Forum, Sept. 2: What’s This Commission’s Mission?

Friday, September 01, 2017
What’s This Commission’s Mission?

It has been announced that the ironically named Voter Fraud Commission is to have a meeting here in New Hampshire on Sept. 12.  Because Granite State voters have a tradition of valuing their franchise responsibilities, and because our secretary of state has accepted appointment to the commission for reasons that still escape me, I would like him to answer some questions about the upcoming meeting.

Is it true that there will be no oral testimony taken from New Hampshire citizens about voting, voter fraud and voter suppression? If not, why not?

If written statements are to be accepted, from whom and in what format will they be accepted? What efforts are being made to facilitate submissions by citizens who may be unfamiliar with the process of addressing federal commissions of this kind?

It is required that anyone who does submit a comment or statement will have their name and other private information released to the public and press. How does that jibe with New Hampshire’s tradition of protecting the privacy of its citizens?

What, if any, efforts will be undertaken to broadcast, either by radio, internet or TV, the deliberations of the commission? What purpose is to be served by holding the meeting here?

Elections are a proud tradition for us in New Hampshire. Our first-in-the-nation primary and huge New Hampshire House, coupled with two-year terms for everyone, mean that we work hard to vote fairly and vote biennially. If the commission is intending to come here and lay a foundation for the slanderous claim that “voter fraud demands voter suppression,” our secretary of state should let us know, and bow out right now.

Peter Hoe Burling

CornishThe writer is a former Democratic leader of the New Hampshire House and state senator.

Beyond ‘Fire and Fury’

What do Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un really mean to accomplish by their bellicose statements?

Though we can’t easily dismiss the president’s vitriolic statements toward North Korea, it’s reassuring that those involved in American foreign policy, especially the military, have behaved conservatively. As for Kim Jong Un, scholars agree that he has repeatedly proven himself rational and focused on his government’s survival. Perhaps their reckless exchanges serve to intimidate, not to start a war. If either country follows its contentious rhetoric with action, then we should worry.

Can we accept the legitimacy of North Korea’s nuclear program?  From the U.S. perspective, nuclear weapons play a legitimate role in international politics. The U.S. accepts Israeli nuclear weapons, as they serve to prevent the destruction of the Jewish state. North Korea’s fears are heightened as the U.S. and Japan engage in bolstering their cooperation and the U.S. affirms its commitment to South Korea. Like Israel, North Korea’s nuclear program relates to its own survival in a hostile region.

What approaches have been suggested for dealing with North Korea and South Asia? To contain the threat from North Korea, the following strategy is recommended: deterrence, pressure, diplomacy and incentives.

Deterrence: Though proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world is ominous, North Korea may pose almost no threat to South Korea as long as the U.S.-South Korea alliance remains ironclad. Kim Jong Un may be many things, but he is not suicidal. Deterrence will continue to work.

Pressure: Collaboration with China is essential. China seems to be the only country that can exert legitimate pressure on North Korea’s leadership. China joined with the U.N.’s sanctions against the North. They have also called for a moderation in the U.S. response to the North’s missile efforts.

Diplomacy and incentives: Diplomacy is vital. Two approaches  may work as incentives for the North to negotiate. One: lessen our own military presence in the region (while safeguarding our allies). Second: use diplomacy to pave the way for economic reform and real change for the North Korean people. As one journalist remarked, “Let’s swap brimstone for bargaining.”

Bob Scobie


Library Book Sale Returns

For the past 40 years, the Philip Read Memorial Library book sale has been a providing a valuable service for book lovers in the Upper Valley and surrounding areas. The 2017 sale will take place on Saturday, Sept. 16, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 17, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (half-price) at the Plainfield Town Hall on Route 12A.

This year there will be a special sale of a variety of Maxfield Parrish items. We have an unusually large selection of high-quality books about antiques, hard cover and paperback fiction, business, art and military history books.

Net proceeds from this year's sale will help the Friends support library programs, equipment and services to benefit the Plainfield community.

Book donations will be accepted at the Philip Read Memorial library through Sept. 15 on Route 12A in Plainfield during regular library hours. Please do not put donated books in the library return box.

We welcome donations of books, manuscripts, prints, maps, memorabilia, CDs, DVD and books on tape. We do not accept or sell textbooks, home recordings made on videotape, CD-R or cassette.

Questions can be directed to Nancy Norwalk at 603-675-6866 or Cindy Heath, 603-675-9123.

We look forward to seeing you at the sale!

Cindy Heath, President

Friends of the Philip Read Memorial Library


A Failed Presidency

Regarding Douglas Tuthill’s  latest Forum letter, (“The Intolerant Left Wing,” Aug. 29): Only he, it would seem, has the inside dope (the Democrats are funding antifa — who knew?).

Now I have only such information as 74 years on the planet afford, and I can assure Tuthill that there has never in those years been so unqualified and base a president as the current one. I can’t even imagine the incompetent Dubya explaining a presidential pardon — as Trump did his of Joe Arpaio — by saying that the advent of Hurricane Harvey would mean “higher ratings than there usually are.” The statement is of course morally obscene; worse, it reflects an utter ignorance of what his office demands. This is not reality TV. Ratings are not the object; governance is. If Trump fails, Tuthill solemnly warns, we all fail. Anyone can see that Trump has already failed.

Sydney Lea

Newbury, Vt.