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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 19, 2010 / 13 Teves, 5771

In Washington, newspeak on deficits, debt and the financial crisis

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Words matter.

Just ask Google, which has arranged for anyone to search millions of books online and track how many times a particular word has been used through the ages, thus suggesting how much we think about (and, by inference, value) certain things.

Or ask WikiLeaker Julian Assange, now free from prison and enjoying "mansion arrest," who gained notoriety as well as accolades for exposing the private words of diplomats and untold others. While some leaked cables highlight both the good and the bad that humans do, others could reveal secrets told by people who may not enjoy the protections of free-speech-minded democracies.

Or ask the Republican Party, some of whose members sought to eliminate certain words from a report by the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, including "deregulation," "shadow banking," "interconnection" and even "Wall Street."

When Democratic members declined to participate in such selective wordplay, the GOP members issued their own report without the words that might have caused sensitive readers to recoil or that might have implicated parties Republicans wished not to be implicated.

Between weaselly obfuscation and absolute transparency, we find ourselves troubled by our vast power to know and the tyranny of others whose demands for transparency infringe on our rights to not be known and to not know.

Spare me your absolute truth, and I'll spare you mine.

Privacy as we once knew it is dead, we've reluctantly come to accept. We will adapt accordingly and, perhaps, keep more of our thoughts to ourselves. This would not be a bad development, though I entertain no hope that Twitter will fall into disuse. Sharing is so . . . special.

More concerning than the limits of sharing or the boundaries of transparency are the intentional manipulations of language to obscure truth. Totalitarians throughout history have relied on writing and speaking badly - that is, without clarity - to keep the masses confused and captive. Clarity, the enemy of deceit, is anathema to authoritarians everywhere.



Thus, when Republicans refuse to use certain words as potentially too upsetting, they are choosing a dark path for citizens to follow. By any other name, it is dishonest. Most understand that Wall Street played a role in the financial crisis, as did unregulated "shadow banks," non-banks that nonetheless had lending powers and abused them.

Democrats are equally guilty of obfuscation through language distortion. How many times throughout the tax bill debate have you heard some variation of the following? Giving tax breaks to the rich will add to the deficit.

Pardon? How does money in someone's own pocket add to another's debt? This sort of logic is possible, of course, only under confiscatory rules of wealth redistribution.

Yet we have become quite accustomed through the repetition of this idea that the rich are somehow hurting the poor and disrupting the proper functioning of an engorged and profligate government.

Permit me to reword the issue just a tad. Let's say Joe is $100 in the hole and yet continues to spend money like a drunken fool. Mary has five bucks, which she declines to share because she has to buy food. Joe is insistent. His debt will get worse if Mary doesn't help out. This may be true, but Mary isn't convinced that helping Joe pay down his debt will do any good as long as he continues to spend. She's betting that Joe will just dig a deeper hole, and she will have less security of her own.

You see the problem. It isn't the money. It's the dishonesty of the argument. Allowing wealthier Americans to keep the amount of money they are now getting isn't adding to the debt. Yet, the effect of this oft-repeated trope has been to demonize "the wealthy," as if they somehow have wronged their fellow citizens by working hard and achieving what everyone else wants.

Words matter, and I suspect that if the good folks in Washington would speak with greater clarity, steering away from the sort of heated rhetoric that stokes class warfare and demonizes the doers who create jobs for others, most Americans gladly would do the necessary things, including willingly helping Joe dig out of debt.

But first Joe has to be honest about his role in this predicament. Blaming the rich for Washington's problems is a distortion by dishonest brokers. And they wonder why Americans don't trust them enough to fork over more of their money?

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