Letters to the Editor, March 19
Jordan is a blessing
When I read J. Phillips’ letter (March 12) suggesting Danny Jordan should be investigated for “possible lack of careful awareness and oversight, and knowledge of ... Breidenthal’s conflicts of interest ...”, I thought it was a joke.
Really? Where was Phillips when Jordan instigated a change in the commissioner travel policy to tighten it in an attempt to stop Breidenthal’s profligate spending on travel, or when Breidenthal accused Jordan of instigating the report to the Ethics Commission, or when Breidenthal openly derided and insulted Jordan during commissioner meetings for trying to reign in Breidenthal?
Where was Phillips when Jordan tried to enforce the written agreement with SOREDI but was instructed by our current commissioners not to do so? (Mail Tribune, now that one needs investigating.) I sat through Tuesday commissioner meetings week after week. Our commissioners come and go, but Jordan is there protecting the public interest. But for his termination package, would he have the courage to stand up to the likes of Breidenthal?
It's amazing and gratifying to watch. Jordan is a blessing to Jackson County. Go watch on Tuesdays or Thursdays, week after week, as I have. God bless you, Danny. Keep up the good work!
Write to Walden
During President Trump's 2015 campaign, he repeatedly promised not to cut Medicaid as part of his repeal-and-replace plan. After meeting with establishment conservative think tanks on March 8 he broke that promise, giving Republicans permission to change "Trumpcare" so that it would immediately end the Medicaid expansion.
In Oregon, that means over 366,000 people — 37 percent of Oregonians on Medicaid — will lose coverage unless the state raises taxes to pick up the tab. Even people not on Medicaid will be hurt as funding cuts, smaller insurance pools and increased emergency room visits will drive up health care costs for everyone.
We are in a unique position to have our voices heard on this matter. Our House representative, Greg Walden, is chairman of one of the committees that oversaw the bill and has strongly supported it as originally written. A Medicaid cut would mean 55,000 people in his district would lose coverage right before his 2018 re-election campaign. While the bill has already passed his committee, his voice still carries weight.
I urge people to call or write Representative Walden. Tell him to draw a line in the sand and stand up to out-of-state extremists.
Nearly 36 million
I question the conclusion of Michael Long’s otherwise well-written letter to the editor where he quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s famous words concerning a man’s unwillingness to speak up when injustice does not affect himself.
In effect, he used this powerful quote to label the present administration as neo-Nazi. Well I’m sorry, but our country adopted Nazi ideology in 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized mass murder of the innocents, i.e. unborn babies.
The Nazi Holocaust had over 6 million murders. The American holocaust, at over 800,000 per year, has six times that number since 1973!
Support SB 557
Suppose I didn’t pay taxes because my contribution is so small compared to the state or national budget. It is trivial — but represents a serious burden on me. Does anybody think this argument would fly as a moral or legal defense of my position?
We allow polluters to dump their toxic waste in our air and our water because it’s free — and processing their waste would cost money and dent profits. So we all pay the price in health, environmental and clean-up costs. Is this morally just?
The lamest argument for Oregon refusing to reduce its climate pollution is the parallel claim that the state pollutes so little that our effort to reduce emissions is meaningless, so we shouldn’t bother. If we want our corner of the globe to be saved, we need to reduce our emissions first. Let’s act now.
Support Oregon SB 557 for clean energy and jobs.
Walden doesn't care
After his numerous votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), Rep. Walden announced from his new post as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that he was going to “repair” and “rebuild” Obamacare. “We need to work aggressively on the repairs ... to Obamacare. Some might call that replacement. I call that a rebuild. I call it repair.”
Last week, “repair” and “rebuild” went out the window! Walden started pushing hard and fast for The American Health Care Plan proposed on March 8. Walden stood on the House floor for 27 hours, and he was also on TV pushing “Trump’s Plan.” No more talk about “repair” and “rebuild.”
Currently 23 percent of Walden’s constituents are on Medicaid; 22 percent are enrolled in the ACA. That’s 45 percent of his district. It’s a relatively poor district, not the people Walden visits with when he comes west.
You can bet Walden hasn’t talked to his constituents about the effects of “Trump Care,” and a large number of people who voted for Trump are going to lose their health care if the “Trump Plan” passes as is.
Walden’s actions last week confirm that he really doesn’t care.
Carol N. Doty
Health care reform debate
News stories now inundate us with emotional tales of those who will suffer if Republican plans are enacted. Although the examples are true, be aware that in any major reform of our medical system there will be those who experience problems; they are the inevitable exceptions to any reform, including Obamacare.
Understand this: Conservatives are not unsympathetic to the legitimate needs of all citizens. What we believe is that a free market of interstate insurers along with tort reform will provide overall lower costs for medical care through competition, expanded risk pools and sensible restraints on medical lawsuit practices.
Further, understand this: The Declaration of Independence limits "unalienable rights” to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (i.e., entitlement to the free use of the fruits of one's labors and/or property). Medical care, housing, and education are not unalienable rights; they are reasonable contractual entitlements provided by laws enacted under the Constitution.
Liberal progressives, motivated by empathy and collectivism, want the government to give entitlements to all (with others' money!). Conservatives, motivated by sympathetic reason and individual responsibility (not greed), want to assist those in real need, and to empower success for those who can accept their personal responsibility.
A new civil war?
We must prepare ourselves for a real possibility. If it is proven that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russians to spy on Hillary Clinton, then the Trump administration is illegitimate and will have to be removed.
But what happens then? Does Hillary Clinton take over? Do we hold another election? Do all the people involved with Russia go to prison for treason? Does Congress do the constitutional thing or just refuse to relinquish the office? Do Trump supporters accept this peacefully? Does an eight-person court decide and split it 4-4?
What happens then? This incredible scenario is looking like a real possibility and we need to figure out what is going to happen before we have a new civil war on our hands.
A coup without force
Definition of coup: A sudden and decisive change of government illegally or by force.
If Donald Trump is allowed to continue to govern as he has been demonstrating, he will be successful in orchestrating a “coup” of our country without using force. I am grateful for the men and woman, whoever you are and wherever you are, for standing up and demanding his actions be challenged. You are heroes.
Pass SB 557
Even as more of us more strenuously exercise citizenship, appeals to protect what we most cherish keep coming. To hold course in the current blizzard requires clear prioritizing. If we want a science-based, bipartisan and adequate response to climate change, we can now have more influence with our state legislature than federally. For example, Oregon’s Clean Energy and Jobs Bill (SB 557) promises to bring:
- Dollars to invest in clean, renewable energy (without raising taxes).
- Good-paying jobs.
- Stronger incentives for major polluters to protect air, water and climate.
Ten other states with bills like SB 557 have shown it’s possible to take better care of both our environment and our economy. We cannot help but pass on to future generations the challenge of climate care. But only if we act now can we also pass on a salvageable remnant of the opportunity passing through our hands. So let’s urge Sen. Alan DeBoer, Reps. Pam Marsh, Sal Esquivel and Mike McLane and other Oregon legislators to pass SB 557.
It’s that time of year again, so like most Americans I’m doing my taxes. I’ve paid mine since first employed some 65 years ago. Does our so-called president pay taxes? Like most Americans, I’d like to see his 1040!
It disturbs me how my taxes are spent. Consider this: Our country’s infrastructure is decaying, compared to other first world countries, we have a primitive oil-guzzling and polluting transportation system, and do poorly when it comes to educating and taking care of the health needs of our citizens. Why should this be? Priorities.
In 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address said to fear the growth of the military-industrial complex. Today, USA military expenditure is equal to the total of the next eight countries combined (2015)! We have 800 military bases scattered around the globe while our ostensible military adversaries have a combined total of 30! This is insanity! Worse, our so-called president proposes an increase in defense spending. Well, maybe we’re going to need it. After all, we haven’t started a war since the Bush/Cheney Afghanistan debacle of 2001.
H. Bernard Hartman
DeBoer's constituents are watching
Alan DeBoer, when running for the Senate, vowed to carry on the legacy of climate champion Sen. Alan Bates, and claimed that he and his opponent, who supports legislation to mitigate climate change, held similar views on the issues.
In recent meetings with the senator, he has declined to support or even learn about Senate Bill 557, a cap-and-trade bill that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the merits of which have been discussed on these pages. He says he does not have time and has doubts about climate change being man-made.
Being a legislator is hard work, but the good news for the senator is that he needn’t take up his time learning about SB 557 and attending hearings. Others have done that work. The science is in: It is good for Oregonians and it is good for the planet. DeBoer's constituents want climate action now. All he needs to do is vote for SB 557.
He didn’t win the Senate seat on a platform of climate denial and inaction. And he may not win again if he refuses to represent the best interests of his constituents. We are watching.
Totally the same
Lately I’ve been hearing a variation of the following argument from Trump supporters: “I had to suffer through eight years of Obama and now you know how it feels. So suck it up and deal with it the same way I did.”
Let me take a moment and explain myself. I dislike Donald Trump because I think he traffics in rumor, innuendo and conspiracy theories to perpetuate doubt and stifle dissent; he stokes racism, fear, and xenophobia and willingly associates with white supremacists to widen political division; he uses the office of the presidency to enrich his personal and family finances; and he prefers to represent only those who voted for him, dismissing the 54 percent who didn’t.
They disliked Barack Obama because they thought he was a Kenyan-born Muslim who forced socialism onto America. So, to respond to their argument, I can see their point. Those two things are totally the same.
What if industry and corporations were held to a higher standard of ethics, like the professions? That’s the question historian R.H.Tawney asked in the 1930s.
What if industry had a different bottom line than “pecuniary gain” for their owners and stockholders. What if corporations had to consider the social good of what they produced and how they produced it, the health and well-being of their workers, the cost to the environment, the outrageous salaries of their CEOs?
Interestingly, the profession Tawney used in his example as a model for industry was medicine. How ironic that medicine today has become more like industry: The bottom line seems to be all about money.
We have the means to provide health care to all our citizens. But do we have the will?
If not, then what is our system all about? Helping the rich get richer?
Trump, Ryan and Walden’s health plan for the people of the United States is being called an “act of mercy.” Perhaps they mean mercy killing.
Art exhibit confusing
A recent art exhibition at the Medford branch of the library leaves me confused. The exhibition is titled “39 questions for white people.” It consists of questions typed onto rectangular pieces of paper, which were then placed on display inside a glass case. An example of one of the questions is, “What do white people eat?”
Forgive me, but I would like to suggest that not only does this exhibit not constitute art, but the whole idea is inane and silly. What troubles me the most is that the library apparently spent taxpayer dollars to sponsor this exhibition. Isn’t there some better way to use this money?
Apparently, this exhibition is an attempt to make some sort of a statement about race. If we are going to ask truly frank and enlightening questions about race in this country, let’s be brave enough to ask the questions no one dares to ask, such as, “Why are so many people — of all races, ages and genders — afraid of young black men?”
Surely the library — of all places — can make a more intelligent effort to discuss the important issues facing our society today.
Destroying the system
I’m amazed as the 1 percent try to destroy the system that encourages them to become rich and powerful. It gives credence to the adage, capitalists will sell the rope with which we will hang them. You'd think they’d grasp they’ve won.
Our system of private enterprise allows people wealth and power. Yet they don’t understand that if middle-class people can’t support their children, get health care or retire with dignity, then they will revolt, destroying the very system that created the 1 percent. Power has a price: the social contract.
Republicans are implementing the same policies that caused the 1929 and 2008 crashes. If allowed to continue, we will have another economic depression.
If that happens, the system will this time punish the 1 percent who caused it. Wall Street will steal from us, demand will shrink and banks will stop making loans.
We’ve seen this before and Republicans will own it.
Up is down and down is up
Trump supporters battle cry to downsize the federal government include having safety nets removed that protect the individual. Federal regulations in place through the EPA and banking, such as the Dodd-Frank rule, make it more difficult for corporations to ruin the environment or to bilk Americans out of their money. However, the rhetoric is full of holes.
Through Trump’s policy, he threatened to cut off funding to “sanctuary cities” who choose to protect diversity, to look at the laws passed specifically by states to legalize recreational marijuana, and through the EPA, to revoke a special waiver that gives California the capacity to regulate greenhouse-gas pollution from car tailpipes.
Trump’s plan is to use federal power to overturn previously passed state laws. The point to note is that the federal downsizing only seems to be effective in removing regulations that affect corporations. Another caveat, follow the money, many of these changes cut funding to the states from the federal government. Watch your local taxes go up. When they say leave it to the states, as we can see, the federal government intervenes at will. If you believe good is bad and bad is good, full steam ahead with the Trump agenda.