To NBC, MSNBC and other media outlets (N.H. newspapers):
Since Donald Trump has announced he is running for President in 2024 and there have been many indications in the past reporting that he has been intending to run, why have you not consulted your legal experts, on the air, like Neil Katyal, Jill Wine Banks, Glenn Kirschner and others, why is he being allowed to run when he is clearly disqualified Constitutionally from holding the office of President? See the 14th Amendment, “Citizenship Equal Protection of Citizenship and other Rights of Citizenship,” enacted in 1866, Section 3, “Disqualification for Holding Office,” which says in part, “No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office…shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the [United States]….”
Your failure to address this point is giving potential MAGA donors insufficient information thereby letting them send money to Trump’s re-election campaign when constitutionally he cannot hold that office. Trump has previously sought donations (and received them) for legal fees to contest the last election. He will do anything (apparently) to amass and acquire money. (See N.Y. Attorney General’s case against the Trump Organization).
Why is his name being allowed on the First in the Nation Primary in New Hampshire when he is disqualified from holding that office?
Why are you not reporting this?
We hope this isn’t directed at us. After all, while we may not have specifically brought up the constitutional point you raise, we have expended enough ink to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool cataloging the qualities that make Dolt #45 unfit for office.
This just in: Rep. Jamaal Bowman [D-N.Y.] has called for Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to be removed from office for making seditious threats.
Living With Long Island Nazis
To the editor:
It would be reasonable to have any number of reactions upon learning that USAians played a central role in the development of fascism (A Little Inconvenient History, Nov. 4, 2022), but surprised shouldn’t be one of them. Growing up on the north shore of Long Island in the 1970’s, I had friends who told me their grandfathers had been members of the Ku Klux Klan. Camp Siegfried, now the subject of a play whose characters spend their summer living on streets named for Hitler and Goebbels, is based on life at a real camp run by the German American Bund before World War II.
Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, set in an alternate timeline in which the Germans and Japanese have won World War II, is a study of behavior under fascist occupation. The television version of the story nailed it in a brief scene when John Smith, former U.S. Army officer now senior member of the SS, greets his neighbors in the morning as he heads off to his office in New York City. Having grown up among some of Smith’s neighbors, I shuddered at the all too realistic depiction of their comfort with having actual Nazis in charge.
Peter C. Dolan
Our first job in this racket, back in the late 1970s, sometimes took us into the courtroom of a certain Judge Sterling—not as a defendant, we hasten to add. Sterling was the last non-lawyer ever to have been appointed to a New Hampshire judgeship. He held court in a room in the Hillsborough Fire Station, which the Chief—can’t recall his name—had decorated with Currier and Ives prints.
Far from depicting wholesome Christmas scenes of one-horse sleighs and the like, these were from the infamous Darktown Fire Brigade series: racist stereotypes exuberantly executed with the highest standards of graphic excellence. One can only imagine what a person of color felt, surrounded by such mockery in the courtroom of a home-baked judge.
Grateful to Serve Portsmouth Residents
To the Editor:
For the past six years I have had the honor to represent the voters of Ward 3 in Portsmouth as your State Representative in Concord. If you cast your vote at the Senior Center, you are a Ward 3 voter. I have attempted to make sure that the opinion of the majority of voters in Ward 3 was reflected in the way that I voted. During the years of my three terms, I served on the Science Technology & Energy Committee. This committee, in my opinion, deals with some of the most technically complicated issues faced by the legislature, e.g., utility issues, energy issues, climate change, EVs, biomass and others. Sometimes the votes I was asked to cast prevented bad policies, in other cases I was able to support good policies. Since I see myself as a lifelong community activist and not a lifetime politician, I decided that six years was enough for me. It was definitely a learning experience and I now know more about how our state functions. I wish to express my gratitude to all of the voters who trusted me to represent them in the New Hampshire House. Thank you.
As the result of the 2022 elections, Ward 3 will be represented by newly-elected representative Ned Raynolds, and by one-term representative Joan Hamblet. They are good and smart people who, I am confident, will do a good job. I also join in congratulating the other elected Portsmouth representatives: Robin Vogt, David Meuse, Rebecca McBeath, Gerry Ward and Kate Murray.
Former State Representative
We work out of Ward 2, but that’s merely a technicality. We have always been confident that you were representing us—and, indeed, all Granite Staters—in an exemplary manner.
Michael Rodney Weddle
[The following item was brought to our attention by a faithful subscriber, for which we thank him. It was originally published in The Hull Times, November 10, 2022.]
Michael R. Weddle, phenom of Nantasket Beach, passed away on Oct. 17, 2022, following a lengthy period of declining health.
Born in Portsmouth, N.H. on October 29, 1949, the son of Rodney and Jewell (Otis) Weddle. Mr. Weddle considered himself a child of the “American Dream.” Moving to Hampton, N.H. in the ’50s, Mr. Weddle had an idyllic childhood, summering at family camps in the White Mountains, playing sandlot baseball, and ice skating at the neighborhood pond. He was the perfect cub/boy scout, a noble school patrol leader, and a rising Little League star.
If it weren’t for Mr. Weddle later becoming a ’60s flower child and an A+ student of counterculture, he truly believed he would have played professional baseball. Instead, this free spirit traveled the country and got himself into lots of good trouble. Drafted into the Army the same week as Woodstock, Mr. Weddle always said he “lived his life as revenge for being deprived the opportunity” to attend.
During the ’70s, after being honorably discharged from the Army as a conscientious objector and having taken a vow of poverty at a local monastery, Mr. Weddle relocated to Cambridge. It was here where he continued to advocate for the peace movement, working closely with Vietnam Vets Against the War and the Legal In-Service Project. Later, he went on to manage rock-n-roll bands and was a regular at the Rathskeller in Boston.
In the ’80s he returned to Portsmouth, where he had a brief stint as a janitor at the Navy Shipyard, drove a cab, and worked as a sports correspondent for the local paper. He played softball for a team sponsored by a local nursing home and began hosting charity events in their honor. It was during this time that Mr. Weddle taught himself guitar and became a self-described “back-bench folk singer.” A five-year stretch in New Hampshire politics as a state Representative rounded out the decade.
In 1990, following a lost bid to Congress where he’d run on drug legalization, Mr. Weddle returned to Cambridge with his rollerblades to coast upward on the career ladder. He became a Harvard Square musician while on the side starting a freelance transcription business and even dabbling in online stock trading. It was also during this time that he threw “the greatest parties planet Earth ever saw,” and his Thursday night spaghetti suppers that lasted three days will certainly live in infamy.
The turn of the century found Mr. Weddle in Hull, painting houses, playing music, and splurging on fried clams. He finally started his own all-original rock-n-roll band, Climate Change, and organized countless charitable concerts for local causes—fire victims, veterans, opiate awareness, animal shelters, and the local high school music department. Mr. Weddle always lived in the spirit of living for others.
Mr. Weddle was predeceased by his parents and sisters. He is survived by a daughter, two grandchildren, two nieces, a nephew, and a cousin, along with more friends than anyone can even begin to imagine. In Mr. Weddle’s own words, “There will come a time when I no longer cast a shadow upon Earth, when my smile becomes unseen and when the goodness in my heart has quivered. . . My hope is to fade into a memory that’ll sometimes awaken among those who’ve known me and also among those I’ve touched but never known.”
There will be a memorial benefit in his honor at the C-Note in Hull on April 8, 2023.
May Michael’s memory be a blessing. Peace to you all.
Now He’s a Believer
To the editor,
I was happy to learn Believer Meats is breaking ground on a cultivated-meat facility in North Carolina, which the company says is the largest of its kind in the world. For those who don’t know, cultivated meat is grown from livestock cells, without slaughter. It’s better for the environment, public health and animal welfare.
Despite this and other progress from the private sector, more public funding is needed for cellular-agriculture research so cultivated meat can achieve price parity with slaughtered meat. By advancing this technology, we can reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions, pandemic risk, and the suffering we inflict on God’s creatures.
Every time we publish one of your letters, the future you herald seems less and less unlikely.
Multitudinous Demonstrations In Catalonia Against Unjust Spanish Laws
To the Editor:
On December 6th, Day of the Spanish Constitution, a massive demonstration was held in Barcelona to reject the future reform of the penal code. The Spanish State has an improper crime in Europe, the crime of sedition with which the politicians who organized, in 2017, the Catalan independence referendum were convicted.
This crime, created in 1822, condemns with very high penalties mass demonstrations that prevent the enforcement of laws even if no violence is used. In Europe it would be considered an anti-democratic law because it can impede the right to demonstrate. That is why the justice in Belgium, Germany and Italy, not observing violence in the investigated facts, rejected the delivery to Spain of the Catalan president Carles Puigdemont for sedition.
For all this and by request of the Council of Europe, Spain was forced to eliminate this crime, but wants to replace it with a new crime of “aggravated disorder,” which aims, according to the members of the Spanish Government, to be able to continue condemning any type of large non-violent demonstration made by the Catalan independence movement.
Apparently the maximum penalties for this new crime would be lower than the previous one, but ultimately the same sentences could be reached for the organizers of the 2017 referendum (from 9 to 13 years in prison). Moreover, in this new interpretation, a mass demonstration would be a crime if it is considered to “obstruct the public road,” to “intimidate” (a very ambiguous term), to “occupy a building or facility” without violence, or if “a crowd suitable to seriously affect public order” (very ambiguous) is summoned or attended. To make matters worse, the minimum sentence for this crime (which could involve participating in a non-violent demonstration) is increased to 3 years in prison!
Also the Spanish government have justified this new crime because it will allow to extradite from Belgium the president Puigdemont, as if they had written this law ad hoc to lock up in prison the “number one enemy” of Spain.
The pro-independence movement rejects this change of one crime for another, because a crime that had its days numbered is repealed, but is replaced by another crime that is designed to prevent the Catalan pro-independence project, without caring about violating fundamental rights. And all this for the simple fact that the ultra-nationalist Spain, which emerged from the Franco dictatorship, does not accept what this legitimate political movement proposes and thinks that anything goes to maintain the unity of Spain. But that is not so, democracy and the right of self-determination of peoples are superior values that must be respected.
Jordi Oriola Folch
Thank you for continuing to bring us these illuminating dispatches. Jaded as we have become, from witnessing the American justice system in action, it’s interesting to see what may result from the lack of certain things we take for granted, e.g., the bar against ex post facto laws.
No Coal No Gas Activists Pack ISO-NE’s Consumer Liaison Group Meeting
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS—On Wednesday [November 30th], No Coal No Gas activists elected a slate of climate activists and allies to the Coordinating Committee of the Consumer Liaison Group (CLGCC) of the regional grid operator, ISO New England (ISO-NE). The result of the election effectively remove fossil fuel interests from leadership of the CLG, which is a forum for the exchange of information between ISO-NE and electricity ratepayers in the region. A record number of attendees were present in-person and online to vote for grassroots climate justice activists, ratepayer advocates as well as representatives from an environmental policy nonprofit organization and an energy advisory company whose work supports businesses to meet their sustainability goals.
The Consumer Liaison Group (CLG) is organized by ISO-NE to facilitate interaction between ISO and regional electricity consumers. Meetings are open to the public and usually include panel discussions, presentations from ISO, and remarks from guest speakers on topics related to the region’s energy grid. Despite its liaison role, CLG has not been a particularly welcoming space for the average energy consumer—beginning with the fact that most people do not know it exists. No Coal No Gas activists plan to make space within CLG for frontline communities and residential ratepayers to have a say in regional energy processes.
“ISO New England is also an ecosystem,” said Nathan Phillips (he/they), a Boston University professor who was elected to the CLG board as a ratepayer from Massachusetts. “I want to elevate what we’re calling ‘consumers’ in this ecosystem to have full ecological agency to reform the grid to one that’s transparent, democratic and just. ISO-New England is currently organized as an exclusive country club with rules to protect incumbents, exclude innovators, and maintain the status quo. Yet swift and just change is what today’s and future generations demand.”
In a first for a CLG meeting, the large crowd of residential ratepayers outnumbered corporate interests. As a result, questions for keynote speakers made it clear that New Englanders believe that just and reasonable electrical rates are defined by more than the cost per kilowatt hour. Questioners pointed to the full cost of existing energy markets, and they made it clear that they expect ISO-NE to do a lot more to facilitate a just transition to renewable energy.
FERC Commissioner Danley, and ISO-NE Board Chair Cheryl LaFleur both delivered keynote addresses and took questions from the attendees. Commissioner Danley was frustratingly ambivalent about the transition, claiming to be “agnostic” about state policy while advocating for new natural gas pipeline construction in the region. Danley, who has repeatedly voted against considering greenhouse gas emissions in FERC dockets, also deflected questions about climate change, claiming that FERC has a “narrow mandate.”
ISO Board Chair LaFleur, who is a former FERC Commissioner and past CEO of National Grid, expressed frustration with Danley’s remarks, at one point stating that she knew he was likely to make statements with which she disagreed, but she “didn’t expect him to throw bombs into the room that [she] would have to get up here and defuse.”
“I think Cheryl LaFleur was working hard to address the people who were actually in the room, responding to the unexpected number of ratepayers in the room and laying aside many of the remarks she had prepared for the few dozen attendees in business suits,” said Marla Marcum with the Climate Disobedience Center. “She signaled in her address that hearing from us is important and tried to convey that she is on our side. I hope she understands that our experience tells us that officials must show their true commitments through actions and not just words. As long as she is the ISO-NE Board Chair, she will be receiving genuine feedback from frustrated ratepayers.”
Over the past three years, No Coal No Gas and other climate organizing groups across the region have put public pressure on ISO-NE to take their role in addressing the climate crisis seriously as part of their mandate to “[keep] electricity flowing across the six New England states and ensuring that the region has reliable, competitively priced wholesale electricity today and into the future.” Yet ISO’s limited interactions with the public and inaccessible processes has left little space for ratepayer participation in decision making. Despite multiple protests and record numbers of comments on ISO-NE’s filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), ISO-NE’s resistance to interaction with the general public continues to keep them insulated from collaboration focused on the needs of the ratepayers who fund their entire business.
No Coal No Gas supported the 12 successful candidates for the CLGCC, including a slate of their own members and allies in the climate movement. The new members of the CLGCC (serving a two year term) include six grassroots activists: Reverend Kendra Ford (N.H.), Dr. Sonja Birthisel (Maine), Dr. Nathan Phillips (Mass.), Dr. Regine Spector (Mass.), Jacob Powsner (Vt.), and Ian McDonald (Conn.). NCNG supported six additional nominees who were already serving on the Committee. NCNG endorsed the six other elected members: Hank Webster (R.I.), Elizabeth Mahony (Mass.), Donald Kreis (N.H.), Bill Dornbos (Conn.), Andrew Landry (Maine), and August Fromuth (N.H.). As a result of these efforts, two long-time board members were not re-elected. Newly-elected CLGCC members hope that this shift will allow the CLG to be a stronger voice in pushing ISO-NE to prioritize climate justice as one component of advocacy for ratepayers.
“I have worked closely with many agencies which help people who struggle to keep their homes, have enough food, and pay their energy bills. I want those people to have a voice in the halls where decisions are made to be able to heal their lives and their communities by being part of the choices that affect their daily lives,” said Rev. Kendra Ford (she/her), Climate Organizer with the No Coal No Gas campaign, and newly elected CLGCC member. “I have watched our society spin in denial about the ravages of climate change. We can no longer wait for it to be convenient or profitable for the few. We must take bold action on behalf of ordinary ratepayers and all global citizens.”
The No Coal No Gas campaign, launched in 2019 with support from the Climate Disobedience Center and 350 New Hampshire Action, set its sights on Merrimack Station upon recognizing that coal is the worst and dirtiest fossil fuel source for electrical generation, and that this power plant is the last of its kind in New England. The campaign’s goals include building community, showing what is possible when we take collective action, and shutting down the coal-fired power plant.
For more information about the campaign to end coal in New England, visit nocoalnogas.org.
“Hitler was undoubtedly a genius but he lacked self-control. He recognized no limits. Otherwise the thousand-year Reich would have lasted more than twelve years.”
– Dr. Wilhelm Frick (1877–1946), participant—as the head of Munich’s Kriminalpolizei, no less—in the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, and later a member of the Council of Ministers for Defense of the Reich, speaking six days before he was hanged for war crimes.