Genocide and the Horse Race

Dear Editors,

In your reply to my last letter you raised two points that I would like to address here.

Responding to my assertion that the Gazette was negligent in the frequency and scope of its coverage of the ongoing U.S.-supported Israeli genocide in Gaza, you said that the Gazette could not respond to reader requests as to what should be covered. What you neglected to explain was any rationale for giving short shrift to this historic development funded in great part by our tax dollars. Do you fear being labelled anti-semitic by the pro-Israel lobby? Or do you just think the genocide is something that, after being covered once or twice, is no longer that important? Is this how you would have covered the actions of Germany in the thirties? In evaluating your coverage in general it looks to me that, like the corrupt mainstream media, you’re obsessed with the 2024 horse race between the Tweedledee and Tweedledum parties… a race whose winner will change nothing significant despite whatever promises are made.

Which brings me to the other part of your reply: you assert that Trump must at all costs be prevented from getting his hands on the government again. Why is that so? Is it because Trump, if elected, will plunge us into a proxy war against Russia, threatening the world with the specter of a nuclear holocaust? Or is it that Trump will be getting squarely behind the Israeli genocide campaign and pour billions of dollars into the efforts of a country run by religious bigots to destroy the people from whom they stole their land to found an Apartheid colonial settler state in the Middle East? Or perhaps Trump will destroy the last shreds of American democracy thus depriving the military industrial complex of its main rationale for murdering peoples abroad? Or maybe Trump will stand by and do nothing while the Supreme Court sets the clock back to the 16th century on women’s rights and tramples voting rights?

You urge us to vote for the man dubbed “Genocide Joe” by today’s anti-war youth depicting him as a lesser evil than Trump. Are you going to hew to the lesser evil excuse even as everything collapses around us… as journalists like Assange are persecuted and even murdered along with the 13,600 children (to date) in Palestine with bipartisan agreement? When will you and other well meaning people on the left realize that “lesser evil” means pure evil (in this case Beelzebub vs. Satan)? When will you realize that working people need to form their own party… yesterday. And that channeling progressive workers and those fighting for the rights of Blacks, gays, trans people, Palestinians, indigenous people and women into the Democratic Party is why the status quo gets no better but becomes even worse year after year?

Sincerely,

Roger Rudenstein

Durham, N.H.

Roger:

You charge us with “giving short shrift” to the ongoing, U.S.-funded massacre of Palestinians. Given the difficulty of defining “full shrift,” we’ll just plead nolo contendre.

You ask if we fear being labeled anti-semitic by the pro-Israel lobby. No, but we do expect it.

Is reporting on genocide a “one and done” matter? Clearly not. You’re welcome to attempt to hold us to whatever standard you set on that issue. Just be aware that we reject the fatuous Hollywood cliché, “failure is not an option.”

Now let’s get to the meat of it. You write of “the 2024 horse race between the Tweedledee and Tweedledum parties… a race whose winner will change nothing significant despite whatever promises are made.”

We vehemently disagree. A cabal of plutocrats and theocrats are scheming to use the 2024 election as an opportunity to put democracy in chains. See the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025. The big money crew wants control, and they’re using the religious right to get it. Things are bad enough already. If they pull this off, they’ll get much worse, and the odds of a course correction will be lower than ever.

You seem exasperated at our apparent acceptance of the “lesser evil,” i.e., Joe Biden and the Democratic Party, and urge us to get behind a progressive third party. Sorry, we’re not buying into political vaporware.

For the sake of argument, though, let’s grant you a time machine. You formed a third party X years ago. Laudably, it’s to the left of our current feckless Democratic Party. Congratulations! You just elected Donald Trump!

Why? Let’s ask Wikipedia: “Duverger’s law [which was arrived at some 60 years ago, from decades of empirical studies] holds that in political systems with only one winner (as in the U.S.), two main parties tend to emerge with minor parties typically splitting votes away from the most similar major party.” The most similar major party being, of course, the Democrats.

In addition to the probable loss of democracy, there’s the question of the continued habitability of the only planet we’ve got. Between Trump’s “Drill, Baby, Drill,” and the GOP’s indifference to climate catastrophe, we’d call that a significant issue.

The Editor

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U.S. Must Continue to Support Ukraine

To the Editor:

We left our homeland, Hungary, during the 1956 Revolution as five- and six-year-olds. At the time, Hungary was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. For various political reasons, our family faced a grim future, even possible arrest. But we had the good fortune to be sponsored by an American company and allowed to emigrate to the U.S.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union and Western nations finally signed a peace treaty ending World War II. The signatories of that treaty, including Russia, agreed to national borders, including Ukraine’s.

Now President Putin is claiming that Ukraine belongs to Russia, and has hinted those other countries, e.g., Poland and Hungary, might also belong to Russia. Ukraine has asked NATO and the European Union for aid and weapons to defend its sovereignty. They are the ones fighting and dying. To date, both the US and Europe have committed billions of dollars for direct military aid to Kyiv. In addition, EU countries have taken in more than three million Ukrainian refugees, which have cost them over $60 billion. The European NATO allies have also pledged additional billions in military and economic aid, but a bill to provide further U.S. military support is stalled in Congress, even though Ukraine is running short on ammunition.

Why is supporting Ukraine in the best interest of the United States? Thanks to countries like the U.S., Canada, Germany, the NATO alliance was created after World War II to ensure no more wars would occur in any NATO state. This alliance had been successful until 2014 when Russia unilaterally annexed Crimea, and two years ago invaded Ukraine.

However, since Russia is now also threatening NATO countries, the U.S. could be pulled into the conflict because of our commitment to defend any attacked NATO country. Our country’s best interest is served by a strong NATO that avoids direct military intervention, and supports the brave Ukrainians who are also fighting for our common democratic values.

We sincerely ask all fair-minded Americans, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, to contact their Congressional representatives, and to insist that they support Ukraine.

Imre Somssich Ph.D, is a retired Research Group Leader of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding in Cologne, Germany

Peter Somssich, Ph.D, is a retired physicist and material scientist and former NH State Representative living in Portsmouth, N.H.

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“Think of the Extrauterine Children”

Dear Editor:

For decades “pro-life” Republicans have claimed that life begins at conception. That position became an official legal determination when the Alabama Supreme Court decided that, in fact, life does begin at conception when it ruled that embryos are “extrauterine children,” and the accidental destruction of embryos is considered a wrongful death. This raises enormous political, social and legal issues now that Alabama has opened Pandora’s Box.

There are probably many frozen embryos in Alabama awaiting a possible in vitro fertilization (IVF). Since these embryos are now considered “children” they must be either used for IVF or kept in a frozen state forever, since destroying them would be committing a wrongful death. This begs a number of serious questions. Does keeping an embryo, or a “child” according to Alabama, in a frozen state for an undetermined amount of time constitute child abuse? Are women in Alabama who use an intrauterine device (IUD) for contraception commiting a wrongful death since the IUD prevents a fertilized egg (post-conception) from attaching to the uterus? Are these “children” entitled to any inheritance from their legal parents upon their deaths? Will these “children” be counted in the census of the State in which they reside and used to determine Congressional representation and for other purposes? Can their legal parents claim these “children” as dependents on their Alabama State income tax as they now claim their other “extrauterine children”? I am sure there are other ethical and legal issues that now need to be answered.

You may think that the above questions are ludicrous, however once you make a legal determination that an embryo is a “child” these questions become very much legitimate. Alabama has determined that an embryo is an “extrauterine child.” For that matter, every child born alive is considered an “extrauterine child” As such, both deserve the same rights and privileges according to Alabama. The absurdity of the Alabama decision along with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade has shown how radical the Republican party has become. Their position on women’s reproductive rights are very much in line with the Taliban, and they need to be held accountable for their extremism.

Rich DiPentima

Portsmouth, N.H.

Rich:

All this lunacy is Eisenhower’s fault. He, and Jimmy Carter. Eisenhower invited the camel to stick its nose under the tent in 1953, when he accepted Billy Graham’s invitation to The Fellowship’s National Prayer Breakfast. Then along came Jimmy Carter, with his born-again Christian heart on his sleeve. Welcome to Gilead.

The Editor

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Stand for Nature, Stand for Humans

To the Editor:

Something that my outdoor enthusiast friends and I talk about is the waning winters we are getting here in New Hampshire. The stark contrast between winters we have had for the past couple of years versus the winters we have historically had is remarkable.

It has been all over the news that 2023 was the hottest year on record for our planet; it seems that we hear that every year now. In particular, I have noticed the stark lack of snowfall and true winter in our area. I love winter, and I love the cold. As an avid xc [cross country] skier and concerned human on this planet, this matters to me a great deal. And I notice that, when we do get snow, the temperatures are so unstable that they often rise, and the snow quickly starts to disappear.

Perhaps living in another part of the country or world that does not experience such drastic changes in climate throughout the year, one may not notice as acutely how dramatically climate change is impacting our planet. But, in northern New England, I have noticed a huge shift. Winters are not as cold, or the cold isn’t as consistent throughout the winter. We have far less snow, which impacts a whole host of things in our ecosystem, least of which is our famous maple sugar production. And it’s not just our winters. Our summers have dramatically changed. Where we once would get maybe one week of hot humid weather with very pleasant dry, milder warm weather and cool nights we now have weeks and weeks of heat and humidity and warmer nights, which is deeply troubling to me.

We are clearly not doing enough as a species to keep our planet healthy, hospitable, and thriving for all living creatures. The flora and fauna in our communities do not have a say in what is happening to them. Therefore we, as people, need to defend and care for them. We can do so by legally recognizing that Nature has the right to exist, flourish, and naturally evolve. When we protect Nature, we also protect future generations of humans because we are Nature too.

Reach out to the N.H. Community Rights Network (NHCRN) to learn more at info@nhcommunityrights.org and visit us as www.nhcommunityrights.org.

Alexis Eynon

Thornton, N.H.

Alexis:

From the 1930s into the 1950s, our uncle Fred Hill and some friends would cut enough foot-thick blocks of ice from the pond to fill a sawdust-insulated ice house. All summer long, he and Esther used a literal icebox to keep their food cool. Then Public Service came in, with its poles and wires. That was the end of the ice cutting. Now climate change precludes any notion of bringing ice-cutting back.

That’s just a personal, sentimental, nostalgic sort of loss. What’s coming—in the absence of the sort of work you’re doing—will be universal and existential.

The Editor

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Trump’s Increasing Mental Instability

To the Editor:

In 2023 a jury ruled [former President Donald J.] Trump had sexually assaulted and defamed E. Jean Carroll. They awarded Ms. Carroll $5 million. Instead of paying the bill, he launched into further attacks against Ms. Carroll. She filed a new defamation lawsuit against Trump. Trump could have kept his mouth shut and hoped for a similar verdict. Instead, he attacked the judge and Ms. Carroll. He muttered in court that the trial was a witch hunt and a con job. This time the jury awarded Ms. Carroll $83.5 million which, for now, proved enough for Trump to stop attacking her.

In 2022 the State of New York sued Trump alleging he had fraudulently inflated the worth of his properties when seeking loans and deflating their worth when filing his taxes. In 2023, the judge ruled he, two of his sons and his company had committed fraud. Trump’s response was to attack the judge, the judge’s assistant and New York’s Attorney General. This was not a jury trial. The same judge would decide the penalties.

His sons listened to their lawyers and claimed they trusted the company’s accountant’s valuations of the company’s properties when they signed off on them. His sons were penalized $4 million each.

Trump ignored his lawyers. He testified the fraudulent evaluations of his properties were correct or even low. He continued his attacks on the judge, both outside and inside the court. His lawyers could not control him even after the judge pleaded with them to do so. He treated the trial as a campaign fundraiser instead of something with real consequences. The end result was a $354.9 million penalty. With interest, the penalty could be $450 million. Trump was also barred from any top job in a New York company for three years. He now has 30 days to pay the penalty, with interest, before he can appeal the ruling.

The 2016 Trump listened to his advisors and appointees. Sometimes he took their advice. The 2024 Trump does neither and to date it has cost him at least $438.4 million. He continues to claim he has immunity to commit any crime and for any crime he has already committed. His actions show him to be a mentally unstable person. America cannot afford to have such an unstable person as president or in any public office.

Walter Hamilton

Portsmouth, N.H.

Walter:

At the rate his brain appears to be rotting, we can easily imagine Trump being reduced to a suet-like lump of incoherence. Sadly, his base might not notice or care.

The Editor

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Spare the Journalist

Dear N.H. Gazette Editor:

I am sending a postcard message to Pres. Biden. A postcard, so it doesn’t wait “to be opened.” All can read it along the way, too. Message: [Will] Julian Assange be extradited to the U.S. AND BE AT RISK OF EXECUTION?

[There is] No way a reporter of Iraq War fact [should] be at risk of execution! If exposing some of its [the war’s] facts is a risk to him, open an investigation into how we got into the Iraq War while G. W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice are still alive. They, too, should be at risk of execution. They started the war with lies of WMD, weapons of mass destruction. Britain investigated then-P.M. Tony Blair’s role, his part in the the WMD lies, in their Chilcot Report (begun in 2009, published in 2016). [On our] side of the Atlantic, the lying to get us into war was never investigated. Time is now. If Assange’s life is at risk for getting truth to our U.S. public, let’s get the whole truth to our U.S. public. Spare the journalist.

Lynn Rudmin Chong

Sanbornton, N.H.

Lynn:

There’s nothing the Military-Industrial Complex hates more than a person who tells the truth.

The Editor

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The Supremes Are On Trump’s Team

Dear Editor:

The Republican dominated U.S. Supreme Court has placed the interests of Donald Trump ahead of the interests of the nation. They have decided to hear the appeal of the unanimous decision of the Appeals Court that stated that Mr. Trump did not have immunity for crimes committed while in office. The Appeals court decision was ironclad and totally rejected any legal or constitutional claims of presidential immunity.

The Supreme Court could have justifiably rejected to hear Trump’s appeal and let the lower court’s decision stand. If they had done so, it would have allowed the scheduled criminal trial involving Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021 to take place. However, the Supreme Court decided to take on the appeal.

Jack Smith, the Special Counsel leading the prosecution of Donald Trump, asked the Supreme Court on February 13th to act quickly to resolve the immunity claims case in order to allow justice to be done. However, the Supreme Court decided to hold oral arguments on the case the week of April 22nd. Why such a long delay in hearing arguments on such a monumental case? Why wait almost two months for arguments while we are in the midst of a Presidential election season? The answer is unfortunately too clear. This Supreme Court is doing everything possible to help Donald Trump by causing unnecessary delays of his trial, hoping to run out the clock before the November election and handing Trump a get out of jail free card.

In contrast, in the 2000 presidential election case of Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court held oral arguments on December 11th and announced its decision on December 12th. While many disagreed with the decision, at least a decision was rendered in a timely manner so the nation could move on, unlike the current Supreme Court which is delaying and denying justice to the American people in order to protect Donald Trump.

Rich DiPentima

Portsmouth, N.H.

Rich:

Maybe the Sainted Founders of Our Great Republic foresaw Donald Trump being born with a gold-plated “Get Out of Jail Free” card in his tiny, ketchup-smeared fist, and wrote certain provisions to that effect into the Constitution. Who can say? Perhaps only our black-robed Justices, using the magical Ouija Board supplied to them by the Head Federalist, Leonard Leo, can.

The Editor

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All Hands On Deck!

To the Editor;

Recently, Tom Parker, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, justified the court’s decision to designate frozen embryos as “extrauterine children” in biblical scripture. His commentary as well as the prevalence of Christian Nationalist rhetoric at the recent CPAC conference are examples of the pervasive influence of white evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity on MAGA Republican policy. Following their success in enacting Draconian anti-abortion laws after the Supreme Court’s denial of abortion as a right, it is apparent that the fundamentalists are not done imposing Christian doctrine on secular issues.

Political activism by fundamentalist Christians is not new. In the ‘70s, Jerry Falwell abandoned his mission of preparing believers for the Kingdom of God for activism in the service of conservative politics. His Moral Majority movement actively promoted Ronald Reagan’s presidential candidacy among evangelical Christians and was a significant factor in his election. Falwell’s Liberty University became a center of political activism for conservative Republicans until a series of scandals engulfed the university. As Falwell’s Moral Majority fell apart, fundamentalist support for Republican policies was taken up by other actors such as Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson of the Christian Coalition. Their message was clearly political although it was always couched in religious rhetoric. Literally dozens of evangelical and fundamentalist ministers have established congregations where the primary mission is not the spiritual nurturing of their flock but the demonization of Democrats and coastal elites. For them, politics represents an apocalyptic struggle for existence against demonic forces.

That fundamentalists view their conflict with Progressives and coastal elites as an existential threat is not surprising. They believe they are in possession of absolute truth as revealed by God. The truth has been disclosed in holy scriptures that are inerrant; deviancy from doctrine is considered a sacrilege. As true believers in a revealed faith, fundamentalists find no bargaining ground in matters of values and morals. When disagreement over value issues such as abortion, gay marriage and gender rights emerge, it is a short trip for these absolutists to view the conflict as an existential threat to their faith. The most extreme representation of fundamentalist belief is Christian Nationalism. The adherents to this doctrine believe that as recipients of God’s truth, they cannot be held accountable to any secular authority. Furthermore, they believe that God has called Christians to exercise dominion over society and the church should hold authority over all other institutions. Christian Nationalism is an obvious threat to secular democracy; its similarity to radical Islam as practiced by ISIS and the Taliban is clear.

The greatest concentration of evangelicals and other fundamentalist sects is found in rural sections of the South and Midwest. These are the regions that have suffered the greatest damage due to globalization and technological change, losing millions of blue-collar manufacturing jobs while coastal cities prospered. During the same period, many agricultural and coal mining jobs also disappeared due to the implementation of new technologies. As the heartland suffered economic privation and uncertainty, residents perceived national power brokers as unconcerned with their plight and social elites as derisive of their rural lifestyle. The combination of threats to economic security combined with a perceived disregard for their fundamental religious values provided a toxic mix for evangelicals conditioned to believe they are heirs to God’s kingdom. It represented not only economic insecurity but also an attack on identity and dignity that was guaranteed to produce resentment and backlash. Trump was well prepared to take advantage of the malaise.

Christian fundamentalists are not heirs to the Enlightenment tradition of reason and logical discourse. They are true believers who will not be convinced of error by critical discourse, preferring instead to rely on “revealed” theology. This predisposition has been made worse because they believe that their basic beliefs are under attack. They also provide the core of MAGA Republicans who continue to believe Trump’s lies and support him in the face of his increasingly deranged statements and several indictments, and their support will not change. For all reasonable voters, it is all hands-on-deck in ‘24.

Robert D. Russell, Ph.D.

Harrisburg, Pa.

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It’s Time to Say No to Israel

To the Editor:

The state of Israel was self-declared in 1948 following a genocidal assault on Palestine by a Zionist terrorist faction, well-armed by Western Powers. 500 villages were massacred and 750,000 Palestinians were driven off their lands and out of their homes. And periodically, over the past 75 years, Israel “mows the lawn,” killing and maiming thousands, rampaging with tanks and bulldozers, and sending missiles and bombs to greet residents via jets and attack helicopters.

Meanwhile, Israel grabs more and more of the Palestinian territory. And now, the Israeli settlers want to further expand their illegal real estate and have it all! To acquire their ends means total annihilation, no water, no food, no electricity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. Isn’t it long past time that all nations stood up to Israeli intentions and said a resounding, NO, no more bombs, no more billions of tax dollars? The game is over. Get rid of Bibi Netanyahu and rejoin the world of responsible nations. Palestine is a perceived “existential threat” because Israel is an overbearing, intrusive actual threat to Palestinians and the entire Middle East.

Genevieve Harris-Fraser

Orange, Mass.

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Safer Weather and Less-Drafty Homes

To the Editor:

“Extreme weather event” is something you hear a lot these days. Occasionally you may also hear about efforts to “adapt” or for “resiliency.” But are we hearing about how to avoid these weather disasters in the first place?

The N.H. Legislature is considering bills that could make a real difference to weather outcomes. We can spend our time debating if climate change is real and if humans are to blame, or we could trust science and lower our carbon emissions and weather anxiety.

HB 1059 and SB373 would update building codes while excluding energy codes. Residents (owners and renters) will be purchasing an extra 10-20 percent for heating fuel, if these building codes pass as written. Senator Shaheen warns that N.H. won’t qualify for a number of federal funds, including some workforce training, if we don’t adopt current energy codes. Please ask your Representatives and municipal leaders to insist on adding an amendment to include up-to-date energy codes in HB 1059 and SB373.

Going further, SB437 would make it nearly impossible for any municipality to adopt more ambitious standards, by creating a daunting approval process. We usually applaud “local control,” so why make it difficult when we could be helping Granite Staters reduce their fossil fuel dependence?

Our buildings produce more emissions than transportation does. Democracy still works. Let your Representatives know that you care about a future with buildings that cost less to live in and give us healthier air, indoors and out.

Find your Representative at www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/.

Learn more at a free webinar sponsored by N.H. Healthcare Workers for Climate Action and N.H. Network: “Building Codes: Your health, your wallet, and energy efficiency,” March 7, 4:00 -5:00 p.m., registration at bit.ly/Building_codes.

Susan Richman

Durham, N.H.

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