To The Daily Sun,
"Sderot cinema" they call it, referring to images which shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs high on a hilltop overlooking Gaza cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets. "Kill them all," volunteers one young Israeli woman as she watches the slaughter of innocents unfolding below her. Some Israelis refer to it as "mowing the lawn," an unfortunate metaphor, since it suggests an indiscriminate cutting down of everything in its path.
Perhaps "weeding the garden" or "pruning the trees" would have been less transparent? Of course the lawn needs constant mowing on a seasonal basis.
How did it come to this? One thing is for sure, you won't find the answer in the Wikipedia mini history lesson of the Middle East that we were all subjected to a few weeks ago. A regional superpower (fifth largest on the planet) backed up by a world superpower unleashing the most sophisticated weaponry on a strip of land called Gaza that measures 360 square kilometers and a population of 1.8 million. That amounts to a population density of close to 5,000 per square kilometer. Sort of like shooting human fish in a barrel. How does the saying go? "You can run but you can't hide."
We've already heard from the "four bigots of the Apocalypse" and their pithy pronouncements on the subject was predictable. I unfortunately have to admit that their opinion represents the majority in this country. In spite of all that has transpired over the past several weeks, Israel is seen as the victim and we should all pray for her — except of course for all those liberal professor types who are anti-Semitic along with the 1.8 million Presbyterians who voted for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanction) of corporations which aid Israel's right to "self-defense."
I won't bore you with the gory statistics of the war since everyone should know them by now. Needless to say Netanyahu's own party made up of Israeli hard-liners, illegal settlement leaders and the extreme right demanded a "hard hit" this time around. To what should we equate this war? Perhaps the California Highway Patrolman beating up on a deranged grandmother (15 blows to the head to be precise) comes to mind?
"Amid all the horrors unfolding in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israel's goal is simple: quiet for quiet, a return to the norm. For Gaza, the norm is a miserable existence under a cruel and destructive siege that Israel administers to permit bare survival but nothing more." Noam Chomsky.
Israel says jump and American politicians say, "How high." That's the reality for the moment. The price to be re-elected. Israel has become a right-wing Zionist fascist state that has won out against the moderates and liberals.
They therefore control the narrative which accounts for the following myths that our government and the media continue to spew forth on a daily basis: Hamas started the war; Hamas, not Israel is responsible for civilian casualties; Hamas uses civilians as shields; Hamas and Israel are equally to blame. The myths go on and on.
The human rights abuses are too numerous to mention here. One would think from listening to some leaders that it is Gaza that is occupying Israel. Palestinians live in the eternal cycle of death, violence and rebuilding. There is a long and distinguished line of Jewish critics of Zionism and Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. To name them would be "name-dropping" but it is impressive. Israeli supporters often try to equate "anti-Zionism" with "anti-Semitism" to silence opposition both here and abroad to Israeli policies. Israeli and Palestinian security will not happen until both are secure. Those crude uncontrollable rockets that mainly fall in open fields will become more sophisticated and when that happens there won't be enough popcorn to go around.
The only hope for the future is a rapidly growing global solidarity movement. It wasn't supposed to happen this way.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 02:34
To The Daily Sun,
An open letter to Gilford selectmen and the town administrator:
I am appalled that you would even consider bringing the matter of private fireworks up for consideration. I am totally against the use of personal fireworks on private property. They are loud, obnoxious, and dangerous especially where alcohol and stupidity abound. The ordinance prohibiting fireworks is in place. Leave it as is.
The police know exactly where, when and who are responsible for breaking the firework ordinance and they can make a presence or give a warning to those lawbreakers. This is a Gilford law. Don't mess with it.
Nancy L. Paterno
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 09:45
To The Daily Sun,
The Grafton County House of Correction is an impressive building. It was constructed about two years ago for about $33 million and has beds for 150 inmates and looks as if it were built yesterday. When I arrived the first thing I noticed was the farm stand across the street staffed by two workers wearing orange jumpsuits with GCDOC lettered on the back in large print. They were more than happy to sell me six ears of freshly picked corn.
The superintendent told me that each jail in New Hampshire is built to reflect the local philosophy. His includes a working farm on which the inmates raise the crops and process them. I saw freezers filled with vacuum packed vegetables waiting for winter. It occurs to me that there is a lot of fallow land quite near to our jail should we decide that serving fresh vegetables to the folks who raised them might be a good idea. He also told me that it they save several bucks a meal. Now, that is appealing!
In fact, we in Belknap County had a farm program that was discontinued only a few years ago due to budget cuts. It produced all sorts of vegetables as well as provided work for inmates. Of course, putting inmates to work on the farm isn't just a matter of sending them out with a shovel and a rake. They have to be taught how to use the equipment and they have to be supervised. And, somebody has to be Farmer Brown.
I know how good it feels to eat my own produce. Every year, my little patch produces a variety of tomatoes, peppers, squash, and herbs. I try out a new vegetable every year sometimes with more success than others. Last year it as sugar snap peas. This year I tried edemame beans. The peas were delicious. The beans, not so much. It feels good to work a garden. I enjoy the feel of dirt on my hands almost as much as I enjoy a slice of one of my tomatoes on a grilled cheese.
When I walked into the commercial kitchen that they built in the jail in Grafton, the aroma of freshly baked bread filled my head. An inmate proudly told me that she was the bread baker. Pies and cakes, she said, she leaves to someone else but she does hundreds of loaves of bread a day. I bake a couple of loaves a week, myself. It gives me the same pride and feeling of accomplishment.
We can learn from the successes of other jails. I think we should consider reviving the farm and building a kitchen. It might also be a good idea to talk with my employer at the community college to get a culinary program going at the jail. According to all the evidence, programs work to reduce recidivism.
I want the voters to know that I will have done my homework before the election so that if elected I will be able to hit the ground running. I've been reading meeting transcripts, touring jails (our own first), talking to stakeholders, and studying corrections philosophy.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 08:43
To The Daily Sun,
Having been a member of the Belknap County Delegation from 2008 to 2012, I participated in all meetings and hearings related to the rehabilitation of the criminal justice system in Belknap County. This included, but was not limited to, improvements to how we incarcerate criminals. At the original presentation by the Ricci group, the cost to replace the current jail ranged from $18 million to $42 million.
In addition to studying the recommendations of the various consultants whom have been hired to address the jail issue, I have researched what we need vs. what various constituents may like to have. I know that a portable classroom style building is not adequate. I also am certain that we don't need the Taj Mahal.
I have a Bachelor's degree in substance abuse control and a Master's degree in mental health counseling. In my profession, I have visited many jails around the country. When the issue surfaced here in Belknap County, I visited jails in other New Hampshire counties in order to understand our comparative needs vs. wants.
If elected, I am prepared to use my expertise to represent the residents of Belknap County and to bring this issue to closure. Our jail does need to be replaced. The question is what we must have and how to fit that with what we can afford. What was once an $18 million minimum expense has now grown to a far-larger expense, and continues to grow daily. The more we wait, the more it will cost Belknap County taxpayers.
I appreciate your support and your vote on Sept. 9. I promise to represent all of my constituents in Alton, Gilmanton, and Barnstead as we solve the corrections problem as well as for all other issues. My door is always open, and I will visit every town frequently to understand the concerns of all residents.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 08:40
To The Daily Sun,
The people of our great state of New Hampshire have the opportunity to elect an experienced conservative for Senate in Bob Smith, but first he has to be nominated by the state Republican Party.
His opponent for the nomination is Scott Brown, who during his short stay in Washington voted with Obama most of the time. Brown is already the establishment pick for the nomination, the same establishment which turned its back on Bob 12 years ago. To nominate Scott Brown is not much different from voting for Jeanne Shaheen. As usual, the Republican establishment would nominate a person who is a liberal to go up against a liberal. This never works, and the party would lose the general election. During the last election literally every wishy-washy candidate that Carl Rove raised money for lost. So would Scott Brown in the coming election. He is supported by Governor Chris Christie, who helped get Obama re-elected with his hugs and support. (Kind of tells you who you would be voting for.)
Bob Smith has a perfect conservative voting record in both the House and Senate. All one needs to do is look it up on the Internet. He is pro-life, strong on gun rights, strong on helping our veterans (he's one himself), and strong on free speech and religious liberty. He is against centralized government and will fight for our property rights. Bob is retired and does not have to give more years of his life to the Republic. He is doing it because of his deep concern for our country and for the future of our children and grandchildren.
If we nominate Bob Smith for the U.S. Senate we will be nominating a true constitutional conservative patriot with a proven conservative voting record instead of another so-called Republican who could care less about the Republican platform or the future of our country. Our federal government has become lawless, and we need to send Bob back to Washington to help rein it in. Bob was right for our state in the past and he will be right for us again.
Phil & Chris Wittmann
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 08:36