To the Editor:
The first President Bush left office with an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. President Bill Clinton raised taxes, cut the rate to 4 percent and managed to balance the budget. The second President Bush cut taxes and left with the unemployment rate at 7.8 percent. President Obama raised taxes and left with the unemployment rate at 4.7 percent.
President Trump cut taxes and left the unemployment rate at 6.7 percent. Trump’s first three years produced fewer new jobs than Obama’s last three years. Clearly raising taxes by Democrats does not cost jobs and cutting taxes by Republicans does not create them.
In less than two years President Biden has reduced the unemployment rate to 3.5 percent or nearly half the rate it was when Trump left office. Child poverty was reduced by 30 percent.
People who claim Biden, or Democrats in general, are bad for the economy are not looking at reality. The reality is Democrats make life better for the lower and middle classes. When Republicans are in office that giant sucking sound you hear is the top 1 percent siphoning the wealth from those below them.
It is a source of eternal amazement: the apparent refusal of so many voters to see what’s right in front of their faces.
If they are not intentionally looting the Treasury by slashing taxes on their wealthy donors, Republicans are wrecking the general economy—not to mention the climate—by protecting industries that are killing us.
We suspect Democrats might be able to turn things around if they’d just ditch the DLC/GOP Lite policies of the last thirty years or so and embrace a platform of making life liveable for ordinary working people. We’ll never know what might have happened if the Democrats had not sandbagged Bernie Sanders, but in retrospect, one has to wonder.
Remembering the 1956 Hungarian Revolution
To the Editor:
The public is invited to a remembrance of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution on October 26, 2022 at 3:00 p.m., hosted by the New Hampshire Friends of Hungary and Rep. Peter Somssich.
A brief event will take place in the lobby of the State House in Concord, at a wall plaque connected to 1956. Governor Lane Dwinell authorized the installation of the plaque on Oct. 23, 1957, proclaiming that day as Hungarian Freedom Day in New Hampshire. The plaque was created by Ja’nos Kover, a Hungarian artist who fled Hungary and then resided in Milford, N.H.
Following comments in the lobby, there will be a reception and social gathering in the cafeteria where pastries and coffee will be served. Attendees are encouraged to share their personal stories regarding their connection to Hungary and the revolution. Rep. Somssich was one of the 47,000 Hungarian refugees that came to the U.S.A. after the revolution.
This year marks the 66th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, but also the 33rd anniversary of the year 1989, that ended with the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of many communist governments including Hungary’s. The 1956 revolution against an oppressive government in Hungary demanded the withdrawal of Soviet troops and self-determination for Hungarians. The Soviet Union responded with massive military intervention that was resisted by the Hungarian Freedom Fighters for a few days, before the revolt was subdued. Thousands of Hungarians were tried, tortured and executed and over 200,000 Hungarians—two percent of the population—fled the country. The year 1989 saw a reform-minded Hungarian government leading the way to opening the Iron Curtain separating Europeans.
Many observers credit Hungary, working together with Germany, Austria and the Soviet leadership, with triggering the collapse of communism. However, during the 2021 session, the N.H. House and Senate both endorsed a resolution (HCR5) expressing concerns about the authoritarian direction of both the current Hungarian and Polish governments. This year Governor Chris Sununu proclaimed October 23rd as Hungarian Democracy and Freedom Day in N.H. For more info contact: Rep. Peter Somssich, email: email@example.com.
Like most Americans—even those of use who were alive and vaguely sentient at the time—we have only a general notion of this date and its importance. Thank you for providing this concise bit of perspective.
Speaking of perspective, we’re reminded of State Senator Burt Cohen’s effort to get a plaque installed in the State House to honor New Hampshire citizens who fought Franco’s fascists in the Spanish Civil War. If we remember correctly, that plaque was installed, but then removed, and now gathers dust in a closet. Anyone who would care to share a more accurate and detailed account is invited to write us and elaborate.
Former Sununu Voter Repents
To the Editor:
November 8th is coming up fast. We are heading to the polls again.
I am writing to reach others like myself who voted all Democrat but went Republican for Governor and voted Sununu. Chris Sununu came across as a “purple” governor making decisions based on needs of the state rather than the party. Results of the last election reflect this thinking, making him a favorite with both parties.
Now, on current issues of environment, women’s choice, and loan forgiveness, Sununu is no longer “purple.” Chris Sununu’s decisions and statements now align him more with his party than with New Hampshire. Sununu refused to call a special legislative session to address the issue of codifying Roe and protecting the right of women to choose. He vetoed stricter requirements on the proximity of landfills to water bodies, despite bipartisan support in the House and Senate. In effect, declining to protect New Hampshire’s Merrimack River, Lake Winnipesaukee and Atlantic Ocean from pollutants that can leach from landfills. And, in our state with one of the highest loan dept averages in the country, he opposes student loan forgiveness.
Sununu’s presence on social media portrays an enthusiastic leader traveling around New Hampshire shaking hands with Granite Sstaters and supporting local businesses. I like this image. What I have come to realize, however, is that his comments and actions are not aligned.
Vote Blue Down The Ballot.
On November 8th, there is so much at stake. Vote Every Oval, Every Office, Every Election. Vote to Live Free.
Glad to hear of your change of heart.
Election Deniers As Top Cops?
Just nominated in our primary election, Belknap County Sheriff [Bill] Wright is proclaimed in a Karoline Leavitt TV ad, as endorsing her. Part of her ad claims incumbent Democrat Rep. Chris Pappas voted to defund the police. In fact, in September Chris Pappas supported five or so House bills that secure new, additional funding for our nation’s police. His voting record also supports budgetary help for mental illness, which often causes police use, and budgetary help for crime victims and their families.
Aligning himself with Leavitt, Sheriff Wright is in the movement pushing mistrust of our elections? He, with Leavitt, believes Trump won the 2020 election? She also, young woman though she is, would complete a national-level abortion ban, no exceptions made. What is our law enforcement chief, county level, doing mixing in with her politics of lies sowing distrust? And I voted for him on my primary ballot!
Rockingham County Sheriff Chuck Massahos, the same. President of New Hampshire Police Association’s Michael Geha, the same. What are they doing, piling on with a candidate who, unashamedly supporting ex-Pres. Trump’s misdeeds, wants to go to our seat of government to hurt it? She may not have been there for the January 6, 2020, assault on our democracy, but Karoline Leavitt is okay with it. That’s sick. Law enforcement there was attacked and badly hurt. People died. People are going to prison for the January 6th assault. Leavitt’s law-enforcement endorsers should hardly be able to look in their mirrors. They should renege.
Lynn Rudmin Chong
Elsewhere in these pages, our friend David Snell writes about the danger posed by MAGA-fied Secretaries of State.
Thank you for pointing out the similar dangers posed by high-ranking law enforcement officials who seem to have lost their grip on reality. No election denier has any business being a County Sheriff. Or any kind of cop.
If it were up to us, election denial would disqualify anyone from any office. As it stands, though, it’s up to the voters—Flying Spaghetti Monster help us.
Sununu Is Not Who He Says He Is
Governor Chris Sununu (R-N.H.) claims that he is not a pro-life, right-wing, election-denying, pro-Trump, anti-public education, tax-increasing guy, but he does a great job acting like one at work. Almost every of the above claims by Sununu have been proven false by his own actions, words and agenda.
Mr. Sununu signed the most restrictive abortion ban in New Hampshire history. In a podcast interview in May, he stated that “I’ve done more on the pro-life issue than anyone.” Unlike other states with a 24-week abortion restriction, the New Hampshire ban he signed does not make exceptions for rape or incest, and it carries criminal and civil penalties for physicians who violate it. Mr. Sununu continues to indorse right-wing politicians such as Karoline Leavit, Don Bolduc, and Paul LePage from Maine—the self-proclaimed “original Trump”—who are staunch abortion opponents and election deniers.
Mr. Sununu has recently endorsed Karoline Leavitt for the New Hampshire 1st Congressional District election. Ms. Leavitt still believes that the 2020 election was stolen and continues to support disproved conspiracy theories. At one of her initial campaign kickoffs she showed the movie “2000 Mules.” The movie, produced by Dinesh D’Souza attempts to show how Democrats stole the 2020 election. The film has been totally discredited, even by Mr. Trump’s own advisors. Mr. D’Souza pled guilty to felony election fraud in 2014, spent months in jail, and was pardoned by Mr. Trump in 2018. In endorsing Ms. Leavitt, Mr. Sununu endorses all of the positions of Ms. Leavitt and he cannot be separated from her ideology including her 2020 election denial.
Mr. Sununu has done the most of any New Hampshire Governor to severely damage public education and increase the tax burden on local taxpayers. Mr. Sununu signed the Education Freedom Account program into law, which allows students to spend the equivalent of the per-pupil share of state school funding on private, parochial and home school expenses. As a result millions of dollars of state funds will be taken away from local public schools, decreasing quality local public education and increasing local property taxes. In addition, Mr. Sununu nominated and the Republican controlled Executive Council appointed Mr. Frank Edelblut as Commissioner of Education. Mr. Edelblut has no professional experience in education, and has ties to the Free State Movement, which does not believe in government.
Mr. Sununu can claim to be anything he wishes, but his record clearly demonstrates that he is not pro-choice, not a supporter of a women’s reproductive freedoms, does not support a strong public education system, is increasing local property taxes, and has endorsed conspiracy theory election denying candadates for public office. Show me your friends and I will tell you what you are.
We remember only too well when John H., the Original Sununu, was in the corner office (1983-1989). As fate and the banks would have it, just as our 75th Governor was ramming the Seabrook nuclear power plant down our throats, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it might pick New Hampshire as a likely spot to dump highly radioactive spent fuel rods from facilities just like Seabrook. Then the Chernobyl nuclear power plant blew up. It was a hell of a challenge, but John H. professed to be opposed to the nuke dump, even as he stumped to bring Seabrook online.
We bring up this ancient history to point out John H.’s innately two-faced nature. Not to visit the sins of the father upon the son, but Sununu 2.0 shares that characteristic. The difference is this: Junior smiles whichever face he talks out of, whereas both John H.’s faces tend to snarl.
Chris Sununu is unlikely to ever damage the world as much as his father did by steering George H.[H.]W. Bush away from acting to protect the climate. Given the opportunity, though, he might try.
Different Data, Same Result
To the Editor:
It looks as if the quote I used from the University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources in my September 23rd letter (“Ten Million Bottles of Water In the Dump”) had a typo and the data was a little dated. Unfortunately for the environment, while the sentence should have read 100,000 bottles per week, rather than per day, the plastic bottle count had reached almost ten million plastic bottles by March of 2020 according to the City of Flint’s website.
Peter C. Dolan
An entirely understandable error. Thanks for diligently following up.
It’s All About Autocracy
MAGA-Republicans who deny the 2020 election results—despite no evidence of massive fraud ever being presented in 60 separate court cases—are seeking your vote in November. If they win, they will be in position to change voting procedures to legally manipulate the votes in future elections to their favor.
While MAGA supporters may feel good about “winning,” because they will “own the Libs,” soon they will learn what MAGA really means. The super-rich will get more tax cuts, starving government funding for our schools, roads, disaster recovery, health care, even Social Security. Industries that pollute our air and water will be deregulated. Government intrusion into our private lives will dominate.
And when we try to vote the MAGA-Rs out of office, we will discover that elections have been truly, and “legally,” rigged. Our votes no longer will matter. They will have Made America Great for Autocracy.
Astonishing, isn’t it? Trumpazoid Republicans profess to believe all sorts of pretty far-out stuff. Yet they can’t see what’s obvious to many of us—they are sleep-walking to the polls to elect cynical crooks who are well on the way to making our planet uninhabitable.
What Does the GOP Have Against N.H.?
To the Editor:
New Hampshire annually sends $6 billion out of state for energy derived from fossil fuels. Renewables are now less expensive than fossil fuels. Our five New England neighbors have plans to get 80 percent or more of their energy from cheaper renewable sources. “New Hampshire is the only New England state without a statutory mandate for greenhouse gas reductions, and has the lowest renewable energy requirements in the region,” according to NHPR (June 9, 2022). Year after year, legislation to put more New Hampshire-made renewable energy sources into our energy mix has been defeated by Republican legislators and vetoed by Governor Sununu.
If New Hampshire produced more of our own energy from wind or sun, we might be paying a scant 12.05 cents/kWh for electricity, like Connecticut’s Eversource customers.*
Sununu, his appointees, and the Republican-led Executive Council have slow-walked attempts to develop offshore wind and EV charging stations, even as our New England neighbors are procuring equipment for both. They continue to stall efforts at community power and net metering. This year they decimated NHSaves, which saved New Hampshire residents and businesses $578 million in 2018-2020 alone. Why is every attempt to reduce energy costs in New Hampshire blocked by Sununu and his Republican legislators?
Sununu claims concern for our cost of living, but he halts every action that would lower energy costs. For lower energy prices, vote for Democratic leadership—Governor Tom Sherman, a Democratic Executive Council and legislators—who will advance renewable fuels and lower energy bills.
Why? Our best guess is a combination of self-interest—looking out for campaign donors—and ideology.
Guess what’s behind the ideology: self-interest, i.e, looking out for campaign donors.
Obscure Office May Be a Threat
To the Editor:
The Office of Secretary of State, not usually considered a high-profile post, this year may well represent the most critical vote cast in all 50 states in November. Secretaries of State perform the tedious role of election administration: training poll workers, managing each state’s voter-registration database, authenticating the accuracy of voting machines, and, perhaps most important, certifying election results.
It cannot be overstated that this position requires a person in whom we have the utmost confidence and trust. As expressed by Lawrence Norden, senior director of the Elections and Government Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, “if you can’t have trusted, neutral people running our elections, then you don’t really have free and fair elections, then we’re not a functioning democracy anymore.”
Across America, election deniers, ardent promoters of Donald Trump’s baseless claim the 2020 election was stolen through rampant voter fraud, are on the ballot for Secretary of State, other key positions, and state legislatures.
If any of these candidates win they will possess a plethora of powers to subvert future elections simply because they don’t like the result. These rogue election officials could attempt to prematurely stop the counting of ballots, turn the outcome over to a partisan state legislature, or simply refuse to certify the result (exactly what former president Trump hoped former Vice President Mike Pence would do).
In his speech September 1st in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, President Biden stated, “equality and democracy are under assault” (referencing those who) “refuse to accept the results of a free election,” adding, “in state after state, they’re working to give power to decide elections to partisans, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.”
I truly believe the threat to democracy is the single most important issue facing America today. Even though state and federal investigations found no evidence of widespread voter fraud and even though Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and FBI vouched for the election’s integrity, people believed the lie so strongly they stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th, 2021, in a desperate attempt to stop the elections’s certification, breaking a nearly 250-year tradition of peacefully transferring power.
When Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall after the 2nd drafting of the Constitution, he was confronted by a woman who asked him, “Mr. Franklin, what manner of government have you bequeathed us?” To which Franklin answered, “a Republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”
Rest assured, democracy and our future are on the ballot this November. A recent Quinnipiac Poll found that: Americans (67-29 percent) think the nation’s democracy “is in danger of collapse.” We have cause to be concerned that a large number of Americans support Donald Trump, men and women who have put loyalty to one man above honor and above duty to truth, country, and the Constitution.
Realistically, what can any conscientious voter with a sense of right and wrong do in a political environment seemingly leveraged against them by bought-and-paid-for politicians who very often act in a desultory manner, giving rise to the commonly held perception they are elected to be served rather than to serve? First, voting a strict party line is probably counter-productive. It allows politicians to campaign on sound bites and worn out platitudes rather than being pinned down to what they actually believe and forced to declare their intentions. Voters have a right to know for whom they’re voting and, conversely, voters have a responsibility to do the legwork, to ask questions, to research, to satisfy themselves that a candidate merits their support and their vote.
Many voters don’t take their responsibility seriously enough. That’s how we ran into trouble in 2016. Joe Biden called Trump’s political philosophy, “semi-fascism.” I believe Biden to be correct. Trump has been, is, and will continue to be, a grave threat to democracy and our nation.
David L. Snell
Republicans profess to love our Constitution—a deeply-flawed document—yet they show nothing but disdain for the laudable principles behind it. As you say, across the country, Republicans are finagling to get into positions from which they can wreak havoc. Scarier still, the Supreme Court—speaking of flaws—is lining itself up to aid and abet.
[Note: In an earlier issue we mistakenly referred to David as a former Navy officer. He has since corrected us. He served for twenty years as an enlisted man in the U.S. Navy, retiring with 13 years seniority as a Communications Technician First Class (Technical Branch) in the Naval Security Group.]
We regret the error, though it does give us an excuse to repeat the best class-war gag we heard while in uniform.
Private to Sergeant: “Yes, Sir!”
Sergeant to Private: “Don’t call me Sir. My parents were married!”
GOP Policies Failing N.H.’s Energy Future
To the Editor:
For the past four years Governor Sununu and Science Technology & Energy (STE) committee Republicans have blocked many urgently needed energy efficiency and renewable energy planning bills and initiatives. It is clear that because this group does not acknowledge the existence of Climate Change nor the need to plan for the future, they are more than content to provide protection for fossil fuel interests. Even energy efficiency efforts have been targeted for cuts, because these politicians claim they do not work. This despite NHSaves requiring a cost-benefit analysis for every such project that they support, often with a 4:1 payoff.
In the run-up to the election the Republicans seemingly have seen the light, and are proclaiming that 2023 will be the Year of Biomass. This despite their efforts to shut down New Hampshire’s biomass plants during the past two years. This was an effort to cripple biomass energy production in New Hampshire, despite the roughly 1,000 jobs it supports, the millions in local tax revenue it produces, and the in-state renewable energy it generates. They argued that it was too expensive. However, now they are changing course because in the current worldwide energy crisis, that energy is competitive and is also local. Because Republicans did not plan for a future without cheap natural gas, they now realize that they must take some action because New Hampshire residents are suffering from the high energy costs of out-of-state fuel sources. While Democrats were busy producing viable energy plans for New Hampshire’s future (a White Paper in 2018 documenting our state’s energy resources, and another White Paper in 2020 laid out a green plan of action for New Hampshire), as well as submitting dozens of bills in support of the clean energy transition, Governor Sununu was busy vetoing these efforts, while STE Republicans spent their time blocking many reasonable initiatives.
Voters deserve a New Hampshire energy policy that is planned and should prioritize energy efficiency along with in-state renewable energy such as solar, hydro, biomass, and wind energy. These energy sources have zero or almost zero energy costs and provide price stability, while fossil fuels will continue to be volatile and dependent on world markets. This November New Hampshire voters should determine our state’s energy future.
Representatives Lee Oxenham (Plainfield) & Rep. Peter Somssich (Portsmouth)
Members of the House Science Technology & Energy Committee
Lee and Peter:
Time is a flat circle, as we all know. The Republican mission is to maintain it as such, so that we serfs are condemned to spend our days plodding from one task to the next, merely to avoid nakedness and starvation. If we had enough time to think, to share notes, and to band together…well, things might change.
Thanks for pointing out that another world is possible.
Democracy is Something that You Do
To the Editor:
According to the polls a clear majority of American citizens believe in democracy as the best form of government, one that, on the one hand, celebrates equal freedoms for all and, on the other, provides a “safety net” for all. Democracy requires that each citizen vote for membership in that government based on their convictions about best policies for their own and their country’s well being. In order to produce fair elections, Democracy requires a level of elemental trust in our community’s decision-making power.
Unfortunately, one of our two major political parties, the Republican Party—at local, state, and federal levels of government—is actively attempting to destroy that trust and therefore democracy itself, and in some states is having success. Beginning with the gun- and spear-toting insurrectionists at the Capital on January 6, 2021, the Republican Party has been working relentlessly to negate the votes of its opposition. The Republican Party is supporting systematic voter suppression, outrageous gerrymandering, and projected intimidation of election officials and voters. The Republican Party is at this moment encouraging the belief that the electoral process in the U.S. is fundamentally untrustworthy (although there is no evidence for this) and doing everything to destabilize the mechanisms for fair elections. The Republican Party is following the time-honored strategy of would-be autocratic regimes: destroy trust in the democratic process from within and then menacingly, violently, take over a society in disarray.
What happens when Republicans take over state governments? Novelist and essayist William Gass once wrote about midwesterners that they tended to “vote against their own best interests.” This can now be said of today’s Republicans. States where Republicans dominate in government and legislatures—in contrast to those led by Democrats—tend to have poorer health-care facilities, more maternal deaths from abortion health-care restrictions, more deaths by gun violence, worse-off economies, and more suppression of educational materials. Recently, it has been reported that in Republican-governed states there is more depression and more suicides among its citizens.
In a recent organized walk through New Hampshire in support of voting rights, someone carried a sign, “Democracy is something that you do.” This November, unlike elections in the past where both parties joined in good faith efforts to build a better nation for all, it is crucial for us to vote Democratic, up and down the ballot, to save American democracy and our well-being.
South Hampton, N.H.
It’s good to see this fundamental truth laid out so clearly.
It’s been decades since the Grotesque Old Party last acted in good faith, and a good long while since they even pretended.
Bigwigs in the Democratic Party seem to have a hard time grappling with this truth—not to mention our more-profitable competitors in the profit-driven sector of the news racket.
More Spewings From Ewing
To the Editor:
[Note: Mr. Ewing is what literary critics call “an unreliable narrator.” Usually they’re confined to fiction. For some reason we’ve become accustomed to giving him some space here. Comic relief, we suppose. We’ve caught Don citing all sorts of dubious sources, so caveat lector.]
President Biden “worries” about the “Soul of America.” He should; with Democrats in control people wonder if America still has a soul.
[Don: The next time you accuse Democrats of incivility, you may expect us to throw that line right back in your face.]
How is murder of a full-term, healthy baby as it is being born consistent with having a soul?
[Don: What in hell are you talking about? Got any evidence that this ever happens? Why don’t you quit telling this lie, which only serves to let the government get in between a woman and her doctor.]
How is abandoning hundreds of Americans, thousands of allies, millions of innocent people, and staggering amounts of military equipment to the merciless, violent, despotic Taliban in Afghanistan consistent with having a soul?
[Don: A Democrat finally ends a pointless war that was begun by a Republican and based on lies, and what do you do? Blame the Democrats.]
Biden’s pitiful response to Russia’s buildup on Ukraine’s border and his statement that a “minor incursion” would be ignored essentially invited the Russian invasion that is killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, driving millions from their homes, and creating WWII-like devastation in Ukraine. Is that consistent with having a soul?
[Don: OK, now you’re saying Joe Biden—probably the most truly Christian president we’ve had since Jimmy Carter—has no soul. When do we get to “Biden is the Anti-Christ!”? Sorry we didn’t have room for your remaining 164 words.]