Online Opinion Outpost: July 14

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Iran
Roger Cohen, The New York Times

Absent an accord, Iran will in time resume where it left off 20 months ago. The United States, under Obama or his successor, is not about to go to war with Iran; forget about it. We’ll get the next facile metaphor along the lines of Netanyahu’s warning that an Iranian nuclear threat is coming “to a theater near you,” and another crescendo of rhetoric designed to disguise helpless navel-gazing and, perhaps, a touch of remorse for the opportunity squandered to ring-fence and cut back Iran’s nuclear program under relentless inspection.

Greece
The Editorial Board, The Washington Post 

In a sensible world, Greece never would have been admitted to the euro zone on the basis of economic data that everyone knew or should have known were cooked. In a fair world, Germany would be less sanctimonious about the need for austerity in Greece — and more reflective about the fact that German bankers were quite happy to lend much of the money that the Greeks wasted on their way to national bankruptcy. In the real world, however, the Germans hold all the cards — and they can plausibly claim to have taken on much new financial risk on Greece’s behalf since the crisis broke a half-decade ago. Berlin is also right that Greece’s economy is deeply dysfunctional and needs thorough growth-oriented reforms.

Confederate Flag
New York Daily News

Let this also be a step in an awakening that purges the anti-American symbol from the iconography of every state in the union. Yes, the Union. The flags of other Southern states incorporate imagery evoking the Southern Cross or Stars and Bars of the Confederacy.

One hundred-fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the flag still represents slavery, still represents the bloody war fought in defense of slavery, still represents treason.

Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times 

What started with palpitations and occasional fainting spells at the sight of a Confederate flag, has become a nationwide search for something, anything, to bring on a cleansing fit of hysterics. Round and round it goes and where it stops nobody knows. When Rush Limbaugh observed the other day that what happened to the Confederate battle flag will eventually happen to Old Glory, a lot of people said, “well, there goes ol’ Rush again.”

But he had a point: “The American flag has flown over a slave nation much longer than the Confederate flag did.” When the firing on Fort Sumter set off the war, there were more slave states in the Union than in the Confederacy.

Donald Trump
Daniel Allott, Washington Examiner

Trump is saying things that some conservatives say privately, in a joking manner, but would never say publicly — as the sharpest critics of all presidents are wont to do. But Trump just lets it all hang out, and some star-struck conservatives, over-eager to have their worldview validated by celebrities, eat it up. Conservatives should have learned to avoid such star-chasing after aging rocker Ted Nugent’s cringe-inducing behavior last year. But they didn’t learn — days after Nugent called the president a “subhuman mongrel,” he was seen campaigning with a Republican gubernatorial candidate.

Social Media
Meghan Daum, Los Angeles Times 

Whatever the explanation, it’s obvious that the Internet, in addition to being a giant bathroom wall, also functions as a giant car bumper. You’re forced to read fewer messages starting “My Kid Is an Honor Student” while you’re stuck in traffic on the 405, but you’re inundated instead with proud parental gushing on Facebook timelines. “I Brake For Animals” isn’t peeling off the backside of the nearest Subaru; it’s now a tear-jerking post about an abused or abandoned pet in need. (Reason No. 700 I avoid Facebook.)

Recycling
Adam Minter, Chicago Tribune

As the CEOs of America’s biggest recyclers are all too willing to point out, recycling programs face plenty more problems, including rising labor costs and falling commodity prices. But recycling companies can’t evade their own responsibility for the industry’s woes. For years, they failed to acknowledge that their previously profitable business models no longer matched the reality of American trash habits. What’s most disappointing is that, having contributed to this mess, America’s recycling companies expect the country’s home recyclers to pay to clean it up.

Vaccinations 
Ford Vox, CNN

All medicine is pragmatic. It’s the best we can do right now. Carrey and Kennedy don’t seem to understand that this is how medicine works.

I hope one day we’ll have vaccines that we can give far outside of the window of time when autism typically emerges, putting this worrisome temporal correlation out of everyone’s mind once and for all.

But for now, let’s take it from a doctor, not an actor: Everyone should vaccinate their children not only for their sake, but for all the sick kids who can’t get vaccinated.

 

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