Day: April 25, 2014

We get the kind of government we vote for

A Box of Soap By DON VOWELL Last time I wrote here about the flood of money that is drowning out any remaining citizens’ voice in federal elections. This week I’m wondering what it would take to learn more about the candidates running for the Oregon House District 25 seat. Elections at the most local level have a different set of problems from the overheated, hyper-expensive federal election campaigns. It’s surprising how little we’ve heard from the three candidates hoping to win this seat. The primary is May 20, only a few weeks from now. Only the Republican nomination is contested, but it would be good to know more about everybody. There is a general sense that whatever we do makes little difference in choosing and electing candidates for federal elections. Those candidates come from somewhere. If we take seriously and pay attention to who we elect in local and city elections, maybe that judiciously chosen candidate will go on to become a well chosen U.S. House of Representatives candidate. So far the only source of information I have found about these candidates is their websites, and the quantity and location of their lawn signs. They all say they are out knocking on doors and meeting voters—that is a very good way to introduce themselves. The websites are like all political websites. I don’t think it would be too...

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Unscrupulous political radio ads

To the Editor: I was recently stunned to hear some radio ads broadcast on KYKN radio.  These ads were presented as “public service announcements” urging listeners to support various non-profit organizations on behalf of House Republican candidate, Barbara Jensen.  It was my understanding that it is illegal for a non-profit organization to be affiliated in any way with a political candidate.  So, I contacted the presidents of the organizations and to a person they were extremely surprised that these ads were running.  They were aware that they could not be affiliated and they all stated that no one from the Jensen campaign had contacted them first to ask permission to use their names.  They all followed up with me to let me know that they had contacted both KYKN and the Jensen campaign to have their names removed, but that did not happen and the ads are still going forward with new organizations being added regularly. Frankly it’s smarmy and disgusting political campaigning.  I am a registered non-affiliated voter and don’t have a dog in the fight, but I have to ask myself, “if Ms. Jensen wants to represent the needs of the voters why would she trample on wonderful organizations and put them in potential tax jeopardy?”  It sure looks to me like it’s Barbara Jensen first and the rest be damned—not someone I want as my representative....

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Nevada showdown: all hat, no cattle

By DEBRA J. SAUNDERS Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and his well-armed supporters forced the well-armed federal government to back down and return Bundy’s seized cows — which were seized because Bundy, 67, stopped paying grazing fees in 1993. How does anyone get the government to back down? At first blush, Bundy seemed to have right on his side. He’s a cowboy who just wants to keep being a cowboy. The federal government, which owns more than 80 percent of Nevada land, including the land on which the Bundy family had settled, threatened to put him out to pasture. The Bureau of Land Management told the rancher he would have to cut back cattle grazing on federal lands to accommodate the threatened desert tortoise. So in 1993, Bundy stopped paying federal grazing fees. “They were managing my ranch out of business,” Bundy explained, “so I refused to pay.” As the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorialized, the federal government has endangered a Western way of life in deference to “the ‘threatened’ desert tortoise and a supposedly fragile desert ecosystem that somehow has sustained cattle and the reptiles since the 19th century.” The BLM surely has earned its black-hat reputation in Nevada. In a classic example of federal overreach, the BLM carved out a small “First Amendment Area” for pro-Bundy protesters, which only fueled the public’s distrust of government. Nevada Gov. Brian...

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Has the US become an oligarchy?

You may have noticed in newspaper editorials and on Sunday morning talk shows that pundits are claiming the U.S. is no longer a democracy.  Rather, that our nation has become an oligarchy. New research findings announced at the Princeton University website inform us that the economic elites and organized groups representing U.S. business interests have managed to bring about substantial impacts on our government policy while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no influence.  Distilled into simple language, the U.S.A. is now an oligarchy, a democracy in name only. So, what’s an oligarchy?  The word oligarchy is Greek in origin: It’s a system of government where power is concentrated in the hands of a small, elite group rather than a democracy where it is theoretically in the hands of all the people. There’s been a bit of levity of late regarding this matter.   The NFL’s Washington Redskins is under some degree of pressure to change its nickname.  Since it is a team out of Washington, D.C., the suggestion has been made that they become the Washington Oligarchs.  At present, the dispute remains unresolved. But let’s get serious.  Unlike the Church of England, the Vatican, many Muslim nations and other countries with a national religion, the United States was founded as a secular nation.  If anything, Americans worship   money.  Those who’ve acquired the greatest amounts of it are at least somewhat revered and held in near-sacred status.  Thereby, their riches not only bring them fame, but the power...

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