Pat Buchanan - The real existential threats

On Sept. 30, the end of fiscal year 2016, the national debt is projected to reach $19.3 trillion.

With spending on the four biggest budget items — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense — rising, and GDP growing at 1 percent, future deficits will exceed this year's projected $600 billion.

National bankruptcy, then, is among the existential threats to the republic, the prospect that we will find ourselves in the not-too-distant future in the same boat with Greece, Puerto Rico and Illinois.

Yet, we drift toward the falls, with the issue not debated.

Ernest Hemingway reminded us of how nations escape quagmires of debt: "The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists."

"Debauching the currency," Lenin's depiction, is the way we will probably destroy the debt monster.

Hemingway's second option, war, appears to be the preferred option of the war chiefs of the Beltway's think-tank archipelago, who see in any Putin move in the Baltic or Black Sea casus belli.

What our Cold War leaders kept ever in mind, and our War Party scribblers never learned, is the lesson British historian A. J. P. Taylor discovered from studying the Thirty Years War of 1914-1945:

"Though the object of being a Great Power is to be able to fight a Great War, the only way of remaining a Great Power is not to fight one."

Another existential threat, if Western man still sees himself as the custodian of the world's greatest civilization, and one yet worth preserving, is the Third-Worldization of the West.

The threat emanates from two factors: The demographic death of the native-born of all Western nations by century's end, given their fertility rates, and the seemingly endless invasion of the West from Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Concerning the demographic decline and displacement of Western man by peoples of other creeds, cultures, countries, continents and civilizations, there is an ideological clash within the West.

Some among our elites are rhapsodic at the change. Worshiping at the altars of diversity and equality, they see acquiescing in the invasion of their own countries as a mark of moral superiority.

Angela Merkel speaks for them, or did, up to a while ago.

To those who believe diversity — racial, ethnic, religious, cultural — is to be cherished and embraced, resistance to demographic change in the West is seen as a mark of moral retardation.

Opponents of immigration are hence subjects of abuse — labeled "racists," "xenophobes," "fascists," "Nazis" and other terms of odium in the rich vocabulary of Progressive hatred.

Yet, opposition to the invasion from across the Med and the Rio Grande is not only propelling the Trump movement but generating rightist parties and movements across the Old Continent.

It is hard to see how this crisis resolves itself peacefully.

For the hundreds of millions living in Third World tyranny and misery are growing, as is their willingness to risk their lives to reach Europe. And national resistance is not going to dissipate as the illegal immigrants and refugees come in growing numbers.

What the resisters see as imperiled is what they treasure most, their countries, cultures, way of life and the future they wish to leave their children. These are things for which men have always fought.

And, in America, is diversity leading to greater unity, or to greater rancor, separatism and disintegration? Did anyone imagine that, 50 years after the civil rights laws, we would still be having long hot summers in Ferguson, Baltimore and Milwaukee?

The crisis that South Carolina statesman John C. Calhoun had posthumously predicted in his "Disquisition on Government" has also come to pass.

The country would divide into two parties, Calhoun said. One would be the party of those who pay the taxes to government, the other the party of those who consume the benefits of government.

The taxpayers' party would engage in constant clashes with the party of the tax-consumers.

In 2013, the top 1 percent of Americans in income paid 38 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent of income-earners, half the nation, paid only 3 percent of all income taxes.

A question logically follows: If one belongs to that third of the nation that pays no income taxes but receives copious benefits, why would you vote for a party that will cut taxes you don't pay, but take away benefits you do receive?

Traditional Republican platforms ask half the country to vote against its economic interests. As a long-term political strategy, that is not too promising.

During the New Deal, FDR's aide Harold Ickes, declared in what became party dogma, "We shall tax and tax, spend and spend, and elect and elect."

And so they did, and so they do. But this is a game that cannot go on forever.

For, as John Adams reminded us, "There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."

(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.)

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Susan Estrich - The Olympic spirit?

To watch some of the coverage, you might think that the Olympics proves that the greatest athletes of every country on the globe, plus the refugees, can come together and put aside the various religious, ethnic and historic rivalries that divide us.

Not so fast.

There was the incident of the Lebanese delegation not allowing the Israeli athletes to ride on the same bus.

And there was Saudi judoka Joud Fahmy, who literally forfeited his first-round match in what was seen as an effort to avoid an Israeli opponent.

And then on Friday, captured on film, Israeli victor Or Sasson reached out to shake the hand of Egypt's Islam El Shehaby, the man he defeated in judo, and Shehaby refused the handshake. The Egyptian, known for being anti-Israel, had actually considered withdrawing from the match rather than face the Israeli.

Is this the Olympic spirit?

You don't have to be that old to remember the brutal murder of the Israeli delegation to the Munich Olympics in 1972. And you don't have to be a real student of history to know that Adolf Hitler tried to wrap himself in the Olympic flag in 1936.

Of course politics isn't left behind at the Olympics. But it's hard to not notice the difference between how the North Koreans and South Korean athletes are treating each other (warmly, it seems, snapping group pictures) and how the Israelis are being treated by their neighbors. Athletes or not, they will not give up.

And that should be terrifying to all of us. If the North Koreans and South Koreans can find common ground, why can't the Arab countries show common decency to their Jewish neighbors?

Most of my Jewish friends are convinced that the "liberal media" in fact leans over backward to show no favoritism to Israel and, in the process, actually favors Israel's enemies. I think there is a good deal of truth to that: We expect more from Israel than from virtually any other country in the world. I have no doubt that the Egyptian would readily shake hands with athletes from countries where the rule of law is a mockery and the rule of one man, or of the military, is accepted. I am sure he would have shaken hands with those from countries that deny human rights to their own citizens.

But Israel?

Why, even in this Olympic season, even between young people who share the same passions, does the fire of hatred seem to burn so deep?

I remember, nearly 30 years ago, visiting Palestinian refugee camps where little children had cartoon coloring books in which the Jews were always the villains and thieves. "What happens to those children when they grow up?" I wondered then.

I fear that we all know the answer.

(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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Bob Meade - To have or not to have . . . paper!

Paper is made from wood. It is a recyclable that can be remade into another paper product over and over again. It is essential to our way of life. In fact, the largest tonnage of any commodity brought into our nation's capital is paper. It is also a fact that the largest tonnage of waste products leaving our nation's capital is, you guessed it, paper. (Let's hope our politicians recycle.)

There are a large number of companies who produce a wide variety of paper products. Just think, in addition to toilet tissue, companies may produce facial tissues, paper towels, labels for cans and bottles, cardboard products from cereal and gift boxes up to rugged shipping cartons, greeting cards, writing paper, paper used in the printing of our currency, and all sorts of paper products used in offices, schools, and homes. On your next trip to the grocery store, just take notice of how many products completely fill some aisles, either providing the total wrapping such as for bread and rolls, or cereals, or butter, or sugar, or chips and cookies, and many frozen foods, and eggs, and all those cans and bottles with paper labels, and the signage throughout the store, and don't forget the greeting cards and wrapping paper, and the magazines and newspapers, the gum wrappers, and more and more, and more. So, when you hear or read that a nation has no toilet tissue, just think of all the other paper products that they use every single day and also mark them absent. Bottom line (pun intended), paper is an essential commodity.

A bit of trivia deals with the availability of the wood needed to meet our ever growing needs for paper products. Even though paper products can and are being recycled, as a consumable, and with an ever growing population, if paper producing companies didn't engage in outstanding re-forestation programs, we could use up every tree on the planet. However, because those big bad for-profit companies know that the need for paper is and will forever be increasing, they expertly manage their forests. It is also a fact that our country has more trees today than it did when Columbus discovered America . . . thanks in large part to the paper companies.

With that background, let's now think of what it means when a country, such as socialist Venezuela, is unable to provide its citizenry with an essential, such as toilet tissue. Not only is that essential missing, think of the other things that require paper products that are missing from the grocery stores. And, if such a basic essential as paper is absent, what other essentials are also missing?

We have witnessed during this election cycle, politicians who constantly work to divide our country into voting units . . . young vs. old, men vs. women, rich vs. poor, race against race, government vs. private enterprise, and so on. Promises have been made that simply cannot be kept, without destroying our country. Free education is one example, as are all sorts of "equal" outcomes, and promises of baseline higher income is yet another that can literally destroy our economy. All these unfulfillable promises not only intend to divide our country, they also attempt to promise to change us from a democratic republic to a fairy tale utopia called socialism, where government is the answer to all our problems. If the politicians are successful, we too can become a Venezuela in search of toilet tissue, and all the essentials that will surely be in short supply. However, as President Reagan said, government is not the solution, government is the problem.

The paper companies in this country provide a wonderful example of what free enterprise and the profit motive can do to benefit a country and its citizenry. First, to stay in business the company must fill a market need (at a price the market is willing to pay); toilet paper is an example of a market need. Next, after it pays its employees their wages and benefits, the company must make a profit in order to simply stay in business. Also, the company must ensure it has a continuing supply of raw materials to produce the products it offers. In this example, the companies not only filled the market need by manufacturing the paper products needed today, they continually farmed and expanded the forests in order to ensure they had ample raw material to meet future ever growing market needs. Obviously, in a socialist country like Venezuela, void of free enterprise and the profit motive, there is no toilet paper and the government is the problem.

Beware of political promises. The government can't give you anything that it didn't take from someone else. Government meddling into our free enterprise system will only degrade not only the companies that produce our goods and services; it will degrade and destroy our republic. Don't let that happen!

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

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Did you know that... Motivation drives behavior?

By Daniela Bayer


The need for a healthy body, better eating habits, and more physical activity applies to anyone who is mindful of the consequences of lifestyle-related choices. There are five major categories of lifestyle risk factors that cause people to become ill and develop disease: smoking, inactivity, excessive drinking, overweight and obesity, and insufficient fruit and vegetable intake. We know the drill: awareness campaigns tirelessly inform the public about the known risk factors, hoping to inspire positive change via prevention and change in habit. Cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are common, yet preventable with healthy lifestyle, moderate physical exercise, balanced and nutritious diet, and healthy eating habits.
Still, why is it difficult for some people to change their habits despite being aware of the risk factors and their own power to create different results? What motivates people to behave in certain ways, and then change their mind? How and why does a person with a self-destructive habit decide to put a stop to it, make a positive change and maintain healthy habits for good?
According to science, the answer lies in motivation and a simple pursuit of reward or avoidance of punishment.
With reinforcement, any voluntary behavior becomes ingrained in the brain. With repetition, any behavior can develop into a habit. Whether it’s eating chocolate or smoking a cigarette, the behaviors provide reliable rewards - one in the pleasure of the taste of chocolate and the other in the connection with like-minded individuals who like to smoke. An unhealthy behavior has a serious and lasting consequence when the behavior turns into an addiction.
It is possible to make a change. It is possible to take the intention to change and translate it into a lasting behavioral change. This is possible, but only when the individual himself or herself is aware that change is desirable and possible. Our best intentions for them make very little difference. When someone believes that they can change a behavior, they are only as committed as the value they assign to the new behavior. When a person commits to a behavior he or she truly values, the commitment is high and authentic. For example, genuinely committed individuals exercise because they enjoy working out and it is fun. They envision certain results and create goals for what they want to achieve. Research studies have shown that a positive change in one health-related behavior triggers a chain reaction of change in other behaviors. The readiness to more fruits and vegetables is closely related to readiness to live a lifestyle that involves more physical activity. Common weight management programs usually target changes in eating behaviors and physical activity.
Despite the obvious benefits of positive lifestyle-related changes and the help that is available, some people are not able to become physically active and eat better. Here is one possible explanation: unless people feel that a problem is a problem, they are most likely not serious about making a change. They may have some awareness, but have not reached the point where they know something is wrong - and it requires a conscious and determined effort to change a behavior and pattern.
As soon as a problem becomes troublesome and makes them feel vulnerable, people go through a self-assessment where they review the situation and acknowledge the problem. Some begin to think about the possibility of resolving the problem, and others choose to not think about it. It is not unusual for some individuals to remain in this phase for some time while reviewing the benefits and disadvantages, and brainstorming ways to address the problem. When people grow more optimistic about making a change and resolving an issue, they also start taking the first steps, visualizing the outcome, and planning for the change. At this stage, people start making very small changes like skipping a cigarette, drinking an extra glass of water, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Here, the intention and behavior start to come together. An individual most likely has made a conscious commitment to the process, yet not knowing if they have what it takes to make change happen successfully.
When people start doing their own due diligence, conduct research, speak about it with others, and engage their own problem-solving ability, they consciously desire the change. They are willing to put in the work and embark on a new phase in life. This stage requires energy, determination and time. Positive feedback from family, friends and co-workers is very helpful as it encourages even more commitment toward a change that becomes more and more obvious and noteworthy. With repetition and maintenance of the new behavior, a new habit is born. It can be done.
Be well!

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Lakes Region Profiles — High-kicking around the campfire

By Mary O'Neill

Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group

 

In 1919, a jovial group of eight men gathered and decided upon a camping trip to begin in Albany, New York and then into New Hampshire. When the unlikely group set off, few probably imagined that among the party were three titans of American industry: Thomas Alva Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone; and a celebrated naturalist, John Burroughs.

By the year 1919, Thomas Edison was already one of the most famous men in America and had acquired over 1,000 patents. He also owned the Detroit Edison Company, which had employed a young Henry Ford. Now 56, Ford had transformed the world of transport by pioneering the automobile assembly line, which made cars affordable. Harvey Firestone had been one of the first to develop non-skid, low-pressure and truck tires. His was among the largest companies in the US and he supplied most of the tires for Ford's cars. Though 82 at the time the party set out, John Burroughs was still enthusiastically seeking out wildlife for study and observation. He was a seasoned camper, having done so on many occasions with company such as Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir (Rogers, It Happened in New Hampshire).

New Hampshire's roads in 1919 were but rough narrow paths and old Native American trails meandering through the woods and running from town to town. On these bumpy roads proceeded one of the most intriguing camping parades of the automobile age. The group consisted of an Edison Simplex, two Packard sedans, a Cadillac truck for gear, and a specially designed Ford truck serving as traveling kitchen, complete with Henry Ford's personal chef, Thomas Sato. Edison had made sure the kitchen truck included a generator, providing power for the cook and for lights in the tents as well. And what did these celebrated personages do for entertainment around the campsite? New England Historical Society records relate that Edison prompted campfire discussions about current events, politics, and philosophy; Ford initiated competitions in high-kicking, wood chopping, berry picking, and rifle shooting; and Burroughs taught bird calls and organized nature walks. Of course, historical pictures of these outings show the activities being carried out in gentlemen's attire – three piece suits and neck ties (newenglandhistoricalsociety.com).

On August 10, the group left their campsite in the Green Mountains and crossed into the northern region of New Hampshire. They passed through Crawford Notch and Conway before traveling west across the northern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee and then south through the Weirs and on to Tilton with the intent of setting up camp. Somewhere along the way, the Cadillac truck containing the tents and gear became separated from the group. By the time it caught up it was too late to set up camp, and so the party checked into the best hotel in Tilton, the Ideal Hotel (Rogers). Though the history could not be verified, pictures of the Ideal Hotel suggest it may have been the predecessor to the Tilton Inn, which still operates on Main Street.

The story has it that after dinner, the men settled on the building's wide porch to take in the evening breeze. The presence of famous men in the small town drew a crowd and also supplied the local Salvation Army with an unexpected opening to collect donations. Those gathered asked the men to say a few words. As Burroughs and Ford addressed the crowd, members of the Salvation Army weaved among them with their tambourines in hand. Suddenly Edison jumped off the porch, snatched a tambourine, and began to move through the crowd, encouraging people to donate. It seems his enthusiasm was irresistible and resulted in a substantial collection for the Salvation Army that night (Rogers).

The next day, the merry party motored on to Webster Lake before heading south towards Keene. After a brief stop at the Cheshire House, acclaimed for its fine dining, they continued south towards Springfield, Massachusetts. And thus the camping party passed through New Hampshire without actually having set up camp in the Granite State.

Even though Edison, Ford, and the others never actually pitched their tents on New Hampshire soil on this particular trip, over the years hundreds of thousands have enjoyed the activity in New Hampshire's long history of recreational camping. The Lakes Region continues to be one of the most popular camping spots. There are many from which to choose. Gunstock Mountain has 270 campsites on 140 acres and one of the longest zip line canopy tours in the United States (gunstock.com). The majestic Kona Wildlife Preserve surrounds Bear's Pine Wood Campground, located in Moultonborough (bearspinewoodcampground.com). Wolfeboro Campground is in the midst of "the Oldest Summer Resort in America" (wolfeborocampground.com). Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Campground in Ashland has many special events, such as the upcoming Chocolate Lovers Week (abcamping.com/jellystonenh/). Hackmatack, Pine Hollow, and Paugus Bay Campgrounds are within the dynamic Weirs Beach area. These are just a few. For more information on these and other campgrounds, visit lakesregion.org/stay/camping-rving/.

While camping in the Lakes Region, there is plenty to do. After finishing your philosophy discussion, bird calling, and high-kicking competition around the campfire, you can enjoy everything from a game of miniature golf to world-class musical entertainment. And rest easy. On your camping adventure you need not be concerned if you become separated from your chow wagon. The Lakes Region continues to provide a vast array of fine dining that would even satisfy Edison, Ford, and the others on that famous trip back in 1919.

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

Camping at SoulFest

  Camping under the stars at this year's SoulFest at Gunstock Mountain. Photo courtesy of Paul Rogers Photography.

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