Froma Harrop - In politics, you don't get to build your ideal car

Bernie Sanders is clearly winding down his campaign for the Democratic nomination. In speeches and interviews over the weekend, he started turning his lance away from Hillary Clinton and toward Donald Trump.

Though most of his supporters say they will make the transition to Clinton, a sizable minority — 28 percent, according to a recent poll — insist they will not. Some vow to cast ballots for Trump. The dedicated liberals among them (as opposed to those just along for a populist ride) are being called "dead-enders."

I feel some of their pain, for I was once considered a dead-ender. The year was 2008. Barack Obama had clinched the Democratic nomination after a grueling contest. Some Obama bros had subjected Clinton and her female supporters to vile sexist attacks. And it wasn't just the knuckle draggers. The late Christopher Hitchens called her an "aging and resentful female."

The caucus and primary results, meanwhile, were a lot closer then than those between Clinton and Sanders.

It all seemed so unfair. Hillary the workhorse had labored at putting together a coherent health reform plan. The glamorous Obama floated by. Political expedience prompted him to oppose an individual mandate — unpopular because it forced everyone to obtain coverage but absolutely essential for universal health care.

I was sore. At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, I spent much time interviewing women still fuming over Clinton's treatment and unable to support Obama. "Dead-enders," these Clinton die-hards were called.

A poll in April 2008 had 35 percent of Clinton voters saying they would vote for Republican John McCain if Obama were to be the Democratic nominee. I, too, briefly toyed with the idea. After all, McCain at that time had retained a reputation for moderation. (He would have made a more plausible president than Trump ever will.)

McCain's choice of the abominable Sarah Palin as his running mate quickly cured the so-called dead-enders of that notion.

And boy, were we wrong about Obama. Obama pulled America from the brink of another Great Depression. He championed the Dodd-Frank finance reforms and oversaw the passage of the Affordable Care Act (individual mandate included). He did it with virtually no Republican support and not a whiff of personal scandal. Obama will go down as one of the greatest presidents of our lifetime.

Has Sanders been treated unfairly as the Bernie camp asserts? There may be a valid grievance here and there, such as the scheduling of the debates in a way that benefited Clinton.

But no, the system wasn't rigged against Sanders. It was in place before his candidacy. And Sanders gained extraordinary access to the infrastructure of a party he never joined.

As the apparent (if unannounced) truce between Clinton and Sanders sinks in, some of his dead-enders will cool down. Sanders surely knows that his movement will have far more influence docked in the Democratic Party than sailing off into third-party oblivion.

One last but important point: Participating in a party primary or caucus in no way obligates one to vote for that party's eventual nominee. Anyone who genuinely wants a vulgar and unstable authoritarian to lead the nation has every right to vote for Trump.

But those who don't want Trump — but rather wish to punish Clinton for prevailing over their hero — have things to think about. The country, for starters.

In politics, there's no building your ideal car. We end up choosing the preferable of two models. Doing something else with one's vote also affects the outcome.

Frustration can hurt, but it helps to not over-identify with a candidate. To the dead-enders of 2016, peace.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

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Lakes Region Profiles — A former summer camp transforms into Waldron Bay

by Frank Roche

President, Roche Realty Group


Like so many boys' and girls' camps in New Hampshire's Lakes Region, Camp Waldron operated successfully for many years, offering the campers great memories that have lasted a lifetime. This week let's take a look at what this former camp has morphed into today. Waldron Bay, on Lake Winnisquam in Meredith, is sort of a hidden secret, compared to many of the other lake access communities that have stronger road visibility.
Waldron Bay is one of the lowest density communities in the Lakes Region. There is a total of 334 acres of which the original developers set aside a total of 179 acres in conservation and common land area. It has a vast amount of shoreline including approximately 3,760 of shorefront on Lake Winnisquam, which is New Hampshire's third largest lake and is a water body that encompasses 4,264 acres of pristine water. Can you imagine the subdivision plan created only 65 single family home sites, ranging from one to ten acres in size, which were master planned to create a private, tranquil setting in the finest of Lakes Region traditions? Almost every lot boarders the 170 acres of Waldron Bay's preserved, private woodlands, that shelter the community from the noise and crowding of the outside world.
The community is located in the scenic resort town of Meredith and is very accessible from Interstate 93, off of exit 23 in New Hampton. The entrance is located roughly 5 miles from the highway, just after you pass Lake Wicwas.
At Waldron Bay you will find a delightful mix of water access homes and lots, as well as individual waterfront homes. The community has one of the best natural sandy beaches in the Lakes Region, for all residents to enjoy. This private beach includes a wonderful community beach pavilion building, overlooking the shoreline. The inside of the building features vaulted wood ceilings, fir flooring and a massive floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace. It offers a terrific place to lounge by the lake and have family get-togethers. Beach restrooms are located in the same building. There are a total of 21 individual boat slips along the shoreline. A tennis court and kayak racks are also included. The community features paved roads with underground utilities. Many of the homes feature panoramic views overlooking the lake towards Gunstock Ski Area. It is clear that the original developers were more interested in creating a gorgeous functional community than simply trying to maximize the total land area for profits. With its vast conserved lands, this community will remain extremely private for all future generations to enjoy.
During the past two years, there have been two waterfront home sales. The first one at $950,000 and the second at $1,160,000. Keep in mind, both these sales are toward the high end of values for Lake Winnisquam. Both of these were spectacular homes ranging from 3,400 to 4,800 square feet. There was one lake view home directly behind the common beach area that sold for $800,649. There have also been a considerable amount of lot sales that have happened in the same time period. In fact, there were five land sales in the most recent year. Prices ranged from $54,000 to $220,000 for a lot with direct lake views and tremendous privacy. It looks like there are only four lots left available for sale within the association, out of the original 65. Active lot listings range from $89,000 to $199,000. These lots range in size from four to six acres and of course have access to all of the wonderful amenities at Waldron Bay. There are currently seven single family homes for sale within the community. Prices range from $409,900 to $725,000 for properties off of the water and two for sale for $950,000 and $999,000 directly on the water.
If you are out there looking for a very solid water access community on a large lake, with tremendous privacy, I strongly suggest you take a look at Waldron Bay, where you can enjoy all of the four seasons in the beautiful Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Take a look on google.com and type in "homes for sale at Waldron Bay" and you will find that Rocherealtygroup.com shows up first and will direct you to the Waldron Bay community page, where you can find currently listed properties for sale.
Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Frank Roche is president of Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia and can be reached at 603-279-7046.

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Michael Barone - Clinton effort to close pay gap would just make it larger

Women, lamented Hillary Clinton in an April 2014 tweet, make just 77 cents on the dollar to men. As a presidential candidate she has repeated that lament again and again, updating the numbers, in line with government statistics, to 78 cents in July 2015 and 79 cents this year.

This injustice, she says, must be remedied by government. "Last time I checked," Clinton told an event sponsored by a salary-site called Glassdoor, "there's no discount for being a woman. Groceries don't cost us less, rent doesn't cost us less, so why should we be paid less?"

There is, as you might expect, a simple answer for that, which is that the 77 to 79 cents numbers are misleading. Women are being paid less than men almost entirely because, as my Washington Examiner colleague Ashe Schow writes, "The average working woman works in a lower-paying field and works fewer hours each week than the average working man."

Don't just take her word for it. Listen to Obama staffer Betsey Stevenson, a respected academic economist. "Seventy-seven cents captures the annual earnings of full-time, full-year women divided by the earnings of full-time, full-year men," she said when pressed by questions from the White House press corps. "If I said 77 cents was equal pay for equal work, then I completely misspoke."

It's actually been illegal to pay women less than men for the same work since Congress passed a law to that effect in 1963 — 53 years ago. Any employer who does so is inviting a lawsuit, which most small businesses can't afford, and courting a negative reputation, which any large business abhors.

Clinton's use of statistics that are misleading (as Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler concluded) is in service of an argument that as president she will break down barriers that are holding women back. That's part of her strategy to reassemble Barack Obama's 51 percent 2012 coalition by promising to break down barriers to upward mobility.

The argument is based on an assumption that every identifiable group would be equally represented in every stratum of society, absent the barriers erected by patriarchal white males. Such appeals have the political advantage of being always available. Beyond Lake Wobegon, some identifiable group will always have a tendency to rank lower than average in something.

The problem is that, if patriarchally erected barriers aren't the reason for disparate data, it will be hard to deliver on promises that things will be different if they're battered down. And policies that are supposed to do that may turn out to have the opposite of the intended effect.

Consider last week's front page Wall Street Journal story headlined, "Women in elite jobs face stubborn wage gap," and contain your outrage at injustices like the female M.D. who makes only $303,000 compared to her husband's $364,000. The reporter's suggested cure for this injustice? More men need to take paternity leave and do additional housework.

Which is to say, the gap results not from institutional barriers but from personal choices, which tend to be rooted in biology. Science — we all respect science, don't we? — tells us men and women are different. Only women give birth and, it turns out, they're more likely to take parental leave and choose work that requires limited and definite hours, and which, accordingly, pays less.

Note that these decisions are being made by people who grew up when most women worked outside the home and who attended female-majority colleges and graduate schools. Such women know they have choices, and they tend to choose to trade away income for family time. That's a rational choice, even if it means never being CEO.

Hillary Clinton's solutions for equalizing pay — "flexible scheduling, paid family leave and earned sick days" — tend to encourage women to take time off from work, which in turn tends toward lower lifetime earnings. That's certainly been the effect in Scandinavia, where such policies have been carried farthest. The effect, Swedish scholar Nima Sanandaji writes, is that "many women work, but seldom in the private sector and seldom enough hours to reach the top."

The fact is that the barriers Clinton thinks are holding women back mostly came down years ago. Her continuing battle against 1950s norms may inspire women of a certain age. But it doesn't ring true for millennial women, who have been voting overwhelmingly against her in Democratic primaries. Misleading statistics, it turns out, don't make good politics.

(Syndicated columnist Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)

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Jim Hightower - Pent up fury

Jack Nicholson dryly noted that his mother once called him a son of a bitch — and didn't comprehend the irony.

2016 has certainly been an odd year for the political and corporate elites. They certainly couldn't predict (and then subsequently stayed in denial about) the groundswell from the masses in terms of the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Donnie Trump. Much like the Nicholson example, the aloof Powers That Be are oblivious to irony: they are the ones who gave birth to the mass anger that now confronts them.

The political cognoscenti have not understood the massive public rage from today's "unAmerica" of glaring inequality and mass downward mobility that is the direct product of their wrenching the system with such power tools as: "free" trade agreements, union busting, defunding public services, downsizing, offshoring, price gouging, Citizens United, privatization, the Wall Street bailout, student debt, tax dodging, criminalization of poverty, militarization of police ... and so god-awful much more.

Instead of comprehending the public rage from the above injustices, the established powers have lashed out at these political riff-raff and intruders. Their conventional wisdom (endlessly parroted by the corporate media) is that hordes of blue-collar voters, young people, independents, and others surging into the two outsiders presidential campaigns have been naive, unrealistic, selfish, stupid, ignorant, racist, misogynistic, anti-immigrant, fascist or some combination of the above. Of course, such characteristics can be found among every campaign's supporters, but smearing an insurgency of millions as nothing but airheads and haters only reveals the desperation of the smearers.

Take Trump's campaign. Yes, he has recklessly continued to fan the embers of hate, belittling Muslims, the disabled, Latino immigrants, women, Spanish-language reporters, and his catchall category of "losers" — all the while reveling in the role of outlandish, boorish autocrat. Therefore, pundits and the GOP's big shots conclude, his appeal and his supporters are racism personified. End of discussion. Yet, in addition to walling off Mexico and banning Muslim refugees, Trump speaks about NAFTA, runaway corporations, and our "stoopid" leaders who've turned their backs on American manufacturing and the struggling of families who count on those good jobs — and that's what many of his working class supporters say they're responding to.

Sanders, too, is winning phenomenal support from a similar constituency, and he's winning an amazing 70-85 percent of 17-30-year-old voters. Like Trump, he's hammering the pampered rich who disdain and discard the working class, but in a very different way: he's also offering a renewed, uplifting, Rooseveltian vision of an "America for All," not just for billionaires.

The real story, however, is not about the two maverick candidates, but about the waves of ordinary people who've created and lifted their campaigns. They embody and give voice to the millions wrecked by Wall Street greed in the 2008 crash, who were left out of the widely ballyhooed "recovery," and who now realize that they're not included in the elite's laissez faire schemes of future American prosperity. These voters are hurting today, distressed about tomorrow, and fed up with the two-party indifference to "people like us."

They are the reason the Bernie and Donnie phenomena are not just 2016 flare-ups — but in the words of Sanders' clarion call — "a political revolution." The elite's ploys to trivialize the impact of these campaigns will only stoke the fires of the newly politicized outsiders. No matter what happens this year to Sanders and Trump, the people are not going away. The rebellion is on. Sanders and Trump are only the current messengers. The message itself is that We, the Grassroots People, now see that we're being sold out to giant corporations by our own leaders. Like the distant rumble of thunder, the boisterous uprising of outsiders in this year's presidential election signals the approach of an historic storm.

(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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Froma Harrop - Cure for very expensive cities is moving vans

A funny thing didn't happen on the way to the digital revolution. It failed to empty out the cities. If knowledge workers could communicate from anywhere, the futurists figured, why would they subject themselves to the traffic and noise of urban life? They could easily move their screens to a mountain chalet, beach house or Mediterranean cafe.

The opposite happened. Instead of spreading out, many members of the "creative class" scrunched themselves into a handful of acres in a few select cities. As a result, housing prices have exploded in London, New York and San Francisco — and are rising fast in Boston, Seattle, Denver and other centers for tech and finance. The elite apparently want to be around good restaurants, high-end shopping and other elites.

And so what happens to the longtime residents of modest means and new arrivals serving the gentry's needs? When an influx of genius coders pushes small-apartment rents into the thousands, working families of four get pushed out.

The solution to the high cost of shelter is to increase the supply, say some economists, real estate interests and politicians owned by the real estate interests. In cities bounded by water, that means increasing population density.

That can be part of the answer. Some decaying industrial areas may be ripe for new development. But here's the problem: Many of the most desirable urban neighborhoods are desirable precisely for their quirky small houses and low-slung apartment buildings. Local shops and restaurants line their main streets. Replace these structures with a forest of sterile towers and you destroy what made these areas valuable in the first place.

Zeroing in on London, The Economist blames "faulty land-use regulation" for the city's high cost of housing. It prescribes building on the "green belt," which was created to preserve open space around the central city — and scoffs at rules protecting views of the iconic St. Paul's Cathedral. (Guess only the penthouses would have the views.)

Like much of the "build, baby, build" crowd, the magazine parades its agenda behind the banner of diversity and fighting income inequality. Well, let's ask. Would turning our old cities into soulless Singapores make these places more affordable?

The Economist complains that population density in central London is only half that of New York. Thing is, the rent for a centrally located one-bedroom apartment is 22 percent higher in New York than in London. In hot real estate markets, increasing supply can also hike demand.

For example, building booms in Williamsburg and other gentrifying parts of Brooklyn have attracted more moneyed people while leveling the tenements where poorer folk used to live.

There are remedies for the high cost of housing. One is to move elsewhere. It could be to a lesser neighborhood or nearby town served by public transportation. (Clamor against high rents tends to focus on upscale districts.)

And don't forget the other great metropolises in this vast land of ours. Columbus, Omaha, Nashville, Baton Rouge and Spokane, to name a few, cost a lot less. They have great bars, hip districts and housing to die for.

As for the lower-income residents who remain in expensive cities, one fix is to pay them commensurate with the cost of living. A $15-an-hour minimum wage in the pricier locales makes total sense.

In sum, the notion that only a handful of ZIP codes can quench 21st-century ambitions is strange. The technology that lets Cleveland make video calls to Honolulu ought to be used. As for mingling, there's now a Starbucks everywhere.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

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