E. Scott Cracraft - An open letter to Obama-bashers

Those of you, including Tea Partiers, Christian conservatives, Trumpites, and "angry white men" (and women) who have been bashing President Obama since 2008 and telling lies about him should soon be satisfied. In January, we will have a new president and Obama will be out of office. You should all be ashamed.

For the last eight years, you have engaged in disinformation, misinformation, and lies about our first African-American president. You have called him everything from a socialist to a Marxist to a communist and it is doubtful that many of you even understand what those terms mean.

You keep whining that Obama has not accomplished anything. Actually, his administration has gone a long way in cleaning up the mess left by its predecessor. And, anything that he has not accomplished has been largely due to people like YOU. Obama has reached across the aisle many times only to get his hand bitten.

You perpetuated the lie that he was not born here in spite of the fact that that claim has been thrown out of every court and election board in the country. You told this lie even when it was never brought up in Congress when it ratified the Electoral College's decision and even Senator McCain, who had a lot to gain from this lie, called it a lie. It is sad that now your believe that now that even Donald Trump said he was born here.

Even in the Lakes Region, a former state representative made a fool of himself and embarrassed the state by making thinly-veiled threats to members of the Election Commission over this matter. For those Obama-bashers who claim the name "Christian," I believe that bearing false witness against one's neighbor violates one of the Big Ten.

You attacked his religion. Some of you who claim he is a Muslim extremist were the same people who were attacking his CHRISTIAN pastor! I guess George Orwell would call the "doublethink." Ask yourselves: would a real Muslim extremist host Jewish holiday celebrations for his Jewish staff in the White House?

Then there was Obamacare. Originally, the ACA was supposed to have an affordable public option but Congress let the insurance companies have their way and that was taken out due to politicians in the back pockets of insurance companies and Big Pharma. You confused the issues even more by screaming that there were "death panels" on in the ACA which was compete lie. You also scared a lot of elderly people in the process.

And then you blamed many of our recent tragic shootings on Obama. Many of you said that he was behind it so he could declare martial law and seize your firearms! If Obama was really going to do that, would he not have done it earlier? Of course, you did not understand the constitutional standards required for martial law and, of course, he never did it. But, the gun manufacturers and dealers loved that lie and laughed all the way to the bank!

Still others, while constantly calling Obama a "traitor," have hoped for a military coup to topple Obama. Such an act would actually constitute "treason," according to the Constitution!

Some of you descended so low as to pick on his wife and children. You passed around photo-shopped pictures that made Michelle look ugly or even transgendered. You have even questioned her patriotism.

This writer is sure that to call this "racism" will outrage you but that is what it is. At the very least, it is racial discrimination because you treated our first African-American president much worse than you ever treated a white candidate. So let's just call it what it is: racism.

Many of you did not like Bill Clinton either but none of you ever questioned that he was born in Arkansas. You held Obama to standards you would never expect of a white president just as many of you are now holding Ms. Clinton to standards you would never expect of a male president.

Hopefully (although it is doubtful), you will treat the first female president better than you treated the first African-American president. Shame on you!

(Scott Cracraft is a citizen, taxpayer, veteran, and resident of Gilford.)

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Lakes Region Profiles — In pursuit of peace in Gilmanton

by Mary O'Neill

Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group


Gilmanton is a peaceful and charming town with two small village areas, the Four Corners and the Iron Works – a fine place to live. But where are the "cultural advantages," some might argue. To this, Gene Logsdon, American author and farmer, would answer, "Why does no one speak of the cultural advantages of the country? For example, is a well-groomed...fertile farm [or an unspoiled, country setting like Gilmanton] any less cultural, any less artful, than paintings of fat angels on church ceilings?" (Logsdon, Living at Nature's Pace).

And then there are the advantages of country living that urban life can never deliver. Nobel laureate Halldor Laxness had some strong thoughts on this subject: "Townfolks have no conception of the peace that mother nature bestows, and as long as that peace is unfound the spirit must seek to quench its thirst with ephemeral novelties...the countryman, on the other hand, walks out into the verdant meadows into an atmosphere clear and pure, and as he breathes it into his lungs some unknown power streams through his limbs, invigorating body and soul" (Laxness, Independent People).

It is well worth your time to look into properties in Gilmanton. The history of this tranquil town dates back to 1727, when, on the 20th of May, Colonial Governor John Wentworth signed a charter officially incorporating the town. But due to fear of Native Americans in the region and land disputes, it was not settled until 1761. In that year, two brothers from the town of Brentwood were granted land in Gilmanton. John and Benjamin Mudgett set off during the summer months to clear the land and make preparations to spend the winter in the new town. Late in the fall they returned to the Brentwood area to gather their families and return with them to Gilmanton. Heavy snows initially delayed them, but on the evening of December 26, in the midst of the storm, Benjamin and his bride of five days, Hannah, set out on snowshoes to cover the trek from Epsom (Bardwell & Bergeron, The Lakes Region New Hampshire).

"If I attempt to go further it will kill me, and if I stop here I shall but die," cried Hannah Mudgett in the middle of the storm, and yet they pressed on (Bardwell & Bergeron). Eventually they reached the crude shelter built by Benjamin during the summer. Thus Hannah was the first white woman to live in Gilmanton and she remained in the area until her death at age 95. Within 15 days, John Mudgett and his wife and the family of Orlando Weed joined them (Bardwell & Bergeron). By 1767, there were 45 families living in the town (gilmantonnh.org). The first official census in 1790 records a population of 2,613. Today, 226 years later, the population has only increased a little over a thousand, hovering around 3,700 (nhes.nh.gov).

Within the town are several beautiful waterbodies that offer an affordable way to own waterfront or water access property. Crystal Lake is located near the historic center of Gilmanton. Unspoiled forested areas surround the 455-acre lake while summer camps and residences ring its shoreline. A state launch at the southern tip provides access to this warm-water fishery (nhfishfinder.com). One hundred and forty-five acre Shellcamp Lake accommodates all types of activities such as boating, kayaking, canoeing, sailing and fishing. To the north of this lake are Meadow Pond State Forest and Betty Smithers Town Forest and to the south are Ella Stroud Memorial Forest and Shaker State Forest, offering groomed trails for hiking and biking (lakelubbers.com). Reasonably-priced homes and camps encircle 82-acre Sawyer Lake. Homeowners have access to five sandy association beaches. A variety of species including trout, bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, crappie, carp, and catfish make the lake a popular fishing spot (hookandbullet.com). Other waterbodies include 199-acre Manning Lake, Loon Pond, Lake Eileen, Rollins Pond, and Meetinghouse Pond (gilmantonnh.org).

There are places waiting to be discovered along many a country road or tucked along the lakeshore. One property currently available represents an adventure into the past. Build in 1793, the Temperance Tavern is a stately building situated in the Four Corners. It once served as the Governor's Mansion, the town's public house, and a courthouse. Now a private residence, all the antique features have been retained and restored including wide pine floors, six working Rumford fireplaces, and the dramatic 42 foot by 18 foot "Tavern" room (rocherealty.com). Or opt for a gentleman's dream on a magnificent parcel of land overlooking fields, ponds, and mountains.

Gilmanton is a wonderful possibility for aspiring homesteaders, city folk who dream of the countryside, or for those who just want a few moments of peace. I would match Gilmanton's rural roads gliding past sparkling lakes and historic buildings to "paintings of fat angels on church ceilings" any day.

Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, and can be reached at 603-366-6306.



Temperance Tavern in Gilmanton's Four Corners transports you into another time. (Courtesy photo)

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Laconia's Hidden Gems on Lake Winnisquam


Over the years, I have seen many vacationers, second-home owners and tourists drive along Union Avenue (Route 3) through Laconia's major artery and never really see some of the great housing opportunities and neighborhoods that exist along the easterly shore of Lake Winnisquam, west of Union Avenue (Route 3). They drive past the box stores in Tilton and approach Laconia's downtown and travel through a myriad of franchise restaurants along Paugus Bay; however, many of them do not realize that there is a real hidden secret. There are two wonderful neighborhoods, which enjoy large private association beaches on Lake Winnisquam. Lake Winnisquam is New Hampshire's third-largest lake. It includes approximately 4,264 acres of pristine water and is roughly 1/10th of the size of Lake Winnipesaukee in surface area. It is a deep lake, with a maximum depth of 154 feet and an average depth of 52 feet. The lake shoreline is 28 miles long, measuring 5.4 miles long and approximately 1.7 miles wide. There are five islands on Lake Winnisquam and five towns enjoy shore frontage.
On the southerly end of Shore Drive in Laconia, there is a wonderful residential neighborhood with homes fronting on Shore Drive and neighboring streets that belong to the Lakewood Beach Association on Lake Winnisquam. Rarely do you find a natural beach with a breathtaking setting like this one. The association beach includes roughly 1,280 feet of sandy shorefront on 4.65 acres and is set back nicely from the road. All of the members of this association in the neighborhood have deeded beach rights to this wonderful amenity. It rivals small state parks, such as Ellacoya State Park or Wellington State Park, on a smaller scale. The huge natural sandy beach is enjoyed by all residents, where they gather for family parties, barbecues, ice cream socials and even a movie night at dusk – what a great family neighborhood, where children can make lasting friendships and memories and the parents can interact socially with their neighbors. The annual dues are only $65 per year, which is very minimal compared to other associations in the Lakes Region and not only can you use the beach, but there are spots for your canoes or kayaks. All of the homes include city water and sewer.
Just up the road, there is another wonderful water access association. The Wildwood Shores Association is a similar residential community and includes deeded beach rights to Wildwood Shores Beach, a 345-foot natural sandy beach on 1.61 acres with men's and ladies' bath houses, kayak racks, a boat launch and some boat moorings. Around the corner they have tennis courts for residents. The Wildwood Village Condominium is spread out throughout the neighborhood with an attractive pond. All of these homes include City Water and Sewer. The annual dues are only $90 per year.
Throughout both communities, there is a wonderful mix of architectural designs to choose from, from capes to ranches, garrisons, colonials and splits – there is something for everyone. Also, there is a wonderful selection of custom waterfront homes along Shore Drive. At the beginning of my real estate career, in the late 1970s, the two neighborhoods were primarily used by full time residents, however, over the years I have seen a big transition. Many second-home owners have discovered the natural beauty of the area, with its gorgeous beaches and close proximity to downtown Laconia, shopping, restaurants and golf courses. Likewise, both neighborhoods are within 15 minutes to Gunstock. In summary, there is a wonderful mix of year-round residents, semi-retired couples and second-home owners.
When you compare the selling prices of these water access homes to other water access communities around the Lakes Region, you will find the prices are very attractive. During the last three years, the average selling price has ranged from $244,312 to $247,045 – a bargain when you consider that they have deeded private waterfront access to enjoy.
Here is a brief synopsis of the average selling prices over the last three years:
Eight water access home sales with an average sales price of $244,312.
Four condo sales with an average sales price of $194,850.
One waterfront home sold for $810,000.
Eleven water access home sales with an average sales price of $247,045.
One condo sold for $163,000.
One waterfront home sold for $875,000.
Six water access home sales with an average sales price of $245,532.
Three condo sales with an average sales price of $148,166.
Two waterfront home sales with an average sales price of $802,500.
Overall from what you can see above, the pricing has stayed very consistent and the families that have purchased in these wonderful neighborhoods have made a solid investment with excellent square footage, many already upgraded and a great amenity package. Many of the homes have been upgraded and added to over the years. The landscaping and overall setting creates real value going into the future. For those of you who are considering a water access property, semi-retirement home or second home, this is a great area consider. Please contact you favorite realtor for more information and product choices available at this time. It has always been one of Roche Realty Group's best sellers! People are truly amazed when they get down there are able to see these communities for themselves!

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Pat Buchanan - How Trump wins the debate

On one of my first trips to New Hampshire in 1991, to challenge President George H. W. Bush, I ran into Sen. Eugene McCarthy. He was returning to the scene of his '68 triumph, when he had inflicted the first crippling wound on Lyndon Johnson.

"Pat, you don't have to win up here, you know," he assured me. "All you have to do is beat the point spread."

"Beat the point spread" is a good description of what Donald Trump has to do in Monday night's debate. With only a year in national politics, he does not have to show a mastery of foreign and domestic policy details. Rather, he has to do what John F. Kennedy did in 1960, and what Ronald Reagan did in 1980.

He has to meet and exceed expectations, which are not terribly high. He has to convince a plurality of voters, who seem prepared to vote for him, that he's not a terrible risk, and that he will be a president of whom they can be proud. He has to show the country a Trump that contradicts the caricature created by those who dominate our politics, culture and press.

The Trump on stage at Hofstra University will have 90 minutes to show that the malicious cartoon of Donald Trump is a libelous lie. He can do it, for he did it at the Mexico City press conference with President Pena Nieto where he surprised his allies and stunned his adversaries.

Recall. Kennedy and Reagan, too, came into their debates with a crucial slice of the electorate undecided but ready to vote for them if each could relieve the voters' anxieties about his being within reach of the button to launch a nuclear war.

Kennedy won the first debate, not because he offered more convincing arguments or more details on the issues, but because he appeared more lucid, likable and charismatic, more mature than folks had thought. And he seemed to point to a brighter, more challenging future for which the country was prepared after Ike. After that first debate, Americans could see JFK sitting in the Oval Office.

Reagan won his debate with Carter because his sunny disposition and demeanor and his "There you go again!" airy dismissal of Carter's nit-picking contradicted the malevolent media-created caricatures of the Gipper as a dangerous primitive or an amiable dunce.

Even George W. Bush, who, according to most judges, did not win a single debate against Al Gore or John Kerry, came off as a levelheaded fellow who was more relatable than the inventor of the internet or the windsurfer of Cape Cod.

The winner of presidential debates is not the one who compiles the most debating points. It is the one whom the audience decides they like, and can be comfortable taking a chance on.

Trump has the same imperative and same opportunity as JFK and Reagan. For the anticipated audience, of Super Bowl size, will be there to see him, not her. He is the challenger who fills up the sports arenas with the tens and scores of thousands, not Hillary Clinton.

If she were debating John Kasich or Jeb Bush, neither the viewing audience nor the title-fight excitement of Monday night would be there. Specifically, what does Trump need to do? He needs to show that he can be presidential. He needs to speak with confidence, but not cockiness, and to deal with Clinton's attacks directly, but with dignity and not disrespect. And humor always helps.

Clinton has a more difficult assignment.

America knows she knows the issues. But two-thirds of the country does not believe her to be honest or trustworthy. As her small crowds show, she sets no one on fire. Blacks, Hispanics and millenials who invested high hopes in Barack Obama seem to have no great hopes for her. She has no bold agenda, no New Deal or New Frontier.

"Why aren't I 50 points ahead?" wailed Hillary Clinton this week.

The answer is simple. America has seen enough of her and has no great desire to see any more; and she cannot change an impression hardened over 25 years — in 90 minutes.

But the country will accept her, if the only alternative is the Trump of the mainstream media's portrayal. Hence, the strategy of the Democratic Party for the next seven weeks is obvious: trash Trump, take him down, make him intolerable, and we win.

No matter how she performs though, Donald Trump can win the debate, for he is the one over whom the question marks hang. But he is also the one who can dissipate and destroy them with a presidential performance.

In that sense, this debate and this election are Trump's to win.

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

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Jim Hightower - He's a Trumpist, not a populist

To many hard-working people, this is a time of economic uncertainty. Thus, it is important to point out that America's superrich are intentionally and brazenly knocking down the middle class and poor to further enrich themselves. They are aided by clueless, corrupt politicians who don't care about the future of ordinary Americans or of America itself. In these hard times, along comes Donald J. Trump, a swaggering billionaire braggart promising greatness by goading working-class white people into mollifying their pain and anxiety by despising those "other people" situated near them on the social-economic ladder.

The media establishment has erroneously put the "populist" crown on Trump, endorsing his absurd assertion that he might be a billionaire, but he's "our" billionaire, fighting for us commoners!

I'm not telling anyone how to vote, and I certainly understand the inclination to grab the biggest stick you can find to whack the bejeezus out of those holding you and your family down. Trump has sold himself as the biggest, baddest stick around, the "outsider" who pummeled Jeb!, Marco, Ted, and the entire Republican establishment.

But I am here to say, don't be a sucker. There's not a single populist muscle in Donnie's whole plutocratic body. He will sell out wage earners, small business people, and anyone else to serve his own needs or whims, as his lifelong record (as opposed to his recent rhetoric) reveals.

Donnie learned from Daddy Fred, who built his son's inherited fortune by milking federal housing programs in the 1940s and '50s, and then — as the landlord of these New York City apartments — flagrantly discriminated against black applicants. One of Fred's tenants was Woody Guthrie, who was so appalled, he wrote about Trump's greed and racism. Donnie has enhanced his fortune by emulating his father's business ethics, including engaging in wage theft, outsourcing his clothing line and other brand-name products to such low-wage countries as China and Vietnam, and underpaying undocumented immigrants engaged in dangerous construction work on his luxury projects. Also, as of this summer, Trump or his companies were defendants in 1,300 lawsuits — many of which were over stiffing cabinet makers, plumbers and other small business suppliers.

Candidate Trump grandiosely says he'll lift up the middle class, but his proposed economic policies would do the opposite by expanding the GOP's old anti-labor agenda: giving massive new tax cuts to corporations and the rich, slashing public spending on programs that working families rely on, and embracing the laissez-faire ideological claptrap that Tea Party Republicans mindlessly repeat in their ceaseless efforts to drive down wages. On the minimum wage, he's taken more positions than you'll find in the "Kama Sutra." First, he said $7.25 an hour was already too much; then he called for abolishing the wage floor entirely; then he mused that he might be open to an increase (but certainly not the $15-an-hour living wage that worker activists are fighting for). Even Trump's "rock-solid" opposition to NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and other trade scams now looks to be a political bait-and-switch fraud, as indicated by his choice of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his VP and top policy "partner." Pence is a notorious free-trade fanatic who pushed zealously to pass all eight trade deals that came before him while in Congress, and he's been lobbying hard this year for passage of the TPP.

Now, consider whom he's vilifying, mocking and bullying at his rallies and in his tweets. Overwhelmingly, they are terrorized migrants, Mexican immigrants he labels "rapists," black protestors experiencing police brutality, disabled individuals, and so on. This pampered son of privilege wants America's hard-hit, angry working people to elect him because he demonstrates the "courage" to be politically incorrect by kicking the poor, the powerless, and the marginalized. Since he's willing to do that, how long will it take him to throw those workers into the ditch, too?

Some might see Trump as a brilliant, can-do corporate chieftain (though his multiple bankruptcies among other business disasters make that assessment doubtful). Or they might be tempted to cast a protest vote to throw the political class into disarray. But people should consider the consequences and not fool themselves into thinking Trump's a populist who'll be on our side. In his heart, mind, and whole being, the central political truth about Trump is that he's foremost a Trumpist — of, by and for himself.

(Jim Hightower has been called American's most popular populist. The radio commentator and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture is author of seven books, including "There's Nothing In the Middle of Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" and his new work, "Swim Against the Current: Even Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow".)

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