Thursday, January 30, 2020

TULSI, MARCO, AND HILLARY'S SHADOW


TULSI, MARCO, AND HILLARY'S SHADOW
 
By Michael Moffett
 
So I was with a state rep friend on a Saturday night last November at the Salt Hill Pub in Lebanon watching football on the Pub’s TV. Dartmouth was beating Princeton in a game played in Yankee Stadium, of all places. Then Tulsi Gabbard walks into the bar.
 
Seriously. Not a joke. Tulsi Gabbard really walked into the bar.
 
My friend and I later moved to a function room to hear what the Hawaiian congresswoman, war veteran, and presidential candidate had to say. We both agreed that her politics didn’t mesh with ours—doctrinaire liberal positions that she HAD to espouse to compete in the primary, positions that will be problematical in the general election for whomever wins the Democrat nomination.
 
But aside from her unfortunate positions, Tulsi was an engaging, appealing breath of fresh airespecially compared to the septuagenarians against whom she’s competing. We liked her.
 
Fast forward to January 25.
 
I was with some compadres at the Meredith American Legion. And Tulsi walks into the bar.
 
Seriously. Not a joke. Tulsi Gabbard really walked into the bar.
 
As a fellow Legionnaire, Tulsi had every right to join us at Post #33. Patrons there chatted her up and she was very gracious, answering questions and patiently posing for photos with fellow veterans and non-veterans alike. That she's now suing Hillary Clinton for $50 million for defamation only enhanced her luster—at least for some of us.
 
And then I thought of Marco Rubio, of all people, whom I’d met at a nearby Meredith restaurant in 2015. Like Tulsi, Marco was young and appealing and I signed on as a supporter for the Florida senator and GOP presidential candidate.
 
Then teaching at NHTI-Concord, I later received a call from a Rubio campaign official asking about Marco coming to our college to meet with students and staff before doing a campus taping for the CBS Sunday Morning show. I was thrilled. As a former Public Information Officer, I knew how difficult it was to get media attention for NHTI. Rubio’s visit—with its attendant national media coverage—would shine a light on my beloved NHTI. I referred the campaign official to the college president’s office to work out the details.
 
The campaign official soon called me back, and explained that the president’s office could not have been less welcoming to Rubio—basically pushing him away. He ended up going to Manchester Community College instead. I was stunned and dumbfounded. A major missed opportunity for NHTI! Why?
 
I soon found out why.
 
Hillary was coming.
 
Having committed to host a Hillary visit, the college didn’t want to risk having her high profile visit unfavorably compared or contrasted with a Rubio visit. So the students missed out on meeting Marco.
 
(Note: NHTI now has a different administration from what it had in 2015.)
 
The day of Hillary’s visit I and seven other professors (all women) walked from our North Hall offices toward Little Hall to see Hillary. But the surrounding streets were barricaded and Little Hall was locked down. A campus security officer, who knew all of us well, seemed embarrassed when he sheepishly told us we’d have to stay away. Hillary would meet with the then-president and two students in front of lots of cameras and media. The show was closed to everyone else. So we and the students missed out on seeing Hillary—as well as Marco.
 
The machinations of Hillary’s people, both at NHTI and nationally, thwarted most potential 2016 challengers, other than Bernie Sanders—who famously routed her in that N.H. primary. Those machinations dispirited the Democrat party and helped elect Donald J. Trump as our 45th President. Thank you Hillary.
 
Hillary’s not a 2020 candidate, but her shadow still looms large over our body politic, as she again tries to undermine Sanders. Of course, she’d earlier referred to Tulsi as a “Russian asset,” hence the Gabbard lawsuit. We’ll know in November how it all plays out, but the Hillary factor could help Donald Trump to win it all once again.
Tulsi probably won't win the N.H. Primary on Feb. 11, despite having moved to Goffstown a couple months ago. Which is probably a good thing for Republicans, because if she did win the Dem nomination she’d probably be the toughest opponent for President Trump.
 
No matter how many bars she walks into!
 
#####
 
(Michael Moffett of Loudon is a retired professor and Marine Corps officer, and a former state representative.)


The founders of the Legislative Beer Caucus recently linked up with presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) at Meredith American Legion Post 33. (l-r) Tim Lang (Sanbornton), Mike Moffett (Loudon), Gabbard, Reed Panasiti (Amherst), and Howard Pearl (Loudon).

Monday, December 23, 2019

CAP CADET JONATHAN WINSLOW TAKING FLIGHT AS NEW U.S. CITIZEN




Jonathan, Glenn, and Mary Winslow


CAP CADET JONATHAN WINSLOW TAKING FLIGHT AS NEW U.S. CITIZEN

By Michael Moffett

BARNSTEAD, N.H. – As young Jonathan Winslow was interested in flying, the 13-year-old happily accepted a scholarship to attend the Ace Academy’s summer flying program at Laconia Airport in 2016. And the more he learned, the more excited he became about flying.

The adopted son of Glen and Mary Winslow, Jonathan is one of those youngsters with ambition and a sense of adventure who is willing to work at actually getting to the heavens as opposed to just observing the sky from the safety of Belknap County’s terra firma.

The Ace Academy experience enabled Jonathan to meet Captain Julie Panus of the New Hampshire Civil Air Patrol (CAP). A senior member of the Lakes Region’s Hawk Composite Squadron, Panus put in a plug for her unit and encouraged Jonathan to consider the CAP experience.

“My brother, Michael Meserve, was a Civil Air Patrol Cadet in Rochester,” said mother Mary Winslow. “He loved Civil Air Patrol, so Glen and I were delighted that Captain Panus alerted Jonathan as to the opportunities available in joining Hawk Squadron.”

The Hawk Composite Squadron is one of several squadrons that make up the New Hampshire Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, a non-profit organization that’s the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. The CAP squadrons are committed to three core missions: Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services.

“Jonathan went on-line and learned about Civil Air Patrol and wanted to know more,” explained Mary. “After attending a Hawk Squadron Open House at Holy Trinity School in Laconia he knew he wanted to join, which he did in October of last year.”

Now a senior airman (looking for promotion) with Hawk Squadron, Jonathan wants to be an Air Force pilot.

So can Jonathan acquire the “right stuff” that pilots famously need to succeed? Time will tell, but if he’s anything like his parents he already has lots of right stuff.

ADOPTING ANGELS

Angels are also believed to take wing from time to time, as evidenced by the wonderful work that Glen and Mary have done as parents. The two met in Deerfield, and after dating for five years they were married on Sept. 10, 1988. Daughters Brittany and Madelyn were born in 1990 and 1995 respectively.

Possessors of strong social consciences, the Winslows became aware that not every youngster was lucky enough to be born and brought up into a safe loving environment the way Brittany and Madelyn were. So in 1998 Glen and Mary trained to be foster parents so they might be eligible to bring a less fortunate child into their home.

After moving to Barnstead in 2001, they reviewed some photos of Haitian children posted by an American adoption agency, and they both independently focused on Grace, an eight-year-old who was in an orphanage near Port-au-Prince. Mary went to Haiti in August of 2004 to make arrangements for Grace, but while at the orphanage she saw Jonathan, then a starving one-year-old who only weighed ten pounds.

“I couldn’t believe he was that old,” said Mary. “He was so tiny. I knew we had to try to help him.”

Mary tackled the necessary administrative requirements and arranged for health care and by June of 2005 Grace and Jonathan were ready to travel to America. Mary returned to Haiti with Madelyn to get the new Winslow family additions but got stuck there for 16 days as Haiti was in the midst of a coup.

“White people were being kidnapped or robbed, as they were thought to be rich,” recalled Mary. “I did have a bunch of cash on me for the adoption transactions so I was quite nervous. But Ernst, our interpreter, found us a driver who drove a really beat up, crappy car, and no one bothered us.”

Mary and Madelyn spent what they had to, which combined with prayers positioned them to return home to New Hampshire on July 7, 2005, with Grace and Jonathan.

The adventure was exacting, but adding two children to the Winslow family proved exciting and rewarding. So Glen and Mary decided that their family had room for more. New Hampshire’s Division for Children, Youth, and Families helped the Winslows identify adoption candidates in greater Laconia and in 2010 they adopted eleven year-old twins Edward and Elisha. Nicole followed in 2011, which then gave Glen and Mary seven children.

Despite the fact that the Winslows lived in a small house, they made things work for their growing family. A self-employed carpenter, Glen worked hard to help pay the bills while Mary homeschooled the youngsters. Glen cashed in his retirement accounts to help pay for the adoptions and the family seemed to always find a way to make things work.

“God provides,” explained Mary.

But they weren’t done yet. Not at all.

On January 21, 2012 a little girl was born drug-addicted in Manchester’s Elliot hospital, the sixth child to a mom who needed help, and to a father who was incarcerated. Enter the Winslows. Soon Rosalinda Marguerita had a new home in Barnstead.

Having adopted kids from Haiti, Laconia, and Manchester, the Winslows turned their sites to Bulgaria, where adoption agencies were trying to place children in dire need. Mary found her way to the Balkans and the Winslows added three more children, Zoey, Jeremiah, and Joyanna.

Zoey was six years old and not much more than ten pounds, and despite Mary’s best efforts, he didn’t make it. But in 2014 Jeremiah (10) and Joyanna (7) were safe in New Hampshire.

Jeremiah flourished and learned American lessons quickly, first from Mary and then at Prospect Mountain High School. Joyanna also did well as a new Granite Stater, but struggled with some health challenges—consequences of some dubious medical practices in Bulgaria.

In November of 2015 (National Adoption Month) the Winslows met Amy, then 26, and working at a Wendy’s restaurant. A victim of abuse years earlier, Amy sought stability, a measure of which Glen and Mary realized they could provide. What followed was a non-traditional consensual adult adoption. While Amy now lives on her own in Concord, she is now part of the Winslow family with all its associated love and support.

ALWAYS ROOM FOR ONE MORE

Particularly aware of how many children need help around the world, and by now experts in the international adoption processes, the Winslows inevitably were alerted about situations where youngsters needed help. Glen and Mary often provided people with advice and guidance on adoption matters and helped connect prospective parents and prospective adoptees with the proper authorities or resources necessary to save lives. And despite the size of their family in 2017, the Winslows returned to Bulgaria when they became aware of a particularly needy child.

Enter Annabella, also known as “Peppy.”

Peppy was a six-year-old with Down’s Syndrome who was in dire need in a Bulgarian group home, after an horrific experience at an orphanage. When no one else would help, the Winslows knew they had to.

Now nine years old, Peppy is a happy Granite Stater.

Given the international flavor of the Winslow household, Mary has put the sign language skills she learned at UNH-Manchester to good use.

“Not only is sign language useful with our less verbal kids, but it’s a useful skill for our kids who also love to talk,” said Mary.

SUCCESS AND SORROW

A big family means lots of work, but also lots of joy and laughter, at least with parents like Glen and Mary. But inevitably there are also those stressful and sad days.

Like when Joyanna died. 

The little girl came down with a fever associated with foot reconstructive surgery and those prior Bulgarian medical practices. On July 20, 2019, her heart stopped beating.

Her life was honored and celebrated at a funeral which was held in a Pittsfield church and attended by around 500 mourners.

“Jonathan’s fellow Civil Air Patrol cadets showed up in uniform,” said Mary. “It was very moving and impressive.”

CITIZENSHIP

All of which brings us to November 5, 2019, and the United States Customs and Immigration Services building in Bedford, N.H., where 16-year-old Jonathan Winslow would complete the last requirement for full American citizenship.

It was a big day for the Civil Air Patrol cadet, and an important step forward on a journey that Jonathan hopes will see him realize his dream of becoming an Air Force pilot. Family members and friends were there of course, most prominently being Glen and Mary, exuding that special and positive aura of serenity that so often marks people of faith. And as people of faith, they believed that somehow little Joyanna was also witnessing and celebrating right along with them.

The Civil Air Patrol may have given Jonathan Winslow the opportunity to fly, but it was Glen and Mary Winslow who gave him wings!

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(Michael Moffett is a columnist for the Weirs Times, a retired Marine Corp officer, and a Senior Member and Lieutenant Colonel with the New Hampshire Civil Air Patrol.)



"The Winslows!" 




Sunday, December 22, 2019

FDR, COLLUSION, AND IMPEACHMENT



FDR, COLLUSION, AND IMPEACHMENT
 
By Michael Moffett

 
 
In 1940 Franklin D. Roosevelt sought an unprecedented third term as President. But while his first two elections were landslides, the political landscape had changed. Americans were inherently troubled by the notion of an entitled presidency and a measure of “Roosevelt fatigue” set in.
 
Republicans sensed opportunity as three political heavyweights vied for the GOP nomination—Senators Robert A. Taft of Ohio and Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan along with District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey of New York.
 
Not only were most Americans uncomfortable with a third presidential term, but in 1940 they also opposed FDR’s internationalist leanings. Isolationism was the mood of the day and the three Republican heavyweights reflected that prevailing sentiment.
 
But FDR rightly feared the growing Nazi menace and regularly communicated with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. In fact, their correspondence began in September of 1939 when Churchill was still First Lord of the Admiralty.
 
Standing alone against Hitler, Churchill sought to pull America into world conflict—though he understood the constitutional and political constraints that FDR faced. But with his country battling for survival, Churchill desperately needed FDR to win reelection, as the three GOP contenders opposed the entangling arrangements with the British that Roosevelt favored.
 
So Churchill’s people set up an intelligence operation based in New York to spy on Americans and influence our election—with FDR’s knowledge and tacit approval. The spy organization was headed by a Canadian, William Stephenson.
 
FDR loved secret machinations—while his people maintained a brilliant public relations machine. In that pre-television era most Americans didn’t know FDR was paralyzed and wheelchair-bound or that his health was rapidly deteriorating. But back-channel contacts combined with America’s nascent but growing intelligence services allowed FDR to track Stephenson’s activities.
 
The British worked hard to support the late-entry, dark horse GOP candidacy of Indiana’s Wendell Willkie—who until 1939 was a Democrat and an earlier FDR supporter. Unlike the three Republican favorites, Willkie was an internationalist who supported Roosevelt’s tilt toward Britain.
 
The Brits reasoned that Willkie would be easier for FDR to defeat. But if Willkie did win, he’d similarly support Churchill. Willkie received only 10% of the votes on the first ballot at the brokered GOP Convention, but then Stephenson’s people released a phony poll indicating a groundswell of enthusiasm for Willkie, who then gained support on every subsequent vote, eventually winning the nomination after the sixth ballot.
 
During the ensuing campaign, Willkie supported FDR’s foreign policies, infuriating isolationists. Roosevelt easily won that third term.
 
So did communication and coordination between Roosevelt’s people and British intelligence to rig that U.S. election constitute impeachable conduct? That 1940 collusion seems infinitely worse than Trump’s clumsy phone call to a Ukrainian leader that’s the basis for his impeachment.
 
A consummate politician, FDR seldom left his fingerprints anywhere—unlike Trump, the consummate non-politician.
 
The Mueller Report indicated no Russian collusion on the part of Trump. Ergo, the need for something else to take him down—i.e. the Ukrainian phone call. Ironically, the real collusion involved the Clinton people and the bogus Steele dossier. And it was the Clinton Foundation that received huge amounts of Russian money, not the Trump campaign.
 
The realpolitik truth is that all countries care about other nations’ election outcomes and often seek to influence them—as Britain did in 1940. The U.S. has also done so many times.
 
Trump was criticized during recent congressional hearings for using informal back-channels to conduct foreign policy. But back channels constitute de rigueur diplomacy. Indeed, FDR’s presidential advisor Harry Hopkins was his most trusted “ambassador” to Britain and elsewhere, although Hopkins never held that formal designation. In fact it was back-channel contacts (through journalist John Scali) in 1962 that helped John F. Kennedy resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis. Likewise for Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 in commencing Vietnam War peace talks.
 
For Democrats to set the impeachment bar so low as to use a phone call to overturn an election really does threaten our democracy and sets a horrifying precedent that may come back to haunt Dems. And shame on our Democratic congressional delegation for putting partisan interests ahead of our national well-being.
 
Yes, Americans often cringe at how President Trump speaks and does business. But Democrats have somehow now succeeded in making the bellicose billionaire the unlikely recipient of widespread sympathy.
 
I don’t know exactly from where FDR, JFK, or LBJ watch us today. But wherever they are, they must cringe at what their fellow Democrats are doing to our Presidency and to our constitutional republic.
 
Radical Democrats are sowing a wind. They will reap a whirlwind.
 
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Friday, November 8, 2019

FINAL JEOPARDY MEMORIES



FINAL JEOPARDY MEMORIES

By Mike Moffett

The Final Jeopardy Answer is “Alex Trebek.”

The Final Jeopardy Question is at the end of this column.

Suffering from pancreatic cancer, Trebek is transitioning away from the Jeopardy television game show he’s hosted for over 35 years. During that time the avuncular Trebek endeared himself to countless Americans who got smarter while watching regular people seek fame and fortune on his iconic show. Trebek’s nightly Jeopardy drama was and is a living room staple for many families. So Trebek’s health struggles impact millions of people who “know” him but have never met him—as well as those who HAVE met him.

Like me.

I was a Jeopardy contestant.

As a Marine Corps lieutenant stationed at Camp Pendleton, California, back in the eighties, I found myself watching Jeopardy and knowing many of the answers—or questions, actually, if you know how the game works. So I headed up to a Jeopardy tryout in Los Angeles, joining a big crowd of wannabes for a 50-question test. The tests were corrected and most people were sent home, but they kept a few of us for an audition, and then sent us home as well.

A few days later I received a call inviting me to be a Jeopardy contestant. As Jeopardy taped five shows a session I was encouraged to bring a change of clothes.

Dreaming of fame and fortune, I sped up I-5 to L.A., my Marine Corps dress blues hanging behind the driver's seat. At the studio, would-be contestants were sequestered during preparations for the first taping—for which I was invited to be a contestant. Apparently a New Englander/Marine officer combination was desirable to the show’s producers.

I asked if I could change into my dress blues and they said yes, but I’d then have to wait for a later taping. So I got into uniform and watched three tapings with growing angst. They had great categories and I would have won all three shows. Why did I ever ask to wear a uniform?

I got the call for the fourth taping and took my place between Rocky, the defending champion, and a woman who was a member of the Mensa (genius) Society. Trebek bantered with the crowd and had some lights adjusted as it dawned on me that I was now positioned to humiliate myself on national television. I had a panic attack, which changed to abject horror when I saw the first round of categories—obscure subjects about which I knew little. Rocky flew out to a big lead followed by the Mensa woman as I lamented passing on the first taping.

But then Trebek did his contestant interviews and we chatted about New Hampshire. His calming demeanor dissipated my panic and when I saw the next set of categories I figuratively licked my chops. The “Civil War” was very good to me and I made a charge and took the lead, with time for one more question. I chose “Golf” for $600.

“Of the Ryder, Curtis, and Walker Cups, the Trophy competed for by women.”

As a sports guy, I knew the Ryder Cup was a male competition so I buzzed in and said “What is the Curtis Cup?” But I immediately knew I should have said “Walker” and I lost $600. The Mensa lady buzzed in and said “What is the Ryder Cup” which was obviously wrong. So Rocky, by default, buzzed in and said “What is the Walker Cup?” thus winning $600. The $1200 swing gave him a slight lead going into Final Jeopardy, for which the category was “In the News.”

A news watcher, I bet all my thousands and waited for the answer, which was “The Year of a New Pope, a Test Tube Baby, and when Oscar turned 50.” I confidently wrote: “What is 1978?”

The Mensa lady got it wrong and Trebek then came to me and reviewed my answer.

“What is 1978? That is correct. And what did the lieutenant bet? He bet it all!”

The studio audience erupted with applause, apparently pulling for the Marine from New Hampshire who made the big comeback and then successfully bet it all.

“Wow!” exclaimed Trebek. “A lot of support here for the Marines!”

My heart was joyful. I’d done it! The only way I could lose was if Rocky bet all his money and if he also got it right.

Which he did.

The crushing defeat devastated me. The show ended and the lights went down and Trebek came over to chat with us and his generous comments eased my pain, and presumably that of the Mensa lady too. Trebek clearly had special empathy for the losers on his show who put themselves out there only to fail on national TV.

Rocky would keep all his money and return again as defending champ. I later learned that Trebek hired him as an assistant. My second place prize was a La-Z-Boy recliner, which still occupies a “reading nook” in my Loudon home.

I never watched Jeopardy again. Too painful.

Except once, when “60 Minutes” did a feature on the show, which interested me, as an erstwhile Jeopardy alum. They showed footage from a show, of course, and of all the thousands of shows from which to choose, they selected the one I’d been on. There I was, again on national TV, in my dress blues between Rocky and the Mensa lady.

While insisting on wearing my uniform probably cost me fame and fortune, I remain proud of those dress blues, which now hang in a closet not far from my Jeopardy chair.

C’est la vie.

Oh yeah. Our Final Jeopardy Question:

“What TV game show host will always be remembered for his kindness and empathy to a terrified Marine Corps lieutenant from New Hampshire?”

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