Make America Primitive Again!

To the Editor:

Is your view of the world “conservative,” meaning you have an aversion to change or innovation that might threaten traditional values?

Or, is your world view “primitive,” meaning you favour a return to an earlier stage in the evolutionary development of society?

It’s a relevant question because in MAGA world, the Supreme Court, and the U.S. Congress, the needle has swung past conservative and points squarely at primitive.

Facing a daily gusher of fear and loathing dished out by politicos, persuaders, and propagandists, no wonder we’re losing our bearings. Hell, what harm does a little dose of coercion and cruelty do, if it keeps a lid on things?

We know where the money to support this tragedy is coming from. We know who’s pulling the levers and who benefits. What we apparently don’t know is how to stop it.

Regardless, let’s keep in mind that what’s occurring in America right now isn’t rational, reasonable, or even remotely “conservative.”

It’s primal, primitive, and just plain wrong.

Rick Littlefield

Barrington, N.H.

Rick:

Here, here.

Once in a while, in conversation, we’ll profess to having a conservative bent. That frequently results in looks of consternation. Sometimes people take it for a punchline and think we forgot to tell the joke.

There’s a place for conservatism, and we’re here for it. We’re here for conserving an atmosphere that’s neither poisonous nor destructive of a liveable climate. We’re for conserving those species which our ancestors failed to drive to extinction. We’re here for conserving the historical fabric of this crazy old town—and this crazy old newspaper.

All of these things are now at risk because a rich cabal of greedy fools have been on an extended power grab. They’re itching to re-take the Executive branch this November, so they can, in effect, bust into the National Archives and burn the Constitution.

We do not, for the record, believe that God wrote the Constitution, or that the government it gave us is above reproach.

Far better to conserve it, though, than to let this mob re-write it.

The Editor

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No, Donald…

To the Editor:

No, Donald, Judge Merchan is not corrupt, he is meticulous and honest. But you wouldn’t know how to recognize honesty.

No, Donald, the trial wasn’t rigged. It followed prescribed procedures for giving attention to actual facts and the real requirements of the law. But you wouldn’t know true facts since you spread thick and widespread lies to cover up your felonies.

No, Donald, this wasn’t political retribution, although that is what you keep promising if you ever set foot in the White House again. It was bringing you to legal accountability because even Presidents are not above the law.

“Disgrace,” Donald, is a word you like to use when you don’t get your way. The word suits you perfectly.

No, Donald, this isn’t a s___hole country, although it might become one if you were to get your way.

Bruce Joffe

Piedmont, Calif.

Bruce:

Exactly what he needs to hear. You could probably repeat it in his ear for months on end, though, without getting through to him.

What might have a salutary effect would be a few years in the joint, rubbing elbows with the general population.

Of course, U.S. prisons should not exist, as they are currently constituted. They are standing violations of human rights. Not even convicted felons deserve the sort of treatment meted out within their walls.

As long as they exist, though, there should be none of this class-based, two-tiered scheme of incarceration. Why should convicted white collar criminals get the kid glove treatment? They do, though, and we’ve come to accept it as “just the way things are.”

This issue only gets worse when you look at it in context. In this country, white collar crime has nearly been defined out of existence. To the extent that we do have laws against ripping off the citizenry, they’ve been proven to be laughably ineffective.

Trump cult members only get to act outraged because he—and a whole host of other skeevy buggers—have never been held accountable.

A good friend of this paper once had a bumper stickers reading, “Visualize Using Your Turn Signal” and “Hang Up and Drive.”

We need one saying, “Make White Collar Crime Illegal Again.”

The Editor

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Telling It Like It Is

Dear Editor,

Donald Trump’s wannabe running mate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) says the Manhattan hush-money trial was “the most outrageous travesty” he has ever seen. He says, “This is a quintessential show trial. This is what you see in communist countries.” (Fox News, May 30, 2024)

Let’s see now. In communist show trials, juries are packed with party loyalists, whereas in the Manhattan trial, the twelve jurors were approved by attorneys from both the prosecution and the defense. In communist show trials, the defendant loses his life. In the Manhattan trial, Trump lost a little campaigning time. In a communist show trial, the justice system is run by a totalitarian dictator without elections. In the Manhattan trial, the prosecutor, governor, President, and everyone else down to dogcatcher is elected in the light of day in free elections.

MAGA republican voters believe whatever a party bigwig like Rubio says. They just want to go with the flow, have some fun wearing red hats, and save their own skins. In fact, Rubio and his boss are the real witch-hunters in America. Democrats don’t seem to have the ability or the will to expose the propaganda Republicans are smearing them with.

Kimball Shinkoskey

Woods Cross, Utah

Kimball:

Tell it, Brother Kimball!

We have always enjoyed running your letters from the Beehive State, but this one really rings the bell.

The Editor

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Now It’s Official: 2016 Election Was Stolen

To the Editor:

After the conviction of Donald Trump on 34 felony counts in New York City, he is now a convicted felon. His conviction was associated with a conspiracy to commit federal and state election fraud during the 2016 elections. His conspiracy was aimed at manipulating the elections by covering up illegal accounting activities and sexual encounters that could have resulted in Hillary Clinton’s election as president.

Democrats and Hillary Clinton can reasonably claim that the 2016 Elections were stolen from them and have reasons to be angry about it.

Mr. Trump has continued to claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him, despite no reputable evidence being presented and dozens of judges ruling against him. Perhaps this “Stolen Election” story was just a diversion to deflect attention from his 2016 conspiracy. While Republican claims of a stolen 2020 election are fake and unproven, Democratic claims of a stolen 2016 election are now supported by real evidence and a court decision.

Voters now must decide if they want a convicted felon as President, and if they want him to represent the United States of America on the international stage.

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

Portsmouth, N.H.

Peter:

It has been said many times before: every Republican accusation is a confession. Now Trump’s conviction for cheating to steal the 2016 election is on the books.

It’s a shame the facts don’t get more traction, because this one is important.

The Editor

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The Truth About Trade Policies

To the Editor:

National news coverage has lately been focused on Donald Trump’s legal perils. Less attention has been paid to his statements regarding the policies he would enact if elected. These statements should not be ignored. What they reveal about Trump’s intentions is as disturbing as his purported criminal acts. His statements regarding tariff policy are especially troubling.

Trump has stated that he would levy the following tariffs after his election—at least 60 percent on all Chinese imports, 100 percent on all imported cars, and 10 percent on all other imported goods. Even given Trump’s penchant for exaggeration, these proposals reveal a shocking ignorance regarding the purpose and effect of tariffs. If enacted, these tariffs would wreak havoc on the American economy, significantly raising prices for consumers, costing thousands of jobs and severely constraining economic growth—exactly the opposite effects claimed by Trump. Additionally, they would undoubtedly bring about retaliation by global competitors, initiating a downward spiral like that which contributed to the global depression of the ’30s.

Trump should have learned from experience during his previous administration. His tariffs raised the price of targeted goods by four percent and cost Americans 166,000 jobs. After enacting tariffs on Chinese goods, he claimed that China would pay the duties. This statement revealed a serious misunderstanding regarding how tariffs work. There is no requirement nor little incentive for either a foreign government or manufacturer to pay the levy. Tariffs are paid by the U.S. importer of the goods to the U.S. government at the port of entry. The importer usually passes on the added cost to the end buyer. Most if not all the charge is eventually passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices. In plain words, tariffs almost always result in a tax on the consumer and not on the foreign manufacturer. Studies of Trump’s Chinese tariffs confirm this point. They were almost wholly paid by U.S. consumers in the form of higher prices and more jobs were lost than gained by American manufacturers. Among the biggest beneficiaries of the tariffs were Vietnamese firms who were subcontracted by Chinese manufacturers and distributed the targeted goods from Vietnam thereby avoiding the tariffs. There is no reason to think that if Trump is re-elected, his proposed set of tariffs would have a different effect.

Tariffs are useful in three circumstances: (1) to protect “infant” industries that a country deems important to its development but are not currently competitive vis-a-vis foreign competition (e.g. Biden’s tariffs on e-cars and solar panels), (2) to protect industries essential to national security (e.g. high-performance computer chips), and (3) to retaliate against foreign dumping and unfair trade. In almost all other cases, tariffs are detrimental to economic growth. Tariffs and other trade restrictions were steadily reduced following World War II facilitating growth in trade and prosperity. Combined with the creation of global supply chains based on containerized shipping, the reduction of trade restrictions was responsible for lifting millions out of poverty in China and other less developed countries. In the U.S., increased global trade provided a plethora of low-cost, high-quality goods to consumers while global competition held inflation in check. Globalization also created losers in the American economy. Manufacturing jobs were lost, and blue-collar wages stagnated. Despite lip service by government and corporations that displaced workers would be compensated and retrained, the promises were largely unkept, creating a mass of angry and resentful workers that contribute to Trump’s populist base.

 Despite the discontents of globalization, trade provides a positive stimulus to economic growth. Complex modern economies cannot maintain current levels of prosperity without it. The willy-nilly increase in tariffs proposed by Donald Trump would significantly increase inflation, decimate employment, and constrain growth. Although the impact of global trade on American workers must be managed more effectively, the answer is not to surrender to the ignorant populism of Trump but to craft trade policies beneficial to all participants.

Robert D. Russell, Ph.D.

Harrisburg, Pa.

Robert:

Thank you for laying out these facts so clearly. That’s a valuable service in an environment so filled with inanity and lies.

We would just add that, as “increased global trade provided a plethora of low-cost, high-quality goods to consumers,” corporations racked up huge profits. The net worth of the CEOs soared, as U.S. workers were left to fend for themselves.

The Editor

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Trump: Winner Or Whiner?

To the Editor:

According to Trump and his backers, there’s more rigging going on than you could find aboard a clipper ship! The election was rigged (Trump knows that’s a lie), the polls are rigged (if Biden’s ahead). Most of all, Trump whines his trial and guilty verdict were rigged. The judge was unfair, the jury was biased (Trump’s lawyers were full partners in jury selection), and the sentence will be unfair.

As sportscaster Colin Cowherd pointed out, “If everybody in your circle is a felon, maybe it’s not rigged.” Maybe you’re a felon! I mean, “his campaign chairman is a felon. So is his deputy campaign manager, his personal lawyer, his chief strategist, his National Security Adviser, his Trade Advisor, his Foreign Policy Adviser, his campaign fixer, his company CFO. They’re all felons.” And Trump is too.

Trump is 34 counts guilty. He has been impeached twice: rigged. His supporters, most of whom watch Fox or some other sensationalist “news” outlet, seem to have no idea how compelling the evidence against him in the January 6th hearings is, or that those with the most damning testimony were not only Republicans, but people appointed by Trump!

There’s lots more: the E. Jean Carrol rape case, the forced closing and payback for both Trump University fraud, and phony Trump charities, the six bankruptcies, the $355 million in penalties he was assessed for duping banks, three more pending criminal cases, and others….

No, everything isn’t rigged. Trump is just a whiner—and a convicted felon.

Michael Frandzel

Portsmouth, N.H.

Michael:

Somehow, in the course of reading this, we had a weird, uncomfortable feeling. It took a while to place it. When we did, we were shocked.

It was a tiny little twinge of sympathy for the ignorant, self-centered, garrulous grotesque who’s been the bane of our existence for nearly a decade now.

Think about it: he had no more power to pick his parents than anyone else ever did. His grandfather was a pimp, his father was a racist goon, and he was insulated from the real world by obscene amounts of money. He’d have had a better chance of growing into a reasonable facsimile of a decent person if he’d been yanked from his home and put in an orphanage.

Fortunately, that bizarre frame of mind vanished almost immediately. We’re once again fully prepared to see him suffer whatever fate may bring him—and that can’t happen soon enough.

If any history survives in what is to be our collective future—which would have to be despite the whiner in question, and the followers in his cult—he’ll go down in it as one of the nastiest specimens of our species to have ever lived.

The Editor

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Quakers Call Biden Border Order Cruel And Ineffective

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 4, 2024)—Today the Biden Administration issued an Executive Order that would shut down the U.S.-Mexico border based on the number of people seeking entry. The American Friends Service Committee—a Quaker organization that works with migrants at the border and around the world—spoke out against the decision.

“Closing the border to people seeking safety is immoral, counterproductive, and a violation of international law,” said Amy Gottlieb, U.S. Migration Director for AFSC. “What we need is to create a fair and welcoming immigration system that processes immigration claims quickly, connects people to supportive services, and provides avenues for residency and citizenship. Instead, President Biden is doubling down on Trump’s cruel and ineffective efforts to punish migrants for failures of U.S. policy.”

Staff from AFSC’s U.S.-Mexico border program, along with partners and volunteers, have been at the border nearly every day for the past eight months, providing humanitarian aid to people that U.S. Border Patrol is holding between border walls in “open-air detention sites.” Children, families, and individuals are not allowed to leave and don’t have adequate access to water, food, sanitation, medical care or protection from the elements.

“Who does it protect to terrorize families? Who does it serve to close the door on families seeking safety and a better life?” said Adriana Jasso, Coordinator of AFSC’s U.S.-Mexico Border Program. “Our border communities don’t want more walls and border closures. We want policies that give everyone an opportunity to thrive, no matter where they were born.”

AFSC says it will will be mobilizing supporters to contact the Biden administration and Congress to demand the Executive Order be rescinded and just and welcoming policies be implemented in its place. To learn more about AFSC’s work on these issues, visit: https://afsc.org/topics/migrant-justice.

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“But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.”

– Leviticus 19:34

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“I think many times the way immigrants—people look at immigrants with such a sense of diminishment, as if this person is less than I am because they’ve left their country. Well, I actually think they’re more than we are, because they’re braver. They’ve gone some other place. They have to operate in another language. How easy would that be? If I had to go to China today and start living in China and doing everything in Chinese, it would be very, very hard. So you think about the bravery of these people and the desperation with which they’re trying to find a realm of safety for their families and—just the basic safeties that we take for granted, every day we get up. And I don’t know; I don’t know how a world with so many resources and so many religious traditions and good hopes—how we can keep doing these things to one another in the world that create refugee populations. It just seems outrageous. Why is that happening so much?”

Naomi Shihab Nye

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