Friday, August 31, 2012

Double Down

Sheldon Adelson has hedged his bets. First he gave Newt Gingrich $5 Million dollars and created a press fury. Most had never heard of Adelson, others wondered why? It brought unwanted publicity onto the casino magnate and seemed only to temporarily sustain the questionable survivability of the Gingrich campaign.
Adelson, well versed in gambling, decided to back Mitt Romney when Newt's campaign crapped out. To most it looked like chasing good money after bad when Adelson dropped $10 Million on Romney. But was it?
The truth came out today when one of the platforms of the Republican party was announced: they will stand against online gaming.
Over time Adelson and his many casinos will reap billions if the Romney campaign succeeds. And if Romney fails? A new tactic will be introduced based on "moral" and "ethical" lines. But, the precedent has been set, Adelson wants gambling to be conducted ONLY within brick and mortar establishments.
Never mind that new business creation is part of the Republican mantra, online startups are not a welcome competition when it comes to interfering with Adelson's casinos.
Now, thanks to Citizen's United, there is a crap shoot. Big money lobbying will dictate policy without the smoky backrooms and the only ones that stand to lose are the Citizens, you and me.

Monday, February 6, 2012

High Rollers

The stakes are being raised and the chips are stacking up high in favor of renewed efforts to bring gambling and casinos into New Hampshire. The NH House Bill HB593 will be debated this week and has brought out of state and off-shore heavy hitters to Concord to secure lobbyists to pave the way through what they consider favorable conditions for passage.
Millenium Gaming, doing business as Cannery Casino Resorts has hired Robert Blaisdell, James Demers, and Thomas Prasol, of Demers and Blaisdell Inc of Concord, to act as their lobbyists in favor of HB593. According to NH Secretary of State documents Casablanca Casino LLC has secured the services of Rick G. Newman for the same purpose. Casablanca has the same address as Newman according to documents, but rolls their dice in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
By coincidence Newman is the Lobbyist for Potts Gaming LLC which recently acquired the Lodge at Belmont where Newman is cited as the General Manager. Potts Gaming also owns a company called Elite Gaming which operates guessed it, the Turks and Caicos.
New Hampshire Gaming and Entertainment out of Chicago is represented in NH by Dupont, Monahan, Barry, and Paschell of the Dupont Group in Concord.
As if Millenium did not have enough representation through it's Cannery operations, the owner himself, William Wortman, has hired Lucy C. Hodder as his personal Lobbyist.
Representative D.J. Bettencourt from Salem and State Senator Nancy Stiles have both supported the bill that may allow gaming in Rockingham Park (Bettencourt) and Hampton Beach Casino (Stiles).
Opponents of the bill have stated that the monopoly of casinos would detract from the 300 charities in NH which raise revenue by gambling events and invite a criminal element into the state.
Who is writing NH Laws and for what interests?


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Payday Loans

In his article, on January 28th in the Nashua Telegraph, Kevin Landrigan reported Governor Lynch's veto of SB160. Landrigan describes how "after lobbying by House GOP leaders and industry leaders" the tide seemed to have turned. Quoting Jamie Fulmer in the piece, an Advance America (sounds patriotic does it not?) frontman, “We look forward to working with New Hampshire legislators to encourage an override of this misguided veto.”
Fulmer wants to repeal current law, that caps payday loans at 36% APR, and increase it to almost 400%. With enough pressure it is possible that this law will be resurrected in some other legislation that will reach a veto proof majority of support. How could that happen?
Many NH politicians are listening to lobbyists instead of their constituents.
Advance America (AARC) in the weeks preceding the legislation had lobbyists Alexander K. Koutronbas and Erin K. Haas of Dennehy & Bouley in Concord, NH on their payroll. In addition to this formidable team Select Management Resources LLC (dba Loan Max) had no less than ten additional lobbyists working towards the same goals. Bianco Law firm of Concord had six assigned to the case according to the NH Secretary of State's documentation.
Lobbying is, like abortion, indefinate detention and loopholes in tax law, of course legal; but, at what point do we let lobbyists take over our government?
Landrigan reported that the original legislation was "authored" by NH State Senator Sharon M. Carson (R-14) of Londonderry but, seeing as she is a Civil Justice Task Force member of ALEC, it seems to have ALEC's fingerprints all over it.
Similar legislation has been highlighted recently by Susan the Bruce and Granite State Progress, now we know where these oddball bills come from.

Friday, February 3, 2012

ALEC Invasion

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a corporate funded conservative organization that does more than lobby for its members. They draft laws in favor of them and get local representatives to sponsor the bills. Thought your state legislator's were writing your laws? Think again.
In the last two months more than eighteen corporate members of ALEC have descended upon New Hampshire and secured the services of registered local lobbyists to promote their agenda. Is it any wonder that Granite State Progress was able to recently expose seven pieces of such legislation brought to the floor of the NH House of Representatives?
ALEC did not come to the Granite State without first laying the groundwork for their success. Thirty members of the NH House are "affiliates" included among them two Democrats, Kris Edward Roberts of Keene, and Robert L. Theberge of Berlin. Two State Senators are in their club also.
Now swoop in the influence peddlers to rewrite our laws. Some names are familiar like: American Express, Bayer, Comcast, General Motors, and Walmart. Others are thinly disguised like RAI (Reynold's American Tobacco) and Altria (Altria Group previously Phillip Morris). How about Archer Daniels Midland? Astra Zeneca? Glaxo Smith Kline? Why are they so interested in New Hampshire?
Right to Work legislation hurts NH Union Members, dodgey education laws will hurt NH Children, scurrilous energy bills could defraud NH Landowners, and deregulation could jeopordize our NH Coasts and natural resources.
We need to keep ALEC out of our politicians pockets.

Full list of ALEC Corporations here.
Full list of politicians here.
Listing of their NH Lobbyists here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Election Videos

Two interesting videos have surfaced in the days following New Hampshire's first in the nation Primary elections.
James O'Keefe's surreptitious recording of voting station volunteers handing ballots to a person claiming to be a resident has caused renewed debate in voter identification laws. Someone with name and address details of recently deceased NH voters announced to the staff that they were that individual and without much question were given a ballot. Video here: O'Keefe video
Some outraged participants in this debate cite a law in NH that prohibits wire recordings of individuals without their permission. Others submit this as evidence that voter ID laws are needed.
The second video, recorded by a different group on the same day at the Hudson, NH police department, shows the officer agreeing to the videographers claim that the NH law was recently overturned. Video here: Hudson Police

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Weak Dollar

In order to stave off an impending recession shortly after September 11, 2001 the Bush administration implemented a weak dollar policy. The plan was to boost consumer confidence, encourage exports, and stimulate the economy.
Although exports did get a positive bump the jobs went overseas as well as the products, the economy stagnated, and consumers were not yet ready to spend. This policy has been around since before the hunt for bin Laden began. It's time for a change.
Several mistakes made during those Bush years compounded the problem and the bursting housing bubble dragged us further towards recession. Bailouts and Stimulus under President Obama have yet to yield solid results, and he seems to favor a weak dollar policy despite Treasury Secretary Geithner's claims to the contrary.
A weak dollar policy is a tax on US consumers. The strategy was to keep interest rates low so manufacturers who sold to overseas markets would have a competetive edge, make higher profits, thereby enabling them to hire more employees. That stategy did raise corporate incomes but they did not increase their American worker numbers. In fact in the last ten years US corporate multinationals fired 2.5 million employees and increased their overseas work force by nearly the same number. The value of the dollar has diminished by 31% since 2001 therefore the price of commodities (gold, oil, food) have skyrocketed.
If you do not consume chemicals, plastic, oil or food you are exempt from this unfair tax.
The Federal Reserve continues to print money and keep interest rates low, this must change.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Guinta Guilty

Congressman Frank Guinta stood like a guilty schoolboy in front of his constituents trying to justify bad behavior Thursday night during his Town Hall meeting at Exeter High School.
The one hundred plus attendees, who were overwhelmingly of an older generation, came well informed and many were armed with the latest technology. They came to hear about Guinta's support for the Ryan Budget Plan and did not have long to wait. The first question out of the gate was a request that the freshman congressman explain his vote. The query brought a loud applause, the answer: not so much.
Rep. Guinta prefaced his response with the "no one over 55 will be affected..." mantra which brought on boo's and heckling from the folks. Later in the evening Guinta tried that line again only to receive an even stronger vocal outburst of dissatisfaction. Seems the Republicans have underestimated the graciousness and generosity of those in their golden years.
Guinta is guilty of falling for the faulty hype in the halls of Congress and failing to understand his constituents.
To his credit Rep. Guinta tried to keep the meeting fair and orderly. He made notes, and promised to follow up, on concerns residents had on a variety of matters including Corporate Personhood, Ethanol subsidies, and the Great Bay legislation. Video Link of Thursday night.