E. Scott Cracraft - 'If it looks like a duck. . .'

In a recent issue of Der Spiegle, Germany's main news magazine, a writer wrote that Donald Trump "is the leader of a hate-filled authoritarian movement. Nothing would be more harmful to the idea of . . . world peace than if he were to be elected president." Perhaps we should listen to the Germans. If anyone knows the dangers of hate-filled authoritarian movements that threaten peace, it is the Germans.
Recently, there has been a lot in the media comparing "Trumpism" to German Nazism and Italian Fascism. Of courses, no analogy is perfect, but the comparisons between Trump, Hitler, Mussolini and their fans are just too frightening to ignore. This writer once wrote that the Tea Party was the closest thing to a mass fascist movement the country has seen in awhile. He now takes that back: Trumpism is much more dangerous but remember, many supporters of Trump are the same Tea Partiers, "patriots," and gun freaks that were bashing President Obama and spreading lies about him. Trump's followers are likely more dangerous than Trump himself.
First, all three movements had the same sort of "base:" disaffected, angry, middle-class (usually male) citizens who wanted to blame someone for their countries' problems. They all just wanted to make Germany, Italy, or America "great" again. Many simply wanted to return their countries to "traditional values." Remember, Mussolini, at least at first, had the support of the Catholic Church because he promised to defend Christian "family values."
Second, all three leaders were narcissistic, sociopathic politicians who preached platitudes but offered no real platform while seeking power. Initially, at least, Hitler had no clear message other than that Germany could be great again and his followers could not do it without him and that he could not do it without them. His brainwashed followers were left to take whatever meaning they preferred from those platitudes.
Others in these movements saw their leaders as a chance to push through their own agendas and ultimately gain power themselves. All were "populist" movements that promised everything to everyone and sought to create "national communities" where anyone, with the exceptions of the chosen scapegoats, could be a member.
Third, all three movements looked for someone to blame. Mussolini blamed communists. Hitler blamed communists and Jews. Trump and his supporters blame liberals, minorities, Muslims, and immigrants.
Moreover, all three leaders incited their followers to different levels of violence. Hitler had his brown shirts, Mussolini had his black shirts, and now Trump has his own thugs. Hitler probably never personally beat up a Jew. Trump tells his supporters to beat up his opponents. Doesn't that constitute the crime of "inciting to violence?"
Finally, none of these movements were "top down." Indeed, they were populist, "grass roots" movements which sought to gain power constitutionally. A lot of Germans liked Hitler.
Even many liberals make the mistake of not taking Trump seriously. Yes, he is a buffoon but he is a serious, dangerous buffoon. Many Germans made the same mistake and thought Hitler was a just a windbag who would tone down his rhetoric once he won office. Many think what happened in Europe could never happen here. But, no one thought it could happen in Germany, one of the most cultured, educated and civilized countries in Europe.
Of course, Trump is facing a lot of opposition from his own party but only because he has become an embarrassment. Many, including many on the "Christian" Right, prefer Ted Cruz as a "sane" alternative. But, is Cruz any better? Another analogy: if Trump and his supporters are like the KKK, then Cruz and his followers remind one of the White Citizens' Councils.
In the Jim Crow South, the "nice" white folks who supported segregation joined the councils which fought civil rights with "non-violent" harassment. Few of these segregationists would have ever burned a black church or burned a cross on someone's lawn like the Klansmen but their agendas and goals were basically the same. Trump is simply trashier that Cruz.
Some think comparing Trump or Cruz to European fascists is unfair. But, as someone once wisely said "if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and likes to swim, it may well be a duck."
(Scott Cracraft is a citizen, taxpayer, veteran, and resident of Gilford.)

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From Boys Camp to Samoset Condominiums on Lake Winnipesaukee

By Frank Roche, President, Roche Realty Group, Inc.
Over the years, so many seasonal boys and girls camps played a significant role in the history and heritage of Lake Winnipesaukee. During the 1930s, there were as many as 72 established camps in the Lake Region. Many of these camps weathered the test of time, and still exist today while a majority have succumbed to increased expenses and a drop off in the number of seasonal campers. Today approximately two dozen camps are still in operation.

I can remember visiting a neighbor friend of mine who was a camp counselor at Camp Kehonka in the late 1960s. At the time, Kehonka was the longest continuously operated summer camp for girls in the country. It was founded in 1902 and it flourished in its days with over 12,000 campers who attended over its lifetime. The memories passed down through generations; however, times quickly changed. Kehonka for 83 years, weathered such hardships as two world wars, a depression, the devastating hurricane of 1938 as well as other tragedies. Today, if you drive by the sprawling lakeside setting, you will find an upscale mix of fine waterfront homes and water access properties, at Lakeside on Winnipesaukee, a high-end waterfront community. Yes, times have changed, instead of campers meandering the wooded site, you will hear the similar sound of families enjoying the lake experience.
Other prominent camps included the likes of Camp Belknap, Camp Idlewild, Camp Dewitt, Camp Lawrence, Camp Wyanoke and many others. Because of the deep rooted memories of so many thousands of campers, the name Lake Winnipesaukee has transitioned from a distant camp experience to what has become today a world class vacation home experience.
Another camp that comes to mind is Camp Samoset, which was located in Gilford near the Alton town line. Camp Samoset was established by Thomas E. Freeman in 1915 as a summer boys camp, along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.

So many young boys enjoyed all sorts of drills including water skiing, swimming, baseball, range shooting, workshop history and sang many camp songs by the fire at night. The camp included 23 acres with 850 feet of shorefront on the "broads" section of Lake Winnipesaukee. The gently rolling topography featured towering whispering pine trees, with panoramic lake and mountain views.

I personally started my career in real estate in 1976 in the Lakes Region. I remember the sale I made of this majestic lake front property, in late 1979. I sold the property to General Investment and Development Company out of Boston. I recommended that they retain Matarrazzo Design as the land planner and work with Sugarloaf Mountain Builders as their contractor. At the time we were operating under difficult marketing conditions, with very high interest rates from 1980 through 1982. Construction was started in April of 1982. A total of 137 condominium units were planned on the site, with an average of density of 5.96 units per acre.

When I look back and think of what I sold this property for at $250,000, I could only dream that I had bought it myself and held on to it. Today, just 1 average condominium within the community sells for the same amount.

Looking at Samoset in retrospect, the land planner, George Matarrazzo did a brilliant job with exceptional land planning, and award winning architectural designs. The design and colorations of the buildings combined with the sweeping lawn areas and wooded areas, flow beautifully. Considerable native vegetation was preserved. Basically the buildings "fit well" with the land. Each condominium was executed in subtle earth tones, with fireplaces, cathedral ceilings, screened porches and many with inspiring views. The interiors were contemporary, however the exterior styling was more traditional with hipped roofs and exposed wood finishes. The amenities include a tastefully designed award winning pool and clubhouse overlooking the lake, a sandy beach area, boat slips and moorings. An additional outdoor pool and tennis courts are set back further on the property. With 850 feet of prime shorefront, Samoset's location is ideal, within close proximity to Gunstock Ski area and all other Lakes Region attractions.
Today, there is a shortage of inventory at Samoset with only two units presently for sale out of 137 units. This is surely an indication of the demand out there for this quality lakefront community. With so many former campers out there who are now active Baby Boomers, it's no wonder that the they have returned to their roots, where they experienced fond memories as children. I like to think we're like birds – we flock to the places of fond familiar feeling and we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy the same experiences we had. Thank you, Camp Samoset for the memories!


Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Frank Roche is president of Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, NH, and can be reached at (603) 279-7046.

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Nordic Tracks: Winter-Spring transitions

March is named for the Roman god of war, Mars. As Vermont's Center for Ecostudies states, "it is a month of battles between warm and cold, between winter's refusal to leave and spring's insistence on coming." I find myself also fighting the battle between wanting the cold and snow to stay so I can ski and snowshoe, and wanting the warm weather to bring on early season cycling. This year, it's especially hard to pick who you want the victor to be. After a disappointing winter, it's easy to say, "Oh, let's be done with winter, get out our bikes and hope spring is better." But a part of me feels cheated and doesn't want to let go of skis I never had because of fickle conditions. Like every other ski area or affiliated employee, the early end of winter also means an end to our seasonal paychecks, so we have a vested interest in winter lasting longer. But, as with all things natural, we don't really have a say- we have to accept what Mother Nature gives us and adjust.
This March is a month of time and seasonal transitions- Daylight Savings Time begins on March 13, Vernal Equinox on March 20, and early Easter on March 27. With those, there's also the weather shift. The sap is flowing and the snow is melting and we're stuck in the middle of the winter-spring tricky transition. One day it snows and is cold, then next, it's sunny and 60 degrees. One day, you can ski, another, you can bike. You have to be flexible and resourceful when you plan your outdoor activities. Be ready with winter and rain gear, and shorts and T-shirts. In any given day, you might need them all.
One late winter/early spring, my husband and I cross country skied in the morning on fabulous "corn" snow- snow with a rough, granular surface caused by alternating thawing and freezing that skiers describe as "good spring snow." It's like skiing in a slushy and lots of fun. In the afternoon, we changed into bike gear for an early spring ride. We prepared for fluctuating temperatures and bright sunshine. Dressed in layers that we could take off when hot and put back on when cold, we were comfortable most of the time. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and baseball caps helped keep us from baking like lobsters. Ample water and snacks kept us hydrated and energized in our winter-spring duathlon.
Adjust, acclimate, adapt- whatever you call it, be ready for whatever comes this month. Keep one foot in winter by trying some spring skiing, while having your other foot ready for pedaling. Take advantage of end-of-season ski equipment and passes deals. Put storage wax on your skis when you're done skiing, and tune-up the bikes. Whatever you do, be ready to switch gears at a moment's notice and take what March brings your way.

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Winni waterfront report for February 2016

By ROY SANBORN

There were six residential waterfront transactions on Lake Winnipesaukee in February 2016 at an average sales price of $1,102,833 and a median price point of $813,500.

The entry-level sale was at 14 Mill Cove Road in Alton. This 1967 vintage, 1,661-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath home is extremely well maintained and offers beautiful long-range views and deep-water docking. It has an open floor plan with a tastefully remodeled kitchen, living room area with wood fireplace, two additional sleeping areas, and a great deck system. This home was first listed in October 2013 for $699,000, again July 2014 for $699,000, relisted in January 2016 for $619,000 and sold for $595,000 after 763 days on the market. It is currently assessed at $514,400.

The median price point representative this month is the property at 75 Neil Shore Road in Meredith. This home was completely rebuilt in 2004 and has 2,030 square feet of turnkey living space, five bedrooms, and two-and-a-half baths. This home is very nicely done, featuring an open concept main level with hardwood floors and radiant heat, a beautiful eat-in kitchen, large breakfast bar, and a living room leading out to a deck with awesome views. The 0.17 acre lot has 80 feet of frontage, a perched beach, a granite paver patio, and a 30-foot dock. That's a lot of greatness in a small area! This home was listed at $950,000, reduced to $860,000, and sold for $842,000 after 412 days on the market. The current tax assessment is $661,200.

The highest sale of the month was at 68 Wagon Wheel Trail in Meredith. This stunning Adirondack home was built in 2008 and has just over 8,000 square feet of ultra-high-quality living space. There are 21 rooms, six bedrooms (which are all en suites,) and a total of eight baths. I guess that's enough room for everyone! The enormous two-story great room has a massive fieldstone fireplace, as does the family room in the lower level, which also sports the requisite bar, pool table, home theater room, sauna, steam room, exercise room and wine cellar (of course!) The kitchen features high-end appliances, custom cherry cabinetry and flooring, granite and custom tile work. The home has all of the high-end custom features and finishes you would expect with natural woodwork trim, exposed beams, solid panel doors, cathedral and coffered ceilings, and beautiful fixtures. It sits on a 1.04-acre lot with 150 feet of westerly facing frontage, large lawn area, custom patio with fire pit and hot tub, and an oversize U-shaped dock providing plenty of space for all the toys! An expansive porch is the perfect place to watch the sunsets. There's also a four-car heated garage for your Bentley. This home was listed at $4.749 million back in May 2013, reduced to $3.249 million, and sold for $2.75 million after 933 days on the market. It is assessed at $3.093 million.

There were two sales on Lake Winnisquam and, coincidentally, they were both located on the same street at 11 and 21 Gilman Shore Road in Belmont. Number 11 is a 1955 vintage, 944-square-foot, two-bedroom year-round cottage on 0.22 acres of land with 50 feet of frontage. This home was listed at $355,000, reduced to $335,000 and sold for $300,000 after 198 days on the market. The home at 21 Gilman Shore was built in 1975, so it is a little newer and bigger with 1,450 square feet of space and two bedrooms. It sits on a 0.2 acre lot with 75 feet of frontage. This property also took a little longer to sell, with an initial offering price of $479,000 back in May 2011. It was subsequently reduced down to $370,000 and sold for $365,000 after 1,683 days on the market. The tax assessed value for 11 Gilman Shore is $364,500 and 21 Gilman Shore is $353,200.

P​lease feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 3/09/16. ​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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Bob Meade - We can do better. . .

A little earlier today, I watched a news report which showed a group of college students rioting in order to stop an invited guest speaker from speaking. This seems to have become a common occurrence in colleges across the country, especially when the speaker is Republican or deemed to be "right wing." Today's riot was in a California state college, where police had to take the guest speaker out a rear door to avoid possible physical injury from the mob. Recently we have seen similar incidents all across the country. At the University of Missouri, we saw a female professor calling for some "muscle" in order to stop a young news reporter from questioning the participants after a similar riot. And, only a few months ago, an invited guest speaker was shouted down and prevented from speaking at the Ivy League's Brown University in Rhode Island. One has to wonder what is taking place in academia. We have often heard and read professors espousing "critical thinking," but nationally, and to some extent locally, we find an absence of critical thinking . . . it being replaced with "left wing only" rhetoric. We can do better!

The First Amendment provides citizens with the right to free speech. That doesn't mean the speech has to be good. And "free" doesn't necessarily mean it's without consequences. Telling someone on the playground that their mother wears combat boots may earn the speaker a bloody nose. As long as speech is not libelous or slanderous, it's free. If it is either of those, it may be costly to the speaker. Even so, especially during this seemingly never ending political season, we find our politicians hurling invectives at each other, engaging in name calling, and offering crude innuendos about their opponents. We can do better!

Across the aisle, we find candidates working diligently to divide the country, most often by blaming the status of one group for the status of another. People are promised a series of undeliverable rewards, with those rewards to be obtained by taking from those who have achieved some measure of success. Education? Hard work? Merit? Family structure? Those virtues aren't mentioned as dividing and duping the population is more politically important than truth. We can do better!
Political correctness has invaded our society as a substitute for faith and morals. Our president chooses to eliminate funds designated for teaching "abstinence" as part of sex education, but is adamant about retaining over $550 million in annual funding for Planned Parenthood, which is over 42 percent of that organization's annual income. Can it be that abstinence funding is the reason for the slight declines in abortions? Supporters of Planned Parenthood tell us that no federal funding can be used for abortions . . . pure hogwash. Money is "fungible". That means it can be used for purposes other than originally intended. How many people know that Planned Parenthood donated over $1.4 million to the Obama campaign? Or, that its current plan is donate a seven figure sum to the Hillary presidential run? Or, that historically they have contributed substantially to other Democrat candidates? Or, that Planned Parenthood has one of those dreaded political "Super Pacs," mainly supporting Democrats? Part of that "fungible" money received from the government is being given back to selected politicians to buy their support for continued funding of Planned Parenthood. Your tax dollars at work. We can do better!

Our federal government has become dysfunctional. The Constitution which has served us well for over two hundred years is being pushed aside by the Executive Branch. Respect for the other branches of government appears to be nonexistent. Compromise has been removed from the political dictionary as each side digs in its heels with my way or the highway approaches. Hypocrisy abounds. The non-elected bureaucracy issues unchallenged regulations that have the force of law, with some of those regulations essentially killing established businesses and industries, with the result being excessive cost burdens being placed on citizens. Many of those businesses have had to seek redress from the court system and, in doing so, have had to bear the burden of legal costs to fight to overwhelming force of the federal government. All in all, the business community becomes plagued with uncertainty . . . not knowing what the next issue may be that takes away the norm. We can do better!

The vitriol we see on the national scene is often replicated locally, as some choose to demean those with different viewpoints by resorting to name calling and other slanderous remarks. It would be better to make a cogent argument for one's viewpoint than to make an enemy of a person with a different point of view. We can do better!

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

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