East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, November 30, 2017, Page Page 4A, Image 4

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    Page 4A
East Oregonian
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
Managing Editor
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Circulation Manager
Business Office Manager
Production Manager
Corporatism comes
for the internet
It has been an incredibly newsy
the same, no matter where it is
headed or how it got there.
week — and it’s not over yet.
From many internet service
Tax reform is ramping up in
the U.S. Senate, President Trump
providers’ perspective, net neutrality
had another Twitter meltdown, an
is an unfair burden that limits
aggressive North Korea fired another their ability to recoup the cost of
missile, and a continuous stream of
development. These ISPs have made
men are losing their jobs because of
significant investments in the online
their harassment of women.
infrastructure, and they believe they
As important as those issues are,
should be able to monetize their
history may show the end of internet investment into more revenue and
neutrality in the United States
higher returns for their shareholders.
outranks them all.
For instance, if the government
allowed it, ISPs
Consider that the
could soon be
internet has been
to sell a faster
the bastion of much
The libertarian able
connection to certain
of the country’s
utopia of a free destinations for
economic growth of
the last two decades. and unregulated certain customers.
For Facebook, that
Sure, there were
could be a good
bubbles and dead
Internet may
You could
ends along the road.
come to an end. thing.
load their site faster
But the Amazons,
and at lower cost
Facebooks and
than you could
Googles — now
the next social network that comes
some of the most powerful and
along, which does not have the
richest companies in the world,
were little more than gleams in their financial wherewithal to pay AT&T
or Comcast or whoever to fast-track
founders’ eyes just 20 years ago.
traffic to their site.
Much of what is now one of the
It’s the same on the consumer
richest and most powerful regions of
the country — Silicon Valley — was side. If you rely solely on the big
little more than a suburban academic boys — the entrenched interests
with the biggest pockets — perhaps
setting that few people had ever
you will be content with a slightly
heard of.
cheaper internet that restricts and
Granted, much of the economic
throttles your traffic elsewhere. But
muscle created by the new online
if you wish to go somewhere on the
behemoths came at the expense of
internet where your provider has
the brick-and-mortars, the analogs
little financial stake in you visiting,
and the manufacturers.
prepare for it to be slower and more
But there is no doubting the fact
that much of this country’s economic expensive.
Ending net neutrality is bad
fortunes have been dependent on the
for entrepreneurship. It’s bad for
enormous growth of many internet
entrepreneurs and startup companies, the next new thing. It’s bad for
consumers, too, who want fair
which have made our world both
competition for their time and their
better and worse.
traffic and their dollars.
So that is what is at stake:
Current corporate giants stand
The last, great libertarian frontier
to benefit greatly if net neutrality
of entrepreneurship free from
comes to an end. Their power to
government intervention and the
restrict competition and promote
constraints of our physical world.
their own interests is increased
The threat is net neutrality.
Although that term and the issue
The internet will become just
can seem like a rather complicated
another shopping mall that shuffles
concept, it doesn’t have to be.
its customers to the sites it approves,
Picture it this way: Right now,
and where it stands to make a bigger
you access the internet to view
websites or stream video at pretty
A lifeless mall would be a sad
much the same speed as everyone
way for the most important and
dynamic economic innovation in the
The companies that built the
last century to end up.
internet must treat all traffic exactly
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the East Oregonian editorial board of publisher
Kathryn Brown, managing editor Daniel Wattenburger, and opinion page editor Tim Trainor.
Other columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of the authors and not
necessarily that of the East Oregonian.
Having issues out in open,
Round-Up can now unify
First let me state that there are
few, if any times that I have ever
even come close to agreeing with the
editorial board’s comments in the East
The EO appears to have taken upon
themselves to touch the surface of issues
between the Pendleton Round-Up board,
the stockholders and many of the vast
number of volunteers who are the real
reason the Round-Up survived for years
— especially before the large payments
received from the sales of Pendleton
Any time someone starts off with a
statement such as that of a past president
— “Trust us” — I immediately think:
Here comes the spin and cover-ups.
“Trust us” was the same statement made
by the head of Pendleton Grain Growers
(Tim Hawkins), followed by its collapse.
Years ago the Round-Up was
completely run by volunteers, mostly
behind the scenes. But over time some
of the board members and presidents
have decided the hard-working
volunteers were no longer needed. Many
were replaced by commercial vendors,
paid friends or family members. Many
volunteers lost their job simply because
some on the board, or past presidents,
had personal issues with the volunteers
totally unrelated to the operations of the
Surely many, including myself, are
upset with no financial openness in the
last few years. But that is not the only
issue facing the Round-Up situation.
Many times there has been a belief by
many of the vast number of volunteers,
both current and past, that they are only
given lip service and that they are not
truly appreciated for the years they have
taken time to make the Round-Up a
The current board has stated that all
the budgets and financial issues will be
made available to all very soon. That
is a good step forward. Director Rob
Collins said: “Come talk to us and tell us
what we are doing wrong or what you
think will improve relations.” I say give
the current board a chance and if they
fail the stockholders or volunteers, hold
them accountable at the proper time.
The Round-Up is growing, and an
important part of the success of the local
area. I hope that with the elections over,
issues exposed and all having a say, that
unlike in the political world everyone
can put aside their anger and accept that
we all need to work together to make it
continue as a big success.
John Harvey
The East Oregonian welcomes original letters of 400 words or less on public
issues and public policies for publication in the newspaper and on our website.
The newspaper reserves the right to withhold letters that address concerns
about individual services and products or letters that infringe on the rights of
private citizens. Submitted letters must be signed by the author and include
the city of residence and a daytime phone number. The phone number will not
be published. Unsigned letters will not be published. Send letters to 211 S.E.
Byers Ave. Pendleton, OR 97801 or email editor@eastoregonian.com.
What really happened with
the GOP platform and Russia
t’s one of the enduring
They left in Denman’s language on
misconceptions of the Trump-
NATO and on continued and possibly
Russia affair. During the 2016
tougher sanctions on Russia.
Republican convention, the story
The final, Trump-approved passage
goes, the Trump campaign weakened
read: “We support maintaining and,
a critical passage in the GOP platform
if warranted, increasing sanctions,
to go easy on Russia. The Trump team
together with our allies, against
acted, according to this narrative, as
Russia unless and until Ukraine’s
part of an ongoing conspiracy with
sovereignty and territorial integrity
Vladimir Putin to help Donald Trump
are fully restored. We also support
win the White House.
providing appropriate assistance to the
But that is not what happened. In
armed forces of Ukraine and greater
fact, an already-tough portion of the
coordination with NATO defense
Republican platform dealing with Russia
planning.” That was the amendment the
was strengthened, not weakened, at the GOP
committee approved.
convention. Here is what took place:
In the end, the platform was strengthened
The original draft of the platform — it has
with language pledging ongoing and possibly
never been released publicly, but an insider
increased sanctions. It was also made tougher
shared the relevant passages with me — had
with Denman’s reference to “NATO defense
strong language on Russia, and in particular
planning,” which had not been in the original
on Russian aggression in
Ukraine. Warning of “a
Finally, Denman’s lethal
resurgent Russia occupying
aid suggestion was changed
parts of Ukraine and
to “appropriate assistance to
threatening neighbors from the
the armed forces” — a change
Baltic to the Caucasus,” the
that put the specific promise
platform vowed to increase
of U.S. aid to Ukraine’s
U.S. pressure on a “reckless”
armed forces in the platform
where it had not been
“We will meet the return of
— Diana Denman, originally.
Russian belligerence with the
“The platform ended
Texas political activist
same resolve that led to the
up tougher than it started,
collapse of the Soviet Union,”
compared from the beginning
the platform said. “We will not accept any
to the end,” Denman told me, although she
territorial change in Eastern Europe imposed
added she still believes her lethal aid provision
by force, in Ukraine or elsewhere, and will use should have been included in the final
all appropriate measures to bring to justice the document.
practitioners of aggression and assassination.”
So how did the “Trump weakened the GOP
It would be hard to call that a pro-Putin
platform” meme get started? Seizing on the
statement. Every word of it stayed in the final
Trump campaign’s entirely defensible change
of Denman’s “lethal defensive weapons” to
When the platform committee met before
“appropriate assistance” — neither of which
the GOP convention in Cleveland, one
was in the original GOP draft platform —
delegate out of the 100 on the committee, a
some Democrats, Republican NeverTrumpers
Texas political activist named Diana Denman, and their allies in the press portrayed the
proposed an amendment. Denman, who came
platform meeting in Cleveland as Donald
to the convention as a Ted Cruz delegate
Trump selling out the GOP to Vladimir Putin.
but later switched her support to Trump,
They were helped in their efforts by a July
was interested because she had traveled to
18, 2016 story in the Washington Post with
Ukraine as an international election observer
the headline, “Trump campaign guts GOP’s
in 1998 and has ever since “kept an eye on
anti-Russia stance on Ukraine” — a blatantly
the emerging democracies,” she told me in a
false description of events.
conversation last March.
The narrative spread. “The same month
Denman’s amendment praised the
that Trump denied Putin’s role in Ukraine,
Ukrainian people and said they deserved the
his team weakened the party platform on
greatest U.S. assistance. “We therefore support Ukraine,” Democratic Rep. Andre Carson
maintaining (and, if warranted, increasing)
said during a House Intelligence Committee
sanctions against Russia until Ukraine’s
hearing in March. “This was the same month
sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully
that several individuals in the Trump orbit
restored,” Denman’s proposed amendment
held secret meetings with Russian officials,
read. “We also support providing lethal
some of which may have been on the topic of
defensive weapons to Ukraine’s armed forces
sanctions against Russia or their intervention
and greater coordination with NATO on
in Ukraine. Now, this is no coincidence, in my
defense planning. Simultaneously, we call for
increased financial aid for Ukraine, as well
In addition to being factually wrong, that
as greater assistance in the economic and
storyline seems particularly out of place
humanitarian spheres, including government
coming from Democrats, because the 2016
reform and anti-corruption.”
Democratic platform, while pledging to “stand
Denman’s amendment also contained
up to Russian aggression,” said nothing about
an introductory paragraph filled with a lot
U.S. sanctions against Russia or about U.S. aid
of generic rhetoric. When she proposed the
to Ukraine’s armed forces, both of which were
amendment, a Trump national security aide
in the Trump-approved Republican platform.
named J.D. Gordon, who was in the room
Needless to say, the Democratic platform said
with the platform committee, wanted to edit
not a word about lethal aid to Ukraine.
it. According to Denman, Gordon got on the
Yet Democrats, along with GOP
phone, saying he was calling “New York” to
NeverTrumpers, press on — and it appears the
discuss possible changes.
platform narrative, wrong as it is, will not die.
At the behest of the Trump campaign,
That won’t change until people begin to look
the platform committee took out the throat-
at what actually happened at that Republican
clearing introduction and changed Denman’s
platform meeting in Cleveland.
reference to “lethal defensive weapons” for
Ukraine to a pledge to provide “appropriate
Byron York is chief political correspondent
assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine.”
for The Washington Examiner.
“The platform
ended up
tougher than it