Day: October 20, 2015

The Republican establishment’s weak tea

By E.J. DIONNE JR.       WASHINGTON — The narrative about the 2016 presidential campaign focuses on angry discontent in the American electorate. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have a plausible explanation for what lies behind this unhappiness. The only Republican acting as if he has a working theory of his own is Donald Trump.      As their policy-heavy debate last week showed, both Clinton and Sanders see the public’s distemper primarily in economic terms and they’re offering a raft of proposals on college affordability, family leave, child care, and breaking up concentrated economic power. The idea is that renewing broadly shared prosperity and helping the hard-pressed to solve particular problems in their lives will cure much of what ails us.      The mainstream Republicans have rather little to say about the specific challenges facing the middle and working classes. Instead, Republicans assert — as they have for more than 30 years — that tax cuts tilted toward investors will get the economy to grow faster, which they believe will take care of everything else.      In fact, Republicans seem to want a government that would do less for everybody. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, for example, dismissed the Democratic debate as a competition over “who was going to give away the most free stuff: Free college education, free college education for people illegally in this country, free health care, free...

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Christians can’t ignore the suffering of Muslims

By MICHAEL GERSON         BEIRUT — The airport here is in territory controlled by Hezbollah. Driving across Beirut, you see affiliations declared by large posters hung on lampposts: Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah in Shiite areas, assassinated leader Rafiq al-Hariri in Sunni neighborhoods. Some Palestinian camps display images from Hamas; others from Fatah, including the long-dead Yasser Arafat.  “His eyes,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in a rather different context, “dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.”      There is the Beirut of Gucci purses, designer sunglasses and Ferrari dealerships. But all this exists like a bubble on the surface of an armed truce among religiously defined groups: Christian, Shiite and Sunni. Each tradition is defended by the functional equivalent of mafia families, providing security, dispensing jobs and favors, and dividing up public offices.      Apart from the occasional car bomb or Israeli invasion, the arrangement has recently held. But all Lebanese adults can recall religious civil war. A Lebanese Christian aid worker shared with me the memory of hiding with other families in a bunker during rocket attacks. To distract the children, her mother would start counting when they heard a rocket — one, two, three, four …  — then applaud when it thudded without hitting them.      The role of religion in Lebanese politics would seem to be a strong argument...

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KPD cop honored for Putnam case

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes As far as he’s concerned, Chris Nelson and others were simply doing their jobs under less than ideal circumstances. Still, the Keizer Police Department detective and Garrett Roelof were recognized Oct. 8 with an award presentation ceremony at the United States Attorney’s Office in Portland for their investigation in the Laurin Putnam case. Putnam, 21, died of heroin overdose in April 2012, but the investigation led to 10 drug traffickers being arrested. Kathleen Bickers, the assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case, presented Nelson and Roelof their awards in a large conference room full of federal prosecutors. Bickers noted it was the most successful Len Bias investigation in the history of the Portland office. Bias was the second pick in the 1986 National Basketball Association draft but died of a drug overdose shortly after. In 1988, Congress passed stricter drug laws known as the Len Bias Law. “Chris was very good in encouraging them to assist law enforcement,” Bickers said. “Because of how sophisticated Chris is in the process, it went very quickly. In my opinion, this was the most successful overdose investigation I’ve been a part of. They went straight up vertically in four days.” “The case was successful because of the cooperation from everyone involved,” said Nelson, who was on a DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) task force at the time. “Sgt....

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