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August 29, 2009

Carol Shea Porter Manchester NH Town Meeting

I was one of the fortunate 100 citizens to be allowed into the Carol Shea-Porter Town Hall Meeting held in Manchester, NH on August 29, 2009. It was a rainy, gray Saturday morning with precipitation provided courtesy of Tropical Depression Danny.

An email I received from Congresswoman Porter indicated the event would begin at 11:00 a.m., with the doors opening one hour prior to that. My gut told me that I better get there about two hours before the doors opened to have a chance of being one who made it inside with my cheeks in a seat. When I arrived at the Federal Building at 275 Chestnut Street in downtown Manchester at approximately 8:15 a.m., I was the 38th person in line. At that point I was convinced I’d get in.

Walking towards the building, I could see other people with professionally made signs that were in favor of health-care reform. The signs all had the same message. Those who attended that were against the issue all had crude hand-made signs.

Once inside the building so that rain jackets could be taken off, I saw a group of people wearing purple tee shirts that had printed on the back: I sure would like to see the receipts those people have from the stores where they bought those shirts. Well, I doubt that will happen as when you point your browser to the above URL, you end up here:

Ah! Those clever SEIU people.

The point is simple: There was an organized movement behind the scenes getting these proponents out to the event. What’s more, it was very likely paying for the fancy signs as well as tee shirts. I can't imagine an ordinary citizen going to a printer to pay for just one of those fancy signs. Can you? That’s just what these eyes saw and what the data suggests.

After passing through the metal detector, each person had to sign in. During that process I was asked if I wanted to pose a question to Congresswoman Porter. “Heck yes I do,” was my reply. I was handed a small ticket with the number 373023 on it. That number was never called by the diligent Boy Scout during the meeting, but he got close.

The Town Hall meeting ran for an hour, starting about five minutes late. After the Congresswoman entered the room to standing applause of about 40 of the people in the room, we all said the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of our great nation.

Congresswoman Porter then ran through the ground rules of how the event would go, and the time limit for questions and comments.

The first thing that happened were two stories given by what I think were two citizens of the First Congressional District of New Hampshire. I’m pretty positive they were both constituents of the Congresswoman, if I was a betting man. One was an elderly woman who described the ongoing health-care costs she’s experiencing after a stroke she had one day while driving. The second woman worked in the health-care field and commented on how she can’t afford good health-care insurance for her entire family. If my notes are correct, she said she would have to spend $28,000 per year to get coverage.

I was very surprised that Congresswoman Porter didn’t have at least one other person tell a story from the other side. Surely there are other perspectives on this issue. Heck, I’ve been paying my own health-care premiums for the past 25 years. I could have told the audience how Kathy the kids and I went without many things so we could make the premium payments. I would’ve loved to hear a story from some other elderly person talking about how people survived 60 and 70 years ago when there was no Medicare, Medicaid and our burgeoning health-care industry. My guess is that its theme would be more self-sufficiency.

The vast majority of questions were about the health-care issue. At one point, one citizen asked why tort reform was left out of the bills. Congresswoman Porter explained why, and she then brought up a point about how tort reform in Texas did little to bring down health care costs to Texas residents. About ten minutes later, a woman behind me was lucky enough to have her ticket number called. She had a piece of paper with facts gleaned from a newspaper editorial that were in total disagreement with what Congresswoman Porter had said.

Just as the town hall meeting was ending, a frustrated elderly man was escorted from the room by the Federal police officers whose uniforms had a striking resemblance to those worn by the military. He was very upset about people in the room who might not even live in the First District, much less New Hampshire.

The last question of the Town Hall was asked by a woman who was extremely agitated. She wanted to know why the town hall meeting was only an hour long when Congresswoman Porter was spending far more time over the past few weeks at fund-raising events in the district. That got the crowd in the room roaring, and Congresswoman Porter felt compelled to defend why she did it. She was quick to add that she doesn’t take funds from lobbyists or corporations.

Now wait a minute Congresswoman Porter. That's not what the facts show to be the case. A quick visit to the website OpenSecrets and one can see that you got tons of money from corporations and PACs. The sole purpose of a PAC is to lobby. Why would you say something like that in public when it's so easy to discover the truth?

What's more, the July 17th edition of the Union Leader pointed out that Congresswoman Porter raised more money from organizations than she did individuals. Why not just tell the truth and let everyone know exactly where the money comes from? This isn't 1960 or 1970 when it was easy to cloak money sources.

I left with the same feeling about the minimal amount of time to ask questions. Why couldn’t the town meeting last two hours, maybe three? The question I had on the tips of my lips was:

Congresswoman Porter, I want to thank you for hosting this event. Your web site clearly shows your voting record, and your comments today indicate that you absolutely want to vote to approve the upcoming health-care bill. In the past eight months, our deficit has quadrupled to nearly $1.8 Trillion dollars. Our President has said that the new Health Care initiative will cost at least $1 Trillion dollars. One month ago at the US - China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the top 150 Chinese finance ministers met with US Treasury Secretary Geithner and our top financial officials. The Chinese said at the meetings that if we don’t stop our deficit spending and start to “increase our National Savings”, they would probably stop buying our Treasury Bills which are funding all these programs. My question is: Will you continue to vote for bills that result in deficit spending, and will you introduce aggressive legislation to immediately stop all deficit spending as our great nation is going bankrupt before our very eyes?

It looks like I’ll be sending that question to her via her Contact Form at her website. It will be most interesting to see the response I get.

You can see me at the town hall meeting in the first two minutes in this great video shot by a patriot:

Posted by Tim Carter at 6:19 PM

August 18, 2009

Carol Shea Porter Town Hall Meetings

Carol Shea Porter is my Congresswoman. She represents New Hampshire's First District.

Yesterday I called her Manchester, NH office (603 641 9536) after visiting her web site. Nowhere on her web site could I find a schedule for upcoming town-hall meetings, as she and all other members of Congress are on their summer break. Many other members of Congress have met with their constituents, but for some reason Carol Shea-Porter is ignoring me and the other residents of the First District.

The very nice woman who answered the phone at the Congresswoman's office told me that there hasn't been a town meeting and none are planned. What's up with that?

I don't know about you, but I find that totally unacceptable when you consider what has happened in Washington DC over the past seven months. I'm quite sure hundreds of Congresswoman Carol's constituents might have questions that demand answers. For example, how about:

You voted to approve the Energy Cap and Trade Bill several weeks ago. It represents the largest tax ever in the world. However, the science community is divided about man-made global warming - oh, excuse me - *climate change*. There is strong evidence showing this Bill will further hurt manufacturing in the USA and send more jobs overseas. It will raise the price of energy to every New Hampshire resident. We are in the deepest recession in history. Why would you vote for a Bill like this when our economy is suffering so greatly? Did you read the Bill in its entirety before voting on it? (Trick question)

The three major entitlement programs run by the Federal Government - Social Security, Medicare and Medicad are insolvent - they are running out of money. Legislators such as yourself are robbing people's paychecks each week taking taxes out, but not using them to fund these programs. Can you explain why we should believe for a moment that the Federal Government can take over Health Care and run that program when it''s failed at the other three?

Our President has quadrupled our national debt and our annual deficit in the past seven months. You voted for some of these measures. Who is going to pay for all of this? Follow up question: Do you personally subscribe to the philosophy of spend more than you take in? If the answer is Yes, how soon before you go bankrupt? If the answer is No, then why would you vote to lock in New Hampshire citizens who have yet to be born to a life of repaying debt?

Do you support downsizing the Federal Government and repealing laws that have caused us to drown in deficit spending?

The Chinese government sent approximately 150 of their top financial ministers to the USA for the Strategic and Economic Dialogue on July 27-28. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner pledged to the Chinese that the USA will shrink it's budget deficit and boost national savings over the next four years. Personal and corporate tax receipts flowing into the Treasury are down over 18 percent. You and other members of Congress are supporting legislation that will increase our deficit. Can you explain how you intend to fulfill Secretary Geithner's pledge?

I believe you get the point Congresswoman Shea-Porter. There are many other questions your constituents want answered.

Please schedule a series of town-hall meetings now before you go back to Washington DC. I shouldn't have to remind you that you are my employee as well as every other resident in the First District. You work for us at our sole discretion. We want to meet you face to face and talk with us. Katy Abram of Pennsylvania is correct. You and the other members of Congress have awakened a sleeping giant. We want answers and we want them now.

I leave you with this saying of my daughter: Excuses are reasons for failure. We don't want excuses, we want meetings.

Posted by Tim Carter at 8:14 AM

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