Category Archives: Blog

Here are some essays and opinion pieces from our hosts and listeners.

The Hunt for the Rare, White Neo-Nazi

by William Gleed

On Saturday, August 19, Boston became the site of the latest protests between the alt-right and its opponents. This is the story of one man’s attempt to see history up close.

I went to the Boston Common on Saturday.  I wanted to see these alt-right neo-Nazis I’d heard about who were coming out to defend American history, heritage, and culture from the big, bad city elders of Boston and the week before in Charlottesville, Virginia.

You see, where I live, you don’t get to see real-life Klansmen and Nazis very often.  You read about them in history books and hear about them on the TV.  But real life Nazi sightings are about as rare as a solar eclipse.  And I might get to see both in one week!

Continue reading The Hunt for the Rare, White Neo-Nazi

Hagiography vs. History (Why the Confederate Monuments Have To Go)

Defenders of Rebel monuments dotting public areas throughout the Old Confederacy like to insist that the history of our nation is complex, which is true. They like to forget, however, that the history of “the South” is equally complex – and that said complexity is, literally and figuratively, whitewashed by the very monuments they defend.

Continue reading Hagiography vs. History (Why the Confederate Monuments Have To Go)

Transcending the Trans Ban

By William Gleed

Donald Trump has said he will ban transgendered people in the Military on the advice of “his generals” and other military experts. I don’t know who his generals are, but our generals already decided that issue, and trans people already serve proudly in all branches. But maybe the president has another agenda.

“That’s straight out of Machiavelli,” said Warren Blumenfeld, a University of Massachusetts professor, author, founding member of ACT UP, as well as the Gay Liberation Front and Queer Nation, an activist and pioneer in the fight for LGBTQ rights since the early 1960’s when he was a member of SDS. He founded the first LGBTQ national organization, the National Gay Student Center, which helped college and university groups organize Gay Straight Alliances on their campuses.

“It’s the internal enemy,” he said.

Continue reading Transcending the Trans Ban

Chinese Territorial Disputes and North Korean ICBM launches: One Heck of a Coincidence

by D.J. McGuire

In mid-June, the Chinese Communist Party faced two threats to its ever-growing geopolitical ambitions. Less than a month later, its North Korean ally test-fired its first missile capable of hitting the continental United States.

Continue reading Chinese Territorial Disputes and North Korean ICBM launches: One Heck of a Coincidence

A Grand Juror Makes His Case

By William Gleed

Let’s begin here. A federal grand jury is no witch hunt, and it’s not about indicting a ham sandwich. A grand jury does not insult voters, nor does it subvert the Constitution. I know this because I served on federal grand jury in Concord, New Hampshire, for eighteen months from 2011-2012. Here’s some of what I learned.

There are only three things the federal government can compel a citizen to do: make you serve in the military, pay your taxes, and serve on a grand jury. I was happy to serve once I realized that, like death and taxes, I couldn’t get out of it.

Unlike a regular jury, as a grand jury juror you can question witnesses yourself, and you are encouraged to do so. You can subpoena documents (like a tax return) and compel testimony. You can tell a federal prosecutor and all the federal enforcement agencies that, no, you can’t charge and try that person on those charges, and the jury on which I served would and did do exactly that more than once. I’ve never had power like that before, and it was sobering.

I’m still sworn to secrecy about the actual testimony I took, so I can’t tell you about the cases I worked on or the evidence I saw. But I am proud to know I helped make a very bad day for some very bad people who very much deserved it.

The thing I can do is tell you how a grand jury operates.

My jury was made up 23 ordinary, individually unremarkable Americans who’d never met each other until the day we showed up to serve on the panel. We were from all walks of life, all levels of education, and all kinds of life experiences. A couple were teachers, some were small business people, some had retired. A grand jury is meant to protect you from overzealous prosecution. It’s part of our great strength as a nation that ordinary, “unremarkable” people are the ones who fulfill this mission.

All a grand jury does is to listen to the evidence and the law. Their only task is to decide if the evidence is enough to bring a charge and proceed to trial. That’s it. A grand jury doesn’t decide if you’re guilty or not. It just applies the law as twenty-three ordinary citizens understand that law. A trial jury makes the call on guilt.

So if I would advise the current POTUS, I’d tell him to stop acting so guilty, and stop trying to cloud the issue if he and his minions hope to avoid indictments. The way Mr. Trump is disparaging the process is very dangerous to our democracy, and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts it’s not winning him the benefit of the doubt among the jurors.

People have asked me if you can dodge a grand jury.

You don’t dodge a grand jury.  A grand jury can come for you with the US Marshals, and will do just that, if you make them. There is no place you can hide, and that you try to run is evidence of guilt at your certain eventual trial. The jury can also jail you indefinitely for contempt if you ignore their subpoena. I think Mr. Trump would be safe from that, but where’s he going to run? Russia?

If POTUS, or anyone else, is not indicted in the Russia probe, what it means is that 12 out of 23 ordinary Americans didn’t think federal prosecutors have the evidence of a crime. They could have the evidence or more evidence in the future and bring it back to the same grand jury, who can then indict with the new evidence. But you should remember, a prosecutor doesn’t take a case to a grand jury unless and until they have the evidence. At least, that’s my experience.

Right now, I would guess – and it’s only a guess – that somebody is going to jail, or at least going to trial, though it remains to be seen who that will be.

People have asked me if POTUS could plead the Fifth amendment, were he called to testify. I tell them that he can plead the Fifth all he wants. He’s not at a trial or on trial. Nobody has been charged yet, so he might be premature.

But what would you think of someone who said he couldn’t answer your question because it might make him a criminal, and he was the president of the United States? Imagine YOU had the power to charge him for the crime if (and I stress “if”) the evidence is sufficient in your mind to substantiate your charge? How would you vote on that indictment?

I don’t remember anyone, in 18 months, and dozens of cases, who took the Fifth. And I sure don’t think it would have helped them if they had.

Finally, I want to tell you that If I were under investigation but knew myself to be innocent of those charges, I would want those accusations to go before a grand jury. Twenty-three ordinary people, doing their constitutional duty, the way the Founding Fathers meant it to work.

So what’s the Trump administration worried about?

William Gleed has taught writing and literature at Southern New Hampshire University, Franklin Pierce University, Middlesex Community College, and Northern Essex Community College in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He’s been a correspondent for the Portsmouth, NH Herald and Seacoast Newspapers. He received a graduate degree in  poetry writing from the University of New Hampshire in 1995.

The Week’s Advice for the Democrats: Hold Firm on Culture, Look for Openings From the Right on Economics

by D.J. McGuire

There has been a good deal of soul-searching within the Democratic Party about how to avoid repeating the 2014 and 2016 defeats. From what I can tell, most of those who (wisely) advise against careening leftward have recommended (not so wisely) downplaying “cultural” issues in an attempt to win back “working-class whites.” While I call myself a conservative Democrat, I have been advising largely the opposite – a move rightward on economic matters, not cultural ones. Events of the past week outside of the Senate health care votes have shown that to be the better approach.

Continue reading The Week’s Advice for the Democrats: Hold Firm on Culture, Look for Openings From the Right on Economics

The Miserable Mind of a Miserable Man

by Kevin Kelton

Imagine the late-night inner thoughts of Donald Trump. Imagine you’re him. You know you lied, cheated, bullied, and bamboozled your way to the presidency, the same unethical way you achieved every “success” in your life. Now Robert Mueller, leading a team of expert prosecutors and the entire FBI, is going through your business and financial life with a lice comb. You know what is out there for him to find. And you know he’ll find it.

Continue reading The Miserable Mind of a Miserable Man

“Single Payer” Myths from Left and Right

by D.J. McGuire

Amidst the wailing, gnashing of teeth, celebrations, and everything in between because the United States Senate has – literally – voted to let itself keep voting on health insurance today, I thought it might be a good idea to address some of the problematic myths surrounding the “single-payer” idea.

To hear American social democrats tell it, “single payer” will at last slay the evil profit motive from health care and ensure better health for all. Republicans, by contrast, view it as a gateway drug to a Venezuelan dystopia.

Continue reading “Single Payer” Myths from Left and Right

A Better Deal for the Bernie Base

by Kevin Kelton

It has been my experience (and probably yours, too) that most people can never take ownership of their bad life decisions. Bosses never call up up to say they were wrong to fire you. Former girlfriends/boyfriends never admit the breakup was a mistake. Drivers never accept fault in an accident. Police officers won’t even admit they were wrong to shoot an unarmed victim.

People don’t reflect on and reverse their poor choices because to do so would cast cognitive dissonance over our self-image as a good/smart/fair person. It goes to the core of who we are.

So it’s about time we stop expecting diehard Bernie Sanders supporters to change their tune on their efforts to derail the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Continue reading A Better Deal for the Bernie Base

Jeff Sessions Brings Back Federal For-Profit Police with Return to No-Charge Civil Asset Forfeiture

by D.J. McGuire

Amidst the whirl and rush over Donald Trump’s latest temper tantrum to The New York Times, I want to be sure the latest action by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (ironically, one of Trump’s targets) did not go unnoticed – because it’s not good (from the Washington Post). Continue reading Jeff Sessions Brings Back Federal For-Profit Police with Return to No-Charge Civil Asset Forfeiture