Day: July 25, 2014

False equivalence

By SUSAN ESTRICH The “crossfire” mentality that defines public discourse today has the obvious problem of ignoring the fact that most of us land somewhere in the middle, turning every debate into a shouting contest between the extremists who generate passion and ratings, and rarely reflecting the views of the majority in the middle. I’ve been saying for years that it might be just as entertaining, and certainly more productive, to see where ideological opposites find common ground. But until someone actually attempts it, we will keep spiraling down into extremism and incivility. That, in my mind, is bad. What’s worse is that our crossfire, right and left, mentality can create a sense of equivalence when there is no basis for it. Survivors and deniers do not belong on the same platform. Evolution is not debatable. Israel and Hamas do not stand in the same shoes. Poor Israel. Until the past day or two, the death toll scoreboard so widely reported in the media was running so lopsidedly in Israel’s “favor” that Israel was being chastised because too few of its soldiers and civilians had died. But that is not for want of trying. Hamas has launched thousands of rockets into Israel, one so close to Ben Gurion airport that American airlines were banned from flying there. Israel is being punished for investing in shelters (where families are literally...

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Thoughts on dealing with global conflicts

To the Editor: I have read and listened all Sunday morning to the views of pundits and politicians describing what we should be doing or have failed to do with respect to the Ukraine/Russia and Israel/Palestine crises.  Now that I am thoroughly informed, I offer the following thoughts: 1. Stop threatening Putin.  It is not only a waste of time but strengthens support for him at home. 2.  The tough stance against Russia encouraged by the “other” party reflects either ignorance of the possible outcome or simply a desire to see this administration fail – or both. 3. Trying to get Europeans to support increased sanctions against Russia ignores the fact that they have so much more to lose and how quickly it can be lost. 4. Let’s urge the convening of a congress of Middle Eastern tribes and ethnic groups charged with establishing a “restore point” in history for redrawing of political boundaries.  They will never agree but it would surely keep them occupied for a while. Art Burr...

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Bullying in state government

Recent news disclosed that two state of Oregon unionized employees have filed lawsuits against the Department of Human Services.  The basis for their suit is a claim that their boss bullied them. I worked about half my working years as a state of Oregon employee; the other half was spent in the private sector.  I was naïve about work with state government when I successfully applied for a state job. You see, I gullibly thought that government agencies were first and foremost dedicated to bettering the lives of Oregonians.  That belief was soon dashed; rather, state agencies generally operate to benefit the members of the in-office political party and its loyalists and campaigners who’ve been paid-off with state jobs. That’s why a state job finds those from private sector employment in a wholly strange and dismayingly authoritarian world. Hence, being bullied by and lording over subordinates by managers is the way of life in them.  Here’s what’s surmised to be the explanation for it: Those working directly for the governor and those appointed to state agency managers, administrators and directors must kowtow and practice deference to those in a higher position, the governor at the pyramid’s apex. Because it’s not wholly the American way, this kowtowing and deferential behavior makes for bad tempers and obnoxious behaviors that are taken out on the subordinates or the unionized rank and file state employees.  It’s human psychology that when a person must crawl on his knees, genuflect to the boss and offer undeserved high praise without a shred of verifying evidence, he who manages will become the devil incarnate. In the...

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Obama is crushing the Reagan link

By LAWRENCE KUDLOW Across his remarkably successful presidency, Ronald Reagan repeatedly made the link between the U.S. economy and U.S. international security and defense. He consistently argued that weakness at home leads to weakness abroad. Reagan was aiming at the dismal Carter years. But he understood for all times that economic strength at home sends a powerful signal for international security overseas. When Reagan went to Reykjavik to meet with Gorbachev, he believed the resurgent American economy would hammer the nails in the coffin of Soviet communism. And he explained to Gorbachev that if the Soviets didn’t come to the negotiating table with nuclear weapons, the U.S. would out-produce them on nukes and with technological superiority. Similarly, Reagan would not give up his vision for strategic missile defense. And in both cases—building nukes and SDI—Reagan knew the American economy had the resources capable of achieving these goals, while the sinking Soviet economy couldn’t match us. In the end, the Soviet system imploded in one of the greatest reversals in world history. Freedom won. Communism lost. Now, circumstances are somewhat different today. But the horrible Malaysia Airlines crash in Ukraine highlights some worrisome facts about American-Russian relations. Mitt Romney was right. Russia is our biggest threat. We know that the Malaysian plane was brought down by a ground-to-air missile fired from Russian-made SA-11 weapons run by pro-Russian Ukrainian rebel terrorists....

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