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Join us at next Stand Up Laconia meeting on Thursday at LMS

To The Daily Sun,

It may be summer, but the Stand Up Laconia (SUL) coalition isn't slowing down! Please take a look below at some of the activities/events we have been involved with and some of the upcoming events we are excited to have been asked to participate in:
— June 3rd - SUL was a guest panelist at the Winnipesaukee Regional Summit on Substance Misuse & Addiction
— June 18th - Monthly coalition meeting
— June 19th - Meeting with Doug Asermley of Sick Boy Motorcycles to discuss ways he can support SUL
— June 25th - Showing of the Anonymous People movie at Lakes Region Community College.
— July 4th - SUL Informational Booth at Opechee Park
— July 6th - Winnipesaukee Playhouse chose SUL as one of their 2015 partners for Make-a-Difference Monday
— July 22nd - SUL to partake in Hands Across the Table (HATT)
— July 23rd - Monthly coalition meeting - 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Laconia Middle School cafeteria
— August 4th - National Night Out - Blueberry Lane, Laconia
— August 27th - Monthly coalition meeting
— September 12th - Multicultural Fest Downtown Laconia
— September 19th - Downtown Laconia Coffee Fest/ 2nd SUL Book Sale fundraiser
— September 25th - LHS Homecoming and football game
— September 26th-  Hope for N.H. We Believe in Recovery Rally (In Concord)
— September another showing of Anonymous People movie at LRCC (Date TBA)
— October 24th and 25th - Pumpkinfest

Our mission is to stand up to effectively and compassionately confront, treat and prevent the causes and consequences of substance abuse is a way that promotes positive, health peer and family relationships in our community.
The more engagement we have in our community, the more active coalition members we are in need of! There are so many ways to be involved, and we are grateful for whatever time your schedule allows. With each of us doing a little something it will, and already has been making a positive difference in our community! Each event we attend allows us to increase awareness about the very complex and often misunderstood issue of substance misuse. It allows us to share with our community the resources that are currently available, it helps us to mobilize and be a voice for changes that need to take place. And it shows our community WE CARE we value the need for prevention, intervention treatment and recovery.

Clare Persson, Chair

Stand Up Laconia

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Pat Buchanan - Mideast Game of Thornes

As President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is compared to Richard Nixon's opening to China, Bibi Netanyahu must know how Chiang Kai-shek felt as he watched his old friend Nixon toasting Mao in Peking.

The Iran nuclear deal is not on the same geostrategic level. Yet both moves, seen as betrayals by old U.S. allies, were born of a cold assessment in Washington of a need to shift policy to reflect new threats and new opportunities.

Several events contributed to the U.S. move toward Tehran.

First was the stunning victory in June 2013 of President Hassan Rouhani, who rode to power on the votes of the Green Revolution that had sought unsuccessfully to oust Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. Rouhani then won the Ayatollah's authorization to negotiate a cutting and curtailing of Iran's nuclear program, in return for a U.S.-U.N. lifting of sanctions. As preventing an Iranian bomb had long been a U.S. objective, the Americans could not spurn such an offer.

Came then the Islamic State's seizure of Raqqa in Syria, and Mosul and Anbar in Iraq. Viciously anti-Shiite as well as anti-American, ISIS made the U.S. and Iran de facto allies in preventing the fall of Baghdad.

But as U.S. and Iranian interests converged, those of the U.S. and its old allies — Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey — were diverging. Turkey, as it sees Bashar Assad's alliance with Iran as the greater threat, and fears anti-ISIS Kurds in Syria will carve out a second Kurdistan, has been abetting ISIS. Saudi Arabia sees Shiite Iran as a geostrategic rival in the Gulf, allied with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad in Damascus, the Shiite regime in Iraq and the Houthis in Yemen. It also sees Iran as a subversive threat in Bahrain and the heavily Shiite oil fields of Saudi Arabia itself.

Indeed, Riyadh, with the Sunni challenge of ISIS rising, and the Shiite challenge of Iran growing, and its border states already on fire, does indeed face an existential threat. And, so, too, do the Gulf Arabs. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown in the Middle East today.

The Israelis, too, see Iran as their great enemy and indispensable pillar of Hezbollah. For Bibi, any U.S.-Iran rapprochement is a diplomatic disaster.

Which brings us to a fundamental question of the Middle East. Is the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal and our de facto alliance against ISIS a temporary collaboration? Or is it the beginning of a detente between these ideological enemies of 35 years?

Is an historic "reversal of alliances" in the Mideast at hand?

Clearly the United States and Iran have overlapping interests. Neither wants all-out war with the other. For the Americans, such a war would set the Gulf ablaze, halt the flow of oil, and cause a recession in the West. For Iran, war with the USA could see their country smashed and splintered like Saddam's Iraq, and the loss of an historic opportunity to achieve hegemony in the Gulf. Also, both Iran and the United States would like to see ISIS not only degraded and defeated, but annihilated. Both thus have a vested interest in preventing a collapse of either the Shiite regime in Baghdad or Assad's regime in Syria.

And, thus, Syria is probably where the next collision is going to come between the United States and its old allies. For Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel all want the Assad regime brought down to break up Iran's Shiite Crescent and inflict a strategic defeat on Tehran. But the United States believes the fall of Assad means the rise of ISIS and al-Qaida, a massacre of Christians, and the coming to power of a Sunni terrorist state implacably hostile to us.

Look for the Saudis and Israelis, their agents and lobbies, their think tanks and op-ed writers, to begin beating the drums for the United States to bring down Assad, who has been "killing his own people".

The case will be made that this is the way for America to rejoin its old allies, removing the principal obstacle to our getting together and going after ISIS. Once Assad is gone, the line is already being moved, then we can all go after ISIS. But, first, Assad.

What is wrong with this scenario?

A U.S. no-fly zone, for example, to stop Assad's barrel bombs, would entail attacks on Syrian airfields and antiaircraft missiles and guns. These would be acts of war, which would put us into a de facto alliance with the al-Qaida Nusra Front and ISIS, and invite retaliations against Americans by Hezbollah in Beirut, and the Shiite militia in Baghdad.

Any U.S.-Iran rapprochement would be dead, and we will have been sucked into a war to achieve the strategic goals of allies that are in conflict with the national interests of the United States. And our interests come first.

(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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