Letters to the editor: Nov. 20, 2020

Trump treated badly

The recent column by Matthew Meador demonstrates a profound disconnect from reality.

Conservatives had to endure four years of unrelenting, unsubstantiated propaganda that Russia hacked the 2016 election. This campaign to discredit and undermine a duly elected president culminated in his impeachment.

The impeachment was initiated by Alexander Vindman, an immigrant military officer incensed by President Trump’s refusal to enter into an entangling alliance with his Ukrainian homeland at the expense of Russia. Given the fact that Russia still possesses a formidable nuclear arsenal, President Trump’s refusal to needlessly escalate tensions with a former enemy is admirable.   

This year’s election became especially contentious over the pandemic and resulting economic catastrophe. We were expected to demonize President Trump, even though he took prompt action to ban China travel, in spite of the distraction of ongoing impeachment proceedings and incredulity about the motivations of his own National Security Council.

As a prelude to this election, we were subjected to unrelenting rioting in our cities, especially Portland.

There are legitimate issues about use of excessive force by police. However, it’s clear to me that the sudden surge in killings by police back in the 1990s was triggered by the propaganda campaign by President Clinton and the gun control lobby, provoking police paranoia. And ironically, the police shootings that stirred the most outrage targeted violent armed criminals and were clearly justified.

In the recent election, many contested states used voting machines and software developed by a foreign company with ties to the Clintons. So how can we ignore the profound irregularities?

The Electoral College is a firewall that protects the country from deliberate fraud. The states that enable convicted felons, illegal aliens and dead people to vote should not be allowed to dictate the results of the election. 

James Crawford



Honor COVID heroes

Remember last February, when the coronavirus began to spread across America?

Some leaders decided the best way to control it was to ask people to stay home. When we did, our lives slowed down and we found ways to connect with one another.

A bit more kindness and understanding seemed to spread, as well as a desire to care more for our natural world. It wasn’t easy, but it was working.

We learned the value of face masks, physical distancing and proper hygiene. And the virus began to diminish.

Then pandemic fatigue took over. Now we see more people being infected and more people dying.

I can’t help but think of the healthcare workers, the teachers and all the others who risked their own lives to help save others. How brave and admirable they are.

I listen to Dr. Michael Osterholm’s podcasts every week. An epidemiologist, he dedicates each of his informative and inspiring podcasts to a deserving group of people.

One of his latest, Episode 30, is dedicated to the healthcare workers. Did you know that more than 1,300 of these selfless professionals have died of the coronavirus?

An earlier podcast, Episode 17, was dedicated to teachers, staff and the unbelievable job they are doing to help our children and families. Can you imagine the teachers who prepare lessons and teach several classes of students each day while having to help their own children at home with their distance learning?

It’s overwhelming to me to think about their schedules. I’m so thankful to the school districts who truly value their teachers.

Maybe we could all take a moment to walk in the shoes of our teachers and healthcare workers, and perform some intentional act of kindness for them.

Liz Marlia-Stein



Feeding fear

All the news media report daily the number of people testing positive and dying from COVID-19.

I don’t hear anything of those who tested positive, suffered through it at home or in the hospital, then went back to work and returned to a normal life. Is there a reason they want keep the fear alive in the masses?

Kent Olsen



Looking other way

On May 15, the Democratic House passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill to assist workers, families and state and local governments through a difficult time. It included a second round of direct cash payments, extended unemployment benefits, hazard pay for front-line workers, support for virus-testing, contact tracing and treatment, and nearly $1 trillion in aid to state, local and tribal governments.

In an effort at compromise, the Democratic House passed a revised version on Oct. 1, cutting the relief to $2.2 trillion. It offered a similar menu of aid.

However, the Republican Senate has failed to pass any bill that provides any of these desperately needed supports.

I am particularly concerned about the millions of individuals who have been without work for months, are at risk of losing their homes, and are unable to buy food. It is estimated that 50 million citizens will fall into this latter category by early 2021, 15 million of them children.

So what has the Republican Senate done during this time?

It has confirmed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett in a belief she will help destroy the right of women to control their own bodies and maybe find the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Its leaders hope Roe v. Wade will be overturned, even though 70% of Americans believe that abortion should be available under at least some circumstances.

This confirms that the Republican Party, and particularly its Christian Right wing, has more concern for the fetus than for the millions of children who are already born but going hungry every night. Considering the demographics of Trump supporters in the recent election, it also seems an indication of how people often vote against their best interests.

Les Howsden



Hospital debt hounds

I want people to be aware of an unfortunate situation with our hospital, the Willamette Valley Medical Center.

I required urgent care on Aug. 13. I went from my doctor’s office to the hospital, where I underwent tests leading to admission and surgery in a matter of hours. I received outstanding care and the providers were kind and competent. 

The bill was dated Oct. 27, but didn’t arrive until Nov. 5.

It listed a due date of Nov. 13.  We wrote a check and mailed it the following day.

On Nov. 11, I got a call from an unknown number that went to voicemail. The message warned, “This is a communication from a debt collector. This is an attempt to collect the debt.”

My husband called the hospital, where someone confirmed our only outstanding balance was in the amount we had already sent. It appeared the check had not cleared the bank yet.

I then called the number left by the debt collector. I got a recording indicating I had reached the Patient Account Business Office, associated with a debt collector.

The woman I spoke to denied any collection agency tie. She said the state of Oregon requires her agency to contact hospital patients about payment arrangements.

She later changed her story, saying the agency was just checking to see if I had “any other insurance.”

She defended the contact by saying the bill had been sent “way back in October.” But that was just two weeks ago at the time.

This experience has affected our opinion of the Willamette Valley Medical Center.

We still like the local facility, and we know rural hospitals are in financial trouble. But hounding a customer whose bill hasn’t yet come due is no way to build customer loyalty. 

Nancy Van Dore



Egregious purveyor

Thank you for publishing Charles Hillestad’s Viewpoint piece on how to detect deceptive, manipulative rhetoric. As he points out, we are living in an era where false information bombards us in greater volume and frequency than ever before.

Humans can only achieve productive goals and solutions to problems by following a process based on reason and ethical negotiation. Whether it’s within a family, civic group, court system or political arena, we must strive to be rational and respectful while advocating for our desired outcome.

Obviously, we don’t all take the high road when negotiating, which is why it’s important to be aware of sneaky disinformation, fearmongering and outright lying, as described in Hillestad’s piece.

Politicians of all stripes are guilty of rhetorical manipulation. It comes with the job. However, I’ve not seen anything like the vicious, hysterical and utterly false blather emanating from the political right since Donald Trump took office four years ago.

Pick a category from Hillestad’s list: inflammatory, violating common sense, dirty tricks, false dichotomy, non sequitur. The conservative media use them all to encourage fear and hatred.

Trump himself is the most egregious purveyor of unethical, rabble-rousing rhetoric I’ve ever encountered. Unfortunately, to filter your way through the nonsense and vitriol, you have to commit to thinking critically, which is the point of Mr. Hillestad’s article.

It seems Trump supporters have utterly abandoned reason and critical thinking in favor of rage, intolerance and black-and-white solutions to complex problems. They willingly succumb to manipulative rants from FOX, QAnon, InfoWars, et. al., which exemplify every one of the points raised in Hillestad’s article.

As they abandon the basic rules of sane and respectful process, they make it very hard for the rest of us to move forward for the good of all citizens.

Grant Hoyt



Riding in style

On June 14, 2019, I was in an auto accident in McMinnville.

My van was totaled, leaving me without transportation. Then a friend told me about a government program called Dial-A-Ride.

I had heard of it, but assumed it was only available to the disabled. I was really happy to learn it’s for everyone!

Now I know that most government programs are not perfect, nor is anything else this year, for that matter. But my experience using this service, and interacting with the drivers, has always been pleasant.

I arrive at my destinations stress-free. I don’t have to worry about traffic, gas, parking, license plates or automobile repairs and insurance.

I feel very lucky to have this service available in my town.

My heartfelt thanks goes to the men and women driving and scheduling for Dial-a-Ride. They work hard to make it possible.

Judith Hill



City that listens

A few months back, a questionnaire went out on how or what makes a good city or neighborhood.

In years past, the leaf pickup truck had to be dumped with only half a load, lest leaves blow out. Some responders suggested the city cover the loads with tarps during transport, allowing the trucks to collect full loads.

This year, that happened. It’s good to live in a city that listens.

Dean Klaus



 Acting president rules

Read a letter in the Nov. 13 edition where the writer was concerned who might become president if neither candidate had 270 votes and Congress had to become involved. The letter writer worried who they might try and appoint as acting president.

In 1947, the succession act was amended. Next in line after the vice president is the speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi. If the speaker is unable to assume the duties, the president pro tem of the Senate, Chuck Grassley, would be next.

Next, the various federal departments are ranked in order of creation date with the head of that department next up. The list starts with Secretary of State Pompeo and moves next to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. Last up is Homeland Security Wolf.

But the courts just ruled he’s in the position illegally, so he probably wouldn’t be in succession. And circumstances leading to an acting president that far down the list would probably mean we had bigger and more immediate worries.

Fred Fawcett



Gobs of gripes

I am so tired of hearing teachers complain about their jobs. What other job is there where you get 2 1/2 months off in the summer, then other days off during the year for holidays?

They complain they have to grade papers after classes.

I think they should be in school from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. This way they can grade papers at their desks and not at home.

They would still be making more money per hour working 8-5 every day then the average non-teacher.

I can’t wait until this country makes students go year-round. The teachers will whine for sure.

Sandra Ponto



Conspiracy theorist

After another heated political season, it’s worthwhile to remember we have more in common with each other than not. So when I received an e-mail last week from my state senator — Brian Boquist, whom I have never supported — I was open to read what he had to say.

Mr. Boquist began by criticizing the media. I also have concerns about the media — consolidation, corporate influence, lack of diversity — so there was some common ground between us.

Mr. Boquist then relinquished all credibility by veering into various divisive tropes and general government-bashing.

For four years, we have had a conspiracy theory aficionado at the head of our federal government. Thankfully, that will end in January.

Unfortunately, we Oregonians still have conspiracy theory proponents in our state government. 

Alisa Owen



Plant-based roast

Next week, President Trump will take a break from brooding over his election loss to pardon two turkeys. But in fact, every one of us has that same awesome power to pardon an innocent, sentient bird by choosing a plant-based roast for our Thanksgiving dinner.

The 222 million turkeys killed in the U.S. this year were raised in crowded sheds filled with toxic fumes. Their beaks and toes were clipped to prevent stress-induced aggression. At the tender age of 16 weeks, workers cut their throats and dumped them into boiling water to remove their feathers.

Consumers pay a heavy price, too.

Turkey flesh is laced with cholesterol and saturated fats that elevate risk of chronic diseases. Prolonged cooking is required to destroy deadly pathogens lurking inside.

Now for the good news: With the growing popularity of Tofurky and other plant-based holiday roasts, U.S. turkey production has dropped 25 percent from its 1995 high of 293 million.

This Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for our health, happiness and good fortune with a cruelty-free plant-based holiday roast. An internet search on “vegetarian Thanksgiving” offers more options and recipes than we could possibly ever use.

Milo Nakamura




In an attempt at accuracy regarding Mr Crawford’s letter:

1) Russian interference in 2016 is not “unsubstantiated “ nor is it “propaganda “....A bipartisan Senate panel headed by Republican Sen Richard Burr -NC stated that there was “no reason to dispute” the intelligence community’s findings that Putin approved an influence campaign aimed at helping trump win the White House.
2) The trump impeachment was not initiated by Lt Col Alexander Vindman, he was one of many witnesses called to testify ....For the record, Vindman has an exemplary service record that includes an Army Ranger tab, parachute badge, combat infantry badge, expert infantry badge, a Purple Heart for wounds in Iraq, 4 Army Commendation medals, 2 Defense Meritorious service medals, and more.....(no bone spurs here). He risked his 22 year career to testify.

3) The Feb 2 “China Ban” allowed an estimated 8000 Chinese & foreign nationals into the US from Chinese territories of Hong Kong & Macao in the first 3 months as well as more than 27,000 Americans from mainland China in the first month....

4) For examples of so called “justified” police shooting one should google- Antwon Rose II, or Rayshard Brooks, or Terence Crutcher, or Philando Castile......there are many more...
5) Voting machines/ software from foreign companies with ties to the Clintons......this is tin foil hat territory......

facts matter,

Don Dix

Accuracy --

The China ban began Jan.31, not in Feb. Biden immediately called Trump's move 'xenophobic'.

Feb. 24 -- Pelosi publicly invited visitors to come to Chinatown and alleged the travel ban was an act of racism.

Early March -- NYC mayor, Bill De Blasio encouraged people to ride the trains, eat out, and go to live theaters -- his statement on Mar. 2 -- "We have a lot of information now, information that is actually showing us things that should give us more reason to stay calm and go about our lives, normally". On Mar. 14 he said “I am not ready today at this hour to say, let's have a city with no bars, no restaurants, no rec centers, no libraries, I'm not there".

And since the virus took hold, the entire D organization has accused Trump of 'mishandling' the response to the virus -- as if no other official held any responsibility for the spread in their area. Who's zoomin' who?

All facts matter!


The 'whataboutism' won't work, Mr. Dix. Trump blew it - bigly (as he would say).


So your entire rebuttal to my post is that I got the date wrong?......

Don Dix

No tagup, you omitted details and facts to the while story of the China ban. It looks a little different when one side of the aisle publicly undermined the China ban at every turn, in an attempt to oppose anything Trump. It's all related.

montag -- so when fact clarifies a memory or a recount of events, changing the overall perception, it's labeled 'whataboutism' and to be ignored? Good to know!


Don, there is only one side that uses the “ China Ban” as an excuse for the weak and lacking administration response to the pandemic.....the fact is ....it was not a ban.


1. Russian interference? Talk about moving the goal-posts. The allegation was the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government. It was actually far worse than "unsubstantiated". In Summer 2016, CIA Director John Brennen briefed then President Obama on intercepted Russian intelligence claiming Hillary Clinton, on 28 July, approved a proposal from a foreign policy adviser "to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security services." This is a direct quote from Brennen's notes that you can see imbedded in this Federalist story.


2. From the hearings, it was obvious that Lt Col Vindman was the source for 'whistleblower' and, contrary to earlier statements, Adam Schiff knew the 'whistleblower' since Schiff stopped Vindman from revealing the identity of the second person he told about the phone call to Devin Nunes.



So let me get this straight, president Trump was supposed to force American citizens and their families to stay in China where there was a viral outbreak? They setup quarantines on military bases for many they flew out of China.



Rob, The letter writer stated that the Russian hack of 2016 was “unsubstantiated propaganda”......I addressed HIS point. That the interference did happen.... and a bipartisan senate committee agreed with the findings of the intelligence community. Appears you are the one moving the goal post....

Allowing 27,000 US citizens to return is not the point.....calling it a “ban” when it wasn’t is my point.....by the way, While many of those Citizens returning at the time were monitored, many were not......



Russia interfering in our elections is hardly news, as is us interfering in theirs, it likely happens every election cycle - see the 1996 Time magazine cover headline "Yanks to the Rescue: The secret story of how American advisors helped Yeltsin win." I've heard they tried again this time but we went on the offensive and cyber-attacked the offending Russian servers.

Russian intelligence believing Hillary Clinton approved a plan to smear Trump using Russia - that's news and somehow was never pursued by the FBI after referral by the CIA.


My problem with this constant Trump obsession I see from many (spinning and pushing narratives aimed at harming him without regard to consequences) is that it seemingly ignores the geo-political collateral damage. Yesterday was a sad day. Yet another treaty with the Russian Federation went into the dustbin of history - Open Skies.


What was that? A treaty put in place allowing each nation to conduct surveillance flights over the other at the end of the Cold War to ease tensions. It now joins the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty as a casualty of our worsening relations. That treaty was important because it kept nuclear forces off 'hair-trigger' alerts because of the short 5-6 minute flight times.

One treaty is left (New START - it limits number of deployed warheads). It expires Feb. 5th, 2021 - early next year. If we're not careful, we will quickly find ourselves in Cold War 2.0 if not there already, and this time Russian military forces can view NATO's over the Ukrainian plains from Russian soil with binoculars.


Russian election interference may be “hardly news” for us, but obviously not to Mr. Crawford....

I have a hard time accepting that the obsession by trump opponents is responsible for the foreign policy failures of this administration. I do agree however, that losing these treaties is not a positive step for our national security.

Don Dix

tagup -- so, a full 6 weeks after the administration banned flights from Chinese mainland to help stop the spread, the Ds were still denouncing that move, and encouraging visitors to travel and enjoy (especially NY/NYC). Is it a mere coincidence that NY has had more deaths, or is it a direct result of the state and NYC leadership's opposition to anything Trump did or proposed?


Pretty hard to quantify the impact of many decisions made/ or not made in the early days of Covid....but using the premise that a “ban” was put in place to cover an obvious failure to act is A poor defense.
Wouldn’t you say that trumps failure to encourage mask use and social distancing has had a significant


** impact on the spread of the virus?.....


> I have a hard time accepting that the obsession by trump opponents is responsible for the foreign policy failures of this administration.

Can you imagine the histrionics if Trump had a diplomatic meeting with Putin? Actually, we don't have to. When Trump met Putin in Helsinki in 2018 he was actually accused of treason. According to John Brennen, “nothing short of treasonous.” Of course, now that we know Brennen briefed Obama on Hillary Clinton's alleged plan to smear Trump using Russia, we have a better understanding of the motivation. Geopolitical tactics have geopolitical consequences - this one likely started a new Cold War.



I wonder if trumps trashing the US intelligence community at the press conference and taking Putin’s side regarding the interference with the 2016 election had anything to do with Brennen’s reaction? Guess Putin didn’t tell trump the truth?....shocking..
Trump’s lack of criticism of Russia for annexation of the Crimea, propping up Syria or shooting down Malaysia flight MH-17 Might have been appropriate for US interests at the time as well......


I just hope the national press gets out of middle school mode (who likes who, who said what about whom) and gets to something real. Below is a video of a test of our new nuclear bomb [B61-12] on the F-35 stealth fighter yesterday. The bomb is carried internally so the F-35 remains stealthy upon approach. Weapons like this will put Russia on a 'hair-trigger' alert. That is when 'mistakes' are most likely and why Reagan and Gorbachev signed the no defunct INF treaty. Welcome to the New Cold War.

B61-12 Flight Test with F35-A Lightning II

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