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About Baker City herald. (Baker City, Or.) 1990-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 20, 2020)
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2020
Baker City, Oregon
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It’s hardly surprising that some local ranchers are
dissatisfi ed with Oregon’s wolf depredation compen-
Statistics tell part of the tale.
Since the state-funded program started in 2012,
Baker County livestock owners have requested
$269,000 in compensation for confi rmed or suspected
animal losses or, in some cases, to employ nonlethal
measures to deter wolves.
The state has given Baker County $155,000 —
58% of the requested amount.
Members of the county committee that reviews
applications for compensation through the state
program told county commissioners last week they’re
frustrated with the program, which is administered
through the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
The state doesn’t fully compensate ranchers for
the value of their animals, committee member Mike
The dollar fi gures above justify Colton’s complaint.
And it’s worthwhile for county offi cials to lobby the
Legislature to review the compensation program,
which at times has received federal money to supple-
ment the state’s contributions.
But as Shella DelCurto, a Pine Valley rancher
who received a $1,431 payment in 2018 after wolves
killed one of her calves, told commissioners last week,
the current program, whatever its faults, is the only
Baker County should continue to use the compen-
sation program even as it seeks to improve it.
— Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor
Editorial from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Law enforcers around the world are celebrating the
rapidly expanding potential of facial recognition software
to help them catch criminals faster and solve long-dormant
cases. Such capabilities in the right hands could reap
enormous public safety dividends. But in the wrong hands,
an entirely new dimension in crime, extortion and mayhem
could soon be unleashed.
Before it’s too late, Americans need to think long and
hard about the wisdom of venturing down this uncharted
road. Few would argue against tools that help police
capture dangerous criminals. It’s the law-abiding among
us who need to worry about what comes next when this
software expands to general public use.
One of the most frightening technological advances is
Clearview AI, a powerful facial recognition service cur-
rently available to U.S. and Canadian law enforcers. The
company’s software takes uploaded photos then scrapes
the internet, including Facebook, for exact-match images.
Its database now contains 3 billion photos and videos. But
those aren’t just photos of criminals. They’re photos of
children, grandmothers, families having fun at the beach.
Anything and everything is fair game.
That’s what makes it so useful to law enforcers. Precise
comparison algorithms zip through the entire database at
lightning speed to analyze frontal and profi le facial photos
along with any information connected to the targeted
person. Whether it’s your name, birthdate, hometown,
children’s names, high school, hobbies, favorite bar, political
views — if it’s on the internet, the algorithm uses it.
Most police offi cers would probably use such software
only under authorized circumstances. But we know from
a few local cases that not all offi cers can be trusted. Some
could use it for personal enrichment or to fi nd out, say, who
an ex-spouse is dating.
Now imagine such an app on a cellphone for general
public use. You’re walking down the street, and a complete
stranger greets you by name, identifi es your spouse and
kids, maybe mentions the name of your employer or how
your family’s Grand Canyon vacation went. Maybe the
stranger mentions your address, or your political leanings.
Left unregulated, the threat and exploitation potential
would be unlimited.
Clearview insists its software is closely monitored and
secure, and is designed to “identify child molesters, mur-
derers, suspected terrorists, and other dangerous people
quickly, accurately, and reliably to keep our families and
But when a New York Times reporter looked into the
company and contacted offi cers for a demonstration of the
program, one offi cer received a call from Clearview and
asked him why he uploaded a New York Times reporter’s
photo. A block was placed on searches of her. It was a clear
demonstration of how the software is vulnerable to political
If ever there was a clarion call for Congress to impose
tight restrictions on this technology, it’s now — before the
notion of privacy becomes a quaint memory of a bygone era.
Stop spreading Trump’s lies,
Thank you, Craig Martell, for your
letter to the editor regarding the recent
“Checking the facts” editorial. I too was
appalled to see my local paper spread-
ing Trump’s lies and exaggerations. I
expect better and am hoping this was
just an aberration or the result of tem-
porary brain freeze. If I wanted to hear
this type of nonsense, I would watch
Americans shouldn’t consider
electing socialist as president
I have a couple of thoughts on cur-
rent political issues.
After the countless hours wasted
on the Trump impeachment experi-
ence by politicians and the even more
countless and obnoxious hours wasted
by the media on their daily analysis, I
can sum it up quite simply. Democrats
had a majority in the House so they
impeached the President. Republicans
had a majority in the Senate so they
acquitted him. It was always and only
about politics. Outcome of each House
Letters to the editor
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or Senate effort was predictable from
the start and only a fool would think
So now that months were wasted,
while real issues were generally
ignored, (OK, so they did pass USMCA
during this time) can we expect better?
What are the chances that Republicans
and Democrats will manage to agree
on legislation that would be benefi cial?
How about addressing the national
debt for a good starting point? When
Democrats spend all their efforts at-
tacking Trump and the Republicans
spend all their efforts defending him,
little gets done.
As a Republican I have no say in the
Democrat primaries; that’s as it should
be. I can accept the differences between
Republican and Democrat philosophy.
But what is abhorrent is that a social-
ist/communist is a frontrunner in the
Democrat party. He shouldn’t even be
considered! Socialism is not just a dif-
ferent political idea — it is evil! There
is no successful example of socialism in
history. Don’t suggest the Scandinavian
countries — they are capitalist although
with more social programs. Do people
know or remember Stalin and the 60
million Russians he had murdered? Or
about Hitler and the National Socialist
German Workers’ Party (Nazi) and the
60 million people who died in World
War II? Are people aware of the recent
failure in Venezuela? Do high school
students read Orwell’s “Animal Farm”
anymore? What are students taught
about socialism? Are Bernie Sanders
supporters aware of what socialism/
communism is or are they actively try-
ing to undermine our America? I realize
Sanders is not the fi rst socialist/commu-
nist to run for president but he is being
taken far too seriously as a possible
elected leader for our country.
No need for Democratic panic
Calm down, Democrats.
There have been exactly two
nominating contests for your party’s
presidential nomination, both in
deeply unrepresentative states: Iowa
and New Hampshire.
And so far, it appears that Demo-
crats are behaving exactly as everyone
thought they would. They are torn
between choosing a candidate who
wants to turn over tables and really
shake things up (“Medicare for All,”
much higher taxes on corporations
and the wealthy), or a more moderate
candidate who wants to accomplish
essentially the same goals without
breaking too much china (Medicare
for most, somewhat higher taxes on
corporations and the wealthy).
All the fi rst two contests really make
clear is that there are still a lot of vi-
able candidates in the race, and that
Democrats are exactly where parties
without an incumbent on the ticket
tend to fi nd themselves at this point in
the campaign. The anxiety is under-
standable but counterproductive.
In 2016, remember, Hillary Clinton
and Bernie Sanders fought it out until
July, when he formally conceded, and
endorsed her. The bad feelings from
that contest endure to this day.
In 2008, Clinton and then-Illinois
Sen. Barack Obama also went the dis-
tance; they battled until June 7, when
Clinton dropped out, having made,
in her memorable words, “18 million
cracks in the glass ceiling.” That was
a mere fi ve months before the elec-
tion, which still left plenty of time for
Democrats to freak out about Obama’s
“There are growing fears in some
quarters that the Democratic Party
may not be choosing its strongest
candidate to beat Republican John Mc-
Cain,” said the Guardian.
Obama was too far left, he accused
rural voters of clinging to “guns or
religion,” he told Joe the Plumber he
wanted to “spread the wealth around”
(socialist!), and his pastor gave fi ery
speeches denouncing America.
Oh, and for God’s sake, he was black.
And while it’s popular today to talk
about how, even if Democrats win the
popular vote, the Electoral College
favors Republicans, let’s remember
that while Obama garnered 52.9% of
the popular vote to McCain’s 45.7%, he
also earned 365 votes in the electoral
college while McCain got 173.
In 2012, when then-incumbent
Obama ran against Mitt Romney, he
had a very bad fi rst debate. He was
rusty, he seemed listless.
Democrats immediately proclaimed
the end was nigh.
One prophet of doom, the erstwhile
conservative Andrew Sullivan, wrote
perhaps the most hysterical assess-
ment: “A sitting president does not
recover from being obliterated on
substance, style and likability in the
fi rst debate and get much of a chance
to come back. He has, at a critical mo-
ment, deeply depressed his base and
his supporters and independents are
fl ocking to Romney in droves.” (The
headline on his essay: “Did Obama
Just Throw the Entire Election
Less than a month later, Obama
soundly beat Romney, 51.1% to 47.2%,
earning 332 electoral votes to Rom-
And then there’s Donald Trump. He
was the most unelectable candidate in
recent American political history, until
Trump made all kinds of preposter-
ous promises: He would build a wall
on the southern border and make
Mexico pay for it. He would revive
the moribund coal industry. He would
“take the oil” from Iraq to pay for the
U.S. invasion. He would release his tax
Outraged Democrats could not
believe their ears. His supporters just
laughed off the criticism: We take
him seriously, but we don’t take him
It would help Democrats to think
about their candidates in exactly this
When Democrats promise Medicare
for All (or most), when they vow to tax
the super-rich to raise money for uni-
versal preschool, or to abolish college
debt, just relax. These are aspirations,
all of them excellent.
As Matthew Yglesias of Vox tweeted
Thursday, “Take Medicare for All seri-
ously but not literally.”
I would, above all, urge Democrats
not to automatically recoil at the
phrase “democratic socialism.” Do not
allow Trump and his allies to demon-
ize the phrase the way Republicans
demonized the word “liberal” back in
the day when Rush Limbaugh was
Call me crazy, but I happen to
believe that Americans are smart
enough to tell the difference between
Scandinavia and Venezuela.
So take a deep breath, Democrats.
Erase the word “electability” from your
Think about the kind of country you
want to live in, the kind of person you
want in the White House.
Then vote accordingly.
Robin Abcarian is an opinion columnist
for the Los Angeles Times.