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Some, all too casually, want to remove 'free' from our freedoms

To The Daily Sun,

In Wednesday's issue of The Daily Sun, Jonathan Hoyt opined that there should be a non-partisan panel to fact check letters before they are allowed to be printed in the newspaper. I am amazed at how many of those on the left have written to the paper with similar requests. It seems like they would like to amend the First Amendment clause that reads ". . . or abridging the freedom of speech, . . .", and get rid of that little word "or" that starts the clause.

I do find it perplexing as to how many people so casually want to remove "free" from our freedoms. Not for themselves of course, just for those with a different opinion. As I've said before, free speech can be good, bad, or ugly . . . that's what makes it free.

Bob Meade
Laconia

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 March 2015 10:06

Hits: 160

Just more of the 'I know better than you do' point of view

To The Daily Sun,

After reading Mr. Hoyt's letter in Wednesday's Sun, I felt compelled to answer his inane and thoughtless suggestion.

First, letters that appear here in The Sun or any other newspaper are considered opinions. They are not news articles, scientific or policy papers requiring deep background, fact checking, or peer review.

Second, one's opinion is protected by both the U.S. and New Hampshire constitutions, something which Mr. Hoyt seems to have forgotten. If I were to opine that I think Mr. Hoyt is a horse's patoot, I am not required to prove that he is with fact checking by an impartial panel. I would base my opinion upon his letters published here in The Sun. Would my opinion be correct? Who would care, other than Mr. Hoyt?

What if Mr. Hoyt got his way and every letter submitted to The Sun had to go through a vetting process and it was found that none of his was factually accurate, and therefore would not be published, would he accept the "impartial" panel's finding, or would he bleat about the unfairness of the panel's decision to stifle his freedom of speech? Frankly, I think his reaction would be the latter, as would mine.

Do I like Mr. Hoyt's condescending opinions of those who disagree with almost every aspect of his "I know better than you do" point of view? No, I do not. They signify to me someone with a closed mind who is incapable of having any original thoughts of his own and must rely on the morally bankrupt and historically corrupt philosophies of a progressive movement that does not have everyone's best interests at heart.

Do I think his or anyone else's letters be subject to review by a panel that may start out as impartial, but will likely devolve into an ideological clearing house (left or right) that will decide who has the right to express their opinions? No, I do not, and that is one of the biggest differences between me and Mr. Hoyt. He wants conformity of opinion, so only those who agree with him will have the freedom to have their letters published. He may not come right out and state that, but from reading many of his previous letters, I believe that is his aim. I, on the other hand, want to see a wide range of opinions because opposing viewpoints can reveal things that we might not have ever thought about before, even those with which I disagree.

As an aside, I am a firm believer in Lord Keynes' aphorism which states, "When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do?" From my reading of many of Mr. Hoyt's letters over the past few years, it appears he prefers to flee from the facts that are in opposition to his beliefs and is incapable of changing his mind. Could that be why he wants letters to the Sun to be reviewed? Does he need to be protected from opinions that are diametrically opposed to his?

I have a better solution for him if he doesn't want to be exposed to opposing viewpoints in the pages of The Sun: Stop reading them and leave the rest of us alone.

Dale Channing Eddy

Gilford

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 March 2015 10:01

Hits: 236

Can we see? Yes, that politics is overcoming common sense

To The Daily Sun,

I was somewhat disappointed, but not surprised, to read Bob Meade's recent column. Once again, it was just a rehash of conservative complaints and Fox Entertainment talking points.

Where to begin? Let's begin with the obvious lies. Meade tells us that four-star General Carter Ham, U.S. commander of Africom, was fired because he wanted to disobey the order to "stand down" in responding to our embassy in Benghazi. The general was never "fired", but after a normal tour as commander, General Ham was succeeded by General Rodrigues and retired in June 2013. General Ham was not relieved of his command for attempting to provide military assistance during the attacks. Ham, himself, testified before the House Committee on American Services in June 2013 that the decision not to deploy close or support during the attack were made by him based on his assessment of the situation at the time, not because he was ordered to "stand down".

In order to keep this conspiracy alive, Meade, Fox, Earle and other right-wing conservatives are resistant to any facts that complicate their view of reality.

Fox has been stirring up racial divides since President Obama took office, but former Mayor Giuliani's blatant lies are a new low, even for Fox, who have manufactured a "war on the police". Giuliani wants us to believe (and apparently Meade does) that Obama promoted a propaganda movement that encouraged "everyone to hate police" and that protests should be "embraced" and "encouraged". Giuliani was lying. President Obama never said anything that would encourage hatred of police. In fact, the president has proclaimed, "There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy (referencing Ferguson) as a cover for vandalism or looting."

On the economic scene, Meade reminds us "that we have the lowest percentage of citizens employed than we have had since 1978." But as he often does, he doesn't tell us the whole story. He doesn't tell us of an administration, who, when it took office in 2001 enjoyed a $236 billion budget surplus — with a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion.

When this administration left office, it handed President Obama a staggering $1.3 trillion annual deficit — with projected shortfalls of $8 trillion for the next decade, thanks in large part to the previous administration's tax cuts.

Despite what you hear from the naysayers, the economic conditions are improving. Signs of this improvement can be seen in the rise in expensive equipment sales, housing prices no longer in free-fall, advertising sales are growing (just witness The Sun), factory production is increasing, record corporate profits, the recovery of retail sales, unemployment may be declining, jobs are growing ... admittedly slowly — 257,000 in January, and economists (not Obama) say the economy is improving. Our economy has gained nearly five times more jobs under Obama than it did during the previous administration and the unemployment rate has dropped to just below the historic average.

Any recovery will be denied by conservatives because it would threaten their strategy of criticizing President Obama for holding back growth and hiring.

I was feeling sorry for the health insurance industry for being "demonized" by Obama for excessive profits, until I researched and found that health insurance companies record breaking profits were, in fact, excessive — just check Wall Street. They are enjoying record earnings and investors are delighted with the industries profits. As of today, the overall industry is enjoying a phenomenal 16.1 percent return on equity. I'm not an economist, but I think a 16.1 percent return is darn good.

I believe that Meade garnered his information from a politically conservative organization which appears regularly on Fox.

Moving on to the claim that Obama has designs to have the federal government "usurp local and state police functions," is another misrepresentation of the facts. This false claim is a badly distorted version of Obama's call for doubling the Peace Corps, creating volunteer networks and increasing the size of the Foreign Service.

Another concern expressed by Meade, is "stonewalling" the Keystone pipeline decision. Apparently farmers, ranchers, land owners, environmentalists, and other concerned citizens, ranging from Canada to the Gulf Coast, Obama's "far-left constituencies," have strong reservations about this project. This pipeline would carry the dirtiest oil on the planet and will produce between 70 percent and 110 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than the weighted average of transportation fuels. Portions of the pipeline will cross an active seismic zone which experienced a 4.3 magnitude earthquake as recently as 2002.

While it could create employment for approximately 3,900 workers if completed in one year, or 1,950 over a two-year period, and bring additional "indirect" temporary jobs of around 42,000, the number of permanent jobs generated would be approximately 50. In addition, the Keystone would have no material impact on gasoline or have any significant impact either way on overall North American energy prices.

Once again, Meade left out some very pertinent information. It appears that the Koch brothers have spent more than $50 million on Congress, to influence legislation, and to think tanks that heavily push for the pipeline. Why? Koch Industries has a significant financial interest in this oil and gas project, and building the Keystone pipeline would mean billions in profits for the brothers. If and when the project is completed, the only long term winners will be TransCanada Corporation and the Brothers Koch.

While Mr. Meade has never voiced any concerns about Fox's "war on police" or Bill O'Reilly's annual "war on Christmas", he does take exception to the "war on women". This "war on women" was not manufactured by the Obama administration, rather, it was constructed over the years by Republican leaders who don't value women's contributions to the workforce, their right to choose what happens to their bodies, or to live free from fear of sexual violence (they want to redefine the definition of rape for the purpose of public funding of abortions) — and they vote accordingly.

This concept of a "war on women" is exemplified by Republican efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade. It continues with the conservative grassroots push to vote against the Senate's reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Republican senators unanimously voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act that would make it easier for employees to talk about wages — and potentially help women learn whether they earn less than their male colleagues.

Conservatives have long been opposed to legislation ensuring equal pay for women — their reasoning — the wage gap is a lie. They oppose public funding of women's health organizations and mandatory employer insurance coverage in such matters as contraception and sterilization.

On the very first day of the 114th Congress, two Republican lawmakers introduced the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act", a measure to ban abortions after 20 weeks. Whatever happened to creating jobs and stimulating the economy?

If conservatives have convinced themselves that President Obama is actually out to destroy America from within, that any lie about his beliefs, his religion, his patriotism, even his country of birth, are justified.

Oh, say! Can you see ... Yes we can, Mr. Meade, and what we see is politics playing a greater role than common sense. You exacerbate the problem with your constant rendition of "Party Before Country".

L.J. Siden

Gilmanton

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 March 2015 09:44

Hits: 97

Marriage is the first human institution & it was ordained by God

To The Daily Sun,
James Veverka is at it again. He starts out with taking Steve Earle to task for saying that liberals don't believe in God. Steve's heart is in the right place but he made the mistake of making his generality too broad. I do believe that the generality that atheists and agnostics drive the liberal agenda is a generality that can be defended. Liberal Christians, those who truly are Christians, have just hitched their wagon up with a caravan that is headed in the wrong direction, a decision that they will eventually come to regret.

Jim says of liberal Christians, "They just detest any alliance of church and state." Here I'd really like to ask politically liberal Christians, those who have a relationship with Jesus Christ, does Jim speak for you in this matter? If not please make your voice heard. For I am afraid that though Jim may not be as discrete as others, those who drive the liberal agenda are of quite similar minds as Jim. This divorce of church and state, that Jim alludes to is not a good state for any nation to be in, for if there is not an a alliance, then they are at odds with one another. If the Christian church is God's representative here on earth, woe to such a nation.

Jim commends liberal Christians for not taking the Bible literally. Here's the problem with that. If you take the liberty to assume that the bible is meant to be taken figuratively you put yourself in the place where you can make it mean almost anything you want it to mean. That's the purpose of this type of hermeneutics. You get to tell God what He means, instead of reading the Bible literally unless it clearly indicates that a passage is figurative, seeking Him diligently and then submitting your will to His. The latter type of hermeneutics is difficult to do. The first is easy. It's a cinch, which is more attractive to our human will. Yet if we chose this first type of hermeneutics, though it may gain us the approval of men, it puts us in opposition to God.

I've seen some of those Christian-liberal-progressive debate pages, they're a little sly about it, but that first type of hermeneutics is what they're advocating.

Jim goes on to site some misuses of scripture as if the misuse negates the benefit of proper application of the Word of God. News flash, human beings, sinful creatures that we are, can misuse almost anything no matter what the benefit of the proper use of the thing is.

Jim accuses Christians as being a hateful, anti-gay, anti-woman people. He confuses personal human virtue and politics. I have known a lot of Christian people and am one myself. I've known very few who hate homosexuals, none who hate women. I do not hate homosexuals. I love women; I'm married to one. Most Christians deal with the reality of loving homosexual friends or relatives daily. Yet we cannot change what the Word of God say's about this condition. As clearly as adultery and fornication is sin, so is homosexuality. We love the adulterer and the fornicator as well. Yet in the oft quoted account of the woman caught in adultery, what liberal quoters of this passage leave out is that after Jesus pardons her; He instructs her to sin no more.

As to the politics of these issues. It is the gay and lesbian lobby that is forcing a change in the very definition of marriage which has been the union of a man and a woman since the beginning of time, for the purpose of the creation of the family. Even if you don't believe the Bible there are some obvious biological reasons for this. For at least some 6,000 years this union between a man and a woman has been the nucleus of the family and its worked.

Marriage is the first human institution and it was ordained by God. To work to change the definition of marriage in this manner is an outworking of the denial that there is a design in the creation. This goes near the very heart of the Christian faith, and human judges and legislators want to change this institution and force everyone to accept the change. This is what is happening, yet there is hardly a homosexual hater in the true church. Yet the slander goes on.

Also concerning women's rights: Pro-life Christians recognize that life starts at conception. It is quite clear that this is true. Only a strong desire for it to be otherwise clouds this issue. The basis for the pro-life view is that if you have the authority to protect this human life and do not do it, or create deliberate roadblocks to the exercising of this authority. It is a grave wrong indeed. It's called human rights. A group that women are a subset of. To cry women's rights is a political ploy to divide us into voting blocs.

Jim's use of the terrible inhumanities occurring in the civil war in the Central African Republic, to project blame on the Christian Church, just seems to me, to be typical of what Jim does in all of his letters, for there are clearly forces at work there other than that of the direction of the Lord Jesus.

Though Jim seems to be an intelligent man, he doesn't seem to have the depth of understanding to write thoughtfully concerning the subjects he chooses to write about. So I think Jim's Center for the Study of Absurdity is a good thing for Jim, for mocking is what Jim can do.

John Demakowski
Franklin

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 March 2015 10:04

Hits: 113

What's the word from the World Nut Daily & the demonology experts?

To The Daily Sun,

Russ Wiles is back with another episode of junk-science and Palinesque word salad. After engaging in goofy semantics with "vaccination" and "immunization" that fools none, he mentions a book by Suzanne Humphries, noted anti-vaxxer. Humphries recently advised Israeli parents not to participate in a booster program of oral polio vaccine after polio was discovered by the state monitoring of the sewage in some southern cities. That is dangerous and stupid advice. As most of us know, sometimes more than one dose is needed for the immune system to react properly. Some immunizations require a series of doses or shots. It's not the science that isn't working, it's that some people's immune system need a bigger kick. In a tiny minority, the usual dosage may not work. Anti-vaxxers will isolate some failures to immunize and blow them way out of proportion as if its the norm. It's the exception.

Russ says he just wants to make informed decisions. Being an anti-vaxxer is an outright confession of being uninformed, just as being a young earth creationist is a confession of being uninformed regarding evolution. One of the websites Russ mentions is wnd.com. Sane folks call it World Nut Daily because it's the extremists of the extremists. The article mentioned, "How vaccine hysteria could spark a totalitarian nightmare," is right out of Ward D in a fenced-off building. Did you know that this "news" site has a demonology expert? A demonology expert! Get out! His name is Karl Payne, author of "Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization and Deliverance."

Mr. Wiles also mentions an alleged whistle-blower at the CDC named Dr. William Thompson that supposedly claimed autism in African-American children jumped 340 percent due to the MMR vaccine. Mr. Wiles says it's an historic confession but the fact is the story is bogus. If you google William Thompson, the Snopes article debunking it is on page one. ScienceBlogs addresses it at http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/08/22/brian-hooker-proves-andrew-wakefield-wrong-about-vaccines-and-autism/. ScienceBlogs might be a bit more informed than a right wing, birther, Obama-is-a-Muslim website that has a demonology expert.

Anti-Vaxxer Brian Hooker's 340 percent "reanalysis" of a 2004 study has been retracted from the journal it first appeared in. In its place is "This article has been removed from the public domain because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions. The journal and publisher believe that its continued availability may not be in the public interest. Definitive editorial action will be pending further investigation."

Now to poor defrocked Dr. Wakefield. Russ says, "We now know Dr. Andrew Wakefield is not a fraud and did not even advise against vaccination." Who is "we"? World Nut Daily and the demonology experts? Mr. Wiles claims "Dr. Wakefield was never convicted by a jury or a court of law." That may be simply because scientific fraud at that level may not pass a required threshold. But Wakefield has been tried and convicted by his medical peers and can't practice medicine in the UK.

The British General Medical Council (GMC) investigated Wakefield for misconduct after Sunday Times reporter Brian Deer found multiple problems with Wakefield's study. Problems included financial conflicts of interest and conducting invasive procedures like colonoscopies and lumbar punctures on children without the required ethical approval from the research ethics board. In 2010, the statutory tribunal of the GMC found 36 charges "proven". This included four counts of dishonesty and 12 counts of abuse regarding developmentally challenged children. What was the financial conflict of interest? Wakefield received money from a personal injury lawyer who made a living out of collecting damages from vaccine manufacturers for alleged health damages suffered by vaccinated kids.

James Veverka
Tilton

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 March 2015 09:59

Hits: 166

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