Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

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Entries Tagged as 'New Hampshire!'

Somebody really doesn’t want you to read Allen Raymond’s book!

January 3rd, 2008 · Comments Off on Somebody really doesn’t want you to read Allen Raymond’s book!

It won’t be in bookstores for another week but that didn’t stop two “reviewers” last week from posting low-ball reviews on Amazon. The book is How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative, a colorful, profane, and surprisingly frank memoir of sleazy politics.

Media mentions of Allen Raymond’s book have mostly talked up his phone-jamming, for which his RNC pals threw him under the bus. The book details many stunts more colorful. Deceptive robocalls to Democrats from “scary black men” or “actors putting on thick Spanish accents” worked wonders at keeping them home on Election Day. Swapping soft money for hard–funneling GOP dollars to leftwing splinter candidates–engineering repeat contributions from donors who had already given their legal limit–Raymond names names and shows how each trick works.

Adam Cohen in the NYT says that this book may finally force Senate action on the long-delayed Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act. I hope it will.

I got an advance copy just a few days ago in response to my longtime phone-jamming blogging, and just posted my own review on Amazon too. It would be quite a job to track GOP lowballers around the two-way web but you may find it an interesting hobby. (On Barnes and Noble: “Pitiful and poorly written,” some prescient reviewer claimed on Christmas Day.)

Probably the biggest reason that GOP insiders want you not to read this book is not the rude first-person memories of Bush, Rove, Feather, Synhorst, et al. but the way showcases in-crowd contempt for their freeper supporters — “the Jesus-loves-guns crowd” — “the knuckle-draggers, the gunnies, and the committed ideologue nuts.” “The mouth-breathers who who decide GOP primaries might allow people to steal their money and send their children to impossible wars but they’ll cut no such slack for baby-killers.”

The book’s quite a read, and it could just make politics better.

Tags: New Hampshire! · politics · writing

Phone-jamming rats crawl into this morning’s news

December 20th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Chinatown exterminator

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Yes, yes, yes! And this morning on Daily Kos the top-recommended story is my expose of the latest phone-jamming news!

First, McClatchy Newspapers found an insider source to confirm that the US Department of Justice protected Republican bigwigs from their slow-walked “investigation” of the 2002 Election Day phone-jamming scandal.

Second, two advance reviews of phone-jamming tell-all How To Rig An Election are full of dark seedy details of GOP dirty tricks.

Bring on Boston’s Red Dragon Exterminating Company!

Tags: Editorial · New Hampshire! · Wide wonderful world

New tell-all book: One phone-jammer’s revenge

November 15th, 2007 · Comments Off on New tell-all book: One phone-jammer’s revenge

MiniElephant: Elephant, labeled "GOP Phone Jammer Follies", crushing telephone. Take one former Republican rising star, whose years spent “pushing the envelope” on campaign tactics have left him cynical–and very ready to talk. Allen Raymond spent three months in prison for phone-jamming crimes, telling the Boston Globe later that Republicans were now so “ultra-aggressive” and “ruthless” that he feared saying no to RNC-bigwig James Tobin could shut his consulting firm out of future business.

Add one former Page-Six gossip-bigwig, Ian Spiegelman. Gawker printed (I won’t even quote it) the blistering letter that got him fired from the New York Post. He’s said to describe himself as a “revenge fetishist.”

Put them together and what you get might be a real page-turner–How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Law Breaker. Coming out soon from Simon and Schuster.

More on this in Blue Hampshire. It’s quite a story

Tags: Editorial · funny · New Hampshire! · politics

Kitchen-sink politics: “You have to have a grown-up”

October 28th, 2007 · Comments Off on Kitchen-sink politics: “You have to have a grown-up”

Old Sink

Originally uploaded by artsyevie

Amazingly, the guy who said this asked the New York Times to keep his name a secret.

”He brings you the entire kitchen sink, and says, ‘Look what I brought you, a kitchen sink. Let’s throw it at the guy.’ You have to have a grown-up around who says, ‘Well, I’m not sure we should throw the entire kitchen sink at the guy, but what an interesting brass spigot you found.’ ”

The “he” in question is Christopher Lyon, an opposition researcher perhaps most noted for claiming a NH politician’s wife was part of an “orgasm cult.” But our need for grown-ups has much wider relevance.

Any campaign can attract somebody who sees nothing wrong with tearing up opponents’ signs, disrupting their events, or even jamming their phones on Election Day.

So campaigns need experienced “grown-ups” to slow down such hotheads. The tragedy of Republicans under Karl Rove is that experienced politicians were afraid they would be fired if they stood in the way of dirty tricks, which had been admiringly re-christened “pushing the envelope.”

What the world needs now is fewer pushed envelopes and a lot more grown-ups.

Tags: Editorial · New Hampshire!

Breaking: Conyers pulls DC end of phone-jamming tangle

October 4th, 2007 · Comments Off on Breaking: Conyers pulls DC end of phone-jamming tangle

MiniElephant: Elephant, labeled "GOP Phone Jammer Follies", crushing telephone. The House Judiciary Committee has a new and better way to unravel the long, tangled phone-jamming coverup.

Thats the real news in this letter from Conyers to Attorney General (pdf)–something reporters seem to have missed, so far.

“What did the White House know and when did they know it?” Several million Republican dollars and years of Department of Justice “slow-walk” (detailed timeline here) kept investigators from tracking NH’s phone-jamming scandal up into Washington.

Meanwhile, Republicans who were in NH in 2002 all seem to have lawyered up and/or lost lots of memory.

So Conyers will pull on the string’s other end, at last! He will pull on the DC end, not the NH end.

On behalf of the House Judiciary Committee, he wants to get answers from the US Department of Justice about incident after incident in their non-pursuit of the Republican phone-jammers.

  • Why did all decisions regarding the phone-jamming prosecution have to be referred directly to the US Attorney General’s office?
  • Why was the FBI agent assigned to the phone-jamming case (there was only one, and she worked part-time on it) ordered not to trace any leads that led to Washington?
  • Why did the US Department of Justice help Republicans block enquiries in the NH Democrats civil suit in 2004?

Thanks to Congressman Paul Hodes (NH-Dem), a member of Conyers’ committee, for setting this investigation in motion. Let’s hope Congress goes further and faster than the DOJ!

Tags: Editorial · New Hampshire! · politics

Hey–why aren’t those guys using my phone-jammer graphic?

September 26th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Some people calling themselves the “New Hampshire Justice League” just opened a store at CafePress where you can buy funny Tshirts, etc.

There are some fine choices including a cranky Democrat donkey, slogans like “Keeping the GOP honest in 2008,” and one of those no-don’t graphics with a phone in it.

For NH, GOP phone pranks don’t just mean phone-jamming. In 2006, NH voters got thousands of deceptive robo-calls that (in violation of FCC rules) gave the (false) impression that Democrats were the ones harassing them, again and again. NH was not the only state hit by this tactic.

I’ll be happy to donate my own handsome elephant graphic to the New Hampshire Justice League. By the way, I do have a birthday coming up in December, so if anybody is wondering what I would like…

Tags: New Hampshire! · politics

What millions of dollars of DC lawyers can do

September 17th, 2007 · 1 Comment

I’m so outraged–suppose I fire a gun into a crowd and kill John Smith. Am I innocent of murder unless the DA can prove that I intended to murder Mr. John Smith?

That’s exactly the kind of reasoning, it seems to me, behind the latest outrage in the NH phone-jamming scandal. James Tobin’s lawyers claim that he’s innocent of telephone “harassment” because–even though maybe he should have known Democrats might feel emotional distress if folks jammed their phone lines on Election Day–Tobin’s real “intent” wasn’t to make anybody feel bad at all.

Anyway, that’s all I’m going to say here but I did just write up the whole story at Blue Hampshire–some of the comments there are from people who were there, talking about what it felt like to get phone-jammed. In better phone-jamming news (thanks to Frank and to Ri and to Bill for all emailing me the link) today’s NY Times has an editorial urging a real (not Gonzales-led) investigation of the phone-jamming. Partial text of appeal of James Tobin

Tags: Editorial · New Hampshire! · Wide wonderful world

Breaking: US House to target NH phone jamming?

September 9th, 2007 · 1 Comment

MiniElephant: Elephant, labeled "GOP Phone Jammer Follies", crushing telephone. What did the White House know and when did they know it? Several million Republican dollars and lots of Department of Justice slow-walking went into an effort to wall off investigation of any higher-ups in the NH phone-jamming scandal.

What’s new is that Representative Paul Hodes (D-NH)–a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee–is asking his own committee to investigate.

And with an overwhelming Democratic majority in the House (233 of 435 members), this request from Hodes is likely to get more traction than a request to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which never went forward.

More on this story at TPM and my post at Daily Kos.

Tags: Editorial · New Hampshire!

“Yours now sort-of expertly”: Blogging from my email outbox

July 30th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Hey, I made yesterday’s Concord Monitor!

Most of the editing to [potential US Senate candidate Jeanne] Shaheen’s Wikipedia profile has related to Iraq: Either adding or removing tidbits about her support for the war in 2002 or adding information about her criticism of the war since then.

Among the more notable edits: Someone working from a D.C.-area computer posted a link of the Shaheen YouTube clip to Wikipedia. (We checked – it appears not to have come from a Senate computer. The other Wikipedia editing conducted from that computer involved touching up the definition of “APR.”)

Then liberal blogger Betsy Devine got involved and snuffed out some of the newer additions to Shaheen’s profile, including the video link.

A sort of wiki-expert who has spoken at conferences and the like, Devine explained her doings this way: “Statements from right-wing think tanks or right-wing newspaper editorials denouncing Shaheen are not appropriate news sources. If they are introduced as examples of opinion or controversy, the opposing POV must get equal exposure. Campaign puffery is of course also inappropriate.”

Heh–well, when I rough-drafted that into a Wikipedia discussion page, I didn’t expect it to end up in dead-tree newsprint.

Yours now sort-of expertly,

p.s. The new Simpsons Movie is really fun and funny–Frank and I are now baffled by its lukewarm reviews.

p.p.s. Thanks to Dean Barker at Blue Hampshire— without whom I would never have seen this story.

Tags: Editorial · New Hampshire! · wikipedia

Phone-jammer James Tobin will face new trial

July 23rd, 2007 · Comments Off on Phone-jammer James Tobin will face new trial

MiniElephant: Elephant, labeled "GOP Phone Jammer Follies", crushing telephone. The slow-walk of justice for Republican wrongdoers has been setting some kind of a record in NH.
Tiny blurb in Thursday’s Union Leader:

A new trial for accused 2002 GOP phone jamming conspirator James Tobin is expected in either December or January. Tobin’s conviction on phone harassment and conspiracy charges was reversed by a federal appeals court in March and remanded to the trial court… Briefs will begin to be filed in September.

So–federal crime in November, 2002 as paid professional staffers for the NH Republican State Committee and the RNC conspire to jam Democrats’ phones on Election Day. Eventually, one FBI agent in Boston is told to look into this on a part-time basis, but instructed not to follow up on leads to Washington, DC because “other agents” will cover such leads. Such leads, if followed by anyone, yield no indictments, testimony, or the slightest evidence that other FBI agents worked on the case.

Wait two years
In 2004, James Tobin was serving as New England chair for the Bush/Cheney campaign when hints of his phone-jamming role leaked into the press. Conveniently, he was not indicted until December, 2004, more than two years after the phone-jamming. It took only a few days from Tobin’s indictment until millions of dollars from the RNC started flowing that month into payments for his defense lawyers. But…
Wait a year
… it took another year for the case to come to trial. Tobin was found guilty in December, 2005 by 12 NH jurors. And Tobin’s lawyers, within a few days, had transformed their hundreds of pages of objections into multiple appeals of Tobin’s conviction.
Wait a year
In January, 2007, a bizarre spectacle played out in Federal Appeals Court in Boston–watching it unfold, I predicted that Tobin’s conviction would be overturned–as it was, on very narrow procedural grounds, in March, 2007. The judgment clearly stated that Tobin could be re-tried.
Moving comparatively quickly, when events in March get some follow-up in July!
So now, it seems, in December 2007 or January 2008, NH will re-try Mr. Tobin. Will he finally take the stand and respond to some questions about the crime that took place more than five years in the past? Will the many links from Mr. Tobin to his bosses in Washington, DC get any exploration? Will the lonnnggg slow-walk of the phone-jamming case finally speed up now that a pardon from Bush would need to come before January of 2008?
Wait a few more months…
…and these questions will be answered.

Tags: Editorial · New Hampshire!