To The Daily Sun,
In my efforts to meet and talk to as many people as possible before a possible run for the Statehouse, I attended two ceremonies on Memorial Day. Moultonborough had a wonderful parade up Route 25 to a ceremony at the Town Hall. Speakers honored our selfless veterans who have defended our land and brought us the gift of a peaceful and safe nation.
In Sandwich, the theme was similar with a wonderful, moving poem by Jan Goldman, describing the service of her family's veterans since 1918. The keynote speaker, an Army colonel by the name of Major Larowe, also paid homage to the men and women who gave their last measure of devotion. However, he took the opportunity to provide our veterans with important and practical advice.
He recommended all veterans prepare and update their wills. If you have a trust that was prepared when you left the service, have it updated by an attorney to meet today's tax laws. Consider buying long-term-care insurance for yourself and your spouse. Three years of insurance for men and five years for women.
If you are eligible for Tri-Care for Life, find your DD Form 214, make copies and attach it to your last will and testament. You should also establish your eligibility to be buried at a veteran's cemetery, beforehand, by contacting the cemetery's sexton.
And finally, if you think you are eligible for VA benefits because of a service-connected liability, establish your benefits immediately. The local VFW or American Legion can provide assistance.
If you are a veteran, you deserve all the benefits coming to you. I would also encourage you to follow Colonel Larowe's advice.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 May 2014 10:22
On Memorial Day weekend, scores of thousands of bikers arrived here for their annual Rolling Thunder tribute to America's veterans, especially those lost in our wars or left behind. But this year the tribute has been sullied by a squalid scandal in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sick vets seeking medical care at the Phoenix VA hospital were put on waiting lists, but never got to see a doctor. Dozens died. Then waiting lists were altered to make it appear that VA staffers had not failed in their duty to provide the vets access to care in the required 14 days. Some vets suffered for months before dying.
There is truly something rotten in the state.
But, rest assured, this scandal of deceit, dishonor and betrayal is not going to go away soon.
For unlike Benghazi and the IRS scandals, the major media are looking into how widespread was this practice of denying care to vets and doctoring waiting lists to lie about what was done, and not done, at the VA hospitals. And as this is both an easily understood and deeply emotional issue, the public is fully engaged.
Our commander in chief wisely used his weekend to visit our troops in Afghanistan. But between Memorial Day and June 6, when the president speaks at Normandy on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, this metastasizing scandal is going to bleed his administration.
And this crisis gripping the second largest Cabinet department underscores a larger truth.
The core belief of liberalism, the political philosophy that has guided the Democratic Party since FDR's New Deal — that competent, caring, compassionate government is the instrument best suited to addressing America's social disorders — is being fatally undermined.
The VA hospitals are supposed to represent the best in quality care for those we owe the most. They are America's example to the world of government-run health care and a single-payer system that liberals have championed for decades.
Does anyone still believe that universal health care modeled on the VA is what we want for America?
Looking around, America's public sector appears to be everywhere in crisis.
Before the VA scandal we had the rollout of Obamacare, the disastrous results of which were so unanticipated and adverse they could cost the Democratic Party control of the Senate in November.
Democrats point to Social Security and Medicare as the ideal of what a caring, compassionate and competent government can do. But what has Big Government accomplished lately?
In the new century, we have fought our two longest wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Are the results worth the lost blood and treasure? Or are the results of our interventions the reasons why Americans want to stay out of Syria and Ukraine?
Perhaps the largest of all government programs is education. Yet despite the trillions of dollars plunged into public education at the local, state and federal levels from the Great Society to No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top, U.S. test scores continue to plummet in international competition and the gap between black and Hispanic and Asian and white continues to persist.
To bring up test scores, we have seen the dumbing down of tests and rampant cheating by principals and teachers erasing and changing answers for students in school districts including D.C. and Atlanta. Corrupt conduct by those charged with instructing America's children in the moral superiority of democratic government. Is not the charter school movement a vote of no confidence in a school system that was once the pride of the nation?
The sub-prime mortgage scandal, which almost plunged us into a second Great Depression, was a product of Big Government.
And despite five trillion in federal deficits under Obama, and a Fed policy of pumping endless trillions into the banks, U.S. growth in the first quarter flatlined, and has been anemic for years.
The bankruptcy of Detroit, the downgrades of public debt in Illinois, Puerto Rico and New Jersey — were they not all caused by the political class that runs state governments?
Yes, there are well-run VA hospitals, outstanding public schools, and state and local governments that are magnets for business. And government has accomplished goals in which all of us take pride. NASA put our astronauts on the moon. After Pearl Harbor, Washington led America to victory in less than four years. But lately government's failures seem to outnumber its successes.
Republicans rightly view with alarm demographic trends showing their core constituencies shrinking and the Democrats' rising. But Democrats should also take heed. For declining confidence in government's ability to solve America's problems, which is likely to be translated into Republican gains in Congress this year, represents a declining faith in the Democratic idea that government is the answer.
In the last century, communism was The God That Failed.
It should be a cause for concern that in the new century the god that appears to be failing is American democracy.
(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, 28 May 2014 10:14
To The Daily Sun,
There is nothing better than good friends, good music, and good cheer — all in a beautiful setting. On Saturday, June 7th at the Historic Belknap Mill, Temple B'Nai Israel is bringing Gathering Time, a well-known New York-based folk-rock trio, back to the Lakes Region. Ranked as one of the top 20 folk bands in New York, Gathering Time joined by guest artist Mara Levine, is truly back by popular demand. What make this concert even more extraordinary is that the net proceeds raised from Gathering Time will go to benefit Lakes Region Community Services (LRCS).
I am reminded on a daily basis that the Lakes Region is a generous community; and the actions of Temple B'Nai Israel solidified this for me. Generosity can be defined as 'the individual's pure intentions of looking out for society's common good and giving from the heart,' which is exactly what the members of the Temple B'Nai Israel are doing by bringing back Gathering Time. Please consider attending the Belknap Mill concert on June 7th — refreshments, music, camaraderie and Tzedakah (Charitable Giving — Hebrew) all in one great evening. For tickets and further information, visit www.tbinh.org. I hope to see you tapping your feet and enjoying the music!
Christine Santaniello, Executive Director
Lakes Region Community Services
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 May 2014 08:12
To The Daily Sun,
Oh, Oh, Oh, Bernadette how you do try to divert attention from reality and facts unfavorable to your incompetent in chief, Obama. With two left feet she crab walks (to the left of course) trying to draw away the bright spotlight of reality from the president but to no avail because even the lame-stream media is finally looking with a critical eye for once. The tried and true tactic of blaming Bush isn't going to work this time because there were no reports of deaths before Obama's watch. It was Obama who made the issue a center piece of his campaign calling it "A Sacred Duty" to reform the VA. (Oh dear, just another broken promise. After all what does it really matter?) Guess not much to this president and administration.
Now about Benghazi. Just what are all these new "facts" you refer to that are making the Repubs look bad, and where did you get them? Did MSNBC reveal Ambassador Stephens wasn't really killed in the attack on the compound in Benghazi? Or are you jumping into the loonie bin with Eleanor Cliff who attributes the ambassador's death to smoke inhalation, not murder? I don't know about you but I watched and listened to the president, Secretaru Clinton, Jay Carney, and every other lying Democrat who could get their face on the TV tell us it was all because of a YouTube video. Day after day, week after week they stuck to this made up lie. When Congress (led by Republicans because rubber-stamp Dems only wanted it all to just fade away) held hearings your Dems did nothing but blow smoke and try to make it all just go away and of course the infamous flustered outburst of Mrs. Clinton, " What does it, after all this time, really matter"? ( Not what I'd call a very presidential moment.)
So aside from the administration sending 25 thousand redacted pages of unanswered questions to congress, stonewalling and proven lies under oath. just what have your Democratc hereos contributed to the honor and decent respect law, justice and the Constitution of the U.S., there Bernedette?
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 May 2014 08:10
To The Daily Sun,
Just a reminder to people that love to feed the birds: please make sure you take in your feeder as you might get this bear in your yard as we did on May 14 around 7 p.m. One bite and it was gone. He must of weigh 400-500 pounds and solid, he has been eating good.
It was scarey and amazing to see something that lives in the wild so close. Please bring in your feeders.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 May 2014 08:02