Letters to the editor: June 14, 2019

Gather up in arms of love

Mr. Randy Johnson objects (Readers Forum of May 17) to an analogy I supposedly drew between economic conditions in 18th century London and 21st century McMinnville.

The problem is that I did not actually draw such an analogy. Instead, I asserted boldly an identity between the experience of homelessness born of a grinding poverty then and now.

The burden of the quotation I offered from Samuel Johnson is that such an experience is soul-destroying. The proper response is not to enact new statutes designed to limit the behavior of the homeless, or to hire more code enforcers, but to employ mental health professionals to go among the homeless and, in the words of poet Langston Hughes, “Gather up in the arms of your love those who expect no love from above.”

Witness the attitude of Jesus toward the poor.

In the 14th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, we find Jesus at a party hosted by a rich man. After looking over the guests, Jesus turned and said to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind.”

Notice, Jesus did not direct his pointed remarks at those who have been pushed to the margins of society, but at those who may have the means to help the marginalized.

Mr. Johnson calls this “mollycoddling.” He advocates minimum-wage jobs for the homeless.

Unfortunately, minimum wage jobs won’t cut it. Too many of them are part time, and part-time minimum-wage employment is the very definition of a poverty economy.

We must do better. In the meantime, we can ready the homeless for employment, which the Gospel Rescue Mission has begun to do, with support from McMinnville’s Noon Rotary Club.

Robert Mason



For the greater good

In response to recent articles about heroes, I offer the following:

My great-grandfather (Henry Englebrecht, 1835-1913) and his brother (George Englebrecht, 1844-1941) spent more than 3 1/2 years in the Northern Army during the Civil War. My great-uncle was captured by the Confederate Army, but was rescued in time to participate in General Sherman’s march to the sea.

In 1940, my dad introduced me to my great-uncle George. He went on to describe the horrors of the war and its attendant casualties, making me wonder why anyone would get into a war.

I asked my great-uncle, “Why did you get into that war?”

I was immediately and strongly instructed to “remember that slavery isn’t right.” It was obvious that he would get no argument with that.

There is a good side of this great country, and plain folks like George, who have served to set things right, are among its heroes. He was certainly a hero to our family.

I believe the results of the D-Day invasion were justified by the events at the killing camps set up all over Europe. Should we have turned out backs and just let it continue?

Some of my relatives served in Europe, others in the South Pacific. On both fronts, the aim was to set things right.

Later, I served with some of those vets myself, and personally know a lot of them would cross any bridge to set things right. They are also my kind of heroes.

After more than 87 years on this planet, I have seen enough of the world to know that I have proudly found my home and freedom right here in the U.S.A., thanks to the heroes who set things right.

John Englebrecht



State guilty of overreach

The governor’s two-year budget includes a provision for creation of a universal health care program for the parents of newly born or adopted infants.

It would provide two or three screening visits by a nurse or other health care provider. Vaccinations would be offered as well.

Are we citizens so incapable of decisionmaking that it must all be left to the government? That is an insult to our intelligence.

How many times have children been removed from parents for resisting government demands and rules?

Maybe you have heard or read about a community of parents threatened with removal of their children for refusing vaccinations. But they were doing so because their children were being adversely affected.

Then there is the boy who received two rounds of chemo with parental permission. The parents found they could not stop the state from ordering six or seven additional rounds.

It’s our fault for not demanding the government stop abusing our rights.

This latest proposal violates the Fourth Amendment. It also overrules the sanctity of the family and parent-child relationship. What’s more, it would require a new bureaucracy be created, generating a demand for more taxes.

Our government is getting out of control. We need a law-abiding constitutional government, not a freedom-destroying all-powerful state. Jefferson’s saying about using the chains of the Constitution is very appropriate here.

Mary Novak



Flagrant misrepresentation

I recently received e-mails from Rep. Suzanne Bonamici and Sen. Jeff Merkley titled, “Shining Light on a Traumatic Year.” I was left disgusted with the bitter tone and the flagrant misrepresentations.

Bonamici trumpeted about “growing evidence of impeachable offenses,” including committing human rights violations and profiting off the presidency. She called for an impeachment inquiry, but offered none of this “evidence” herself.

Merkley wrote of “children ripped from their parents’ arms,” “children in cages” and “a vast desert prison camp for children, where six children have died in U.S. custody.”

He said he had gone to the border six times, and visited El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, to better understand the problem. He flatly ignored the fact many of these children are already sick, and got far better medical attention here than their home countries.

Prior to President Trump’s election, President Obama and Vice-President Biden called for better enforcement on the souther border and stronger laws on immigration. And pictures from Obama’s term depict the use of what Senator Merkley now derisively labels “cages.”

This illegal invasion — more than 100,000 a month that we know of — is coming not just from Mexico and Central America, but also South America, Africa and East Asia. It is affecting our national security and economy.

Yet elected Democrats on the House side do nothing. They say there is no real crisis, just a fake crisis of President Trump’s making. What have they done to solve the problem?

President Trump in only trying to enforce laws Congress has passed. If Congress doesn’t like that, it should change the laws.

Do Bonamici and Merkely think the American people are so stupid they can’t see through the duplicity? Next election, I ask voters to think long and hard about who they want representing them.

Rick Johnson



Support universal licensing

At this writing, HB 2015, the Drivers Licenses for All measure, has reached the Ways and Means Committee.

This bill would allow all qualified Oregon residents to legally drive, and why not? Isn’t it in the best interests of everyone to create a way for all people who are on the road to pass a driver’s test, obtain a license and become insured? Why would we want it otherwise?

Please contact your representative and let her or him know you want this bill passed — for all our sakes.

Debbie McQuade



No evidence of collusion

I am responding to a letter to the editor supporting impeachment of President Trump because “the president did collude with the Russians during the election of 2016.”

To quote from the executive summary of the Mueller Report, “The evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.”

I infer from the letter that the writer did not vote for the president. In full disclosure, neither did I.

However, please reconsider your approach. By definition, using a geopolitical claim of Trump-Russia collusion carries with it geopolitical consequences.

This tactic has, and is, causing collateral damage. Not the least of which is pushing Russia toward China, which is against the longstanding U.S. foreign policy objective of driving a wedge between the two powers.

Did the Russians interfere? Yes, but it’s not unusual for world powers to interfere in each other’s elections.

Before we go ballistic over 2016, consider that we’ve interfered in theirs. And don’t just take my word for it, Google the Time Magazine cover story from July 15, 1996: “Exclusive: Yanks to the Rescue — The Secret Story of How American Advisors Helped Yeltsin Win.”

Note that the next Russian president was Vladimir Putin.

Further, I disagree with the supposition that Russia wanted Mr. Trump to win. Why would a “gas station with nukes,” to reference the late John McCain, want a pro-energy U.S. president?

I believe the Russians were engaged in a disinformation campaign. Like most, they assumed Hillary Clinton would be the next president of the United States.

What’s more, President Trump’s policies clearly aren’t pro-Russian. Consider the military strikes in Syria, ant-tank missiles for Ukraine and increased NATO defense spending.

Your approach may carry unforeseen geopolitical hazards. Please find another or shift your focus to 2020.

Robert Wilson




Mr. Wilson, your letter refers to Putin’s Presidential preference as “supposition.” According to Putin himself, his preference is undisputed fact. Here is the direct quote from that shameful so-called press conference in Helsinki last year:

REPORTER (Jeff Mason from Reuters): President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

PUTIN: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the US/Russia relationship back to normal.

(full transcript: https://www.vox.com/2018/7/16/17576956/transcript-putin-trump-russia-helsinki-press-conference )

Do any of us know what has really gone on behind the scenes with this administration? It appears to me that the fraud and corruption we can see is just the tip of the iceberg. And on that note, I am ever grateful that Rep. Bonamici and Sen. Merkley are taking their Constitutional duties to provide oversight seriously. Some in our Congress seem only interested in providing pretzel justifications and cover. Our Founders must be thrashing in their graves.

On a non-political and more positive note, I was extremely happy to read in Mr. Mason’s letter that McMinnville’s Noon Rotary Club is supporting the Gospel Rescue Mission. I have long supported, and hold great respect for the Mission. They are compassionate dedicated professionals and volunteers who provide a great service to the citizens of our community. We are truly blessed by their presence here. I encourage anyone who wants to make a difference and can afford it, please donate to this great organization, you can rest assured your contribution will be well and carefully spent. Many thanks to the Rotary Club!


Please note Trump being pro-energy isn't the only reason (I was limited to 300 words in letter to NR) for my opinion about Russia's views. And when I say pro-energy consider the United States increased both oil and natural gas production in 2018 by the most by any country in the history of the world. Wow. Even more than WWII.

Apple and Twitter execs response to a question by Sen. Lindsey Graham (see link) during senate hearings in 2017 where they testified the Russian internet ads were against Hillary Clinton before the election, but then against Trump after he won (see article link - 12th text segment) also support this. We also know the Russians paid for an anti-Trump rally shortly after the election. Undermining the other guys leader was a standard Soviet tactic.



I have mixed feelings on believing what politicians say (Trump was standing right next to Putin when he said he wanted Trump as you cite) and believe policy outweighs rhetoric. That is where my concerns emanate. Historically, conservatives have been hawks and progressives doves toward Russia, but because of Trump everyone is a hawk. The national security advisor is John Bolton for goodness sake. I happen to consider myself a libertarian with conservative tendencies.

Just this week the president announced plans to forward deploy up to 2,000 American NATO troops to Poland and signed a deal to export liquefied natural gas to Poland (obviously neither in Russia's interests).

If you want a liberal's view on the growing risks of the situation I recommend this professor. In short, in Russia like everywhere else there are hawks and doves. The hawks are now in full control there as here in the west.


regards, Rob


Debbie McQuade

The tax payers voted NO a few years ago for illegals to drive. What a joke to try this in Salem - disgusting.

Vote NO.


You really think that they stop driving if they don’t have a license?.....


Rob. So you're good for us to be depleting our oil & gas resources as fast as we can. No reason to save them for future generations. We'll have a better source of energy for our great great grand children to use. They won't need oil and gas any longer. And that climate change hysteria is just a political hoax. You are an true optimist.


To tell the truth haven't thought much about that - I was just astounded by the statistic when I heard it on business news. My point is that Russia's economy is centered around energy production, something that is ground zero in the current administration's economic development plan. If he is indeed Putin's Puppet as some would say, he is doing arguably the worst job imaginable.


I’m surprised that any vendors were turned away from the Farmers Market....seemed like there was plenty of space available for more booths.....I would add that from a traffic perspective it’s a lousy location...Is the Grainery District an option?


Rob. Russia is also about destabilizing America, European Union, and America's post WWII alliances. Thus isolating America. Russia is building relationships. I don't think Trump is taking directions for Russia. He doesn't have to. He seems to be destabilizing America relationship at every turn. Less than 80,000 mid westerners elected him President per the Electoral College. So he is our President. Our leader who seems to love authoritarian dictators, like the kid in North Korea. He'll give permission to give valuable nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. Never mind they support some of the most radical extremist, nine of the eleven 911 attackers were Saudi. I don't think Trump is anything but a spoiled rich guy, a reality TV personality, who failed at business time after time, screwed as many as he could in business and in life, and could care less about you and I.


Been meaning to log in and comment on your post, Mike. You nailed it, captured the essence in one compact logical fact-filled paragraph. That last fact is the one I continue to find the most bewildering. The malicious narcissist proves every day that he cares ONLY for himself as he divides and dismantles America - often in plain sight. (Blindly believing/never questioning all his diabolical lies is one explanation for what keeps the base from accepting the truth?) I keep hoping that eventually truth will save us all from the snake oil salesman in time to right the ship and heal the nation.

And to Ms. McQuade - great letter. I appreciate your logical observations and, in the interest of safety and common sense, I will be cancelling out that declaration of a “no” vote posted above.


Mike and treefarmer I wake up every morning and thank the ground I stand on that Donald Trump is our President. If Hillary Clinton would have been elected you guys wouldn’t have to worry about any collusion with Russia because we’d be speaking Russian and they would own this country lock stock and barrel. Have a nice day gentlemen.


Comfortable with the status quo? What a concept! Very difficult to find the logic in that last post given that Putin HATES Clinton with a vengeance. She called Putin out on his election corruption and he got revenge by mobilizing the entire criminal Russian machine to make damn sure she DIDN”T get elected. How on earth could someone come up with the theory she would have been accommodating to Putin in ANY way? (I haven’t even heard that strange idea suggested on the state-sponsored Fox network.) Putin would more likely have been castrated by now under a Clinton administration. The virulent Putin/Clinton animosity is well documented factual history. Would anyone be inclined to cite a valid source that states otherwise -- or was that last post simply a “flame?” I’ll check back.


I'm with you Jim. Hopefully 2020 will go to him too.


I have noticed that criticisms of the president are often so emotional in nature. He is demonstrating some very admirable qualities. For instance, the president just showed great temperance, in my opinion, by calling off the airstrikes on Iran at the last minute though it would bring political heat. He received intelligence that Iranian national leadership was furious with the local commander of the newer model road mobile surface to air missile system that shot down our drone [my guess from radio intercepts]. It appears that the command and control of their forces has yet to catch up with all of the new systems they acquired from the Russian's during the Obama administration [in this case a domestically produced SA-17]. I must say – I am growing impressed by President Trump’s instincts (that the shoot down was a mistake) and as of now plan to cast my first vote for him in 2020.


Well thought out letter Rob and I agree. Do I like everything he does? Certainly no. But it is so unfortunate that the many good things he has done and continues to do for our country are not reported on. The swamp has needed a cleaning for a very long time and the last thing we needed was another politician. The D's and R's both needed a wake up call. Enough wasting time a d money poi thing fingers. We are not paying them all to act the way they often do these days.

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