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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 August 5, 2009 / 15 Menachem-Av 5769

Faces have changed, but vitriol remains

By Michael Smerconish



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Six months into the Obama administration, one form of change has indeed come.

The level of divisiveness that so dogged the Bush administration has already engulfed his successor. The viciousness that characterized so many of George W. Bush's critics on the left has now infected the right. In terms of the level of political discourse, the country is right back where we were a year ago.

For years, Bush endured the unquenchable bitterness of many opponents. Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney claimed the administration knew in advance about the Sept. 11 attacks and failed to act. Then the "9/11 was an inside job" crowd was drowned out by the more mainstream assertion that "Bush lied" about the reasons behind the invasion of Iraq. Or was it that he was coerced into evildoing by Dick Cheney, the Vader-esque puppeteer calling the shots from behind the curtain? The hate-Bush movement was on display nightly each time Keith Olbermann would launch into one of his caustic rants.

Eventually, the constant ridiculing of Bush and Cheney created a climate of political paralysis in Washington — a condition that has unfortunately survived the transfer of power. Talk about a taste of its own medicine.

The presidential campaign that fostered Internet lore about President Obama — that he once attended a madrasa and wouldn't place his hand over his heart during the national anthem — has given way to an administration plagued by questions about the president's birth certificate and allegations of racism.

Typical is the now-infamous June 30 town hall event hosted by U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del. An audience member drew wild applause when she stood up toting an American flag and demanded to know "why are you people ignoring (Obama's) birth certificate?"

"I don't want this flag to change!" she yelped over the frenzy she'd whipped up. "I want my country back!"

That the same woman had elsewhere predicted that humans would soon make contact with aliens hasn't caught on as swiftly as her YouTube moment. Nor has the fact that she once admitted to talking with an angel that had taken on human form.

Why? Because for an emerging segment of Americans, the messenger's credibility or lack thereof is irrelevant to the end goal: Demonize the president.

Forget that candidate Obama released what has been independently deemed an authentic certification of birth. Or that Hawaii's Health Department has repeatedly verified that it has the president's vital records on file. Or that the Honolulu Advertiser ran the president's birth announcement almost 48 years ago.

The facts will always fail to assuage a minority in the electorate that traffic in hate and vitriol. What Olbermann did to Bush, Lou Dobbs has now directed toward President Obama. He provided a ready forum for the birthers, even while trying to say he personally believes the president to be a U.S. citizen. And on Fox News, Glenn Beck just called the president himself a racist.

This pundit polarization accomplishes one thing — ratings. In July, nine of the top 10 cable news shows were on Fox News. Meanwhile, MSNBC has surpassed CNN in several ratings demographics. Television viewers — and radio listeners — seem to have an insatiable appetite for reinforcement. (Who knew Pavlov's dog was actually a political model.) And so those perpetuating the cycle of partisanship get rewarded while the environment they create causes the political process to suffer.

The constant cross talk of cheap shots represents a startling decline in decorum. Gone in some quarters is a basic level of respect for the office of the presidency. Remember when Bush was booed and derisively serenaded ("Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye!") at Obama's inauguration?

None of this is intended to argue for watering down legitimate political debate and disagreement. It's perfectly appropriate to disagree in a substantive way with the president, to object to his policies, and even to use ridicule to make a political point.

But there's a line, and labeling the president a racist is crossing it. The name-calling, disrespect for the office, and constant antagonism cheapen the country's level of discourse.

Unfortunately, the spin cycle we've worked ourselves into shows no sign of slowing down. That's not change. It's more of the same.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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Previously:

06/25/09 Fair comment or foul? Warm up the Muzzle Meter
06/08/09 Believability is key in crime-hoax villains
05/14/09 Did Hollywood inspire the meltdown men?
04/20/09 Let's give killers their due: Anonymity
03/12/09 Uninsured who can't afford medical care lose a lot more
02/06/09 My debate with Musharraf on hunt for bin Laden
01/29/09 Torture must remain an option
01/15/09 Making a case for suing Madoff
12/22/08 A difficult but rational chat about ‘plans’
12/17/08 Facebook epidemic: More than 120 million have joined, many too old for this nonsense
12/01/08 The high price of downsizing the news biz
11/14/08 Prescience on greed, arrogance of a system
09/29/08 Closer look at party lines
08/26/08 Obama's pick creates GOP opportunity
08/21/08 Fishing with the Angry Everyman
07/31/08 The perils of e-mail: Ponder, then click
05/22/08 Two very different sides of the Internet
02/12/08 Sublimely ridiculous suits
11/28/08 Cell phones cut out secondary circle of kinship
09/26/07 What do we owe those who have died in Iraq?
08/30/07 A Navy SEAL's gut-wrenching tale of survival
07/30/07 First it was a faux pas, now it's a new word


© 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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