To the Editor:
On Tuesday, June 13, 2023, evidence was presented that Vice-President Biden accepted a $5 million bribe for influencing our nation’s foreign policy. Biden apparently “earned” his money by getting a Ukrainian Prosecutor fired; Biden brags about it: https://tinyurl.com/bdzebf5u.
There are apparently 17 recordings of discussions with the Bidens about the bribe. The FBI had this information before the 2020 Presidential election and withheld it from the public which, in ignorance, elected a crook who sold our nation’s foreign policy for his personal gain.
Only whistleblowers and Congressional pressure on the FBI secured release of this vitally important information for U.S. Citizens and Voters.
Rather than discussing the Biden’s $5 million bribe, our corrupt media mostly only wanted to report President Trump’s indictment on politically motivated charges related to Presidential documents. Trump will probably ultimately be vindicated based on the Presidential Records Act, the inappropriate attempt to criminalize a non-criminal act, and historical precedent, e.g., the Presidential records case against President Clinton.
Trump didn’t destroy or expose classified records like Hillary Clinton who also violated a subpoena for those records.
Trump didn’t steal classified records from a secure room (SCIF) like Senator Biden who transported the stolen classified documents through multiple insecure locations ultimately to his insecure garage, accessible by family and guests.
Various Presidents, Vice Presidents, and others have mishandled classified documents.
Only Trump has been indicted. The purpose of Trump’s indictment is less about convicting Trump than in interfering with the 2024 election and defeating Trump’s re-election bid.
Biden and the Democrats have made Americans, and people everywhere, poorer, less safe, less free, and threatened by nuclear war. Biden’s political prosecution of his chief rival, Trump, is an attempted diversion from the Democrats’ dismal record.
We must admit, our first instinct upon reading your letter was to laugh. After all, next to hydrogen, spurious Republican claims about Democratic shenanigans are the most common element in the universe. NASA recently deployed to James Webb Space Telescope in an effort to pinpoint the origin of this material. Evidence points to January 3, 1979, the day Newt Gingrich was sworn in as a Member of Congress.
We had, of course, heard talk of this alleged bribe before we received your letter. “Damning evidence of Democratic corruption at the highest levels of gummint!”, and all that jazz. Some people were apparently never taught that the first rule of being taken seriously is not to lie all the damn time.
Regrettably, though, in modern politics, questions of truth and falsehood have become irrelevant.
Accusations of a $5 million business bribe aren’t intended to raise doubts about his integrity so as to reduce Joe Biden’s support among Democrats. That would be old-fashioned, even quaint.
One reason GOP office-holders and their phalanxes of hired mouthpieces pretend to believe this story is to keep the Republican base riled up. For this purpose, plausibility is actually a drawback. The more believable a lie is, the less shock and awe it generates. Biden took a bribe? Big deal. Where are the space-lasers? How much adrenochrome does he take in his coffee?
Most of all, though, this endless barrage of bull is about throwing sand in the eyes of the Fourth Estate. If you can keep those idiots busy producing reactions to hogwash, the reporting they do on crooked judges will get lost in the sauce.
What’s infuriating is that Steve Bannon explained this strategy five years ago—and it’s still working today.
In 2018, The New Yorker’s David Remnick wrote:
“Steve Bannon, once Trump’s chief ideologist, put the matter well earlier this year when he told Michael Lewis, ‘We got elected on Drain the Swamp, Lock Her Up, Build a Wall,’ he said. ‘This was pure anger. Anger and fear is what gets people to the polls.’ Bannon added, ‘The Democrats don’t matter. The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.’”
We did a double-take on your reference to the 2020 election: “the public which, in ignorance, elected a crook who sold our nation’s foreign policy for his personal gain.” If you had written 2016, we’d have to agree with you.
Of course, that’s not what you meant. You meant what you wrote—which is pretty much an exact description of the opposite of the truth.
Your case might be stronger if your blustering hero didn’t go on TV every day and confess.
What Are We? The Taliban?
To the Editor:
It appears that looming book bans around the United States are like the Taliban in Afghanistan. They keep many people—particularly women—in the dark and out of the community.
Many book bans are about LGBTQ issues. We have to be watchful as citizens, allies, and members of other groups. I know that as a child and an adult I went to books to explain things I didn’t want to ask about. New worlds open up through books. I understand better what Egypt was like under British colonial rule, and I understand better what a transgender child might feel like from reading novels.
If a child is reluctant to talk to you about their gender, or has questions they’re asking about who they are, let another trusted adult or a book be sources of information. Don’t have schools act like police. While I’m glad that the following laws didn’t pass the N.H. legislature, let’s be sure they won’t next year:
• SB 272, the parental “bill of rights,”
• HB 417, treating gender affirming care like child abuse,
• HB 619, banning gender discussions in schools, and
• HB 514, remove LGBTQ books from school libraries.
Our kids need safe places to explore and to try different identities.They have to learn about themselves, receive healthcare, and knowledge about others with whom they will live.
What this country needs is a new exchange program. Let’s convene a schmooze-fest for Taliban clerics and high-ranking Republicans, moderated by experienced facilitators—maybe Frank Luntz, or a team of consultants from McKinsey. Sooner or later, maybe they’ll see that they have more in common than they think.
The bigger we can make this event, the better. That shouldn’t be a problem. There’s plenty of open space in Texas and Saudi Arabia. And let’s not throw in the towel too soon. Give them plenty of time. As for the expense, have you seen the defense budget? This would be a good investment.
The Party of Lawless Disorder
To the Editor:
Jack Teixeira is the 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard who took home classified documents from the Air Base. He shared them online to impress his friends. He is currently in a jail cell awaiting trial for unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information and the unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material. I have not heard one Republican politician call for him to be released, let alone claim the government has been weaponized against him.
I mention this because Donald Trump removed boxes of classified, secret, top secret and secret compartmentalized documents from the White House as he was leaving office. These are documents he was not allowed to possess. Some of those documents he shared with people who had no security clearances. Oddly, his party, including many of those running for president, are adamant he should not be held accountable and claim he is being indicted for political reasons. They say the government has been weaponized against him. Nonsense. The government spent 18 months asking him to return these documents including getting a court to order the return. He refused to comply. He hid the documents from his own attorneys knowing they would tell the court he had no more documents.
If Donald Trump had returned the documents when ordered he would not have been indicted. It is time his party put the rule of law and the nation’s security above this corrupt man.
The rule of law? His party? Don’t hold your breath.
Search Bedminster Now!
I am very concerned by two omissions in the Donald Trump indictment document.
First, the indictment narrates that some boxes of U.S. documents were transported to Trump’s golf-residence in Bedminster, N.J. Indeed, it relates how Trump waived a Top Secret map around in front of PAC associates there, trying to impress them. Has the FBI searched the Bedminster facility for more incriminating documents?
Second, the indictment omits identifying Trump’s motive. Why did he obstruct returning the documents so fiercely? Was it just his insecure need to boast and show-off? Or was he using (or planning to use) the documents for some self-serving transaction? Those military secrets could garner him a high price from our enemies, and his threat to reveal them could extort our friends.
The investigation must continue.
You wonder what Trump’s motive is. Whatever you might imagine, it’s probably worse.
Quo Vadis, Party of Law and Order?
To the Editor:
The reaction of many in the Republican Party to the indictment of Donald Trump on 37 counts of violations of the Espionage Act has served to highlight two characteristics of the modern Party—its bottomless hypocrisy and cult-like nature. The defense of Trump has run the gamut from the ludicrous (that the Presidential Records Act gives him the absolute right to take any classified government document that he wanted) to gaslighting (Democrats have “weaponized” the DOJ to attack Trump while ignoring similar offenses by Biden and Hillary Clinton). At the same time, the crackpot fringes of the Party have added intimidation to the mix by threatening violence should the indictments result in Trump’s conviction. These responses are all part of the Republican playbook to acquire political power that includes outright lies and disingenuous interpretations of facts backed up by intimidation.
Many Republicans have cited the Presidential Records Act to claim that Trump has the absolute right to retain any government document that he wants. The fact is that the act was passed following the Watergate scandal for the express purpose of limiting the documents that ex-presidents could possess. It does not provide carte blanche for Trump to take anything that he may fancy. Although former presidents may retain personal records under the supervision of the National Archives, it is ludicrous to claim that they can declassify and retain any government document. It is ridiculous to assert that Trump could willy-nilly take classified material related to sensitive military and defense matters (such as the order of battle for an attack on Iran or analyses of nuclear capabilities) and store them in his bathroom. The Presidential Records Act provides no defense for Trump’s actions.
Another Republican talking point is that the indictment is a partisan “witch hunt” by a “weaponized” DOJ to prevent the ex-president from regaining the presidency in 2024. The indictment is the result of a two-year investigation by the DOJ in the face of persistent obstruction by Trump and his associates. The investigation has provided solid evidence that the ex-president possessed documents that he should not have, and that Trump actively obstructed the investigation. A Grand Jury comprised of randomly appointed citizens reviewed all evidence and it was they who indicted Trump, not President Biden or Attorney General Garland. The indictment is the result of a constitutionally ordained due process that is meant to ensure justice for all American citizens. Republicans provide no evidence of corruption in the process. Their cynical gaslighting casts doubt on a legal process and undermines a foundation of democracy for no other reason than political expediency.
It is ironic that Republicans who tout themselves as the “law and order” party and who frequently criticize Democratic mayors for leniency in enforcing the law are so willing to either bend or ignore the law to provide cover for Trump. The DOJ must not flinch in the face of Republican lies and intimidation. History proves that timidity when confronted with authoritarian attack only serves to embolden anti-democratic forces. The modern Republican Party has demonstrated that is inimical to democracy. Our democracy’s survival depends on the defeat of the Trump Republicans.
Robert D. Russell, Ph.D
Our sincere thanks for this calm, detailed rebuttal of the main defenses being offered for Trump’s apparently felonious behavior. The absurdity of the circumstances can have a deleterious effect on our efforts to maintain coherence.
Earthquake Within Catalan Independentism In The Municipal Elections.
To the Editor:
In the last autonomic elections in Catalonia in 2021, the three pro-independence parties (ERC from the center-left, JUNTS from the center-right and CUP from the left) won 52 percent of the vote—a kind of unofficial referendum, which showed the desire of the people of Catalonia to be able to decide to leave the Spanish state as a solution to the constant disagreements and the irreconcilable way of living the political, economic and social. This divergence can already be found in 1714, when the Crown of Castile imposed itself by force of arms over the Crown of Aragon. The way in which the Crown of Aragon managed its internal diversity with an autonomy respectful of the different territories that made it up (Catalonia, Aragon, Valencia and the Balearic Islands), and how the Crown of Aragon related to the Crown of Castile, seeking mutual respect, came to an end.
That 52 percent verdict in a legal election reinforced the mandate of the 2017 referendum for the independence of Catalonia and which unleashed a fierce repression by the Spanish State: judicial threats (hundreds of accused, millionaire fines, prison sentences, politicians dismissed by “lawfare:… ), police threats (harassment of demonstrations, the “Operation Catalonia” carried out by an illegal and secret police group to damage the independence movement, illegal espionage with Pegasus, possible blackmail with the information obtained in this espionage… ), media threats (singling out, criminalization and dehumanization of the Catalans and their demands)… .
And in this context, the 52 percent victory has not been translated into any concrete policy of the Catalan Government (formed by ERC and JUNTS) towards self-determination but rather into obedience towards Spain, support to all the projects of the Spanish Government, and a totally failed attempt of Catalonia-Spain dialogue (they have met twice in three years). In the end, JUNTS left the Catalan Government which has continued with only ERC.
Then, in the municipal elections of May 28 there has been a large abstention of Catalan pro-independence voters as a measure of punishment to the pro-independence parties themselves. It has been demonstrated that the Catalan pro-independence movement, which is citizen rather than partitocratic, is still mobilized and will not allow the Catalan pro-independence parties to evade their responsibility to carry out the independence of Catalonia. If the citizens had continued to vote, as always, massively for the pro-independence parties, they would have understood that they could continue their renunciation and the postponement of independence until the next generation. 530,000 voters abstained (+10 percent), almost all, 330,000, from the pro-independence parties. The party in the Catalan government, ERC, has lost 300,000 votes (-37 percent of its votes), the CUP has lost 44,000 votes (-25 percent of its votes) and JUNTS has risen a little (only +3 percent).
Abstention is usually interpreted as a sign of disinterest in politics, but this increase seems rather the opposite, since in Catalonia interest in politics is among the highest in the world according to surveys. This increase in abstention is attributed to the most convinced independentistas who, despite losing their share of power, are trying not to be swallowed by institutional politics and are sending a powerful message to the independentistas parties to rectify their strategy.
Regarding the mayoralty of Barcelona, despite the fact that a pro-independence party, JUNTS, has won the first position, the coalition of JUNTS-ERC has not achieved the government of Barcelona, because in the end a very forced pact of anti-independence (socialists, left and right) has been imposed, which has given the mayoralty to a socialist.
Just at the end of these municipal elections, the Spanish Government announced the calling of state elections for July 23rd. Possibly, as the pro-independence parties have not made any changes to their strategy, pro-independence voters will persist in the strategy of punishing the pro-independence parties to make them react. We will also have to be attentive to see if, in Spain, the right wing of the PP and the extreme right wing of VOX will take power, as the polls predict.
Jordi Oriola Folch
How very interesting. If we read you correctly, the most engaged pro-independence Catalonians are abstaining from electoral politics because they feel their leadership lacks conviction.
What a remarkable contrast to this country. Here, vast swathes of the population abstain from electoral politics because they can’t be bothered.
We love to complain about that, but perhaps we should be more careful about what we wish for.