Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 5, 2016)
THE DAILY ASTORIAN • TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2016
Elections have real consequences
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
Knappa mother IDs
elephant in the room
Candor about daughter’s drug death
was courageous, farsighted
f you are or if you have been a Clatsop County parent, you likely
have become aware that one of your children was trying drugs.
It is startling, and it is demoralizing. It is also frightening, because
addiction — to drugs or alcohol — can become a highway to death.
Linda Geisler of Knappa has
lived every parent’s nightmare.
She lost her daughter, Whittney
Ferguson, to drug addiction. After
numerous trips to treatment cen-
ters, Ferguson died Dec. 11 in
Addiction is all about telling
lies — to oneself and to family and
friends. The lie often continues af-
ter death, when no one admits the
truth of what just happened.
“I’m not hiding it; I’m not
sweeping it under the rug,” said
Ms. Geisler. On the contrary, she
has shown enormous courage by
speaking candidly at last Friday’s
memorial service at Knappa High
School. And Geisler told her
daughter she would do just that.
Prior to the memorial service, the
obituary that Ferguson’s family
published in this newspaper was
startling in its candor.
All lives are vulnerable to
pitfalls — wrong choices that
quickly become life threatening.
Prescription drugs, heroin and
methamphetamines are among the
most dangerous land mines on a
young person’s path.
Geisler’s proposal to create
a local chapter of the National
Council on Alcoholism and Drug
Dependence makes sense. And her
concept that students should hear
from recovering addicts is right.
Unfortunately, the circumstanc-
es of Whittney Ferguson’s death
were not unique, even in Clatsop
County. Death by heroin overdose
in this county is becoming com-
Linda Geisler has done our
county a service. We should thank
her for her farsighted act.
way. Instead, the program
If Mitt Romney had
went into effect at the be-
won, we can be sure that
ginning of 2014. And the
Republicans would have
effect on health care has
ou have to be seriously found a way to prevent
been huge: according to
geeky to get excited when these tax hikes. And we
estimates from the Centers
can now see what hap-
the Internal Revenue Service re- pened because he didn’t.
for Disease Control and
leases a new batch of statistics. According to the new ta-
Prevention, the number of
uninsured Americans fell
Well, I’m a big geek; like quite a bles, the average income
17 million between 2012
few other people who work on pol-
and the ¿ rst half of 2015,
icy issues, I was eagerly awaiting
with further declines most
from 2012 to 201, but
the IRS’s tax tables for 201, which the tax rate for the top
were released last week.
So the 2012 election had major
1 percent rose by more than four
And what these tables show is percentage points. The tax rise was consequences. America would look
that elections really do have conse- even bigger for very high incomes: very different today if it had gone
6.5 percentage points for the top 0.01 the other way.
Now, to be fair, some widely
You might think that this is ob- percent.
vious. But on the left, in particular,
These numbers aren’t enough to predicted consequences of Obama’s
there are some people who, disap- give us a full picture of taxes at the re-election — predicted by his op-
pointed by the limits of what Pres- top, which requires taking account ponents — didn’t happen. Gasoline
ident Barack Obama has accom- of other taxes, especially taxes on prices didn’t soar. Stocks didn’t
plished, minimize the differences corporate pro¿ ts that indirectly af- plunge. The economy didn’t collapse
between the parties. Whoever the fect the income of stockholders. But — in fact, the U.S. economy has now
next president is, they assert — or at the available numbers are consistent added more than twice as many pri-
least, whoever it is if it’s not Bernie with Congressional Budget Of¿ ce vate-sector jobs under Obama as
Sanders — things will remain pret- projections of the effects of the 201 it did over the same period of the
ty much the same, with the wealthy tax increases — projections which George W. Bush administration, and
continuing to domi-
said that the effective the unemployment rate is a full point
nate the scene. And it’s
federal tax rate on the lower than the rate Romney prom-
true that if you were Obama has 1 percent would rise ised to achieve by the end of 2016.
In other words, the 2012 elec-
expecting Obama to effectively roughly back to its
preside over a com-
pre-Reagan level. No, tion didn’t just allow progressives to
plete transformation rolled back really: for top incomes, achieve some important goals. It also
of America’s political
Obama has effectively gave them an opportunity to show
and economic scene,
rolled back not just the that achieving these goals is feasible.
what he’s actually
tax cuts but Ron- No, asking the rich to pay somewhat
the Bush Bush
more in taxes while helping the less
achieved can seem like
ald Reagan’s as well.
fortunate won’t destroy the economy.
a big letdown.
So now we’re heading for anoth-
But the truth is that
course, was not to pun-
Obama’s election in but Ronald ish the rich but to raise er presidential election. And once
2008 and re-election
money for progressive again the stakes are high. Whoever
Reagan’s priorities, and while the the Republicans nominate will be
in 2012 had some real,
201 tax hike wasn’t committed to destroying Obamacare
quences. Which brings
gigantic, it was sig- and slashing taxes on the wealthy —
me to those IRS tables.
ni¿ cant. Those higher in fact, the current GOP tax-cut plans
For one of the important conse- rates on the 1 percent correspond to make the Bush cuts look puny. Who-
quences of the 2012 election was that about $70 billion a year in revenue. ever the Democrats nominate will,
Obama was able to go through with This happens to be in the same ball- ¿ rst and foremost, be committed to
a signi¿ cant rise in taxes on high in- park as both food stamps and bud- defending the achievements of the
comes. Partly this was achieved by get of¿ ce estimates of this year’s net past seven years.
The bottom line is that presiden-
allowing the upper end of the Bush outlays on Obamacare. So we’re not
tial elections matter, a lot, even if the
tax cuts to expire; there were also talking about something trivial.
new taxes on high incomes passed
Speaking of Obamacare, that’s an- people on the ballot aren’t as ¿ ery as
along with the Affordable Care Act, other thing Republicans would surely you might like. Don’t let anyone tell
have killed if 2012 had gone the other you otherwise.
By PAUL KRUGMAN
New York Times News Service
What did you manage to repress?
10. In Texas, the
bia, whose name he pro-
nounced like the ¿ sh.
HeOm miOitar\ exercise
5. Jeb Bush toOd CBS
took SOace this summer.
that he’s haSS\ with his
appy New Year!
When it was ¿ nished ...
We’re going to have an ex-
A. The federal govern-
citing 2016 — including, of course,
ment had taken over the
he “reaOO\ hated´ it when
the ¿ nale of a presidential race that ...
state, shredded the Con-
seems to have been underway since
stitution and con¿ scated
A. He was in front.
B. He had to stand next
B. Life continued
So much to look back on, so little to Donald Trump at two
time. Take this quick quiz and see debates.
how much of political 2015 you hav-
C. People made fun of
en’t already managed to repress:
him for saying Margaret Thatcher’s Gohmert, who had raised concerns
1 In her ¿ naO statement of the picture should be on the 10-dollar that the Army might be “preparing
for modern-day martial law,” apolo-
Oast 2015 debate, HiOOar\ COinton bill.
gized for being such a jerk.
6. Ben Carson recentO\ ...
11. In Michigan, two state reS-
A. “May the Force be with you.”
A. Compared Social Security to
resentatives’ SoOiticaO careers ended
B. “We need to discuss the re- slavery.
B. Acknowledged that the skill when their aduOterous affair became
C. “Have I mentioned I’m a sets needed for running the country SubOic. In an attemSt to cover uS the
and for doing brain surgery are en- affair, the maOe Oawmaker had ...
A. Announced he and his ex were
2 The Democratic NationaO tirely different.
Committee tried to ensure maximum
C. Released a map showing the opening a summer camp for “recov-
T9 ratings for that debate b\
states in the wrong positions during ering swingers.”
B. Tried to divert attention by
A. Inviting Adele to ask the ¿ rst Geography Awareness Week.
7. During one debate, Sen. Mar- starting a rumor that he had been
B. Running a “Star Wars Lotto” co Rubio of )Oorida was asked about caught having sex with a male pros-
for listeners who turned in early.
his aSSarent inabiOit\ to baOance his titute.
C. Staged a 50-hour ¿ libuster on
C. Scheduling it for
househoOd budget de-
the Saturday night be-
sSite having received behalf of naming the Bible the of¿ -
More than an $800,000 advance cial state book.
12. A Constitution Da\ surve\ b\
on his memoir. Rubio
said it was “a great 10 percent defended himseOf b\ the Annenberg 3ubOic 3oOic\ Center
reveaOed that ...
honor´ to be Sraised
Sointing out ...
A. Only half the respondents
b\ 9Oadimir 3utin
A. “I didn’t inherit
could name all three branches of the
When the MSNBC
host Joe Scarborough
B. “I’m just not a U.S. government.
of Rights numbers kind of fel- B. More than 10 percent believed
cOaimed 3utin was a
the Bill of Rights guarantees the
brutaO thug, TrumS
C. “Eight hundred right to own a pet.
C. One-third believed that Abra-
A. “On his birth- the right to grand isn’t what it
ham Lincoln was one of the found-
day I saw thousands
used to be.”
of Russians celebrat-
8. On the camSaign ing fathers.
own a pet.
1. 3ubOic 3oOic\ 3oOOing reSort-
ing on the rooftops in
traiO, Ted Cru] enMo\s
ed that nearO\ a third of ReSubOican
quoting from ...
Srimar\ voters resSonding to its
B. “Our country does plenty of
A. “The Princess Bride.”
B. “So You Want to Be Canadi- surve\ said the\ wouOd suSSort the
bombing of ...
C. “At least he didn’t announce an.”
A. Agrabah, a ¿ ctional city in the
the wrong winner at the Miss Uni-
C. “How to Be Your Own Best
Disney movie “Aladdin.”
. At the Oast ReSubOican debate,
9. Bernie Sanders once had an
C. “Any place that gives us atti-
Chris Christie Sromised that when animated comSuter game in which
he was Sresident, America wouOd be SOa\ers couOd rack uS Soints b\ heOS- tude.”
Answers: 1-A; 2-C; -B; 4-B;
a staunch aOO\ of ...
ing the senator avoid ...
5-A; 6-C; 7-A; 8-A; -C; 10-B;
A. King Abdullah of Jordan.
A. Underwear jokes.
B. King Hussein, Abdullah’s fa-
B. The Democratic National 11-B; 12-B (Only 1 percent could
name all three branches of govern-
ther, who died 16 years ago.
Committee ¿ rewall.
C. King Salman of Saudi Ara-
C. Fat cats in top hats.
By GAIL COLLINS
New York Times News Service
Righteous protest H
or goons with guns?
o live in the American West is to
be familiar with ranchers’ feel-
ings of victimization at the hands of
federal agencies. Indignation ranks
right up there with a self-image of
rugged self-suf¿ ciency, neighbor-
liness and voting Republican in
the small towns and rural counties
where agriculture remains a center-
piece of the economy.
It is rare, however, for these
simmering discontentments to boil
over into full-scale tantrums, and
even rarer for such conÀ icts to be-
come international news. That’s
what happened this past weekend,
when hoodlums described as a mi-
litia mounted an armed occupation
of a U.S. wildlife refuge in south-
east Oregon following an earlier
Ostensibly, this fracas is in sup-
port of a rancher and his son who
were ordered back to federal pris-
on after appeals judges found their
original sentences for arson too le-
nient. The reality is protesters must
have been rummaging around for
something to be angry about.
These are the facts outlined by
the Oregon U.S. Attorney’s Of¿ ce
in an Oct. 7 press release (www.ti-
• Dwight Hammond Jr. and
his son, Steve Hammond, both of
Diamond in Harney County, were
found guilty by a jury in June 2012
of arsons they committed on feder-
• They were responsible for a se-
ries of ¿ res starting in 2001 on U.S.
Bureau of Land Management land
on which they leased grazing rights.
The ¿ rst arson, which burned 1
acres of public land, destroyed phys-
ical evidence of several deer Steve
Hammond and his hunting party
illegally slaughtered. Hammond
later claimed the ¿ re was started on
Hammond property to burn off inva-
sive species and inadvertently spread
to public lands. The Hammonds told
one of their relatives to keep his
mouth shut and that nobody needed
to know about the ¿ re.
• In August 2006, in the midst of
a burn ban imposed due to severe
wild¿ re danger, Steve Hammond
torched more public property, this
time with the stated intention of
providing a buffer zone to save the
ranch’s winter feed.
• Arson on federal land carries
a ¿ ve-year mandatory minimum
sentence. The trial judge original-
ly imposed sentences well below
what the law required. The Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals, however,
upheld the federal law, reasoning
that “given the seriousness of arson,
a ¿ ve-year sentence is not grossly
disproportionate to the offense.”
They were re-sentenced to ¿ ve
years, with credit for time served,
and the U.S. Supreme Court reject-
ed a ¿ nal appeal.
Responsible ranchers don’t be-
have the way the Hammonds did.
They burned property that belongs
to all Americans. They tried hard to
avoid taking responsibility for their
crimes. If there is still a “Code of
the West,” these actions darned sure
So since the Hammonds aren’t
wholesome, innocent ranchers,
what are protesters really up to?
Dime-store cowboys in search of
a cause, their actions are a form of
self-important entitlement, meant to
strike a blow in favor of privatizing
public land — or at least leaving it
solely at the mercy of neighboring
Within the right-wing echo
chamber of radio talk shows and
crank websites, this dangerous
behavior will be applauded as a
counterattack against the evil Feds.
Responsible ranchers want nothing
to do with these reckless men who
are itching for bloodshed.
Where to write
• U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici
(D): 28 Rayburn HOB, Washington,
D.C., 20515. Phone: 202- 225-0855.
Fax 202-225-47. District of¿ ce:
12725 SW Millikan Way, Suite 220,
Beaverton, OR 7005. Phone: 50-
46-6010. Fax 50-26-5066. Web:
• U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D): 1
Hart Senate Of¿ ce Building, Wash-
ington, D.C. 20510. Phone: 202-224-
75. Web: www.merkley.senate.gov
• U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D):
221 Dirksen Senate Of¿ ce Building,
Washington, D.C., 20510. Phone: 202-
224-5244. Web: www.wyden.senate.
• State Rep. Brad Witt (D): State
Capitol, 00 Court Street N.E., H-7,
Salem, OR 701. Phone: 50-86-
141. Web: www.leg.state.or.us/witt/
• State Rep. Deborah Boone (D):
00 Court St. N.E., H-481, Salem,
OR 701. Phone: 50-86-142.
Email: rep.deborah email@example.com
District of¿ ce: P.O. Box 28, Can-
non Beach, OR 7110. Phone: 50-
86-142. Web: www.leg.state.or.us/