East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, December 12, 2017, Page Page 4A, Image 4

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    Page 4A
East Oregonian
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
Managing Editor
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Circulation Manager
Business Office Manager
Production Manager
Trump’s denigration
of FBI is self-serving
The FBI is so universally
himself as a tough street fighter.
But running down the FBI at the
familiar to Americans that it’s
time when it has hundreds of
unnecessary to spell out its name.
investigations going, some of them
Its initials are synonymous with a
kind of stolid professionalism. Like dangerous, is not smart for the
our northern neighbor where the
nation’s chief executive officer,
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
who oversees the FBI and ought to
famously “always
have its agents’
gets their man,”
welfare and safety
the FBI isn’t
in mind.
glamorous, but
The Republican
is who you want
Party of days
on your side if
gone by was a
there’s a criminal
proud defender
to apprehend.
of law and order.
It is sad to see
It isn’t without
the GOP’s leader
fault. In the
and his enablers
post-9/11 era, its
turn against our
anti-terror focus
most potent police
has sometimes
agency, which
been overzealous,
has been effective
at combating
organized crime
from minority
and blocking
communities and
attacks by foreign
civil libertarians.
But long gone
It is a standard
are the days of
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
ploy to attack
J. Edgar Hoover,
Former FBI Director Robert Muel- government
its legendary
the special counsel probing
founding director, ler,
Russian interference in the 2016 during political
campaigns, but
who infamously
quite another to
played fast and
sabotage it after
loose in pursuing
being elected.
personal vendettas
It is sad to see the
and agendas.
GOP’s leader and his Meanwhile,
rest of us need
At least since it
became known
enablers turn against government to
function. And
that FBI Associate
our most potent
we sure as hell
Director Mark
Felt served as the
police agency, which need the FBI to
doing its
Washington Post’s
has been effective at continue
job well.
secret source in
combating organized
upending the
is no
corrupt Nixon
crime and blocking
evidence for
administration, a
attacks by
what Trump
large majority of
is suggesting.
Americans sees
foreign terrorists.
Robert Mueller,
the FBI as an
the retired
honest and neutral
FBI director now directing the
bulwark against wrongdoers of all
independent investigation of
kinds, in or out of government.
election interference, promptly
This makes it all the more
relieved one agent of his duty
astounding to hear a U.S. president
because of a pro-Clinton email.
denigrate the FBI. Claiming the
This is a sign that the agency has a
agency’s stature is in “tatters,”
self-correcting mechanism. It still
President Trump is lashing out at
treasures objectivity, fairness and
an American institution with a far
truthfulness. Trump, of course, has
better reputation than he enjoys
no use for any of these values.
Trump is simply trying to
Trump’s reaction to the FBI’s
derail an investigation that is now
legally sanctioned investigation
penetrating his operation. We must
of Russian involvement in the last
make certain the FBI stays on the
election may be understandable
from someone who regards
Susan Collins and the
duping of centrists
new deficits created by the tax bill to
usan Collins is often called one of
justify the very thing Collins opposes:
the last centrists. She is a classic
Medicare and Medicaid cuts. Those
New England Republican, a
programs, Ryan told a talk-radio host,
senator who mostly votes with her party
are “really where the problem lies,
but is willing to buck it.
A couple of weeks ago, Collins made
fiscally speaking.” Cutting them is a top
a classic Collins deal. It tried to split
priority for 2018.
the difference between Democratic and
If anything, Ryan’s snub is more
Republican positions.
significant. House conservatives might
But it sure looks like a bum deal
Leonhardt still fold and approve the narrow deal
now. It also looks like a cautionary tale
that Collins thought she had. But
for anyone who wants to occupy the
Republicans will not permit the more
political center during the age of Donald
meaningful promise she’s made — that
Trump and a radicalized Republican Party.
the tax bill won’t lead to health care cuts. Tax
Here’s the back story: Collins said that she
cuts and health care cuts are inexorably bound.
would vote for the recent Senate tax bill so long
So in exchange for her vote, Collins
as Republicans leaders promised to pass other
received, at best, a cosmetic fix that she will
legislation — in the near future — that would
have to pretend is something more.
reduce the bill’s knock-on damage to health
What was her mistake? It was both tactical
care programs.
and strategic.
She laid out three conditions. She wanted
The tactical error was to fritter her moment
her colleagues to pass two separate bills that
of leverage, when the Senate bill’s fate was
would shore up insurance markets for people
uncertain and she had the potential to influence
who weren’t covered through their job. And
other swing senators. Instead of demanding
she wanted congressional leaders to promise
something real, she accepted vague promises.
to undo the Medicare and Medicaid cuts
She can still vote against the version of
automatically triggered by the deficit increase
the bill that emerges from House-Senate
from the tax cut.
negotiations, but she doesn’t have the sway
Her colleagues assured her they would
she did before. Senators usually don’t switch
pass the bills she wanted — not immediately
their vote at this stage, and the tax bill will pass
but soon after the tax bill had passed. Collins
without her if no other Republican flips (with
decided that was good enough, and on Dec. 2,
Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50
she became one of 51 yes votes on the tax bill.
When Collins describes her deal, she makes
Her strategic error is the one that holds
it sound both ironclad — her word — and
lessons for other would-be centrists. Namely,
substantial. She has spoken of a personal
she defined the political center in relative terms
commitment from Mitch McConnell, the
rather than substantive terms. Republican
Senate majority leader. And she’s emphasized
leaders — not just Trump, but McConnell
that the deal isn’t merely for show. It will, she
and Ryan too — have moved sharply to the
insists, protect Medicaid and Medicare — two
right. They are rushing through a bill without
programs particularly important to Mainers,
the normal procedures. They are making
given the state’s large elderly population.
verifiably false claims about it. And they have
“I also got an ironclad commitment that
decided that taking health insurance away from
we’re not going to see cuts in the Medicaid/
Americans is a core Republican principle.
Medicare program as a result of this bill,”
Collins made the mistake of chasing after
Collins said on “Meet the Press.”
an impossible deal. She wanted to position
But some of Collins’ fellow Republicans
herself between the two political parties, and
evidently have a different definition of ironclad. she wanted to protect Medicare and Medicaid.
Within days of the Senate vote on the tax
When it proved impossible to do both, she
bill, conservative House Republicans started
claimed otherwise — and put a higher priority
saying that they didn’t care about her deal.
on politics than policy.
She did not make it with them, and they do
In Trump’s Washington, other centrist
not feel bound by it as they negotiate the bill’s
Republicans are going to face a version of her
final language with the Senate. These House
dilemma, again and again. They are going to
members, as Politico put it Friday, have decided have decide which matters more to them: being
to “thumb their nose” at Collins.
a loyal Republican or being an actual centrist.
Meanwhile, Paul Ryan, the speaker of the
House, has been undermining Collins in his
David Leonhardt is an op-ed columnist for
own way. He has made clear that he will use the The New York Times.
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.
GOP tax bill no help to
the middle class
Why do our elected representative keep
telling us the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act helps
the middle class? While the bill initially
reduces taxes for low and middle income
taxpayers, many of the allowances that
contribute to those reductions phase out
quickly, so that by 2023, those groups
would be paying more than under current
law. Congress is already talking about the
need to reduce social welfare programs
so the increase in the deficit created by
the new tax bill would be smaller. Those
reductions will also hurt low and middle
income taxpayers.
Why do they tell us the bill will create
more jobs? The bills reduce the cost of
buying new machinery (think robots)
while increasing the cost of getting an
education to train for good paying jobs
(think taxing tuition waivers). Even if the
tax reductions were to lead corporations
and large businesses to create more
jobs, it wouldn’t matter here in Eastern
Oregon where there already is not enough
affordable housing for all those who could
work here. Bonds issued by cities or
states on behalf of private and nonprofit
developers (private activity bonds) serve
as a tax-exempt means of financing all
sorts of projects including affordable
housing. The house version of the bill
would eliminate the tax exemption for
such bonds. Low Income Housing Tax
Credits would be less attractive in an
environment of lower corporate taxes.
Building and maintaining affordable
housing would be harder under the new
tax bill so our housing stock would fall
further behind the demand, raising housing
prices for everyone.
Why is it more important to end the
estate tax on the few ultra-large estates
that still pay such a tax than to renew the
Child Health Insurance Program? Ending
the estate tax is not going to create jobs.
Providing health insurance to children
immediately puts money in family pockets
and helps children be healthy in the
Why is the tax bill being rushed
through Congress? Is it perhaps so we
won’t have time to tell our representative
that we object to a bill that harms middle
and low income people, benefits the
wealthy, and increases the deficit? Call
your congressman now to ask them to vote
against the proposed tax bill! Tell them
to start over and think carefully about
protecting the people who elected them.
Stop it. Name calling Trump isn’t
going to bring him down. Accusing him of
being a racist isn’t going bring him down.
This Robert Mueller “investigation into
collusion with Russia” isn’t going to bring
him down. The “leaked” Access Hollywood
tape didn’t bring him down. Trump won
because our politicians failed us.
Republicans have lacked the spine
for generations to unify with a cohesive
agenda out of fear of their public image.
Democrats don’t care about anyone. They
only see fit to tell you what is wrong in the
world and who to blame for it.
Do not continue more of this childish
tabloid BS. If you don’t like Trump,
disagree with his policies, but attacking
his character doesn’t work and weakens
your position. He obviously thrives on
that and you only help him by driving
his supporters further away from you and
closer to him.
No matter what side of the political
spectrum you are on, hold all your
politicians accountable for the jobs they
do or more “Trumps” will crop up in the
Lindsay Winsor
Jordan Whetsler
Evaluate politicians by policy, Menace in the Blue Mountains
not personality
Farmers, hunters and hikers beware! There
is a murdering herd of chipmunks killing off
cows, sheep, llamas, deer, elk, turkeys and
If this sounds ridiculous to you, consider
the fact that ODFW can investigate a llama
kill that is partly eaten, with wolf tracks 20
yards away and trail camera photos of a wolf
pack 300 yards away but can’t determine it as
a wolf kill.
ODFW loves these wolves. They are job
security. ODFW gets to spend their days in
the woods checking on and learning what the
wolves are doing. They get to ride around in
trucks, airplanes and helicopters all paid for
by taxpayers. They spend time in the forest
on our nickel, tagging and monitoring wolves
and investigating kills on livestock. But the
burden of proof is so stringent that many kills
are obvious but never declared a wolf kill.
If it does becomes obvious that a wolf
or a pack is killing livestock that it can’t be
ignored by ODFW, a ton more money is spent
hunting and killing the predators to blame.
There is no way of knowing how many
deer, elk, turkey and grouse are killed to
support these killer chipmunks throughout
Roger Robinson
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 managing editor Daniel Wattenburger, 211 S.E. Byers Ave. Pendleton, OR 97801 or email editor@eastoregonian.com.