To the Editor:
This month Roe, the landmark Supreme Court case which ruled that the right to choose an abortion was protected by the Constitution, would have turned 50. We should have been celebrating 50 years of legal abortion, but unfortunately, this past June a conservative Supreme Court struck down this critical precedent. As a result, more than half of our states have imposed harmful abortion bans and restrictions, leaving millions of people without access.
It’s important to note that as reproductive justice advocates, we have always believed that Roe should be the floor not the ceiling. Even during the Roe era, abortion was not accessible to everyone.Throughout the nation, extreme right wing legislators have been chipping away at abortion access for years, through access barriers such as parental consent laws, mandatory waiting periods and ultrasound requirements.
And while abortion remains safe and legal in New Hampshire up until 24 weeks, our state has also succumbed to extreme public policy that has chipped away at abortion access, including a parental notification law, a gestational ban and an ultrasound mandate (the latter was overturned after public outrage).
This moment requires a multi-pronged approach for reproductive justice. First, we need to fight off continued attacks on abortion access. There are several bills this legislative session, including HB 591, the so-called fetal heartbeat bill that would essentially outlaw all abortion. We also need to work to advance proactive bills, including enshrining abortion rights into state law with HB 88, the Access to Abortion Care Act, and CACR2, New Hampshire’s Reproductive Liberty Amendment. We must also provide direct support to reproductive health centers and abortion funds as they continue to do everything they can to ensure abortion-seekers are still able to get the care they need.
True reproductive justice, in line with the values of Granite Staters, supports giving people the agency and ability to choose abortion, but also the opportunity to choose to raise children in a society that is healthy, safe and just. In a post-Roe world, we must fight hard for this on the state level. We truly believe we have the power to build this world beyond Roe, a world where people have true autonomy and access, but we’ll only get there if we all work toward this vision together.
Rep. Amanda Elizabeth Toll [Cheshire-16]
Josie Pinto, Executive Director, The Reproductive Freedom Fund of New Hampshire [RFFNH]
Amanda and Josie:
We read your letter online at Sentinelsource.com. Thanks for giving us permission to publish it here.
In a saner nation, RFFNH would not be necessary. Abortion would be available on request, and health care would be free for all. With no cap on payroll taxes, we could easily afford it.
The ostentatiously pious will surely find this proposal outrageous. Consider, though, for a moment: Peace-loving people from Maine to California are currently being forced to help Saudi Arabia wage war on Yemen—to pick just one example out of dozens. Explain to us how that’s any different.
The nation and the world are what they are. With the Supreme Court in the hands of the American Taliban, your work is vital. Your direct approach is inspiring.
A Convenient Memory Lapse
To the editors:
How convenient for Jeffery Frost, of Alexandria, N.H. to forget that it was D. J. Trump who pulled the CDC employees who worked at the Infectious Disease facility in Wuhan, China, before the Covid pandemic began. That same president also disbanded the small U.S. agency that was specifically tasked with pandemic preparedness. All this to promote “smaller government.”
And let’s never forget the disjointed, anti-science “Presidential Briefings” that advocated for using smallpox medicines to cure Covid, killing countless citizens who foolishly believed him that it was a cure, as well as the other quack cures like injecting Clorox in our veins. Those briefings, full of false, misleading “facts,” led to hundreds of thousands of deaths that could have been avoided if “science” had been followed as it evolved over the course 2020.
Jeffrey—and Don Ewing—seem to have an enviable ability to ignore certain facts.
It’s a hell of a talent, and it must make life easier—right up to the point when it gets you into trouble.
We prefer paranoia. It’s worked for us so far.
McCarthy’s Pre-Sold Soul
It has been said that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sold his soul to gain the Speaker of the House position by promising all sorts of favors to the far-right members of his party. Unfortunately, Mr. McCarthy already sold his soul to Donald Trump in 2021. Immediately after the January 6, 2021 insurrection, Mr. McCarthy correctly blamed Trump for inciting the attack on the Capitol. However, soon after realizing his political lack of judgement, he quickly reversed course and made a pilgrimage to Mar-A-Lago to kiss the ring of Mr. Trump and beg for his forgiveness.
To become Speaker, Mr. McCarthy, having no soul left to sell, sold the nation and our national security down the river. He has done this by placing the most extreme and dangerous members of his party on key committees, such as Homeland Security, House Oversight, Ways and Means, and Natural Resources. The consequences of such appointments will have a chilling effect on our democracy and turn the “Peoples House” into a madhouse.
However, as disastrous as the above will be, the greatest threat comes from McCarthy promising that the House will not approve an increase to the debt ceiling without the Democrats agreeing to $130 billion in cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and other domestic spending. Refusing to raise the debt ceiling means that the U.S. will default resulting in creating havoc on both our economy and the international markets. The results could be a severe global recession or even a depression.
The reasoning behind the McCarthy gang for not raising the debt ceiling is their claim that Democrats have raised our budget deficit and national debit with their spending. However, the facts show that it has been their party that is responsible for those problems. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Trump’s big tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy added $2 trillion to the deficit. Under Trump, in 2019, before the pandemic, the debt had grown to $22 trillion. At a GDP of 5.2 percent the growth of the deficit under Trump was the third largest in history, behind only George W. Bush, who grew the deficit by 11.7 percent, and President Lincoln fighting the Civil War. (Heather Cox Richardson, January 17, 2023)
Unless some level of sanity returns to those in charge of the House of Representatives, the nation will be heading toward financial and national security catastrophe. And we know who will be responsible.
Rich DiPentima, LTC, USAFR, Ret.
There’s responsible, and then there’s responsibility. If the U.S.A. does go off the fiscal rails, Republicans will be responsible for the train wreck, but they’ll never admit responsibility.
A Sudden Dread Descends Upon Mr. Ewing
To the Editor:
The U.S. hit its debt ceiling yesterday. Hysterical lies are told to get you to demand raising the debt limit so that Congressional leadership can continue its irresponsible and wasteful spending.
You’ll hear that seniors won’t get their Social Security payments, Medicare, &c. That’s a lie. You’ll hear that our nation’s credit is jeopardized. That’s a lie. Hundreds of billions of tax dollars are received every month and can be used to pay for essential spending. Some other spending should, and will have to end.
It’s irresponsible spending that jeopardizes national security. Our $31.5 trillion debt is growing by $1 trillion annually. Interest costs about $1 Trillion annually…and we have to borrow that!
Our Senators and Congressmen were sent to Washington to ensure our tax dollars are spent appropriately, but past Congressional leadership kept them from doing that.
National Security is threatened by Congressional leadership that avoids the normal budgeting process and demands immediate passage of enormous Omnibus spending bills, created mostly in secret, to avoid a government shutdown.
All bills should go through the committee processes so our elected representatives can eliminate waste and inappropriate spending (as the new Republican House Leadership has committed).
Congressional leadership passed a $1.7 Trillion Omnibus spending bill like this just last month; few, if any, of our Representatives had time to read it. Little of this money has been spent; most of the allocated money should be cancelled and a proper budget passed.
Apparently there’s about $1 Trillion of unspent and uncommitted money from the Infrastructure and Covid Relief bills; those allocations should be cancelled.
We don’t have a debt limit problem; we have a debt problem, a Congressional mismanagement problem, and a wasteful spending problem. Don’t let them scare you into approving more wasteful spending.
Where did you acquire the dandy on/off switch that controls your concern about our national budget? Its powerful effects are a wonder to behold!
Ever since Saint Ronny, the pattern’s been the same: Rs drive up the debt, and Ds bring it down.
What do you care, though? Like the rest of the right wing, you just absorb the pre-packaged thought-substitute spewed out by the likes of Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, and vomit it forth when the mood strikes.
We let you do it because we enjoy batting practice.
Thorniest Problem of the Day
The generous support from the Soviet Union was inadequate to enable the Republicans to withstand the terror unleashed by the German and Italian backed Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish people suffered for decades under the Nationalist government and the Spanish army fought alongside the Germans during the Siege of Leningrad in which the Soviet people defeated the Axis armies despite tremendous adversity.
The government of the Russian Federation made a serious commitment to support the peoples of the Donbas in their fight for self-determination against the illegitimate Ukraine government backed by the U.S. and U.K. Thousands of Donbas residents were killed in the violence unleashed by the Nationalists before the Russian parliament voted to recognize their independence and provide the military support they requested. Residents of the U.S. and U.K. must demand that our two governments end the arms shipments to Nationalist Ukraine and pursue peace talks between the interested parties.
Your Loyal Reader,
We can certainly vouch for your loyalty as a reader. And, unlike our next writer here, you have made your position pretty clear.
Needless to say, that position is at odds with the prevailing sentiment in our circles. We do wish you had offered suggestions for further reading.
Monarchy, Religion, and…What?
Catholics, Mormons, and some Jews still require their youth to marry within the faith or suffer consequences.
Historically, democratic societies placed legal restrictions on marriage in order to avoid polluting society with foreign ideologies brought in by outside marriage partners. One worrisome ideology in particular was the philosophy of monarchy. Under monarchy, folks turned over most power to only one decision-maker.
Monarchy itself had a similar but slightly more challenging marriage concern. Kings didn’t want the royal line to be infected by democratic thinking, so they required young princes and princesses to marry within “the blood.” Royals everywhere claimed God ordained their families to rule society “forever.”
The common denominator in all these marriage customs? Special human beings must not entertain strange bedfellows who would almost certainly be a drag on the closed society of the very special people.
Woods Cross, Utah
Once again, we’re not sure we got your point. Also, we’re not sure we buy your premise. “…legal restrictions on marriage in order to avoid polluting society with foreign ideologies brought in by outside marriage partners…”? Which democratic societies? What restrictions?
As for monarchy, and monarchical theories—which, by the way, seem hardly susceptible to broad generalization—whenever we hear “monarchy,” we reach for Thomas Paine:
“…what is called monarchy, always appears to me a silly, contemptible thing. I compare it to something kept behind a curtain, about which there is a great deal of bustle and fuss, and a wonderful air of seeming solemnity; but when, by any accident, the curtain happens to be open—and the company see what it is, they burst into laughter.”
Relevant History Hidden in Plain Sight
To the Editor:
Recently you ran a piece mentioning William Greider and his great Opus, The Secrets of the Temple. I couldn’t find that article, but as I recall, he wrote of the management of the Fed by Marriner Eccles, appointed by Roosevelt in 1934. Under Eccles, the Fed was supportive of the New Deal, and was liberal in providing money for loans to various programs, buying up bonds from agencies directly, saving fees that would accrue to the “primary dealer” banks for marketing the bonds. During the war, the Treasury bonds went directly to the Fed, which had to return the interest to the Treasury for any bonds that it held. (Interestingly, and un-reported by the mainstream media, the “Quantitative Easing” that the Fed made by purchasing Treasuries from the banks sent the interest back to the taxpayer).
It wasn’t until the Republican Congress in 1951 passed an act that changed this policy, the year in which Eccles resigned.
Greider also went into painful detail of Volcker’s monetarism, which was uncharted waters in which Volcker floundered, raising and lowering rates, hoping to stem inflation. Another underreported event that furthered inflation was the hot money “Eurodollars” that accumulated in Europe due to U.S. trade deficits. The major investment banks would bring these back to purchase high interest debt.
I wish I hadn’t given away my copy some years ago so I could thumb through for references, but Greider told a masterful story of the Fed’s history from its inception through the Volcker period.
Why are we not surprised that a Republican Congress discontinued Eccles’ wise policies?
Chances are that only the most dedicated of our readers will follow up on these facts. We publish them nevertheless to make this point:
Thanks to endless repetition by politicians who may be either duplicitous or ignorant—i.e., Sen. Ted Cruz or Rep. Louis Gohmert—there isn’t an American alive who has not heard ad nauseam the bone-stupid analogy comparing the federal budget with a household budget. Like this damned Covid virus, that idiotic canard has probably become ineradicable.
Just try to explain to someone, though, that the Federal Reserve’s role in our economy is to serve as the bond market’s Goon Squad, and in less than a minute you’ll be rewarded with a blank stare.
Recycling a Favorite Bit of Hate Mail
[Note: On our newsroom wall we keep a yellowed subscription form, retrieved from P.O. Box 756 in January of 2018 [see below]. In lieu of a name, address, and check, it bore a bit of proper old-school, handwritten hate mail. In celebration of the fifth anniversary of its receipt, we publish its transcribed contents here. – The Ed.]
To Steven Fowle, Editor,
I wouldn’t subscribe to your Gazette even if it were free!! Instead of being fair + unbiased, I find it extremely biased + extremely one-sided, as is easily seen from your “notes” at the end of readers’ correspondence letters. Pres. Donald Trump has the best interests of America, yet he is constantly criticized by folks like you + all the other “bird-brains” of the liberal left-wingers. You folks are indeed the “deplorables”!! Shame on you!! You indeed are “fowl, Mr. Fowle. You don’t deserve to be an American!!
A one-time only reader.
You were admirably clear, and certainly made your point. Yet it’s true what they say: hope springs eternal. Whenever we visit the Post Office, we look for a letter from you.
2023 Doomsday Clock Statement of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
This year, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves the hands of the Doomsday Clock forward, largely (though not exclusively) because of the mounting dangers of the war in Ukraine. The Clock now stands at 90 seconds to midnight—the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been.
The war in Ukraine may enter a second horrifying year, with both sides convinced they can win. Ukraine’s sovereignty and broader European security arrangements that have largely held since the end of World War II are at stake. Also, Russia’s war on Ukraine has raised profound questions about how states interact, eroding norms of international conduct that underpin successful responses to a variety of global risks.
And worst of all, Russia’s thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalation of the conflict—by accident, intention, or miscalculation—is a terrible risk. The possibility that the conflict could spin out of anyone’s control remains high.
Russia’s recent actions contravene decades of commitments by Moscow. In 1994, Russia joined the United States and United Kingdom in Budapest, Hungary, to solemnly declare that it would “respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and “refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine…” These assurances were made explicitly on the understanding that Ukraine would relinquish nuclear weapons on its soil and sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—both of which Ukraine did.
Russia has also brought its war to the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor sites, violating international protocols and risking widespread release of radioactive materials. Efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency to secure these plants so far have been rebuffed.
As Russia’s war on Ukraine continues, the last remaining nuclear weapons treaty between Russia and the United States, New START, stands in jeopardy. Unless the two parties resume negotiations and find a basis for further reductions, the treaty will expire in February 2026. This would eliminate mutual inspections, deepen mistrust, spur a nuclear arms race, and heighten the possibility of a nuclear exchange.
As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned in August, the world has entered “a time of nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War.”
The war’s effects are not limited to an increase in nuclear danger; they also undermine global efforts to combat climate change. Countries dependent on Russian oil and gas have sought to diversify their supplies and suppliers, leading to expanded investment in natural gas exactly when such investment should have been shrinking.
In the context of a hot war and against the backdrop of nuclear threats, Russia’s false accusations that Ukraine planned to use radiological dispersal devices, chemical weapons, and biological weapons take on new meaning as well. The continuing stream of disinformation about bioweapons laboratories in Ukraine raises concerns that Russia itself may be thinking of deploying such weapons, which many experts believe it continues to develop.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has increased the risk of nuclear weapons use, raised the specter of biological and chemical weapons use, hamstrung the world’s response to climate change, and hampered international efforts to deal with other global concerns. The invasion and annexation of Ukrainian territory have also violated international norms in ways that may embolden others to take actions that challenge previous understandings and threaten stability.
There is no clear pathway for forging a just peace that discourages future aggression under the shadow of nuclear weapons. But at a minimum, the United States must keep the door open to principled engagement with Moscow that reduces the dangerous increase in nuclear risk the war has fostered. One element of risk reduction could involve sustained, high-level U.S. military-to-military contacts with Russia to reduce the likelihood of miscalculation. The U.S. government, its NATO allies, and Ukraine have a multitude of channels for dialogue; they all should be explored. Finding a path to serious peace negotiations could go a long way toward reducing the risk of escalation. In this time of unprecedented global danger, concerted action is required, and every second counts.