N.H. Jews say “Not in My Name”

To the Editor:

A letter signed by 67 Jewish residents of New Hampshire calling for a ceasefire in Gaza was delivered to the state’s U.S. Senators and Representatives today. The statement also calls for halting U.S military aid to Israel, release of hostages, and allowing humanitarian aid to be delivered in Gaza.

“We, as New Hampshire Jews, are horrified by the atrocities Israel is committing in Gaza, backed by U.S. military aid. Incessant Israeli bombing and military action has killed more than 30,000 people, the majority of them women and children, and wounded tens of thousands more,” the letter begins. “These numbers don’t count many more deaths due to disease and famine caused by Israel’s intentional destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure, its blockage of the vast bulk of humanitarian aid, and its brazen attacks on hospitals,” it says.

The signers of the letter said, “We strongly condemn Hamas’s despicable and barbaric attacks on October 7. Yet that horror does not excuse killing at least 25 times as many Palestinians, whether it be in the name of revenge or security.”

“Israel’s actions serve no long-term strategic purpose. For every actual Hamas terrorist killed, Israel is creating many more potential terrorists in their place. We understand Israel’s right of self-defense, and we vigorously oppose anti-Semitism, but Israel’s morally indefensible overreaction has only fueled Jew-hatred that is putting both Israel and all Jews at greater risk,” the letter said.

The signers of the letter, from more than two dozen New Hampshire towns and cities, called on Senators Shaheen and Hassan, and Representatives Kuster and Pappas to work for three goals:

1. An immediate and sustained ceasefire. Besides the importance of stopping the war, a ceasefire must lead to the immediate release of all hostages so they can be returned to their loved ones.

2. Full humanitarian aid via UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees). This group has been providing aid on the ground for years, and it is the only entity with the capability to reach the masses of people in need. Air drops and seaport shipments with no ground network in place simply aren’t enough to prevent mass starvation and a humanitarian crisis of unimaginable proportions.

3. Suspension of military aid to Israel for its actions in Gaza and the West Bank. Our tax dollars and our weapons should not go to massacre any more people, especially children. By its reckless and brutal actions, Israel has forfeited the right to receive additional, unrestricted American military aid.

“We, as Jews, know all too well that dehumanizing others can lead to unimaginable tragedy. When six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, so many people and nations said nothing. This history is why we cannot remain silent in the face of Israel’s conduct,” the letter concludes. “We want to make it clear that this is not being done in our name. That is why we must speak out to end this war now.”

Bob Sanders

Concord, N.H.

And: Joshua Meyrowitz, Durham; Jonathan P. Baird, Wilmot; Sharon D. Racusin, Hanover; Ruth Abelmann, Durham; Ron Abramson, Bow; June Adinah, Contoocook; Arnie Alpert, Canterbury; L.R. Berger, Contoocook; Elliott Berry, Manchester; Ann C. Bliss, Portsmouth; Jessica Bolker, Dover; Marla Brettschneider, Portsmouth; Henry Bromberg, West Lebanon; Deborah Brown, Warner; Nancy Jo Chabot, Hopkinton; Stephen A. Cherry, Henniker; Burt Cohen, New Castle; Jonathan Cohen, Contoocook; Teresa Cohn, Durham; Hannah Darking, Cornish; Marcela Dorfsman-Hopkins, Durham; Mark Fischler, Thornton; Ruby Fogg, Contoocook; Harriet Forkey, Durham; Phil Ginsburg, Newmarket; Elizabeth Goldman, Dover; Amy Goldstein, Concord ; Daisy Goodman, Lyme; Holly Grossman, Barrington; Ken Grossman, Barrington; Phyllis Heilbronner, Durham; Lori Hopkins, Durham; Philip Isenberg, Durham; Barbara Keshen, Concord; Donald Kollisch, Hanover; Dorothy G Krasner, Manchester; Emmanuel Krasner, Farmington; John M. Lewis, Durham; Ted Lothstein, Concord; Grace Mattern, Northwood; Andrew Merton, Durham; Adam Meyrowitz, Durham; Beth Olshansky, Durham; Briane Pinkson, Cornish; Ilsa Pinkson-Burke, Plainfield; Robert Racusin, MD, Hanover; Anne Romney, Portsmouth; Jack Ruderman, Contoocook; Susan Russo, Plainfield; Deborah Schachter, Concord; Mindy Schorr, West Lebanon; David M. Schwartz, Durham; Leslie Schwartz, Durham; Jed Siebert, Madbury; Betsy Small, Milford; Andrea Stein Goldsworthy, Portsmouth; Terry Sturke, Bow; Peter Taubman, Durham; Rachel Trubowitz, Durham; Judy Ullman, Portsmouth; Larry Vogelman, Durham; Andru Volinsky, Concord; Frank Weber, Mont Vernon; Jill Weber, Mont Vernon; Jane-Holly Weintraub, Mont Vernon; and Leonard Ziefert, Enfield.


Our Ethics-Free Court

Dear Editor:

The Supreme Court’s authority to overturn legislation or executive actions that, in the Court’s judgment, conflict with the Constitution, is based in America’s democratic system of checks and balances. Through the power of judicial review, the Court is charged with assuring citizens’ individual rights as guaranteed by the Constitution, as well as in maintaining a “living Constitution” (balanced with “original intent”), broad provisions are constantly applied to complicated new situations.

From these two viewpoints emerged a third type of interpretation: the “plain meaning of text” doctrine. Under this doctrine, a law’s constitutionality is measured against what the words of the Constitution obviously seem to say. This is not without controversy since the framers themselves included ambiguous language in order to win ratification

What would the founders think of today’s High Court where, in most cases heard, either the government or a public interest group acts as an amicus curiae (third party)? Remember, the framers intended the Supreme Court to rule on cases solely on the basis of facts and law, and to be above the pressure of the general public.

Keep in mind the framer’s design for the Supreme Court as we analyze and size up the Robert’s Court 234 years later. What do we find… not quite what the framers had in mind I suspect.

Not only are the Justices having a hard time interpreting the Constitution, they’re also having a bit of difficulty with terms like “the appearance of impropriety,” and words such as ethics, standards, moral code, and integrity.

The Roberts Court has given a green light for public officials to accept generous gifts from “friends”, some of whom clearly have business with the Supreme Court. It’s been reported that Justice Thomas has taken at least 38 luxury vacations, 26 private jet flights and other special favors worth millions from partisan benefactors, particularly billionaire Harlan Crow. Justice Alito secretly enjoyed lucrative “gifts” from hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, and then voted in his favor in a court case.

Supreme Court improprieties are common but Chief Justice Roberts turned down an invitation to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the court’s ethics rules. Roberts cites “separation of powers” concerns and the importance of “preserving judicial independence.” Regarding one ruling, Roberts stated: “It may be distasteful for public servants to cash in on their power, but it’s an inevitable part of democratic discourse.”

In the court’s 5-4 Citizens United ruling striking down campaign finance law, Justice Thomas argued “the court had not gone far enough, it should invalidate all mandatory disclosure and reporting requirements.” I guess in the Court’s ideal world, wealthy “friends” of politicians and Supreme Court justices could shower them with donations and no one would know.

The framers would not be pleased….

David L. Snell

Franklin, N.C.


We’re generally holding our tongue this fortnight to accommodate the volume of correspondence, but here we must kibitz. While your indictment of the Court is unimpeachable, you have left out a co-conspirator: the fourth estate. The corporate media showed the Justices what they could get away with in 2000. It only whetted their appetites.

The Editor


Khrushchev’s Prophecy Coming True

Dear Editor:

It is quite obvious that Donald Trump, who holds no position in government, is dramatically impacting foreign policy and damaging our national security. Despite strong bipartisan support to supply the necessary funding for Ukraine’s battle for survival against Putin, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is preventing the funding bill from coming to the House floor for a vote. Mr. Johnson is bowing to the demands of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in defiance of his own oath of office and the survival of democracy in Ukraine and threatening the stability of Europe and America.

Despite a host of foreign leaders coming here to urge Congress to support Ukraine, including Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida, Italian Prime Minister Meloni, German Chancellor Scholz and British Foreign Minister Cameron, Trump and Johnson refuse to change their position. Prime Minister Kishida warned lawmakers that the United States is abdicating its role in world affairs by its apparent abandonment of Ukraine. And to highlight the gravity of the situation, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bridget A. Brink reported that “Russia launched more than 40 drones and 40 missiles into Ukraine…. The situation in Ukraine is dire; there is not a moment to lose.”

Since the Trump take over of the Republican Party there has been a very disturbing relationship between them and Russia. This concern is evident even among some Republicas. For example, Michael R. Turner (R-OH), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said it is “absolutely true” that Republican members of Congress are parroting Russian propaganda. “We see directly coming from Russia attempts to mask communications that are anti-Ukraine and pro-Russia messages, some of which we even hear being uttered on the House floor”, he said on CNN’s State of the Union. And Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Russia specialist Julia Ioffe that “Russian propaganda has made its way into the United States, unfortunately, and it’s infected a good chunk of my party’s base.”

This all raises some very disturbing questions as to why Trump and other Republican leaders are so tightly aligned with Putin and what are the implications for the future of democracy if Trump were to be reelected. How ironic that Putin, who dreams of recreating what Ronald Reagan called the “evil empire”, is being given aid and comfort by many in Reagan’s Party. As former Soviet Leader Khrushchev stated, “We do not have to invade the U.S. We will destroy you from within.”

Rich DiPentima, LTC, USAFR, Ret.

Portsmouth, N.H.


We Should Stop Helping Israel Starve Gaza

To the Editor:

The U.S. should not be supporting a country using starvation as a weapon.

After the killing of 7 aid workers for the World Community Kitchen in Gaza, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was interviewed by the British Broadcasting Corporation. He called the killings a tragic mistake, but that the IDF conduct in the war was the most ethical in the history of wars. He then bragged that the IDF had allowed 18,000 truckloads of aid into Gaza since the war began.

Prior to the war Gaza received 500 truckloads of aid each day; 18,000 truckloads constitute 36 days of aid in 180 days. Instead of proving how ethical Israel was in conducting the war, it proves Israel was deliberately starving the people of Gaza. Even our own Secretary of State has stated that all of Gaza is facing starvation, though he diplomatically called it food insecurity.

The Public Broadcasting Service’s Newshour reported that Israel has damaged or destroyed 800 schools in Gaza. It has all but rendered hospitals unable to operate by depriving them of fuel for their generators as well as medical supplies.

Israel is a signatory of the Geneva Convention. The time has come for America to stop arming Israel until it comes into full compliance with the Convention and all international rules of war.

Walter Hamilton

Portsmouth N.H.


Gaza is a PTSD Factory

To the Editor,

As a combat veteran from the Vietnam War who has PTSD, I have a growing concern and fear for the people of Gaza.

When I returned ‘to the World’ as we called it, PTSD was not recognized as a medical condition. When it finally was recognized and for a long period of time, it was defined as a soldier’s condition from being in war. Earlier terms had been ‘battle fatigue’ and ‘trench fever’.

As more studies were undertaken, it was realized it could affect many people that have suffered in a number of ways including: loss of family and close friends; trauma; loss of homes, facilities, environment; and major changes in life.

All of these conditions have happened, are continuing to happen, and from all appearances will continue to happen to the people in Gaza. The consequences will be major with long term mental health problems affecting their society as a whole.

I encourage all to press your Congressional Representatives and Senators to have the U.S. stop sending military aid being used in the slaughter which is being done in violation of a number of our own U.S. laws.

To press for an immediate and permanent ceasefire for peace to be established, and to press for humanitarian aid and reconstruction to be undertaken.

W.D. Flierl

Rochester, N.H.


Netanyahu says he’ll end the slaughter once he’s eliminated Hamas. Westmoreland said he’d end the war by eliminating the V.C. Neither would admit the respective preconditions for success: elimination of the Palestinians and the Vietnamese.

The Editor


The Spring of Our Discontent

To the Editor:

Recent commentary has noted the disconnect between the healthy state of the economy and dissatisfaction expressed in opinion polls regarding economic conditions. Most economic markers indicate a strong and growing economy. Inflation has significantly moderated, coming down from a high of approximately 9 percent to about 3.4 percent (although it appears that it has hit a sticking point for the last two months). Job growth has been consistently strong, and the unemployment rate is at historically low levels. Wage growth has exceeded inflation since February, 2023 by approximately 3 percent allowing the working class to gain a bit on inflation. Consumer spending continues to be robust and GDP growth has been consistent at around 3 percent. The recession that many economists had predicted as the Federal Reserve raised interest rates to combat inflation has not materialized. Yet, polls consistently indicate that most respondents are dissatisfied with the economy (although most also say that their personal economic situation is good). What accounts for this dissatisfaction?

There are a few proximate factors that may explain the discontent. There has been a constant drumbeat from right wing media to the effect that we are suffering through a Biden-induced recession. Although the facts deny this, the negative coverage certainly influences the opinion of MAGA Republicans. Prices are still well above levels seen just before the pandemic and short-term fluctuations in fuel and grocery prices can mask economic progress. Another important dissatisfier is that the price of housing (both rents and homes) has skyrocketed beyond many consumers’ ability to afford. It is useful to examine this factor in more detail.

The price of buying a home has increased significantly since the pandemic. The median price of a house in 2000 was $165,300 while in 2023, it was $417,000. Redfin estimates that to comfortably purchase a median-priced house today requires an income of at least $115,000 (this figure varies depending on what part of the country you live in). Rental prices, which usually move with the price of homes, have also increased 30 percent since the end of the pandemic. Commentary has focused on market factors to explain the rise in housing prices and rents but the decline in affordability is a result not only of rising costs but also trends in income.

Pew Research Center estimates that middle class incomes today range from approximately $39,000 to $119,000. This indicates that a large portion of the middle class may have been priced out of the housing market. Only the very top of middle-class incomes and above are considered qualified to purchase a median priced home today. The ability to acquire affordable housing used to be widespread in America. What has changed?

A look at the growth in income inequality may provide some insights. GDP has increased 79 percent since 1980. Most of the benefits of this increase were captured by economic elites at the top of the income distribution. During this period working class wages remained flat or showed small increases. Income for middle class workers showed moderate increases although they badly trailed GDP growth.

It’s a different picture for the wealthy. Their incomes increased by 420 percent during this period. The share of aggregate income going to the middle class declined from 62 percent to 43 percent from 1970 to 2018. During the same period, the top earners increased their share from 29 percent to 48 percent. The rise in income inequality following forty years of income transfer from the working and middle classes to economic elites has endangered the expectation of affordable housing. While earners at the top of the distribution are relatively unaffected by price increases, the middle and lower classes struggle.

The increase in income inequality was the result of conscious decisions made by corporate leaders and government policy makers. It was not the outcome of impartial market forces as claimed by some economists. These decisions have contributed to the privation of the working class and the enrichment of elites. It should be noted that many who have suffered economically are also some of the most fervid MAGA supporters. It is past time for policy makers to begin to undo past damaging decisions.

Robert D. Russell, Ph.D.

Harrisburg, Pa.


Do you suppose there’d be less confusion if U.S. teachers could criticise capitalism in the classroom without being fired?

The Editor


Our Lobotomized Electorate

Dear Editor:

“How is it possible, what has lobotomized people who cheer and celebrate the most transparent fraud, the most outrageous liar, the most straitjacket-ready psycho ever visited on the body politic?” Those are the words of Hal Crowther, longtime journalist and essayist.

As I so often am, Crowther will be written off by some people as suffering “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” But are we really, or is it more likely that someone simply neglected to make a burnt offering to the god of common sense.

Here is a former President who has slightly less than 100 felony indictments against him. He’s the only president in history to ignite a deadly armed assault on his own Capitol in an attempt to overturn an election he knew he’d lost. Presently that same former president is endeavoring to discredit the people trying to bring him to justice, attacking judges, prosecutors, jurors, court staff (and their families), anyone who dares attempt to hold him accountable.

What can I say about Donald Trump that has not been said ad nauseam? “His tweets and his lying, the change of stories, the lack of preparation, he has no principles, none. It’s the phoniness and this cruelty, Donald is cruel.” Those are the words of the late Maryanne Trump Barry, his older sister. Mary Trump (his niece) refers to Donald Trump as “the world’s most dangerous man”.

Also, have we not heard enough from people who worked in the Trump Administration or those closely associated with him: Mark Esper, Rex Tillerson, William Barr, John Kelly, Mark Milley, John Bolton (the list is virtually endless); and the descriptions of Trump relentless: “a phoney, a fraud, a moron, contemptuous of our democratic institutions and the rule of law, an existential threat to democracy, a consummate narcissist”—and the ever-present underlying truth—“unfit to be President of the United States”.

If those eyewitnesses cannot convince the average voter of Trump’s unfitness, I certainly can’t. With the possible exception of his niece and his ghostwriter, all these warnings came from conservatives, Republicans, individuals who would ordinarily be on Trump’s side of the political divide.

The things that render Trump unfit for office are conspicuously transparent and absurdly obvious to anyone who is paying even marginal attention. In addition to his criminal activities, he is ridiculous, repulsive, crude, infantile and unquestionably unhinged from reality.

Donald Trump lacks any beliefs beyond self-gratification and self-glorification, and I say that as a lifelong conservative and an almost lifelong Republican. How the Grand Old Party of Lincoln and millions of seemingly intelligent men and women got drawn into the orbit of this shameless conman may forever remain the unsolved mystery of the ages.

History teaches us many things and recent history reveals that Germany’s Hitler was so thoroughly untruthful that he finally could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth. And so it is with Trump, and with that handicap he has been able to seduce a large spectrum of our populace into his swamp of lies, distortions and half truths.

Consequently, Trump supporters (while many citizens remain deafeningly silent) are raining death threats on judges, prosecutors, states attorneys general and other elected and honest officials (and their families), anyone who tries to impose justice on or hold the former President accountable. This is the real life 21st Century threat of fascism and tyranny.

Will the American electorate wake up in time to save us from ourselves, to rebuild and strengthen the foundations upon which America was conceived and established, in time to save our Republic and democratic form of government from this would be dictator? We will know the answer in approximately six months.

David L. Snell

Franklin, NC


Thank You, Councilors Cook and Denton

To the Editor:

We have all witnessed a horrific attack in Israel on Oct. 7, 2023 with 1139 deaths and 250 taken hostage by the Hamas rebels. There is no excusing the violations of human dignity and human rights of that attack, no matter what the justification may be.

On the other hand, Israel’s non-proportional response to that attack which has now caused the death of over 32,000 residents of Gaza (the majority of which are women and children) should also be condemned. The U.S. government is currently providing many of the military weapons that Israel is using against residents of Gaza. These are being used to attack and drop hundreds of bombs on a civilian population. Yes, it is probably true that there are many Hamas fighters hiding within the population, but that does not justify collective punishment of all residents.

I am convinced that most Americans and most other countries support the right for Israel to have safe and secure borders. But that must also be the case for the Palestinians. American taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize perpetual wars in the Middle East. There must be a plan to provide safety and security to both Israelis and Palestinians.

That is why an immediate ceasefire is needed to avoid more deaths from bombs, starvation, and disease. That ceasefire will allow an opportunity for all parties involved to look for a long-term solution to this conflict.

The Portsmouth City Council should allow the ceasefire resolution proposed by Councilors Cook and Denton to be discussed and it should vote in support of finding a peaceful solution to the current conflict.

Peter Somssich, former N.H. State Representative and former Portsmouth Democratic Chair

Portsmouth, N.H.


One Nation, Unrecognizable

Dear Editor,

America is unrecognizable in 2024.

Huge numbers of adult Americans are just fine with a politician abusing our judicial system by purchasing an indefinite delay of his day in court.

Citizens who should know better are okay with a candidate halting Congressional action on the biggest issue in generations because he wants to muscle in on its solution.

People who have gone to law school, occupy offices of public trust, and stoutly express their opinions in public forums have so little understanding of our Constitution that they don’t even know when it is being broken into pieces.

Those who serve jury duty, attend school board meetings, and regularly honor the fallen on Memorial Day are wildly enthusiastic about having an indicted and even convicted felon, sexual predator, and business fraudster running the county.

Those who claim to be color-blind suddenly have no qualms about responding to racist dog whistles that could turn America into a Yankee version of Aryan racial supremacy.

Those who proudly graduated high school, served our country overseas, and supervise others at work couldn’t care less about natural science, preferring politicized science instead.

Yep, not our ancestors’ America.

Kimball Shinkoskey

Woods Cross, Utah


Our Entertaining, Perplexing State House

To the Editor:

As you may know, this is an Election Year!

We’re really excited, because we just love all the drama and entertainment this brings us, nationally and locally. Then, especially in New Hampshire, after the candidates have (sometimes) appeared to meet their prospective constituents, the People Speak. Then, especially in New Hampshire, these candidates scurry into obscurity, every so often to Vote on matters of concern to the People.

So, recently, the N.H. legislature has been working in Concord, and the results are not pretty. This week the House voted down HB 593, one of several efforts to develop responsible gun use. HB 593 would have restricted carrying firearms in school safe zones. The House also “killed” HB 1212 which would have expanded school food programs and provided financial support for work with homeless youth. The “killer” was Speaker Sherm Packard, who broke the tie and thus tabled the bill. Tabling does sound a bit better than Killing, but the effect is the same.

Next week, we can look forward to Our Representatives bringing up bills to expand income eligibility levels for Education Freedom Accounts, sometimes called school vouchers. This is a program that was presented a few years ago as a pilot program to offer school choice. Since then, there has never been a thorough analysis of criteria for what sorts of school programs qualify. There has never been any explanation of how the quality of said school programs will be assessed. We only hear words to the effect that “it’s very popular!”, and that somehow the ballooning cost of this pet project can be met by the state’s education trust funds, while the state evades court orders to implement adequate and fair education funding for all public schools… not to mention that one of the arguments against the increased food program is that it’s too costly.

It’s very hard to follow all this, and even harder to communicate with one’s Representatives about the details of these baffling decisions. They are incommunicado… until the N.H. election cycle get rolling later this year. It’s going to be a rough ride!

Beth McCarthy

Tamworth, N.H.


It sure is hard to follow—please continue trying to help us keep up!

The Editor

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