Letters to the editor: Nov. 8, 2019

Fueling a climate catastrophe

I hope Mr. Sommerfeld is carefully preserving his letters alleging climate change hysteria.

The day will come, within the next couple of decades, when even he will begin to accept what science has been telling us for more than a century, starting with  Svante Arrhenius in 1896. Rereading them at that point will not bring him any comfort.

He asks, “How arrogant can humankind be to think it can alter the course of climate?” I wonder if he accepts the fact that humanind:

Has the nuclear ability to not only alter the climate, but also exterminate life.

Has been able to induce earthquakes? Oklahoma has concluded fracking and the associated injection of tremendous amounts of water back into the earth has been responsible for a dramatic increase in earthquakes.

Has depleted parts of our atmosphere’s ozone layer through use of chlorofluorocarbons. Phasing out such chemicals under the Montreal Protocol of 1989 has triggered ozone restoration expected to complete the job by 2030.

Has boosted carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as a a result of the industrial revolution and the burgeoning fossil fuel use it has fostered. It stood at 280 parts per million prior to the industrial revolution, but now exceeds 400 parts.

Sadly, the damage isn’t limited to the atmosphere. The oceans absorb a large share of the excess carbon dioxide themselves, and that turns them more acidic.

The pH of the oceans has dropped approximately 0.1 pH unit. The scale is logarithmic, so this represents a 28 percent increase in acidity.

This interferes with calcification of marine life structures, thus contributing to the bleaching of coral reefs and softening of scallop, crab and lobster shells. Continued acidification will eventually destroy the oceans as a source of food.

Humankind has the capacity for a whole spectrum of great harms. Why should we exclude global warming from that list?

Les Howsden



Beware of psychotropics

The opioid crisis continues in the news. Another drug issue of concern is the prescription of powerful mind-altering, brain-chemistry-changing psychotropic drugs — and not just by psychiatrists, but also primary care providers.

Psychotropic drugs are not adequately tested. That can lead to permanently damaging outcomes.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, known as SSRIs, now carry black box warnings for suicidal tendencies. This seems OK to the public, which still condones their use, ironically, as antidepressants. But I believe some of our mass shootings are side effects of such violence-inducing psychotropics. Psychotropics are also highly addictive, thus difficult to kick. Side effects often lead to addition of even more drugs, to the extent one can lose sight of the presenting issues as the patient declines.

This cocktail of drugs keeps the patient in a relationship with the provider, profiting the drug companies. Given an understanding of the patient’s background, all it takes sometimes is time and a compassionate ear, without these often-toxic drugs.

I am not against a trial of antidepressants or a baseline of medications to deal with acute or even chronic situations. But I am against the willy nilly of prescription of multiple trial drugs, which can be so destabilizing. Patients keep getting additional DSM codes, leading to prescription of more and more drugs. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is very good for support in the community, but is highly funded by the pharmaceutical companies. It is involved in the school system, where children are being placed on these drugs to start with.

Some children may require interventions. But we need to protect the rest from these drugs, even if the resulting sedation seems easier to deal with.

Please read books by Dr. Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist, to learn the truth about over-use of these drugs.

Deborah Schwartzkopff



Addressing climate emergency

In his demeaning, climate-science-denying diatribe, “Climate change hysteria,” Steve Sommerfeld trashes MHS science teacher Laura Syring, the integrity of her students, the science-based plan presented to the city council and pretty much anything of legitimate empirical truth, even Jesus.

His purpose, it seems, is protecting children from climate scientists and their fear-mongering teacher, alleging she has stolen from them the very “joy of living!”

Finally, he quotes the Bible, which impresses me as a faith leader. Poor Jesus. Save us from your people. It’s so easy to co-opt words of comfort and power to the powerless, manipulating them for the privileged to find cheap joy in ignorance of the future. While I’m not sure his letter deserves a response, I want Ms. Syring and the students to know there are thousands standing behind their work, supporting actions many of their generation ask of city councils and tribunals around the world. In fact, on Nov. 5, more than 11,000 researchers from 153 nations gave students even more permission to care. Under the auspices of the Alliance of World Scientists, they warned us we are facing a true climate emergency.

Authored by OSU researchers William J. Ripple and Christopher Wolf, it begins: “Scientists have a moral obligation to warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and ‘tell it like it is.’ Therefore, we declare, with 11,258 scientist signatories worldwide, unequivocally that Earth faces a climate emergency.” In conclusion they share their hope: “We are encouraged by a recent surge of concern. Governmental bodies make climate declarations. Schoolchildren strike. Ecocide lawsuits proceed in the courts.” Far from fear-mongering, all generations are speaking as never before. Give thanks for students and teachers like Laura Syring. They are hope-mongers!

When we publicly express terror and articulate dreams, we find greatest joy in community with others who also care about the planet.

Rev. John Pitney



Don Dix

Rev. John Pitney -- you claim a writer is 'bashing ... pretty much anything of legitimate empirical truth' Would that 'truth' include the faith that historical readings of climate and temperature (read 'empirical') have not been manipulated to make a faulty hypothesis appear 'legitimate'?

And please explain how the 'temperature of the Earth' is measured accurately when recording sites have been abandoned or disappeared from the from the data sets -- mostly in Canada and Russia (must be cold temps that skew the dialogue). Pre 1972 raw temps have been adjusted down -- while post 1973 raw temps have been adjusted up -- can you say 'fit the narrative'?

Finally, just for kicks, where can one achieve a degree in 'climate science', not environmental science, but actual climate science (not 'climate computer modeling')?


If there was any doubt about bias in the mainstream media, it is gone. Since 'impeachment' began, evening news on ABC, CBS, & NBC has been 96% negative (see link). That is a twenty-five to one negative to positive ratio. Wow. I might have expected this on CNN & MSNBC, but the mainstream as well? Sheesh.



Remembering my graduate school statistics, I thought I’d calculate the probability of this result assuming an unbiased media was like a fair coin, 50-50 heads or tails. The coin toss calculator I discovered on the web rounded down to zero so I found an advanced calculator (see link). Basically, the odds are approximately one over three with twenty-three zeros behind it that the so-called mainstream media is unbiased (calculate odds of 4 heads out of 100 coin tosses). I don’t know about you, but in my world those are mighty slim odds.



Well you must admit...there isn’t much positive news coming from The Administration these days....so that might skew your study...


During the timeframe for this study the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was taken down. I wonder what Obama's ratios were when Osama bin Laden was killed. They sure weren't 96% against.


Not sure the same set of circumstances existed, so comparisons (and percentages) are filled with assumptions which make any conclusions questionable.....


“…..study?” I am constantly perplexed by the so-called statistics about the so-called percentage of negative reporting as it relates to a corrupt and immoral person. It is as if the reporters are expected to make up pleasant fiction to provide a “balance.” Would that satisfy the loyal fan base? Guess that would depend on whether the manufactured deceptions were beautiful and perfect enough.

I hope all my fellow citizens have invested some time and careful contemplation into the revelations from today’s Congressional hearings. We are being represented at home, and around the world, by a lawless self-serving bully. We have a right, and a responsibility to demand better.


You mean the 'Triple Hearsay Impeachment Hearing'? I was in shock. It was so and so told so and so who told so and so who overheard so and so. And these were the first witnesses!

If there is one thing I learned today its why hearsay isn’t allowed in a court of law in the United States of America. 2nd, 3rd and 4th hand hearsay interjects all sort of innuendo, supposition, and speculation based on little more than the personal opinion of those being questioned.


Hearsay and personal opinion? That’s rich. Evidently we were not all watching the same hearings? But on the positive side, Mr. Jordan would surely be pleased to know his desperate table-pounding rant was not a COMPLETE waste of time.


Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes are amazing and are heroes.

Rob - complete insanity and at least some of these American people are realizing what a s@#tshow this is and when the Horowitz and Durham reports come out there will be criminal referrals. Tens of millions of dollars wasted over the past three years for NOTHING. They are covering their behinds and never thought they would be exposed. And, Schiff has the nerve to continue his disgusting lies that he doesn't know who the non-whistleblower is. He gas no business running this committee. Pathological liar at every turn.


Bill Taylor:
5th in his class at West Point
Decorated as a Commander of a rifle company in Vietnam.
Did tours with both the 82nd & 101st airborne units.
40 plus years in high level public service.

Not sure Nunes & Jordan measure up....


Bill Taylor had first hand knowledge of absolutely nothing. None of his testimony would be allowed in a court of law except under exceptional circumstances. A Dem congressman literally argued today that hearsay evidence is better than first hand evidence. Astounding. Its like we are all in grade school again playing telephone.


OMG Finch. “Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes are amazing and are heroes.”

That is the saddest most disturbing and revealing thing you have ever posted in this forum.


Treefarmer - yes they are and maybe one day you'll actually have to eat your words and realize this has all been a scheme from the very beginning to take down this President. They cannot stand that he's doing what he said he would do and he's definitely not part of the swamp. It's all coming out finally.


RobsNewsRegister - "Bill Taylor had first hand knowledge of absolutely nothing."

The why is Trump preventing those with first hand knowledge from testifying if they could clear this up? I would think that he would want to bring those people forward.


It must have been a joyful experience to watch your heroes at work yesterday, Finch There in front of them sat two honorable civil servants, many decades of selfless bi-partisan dedication to America, subpoenaed to appear and tell the truth about what they had seen and heard. They conducted themselves with dignity and professionalism, they offered no opinions, they had no agenda. But YOUR heroes found them deserving of mockery - disparaging them, accusing them, yelling at them, trying to insinuate they didn’t know what they were talking about. Nothing is too low and despicable in the pursuit of defending the criminal behavior of the pathological narcissist. Your pride in them and their disgusting treatment of subpoenaed witnesses makes quite a statement about your anonymous self. I hope you will be watching the hearings tomorrow. You will no doubt enjoy another round of vile disrespect and pointless cruelty for show. And your heroes will get to denigrate a WOMAN this time! You will surely want to pop some corn.

Re eating words, are you holding your breath? The only “scheme” at play here is the massive fraud a sick and dangerous con man has perpetrated on the American people.


I sure hope you have something positive in your life because you sure seem miserable. Sorry, I don't play the woman card.

Fraud at the highest levels by members of our government are being exposed every day. You should look around a little more and pay attention to what's being uncovered. You're blinded so much by your extreme hatred that you just can't believe that this has been all orchestrated prior to his election.


>And your heroes will get to denigrate a WOMAN this time
You mean how GOP representative Elise Stefanik was denigrated after the hearing?

I for one can't wait for Marie Yovanovitch to be asked about spying on the activities of John Solomon and other U.S. journalists related to their reporting on Ukraine and the Bidens. Since when are State Department officials allowed to use government resources to spy on journalists? What do they think this is - the Obama administration that spied on AP, NYT, and Fox News reporters (see link)?



Why is chairman Schiff sitting on four transcripts. Could it be they clearly exonerate the president? Disgusting.


Adam Schiff should be removed from that committee immediately. Disgusting.


Sorry...nothing will “exonerate “ the President....
If trump really wanted to clear his record....why has he put the gag order on ?......


This is the United States of America and the onus is on the prosecution to prove guilt. I'm a little mad at myself for falling in with the new Stalinist line of thought in this country (Russia Conspiracy, Kavanaugh, this...) that one needs to exonerate oneself. The individual on display here today wasn't in her job when the phone call was made and has nothing relevant to add that I've seen so far. Its a political stunt - it appears to be effective to date though. They also are still denying Ukrainian interference in 2016 though it has been widely reported and is under investigation.

I happen to remember Paul Manafort resigning as campaign manager. In the end, that was at least partially because of Ukrainian interference feeding into the Russia-Collusion Conspiracy Hoax. For those who like Trump it was a blessing in disguise. The electioneering/poling genius of KellyAnne Conway is why he is president today. Where are her numerous accolades for engineering the greatest political upset in American history? That is clear bias against Republican women.



Adam Schiff is an absolute puppet for the Democratic Party. These hearing are as crooked as everything else the Democratic Party has pulled the last three years. treefarmer I find it hard to believe you can call an ex farmer and an ex educator anything but great examples of what America is all about. I guess those two men are below your station in life. Finch you are right Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan represent who I want speaking for me.


Listening to all of this reminded me of the Kavanaugh hearings and how horribly he was treated and talked to by the democrats. Chastised, yelled at and treated like a serial rapist. Of course after it came out that Miss Balsey Ford was connected to the husband of Dianne Feinstein through the college system things became a little more clear that the whole thing was a show to take Mr. Kavanaugh down in the most humiliating way without the ability to properly defend himself. Imagine if any of us were put on display like that for all the world to see.

Yes, I've said before that Trump sticks his foot in his mouth and many of his tweets I shake my head at (like this morning during the testimony) but look what he's had to endure from day one. Talks of impeachment started at the time he was elected with the media and it's never stopped.

Three years and tens of millions of dollars that could be better spent on things that are actually needed wasted on this sideshow. Thanks goodness also for Gregg Jarrett, John Solomon and Sara Carter for all the investigative reporting they've done over the past years.

Look at all the Trump rallies and how many people are attending. The American people are sick of this from both sides. Where is our representation when all they do is fight?


Yes, poor Mr Kavanaugh.....may I assume you’re ok when a highly regarded career diplomat like Marie Yovanovitch is smeared, threatened (by the President himself no less) removed from her post....all without any explanation, facts or reason.....?
Your selective outrage is noted....



Government employee Marie Yovanovitch wasn’t fired, she was re-assigned and got her pick of assignments at Georgetown University. Fired means you’re standing in an unemployment line. Call me particular, but losing all your benefits and salary and collecting unemployment is a world of difference from being a fellow at a world renown university. This is nonsense, her testimony was entirely irrelevant and I stopped watching. People also some-how forgot what Obama did when he took office (see below) - he FIRED every single politically appointed ambassador when he took office.



I didn’t say she was fired.......and I don’t recall Obama smearing reputations or threatening them before he made the change....


"Yes, poor Mr Kavanaugh.." Perhaps if you worked your entire life and had the solid reputation of Mr. Kavanaugh and were held out in a freak show for all the world to see and condemned and humiliated in front of your spouse and children or whoever you held most dear it would be okay? I bet if it was RBG or one of the left leaning judges you would feel the same way? Honestly, I think you are related to treefarmer. That's ridiculous.

And, why is it that only one side can call witnesses? How is that even a fair playing field? Of course it's not. Such corruption and manipulation.


I know you didn't - that is how it is portrayed in the media though. The distinction I was trying to make is that if political appointees are not permanent government employees, like Marie Yovanovitch, they are actually fired. Obama got rid of the whole lot of them lock, stock, and barrel. What Obama did meant that many lost jobs permanently.


Finch...so why no outrage for the treatment of Ms Yovanovitch?.....no reply necessary...the answer is evident....


>Finch...so why no outrage for the treatment of Ms Yovanovitch?.....

Like Kavanaugh's accuser, you can thank the Democrats for the live on television public hearing. As Republican Devin Nunes made abundantly clear, there was ne reason for her to be there today as her testimony wasn't relevant to the case at hand. The Democrats wanted, and obtained, a show at her expense.


Exactly right Rob and I feel sorry for her as well. She comes across as intelligent and calm. I don't envy her at all. This us a show of distracting from what they're hiding. And Schiff sits up there like a little king with his stopwatch.


Just so I’m clear...It’s the democrat’s fault that Ms Yovanovitch was smeared, removed from her post and threatened by the President......got it.....
after her treatment from the administration, the hearings were her opportunity to set the record straight...which I think she did with poise and credibility.....


The irony. hypocrisy, and attempts to justify and/or deny fraud and corruption are breath-taking.
(Neither persuasive nor sane, but absolutely cringe-worthy and stunning.)


The person in your mirror is the one in a very deep state if denial.


And why exactly do any of us know her name? Why exactly was the phone call transcript released? Why is this a story at all? Typically, a president replaces ambassadors with no one knowing or caring. The re-assignment after a change of party in power is very common. If it wasn't for the Democrats impeachment obsession with Donald Trump she would just be another anonymous public servant changing posts.


My mirror has a reflection....not a deflection....


Ah Finch, you are quite the expert at projecting……your absurd comment is only a reflection of you. But, as I have mentioned before, I am constantly amused by your attempts to insult, so please…..carry on. God knows we can use all the humor we can find as we process the horrific realities of fraud and corruption.


Rob - Elise Stefanik was amazing!

Excuse me, did you say something stupid again treefarmer?

Bill B

@treefarmer; "the horrific realities of fraud and corruption." Really, do you think it's that bad or is it those bunched panties?


Bill B – I appreciate your fair question, assume it is sincere, and will take the opportunity to respond.

Yes, I honestly do believe it is that bad - and worse. We have all witnessed the visible consequences of divisive deranged self-dealing governance, (through our own personal lens, of course) and finally we are getting a glimpse of treacherous abuses of power that go on BEHIND the scenes. I accept that his loyal fans love their leader unconditionally, and therefore must surely view him as representative of THEIR values. Just so, I can’t deny that my knickers ARE in a knot because what I see happening in our government does not reflect AMERICAN values as I have always perceived them. This is the first time in my long lifetime I have felt this level of concern.

It has taken a while but the checks and balances in the Constitution may yet protect us from authoritarian rule as they have for 2+ centuries. (No doubt the King of England had a faithful following too, and other rulers have been able to mesmerize the masses, but our Founders wanted to protect their new democratic republic from the UN-democratic imbalance of power that results from a cult-like thrall.) I hold out hope that, as was the case when Nixon’s criminal actions were exposed, at least some citizens will no longer want to be identified with - or governed by - someone who has so totally betrayed their trust, destabilized our national security, and who continues to hold himself above the law. The tip of this iceberg is coming into clear focus and I refuse to believe it is too late to change course. May we all keep our minds open and base our views on the evidence we see with our OWN EYES as opposed to buying into manufactured conspiracy theories and “alternative facts.”

Political differences notwithstanding, we are all in this together.


Just to cap off our Sunday, I have copied a link to the most recent column by Yamhill County’s prize winning journalist Nick Kristof. Mr. Kristof makes some sobering observations about how Fox viewers are being lied to and manipulated. (spoiler alert – he cites some first-hand documentation from a battlefield.) I hope Fox fans will be open to considering a search for “second opinions” following a broadcast?

I have an optimistic theory that if we could just agree on the facts, we would find that we have way more in common than the paid national and international propagandists want us to discover.


Bill B

@treefarmer; I read the link. I find it interesting that there was not one, repeat one, positive comment about Fox news. Don't you find that interesting? I watch Fox, CNN and NBC. On a daily basis a comparison of CNN's and Fox's front page reveals most of CNN's coverage is dedicated to the impeachment whereas Fox covers all News. Watching NBC before the live hearings, it was clear that Mitchell and company have already decided that Trump is guilty. So much for unbiased reporting.


Bill B - I agree with you. She talks about facts. The 'facts' are that the mainstream media and the democrats have been playing this impeachment card since the month and year he came into office and it's been non-stop. The only thing that changes is the shell game and how they're handling it and trying to shove their justification for it down the throats of the American people. Most are smarter than that and are sick to death of hearing about it. The people will speak less than a year from now. They need to get back into their districts and do their work. This is past crazy.


Bill B - Is it possible you just skimmed the column? I think you missed this quote, which seems more than positive to me:

“Let’s pause here to acknowledge that Fox News has some excellent reporters, and let me just say that I’m jealous of Chris Wallace’s interviewing skill.”

Like you, I get my news from a variety of sources. And like Mr. Kristof, I respect Wallace’s journalism and professionalism - I never miss his Sunday morning show. I consider it the stuff of unpatriotic willful ignorance to live in a news bubble. Unlike you, I did not watch the hearings on NBC so I am in no position to judge their coverage. (PBS is my go-to for unbiased reporting.) But since I will have no responsibility as a juror in this case, I will go on record as someone who believes that acts of MAJOR misconduct and abuse of power are evident. Plus, refusal to release documents and forbidding testimony of the inner circle just reinforces my beliefs. Why would anyone defy lawful subpoenas and hide evidence that exonerates them? Do you have a theory about that?

Bill B

Treefarmer; OK, I missed the one comment about Wallace, but the article seems to be saying Fox is the only media biased. That is simply not true.

I have to admit, even to this lifelong Republican, our President is hard to like. He says what he thinks, makes personal insults against those who do not agree with him and makes claims based on rumor or suspicion or can not be proven at all.
That said I support what he is trying to do (e.g. improving our infrastructure, reducing taxes, fighting illegal immigration, improving our defense capabilities, eliminating Obamacare, de-emphasizing political correctness, arguing for other countries to pay their fair share) to name a few.
Do his efforts to encourage the Ukraine to look in to corruption, including Biden, constitute bribery? I don’t think so, it just makes good business sense and really does not benefit him personally unless you believe he was really afraid of Joe Biden. More likely, its so he could say; ”I told you so” to those who did not believe his concerns about the Ukraine and the swamp. Lastly, if he thought he was committing an impeachable offense why would so many be privy to the call?


Bill B - Last question first - WHY? Because he is delusional and thinks it was a PERFECT call – he has said so over and over again. (and never mind that the partial transcript was hidden away in a secret server at first.) Like Nixon, he obviously believes that if a president does it, it cannot be illegal. He has stated that his power is ABSOLUTE and conducts himself that way. When Barr helped him get away with all the wrong-doing cited in the Mueller report and there were no consequences, he did not hesitate to move on to new – perhaps MANY new - nefarious endeavors.

Just curious, except for TELLING you he is doing things like “improving infrastructure or defense capabilities” what makes you believe there is truth in the lip service? Re the other things you mentioned, you won’t be surprised that I take issue. I loathe the cruelty and child abuse perpetrated by the so-called “immigration policies,” I was sickened by the tax debacle that enriched those ultra-wealthy folk while stiffing the middle class, I was all for improving Obamacare but you might have noticed there was never anything offered up to replace it? And while it is not objectionable to expect other countries to cough up a “fair share,” the way he went about, like a vulgar swaggering bully, was ugly and shamed our nation.

As for this Ukrainian scandal, I do not understand how trying to dig up dirt on Biden & Son, or investigating some previously debunked conspiracy theory cooked up by Manafort justifies extorting the new President using desperately needed (and fully authorized) military aid as leverage. If those were legitimate issues, there are legal and ethical ways to pursue them. Oh – and I certainly do not think he was “afraid” of Biden. I believe it was naked ego. He was trying to preemptively clear the field and felt empowered to resort to anything - illegal and/or immoral - to do it.


p.s. I am encouraged to read that you don’t align yourself with every aspect of current “leadership.” Appreciate your candor. I have a number of Republican family members and friends. A couple of them share some of your opinions, two have recently abandoned the party, and one is so in the tank we can’t even discuss the issues. (Something of a rerun from the Nixon ordeal?) Now, as then, it ain’t over until it’s over. I predict that Americans of all political leanings are in for a very sad but informative week.

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