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To elect a president out of desire to make history is misguided

Omaha businessman and billionaire Warren Buffet is one smart cookie. No one disputes that. So isn’t it odd that someone with his “smarts” supported an untested senator from Illinois for president back in 2008? Surely this standard wouldn’t fly for one of the many companies he owns. No, we’re left to believe that for president, only the most difficult and important job on the planet, a lesser standard applies.

My intent here isn’t to beat up on Buffet for his choice — he’s entitled to it — but rather to make the point that in the remaining days of Obama’s second term, we had all better figure out how to bring more thoughtfulness to his replacement than one gives a sneeze.  

{mosads}By the time of the next inaugural, our nation’s debt is estimated to approach $20 trillion; the interest we pay on that debt will rise if the Fed is to stave off inflation; our labor participation rate is the lowest it has been since Jimmy Carter was in office; our military must be built back up to face growing threats in Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East; our enemies don’t respect us and our friends don’t trust us — and that’s just in Congress; oh, and there’s no political will on either side of the aisle for real entitlement reform, the real driver of our nation’s debt and annual deficits.

The truth of the matter is that we simply cannot afford as a country to elect the next president of the United States on the basis of wanting to make history, any more than we can afford to elect someone without any history. 

From Jim Eschrich, Lenexa, Kan.

Attack on Israeli ambassador reveals lack of NGOs’ expertise

In his April 9 Congress Blog post, “The Undiplomatic Diplomat,” Martin Karcher attempts to substantiate his criticism of Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, by citing the attacks of political advocacy non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch and the Center for Constitutional Rights. 

However, these organizations lack credibility and are primarily involved in exploiting human rights claims for political purposes. NGOs are able to gain visibility for their statements and campaigns through large public relations budgets, not the legitimacy of their allegations or their credibility as research institutions. 

For instance, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is a radical group that presents an entirely distorted view of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The CCR is active in a number of “lawfare” suits against Israel and Israeli officials, promotes anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns and urges the U.S. government to stop providing military aid to Israel. CCR President Emeritus Michael Ratner accused the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum of trying to promote a “narrative” wherein “the Holocaust is used to ask us to wash away the sins of the occupier.”

Additionally, both B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch have been exposed for their misrepresentations of international law, inaccurate research, skewed statistics and disproportionate focus. These activities reflect the absence of professional standards and research methodologies, and a lack of expertise on international law and armed conflict.

In his piece, Karcher perpetuates the NGO “halo effect,” erasing the overt biases and failures of the so-called human rights groups upon which he relies.

From Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, Ramat Gan, Israel


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