The Supreme Court: LOOKING for Trouble?


TruthOrConsequencesCan’t help noticing… when SCOTUS goes looking for a case, the Justices can get themselves really far into the weeds.

Case in point:  two years ago, the Court indicated a willingness to “revisit” long-settled precedents on labor unions.  And they ended up with Harris v. Quinn – which could have all kinds of unintended consequences.  (Are they really going to rule that employers can’t fire workers based on who they associate with?  How’s that going to work, if a Homeland Security employee decides to join Al Qaeda?  Or will they rule that Illinois can’t decide the employment conditions of its own employees?  How are all those “States’ Rights” folks going to swallow that?)

The Harris decision is still pending… and it sounds to me like the Court is looking for even more trouble.

According to press reports, SCOTUS is now targeting state laws that prohibit lying about political candidates.  Here’s the WaPo story from yesterday:  Supreme Court suspicious of Ohio law that criminalizes false speech about candidates.

Ok, so… We’re still reeling from a presidential campaign where the concept of “truth” lost big time.

People’s trust in politicians is pretty much at an all-time low.

And now the Supreme Court wants to go after state laws that prohibit lying during political campaigns?  Really gotta wonder.

If the standards used in the Ohio statute sound familiar – “knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard for whether it was false or not” – well, that’s probably because those same standards are used in libel law.

So… If the Supreme Court rules that corporate-money groups trying to influence elections have a First Amendment right to recklessly disregard the truth about political candidates… wouldn’t that also throw a whole lot of libel precedent out the window?

(Can’t help but notice that there are some high-dollar libel lawsuits pending in lower courts.  MediaMatters’ story:  Libel: Will Defamation Suits Doom Three Right-Wing Media Outlets? How will the Ohio decision affect those cases?)

The judiciary is still the most-trusted branch of the federal government.  But that, of course, could change.  Observers describe an increasingly pro-business tilt to SCOTUS decisions.  (How the Chamber of Commerce conquered the Supreme CourtSupreme Court Hands Chamber Of Commerce Blockbuster Pro-Corporate Term)

And, according to researchers, the rest of our government already represents business interests, rather than the average citizen.

The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.

So… what happens if (when?) Average Americans lose trust in all branches of their federal government?

Can’t help but wonder how this is going to play out, long term.

Big Oil Launches Earth Day Attack Ads Against Senator Shaheen In An Attempt To Buy A Seat For Scott Brown

Koch Brothers

Big Oil Koch Brothers Spending More To Buy
New Hampshire’s Senate Seat For Scott Brown

 Already More Than $2 Million Has Been
Spent Attacking New Hampshire’s Shaheen

Concord — Scott Brown’s Big Oil cronies are launching new attack ads in New Hampshire, an Earth Day assault providing more proof they want Scott Brown back in the U.S. Senate voting to protect their interests, not New Hampshire’s. Total spending from Big Oil, Wall Street, and conservative groups trying to buy New Hampshire’s Senate seat for Scott Brown now tops $2 million.

“We know the Big Oil Koch Brothers are prepared to spend millions to buy Scott Brown our Senate seat. Here is more proof,” said Vlacich.  ”Scott Brown voted for billions of dollars in special tax breaks for Big Oil, even when it meant middle class families had to pay more. Now the Koch brothers are spending big money on attack ads supporting Brown’s campaign because they want him back in the Senate again voting to protect their interests, not ours.”

“The Koch Brothers and Scott Brown don’t know New Hampshire.  You can’t buy a Senate seat here, you earn it by working hard and making a difference for the people of New Hampshire.  Granite Staters know and trust Jeanne Shaheen to fight for their interests and work to make a difference in their lives,” added Vlacich.

In his last campaign in Massachusetts, Scott Brown was caught on video thanking David Koch for his money and pleading for even more Big Oil contributions. Brown voted to protect Big Oil in the Senate, and he has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of campaign contributions from Big Oil for his campaigns.

For more information about the key difference in this race between Brown and Shaheen click here:

Shaheen Campaign Statement on Scott Brown Officially Entering New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate Race


Time for Scott Brown to Sign the Same People’s Pledge He Proposed and Signed for Massachusetts

Concord – With Scott Brown officially entering the U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire, it is time for him to sign the People’s Pledge for the Granite State and stop out-of-state third parties from spending millions on attack ads here.  Brown proposed and signed this exact same People’s Pledge in his last race in Massachusetts, and as recently as just a few weeks ago, bragged about how well it worked.

“In 2012, Scott Brown said Massachusetts voters deserved better than outside third-party attack ads.  Well, the people of New Hampshire deserve better too.  We hope, now that he is officially a candidate, Scott Brown will commit to the same standard he set in his last race on the other side of the border and tell the special interests to stay out,” said Shaheen for Senate Campaign Manager Mike Vlacich.

Vlacich continued, “As our Governor and now our U.S. Senator, Jeanne Shaheen has always put New Hampshire first. She is a common sense leader who makes a difference for people here: strengthening job-creating small businesses, expanding job training and opportunity, and protecting taxpayers and consumers.”

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson holds the First In The Nation presidential primary


sheldon_adelson2Looks like New Hampshire is losing our “first-in-the-nation-Presidential-primary” status.

According to press reports, the FIRST “primary” for the 2016 Presidential campaign is being held this weekend in Las Vegas

…as each of the likely GOP candidates gets interviewed by moneyman Sheldon Adelson.

“Certainly the ‘Sheldon Primary’ is an important primary for any Republican running for president,” said Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush.

Reportedly, this weekend’s events include a poker tournament, a Scotch “tasting”, and a VIP dinner “hosted by the Adelsons in the private airplane hangar where Adelson keeps his fleet.”  In-between those events, “Adelson is scheduled to hold casual one-on-one chats — over coffee, at dinner or in his private office — with the prospective candidates.”

A senior strategist who has advised past GOP nominees said the 2016 hopefuls ‘are just falling at his feet.’

So… if Billionaire mogul Sheldon Adelson gets first crack at vetting the presidential candidates… where does that leave regular Republicans, here in the Granite State?

Shaheen for New Hampshire Releases New Radio Ad: “The People’s Pledge”


Scott Brown Boasts About the People’s Pledge He Now Refuses to Sign

money-in-politicsConcord, NH — Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign has released a new radio ad highlighting Scott Brown’s hypocrisy and calling on him to sign the People’s Pledge to stop third party advertising in the New Hampshire senate race. The ad uses audio of Brown boasting about the same exact People’s Pledge he created in Massachusetts, but is now refusing to sign in New Hampshire.

The new 60-second radio spot introduces New Hampshire to a Scott Brown 2012 radio ad with Brown boasting about the People’s Pledge he and Elizabeth Warren signed that year.

“Scott Brown said he proposed and signed the People’s Pledge because Massachusetts deserved better.  But apparently, New Hampshire doesn’t deserve better in Brown’s mind because now Scott Brown is refusing to sign the exact same pledge,” said Harrell Kirstein, communications director for the Shaheen campaign.  ”Big Oil and Wall Street special interests want to buy him a senate seat, and he’s eager to get their money.”

“Jeanne Shaheen signed the People’s Pledge and asked Scott Brown to do the same because she believes the people of New Hampshire deserve an election where they can hear the candidates directly and decide who will best represent their interests, not a flood of attack ads from Big Oil and Wall Street,” added Kirstein.

Listen to the new radio ad here:

ANNCR: Scott Brown’s changed more than his address. Listen.BROWN: Hello. This is Scott Brown. You’ve probably heard about the SuperPacs that have been created to influence elections, usually with negative ads. So I did something about it in my own race. I proposed and signed a pledge to stop third-party groups from coming into our state…ANNCR: That was Scott Brown running for Senate in Massachusetts. BROWN IN 2012 MASSACHUSETTS CAMPAIGN AD: “This is Scott Brown. You’ve probably heard about the SuperPacs that have been created to influence elections, usually with negative ads. So I did something about it…. I proposed and signed a pledge to stop third party groups from coming into our state.” [YouTube, scottbrownma, 3/9/12]
ANNCR: Just a few weeks ago in New York, he was still boasting about his People’s Pledge.But now Scott Brown’s in New Hampshire and refusing to sign the exact same People’s Pledge. BROWN: “We didn’t need another 30 to 40 million dollars coming in to distort our record and positions on things, so but what we came up with was the people’s pledge. Very unique, way to try to address these things. […] And it worked.” [Scott Brown Appearance, Cornell University, 2/6/14]
ANNCR: Not long ago, Scott Brown said he was “really disgusted” with SuperPac ads. BROWN: “But I and she were really disgusted and deeply concerned about the groups that would come in and distort our records and positions on things. Those third party super PAC’s in particular.  So we came up with a very unique way to handle that.  We signed an agreement.  It’s historic.” [Scott Brown Appearance, Amherst College, 2/18/13]
ANNCR: Now Scott Brown won’t sign his own pledge to stop them. Maybe it’s because Big Oil and Wall Street want to buy him a Senate Seat. Brown Refused To Sign The Same People’s Pledge That He Signed In 2012. “Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is trying to avoid a repeat of the last time he ran for Senate and lost against now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). This time around, he won’t agree to pledge to reduce spending by outside groups in the Senate race like he and Warren did in 2012.” [TPM, Livewire, 3/17/14]

  • HEADLINE: Scott Brown Won’t Take High Ground This Time, Will Accept Outside Cash [TPM, Livewire, 3/17/14]


ANNCR: Jeanne Shaheen signed. Tell Scott Brown to sign.It was the right thing to do in Massachusetts and it’s the right thing to do here. New Hampshire deserves a clean election too.


Shaheen Called On Brown To Sign Same People’s Pledge He Sign In MA To Keep Millions In Third-Party TV Ads Off The Airwaves. “Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is calling on newly announced Republican challenger Scott Brown to sign the same pact in New Hampshire that helped prevent outside groups from pouring millions of dollars into his last Massachusetts Senate election. In a letter sent Saturday, less than 24 hours after the former U.S. senator from Massachusetts entered the race, Shaheen said she ‘very much admired the People’s Pledge’ that Brown signed with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2012. Brown lost his Senate seat to Warren.” [Associated Press, 3/15/14]

Brown Said He Proposed People’s Pledge Because The People Of Massachusetts “Deserve Better” Than Third-Party Groups Getting Involved In Massachusetts’ Election. In a January 2012 appearance on CNN, when asked why Brown proposed the People’s Pledge, Brown said: “Because third parties have a history of coming into states and getting involved in politics and it’s not good for the process, it’s not good for the people of MA, and they deserve better. [CNN, 1/25/12]

Brown Said He Believed Strongly In People’s Pledge And Provided A “Reprieve From Negative Ads That He Didn’t Believe Massachusetts Voters Deserved. “Mr. Brown, who informally met with constituents at the Kenmore Diner before visiting with the editorial board of the Telegram & Gazette, said he strongly believes in the pact, adding that the agreement provides a much-needed ‘reprieve’ from some of the cut-throat political attack advertisements that have cropped up this election year.  He said Massachusetts voters don’t deserve such ads and added that he and Ms. Warren, a Harvard University law professor, are competent candidates capable of articulating their viewpoints and positions without plugs from partisan groups”.  [Worcester Telegram and Gazette, 1/26/12]


Former Republican Congressman Bill Zeliff Endorses Mike Cryans for Executive Council

Via Twitter

Jackson – Today former Congressman William H. Zeliff, Jr crossed party lines to endorse Mike Cryans for executive council.  “Bill” Zeliff of Jackson is a former Congressman who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 1997 as a Republican, today he issued this statement:

“I have given the special election for First District Executive Council a lot of thought and I am proud to support Mike Cryans’ candidacy in this special election on Tuesday March 11, 2014. I have watched Mike and Ray Burton work together as Grafton County Commissioners, and I feel that they are men cut from the same cloth who share many of the same qualities.  Just like Ray, Mike is a good listener, a gentleman and he has worked and lived in the North Country his entire life.  In addition he has a profound belief in public service and will be a hard worker and fighter for the interests of the North Country that we all care about. I urge all of  my friends and supporters in Executive Council District One to vote for Mike Cryans in this special election as I believe strongly that he is the best person for the job.”

Bill Zeliff was leader in the ‘Republican Revolution’ of 1994. He helped to create and implement Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America as a Deputy Republican Whip. His endorsement demonstrates that Mike Cryans has broad support across the political spectrum including the New Hampshire Republican leadership.

Grafton County Commissioner Mike Cryans is a proven problem solver and consensus builder.  In the 16 years he served side by side with Republican Ray Burton, they worked together across party lines to deliver for constituents.  The strong relationship Mike built with his Republican counterpart, motivated the Burton Family to endorsement Mike Cryans earlier in the election. Last week a group of two dozen current and former Republican Leaders launched Republicans for Cryans Committee to highlight Mike’s bipartisan support.

Beloved Former Governor And Current US Senator, Shaheen Endorses Mike Cryans For Executive Councilor

Shaheen and Cryans

Shaheen and CryansPlymouth – New Hampshire’s U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen was the keynote speaker for Executive Council candidate Mike Cryans’s event at the Common Man restaurant in Plymouth tonight.

“I’m pleased to endorse Mike Cryans for Executive Council,” said Senator Shaheen.  “A Littleton native and Grafton County resident, Mike embodies the values and spirit of northern New Hampshire. Like his longtime friend Ray Burton, Mike will advocate for the 109 towns and 4 cities of District 1 with the same strength and conviction that he has demonstrated as the Grafton County Commissioner for the past seventeen years. Mike will fight for the working families and taxpayers of District 1, as he has done through his public and private life. I hope you will join me in supporting Mike Cryans for Executive Council on March 11.”

Senator Shaheen and Commissioner Cryans packed the Common Man restaurant with excited supporters to discuss how the Executive Council can improve the economy in northern New Hampshire. In 1997, then Governor Shaheen appointed Cryans to the College Tuition Savings Plan Board. Cryans has served there for 17 years, helping hardworking Granite State students afford a college education that will prepare them for jobs in tomorrow’s economy.

“I’ve known Jeanne for nearly 40 years, she appointed me to the College Tuition Savings Plan board when she was governor,” said Cryans.  “For years she has been an inspirational leader and advocate for small businesses and working families in New Hampshire.  We are of the same mind when it comes to the issues facing the State, especially when it comes to fighting to sustain and improve access to women’s’ healthcare.”

This week Mike was proud to receive the endorsement of Planned Parenthood of New England. In 2011, when the Republican controlled Executive Council voted to relinquish the federal grant for Planned Parenthood, and it was Senator Shaheen who negotiated with the Obama Administration to restore funding, restoring access to health care for over 15,000 Granite State women’s in the process.  Like Ray Burton, who opposed the Planned Parenthood defunding in 2011, Mike believes politics and ideology should not interfere with a women’s access to healthcare.

More Support For Mike Cryans For Executive Councilor

Via Twitter

Planned Parenthood NH PAC endorses Michael Cryans
NH Women Won’t Tolerate Another Executive Councilor That Wants to Turn the Clock Back on Women’s Health Care

CONCORD – The Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) Action Fund NH PAC has endorsed Michael Cryans in the special election race for the District One seat on the Executive Council. Cryans’ opponent, former state Senator Joe Kenney (R) has a long legislative record of voting to restrict women’s access to reproductive health services, including a vote in 2007 to deny state and federal funds to health care organizations that offer abortion, and specifically Planned Parenthood, even though no public funds are used for this service.

“Women in New Hampshire want leaders that will move our state and its economy forward – not turn back the clock on women’s health care” stated Jennifer Frizzell, Chair of the Action Fund’s New Hampshire political committee. “Joe Kenney would deny women access to birth control, breast exams and cancer screenings by defunding Planned Parenthood,” Frizzell continued.

The Executive Council has been a particular focus of the organization’s political efforts in New Hampshire since June of 2011 when a majority of the Councilors took the unprecedented action of voting against a routine contract for preventive health care services at six Planned Parenthood health centers. None of the 3 Councilors who supported defunding the organization were re-elected to the Council and candidates Colin Van Ostern, Chris Pappas and Deborah Pignatelli all ran successful campaigns on a platform of restoring funds to the organization.

“You only need to look back at the results of the 2012 elections to see that candidates that voted to take away access to birth control, cancer screenings and breast exams and to put ideology before the needs of their constituents were rejected by New Hampshire voters at all levels of the ballot,” continued Frizzell.

The late Ray Burton (R – Bath) was a long-time supporter of Planned Parenthood and the health services provided to his constituents in the Upper Valley. The PPNNE Action Fund seeks a replacement for Burton who will continue to provide such a voice for the residents of District One. PPNNE operates two health centers in Executive Council District One: Claremont and West Lebanon. Taken together these centers serve more than 3,000 women, men and teens in the region each year.

The Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Action Fund is the political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. The Action Fund and its NH PAC work to promote and preserve a health care landscape and a political climate that is favorable to improving women’s health and making health care services including family planning, more accessible and affordable.

Strong Republican Support For Mike Cryans For Executive Councilor

Via Twitter

Current and Former Republican Leaders Launch Republicans for Cryans Committee

Hanover – Two weeks before the March 11th Election Day, two dozen current registered Republicans and former Republicans leaders are launching Republicans for Cryans, highlighting the broad bipartisan support for Mike Cryans across the district.  Mike Cryans is running in the special election for Executive Council District One covering northern New Hampshire.  Members of the Republicans for Cryans Committee will be reaching out to fellow Republicans across the district and discussing why Mike Cryans is the best choice in the March 11th election.

The Cryans campaign is competing for each and every vote.  As a Grafton County Commissioner, Cryans built a strong record of real accomplishments by reaching across the aisle to get things done.  For 16 years, he worked side by side with late Executive Councilor, and fellow Grafton County Commissioner Ray Burton.

“Having such broad support from Granite State Republicans, Democrats and Independents is a great honor,” said Cryans.  “From Claremont to Conway and Littleton to Laconia, I am talking to voters about my vision for a stronger economy for northern New Hampshire and how much is at stake in this election.”

“Mike Cryans is not partisan, his actions will be well thought out, inclusive, wise, benign and constructive Cryans is the only candidate who will serve in the manner we are accustomed to, that being like Ray Burton. Cryans will not allow politics to get in the way of helping people,” said former Republican Senator Mark Hounsell of Conway.

“Mike Cryans has a deep understanding of the District especially from Lincoln on up to the Canadian border. His knowledge of the area and commitment to public service make him the best man to fill Ray Burton’s position on the Executive Council,” said Ken Randell, Republican and former State Representative from Laconia.

“Mike is born and bred in the North Country, I feel he is the candidate who best understands the needs facing the North Country and the District,” said Wayne Presby, a Littleton Republican and President of the Mount Washington Railway Company.

“I have been a Republican for most of my adult life, but partisan politics and radical rights and lefts have soured me on both parties.  I’ve finally given myself the freedom to vote for the person and not the party.  The seat of executive council requires a collaborative person with a knowledge of best business practices and the willingness to work in the best interest of the people of the state of New Hampshire,” said Hillary Seeger, a Republican candidate for Select Board in Meredith.  “Mike Cryans is the man for this job.  His astute sense of fiscal responsibility along with his positive and caring attitude make him by far, the candidate who will get my vote.”

Mike Cryans is running a people powered campaign.  In addition to the Republicans listed below, more than 740 individuals of every political party are supporting Cryans, because they know he will work hard every single day to deliver commonsense solutions for his constituents.

Media request for individual members of Republicans for Cryans can be sent to


The Republicans for Cryans Committee includes:

Herb & Fay Lloyd, Bethlehem

Lisa Capaldo, Canaan

Mark Hounsell, Conway; former Republican State Senator

Mary Grimes, Columbia; Ray Burton’s sister

Richard A. Crate Jr., Enfield; Police Chief

Lynn Presby, Freedom; retired New Hampshire State Police Colonel, current Racing and Gaming Commissioner

Lynne Whitacre, Hanover

Ray Labombard, Hanover

John Manchester, Hanover

Ray Abbott, Jackson; former Republican Carroll County Commissioner

Richard Coggon, Laconia

Ralph Hough, Lebanon; former Republican State Senate President of NH 1993-1994

Joel Bedor, Littleton

Dick Hamilton, Littleton

Winston Merrill, Littleton

Wayne Presby, Littleton

David M. Miller, Littleton

Hillary Seeger, Meredith; Republican candidate for Select Board

Gerald Coogan, New London

Bonnie Ham, North Woodstock; former Republican State Representative

David Babson, Ossipee; Republican Carroll County Commissioner

Steve Panagoulis, Plymouth ; former Republican Grafton County Commissioner

Ken Randell, Tilton, former Republican State Representative

The State Employees Association Endorses Mike Cryans For Executive Council

SEIU 1984 Logo

SEIU 1984 LogoConcord, NH, February 20, 2014 – The State Employees’ Association/SEIU Local 1984 (SEA) has endorsed Mike Cryans as their Executive Council candidate of choice in the special election in Executive Council District One taking place on March 11, 2014. This special election is to determine who will succeed NH icon and longtime Councilor, Ray Burton.

Cryans served alongside the late Ray Burton on the Grafton County Commission where the two developed a close friendship in the 16 years they served together on the commission.

“I like the relationship we had, because it was a Democrat and a Republican who proved that party lines don’t always make the difference,” Cryans told SEA members at a meeting last month. “A lot of times, it’s how you view things. Our view was to get things done.”

Through his work as a Grafton County Commissioner, Cryans has a successful history of completing projects that invest in the local economy and create jobs. His priorities as a member of the Executive Council are protecting taxpayers’ interests, investing in the state’s economy and strengthening the middle class.

“Mike has demonstrated the commitment the people of district one deserve and we are proud to support his candidacy,” said Diana Lacey, President of SEA.

Cryans, the father of two said he’s spent most of his life, except for his college years, living Council District One, which encompasses the northernmost two-thirds of the state – everything north of Claremont to the west and Milton to the east. He currently lives in Hanover with his wife and youngest son.

Cryans said he’s driven to do well, something that will serve him well if he’s elected. At a meeting of the SEA Political Education committee Cryans told members, “I’m not trying to fill Ray Burton’s shoes, I’m just trying to do the best I can do,” he said. “I will try to do the very best I can if I’m elected.”

“I am confident that Mike Cryans will continue to advocate for residents of this district,” said SEA member Cheryl Towne who resides and works in Executive District One. “I work at Glencliff Home.  I’m confident that Mike Cryans will continue to remember the good work done at our facility and that he will represent the ‘little guys,’ like me. His dad was a union carpenter who taught him the value of hard work and the importance of treating everyone with respect and dignity. I think he will not forget his constituents who are ‘the little guy.’ I don’t think he will cave to special interest groups – he’ll do what’s right for his district.”

The SEA encourages all District residents to vote in the special election being held on March 11, 2014.

About The State Employees’ Association/ SEIU Local 1984

The State Employees’ Association of New Hampshire represents about 11,500 public and private-sector employees across the Granite State.  First formed in 1940 as a social organization, the SEA won passage of New Hampshire’s Public Employee Labor Relations Law in 1975.  Since then, the union has negotiated hundreds of contracts with state, county, municipal and private-sector employers.  The SEA affiliated with the Service Employees’ International Union in 1984.  With 2.1 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas.