- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, on voter registration problems: Freddie Johnson has registered to vote 42 times in Cuyahoga County since the first of the year. Most, if not all, of his sign-ups were solicited by canvassers for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. …

The board has encountered other serial registrants as well. ACORN, a liberal grass-roots group whose political arm supports Barack Obama, turned in many of them. But other registration drives were also duped. …

To be fair, ACORN did flag some cards as questionable, but by law even those had to be turned in – only the board can reject them. ACORN also cooperated with the board in identifying problems, and has fired rule-breaking canvassers.

No matter what’s implied on talk radio, keep this in mind: Bogus registrations do not equate to vote fraud. Freddie Johnson won’t be voting 42 times on Nov. 4. With the elections board referring his case to the county prosecutor, he faces criminal charges instead.

On the Net:


The News-Press, Fort Myers, Fla., on Colin Powell‘s endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama: Colin Powell added his name to the list of high-profile Republicans who have endorsed Barack Obama. John McCain downplayed Powell’s endorsement, pointing out his support from four other secretaries of state under Republican administrations. …

But McCain and the GOP shouldn’t dismiss the criticism of “turncoats” crossing party lines. They should examine the reasons some Republicans are drifting away, much like “Reagan Democrats” in the 1980s and “Eisenhower Democrats” in the 1950s.

Powell mentioned the GOP’s strategy of negative attacks and generating fear of Muslims as examples of a “narrower and narrower” Republican approach to serious national problems. He said connecting Obama to Bill Ayers and “some kind of terrorist feelings” is inappropriate, and he rejects the suggestion that something would be wrong if Obama was a Muslim. …

And like some other Republicans and conservatives, Powell questions McCain’s response to the economic crisis and his selection of Sarah Palin as running mate. …

The GOP still has a highly energized base that’s intent on victory Nov. 4.

But the party would be wise to consider the constructive criticism from within its ranks, in order to keep those ranks from thinning any further.

On the Net:


The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo., on eBay as a barometer of the economy: Some analysts were surprised when eBay Inc. showed lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profits, earning $492 million, or 38 cents per share.

It’s one thing when the Dow plunges, or confidence in Apple computer shares declines with the expectation that consumers will avoid high priced gadgets for a while. But eBay tells us the recession is wide and deep and real, reaching into every home in America.

That’s because eBay is nothing other than the facilitator of free trade among mostly amateur, at-home merchants selling everything from baseball cards, to jewelry, to old books from the attic, to grilled cheese sandwiches featuring apparitions of the Virgin Mary.

If eBay is hurting, it means nothing is trading. Nothing. Not sacred grilled cheese, not grandma’s pearl necklace.

If you want to know what the fat cats on Wall Street think, use the indexes of the New York Stock Exchange as your economic indicator. If you want to know what millions of Americans think, look for the next financial report from eBay –- the best indicator of all. …

On the Net:


Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier, on the social security increase: So what will you do with your extra $63? That’s the estimated monthly increase retirees are supposed to see next year in their Social Security checks. …

The typical retiree’s monthly check will go from $1,090 to $1,153. …

The increase is a nice bump, but the funds are likely already spoken for –- in higher home heating costs or higher grocery bills. And like all of us, retirees have watched as their retirement savings have been battered and drained by the largest drops on Wall Street in 70 years. …

The Social Security trust fund is projected to deplete its reserves in 2041 and will pay out more than it collects in benefits starting in 2017. That’s only nine years away.

While anyone receiving benefits is pleased to see an increase, it is small and will be absorbed quickly. The growing nightmare is looming in less than 10 years. How can this system be sustained when payouts exceed collections?

It’s a bitter pill, but somehow the system must be cut. …

On the Net:


The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, on Sen. Joe Biden’s comments: If he’s elected president, “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama… We’re going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. … I guarantee you it’s going to happen.”

If John McCain said that, Obama and his media allies would beat up on him for fear mongering, trying to scare voters.”

But McCain didn’t make those remarks. Nor did Sarah Palin. Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden did. At last a kernel of truth that should give every voter pause. If Obama is elected, Biden is saying, it will trigger a global crisis.

Why? Because America’s enemies perceive the 47-year-old senator as lacking experience, and the toughness, to deal with a crisis.

Said McCain about Biden’s comments. “We don’t want a president who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis and Americans are already fighting two wars.”

It’s likely either man will be tested as president. The difference is, McCain already has been.

On the Net:


Los Angeles Times, on attacks on Christians in the Middle East: Even Americans unschooled in the history of the Middle East know that Iraq comprises Sunni, Shia and Kurdish Muslims, thanks to the Bush administration’s much-publicized effort to promote reconciliation among those groups. Often overlooked is the fact that Iraq has an ancient Christian population that has suffered grievously from the instability that followed the U.S. invasion.

More than 1,300 Christians recently fled the city of Mosul after 14 were killed - perhaps by Al-Qaida in Iraq - following a protest about an election law that didn’t provide Christians with fair representation on provincial councils. But that is only the latest exodus of Christians from Mosul, which served as a refuge for those driven out of Baghdad, and from Iraq as a whole. A Chaldean Catholic archbishop has warned that Christians in his country face “liquidation.” …

The religious cleansing of Christians in Iraq is part of a larger pattern in which a faith with origins in the Middle East is being driven out of its native region. From Iraq to Lebanon, which once claimed a Christian majority, to Bethlehem, the West Bank town revered as the birthplace of Jesus, intra-Muslim violence and the Arab-Israeli struggle have combined to persuade (and in some cases force) Christians to relocate to Europe or North America.

This is a tragedy not only for Christianity but also for the long-term goal of ensuring Middle Eastern societies that are pluralist as well as democratic. …

On the Net:


Postimees, Tallinn, Estonia, Oct. 20, on Russia‘s western ties and territorial claims: Undoubtedly there are many people in the West who want to believe the recent statement by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov that Russia has no territorial claims on the former Soviet republics.

Now that Russia –- seen as an aggressive bully –- is trying to polish its image after the Georgian war, the time is right to show that Ivanov’s message mirrors reality.

One way of achieving this, for example, would be to finalize a border treaty between Russia and Estonia. Otherwise, these are only words without deeds. For its part, Estonia has repeatedly said it has no territorial claims on Russia. So why can’t the two neighboring nations come to terms on the treaty?

It is clearly a fear of isolation, but also the fall in world oil prices, that has driven Moscow to improve its ties with the West. To make things worse, Russia has also failed to find support for its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia’s independence.

Nevertheless, if Russia indeed succeeds in relieving its neighbors’ anxiety, this will open a new window of opportunity to mend its ties with the West.

On the Net:


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