Anonymous Chastisement

[To the Editor:]

I am a longtime subscriber to the Gazette, living in the Boston area. It’s been disappointing to me that the Gazette has ignored the gravity of the violent atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th, but now that you’re giving a platform for and even cheering on alternative facts, it’s time for me to say goodbye to the Gazette.

In your January 12th edition, you published Will Thomas’s letter. Thomas criticized the Union Leader for publishing a letter which mentioned various references to the violent Hamas attacks without requiring the letter writer to list their sources. Thomas engaged in verbal gymnastics to somehow try to convey that the attacks were not as serious as stated (see Washington Post January 21, 2024 about the growing “birther” movement of October 7th deniers). Thomas closed with “Perhaps, in the future, the Leader may wish to require letter-writers to list sources where they obtained their sources and not print hearsay.” Your only reply: “Perhaps pigs will fly.”

Sir, you know that Hamas slaughtered, raped, and beheaded on that day. It has been reported by countless reliable sources, and there is video. When you print misleading letters from Trumpers you set them straight. You could have asked Mr. Thomas why he was employing six paragraphs disingenuously to assert that Hamas did not slaughter, rape, and butcher on October 7th. No—you gave him space and endorsed his letter.

Apparently, you decry alternative facts, as I do, when they are used regarding January 6th election interference, and other facts meant to uplift Donald Trump by his cult, but you promote them when offered in support of your worldview about Israel.

I won’t renew my subscription, and I’m sending this letter to some of your top advertisers to urge them to consider withdrawing their support in the future because your standards of fair Journalism are eroding in favor of your perspective.

Signed,

a former reader and supporter

[Postmarked Boston, Mass.]

cc: Will Thomas, N.H. Veterans for Peace; The Portsmouth Brewery; Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire; The Music Hall; Strawberry [sic] Banke

Former Reader, aka Anonymous:

Thank you for writing.

Without wishing to suggest that we endorse the common but idiotic stance that a given position has inherent merit because it falls in between two conflicting points of view, we’ll note that we have now achieved symmetry on this issue.

Our previous paper, published February 9th, included a letter from a reader—one who was kind and brave enough to sign his name—saying he was “very disappointed in the New Hampshire Gazette for not taking the genocide being perpetrated against Palestinians as seriously as is warranted.”

Between that prior letter and this one, it might appear that this newspaper treats with insufficient gravity both the atrocities committed, and the sufferings borne, by both sides of this conflict. Please be aware that we hold ourselves under no obligation to report or comment on every atrocity committed on this planet. If we tried, we’d never have time to do anything else.

We criticize Israel for committing atrocities because the U.S. is complicit in its actions, footing a goodly part of the bill.

You write, “Sir, you know that Hamas slaughtered, raped, and beheaded on that day.” Please don’t try to put words in our mouth. We know no such thing. Less than a week after Hamas’ attack, the Israeli government began walking back the beheaded baby allegation. Did you learn nothing from the first Gulf War?

You seem upset by our admittedly offhand comment about airborne pigs. We were not mocking the dead. That wisecrack was directed at the letters page of the Union Leader.

Pardon us, too, for seeing in your attempt to alienate our advertisers, a reflection of the disproportionate lethality of the Israeli response to Hamas’ attack.

We have no expectation that any of this will change your mind. You probably won’t even read it. We merely state these facts for the record.

The Editor

–=≈=–

GOP Nominee Invites Russia to Attack

Dear Sir:

I have never been so shocked by the comments by a politician as I was today reading Donald Trump’s comments at a rally in South Carolina yesterday. Trump related a tale about a NATO ally asking him if he would defend them if attacked by Russia. He responded by saying no because they are delinquent on their payments to NATO. Then he unbelievably went on to say, “In fact I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.”

This is the most dangerous, anti-democracy, pro-totalitarian comment ever uttered by a former President and now candidate for President. How dare he announce to Putin that he encourages him to attack our allies while he would stand by and do nothing? How dare he put all of our long standing allies at great risk, who came to our aid after 9/11 by invoking for the first time in history Article 5 of the NATO Charter?

This comment alone, even above all of Trump’s other legal problems, should disqualify him from ever holding any public office. This comment is an insult to all military members past and present who have served to protect our nation and our allies from the threat posed by men like Putin and his Soviet predecessors. Trump’s words clearly demonstrate how existential a threat he is to our nation and the world.

Rich DiPentima, LTC, USAF, Ret.

Portsmouth, N.H.

Rich:

That certainly was an eye-popping remark from a former Commander-in-Chief. We expect it will live in infamy—or until he tops it with something even more unhinged.

What seems most bizarre to us, though, is that his party now seems to be fully embracing treason. As the kids say, it’s a bold strategy.

The Editor

–=≈=–

Trump Shows His True Colors

To the Editor:

Once again, D.J. Trump shows his true colors.

The Republicans and Dems came together in the Senate to craft a bill providing comprehensive border security that would have solved the disarray at our southern border. It contained almost everything Republicans wanted. It was paired with aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

Then, Trump stepped in. He told Republican senators not to vote for their bill because it would look like a victory for Biden and would take away a Republican issue.

To heck with our allies and resolving the Southern Border. They did as he said for fear of retribution for daring to put country above Trump!

But the Maga crowd won’t see it—they can only see red.

Michael Frandzel

Portsmouth, N.H.

Michael:

They’re all hoping that if they show him sufficient loyalty, they’ll be issued their very own jackboots. Or gold-colored, Trump-labeled sneakers.

The Editor

–=≈=–

Give ’Em Hell, Joe!

Dear Editor,

On March 7th, President Biden will deliver this year’s State of the Union address to Congress. On the chance this might be the last one, given that Congress and the court system as we know it would most likely be dissolved a year from now—assuming a certain Slouching Beast “wins” again in November, of course—it would behoove the president to cut to the chase. Forget the usual uplifting economic statistics, the feel-good introductions of heroes and patriots in the gallery, the chest-thumping over America’s “greatness” and “the strength of our democracy” and just tell it like it is.

In a word or three, it ain’t good. Not by a long shot. But that won’t happen. The Democratic Party, bless its little soul, refuses to accept that the rules of the game have changed, and continues to operate as if it’s 1954, not 2024, which means we’ll get the usual blather associated with every other SOTU. And that’s a terrible disservice to the majority of the country that instinctively knows we’re in deep doo-doo.

If there’s one jaw-dropping fact about America in the past 10 years, it’s the speed with which fascism and its acceptance by one of our two major political parties, now nothing more than a pathetic motley cult, has moved into the mainstream of our politics. And that one guy, a bloviating, inherently stupid, lying, criminal sociopath, with the help of this cult, has managed to find and take advantage of each and every loophole in our legal system to advance his personal ambition, while wrecking a 240-year-old democracy, is nothing short of stunning. Were my parents, both World War II veterans, alive to see this, they wouldn’t believe it. Most days I still can’t, even as I’ve lived it for the past nine years.

So Joe, er, Mr. President, save us all the nonsense. On March 7th, let ’em have it. In the end, it may not make any difference. If there are enough stupid idiots out there willing to bring the whole thing down on November 5th, at least you can say you went down with your middle finger held high.

John C. Ficor

Richmond, Va.

John,

Few things we’d rather see than Joe getting in touch with his inner Harry Truman and “giving ’em hell.”

The Editor

–=≈=–

Legally Overturning an Election?

To the Editor:

We know many Republican lawmakers fear and loathe Donald Trump even as they publicly “support” him. Why? Because his endorsement could make or break their grip on power in the general election.

But, once the election is over, the President Elect loses that cudgel. In fact, from November to January, his power becomes limited—making him vulnerable.

How vulnerable?

Donald Trump’s court calendar could hold the key. Suppose SCOTUS chooses this transition period to rule PEOTUS ineligible to serve? Or suppose he is convicted of multiple felonies and sentenced to serious hard time prior to taking the oath in January?

The result? All those disgruntled Republicans who rode Trump’s coat tails to reelection are in—and the man who would be King is out.

Pretty sneaky, you sly Republican devils!

Rick Littlefield

Barrington, N.H.

Rick:

That scenario is so bent it seems almost inevitable.

The Editor

–=≈=–

A Lathered-Up Horsey Metaphor

Dear Editor,

Paul Revere comes riding up to a newspaper storefront, jumps off his sweaty steed, bounds into the editorial office and screams, “The British are coming, the British are coming.”

A newspaper employee politely notifies him, “We must decline to publish your message.” “Why, pray tell?”, Revere asks. Overhearing the conversation, the opinion department editor proceeds to explain to him, “You reside outside our readership area, for one thing. For another, your opinion piece must be exclusive to our paper, and I see from your horse’s condition you have been spreading this exact same message far and wide before you arrived here.”

Mr. Revere looks in astonishment at the editor and several thoughts cross his mind. “Either the editor himself has a redcoat mentality and doesn’t mind that the British are coming; or the editor is a Pharisee journalist who believes it is more important to check off the proper boxes than it is to inform and educate the public; or, perhaps, the editor secretly hates freedom of speech and press.”

“I wonder which it is,” he muses, as he grabs the saddle pommel with his left hand, throws himself up onto his horse and gallops off. “Maybe all three.”

Kimball Shinkoskey

Woods Cross, Utah

Kimball:

We’d offer a sage comment, but we’re too bewildered.

The Editor

–=≈=–

Is the Party in a Pickle?

Dear Editor:

The Democratic Party is in a pickle. Concocted by Democrats long departed, their present dilemma has been 60 years in the making and it is this: many rank and file Democrats today are uncertain that Joe Biden (because of his age and perhaps other factors) can weather the taxing responsibilities of the presidency for another full term. Adding to their anxiety is the prospect of a Kamala Harris administration. I recall the doubts and misgivings when Biden (fulfilling his promise to choose a woman as his running mate), chose Harris.

Hindsight (as we know) is 20/20. May I opine, this is what happens when you substitute race and gender for such attributes as ability, qualifications, competence, aptitude, etc., (“the right stuff”).

Six decades ago (I was active duty Navy then) Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity were introduced across the land. Liberal thinkers of the time believed that discriminatory practices could be corrected, and the playing fields levelled, by providing special conditions (advantages) for women and minorities.

In the process of “opening doors of opportunity” for some but not all people, one important factor got overlooked. “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong,” at least not without paying a heavy price.

We have witnessed, over decades and several generations, the dumbing down of America, the loss of expertise, the lowering of standards throughout our institutions; education, parenting, production, things that were once considered the backbone of America no longer work, due in part to advancing less qualified men and women and passing over more qualified men and women, in the pursuit of the elusive precept, “equality.”

To the Democratic Party I must submit, you are reaping only what you have sown. As expressed so well in an old Portuguese Proverb; “the fruit of the tree of errors.” The chickens of inclusion and diversity, I am afraid, are coming home to roost.

However, all is not lost. The Republican Party (a.k.a. the “Trump Cult”) has made its choice, raw power over governing, and at any cost, and nothing shy of an Act of God can deter them.

That leaves the fate of our country in the hands of the only real political party left, the Democratic Party. You must make a better choice.

It’s time for a leap of faith. I well recall John F. Kennedy’s well-chosen words in 1961—“The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans…”

Mr. President, it’s time to pass the torch again. Please consider choosing a different running mate for your second term, someone from a generation younger than ours, someone with a fresh, lively vision for the future but capable of tackling the agonizing problems of the present. We must not surrender this beautiful land our fathers bequeathed us, or our nation’s future, or the fate of democracy itself, to men who lie, threaten and defraud.

Were it my choice to make (given our present circumstances), I would name Hakeem Jeffries (six-term Congressman from New York) as my running mate. He has shown an extraordinary ability to think on his feet, he is especially well-spoken, articulates complicated matters in simple, understandable terms, and he projects the characteristics of a true statesman.

We have arrived at a fork in the road, Mr. President, and as Yogi Berra was wont to say, we should “take it.”

David L. Snell

Franklin, N.C.

David:

Yes, there’s a risk in sticking with Harris—as there is with Biden, for that matter. Not as great though, we suspect, as the risk of jettisoning her at this juncture.

The Editor

–=≈=–

Responsible Republicans: an Oxymoron

To the Editor:

This January, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, led 60 members of his party to the border with Mexico. They clamored that immigration was out of control and something had to be done. Meanwhile a bipartisan group in the Senate crafted legislation to address the problem. Legislation that gave the GOP 90 percent of what they demanded. Then Donald Trump told his party don’t pass anything so nothing passed. Apparently, immigration is not a problem the GOP wants to fix.

Neither is aid to Israel, Ukraine or Taiwan as far as the GOP House is concerned. They want to cut off arms to Ukraine and let Russia take over all of Ukraine. Donald Trump is now inviting Russia to attack NATO after that.

You may not care about Ukraine or NATO countries, but China is watching and sees America will not stand by its allies if Trump becomes president or the GOP follows his orders. Taiwan makes chips for almost every phone, computer, car and anything electronic you own. If China takes over Taiwan, they will have a triangle hold on this country and Europe. You witnessed what the chip shortage did to the auto industry when the country came out of Covid. That was temporary, China could make that permanent.

This November vote to prevent that from happening.

Walter Hamilton

Portsmouth, N.H.

Walter:

One Republican administration after another greased the skids for U.S. corporations so they could ship manufacturing jobs overseas.

Those knuckleheads can’t see beyond their noses, which are buried in quarterly earnings reports.

The Editor

–=≈=–

Surely They Can’t Be Serious

To the Editor:

If additional evidence is needed that the Republicans are no longer a serious political party, their torpedoing of the compromise immigration/Ukraine/Israel aid bill provides it. The bill represented a several weeks long bipartisan effort to negotiate a compromise between Republicans who demanded a strong border control bill and Democrats who sought aid to the Ukraine and Israel. According to most accounts, the bill was heavily weighted toward Republican priorities for border security. Despite the bipartisan agreement, Trump announced his opposition to the bill and Republican support evaporated. Trump and MAGA Republicans preferred to preserve immigration as a campaign weapon rather than solving an ongoing, festering problem.

MAGA Republicans have either forgotten or never realized that the major purpose of political parties in a democracy is to engage in governance intended to improve the welfare of citizens. Effective governance always involves bargaining and compromise with opposing views. Compromise has always been anathema to Trump who seems to view it as weakness. The would-be dictator has consolidated control over the Republican Party so that there are no longer Republican values or policies, only the incoherent fever dreams of an egotistical ex-president. Trump and MAGA Republicans have replaced rational, democratic governance with a relentless quest for self-seeking power based on lies and supported by absurd and harebrained conspiracy theories. The degeneration of the MAGA Republican Party has left them bereft of strategic or moral vision that would benefit public welfare.

Republican rejection of the bipartisan border control bill is cynical hypocrisy. Alleviation of chaos and suffering at the border was sacrificed in exchange for political expediency. The failure to continue aid to the Ukraine is a moral and strategic failure. The immediate approval of Ukrainian aid is imperative. Without it, Ukrainian lives and the destruction of Ukrainian cities will continue as Putin’s aggression persists. The lessons of history from Hitler’s takeover of the Sudetenland to Putin’s aggression in Georgia and the Crimea teach that mollification of belligerent authoritarians only serves to whet their appetite for further expansion. Furthermore, the denial of aid will tarnish the reputation of the U.S. as a loyal and trusted ally and weaken support of critical European allies for U.S. policies.

Robert D. Russell, Ph.D.

Harrisburg, Pa.

Robert:

Not to get all cynical or anything, but what shocks us most these days is the number of people who say they’re shocked when members of a party that’s been lying for years turn out to be liars. They want power and money, not necessarily in that order, and they’ll say or do damn near anything to get their hands on either.

The Editor

–=≈=–

The View From Cologne

To the Editor:

Many of my European friends view, both with anxiety and in total disbelief, that Donald Trump will most likely be the Republican presidential candidate and even perhaps become president again. They ask how is it possible that such a person, who probably belongs more in a psychiatric hospital or perhaps even in prison, may actually return to the White House? They say this is the same person who nearly destroyed a proud and long-standing democracy and its institutions, and yet, many decent Americans seem not to care so much about his incompetence and his numerous criminal activities.

Now Trump states that he will not protect some of the NATO countries (those he says that are unwilling to pay), and will allow Putin to do whatever he wants with them. How can one be so ignorant? In a recent propaganda interview with the naïve American journalist Tucker Carlson, Putin made it clear who he regards as his real enemy, namely the U.S.A.! In that interview Putin clearly stated not only that the CIA and the U.S. are behind Ukraine’s aggression towards Russia, but also that it is the “U.S. and its satellites” that are responsible for most of the conflicts around the globe. Such claims make it evidently clear that it is the U.S.A. who is the prime and ultimate target of Russia. Any sensible politician should then realize that it would be absolutely stupid to forfeit European allies who can help in containing Putin’s imperialistic dreams.

My friends find it totally incomprehensible that, at a time of numerous international conflicts, so many Americans are willing to vote for a person who lacks the ability to think and act rationally. They sincerely hope that a sufficient number of sensible U.S. citizens will turn out on election day to guarantee that neither Trump, nor the Trumpist radicals, succeed in winning, which would only endanger peace and democracy, not only in Europe, but also in America itself. I can only strongly agree with their assessment.

Dr. Imre Somssich

Cologne, Germany

Imre:

We long ago lost the capability to imagine the U.S. as an unalloyed force for good in the world. Our foreign policy, like our domestic policy, seem determined to serve the status quo—which is what got us to our present state of inequality and discontent.

That said, Putin’s a vicious criminal, and a whole lotta elected Republicans probably belong in jail.

The Editor

–=≈=–

GOP Up To Their Old Tricks

Dear Editor:

From the White House Historical Association: “The Iranian hostage crisis contributed greatly to Jimmy Carter’s loss of the presidency in the 1980 election. Americans had lost confidence in their leader.” Isn’t this what the Republican House, under Majority Leader Mike Johnson, wants to pull off now, going into recess early without funding the Ukrainian fight against Putin? The dastardly Republicans, at candidate Trump’s order, weaken President Biden’s hand.

In Carter’s reelection campaign-time, Republican manipulation wasn’t revealed until after the fact (hostages released post-election, helping Reagan win, as calculated). Now the hamstringing is overt. The Republicans have no shame, also are a most manipulatable lot of meek mice. What a disgusting and democracy-attacking combination.

Lynn Rudmin Chong

Sanbornton, N.H.

Lynn:

Having watched Democrats get punched in the face for the past half century, we’re beginning to wonder if the time might be near when they might consider responding in kind.

The Editor

–=≈=–

Sununu Joins Border War

Dear Sir:

Republicans in the New Hampshire Legislature have approved Governor Sununu’s request for $850,000 to support sending members of the N.H. National Guard to the southern border. This is nothing more than a political stunt by Sununu to strengthen his status with MAGA Republicans, and will do nothing to address the border situation.

It is interesting that N.H. Republicans are willing to waste almost a million dollars on a political boondoggle while they refuse to support funding for public education, environmental protection, health care and other needed services right here at home. This money, which is being sold as border protection, comes after the Republicans in the House of Representative refused to take up the border security bill passed by the Senate in a strong bipartisan vote.

If Sununu is so concerned about border security he might better pressure his Republicans in Congress to pass the comprehensive border security bill rather than waste N.H. taxpayer money and play into Trump’s destructive agenda.

Rich DiPentima

Portsmouth, N.H.

Rich:

That’s an excellent suggestion, and one we’re sure the Governor would follow, if the state’s well being was his top priority. Sadly, it looks like New Hampshire will be playing second fiddle to his run for President in 2028.

The Editor

–=≈=–

In Support of Mamadou Dembele

To the editor of the Portsmouth [sic] Gazette,

I was never a cigar smoker till I wandered into Federal Cigar on Market Street a few years ago.

An eclectic crew; from the knowledgable staff, the part owner Jeremy, a smart character from Dorchester and the people that frequent the establishment keep me coming back.

My friends Murat, a neighbor on Sagamore; Jimmy, a restaurateur from York, Joe, a Manhattan transplant, Mike and his beautiful wife Kelly, Ray, a bridge operator, and Tony, a thoughtful parking attendant, all have life stories that make smoking a cigar in the basement watching Boston sports a lot fun.

If there was one man that represented the pulse of this establishment and this great seacoast town, it’s Mamadou Dembele, aka Moose. Moose was one of the first guys that welcomed me to Portsmouth. His smile and energy were infectious. I’ll never forget walking into the back room and being a little nervous. Moose got up and came over and introduced himself. He made me feel welcome.

Fast forward to last night. I watched a YouTube video about Moose and his attack next to Gilley’s, my favorite hamburger joint in town. I’m heart broken. Moose was beat up. I wasn’t there that day after Thanksgiving when it took place.

All I can say is I stand by this man. Yes he is Black. I didn’t think this happened in New Hampshire. I know that sounds naive. I’m ashamed that this goes on in my backyard.

Moose is a gentle man. He is also a gentleman. If you ask anyone who knows him, they would tell you Moose is the polite guy that gets up to give his seat to a woman. It’s obvious he was raised by good and educated parents. Moose is genuine. His actions speak loudly. He’s conscientious and aware. He has those traits that you want in a friend. He’s also smart and impeccably dressed. He’s a banker downtown.

They say when you see something say something. Generally that’s when you see a wrong. But not today. I see a right. I want to say Moose is the guy we need to stand up for today. Not because he’s Black but because he’s the guy that does right by everyone around him.

I want this town to know about Moose.

Thanksgiving 2023 he was attacked and beaten to the ground in front of Gilley’s. He had two fractured bones. All violence has to stop!

Dave Hindle

Portsmouth, N.H.

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