Police intimidation, local style

Last week I was driving home around 9:30 PM, going southbound on NH Route 125. Suddenly there were blue lights flashing behind me. I pulled over. To my relief, the vehicle behind me kept going. It no longer had the blue lights on. There was no siren. There was no emergency, just some cop having fun scaring people.

It was dark, so I don’t know whether it was Kingston police, state troopers, or even an out-of-town cop. It’s not a big deal, but every little incident like this contributes to people’s distrust of the police. I could have filed complaints with both state and local police, but what good would it have done?

Trump’s lie about New Hampshire

Trump’s claim that thousands of people were bused into New Hampshire and fraudulently voted in the 2016 election is a plain lie. It has no supporting evidence, and Trump has a long record of gross dishonesty. I stood outside the polls in Kingston, NH for hours, watching for any signs of intimidation, and didn’t see any kind of irregularities. I certainly would have noticed a busload of voters arrive. Many people were similarly watchful at other locations in the state.

As I noted in an earlier post, Kingston’s town clerk suppressed vote totals on the website. However, the votes were reported correctly to the state, as far as I can tell. What she did was biased and improper, but it didn’t affect the official totals.

Some people think Trump is delusional and believes his claim. I think he has set out to discredit the election process. New Hampshire is disproportionately important in presidential elections, so it’s easy to see why he’s smearing my state’s voting system.

New Hampshire towns can legally misrepresent election results

As I previously reported, the website for the town of Kingston, NH falsified the town’s vote totals, concealing the existence of any votes for candidates other than Democrats and Republicans. I sent a written complaint to the Attorney General’s office over a month ago. Today I finally got a response from Assistant Attorney General Brian Buonamano. It says, in part:

While I recognize your frustration in not seeing your chosen candidates on the document displayed by the town, there is no New Hampshire law that prohibits a town from posting additional, informal, or partial reports of election results. Given that the full results were publicly reported consistent with New Hampshire law, I do not share your conclusion that the Town of Kingston has sought to deceive members of the public.

Reporting some votes and concealing others on an official website is deception by any standard I can think of. According to the Attorney General’s office, though, they can legally get away with it, as long as the correct results are reported somewhere else. From what Buonamano says, it would appear they can report just one party’s votes, or just the votes for their favorite candidates, if they feel like it.

Is it any wonder that so many people don’t trust the election process?

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Why I won’t attend the NH Liberty Forum

I would have liked to register for the New Hampshire Liberty Forum this coming February. They always have interesting speakers, and I run into people I haven’t seen in a long time. Unfortunately, the Free State Project, which is organizing the event, has made it an unreasonable choice to take. They require all attendees to waive all claims of liability against FSP, even if its negligence kills people.
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My votes were concealed in Kingston, NH

On November 8, I voted for Gary Johnson and other Libertarian Party candidates. I live and voted in Kingston, NH. However, according to the town website, my votes vanished. The town clerk’s site has a link to a PDF listing vote totals. It lists no votes for any candidates outside the Democratic and Republican parties. Most of my votes were thrown out as if I had never voted. (See update at the end of this post.)
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Political violence in New Hampshire

Porcupine 'Dont tread on me' flag
This morning I came across a disturbing news article. Two people were arrested for assaulting a man in Manchester for displaying a flag with a porcupine and the words “Don’t tread on me.” The report says:

The man shot on the West Side over the weekend, apparently over a dispute about a flag bearing a porcupine symbol, is active in the Free State Project, according to movement leaders.

Jarrod Ean-Dixon, 36, was on the ground early Saturday morning when he was kicked in the head and then shot multiple times in the abdomen, according to a police affidavit filed Monday in Manchester District Court.

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Kingston, NH vs. newcomers

I’ve been living in Kingston, New Hampshire since summer. By moving just 25 miles eastward, I’ve encountered a significantly different political climate. The level of Trumpism around here is frightening; Trump signs outnumber signs for all other presidential candidates together by at least ten to one.

Voting

Things are difficult for newcomers in subtle ways. When I looked on the Web to find out where voting in the September primary was, I found only that it was in “Swasey Gymnasium,” with no street address. I was able to find its location with some diligent searching, but other people could have been stuck. Over the weekend, I wrote to the town clerk through the website, asking to have this fixed. So far I’ve received no response. I’ll update this if I get one.

Update (Oct. 30): It’s now on the town clerk’s page. In her email, she tried to give the impression that it had always been there (while giving me the wrong URL); since it’s part of a notice giving the date of the November election, and since it took her a week to respond, I suspect a little fixing and blustering, but at least I got the result.
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Nashua Library selectively promotes candidates

The Nashua, NH public library has a display inviting people to give it donations in the name of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. The library displays life-size cardboard cutouts of these two people next to big jars. No choices are available except Trump and Clinton. This is, of course, selective promotion of some candidates above others, which a government-financed library is not supposed to do.
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Manchester, NH police go dark on radio

The police department of Manchester, NH, has started encrypting routine radio communication. According to a press release, the aims are “to provide an updated radio system, protect the public’s privacy, and protect our officers as they work day in and day out to provide a service for the city of Manchester.” They did this without public discussion and admitted to it only after people noticed.

The first reason is plain nonsense. Getting new radios isn’t a reason to encrypt.

Manchester, NH seal“Protecting the public’s privacy” isn’t much better. If the police conduct a raid or arrest someone, that’s a public matter. Hiding these actions from public knowledge doesn’t protect the privacy of the people hauled off to jail; arrests are on the public record. It protects the cops from public scrutiny.
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Alpha Inspections (avoid)

A while ago, I had Alpha Inspections inspect a property in New Hampshire. Later on I got an email from them claiming in the subject line to be an “Important Message.” It was promotional spam. I’ve spotted additional messages from them since then in my spam folder.

Yesterday I got a phone message from them claiming to have some questions from me about the property. When I returned the call I learned that that was a lie; they were trying to sell me telephone installation. Really, is there anyone too un-technical to plug in a phone?

I’m sorry I dealt with them.

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