Belknap Buzz

By BRENDA TWARDOSKY, Director of Recreation, Belknap County Nursing Home

Happy September! The Dog Days of Summer are over, and we are looking forward to fall! School is starting, apples are ready to pick and we are reminiscing about fall days of long ago.
We've been so busy over the summer. We loved sitting outside toasting marshmallows in our fire pit by the gazebo, making s'mores and singing campfire songs. We had water gun fights and many laughs on the patio! McDonny's Farm brought us their traveling petting zoo – ducks, chickens, rabbits and a goat! They were so cute! We had so many blueberries on our bushes, I didn't think they would ever be all picked! The residents picked and ate blueberries, and picked and made blueberry muffins, and picked and froze berries. There were so many berries, we still have frozen berries to get us through the fall! We also made some great crafts, did some baking, went shopping, went out to eat, and went to a musical in Manchester. We tried to be outside and enjoy the sun as much as we could, while we could.
Looking forward, in September, we want to thank all the people in our Environmental Services Department; from housekeepers to laundry to maintenance. They keep our facility in tip top shape. We can count on them for a smile and a job well done! On your visits to BCNH, if you see any of our environmental staff, let them know what a great job they do on a daily basis!
We will be decorating pumpkins for the Pumpkin Festival, having a costume contest for Halloween, and getting ready for our Annual Craft Fair. Our Craft fair will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19. There will be food, raffles and a lot of vendors. Come do some Christmas shopping. You'll be able to find handmade, unique items for your friends, family or yourself! If you would like to be a vendor, or know someone who does, we still have few spots available, so contact the Recreation Department soon.
The Belknap County Nursing Home's Shooting Star for July was Angela Stone, LNA, Nursing Dept.; and August's was Linda McKenzie, an MNA and activity aide. Congratulations ladies! The Shooting Star is a program to recognize staff members who go above the call of duty. Residents, visitors, family members, or staff can nominate someone they feel is deserving. They write up their nomination, drop it in the box, and one person is chosen each month. Thank you to all of our Shooting Stars for all the wonderful things you do for our residents and our facility!
Do you have some extra time? Want to join us? Come volunteer with us at Belknap County Nursing Home! Come help take the residents shopping, join a Wii bowling team, gardening, or just making a difference in someone's day. Volunteers are always wanted! Contact the Activity Department to sign up today!

09-21 Buzz 1  09-21 Buzz 2

Residents at the Belknap County Nursing Home made a point of enjoying the last warm days of the season with a campfire, s'mores and songs. (Courtesy photos)

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Michael Barone - Clinton not reassembling the Obama majority

Success breeds failure. That's one of the melancholy lessons you learn in life. The success of policymakers in stamping out inflation in the 1980s and minimizing recessions for two decades also produced policies that contributed to the collapse of the housing and financial markets in 2007-08

It's the same in politics. Strategies and tactics that seem certain to produce victory can eventually produce defeat. Prognostications that one party or platform will prevail far into the future usually turn out to have a surprisingly early sell-by date.

That becomes apparent when you look at the shrinking margin for Hillary Clinton in the polls. As of Friday, the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls shows Clinton's margin down to 1.5 percent in two-way pairings with Donald Trump and down to 1.1 percent in four-way pairings that include Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.

And it's down to 0.7 percent in polls that included interviews conducted on or after Sept. 11, when Clinton collapsed while attending a 9/11 commemoration in Manhattan.

Note that Clinton is averaging only 42 percent in four-way polls, with 11 percent being cast for the minor-party candidates. That means Clinton is running far short of her goal of replicating the 51 percent majority Barack Obama won in 2012.

That majority depended on high turnout and high Democratic percentages from three groups: Blacks, Hispanics and young people. The last two of these demographic groups will inevitably grow as percentages of the population, and many observers have speculated that this will result in an emerging and enduring Democratic Party majority.

But Hillary Clinton is having trouble assembling that majority this year. Blacks turned out at higher rates than whites in 2012, for the first time in history. That was driven by intensive turnout efforts, but also by spontaneous enthusiasm for the first Black president, as shown by high black turnout in the non-target states of Louisiana and Mississippi. That's not likely to be duplicated with the first Black president no longer on the ballot.

As for Hispanics, there's speculation they'll turn out in vast numbers to oppose Donald Trump. But maybe not. Polling shows Trump faring no worse among Hispanics than Mitt Romney at this point four years ago. And in July the Pew Research Center reported that "Hispanic voters lag all registered voters on several measures of engagement," including following the news and thinking about politics.

Clinton runs farthest behind the Obama 2012 numbers among young voters. Those under 30 voted 66 percent for Obama in 2008 and 60 percent in 2012. But the most recent Quinnipiac poll showed Clinton in a four-way pairing winning only 31 percent among voters under 35 — which might portend, as the Atlantic's Russell Berman writes, "a big dip in turnout by young Americans."

It's not clear that standard campaign tactics will help. After Clinton's collapse she canceled her schedule for the next two days — which consisted of fundraisers on the West Coast. This came after her "baskets of deplorables" characterization of half of Trump supporters — made at a Manhattan fundraiser.

But why keep raising money in mid-September? Has the money she's raised so far been buying her votes? Her millions of dollars of ads in target states, run while the Trump campaign spent zero, didn't build landslide-type leads, or prevent any leads she had from being whittled down in the weeks since Trump flew to Mexico Aug. 31.

The old rule is that putting up ads gets you votes. But maybe that rule doesn't apply when you have two such widely known — and widely distrusted and disliked — candidates.

Money can also buy you lots of campaign headquarters and huge tranches of big data identifying individual voters' preferences and concerns. The Obama 2012 campaign showed that organization and data-mongering are most useful when messages are conveyed not by TV spots or robocalls but by actual volunteers concerned about similar issues. How many of these can Hillary Clinton inspire?

When Clinton was leading in polls after the Democratic National Convention, she looked to have a chance in Georgia and Arizona, with 27 electoral votes, which Mitt Romney won by 8 and 9 percent. Now that polls have the race nationally about even, 10 states — with 125 electoral votes — that Obama carried by smaller percentages may be within range for Trump. Success, for either party, sooner or later breeds failure.

(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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Bob Meade - Leadership, then & now

Recently I went to Connecticut for my high school class reunion. As I was leaving the event, a very bright former classmate gave me a gift of the book, "Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates", which was written by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager. I've long thought that Thomas Jefferson was one of our special presidents, and I have liked Brian Kilmeade's sense of humor and enthusiastic demeanor. Of course with a name like, Kilmeade how could I not like him. The book didn't disappoint and it made me liken it to what is happening in the Middle East today.

One of the things to adjust to while reading the book was dealing with the time and space that the book's subjects needed to complete a communication. Today, we think in terms of nano-seconds for visuals to appear on our computer screen or for our telephone to ring, but Jefferson and his emissaries dealt in cryptic hand-written letters that had to traverse countries, seas, and an ocean just to complete half of a two way communication. I felt a bit of the frustration those patriots must have experienced as they waited months and months before they even knew that their communique had been received. On the positive side of that issue though, is the thought that the issues of trust and honor that were shared during that period is far beyond what is expected today. Kilmeade and Yeager were able to provide historic accounts of words spoken or written, that underscored the honor those sent into battle gave to their mission. They honored the words of President Jefferson as to how they were to respond to the possible challenges that would befall them, even when they may have wished to do otherwise.

Another issue that needed somewhat of a mind adjustment was the speed or, more accurately, the lack of speed that faced our emissaries. We think in terms of breaking sound barriers, or traveling at 40 knots under the sea, or firing missiles guided by global positioning systems across thousands of miles. Those things hadn't even been conceived of. In their place was our country's first Navy, newly built wooden ships fitted with cannons that didn't fire sophisticated missiles, but plain old cannon balls. Navigating the newly built ships propelled only by wind, in uncharted waters, devoid of Loran, or Sonar, or highly sophisticated global positioning satellites to assist in navigation, meant that sailors often had to continually "sound" the depths of the waters below in the Mediterranean to ensure their vessels would not strike bottom. And, there was no "reverse" gear or internal combustion engine to assist them in agile maneuvering; they had only the wind, maybe some oarsmen, and the guidance and direction of the captain or helmsman.

The thing that stood out most impressively was the selfless courage and bravery shown by so many men. To them, honor was more important than life itself. They were committed to a mission designed to bring respect and honor to their new country, the United States of America. They were truly ready to put their life on the line to make that happen. I don't want to take away the pleasure you will receive from reading the book but one of the conclusions I came to was that appeasement is surrender. And, it enables the receivers of that appeasement to demand and receive even more and more of it. Thomas Jefferson knew that, as did those he sent to face the problems in the Middle East.

In his book "America Alone," New Hampshire resident Mark Steyn cited the following quote from Osama Bin Laden: "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse." Jefferson gave us a stark lesson on the mindset of the rulers in the Middle East, and how they work to be perceived as the strong horse. We read and can compare the demands and reactions of those Arab leaders in the early 1800s, to what has been transpiring across the middle east today . . . especially the seemingly never ending demands of the Iranian Mullahs, their continuing actions to demean and insult our great nation, their repeated and flagrant taunting of our military, and their disdain of the treaty agreement that they signed. To the world, they are presenting themselves as the strong horse, and our great nation as the weak horse.

In a speech to CEOs of International Companies in 2008, at Davos, Switzerland, Herbert Meyer, former chief intelligence officer to President Reagan, gave what I call a "must read" account of the conditions facing the world today. (You can read it at http://www.newcombat.net/news_and_links/Davos2008Meyer.pdf.) In his closing, Meyers said, ". . . We are becoming one of the last holdouts of the traditional Judeo-Christian culture." And, "The only people who can hurt us are ourselves, by losing our culture. If we give up our Judeo-Christian culture, we become just like the Europeans. The culture war is the whole ballgame. If we lose it, there isn't another America to pull us out." His words need to be heeded.

We must recognize that we are in a culture war and forcefully address it just as Jefferson and our fledgling Navy did.

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

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Pat Buchanan - Death struggle between Trump & the press

Alerting the press that he would deal with the birther issue at the opening of his new hotel, the Donald, after treating them to an hour of tributes to himself from Medal of Honor recipients, delivered.

"Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. ... President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period."

The press went orbital.

"Trump Gives Up a Lie But Refuses to Repent" howled the headline over the lead story in The New York Times. Its editorial called Donald Trump a "reckless, cynical bully" spreading political poison in an "absurdist presidential campaign," adding that Trump is the "ultimate mountebank" using a "Big Lie" that "made him the darling of the wing nuts and racists" and "nativist hallucinators."

You get the drift.

While Trump's depiction of the birther controversy was ... inexact ... there was truth in it. Obama's campaign did charge the Clinton campaign with drawing press attention to that photo of Obama in traditional Somali garb. Apparently, Sid Blumenthal did push a McClatchy bureau chief to search for Obama's birth records in Kenya.

Tim Kaine was wailing on Sunday about how "painful" Trump's birtherism has been to African-Americans. And Democrats and the media are pledging not to let it go, but to exploit Trump's attempt to "delegitimize" Obama's presidency.

These are crocodile tears. Obama gave the game away Saturday night. At the Black Caucus's annual gala, says The Washington Post, a "beaming" Obama "gleefully" had the attendees rolling in "laughter" over Trump's concession. "With just 124 days to go," mocked Obama, "we got that thing resolved."

Many news organizations will go along with the game. For many appear to be all in on Clinton's depiction of half of Trump's supporters as a "basket of deplorables" who are "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic ... haters."

Yet one wonders. Do the major media understand that in their determination, bordering on desperation, to kill Trump, they are killing their credibility? And as they are losing credibility they are losing the country.

According to a new Gallup poll, distrust of the press has hit an all-time high. Half the nation's Democrats still trust the media, but only one-in-three independents and one-in seven Republicans, 14 percent, believe the media are truthful, honest and fair.

When, early in his presidency, Obama jokingly referred to the White House Correspondents Association dinner as his political base, Americans now believe he was not exaggerating the case.

And the more the media vent their detestation of Trump, the more Trump's supporters revel in their discomfort. "We love him most of all for the enemies he has made," said backers of Grover Cleveland in 1884. Trump's folks feel that way about the national press.

America's media seem utterly lacking in introspection. Do they understand why so many people hate them so? Do they care? Are they so smugly self-righteous and self-regarding they cannot see?

Take the birther issue again. According to a January HuffPost/YouGov poll, an astonishing 53 percent of all Republicans, 30 percent of all independents, and even 10 percent of Democrats still believe Barack Obama was born outside the USA.

What does this say about the persuasiveness of the press? Indeed, what does it say about the idea that universal suffrage is the best way to determine the leadership of a republic?

In 2016, America faces serious issues — a rising deficit and escalating debt, the explosion of entitlements, the resurgence of Russian power, Chinese military expansionism in the South and East China seas, North Korea's development of nuclear missiles, and Afghanistan.

Now consider the issues that have transfixed the media this election season:

The birther issue, David Duke, the KKK, a Mexican-American judge, Black Lives Matter, white cops, the "Muslim ban," the Battle Flag, the "alt-right," the national anthem, Trump's refusals to recant his blasphemies against the dogmas of political correctness, or to "apologize."

What does the continual elevation of such issues, and the acrimony attendant to them, tell us? America is bitterly and irreparably divided over race, ideology faith, history and culture, and Trump's half of the nation rejects the modernist gospel that America's diversity and multiculturalism are her greatest treasures.

To the contrary, Trump's half wants secure borders, "extreme vetting" of immigrants, especially from the Mideast, and foreign and trade policies marked by an "Americanism" that seems to be an antonym for globalism. They want America to be "great again," and they believe she was once, and is not now.

No matter who wins in November, America is going to face a divide unseen in decades. If Donald Trump wins, he will confront a resident media more hateful than that which confronted Richard Nixon in 1968.

If Hillary Clinton wins, she will come to office distrusted and disbelieved by most of her countrymen, half of whom she has maligned either as "deplorables" or pitiful souls in need of empathy.

Not for half a century has the idea of "one nation under God, indivisible," seemed so distant.

(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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Jim Hightower - Amazing what 47 cents can buy

Although most of us take it for granted, America's postal service is an amazing bargain. For only 47 cents, you can purchase A "Forever" postage stamp.

Buy one 47-cent stamp, and postal workers will deliver your envelope to any address in the country by plane, train, bus, boat, truck, car, bike, pushcart, mule, on-foot or all of the above. Stick it on a letter, document or other missive, and our phenomenal network of postal workers and letter carriers will deliver it within a few days right to the specific mailbox of your addressee in any of the approximately 43,000 zip codes covering every nook and cranny of this vast country. For 47 cents! Also, that "Forever" stamp from our public postal service means it's good for first-class delivery next year, next decade or forever — protecting you from future increases in stamp prices. What a deal!

But to really get your money's worth, mail something to someone in this zip code: 48222.

That's the only floating zip code in the U.S. It's a 45-foot mail boat that has been a registered U.S. Post Office since 1948. Named the J.W. Westcott II, this postal boat is the mail box for crew members working aboard the giant freighters hauling grain, iron ore and other commodities across the five great lakes. Except for loading at one port, then unloading hundreds of miles away, these long-haul merchant ships never stop, with crews stuck on board for weeks.

So the Westcott, based near Detroit, chugs out to deliver letters and packages as each of the freighters passes by. The skilled pilots of the mail boat maneuver it right up against a steep steel side of the moving freight vessels, keeping perfect pace with the big ships' speed.

Then, in a very low-tech (but highly-efficient) delivery technique, someone on the freighter lowers a bucket tied to a rope down to the Westcott. The mail boat pilot puts a bag of letters and packages addressed to people on that ship into the bucket, which is pulled back up, and then the little boat peels away from the freighter. Now that's service!

The official motto of the 48222 zip code is "mail by the pail." It's all part of our public Post Office's amazing commitment to deliver service to all — not just to the rich and the easy-to-reach.

But look out, for a deal-breaker looms over your post office. A cabal of corporate predators and Koch-headed ideologues have been scheming for years to take "public" out of this public agency and strip "service" out of the U.S. Postal Service. The most effective ploy of these price-gouging privatizers has been a diabolical Big Lie — a massive PR hoax to depict this essential public service as a hopeless money loser, sucking billions from taxpayers every year.

Unfortunately, our lazy media establishment keeps spreading their lie. Here's an August New York Times article falsely asserting that "the Postal Service has sunk deeper underwater — net losses for the second quarter of 2016 were $2 billion."

Bovine excrement! In fact, our Post Offices earned $1.3 billion in profit so far this year, making this year the fourth straight that it has operated in the black. The discrepancy stems from phony paper losses manufactured by corporate lobbyists and right-wing lawmakers who've insisted since 2006 that the Postal Service must prefund retiree health benefits for 75 years in the future. No other agency and no corporation operates under this absurd and totally unnecessary burden, which adds billions of dollars in fictional costs to the agency's balance sheet.

Here's another reality the sloppy corporate media ignores: Our postal network costs taxpayers zero, for we consumers finance its operations by purchasing those stamps and other services. It's time to put a Forever stamp on this public jewel.

(Author and columnist Jim Hightower has been labeled America's most popular populist. He lives in Texas.)

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