It gets more worrisome by the day. Now we’ve been given more insight into the dysfunction and cowardice of the political party which should have put the twice-impeached, never-won-the-popular-vote, 91-times-indicted liar/criminal away for good, thanks to The Atlantic’s excerpts of McKay Coppins’ upcoming book on Mitt Romney.
The acquiescence by those in the Senate who didn’t have the guts to do what they knew was absolutely necessary to save our democracy is beyond disturbing. Aren’t these the members of the “party” who constantly compare themselves to those who risked their lives and fortune to defy the British in the 1770’s, members of the “party” always waving the flag in everyone else’s face, members of the “party” who declare themselves “true patriots,” members of the “party” who failed in their most important moment to act because they were thinking of the children, thinking of their positions and their sorry little lives more than thinking of saving 240 years of democracy? Despicable doesn’t even begin to describe their cowardice. The rot in what used to be the Republican Party is worse than previously thought. This isn’t a legitimate political party, it’s a cult of quislings.
Can this really be happening, that the country with the world’s mightiest armed forces and one of the highest living standards on the planet stands on the brink of defeat not by any other world power, but by the combination of a media ecosystem pumping lies 24/7 into a gullible, and frankly stupid, public at the behest of a madman who threatens his opposition with violence? Seriously?
John C. Ficor
“All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.
“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
– Abraham Lincoln,
January 27, 1838
Sec. of State Scanlan and the Rule of Law
To the Editors:
New Hampshire Secretary of State Scanlan took an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. Article 3 of Amendment 14 to the Constitution clearly disqualifies Donald J. Trump from serving as any elected official. For any Secretary of State, who is responsible for deciding which names appear on the ballot, to ignore the U. S. Constitution, is a dereliction of duty and disregards his / her sworn oath. In lieu of the 14th Amendment explicitly designating the proper authority to determine that a person has violated the amendment, it falls to whomever is responsible for elections to act in accordance with the law—the Secretaries of State in most States.
Secretary Scanlan has said that, “New Hampshire has a proud tradition of welcoming all qualified candidates participating in a presidential primary, and that will continue here.” That is true, but Trump is not qualified and does not excuse his blatant disregard for federal law. He has said that this should be decided by the courts, but he did not seek any guidance or judgment from any court. He said that he followed N.H. law in choosing to put Trump on the ballot, but ignored the U.S. Constitution, which supersedes N.H. law. His fellow GOPers have said that the people should be the ones to decide, but the people did decide, way back after the Civil War. Do N.H. GOPers believe that when they don’t like the Rule of Law, it shouldn’t apply to them? It sure looks like that to me.
By choosing to ignore the U.S. Constitution, and instead choosing to make a MAGA, ass-kissing, partisan decision to place Trump on the ballot, Secretary Scanlan has violated his oath of office and is no more fit to serve than Donald Trump.
According to reliable sources, Sen. Mitt Romney is shelling out $5,000 per day to protect himself and his family against his own party’s Brown Shirts.
We don’t know how much New Hampshire pays Scanlan, but it can’t be enough to cover that sort of expense.
It’s not a pretty thought, but that seems to be where we’re at.
Swimming With Piranhas
To the Editor:
Congress needs to pass the 12 appropriation bills that fund the government by the end of September. The Senate has done so, but the House has passed only one. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy won’t bring any of these bills up for a vote unless they can pass without any support from Democrats. He does this even though the most radical fringe of his party told him they will not support the budget he negotiated with the White House and most voted to approve back in May.
These radicals want to keep the government from functioning and are trying to force a government shutdown. It is time Speaker McCarthy stood up to them and by the budget he negotiated. It is time he brought the appropriation bills up for a vote. They would pass with wide bipartisan majorities. It is time Speaker McCarthy cared more about the country than keeping his job as leader of a dysfunctional party.
For McCarthy to do the right thing, he would have to put the country’s welfare above his own. That’s unlikely. Even if he did, it wouldn’t protect him from those piranhas he’s swimming with.
With his decision to direct committees of the House of Representatives to open an impeachment inquiry against President Biden, Kevin McCarthy has sealed his already despicable legacy as Speaker of the House. The decision to open an impeachment inquiry came not with the vote of the full House, but as an order. McCarthy did not hold a House vote as previously promised, caving in to a small group of radical Republicans, knowing that he did not have sufficient votes in the Republican controlled House to pass a resolution for an impeachment inquiry.
Kevin McCarthy has demonstrated a level of cowardice, moral bankruptcy and a total lack of integrity that has disgraced his office and our nation. In an effort to gain and retain power, McCarthy has sold his soul to a lunatic fringe hell bent on destroying the nation. McCarthy has given full power and control over the House of Representatives to those not worthy of holding their positions. If McCarthy had an ounce of courage, any regard for the office he holds and even the slightest concern for the nations’ security he would have behaved in a manner consistent with his oath to protect and defend the constitution, not to destroy it. Unfortunately, McCarthy chose to disgrace himself and his office and inflict unnecessary harm to our national security and prosperity.
Liz Cheney has recently stated with regard to her former Party, “The Putin Republicans & their enablers will end up on the ash heap of history,” as they prepare to cause another disastrous government shutdown and embark on an impeachment inquiry in search of high crimes and misdemeanors. Liz Cheney’s words echo the words of George Orwell, “In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
Hon. Rich DiPentima
Cheney went on to say, in that tweet, “Patriotic Americans in both parties who believe in the values of liberal democracy will make sure of it.” Apparently Darth Cheney’s daughter expects us to make some kind of distinction between two purported camps of Republicans. One camp can be found easily enough: a mob of hucksters, lunatics, and cowards. We searched for the other camp, but found only a circle of blackened stones where a fire used to be.
New Success of the Movement for the Independence of Catalonia
To the Editor:
September 11 is the National Day of Catalonia and every year a demonstration is held to commemorate that in 1714 Catalonia lost, by blood and fire, its freedom and became a territory without rights conquered by Castile. After 2010, already with a certain degree of democracy, the annual mobilization became a great demand for the independence of Catalonia, because we realized that, within Spain, there would never be a way to live as the Catalan society wishes. Right now, Catalan independence is the European political movement that brings more people to the streets to protest. In Barcelona this year we have been 800,000 people demanding our freedom as a nation.
And at the same time, the interim president of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, to be invested president of the country, needs the votes of Junts, the party of the 130th President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, who had to go into exile in Belgium because Spain has been persecuting him since the 2017 self-determination referendum was held. But Puigdemont has not held out in exile to, now that his persecutor needs him, agree to invest him. Instead, on September 5th, he gave a conference in Brussels, with journalists from 64 countries, where he raised the need for a historic agreement to democratically resolve the conflict between Catalonia and Spain. He stated that there are no conditions for negotiation, but that, if Sanchez wants to be invested, he must provide some minimum prerequisites to start negotiating: Recognize the legitimacy of the Catalan independence movement, stop persecuting this peaceful movement as if it were a terrorist threat, approve an amnesty for all the reprisals (approximately 1,500) and allow an international mediator to monitor the negotiations.
And paradoxically, Sánchez could also be interested in an amnesty for the Catalan victims of repression and for the aggressor police officers, because he could publicly justify it as a way to end the repression exercised by the Spanish State and put an end to the conflict. But the conflict will not end with the end of the repression. It would be necessary to address the root of the conflict: that the Catalan people have the right to exercise self-determination. In fact, the real justification (which he refuses to recognize) is that it is fair to grant an amnesty to cancel the damages of the fraudulent action of Justice against the independentistas. But Sánchez will have a hard time getting Spanish society to accept an amnesty for the members of this movement after having made a media construction that branded them as “coup plotters,” “criminals,” “terrorists,” “racists”… . In reality, Spain’s hidden motivation for this amnesty would be to clear the file of the Spanish Justice before the sentence of the Court of Justice of the EU, which is expected to be devastating for Spain.
For this reason, in the demonstration nobody demanded amnesty, nor any investiture pact of Sánchez, but the unanimous cry was for independence. And this is Puigdemont’s demand: four preconditions are needed, but the negotiation must be about self-determination. And Sanchez completely resists entering this debate with the excuse that the Constitution does not allow it (which is false). He asks to be invested, but does not want to give in on anything that is central to Spanish nationalism. So, if Sánchez does not stand as a true statesman who knows how to lead Spain to a negotiation in which the use of violent force is renounced and only the force of democracy is counted, I think we are heading towards the sixth elections in eight years (normally it would have been two) and a destabilization of Spain as we have not seen so far.
Jordi Oriola Folch
The Catalonians, like the United Auto Workers, seem to have a moment of unusual opportunity.
Why Publish Ewing?
I have spent well over three decades of the past four and one-half decades teaching, including eighteen of the past twenty-three years. In all that time, I have never seen or even heard of a teacher “presenting graphic sex talk and images to young children,” let alone witnessed such behavior on the part of teachers with whom I’ve worked. Nor have I ever heard of a teacher confusing “children about gender, suggesting that maybe boys and girls are in the wrong bodies and should get life-changing hormone or surgical treatments,” let alone ever witnessed such behavior on the part of teachers with whom I’ve worked. I have never heard of a teacher who taught “that young white children are bad” and “young black children can’t succeed,” nor ever worked with a teacher who taught such things.
These accusations are at best the hysterical rantings of a fear-fueled political Chicken Little, at worst the calculated lies and falsehoods of someone devoid of Judeo-Christian “love and tolerance.”
As for “Democrat Jim Crow laws and lynchings,” even a cursory knowledge of history makes clear that such laws and lynchings were the responsibility of Southern Democrats in the era before passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act extending political rights to southern African Americans, passage of which resulted in the “Solid South” flipping over wholesale from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican in a single presidential election cycle.
Why, week after week, you continue to offer a platform for such hateful misinformation and demonstrable lies is a mystery to me. It stopped being amusing years ago. If I want to be subjected to this tripe, I need only turn on Fox News.
William D. Ehrhart, PhD
formerly Sergeant, USMC
Bryn Mawr, Pa.
“Week after week”? How dare you, sir? We would never publish at such a frenetic pace. At our age, that would be undignified—not to mention, too much work.
Thank you for conveying so concisely the essence of Don Ewing’s spewings.
For quite a few years now, we have taken his screeds as challenges, treating the opportunity to respond as if it were a sport. In a sedentary occupation, it’s provided mental exercise.
We’ve a printer’s devil on one shoulder, who’s been egging us on. Perhaps it’s time to heed the angel on our other shoulder.
What You’ll Be Missing
To the Editor:
[Having reconsidered our position (see above), we have decided to make the most recent Memo from Meredith our last. Rather than go cold-turkey, we have summarized it below. – The Ed.]
Our correspondent says that, as a presumably white male living in a town that’s 97.3 percent white—7.5 percent whiter than the rest of the state—he’s being oppressed by black billionaires complaining about systematic racism.
He would have us believe that a handful of dubious cases, highly-publicized, disprove the lived experience of millions, and require us to discard a mountain of statistical evidence.
Furthermore, if he were Black, he would provide a better role model than these apparently multitudinous Black billionaires.
Instead, these deceptive Black elites malign our sacred Constitution, which “set the stage for its eventual elimination by reducing the power of slave states.” In support of this assertion, he cites “the maligned 3/5ths clause.” Contrary to what the Sage of Meredith would have us believe, the 3/5th clause significantly increased the power of the slave states in Congress, and in the Electoral College, to boot.
Republicans are laboring tirelessly to make life better for Blacks, but Democrats and wealthy Blacks thwart them at every turn.
Feel free to keep filling our inbox with toxic misinformation. We like to think it keeps our immune system tuned-up. Don’t expect to see it in these columns, though.
The New Hampshire Disadvantage
To the Editor:
Good news! The N.H. Department of Environmental Services (DES) is receiving $7,640,000 this year to address PFAS contamination in our water.
Bad news! PFAS and other chemicals also spread through the air, harming lungs and causing cancer. Our DES carefully follows federal rules monitoring air quality, but many are limited and outdated. (Large companies like St. Gobain and Casella Waste Management choose to locate in New Hampshire, where standards are looser.) DES knows it can do more, yet holds to minimal federal standards.
Currently, DES is working on air permits to allow increased pollution from Turnkey Landfill’s expansion, accepting 1.4-1.5 million more tons of waste annually. This facility is a major source for toxic substances. People living nearby smell the pollution, and every breath brings Turnkey emissions into their lungs and bloodstream.
The new permit
· monitors only formaldehyde and methane—not another 100 toxic air pollutants, including PFAS, that it is capable of monitoring.
· doesn’t provide adequate provisions for monitoring or upgrading to “Best Available Technology.”
· doesn’t provide for reliable low-cost monitors to measure pollutants such as particulates, that travel to surrounding communities.
· doesn’t include recent standards set for diesel emissions, although trucking will increase by 3,000 weekly trips. (Truck emissions can now be limited with an upgrade installation.)
DES has the knowledge and legal authority to protect our air. Will they, and the governor they serve, insist on their right to maintain minimal, outdated standards? Email DES Air Division firstname.lastname@example.org to protect our air, not permit pollution.
Have you never heard of “The New Hampshire Advantage”? Apparently you haven’t been listening to our Republican Governors over the years.
Uniquely among New England states, we tacitly offer corporations the oportunity to externalize certain expenditures.
They get to pass off the cost of their industrial processes onto our citizens, who quietly pay with their health.
Your Choice: Crazed? Or Ineffective?
To the editor;
The unprecedented series of catastrophic weather events that characterized this summer should provide convincing evidence that climate change is a current existential threat. The rare and destructive floods, fires, droughts and persistent heat domes are exactly the events that climate scientists have been warning about for decades. Current efforts to reduce carbon emissions have not been effective. Although the rate of increase in carbon emissions has decreased over the last decade, atmospheric carbon is still increasing (by .9 percent in 2022). Without further action to reduce emissions, climate catastrophes are likely to become both more common and more severe.
Climate change is not the only problem with existential consequences for U.S. society. Serious inequalities in wealth and income separating the educated from the uneducated have contributed to resentment and alienation of the working class from financial and political elites. This has facilitated populist resentment and cultural conflict. The constant danger of civil violence and the ongoing threat of Donald Trump to constitutional democracy are indicative of the seriousness of this problem.
On a global scale, the continuing Russian invasion of the Ukraine creates a quandary for the U.S. Overly aggressive support of the Ukraine threatens a wider war that may bring U.S. forces into armed conflict within Europe once again and increase the chance of nuclear conflict. On the other hand, to allow Putin to succeed is likely to encourage additional ventures to re-constitute a Russian empire.
These issues threaten serious harm to life and property as well as a threat to the stability of social structures. They are “messy” problems characterized by complexity where many interconnected variables create evolving and unpredictable outcomes. Their resolution is not obvious and not predictable. These problems will be overcome only through an intensive trial-and-error process, not through the application of quantitative models. This entails thorough analysis requiring ongoing collaboration among specialized groups with the cooperation of policymakers. All who have seen “Oppenheimer” will have a sense of the nature of the projects.
Given the gravity of these problems, it should be expected that policymakers would be laser-focused on creating the capabilities to prevent potential disaster. Instead, U.S. legislators are engaged in often silly parochial conflicts and their supporters both on the left and the right are mired in ideological fantasies that distract them from an awareness of real threats. Certainly, this problem is more severe on the right. Most Republicans continue to support Donald Trump’s candidacy for president in 2024 despite his crackpot contention of voter fraud. The Republican cult rallies around Trump claiming that recent indictments of Trump are merely political efforts to discredit their leader. Radical House Republicans threaten the impeachment of Joe Biden without providing any evidence of wrongdoing and the “Freedom Caucus” threatens to shut down the government at the end of September if their radical demands are not met. Vivek Ramaswamy, a candidate in the 2024 Republican presidential primaries, has incredibly claimed that climate change is a hoax. Much of the Republican base get their news and beliefs from unhinged conspiracy theories published on discredited internet sites. These are not serious people. They live in a partisan fantasy world driven by lies and a deluded ideology. It is difficult to imagine that this group would provide support for bipartisan initiatives to solve real world complex problems.
The radical left is not innocent of delusion. The extreme focus on identity politics by some has degenerated into demands for slavish conformity to fanciful ideologies. The esteemed actor Helen Mirren has been accused of “cultural appropriation” for the audacity of portraying Golda Meir and not being Jewish. The San Francisco city council has called for reparations to black residents of $5 million dollars each as well as a guaranteed income of $97,000 per year and a home for $1. Estimates are that it would cost non-black taxpayers $600,000 each to implement the program. Even if you support reparations, the San Francisco proposal is not realistic and at best is leftist political theater. Such actions distract from efforts to address real world dangers.
If we as a nation continue to focus on distractions, we will never generate the effort to resolve the serious issues that we face. The U.S. has united to win major wars, overcome severe economic depressions and successfully implement impressive technology-based projects. It did so through the collaboration of disparate groups in a united effort. I doubt if the same collaboration could be accomplished today.
Robert D. Russell, Ph.D.
“These are not serious people.” Well done, sir. Our own excesses notwithstanding, we do love understatement.
For a moment there, towards the end, we feared you were heading into false equivalency. As it is, the examples you cited focused on relatively minor issues: one municipality and a pop culture fixation.
That leaves Democrats off the hook for its large-scale failure to provide a clear alternative to the increasingly fascistic Republicans. The progressive wing of the party—the Sanders wing, for shorthand purposes—has offered plenty of proposals that would make a material difference in the lives of millions of Americans. But nooo…. Those proposals might upset the Democrats’ deep-pocket donors.
The Dogs of War Will Always Bite
President Biden wants to wean communist Vietnam away from using Russia as military suppliers and have them use America instead.
Such a pivot will do nothing to remove Vietnamese dictators from power and will do little to check Chinese aggression in the Far East. Communists will always align with other communists.
Lenin successfully used American corporations to help build his Soviet utopian dictatorship in the 1920s. It didn’t take much encouraging.
Josef Stalin got President Franklin Roosevelt to loan him billions (that he never paid back) to help build the workers’ paradise, even though behind the scenes millions of workers had already died of starvation inside of Russian Ukraine.
Brezhnev promoted “détente” in the 1970s and 80s and convinced gullible America to sell him military-grade trucks which he then used to subdue freedom loving Afghanistan.
Ever since Nixon first visited there, we have been arming China with American technology, equipment and managerial expertise helpful for erecting a Chinese surveillance state and for building the country up into the menace it is in the Far East and South America today.
We need to stop our rogue corporate military establishment and their puppet politicians before they enslave or destroy the entire globe.
Woods Cross, Utah
As the Twig is Bent…
To the Editor,
In The New Hampshire Gazette of September 8, 2023, Mr. Hightower (“Yes, We Can Stop Drug Price Gouging! Here’s How!”) questions whether executives of giant pharmaceutical companies should be counted human beings. The same speculation is, of course, warranted by the executives of cigarette and arms manufacturers among other commercial enterprises; all could, should they deign to be bothered to do so, make a case, at least biologically speaking, for so being, but would likely have rather a more difficult time identifying as humane (marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for other human beings or animals—Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, 1967.
Recently, Laura Ann Carleton, a shop-owner in Cedar Glen, California, was shot and killed by 27-year-old Travis Ikeguchi when she objected to his disparaging remarks about an LGBTQ flag flying outside her store. In the Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, a six-year-old withdrew a 9mm handgun from his backpack and shot Abby Zwerner, the teacher giving instructions to her first grade class (who, shot in the chest, got the other children to safety before seeking medical help for herself). No provocation by either victim, unless exercising freedom of expression is deemed such.
It’s ironic that the fetishization of weapons by the gun crowd, whose membership, ironically, seems often to include the “pro-life” contingent (though the latter seem to be looking for a term to substitute for “life,” given that that’s not really what they’re “pro,” caring not a damn what happens to the children that the fetuses they’re so concerned about become), is premised on some inherent right enshrined in a Constitution drafted by fallible, imperfect humans; doesn’t that Constitution also reference an inherent right to life, of which bodies punctured by bullets are often deprived?
So, given that you might be shot by a six-year-old or some twenty-something who watches hate media (yeah, that’s you Fox “News”) and swims in the swill of online social media conspiracy and hate mongering, how thrilled you must be to learn that Wee 1 Tactical is marketing to the parents of “smaller enthusiasts” the JR-15, a .22 long rifle roughly 20 percent smaller than a standard AR-15 and weighing in at less than 2 1/2 pounds. What, one wonders, are that corporation’s executives thinking about other than money? Certainly not where they’re likely to spend eternity, if there is such a thing, and a just god who determines whether the conditions of that existence are heavenly or hellish.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
When young men of Ancient Athens reached the age of 17 they took what was known as “The Athenian Oath.”
They vowed: “We will never bring disgrace on this our City by an act of dishonesty or cowardice.
“We will fight for the ideals and Sacred Things of the City both alone and with many.
“We will revere and obey the City’s laws and will do our best to incite a like reverence and respect in those above us who are prone to annul them or set them at naught.
“We will strive increasingly to quicken the public’s sense of civic duty.
“Thus in all these ways we will transmit this City, not only and not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”
In many ways America too was founded, not only on principles of individual rights but on true doctrines of personal responsibilities and accountabilities.
Learning of our history dating back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1647 we discover and appreciate the contributions of our public school system.
It would be nearly 200 years (1827) before Massachusetts passed laws opening public education to all pupils. In 1837 the State Board of Education was formed. Boston had already opened the first High School in 1820, as public education spread westward.
It was believed public education was essential to producing good workers—not so much for the knowledge they would acquire—but for the discipline schools once promoted but no longer seem to find necessary (much less feel compelled) to impart upon our youth today.
I offer that observation because, once upon a time America (like Athens) was strong in a large part because a lot was expected of our children and, if memory serves, of our leaders as well. I don’t really need to finish that thought for you, do I?