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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 25, 2017)
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Thankfulness for another fall
ear Fall of 2017,
There is something to be said
about your beauty. The colors you
radiate, the light you shine, the freshness of
a season that is usually the calm before the
storm — it’s truly something I’ve grown to
I grabbed my camera a
couple of weeks ago with
the intention of writing about
the images I captured on a
morning spent soaking in
all you had to offer, but life
happened. Time went by,
more bales were fed, more
twine was cut, and somehow
the day was forgotten. Forgotten until now.
You see, life has a way of happening so
fast sometimes, that the ordinary days are
often overlooked because they fall into place
one right after another. One feeding after
the next, and the next, and the next. One
sunrise after another, followed by the starry,
moon-lit skies. Life happens, and suddenly
it’s a new season and you almost forget what
you were taking pictures of a month ago.
Almost, but not quite.
They say that looking at people’s pictures
tell a lot about their heart and soul. It gives a
glimpse into what they hold nearest to their
being, and it also portrays that which they
feel is worthy of sharing. I don’t sort through
my pictures much — posting only the
good is almost as bad as telling a lie in my
world. What you see is what life is around
here — very full, very busy, very diverse and
very us. This life is what we hold near, even
though in reality, it is temporary.
I’ve never been one to mask what is really
happening. If you see a frown, it’s because
it’s there. If you see a smile, it’s because
I’m a die-hard promoter of
turning frowns upside down
... even when it’s easier not
to. If you see something
that leads you to believe that
we’re the “wonder family” ...
that’s God at work — not our
own strength fooling you.
That day with my camera
and my journal — not so long ago — was
full of color, a bit of wind, cows, creative
minds and some frustration, too. There was
some death, and there was a whole lot of
life. It was real. Nothing was made up or
disguised. There were no capes or superhero
masks. And as ridiculous as it may sound,
it was ordinary — but ordinary life is just
as important as extraordinary around here.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
It’s what you do with the ordinary that
changes and transforms it into extraordinary.
It’s the choices you make each hour, each
minute, and each second to say: “I want to
live this one life well.”
It’s the determination to seek God in the
midst of the struggle. It’s stooping down
and crying out when help is needed most.
Life has a way
It’s looking for and recognizing life in the
sparkling eyes, the snotty noses, the dirty
boots and tattered phone books. It’s holding
onto the blue and orange twine, the beloved
hats, and the flakes of hay that make our life
just that — ours.
I wish that everyone could come spend
the day with us — just to see that we really
are tired most of the time, we’re totally
human, and we’re completely overwhelmed
almost every day of the year. I know it
would make them feel better about their
own lives and see our life in a whole new
light as well. They would see that we’re just
like the rest of the “herd” — waiting for the
next paycheck to arrive, battling homework,
digging through the fridge trying to put
something decent together for dinner, raising
our voices, and often rolling our eyes as we
attempt to load and unload the dishwasher
and fold another pile of laundry.
This season is coming to an end. The
birds are flying south and the geese are
honking their way through our world.
And the four of us — well, we’re going
to continue growing tall against the odds,
thriving with color and life, and soaking in
the light that only God can offer. So until
next year sweet fall, know that you were
good to us. You were full, you were busy,
and you were an opportunity to see God
around every corner, through every pasture,
and in every set of eyes we found ourselves
looking at. The key is not necessarily
L indsay M urdock
FROM SUN UP TO SUN DOWN
knowing where to look, but how to look.
Yes, how to look, and at the same time, how
to truly see.
Lindsay Murdock lives in Echo and
teaches in Hermiston.
Nuclear watchdog playing
a vital role at Hanford
By PATRICIA HOOVER
Women’s Action for New Directions
China’s role in North Korea
ill Chinese pressure
China, a protector of the exiled
bring North Korea to
half-brother, had to be surprised
the negotiating table and
and shocked. Kim has further
help stop its ambitious missile
infuriated China with taunts
and nuclear program, maybe even
and with missile and bomb tests
letting the ruthless and sassy Kim
brazenly launched during summit
Jong Un fall by the wayside?
meetings in Beijing (but not the
The U.S. is confident that newly
recent party congress).
powerful Chinese President
Sanctions: These events
XI Jinping could stop North
may be what prompted China to
Korea’s destabilizing program,
change its previously very lax
as President Donald Trump has
enforcement of UN sanctions on
urged him to do. Xi has, in fact,
North Korea. This year, it not
just sent a special envoy to Pyongyang
only voted for tougher UN sanctions,
but the results have yet to surface. Below including on key trade items such as coal,
we look at the background.
but to be better in implementing them.
Vassal : Since China has for centuries
It has given hope to U.S. officials that
viewed the Korean Peninsula as a vassal
China might take the really drastic step
state, it is not likely to have deliberately
of bringing North Korea to its knees by
encouraged North Korea to go nuclear.
cutting off the oil pipeline that keeps
Communist North Korea reportedly
North Korea’s military and industry
pursued nuclear weapon development
functioning. But will it?
independently, starting in the 1980s
Chinese Interests: If you examine
with help particularly from Pakistan.
what China says repeatedly, it’s entirely
China and Russia both turned a blind
up to the U.S. and North Korea, not
eye to this development, however, and
China, to settle their differences on the
their companies have certainly provided
Korean Peninsula. China and Russia
components in that nuclear buildup. They are pushing the “freeze for freeze plan”
may even have secretly enjoyed having
whereby North Korea would freeze its
North Korea as a surrogate menace to the nuclear missiles program and the U.S.
United States, South Korea and Japan as
would freeze its joint military exercises
long as it didn’t get out of hand.
with South Korea.
Escalation: But now North Korea has
But promoting regime change in
gotten out of hand under Kim Jong Un.
cooperation with the U.S. is something
Since he became leader six years ago he
else. Anathema to China is having a
has tested 84 missiles, and on July 4 of
united Korea with U.S. troops and U.S.
this year he launched an intercontinental
influence up to its border. Plus, Xi wants
missile powerful enough to reach the
a Communist party ruling in Pyongyang,
U.S. In September he conducted an
not a democracy.
underground test of a yet more powerful
Pyongyang: Kim Jong Un is busy
developing a nuclear tip missile and
The rhetoric between North Korea
a nuclear submarine and has shunned
and the United States has consequently
peace talks. While some analysts see a
gotten hot enough to provoke fear in the
hopeful sign that he has not conducted
region of a dangerous miscalculation and any tests since Sept. 15, others attribute
a horrific war.
this to the normal fall/ winter cycle when
Soviets/Chinese: Initially, the Soviet
the military help with harvest and have
Union was Communist North Korea’s
training. The outcome of the Chinese
primary economic supporter until the
envoy’s visit will be of interest in
Soviet collapse in 1989, throwing North
revealing any change in Kim’s position.
Korea into severe economic crisis,
Comment: The U.S. and western
including famine. China then became
countries have long put the onus on
North Korea’s economic lifeline, a factor
China to stop the North Korean nuclear
judged to give China great leverage
buildup. It hasn’t worked. But even with
new Chinese cooperation on sanctions
Chinese Relations: Unlike his ruling
and re-starting talks, there is a significant
grandfather and father, Kim Jong Un has
disconnect between our future interests
never been to Beijing. Unusually, Xi has
and those of the Chinese on the Korean
visited South Korea but not North Korea. Peninsula — and in Asia.
He seems to view Kim with disdain.
Rather than leaving it to the Chinese,
When the young Kim came to power
we are better advised to have our own
six years ago at age 27, China probably
strong agenda for handling North Korea.
expected that Kim’s uncle, who worked
It should involve sanctions, augmented
well with China, would be the real leader. defense measures, alliances, deterrence,
But, acting like a medieval monarch, Kim containment and always pursuit of
quickly had his uncle and other possible
negotiations — but not disastrous war.
Then in early 2017, Kim staged
Ambassador Harriet Isom grew up in
the spectacular killing of his older
Pendleton and has retired to the family
half-brother with a VX nerve agent at
ranch. She was a career diplomat serving
the Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia.
in Asia and Africa from 1961 to 1996.
here did you grow up? The answer
to that question has been the most
significant information in my
I spent the first 18 years of my life
downriver and downwind from the Hanford
Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington
State. Beginning in the mid-1940s, when
Hanford’s eight nuclear
reactors went on line, my
family, neighbors and
those around us found
with growing alarm
and confusion that our
formerly healthy lives
were deteriorating. My
community was struck
with high rates of thyroid
birth defects and many
other anomalous medical
It took more than 40
years to verify our suspicion that the federal
government had contaminated the air, water
and food chain throughout the Northwest.
In 1986, thousands of activists were finally
granted a Freedom of Information Act
request. Despite repeated government
denial, 19,000 pages of operating documents
confirmed that hundreds of thousands of
curies of radiation were released from
Hanford over years of operation.
The revelation finally explained
numerous medical events that took place
early in my life. It answered why men in lab
coats came to my junior high health class
to palpate the throat of every student as if
it were part of the curriculum. I understood
why my thyroid gland had quit functioning
at age 11 and developed a tumor the size
of a grapefruit 18 years later. I no longer
considered my mysteriously fractured ankle
and my classmates’ numerous broken bones
to be normal childhood mishaps.
If you lived anywhere near one of
America’s eight nuclear facilities —
Richland, Wash.; Los Alamos, N.M.;
Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Savannah River, S.C.;
Paducah, Ky.; Denver, Colo.; Idaho Falls,
Idaho; or Amarillo, Texas — you may well
have had similar experiences.
One of the few agencies that monitor
and hold these nuclear sites accountable
for rule-abiding operations is under attack
internally. In a recently exposed secret
letter, Sean Sullivan, director of the Defense
Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, urged the
Trump administration to disband the board
or drastically slash its budget.
This independent board has acted as
an important watchdog over the nuclear
weapons complex since Congress chartered
it in 1988, and it is a transparent, public
source of information.
It provides weekly reports including
contractors’ mistakes that may jeopardize
the safety of 40,000 workers and nearby
communities. It functions as an essential
check and balance between the government
and the nuclear industry.
Sullivan’s action, undertaken without the
knowledge of the four DNFSB members,
reflects the dangerous pattern of secrecy by
which our nuclear weapons facilities have
A second attack on the work of the board
came from Frank Klotz,
an undersecretary for the
Department of Energy.
He proposed eliminating
public access to those
written safety reports.
As administrator of the
National Nuclear Security
contended that media
coverage of safety lapses
was counterproductive to
the mission of the NNSA.
A former deputy
assistant secretary at that
same Department of Energy, Bob Alvarez,
exposed the ongoing culture of secrecy
when he observed “The logic behind this is
that what the public doesn’t know can’t hurt
us, and there’s nothing to be gained by the
public knowing what we’re doing.”
We live under a president who wants to
see drastic growth in our nuclear stockpile;
on top of his regular issuance of bombastic
threats, the president has unilateral discretion
over the arsenal’s use. We are at the most
critical moment in nuclear history since the
Cuban Missile Crisis — and now is prime
time to strengthen, rather than abolish or
curtail, agencies such as the DNFSB.
My downwinder medical history, and
that of thousands of other Americans who
grew up near nuclear plants, is evidence of
the debilitating health effects of radiation.
My experiences speak clearly to the absolute
need to keep the DNFSB engaged in its
significant role insisting on transparency and
regulating safe operations at all eight U.S.
nuclear weapons facilities.
In recognition of this necessity, I
encourage citizens to call Sen. Ron Wyden,
Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Peter DeFazio
to urge them to speak up in Congress and
oppose disbanding the Defense Nuclear
Facilities Safety Board. This independent
nuclear watchdog must continue its vital
Patricia Hoover of Eugene, formerly of
Hermiston, has been an anti-nuclear and
environmental activist for 27 years. She
is a member of Women’s Action for New
Directions and a Hanford downwinder.
She wrote this essay with Susan Cundiff of
Eugene, who serves on the national board of
WAND and leads Oregon WAND. This op-ed
first appeared in the (Eugene) Register-
the air, water
and food chain