NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

June 28, 2014

Anderson: I read the news today; why can’t they?

Barbara Anderson
Newburyport Daily News

---- — Am I the only one, fellow newspaper reader, who is tired of hearing that the presently declining America is the result of “the mainstream media” not doing its job of reporting the news? If the “low-information voter” can be blamed on the media, how does one account for those of us who know what’s going on?

I was deliberately “low-information” for the week of my vacation, watching television only to catch the weather and absolutely not checking anything on the Internet. When I returned, I perused The Salem News that Chip had considerately brought in from my front yard each day I was gone, and the ones that arrived the next week. Here is what I learned of immediate, essential interest:

1. Iraq is falling apart. The fantasy, shared by some including me, was that the part of the world where civilization began, which created Hammurabi’s code (a primitive constitution), where the statue of a dictator was pulled down and beaten with shoes, where newly liberated voters proudly displayed purple fingers, was capable of creating a nation with Western values of freedom, democracy and fantastic tourism potential; that it could overcome a tendency of government toward corruption and a radical Muslim enemy that we underestimated ourselves until we saw the fallen Towers.

I learned about the frustration of North Shore veterans watching the collapse of the country they liberated and tried to make work. Read a well-researched column by Brian Watson, addressing the above-noted delusions. Also noted the column by Seth Moulton about “Cheney’s legacy,” and admit I, too, was astonished to see Dick Cheney on television blaming Obama entirely for the present situation. Too bad candidate Moulton didn’t do what Cheney failed to do — admit that both the Bush and Obama administrations have failed, not to mention earlier administrations that helped Iraq against Iran, leading to the total absurdity of now suggesting we ask Iran to help us with Iraq. In fairness, Moulton’s deadline probably came before Obama’s bright idea to send 300 “advisers” into the country.

I should also mention the letter to the editor from Carol Denbo, reminding me of feeling outraged, as I was leaving for vacation, about five Taliban leaders being released to Qatar on the assumption they’d be prevented from returning to active jihad against us.

2. There was also an excellent letter from James Avallon, “Common Core isn’t common sense,” that brought me up to date on the new battle to stop the federal government from taking over state and local education. This was followed by more stories this week as various communities make or rethink their decision to drop MCAS in favor of an untried concept.

3. The Salem News makes good use of the Associated Press; one of the most interesting stories was headlined: “Political parties fight to manipulate voting times, location.” This remains a mystery to me: why anyone should be allowed to vote early unless he will be out of town or in surgery on Election Day. What if something relevantly newsworthy happens on the eve of the election? Has everyone had a chance to see all the debates? Yet, is seems important to some Democrats that unprepared voters be encouraged to vote nonetheless, which may explain a lot about recent choices.

4. Speaking of elections, I was brought up to date on the results of the Democrat Convention. Wonder why Republicans fight about the 15-percent requirement, while Democrats seem to accept that only the better-known candidates have a chance to enter the primary.

5. While I was gone, the story about “unaccompanied migrant children” from Central America arrived in the news. Salem News reporter Christian Wade wrote an in-depth piece this week about the strain these illegal minors are putting on U.S. cities, including Lynn. As I write this, we are learning much more about the problem, including the list of diseases being brought into our country for which we citizens have no immunity: scabies, dengue fever and the new, multiple-drug-resistant tuberculosis.

On Jan. 29, the Feds posted on “Federal Business Opportunities” an ad seeking vendors to handle transportation logistics for approximately 65,000 juveniles. “ICE has a ‘mission-critical responsibility for accepting custody of Unaccompanied Alien Children from U.S. Border Patrol and other Federal agencies,’ and then, ‘transporting these juveniles to Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters located throughout the continental United States.’” Wonderful.

6. One issue I couldn’t find in the local newspaper was the rejuvenated IRS scandal, as Congress learns that the emails it’s been demanding from the IRS, about tea party/conservative groups being targeted by that agency during the last election, have been destroyed. I did read an excellent column by Taylor Armerding in the June 20 Salem News online; you might want to find it. But first, look at the photo on this column, then look in the mirror and tell me the truth: Do we look dumb enough to believe that the disappearance of these relevant emails was an accident?

7. While I was gone, Chip told me that House leader Eric Cantor lost his Virginia Republican primary, and I just read an AP piece in The Salem News that said “House GOP elects McCarthy, Scalise to leadership.” Not sure what’s been accomplished here, except to remind congressmen to spend more time in their districts than in Washington, D.C., which is good advice. Which reminds me, the BBC version of “House of Cards” is running now on PBS.

8. I was really glad to learn that the initiative petition to stop automatic gas tax hikes got enough signatures to proceed to the ballot. Was interested also in the list of other viable petitions: I do like voting on these things myself and expect I’ll be able to find enough information from the media during the fall to vote intelligently.

There is no excuse for low-information voters, and with any luck, they’ll sensibly stay home in 2014 or 2016.

Barbara Anderson is a Marblehead resident and executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. She is a regular contributor to The Daily News.