Richard Elfers

Corporations should put health, morals first | Rich Elfers

Vision, creativity, hard work, strong focus, risk-taking, long-term thinking, self-reflection, giving the customer what he/she wants – these are the qualities that have made Jeff Bezos a household name along with the multi-billion dollar company he created: Amazon.com.

Both risk lives, one gets all the glory | Rich Elfers

Why are law enforcement officers currently under the gun of criticism while firefighters are viewed as heroes? Both police and firefighters’ jobs are to protect and save lives and property. Both risk their lives as part of their jobs. What’s the difference in the public’s perception between the two?

Few incumbents are being challenged | Rich Elfers

In Sumner, four candidates are running unopposed for the City Council. In Bonney Lake, there are four council positions with no opposition. The Enumclaw School Board has three unopposed seats. Fire District 28 has only one position and it, too, is unopposed. In Black Diamond, two of the four council positions have two candidates competing; my guess is that the issue of the housing developments is still partly the cause.

Balancing power in the Middle East | Rich Elfers

“Iran spends $35 billion a year to prop up the Assad regime, according to one estimate.” This report comes from an Iranian official who was interviewed by Nicholas Blanford, a Christian Science Monitor correspondent in an April 27 article entitled, “Why Iran Is Standing by its Weakened, Expensive Ally, Syria.”

U.S. again exerts influence on Japan | Rich Elfers

After Japan’s surrender in August 1945, the U.S. military occupied that nation for seven years. During that time two American privates wrote a constitution for the Japanese, which they accepted and have followed since.

Can Congress be getting healthier? | Rich Elfers

The approval rating for Congress is staying at 11 percent, but there’s hope the logjam is beginning to break. This revelation is according to a Bipartisan Policy Center report recently published by Francine Kiefer entitled, “Congress May Be Getting ‘Healthier,’ A New Study Finds,”in the April 20 edition of the Christian Science Monitor.

Finding a solution to fixing roads | Rich Elfers

Finding the solution to fixing city streets is a bumpy journey for members of the Enumclaw City Council. The problem is bringing the streets up to standard costs $3.8 million, according to the city administration report at the Transportation Benefit District meeting April 13. That’s a lot of money. It will have to come from some form of tax increase.

Political extremes feed on frustration | Rich Elfers

Why have so many young men and women from the West flocked to join ISIS? What is the attraction of such a violent and brutal regime in Syria and Iraq? Since I will be teaching a continuing education class in May at Green River College on “Cults in America,” I’ve been reading up on the topic of mass movements. The best book I’ve found on the topic is Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer,” written in 1942.

Decisions in China shape the world | Rich Elfers

In China’s Shanxi province, 15,450 government officials were removed from office on corruption charges in 2014, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua. This included seven top leaders according to a March 24, 2015, “Stratfor” article entitled, “China’s Anti-corruption Drive Runs Deep.”

Three errors made by our president | Rich Elfers

President Obama has made three major mistakes in regard to foreign policy. First, U.S. intervention in Libya destroyed a government that, while corrupt, was structured in such a way as to tamp down on the Islamists. Now, the Islamists are threatening Libya and neighboring Mali, forcing the French to intervene. The lack of an autocratic dictator like Qadaffi has helped bring about Islamist extremism in the region.

Seahawk sets example for all | Rich Elfers

In my observation, Wilson possesses three qualities that high school students could emulate to make them as successful in their studies: self discipline, pursuit of goals and the ability to learn from mistakes.

Balancing stability and change | Politics in Focus

All of us struggle between the desire for stability and the desire for change. Some favor stability and order above all else. Others are dissatisfied with the status quo and want to improve conditions for themselves and/or others.

Politically, all have to learn to adapt | Politics in Focus

After the Edward Snowden revelations, an embarrassed President Obama, who campaigned for government transparency, is reshaping his surveillance policies – secretly. Isn’t this hypocritical? The answer, surprisingly, is no.

Political landscape has a lot to do with geographic landscape | Politics in Focus

Every year, when I travel to visit my friends and family in eastern Washington and Montana, I’m shocked to see how geography affects political attitudes.

The politics behind Mount Rainier National Park | Politics in Focus

What part did politics play in the creation of Mount Rainier National Park? To answer this question I used information from the book, "Mount Rainier Wonderland: An Administrative History of Mount Rainier National Park."

Can conservation and capitalism walk hand-in-hand? | Politics in Focus

Which is more important, saving the environment or creating new industries and jobs? This issue was one of the main themes recently in PBS’s six-hour presentation on the National Parks and how they came to be.

The five ways of handling conflict | Politics in Focus

I bet I can predict how you deal with conflict. How can I do that? Because there are only five possible ways: avoidance, accommodation, compromise, competition and collaboration.

Whence virtue? | Politics in Focus

Research has shown that if we think about certain virtues when we are confronted with difficult issues, our personal behavior changes as a result. If, for example, we read about the virtue of honesty before we make a decision about a moral issue, we are more likely to act honestly.

Are non-partisan endorsements a sign of ‘mission creep?’

Why does it appear that unions and political parties are starting to support candidates for nonpartisan races? Why would I be thinking that, you might ask?

Arctic ice melting more rapidly than predicted | Politics in Focus

Arctic ice is melting even more quickly than scientists predicted. At this time last year, an area the size of Venezuela (350,000 square miles) had melted at the North Pole. According to the article, “The Coming Arctic Boom” by Scott Borgerson in the July/August 2013 Foreign Affairs, the melting of the ice is supposed to make Arctic summers ice free by as early as 2020 – a rapid increase from the original 2070 prediction.