Back Kitzhaber, Merkley to restore victory for common man
“We all do well, when we all do well.” This is how master filmmaker Ken Burns encapsulates the core insights and beliefs of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor in his epic documentary “The Roosevelts.” (If you missed it, it’s online on PBS.org through Sept. 28.)
“We all do well, when we all do well.” These seemingly simple words are profoundly inspiring if we let them enter our hearts and inform us. And they can breathe life and hope into even the most cynical and despairing among us, as we recall how almost everyone prospered during 1950s and 1960s, when the results of the Roosevelts’ phenomenal leadership reached full fruition.
And, yes, the words should also jolt us awake, as we compare our country today with the way we were back then. In the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, one wage earner could provide for an entire family; we built the interstate highway system; tuition at our state colleges was virtually zero; we instituted Medicare; and there was the promise of even better things to come for future generations. Top marginal income taxes on the wealthy were over 90 percent, but most everyone prospered as those taxes were converted into beneficial spending and economic growth.
Today, government has stepped back, as jobs have been shipped overseas or automated; wages have stagnated for 35 years, and the profits have gone to the top one percent who pay minimal taxes. Predatory mortgage loans and credit cards have bankrupted many; unregulated big banks triggered the Great Recession; and college tuition and user fees have skyrocketed.
Even so, one of our great political parties, led by ideology and wealth, is advocating even greater sacrifice and loss, as evidenced by the front-page interview of Monica Wehby in the Record-Courier on Sept. 18, in which she twice emphasized the need to “get government out of our lives as much as possible.”
Let us, together, restore the victory for the common man won by the Roosevelts. Google “Governor John Kitzhaber on the issues” and Google “U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley working for the middle class” to learn more.
The slippery slope of insurance coverage exemptions
I read, with interest, Pete Sundin’s letter re: The Little Sisters of the Poor doing good works and being required to comply with the mandate to provide to all its employees health insurance including the provision of birth control. First and foremost, employers do not have the right to know how their employees use the health care they are provided. That information is only for doctors and their patients to know; NOT the employers.
Secondly, if the Affordable Health Care act restricts coverage to any medical problem, then birth control will lead the insurers to not provide coverage for a broken leg, a heart attack, or a cancerous nodule. The insurance companies are very interested in taking our money while they are not as enthusiastic about paying money out to someone who needs medical care.
Give ’em an inch, they’ll take a mile.
Iva M. Mace
Obamacare hurting, not helping, downtrodden
At the 62nd National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama said, “Our faith teaches us that in the face of suffering, we can’t stand idly by, and that we must be the Good Samaritan.” The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic charity, is certainly one organization which is acting as the Good Samaritan. This group of women “offer to the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family, and accompanied with dignity until God calls them home to himself” (quoting from the charity’s mission statement).
Yet the Obama administration insists that this charity must comply with the mandate to provide to all of its employees health insurance including contraceptives and abortifacients or face annual fines of around $2.5 million. This places the Little Sisters in a terrible dilemma. They cannot in good conscience do as ordered, yet an annual fine of that magnitude would seriously impede their ability to relieve suffering among the elderly poor.
So the Little Sisters is suing the Obama Administration, saying that their First Amendment rights of freedom of worship are being violated. And they are not alone. The HHS mandate has brought on a veritable Niagara of lawsuits from similar Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and other charitable organizations, groups which do not stand idly by in the face of suffering.
Now the Obama Administration has shown no indication that it intends to follow the letter of the law in regards to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). It freely grants exceptions and issues revisions as it sees fit. But not for the Little Sisters of the Poor nor all similar groups which look after society’s losers. With these charities, the administration is adamant. They must do as directed or face the consequences.
Politicians, including our president, make a lot of noise about their concern for the poor and downtrodden, yet the current administration is acting as a huge impediment for those who actually go out and do good. Obviously something is at work here besides concern for the destitute.?
Merkley works for people, not corporations
Gary McManus set out to smear Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (Baker City Herald, Sept. 10) by “proving” they are both Socialists, a bit of nincompoopery most famously peddled by Rush Limbaugh. Smearing is what tar brush artists do when they have no real “bullets” to smirch with.
Then he abruptly turns to attack Jeff Merkley, which shows the hand of the Koch brothers and the ALEC conspiracy, which is a real and very sinister conspiracy and not merely an election year boo word.
One way you can tell, if you have no other, if your legislator is a good one is if the ALEC conspiracy targets him. This year they have Jeff in their sights. And when you have a good one like Jeff Merkley you defend him; you don’t attack him, for Pete’s sake! He has worked like a horse for ordinary people like me and you. And even for ungrateful people who may be attacking him. Because he doesn’t seem very expert at it, Gary’s attack on Jeff may seem like a petty pee-on-his-leg smear. But if he is singing for ALEC and the Kochs, who spend millions to destroy those politicians who work for the people instead of for the corporations, I have another and even greater reason for defending him.
Jeff has turned out to be the kind of politician we always hope to get when we go to vote. And anyone who isn’t a millionaire should be supporting him. He has been working to protect Social Security and Medicare from those turkeys who want to either abolish or privatize those services. And Jeff is front among those seeking to rein in those greedy corporate pirates who are screwing us blind every day. And he works hard as anyone for jobs. If and when we ever get a national full employment bill you will probably have Jeff to thank. He is the people’s guy, just like he says in his letters. And he was before the election season, too. So, neighbors, get registered if you need to, and be sure to vote Jeff back in.
Walden’s record on Constitution is lacking
Congressman Greg Walden is asking Oregon voters to send him back to Congress for yet another term. Before we do that we should compare his existing voting record with the requirements of the U.S. Constitution, which is still the law of the land. Each elected public official from the president on down has sworn, that is SWORN, to abide by the Constitution in fulfilling the duties of the office for which he or she was elected. According to information contained in the Jan. 6, 2014, and July 28, 2014, editions of the “New American” publication, in which each bill involving a constitutional issue is considered, Mr. Walden scored 53 percent. This indicates that he violated his oath to obey the Constitution roughly half the time. Some examples of his unconstitutional votes:
• H.R. 1960, June 13, 2013, voted to permit indefinite military detention of prisoners without trial.
• H.R. 1947, June 20, 2013, voted for the Farm and Food Programs bill which would spend nearly $1 trillion tax dollars on federal food programs which is not allowed under the Constitution.
• H.R. 2397, Sept. 6, 2013, voted against an amendment that would prohibit the government from collecting information on individuals not suspected of crimes.
• H.R. 4435, May 22, 2014, voted for indefinite military detention of any person detained under the Authorization for the use of military force authority in the United States.
Mr. Walden also voted, in violation of the Constitution for: Ukraine Aid, H. R. 4152; Use of military force, H.R. 4435; Omnibus Appropriations bill, HR 3547; and the Farm and Food Programs, H.R. 2642.
For an individual who claims to, and has sworn to, uphold the U.S. Constitution, this is a very poor record. Shouldn’t we attempt to find a candidate for that office who will do what the law requires and what he or she has sworn to do? Let us try!
Americans need to recognize dirty political tricks
Gary McManus’ recent letter to the editor seems to be based on information he got off the Internet that Snopes.com — the mythbuster website — has called “FALSE.”
In that letter McManus attributes to Saul Alinsky “eight rules to create a socialist state.”
It took me just minutes to find out that Saul Alinsky, who has been dead since 1972, did not create those “eight rules” that McManus lists. The misinformation came from the Internet and smacks of political dirty tricks that the public finds so distasteful.
I’m writing as someone who recently was the target of political dirty tricks, when local persons, pretending to be me on Facebook, carried on Facebook conversations with about two dozen unsuspecting Baker City citizens, organizations, and businesses, including, among others, two of our local newspapers, a 5J board member, and a couple of my next door neighbors.
McManus pleads for “all Americans to wake up.” Yes, I agree!
Coles made right decision to not run for re-election
This letter is prompted by your recent item about city councilman Roger Coles who says it is time for him to “move on.” I agree, it is time.
The highlights of his swan song are these:
“The budget boards have really been phenomenal. I think they’ve worked hard to keep the financial health of the city in check...” That statement from Coles assumes that he and other phenoms saved the city from financial deficit. That is not true and never has been. City staff has traditionally ended each fiscal year with a surplus.
“I think you have people with different philosophies. You got people who are, however it is handled, it’s fine. Then you have people asking about accountability and responsibility.” Mr. Coles counts himself as responsible and regards city staff as irresponsible. That is not true either. While Mr. Coles’ place of business is just across the street from City Hall, he has appeared only one time to meet with City Manager Mike Kee. He mostly berates city workers in public at council meetings, facts or no facts.
“I wasn’t a person to sit there and be willing to rubber stamp what was put in front of me.” That is true, he wasn’t. His favorite mantra has been, “I can’t buy into that.” Among the efforts he could not buy into was the effort to guard against cryptosporidium in our water supply. When the crypto outbreak did occur, Coles pretended that he had advocated for a filtering system all along. But he repeatedly voted against protection. And now, years and one outbreak later, we are building a system. Finally, we have bought into it.
Roger Coles deserves our thanks for his willingness to serve on the council. He is not entitled to much credit for the manner in which he has done so.
Merkley needs to be voted out of office
Saul Alinsky was a radical that graduated from the University of Chicago and wrote two books, “Rules For Radicals,” and “Reveille for Radicals,” the subject being on how to create a socialist state. He died in 1972 but his writings still go on. Hillary Clinton did her college thesis on Alinsky writings and Obama writes about him in his books. Alinsky advocated eight rules to create a socialist state, the first being the most important.
1) Healthcare: Control healthcare and you control the people.
2) Poverty: Increase the poverty level as high as possible. Poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.
3) Debt: Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.
4) Gun control: Remove the ability to defend themselves from the government. That way you are able to create a police state.
5) Welfare: Take control of every aspect of their lives (food, housing and income).
6) Education: Take control of what people read and listen to. Take control of what children learn in school.
7) Religion: Remove the belief in God from the government and schools.
8) Class welfare: Divide the people into the wealthy and poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to tax the wealthy with the support of the poor.
Does any of this sound like what is happening in the United States? It is time for all Americans to wake up and vote the big government, socialist leaning politicians out of office. Senator Merkley has voted with the Obama agenda about 96 percent of the time.
It’s time for him to be voted out of office!
Obama does nothing to keep gas prices down
Our local Democratic official says that there is no conspiracy by the Obama Administration to jack up gasoline prices, but that those prices are set by a balance between supply and demand. That is true enough as far as it goes — there is no conspiracy. But the fact remains that high energy prices are a stated policy of our Democratic president. In 2008, then-Senator Obama said that his energy policies “would necessarily cause energy prices to skyrocket.” He has since learned not to be quite so candid, but his policies are unchanged; he just hopes that you don’t notice them.
Motor fuel prices are determined by a balance between supply and demand. The Obama administration actively works to diminish the supply side of that equation, and so cause their price to increase. When running for re-election, he tried to take credit for the fact that oil and natural gas production in the United States has greatly increased in the past few years. However, all of that increase is coming from state and private lands. Production on federal lands has diminished every year of his administration, and continues to do so.
He and his fellow Democrats work to depress the supply of motor fuels by making huge areas of the country absolutely off limits for oil and gas production — offshore areas off both coastlines, the North Slope of Alaska, etc. On federal lands, applications for new oil leases move through the Byzantine federal bureaucracy at an excruciatingly slow pace.
Our local Democratic official says that during the last year of the Bush Administration, gasoline prices topped $4 a gallon. That also is true. But the only reason that motor fuel prices aren’t even higher today is because our supply situation is so much better now than it was back then. Despite the best efforts of the president and his Democratic allies, we are still only paying between $3 and $4 a gallon. What would gasoline prices be if the Obama Administration was working to increase our country’s oil production, rather than decrease it?
Forest Service can’t hide its road closure plans
The Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision may be under fire, it could also be said, “plan under water.” Fire or water, the so-called proposal needs to be aborted. Baker County Commission Chair Fred Warner, referred to the 1,300-page document as a “tomb of paper.” Countless people will concur.
Is it a misconception that the forest plan closes roads and trails? “Desired Conditions” is the core component in the plan. The forest plan is not a simple four-volume document. It may not say “road closures,” but the desired conditions can only be met by closures. The USFS know that… but they continue to sing their song of denial.
Eleven county governments in Eastern Oregon, supported by numerous city governments, organizations, and countless individuals have voiced strong opposition to the forest plan. Glancing at an Oregon map, 11 counties make up a solid quarter of the state. The word “substantive” aptly applies to the amount of opposition.
Rhetoric coming from the Forest Service in regards to the BMFPR, is reminiscent of the Travel Management, debate of two years ago. Same attack against public resources under a new term.
Two days after the BMFRP comments deadline, TMP launched the “existing condition road maps.” Once again we are being told, “This request is not about whether a road or motorized trail should be open or closed.” This is simply the USFS playing more of their bait-and-switch wordgames. I don’t believe it. How can anyone that has been engaged with this process during the past 15 years believe this? The USFS seems to think that the more they repeat this rhetoric, they can make us believe it. Where is this all going? I see designated routes and trails and entire seasonal closures where we once had free access. I feel much like a white mouse in a laboratory being picked up by the tail and dropped in a maze.
No golf course = no visit from President Obama
If any readers wonder why President Obama has not gone to Ferguson, Missouri, to try to calm down the rioting crowds, it is because Ferguson does not have a golf course. What a pity!
Lamenting the loss of good journalists
I certainly enjoyed reading Steve Paul’s column in the Aug. 22 issue of the Herald. One of my pet peeves has been the loss of good journalists. They are replaced by folks who don’t check facts or just make them up. I grew up with Huntley, Brinkley and Deep Throat who brought down a president.
Journalism is an honorable profession and some of us rely on journalists for our news, whether in a newspaper or on a screen. If we don’t get it, it is like living in a media-controlled state. We have to trust someone so we can make informed choices. Making up the story isn’t OK.
Speak out about the forest plan revision
“One of the big misconceptions is that this is a travel management plan and we are closing roads and trails. A forest plan does not close roads and trails. It is as simple as that,” Kramer said
We are smarter than this and it’s time we stand up to these claims.
Simply stated, if a road is not designated as a route, the road is closed. That language “designated routes” is not found in the current forest plans, and with its addition to the Forest Plan Revision, it allows for the closing of roads that currently is not a reality, nor is allowing the public cross country travel (motorized) acceptable under the Forest Plan Revision.
The Forest Plan Revision authorizes road closures through the designation of routes, and the USFS is attempting to sell you a bill of goods that it doesn’t, we all need to stand up and clearly speak out that this is unacceptable.
Please consider the below contacts and get active. While they may choose to not answer you, they clearly hear us. Please start contacting the below list and speaking out for yourselves, you can do this, we have complete faith in you.
You have to stay persistent in your contacts and not give up.
Jim Pena, Regional Forester –
John L. Laurence Forest Sup., Wallowa Whitman National Forest –
Teresa Raaf Forest Sup., Malheur National Forest –
Kevin Martin Forest Sup., Umatilla National Forest –
Jodi Kramer, Public Relations Officer Wallowa Whitman National Forest -
Fred Warner, Baker County Comm. –
Mark Bennett, Baker County Comm. –
Tim Kerns, Baker County Comm. –
Mark Davidson, Union County Comm. –
Mike Hayward, Wallowa County Comm. –
Paul Castilleja, Wallowa County Comm. –
Susan Roberts, Wallowa County Comm. –
Scott Myers, Grant County Comm. –
La Grande Observer –
Baker City Herald –
John D. George
Global warming is a threat that affects all of us
It is time for us to come together to limit global warming. The whole world is watching, including our younger generations.
This should not be a political issue. People around the globe, regardless of political affiliation, are concerned about man-made climate change. A prime example is the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose international scientists have been assessing the problem and possible solutions since 1988.
The most recent IPCC report concludes that commitments already made as part of existing international agreements can limit global warming, while still damaging, to less than 3 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.
Thus, there is reason to believe that timely and cooperative responses can limit destructive climate change (and can potentially provide millions of jobs in alternative-energy sectors).
We have already made good progress, but our ability to exert more powerful, positive leadership is hampered by those here in the United States who blindly deny the problem and/or reject cooperative solutions, often resorting to willful distortion.
One example of their deception is the Aug. 13 letter to the editor, claiming that President Obama is increasing gas prices in a conspiracy to cut fossil fuel consumption. But, truth be told, gasoline prices follow the law of supply and demand, and are actually lower today than they were under George W. Bush. They nearly tripled to over $4 per gallon under Bush, but then plunged to less than $2 during the onset of the Great Recession. Since Obama took office, gas prices have partially rebounded, but not back to the Bush levels. There is no conspiracy.
Our planet’s future would look brighter were it not for such deceptive confusion, inflamed by anti-social messages of hatred, fear, and falsehoods from right-wing talk radio and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Channel. And echoed by the politicians who pander to them as well as to some fabulously wealthy campaign contributors.
Extreme, fact-free obstructionism may continue as a cornerstone of conservative orthodoxy, but, together, we can transcend it.
We’re all in this together. We can heed authoritative sources like the IPCC, and we can, together, develop meaningful, real-world solutions..
Self-serving politicians shouldn’t try to manage land
This letter is in regard to the Blue Mountains Forest Plan Revisions, which include Wallowa-Whitman, Umatilla and Malheur National Forests (almost 5 million acres that belong to all the citizens of the United States.
Every plant, microorganism, and animal on Earth exists within an ecosystem, a complex network of interdependent relationships in which each individual strand is important and contributes to the success of the whole. Ecosystems, in turn, interact with one another to form the biosphere (the zone of life on our planet). These systems, so important to the world around us, are far from stable. The intermountain lowlands of the western United States is considered one of the most imperiled ecosystems in North America.
The rapid growth of human population and their attendant technologies have created unprecedented forces of ecological change. Once you understand the biosphere’s interactive network of relationships, you develop a deeper appreciation of the complexity of the life around us.
Dale Bosworth, the former Forest Service Chief, named unrestricted motor vehicle use as one of the four major threats to national forests. He specifically cited the growing popularity of ATVs and their potential to contribute to erosion, harassment of wildlife and conflict with other forest users. He ordered each national forest to write a travel management plan that would designate which roads, trails and areas would be open to motor vehicles.
A ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that “there can be no doubt that the Dept. of Agriculture (of which the Forest Service is a part) possesses statutory authority to regulate activities related to mining even in non-wilderness areas in order to preserve the national forests.”
I believe this applies to all other activity in our national forests. We are looking at a situation where maybe 1 percent or less of the U.S. citizens are trying to dictate the use of our national forests to the other 99 percent. Is this social justice?
We need to keep the self-serving state and local politicians from trying to manage our public lands and let the Forest Service do their job.
Robert L. Kern
Editor’s note: The version of this letter that ran in Monday’s edition contained several typographical errors that were not contained in the original letter submitted for publication.
Thanks, counties, for opposing forest plan
Locked & Loaded Off Road Group of Baker City would like to thank the representatives from the Eastern Oregon Counties Association (EOCA), including our three commissioners from Baker County, for objecting to the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision 2014 draft.
Those of us who have been involved with the previous attempt to pass the WWNF Travel Management Plan, the BLM Draft Resource Management Plan, the BLM Sage Grouse commenting period and now the BMFPR comment period will stay vigilant and it is refreshing to know that we have the support of groups such as the EOCA.
We hope that all people who live, work and recreate in the Blues are paying attention at all times and that you make your voice be heard now and in the future. As stated in the Baker City Herald article on Aug. 5, timber harvesting has to increase and “the plan makes no guarantee that the forests will meet those projected timber volumes” as stated in the plan alternatives D and E. It will not only benefit the forest health but add revenue to surrounding communities and provide proper funding for USFS maintenance. The discussion that the “BMFPR sets a stage for the USFS to impose a TMP that bans motorized vehicles from a substantial number of roads in the WWNF” is all too real and it’s not fair. If maintaining the current forest roads is a money issue and in turn is the reason behind closing multiple roads in the Blues then increased timber harvesting is the answer. Those of us who spend time in the Blues for any reason, should not be denied access but should be encouraged to enjoy what is ours. The USFS multiple use mandate should be held in highest regard and properly managed by the USFS as a steward of the Blues and not a dictator.
Aug. 15 is the deadline to comment on the BMFPR
Guide to commenting: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/BlueMtnsPlanRevision
Submit comments to: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/BlueMountainForestPlanRevisionComments
USPS Mail to: Blue Mountains Plan Revisions Team, P.O. Box 907, Baker City, OR 97814.
On behalf of the Locked and Loaded Off Road Group
Democrats’ ideas won’t save the planet
Save the planet! a local Democratic official tells us; vote Democratic. But this fellow doesn’t tell us that the Democratic climate change program is both expensive and ineffective.
One Democratic policy is to allow the price of gasoline to rise, so people will buy smaller cars. We now pay nearly $4 a gallon for gasoline; when President Obama was inaugurated, it sold for under $2. What’s that done to your budget? Wind turbine-generated electricity costs around four times as much as that from conventional generators; the Democratic plan requires public utilities to purchase that electricity despite its high cost. That expensive electricity shows up in your monthly OTEC bills. Energy costs are such a vital part of our economy that expensive energy makes everything else more expensive as well.
But do the Democratic policies actually save the planet? Not really. Consider the much ballyhooed higher standards for fuel efficiency in our automobiles. Cram Americans into motorized sardine cans for 30 years and you put off drowning of the Statue of Liberty for a whole month. As long as fossil fuels are burned, carbon dioxide will continue to accumulate in the earth’s atmosphere. This buildup will stop only when all countries in the entire world stop burning fossil fuels. That’s not going to happen. The only significant outcome of Democratic climate change policies is that Al Gore and his politically connected buddies are getting rich at our expense.
Our Democratic official also doesn’t tell us that there have been periods in recorded human history when the earth’s climate was significantly warmer than it is today. He leaves out the fact that none of the calamities shown so graphically in Al Gore’s film actually happened during those warm centuries. He fails to mention that the scientists who study the history of the earth’s climate call these warmest times climactic optimums, for conditions then were the most favorable for mankind.
Our local fellow wants us to vote Democratic so we can lower our standard of living yet have no significant impact on what will happen in the coming decades. No thanks!