Friday, February 23, 2007

Baker County Media: No Connection Between War and Want

Asking for Peace in Iraq, January 27, 2006, Baker City, OR

Here is a little humor from my friend Leslie:

Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and George W. Bush went to a fitness spa for some fun. After a stimulating, healthy lunch, all three decided to visit the men's room and they found a strange-looking gent sitting at the entrance.

He said, "Welcome to the gentlemen's room. Be sure to check out our newest feature, a mirror that, if you look into it and say something truthful, you will be rewarded with your wish.

But, be warned: if you say something FALSE, you will be sucked into the mirror to live in a void of nothingness for all eternity!"

The three men quickly entered and upon finding the mirror, Bill Clinton stepped up and said, "I think I'm the most intelligent of us three," and he suddenly found the keys to a brand new Bentley in his hands.

Al Gore stepped up and said, "I think I'm the most aware of the environmental problems of us three," and in an instant, he was surrounded by a pile of money to fund his next Presidential Campaign.

Excited over the possibility of finally having a wish come true, George W. Bush looked into the mirror and said, "I think...," and was promptly sucked into the mirror.

Baker County Media: No Connection Between War and Want

Jayson Jacoby, a gifted writer/reporter for one of the local papers—the Baker City Herald—had an article in last night’s paper about Wallowa-Whitman “Recreation sites under review for possible changes.” In a sidebar under the heading “WHAT HAPPENED”, Jayson says that the Forest has proposed changes to “more than half the 135 sites” including “closing campgrounds to increasing fees.” The thing is, that if you check the back page (10), you will find that something else more important HAPPENED first: The Wallowa-Whitman “budget’s been shrinking for the past few years, at a rate of about 5 percent to 10 percent per year….”

Why is that you ask?

In an Op-Ed reprinted from the (Bend) “Bulletin” titled “Wages or Classrooms,” a complaint was made we need to find more money for schools because we “can’t seem to build classrooms fast enough to meet demand.” The Op-Ed notes that the State is looking at three possible remedies:
1) System Development Charges for schools [Not mentioned in the Op-Ed: This will require a change to ORS 223.229(1) and City Councils across the state should consider a resolution asking that ORS 223.299(1) be amended to add police, fire, library, and school facilities to the list of capital improvements for which local jurisdictions may collect impact fees and system development charges.].
2) “[E]limination of the double majority requirement for tax hikes.”
3) “[U]se of school capacity as an excuse to suspend growth.” [Excuse??? Sounds like a rational response to me.]

The Op-Ed then goes on to NOT discuss those options at all, but instead spends the next several hundred words blaming the problem on unions (You mean we still have some???) and on the prevailing wage law in Oregon. The latter guarantees the payment to workers on public projects a fair living wage--one a person can at least attempt to raise a family on. This, of course, is the kind of retrogressive nonsense that is driving the ongoing race to the bottom for the wages and working conditions of American workers.

The editorial does however raise an important question. Where CAN we find money for schools? This question relates to the former question about budget cuts in the programs of Federal agencies. One solution that would help for schools is to change the law to allow System Development Charges for schools (as well as Police and Fire). But what would be a more comprehensive solution? I think I have an answer! END THE WAR!!!!!!!

The war in Iraq has cost the lives of 3,151 Americans and the war is responsible for the deaths of over 650,000 Iraqis. It has cost us $367,888,323,114, and will pass half a TRILLION dollars before too long.

According to the National Priorities Project ( ) the money already spent on the war from Oregon taxpayers alone could have built 255 elementary schools in Oregon and provided a fair living wage to Oregon workers for building those schools. Alternatively, we could have built 13,420 affordable housing units.

Isn’t it about time the media quit blaming American workers and other scapegoats for our problems and started making the true connection between our deteriorating conditions at home and the trillions of dollars our government has wasted on wars and military spending over the last decades?

Some reminders from former President Dwight David Eisenhower in 1961-Think of George W. Bush while reacquainting yourselves with these words:

“We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.”

“Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.”

“Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.”

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

And Lastly, from a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

Seems like the newspaper editors and publishers right here in Baker County might want to revisit that great man’s wisdom too.


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