To the Editor:
If I were to write about Trump’s reckless personal life, tainted business history, draft-dodging, constant unchallenged lying, cheating donors, squishy liberal record and surrender to the establishment, it would be too much to publish. His past administration demonstrates a massive failure as a “conservative” Republican. If only five percent of Republicans who supported him in 2020 (before he engaged in questionable activities) refuse to vote for him in another general election, he can’t win. And from what I see, that is exactly what they’re saying they’ll do. We only need to look at the losses suffered at all levels since 2018 by candidates who tout his lies.
His recent self-absorbed, name-calling rants on social media are indicative of someone with serious mental issues, not someone whose finger should be near the nuclear button. His delusions of grandeur defy reality. What more does he have to do before people will find him unacceptable?
Whenever one questions his supporters why Trump’s focus is always on himself and his problems, or points out his functional and political illiteracy, incoherence, and feckless moves such as imposing inflation-causing debt of $8 Trillion (twice as much as Obama) all we get is clueless, word-salad excuses. His ineptitude meant that promises were not kept, Republican policy not followed.
Let’s get America on track by making a stable, well-educated veteran, loyal family man, accomplished public servant, and qualified constitutionalist our nominee.
Our condolences on your candidate’s loss of nerve, days before the moment of truth.
In recent interviews, if he spoke at all, he appeared to be playing the dummy in his wife’s ventriloquist act. If theirs had been a vaudeville act, though, they’d have gotten the hook: the dummy’s supposed to be funny and animated, not catatonic.
Trump, Angel of Light?
Trump, who held the Bible upside down while posing for TV cameras, early in his Presidential term, regularly self-promotes his “goodness.” He’s in our presence to take care of us, conveyed in a mastered holy voice. Yeah, right.
Visit 2nd Corinthians 11:14-15: “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. We are warned that Satan can appear to be good and righteous, but his true intentions are evil.”
Satan, I mean Trump, walks out of our courtrooms, charged with wrong-doing, taking many public servants many employment hours to gather the sound evidence of his wrong-doing, and sweetly says, “I have done nothing wrong,” his whining replaced with, “I’m so good” tones.
Our actions reveal our true nature and intentions. A 2016 Wall Street Journal article is headlined: “Donald Trump’s Business Plan Left a Trail of Unpaid Bills.” He not only pretends to be good and holy, but also does it having stiffed working people.
Lynn Rudmin Chong
Why are we not surprised that the book of the Bible which Trump was unable to properly name has him so accurately pegged?
Naturally we assume that all evangelical Christians assiduously read their Bibles daily. What we can’t understand is how with all that practice, their reading comprehension can remain so low.
Peddling Fear, Anger, and Hate
Donald Trump’s entire political career has been built on exploiting three of the most powerful of human emotions; fear, anger and hate. While each one of these emotions by themselves can be destructive to the individual, they become more dangerous to the individual and society when they are combined. These powerful emotions interfere with rational thinking and analysis, and cause people to act in a manner that they otherwise would never consider. Trump has used these emotions to create a political movement—and even a cult.
He uses fear to target the other—the black, the brown, Muslims, immigrants, LGBT people and others—as the cause of all his followers’ problems. The strongest emotion guiding and directing people’s behavior, fear activates our fight or flight survival response. Once fear is established it is easy to turn it into anger and hate. Through a continuous onslaught of lies, distortions and misrepresentations, people are convinced that their fear is based on reality. History is full of examples of civilizations and nations taken over by leaders using fear, anger and hate, and then subsequently destroyed as a result. Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s comes to mind. It can happen here.
In the absence of any clear and rational policy initiatives, Trump’s entire 2024 campaign is based on fear, anger and hate as witnessed by his expressed desires for revenge, destruction of government institutions, unlimited power and escaping accountability for his crimes. Unfortunately a sizable number of former Republicans have bought into this agenda and are prepared to name Trump as their 2024 candidate for President. Trump’s campaign is working quite well. However, rarely does anything good result when behavior is guided by fear, anger and hate. Hopefully enough Americans will see through this looming catastrophe and vote with the more stable emotions of reason, love, understanding, empathy and compassion.
Peddling fear, anger and hate is a tawdry way to make a buck. Apparently, though, the market is eternal.
Israel and the Right to Exist
Is Ali Egizi saying that the state of Israel has no right to exist? In 2024? Good luck selling that argument to anyone but Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and maybe the Houthis.
Bryn Mawr, Pa.
As we understand it, Ali was making a narrow legal point—one which purportedly applies to all nations. In practice, of course, Israel’s existence is constantly being threatened.
What the Candidates Haven’t Said
To the Editor:
Unlike past candidates, this year’s presidential hopefuls aren’t demonstrating the factual and policy rigor a presidential campaign merits.
One candidate said that CO₂ from fossil fuels feeds agricultural crops. What he didn’t say is that plants only absorb 25 percent of the excess carbon we generate. Nor did he say that the historical record shows crop yields decreased one percent every year since 1974 due to the weather extremes and shifting patterns caused by climate change (Friedlingstein et al., Earth System Science Data, 2019; Ray et al., PLoS One, 2019).
Another candidate said that a warming planet is beneficial because fewer people die from heat than cold. He didn’t say that the CDC’s data showing more deaths in winter includes illness like the flu, while NOAA concludes that extreme heat causes more deaths than extreme cold. He also said that Earth is greener now than 100 years ago, but didn’t say that, while leaf coverage has increased as a result of more agriculture, plant growth as measured in crop yields and carbon storage has been declining over the last 20 years (NASA and Scientific American, 2019).
A third candidate advocated for nuclear energy without being able to explain why that makes economic sense given wind and solar are so much cheaper. Two others were asked how N.H. communities with extreme flooding this year could become resilient without funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. Neither answered the question.
New Hampshire, and the nation, deserve candidates who understand science and apply it in their policy platforms.
Let us guess: all three of these examples of misleading hogwash being foisted on New Hampshire voters came from candidates of the same political party.
To the Editor:
Donald Trump’s lawyers claimed presidents and ex-presidents can only be tried for crimes if they are first impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate. That is strange because during his defense at his second impeachment trial his lawyers were saying he was out of office and could no longer be impeached. That he could be tried in court, not Congress. This gave some senators from his own party an excuse to vote against convicting him while stating that he was guilty.
Now his lawyers are asserting the opposite. When asked if a president could order an assassination of a rival and be immune from trial, his lawyers said yes, if he was not impeached first and convicted by the Senate.
Thus, if Joe Biden lost the election, he could order the assassination of Trump and Trump’s vice-presidential candidate. And, if necessary, kill enough members of the House to assure a Democrat would be Speaker of the House and become the next President. Biden could then resign and be free from prosecution.
Joe Biden would not do that, but Donald Trump spent four years trying to prove there is no crime he could not get away with committing. On January 6, 2021 he encouraged a mob to attack Congress and his Vice President to prevent Biden from being declared president.
If the Courts agree with Trump, then presidents will be able to become dictators. I hope that does not happen.
You’re a brave man, Walter, trying to follow GOP logic. Remember Theseus, and always bring a ball of string.
How Long Can This Go On?
Now, more than ever, the Election process seems to be an expensive charade.
Some are still litigating the 2020 U.S. national election, with even more misguided fervor. Meanwhile, many millions of dollars and words are spent on the current election cycle. We have numerous polls telling us what’s going to happen, with never a disclaimer or explanation of how they arrived at their proclamations. We have lots of think pieces about candidates’ ages, footwear, smiling efforts… oddly, very little about actual policies. There are events called “Town Halls,” where if an attendee asks a factual question, said attendee is termed “a plant.” I always thought Town Hall type things were events where one could ask factual questions. I didn’t get the memo that these events are actually “Rallies”… but “Town Hall” sounds more serious. Ditto for “Debates,” where zingers abound, as opposed to any serious discussion.
Oh well, a mere ten months from now, we will have a newly chosen government to carry on The Peoples’ Business. Going by the current government’s work, we may expect more fiscal crises (every few months) and lots of really serious, really angry committee members working on impeaching someone, getting someone else fired, or ranting about weaponizing the government, whilst proclaiming their deeds on “X” (formerly known as twitter), and then being described as a “firebrand,” often hypocritically ignoring the smelly deeds among their select group.
How much more??
Short answer: lots more. Recommendation: spin Lee Dorsey’s “Working in the Coal Mine.” It won’t change circumstances, but you’ll probably feel much better.
Time to Grow Up
To the Editor:
Democracy is frustrating, complicated and takes work! Citizens must stay informed, listen to others, consider the good of the country, be willing to compromise, vote, and wait for long term results. Whew! Maybe a dictator in complete control would be better—easier and more efficient!
Donald Trump admits, by his words and actions, he would be a dictator. And probably not a benevolent one. He does not score highly on empathy or concern for the greater good.
Trump’s personality is that of a malevolent dictator who, while exercising absolute political power over the state, focuses on their supporters and their own self interests. They have a deep sense of entitlement and see themselves as exceptional individuals. Their insatiable need for admiration makes it difficult for them to empathize with the feelings and needs of others. This consistent pattern of grandiosity, coupled with a vindictive nature, is commonly associated with narcissistic personality disorder. Historical examples include, Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and Kim Jong-un, all people whom Trump admires.
Good idea for America? Maybe freedom is better, even if it’s hard! Guess we will just have to grow up and take responsibility for our democracy—if we want to keep it.
Grow up? You’re asking a lot. Remember, we’re Americans!
Bottle Bill Possibilities
To the Editor:
Manufacturers and distributors earn profits from products that produce trash. Municipalities pay the greatly increasing disposal fees. House Bill 1636 would change that, with a Container Deposit System.
A number of states have such a system, actually designed and run by manufacturers and distributors through a Producer Responsibility Organization. Customers pay a 10 or 15 cent deposit when purchasing a bottled or canned beverage, which is fully returned to the customer upon returning “empties” to the store or any redemption center. Hannafords in Maine participates in such a system. Let’s bring it to New Hampshire!
Benefits? Municipalities are spared handling and transportation costs. Containers tossed into regular trash cost our communities a tipping fee–considerable for heavy glass bottles. Deposit containers remain in good condition, unlike those often broken or contaminated when tossed into municipal recycling bins. Uncontaminated, unbroken containers are truly recycled, the materials used over at a fraction of the expense of extracting materials to manufacture new containers.
Return rates can reach 91 percent, as consumers seek return of their deposit. For beverage containers not on deposit the U.S. recycling rate is stagnant at 24 percent, meaning more bottles end up as litter, useful aluminum and glass is tossed out. There is no cost for customers who return their bottles. States with these systems find it’s paid for by the customers who don’t collect their deposits.
Contact your N.H. Representative and urge support for HB1636, which would open the discussion on this important avenue for our communities to save money.
Let’s Try Some Critical Thinking
To the Editor:
The capacity to think critically and freely express the results is essential to the development of knowledge and human progress. The critical thinking process, often embodied in the scientific method, has been responsible for every advance in scientific knowledge and implementation of new technologies for the past 300 years. Its application to social problems has contributed to the creation of effective policy solutions. The critical process entails a rigorous, impartial investigation of relevant facts followed by rational analysis and evaluation of problems. Although the process is not a panacea for all social problems, it is the closest approach that humans have devised for achieving objective knowledge. The absence of critical thinking contributes to confusion, chaos and conflict as unsubstantiated and false opinions proliferate and dogma replaces informed opinion.
The ability to think critically is a scarce commodity today. A prominent example of the dearth of critical thinking is the MAGA Republican Party. It is led by an egotistic ignoramus whose actions are driven only by the gratification of his personal desires. Much of the Republican electorate resembles a cult, blindly accepting Trump’s election lies and uncritically supporting crackpot conspiracy theories. The absence of critical thinking among Republicans is a major contributor to the political chaos that we see today.
Another threat to critical thinking is the intrusion of a toxic ideology in American universities. The recent controversy over antisemitic sentiment on college campuses and the disastrous performance of three elite university presidents called to testify before a House investigative committee are indicators. The reluctance of some Progressive campus groups to condemn the October 7th Hamas massacre of innocent Israelis, justifying the attack as an appropriate response to “colonial” Israeli oppressors is an example of the identity-based ideology. The tone-deaf testimony of the three Ivy League presidents who could not condemn blatant calls for the genocide of Jews without legalistic hedging is indicative of the inroads a harmful DEI [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion] ideology has made in the administrations of elite universities.
Make no mistake, diversity and inclusion are noble goals. Inclusion of disadvantaged individuals in problem-solving groups can add diverse opinions that improve group and organizational performance. In this sense, properly implemented inclusion can facilitate critical thinking by broadening the perspectives under consideration. This is an example of inclusion by collaboration. It requires mutual self-respect and sharing on the part of all participants whether advantaged or disadvantaged and, over time, may help eliminate the conditions that are responsible for the advantage gap.
DEI policy in some universities, however, has been captured by an identitarian ideology that sees all interactions between so-called elites and disadvantaged groups in terms of oppression. According to this ideology, elites (usually white males) use their control of social power to oppress the disadvantaged (e.g. women, black Americans, colonized Gazans). Since elites’ use of power is persistent and pervasive, Draconian policies must be enacted to counter their influence. Thus, high level administrators are appointed primarily because of their membership in one of the identity groups rather than merit. Campus speakers whose opinion does not conform to identity ideology must be denied a platform. Faculty that express ideas that conflict with the identity synthesis must be suppressed or not hired. DEI administrators and woke faculty members should enforce speech restrictions to avoid imagined “microaggressions” and require “trigger warnings” on well-established texts. These restrictions are enacted with all the subtlety of the Iranian Morality Police.
The teaching and enforcement of identity dogma is the very antithesis to the bedrock values of the academy that cherish free expression and unrestricted investigation of ideas. Noxious ideas are not defeated by banning but by open debate. Universities contribute to society through the education of students to be creative and critical thinkers and by sponsoring research and scholarship that extends useful knowledge. To the extent that they abandon this mission to engage in social engineering driven by an unsupported dogma, they are derelict to their duty. Such abandonment threatens a wellspring of free expression and critical thinking that if extinguished may not be revived.
Robert D. Russell, Ph.D.
Our experience with academia has, by mutual agreement, been limited. We are in no position to say what the effects of DEI may have been.
We can say with some confidence, though, that the usual suspects—right wingers looking out for the interests of the haves, at the expense of the have-nots—have taken up DEI as a spiffy new club with which to bludgeon anyone who’s not on their side.
So, color us suspicious.
Our Fellow Americans
It’s my right, even if you think I’m wrong, for me to express the truth about what I see in America.
Americans could not care less about others who exist anywhere past the ends of our noses.
Americans could not care less about the lives of Muslim citizens in Gaza. Not our problem, let the President handle it.
Folks trying to get past our southern border to start a life free of the savage conditions in their homelands? We’re full, go back home.
Folks in neighboring states? State borders might as well be closed to them too unless they bring money in here to spend.
Next door neighbors? Don’t know ’em. Don’t want to meet ’em. Only way we’d tolerate their faces is if they agreed to come to church with us.
Employees? No loyalty to employers, vice versa too.
People we hook up with socially? Don’t stumble for a second, or we’ll cancel your sorry butts.
Spouses? Marriage is only good if it works for me. If it works best for spouse or children, too bad, we’ll exit the situation anyway.
Celebrities? Get as close as humanly possible and worship forevermore.
Woods Cross, Utah
You make us grateful to know a hell of a lot of people who are nothing like what you describe.
Got The Downtown Portsmouth Blues…
Most-Esteemed Mr. Fowle,
… Back to local woes. Book & Bar is closing. Thud. The trap door we never knew was there suddenly opened and out dropped Portsmouth’s final heart, or, to quote an astute commenter, “one of the last living rooms of Portsmouth.” Such a statement rings louder than the North Church’s persevering bell. B&B is a place that embodies safety and warmth. Good food and drink, wonderful staff, comfy atmosphere, Beat Nights among other brilliant events that even the most hobbit-like introvert would venture out to enjoy—AND a most affordable and diverse array of readable treasures? I never would conceive of its end.
Oh Portsmouth, what in the ever-loving H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks have you done to yourself?! Sure, one could say, “ahh, hooey (or something more unkind), you just don’t like change!” And yes, I concede change of any sort, good or bad, can feel new and scary and difficult. But Portsmouth has not just been changed, it has been ransacked, abused, contorted, and stuffed with the architectural equivalent of Botox and fillers and other superficial, commercialized, overpriced nonsense. My sweet city, whoever dared to tell you that you weren’t beautiful before? All that drew people to this vanilla-hued, money-sucking, salt and sea-smelling former brothel city—its charm, warmth, connectivity, good food, instantly recognizable horizon—gone. Mind you, I exaggerate just a tick, a few gems remain (don’t you ever, ever, E-V-E-R lay a hand or hammer on Sheafe Street Books), but what used to be a shining crown of community hubs now renders as a bleak, unwelcoming combover of poorly-conceived, small-d*ck-energy-pretending-to-be-“avant-garde” shoeboxes. How many banks does one town need? How many of the same mid-quality restaurant chains, “micro-housing” units (odd rebrand of “slums,” I dare say), and unused castaway parking garages within albatross-flying distance? How many more hostile fences? And don’t get me started on the parking kiosks… .
I was recently informed that Hearth is the new “community hub” of downtown. Now, I apologize if my next statement attracts ire, and I would never wish a local business anything but luck and success, but I often do wish I could carefully carve out the development with a scalpel and transplant it into Boston. Clearly a great deal of effort went into the impressive endeavor and a great many folks are at their employ—facts I neither wish to diminish nor deride. And the swing is cool. But the building, quite literally, does not fit here. Rather, it towers over mainstays like Massimo’s and Ceres Street Bakery like a playground bully pointing its bulky finger and sneering “you’re next!” I think back to the real hubs of Portsmouth—the open patio of the former Breaking New Grounds where everyone, customer or otherwise, could sit leisurely catching up with acquaintances and watching this small slice of world stroll by. My first visit to Hearth was ironically cold. People were siloed off from one another, few smiled, and the noise and crowd were overwhelming. It was, for lack of a better word, “off.” I couldn’t bring myself to try the food despite the hard work that went into its making. I simply walked in, gazed around, and walked out feeling vaguely sadder than I was on entry.
In short (too late, I know), the parking situation feels hardly worth the hassle anymore. If you were among those relocating to Portsmouth from the likes of big cities, we took no issue with your arrival (though the NY-ers who brazenly asked my mother if she would sell her house at the beginning of the pandemic—approaching her unmasked—can still suck the largest of eggs), but we had sincerely hoped you would leave your large cities in the rearview, not pack them with you. Whoever is behind these vast perversions of Portsmouth, and I have a mind to think it is just a small handful of over-resourced corporate goons, would do well to hang their heads in shame as they have ours in grief. You city-mangling thieves would make the pope curse.
Taking no prisoners, eh?
Biden and Gaza
To the Editor:
I am writing from West Virginia, with an urgent message for the people of New Hampshire, particularly the Democrats. In Gaza, 24,750 people have been killed in three months. Israel’s genocidal siege is targeting refugee camps, hospitals, homes, and UN-run schools. Israel is waging war on a civilian population, making no attempt to target combatants because the nation has labeled all Palestinians as its enemy. It is blocking all food, water, and fuel. More than two million people in Gaza are in danger of starving, and none of them can leave.
President Biden vetoed a United Nations ceasefire resolution that would have saved tens of thousands of lives. Sixty-six percent of Americans and 80 percent of Democrats support a ceasefire—as does virtually every other nation on the planet—because genocide and mass murder of civilians is generally considered immoral. Yet Biden doubled down on his support for Israel, bypassing Congress to sell the nation more weapons.
The only candidate in the Democratic primary who supports a ceasefire is Marianne Williamson. Democrats and Republicans who believe in a world without genocide should vote for her in the upcoming Democratic primary. I know that I and millions of other Americans of conscience will not vote for President Biden. The only way to end genocide forever is by holding our leaders accountable when they support genocide. You can never be in the moral wrong by refusing to vote for someone who supports genocide.
Vote for Williamson in the primary. Little harm in that. Refuse to vote for Biden in the General and you may consign democracy to the dustbin of history.