Mark Shepherd: Comments on Brexit not supported by facts

To the editor:

Much has been written on Brexit — but Joe Keller’s letter that racism, xenophobia and isolationism drove Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and Mr. Marvel’s comments that immigration to England’s large cities contributed — are not supported by the facts.

“Vote Leave” the organization that coordinated the campaign to exit the E.U. was led by Gisela Stuart — a first generation immigrant born in Germany, who moved to the United Kingdom at age 19, naturalized as a British citizen and was elected a member of Parliament; Priti Patel, also a member of Parliament, is a second generation immigrant (her family having fled to Britain from Uganda) and was another leader of the campaign. Their presence as leaders of Vote Leave does not support the view that racism and xenophobia were the driving factor for the decision.

While Marvel is correct in saying that English cities have seen substantial immigration, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Newcastle all voted to Remain in the E.U. — hardly anti-immigrant.

So, why did British people vote to leave the European Union?

When asked, more than 60 percent of those voting Leave answered it was to reclaim sovereignty from an undemocratic and inward looking bureaucracy whose economic policies have contributed to unemployment rates of over 20 percent in Spain, Portugal and Greece  — with youth unemployment exceeding 50 percent. An organization which — due to the lobbying power of special interests — has not negotiated trade deals with the USA, China or India. A leadership of the elite that is embarked on further integration against the will of the people in its member countries.

Rather than being isolationist those running Vote Leave campaigned on the UK being able to rejoin the global economy, to negotiate its own trade deals rather than being tied to a protectionist and declining Europe, and the ability for the UK to attract immigrants from across the globe — rather than being forced to give preference to Europeans.

Whether or not the democratic decision of the people of the UK was correct will only become apparent over time.

Sometimes — when reclaiming democracy from a distant and non-representative power — there is a period of dislocation, when things have to get worse in the short term for long term benefit; something the people of New Hampshire understood and embraced 240 years ago.    

Mark Shepherd

North Conway

Alan Scott: Military exists to project our U.S. on world

To the editor:

I read McLaughlin’s column last week about his Viking ancestry waiting to see how he would spin it into some conservative talking point.

Sure enough, there it was: “[M]en today may wish they never have to tap their innate capacity for combat, but that’s not possible when other men threaten their families and their way of life.”  

It’s a reasonable statement — but if he means to apply it to U.S. foreign policy he comes dangerously close to mimicking George Bush’s ridiculous statement that “They hate us because of our freedoms.”

The fact of the matter is that the threat to Americans living on American soil from foreign attack is minimal.  Nobody is going to invade us and take us over. No other foreign country even has that capability.  

The last time foreign troops set foot on American soil might have been the British in the War of 1812. (Terrorist attacks are another story but their effect is limited and will never bring the whole country down.)

Let’s be clear: The United States has the largest military in the world by far; it has 761 military bases across the globe; it has 10 aircraft carriers in service compared to one for Russia and one for China.

The argument that all this is necessary for self-defense is laughable.

U.S. military strength exists to project U.S. will on the rest of the world. To the extent that this is for the global good, preserving peace and maintaining the world order, it can be justified. However, if you know your history — and McLaughlin certainly should — it is clear that since the beginning of the Cold War the United States has acted covertly and overtly to preserve its strategic interests and the interests of its corporations.

It is done in the name of fighting communism, the Drug War, and now the War on Terror, but a skeptic might not be so easily convinced.

Examples include overthrowing the government of Iran in 1953 because it nationalized its oil. Supporting a coup in Guatemala in 1954 to protect the interests of the United Fruit Company.  

More recently, George Bush sold a frightened public on a theory of weapons of mass destruction in order to invade Iraq in 2003. Iraq had nationalized its oil in 1972 and U.S. companies now have access to it. The list goes on and on. Don’t take my word for it. Please do your own research.  

But consider this: If our domestic policy can be dominated by the interests of the rich and the corporations, so too can our foreign policy.

Alan Scott

Jackson

David G. Wilkins: A vision of what Conway could become

To the editor:

Yesterday, I drove by the sad pile of rubble that was one of Conway’s few surviving historic buildings and I realized that the citizens of Conway need to make some hard decisions.

If such examples of “progress” continue, Conway could gain a reputation as New Hampshire’s longest and ugliest strip mall, a place without history and without tradition.

Those of us who love this part of the world have a vested interest in preserving our nature, our history and our local identity.

I hope Conway’s selectmen and citizens will take a good long look at what Conway has become and realize what it could be with more careful planning and an emphasis on what makes Conway a unique part of New Hampshire’s history and traditions.

David G. Wilkins

Madison

Dan Shaheen: Samaritan’s swift action restored my faith

To the editor:

July 16, while tubing the Saco from Davis Park to beyond the Conway Village bridge with my girlfriend Linda and 5-year-old granddaughter Brooklyn, we had an incident at the second and rougher set of rapids.

The tow line connecting Brooklyn’s tube to Linda’s became disconnected and the young girl sped downstream alone at the roughest part of the rapids ahead of me and now out of her tube. I struggled to get to her, losing my tube as well.

Gratefully, our PFDs kept us afloat and, while I was trying to reach her, a good Samaritan swam to her rescue, colliding with the rocks in the rushing waters in the process.

He got her and pulled her toward shore, and when I caught up to them, he helped me as well in the swift -moving waters.

Believe me, until you are caught in the currents, you cannot predict or expect the force of moving water. We were both thankful getting back to shore.

In this day and age, where trust in our fellow Americans has become scarce, I would like to shout out a heart-felt thank you to the man I know only as Ronnie, who selflessly averted calamity with his daring rescue. You, sir, restore my belief in the goodness within us all.

Dan Shaheen

North Conway

Michael “Stonewall” Callis: Most people killed by police are armed and violent

To the editor:

Recently, I spoke at the Carroll County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner.

The common concern was the heroin epidemic and what to do about it.

In speaking to my Republican friends, I explained  that the gateway drug to heroin was pharmaceutical opiates much more so than marijuana, based on current developments.

The pharmaceutical companies were forbidden from advertising drugs, but that ended, coinciding with the introduction of Viagra.

Now, the pharma companies spend more on advertising than research.

I  went on to propose a ban on drug advertising for 10 years and using the money that pharma companies would have spent on advertising to be spent on beds and rehabilitation for addicts and their family needs.  

Daymond Steer was right in writing that there was a common concern among the candidates about the heroin crisis in his recent Conway Daily Sun article reporting on the Lincoln Day Dinner.

My approach would punish the perpetrators and send a message to drug companies to avoid behavior that results in tragic consequences.

The tobacco companies paid the states retribution for the burden smoking cigarettes put on state costs for health care.

The same  argument can be made against opiate-dealing drug companies.

My approach was the only one to address how to pay for costs associated with the heroin crisis and prevent it from happening again.

Thank you to Daymond Steer for mentioning I am a candidate. I will be on the  Sept. 13 Republican primary ballot for U.S. House of Representatives.

Michael “Stonewall” Callis

Conway