Bob Meade - My way or the highway . . .

Many years ago, Walt Kelly, creator of the comic strip Pogo, coined the phrase, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Those words have been true more times than we can count. And, as we start the engines in preparation for the next presidential election, they may be on the verge of coming true again.

A day or so ago, the news reported that media personality Glen Beck announced he is no longer going to be a Republican. Locally, we have had prominent citizens tell us that if Jeb Bush is the Republican's choice to run for president, they will not vote, they will stay home. Others are insisting if the nominee doesn't comport with their absolute view of things, they too, will walk away.

My way or the highway! That message describes the image of a circular firing squad, with everyone pointing inward, and all the targets being other Republicans. That message brings joy to Democrats who are currently struggling to overcome one scandal after another concerning their anointed nominee.

President Ronald Reagan said, "Somebody who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is an 80 percent friend not a 20 percent enemy." He believed in the "big tent", bringing in under that tent as many people as possible and respecting their viewpoints, just as he expected them to respect his. And, as his quote shows, he didn't expect everyone to march in lock step like a bunch of robots. He wanted them to unite as a party in order to win the election. History shows he was right.

Some Republicans, or former Republicans like Glen Beck, seem willing to cede the upcoming election to their Democrat opposition. Staying home and not voting essentially casts a vote for the opposition. Supporting a fringe party or individual that is more closely aligned with one's views, dilutes the process and, again, paves the way for the Democrat to win.

Opportunity knocks . . . but is anyone listening? The presumptive Democrat nominee, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, has been less than forthcoming concerning her e-mails while Secretary of State. Shannen Coffin, former Assistant Deputy Attorney General and former counsel to Vice President Cheney, has stated on Fox News' Kelly File and in an article in the National Review, that regarding Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail system, she broke the law in a number of ways. Judge Andrew Napolitano, currently the senior judicial analyst at Fox News and distinguished professor of Constitutional Law at Brooklyn Law School, and former New Jersey Superior Court judge, has cited a number of violations of the law that have been made by Secretary Clinton.

In addition, the former Secretary of State has yet to answer or provide documentation about her role in the Benghazi tragedy, or provided any information concerning the acceptance of millions and millions of dollars from foreign governments into the Clinton Foundation.

We have endured six plus years of President Obama's my way or the highway approach. He has shown a willingness to violate the Constitution and virtually destroy the separation of powers if he doesn't get what he wants. Our founders gave us a system that, if followed, makes essential the cooperation among the elected representatives in the Legislative Branch and, subsequently, the Executive Branch. One thing we don't need is a continuation of the my way or the highway approach as that can only lead to a dictatorship.

Republicans have an opportunity to restore our constitutional form of government and, importantly, to develop laws and/or amendments that will prevent the abuses of Executive Branch power that we have experienced. That opportunity will be lost if Republicans are unwilling to get rid of the my way or the highway approach and replace it with President Reagan's Big Tent. A Glen Beck, or a local citizen, can only bring harm to the Republican Party, and to the nation, by becoming so rigid in their positions that they essentially hand the Presidency to the opposition party.

There are many fine candidates who are seeking to lead the party. A number of them have a history of achievement in public service. Governors Kasich, Perry, and Walker have excellent records, as does former Governor Bush. Senator Cruz is both bold and brilliant and Senator Paul has attracted a group of followers because of his straight talk about putting America first. Former CEO of Hewlett -Packard Carly Fiorina has not been a politician but brings a record of managerial achievement in the business world to her campaign. The various candidates have a variety of issues that stimulate them in their desire to run for the presidency. They all think they can bring an improvement to the office. Give your vote to the one who most closely agrees with your positions. However, Instead of beating up candidates, with whom you don't agree, accept the will of the people when the ultimate candidate is chosen, and work towards his or her election.

Unless, of course, you want Ms. Clinton to continue the policies we have endured for over six years . . .

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

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The Winni Waterfront Report - February 2015

There were six waterfront sales on Lake Winnipesaukee in February 2015. The average sales price came in at $787,667 and the median price point stood at $625,000. That's one sale more than February of last year. This puts our total for the year thus far at eleven sales at an average of $922,636 compared to thirteen for the first two months of 2014 at an average of $1,121,782.

The entry level sale was another island property and not surprisingly it was on Rattlesnake Island. This was actually 158 Rattlesnake Island and I can assure you that if the buyer did a walk through prior to close the chances of getting bit by a Rattlesnake were very low. This cottage was built in 1997 and has 1,215 square feet of living space, three bedrooms, and one bath. It is in like new condition and features nice hard wood flooring, natural woodwork, solid panel doors, cathedral ceilings, screened porch, and open deck. It has 100' of frontage and a new 6' x 30' aluminum dock. This property was listed at $279,000, was reduced to $200,000, and sold for $195,000 after 238 days on the market. The current assessed value is $232,000. It seems like a great home and a great value! Now, if the snow will just melt...

The mid-priced sale was at 43 Leeward Shores Road in Moultonborough. This property is a 1948 vintage, 780 square foot, four room, two bedroom, one bath log cabin on a 1.2 acre lot with 200' of frontage with a sandy bottom. The cabin has that classic knotty pine interior, the requisite stone fireplace, and eat-in kitchen (because there's no place else to eat) and a screened porch. Outside there's lots of open lawn area, an expansive perched beach, u-shaped dock, and crystal clear water. The home has a state approved four bedroom septic system in case the new owners want to expand or build a new castle. This home was listed in June of 2013 at $825,000, listed again in May of 2014 for $799,000, and sold for $765,000 after a total of 348 days on the market. The current tax assessed value is $770,000.

The highest sale on the lake for the month was a classic summer lake house built in 1920 located at 17 Stephenson Lane in Wolfeboro. This 1,706 square foot, four bedroom home offers a rustic but charming open concept living area with field stone fireplace, an updated kitchen, a unique split stairway with birch bark balusters and railings leading up to a second floor balcony, a wonderful front porch, and a deck at the water's edge. It sits on a 1.3 acre lot with 236' of frontage with a 6' x 40' dock. This home was priced at $1.75 million and sold for $1.65 million after just 21 days on the market. It is currently assessed at $818,600. I suspect you might see a new home being constructed here.

There were no sales on Winnisquam in February.

P​ease feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others.
​Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 3/10/15. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012​.​

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E. Scott Cracraft - What did Arius get for Christmas?

In recent letters to The Sun, several writers have carried on an intense and fascinating debate over Jesus and whether or not he was God or even an historical figure at all. I think that Jesus was quite likely an historical character but most of our information comes from Christian writings, including quite a few with very different views about who Jesus was and which were left out of the official canon of the New Testament. And, there is at least one non-Christian reference to him by the Roman historian Tacitus.

But, while Jesus probably really existed, there has long been a debate in Christianity over "who Jesus was". There were different factions in the early Church. A major debate in the early Church was over Christology, or the nature of Jesus.

For three centuries the debate raged. Some of the original Jewish Christians saw him as prophet or perhaps the Jewish Messiah or perhaps just a great Rabbi. In Judaism, rabbis, prophets, and the Messiah are human, not divine figures. At the other extreme were the Gnostics who saw Jesus as totally divine and that he had only taken on a human appearance. The Gnostics were declared heretical and, especially after Rome became official Christian, were suppressed.

By the time of the Apostle's Creed in the Second Century, Christians were saying that Jesus was the "Son of God". But, what exactly did Son of God mean? Was it meant figuratively in the sense that anyone who loves and obeys God is in a way His child?

Or, did God actually father a son? This was similar to a lot of Greco-Roman mythology where Olympian gods fathered kids with humans. Or was Jesus simply "adopted" as the Son of God at the time of his Baptism in the Jordan River? This "adoptionist" view would have been in keeping with a Roman practice where if an emperor did not have a competent son to inherit his crown, he might legally adopt a more fitting heir.

By the early Fourth Century, when the Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity, the "Christological Controversy" had boiled down to two major factions. These were the Trinitarians who believed that Jesus was not only the son of God but "very God" himself and part of a Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. On the other side were the Arians who were followers of Arius, a presbyter or priest from Alexandria, Egypt, an early center of Christian and Jewish learning. Arius believed that Jesus was the Son of God but that he could not be God at the same time. To Arius, Jesus was a being created by the Father and could not be eternal.

The controversy had strong political overtones. The Trinitarians often came from the Roman middle and upper classes while the Germanic "barbarians" had converted to Arianism. In fact, Arian Christianity survived into the early Middle Ages. The Emperor Constantine who made Christianity a legal religion in the Roman Empire, probably did not care either way but for political reasons, he wanted the Christian Church to be unified.

So,in 325 C.E., Constantine invited bishops from all over the empire to meet, at the emperor's expense, in a council in Nicaea near Constantinople. They were to resolve the "Arian Controversy" and a few other matters. The council's decision was enshrined in the Nicene Creed, recited in many churches today. Even if they don't, most Christian denominations would have no problem with its Trinitarian doctrines. Even today, many Christians who do not recognize as "Christian" such modern-day "Arians" as the Jehovah's Witnesses, Unitarians, and Mormons.

Arius defended his position but was outvoted by the Trinitarians and declared a heretic. He was exiled to what is now Albania. There is a legend that at some point during the debate, Arius was either slapped or punched by Trinitarian Bishop Nicholas of Myra What historians cannot tell us is what Arius got for Christmas that year.

(Scott Cracraft is a resident of Gilford.)

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Bob Meade - Politics, green energy & Keystone pipeline

Whether we're watching television news, reading newspaper accounts of what's happening in our nation's capital, or just reading the letters to the editor section of our local paper, it's often all the same . . . political gamesmanship.

Gone is respect for our Constitution. Gone is respect for the rule of law. Gone is respect for our nation's sovereignty. Gone is respect for the opinion of others. Gone is the willingness to "selflessly" contribute to our political process. Gone is the free press impartiality. Gone is the strength to be accountable. All these things and more, seem to have been erased from our national character. Political and/or personal gain has taken precedent over what is the right thing to do.

The Constitution is ignored as the president takes actions beyond his prescribed authority. The courts point out he is violating the Constitution, and he petulantly seeks ways to circumvent their rulings. When the House of Representatives, the "people's" house, withholds funding from the budget process for those things the courts have said are not Constitutionally allowed, partisan politics intervene. The president's party filibusters the budget because they want those illegal functions to be funded. A game of politics is played, all designed to make the Republicans look responsible for a mythical government shutdown. The sycophantic press does its best to support the Democrat's strategy.

Somewhat lost in that on-going game of politics is that the president's action not only violates the Constitution, it removes the sovereignty of our nation by allowing non-citizens to freely enter our country. While the president and his party defend their position, little notice is taken by the press to show the strictness of Mexico's immigration policy and how that country treats illegal immigrants to that country as "felons".

It has become evident that too many of those in politics seek both power to control and "purse" enrichment. For example:

In spite of over six years of study by the State Department, which found that the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline would not harm the environment, the president vetoed the legislation that would have allowed the project to proceed. Could it be that the reason for the president doing so is to give a payback to influential donors?

— Tom Steyer, became a billionaire by starting his own "hedge fund", Farallon. According to an article in the 8-7-14 issue of Forbes magazine, as of that date, Steyer had already contributed over $20 million to Democrats for the 2014 off year elections, but that was only a start. The L.A. Times cited Steyer's enthusiasm for going green as evidenced by his incredible total 2014 political donations to the Democrats . . . $74 million dollars.
— Steyer built his fortune by investing in coal, particularly in Asia. It has been estimated that his former investments in coal contributed to a growth of 87.5 percent in coal production by those companies. Steyer claims to be divesting himself of those investments in favor of green energy. And, he vehemently protests the Keystone pipeline project. It is reasonable to assume that his desire to kill Keystone is to enhance his investments in green energy.

Another person of note, Warren Buffett, became the second richest person in this country by making exceedingly wise investments. In just about every case, he invests in companies he deems to have a solid market for their goods or services, are well focused, and have solid, in place management. One such investment has been in the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF). He purchased the company for $36 billion dollars in 2009, and has invested billions more in upgrading the track beds, and is currently investing billions more to upgrade the rail tank cars.

An article in the NY Times indicated that the cost to transport oil via railroad is two to three times more expensive than by pipeline. The estimate shown by the NYT is that pipeline transport per barrel is $5, while the railroad transport per barrel is between $10 and $15. Other estimates have shown the cost per barrel difference to be between $10 for pipeline and upwards of $30 for railroad. What ever the cost, it is subsequently passed on the the consumer

One significant point that needs to be made concerning the volume of barrels each transportation medium can deliver. In an article in the Christian Science Monitor, the Association of American Railroads claimed than in a four month period, railroads transported a total of 97,135 carloads of oil, or roughly 24,284 carloads per month. Each carload carries about 700 barrels of oil so that would equate to 17 million barrels per month. On the other hand, the Keystone pipeline has the capability of transporting 830,000 barrels of oil per day, or roughly 24.9 million barrels per month. Further, countless studies have shown that transport by pipeline is far safer to both the community and the environment than is rail transport. According to a report in McClatchy newspapers, in an analysis of federal data, more crude oil was spilled in 2013 in railroad incidents than in the previous four decades.

Keystone has been studied for over six years and found to be a benefit environmentally. It is a proven less costly and safer method of transport. The project would be a boon to a labor market that currently has the lowest employment rate since 1978. Its completion would ensure our energy independence . . . a goal set for the Department of Energy when it was first established in 1977.

Are the investments of Tom Steyer and Warren Buffet more important than the benefits of Keystone to our economy and our country?

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

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Susan Estrich - Boston deserves its trial

Today's issue is whether the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for the Boston Marathon bombing, delayed already, should be moved out of Boston.

No way.

How can a former president of the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (me) say such a thing? How could any decent liberal deny this young man, presumed innocent until proved guilty, after all, his constitutional claim to fairness in the courtroom?

Boston deserves a trial because it went through hell, and in our system, rather than resolving hellish disputes on the streets, they are supposed to be resolved in court.

Jury selection has been taking place over the past 17 days, with Judge George O'Toole giving broad way to the attorneys' rights to argue their points. So far, it is reported that only 61 jurors have qualified out of a pool of 1,373 people, with about two-thirds of potential jurors reporting that they were personally affected by the crime in question.

It is a hardship to serve on a jury. It can be inconvenient, boring, expensive and tedious. And yet we each do it because it is one of the most important things a citizen can do. Sitting on a capital case, you're not a chess piece on the board. The men and women, the players who ultimately will determine Tsarnaev's fate, may not be his peers in most senses, but they are his constitutional peers, and it is their judgment he must face and accept.

A defendant has a right to a trial by jury. He is being represented by federal public defender Judith Mizner. Because this case has taken on such notoriety, the federal government's team will be led by smart lawyers who play by the rules and have the press watching their every step.
Not so for many who have committed, or have been alleged to have committed, heinous crimes. The system is overloaded. Judges are too busy; courts are full; clerks are overwhelmed. You can't dump all of society's problems on the courts to solve. Defendants are bounced around the system, assigned inadequate counsel and never given the opportunity to force the government to make its case. Tsarnaev will have that opportunity.

But no defendant has a right to a perfect trial, much less in a perfect locale. I'm not sure anyone could find a capable juror who had never heard of the Boston Marathon bomber, but it doesn't matter. He came here, he stayed here, he went to school here, and he allegedly murdered people here. He has no right to leave.

Communities need rituals to bind them together. There is much more that binds us together as Bostonians than the Red Sox. But at its core, the people of Boston shared in their grief and are entitled to have their say in the place where it happened. Watching it on TV is not the same. The bombing was covered heavily everywhere, and so, I hope, will be the trial. For if the trial gives a window into how a civilized society deals with those who cannot and will not act in a civilized fashion, then at least we will have one lesson out of the rubble.

(Susan Estrich is a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. A best-selling author, lawyer and politician, as well as a teacher, she first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988.)

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