War Criminals Do Not Belong On The United States Advisory Commission On Public Diplomacy
Elliott Abrams was instrumental in setting up and propping up death squads in Central and South America, and was convicted of lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra Scandal as well as being a chief proponent of the Iraq war and an advocate for a U.S.-supported coup against President Maduro of Venezuela to install Juan Guaido. Read more about Abrams’ background in The Nation or Responsible Statecraft. President Biden has nominated Abrams to serve on the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy; diplomacy is something that Abrams is firmly on the record as being universally against.
Luckily we do have a chance to speak out against this selection, as the members of this commission must be confirmed by the Senate.
Please take a moment to call Senators Shaheen and Hassan and ask them to oppose his appointment. Please tell our Senators that a convicted liar and known war criminal should not represent the American people on the world stage.
Sen. Maggie Hassan: (603) 622-2204
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen: (603) 647-7500
New Hampshire Peace Action
Elliott Abrams and public diplomacy—“[that] form of international political advocacy in which the civilians of one country use legitimate means to reach out to the civilians of another country in order to gain popular support for negotiations occurring through diplomatic channels”—what an interesting juxtaposition.
Here’s a little anecdote about Abrams, summarized from Theodore Draper’s A Very Thin Line: On August 8, 1986, Abrams, then the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, went for a stroll in a London park with the Foreign Minister of Brunei.
Abrams explained to the minister that Congress was being unreasonable. Elected representatives of the people were making it difficult for shadowy operatives of the Executive branch to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Nicaragua.
Abrams asked the minister if the Sultan of Brunei would be so kind as to deposit $10 million in a secret Swiss bank account, to help make up for that which Congress refused to provide. If he did so, Abrams told the minister, the Sultan would henceforth enjoy “the gratitude of the Secretary and of the President.” Eleven days later the Sultan’s minions wired the money.
All’s well, right? Except for the beleaguered Sandinista government of Nicaragua, of course.
Not exactly. Ollie North’s secretary Fawn Hall had transcribed the account number incorrectly. The Sultan’s $10 million ended up in the account of a Swiss shipping magnate.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence asked Abrams about these shenanigans on November 25, 1986. He lied to them, saying, “…the State Department’s function in this has not been to raise money, other than to try to raise it from Congress.”
George Schultz, his boss, advised Abrams—through intermediaries, thereby covering his own ass—that he might want to withdraw that testimony. Granted a chance to tell the truth, Abrams met again with the committee on November 25, 1986, and proceeded to spit hairs.
Abrams, to Sen. Thomas Eagleton: “You’ve heard my testimony.”
Eagleton, to Abrams: “I’ve heard it, and I want to puke.”
Now that Abrams has been nominated for this position, we want to puke.
Is Being Right Enough?
On this Fourth of July weekend, I am reminded of our forefathers vision for America as well as of the words quoted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.”
As a U.S. citizen who has raised her children to follow “The Golden Rule,” I have become increasingly concerned about the attack on our civilization. My children are now grown adults, and they are keenly aware of the ever increasing divide within our nation. It is for them and for the nation’s newest generation that I have become proactive in the civic responsibility of “guarding the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens.”
With that said, the 2024 Presidential candidate who aligns most with my moral compass and vision for our nation is Marianne Williamson.
I have been to several of her speaking engagements located here in the Seacoast of N.H.
I have witnessed her articulate her vision for Americans; to listen to Ms. Williamson speak is to witness the rebirth and next step to what our founding fathers intended for us.
Over the last few decades, America has taken a U-turn, however, Ms. Williamson’s vision will course-correct America.
I invite all U.S. citizens to peruse her 2024 campaign website, www.marianne2024.com.
Please read through her posted polices and then check out the “Events” link for upcoming appearances.
I invite you to join us in the most patriotic action any American can take: become an informed voter and participate in the N.H. Primary.
God Bless Us All.
Williamson’s positions do tend to make sense. Perhaps that’s why we have trouble seeing her fitting into our political system.
The Right to Bear Hand Grenades
To the Editor:
Our Constitution wouldn’t have been ratified, nor would its Second Amendment have been adopted, if Americans believed either would limit their individual rights to “keep and bear arms.” Beliefs to the contrary show, IMHO, a misunderstanding of history and our Constitution’s purpose.
When our Constitution was adopted, firearms were essential tools in everyday life for many, perhaps most, people. Firearms were used for hunting, protection (people often lived far apart) from human and animal predators which threatened people and livestock, and were essential in winning freedom from England, and in conducting earlier and possibly future wars.
The purpose of the U.S. Constitution is to protect, not limit, people’s rights. Our Constitution gives government specified authorities/powers which don’t include the power to limit Citizens’ “arms” (weapons).
Our Constitution’s authors didn’t believe specifying protections of Citizen’s rights were needed, but to allay fears, they promised Amendments to specify individual protections from government oppression. The first ten Amendments, our Bill of Rights, protects Citizens’ Rights, including the Right to “keep and bear arms,” from infringement by Government.
No Constitutional Amendments authorize Government to take away law-abiding Citizens’ firearms. Guns were legally bought through the mail until 1968. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court approved, seemingly violating our Constitutional rights, some local laws on firearm use and some restrictions on things like automatic weapons and hand grenades.
We all want, and pass laws, to be safer. But laws don’t stop criminals or terrorists.
As we have seen, disarming law abiding people, defunding and restricting police, and not punishing or lightly punishing criminals only make life less safe. Criminals are emboldened to commit more crimes and victimize more innocent people.
Recognizing peoples’ needs and human nature, our Founding Fathers wisely protected people’s individual rights, including: “to keep and bear arms.”
So, the court was wrong to deprive citizens of the right to bear hand grenades and tommy guns? We’re not so sure about that. We are pretty sure—and becoming more so with each massacre—that the court’s biggest mistake regarding the Second Amendment has been its disregard for its first four words: “A well regulated Militia.”
Don’t get us wrong on this. We’re not saying the justices—we use the term ironically—ought to practice “originalism.” When last we checked, all the founders were dead. It’s up to us—we, the living, if we might borrow the title of a bad novel—to decide how we ought to govern ourselves.
We’re just saying that, if the justices were to take those first four words seriously, the U.S. population would likely be noticeably higher.
Court Acts To Preserve White Privilege
To the Editor:
The Supreme Court struck down affirmative actions for minorities in college admissions. It left in place affirmative actions for whites and the wealthy in college admissions. If you are a child of an alumni, you get preference over someone who is not. Given that many colleges did not accept blacks and some other minorities for decades or centuries the alumni are disproportionately white. Given centuries of employment discrimination minorities are less wealthy as well. Thus, white children and children of the rich are favored for admissions even when they are less qualified.
This is just one more example of a system rigged to favor white and wealthy Americans.
Congratulations. You have quite accurately assessed this recent decree from our Nine Infallibles.
Some may think they detect a note of mockery in the above paragraph. They would be reading it wrong.
The system is indeed rigged, just as you say. Among that system’s important components is the one that disguises and denies that the system is rigged.
Evolve, You Carnivores!
To the Editor,
Any politician who claims to care about animal welfare should support increased federal funding for cultivated-meat research. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, cultivated meat is grown from livestock cells, without slaughter. It has the potential to relegate so much nonhuman suffering to a less enlightened past.
We kill more than a trillion aquatic and land animals for food every year. Numbers that large are almost impossible to comprehend. For a little perspective, only about 117 billion humans have ever lived, according to the Population Reference Bureau [PRB].
While cultivated meat was recently approved for sale in America, increased public money for cellular-agriculture development will help the product achieve price parity with slaughtered meat. This is crucial for widespread acceptance of humane alternatives. Compassionate legislators should support the effort.
Eight billion humans killing and eating more than 1,000,000,000,000 animals a year… it’s enough to make one doubt the existence of a benevolent Maker, eh? Contemplating all that carnage nearly sent us plunging into the ol’ existential abyss.
Once again, though, we were saved by our editorial responsibilities. Not only does the PRB corroborate your human population figures, it provides a very lucid, thoughtful—and comfortingly distanced—view of the entirety of humanity’s existence. Here’s the link:
As for the number of animals, we’ll take you at your word.
Dear Esteemed Editors:
First off, love your paper and its content!
Here’s my gripe… have you noticed the age of the residents around here??? We’re older, the old eyesight fading. Perhaps a larger font might be better for the archaic newspaper reading crowd, dummies!
The lovely combination of politics, art and snark is appreciated… wish I could see it better!!
York Harbor, Maine
Flattery will get you… license to call us dummies, without riposte.
Every finished typographical job is the result of a series of decisions and compromises. We’ve been using our present set of styles for at least ten years, more likely fifteen. Because our space is limited, we aimed, at that time, to achieve a high level of density, without unduly sacrificing either legibility or readability.
To that end we set our copy in 10.5 point Adobe Caslon Pro, with 12 points of leading. We’ll grant you, “large print” it is not. Bumping up the text to 11 points, however, would require a host of other adjustments. A newspaper page is like a Jenga tower—shift one part and the whole thing could go sideways.
Our vision isn’t what it once was, either. May we suggest that better light might help, and, perhaps, for page eight, a magnifier?
Parson Weems Redux
To the Editor:
What is it? Wikipedia says, “Independence Day (colloquially the Fourth of July) is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence, which was ratified by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, establishing the United States of America.”
Our founding fathers fought the British to give us freedom from tyrannical rule. They fought against taxation without representation. They fought for religious freedom, but most importantly they fought to establish a new nation.
Our founders never sought fortune for themselves, instead they literally wagered their fortune to create a new nation.
A new nation whose President, eighty-seven years later, would pen these famous words, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
These of course are excerpts from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, delivered during the American Civil War at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery on November 19, 1863.
What have we done with the independence and freedom our founders fought so hard for?
What have we done with the “new birth of freedom” President Lincoln alludes to in his Gettysburg Address?
It’s been one hundred and sixty years since President Lincoln reminded us of the fragility of our Nation.
Have we cherished that gift, have we nurtured it, preserved it, and treasured it, or have we taken it for granted?
Have our political leaders dedicated themselves to serving the people, as our founders intended, or do they only serve themselves?
Do we the people embody the words, “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”?
Have we lived up to those words, or do we consider them outdated?
Do we love and appreciate our country, our independence, our freedom and our flag, or are we ashamed of our nation?
Yes, our country is not, and never will be, perfect.
So today, as we celebrate our two hundred and forty-seventh Independence Day, let us all take a moment to ponder the following quote:
“A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in… And how many want out.” – Tony Blair
Happy Birthday America and God Bless you,
Major, USMC (Ret.)
We were right with you, all the way through the first paragraph. Then you started to lose us.
You say the founders “…fought [for] freedom from tyrannical rule… against taxation without representation… for religious freedom… .” Well, more or less. But let’s not quibble—especially when we’ve got raw meat on the table.
“Our founders never sought fortune for themselves, instead they literally wagered their fortune to create a new nation.” Well, yes, in that they most definitely ran the risk of weighing down the wrong end of a rope. But “never sought fortune for themselves”?
May we recommend William Hogeland’s Autumn of the Black Snake? Read this rip-snorting history and you will never again see George Washington through Parson Weems’s Patented Rose-Colored Glasses. Washington became a surveyor so that he might make advantageous land deals.
Many of his revolutionary cohorts also made out pretty well—particularly those who dabbled in finance. Wealthy speculators made out like the bandits they were, while common soldiers got screwed.
Speaking of common, without Thomas Paine’s anonymously-published Common Sense, there would likely never have been a revolution. After the victory he went on risking his neck by promoting liberty in France. Paine appealed to Washington when the French were about to behead him, but his old comrade did nothing. Paine managed to survive, but eventually died penniless and shunned.
As a retired Marine Corps officer, you are, of course, at a disadvantage. God only knows how hard that rah-rah stuff must have been pounded into your skull.
You are now a free man. Make the most of it. Shed the fetters on your mind.
In Support of the “Defend the Guard” Act
I write today as a concerned citizen, a former N.H. Army National Guard Sergeant, deeply troubled by the alarming rate of suicides among our military personnel. Every day, it seems another is lost, emphasizing the urgent need for action.
In 2019, while waiting for a fire mission in my HIMARS, I stumbled upon the “Drone Papers,” revealing the disturbing truth that 90 percent of those killed by drone strikes were unintended targets, often innocent civilians classified as “enemies killed in action.” This revelation shook me to the core. I joined the military to protect the innocent, not to participate in misguided operations.
Some veterans were part of door-knocking raids in Iraq, where we forcibly disrupted the lives of impoverished Iraqis, who had no connection to our conflict. The guilt and weight of our actions haunt us to this day.
It is not only active-duty personnel who face these challenges; approximately 45 percent of all deployed units are from the National Guard. Back in 2005, during Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana National Guard was absent, as they were deployed in Iraq.
Our solution is “Defend The Guard.” This legislation would prevent the N.H. National Guard from being activated for overseas combat unless Congress fulfills its constitutional duty and declares war.
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution states that only Congress has the power to declare war. It is disheartening that we have not constitutionally declared war since 1942, straying far from the principles upon which our Republic was founded.
Let us pass the “Defend The Guard Act” (HB229), ensuring that Congress fulfills its obligations before our friends and fellow Granite Staters in uniform are sent into harm’s way. It is time to uphold our Constitution, protect our troops, and restore the principles that define our great nation.
We had not previously heard much about the Defend the Guard Act, so we Googled around, as one does. Brushing off the dirt acquired in a series of rabbit holes, we can firnly state that we have yet to come to any conclusions, and will not in time for this fortnight’s deadline.
Since one of our multiple personalities still reels from a military adventure which ended half a century ago, we find ourselves—all of us—naturally sympathetic to troubled veterans. Anyone who’s read the papers published under present management will know we’re no fans of an unfettered military. The incidents you cite are appalling—as are, we suspect, most military operations.
Yet we remain unconvinced. Why is that? As always, we considered the source.
Unless there’s another person with the same name, living in the same town, we believe we’re addressing a Free Stater who’s also the Grassroots Engagement Director for the New Hampshire franchise of the Koch clan’s Americans for Prosperity machine. Hence our caution.
But, even a broken clock is right twice a day. We may end up being in favor of “Defend the Guard.” It’s too early to say.
Thanks for writing, however disingenuously.
Skeptical about Patriotism For a Reason?
In The American Legion Magazine (July, 2023), in an article titled “Flag Wavers,” Alan W. Dowd states: “The millennial generation and Generation Z are less proud of America than older generational cohorts, less likely to embrace the concept of American exceptionalism than older generations, and more likely than older generations to view the U.S. flag as a symbol of imperialism, greed and intolerance, rather than a symbol of freedom.”
I do not choose to argue the validity of that statement standing on its own but I do question Dowd’s conclusion that (as he goes on to declare): “this is largely the result of inadequate and/or inaccurate civic education.” I disagree, and offer an alternative assessment of Dowd’s first statement.
Is it possible that millennials and Gen Z might be in the process of re-examining our understanding of American symbolism, American exceptionalism, American culture, and why there might exist a “patriotism gap” (as its been called), and other things older generations (like mine) always took for granted as absolutes but now find we can not?
Something Alan Dowd failed to include in his article, and something The American Legion, VFW (indeed, all veterans organizations) seem to overlook, disregard, or omit; America has a former president (twice impeached) who has been handed a 37-count indictment alleging that he stored some of the United States’ most closely held secrets—including information about nuclear programs, defense vulnerabilities, and attack plans—in his home at Mar-a-Lago, in the ballroom, in a bathroom and shower, his bedroom, an office, a storage room, and then obstructed federal officials seeking their return.
The president in question (Donald Trump) has portrayed the special prosecutor in the case (Jack Smith) as “deranged,” a “thug,” and, of course, a “Trump hater.” That may appeal to the MAGA portion of the Republican Party base but maybe (just maybe) the Millennials, Gen Z, and a whole lot of the rest of us are not so enthusiastic about flag-waving at the moment.
David L. Snell
Well, not to mention the Vietnam War, the Pentagon Papers, the Reagan tax cuts, the Bush tax cuts, the Trump tax cuts, the S&L bailouts, the 2008 Financial Crisis bailouts, the kicking people off Medicaid, the… [gasps for air, then goes silent].
“Thank you for continuing to publish this most outstanding newspaper. We LOVE it. It is the best piece of mail we get. This should be required reading in schools.”
– J. & B. B., Traverse City, Mich.