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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 16, 2017)
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
KATHRYN B. BROWN
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Business Office Manager
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A place for prayer,
a place for politics
Pendleton City Council spoke
And that’s fine, in our opinion.
We don’t see a need to pick
at its work session Tuesday about
arguments where none exist.
opening future meetings with the
Yet we do wonder if the prayers
Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of
keep some community members
prayer, or both.
away, or at least make some
There was plenty of back-and-
forth between councilors as they
residents feel more comfortable than
looked for common ground.
And that’s really at issue here. If
The debate about prayer, and a
wider debate about
a simple, inclusive
between church and
the council and the
state, has been a
part of the political
and in the right
scene in America
frame of mind, who
since its founding.
could argue against
Heck, it was one
of the reasons
Yet we know
for its founding.
state has been needle-threading
Britain, after all,
be, the big question
is whether its
the Church of
worth the eventual
England as the
problem that arises
official “religion of
when the needle
the realm.” Those
strays and someone
differently were not welcome.
We think, when recommending
Since the founding of the U.S.,
elected officials have handled public the Pendleton council start meetings
with a pledge and not a prayer, they
displays of religion in different
ways. Many find it difficult to thread came to the right decision. A pledge
helps remind councilors of their
the needle between two sometimes
shared duty and that they’re all on
competing principles: the desire to
the same team. It’s useful.
allow everyone the ability to freely
A prayer is a more intimate
practice their religion of choice, and
moment, a personal conversation
the desire for everyone to not have
someone else’s religion forced upon between you and your deity. And
while some in the audience and on
the dais may respond and appreciate
In Umatilla County, most city
that, others may not. And that’s
councils do not start their meetings
fine — it speaks to the diversity and
with a prayer. But the councils in
Milton-Freewater and Pilot Rock do. differences that make our country
According to their city leaders, they
Let us pray. Let us legislate. Let
have heard no negative feedback
us do both separately.
about the practice so they continue
to do it.
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.
The deserving rich
and the deserving poor
his time of year, you look twice
billions and trillions of dollars to help
at the sketchy drug addict
people who won’t help themselves —
blocking the sidewalk in front of
won’t lift a finger — and expect the
Starbucks. You give a second thought
federal government to do everything,”
to the overly bundled elderly woman
he said. Hatch didn’t define this
waiting in line at the food bank. You
indolent recipient of unmerited
wonder what life would be like if that
trillions, but surely he was not
palsied kid in the trailer had medical
attacking agribusiness owners who get
Timothy paid not to grow things.
Americans are a generous
President Donald Trump claims
people — so it is always said. But
personal knowledge of the undeserving
our generosity comes with moral
poor. “I know people that work three
judgments: There’s a thin line, in the
jobs and they live next to somebody
minds of many, between the poor who deserve who doesn’t work at all,” he said in Missouri
help and those who should get off their butts.
last month. The sponger “is making more
Similarly with the wealthy. Do entitled
money and doing better than the person that’s
rich kids who would
working his ass off.”
otherwise be parking
Wow. Sounds awful.
cars without Daddy’s
And almost certainly
help — think Donald
not true. Trump did not
Trump Jr. and his
cite the source of his
brother Eric — deserve
tale of two households.
to inherit a vast estate
And it’s doubtful, in
without paying taxes on
the friendless circle of
their unearned largesse?
clueless rich people
These are old
with whom he shares
arguments, dating to
Diet Cokes, that he
Dickens’ heartless Ebenezer Scrooge and
actually “knows people” living next to
the noble Cratchit family. But once again,
these narratives are at the heart of enormous
Of the nearly 44 million people getting
changes about to take place in how we treat
some help to buy groceries with food stamps
the rich and the poor. The assumptions are
— the largest of the nonentitlement federal
fraught with fiction.
welfare programs — most of them work, after
Let’s start with the most deserving and
you deduct for the disabled and those too old
least to blame — children. About 9 million
or young to hold a job. The benefit amounts
American kids, in families that earn too much
to about $1.40 per person per meal. Tough to
to qualify for Medicaid and not enough to
eat one of Trump’s steaks on that amount of
afford their own coverage, can now see a
doctor under the federal Children’s Health
As we know, truth is as disposable to
Trump as one of his junk food wrappers.
Two million of those children have chronic Better to look at the motive behind the lie. The
health conditions — epilepsy, asthma and
president used his story of the mooch next
diabetes among the ailments. The program has door to kick off a campaign to punish the poor.
always had bipartisan support. So why are the The tax cuts, heralding a $1.5 trillion increase
working poor now getting notices telling them in the deficit, are hugely unpopular and have
their kids may soon be cut off?
to be paid for somehow. Shifting attention to
Funding for the program technically
those parasitic bums takes pressure off the
expired Sept. 30 and it has yet to be renewed.
The politicians running the asylum in
Speaking of which, we now know the
Washington say they plan to pay for it, but just real reason, thanks to Sen. Charles Grassley,
haven’t gotten around to it yet. They’re busy
R-Iowa, why Republicans want to repeal the
with other things — an enormous corporate
estate tax. All the scare stories about family
farms and third-generation businesses going
tax cut and breaks for the lobbying class.
under have been proved to be as mythic as the
It was during a recent discussion of
children’s health care that we got a taste of
Andrew Carnegie, in his famous “Gospel
the moral fantasies of the insular political
of Wealth” essay, said of the estate tax, “Of all
elites. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah — who, to
forms of taxation, this seems the wisest.” But
his credit, helped create the children’s health
in Grassley’s view, the tax hits the virtuous “as
program with Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., in
opposed to those that are just spending every
1997 — went on a rant against the poor. He
darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or
was not specifically talking about children,
women or movies.” Well said, Mr. Potter.
or the program that he has pledged to renew.
He was going after a straw man that has been
Timothy Egan worked for 18 years as a
around since Ronald Reagan’s Cadillac-
writer for The New York Times, first as the
driving welfare cheat.
Pacific Northwest correspondent, then as a
“I have a rough time wanting to spend
national enterprise reporter.
These are old
to Dickens’ heartless
Done talking to Rep. Walden
after his votes on health care
Don’t waste your time attending U.S.
Rep. Greg Walden’s community meetings or
calling him at his office. Rep. Walden simply
does not listen and has no problem lying to
Last spring I attended one of his town
hall meetings where he promised he would
not vote for a health care plan that had a
pre-existing health clause in it. He also
promised that no one would be denied health
care, yet he helped formulate a plan that
did just the opposite. He voted at least three
times on health plans that even President
Donald Trump said were mean-spirited.
He also said he was stuck with a terrible
Obamacare health plan. In reality he has a
blue ribbon Obama plan that has many perks
you and I would love to have.
He is now hell-bent on passing a tax
plan that is riddled with flaws. His district
has a high number of elderly people in it,
as well as modest and low income families
who struggle with health care expenses. His
stance on health care and tax reform will
greatly damage these people. Both his health
and tax plan attacks Medicare and Medicaid
I’m sure Rep. Walden listens to some
people, but they are not the common
patrons in his district. Instead of talking to
him, find and support someone to replace
him next fall. Better yet, contact President
Trump and ask him to write Rep. Walden an
endorsement. Oh, maybe Mr. Bannon also.
Measure 101 will benefit
those who rely on Medicaid
Families living in our rural communities
deserve consistent access to quality health
care. Without Measure 101, Medicaid
funding would be slashed, negatively
impacting the health of our friends and
neighbors — and our local economy.
In Union County, 27.6 percent of our
residents rely on Medicaid for access to
health care. To put it another way, that’s
enough people to form the second-largest
town in our county. Medicaid is a critical
resource for rural families and communities
and Measure 101 protects coverage for
thousands of rural Oregonians.
Between 2013 and 2015, “Oregon’s rural
uninsured rate fell by 51 percent,” according
to a voter’s pamphlet statement submitted
by rural hospitals and health care providers
across the state. We should build on that
success to keep all of us healthy and stabilize
costs. We can’t go back to a time when
people waited too long to go the doctor and
ended up in the emergency room, or never
even made it to the hospital. Our friends and
neighbors should not be put in that position.
Where you live should not determine the
level of care you receive, or if you are able
to receive care. That’s why I’m voting yes on
Measure 101 this January.
Rural Oregon will benefit
from less internet regulation
In response to your piece “Net neutrality
debate pits free market against government
As was discussed in the East Oregonian
recently, Federal Communications
Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released
the draft Restoring Internet Freedom order
outlining his plan to roll back Title II
regulations. The utility-style regulations,
which were implemented under the Obama
administration, have been hotly debated for
the last two years.
In fact, the public comment cycle for
the Restoring Internet Freedom proposal
generated more than 22 million comments,
including over 7.75 million fake comments
generated by disposable email domains
and more than 1.72 million international
comments — virtually all of which opposed
the repeal of Title II.
But what is largely being overlooked
in the back and forth is that the chairman’s
proposal will benefit Americans, especially
those in rural areas like many throughout
Eastern Oregon. The return to the light
touch regulatory approach that successfully
governed the internet for decades will
increase investment and encourage
innovation — a win for consumers.
There are too many people who still lack
access to a broadband connection, in spite
of the fact that it is essentially required for
many aspects of modern life. The investment
spurred by the Restoring Internet Freedom
order will help to address the digital divide
and will aid in the rollout of 5G technology.
Rhetoric aside, Chairman Pai’s proposal
is a sound one. It is past time that we get
internet regulation back on track.
Pacific Technology Alliance