In the near term, bet on the men with the guns.
The Egyptian Army, being slowly squeezed out of its central role in the nation's life by Mohammed Morsi, waited for the moment to oust the elected president and crush his Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi was deposed and arrested, and the Brotherhood leaders rounded up and jailed. Their Cairo encampments were cleansed by gunfire. Hundreds of brothers were cut down and killed, and thousands wounded.
Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, gazing into his mirror, must see Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser gazing back.
In the near term, the Brotherhood is in disarray. It backed the Arab Spring, heeded America's call for free elections, and won parliament and the presidency, only to have the army, with America's backing, overthrow its Islamist government in a military coup.
If the Brotherhood feels betrayed, if it believes its sons who opposed the coup died as martyrs, if it has concluded that the Americans, with their endless blather about democracy, are duplicitous hypocrites, are they entirely wrong?
In the short term, America must get on with the generals. For it is they who bottle up Hamas in Gaza, battle al-Qaida in Sinai, protect the Christian Copts, grant our Air Force overflight rights and our Navy first-in-line transit rights through the Suez Canal. And it is the generals who continue to honor the terms of the Camp David accords.
Understandably, Israeli diplomats are imploring us, the slaughter aside, not to cut our ties to the Egyptian military. Yet it is hard to believe the long-term future belongs to the generals.
Looking back, of all the forces unleashed by the Arab Spring, the Facebook-Twitter crowd calling for secular democracy harvested the greatest publicity. But even then, other forces seemed to have deeper and broader roots in the hearts and minds of the masses.
Those forces: tribalism, nationalism and Islamism.
The generals may work hand-in-glove with the Israelis. But anti-Zionism remains one of the few rallying cries that can unite secularist and Islamist, Sunni and Shia.
And as the Jews have been expelled from the Arab world, today it is the turn of the Christians. They have seen priests murdered, churches torched and congregations massacred in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and beyond, in Ethiopia and Nigeria — by extremists who cite the Quran for what they are doing. And after the Jews and Christians are gone, it is likely to be the turn of the Americans.
Why? First, the Americans are seen as standing behind Israel's regional superiority and dominance of the Palestinian Arabs.
Second, while we defend our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as liberations from dictatorship and obscurantism, they are seen over there as America using her power to impose upon these nations our institutions and our ideology. And while America's achievements may inspire awe, America's culture, suffused with feminist and Hollywood values, evokes revulsion.
Millions of Muslims are willing to die to keep America and American values out of their societies. How many Americans are willing to fight and die over there to force them on Arab peoples?
Third, there is a growing confidence in the Islamic world that the future belongs to them. Whence comes this confidence?
Western peoples are dying, as Muslim populations are exploding and Muslim migrants are pouring into Europe and the United States. While Islam is booming in the East and being welcomed in the West, Christianity is dying in the West and being expelled from the East.
It is not unreasonable for Muslim visionaries to see the next 500 years as an era of Islamic ascendancy, as the last 500 saw a Western ascendancy.
Fourth, while Egypt's army has the guns and, temporarily, the banner of patriotism, it has no faith, no philosophy, no ideology to justify an indefinite hold on power. When, like Hosni Mubarak, this generation of generals is seen as incompetent and repressive, upon what do they fall back to justify their legitimacy to the next crowd in Tahrir Square?
Indeed, this is America's dilemma. When Japan attacked and Adolf Hitler declared war, and when Josef Stalin set out to dominate the world, all we held dear — faith, family, freedom, country — said resist. When Osama bin Laden took down our towers, we united to take down him and al-Qaida.
Millions of Muslims are willing to fight to drive us out of their part of the world. How many Americans are willing to send our sons to die for secular democracy and American values in their part of the world?
After World War II, when communists captured the banner of nationalism, they were on the move in China, Vietnam, Cuba. When Ronald Reagan recaptured the banners of nationalism in Angola, Afghanistan and Eastern Europe, suddenly it was the communists on the run.
Ethnonationalism and religious fundamentalism tore apart the British, French and Soviet empires. All are working now against the U.S. Imperium. The generals in Egypt won this round. But is there any doubt as to which way the wind is blowing?
(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.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 August 2013 10:48
Attention citizens: I have received inside information revealing that global terrorists are targeting us again. Their target is not Washington, New York City or even Disneyland. Rather, it is: Concord.
You know, in New Hampshire. The state capital. Even though only about 43,000 people live there, Concord apparently has some sort of secret significance that makes it a target. We can infer this from an extraordinary defensive action being taken by local authorities. Concord police, fully backed by the city council, are preparing for a horrific terroristical assault. Specifically, they sought a $258,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security so they can gird themselves for the onslaught by purchasing a "Lenco BearCat G3" armored vehicle. Sure enough, DHS gladly coughed up the cash.
This bold stand to defend the homeland was revealed by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, which obtained a copy of the grant request. Actually, it is not al-Qaida terrorists that have Concord's police gearing up for war, but, as their request put it, "the domestic type" of terrorists.
Really? Terrorists in Concord? Yes, claim police, referring vaguely to "daily challenges" and warning that the "threat is real and here."
Who are these domestic demons? The police finger two groups. First, Occupy N.H. But it's a benign bunch that legitimately protests inequalities in our country, and its only "violence" has been directed at litter, having joined in local litter pickup days. Second, the Free State Project. But it's just a libertarianish outfit trying to convince 20,000 like-minded people to move to New Hampshire and support limited government. How's that for irony?
Neither group is armed or dangerous, and both are committed to nonviolence. Still, the police insist they need a BearCat G3 because of terrorist threats that might involve "chemical, biological and radiological materials, as well as explosive gases."
However, the most explosive gas in Concord is spewing directly from the out-of-control police officials who assail their own peaceful citizens as "terrorists." And the real threat to our security is DHS, which keeps shoveling our tax dollars into the militarization of America's police forces.
In fact, the real motive behind Concord's desire for this war toy seems to have been BearCat envy — it turns out that the nearby towns of Keene and Manchester already had BearCats, so Concord cops wanted to keep up with the Joneses in the ever-escalating police arms race.
But this ridiculous and dangerous conversion from honest police work to a martial force in our own land is not just a matter of acquiring arms, but of our police departments acquiring a military attitude. An example of this alarming shift can be found in, of all places, the Garden of Eden.
The Biblical Garden, we're told, was heaven on Earth ... until Adam ate that apple. Then all hell broke loose. Well, hell recently erupted in the garden again — this time in Arlington, Texas, on a small organic farm named "Garden of Eden." At about 7:30 on the morning of Aug. 2, a SWAT team of armed police agents, code enforcement officers and narcotics detectives suddenly exploded all over Shellie Smith's little farm. They burst through the gate, handcuffed the terrified residents and held them at gunpoint while the agents executed the raid's mission.
Which was what, exactly? A City of Arlington spokeswoman explained, "The purpose was to improve the quality of life (and) to resolve life safety issues within neighborhoods." It seems there had been complaints about marijuana being grown on the farm and about the place being unkempt.
So, what did the derring-do raiders achieve? Widespread ridicule for their farcical bust. They captured 17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants, some native grasses and all the sunflowers. Then they whacked down Shellie's sweet potato patch with a Weed Eater, and seized the farm's compost, along with some wooden pallets, old tires and furniture.
Notice what they did not find? Marijuana plants. Nor any other illegal products. In short, on the basis of rumor, autocratic police power was unleashed to "improve the quality of life" by destroying an organic farm.
Why would police resort to paramilitary force just to check out a few marijuana plants and some trash? Because right-wing officials and arms-industry lobbyists have been pushing hard to get police departments all across America to switch from a peacekeeping attitude to an aggressive, militarized SWAT mentality, with officers being armed, trained, and psyched to treat common citizens as enemies.
To learn more and help push back, go to aclu.org/militarization.
(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".)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 11:10
Imagine if you will, two young men meet somewhere in their town. They strike up a conversation and quickly become friends. It doesn't seem to matter that one of the young men is obviously poor while the other seems to be from a rather well-off family. They meet on a regular basis and talk of the things that interest them both . . . their friendship grows.
One morning before leaving home, William, the well-to-do young man, is advised by his mother that they are having friends for dinner and he replies that he will bring his friend. And he did.
Sadly, William's friend was embarrassed as he entered William's beautiful home and saw all those people beautifully dressed chatting as they awaited to be served a sumptuous meal in the elegant dining room. It was, to say the least, awkward and humiliating. William's heart ached for his friend and he couldn't understand how his parents and their friends could not see beyond the tattered clothes of his friend and discover the person that he knew and respected, the person who was his friend.
That experience so moved young William that he dedicated his life to bringing respect and nourishment of the body and soul to those who are often invisible to others.
Young William Booth founded what we now know to be the worldwide Salvation Army.
In Laconia, we are fortunate to have a very active and diverse branch of that army, headed up by Captains Steven and Sally Warren.
Among their many outreach programs, the Salvation Army offers a noon day meal at what they call The Friendly Kitchen. Over 20 different churches and other organizations contribute to providing a substantial meal every Tuesday through Sunday noon at their main building on Union Avenue. There are no restrictions on who may enter the dining hall. Often, some of the diners are workers in the area who know they are welcome and who know that volunteers from some local church or other organization have prepared a nice luncheon, including beverages and desert. Other diners may be temporarily residing at the Carey House or be local folks who enjoy the meals and the social aspect of community dining. Often, if there are left-overs, the remaining food can be given to the Carey House next door, where it will be used to help feed some of their residents.
There are a number of organizations who contribute food stuffs to the Salvation Army, including local supermarkets, farms, and individuals. Should you like to make a food contribution please call the main office at 524-1834.
Next door to the main building is the Salvation Army's Carey House, 528-8086. This house provides temporary shelter for up to 31 people each night. Within that number there are three modest sized family units, and the other rooms can accommodate up to 14 men and 6 women. The Carey House staff works with each of the residents to develop action plans to help them find work and regain their independence. As part of those plans the staff assists in myriad ways to help the residents find permanent housing. In speaking with Amanda Lewis, the director of the Carey House, I asked what kinds of items are most needed to help support the Carey House operation. One of the first items mentioned was paper products, particularly toilet tissue. As you can imagine, the bodily functions of 31 people requires substantial amounts of bath and facial tissues, paper towels, bar soap, washing machine detergent, and other cleansing agents. Of course there are any number of food stuffs that would also be welcome. Please consider the Carey House needs when you make your next shopping trip . . . they are located on the corner of Union Avenue and Spring Street and have an ample parking lot right off Union Avenue.
Another of the Good Works of the Salvation Army is its Thrift Store at 77 New Salem Street, in Laconia, 737-9998. This is a sizable location and it accepts most donations, except mattresses. Because of space limitations, on occasion they will put a hold on some electronics items that get overstocked. Otherwise, clothing (regardless of season), household items, furniture, toys, and most everything else is welcome. Those wishing to take a tax deduction simply need to ask and a receipt will be provided for the goods donated. This location provides temporary work for Carey House residents while also providing a shopping outlet for those seeking useful clothing, household, and electronics at very reasonable prices.
These are but of the few good works done by this wonderful organization. If you would like to make a contribution to help in the continuation of their good works, you may send your donation to them at P. O. Box 326, Laconia, NH, 03247-0326, or, if you would like to make a continuing monthly contribution, please send in to The Salvation Army Laconia Corps Processing Center, P. O. Box 955, Keene, NH 03431-0955.
Out of the goodness of his heart, and a desire to respect those less fortunate, young William Booth created this wonderful organization. Please help to continue to fulfill its promise.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
Last Updated on Monday, 19 August 2013 07:38
We logged a very healthy 16 waterfront sales on Winnipesaukee in July with an average sticker of $812,125. That's a big improvement over the four transactions last July, but the average sales price was well off the $1.153 million posted then. So far, through the end of July, there have been 61 waterfront sales on the big lake at an average price of $942,325. That's down from the 66 sales for the same period last year at an average price of $936,634. So, even though we were off to a slow start, things are catching up.
The least expensive Winni waterfront sale is typically an island property and so it is again with the sale of a 1970 vintage, four room, two bedroom, open concept cottage at 289 Cow Island in Tuftonboro. You won't get lost in this 800 square foot panel but you could get mesmerized by the sweeping lake views through the two walls of glass of the main house and from the wrap-around deck. There is a waterside bunk house that sleeps six, a huge deck over the water, and a 30' dock. The house sits on a .41 acre lot with 100' of frontage. This property was originally offered at $349,000, was reduced to $250,000, and sold for $232,000 after 650 days on the market. It is assessed at $290,400 so someone finally saw the value there.
The property representing our median price point sale is at 43 Brickyard Road in Alton. This 1940's, two bedroom cottage may likely make way for a new home as shore land protection approvals and a new septic design are already in place for a new structure. The .53 acre level lot is in an area of very nice homes and has fantastic sunset views, a sugar sand beach, and 90 feet of frontage. This property was listed way, way back in July of 2009 at $995,000 and has been on the market on and off ever since. It was offered this year at $797,000 and sold for $755,000. The property was on the market for a total of 1,048 days. The current assessed value is $794,000.
The highest sale on the big lake in July is the property at 5 Dock Road in Moultonborough. This 4,294 square foot, contemporary home was built in 1967 and features mostly one floor living with three bedrooms including the master "wing" on the main level and guest quarters upstairs. Walls of glass bring the views and light into this spacious home that features hardwood floors, a large stone fireplace, sun porch, a family room, and den. The real draw here, however, is the 1.7 acre lot with 287 feet of westerly facing frontage. This home is very usable as is but will undoubtedly undergo some renovations to make it is as stunning as the views. This home was offered at $1.99 million and sold for $1.675 million after only 81 days on the market. It is assessed at $2,147,300.
There were two sales on Winnisquam in July. A 1960's vintage, three bedroom, one bath cottage in need of some major renovation work or replacement at 59 Stoneybrook Road in Meredith found a new buyer who likely saw the value in the secluded 2 acre lot with 112' of frontage. This property is also situated next to 382 acres of State Forest that helps enhance its privacy. It was listed at $359,000 and was under contract for $322,000 after just after 20 days on the market. Over at 208 Eastman Shore Road a 2,500 square foot, 60's vintage, remodeled contemporary cape with four beds and three full baths on a .82 acre lot with 160 feet of frontage also found a new owner. This meticulously maintained home features hardwood floors, master suite, natural woodwork, vaulted ceilings, fireplace, a walk out basement, and great westerly views. This home was listed at $749,900 and quickly went under agreement for $740,000. It is assessed at $690,900.
There were three sales on Squam in July. The property at 518 High Haith Road in Moultonborough was the highest sale of the month on Squam. This 1975 vintage, five room, one bedroom, one bath home has 788 square feet of space and was originally built as a guest house for a neighboring property. It sits on a 1.23 acre lot providing nice privacy but just 35' of frontage...but, ah yes, it is Squam frontage after all! It was listed at $999,000 in Oct 2012, brought back on the market this year at $799,000 and sold quickly for $625,000. It is assessed at $1.277 million...and yes, like I said, it is Squam after all...
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 8/10/13. Roy Sanborn is a REALTOR® at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.
Last Updated on Friday, 16 August 2013 08:42
The failure of our corporate and political leaders to make sure every worker gets good health care is causing some unpleasant consequences — like widespread stomach flu.
Ill workers often spread illness, because millions of employees who deal directly with the public are not covered by paid sick leave policies. So, when they come down with something like the stomach flu, they tend to drag themselves to work, rather than going to bed until they recover, since staying home means a loss of pay — or even the loss of their jobs.
Low-wage workers in the restaurant industry are particularly vulnerable and, since they handle food, particularly threatening. Nearly 80 percent of America's food service workers receive no paid sick leave, and researchers have found that about half of them go to work ill because they fear losing their jobs if they don't. As a result, a study by the Centers for Disease Control finds that ill workers are causing up to 80 percent of America's stomach flu outbreaks, which is one reason CDC has declared our country's lack of paid sick leave to be a major public health threat.
You'd think the industry itself would be horrified enough by this endangerment of its customers that it would take the obvious curative step of providing the leave. But au contraire, amigos, such huge and hugely profitable chains as McDonald's, Red Lobster and Taco Bell not only fail to provide such commonsense care for their employees, but also have lobbied furiously against city and state efforts to require paid sick days.
Ironically, the top corporate executives of these chains (who are not involved in preparing or serving food to the public) are protected with full sick leave policies. For them to deny it to workers is idiotic, dangerously shortsighted — and even more sickening than stomach flu.
But what about our lawmakers? Where's the leadership we need on this basic issue of fairness and public health? To paraphrase an old bumper sticker: "When the people lead, leaders will follow. Or not."
Not when the "leaders" are in the pocket of corporate interests that don't like where the people are leading. Take Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who never met a corporate pocket too grungy to climb into.
This story starts in 2008, when the people of Milwaukee took the lead on the obvious need for a program allowing employees to earn a few days of paid sick leave each year, to be used if they fall ill or must care for a sick family member. Seven out of 10 Milwaukee voters approved that measure in a citywide referendum.
Corporate interests, however, sued to stall the people's will, tying the sick leave provision up in court until 2011. By then, the corporations had put up big bucks to put Walker into the governorship — and right into their pocket. Sure enough, he dutifully nullified the Milwaukee vote by passing a "state pre-emption" law, autocratically banning local governments from requiring sick leave benefits for employees.
Just three months later, Walker's pre-emption ploy was the star at a meeting of ALEC, the corporate front group that brings state legislators into secret sessions with CEOs and lobbyists. There, legislators are handed model laws to benefit corporations — then sent home to pass them. At a session overseen by Taco Bell, attendees got copies of Walker's no-paid-sick-leave edict, along with a how-to-pass-it lecture by the National Restaurant Association. "Go forth, and pre-empt local democracy!" was the message.
And, lo, they did. Bills summarily prohibiting local governments from passing paid-sick-leave ordinances are being considered in at least 12 states this year, and Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee have already passed theirs.
Florida's process was especially ugly. Organize now, a coalition of voters in Orlando, had obtained 50,000 signatures to put a sick leave referendum on last November's ballot. But, pressured by the hugely profitable Disney World empire, county commissioners arbitrarily removed it from the ballot.
The scrappy coalition, however, took 'em to court — and won, getting the referendum rescheduled for a 2014 vote. Disney & Gang scuttled off to Tallahassee this year to conspire with Gov. Rick Snyder and GOP legislative leaders. Quicker than a bullet leaves a gun, those corporate-hugging politicos obligingly delivered a "kill shot" to Orlando voters by enacting a Walkeresque state usurpation of local authority.
By spreading Walker's autocratic nastiness from state to state, money-grubbing low-wage profiteers are literally spreading illness all across our land.
(Forner Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower has been called America's most popular populist.)
Last Updated on Friday, 16 August 2013 07:19