A Few Damn Good Questions

Dear Editor,

From the Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Section 3, Paragraph 7:

“Judgement in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Judgement, and Punishment, according to the Law.”

Convicted or not by the Senate, the operative phrase, written in plain English, is… SHALL nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, etc.…”

Senator Mitch McConnell, one day after the Senate failed to convict the Barking Yam in his second Impeachment, February 14, 2021:

“Impeachment, conviction, and removal are a specific intra-governmental safety valve. It is not the criminal justice system, where individual accountability is the paramount goal.

“Indeed, Justice Story specifically reminded that while former officials were not eligible for impeachment or conviction, they were—and this is extremely important—‘still liable to be tried and punished in the ordinary tribunals of justice.’”

Put another way, in the language of today: President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office, as an ordinary citizen, unless the statute of limitations has run out, he is still liable for everything he did while in office, and hasn’t gotten away with anything yet—yet. We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.”

Why, then, is our justice system constantly dithering over whether said Yam is immune from prosecution for the plethora of crimes he’s already committed and the ones he commits seemingly on a daily basis?

Why do we always beat our chests about this country being a nation of laws and not of men when we can’t just follow the law in this case and dispense with this traitor?

Why is this mastermind of the most recent insurrection against the government of the United States allowed to appear on any ballot in an election for the office of president (14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, Section 3)?

Why am I feeling compelled to even ask these questions?

John C. Ficor

Richmond, Va.


First of all, kudos for “the Barking Yam.”

As to your questions, in reverse order, here are our best guesses.

You feel compelled to ask these questions because you have a brain and you’re not afraid to use it.

Your “Barking Yam” will appear on ballots because this “Light of the World,” this “City on a Hill,” is actually a middle-school playground where bullies have the staff intimidated.

We have practiced overlooking injustice for so long—e.g., disparities based on race and the absurd white collar/blue collar crime distinction—that even this enormous travesty is well within our capability.

Finally, McConnell was able to pass the buck to the so-called justice system because he knew that, as Senate Minority Leader, he could utter whatever bafflegab he pleased without being held to account by the same corporate media that rolled out a red carpet back in 2015 at the foot of that infamous gilded escalator.

The Editor


Horrified by Our Paper

To the Editor:

I was horrified that every article in this week’s paper was written by those defending Hamas and their slaughter of Israelis. Of course, also denouncing Israel’s entering Gaza to kill the Hamas terrorists, and demanding that all Jews be driven out of “Palestine.” Even the graphic cartoons were the utmost vile hatred.

Truth and humanity are always the first casualties in such blatant evil. The historical record of the area is that in the 500 years before the late 19th century, climate change stopped the rainfall in that part of the world, leaving the area a mostly uninhabited desert. Go online & search the book Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain for a vivid picture of the area’s desolation in 1869.

The only people living there were a few desert Arab Bedouin wanderers. The travelers found a small pathetic community around the Sea of Galilee, and almost no one on their trip to Jerusalem. Total desolation, Twain said of the whole area.

The historical record continues that a few Jews began entering the land in the 1880s turning swampland into productive farmland. Arabs began entering “Palestine” to work in the Jewish fields, soon trying to drive the Jews out.

In God’s providence, the Moslom [sic] rulers stopped the violence and protected the Jews! The basic reality is that both the Jews and Arabs/Persians migrated into the land at the same time. In reality, there are very few native Arab Palestinians. All the rest are recent economic migrants.

Fast forward to 1948, the Jordanians drove all the Jews out of the West Bank. The United Nations built a very large number of towns there to lure the wandering Bedouin and people all over the region into the West Bank to occupy the land to prevent the Jews from returning.

These are the inconvenient truths the God-hating world does not want you to know about. Today’s narrative is saying the Jews displaced the Arabs. As I have just shown, this is a lie from Satan and his minions.

Jerusalem has become “The Burdensome Stone” just as God said it would. “The time of Jacob’s trouble” is upon the Jew, and tribulation upon the whole world… and the rapture for the Church.


Lewis Brackett

San Diego, Calif.


Sorry to nitpick, but, “every article”? Because we consider anti-semitism to be one of the first refuges of scoundrels, to refute your accusation we just spent an hour looking at the record, counting words, and analyzing what we found. Then, as we used to do with boring patches of Don Ewing’s letters, we deleted about 200 carefully-chosen words from this reply.

Here’s the short version: two news articles out of four, one essay, and one letter out of eight do not constitute “every article.” Justified criticism of Israel is not inherently anti-semitic.

One of Mike Dater’s cartoons did show a synagogue. It employed satire.

So did Mark Twain. Here’s a quote from Innocents Abroad: “I tried [the legendary sword of the Crusader Godfrey of Bouillon] on a Moslem, and clove him in twain like a doughnut. … if I had had a graveyard I would have destroyed all the infidels in Jerusalem. I wiped the blood off the old sword and handed it back to the priest… .”

As much as we love Mark Twain, we consider the rest of Innocents Abroad to be similarly authoritative.

So much for the 19th century. If you had cited a source for your claims about more recent times, we might be able to comment further. As it is, we can only say that we are baffled. The sequence you relate bears no resemblance to what little history we know of the time.

You say the narrative that “the Jews displaced the Arabs [is] a lie from Satan and his minions”? Everyone has heard of holocaust denial. This is the first example we have seen of Nakba denial. We refute it.

The Editor


Love It or Leave It, Trump & Trumpians

Dear Editor:

With his lines so well practiced, Trump entertained 1,000 people at UNH on the weekend. “Witch hunt” we’ve heard for years now. Fairly recently, Trump’s expressed a wish to be a dictator for our country. Maybe, really, “against” our country. He uses the Hitler playbook for his phrasing.

Here’s a possibility: Those who want to live under a dictatorship vote with your feet! Fifty-some despots and/or dictators rule on our planet. Trump himself could go to Cuba, Chad, Tibet, Iraq, Guinea, or Algeria, to name a few. The French were quite satisfied with Algeria until the end of the Algerian War leading to its independence in 1962. Algeria is at the “top” of Africa, so it may be as pleasant physically as Spain, and, then, for the disenchanted-with-democracy, it has a dictator.

Some of you elderly Trump supporters, what do your grandkids and great-grands say about living without the benefits and liberalism of democracy, compared to dictatorship? Would they go with you?

Lynn Rudmin Chong

Sanbornton, N.H.


We endorse this suggestion without reservation. Sadly, though, some of these nations might decline to admit Trumpians—and who could blame them?

The Editor


Ayotte Values Gun Lobby More Than Kids

Dear Editor,

Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the Sandy Hook School shooting when 20 children ages 6 and 7 and six staff were slaughtered. The 20-year old killer used an AR-15 assault-style weapon to fire many rounds of ammunition to quickly perform his carnage. As a result of this massacre over 90 percent of Americans supported expanded background checks on gun purchases. Unfortunately the Senate killed that legislation. One of the votes against the legislation was cast by New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte. The same Kelly Ayotte who is currently running to replace Governor Sununu in November.

I am sure that Ms. Ayotte would like us to forget that horrible vote 11 years ago. Unfortunately for the families of the Sandy Hook massacre victims and for all the families of victims of all the mass shootings involving AR-15’s since then, they will never forget or be free of the pain and suffering they have endured. For those of us who were not directly impacted by this senseless epidemic of gun violence, especially those of us in New Hampshire, we should never forget how then Senator Ayotte put the interests of the gun lobby ahead of the will of the people and the safety of our children. We need to hold Kelly Ayotte accountable for her actions. She should not be nominated as the Republican’s candidate for Governor, but if she is, she should not be allowed to become our next Governor.

Hon. Rich DiPentima

Portsmouth, N.H.


An excellent point. Thanks for reminding us. With all the foofaraw about the White House, it’s easy to forget the State House.

Ayotte should not be nominated by the Republicans, you say. It’s impossible to disagree. It’s unlikely, though, that Chuck Morse would win the primary. And, if he did, he’d be no improvement.

The Editor


No Dictatorship, Thank You Very Much

To the Editor:

If you’re planning to “vote your pocketbook” or your age biases in the upcoming presidential primary, think again. President Joe Biden and his policies are looking out for our long term economic health. These are not obvious at first examination. Biden has been instrumental in passing the American Rescue Plan, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS Act among other important legislation. Biden’s administration has introduced negotiating prescription drug prices, has shown an awareness of serious environmental problems and has strengthened alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to deal with foreign policy crises without sending U.S. troops abroad to fight wars. Biden is often the “adult in the room.”

While I do not agree with Biden all the time, I certainly don’t want to live under a Trump “dictatorship.” Trump promises to conduct a “vengeance tour” if elected again despite his 91 indictments including criminal acts endangering our country in the world and encouraging insurrection on January 6th.

Trump has let loose many people who hate others. Trump called for the former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley to be executed. Presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s (recently endorsed by our governor Chris Sununu) television ads call for “catch and deport” undocumented immigrants which Heather Cox Richardson, a historian from Boston College who publishes a daily letter on current events, says could affect 10 million people. And Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville held up the promotions of hundreds of military officers in his bid to prevent women from getting the healthcare they needed. These are only some of the Republican leaders. There are many others.

I certainly hope Joe Biden is reelected.

Judy Ullman

Portsmouth, N.H.


Joe Biden is no Jack Kennedy, nor is he a Bernie Sanders.

But neither can letting Trump win by default be called the act of a patriot.

The Editor


Another Veteran Against Bogus Patriotism

Dear Editor:

As a veteran myself, I was taken with W.D. Ehrhart’s “I Pledge Allegiance” column on flag-waving, bogus patriotism in your December 15th issue. Among other things, I liked the way he made the connection between our obsessively fetishized flag waving in professional sports, from football to NASCAR, and our larger national fetish. In professional and college sports, the corporate sponsors have attached our coopted flag to their products.

Another veteran, Norman Mailer, who served as a rifleman in a reconnaissance platoon (often behind enemy lines) in the Pacific Theater during World War II, pointed to the same problem of bogus patriotism in two books near the end of his life—Why Are We at War? (2003) and The Big Empty (2006). What could be easier than being a mere flag-patriot? No sacrifice, no hard time, no danger, no critical thinking. Mailer: “We have to keep reminding ourselves that just because we’ve been a democracy, it doesn’t guarantee we’re going to continue to be one. Democracy is existential. . . . It changes all the time. That’s one reason I detest promiscuous patriotism. You don’t take democracy for granted. It is always in peril.” He added, “You take a monarchy for granted, or a fascist state. You have to.”

Compulsive flag-waving was to Mailer no better than “compulsive adoration of our leaders,” which adoration Mailer called “poison” for democracies. He argued that if you love your country indiscriminately, “critical distinctions begin to go. And democracy depends on those distinctions.” You can love your country, you can put your life at risk defending it, and you can still be critical of its failures and follies. It is precisely because, as Mailer said, democracy is “beautiful” and “noble” that it is always endangered, always perishable.

“I think the natural government for most people,” Mailer wrote, “given the uglier depths of human nature, is fascism… . Democracy is a state of grace attained only by those countries that have a host of individuals not only ready to enjoy freedom but to undergo the heavy labor of maintaining it.” Mere vacuous flag waving is not enough to keep democracy alive; indeed, it has the opposite effect. It is a facile substitute for the heavy labor required.

Back to the sponsors of televised sports in closing. For Mailer, one of the biggest threats to democracy is the “megacorporation,” ever doing its best “to appropriate our thwarted dreams with their elephantiastical conceits,” a threat to America Mailer first had identified in the 1950s and 60s as “corporate totalitarianism.” Maybe we should think of that too the next time the sport we are watching is teeming not only with sponsors’ logos but with ubiquitous flags, patriotic songs, and roaring jet-fueled fly-overs.

’Umble Servant,

Bob Begiebing

Newfields, N.H.


A writer as prolific as Mailer inevitably leaves a mountain of words. Some of his have aged better than others. His assault on bogus patriotism is ageless.

The Editor


Write In Biden, People

To the Editor:

As New Hampshire prepares for its primary, the absence of President Biden’s name on the ballot presents an unusual challenge. Given the critical stakes for reproductive freedom in this election, it’s imperative that we voice our support for a leader who firmly upholds these values. The GOP presidential candidates have openly committed to a national abortion ban, a stance deeply at odds with New Hampshire’s strong pro-choice sentiment. In contrast, President Biden has been a steadfast defender of reproductive rights.

With fundamental freedoms under threat, writing in “Joe Biden” on our ballots is more than a symbolic act; it’s a decisive statement for safeguarding reproductive freedom. Other primary contenders lack the broad support necessary to counter the threat posed by a potential Trump reelection. Joe Biden, on the other hand, has beaten Trump before and will do so again. Sitting out this primary or lodging a protest vote can only tilt the scales toward Trump.

It’s simple: just find the “write-in” line, fill in the bubble, and write “Joe Biden.” Let’s ensure our voices are heard and our values represented. Democrats and Independents, this is not the time to sit out. Join me in this vital write-in campaign. Our choice on the ballot is not just about a candidate; it’s about protecting our rights and our future.

Alex de Geofroy

Rochester, N.H.


Your point would seem self-evident—but why take chances?

The Editor


’Tis the Season for Ecclesiastical Fine Print

To the Editor,

On December 18th, the Holy See’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; aka the Holy Office) offered Catholics something of an early Christmas present. Its purpose, according to the document “Fiducia Supplicans” (“Supplicating Trust,” aka “On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings”… pastoral exigencies of blessings… the second of five “dubia” posed by five Cardinals (¶3)… [435 words of ecclesiastical detail deleted, in favor of cutting to the chase – The Ed.]

The independent Catholic Society of Apostolic Life to which I belong, the Society of Christ the King, is open to all people regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, marital status, race, or sexual orientation. …

Reverend Pius Charles Murray, SCR, OCR

Society of Christ the King

Somersworth, N.H.


We did what we could.

The Editor

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