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Posts published in “Day: March 21, 2014”

Hyperventilating over Putin

carlson CHRIS


Media hypocrisy and hysteria never cease to amaze. One should not be surprised to learn what low regard the general public has these days for journalists who all too often the public sees as editorializing instead of reporting. The bully pulpit the media has had for several generations is endangered because its practitioners see the sliver in the eyes of others but fail to see the log in their own eye.

Coverage of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine is a classic example where the media, which thrives on conflict, has been little more than a propaganda perpetuator of the State Department and the President’s angst over the Russian move.

Tortured analogies of President Vladimir Putin acting like Hitler in his annexation of Austria, and the German-speaking areas of the Czech Republic as well as the Sudetenland, have been all over the media.
It is disgraceful and Putin has every right to be angered by it.

The plain fact is that were the roles reversed virtually every president since James Monroe would have done exactly what Putin has done, and no amount of finger-pointing nor imposition of sanctions is going to change it.

In the parlance of international geo-politics, President Putin acted to protect what the Henry Kissinger’s and the Brent Scowcroft’s of the world would call “Russia’s soft underbelly.” Set aside that the vast majority of the people of Crimea are Russian-speaking, and that under Communist rule Soviet leaders like Nikita Khrushchev used to spend their summer vacation on the shores of the Black Sea.

Focus instead on the concentration of what’s left of the Russian Naval fleet, as well as a variety of other military installations in Crimea and one can begin to see where in the interests of future Russian security President Putin could not let the area fall into unfriendly hands.

A more appropriate analogy is our own “Monroe Doctrine,” promulgated by our fifth president, James Monroe. He served notice that the America’s, north and south, were for Americans, not Europeans. Hence, naval and military forces from Europe and elsewhere were to butt out and stay the hell away. And this is mostly what occurred.

Another analogy would be that of New Mexico deciding to align with Mexico, throw out the Border Patrol and open the border to any Hispanic or Central American immigrant or migrant worker to flood into the southwest. It’s a safe bet the President would declare martial law and send the Army to resecure the border. (more…)

Keys to the Senate: AK, SD, MT

trahant MARK


Is it a foregone conclusion that the Senate will go Republican in November? That’s the talk coming from many strategists in both parties lately.

On Fox News Sunday, Karl Rove said it’s “highly likely” that the Republicans take power. He said seven seats could shift to the GOP control in November, Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, North Carolina and West Virginia. That’s one more than the Republicans need.

Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, on NBC’s Meet the Press, is saying something similar. “There’s a real, real danger that the Democrats could suffer big losses,” he said. (Current White House officials are saying — as they should — that Democrats will hang to the Senate.)

What’s pushing this speculation is a special election last week in Florida. It’s not that Democrats lost (it was a Republican seat, anyway). It’s that Democrats didn’t turn out. If that happens again in November, then Republicans win easily.

One of the states in play, Montana, is a good example of the problem.

There are a higher percentage of American Indian voters in Montana than in any other state except New Mexico, a registration that tops 64 percent (a slightly higher percentage than white voters in Montana). This made a difference two years ago when Sen. Jon Tester and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau both won re-election. But two years before that, those same voters disappeared. Conservative candidates won easily.

So is 2014 more like 2012 or 2010? Will Native American voters show up?

Montana is raising questions for other reasons, too. Senate candidate Steve Daines, a member of the House, has visited the state’s reservations and is making his case with tribal leaders.

There is also a difference of opinion in Montana over strategy. As Stephanie Woodard wrote in Indian Country Today Media Network, a voter access organization, Four Directions, blames Democrats for not expanding satellite balloting on the reservation.

The good news is that it’s early. There are months ahead to sort out a Native vote strategy and engage voters. But right now, Montana Senate race is looking like a pick up opportunity for the Republicans.

“If we lose the Senate,” Gibbs said, “turn out the lights. The party’s over.” The final two years of the Obama presidency will be one of defense, limiting the damage, instead of promoting any sort of agenda of growth.

For Indian Country that means more budgets cuts, GOP leadership for the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, and more whittling away of the Affordable Care Act. (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

FBI agent in DBSI case dies (Boise Statesman)
Idaho Legislature adjourns (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News, Sandpoint Bee)
Syringa park water cleared (Moscow News)
Guns on campus still under review (Moscow News)
Raises for elected officials cut back (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Aberdeen man sues over shot dog (Pocatello Journal)
Sho-Bans battling over FMC waste (Pocatello Journal)
Water will rise by American Falls dam (Pocatello Journal)
Melta geothermal operation may mean 800 jobs (TF Times News)

Kitzhaber orders shifts at Cover Oregon (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, KF Herald & News, Corvallis Gazette Times, Pendleton East Oregonian, Ashland Tidings)
No pot sweets at medical dispensaries (KF Herald & News, Pendleton East Oregonian, Corvallis Gazette Times)
Police unions criticizes bike-friendly street (Eugene Register Guard)
Medford might block pot dispensaries (Ashland Tidings)
Battle over GMO ballot verbiage (Ashland Tidings)
Reviewing routes for oil trains (Portland Oregonian)
Detained mentally ill can be force-fed meds (Portland Oregonian)

Tidal power plan by PUD okayed (Everett Herald)
Everett city hits budget trouble (Everett Herald)
New Hanford budget might slice work at river (Kennewick Herald)
Mentally ill may be force-fed meds (Kennewick Herald)
Possible developments at Lake Sacajawea (Longview News)
Olympic trail will reopen (Port Angeles News)
Investigating news copter crash (Seattle Times)
ID Greyhound Park may get instant games (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane officials react on oil train shipping (Spokane Spokesman)
Pot convention at Tacoma Dome, smoke free (Tacoma News Tribune)
Vancouver business group launches PAC (Vancouver Columbian)