NH Legislature Category

Fisher and the Red Pill

A tisket a tasket and tit for tat.

Most people are aware of the controversy surrounding Representative Fisher and his connection  to the misogynistic website the Red Pill,  a demeaning site which  promotes violence against women. During a recent NH House session a motion was made to hold a hearing regarding Rep Fisher’s comments about women and his ties to this site. In a move that was a transparent, and shabby,  tit for tat, another representative put forth a motion to investigate Representative Sherry Frost at the same time because of some of Frost’s tweets. I assumed, as did a number of other representatives, that these tweets were made in response to The Red Pill and Frost’s condemnation of a site so vulgar and insulting to women. This was not the case. Instead the tweets were made months prior to the news about Rep. Fisher and completely unrelated.

The result was one motion, which passed,  to hold two hearings for two individuals on completely unrelated issues. I am not aware of any situation where two individuals would be lumped together unless the two offenses were somehow related. Because the two hearings were unrelated, we were instructed  not to make comparisons between the comments of the two representatives. However, since this was most obviously an eye for an eye, it seems that some comparison is appropriate at this point, to put in perspective the difference between the two.

Fisher’s comments promoted violence against women. He is quoted as saying "Rape isn't an absolute bad, because the rapist I think probably likes it a lot. I think he'd say it's quite good, really.” Rep. Frost said after one of our more frustrating session days, she was feeling “homicidal.” This is hyperbole; Fisher’s comment condoned rape. Fisher said that in order to commit rape, one only needs “roofies” and “duct tape.”  Frost used the f-word. Fisher said women have “sub-par intelligence” which only demonstrates Fisher’s sub-par intelligence. Frost made the comment that terrorists are “mostly white, Christian men.” which is, in fact and sadly, true.

At the hearing for Frost, one element I found to be quite extraordinary was the vagueness of the allegations against her. Cilley asked Rep. Hinch, the chair of the Legislative Administration committee, if he could articulate exactly what the allegations were and on what information the final report on Frost would be based. Rep. Hinch seemed unable to do so and resorted to obfuscation, a device used when your goal is to confuse people even more.  He succeeded. He said that the report presented to the house would be “relative to the merits of the allegations made.” Pressed further as to what those allegations were, he said the allegations were “relative to the remarks we have seen on public websites.” Lot of relating going on here but not a lot of content.

This is not just about freedom of speech. Pretty much anyone can say anything in the world of the internet. These days, the wide open frontier of the internet requires us to show a little intelligence and proportion. Some people may have found Frost’s use of the word “homicidal” and bit extreme, but it was clearly used as a figure of speech and she was not actually homicidal. Fisher flat out has condoned rape. Frost may have shown impatience which could have been interpreted as unprofessional, but Fisher directly and indirectly incites violence towards women.  In my view, Frost’s tweets are quite tame compared to many others. Fisher’s are deliberately degrading towards women. A representative of the government who unswervingly promotes a culture of rape and misogyny should be at the very least censured.  Frost’s remarks, while perhaps a bit insensitive, do not rise to the level where attention is required, in my view. Instead, the two and a half hours of her hearing could have been better spent in silent contemplation of the meaning of justice and perspective. No sensible person would be unduly alarmed at Frost’s comments. Fisher’s however, present a real threat and one that has been trolling around on the internet for many years now, with Fisher's’ apparent full support and encouragement.

In the end the Legislative Administration office chose to take no action against Fisher or Frost. The most bizarre event was reported in a press release from the House Democratic Office.  Although during the Frost hearing people were cautioned that they could not refer to anything that was said during the hearing for Fisher,  “Before the final vote, Chairman Hinch ruled that the two members must be considered together under a single recommendation and that the minority would not be allowed publish a minority report.” These procedural shenanigans are a transparent, high-handed attempt to control the outcome, and they seriously undermine the credibility of the committee. The final vote on Fisher is a whitewash of his egregious positions toward women. And, in a hearing about free speech, which deliberately limited free speech, free speech was further hogtied because the minority was prevented from presenting their report. The final irony is that after all this, Fisher did have the good sense to resign his seat.

 

Posted on 17 May 2017, 20:38 - Category: NH Legislature

Human Trafficking

There is a bill before the legislature to study decriminalization of prostitution. The bill is broadly written to address many concerns. My concern is specifically focused on the protection of victims of human trafficking. Currently victims are often treated as the criminals. A study is in order to examine the negative consequences to victims of current laws. I strongly believe that making prostitution legal is not the answer, but we must consider how we can protect victims of trafficking. States vary in the ways they address this issue from having no protection for victims to having Safe Harbor laws which try but do not always succeed in their efforts to protect. In the end my primary concern is protection and justice for victims.

I will have an update after the initial hearing. My hope is that a study would promote discussion of the heinous act of human trafficking that most of us wish we could ignore.

Posted on 15 Jan 2017, 10:25 - Category: NH Legislature

Lack of Ethnics in the NH Legislature

How incredible that a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives has been charged with intent to commit aggravated felonius assault against a 14 year old girl. He is also facing felony charges for drug possession with intent to sell.

How does someone like this get elected to the NH Legislature? We need to work together to make sure that we elect people that we can count on to be ethical, honest and return respect and dignity to the office of State Representative.

Posted on 18 May 2016, 17:07 - Category: NH Legislature

Please Attend Fisher Hearing May 9th 10:00am

A familiar biblical precept says that by not denouncing evil, one is complicit in it. Bystanders may not be guilty of an assault, but they are guilty of letting it continue in their presence. Recent events have challenged us to put this to the test. As the old labor union song asks, “Which side are you on?”

It has been reported that Robert Fisher,  Representative from Laconia to the New Hampshire Legislature, promotes violence against women through a website called “The Red Pill.” He feels that rape has an upside to it. He is quoted as saying "Rape isn't an absolute bad, because the rapist I think probably likes it a lot. I think he'd say it's quite good, really.”

Everything about Rep. Fisher’s perspective on women, as expressed in The Red Pill website is repulsive and disturbing. There is no defense of his position, his actions and his words. I was heartened by the words of Jennifer Horn, the former chair of the NH Republican Party who is quoted in the Boston Globe in an article by Stephanie Ebbert (April 26, 2017) saying, The Red Pill “is a despicable site. His (Rep. Fisher) word and his intention are reprehensible,” I also second her condemnation of his trying to play the wronged party in all this. She goes onto say in the Globe article that ”he tried to make himself the victim of this in some way. This is not a free speech issue. This is not a partisan issue. This is not an issue about fairness for men. It is completely an issue about violence against women.” Bravo.

The New Hampshire House voted to send this issue to Legislative Administration for their consideration. The vote was an overwhelming 307-56. This hearing will take place Tuesday, May 9th at 10:00 and is open to the public. The committee can only consider what Fisher has said during this term. They cannot go back to consider past comments. In fairness, this makes sense in that we have all done and said things we regret. However, as the committee may be limited in its scope, the public is not. For those who wish they could do something, attending the hearing is a very effective way to express show your contempt for Fisher and his toxic views of women. Please attend.

This is an important matter. During orientation for new members to the house, Speaker Jasper talked about the high respect he has for the Legislature, and that he expected us to show that same high regard, that we would carry the honorific “honorable” for the rest of our days and that we should make every attempt to live up to that title even when we were not in office. Rep. Fisher’s remarks, his website, his attempts to justify his behaviors and beliefs, his glee at the notion of violence against women defiles that office, mocks the respect that the office is due.

We also learned that according to the Center for Disease Control, New Hampshire is not a very safe place for women.  It used to be that one in four New Hampshire women would be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. Now, it is estimated that one in three women will suffer a violent sexual assault over the course of their lives. When you have a lawmaker blatantly promoting violence against women, perhaps this should not come as a surprise.

As a state, we seriously need an examination of conscience; discernment of the soul. Does New Hampshire really have such low regard for women? I hope not. Is this the kind of state we want? I believe the answer to that is a resounding NO. So what do we do? Continue the outrage. To remain silent is to be complicit in Fisher’s misogyny and calls for violence against women.

If attending the committee meeting is not possible, there is another option for those who wish to express their views. Fisher, while perhaps not the owner, is associated with a company called Same Day Computer with locations in Portsmouth and Laconia. I am not aware that Same Day Computer has spoken out against Fisher’s positions and in remaining silent, Same Day Computer is tacitly supportive of Fisher and his views. I would not allow anyone who promotes violence against women access to my family, my home or my computer. I hope others who feel that same way will take their patronage to another business and avoid Same Day Computer. Speaking with one’s wallet is effective and allows one to say that they stand up for women’s rights and condemn those who would promote violence against women.

 

Posted on 7 May 2017, 10:59 - Category: NH Legislature

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