To the Editor:
I do not applaud Hamas’ attack on innocent Israeli civilians, but the media seldom provide any context for such horrific incidents. An unprovoked attack? One has to remember that Gaza has been under a cruel blockade for 16 years and that it had been attacked by Israel five times since 2008. Moreover, 4 out of 5 Palestinian children now suffer from extreme trauma.
Some Israelis want to “flatten Gaza” to eliminate those “human animals” and to prevent the 2 million human beings there from having food, clean water, electricity and fuel to maintain the few hospitals that aren’t damaged. Sadly, 447 Palestinian children in Gaza have already been killed.
Who supports this racist, apartheid regime? The current president and nearly the entire U.S. Congress. Multiple human rights organizations all attest that Israel practices apartheid against Palestinians. According to the UN, apartheid is a crime against humanity.
I mourn for and stand with innocent Israeli victims as I stand with the innocent Palestinian victims of violence. However, there is a way out. Israel must end its brutal military occupation of 56 years of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. And it must stop further “settlements.” Many agree that the current Israeli government is the most racist government in Israel’s history and is intent on ethnically cleansing the land between the river and the sea of Palestinians, including Christians.
Lest we forget, oppression, despair and hopelessness breed violence. We must support justice, equality and human rights for all.
New Hampshire Veterans for Peace
Once again, following a spectacular outburst of violence, citizens are widely presumed to have lost the ability to sustain more than a single thought in their heads.
Somehow, Hamas’ attack on Israeli civilians is supposed to have put them beyond the pale. Whatever happens—or has happened—to any Palestinian is then justified. Yet American citizens who support our war machine, and our foreign policy, are innocent of any culpability for uncountable numbers of Yemenis, Palestinians, Vietnamese, Guatemalans, Koreans….
Hmm… perhaps we are unable to sustain more than a single thought in our heads.
The Feudalist Society, LTEC
To the Editor:
Lots of new “exposure” in the press these days concerning the life and times of Leonard Leo and his network of merry followers. Seems like it’s taken an awfully long time for Hillary’s “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” to grow legs. However, now that we have names, dates, and dollar signs attached, it’s time to latch on hard and bite down to the bone.
Fact is, there’s no more “Republican Party.” Instead, our nation is rapidly falling into the grip of the LTEC party (Let Them Eat Cake). America’s LTECs (aka Oligarchs) may be few in number (.001 percent), but they come armed heavily with cash and guided by tight organization. Mavens of “the natural order of things,” they of the dominant estate prefer to keep we of the servile estate in line. No place better to start than in the courts. Because we are inferior beings, enforced servitude is for our own good. We need protection from ourselves.
The one thing LTEC’s can’t seem to stand above all else is public scrutiny and exposure. So, as election time nears, we progressive riffraff have a solemn duty to name names, find out where they hide, and pull down their pants in public at every opportunity.
We have two estates, you say, one dominant and one servile. We certainly can’t argue with that.
What we can do is use this felicitous occasion* to bring up, once again, Wilhoit’s Law: “Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.”
We have long wondered if Americans’ enthusiasm for British monarchy was evidence of a tendency towards subservience. But, of course, most Americans mistakenly believe themselves to be temporarily-broke millionaires in the making. That’s what sells lottery tickets.
The occasional winner notwithstanding, lotteries are for chumps. When you are fighting against oligarchy, on the other hand, you can’t lose. If you win, you win. If you lose, well, at least you spent your limited time on this rock doing something worthwhile.
* We have missed you, old friend. Welcome back.
A Presidential Candidate Writes…
To the Editor:
John Vail of Easton, New Hampshire hereby announces that he will be a candidate for president in 2024. As follows, in no particular order:
1 – The question for 2024 is What? not Who?. The What is money out of politics (elections, influence of corporations, lobbying, rule by monied elites, Citizens United, etc., etc., etc.). As Potter Stewart said about pornography, we (or most of us) know it when we see it.
2 – An important task for the “campaign” will be to make it abundantly clear that John is not an ideal candidate for the job (perhaps the easiest piece of the work here), such that it is also abundantly clear that anyone voting on that ballot line is voting for the What? not some Who?, clear that such a vote expresses preference for naming the job to be done rather than choosing the craftsman, and clear that the voter seeks to avoid what at best might be called another Who Ho Hum and what at worst might amount to another Who Dun It telling the dismal tale of our next step toward the edge. These would be people who prefer democratic rule to what now afflicts us.
3 – There is no “We, the People” in this country. Do we dare not dedicate ourselves to reclaiming at least some of that?
4 – Other things play. Faith is fundamental for me. But, as to our political situation, we can expect to remain basically stuck or worse as long as government is controlled by wealthy elites and the corporations they control. And, we can also expect to lurch forward (gracefully, naturally, thankfully, decisively, at last) at that very moment when our government is no longer bought and paid for.
5 – The country has long had an implicit, if not explicit, request from the general citizenry to the Congress to eliminate the undue influence of money on the policy and law-making process, whether this be bribery outright, influence peddling, or lobbying for hire, if there is much difference among these at all. The Congress has not, cannot, and will not accomplish anything of consequence in this regard; it has become foolish to expect otherwise.
6 – The problems we face as a nation, as a culture, as a civilization, and as a planet all have large amounts of money devoted to preventing their solutions.
7 – We speak of dark money. And indeed it is. Our work and cherishing, our debate and struggle, our view of one to the other, are all done in fog and darkness. This campaign amounts to little more than an idiot in the corner suggesting that we turn on the lights. Aside from the dramatic shift out of what is essentially corrupt, our situation, our understanding of our neighbor’s situation, and our ability to find common ground can only trend positively following relief from the distortions and negative inputs of political money.
8 – Some speak of “draining the swamp.” The reference points to a worthy task; the image, of course, is all wrong. A swamp provides wildlife habitat, water filtration, coastal flood and erosion control, beauty, recreation, and spiritual renewal. Not the sort of thing to be drained, unless one is set on “paving paradise to put up a parking lot.”
9 – Looking for more suitable figuration, I allude to my carpentry vocation. One orders up a building project to be done and employs someone to do the work. Again the What and the Who. We do elect some Who’s who do generate useful public benefits; but what is more reliably delivered is too many boondoggles that are sops to the rich or worse. What’s needed, badly, is a new bathroom, particularly its toilet. Any journeyman carpenter could deliver us, in fairly due course and at the very least, the means to flush away a good bit of corruption’s substance and stench.
10 – If I must, I will speak of who I am; though, I assure, all fits the useful summary of “nobody of consequence.” This, hopefully, is further assurance to voters that, come election day, their vote will be seen as demand for an end to political money and most certainly not a nod of confidence in my ability to lead our troubled nation. Can it really be so simple? Alas and fore-warning, asking me the Who question is likely to provoke a rant, further evidence of non-suitability for the office.
11 – Oh. And the question for 2024 is also What? not How?. The task of doing the American people’s work shall be left to those chosen, hired, and paid to do so. Make no mistake, there are folks in the Congress with the integrity and devotion to our country to create something preferable to the current system. Sadly, there are also Congressional scoundrels who will have to be brow-beaten or pushed around a bit to get things moving forward.
12 – Of course, agreeing that there is but one set of facts would be useful. Our dis-agreeableness leaves us much inclined to insist on grasping after facts and disinclined to actually look for them.
13 – sendnomoney.org is a website dedicated to making this vision reality.
It’s beginning to look like New Hampshire’s First in the Nation™ Presidential Primary Election,® which began in 1920, probably ended exactly at the century mark.
Between the disrespect being shown to it by President Joe Biden and the DNC, and the catastrophe that is the Republican Field of Nightmares, it’s hard to see how FITN, for short, can make it through this cycle.
It’s easy enough to see why Biden would have no qualms about ending the tradition. Four years ago he finished a dismal fifth. South Carolina saved his bacon. Now he’s rewarding the state by moving up its primary, thus elevating its status.
For its part, the DNC tired long ago of defending a state with so few voters of minority persuasions. We’re pale, that’s stale.
Secretary of State Scanlan will, we presume, follow state law and schedule the election before any similar primaries. N.H. Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley seems willing to buck his party’s leadership. What will happen at the convention is anybody’s guess.
In short, the Democratic side of the Primary is a mess.
Next to the Republican side, though—a passel of back-stabbing weirdos desperately trying to dance around a lumbering criminal enterprise in an ill-fitting suit—it’s an elegant and inspiring manifestation of humanity’s ability to meet the challenge of governing itself.
And you, John, emerge out of all this chazzerie like Botticelli’s Venus on the Half-Shell, playing to perfection your role as a longest-of-the-long-shots independent candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America.
As the most promising sign that there may be life yet in FITN, we salute you.
[Note: The above was written before we learned that Rep. Dean Phillips [D-Minn.] is challenging Joe Biden. Since it was intended as an epistolary reply, we’ll let it stand. – The Ed]
Vindication Of The 2017 Referendum On Self-Determination In Catalonia
To the Editor:
The Catalan independence movement has celebrated the 6th anniversary of the self-determination referendum of October 1, 2017 with multiple activities. Catalonia had offered to agree on a referendum with the Spanish state many times, but in the face of its repeated refusal, it decided to organise the referendum itself and, as the UN Human Rights Committee has written, 90 percent voted in favour of independence.
Catalonia has not fit into the Spanish state for three centuries. Catalonia’s integration, in 1714, into today’s Spain ruled from Madrid, was by force. After a 14-month siege, Barcelona fell. Catalonia lost its sovereignty, its institutions and the Catalan language was banned. In 1842, General Espartero bombarded Barcelona to put down a rebellion and stated: “For Spain to do well, it is necessary to bombard Barcelona every 50 years.” And Barcelona has been bombed or subdued by force more or less every 50 years (1842, 1899, 1923, 1936-39 in the Spanish Civil War and 2017 in the police attack on the referendum).
Today, Catalonia is not subject to an authoritarian regime (as with the Bourbons from 1714 and General Franco until 1975) because Spain became a “democratic” state, overnight, without fascism being defeated. But the plundering of Catalonia continues. Catalonia is a very dynamic territory economically, but it also attracts a lot of immigration (20 percent) and this generates many social needs that require resources to satisfy them. It is the European area with the highest fiscal deficit (21,982 million euros per year, 9.6 percent of GDP). For comparison, Germany, with 84 million inhabitants, is the country that contributes the most to the EU: 25 billion euros a year. Catalonia, with eight million inhabitants, pays 21.982 billion euros net annually to Spain. It is a veritable regime of economic colonisation. Madrid’s political obsession is to keep Catalonia under subjugation because, in reality, Spain has no project of its own, but its only raison d’être is to prevent the independence of Catalonia and the Basque Country.
In 2006 Catalonia approved a Statute of Autonomy seeking to fit into Spain with a minimum recognition as a nation. The text was approved in the Catalan Parliament and then quite modified in the Spanish Congress, but it was still approved by the Catalans in a referendum. Then, undemocratically, in 2010 the Constitutional Court further modified the text in fundamental aspects. This meant the total loss of hope for a possible minimally dignified fit. Since then, the independence movement has held massive demonstrations year after year and in 2017 unilaterally organised a referendum on self-determination. The Spanish government sent 10,000 police to Catalonia to try to prevent the referendum. Despite police violence, which was seen on television around the world, 2,286,217 people voted, with 90 per cent in favour of independence.
Since then, Spanish repression has imprisoned social and political activists, tried to extradite politicians in exile in Belgium and repressed 4,400 activists. After imprisoning nine people for four years, the Spanish state pardoned them on June 22, 2021. It did so because it knew that on June 23rd the Council of Europe would publish a report criticising Spain for holding political prisoners. But since he had released them the day before, it was as if everything had been arranged….
Now that the EU Court of Justice rulings are about to come out, which are expected to be extremely harsh against Spain, the acting president, Pedro Sánchez of the PSOE, wants to offer a general amnesty (for pro-independence supporters but also for police and judges) in exchange for the pro-independence parties voting for him and allowing him to govern the country. Although Spain does not want to overturn the vindictive convictions against the Catalans, it realises that it is in its interest to eliminate the illegal judicial persecution of the pro-independence movement in order to try to clean up its image. But the Catalans have not gone to all that trouble to be pardoned by Spain and 75 percent of Catalans want to resolve the conflict with a referendum.
Europe should lose its henpecked fears: “other parts of Europe could also ask for independence…” (the same with the proposal for the official status of the Catalan language in the EU: “other languages could also ask for it…”). They should appreciate that other peoples have not demanded to become independent for such a long time and with such a large number of people (nor do other peoples have a language spoken by 10 million people that wants to be official in the EU). Each nation goes its own way and Catalonia definitely does not want to be under Madrid’s rule because we have diametrically opposed social and political models.
Jordi Oriola Folch
Thank you for continuing to keep us abreast of Catalonia’s struggle.
If any apologists for the Spanish government would like to rebut, we would consider their submissions.
Don’t Eat Octopuses, Octopi, or Octopodes
To the Editor:
World Octopus Day was Sunday, October 8—a day to celebrate these amazing animals, and we should do that by pledging not to eat them and avoiding restaurants serving them. If you become aware of a restaurant with octopus on the menu, consider writing a brief email or letter telling them why you will not patronize their restaurant.
Octopuses are considered the smartest of all the invertebrates. Because they have no bones, they can squeeze through openings as small as a coin. Octopuses have been recorded escaping captivity and are called the Houdini of the sea. They have nine brains, one in their head and one in each of their eight tentacles, and have three hearts and blue blood.
Climate change and overfishing are making life more difficult for all sea animals. Octopus populations in the wild are decreasing because of the food industry’s increased demand. So, Spain plans to open the first farm to raise octopuses for the food industry. Being solitary animals, they will suffer greatly in the crowded conditions of a farm. The slaughtering method that would be used is extremely cruel. They will be fed other sea animals, decreasing those already depleted. Aqua farms are notorious polluters. If you search online, you will find more information and a source to sign a petition to stop this octopus farm.
Watch “My Octopus Teacher” on Netflix for some inspiration. After viewing, I think you will want to protect octopuses. Thank You.
Wow. Your letter has opened up a whole new can of squirms.
We have not seen “My Octopus Teacher,” and we may never do so, after making the mistake of googling “eating octopus.” Not. Recommended.
Much more to our liking, we found an OceanConservancy.org page on the proper plural form of octopus. Michelle Freey writes:
“While ‘octopi’ has become popular in modern usage, it’s wrong. Octopi is the oldest plural form of octopus, coming from the belief that Latin origins should have Latin endings. However, octopus is not a simple Latin word, but a Latinized form of the Greek word októpus. Consequently, its ‘correct’ plural form would logically be octopodes.
“‘Octopodes’ stems from the belief that because octopus is originally Greek, it should have a Greek ending. This term might be technically correct, but it is the least-used incorrect form of the word for more than one octopus. Using ‘octopodes’ might cause more confusion than it’s worth.
“Octopuses” gives the word an English ending to match its adoption as an English word. Generally, when a noun enters into English, it is pluralized as an English word rather than in its original form. Octopuses may sound peculiar to some, but this is the preferred plural.
“It’s also peculiar to debate octopuses when the octopus is a solitary creature. So, they would very much prefer we didn’t have this discussion in the first place!
“The moral of the story is—it’s a good thing to see multiple octopuses! It means we have a healthy ocean.”
Our final word on the matter: it’s shocking to see Spain threatening to treat octopuses like Catalonians.
An Overlooked Truth
From my kitchen wall I take down my “Rachel, We Won’t Forget You” card bearing 23-year-old Rachel Corrie’s face.
“On March 16, 2003, two Israeli soldiers drove a house-crushing bulldozer over her, twice, crushing her into the Gaza dirt. With five other nonviolent human rights defenders, Rachel had spent several hours in front of a family home in Palestine, pleading with Israeli soldiers not to demolish it. They didn’t (until later); they demolished her instead.” Read: www.IfAmericansKnew.org.
The border between Israel and Palestine has altered, altered as Israel took homes and farms, destroying long-time Palestinian life, for Israel’s expansion. Who, really, is wrong, here? What reason is there for “surprise” or “unexpected?” Only the reason: “overlooked truth.”
Lynn Rudmin Chong
In Re: Don Ewing’s Letters
To the Editor:
The Sage of Meredith is one of the most entertaining letters that you publish. Otherwise, it’s just preaching to the choir. Use your humor to deconstruct his rants. You’ve called it the Memo from Meredith—use it as a column that reflects the dark side of the American psyche. His ludicrous claims probably are fed through right wing hate groups on the net. It’s easy to refute and, my response to my right wing friends who enjoy re-sending this propaganda is to find the facts in return and urge them to send it back up the cloaca from whence it came.
Hah! First we got this note from you. Then, from another subscriber, we received a small batch of clippings from the Laconia Daily Sun. Two of those items included letters from Sun readers discussing…letters from Don Ewing!
Neither of the writers supported Ewing. K.D. Doyle, of Center Harbor, offered a tight, fact-based 350-word point by point rebuttal of Ewings diatribe against “Black elites.” David Miller, a Meredith resident himself, blasts Ewing for his “racially discriminatory letter,” then characterizes the Sun’s publication of it as “abhorrent.”
One thing we can all agree on: Ewing is a divisive writer. In fact, we’ll even disagree with you, here, Jim—in a friendly way, of course. You say he’s “easy to refute,” yet to us it did seem to take more than a little effort.