World Day of Peace
To the editor:
Many people have asked me what is the Catholic Church's stand on war and peace. As we start a new year, I want to share just a few reflections on this topic. The church is definitively and unequivocally against war, and only as a very last resort it may suggest the use of force in any conflict. The church is also against all forms of violence or termination of life, including capital punishment, euthanasia and abortion.
Life should be respected at all costs, and Pope Paul VI in 1968 instituted Jan. 1 as the World Day of Peace. Unfortunately this day is overshadowed by too much partying and too much emphasis on college football, but during this day we celebrate peace, and frequently in various conflicts there is a cease-fire on that day. Every year the church issues a motto for the World Day of Peace. For example:
1970: Education for peace through reconciliation.
1972: If you want peace, work for justice.
1973: Peace is possible.
1977: If you want peace, defend life.
1979: To reach peace, teach peace.
1981: To serve peace, respect freedom.
1987: Development and Solidarity: Two keys to peace.
1989: To build peace, respect minorities.
1990: Peace with God the creator, peace with all of creation.
1993: If you want peace, reach out to the poor.
1996: Let us give children a future of peace.
1997: Offer forgiveness and receive peace.
2002: No peace without justice, no justice without peace.
2007: The human person, the heart of peace.
Let us hope and pray that even here in Baker City we can continue to support the cause of peace and protect life in all its forms. But let us remember that peace in the world starts with peace in our heart. One of my favorite sayings supports this too:
If we have peace in our hearts, we will have harmony in our families.
If we have harmony in our families, we will have cooperation in our towns and villages.
If we have cooperation in our towns and villages, we will see order in the nation.
And if we have order in the nation, we will eventually have peace in the world.
Father Julian Cassar
St. Francis de Sales Cathedral
We need the wolf
To the editor:
As one passionately in favor of intact ecosystems, healthy watersheds and local economies, and the return of wolves to Eastern Oregon, I read Mr. Huddleston's letter and the Web site wolf stories with interest. The stories of domestic attacks, however, speak not to the viciousness of wolves but to the arrogance and folly of humans.
As for the stories about wolf attacks in the wild wolves are wild animals, like cougars, bears and elk. In the right circumstances, we and our pets may be injured or killed. However, the danger needs to be put into perspective. Most encounters do not result in an attack or death. We have far more to fear from our fellow human beings and our own actions than the wolf.
In the United States, every year roughly 30,000 people die from gun injuries, about 240,000 pregnant women are battered by the men in their lives, 500,000 to 2 million women are raped, 5,000 people die from food poisoning and 400,000 from cigarette smoking. Every week 300 people are killed by drunk drivers. Countless others will die due to malnutrition, lack of medical treatment, drive-by shootings and drugs.
In Baker County in 2005/2006, MayDay served 926 new clients who came to them because of domestic violence, sexual assault or elder abuse. In the last 4 years over 1,000 Baker County cats and dogs were euthanized because no one wanted them. The number shot or dumped and left to fend for themselves is unknown. If protecting human life and our pets is really the issue, then let us require and encourage the best in each other, our government and corporations. Let us tackle poverty, domestic violence, war, injustice and global warming.
We need the wolf. The wolf will result in better public lands stewardship as ranchers ride to keep an eye on their herds. Elk will be more wary and spend less time along streams. The result will be improved watershed conditions. This is vital, because as climate changes it will be the health of our watersheds and streams that will, in the end, determine the quality of our survival.
To the editor:
On New Year's Day on page A7, the left-leaning Portland Oregonian printed some information that should have been front page. The Census Bureau said that as of Jan. 1 our population would be 300,888,812, up 2,863,990 during the year. We will add a new person to our population every eight seconds, and andquot;migration from other countries,andquot; an Oregonian euphemism for illegal immigration, will add one person every 27 seconds.
As a fifth-generation Oregonian who had his life drastically altered by the Oregon policy of forcing everyone to live behind an urban growth boundary because too many people were destroying farmland, open space and wildlife habitat, I object strongly to our globalists' open border, let them all come policy. It's a fact that Mexico is the prime source of illegals, but there is another cloud on the horizon. Refugees from the Bush Wars will soon be clamoring to come here, too. Of course many will pose as displaced war refugees, but some will be al-Qaida radicals. I sit and wait with trepidation for the hammer to fall as the new Congress convenes with andquot;Open Borders Georgeandquot; and the Ted Kennedy Democrats. If the Lou Dobbs Blue Dog Democrats don't stop them from legalizing an invasion then it's time for retribution, either at the polls in 2008 or in my opinion more direct action as the middle class slowly starts to pay attention. If Congress sells us out and legalizes as many as 20 million more and invites their families to come, too, it's time to hit the streets.
To the editor:
With the new Congress following the mid-term elections, Bush lost his dictatorship, and they won't bail him out of his war.
The people have spoken. Enough is enough. They're tired of the lies, secrecy, and some loss of democracy. They won't bail him out, either.
The day after the Iraq Study Group went public, the poodle lap dog, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, appeared to bail him out.
Bush always pushed legislation for larger big business profits, tax cuts for the rich, and perks for which he personally would benefit. He paid no heed to President Kennedy's encouragement, andquot;Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.andquot; Another president, Jimmy Carter, during Wolf Blitzer's Sunday Morning broadcast Dec. 3, criticized Bush's war as the biggest presidential blunder of all time. The World War II submarine commander as commander-in-chief pardoned Vietnam draft dodgers who were burning their cards and fleeing to Canada.
Bush needs to bail himself out. The most impressive Christmas gift he could have offered Americans was to announce on Jan. 1 that he would step aside and no longer be our president. Hopefully, Cheney would take the hint, follow suit and step down, too.
Next in line, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be in charge as commander-in-chief until 2008. We can be assured, regardless of circumstance, that she would bring all our troops home. Pelosi would remove our forces from the Middle East powder keg. Fireworks can flare up at any time.
Bush will be remembered as one of the most unpopular presidents because of his lack of compassion and his intimidation of others.
Historians probably have his legacy already established. There cannot be much to be proud of.
Sprinklers don't save lives
To the editor:
Smoke alarms are to save lives. Sprinklers are to save property.
When a smoke alarm sounds, I will leave a building, not wait around for enough heat to be generated to set off a sprinkler system. Therefore, smoke alarms and well-marked exits are most important to me.
vs. Glenn Ford
To the editor:
The incremental loss of rural space in Oregon continues unabated.
As a result, the view, which was the attraction in the first place, is progressively diminished.
We average citizens do not yet think of beauty, of rustic charm, of landscapes, of great vistas, as resources in themselves that can be used up and destroyed, just as a forest can be clearcut. But while a forest can recover, the sprawl home stays.
I remember the squabble Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford had over Ford's TV antenna that impaired Hayworth's view of the sunset sky.
Here were the first stirrings of the idea that what I do on my land should not have harmful consequences to you and your desires on your land.
In the lawsuit between Ford and Hayworth, Hayworth won, and this helped to establish the idea that loss of scenic beauty is not a trivial matter.
One of the four great laws of ecology states that andquot;everything is connected to everything else.andquot; What you do with your land has a huge impact on you neighbor, on air and water supplies, on wildlife, songbirds, on posterity itself.
As we start the new year cannot we devise a new land use policy that will preserve the integrity of an undeveloped Earth?
Immigration and corporate greed
To the editor:
Shame that the Herald paired Steve Culley's Jan. 3 letter, pointing out the connection between immigration and population growth, with a long-winded op-ed proposing a legalized underclass of exploited immigrant workers. Balance is good, but distortion and half-truths can't provide it.
Columnist Mary Sanchez wants readers to believe it is wrong to enforce the law, that the issue is a lack of legal visas, and that immigrants are necessary for jobs that Americans are unwilling to take. She uses meatpacking jobs as an example of good paying work that Americans just refuse to do.
Apparently Ms. Sanchez wasn't here or isn't old enough to remember the meatpacking strikes of the 1980s. The short story is that the meatpacking industry, following the lead of greedy corporations, used poor replacement workers to destroy the family wage jobs and working conditions that the unions had fought long and hard for. The corporations chose to enrich corporate officials and shareholders at the expense of the workers who produced the wealth. Those jobs supported rural economies and people stood in line for them. Their loss led people away in search of a living wage.
In 1980, around 46 percent of meatpackers were unionized whereas only 21 percent are today. Wages have dropped by 30 percent and working conditions have taken a beating. To find workers willing to work at low pay under harsh conditions, the corporations have turned to impoverished immigrants who now take half of all meatpacking jobs. This story has been recreated in other industries from construction to transportation.
Illegal immigration may enrich some corporations, provide the wealthy with nannies and multicultural feel-good, but it is a form of class warfare that lowers the prospects of poor, lower-skilled Americans.
Most economists agree that it depresses the wages and working conditions of the unskilled. We have plenty of struggling, unskilled Americans; we don't need millions more.
The issues aren't a lack of visas or a bunch of lazy Americans, they are, as usual, corporate greed, access to a living wage, and too many immigrants willing to be exploited at another's expense.