To The Daily Sun,
Many of the people I've been speaking to during this campaign have an impression of correctional officers as "brutal, corrupt, ignorant bullies" which is how they are typically portrayed in the movies. Frankly, I did, too. However, after visiting three jails I can say that my opinion has changed. The vast majority of the interactions I have witnessed between COs and inmates have been mutually respectful. The men and women who do these jobs seem driven by pride and compassion. Most understand, from their work experience, that humans fail and that a hand-up is what many need to be less likely to fail again. Of course, there are some inmates who will bite that hand, and officers have to be prepared for that. And, from what I've seen, they are.
There are the same number of officers working in the Belknap County House of Correction as there were 25 years ago even though the inmate population has increased substantially, and 90 percent, by some credible estimates, may be drug dependent or mentally ill. Everyone has to be flexible and pull together. The condition of the building has deteriorated substantially in the last two and a half decades and so the officers breathe the same stale air and work in the same rundown conditions as those in which the inmates live.
That this system works at all is a credit to the men and women who are on the front lines and to those in administration. Despite the overcrowding and under-staffing, which is why, for example, inmates no longer work the farm, these officers work together to confine and rehabilitate and return productive citizens back to our neighborhoods, while keeping everyone inside as safe as possible.
That does not mean, of course, that I think we need a $42 million jail. I don't know what the price tag should be yet, but I do believe that we need a jail that enables the job to be done effectively. Because, if it is, your children and mine will be safer for it.
Candidate for Belknap County Commission
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 09:09
To The Daily Sun,
Dennis Fields has consistently voted with the Democrats even when the Republicans held the majority in the House. That's fine if he were running as a Democrat, but running in a Republican primary is simply dishonest.
It is no secret that I don't agree with many (if any) Democratic ideals, but at least the Democrats will come right out and tell you what they think without wearing a false party label.
Fields is not only willing, but eager to inflict higher taxes on the people of Belknap County. Take for example his blind insistence that Belknap County needs to spend $40 million on a new jail. And in his arrogance, he personally attacks solid conservatives such as Dave DeVoy for proposing reasonable alternatives to keep spending in check.
A glance at Fields' voting record would suggest that he never encountered a tax that he didn't like.
Finally, Fields wants your guns. What shameless audacity it takes to call yourself a Republican while consistently showing your constituents that you want to deny them their right defend themselves. Dennis Fields just received a solid "D" rating from the NRA, which can be interpreted as "Dennis Fields is a menace to the Constitution." That is why the NRA endorsed Richard Brothers and Brian Gallagher as the only reliable options for Sanbornton.
Why should any Republican in Sanbornton vote for Dennis fields when he attacks Republicans and Republican values at every opportunity, especially when there are two excellent and reliable candidates in Richard Brothers and Brian Gallagher?
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 09:04
To The Daily Sun,
I have never written to the editor before, but felt compelled to write this after what I have been witnessing in downtown Laconia with the construction project.
Backtrack a few weeks ago when the traffic was rerouted a bit through downtown Laconia heading north. Did anyone else notice a section of curb jut out into the middle of the road to a sharp point? If you didn't pay attention and swerve, you would hit it and probably puncture your tire. I actually witnessed someone directly in front of me do just that and blow their tire, and miss the side barrier by about a foot. No cones, signs, nothing.
Fast forward to today. The project is moving along and looks good, but has now shifted to affect the southern part of downtown by the Landmark Inn. I am deeply concerned about the way traffic is set up and that no one has done anything about it. The current setup is ridiculous. Heading south on Route 106 through Laconia, you have three lanes of traffic by the Bank of New Hampshire building. With literally a one second warning, the left lane has two cones, and then a barrier wall, completely eliminating the left lane. So anyone in that lane abruptly has to stop and switch lanes and hope another car isn't coming. Then, the middle lane disappears about 100 feet later so those people have to swerve into the far right lane to avoid a collision there.
The worst part about this whole thing is there are no signs warning you of this, no flashing lights, nothing! It's careless.
Especially with school starting and kids walking through there all of the time, it's not a question of "if" someone will get hurt, but more of a question of "when." I understand it is temporary and will look great when it is done, but someone needs to accept responsibility to do something ASAP before something like this makes the front page.
Is the city ultimately responsible? Is the construction company? Either way, this should be addressed immediately for those folks who don't travel this road on a daily basis and don't know what to expect.
So until this changes, I would tell you to avoid that section, or be extremely careful.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 09:01
The decisions that determined the fate of the great nations and empires that failed to survive the 20th century are well known.
For the Kaiser's Germany, it was the "blank cheque" to Austria after Sarajevo. For Great Britain, the 1939 war guarantee to Poland. For the Third Reich, it was the June 1941 invasion of Russia. For the Empire of the Sun, the decision to attack Pearl Harbor.
And for the Soviet Empire, it was the invasion of Afghanistan.
As for the United States, historians may one day concur with the late Gen. Bill Odom. For the lone superpower to survive that century, the decision to invade and occupy Iraq was the most disastrous blunder in its history.
George W. Bush held out the promise of a peaceful Mesopotamian democracy as a magnet for all Arab nations. What we produced is a broken land awash in blood, a country severed by tribe and faith: a Kurdish north, Shia south and a Sunni west controlled by the savages of an "Islamic State" even al-Qaida hates and fears.
In Syria, where the United States has been aiding rebels to bring down Bashar Assad, that Islamic State now controls the northern and eastern half of the country. In Libya, where we delivered the air and missile strikes to smash Col. Gadhafi's forces, Islamist fanatics have gained the upper hand in the civil war for control of that country.
In all three countries, the United States, which claimed to be battling dictatorship to bring democracy, helped to create the power vacuum these Islamists have moved to fill.
We are the enablers of the Islamic State.
How grave is the threat?
ISIS is a "direct threat to our homeland" says Rep. Peter King. "An existential threat" echoes Sen. Lindsey Graham, "I think of an American city in flames." The Islamic State "is beyond anything we've seen," says Sec. Chuck Hagel, an "imminent threat to every interest we have." America is "in the most dangerous position we've ever been in," says Sen. Jim Inhofe, "They're crazy out there. And they are rapidly developing a method to blow up a major U.S. city."
Undeniably, these are bloodthirsty religious fanatics who revel in beheadings and crucifixions and have exhibited battlefield bravery and skill. But are 17,000 jihadi fighters in landlocked regions of Iraq and Syria really an imminent and mortal threat to an America with thousands of nuclear weapons and tens of thousands of missiles and bombs and the means to deliver them?
How grave is this crisis? Consider the correlation of forces. Who are the vocal and visible friends and fighting allies of ISIS?
They are nonexistent. The Turks, Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis who, stupidly, have been aiding ISIS in bringing down Bashar Assad and blowing a hole in the "Shia Crescent" of Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Hezbollah, have lately awakened to their idiocy and are cutting off aid to ISIS. Moderate Sunnis detest ISIS for its barbarism and desecration of shrines. The Christians and Yazidis fear and loathe them. The Kurds, both the Syrian YPG and PKK, which broke open the exit route for the Yazidis from Mount Sinjar, and the peshmerga despise ISIS.
Lebanon's army, Syria's army, Hezbollah and Iran have been fighting ISIS with Russian assistance. Vladimir Putin himself warned us of the absurdity of our attacking Assad last year, arguing that we would be allying ourselves with the same terrorists who brought down the twin towers. Was Putin not right?
Even al-Qaida and Hamas have repudiated ISIS.
We need no boots on the ground in Syria, for it is the presence of "Crusaders" on Islamic soil that is the principal recruiting tool of the jihadists. What we need is diplomacy beyond the simple-minded, "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists!" a diplomacy that invites old enemies into a coalition for a cause on which we all agree.
If Assad is willing to go in for the kill on ISIS, let us work out a truce and amnesty for the Free Syrian Army and call off that part of the rebellion, so Assad's army can focus on killing ISIS.
George H. W. Bush made an ally of Hafez al-Assad in Desert Storm. Why not make an ally of his son against ISIS?
We should next tell the Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis that any more aid to ISIS and they are on their own. We should inform the Turks that their continued membership in NATO is contingent upon sealing their border to ISIS volunteers and their assistance in eradicating the terrorist organization.
We should convey to Iran that an end to our cold war is possible if all attacks on the West stop and we work together to exterminate the Islamic State. Why would they not take the deal?
As for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed successor to Muhammad, my bet is that he closes out his brief career as caliph at an unscheduled meeting with Seal Team 6.
(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.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00
To The Daily Sun,
Voters have a clear choice when voting for the nomination in the Republican Primary for governor. There is the establishment candidate Walt Havenstein, who seems to have come out of nowhere, and the conservative candidate Andrew Hemingway, who has lived here all of his life.
Andrew has built and sold two businesses in our state. Walt has been the CEO of a company who was hired to help implement Obamacare. Walt is endorsed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who helped get Obama re-elected with his hugs and praise. You can know a candidate by who their friends are.
Andrew is a vibrant young candidate who has clear and well-prepared plans to make New Hampshire a business friendly state to attract companies here with jobs. He will attract younger voters to the polls because he knows that education is very important and points out that after students graduate college here they usually leave the state for states that have good job potential. Andrew wants to bring jobs back to New Hampshire with a tax plan that will attract companies. He is also against the federal government taking control of our schools through Common Core.
Walt Havenstein said from day one, that he refused to talk about the social issues. He doesn't seem to realize that for every social issue there is a state bureau to deal with. Will he refuse to talk about those issues as governor? We do know that he is pro-choice and in favor of gay marriage. At a 912er's meeting in Rochester (at which Mr. Havenstein was not present) his campaign manager told me that Walt is a social moderate. We would say he is a social liberal. Andrew is a pro-life social conservative.
Walt Havenstein cannot beat Governor Hassan in the general election, but Andrew Hemingway will because he has clear ideas and has made them known. Not so Walt Havenstein.
Republicans and conservatives, if you want to win back the Corner Office in Concord you can do it by nominating Andrew Hemingway in the primary election.
Phil & Chris Wittmann
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 08:25