The First In The Nation (#FITN) Campaign Is Underway (InZane Times)

Image by Arnie Alpert
Image by Arnie Alpert

Image by Arnie Alpert

Senators from opposite ends of the political spectrum took to lecterns on opposite ends of Manchester yesterday to test the waters for potential presidential runs.  At the NH Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders engaged in spirited  back-and-forth with 200 progressive activists on topics including campaign finance, excessive military spending, and the need for a “political revolution.”  Meanwhile, the Americans for the Prosperous Foundation and Citizens United hosted a parade of right-wing Senators and others trying out their stuff before an audience of several hundred conservatives at the Executive Court. 2014 04 12 freedom summit 005

Outside the conservative event, progressive activists – mistakenly identified with the Democratic Party by the Concord Monitor – held signs lambasting proposals to weaken retirement security.

It was perhaps the first in what will soon be a typical day on the trail to the 2016 New Hampshire Presidential Primary.

The conservative event was tickets-only, but I got my request in early enough to get a seat and hear speeches from leaders of Citizens United and Americans for the Prosperous, followed by NH Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senator Mike Lee, Do2014 04 12 freedom summit 008cropnald Trump, and a couple of local pols.  While Trump was entertaining, audience response to Senatorial speeches about low taxes and the evils of Obamacare drew tepid responses.  The speakers were ushered to the stage from behind a curtain, gave their prepared speeches, and disappeared again behind the curtain without taking any audience questions or comments.

Senator Kelly Ayotte, who seems to be on lots of lists of potential VPs, quoted former Governor Meldrim Thomson, equated freedom with low taxes, and equated the Affordable Care Act with freedom’s opposite.  Applause were somewhere south of excited. Senator Lee was teacherly and likewise failed to excite the crowd.

Trump was different.  Speaking without notes – and criticizing politicians who  depend on speech-writers and tele-prompters – Trump wandered from point to2014 04 12 freedom summit 028point, some of which departed from standard AFP scripts.  For example, he defended Social Security and Medicare in an apparent dig at proposals coming from Congressman Paul Ryan.  He said we need “to come up with a humane solution” to the country’s immigration system, but then drew applause for ridiculing Jeb Bush’s recent “act of love” statement and said he could build a physical barrier that would keep immigrants out.  Trump said we had spent $2 trillion on the Iraq war, “for what?,” but then implied maybe it would have been worth it if we had taken2014 04 12 freedom summit 020 over the country’s oil.

With no candidate Q&A, the event was rather boring.  My colleague Addy and I left during the introduction of Congressman Louie Gohmert and headed across town.

Senator Sanders had already finished his speech and was talking about Harry Truman when we arrived at the Institute of Politics.  The mood felt different, and it wasn’t just that we were in politically comfortable surroundings.  The seats were all filled, except for ones emptied by people standing in line to get their turns at microphones on the left and right sides of the stage.  Sanders handled questions comfortably, clearly at home in a town hall meeting environment.  Decrying “a Congress largely dependent on corporate2014 04 12 bernie sanders nhiop 011money,” Sanders called for development of a grassroots movement to demand change and then hold politicians accountable.

Sanders, a socialist who ran as an Independent and caucuses with the Democrats, is giving active consideration to a presidential run without saying whether he would run as an Independent or take the fight inside the Democratic Party.  “Somebody has got to be talking about these issues,” he told a group of labor activists who met with him in a small conference room after the main event.

We could have returned to the Freedom Summit and perhaps would have been able to hear Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, but I had had enough for one day.  I would have liked to hear Senator Paul criticize corporate welfare at a Koch-fueled forum.  But I’m pretty sure all these wannabe Presidents will be back, as will the progressive protests, grassroots activists, and the reporters who love to take it all in.

Senator Rand Paul Submits A National Right To Work Bill

Senator Rand Paul

The battle over Right To Work States just took a monumental leap as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduces a National Right to Work (for less) Act.

From Sen Paul’s Press Release:

Senator Rand Paul “Sen. Rand Paul this week introduced the National Right to Work Act, S. 204, which seeks to preserve and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities.

“Every American worker deserves the right to freedom of association – and I am concerned that the 26 states that allow forced union membership and dues infringes on these workers’ rights,” Sen. Paul said. “Right to work laws ensure that all Americans are given the choice to refrain from joining or paying dues to a union as a condition for employment. Nearly 80 percent of all Americans support the principles and so I have introduced a national Right to Work Act that will require all states to give their workers the freedom to choose.”

Sen. Paul’s Right to Work Act does not add a single word to existing federal law, it simply deletes forced unionism provisions in federal law.”

This completely changes the conversation that surrounds Right To Work.  Before they always said was about jobs.  Specifically stealing jobs from neighboring Non-RTW states. This is how they forced it through in Indiana.   I love the way that Rick Smith describes it on his show, “Beggar they neighbor”. If we are a RTW for less nation who are we going to beg jobs from?

Now it seems it is that it is about Freedom.  This is a complete joke since it is already illegal to force someone into a union.  They already have the freedom to pay the representation fee instead of joining.

This is exactly the opposite to everything we are taught to believe in the democratic process.  We can have all the debate we want but in the end, the majority rules.  Now they are taking the minority and placing them ahead of the majority.

This is an ideological and blatantly  anti-union piece of legislation.  It has no benefit to our nation as a whole.  It will reduce the collective bargaining rights of millions of union workers and it turn will reduce the pay and benefits of the other 200 million workers in the US.

The national race to bottom has begun, soon Rand Paul will probably try to repeal all collective bargaining in the country!

Is it any surprise that the National Right To Work committee made a nice donation to the Rand Paul for Senate campaign. Does it surprise you that the National RTW Committee spent over $2.2 Million dollars ‘lobbying’ in Washington D.C.?  I am not surprised considering that there were no less than five Right To Work for less bills submitted in the 112 Congress.

While I do not expect this bill to go very far in the US Senate, it is obvious that these officials care more about their campaign contributions that the majority of workers.