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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (July 9, 2015)
THE DAILY ASTORIAN • THURSDAY, JULY 9, 2015
The wasted gift of Donald Trump
Founded in 1873
STEPHEN A. FORRESTER, Editor & Publisher
LAURA SELLERS, Managing Editor
BETTY SMITH, Advertising Manager
CARL EARL, Systems Manager
JOHN D. BRUIJN, Production Manager
DEBRA BLOOM, Business Manager
HEATHER RAMSDELL, Circulation Manager
Where does Sen. Wyden
stand on Oregon LNG?
Senator says the right thing, but
Mayor LaMear wants clarity
ou don’t have to take a poll to know where Clatsop
County is on LNG. In various guises, LNG has been on
the county ballot some two or three times.
In this context it is heartening to
On each occasion, the propo-
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden demystify
nents oI siting a liTue¿ed natural
gas terminal at the mouth of the the remarks of Peter Hansen, chief ex-
ecutive of Oregon LNG. Hansen dis-
Columbia River have lost.
The present makeup of the Clastsop
County Board of Commissioners was
determined by opposition to LNG.
Commissioner Dirk Rohne was the
vanguard. He served as a lonely voice
among commissioners who went to
extraordinary lengths to stack the
deck in favor of LNG.
It is also worth remembering
the scant public process that gave a
lease to Oregon LNG’s predecessor,
Calpine, did not amount to a county-
The decade we have spent deal-
ing with the LNG elephant is Peter
Gearin’s bad joke on Clatsop County.
Gearin was executive director of the
Port of Astoria. He made an absurdly
bad deal on behalf of the Port’s tax-
payers and for the state of Oregon
— from which the Port leases the
Skipanon property on where Oregon
LNG hopes to site a terminal.
missed the role of local government
in siting the terminal and its pipelines.
Sen. Wyden said Hansen’s remarks
were “way over the line.” Derrick
DePledge reported Wyden’s statement
during his weekend visit to Astoria.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown — during
her June visit here — said “there’s ab-
solutely no question” the state has over-
sight responsibility on the Skipanon
Astoria Mayor Arline LaMear is
correct that Wyden needs to tell us more
clearly where he stands on the Oregon
LNG proposal. “We’d like to have a
straight answer on where he is on this
particular project,” said Mayor LaMear.
If Wyden needs an unequivocal
reference point on where political
sentiment in this county stands, he
can — as Yogi Berra famously said
— “You can look it up.”
US must reduce
deadly use of force
International newspaper points
out startling statistics
And yet the U.S. is profoundly
y one credible count, 584 peo-
the bounds of the developed
ple have been killed by police
it comes to police-caused
in the U.S. so far this year.
Such a statistic deserves to be a
shocking call to action. See tinyurl.
The Guardian newspaper’s data-
base demonstrates the dif¿culties of
easily categorizing these deadly inter-
actions between civilians and law-en-
forcement personnel. Even coming up
with an accurate total is hard — there
is no nationwide reporting require-
ment for this of¿cial taking of a life,
the ultimate civil right.
Sparked by notorious shootings of
African-American men, closer scru-
tiny reveals that 287 white men and
women have died as of July 7. Blacks,
with a total of 159 deaths so far, have a
death rate of 3.81 per 1 million of pop-
ulation, compared to 1.68 for Hispanic
residents and 1.45 for whites.
Looking for example at a random
single day of police-related deaths,
May 7, ¿ve people died. They ranged
in age from 18 to 72. Most were white.
They died in California, New York,
Georgia, Florida and North Carolina.
The circumstances of the 18-year-old’s
death suggests he committed “suicide
by cop.” A 21-year-old allegedly tried
to run down a deputy with a car after
of¿cers responded to reports of a “sus-
picious couple knocking on doors.”
The 72-year-old, armed with a knife,
was reported by his neighbors to be
suicidal. Police said they shot him af-
ter he rushed at them.
It’s obvious that in many cases the
police are pulled into personal crises,
volatile situations in which they must
do their best to contain the danger. It’s
safe to say that being on the delivering
end of someone’s death must haunt
most of¿cers for the rest of their lives.
Judging by how seldom of¿cers are
prosecuted — and even more rarely
convicted — of being trigger-happy,
U.S. citizens are clearly disinclined
to second-guess these life-and-death
decisions made in the heat of the mo-
deaths. Here are some of The
Guardian’s more disturbing ¿ndings
• 27 percent of people killed by
U.S. police so far in 2015 had mental
• Black Americans killed by police
are twice as unlikely to be unarmed as
white people. Thirty-two percent of
blacks killed by police were carrying
no weapon, compared to the 15 per-
cent of whites who were unarmed. So
far this year, 102 unarmed people have
died in interactions with police.
• Oregon, with seven deaths
brought about by law enforcement so
far in 2015, ranks 16th among the 50
states and D.C. in per capita fatalities.
Washington, with 11, rates 25th per
• England and Wales total 55 fatal
police shootings in the last 24 years.
The U.S. had 24 fatal police shootings
in the ¿rst 24 days of 2015. Canada
averages 25 fatal police shootings a
year, whereas California has racked
up 72 such deaths in 2015.
Rolling this death rate back to
something less startling will be a com-
plex task. Better nationwide police
training in using nondeadly force has
to be part of the answer. Enhancing
citizen awareness and conveying our
expectations is another. Stepping up
to adequately fund mental-health
treatment and interventions is another.
Civilian review boards provide crucial
independent oversight in jurisdictions
large enough to warrant them.
Internal police policies must em-
phasize this point, well made in the
city of Houston “Above all, this de-
partment values the safety of its em-
ployees and the public. Likewise it
believes that police of¿cers should
use ¿rearms with a high degree of re-
straint. Of¿cers’ use of ¿rearms, there-
fore, shall never be considered routine
and is permissible only in defense of
life and then only after all alternative
means have been exhausted.”
By FRANK BRUNI
New York Times News Service
keep reading that Donald
Trump is wrecking the
I keep hearing that he’s a threat
to the fortunes of every other
Republican presidential candidate,
because he sullies the brand and puts
them in an impossible position.
What bunk. The truth is that
he’s an opportunity for them as
golden as the namesake name-
plates on his phallic towers, if
only they would seize it.
The brand was plenty sullied
before he lent his huff and his hair
to the task. And by giving his Re-
publican rivals a perfect foil, he
also gives them a perfect chance
to rehabilitate and redeem the par-
As it stands now, he’s using
If they had any guts, they could
They could piggyback on the
outsize attention that he receives,
answering his unhinged tweets
and idiotic utterances with some-
thing sane and smart, knowing
that it, too, would get prominent
They could define themselves
in the starkest possible contrast
to him, calling him out as the bul-
ly and bigot that he is. Then he
wouldn’t own the story, because
the narrative would be about cool-
er heads and kinder hearts in the
party staring down one of its most
needlessly divisive ambassadors
and saying Enough. No more.
We’re serious people at the limit
of our patience for provocateurs.
There was a hint of this last
weekend, when Jeb Bush, whose
wife is Mexican-American, lashed
out at Trump’s broad-brush com-
ments about Mexican immigrants
crossing into the United States
with an agenda of drugs and rape.
Bush labeled those remarks
“extraordinarily ugly” and “way
out of the mainstream” and said
that there’s “no tolerance” for
But he didn’t exactly volun-
teer that assessment. It came in
response to a reporter’s question,
and it came more than two weeks
after Trump’s offense.
Neither he nor Marco Rubio
exhibited any hurry in distancing
themselves from Trump, though
both of them trumpet their person-
al biographies as proof that they’re
sensitive to Latino immigrants.
On Fox Business on Tuesday,
Rubio gave a pathetic master class
in cowardly evasion, stammering
his way though an interview in
AP Photo/Seth Wenig
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks to reporters as
he arrives to a fund raising event at a golf course in the Bronx bor-
ough of New York, Monday, July 6, 2015.
which he was
edly for an
he was be-
He never did manage to up-
braid Trump, though he was care-
ful to mention the “legitimate is-
sue” of border security that Trump
As in 2012, Republicans can’t
summon the courage to take on the
dark heroes of the party’s lunatic
fringe. As in 2012, this could cost
The Charleston, South Caro-
lina, church massacre and subse-
quent debate over the Confederate
battle flag afforded them an ideal
moment to talk with passion and
poetry about racial healing.
But the leading contenders re-
acted in fashions either sluggish,
terse, muffled or all three. They
showed more interest in fleeing the
subject than in grabbing profitable
hold of it.
Trump’s rant about immigrants,
which he has since amplified, was
another squandered moment.
Chris Christie could have made
good on his boasts about always
telling it like it is and being un-
constrained by politesse. Instead
he made clear that he liked Trump
and considered him a friend. That
soft crunching sound you heard
was the supposedly hard-charging
New Jersey governor walking on
Rand Paul claims the desire and
ability to expand the party’s reach
to more minorities. So where’s his
takedown of Trump?
If they had
any guts, they
Bush has said that a politician
must be willing to lose the party’s
nomination in order to win the gen-
eral election, but that philosophy
can’t end with his allegiance to the
Common Core. It has to include
an unblinking acknowledgment of
his party’s craziness whenever and
wherever it flares.
Trump’s hold on voters stems
largely from his lack of any filter
and from his directness, traits that
they don’t see in establishment
candidates. So his fellow Republi-
cans’ filtered, indirect approach to
him just gives him more power.
And while he should be irrele-
vant, he’s becoming ever more rel-
evant, because he’s exposing their
timidity and caution.
They’re wrong to try to ignore
him, because the media won’t do
that and because he’s probably go-
ing to qualify for the debates.
Looking ahead to the first of
them, conservative pundit George
Will bought into the notion of
Trump as an ineradicable pest who
“says something hideously inflam-
matory, which is all he knows how
to say, and then what do the other
nine people onstage do?”
Oh, please. That’s hardly an ex-
istential crisis. It’s a prompt for an
overdue smidgen of valor.
Without any hesitation, they tell
him that he’s a disgrace. Without
any hedging, they tell him that he’s
It’s the truth. And for the Re-
publican Party, it might just be
The inspiring courage of small things
brought Clemantine and
unscathed. “Claire made
Claire on stage. Oprah
a hard, subconscious cal-
asked when was the last
culus She could survive,
and maybe enable me to
thought I knew the basic life time the girls had seen
survive, too, but only if she
story of my friend Clemantine their parents. It had been
12 years. Then Oprah
cast off emotional respon-
gave them a surprise
sibility, only if she refused
She was born in Rwanda 27 years “Your family is here!”
to take on how anything or
Her parents, brother and
When she was 6 — though she sister had been found in
Clemantine struggled to
didn’t understand it — the genocide Africa, and now walked
her old life with
began and her world started shrink- onstage. They all fell
teacher she had
at the Hotchkiss School
ing. Her father stopped going to into one another’s arms.
gave a class a thought ex-
work after dark. Her family ate din- Clemantine’s knees gave
periment. You’re a ferry captain on a
ner with the lights off.
out, but her mother held her up.
To escape the mass murder,
Clemantine’s story, as I knew it sinking boat. Do you toss overboard
Clemantine and her older sister, then, has a comforting arc separa- the old passenger or the young one?
Claire, were moved from house to tion, perseverance, reunion and joy. Clemantine lost it “Do you want to
house. One night they were told to It’s the kind of clean, inspiring story know what’s that really like? This is
crawl through a sweet potato ¿eld that many of us tell, in less dramatic an abstract question to you?”
At Yale, she couldn’t understand
and then walk away — not toward form, about our own lives — with
anything, just away.
clearly marked moments of struggle her own behavior. “Why did I drink
only tea, never cold water? Why did
They crossed the Akanyaru River and overcoming.
(Clemantine thought the dead bodies
But Clemantine and Elizabeth I cringe when the sun turned red?”
Clemantine is now an amazing
Àoating in it were just sleeping and Weil just wrote a more detailed
into Burundi. Living off fruit, all her version of her story for the online young woman. Her superb and art-
toenails fell out. She spent the rest of magazine Matter, and the reality is ful essay reminded me that while the
her young girlhood in refugee camps not so neat. For one thing, Cleman- genocide was horri¿c, the constant
in eight African na-
tine never really mystery of life is how loved ones get
reconciled with her along with one another.
We work hard to cram our lives
Claire kept them on The sisters’
family. After the
the move, in search of
Oprah taping they into legible narratives. But we live
a normal life. Cleman-
returned to Claire’s in the fog of reality. Whether you
tine wrote her name
apartment. “My fa- have survived a trauma or not, the
in the dust at various
ther kept smiling, psyche is still a dark forest of scars
stops, praying some- unscathed.
like someone he and tender spots. Each relationship
how a family member
mistrusted was tak- is intricacy piled upon intricacy, fer-
would see it. One day,
ing pictures of him. tile ground for misunderstanding and
they barely survived a six-hour boat Claire remained catatonic; I thought mistreatment.
When she was a young girl,
ride across Lake Tanganyika Àeeing she’d ¿nally gone crazy, for real. I
into Tanzania. Their struggles in the sat on Claire’s couch, looking at my Clemantine displayed the large cour-
camps, for water and much else, were strange new siblings, the ones that age to endure genocide. In this essay
almost perfectly designed to give a had replaced me and Claire. I fell she displays the courage of small
sense that life is arbitrary.
asleep crying.” The rest of the family things the courage to live with feel-
In 2000, Claire got them refugee Àew back home to Africa the follow- ings wide open even after trauma;
the maturity to accept unanswerable
status in the United States through ing Monday.
the International Organization for
At every stop along the way, the ambiguity; the tenacity to seek co-
Migration. Claire went to work as a pat narrative of Clemantine’s life is herence after arbitrary cruelty; the
hotel maid in Chicago. A few years complexi¿ed by the gritty, mottled ability to create tenacious bonds that
later, Clemantine was one of 50 win- nature of human relationships. The have some give to them, to allow for
ners of Oprah Winfrey’s high school refugee worker who married Claire the mistakes others make; the un-
and fathered her children turned willingness to settle for the simple,
In the middle of the 2006 show out to be more a burden than a sav- fake story; and the capacity to look
celebrating the winners, Oprah ior. The sisters’ psyches were not at life in all its ugly complexity.
By DAVID BROOKS
New York Times News Service