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The testy Obama-Netanyahu relationship; Mitt Romney’s win in Iowa; the movie industry’s lackluster 2011

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Two leaders, divided

Re “Bibi and Barack,” Opinion, Jan. 2

Aaron David Miller omits one factor in his analysis: that President Obama’s one-sided pressure on Israel has only hardened Palestinian positions.

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Settlements have never been the core issue of the conflict. If there were none, the Palestinian leadership would quickly find a new pretext for confrontation. The bottom line remains Arab refusal to accept a permanent Jewish homeland behind any boundaries.

Nowhere is the Palestinians’ refusal to compromise clearer than on the refugee issue. Roughly half of all Israelis are descendants of Jewish refugees from Arab lands. For 60 years, Arab nations have refused to accept Palestinian refugees.

This is especially hypocritical, as both refugee issues were caused by Arab-initiated wars.

Doron Lubinsky

Atlanta

Miller somehow knows the thoughts of both Bibi and Barack. It is quite a leap to say that “Obama doesn’t like him, doesn’t trust him and views him as a con man.”

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Miller describes Bill Clinton’s, George W. Bush’s, Jimmy Carter’s and Ronald Reagan’s attempts at creating peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict — none successful. Perhaps Obama, more than any other president, might actually accomplish starting a real negotiation.

There’s little hope for a resolution to this conflict. Israel stands alone, a tiny democratic country in

the Middle East, where reason doesn’t prevail and the answer seems to be violence.

Leslie Nichols

Encino

The relationship between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a clash between dreams and pragmatism.

Obama believes that with concessions by Israel, peace will blossom. Netanyahu understands that past Israeli withdrawals have done the opposite. Israel left Lebanon and Hezbollah seized control in many parts; in the Gaza Strip, Hamas has taken over. Each withdrawal has created more conflict.

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The West Bank juts into Israel’s heartland, where its cities are within range of Palestinian rockets. Relinquishing the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, whose partner is Hamas, would bring about more conflict.

While Obama hopes for peace, Netanyahu understands the risks involved.

Rabbi David Eliezrie

Yorba Linda

I can understand and agree with the author’s statement that Barack dislikes Bibi. I can’t stand Bibi either.

But Miller declares that Obama is less friendly to Israel than his predecessors. He offers no support for his declaration, and I find no reason to believe him.

We are not required to support all the policies of a country that we consider a friend, just as we needn’t support all the policies of our own government.

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Jon Kaplan

Los Angeles

Iowa under the microscope

Re “Romney wins Iowa nail-biter,” Jan. 4

Time for a math lesson. The ballyhoo and hoopla surrounding the results in Iowa should be put into proper perspective.

There are about 644,000 registered Republicans and about 684,000 Democrats, not to mention thousands of independents. The total turnout Tuesday night was 122,225 Republicans, of which Romney got a whopping 30,015 votes, or less than 5% of all registered voters in Iowa.

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He spent more than $5 million in the state, or about $167 per vote.

What kind of democracy do we have when less than 5% of the electorate in one state can decide the presumptive nominee of a major party?

It is time for the media to put all this in context and wait until all states have had their say.

Robert G. Brewer

Sherman Oaks

The most important point I hope all citizens take from the results in Iowa is that each vote counts.

So in every election in the coming year, remember this as you consider how or whether to vote.

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Andrea Alfred

Camarillo

First, make better movies

Re “Solid start, fast fade for movies,” Business, Dec. 30, 2011

Oh, for crying out loud, how many times are you going to write this article? Everyone knows why box-office receipts are falling.

Every time a movie comes out, all my friends and I have the same conversation: It may be a movie we’d like to see, but is it worth $11.50 for a bargain matinee? And almost every time we have the same answer: I’d see it for $7, but it’s not worth $11.50 — or $22 when you add popcorn, soda and parking.

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If the film industry wants to increase profits, it needs to make better movies and charge less for them. After all, it’s better to have 200 people at a showing for $7 apiece than 50 for $11.50.

It’s simple math, but it’s math that seems to escape even those decision-makers with business degrees.

Lori Patterson

Los Angeles

If movie ticket sales were down 3% in 2011, it may well be because movie quality was down 30%.

What is it about this that moviemakers do not understand?

John Roberts

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San Clemente

Inside the jails

Re “Jail probe may use secret testimony,” Dec. 30, 2011

The special commission to investigate allegations of abuse in L.A. County jails is right to consider allowing jail deputies to testify anonymously. Few if any would come forward otherwise, as those within the organization know the department is very unforgiving to a member who doesn’t “go with the flow.”

I agree with Sheriff Lee Baca that the department should try to be as transparent as possible, but it’s more important that the truth comes out. The department’s core values state, “I commit myself to honorably perform my duties with respect for the dignity of all people.” Are jail inmates not people?

The department has the responsibility to serve both deputies and inmates to get to the core of the problem in its jails. Anonymity for department witnesses is the only way to get to the heart of the issues.

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Robert Olmsted

Huntington Beach

The writer retired as custody division commander of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.

Rules of banking

Re “BofA severs some credit lines,” Business, Jan. 3

Bank of America has been featuring ads in Southern California about how it backed Pink’s Hot Dogs before World War II. This is prudent business for BofA, which has to develop its future by taking some risk.

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But now, BofA has decided to cut off credit lines to many small businesses not in default in the interest of reducing the bank’s risk. The bank is abandoning its future for a short-term benefit.

Banks earn money by taking a certain amount of risk in making loans; the public supports this by the guaranty of deposits (at microscopic interest, if any).

Why do we put up with a bank “too large to fail” if it is not carrying out the implicit promise in the Pink’s commercial that, if the customer stays with the bank, the bank will stick with the customer as long as the customer is not in default?

Eric Olson

Sierra Madre

Porn’s problem

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Re “A vote for safe sex,” Editorial, Jan. 2

Porn studios don’t need to be regulated; they need to be banned. Prostitution is still a crime in California. The porn actors are engaging in prostitution by having sex for money; the porn producers who hire the actors are pimps.

The Los Angeles Police Department should shut down the porn studios. They are a nuisance and a danger to public health.

There is no 1st Amendment right to commit prostitution when it is documented on film. Does a bank robber have a 1st Amendment right to commit crimes that are recorded on security cameras? Of course not.

It’s about time we wise up and shut down the dangerous and destructive porn industry.

Rose Mary Leon

Simi Valley

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