Why is it that Mexico can jail an American Marine who made a wrong turn, beating him, chaining his arms and legs to his cot, and holding him for over three months before he can even go before a judge for a hearing?
Why is it that Mexico can be used as a highway from various Central American countries to illegally cross the border into the United States, and we don't protest to Mexico?
Why is it that this administration, and the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, seems to believe we should have "open borders"?
Why does this administration act surprised that 60,000 young people have recently crossed into this country, when over six months ago, our department of Homeland Security requested funding for this anticipated event?
Why is it that our nation's sovereignty is being ignored for political purposes?
Why is it that our only true ally in the Middle East can have three of their teenagers kidnapped and brutally murdered, and be under endless rocket attacks, and our president doesn't tell the attackers to cease, but tells our ally to "act with restraint"?
Why is it that our Secretary of State has not made a forceful demand to Mexico to stop allowing its citizens, and transients, to cross our borders illegally?
Why hasn't our president demanded that Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi be released months ago? Why hasn't the Secretary of State also done so?
Why did it take over a year and a half to capture one of the leaders of the Benghazi attack?
Why is the leader of that Benghazi attack being accorded all the "rights" of an American citizen who may have committed a far less grievous crime, let alone an act of war?
Why hasn't the Ft. Hood shooting that killed 13 people and wounded over 30 others been called an act of war, when not doing so has deprived victims and their families of benefits that they are rightfully entitled to?
Why did this administration leave Iraq without a "Status of Forces" agreement?
Why hasn't a Status of Forces agreement been reached with the president of Afghanistan?
Why is there no outrage in the press over the appointment of (a political crony and donor to the Obama Campaign) Barbara Bosserman, to "investigate" the IRS scandal?
Why hasn't the president openly advised IRS employees to come forward and speak truthfully about the targeting of conservative groups?
What are the odds of seven IRS employees, all key to the investigation of targeting, having their hard drives crash and the information on them not be retrievable? (Note: A "nerd" friend claims those odds to be 1 in over 78 billion)
Why has the current administration "stonewalled" and not answered the question about who authored the talking points Ambassador Rice used concerning the Benghazi attacks?
Why has no one been held to account for the Justice Department's mis-representation of facts to a court, in order to obtain a warrant to spy on a reporter for Fox News, and his family?
Why has the press/media generally acted as a fan club for the president, ignoring blatant abuses of power?
Why does the media continue to cite the "recess appointments" made by Presidents Bush and Clinton, without pointing out that such appointments are authorized when the Senate is not in session? (President Obama's recess appointments were made when the Senate was in session. See Article 1, Section 5, Para 2, of the Constitution).
Why does the media not point out that the Articles of Impeachment for President Andrew Johnson were for his making a recess appointment when the Senate was in session?
Why has the media not kept up a drum beat about Senate Majority Leader Reid implementing the so-called "nuclear option" in the Senate; stripping away the 60 vote rule needed to close out a filibuster? (This historic change has far reaching effects as it allows the party in power to exercise what is called the tyranny of the majority. The late Democrat Senator Robert Byrd stated, "In the hands of a tyrannical majority and leadership, that kind of emasculation of the cloture rule would mean that minority rights would cease to exist in the U.S. Senate." The change instituted by Reid essentially allows any nominee submitted to the Senate to be rubber stamped by the majority party.)
Why was the decision made that our military personnel, with 10 or 15 years of faithful service, and experience, would be mustered out in an effort to reduce the size of the military and to allow continued recruitment of younger, untrained personnel?
Why do we not have answers to these questions? Think long and hard about your answer.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00
It is often said, believed and undoubtedly right that the Republicans' ace in midterm elections is apathetic Democrats not showing up at the polls. But that once predictable waltz into November is threatened by blabbermouths of the right's seeking self-aggrandizement by hurling darts at the sleeping Democratic bear.
It's not that they don't know better. It's that their fame and fortune rests not on electing Republicans but on nurturing their brands. Brands don't take summer vacations.
Recent calls to impeach President Obama and unsubtle attacks on users of birth control have been bombastic enough to crash through the wall of midterm inattention that surrounds two large and very reliable groups of Democratic voters: African-Americans and single women.
As any self-respecting Republican strategist understands, the ground game is to keep these potential voters disengaged. Leave the older, white conservative voters who predictably show up to determine the midterm results. Let the political planets revolve on their appointed paths and find a lounge chair beside the pool.
But now you have Sarah Palin demanding to impeach Obama. African-Americans are hardly alone in finding such talk emblematic of a civic culture in decline, but this group tends to take it more personally. It also enjoyed the recent experience of having helped save Mississippi pork-meister Thad Cochran's bacon in a runoff election with a tea party challenger. That was a power surge that calls for impeachment could recharge come November.
Thus, the conservative Wall Street Journal got rather personal in blasting Palin over talk of removing Obama. "Progressives would like nothing better than for Republicans to try to impeach Mr. Obama, so they could scare up otherwise demoralized Democratic voters to come to the polls this November," an editorial said.
It is right, of course.
Next up at bat but playing the part of the ball are single women. Single women now represent 25 percent of the potential electorate and half of voting-age women. In 2012, nearly 3 in 4 voted for Obama. But their participation in elections drops off dramatically in nonpresidential years.
And that's why Republicans should find the Hobby Lobby case so worrisome. For single women, the part that soared over the fence of distraction was not so much the Supreme Court decision, regrettable though it was. Rather, it was the circus of insulting taunts against sexually active women that surrounded it.
On Fox News Channel, you had Jesse Watters expounding on single women as "Beyonce voters." He explained, "They depend on government because they're not depending on their husbands."
You have to get the full picture. On the set, Watters was flanked by four leggy dolls giggling appreciatively at his wit. Fox News can transform the most average white guy into an hombre.
But when it comes to birth control, most women have no sense of humor at all. Many of the younger ones work like dogs for meager pay, often raising children at the same time. For them, an unwanted pregnancy can be economically disastrous. And of course, the unmarried sisterhood is a diverse club, including many older widows, independent careerists and divorced mothers trying to make it through the day. They're not laughing, either.
Don't worry if you missed the Fox News performance. The liberal site ThinkProgress has thoughtfully posted the video.
Democratic strategists are up nights trying to get distracted Democratic voters to circle Nov. 4 on their calendars. Social media open new pipelines, but the right's entertainment-industrial complex provides a much-needed prod to find a pencil.
So go ahead, Fox News. Tell a quarter of the voters that they are sluts for wanting a sex life. Make Nancy Pelosi's day.
(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.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00
Things are holding pretty steady as far as waterfront sales go on Winnipesaukee. There were ten residential sales on the lake in June of this year. The average price came in at $862,150 with a median price point of $748,750. There were also ten sales last June at an average price of $1,364,018. For the first half of the year there have been 48 transactions on Winnipesaukee with an average sales price of $1,103,389 and a median price point of $740,000 compared to 46 sales for the first half of 2013 at an average sales price of $979,300 and a median price of $792,500. So, it seems it is "steady as she goes" at least for now.
The least expensive sale on the big lake last month was at 13 Marlette Drive in Alton. This 1935 vintage, 1,650 square foot, three bedroom, one bath cottage has had some recent upgrades including granite countertops and new cabinets in the kitchen, a bath remodel, and fresh paint. It sits up high on a .08 acre lot across the street from the water so you have great views of the lake from the front porch. The big thing here is that you also have 50' of frontage across the street on the bay with a boathouse that holds a 24' boat plus two docks outside. Now this property did take a while to sell. It was first listed back in 2009 at $479,900, relisted twice in 2011 for $469,900 and then again for $459,900 with Michael Travis of Prudential Spencer Hughes. It was finally reduced to $399,000 and sold for $385,000 after a total of 1,726 days on the market. That's four and a half years, folks. Whoever said selling real estate was easy? This property is assessed at $256,900.
The mid-priced sale of the month was at 18 Sandy Shores Road in Tuftonboro. This bright and open home was built in 2000 and has a lot going for it with 2,328 square feet of space, three bedrooms, three baths, a large family room over one of the two heated 2-car garages plus it sits on a six acre lot with great views, 131' of level sandy frontage, and a dock. But this was no easy sale, either. It came on in June of 2011 at $1,395,000, in February of 2012 at $1,250,000, and then in March of this year at $995,000 with John Byers of Maxfield Real Estate. It was reduced to $872,000 and then sold for $845,000 after a total of 998 days on the market. It is assessed for $1,381,000.
The highest sale of the month was at 81 Timber Ridge Road in Wolfeboro. This Adirondack home was built in 2011 and has 5,888 square feet of space, four bedrooms, three and a half baths, a hickory kitchen, granite counter tops, the requisite great room with cathedral ceiling and fireplace, first floor master suite, finished lower level, and a family room over the three car garage. This home is extremely well done with attention paid to every detail. The home sits on a .57 acre lot with 101' of frontage, a sandy beach, and a 40' dock to sit on and enjoy fabulous sunsets. This home was listed in July of 2011 at $1.998 million, relisted in 2014 at the same number, reduced to $1.895 million, and sold for $1.81 million after a little over 600 days on the market. It was listed with Randy Parker with Maxfield Real Estate.
There were two sales on Winnisquam in June. One was a new construction, Energy Star certified, ranch style home at 589 Laconia Rd in Tilton. It has 2,048 square feet, three beds, two baths, custom cherry cabinetry, hardwood floors, granite counter tops and a walkout lower level. It sits on a .98 acre lot with 82' of frontage, and is permitted for a 40' dock. It was listed by Sandra Grace at RE/MAX Bayside for $359,000, was reduced to $349,000, and sold for $329,000 after 213 days on the market.
The other Winnisquam sale was at 54 Hill Road also in Tilton. This 1888 vintage, fully renovated lake cottage has 1,451 square feet with four bedrooms, two baths, knotty pine walls, cathedral and wood beamed ceilings, built-ins, stained glass, and lots of charm. It sits on a private .19 acre lot with 50' of frontage with a sandy beach and 33' dock. What more do you need? This property was first listed at $499,000 in September 2012, relisted in October of 2013 at $443,000 with Donna Royal of BHHS Verani Realty, was reduced to $415,00, and sold for $360,000 after at total of 636 days on the market. It is assessed at $370,000, These two sales bring the total number of waterfronts sold on Winnisquam this year to nine compared to five for the first half of 2013.
There was just one sale on Squam in June and that was at 12 Carl Way in Ashland. This cape style home built in 1953 has 1,897 square feet, four bedrooms, two and a half baths, a knotty pine interior, wood burning fireplace, a great screened in porch, and a large deck down at the water's edge. There's also a detached garage with game room above. The home sits on a 1.2 acre lot with 100' of frontage and a dock. This home was listed by Jerry Love at Peabody Smith Realty at $789,000, was reduced to $675,000 and sold for a little over the asking price at $680,000. It is assessed at $639,750.
Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of 7/16/14. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00
Most of us celebrated July 4 by barbequing, doing a few 12-ounce elbow bends and setting off some fireworks. Some of us might have paused for a moment to reflect on that thing Jefferson wrote about 238 years ago: The Declaration of Independence.
"We the People" are faced — right now — with another of those "when in the course of human events" moments Jefferson wrote about. Not only is this a month to reconnect with our revolutionary heritage but it's also the appropriate time for re-declaring our independence, this time from "They the Corporations."
With little coverage by the mass media, and with the complicity of most lawmakers, domineering corporations have quietly but aggressively used the high court itself to write them and their money into the Constitution as our sovereigns. As legal scholar and Democratic activist Jamie Raskin said in testimony to the U.S. Senate judiciary committee this June: "In several recent 5-4 decisions, the wall protecting democracy from plutocracy has been crumbling under judicial attack."
Just one year after their Citizens United decision unleashed CEOs to be able to roll truckloads of their shareholders' funds into our elections (without asking those shareholders for permission or even informing them after the fact), that five assaulted our democracy again. Their 2011 verdict in the Arizona Free Enterprise Club case increased the volume of CorporateSpeak in elections by decreasing the speech of non-rich candidates. Specifically, they rejected the will of Arizonans who had voted to provide public funds for candidates who are willing to forego all special-interest money. This system gave the political ideas of the non-wealthy a chance to be heard when up against super-wealthy oligarchs. Public financing of elections was successfully widening public debate and freeing up political speech, so the same five corporate supremists stepped in to kill it, absurdly declaring that such laws give an "unfair advantage" to little-guy campaigns.
Next came this year's McCutcheon opinion, in which the same five blew the lid off the limits on money that an individual can pour on candidates during any given election cycle. The limit had been $123,000 — high enough that only about 600 people out of our 330 million reached that maximum in 2012.
The Court's narrow majority lifted the allowable total for one person's election-year spending to a stunning $5.9 million. That empowers a handful of the richest of rich donors — even fewer than 600 — to overwhelm the political voices of millions of common citizens, all in the name of free speech. Adding to this absurdity, this five-man wrecking crew blithely declares in its McCutcheon ruling that even transactions that appear to be obvious conflicts of interest are permissible (e.g., a CEO can give $25,000 to the head of a congressional committee — the same person who a week later can put a bill on the floor to benefit the CEO's corporation). Such corrupt transactions apparently "do not justify" putting restrictions on campaign contributions. Instead, the wily five ruled that the only donor-to-donee corruption that can be regulated is outright quid pro quo bribery.
And do not think that this is as far as the Court will go to empower Big Money. Already, corporate lawyers are asking the judiciary to strike down all limits on what each millionaire/billionaire can spend to elect or defeat any number of candidates, and they're pushing to reverse 29 state bans on campaign donations during legislative sessions (when lawmakers and lobbyists are in heat and most open to exchanging favors for money).
The unstated (but now abundantly clear) goal of the five co-conspirators is nothing less than the establishment of a free-market plutocracy over what used to be America. Eaten up with Ayn Randian dogma, they are using their judicial positions to commodify political participation, converting our elections (the ultimate public function) into just another private market for buying and selling. Why not just authorize the commodity exchanges to post the daily selling prices of politicians alongside the growing rate for pork bellies and Texas crude? Or why not rule that Wall Street can peddle derivatives based on bulk packages of subprime officeholders. But let's not give them ideas. With this Court's corporate quintet on the loose, absolute absurdity is no longer unimaginable.
But we can stop them. We need to treat the "free" in free speech as a verb, not an adjective. Let's join together around a Constitutional amendment to free up the people's rights from the corporate usurpers. Sixteen states and hundreds of cities, towns and municipalities have joined. For more information visit: www.democracyisforpeople.org
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00
Speaking to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Albuquerque in 2001, George W. Bush declared that, as Mexico was a friend and neighbor, "It's so important for us to tear down our barriers and walls that might separate Mexico from the United States."
Bush succeeded. And during his tenure, millions from Mexico exploited his magnanimity to violate our laws, trample upon our sovereignty, walk into our country, and remain here.
In 2007, backed by John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Teddy Kennedy and Barack Obama, Bush backed amnesty for the 12 million people who had entered America illegally. The nation thundered no. And Congress sustained the nation.
The latest mass border crossing by scores of thousands of tots, teenagers and toughs from Central America has killed amnesty in 2014, and probably for the duration of the Obama presidency.
Indeed, with the massive media coverage of the crisis on the border, immigration, legal and illegal, and what it portends for our future, could become the decisive issue of 2014 and 2016. But it needs to be put in a larger context. For this issue is about more than whether the Chamber of Commerce gets amnesty for its members who have been exploiting cheap illegal labor.
The real issue: Will America remain one nation, or are we are on the road to Balkanization and the breakup of America into ethnic enclaves? For, as Ronald Reagan said, a nation that cannot control its borders isn't really a nation anymore.
In Federalist No. 2, John Jay wrote, "Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people — a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs ... "
He called Americans a "band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties." The republic of the founders for whom Jay spoke did not give a fig for diversity. They cherished our unity, commonality, and sameness of ancestry, culture, faith and traditions.
We were not a nation of immigrants in 1789. They came later. From 1845-1849, the Irish fleeing the famine. From 1890-1920, the Germans. Then the Italians, Poles, Jews and other Eastern Europeans. Then, immigration was suspended in 1924.
From 1925 to 1965, the children and grandchildren of those immigrants were assimilated, Americanized. In strong public schools, they were taught our language, literature and history, and celebrated our holidays and heroes. We endured together through the Depression and sacrificed together in World War II and the Cold War.
By 1960, we had become truly one nation and one people. America was not perfect. No country is. But no country ever rivaled what America had become. She was proud, united, free, the first nation on earth. And though the civil rights movement had just begun, nowhere did black peoples enjoy the freedom and prosperity of African-Americans.
Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday that America is today in "a fundamentally better place than we were 50 years ago." In some ways that is so. Equality of rights has been realized. Miraculous cures in medicine have kept alive many of us who would not have survived the same maladies half a century ago.
But we are no longer that "band of brethren." We are no longer one unique people "descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion."
We are from every continent and country. Nearly 4 in 10 Americans trace their ancestry to Asia, Africa and Latin America. We are a multiracial, multilingual, multicultural society in a world where countless countries are being torn apart over race, religion and roots.
We no longer speak the same language, worship the same God, honor the same heroes or share the same holidays. Christmas and Easter have been privatized. Columbus is reviled. Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee are out of the pantheon. Cesar Chavez is in.
Our politics have become poisonous. Our political parties are at each other's throats.
Christianity is in decline. Traditional churches are sundering over moral issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. Islam is surging.
Our society seems to be disintegrating. Over 40 percent of all births now are illegitimate. Among Hispanics, the figure is 52 percent. Among African-Americans, 73 percent.
And among children born to single moms, the drug use rate and the dropout rate, the crime rate and the incarceration rate, are many times higher than among children born to married parents.
If a country is a land of defined and defended borders, within which resides a people of a common ancestry, history, language, faith, culture and traditions, in what sense are we Americans one nation and one people today?
Neocons say we are a new kind of nation, an ideological nation erected upon a written Constitution and Bill of Rights. But equality, democracy and diversity are not mentioned in the Constitution. As for what our founding documents mean, even the Supreme Court does not agree.
More and more, 21st-century America seems to meet rather well Metternich's depiction of Italy — "a geographic expression."
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00