Thursday, August 28, 2014

In Wake of Arizona Uzi Killing, NRA Tweets About Kids Having Fun With Guns

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

40 Percent Of Restaurant Workers Live In Near-Poverty

"It isn't just fast-food empires that rely on a low-paid, disempowered, and quite-often impoverished workforce. As a stomach-turning new report from the Economic Policy Institute shows, the entire restaurant industry hides a dirty little labor secret under the tasteful lighting of the dining room."

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Study Debunks Big Corporations' Argument About Taxes

"U.S.-based multinationals that are pursuing inversion transactions have been quick to wrap themselves in a mantle of simple virtue, forced to take the unpalatable step of inverting into Irish, U.K. or Swiss public companies because their love goes unrequited by a country that cruelly saddles them with both the highest corporate tax rate in the world, and a uniquely punitive worldwide tax base," This argument "is almost entirely fact-free." Edward Kleinbard, a law professor at the University of Southern California, and a former chief of staff for Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation.

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Here's What Happens to Police Officers Who Shoot Unarmed Black Men

From this report history appears to be in law enforcement's favor. Read the article to look at five cases where a unarmed black man was killed by police while allegedly fleeing or resisting in some fashion.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Overworked America: 12 Charts That Will Make Your Blood Boil

Overworked Americans continue to sacrifice more and get less for that extra work. Don't think it has anything to do with you? Take a look at the charts and see just how badly you are being taken for.

All Work and No Pay: The Great Speedup

Harrowing, Heartbreaking Tales of Overworked Americans

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Strafford County Democratic Committee Picnic Recap/Photos

It was a beautiful day for the SCDC Grow Local picnic. The SCDC EC organizers had done a great job of planning and making sure things moved along seamlessly. The sponsor list was incredible this year and I think they probably deserve credit for that as well. There was a large crowd this time that stayed for most of the picnic and everyone seemed to be having a very relaxing day. The food was great, but it always is. We don't all get to see each other often, or for very long when we do, so the annual picnic is the perfect opportunity to catch up with each other.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Voices After Shooting Death Of Michael Brown

Daughter, I said I didn't have it in me to sit with the killing of Michael Brown last night and comb my social media accounts for first-hand anecdotes that would likely be more accurate than anything the news stations would report. I didn't want to watch the Vines or read the Instagram messages under a photo collage of police presence at the crime scene, wailing friends and neighbors, the boy's father holding up a scrap of cardboard scrawled with, "Ferguson Police just executed my unarmed son," and the barely covered body of the boy himself.

I would highly recommend watching the MSNBC video at the bottom of the page of the second link below this.

When Parenting Feels Like a Fool's Errand: On the Death of Michael Brown
Eyewitness to Michael Brown shooting recounts his friend’s death

Ferguson Seeks Answers After Police Shooting Of Michael Brown
9 Powerful Photos That Show Ferguson Is Pretty Much Being Treated Like A War Zone

 Stark Racial Disparities In Ferguson, Missouri, The Town Where Michael Brown Was Shot

 Meet the St. Louis Alderman Who's Keeping an Eye on Ferguson's Cops

Actual Military Veterans Say Cops In Ferguson Are Excessively Armed, Untrained Wannabes

Ferguson Protesters Guard Stores From Looters

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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Zerlina Maxwell Is Here To Educate You About Rape Culture

"Victims of sexual assault have a lot to be afraid about. It turns out that only 3% of rapists ever see the inside of a jail cell. Think about that for a moment. Now that you've thought about it, listen to Zerlina Maxwell do a talk on how we can help solve the problem. A lot of messaging focuses on blaming the victim. Yet, when cities like Vancouver actively ran campaigns to tell guys what constitutes rape, they decreased sexual assault by 10% in one year. Education is key. And Zerlina is here to educate you."

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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Young Jews Protest Israel's Offensive In Gaza, Call For End To 'Gratuitous Killing'

"We reject your organization’s promotion of the “well being of Jews worldwide” as you support a war that leaves our friends and cousins running to bomb shelters and only worsens the horrific status quo of a stateless and oppressed people, the Palestinians. Occupation and expulsion has left the Jewish community numb to the suffering of others and callous in the face of bloodshed." A portion of a letter delivered Tuesday to William Daroff, the Jewish Federations' senior vice president for public policy.

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Blood War-Fighting The FDA Oppression Of LGBTQ Donors By Kyle Leach

Blood War-Fighting The FDA Oppression Of Gay Donors By Kyle Leach

June is always a endless sea of happiness as I watch LGBTQ express themselves and throw off the burdens and chains that still bind way too many of us. Watching our community emerge from its' cocoon, spread its' wings, and take flight is an empowering affirmation every year. Seeing us grow and publicly share our love and affections never gets old. By the time LGBTQ have finished our month long celebration of who we were, who we are, who we want to be and refocus on the continuing fight against bigots and ultras conservatives, the middle of July has rolled around and I'm pricked by a little sadness. The National Gay Blood Drive starts, an expanding effort I vastly approve of and loathe that it has to exist at all. 

In 2014 gay men still can't donate blood in the United States. Bisexual men can't donate. Some transgendered blood donations are denied. Even though all blood is tested now, even though other high risk populations are not banned, we, as a nation,  continue to let the FDA hold fast to a scientifically flawed, unequally applied, oppressive, Reagan era shame tactic against LGBTQ. To counteract this repressive hold over from the jellybean obsessed, jelly brained, C-movie actor and former President of the "free world" the The National Gay Blood Drive was formed. Visibility and team effort are the goals of this very special project, getting people to donate more blood is icing on the cake. Essentially, gay donors and allies try to find as many people to donor blood for those who are prohibited from donating blood. LGBTQ donors can tell their stories, show their commitment, and send them off with the paperwork. The drive is nationwide, but tends to be concentrated in major cities. The two closet to NH are in Boston, MA and Portland, ME.

I'm not really sure when this started to bother me so much. I noticed when I tried to donate blood in college. The nagging in my gut intensified when blood donation and supplies started to dwindle here in the US. When a crisis hits the nation or another region and everyone rushes to donate blood I feel the keen icy isolation too. Considering how far we have come on so many levels in the past decade this gross exclusion makes me feel worse and worse each time a two month cycle ends. Every two months I could be giving blood to help someone recover lost blood from surgery, help a hemophiliac restore life in their veins, or assist people which need routine transfusions. All of that potential lost each year because a very small group of homophobic bigots managed to get control of the nation three decades ago and few have been brave enough to champion our cause since. All because I love men and choose to express that love, without apology or reservation, instead of choosing to lie or suffer silently while being mistreated.

As a progressive I believe all life is sacred, all suffering unneeded. Our job is sustain life, to make lives better, to make life stronger. The people that fear me because I am a gay man would love for my community to be erased, they would love for us to be silent, but we will not. We will not let them demean us with this discriminatory policy. We will not let them win. You may try to bludgeon us with your hatred, but we will transform it into something beautiful like the National Gay Blood Drive. I hope we can expand this event while we have to. Maybe next year we can get one donation site in NH? Maybe two? My greatest  hope is to not need the event at all. Until then, if you are an eligible donor please give blood as often as you can. Donate because some of us want to help others, but have been told we cannot do so because we are different. Donate blood so bigots and hatred don't get the final word in this arena. Donate blood because it saves lives each and every day.

National Blood Drive Is Fighting the FDA Ban on Gay Donors

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Why Everybody Is Mad At Rich People

A typical family's wealth has been gutted by 43% since 2007, the year the great recession began. Their wealth fell from $98,872 to $56,335, according to the study in the article. Ouch!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

'I've Become One Of The Shadow People'

"I've become one of the shadow people. And most days, it seems like nothing is going to change." Lisa Millard

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Immigrants Are Us, Thoughts On Immigration And Fear, Past And Future By Kyle Leach

Most of us who now call the continents of North and South America home are immigrants. My family line lay claim and settled on the North American continent very early during the colonial period. I know they committed what I would now consider gross violations of human rights and I assume even if simply by standing by and doing nothing, because it was adventitious for them, they committed gross acts of genocide. Both would now be seen as crimes against humanity and violations of what we now call International Law. I can tell you for certain my family has never been called to task for those crimes.

Those concepts didn't exist then, they barely hold true now and the arc of history is always rewritten by the successful aggressors, the "victors" and the awful truth of their deeds watered down by purposely perpetuated myths to make the aggressors feel better about themselves and so their progeny can do the same and won't grow up to think or feel anything like I do. They spin stories of their own greatness full of vanity and self approval and demonize those who are different by condescendingly casting them as ignorant, child-like, or victims of their own circumstance who need help. When native peoples had enough of the lies and duplicity they fought for their survival and were labeled "savages." Savages to those people, means not white or not Christian or both. Those natives who survived the invasions were left with the monumental task of protecting their distinctive ways of life by relocating to smaller and smaller "approved" lands and trying to rebuild their futures with those people who were left from their former vast nations, with very few resources to start that process. The fact that so many survived is a testament to human spirit.

My soul carries the weight of what has been done. A slight against one is a slight against all. One person embracing darkness dims the soul of all humanity. I know the truth of what happened and that means I carry the great burden of not allowing people to forget what horrors have happened, in this case, over the last four centuries in what we now call the United States of America.. It is too easy for any person to stand in a crowd, point a finger, and cry witch. The "witches" change shape as time passes. One day a different skin tone, different customs, the next different identities or different sexualities.  Atheists are a universal "witch" of the modern age, hated and marginalized by every other group society has created. It is too easy for people to slip into old comfortable patterns and to be honest people will take an easy lie over a difficult truth any day. For a great example, just look at the media today, especially FOX news. Truth is hard to find, even on the information superhighway; you have to sift through a lot of muck to find the gold nuggets of what is really happening in our world. But that's a story for another time.

Immigrants now severely outnumber the native peoples of both continents. Entire languages gone, art and culture crushed into dust, entire histories erased, civilizations pulled apart, enslaved, potential futures torn from the web of life and cast aside like trash. All that wisdom lost. How many great thinkers, how many cultural creatives, how many people with deep empathy and compassion did the world loose over the last four centuries? All due to immigration by disease ridden, land stealing, culture destroying invaders to paraphrase the modern sentiments of the racist, misogynist, exclusive ultra-conservatives of the United States.

When I was very little I learned that the Israelis and Palestinians were fighting with each other. I really don't remember how. It disturbed me. I asked my mom why they were fighting. My mom told me they were at an impasse and explained the situation as best she could to someone so young. By the next morning I came up with a plan to help them stop fighting. Each year one group would live above ground and the other would live below ground supported by those living above ground. At the end of a year cycle they would have to leave where they had been living, working, playing and switch. You see in my mind I was sure that eventually each side would grow tired of this endless feud over a patch of land and find that they were really no different from one another and find that they could all live above ground together. 

I had similar thoughts about native peoples. I first thought all the federal lands and all the national parks should be given back, then over time we would need to give back more and more of the uninhabited land, then finally we would need to give back the rest. It would be a dramatic reversal of our colonial and frontier efforts. It would start out west and work its way back to the east coast where it had all begun. The solution did not correct at the wrongs; it could not bring back all that was lost. In my mind it was the most fitting justice I could imagine. Our fates would be in the hands of the people that our ancestors killed, displaced, and dishonored. As only the mind of a child can, I thought we would both learn along the way and learn to care for each other. I looked at the elders of many of the great indigenous tribes and saw they had embraced light over darkness when darkness had threatened to engulf them all. I looked into their eyes, into there souls; there was nothing to fear. If it could only be that easy.

I had not learned about hate yet, I did not know fear and I did not know about greed and gluttony. Unfortunately, I do understand them now. They are the real problem in this situation, they are the real affliction, they are the malady we need to cure. The descendents of white settlers of our nation need to learn that one day they will be a minority, in fact in most places they already are. If they have anything to fear it is from their own doing; a circumstance of their own creation, holding on to a perverted, twisted past. We saw this when woman and racial "minorities" fought before the beginning and during the middle of the twentieth century. We saw it when Europe was in Hitler's grasp with Jews, Romany and so many others going any place they could, except here. We see it now with the hysterical(as in hysteria) antics directed at LGBTQ. 

Their religious hypocrisy, the picketing full of hate and yelling full of fear, all directed at men, women, and children who have no home is not only unbecoming it is unconscionable; it must be hurtful to anyone truly following the path of modern Christianity, the universal tenant of love. Really when you really get down to it, the only reason his is happening is that the people fleeing to us are not white. How many times have you heard ultra-conservatives as upset with our border to the north? Can't really think of any can you?

The men, woman, and children that are coming to our border are us. They seek refuge from oppression, they are trying to escape extreme poverty, they are looking for religious freedom and political asylum. They want opportunity and a chance to build a life with us. They will help lead us to our future. They will make us diverse, the will make us even more multicultural, they will make us stronger with their experiences and insights.

Those little children, all alone, making it to our border show us how focused and determined human beings can be. They are an infusion of hope and ingenuity. Two things we need disparately right now. All of them will be elders by the time we approach the 22nd century and I want them to tell future generations how we were an open nation of respect and compassion, when they themselves open their arms for the immigrants of the next century and recall our history. I want those children to know we are proud they chose to come here. I wan them to know they are one of us.

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Who Are Refugees?-Refugees And How They Got To NH

A Piece From Every Child Matters:

As a child I remember my mother speaking German when she was upset or frustrated. I guess she thought that swearing in German was better than swearing in English in front of my sister, brother, and I. But we soon caught on to the words and I still use them myself at times.

When I asked her how she knew German, she told me that her father’s family was from Germany and many of her aunts and uncles speak German, having learned it from their parents. I think that was probably the first time that I realized that the United States was not where everyone was born.

My cousin Jim is the genealogy expert on the other side of my family. He has traced the roots of my father’s family from the first steps in America back to Ireland for the Kelly’s (my grandfather) and Germany for the Zulauf’s, (my grandmother). Many of my relatives came here as children. They went on to work in factories, some became farmers, teachers, nurses, while others started new businesses in this country and employed their relatives and neighbors, and many went into the armed services, protecting the country they now called home.

Migrant children have been coming to this country for many years. Back when my relatives made their way to America there were people here who called them the same names that we hear the children from Central America being called today – “invaders,” “disease ridden,” “job stealers.” Some were confronted by signs on shop and factory doors that said, “Irish need not apply.”

I am saddened that my relatives, especially the children, had to endure this name calling and bigotry. But, I am proud that they stayed, worked hard, and educated themselves, and gave me a family history to be proud of.

I am embarrassed that we as Americans, all of us immigrants, have forgotten our own family histories. Seeing grown-ups screaming at terrified children for wanting nothing more than a better life repulses me.

The daughter of Dallas Judge, Clay Jenkins, said to him as he was explaining to her that all the children were being detained at the border for her security and protection, “But daddy, these aren’t people, these are children.”

And this is a humanitarian crisis. I hope we start to address it humanely, for the sake of the children.

New Hampshire has a diverse refugee population. The New Hampshire Refugee Program (NHRP) operates under the New Hampshire Office of Minority Health and Refugee Affairs. Here is information about the program from the DHHS website.

The primary goal of the Refugee Program is to assist refugees in their quest for economic self-sufficiency and successful integration. The NHRP is funded through the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Refugee Program staff work closely with the two New Hampshire voluntary resettlement agencies (volags), Lutheran Social Services and the International Institute of New Hampshire, as well as other area partners to support refugee integration.

These nonprofit voluntary resettlement agencies (volags) receive US Department of State, Bureau of Population and Migration funding and agree to resettle a number of refugees at the start of the fiscal year based on their capacity to provide services for new arrivals and the number of refugees coming into the U.S. Additional money is provided to states by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to provide self-sufficiency services. These services include:
Case Management: Resettlement agencies facilitate and coordinate a variety of services including housing, healthcare, referrals and general support services as refugees transition into their communities.

Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) and Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA): Funds are designed to assist refugees during their 8 month, initial resettlement period. All refugees are entitled to Refugee Medical Assistance for their first eight months in the US. To be eligible for RCA, however, a refugee must be ineligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other cash support programs.

English as a Second Language: voluntary agencies collectively provide over 90 hours a week in English Language Training. Other public and private organizations provide additional ESOL in communities throughout New Hampshire. Classes are designed to help refugees achieve competencies in key linguistic areas, preparing them to meet their everyday language needs at work and in community life.

Employment Services: These include an assessment of vocational skills, job development, job placement and follow up services with local employers. The hard work of refugee employment counselors has made New Hampshire a model state for refugee resettlement. Refugees often find full-time employment within the first two or three months of arrival.

Preventive Health: The primary goal of the Preventive Health Program is to prevent and control problems of public health significance among incoming refugees, with emphasis on those health problems that may create barriers to self-sufficiency. The program ensures that refugees have access to health education, case management and interpreter services.

School Impact: This program targets school-aged refugees to support successful integration and academic achievement. The contractors also work closely with refugee parents and school personnel to discuss/resolve issues relevant to children’s school performance. The program provides a multitude of services that include leadership development, counseling, academic support, after school activities, parent training and cultural competency training for school personnel.

Services for Older Refugees: Older Refugees are often isolated from the mainstream community. The goal of the Services for Older Refugees program is to help older refugees access services available to mainstream older citizens. Contractors work with senior centers to develop culturally appropriate activities and improve cultural competence. Contractors also provide individualized case management to older refugees to resolve barriers to well-being, such as health access, transportation and housing issues. Finally, the project assists older refugees prepare for and achieve citizenship.

Learn more about Refugees and how they got to New Hampshire. experience.

MaryLou Beaver
New Hampshire Director
Every Child Matters Education Fund

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Matt Murray-My Turn: Don’t Fall Into Trap Set By Free Staters

For the Monitor
Saturday, July 19, 2014
We are well into the 2014 election season, and there’s a lot at stake.

Not just control of the U.S. Senate, as newly minted New Hampshire resident Scott Brown ignores his GOP primary opponents in his rush to target incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Not just the perversity quotient of the U.S. House, as primary voters sort through which candidates – representing which wing of the Republican Party? – will challenge Democratic incumbents Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter.

Not just the balance of power in the New Hampshire General Court, as we’re still trying to forget – or at least recover from – the two-year reign of House Speaker “Bully” O’Brien.

I hate to mention this, but there’s also the 2016 presidential campaign right around the corner. And if we’re going to fulfill the responsibility of the “First in the Nation” primary, then New Hampshire needs to have solid – and sane – political parties.

You see, New Hampshire is the focus of a unique political experiment, started in 2001 by then-Yale doctoral student Jason Sorens. His idea was to get 20,000 activists to move to a single state with a small population and an easily accessible government.

“Once we’ve taken over the state government, we can slash state and local budgets, which make up a sizeable proportion of the tax and regulatory burden we face every day. Furthermore, we can eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds and the strings attached to them. Once we’ve accomplished these things, we can bargain with the national government over reducing the role of the national government in our state. We can use the threat of secession as leverage to do this.”

Snowplowing? Bridge safety? An adequately funded judicial system? Public colleges? These things are nowhere on the Free Staters’ priority list.

No, the Free Staters – at least those in Keene – seem to be more interested in marijuana and videotaping the city’s parking enforcement officers.

Here’s where it gets serious: Free Staters don’t care about political parties. That’s how two Free Staters, who lived in the same house, ran for state representative on opposite sides of the ticket. (The Democratic candidate won.) Free State candidates don’t advertise their allegiance to the project, they just join up with a political party and run for office. 

In their 2012 election results roundup, the project outlined the progress they had made: Over the past eight years, FSP participants who have become state representatives went from zero to 1, to four, to 12 to 14 in 2010, to eleven this cycle. Only 1,100 movers are on the ground. With only 5 percent of the goal movers in New Hampshire, political FSP participants held onto the status quo while Republicans got trounced. Baby steps, people. It ain’t called a “project” for nothing!

Twenty-thousand movers could translate into 200 state reps, half the house. Imagine what fun would ensue.

One-fourth of the legislators identified as belonging to FSP ran as Democrats.

And now it’s 2014, election season again. 

Is it going to get even weirder this year? 

Sen. Peter Bragdon is retiring, and “Free State” mover Dan Hynes is running for his seat. Apparently Hynes has offered free room and board to FSPers willing to work for his campaign. 

And here’s what his campaign website says about why he’s running (under “Smaller Gov”): “Dan Hynes opposes government regulations that force people to do things against their will, or that prevents them from doing things that bring them happiness as long as it does not harm other people.” 

But don’t we need rules about which side of the road to drive on? Laws to protect property? What happens when the things that make one person happy conflict with what makes other people happy? What happens when most people want to have our highways plowed, but some people don’t want to pay for it?

People actually think that this kind of chaos is a good idea? And they’re moving to New Hampshire to create it?

Hasn’t New Hampshire already had enough nuttiness from our politicians? Can’t we all agree that we need a functioning government? And rational political parties? And that Granite Staters don’t really want to secede from the United States?

This election year, we need to pay close attention to who we’re voting for, where their allegiance lies and what sort of a government they believe in (if any).

There’s a lot at stake.

(Matt Murray is the creator and editor of the NH Labor News, an online blog that focuses on politics and their effect on working families. He lives in Merrimack.)

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