Richard Elfers

Election spending about quality, not quantity | Rich Elfers’ Politics in Focus

The 2012 election was the most expensive political war in American history. Republicans and Democrats spent $6 billion on all the campaigns - presidential and congressional and on the state level.

Politicians master the art of framing | Rich Elfers’ Politics in Focus

In order to win big stakes elections in America, it’s necessary to frame your opponent in an unfavorable light. Your opponent tries to do the same thing to you. Whoever is more successful in framing their opponent will win the election.

Reaching for the other side of the aisle | Rich Elfers’ Politics in Focus

Have you had enough of slanted political views, slander and stubborn, self-righteous partisanship? I have. I’m glad elections are done for at least a year. It seems what Americans are hungry for is cooperation and compromise between the political parties in the nation’s Congress and the state and local governments for the good of the nation. What most of us really would like to see is a sense of balance and moderation.

Understanding Syria | Rich Elfers’ Politics in Focus

Syria is a nation formed by Britain and France out of the remains of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. France chose to have Syria and Lebanon as its mandated protectorate as formulated by the League of Nations, the precursor of the United Nations.

Could this year’s election beget a historic glitch? | Politics in Focus

All the polls say this presidential election will be very close. According to one political writer, it will come down to about a million people who live in the battleground states whose highest education is a high school diploma.

Political fractures fuel candidates’ dishonesty | Politics in Focus

Recently I announced a guest Pacific Lutheran University professor at my church would be discussing Christian ethics and politics during the Adult Forum. I received laughter when I noted those two terms didn’t have to be mutually exclusive. Both presidential candidates claim to be Christian, but in the heat of political battle for the highest office in the land, truth seems to have taken a back seat to winning – or is it to avoid losing?

Racism of apartheid had deep economic roots | Rich Elfers’ Politics in Focus

How do you react to injustice when dealing with your government or in the workplace? That was one of the questions I asked myself on my recent trip to visit my daughter and family in South Africa.

The limitations of executive power | Rich Elfers’ Politics in Focus

Government leaders are often criticized for the wrong reasons. Presidents, whether they are Republican or Democrat, are sometimes blamed for things that are beyond their control. Likewise, city mayors are blamed despite their lack of power to vote on issues that come before the council.

Villains of 2008 meltdown remain unpunished | Rich Elfers’ Politics in Focus

Did you ever stop to ask yourself, “Who were the winners and losers of the 2008 economic meltdown?” I have. I’m not pleased with the answers I get.

Dealing with bullies on a global level | Rich Elfers’ Politics in Focus

Bullying is a major human problem. It can take place at all times in our lives at all levels, from personal to international.

When nations collide | Rich Elfers’ Politics in Focus

Henry Kissinger’s book, "Diplomacy," is a fascinating study of two different approaches to foreign policy in the West. These two competing worldviews have deeply affected and are still shaping the history of the modern world.

Ideological lenses obscure rationality | Rich Elfers’ Politics in Focus

Today the nation is divided politically into major camps based upon classes: Republicans and Democrats. The field of battle is the November presidential election. Each side frames its perceptions to convince voters their viewpoint is correct and the other is wrong.

Politics in Focus | Your city government structure and you | Rich Elfers

Do you know the type of city government you have in your city? Is it council-manager, or mayor-council? Never heard of these differences? These governmental forms are important because each operates differently.

Politics in Focus | Socialists, Liberals, and Fascists, Oh My! | Rich Elfers

Labeling people by using these terms puts individuals into boxes and diminishes their humanity—making them something less than human. Labeling someone with political "slurs" turns the object of these attacks into two-dimensional caricatures, rather than the complex humans we all are.

Politics in Focus | North Korea’s nuclear specter hangs over Seoul | Rich Elfers

Nearly 50,000 American and United Nations forces died in Korea during the Korean War in 1950-53. Another 2 million Koreans died in the Cold War conflict. Today, the presence of 28,000 American soldiers sends a silent message to North Korea’s regime, warning them not to launch another invasion of their cousins to the south.

Politics in Focus | Citizens United decision unleashed corporate money | Rich Elfers

The campaign season is upon us. Signs are popping up and ads are appearing in the media. This year you’ll probably experience a lot more campaign ads and general political noise. The reason for this increase is due to the decision the Supreme Court made in January 2010, just two and a half years ago.

Religion informs our international politics whether you know it or not | Rich Elfers

What are two things your mother told you to never bring up as a discussion topic? Religion and politics, right? Well, these are the two topics I’m going to discuss in this column, so hang on to your hats! Our topic is Christian Zionism.

Challenge is the seed of personal growth | Rich Elfers

Many of you who are reading this article are Baby Boomers. Others are the generations that will follow in the wake of the Boomers. Like it or not, you’ll have to live with our decisions about retirement because our great numbers will suck much of the Social Security fund up before you get a chance to use it for yourselves. We Boomers can set a good example for the younger generations that follow us or we can set a bad example. We will definitely set an example no matter what we do.

Be vigilant against emotions hijacking your votes | Rich Elfers

Same-sex marriage. This is the most recent, commonly used hot button that is rallying the troops on either side of the political spectrum. The topic raises people’s blood pressure, cause the veins in their necks to pop out and reddens their faces.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages still a raw deal | Guest Column

ARMs were created in 1982 to make borrowing easier. The advantage was low interest rates for the borrower. The Federal government wanted people to be able to buy homes because it spurred the economy. Once Americans got a new home they were likely to fill them up with washers, driers, refrigerators, and furniture. These purchases would further spur the economy, especially in the real estate industry, banks, construction, and insurance companies, creating jobs and wealth in a ripple effect.