A New Approach to Campaign Financing
To the Editor:
There are relatively few topics on which today’s voters agree, we’re divided on so many issues. But one area my friends from practically every part of the political spectrum are agreed upon is this: we need a new approach to campaign financing. Too many elections, especially those on the state and national level, are being influenced by campaign contributions from special interest groups, from large dollar donors and from out-of-area interests. There is a large consensus on the need to reform our current means of campaign finance.
One recent development is a proposal to have campaign contributions come directly from voters themselves. The basic idea is to create a government fund that issues vouchers to registered voters. They can then assign these funds to the candidates of their choice. It’s an effort to keep moneyed interests out of elections—and is to be the primary topic of discussion at the annual Peaches and Politics event in New Durham on Saturday, July 22nd. Dan MacMillan, a non-partisan, campaign finance reform advocate will be speaking on “Voter-Owned Elections Can Overcome Big Money and Bring Americans Together.”
I look forward to learning about how the concept of “Democracy Dollars” would be funded and allocated. And I hope others who feel this idea has merit sign-up for the Peaches and Politics event, which costs just $10/person to attend. Tickets can be purchased at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/peaches-2023.
New Durham, N.H.
We’ve never heard of this, so we’ve got no business opposing it. We have to wonder, though, how such a program could ever be implemented, given that the government is currently awash in dark money from billionaires who like the status quo.
We’d have more faith in a “hey diddle diddle, right up the middle” frontal assault on blatant corruption.
Sanction the Senator
To the Editor:
The GOP senator from Alabama, Tommy Tuberville, has for five months blocked the promotion of 270 generals and admirals because he does not want the military getting rid of white nationalists in their ranks or women in the military getting access to abortions in republican states. He has called white nationalists patriotic Americans and Trump voters.
When generals and admirals cannot move up neither can the colonels, lieutenant colonels and so on. This is causing serious harm to our military and their families. Today, the Marine Corps does not have a permanent leader. We are lucky Russia, China or North Korea has not taken advantage of the chaos his actions have caused.
Senator Tuberville does not care about the harm he is causing to our military, but he probably does care about money for his state. I suggest putting a hold on the billions of infrastructure funds for Alabama until he lifts his hold on the promotions. I also suggest President Biden go to military bases in Alabama and let those troops and veterans know he is fighting for them and the GOP is not.
The Tommy Tuberville Foundation was established in 2014 to “recognize and support organizations and causes that connect with the beliefs and values of the Tuberville family: assisting our military and veterans; awareness, education and prevention of health issues, particularly among women and children; and, education and community initiatives.”
“Through its first five years,” says Wikipedia, “the foundation raised $289,599 but spent just $51,658 on charitable causes, tax records showed. This rate of 18 percent is less than the 65 percent that the Better Business Bureau says ethical charities should spend on their causes.”
Given the state of the State of Alabama, there ain’t much hope of a replacement. Cutting off federal funds would only hurt the state’s poor. If only we could abolish the Senate… .
In Defense of Palestinian Children
To the Editor:
53,000 Palestinian children have been arrested by Israel since 1967, and many have been tortured. (Source: Middle East Monitor, 2022). Israel is the only country in the world that prosecutes children in military courts. (Source: defenseforchildren.org)
Whether intentional or not, Palestinian children are brutalized, traumatized, maimed and killed by both Israeli Occupation Forces and by illegal Jewish “settlers.”
Rep. Betty McCollum [D-Minn.] has a bill, H.R. 3103, which is cited as “Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Occupation Act.” Israeli authorities currently support, according to Rep. McCollum’s bill, “the military detention, interrogation, abuse and ill-treatment of Palestinian children” which may include, “torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment, physical violence, including restraint stress positions, hooding, sensory deprivation, death threats, or other forms of psychological abuse, solitary confinement, administrative detention or imprisonment without charge or trial, and denial of access to parents or legal counsel during interrogations, and confessions obtained by force or coercion.”
Who is complicit in this violence? Is it just Israel? No, I posit that it is also President Biden, and most of the U.S. Congress, including N.H.’s two House Representatives, Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas. America’s top government officials are apparently more beholden to the state of Israel than to addressing the injustices being perpetrated upon the Palestinian people, including denial of their humanity and their human rights.
If one believes in Human Rights, then please contact, depending on your district, either Rep. Kuster or Rep.Pappas, and ask them to become a cosponsor of H.R. 3103.
Personally, I have asked my Representative, Chris Pappas to sign on to Rep. McCollum’s bill as 28 other Democratic Representatives have already done so. Neither Pappas nor Kuster have signed on. Why not? Is it because they fear the power of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which in reality should have been required years ago to register as a foreign agent for Israel. Do our N.H. Reps. fear they will be targeted by AIPAC if they don’t “toe the line?”
AIPAC during the last election cycle, for the first time, created a Super PAC called the “United Democracy Project,” which contributes to candidates who are pro-Israel. Those who aren’t, such as Nina Turner of Ohio, and former Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and others, were targeted and defeated in their reelection efforts by the pro-Israel lobby such as Rep. Andy Levin, the most progressive Jewish Representative in Congress who sought to restrict how Israel could use U.S. military assistance. Levin’s opponent, Haley Stevens, who beat Levin, received close to $2 million from AIPAC’s United Democracy Project.
Finally, let me say that I wish N.H. Reps. Kuster and Pappas and U.S. Senators, Shaheen and Hassan, would change their positions on unconditional support for an apartheid state and declare that they will be on the side of justice for the occupied and oppressed Palestinians now at 75 years and counting.
There is an old labor song by Pete Seeger called “Which Side Are You On,” and I would encourage citizens of N.H. to ask that question to all of our Reps. and Senators regarding H.R. 3103.
N.H. Palestine Education Network
Thank you for bringing this matter to the attention of our readers.
This is such a vexing problem. Anyone standing up for the rights of Palestinians seems destined to suffer unwarranted abuse. This much we know: the issue won’t be resolved by ignoring it. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ll don our old steel pot and await the brickbats.
No Labels, No Authenticity
“Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 Progressive (or ‘Bull Moose’) Party helped elect Woodrow Wilson, while Ross Perot’s 1992 candidacy helped elect Bill Clinton, and Ralph Nader’s 2000 Green Party candidacy helped elect George W. Bush,” writes David Shribman in a recent column. Now former Sen. Joe Lieberman is heading up the No Labels effort to subtract party affiliations (D. or R.) from our considerations for president in 2024 election, saying that we’d be best off with neither Trump nor Biden. But adding a third party to the mix could “be a spoiler that reelects Trump,” says another challenging group, Third Way.
No Labels hosted all candidates when Trump came onto the political scene. I was with several hundred at the convention center/hotel on Granite Street and Elm in Manchester, [my] first sight of Trump. He had protection men wearing lapel mics. They set up a picket fence, not even knee high, along the stage edge. Novel, bizarre. Shortly into Trump’s talking, a hippy-guy came running down the aisle, ranting incoherently. The goons with Trump got the guy and dragged him out. At the time it seemed so staged. Now I am sure it was.
Lynn Rudmin Chong
You refer to Joe Lieberman as “heading up” No Labels. He may be a founding co-chair, and he may have something of a say in the group’s activities, but we suspect his true value to the organization is his history.
Lieberman was elected a Senator in 1988—with support from William F. Buckley, for pete’s sake. From 1995 to 2001, Lieberman chaired the Democratic Leadership Council, which is to say, he wasn’t much of a Democrat. At some point he began calling himself an Independent Democrat, hoping, perhaps, to lower expectations. In September, 2008, he limbo’ed right under them, by endorsing John McCain for President at the Republican National Convention.
To a certain sub-set of the electorate—those who don’t waste much time thinking—this sort of behavior might suggest a man who thinks for himself, and is capable of transcending partisan politics. To us it suggests a man desperate to hang onto whatever shreds of relevancy he might still be able to grasp.
Mr. Ewing Is Amused
To the Editor:
Parents try to protect their children because children are vulnerable to, among other things, human predators. Children become increasingly vulnerable as they age because parents have decreasing control of the adults that interact with their children.
Children have been harmed by teachers, coaches, medical professionals, Pastors/Priests, Scout Leaders, and others who often start by befriending children.
Many children are harmed in school, e.g., some are blamed for other people’s actions; some are confused by premature introduction to pornography, sex, and/or gender; some are told not to trust their parents; and hundreds of children are sexually exploited in schools annually (https://tinyurl.com/2p89at3y).
When parents see their child’s behavior change negatively, most parents want, and try, to help their child. Experience teaches us that the sooner a problem is addressed, the sooner the suffering ends.
Shouldn’t parents have a right to learn what a school system, or any organization entrusted with their children, knows about their child? The Editors of the New Hampshire Gazette apparently say “No.” They say it’s “ratting out,” a la the East German Stasi, the child to tell parents if their child’s behavior change is due to gender confusion or transitioning. (https://tinyurl.com/263u66ad)
The Editors apparently don’t care that parents worry and children’s problems worsen. I do.
Most students who are bullies, cheats, thieves, inattentive or disruptive in class, have an improper relationship with an adult, or victims of bullying probably don’t want their parents informed. Is it “ratting out” students to tell their parents about these problems too?
Is information kept from concerned parents to help children or to protect adults?
Parents, not teachers, will spend their lives trying to repair a child’s problems. Is providing honest answers to parents’ inquiries “ratting out” children or helping to protect children and get their problems resolved?
Note to Editors: I see my letters amuse you. Your commentary amuses me too since your ad hominem attacks and irrelevant comments don’t refute the facts that I present. It’s good for your readers to see facts and different opinions. So, I’ll keep sending letters as long as you print them.
In re your Note: We have long wondered if you read our replies. Nice to know. Congratulations on the apparent impermeability of your epidermis.
You say, “Parents try to protect their children.” Then you list five categories of people known to have harmed children.
That list does not mention parents. Are you not aware that some children have been harmed by their parents?
Your first citation leads to an article by David Finkelhor, a Professor of Sociology at UNH. He writes, “unofficial estimates… are scarce. Some of them… have found from 361 to about 500 known cases per year.”
We did a little Googling, as is our wont, and found an estimate of the number of children harmed by their parents. According to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children [ASPCC], there were four million child maltreatment referral reports received in 2021, involving 7.2 million children. In 90.6 percent of the cases, these victims were maltreated by one or both parents.
By our rough math, that suggests that kids are 13,000 times more likely to be harmed by a parent than by a teacher.
Right wingers are ginning up a panic about kids and schools. What’s their motivation?
Schools—public schools—are a challenge to authoritarian adults.
Putting the Judeo Back in Judeo-Christian
Until recently, abortion rights have rested on the Roe v. Wade decision. This, in turn, rested on the right to privacy, implied by the 14th Amendment. When states tried to pass abortion restrictions, their laws were declared unconstitutional, for being in conflict with existing law. The current SCOTUS has swept all this away.
However, it seems to me (not a lawyer) that there’s a much better, stronger foundation on which to base challenges to all the de facto abortion bans passed by various states. Most of these states—e.g., Florida and Iowa—have “stand your ground” laws. All of them have statutes pertaining to the legitimacy of self defense. Abortion restrictions ought to be challenged as violating a woman’s right to self defense.
If a woman is approached by a man with a big knife in the parking lot (and she can’t run away, in states which require trying that first), if she feels threatened, she’s legally justified in shooting him dead. Similarly, if someone’s yelling death threats while trying to break down her door, she’s entitled to use lethal force. Or if she’s about to be attacked by a bear or a rabid dog. Yet, when her life is being threatened by a fetus, the anti-abortion laws completely strip her of her stand your ground rights! She must passively wait for her attacker to injure her. In several states it’s now criminal to even talk about the possibility of self defense! What can possibly justify this denial of rights?
Judaism has its own stand your ground law as a Commandment: “If a pursuer is coming to kill you, you should get up and kill him first.” Self defense is not just a right—it’s an obligation. This law is at the foundation of the Jewish view on abortion. A fetus which threatens the life or health of a woman is considered to be “a pursuer coming to kill.” If the doctors determine that continuing the pregnancy will harm her, a Jewish woman is obligated to get an abortion—regardless of trimester. While the fetus is considered to be an independent being with its own soul after day 40, it’s not considered to have a human soul (to be a human being) until the crown of the head emerges. Up until then, it’s not a question of balancing one human life against another. It’s balancing a human life against that of an innocent animal—and human life always takes precedence. I mention this because, if there’s a lawyer brave enough to begin challenging abortion restrictions on self defense grounds, he can find all the possible arguments for and against in the Talmud.
I doubt that SCOTUS is going to invalidate the right to self defense. That right is plainer than privacy. It ought to be used to challenge the abortion bans.
In general, when pondering the human condition, we usually end up thinking more about cosmic improbabilities than the moral diktats of some ancient desert dwellers.
In this case, though, given the widespread obeisance our culture pays to religion, this does seem to be extremely relevant.
The trouble is that the anti-abortion crowd doesn’t really give a damn.
EU General Court Disappoints Catalans
To the Editor:
On July 5, the General Court of the European Union (GC of the EU) has dismissed the appeal of the Catalan pro-independence politicians exiled in Belgium (the MEPs Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí) against the European Parliament’s request to extradite them to Spain. They have lost their immunity as MEPs.
Catalan pro-independence supporters had hoped to win the appeal because the Spanish state is “politically persecuting” the Catalan MPs. For example, the politicians who pushed for the reform of some Spanish laws publicly acknowledged that they did so in order to be able to extradite Puigdemont to Spain.
Then, there are also technical aspects to invalidate the supplication: Adrián Vázquez, from the Spanish anti-independence party Ciudadanos, had strategically placed himself as president of the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament. And neither could the rapporteur of the supplication, the Bulgarian far-right Angel Dzhambazki, close to the Spanish far-right VOX party (which was part of the prosecution in the trial in Madrid that was at the origin of the conflict), be neutral. Both had made public proclamations against Puigdemont.
But this defeat is not strange, because so far the independentistas have lost all claims in the General Court of the EU (GCEU, court dedicated to the rules of the institutions), but have won all cases in the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU, court of higher rank, which is creating European jurisprudence). Now the Catalan MEPs will present an appeal to the CJEU, where they will presumably win.
The Catalan independence movement needs to win in Europe because, within Spain, the State plays dirty. For example, the guidelines of the Spanish secret services have two priority targets: Islamist terrorism and Catalan independence! How can they target a peaceful, democratic and non-criminal movement?
Also on July 1, we discovered that Spain has put the Catalan and Basque independence movements on a Europol terrorist list as the “most active and violent” in the Spanish state. The director of the European police, Jean-Philippe Lecouffe, has confirmed in the European Parliament, that they give credibility to what the states tell them. They are aware that the Catalan independence movement has carried out 54 violent actions: placement of banners, illegal demonstrations, public disorder, railway blockades, damage to fascist monuments… . Is that terrorism or freedom of expression? Catalan independentism has not caused any death, not even any wounded, unless we count the independentist wounded provoked by the Spanish police.
And speaking of terrorism, we do not tolerate that the Spanish Parliament refused to investigate the Islamist attack of August 17, 2017 in Barcelona, because there are some very obscure points: there were Spanish policemen behind the Islamist group that killed 15 people. The Catalan police acted very quickly and arrested the few remaining terrorists alive, so the Spanish state could not decree a state of emergency that would have prevented Catalonia from holding the October 1, 2017 referendum on self-determination.
Addressing this legitimate political project in a criminal framework has allowed to justify the illegal spying of independentistas with the Israeli software Pegasus, as well as the infiltration of police officers in peaceful independence movements. On July 14 we discovered the fourth case, the policewoman Maria I. T. who had been the partner of Òscar C., a prominent activist from Girona with whom she had been living for two years and with whom she participated in meetings of the lawyers in the trials of pro-independence activists.
We hope that the CJEU will corner Spain for so much police and judicial malpractice. Spain is a state that mistreats us and we do not want to be part of it at all. Next station: Independence!
Jordi Oriola Folch
Thank you once again for giving our readers a clear and comprehensible view of the Catalan struggle for independence.
The various subterfuges being used by Spanish authorities somehow seem familiar… .
You Get a Job, And You Get a Job…
To the Editor:
Donald Trump says he was a great job creator and Joe Biden is wrecking the economy. Is he right? The government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps track of the number of jobs created each month. We can exclude 2020 because of covid. In Trump’s first three years, the economy added 6,568,000 jobs. That was down from the last three years of Barack Obama’s term. He added 8,423,000 jobs. Joe Biden has only been in office for 2 ½ years yet his presidency has created 15,861,000 jobs. That is more than 2.4 times as many jobs as Trump in 6 months less time. Unemployment is the lowest in 50 years. There are help wanted signs everywhere. We should all be grateful Biden won the 2020 election and want him to win again.
Can’t argue that.
Doing Well by Doing…Good?
To the Editor:
Notice the heat? July 3rd was Earth’s hottest day on record. That record was tied the next day, and broken the following day. Possibly the warmest in “at least 100,000 years,” pronounced scientists at Woodwell Climate Research Center (formerly Woods Hole). Warmer weather is likely to produce heavier rainfall, and we’re seeing that as well: a statewide flood watch, rains washing out roads in the Monadnock Region, crops destroyed across Connecticut River Valley farms, and a state of emergency in Vermont causing hundreds of evacuations.
If we can slow emissions from fossil fuels, we’ll send fewer heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.
The U.S. is a relatively clean producer. The bipartisan “PROVE IT Act” now in the Senate would “prove our emissions-intensive goods are cleaner here at home,” and “hold nations like China accountable for their emissions-heavy production of goods,” say the bill’s sponsors. Data proving the advantage of efficient U.S. manufacturing practices will pave the way to requiring that higher-emissions countries pay a “carbon border adjustment mechanism” (CBAM). The PROVE IT Act is supported by the National Association of Manufacturers [NAM], U.S. Chamber of Commerce [USCOC], and Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions.
Please tell Senators Shaheen and Hassan, Representatives Kuster and Pappas that the PROVE IT Act is an essential first step. Then we can use a CBAM to motivate all countries to decrease their emissions. Go to cclusa.org/prove for a handy tool to send your message directly to your representatives. Yes, we can do something about the temperature.
This is the first we’ve heard of this bill. Naturally, when we saw that it’s sponsored by NAM and USCOC, we became deeply suspicious.
Firstly, neither of those organizations, to our knowledge, have ever done anything that was not intended to redound to the benefit of capital.
Secondly, both of those organizations have long histories of scheming and plotting to subvert the will of the people.
Is that a coincidence? We doubt it. When have the interests of capital and the people ever been aligned?
This bill strikes us as what Richard Nixon—a great favorite of both these organizations—called “a modified limited hangout.” Carnies might call it a flim-flam.
“Look at us solve the emissions problem, while lining our pockets with the fruits of a tariff!”