd think that the Republicans as an opposition party would begin the process of impeaching The One for the blatant unconstitutional actions he's taken that threaten the viability of America's constitutional republic. Obviously such a process would only happen should the GOP take over the US Senate in next year's elections. But even then, I doubt that Republicans will have the guts to do the right thing. This is why:
1) Republican Are Bitterly Divided Among Themselves - With the current civil war now under way between the Establishment Republicans & The Tea Party Republicans, the party is going to be too self-absorbed with its own internal conflicts to even bother with uniting against the Democrats (let alone Obama). The GOP Establishment started the latest phase of this civil war at last year's Republican National Convention when their faction approved rules changes that would make it impossible for even Ronald Reagan to be a delegate. With the slight-of-hand antics that were pulled at their convention, it'll be equally hard for the GOP to attack Obama's slight-of-hand tricks with the Constitution.
US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has embraced his inner Doctor Strangelove & convinced enough of his fellow Democrats to end the filibuster rule for all executive & judicial appointments (except for the Supreme Court) by a vote of 52 to 48. In doing so, Reid committed the ultimate flip-flop. Eight years ago when Reid was in the minority, he & other Democrats at the time rightly warned Republicans against embracing the kind of "nuclear option" that would strip the minority party of its rights. By reneging on the deal he made with Republicans just this past July, Reid has demonstrated that his word means nothing. Democrat Carl Levin explained in a floor speech why he voted against Reid's power grab:
So why do I not join my Democratic colleagues in supporting the method by which they propose to change the rules? My opposition to the use of the nuclear option to change the rules of the Senate is not a defense of the current abuse of the rules. My opposition to the nuclear option is not new. Republicans threatened in 2005 to use the nuclear option in a dispute over judicial nominees. I strongly opposed their plans, just as Senator (Ted) Kennedy did, Senator (Joe) Biden did, Senator (Robert) Byrd did, and just about every Senate Democrat did, including Democrats still in the Senate today....
My position today is consistent with the position that I took then, that every Senate democrat took then, and that's just back in 2005. That was to preserve the rights of the Senate minority. I can't ignore that.
Nor can I ignore the fact that Democrats have used the filibuster on many occasions to advance or protect policies that we believe in....
And let us not kid ourselves. The fact that we changed the rules today just to apply to judges and executive nominations does not mean the same precedent won't be used tomorrow or the next year or the year after to provide for the end of a filibuster on legislation, on bills that are before us, and on amendments....
No Senate majority before us has assumed to change the rules at the will of the majority. Before we do something that cannot easily be undone -- and we have now done it -- before we discard the uniqueness of this great institution, let us use the current rules and precedents of the Senate to end the abuse of the filibuster. Surely we owe that much to this great and unique institution.
Breitbart columnist Joel B. Pollak feels that the anti-filibuster vote will backfire against Democrats once they become the minority party again (which might happen as early as 2014 if current trends continue to favor the GOP):
The sudden end of the filibuster means that Republicans have no incentive whatsoever to negotiate with Democrats in the future. There is simply no way to trust that Democrats will keep their word. (Barack) Obama and the Democrats may relish their temporary victory, and bask in the applause of a left-wing base desperate for signs of strength in the midst of the Obamacare debacle. But they have set the stage for major political war.
Those Republicans foolish enough to try to work with Democrats will now be tarnished as sell-outs--and with good reason. The party's moderates will struggle to explain their positions as Tea Party challengers assert the need for bolder leadership in upcoming primary races. And the new Republican majority in the Senate--when it arises--will be tempted to retaliate by exercising majoritarian rule. They will not be fooled again.
The Hill reports that Democrats in Washington are freaking out over the implications of the Obamacare meltdown:
Sources who attended a meeting of House chiefs of staff on Monday say the room was seething with anger over the immense damage being done to the Democratic Party and talk was of scrapping rollout events for the Affordable Care Act.
"Here we are, we're supposed to be selling this to people, and it's all screwed up," one chief of staff ranted. "This either gets fixed or this could be the demise of the Democratic Party."
Democrats around Capitol Hill say there are lots of people to blame for the debacle that has engulfed them. But increasingly the anger is directed at one person only: (President Barack) Obama.
"Is he even more unpopular than George W. Bush? I think that's already happened," said one Democratic chief of staff.
While the press loves to highlight GOP divisions, they ignore similar conflicts among the Democrats. Segments of the Old Left may see an opportunity within the current crisis to discredit the New Left (short term strategy) with the ultimate goal of getting rid of it (long term strategy). It remains to be seen if the Old Left has the stomach for the kind of institutional civil war that Democrats haven't experienced since the last one they fought back in the '60s, '70s, & '80s.
That last civil war resulted in the triumph of the New Left with its success reaching its apotheosis through the election of Obama & the passage of Obamacare. The Old Left has allowed itself to play a subservient role in the party so long as the New Left didn't do anything to hurt the Old Left, its power bases - or even the party itself. With a potential electoral blowout looming on the horizon for next year's national elections, will the Old Left go down with the ship - or will they cut their losses by cutting the throats of their New Left comrades in order to save their party - & themselves?
I had mixed feelings when Boston Republican City Committee Chairman Brad Williamsendorsed Democrat mayoral candidate John Connolly. On the one hand, I thought the endorsement was late & its tardiness might have been construed as a form of disingenuous that could be exploited by Connolly's political rivals as a way to say to their base Democrat voters that Connolly was more of a Republican & less of a Democrat. On the other hand, I credit Williams with at least thinking outside the partisan box. While the race lacked a GOP candidate, Williams understood the importance of being engaged - as opposed to being content to impotently watch on the sidelines - with the hopes that a Democrat open to some conservative ideas could be elected in Boston. A deeper level of engagement would help the Boston GOP have more of an impact on municipal affairs & position the party to field attractive candidates for winnable seats.
I bring this up because a similar opportunity has arisen in Lawrence. The Lawrence Republican City Committee missed a HUGE opportunity to support a similar kind of Democrat after the party failed to field a candidate of its own for the mayoral election. What Lawrence Republicans could have done was get behind Democrat challenger Daniel Rivera early in the process and assist him with deeds along with words. True, the GOP is a minuscule presence in the city but even a higher than normal turnout by Republican voters whipped up by GOP activists might have provided enough votes in Rivera's favor to avoid a recount & force out current Democrat Lawrence mayor William Lantigua.
With the current impasse playing itself out, Republicans should publicly endorse Rivera & offer any kind of support that Rivera needs to quickly secure his electoral success & deny Lantigua any temptation to do something unethical - if not illegal. Given the demographic realities of how revitalized urban areas will have a huge impact on politics in the future, it's imperative that the GOP start becoming more engaged NOW with minority communities, working class enclaves, & the kind of not-for-profit organizations (such as arts groups) that make up a significant group of active citizens who continue to define the urban landscape. The GOP faces possible extinction if it refuses to woo the urban voter.
There's some truth in the Atlantic article written by Dave Rohde when he declares that the "broken" media has helped to "break" the government thanks to a business model that "rewards extremism and poorly informs the public".
The triumph of opinion-driven cable TV and the collapse of newspapers has created an American news media that does an increasingly poor job of informing the public. And an excellent job of dividing it.
The media, of course, is not solely to blame for America's political polarization. Complex dynamics - including a weak economy, gerrymandering and rapidly-shifting demographics - are fueling growing partisanship. But an economically battered news industry in desperate need of a new business model is a core part of the problem.
Creating cable television and social media bubbles where one's political views are affirmed has proven popular and profitable. Angrily declaring one's opponents imbeciles enriches pundits, corporate executives and stockholders. The result for many Americans, though, is confusion, cynicism and division.
I generally agreed with Rohde - especially his spot on characterization of today's partisan media as one being obsessed with profits at the expense of truth - until he decided to blame the current government shutdown solely on the GOP:
Hard-line conservatives are to blame for the current crisis. But, sadly, so is America's failing news industry.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. The current crisis is an equally bipartisan one. Barack Obama has essentially abdicated his responsibilities as president to govern. Harry Reid has essentially stepped in to do what Obama refuses to do - lead - but his form of leadership is the kind of obstinate partisan brinksmanship he rightly condemns when it's practiced by a few Tea Party-backed Republicans. Whatever fantasies Democrats had about repeating the fallout from the government shutdowns of 1995 & 1996 - wherein the public held the GOP responsible for it - should be abjured given the present-day reality that the shutdown is proving to be as toxic to the Democrat brand as it is to the Republican one.
Polls after polls show that Americans across the board are rightly fed up with the partisan antics of BOTH parties & are demanding that BOTH parties get back to governing responsibly. The public is also turned off by a media-industrial complex that exploits the crisis for its own economic & ideological reasons. "I don't believe what I read in the paper," Paul Simon once sang, "they're just out to capture my dime." No wonder said industry is imploding.
In some ways the current crisis portends a reckoning between the forces that want to irrevocably transform America into a European-styled socialist democracy where the elite govern the masses & the forces that want to keep our country as a unique constitutional republic that limits the power of government in order to maximize the personal liberties of the people. We've had these showdowns before in our nation's history - the one leading up to the Civil War was especially brutal - & the fallout will be nasty. But said fallout will become even MORE nasty if writers like Rohde continue to push the false media narrative that only one political party - the GOP - is to blame for the current crisis.
He'd say you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything
You've got to be your own man not a puppet on a string
Never compromise what's right and uphold your family name
You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything - Aaron Tippin
This week, all but one state representative voted to overturn the so-called tech tax, a tax on software services. That one Democrat was Angelo Scaccia (D-Readville).
While three Democrats voted against over-riding Governor Patrick's veto and against the taxes in the first place. Only one legislator, in either the house or the senate, held to his convictions and voted for higher taxes every time he could. That legislator was Angelo Scaccia.
Rep. Angelo Scaccia, a Democrat from Readville, voted against the repeal. Scaccia said House Speaker Robert DeLeo would regret backing away from the tax, suggesting it might cost him future political capital.
"Mr. Speaker I'm not a revisionist, but I do revisit every once in a while because I've had some history here. You are going to rue the day when you have gotten something and then have given it back for nothing," Scaccia said on the House floor. "If in fact we run into problems down the road, I don't know if you can ask your membership to vote green on a tax package again."
Scaccia called the nearly $2 billion tax package the governor originally pushed unreasonable, and said the package DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray agreed to made sense. Removing the computer services tax does not leave enough money to invest in transportation, Scaccia said. He criticized legislative leaders for keeping the gas tax and $1 cigarette tax, while dropping the computer services tax.
While we as conservatives certainly don't agree with his position, Scaccia showed that he is a man of his convictions. No matter how wrong we think those convictions are. He's not pandering to voters, and acting like he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
We should praise principled legislators like Angelo Scaccia, because he's an honest broker and you know you can trust him.
The title of her article? "A Second Act For Charlie Coakley." In other words, Republican Charlie Baker & Democrat Martha Coakley - each seeking redemption from past failures - are essentially two pod people sharing the same pod:
This week's candidates are more like the Martha and Charlie I thought I knew. Which brings me to the other big thing these two have in common. By the standards we've grown accustomed to, they're dead boring.
They're enthralled by the arcana of public policy. They have little appetite for cheap shots and gimmickry. There is little daylight between them on sexy, polarizing social issues like abortion rights and gay marriage. What we'll get if each becomes a nominee - and if they can leave 2010 behind - is a substantive campaign centered on actual issues: education, jobs, transportation, and taxes.
It's too early to tell if indeed Baker & Coakley will be the standard-bearers for their respective parties a year from this month. But reality be damned. The mainstream media - led by the Globe - is already in storytelling mode. They expect (& will work hard) to confer upon Coakley a "redemptive" happy ending that will thrill the hearts of their captive audiences. Baker would be a fool to expect a fair hearing from these partisan ideologues & he should resist their siren call to play along with their narrative version of his "redemptive" candidacy. Should Baker win the Corner Office in 2014, his victory will be redemptive enough not only for himself & his party but for the voters of Massachusetts.
The political buzz among Democrats stems from a provocative article in The Daily Beast written by Peter Beinart titled "The Rise Of The New New Left". He argues the passing political era that was created by Ronald Reagan & sustained by Bill Clinton will give way to a new era dominated by a voting bloc he characterizes as the "New" New Left:
Maybe Bill de Blasio got lucky. Maybe he only won because he cut a sweet ad featuring his biracial son. Or because his rivals were either spectacularly boring, spectacularly pathological, or running for Michael Bloomberg's fourth term. But I don't think so. The deeper you look, the stronger the evidence that de Blasio's victory is an omen of what may become the defining story of America's next political era: the challenge, to both parties, from the left. It's a challenge Hillary Clinton should start worrying about now.
Beinart makes the argument that America's Millennial Generation will embrace a harder leftist view than the relatively conservative (in the sense of being pro-capitalistic) views embraced by the Baby Boomers & Gen X voters:
It is these two factors-their economic hardship in an age of limited government protection and their resistance to right-wing cultural populism-that best explain why on economic issues, Millennials lean so far left. In 2010, Pew found that two-thirds of Millennials favored a bigger government with more services over a cheaper one with fewer services, a margin 25 points above the rest of the population. While large majorities of older and middle-aged Americans favored repealing Obamacare in late 2012, Millennials favored expanding it, by 17 points. Millennials are substantially more pro-labor union than the population at large.
Most striking of all, Millennials are more willing than their elders to challenge cherished American myths about capitalism and class. According to a 2011 Pew study, Americans under 30 are the only segment of the population to describe themselves as "have nots" rather than "haves." They are far more likely than older Americans to say that business enjoys more control over their lives than government. And unlike older Americans, who favor capitalism over socialism by roughly 25 points, Millennials, narrowly, favor socialism.
As my RMG colleague Rob Eno pointed out today, Massachusetts House of Representatives Minority Leader Brad Jones scrambled to co-author legislation designed to amend the rules of the House so that the restriction to bills on the House floor would be lifted. This victory for transparency was made possible by a hearty band of Republican House members dubbed the "Gang of Five". The resolution filed by Dan Winslow was supported by his plucky Gang of Five colleagues Shaunna O'Connell, Jim Lyons, Marc Lombardo, & Geoff Diehl. Everyone else - including Democrats! - knew a good thing when they saw it & quickly threw their support behind the legislation. The rest, as they say, was history.
But the question remains: why didn't Jones himself take the initiative to challenge the lack of transparency promulgated by Speaker of the House Bob DeLeo? Why did he wait till the last minute to help his GOP colleagues? WHY?
As Eno pointed out in another post, special election Republican candidates Carol Claros & David Steinhof actually did pretty good considering the fact that both first-time candidates had scarce resources & their respective races happened deep within Democrat territory. Still, DeLeo had no problems publicly pounding the pavement & shaking the money tree for the members of HIS party like Dan Donahue (Claros' opponent) who were also running in those special elections.
Now where was the Minority Leader when two Republican candidates had a chance to win two open seats? Sure, the MA House Republican PAC doled out $500 & Jones personally donated $100 to Claros (no word yet if he did the same thing for Steinhof), but...but was THAT all he did? Why wasn't an independent expenditure from the GOP PAC done for either Claros or Steinhof? Jones allowed his name to be attached to an invitation to an event for Steinhof but he never showed up at said event. In fact he was completely absent from ANY event staged for Claros & Steinhof. He was a NO-SHOW!!!
Some Establishment Republicans may titter over a cartoon & squeal, "where's Waldo?" but ALL GOP activists should righteously respond with "the hell with Waldo - where's Jones? What's he doing? Where's the leadership?"
President Barack Obama has asked Congress to give him as Commander-In-Cheif the green light to launch a military attack against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad based on the claim that Assad has used Sarin gas against his own people. Most Americans are opposed to Obama's proposal. Count me as one of them. Here's why:
1) This fiasco has been made possible due to the incompetence of Obama & his administration. His "re-set" approach to Middle East politics has been a disaster: offering no help to the Iranian "Green Revolution" yet passively watching it get brutally crushed by that country's theocracy (who continue to feverishly work on developing nuclear weapons); assisting in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi (who had provided vital intelligence against an array of jihadists he despised) which has resulted in that country being embroiled in anarchy; taking no firm stance on the events that engulfed in Egypt between Hosni Mubarak's military & The Muslim Brotherhood, thus having no leverage with any of the factions who are heading towards a civil war (which, if it affects the security of the Suez Canal, could lead to a sharp increase in oil prices); alienating the government of Benjamin Netanyahu & the Jewish people due to Obama's insistence that the Israel make significant concessions while the Palestinians (misruled by both Hamas & the Palestinian Authority) are rarely challenged to offer significant & concrete proposals towards peace; stonewalling on investigations into the Benghazi debacle that resulted in the deaths of four (4) Americans allegedly because the Obama Administration may have funneled weapons to the Syrian rebels via Libya - only to discover that said weapons wound up in the hands of jihadists. Like what happened in Egypt, Obama went from supporting the Syrian government to denouncing it. Now he threatens to attack it. "Leading from behind" in the Middle East has led to a staggering increase of conflict & instability while the US has seen its prestige fallen to new lows. A military attack launched by our feckless Commander-In-Cheif can only aggravate - if not inflame - a nightmare situation. It's not worth American lives.
2) While the use of Sarin gas has been confirmed, we have yet to see a smoking gun with Assad's fingerprints all over it. For all we know, the gas might have been used by a third party (al Qaeda et al?) who is goading America to strike Assad & weaken him so that said third party can topple him. Not all the anti-Assad rebels are freedom-loving, pro-Western Muslims. And the persecution of Christians (among other minorities) has sky-rocketed to gruesome levels that can only multiply if the fanatics triumph with American assistance. I shudder at the thought of jihadists toppling Assad & getting their hands on his weapons of mass destruction. The atrocities committed during 9/11 will pale in comparison.
3) Obama has failed to assemble an international "coalition of the willing" because he has no clear tactical objective, he has no realistic strategy, he lacks the necessary resources to execute whatever strategy he imagines at whatever time he imagines it, and he hasn't articulated an exit plan that will stabilize Syria in particular & the region in general. Sure, the French will join the fray for reasons of realpolitik & protecting their own national interests but the English Parliament knows a bogus fishing expedition when it sees one (even if Prime Minister David Cameron can't) & refused to board the good ship Barry Soetoro. More importantly, Obama has failed to make the case to the American people - fatigued after enduring over a decade of war - on why a strike against Syria is in America's national interest.
In some ways the fight-to-the-death mania that possesses the main factions in Syria resembles a similar mania that gripped Iran & Iraq during their ten-year war against each other. For awhile America let the two of them kill each other until (for a variety of reasons) our government decided to tilt in favor of Saddam Hussein & against Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Then America decided to overthrow Hussein & impose democracy on Iraq. The last time I checked, Iraq is still dealing with its own level of sectarian violence. We've tried. God know we've tried. But most Americans are tired of dealing with the lunatics that spring from the Middle East. Our nation needs to take a breather from its wars against the jihadists yet it must also prepare itself for a serious, longterm struggle with both brands (Sunni & Shiite) of Islamofascism. And it needs a REAL leader to honestly explain what we need to do in this existential struggle. Until America is ready to do so, it should let Syria deal with its civil war & let the chips fall where they may.
The Massachusetts Republican Caucuses have held their series of Tech Tax Roundtables and have been getting very good press coverage. Here's a roundup.
Mike Ryan, who declined to name the company for which he works, said software and technology companies could relocate because the tax is hurting their businesses.
Start-up companies may look elsewhere, he said.
"If this keeps going on there are going to be no tech jobs in this state," said Ryan. "This was poorly thought out."
Officials from the Corridor Nine, Marlborough Regional and Blackstone Valley Chambers of Commerce also spoke out against the tax, saying it will hamper the success of software and information technology companies.
In the days after the measure passed, members of the three chambers told local legislators that are unhappy with the tax.
"You're putting our businesses at a disservice," said Jeannie Hebert, president of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce.-Metro West Daily News
Ebon Elza, owner of EE Networks, was in the process of updating his small company's sales and use tax on July 30 when his bookkeeper - his wife - happened to notice a news bulletin on the state Department of Revenue's website about a new computer services tax.
She clicked on the link, and Mr. Elza started to scramble.
"I found out on July 30 that I was supposed to start collecting taxes on July 31," Mr. Elza said. "This was the first I had ever heard of it. It just came out of left field.
"It's like driving down the Mass Pike and all of a sudden the speed limit goes from 65 mph to 45 mph and no one tells you, until you get pulled over and get a speeding ticket," Mr. Elza said. -Worcester Telegram
Attorney Scott W. Foster has heard from six computer software businesses interested in joining a lawsuit to block the Massachusetts technology tax.
Scott Foster 2012.jpgScott W. Foster
The tax, an extension of the states' 6.25 percent sales tax to cover most software purchases is too vague to survive a court challenge, Foster says, with most software vendors unable to figure out exactly what they should tax and what they should not. The state ordered businesses to start collecting July 1, but the rules and guidelines won't be out until October.
"They need to collect a tax and they don't know what they will be collecting it on," Foster, partner at the law firm Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas in Springfield, said.
Foster said a new as-yet-unnamed business group is forming to put fort the suit has not yet been filed. - MassLive.com
Tim Murray personally responsible for $10,000 of $80,000 fines
Tim Murray and Attorney General Martha Coakley have come to an agreement on the fines Tim Murray owes due to his accepting contributions raised by a public employee. The Boston Globe has the story.
As part of his settlement with the attorney general, Murray's political committee must pay a $20,000 fine. By Aug. 15, Murray's campaign account contained more than $227,000. Murray must also personally pay a $10,000 fine. Additionally, Murray must dissolve his political committee and have no involvement with a political fund-raising committee for two years, Coakley's office said.
Murray's agreement with the chamber of commerce already prohibits him from campaign involvement.
The second public official, Plante, solicited donations from DOT employees for his son, who was a Murray fund-raiser, according to the agreement. Plante, who makes about $88,000 per year, solicited donations from DOT employees and others for three Murray fund-raisers in Worcester in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the agreement said.
So Murray's fine is really $10,000 not the $80,000 in the headlines. In contrast Tim Cahill was personally responsible for the full $100K of his fine.
Joe Battenfeld, in today's Boston Herald has a story saying Elizabeth Warren, normally outspoken, has been really quiet on the Syrian Question.
Warren, known for her outspoken stances, has turned timid on one of the most important issues a U.S. senator will ever face - whether to put American troops in another military conflict.
Asked to say whether she approves launching a strike against Syria, Warren's press office - which churns out releases regularly on financial industry abuses - did not get back to the Herald.
This is curious because Warren and other Massachusetts Democrats had been harshly critical of the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq. But now it's different because Barack Obama is president and her former Senate colleague, John Kerry, is secretary of state.
USAF = Al Qaeda's Airwing?
If we bomb Syria are we allying with Al Qaeda and other Islamists? Dennis Kucinich, former Representative from Ohio thinks so.
The outspoken anti-war activist said any such action would plunge the United States into another war in the Middle East and embolden Islamist militants fighting Bashar Assad's regime.
"So what, we're about to become Al Qaeda's air force now?" Kucinich said. "This is a very, very serious matter that has broad implications internationally. And to try to minimize it by saying we're just going to have a 'targeted strike' - that's an act of war. It's not anything to be trifled with."
The comments echo warnings from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who voted against legislation to arm the Syrian rebels earlier this year by saying such a move would boost al Qaeda.
If Barack Obama decides to attack the Syrian regime, he has ensured - for the very first time in history - that the United States will be on the same side as al-Qa'ida.
Quite an alliance! Was it not the Three Musketeers who shouted "All for one and one for all" each time they sought combat? This really should be the new battle cry if - or when - the statesmen of the Western world go to war against Bashar al-Assad.
The men who destroyed so many thousands on 9/11 will then be fighting alongside the very nation whose innocents they so cruelly murdered almost exactly 12 years ago. Quite an achievement for Obama, Cameron, Hollande and the rest of the miniature warlords.
This, of course, will not be trumpeted by the Pentagon or the White House - nor, I suppose, by al-Qa'ida - though they are both trying to destroy Bashar. So are the Nusra front, one of al-Qa'ida's affiliates. But it does raise some interesting possibilities.
File under the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" even if they killed thousands of Americans. OH and weren't we allied with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan against the Soviets?
What do Paul Heroux (D-Attleboro) and Dennis Rodman Have in Common
As much grief as these pages have given Paul Heroux over his vote to raise taxes. The Democratic Representative for Attleboro just had a once in a lifetime experience. He was able to go behind the bamboo curtain to North Korea as part of a Harvard Kennedy School learning expedition. He has a lot of images on his Facebook fan page. Below is just one of them, Heroux said this is something called the MassGames. No doubt part of a Bread and Circus plan by Pyongyang to keep the masses docile.
Oh and the answer is that both Heroux and Rodman went to North Korea this year.
Steve Grossman has better luck with old vaults than Geraldo
You may remember back in the 1980s the big hype when Geraldo Rivera was going to open Al Capone's vault. Then in a huge disappointment it was empty. State Treasurer Steve Grossman set himself up for a similar situation recently. Alas, his foray into vault busting yielded better results. The Boston Globe has the story.
When the safecrackers gave MacDonald the signal that the locks had been opened, he lifted the metal bar across each of its doors and pulled the safe open, revealing two green filing cabinets and big piles of papers, boxes, ledgers, and envelopes stacked on shelves.
A dusty assortment of artifacts, at least one dating to the 1700s, greeted him.
The items included Confederate money from 1864; a weathered ledgerbook, dated 1896-1899, outlining pay for "Massachusetts volunteer militia service in Spanish-American War"; World War I savings bonds; boxes of old checkbooks; and metal stamps with the engraved signatures of former treasurers, including Foster Furcolo, who became the state's 60th governor in 1957.
Also interred in the safe were a very old photograph of an elevated train, a 1936 stock certificate from the Boston Beer Co., and a role of magnetic tape from 1971, probably containing old computer files from the era long before thumb drives and cloud computing.
At the direction of Gov. Deval L. Patrick, the state's top education official Friday expressed concern about travel by Westfield State University President Evan S. Dobelle and ordered that an audit of Dobelle's spending be made public within 30 days.
In his first public statement on the issue, Secretary of Education Matthew H. Malone said media reports on Dobelle's expenses threaten to undermine public confidence in Westfield State and other schools.
In a letter to the university's board of trustees, Malone said the governor shared his concerns that taxpayer's funds be spent properly.
"As I am sure you appreciate, the issues ... call into question the proper use of taxpayer funds, and also undermine the good and important work taking place on your campus and public campuses across the state." Malone wrote.
Worcester's Anthony Weiner - John Fresolo to Run in 2014
But despite resigning in disgrace, Fresolo says he will run next year to reclaim his seat. Because he speaks only to journalists who write fawning profiles of him, he announced his intentions to Rosalie Tirella of InCity Times, after she wrote that he was 'passionate' and 'sexy' and urged him to run. In response, Fresolo wrote that 'I do intend to run next year.'
His declaration came the same day as the special primary election to fill his seat, which cost $33,000 and will result in a Sept. 10run-off between Democrat Daniel Donahue and Republican Carol Claros, which, by the way, will cost another $33,000.
Despite the secrecy of the ethics probe, rumors have circulated that it focused on Fresolo's alleged abuse of his per diem expenses, along with an Anthony Weiner-like episode that involved a young female staffer finding a picture of Fresolo's, er, passionate sexiness on his office computer. The picture was reportedly not meant for the staffer, who was horrified nonetheless, and you can't blame her.
Kathleen O'Connor Ives' Votes Don't Mesh With Her Spin
State Senator Kathleen O'Connor Ives (D-Merrimack Valley) has been telling people in her district that she fought against higher taxes throughout the process, except for the final vote to override the governor's veto. Here's what she told the Valley Patriot readers this month.
Over the course of the budget process, the Legislature reduced those requested increases to a 3 cent gas tax increase tied to inflation. I strongly opposed that gas tax increase throughout the budget process, and I also fought against measures in the bill that set up studies that could lead to tolls on the New Hampshire border.
The problem for Ives is that her statement, that she fought against the gas tax throughout the process is demonstrably false. On April 13, 2013 Bruce Tarr offered and amendment to strike all tax increases from the underlying transportation finance bill. Kathleen O'Connor Ives voted against that amendment. She also voted on that same day against another Bruce Tarr Amendment to take the software services tax out of the bill.
It goes to show you that Massachusetts Democratic Politicians think that nobody will check their statements. We will.
Republican Charlie Baker - a seasoned campaigner with a well-oiled fundraising machine - should not be underestimated once he finally gets in the governor's race, according to party operatives and one Democratic hopeful.
"I think Democrats need to take Charlie Baker seriously as an opponent," said Democrat Juliette Kayyem, the former homeland security official who jumped into the race Wednesday.
"We have been surprised - both parties have been surprised - recently in the last couple of years.
All of us are aware of overzealous campaign volunteers swiping rival candidates' signs in the dead of night. It's a thing that happens during elections. Nothing will ever change that.
News coming out of the race for Suffolk County Sheriff race details something far worse than the actions of overzealous campaign volunteers. One candidate, the acting Sheriff, is alleged to have abused his office and intimidated stores into removing a rival candidate's signs.
Doug Bennett, running for Suffolk County Sheriff - in the 2014 elections - has taken out a criminal complaint alleging one of his opponents, acting Sheriff Steven Tompkins, actively removed Bennett signs from stores in Egleston Square last week, by pulling out his badge and warning them they would get on Tompkins' bad side. He also says Tompkins called him a "punk ass bitch" at a City Council hearing last month.
A Roxbury District Court magistrate will decide Sept. 10 whether there's any merit to Bennett's allegations.
Such an allegation if true should result in the withdrawal of said candidate, whoever the candidate and whatever the office. That this concerns a law enforcement official makes it all the more troubling.
The Daily Caller obtained video showing, State Senator Dan Wolr - who is set to resign on August 29 - talking to a crowd at the Tatnuck Bookstore on Tuesday August 20, 2013. He regales the gathering with stories of his ACORN organizing past. Including how he shut down a private small business - a McDonalds Franchise - in Cambridge, MA. That took place when Wolf was a Union Organizer.
"After I got out of college I moved to Boston for a while, worked on Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester and Roxbury working for a group called ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now," Wolf said as several audience members began clapping.
"We should clap. You know, we can not continually push back [inaudible] the other side on issues where we really have been doing the right thing and doing it for the right reasons and then put to shame, which ACORN was I think for pretty wrong reasons," Wolf said, referring to ACORN's disbandment after it was revealed that ACORN employees were willing to help a faux-pimp with his business activities.
"And then I did some union organizing. We were trying to set up a union called the United Labor Union, which was an offshoot of ACORN aimed at organizing minimum-wage and low-wage workers in everything from some of the factories in Alston we organized, and also, we actually organized the McDonald's in Central Square, which then shut down. Which was kind of an interesting strategy," Wolf said.
Here's the video:
Wolf Clarifies - Will Resign if Ethics Commission Doesn't Change Ruling
Dan Wolf is not challenging the Ethics Commission in Court. He has told Cape Cod Online that his decision is tentative based on an appeal to the Ethics Commission.
Cape and Islands Sen. Dan Wolf, who announced his candidacy for governor in July, will resign from the senate and suspend his gubernatorial campaign on Aug. 29 if the state Ethics Commission does not change its conflict of interest ruling against him, according to a statement released early this morning.
When considering a run for governor, the Harwich Democrat, who is the founder and CEO of Cape Air, said he met with Ethics Commission staff in May to make sure there were no conflicts between his ownership of Cape Air and his service as the state's top executive.
The article further states that Wolf is working on taking steps to divest in Cape Air completely if necessary to run for Governor.
State Rep. Randy Hunt, R-East Sandwich, said recently that the responsibility of appointing the Massport board would pose a conflict for Wolf if he were elected governor. In that scenario, Wolf said last week, he would take steps to "no longer have a financial interest."
The most extreme option, Wolf said, would be permanently separating from Cape Air, which he was prepared to do, he said during the Aug. 12 interview. He is also considering less extreme options such as creating a blind trust, but said he is awaiting further guidance about his options.
(Special Election!!! R+2 district. - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)
Shortly after 6 am today, Cape Cod radio station WXTK. announced that State Senator Dan Wolf will resign as the Cape and Islands State Senator effective August 29th. He will also suspend his run for Governor due to the recent ruling by the State Ethics Commission.
First up is a story by the new managing editor at the Boston Business Journal, Craig Douglass.
Modern politics being what they are, you've got to tip your cap to state senator and aspiring congresswoman Karen Spilka for nearly uttering the three little words that no other politician, even on their darkest day, will dare to say: I was wrong.
Of course, Spilka didn't say those three little words either when we spoke over the phone Wednesday evening. But she came really, really close when talking about why she is now filing a bill to repeal the state's über-controversial software and computer tax just weeks after she voted in favor of that very same tax. Gotta to love her moxie.
And the money passage.
But even while serving as the state senate's Majority Whip - essentially third in command - and chairwoman of the chamber's newly created technology caucus, Spilka said she and her fellow caucusians were more or less blindsided by the new levy's broad language and potential to raise two-to-three times the $161 million in tax collections it was designed to generate. The tax's original verbiage, included in Gov. Deval Patrick's budget proposal last winter ("I must admit that I didn't read all of the language in the governor's budget"), was more or less cut and pasted into the transportation bills endorsed by the House and Senate in June.
Senator Bruce Tarr reminds everyone that Spilka chose to ignore the GOP when they sounded the alarm.
"It should come as no surprise to anyone that taxing the state's innovation economy is a bad idea. As far back as January, when the Governor proposed his version of the Fiscal Year 2014 state budget, Republican legislators have been warning that the new tax would seriously undermine the state's competitiveness.
The new tax on computer software services was a bad idea when it was first proposed, and it's a bad idea now. We have opposed it consistently from day one, offering multiple amendments to eliminate or replace it, arguing at length during the transportation finance debate about its dire consequences, and we will be unyielding in our efforts to repeal it. Putting a new tax on the innovation economy is no way to recover from a recession."
Keep up the pressure.
Jim Lyons calls for resignation of Middlesex DA and for Independent AG review in Remy Case
State Representative Jim Lyons (R-Andover) has called for the resignation of Middlesex District Attorney Marion Ryan over her offices handling of Jared Remy. Specifically why they didn't fight to keep him locked up.
Martel was stabbed to death Thursday night. Her boyfriend, 34-year-old Jared Remy, the son of legendary Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy, has been charged with killing her while the couple's four-year-old daughter was at home.
Remy has a violent criminal record dating back to 1998.
Lyons wants Ryan, whom the governor appointed to the job in April, to resign immediately.
"We've got a violent criminal who has violent past of assaulting women, who was left to walk out on the street," said Lyons. "I think it is just a total failure on the part of the District Attorney's Office."
In addition on Wednesday August 20, 2013 Lyons, in a letter to the Attorney General's office called upon Martha Coakley to fully investigate the circumstances of Remy's release.
Lyons told Red Mass Group, "the DA's office's blaming of the victim for not showing up to a restraining order hearing, is reprehensible."