- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

Foster’s Daily Democrat of Dover (N.H.), Oct. 27, 2104

We have heard time and time again from Democrats about the evil, right-wing Koch brothers financing Republican campaigns and causes. It is as if to brand all Republicans as lepers of biblical times.

We thought it would be interesting to take a look at some independent information about political donations.

To that end, we direct readers to OpenSecrets.org. There you will find what Open Secrets calls its list of “Heavy Hitters,” calculated from 1989-2014.

While this list does not include individuals, we think it sheds light on how some large donors are funding both Republican and Democratic campaigns.

Number 1 on the list is ActBlue with 99 percent of its funding going to Democrats.

Explains Open Secrets: Launched in 2004, ActBlue bills itself as “the online clearinghouse for Democratic action.” As a federally registered political action committee, it serves as a conduit for online contributions to Democratic candidates and committees.

Next is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Eight percent of this group’s donations go to Democratic causes.

The first on the list to give in bipartisan fashion is the National Association of Realtors with a near even split between the parties.

Next comes the National Education Association which again heavily favors Democrats.

Like the Realtors, AT&T; butters its bread on both sides.

Sixth on the list is the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers that gives 90 percent of its funds to Democrats.

The next in line may come as a shock to Democrats demonizing Wall Street for giving to the GOP.

Number 7, Goldman Sachs, splits it political funding in near even fashion between the two parties.

As noted at the outset and explained by Open Secrets, this list does not include individual donors. In pointing this out, editors make it clear that Democrats have their own big donors like former New York Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

To this list we would add George Soros of MoveOn.org infamy.

If readers sense a bit of political hypocrisy in these numbers and Democratic wailings about the Koch brothers, our words have served their purpose.

Democrats like U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen have chosen to unabashedly call the kettle black.

And, too many of the party faithful have chosen to fall for it hook, line and sinker.

What’s really sad is that there are enough honest issues that divide the parties and the candidates without stooping so politically low.

By the way, the evil son of Satan Koch Industries is 60th on Open Secrets “Heavy Hitters” list.

The Times Argus of Barre/Montpelier, Oct. 25, 2014

We all may reasonably believe we face multiple dangers beyond our control, but let’s not overstate them.

We fear that the deadly Ebola virus will sweep unimpeded across the country (or the world, for that matter).

And we fear that, as in Canada, acts of terrorism may occur at any time and any place, diminishing our freedoms.

We’re told that radical jihadists are luring our disaffected young people to their cause.

We fear these things, yet as grim as the evidence may be, it can be taken out of proportion.

The fact is the world has never been a tidy, peaceful place. Today’s horrors may strike us as particularly vile, but history tells us that there have been worse times and yet the world just keeps on turning. Today’s fears are genuine, but they must be kept in perspective.

About Ebola: To those who have the misfortune to live in Liberia, especially, or in some other parts of West Africa, the evidence is compelling because the virus is indeed sweeping through a vulnerable population where top-flight medical care is rare. But as bad as that news is, the fact is that progress is being made. Nigeria recently declared itself Ebola-free, for example.

And while there have been a few cases of the Ebola virus making its way to the United States, compared with other health dangers that we almost take for granted, such as the flu, it is almost insignificant.

Moreover, American hospitals - after one fatal misstep (in Texas) - have adopted practices that offer genuine hope that those exposed to the virus can be saved.

Furthermore, Western nations with advanced medical knowledge and healthy treasuries are pitching in to help stamp out the virus in Africa. In time, they’ll succeed.

The terrorism threat requires stepped-up vigilance by everyone, but while it may become even more common, it has not reached the point where we must live in fear every day.

The two killings in Canada this past week generated sincere concern that similar “lone wolf” incidents may be carried out by radicalized young men in North America and this means our government must be more vigilant than ever, but so far it hardly rates as an epidemic.

One surprise is that the jihadists are luring young Western women to their cause.

Three American teenage girls intent on joining the Islamist extremists in Syria made it as far as Germany before they were stopped.

The French anthropologist who founded the Center for the Prevention of Sectarian Excesses Linked to Islam was quoted in The New York Times as saying that in most cases the young women who seek to join the jihadists do not come from particularly religious families but rather are good students who go to Syria hoping to marry a devout Muslim or provide humanitarian aid.

“There is a mix of indoctrination and seduction,” she said. “They upload photos of bearded Prince Charmings on Facebook.”

The newspaper’s report also quoted Katherine E. Brown, a lecturer at a London college who studies the problem of British women being lured to Syria to join the jihadists.

Some, she explained, want to marry a fighter, and others envision utopian politics and the satisfaction of helping to create a new Islamic state. Often these women have felt alienated from Western life, mores and politics, she added.

Add up all these current issues and it might appear our world is coming apart at the seams. They’re all genuine reasons for concern, but they call for a thoughtful response (as in the handling of the Ebola crisis), not one driven by fear.

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