Michael Barone - Identifying the real victim

Victims aren't always virtuous. That's a sad lesson that people learn from life. Human beings have a benign instinct to help those who are hurt through no cause of their own. But those they help don't always turn out to be very grateful.

And sometimes it's hard to be sure just who the victim is. The most heavily publicized and violence-prompting police killings of young black men — in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, and Milwaukee this month — appeared to be, as the facts became known, justifiable responses to felons' assaults.

Such incidents are, unhappily, frequent, because young black men, again unhappily, commit a wildly disproportionate number of violent crimes. The real victims of this are, again unhappily and disproportionately, law-abiding black people.

That was pointed out last week in one of three well-crafted and teleprompter-delivered speeches by, of all people, Donald Trump. (Hillary Clinton's campaign made snarky remarks about Trump's using a teleprompter, as Republicans have often made snarky remarks about Barack Obama's.) Trump's delivery of three carefully prepared and thoughtful speeches the same week he named the crass provocateur Steve Bannon head honcho to his campaign looks like one of the prime ironies of campaign 2016.

"Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, the violent disruptor," Trump said Tuesday in Wisconsin. "Our job is to make life more comfortable for the African-American parent who wants their kids to be able to safely walk the streets. Or the senior citizen waiting for a bus. Or the young child walking home from school.

"For every one violent protester, there are a hundred moms and dads and kids on that same city block who just want to be able to sleep safely at night. My opponent would rather protect the offender than the victim."

This identification of the victim is spot on. Trump and Clinton and I are old enough to remember the urban riots of the 1960s and what followed. As an intern in the mayor's office in Detroit, I witnessed the 1967 riot from city hall and police headquarters and on the streets.

I know much of Detroit block by block, and I know what happened there afterward. I know that the most victimized group was black Detroiters who worked hard and paid off their mortgages for 30 years and who, because of the riot and high crime, ended up with $10,000 of equity in a house worth 10 times that in a low-crime working-class suburb.

It's even harder to accurately identify victims who are farther away. In September 2015, when much of the world was moved by the picture of the body of a 3-year-old Syrian refugee drowned on a Turkish beach, German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to welcome 800,000 refugees. That's 1 percent of Germany's population; the equivalent here would be 3.2 million.

It's not hard to understand what moved Merkel. She grew up in East Germany, behind the infamous wall, and like other German leaders and the German people feels an obligation to atone for the horrors of the Nazis.

Now, a year later, more than 1 million "refugees" have entered Germany, about three-quarters of them young men, most not from Syria but Muslims from places like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Libya and Eritrea.

Thousands have assaulted young women in organized attacks hushed up by the government and the press. Several have launched terrorist attacks, shooting people in shopping centers, setting off bombs or swinging an ax at railroad passengers. Few appear eager to take education classes in Western mores or to accept jobs being offered by Germans who were hoping the newcomers would supply the skilled labor that population-losing Germany needs.

In our presidential campaign Donald Trump has been criticizing Obama for promising to accept just 10,000 Syrian refugees and has charged that Clinton would welcome 620,000 more, without noting that that's far less, proportionately, than Merkel's Germany has taken in.

Whatever the number, Trump's stronger point is that in any large influx many terrorists will come in, as in Germany. He has called for "extreme vetting" of any such refugees, without specifying exactly how that could be done.

The problem is that many people we see as victims aren't, and many who are victims aren't virtuous, in the sense of being willing to assimilate to American toleration and diversity. Our natural sympathy should prompt us to find ways to help. But that need not mean inviting them here.

(Michael Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)

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E. Scott Cracraft - Back to school

This month, students will be returning to college or will be attending for the first time. They will worry about papers, exams, and of course, their social lives. But, students and their parents will also be thinking about the rising cost of higher education and how they are going to pay for it. The students, especially, will be worried that they graduate and get a job good enough to pay off student loans for the next decade or two. If they cannot, student loans cannot be discharged under federal bankruptcy laws.
At least a few students and their families will be asking "why?" Some may even ask why Germany and many other democracies are able to afford free higher education and why the world's remaining superpower cannot. In some countries, like Denmark, besides free tuition, students even get a monthly stipend for living expenses. One of the reasons that European students often know much more about their world than our students is that they often have summers to travel because they are not working to pay tuition.
Of course, we cannot expect that here from conservatives but even many liberals lack the vision that we can do this in the U.S.A. Until very recently and due in large part to the influence of Bernie Sanders, even Democrats did not take the idea seriously.
Unfortunately, N.H. has the highest student debt and the highest tuition rates for any public institutions. Why? Because conservative interests and politicians in Concord refuse to adequately fund it. In the average state, the state legislatures provide around 50-55 percent of the cost of a community college student's education. In N.H. it is around 25-27 percent. N.H. is among the worst but it is happening everywhere and the cost of tuition is more and more being laid on students and their families.
In the 1960s and 70s, students could finance an education at a public college or university with some savings from high school, a college and/or summer job, and perhaps a bit of help from family. In fact, in some states like California, community colleges (often called "junior" colleges in those days) were tuition-free or almost so.
This author's spouse completed her first two years of college in the mid-70s at such a California junior college. She only paid for textbooks and perhaps some incidental fees. She paid no tuition.
Of course, many, both Republicans and Democrats, are going to whine "but how are you going to pay for it?" Is it possible we can really can pay for it but simply do not have our national priorities straight?
Could we perhaps afford it if the wealthy and corporations paid their fair share of taxes? Or, perhaps we would have the money if we were not paying billions for military equipment that does not work and paying gouging defense contractors? Why don't more Americans question how much was spent on Bush's illegal war? Or, why aren't we more concerned about the amount of tax money going to build more and more prisons when it is actually cheaper in most cases to send someone to college than to lock them up?
National security and public safety are, of course, important priorities. But how can the nation really be safe and secure without an educated population? At the present cost of higher education, the arts, humanities and social sciences — all those things that make us better educated people — are being downplayed. There are both intrinsic and extrinsic values of an education.
Students themselves and their parents need to start asking "why" and doing something about it. We need to let our elected officials at the Federal, state, and local level that education is an investment, not a burden.
For those who find "free stuff" anathema, perhaps we could ask students for something in return to benefit our society. Perhaps we could even tie a free or very-low cost higher education system to some sort of national service, military or civilian where students could help "earn" these benefits.
(Scott Cracraft is a citizen, a taxpayer, a veteran, and a resident of Gilford.)

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Lakes Region Profiles – A Winnipesaukee whopper in Moultonborough

By Mary O'Neill,

Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group

 

A drive along the northern shores of Lake Winnipesaukee through the lakeside communities seems innocent enough – country roads, little town centers, and a smattering of shops and restaurants. But the reality is that there is a trove of history tucked around every bend in the road. Stop in the village of Moultonborough, sit on the wooden bench outside The Old Country Store, and let me recount for you a tale about the man after whom the town is named.

Late one night General Jonathan Moulton was nodding off as he sat by his fireplace contemplating his financial woes. He had been a very prosperous man but now was struggling. He glanced towards the chimneypiece and was surprised to see a figure sitting on a corner bench. "Who the devil are you?" he demanded. In answer, the visitor threw flaming coals into a mug of rum and drained the blazing liquid. The general now knew the devil had come to visit him "dressed in his Saturday night best, black velvet and all, with an orchid stuck through his buttonhole." What ensued was a lengthy dialogue between the devil and General Moulton whereby the general sold his soul to devil in exchange for a monthly ration of gold coins to be measured by filling the general's boots (Wilkin, Winnipesaukee Whoppers, 1949).

After the devil departed, the general, known to be a wily businessman, came up with a plan. "I'll fool the old buzzard!" he muttered gleefully. Buying the largest boots he could find and cutting a hole in the soles, he nailed the boots over holes in the wooden floor. When the devil came to make good on their agreement, the coins dropped through the boots and into the cellar below. The devil, discovering the deception, promptly burnt the house to the ground. Trapped in his cellar filled with coins, that was the end of Jonathan Moulton (Wilkin).

This is only a small slice of the stories surrounding the legendary namesake of Moultonborough. In the mid 1700s, General Moulton had led a group of settlers from Hampton, having successfully petitioned Masonian Proprietors for part of the ungranted lands in the province. The land encompassing Moultonborough was first chartered in 1763 and is described as "running along the northerly shore of Winnepisseoky Pond, and including a neck and point of land running into the pond." The party of settlers included other members of the Moulton family (nhes.nh.gov/Moultonborough). As another story goes, Moulton was very friendly with British Governor John Wentworth, who controlled the royal province. One day Moulton marched his fattest ox to Portsmouth as a gift to the governor. "The 1,400-pound beast, draped in flowers...could not have been missed by the jealous locals" (Robinson, The Devilish Fall of General Moulton, seacoastnh.com). Pleased with the gift, the governor granted Moulton an additional 18,000 acres of land near Moultonborough. General Moulton, "was one of the country's first big real estate speculators, turning tens of thousands of Lakes Region land into New Hampshire towns in what is today the Moultonborough area" (Robinson).
Moultonborough abuts Sandwich to the north, Tuftonboro to the south, and Center Harbor to the west. The town has 60 square miles of land area and 15.0 square miles of inland water area (nhes.nh.gov/Moultonborough). It is one of eight towns with shorefront on Lake Winnipesaukee, but it is unique among its neighbors in that its shorefront includes many "fingers" of land that jut out into the lake, allowing for countless surprising spots to situate a home or cabin. The main waterfront areas are along the so-called "Neck." Down the length of the Neck, Moultonborough Neck Road eventually leads to a short bridge and onto Long Island, which covers about 1,200 acres. This is Winnipesaukee's largest island and one of only five bridged islands on the lake (rocherealty.com/longisland). The early history of the island mostly revolves around farming. At one point the wheat farmed there was purchased by the Federal Government and shipped to farmers in the western half of the US because it was of such high quality. Another farmer, John Brown, developed King Philip Corn on his Long Island property. For 50 years he held the record in New Hampshire for the quantity of corn produced per acre  (lwhs.us/moult-windermerejewel.htm).
General Moulton may have found himself well at home in one of Moultonborough's most unique spots. Positioned high in the Ossipee Mountain Range is Castle in the Clouds, also known as Lucknow. Built in 1913-14 by manufacturing millionaire Thomas Plant, the castle is an arresting example of Arts and Crafts architecture and commands mighty views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the mountains. Today it is set up just as it would have been in the early 1900s. The castle has become a popular and intriguing venue for weddings, rehearsal dinners, reunions, fund raisers, and a variety of other functions. There are also many special events such as stargazing, yoga on "Wellness Wednesdays," and "Jazz at Sunset." For more information on the castle and its events, visit castleintheclouds.org.
As you sit on the porch of The Old Country Store in Moultonborough village, realize these grounds too are connected to Jonathan Moulton. The building sits on a parcel of land he sold to Samuel Burnham in 1777. The store has been there since 1781. At that, it may be one of the oldest in the US. The building has served as town meeting hall, library, and post office during its 235-year history. The best way to enjoy this distinctive establishment is to wander though its rooms across the wide, uneven floorboards. There are things old and new – collectibles, toys, penny candy, clothes, maple products, pickles, books, maps, fudge, gadgets, aged cheddar and much more. Additional information can be found at nhcountrystore.com.

Now it is time to climb back into your car and continue to explore the beautiful area and colorful history of Moultonborough. Just don't make any deals with the devil along the way.

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, New Hampshire, can be reached at 603-366-6306. rocherealty.com

 

 

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Jim Hightower - Donnie's little lies are huuuuuge

An old saying asserts that falsehoods come in three escalating levels: "Lies, damn lies, and statistics." Now, however, we've been given an even-higher level of intentional deception: policy speeches by Donald Trump.

Take his recent highly publicized address outlining specific economic policies he would push to benefit hard-hit working families. It's an almost-hilarious compilation of Trumpian fabrications, including his bold, statesmanlike discourse on the rank unfairness of the estate tax: "No family will have to pay the death tax," he solemnly pledged, adopting the right-wing pejorative for a tax assessed on certain properties of the dearly departed. Fine, but next came his slick prevarication: "American workers have paid taxes their whole lives, and they should not be taxed again at death." Workers? The tax exempts the first $5.4 million of any deceased person's estate, meaning 99.8 percent of Americans pay absolutely nothing. So Trump is trying to deceive real workers into thinking he's standing for them, when in fact it's his own wealth he's protecting.

What a maverick! What a shake-'em-up outsider! What an anti-establishment fighter for working stiffs!

Oh, and don't forget this: What a phony!

Sure, The Donald sounds like a populist on the stump, bellowing that the systems been jerry-rigged by and for the corporate and political elites, which is killing the middle class. Well, he's right about that, but what's he going to do? Don't worry, he says smugly, I'll fix it, I'll make the system honest again — trust me!

As Groucho Marx said, "To know if a man is honest, ask him — if he says he is, he's a crook." Or, in the case of this phony populist, just look at the specific policies he laid out as his fixes for our economy. Trumpeting the package as his blueprint for the "economic renewal" of America's working class.

But Trump's idea of "working class turns out to be millionaires and billionaires, for that's who would get the bulk of benefits from his agenda — rewarding the very corporate chieftains he denounces in his blustery speeches for knocking down middle-income families and grabbing all of the new wealth our economy is creating. His proposed tax cuts, for example, don't benefit low-wage workers at all and provide only a pittance of gain for those with middle-class paychecks, but corporations are given a huuuuuuuge windfall with over a 50 percent cut in their rate. His tax giveaway will also take $240 billion a year out of our public treasury — money desperately needed for such basics as expanding educational opportunities and restoring our nation's dilapidated infrastructure.

In his policy speech, he offered a new tax break to help hard working people reduce their cost of child care "by allowing parents to fully deduct (such) spending from their taxes." Trump even gave this push a personal touch, saying his daughter Ivanka urged him to provide a helping hand to working parents because "she feels so strongly about this." Before you tear up over their show of dad and daughter working-class empathy, however, note that 70 percent of American households don't make enough to warrant itemizing tax deductions. Thus, the big majority of Americans that are most in need of child care help get nothing from Trump's melodramatic gesture. Once again, his generosity is for his own elite class, for the tax benefits would flow uphill to wealthy families like his who can purchase the platinum packages of care for their children.

What we have here is the same old failed, establishmentarian, economic elitist hokum that Republicans have been peddling for decades, only bigger and more extreme. Rhetoric aside, the reality of Trump's plan is to replace Ronald Reagan's trickle-down theory with his own arrogant, anti-worker scheme of tinkle-down economics. As an early 19th Century labor leader noted, "Figures don't lie, but liars do figure." That fits The Donald perfectly.

(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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Lakes Region Hiking — The Adirondacks and Whites, a contrast of mountain ranges

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Tom studying map, overlooking the Great Range

By Gordon DuBois

Two weeks ago, Tom Barker and I traveled to the Adirondack Mountains to climb five peaks: Colvin, Blake, Nippletop, Bear Den and Dial. A few days prior to our ramble in "The Dacks," we drove to the Whites to trek the Edmunds Path, summiting Mount. Eisenhower and Mount Franklin in The Presidential Range. These two hikes provided a stark contrast of trail building in two very different mountain ranges.

The Adirondack Mountains in northern New York State are not geologically part of the Appalachian Chain, as are the White Mountains. They are much older, formed over a billion years ago when upward doming of bedrock embedded under the earth's crust was thrust upward to create the mountain mass we know today. The White Mountains, on the other hand, are much younger, several million years old and formed by plate tectonics. The White Mountain National Forest comprises about 796,000 acres, while the Adirondack Park is more than 6 million acres.

The two mountain ranges also differ greatly in their settlement. The Adirondacks were mostly unknown until the 1840s. The source of the Hudson River was not discovered until the mid-1800s. Mount Washington, on the other hand, was first climbed in 1642 by Darby Field. Following the Civil War, people began to flock to the Whites for summer long retreats. The Cog Railway, which climbs Mount Washington, was completed in 1869. People were hiking to Mount Washington via the Crawford Path in the 1840s. Many trails in the White Mountains were built by the Appalachian Mountain Club and "professional" trail builders. The trails in the Adirondacks mostly follow routes created by early trappers, geologists, loggers and surveyors. Many of the trails to the higher summits are not even marked or maintained. They're called "herd paths."

Within one week Tom Barker and I had two different hiking experiences: trekking in the Adirondacks while summiting five mountains in three days. The other hike was a much more leisurely one day tramp on the Edmands and Crawford paths in the Presidential Range. The three day trip in the Adirondacks involved climbs up rock ledges, along steep ridges and through knee deep mud. The hike on the Edmands and Crawford paths was along well-graded trails. These two adventures offered us an interesting contrast between two different mountain ranges with very different histories.

The Edmands Path starts at a parking area on Mount Clinton Road, not far from the AMC Highland Center. The Trail climbs gradually about three miles to the junction with the Crawford Path. As with many trails in the White Mountains, experienced and dedicated trail builders created the paths to the mountain summits. The Edmands path was built by John Rayner Edmands, who dedicated much of his life to preserving and protecting the White Mountain Forests from destruction by the woodsman's ax. Edmands wanted to bring people to the mountains so they could experience the beauty and wonder of the forested landscape and be inspired by the untouched beauty of mountain vistas. In so doing, he believed they would become advocates for wilderness conservation and preservation. What followed was a number of trails he laid out and built with trail crews dedicated to his vision. He referred to trails as boulevards, trails that were well graded and of moderate difficulty. He not only built the path named in his honor, but also the Gulfside and Westside Trails below Mount Washington, the Israel Ridge, Valley Way and Randolph Trails in the northern Presidentials. He also constructed the Perch Campsite which sits on the side of Mount Adams.

Edmands was a master trail builder and his masterpiece is the Edmands Path. Tom and I, along with his wife, Karen, began our hike with a slow meander through a hardwood forest and across several streams. After a mile the trail began a gradual climb up the west ridge of Mount Eisenhower. It was marked by carefully-placed rock cribbing, steps, walls of rock and a cobblestone-like pathway. The trail slabbed along the ridge, views of the Dartmouth Range were seen in the distance. When the trail broke above tree line we jumped along carefully placed rock steps before finally reaching the Crawford Path. Tom and Karen continued their journey to the summit of Eisenhower. I headed north to the little known summit of Mount Franklin, which lies just south of Mount Monroe, on a side trail off the Crawford Path. The Crawford Path is considered by some as the oldest continuously-maintained foot path in the U.S. The first section of the trail was completed in 1819 by the Abel Crawford and by 1840 a bridal trail was built to the Mt Washington summit by his grandson, Thomas Crawford. This trail can also be considered a boulevard as it winds its way from Crawford Notch to Mount Washington. Our return hike back down the Edmands Path was a quick and easy jaunt back to our parked vehicle.

Our excursion, a few days later to the Adirondacks, provided a sharp contrast to the "boulevards" we had hiked a few days earlier. We began our trek in Keene Valley, New York, not far from Lake Placid. The first few miles took us along a maintained gravel road through land owned by the Ausable Club. After the initial few miles the trail turned into a boulder-strewn path, climbing steeply into the Adirondack Forest Preserve. It seemed as if a giant had thrown these enormous rock obstructions directly onto our path. This was only the beginning of a long, hard slog, in the rain to Elk Pass where we made camp. The next day we scrambled to the summits of Colvin and Blake mountains. Tom and I had several substantial rock climbs using tree roots and small crevices in the rock face to boost ourselves up the steep ridge to the summits. There was no letup to the climbing challenges we had to confront, which included a 30-foot ladder that seemed to head endlessly into the fog-enshrouded peak of Mount Colvin. After making the summit of both mountains our we turned around and literally slid down many sections of rock faces to the valley below. When we got back to camp I was exhausted. Tom and I ate dinner and were in our sleeping bags before dusk.

The following day, we packed up camp, threw our packs on our backs and headed straight up to Nippletop, an elevation gain of 1,600 feet in less than a mile of hiking. At times we had to ascend hand over hand, and with 35 pounds of gear on our backs it was a challenge to remain upright. We did make the summit by noon and stopped to take in the stunning views of the Adirondack Wilderness. It was something to behold. The catch phrase for the Adirondacks is "rugged and remote." Our three-day excursion underscores this phrase.

After lunch we continued our hike over Dial Mountain, onto Bear Den Mountain and eventually back into the protected forest preserve of the Ausable Club. We made our way back to our vehicle, thought about climbing Giant and Rocky Top mountains the next day, but decided we had enough climbing for three days. The mountains will always be there waiting for our next climb.

Within a week, Tom and I had experienced two very different mountain ranges and two very different trail systems. I would invite you to experience the contrast. Every mountain range has its own identity. No two are the same. Hiking the Adirondacks and the White Mountains provides the contrast and the challenge that keeps me returning week after week to the mountain trails I love, no matter where they are.

Gordon has hiked extensively in Northern New England and the Adirondacks of New York State. In 2011 he completed the Appalachian Trail (2,285 miles). He has also hiked the Long Trail in Vermont, The International AT in Quebec, Canada, Cohos Trail in northern New Hampshire and the John Muir Trail in California. Gordon has summited the New Hampshire Hundred Highest peaks, and the New England Hundred Highest in winter. He spends much of his time hiking locally and in the White Mountains with his dog, Reuben, and especially enjoys hiking in the Lakes Region due to the proximity to his home in New Hampton. He is also a trail maintainer for the Belknap Range Trail Tenders and can be found often exploring the many hiking trails in the area. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Crawford Path leading to Mt. Franklin and Mt. Monroe

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