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Man who headed last administration was president in name only

To The Daily Sun,
In a recent contribution to this forum, Mr. "I don't have to proof anything" Earle has the audacity to suggest that Mr. Hoyt only voted for President Obama "because he is black"; talk about playing the race card! Obama won 69.5 million votes in 2008 and 65.9 million votes in 2012; is Earle suggesting that all these voters cast their ballots for him just because of the color of his skin? He is the first president in more than five decades to win at least 51 percent of the national vote twice. White conservatives have gone so far as saying that racism is no longer a problem in America and doesn't even exist anymore — apparently Earle didn't get the memo.
While I would never presume to claim why any individual votes the way he or she does, I would like to suggest a number of possible reasons the Democrats won the presidency in 2008.
The previous Republican administration failed to "keep us safe." On September 11th our country experienced the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Despite repeated, urgent warnings from intelligence officials and the prior president about an impending al Qaeda attack, this administration did nothing. Evidence compiled by the 9/11 Commission showed that this Republican administration sought to stymie and mislead the investigation. It has been clear for years that the administration ignored many warnings about Al Qaeda. Conservatives, suffering from historic amnesia, continue to behave as if facts uncovered by the 9/11 Commission never emerged.
This Republican administration embraced global isolationism, first by withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty taking the United States in a direction not seen since World War I. They gutted global political progress by pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol which set requirements for 38 nations to lower greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. Then squandered global goodwill after 9/11 by thumbing their nose at world sympathy for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, by declaring a global war on terrorism and declaring "you are either with us or against us." Continuing in this vain, this administration abandoned the International Criminal Court and ignored an international ban on torture.
The administration soon started beating war drums for an attack on Iraq, where there was no proven al Qaeda link, instead of Afghanistan where the 9/11 bombers had trained and Osama bin Laden was based. The administration tried to get the U.N. Security Council to authorize an attack on Iraq, which it refused to do. This Republican Administration decided to lead a "preemptive" attack regardless of international consequences. A National Intelligence estimate asserted that the Iraq war increased Islamic radicalism and had worsened the terror threat. It has been estimated that the costs of the Iraq and Afghan wars will read between $4 trillion and $6 trillion, when the long-term medical costs are added in for wounded veterans. In response to veterans, this same administration, that was sending young men and women off to war, cut funding for veteran's healthcare by several billion.
The president of the previous Republican administration was thought by many to be president in name only. The power-hungry and arrogant trio of Cheney running the White House; Rove the political operations; and Rumsfeld overseeing the wars were the ones in control. And while conservative contributors are outraged when President Obama takes a vacation, the previous Commander-in- Chief, distinguished by a dubious military career, to the point of being accused of being AWOL, took 1,020 days of vacation time in two four-year terms — more than one of every three days. No other president comes close. He set the record for the longest vacation among modern presidents — five weeks.
I've only highlighted a few of the many reasons 51 percent of the voters may have cast their ballots the way they did other than the color of a man's skin. Personally, I have always admired John McCain, and despite misgivings, was giving his candidacy strong consideration until his unfortunate chose of a running mate.

L.J. Siden


Last Updated on Thursday, 18 September 2014 09:58

Hits: 163

Froma Harrop - How not to get your country back

The tea party mantra, "I want my country back," resonates with many. The racial undertones can be ugly (as well as pointless). But the longing for an economically secure America centered on a strong middle class is on point and widely shared.

Older and mostly white members of the far right tend to see themselves as model Americans who worked hard, saved up and played by the rules. They may have done all the above, but many also have no idea of how easy they had it.

After World War II, Americans with no college could walk into a factory and obtain a job paying middle-class wages. Global competition was a future threat. Today's retirees are among the last Americans to enjoy the most golden of benefits, including a defined pension check, guaranteed for the rest of their lives.

More troubling than the tunnel vision, though, is the right's program for restoring the country it purports to miss. The ideological obsession with slashing taxes, shrinking government and keeping labor as cheap as possible is downright destructive.

The America of yore did not build its middle class that way.

When President Dwight Eisenhower backed the construction of the interstate highway system in 1956, the top marginal rate for individual income taxes was 91 percent. Older taxpayers bore their burdens more or less stoically (and there wasn't Medicare to pay their parents' doctor bills). Building America was the public-spirited thing to do.

Fast-forward to the economic crash of 2008. The infrastructure was in shambles and unemployment high. Robust stimulus spending was the ticket out of both dilemmas. But even though the top marginal rate was only 35 percent, fringe conservatives controlling the Republican Party fought against government intervention every inch of the way — lest Congress raise taxes one dime.

Kansas has become the patient on which to conduct this experiment at its most extreme, and the results are disastrous. Gov. Sam Brownback pushed through wild tax cuts, mainly benefiting the well-to-do, while placing Kansas classrooms, libraries and other public services on a starvation diet.
And what do Kansans have to show for it? The tax cuts drained their state of $300 million in expected revenues for the recent fiscal year. (Where's that explosion of economic activity that the theorists said would make up the difference?) Meanwhile, earnings are falling faster and jobs growing more slowly than the national average.

The bond rating agencies remain unimpressed. Moody's and Standard & Poor's have lowered Kansas' credit rating, making it more expensive for the state to borrow.

Study after economic study shows the 21st-century spoils going to the educated. And here we have Kansas cannibalizing its schools just as competing states are restoring their education spending.

One wishes older conservatives opposed to raising the minimum wage, now $7.25 an hour, took an honest look at the wages government guaranteed them back when. The minimum wage in 1968 was the equivalent of $10.90 in today's dollars.

A new study of the 20 major economies finds the U.S. minimum wage among the lowest relative to the country's average wage. China, Brazil and Turkey did better.

The minimum wage helps less skilled workers but also influences the pay levels higher up the scale. Putting more money in the pockets of those likeliest to spend it fuels economic demand.

Tax policy does matter, and there is such a thing as government waste. But in the end, a middle class is nurtured on good schools, roads and other public services. They cost money.

Americans who want their middle-class country back should follow their elders' example. A little gratitude would be nice, too.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 September 2014 06:55

Hits: 115

A nice couple decided to pay it forward by buying me a pizza

To The Daily Sun,

I would like to publicly thank a couple who paid for my lunch at Pizza Hut on Friday, September 12. I'm an elderly woman who went out to lunch on my own. A couple at a adjoining booth chose to "pay it forward". 

I am so appreciative for the kindness and surprise that this couple paid for my lunch, as well as a tip. It is nice to know that there are still caring and kind people in a world that has gone crazy. 

Betty Ann Mayer


Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 September 2014 11:29

Hits: 217

Why is Ann Kuster unwilling to participate in town hall forums

To The Daily Sun,

An open letter to 2nd District U.S. Rep. Ann Kuster:

I am a fresh face to the democratic process, having just turned 18. Born and raised in New Hampshire, I know a little about tradition. From county fairs and old home days, to the cutting of Christmas trees and sleigh rides. Though New Hampshire is moving into a new world, tradition remains important.

Politics has always been important to the New England region, and many traditions exist to deal with it. One tradition New Hampshire embraced was the town hall. Even in the beginning, people knew that politicians could be highly suspect characters, quick to turn a blind eye to the blights of their neighbors.

To keep politicians in line, we have town hall meetings. Any and all are invited to inquire the whys and why-nots of a politician's positions. The town hall puts politician and constituent in the same room, face-to-face, forcing politicians to account for themselves while looking straight in the eyes of their neighbors. That is how we keep politicians honest.

So why are you unwilling to participate in this tradition. If you won't even look me in the eyes, should I trust you?
I am more than a vote. I am your neighbor.

Ryan Smith

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 September 2014 11:27

Hits: 306

Lots of thank yous due after annual Pie, Ice Cream & Book Sale

To The Daily Sun,

Gilford's Old Home Day was certainly a day to remember — the floats, the faces, and great activities for all.

The Friends of Gilford Library, along with library staff held their annual pie, ice cream and book sale on Friday evening and Saturday. This event is an important fund raising activity for the Friends, who provide support for Library programs throughout the year.

There are countless hours spent organizing, planning and selling — all of it done with a smile and greeting for our neighbors. I want to thank everyone who donated their time and energy toward making the day work.

Tent set up crew: Bruce Jackson, Ned Therrien, and Karl Roenke. Special thanks to the Gilford boys soccer team for their help with moving boxes of books from storage to the tent.

Book Sale: Phyllis Corrigan, Blandine Shallow, Pam Horvath, Kate Hamel, Janet Moriarty, Benjamin Poirer, Brenda and Clare Foley, Bev Fortson, Sue Goulet, Jean Therrien, Don Clarke, Dan Brown, Sandy McLaughlin, Maria and Tom Cunningham, Molly Harper, Sandy Coutermarsh, Gary Brauns, and Nancy Page.

Pie Sale: Thelma Phillips, Sue and Bob Gunther, Brenda O'Brien, Gina Miller, Miriam York, Sarah Anderson, Karel Mikulis, Mary Collins, John Piquado, and David Osman.

Special thanks to all of the wonderful people that donated a pie for the sale. We couldn't do it without you.

Thanks to all who stopped by to purchase a book and enjoy the pie. See you next year.

Alexis Jackson
Friends of Gilford Public Library

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 September 2014 11:24

Hits: 104

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