The United States

Trump heads the most powerful government in the world and is arguably the most powerful man in the world.

The head of the DOJ, William Barr, is a personal Trump appointee and supervises approximately 9,500 attorneys. On Dec. 1, Barr stated that he, the US attorneys office, and the FBI, “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that would have effected a different outcome in the election.” He has not contradicted that statement.

Trump heads the FBI, CIA, and US military. None of them have found any substantial proof of voter fraud.

There are approximately 700,000 police officers. They have not found any substantial proof of voter fraud.

The combined Republican Senate, Republican House, Republican governors and state attorney generals collectively have not found any substantial proof of voter fraud.

Trump, and his associates, have filed over 50 lawsuits claiming voter fraud. He won one of them (2 percent). Several of the judges were personally appointed by Trump. Many of the cases were dismissed for complete lack of evidence; no substantial voter fraud.

Approximately 74,000,000 people voted for Trump. They have not found any substantial proof of voter fraud.

Occam’s razor states that the simplest answer is often the correct answer.

The options are:

1) The Democratic Party, the people who chose Hillary, are capable of outsmarting all of the above and leaving no credible trace, or:

2) Trump lost.

To my many Republican friends, I can feel your pain. I remember four years ago. Losing definitely hurts. But we are still the UNITED States of America and if we are to survive and ever reach our true potential, we need to put this election behind us. We are now in one of the roughest times for our country with millions and millions of people hurting physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. Instead of catering to our own ego, let us please work together for the common good. Compassion and empathy for others is what we need right now. May God truly bless America.

Rev. Clyde Sanda

The Dalles

World is watching

History is so easy to ignore or forget, but taken the time it is also the easiest way to learn from what we have done before, and why and how while avoiding repeating old mistakes.

In that regard, in the 2016 presidential election Hillary Clinton won by almost 3 million votes! But in the electoral college the vote was 306 to Trump and 232 to Clinton. So Clinton was the actual winner in the number of people who voted for her, yet she lost.

But the main observation is that when she lost the electoral college I did not see citizens roaring through the streets with guns and screaming, no people storming around shouting and waving signs and breaking a number of laws in the process. That is not to say that those who voted for her were not shocked, dumbfounded, upset, stunned. They knew that the electoral college had the final say even if they were against that process. So they accepted the legal decision of the count, deeply hurt and shocked, BUT no marching in the streets or denying the vote or demonstrations in the street saying the vote was stolen or wrong. As had been the case since the beginning of our republic they accepted the vote in typical American fashion.

So what is the difference? The only difference is the behavior of the two parties and their leaders. All of these demonstrators need to “man up” and grow up and behave like true Americans who respect the rules of democracy and behave like all the previous citizens in this democracy. Accept the vote. Take a deep breath, commit to backing the electors, and show the world that we are still a citizenry that is ruled by law and the rule of the majority. Join in making this country what it can be. EVERY citizen is needed in that involvement of making us great and the responsible nation that the world needs. THE WORLD IS WATCHING.

Judith Nelson

Hood River

Lights on for COVID victims

With our country horribly divided, I’d like to encourage everyone to participate in the Jan. 19 COVID Memorial. The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) will host a memorial to remember and honor the lives lost to COVID-19 in cities and towns across the country on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 5:30 p.m. ET. A Washington, D.C., ceremony will feature a lighting around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. It will be the first-ever lighting around the Reflecting Pool to memorialize American lives lost. PIC is inviting cities and towns around the country to join Washington, D.C., in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET in a national moment of unity and remembrance. Let those of us fortunate enough to live in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge share in this important ceremony of unity and remembrance. We can unite the country. We can do our part to encourage this important step forward toward affirming and embracing our democracy.

Michelle Rabin

Hood River

Fiber deficiency

As we move into a new year, we have to address the dismal state of communication infrastructure in the Gorge. Looking back on the fires in Oregon and California, many of the resulting fatalities can be ascribed to the inability of emergency services being unable to communicate with residents because of the lack of phone coverage. The same situation currently exists in many parts of both Oregon and Washington. While the telecoms are rolling out 5G service in densely populated areas, vast areas of our community have no cell signal whatsoever. It is not unusual to receive a text message, or even the notification of a voicemail, many hours after it was sent, which in the case of a rapidly spreading fire could prove devastating.

Concurrently, the availability of internet connections are sporadic at best. While some locations have fiber connections, other areas are relegated to dial-up or DSL, at dismal speeds, with frequent drop-outs, or no connection whatsoever. It is inexcusable to have children huddled outside downtown businesses trying to complete their homework, while teachers are unable to upload lessons. The recent COVID stimulus bill provides substantial subsidies to low income families to help pay for internet connections; however, these subsidies are useless if there is no connection available.

This situation needs to be corrected. Rural residents deserve the same access to communication as city dwellers. I urge anyone experiencing such difficulties to contact their local, state and federal representatives to make sure that the many infrastructure grants are accountably utilized to provide decent communication capability so that we can live safely, prosperously, and our children can flourish into the new year.

Juris Sarins

White Salmon

Trump’s sedition

Donald Trump has gone a step too far. He has incited a violent insurrection against our government of the people, by the people, and for the people. He has asserted his claim to dictatorship by discounting the results of a free and fair presidential election, and his loyal followers back his claim to dictatorship.

I used to wish that Donald Trump would just go away, perhaps fleeing to a foreign country in an attempt to escape his legal problems after leaving office.

Now, following his acts of sedition against our nation, I believe his only deserved fate is imprisonment.

Richard Iverson

Hood River

‘It could be anybody’

I just read about the Raskin family (Congressman Jamie Raskin), how they lost their son to suicide on New Year’s, how he was “a radiant light in a broken world.”

My family had a son like that. A brother, who like their son had family and a large network of friends. And I write because when my brother completed suicide, a close acquaintance I’ll just call Angela lashed out, calling my family sick and dysfunctional.

Angela could be anybody, anybody who does not get the severity of depression or mental illness or just how hard it is to be human, as Tommy Raskin notes.

There are families I know in the Gorge who hide the fact that their child completed suicide from shame or guilt or the stigma the Angelas of the world heap on it, I can’t say. They aren’t alone.

Suicide is the leading cause of death in Oregon for ages 10 through 24, and veterans under 45. In Washington, it’s 11 percent higher than the national average. It’s ranked as the eighth leading cause of death. We are in the top 10 in an area where we have failed.

The Raskin’s won’t “get over” their son’s suicide; my family didn’t. Suicide even, suddenly, becomes a possibility. To lose someone close to you changes your world and how you walk in it. Forever. So watch your words. Better yet, watch your heart. And if you are hurting, there are resources. Please, dear God, for all of us, call, text, reach out:

SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources; 800-273-8255; text HOME to 741741; en español: 888-628-9454

Jackie McManus

Lyle

Gratitude for support

As we start a new year full of hope and promise, I want to express my gratitude for the support that Washington Gorge Action Programs (WAGAP) has received from our local communities during this past year. Individuals, businesses and organizations have continuously stepped forward any time there was a need, such as rebuilding the COVID-19 Relief Fund. When we set our Giving Tuesday goal to raise $50,000 in the month of December, we were pleasantly surprised to reach that goal two full weeks ahead of schedule.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve been providing support through our COVID-19 Relief Fund for families and individuals in Klickitat and Skamania Counties who’ve lost income due to the economic impacts. We’ve helped with rent/mortgage payments, utilities, car payments, medical bills, etc. This has all been made possible by the generosity of our Gorge communities.

Our communities care. I want to extend my sincere appreciation to you all for everything that you do to help your neighbors. I am humbled to lead an organization that our communities both trust and depend on. Here’s to brighter days in 2021.

Leslie Naramore,

executive director, Washington Gorge Action Programs

Remember Bentz vote

Our newly elected Oregon congressman Republican Cliff Bentz voted on Jan. 6 to object to certification of validated electoral college ballots which reflected duly certified popular votes. He and his 120 House colleagues decided on this futile action, presumably hoping we will remember their symbolic pro-Trump move when they’re up for re-election.

Yes, let’s indeed be sure to remember it. Those representatives (and six Republican Senators) proceeded in this course just hours after violent armed mobs stormed the U.S. Capitol — in protest of a free and fair election and in support of a clearly deranged president who tweeted that they were “very special“ and that he loves them.

The crowd in the streets included the Vice-Chair of Oregon Young Republicans, who was arrested.

After his vote, Rep. Bentz criticized the mob actions. Perhaps he somehow fails to realize that pledging his own protest action was part of the gasoline that fueled that fire.

Our previous Congressman, Greg Walden, expressed sympathy and understanding of the armed illegal occupiers of The Malheur Wildlife Refuge, an action that returns to mind when one sees footage of yesterday’s mob members sitting in Congressional offices and breaking windows of federal buildings.

To my knowledge, Rep. Walden never publicly stood up to the Trump administration despite having said prior to the 2016 election that Trump was unfit for the office.

The GOP of Mark Hatfield, Vic Atiyeh, Tom McCall is sadly bankrupt. It has been broken by the Tea Party, white supremacists, religious and social zealots, would-be secessionists, QAnon and other conspiracy theorists, self-styled confederates and anarchists — and elected officials too cowed, impressed, or threatened by a celebrity narcissist to effectively oppose him and rightfully represent the interests of their constituents.

Change has begun to arrive in this year’s elections. Let it continue, and not become a pendulum swing. And again, in two years let us be sure to remember Congressman Bentz’s vote yesterday.

Tina Castañares

Odell

Be proud, America

Why are so many politicians and talking heads wailing over how embarrassing yesterday’s siege is? “What must the rest of world be thinking about us?”

While authorities were clearly unprepared, the way they finally dealt with the situation was reserved and appropriate in our democracy. Imagine how it would have been handled in actual “banana republics.” Authorities (armies) would have simply opened fire on the mob, killing hundreds of people. Be proud of the fact that, in America, it is natural to respond the way our authorities did. Maybe the rest of the world will think so as well.

Russ Hurlburt

Parkdale

Bentz’s misstep

Rep. Cliff Bentz, you should be ashamed of the part you played in the violent coup attempt at the Capitol. You sowed distrust over the election results in the weeks beforehand, and afterwards, you continued your affront to democracy by voting to object to Pennsylvania’s presidential electors. Do you feel proud of your first week in office? We your constituents do not. We deserve better. We demand better.

When the smoke (literally) had cleared the day after the insurrection, you condemned the violence to inquiring reporters. But you were indeed a part of it. In mid-December you joined Republican colleagues in asking for a congressional investigation into unspecified “election irregularities.” The Trump campaign filed and either lost or had dismissed 62 out of 63 lawsuits because it could produce no evidence for any of its accusations of “election irregularities.” Still you echoed Trump’s charges, spreading misinformation and undermining confidence in the election results at home and nationally.

You explained you objected because you believe Pennsylvania’s decision to extend the deadline for return of absentee ballots violated the Constitution. And this in spite of the fact that the 10,000 ballots in question, postmarked by Election Day but received afterward, were not even included in PA’s vote count. You also cited as a factor “the widespread loss of faith by many Americans in the 2020 election — including many in my district,” after having acted earlier to create loss of faith in the election.

The last thing we need right now is another person (old white male or other) in a leadership position needlessly sowing discord and distrust in our communities and our country. We have much work to do to restore faith in America and in each other. We need our elected representatives to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

This week you were an embarrassment to Oregonians and an affront to our democracy, which has been pelted to near-death by the current administration. Please join us in trying to come together and make our country whole.

Bonnie New

Hood River

Recall Bentz

Yesterday, our representative to Congress of Oregon’s 2nd district, Cliff Bentz, voted with the conspiracy theorists who objected to the results of Pennsylvania’s presidential election of Nov. 6. His vote came AFTER supporters of those conspiracy theories formed a mob that violently overran the Capitol. Said mob was in Washington protesting the election precisely because of the disingenuous spreading of said conspiracy theories, which prior to Jan. 6, Mr. Bentz had openly supported and taken part himself in spreading.

Mr. Bentz made opportunistic use of these ridiculous conspiracy theories and seeing the real consequences of his behavior, chose to double down.

Recall Cliff Bentz.

Nicholas Eby

Hood River

Bentz not worthy

I am a proud liberal and I usually vote Democrat. I didn’t always agree with Greg Walden. I wasn’t always happy with him. But I was never ashamed of him.

On Jan. 6, Cliff Bentz stood up on the side of the traitors who invaded our nation’s Capitol building, who attacked our seat of government and threatened it with violence for the first time since 1812. And for what? To try to deny the lawful votes of people in other states. To try to deny the very principle of democracy, that we listen to the voice of the people and we let the voters choose our leaders.

Democracy doesn’t mean your candidate always wins. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. But real Americans accept the truth and work together, to keep our nation strong, while agreeing to debate and disagree honorably, to keep our nation growing.

I don’t expect a liberal like me to get elected to represent The Dalles in Washington, D.C.; we are a moderate to conservative rural town, and there’s a lot to like about that. And we are also people of principles. Democrat or Republican, I think we should be represented by a patriot, a person of integrity, someone with the courage to stand up for what is right and fight against what is wrong. Is Cliff Bentz the best Wasco County can do? I think I know my neighbors here well enough to say no.

Cliff Bentz isn’t worthy of us. We can, and at the next election we should, do much better.

Rhiannon Griffin

The Dalles

Treason

Wednesday Jan. 6, 2021, will go down as one of the saddest and most embarrassing days in U.S. history. On Wednesday, acting President Trump incited a violent riot at the US Capitol, failed to immediately tell the rioters to go home once violence and law-breaking occurred, failed to call in the National Guard as soon as violence started, or suggested anyone who broke the law face criminal charges. The words spoken by the president and the actions that resulted meet the legal definitions of treason, sedition, and insurrection as well as a coup attempt under US code 18 chapter 115 sections 2381, 2383, and 2384. I am not a lawyer, but I can read as well as anyone who wishes to look this up.

I do not believe anyone still supporting Donald Trump will ever be convinced that he is not fit for public office, or is even a decent human being. That fact is something we cannot change as Americans. The people and those in elected office do have an opportunity to take dramatic, legal action to rid our country of the president and prevent him from ever running for political office again. It is time we stop speaking of radicalized, violent rhetoric and actions as outliers of “a few bad people.” We are seeing a powerful, dangerous movement which must be halted as soon as humanly possible.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Denounce Bentz

On Wednesday, January 6, a mob egged on on by a populist, megalomaniac president stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and attempted to take members of Congress hostage. A few hours after that, our representative in Congress, Mr. Cliff Bentz, voted to support Trump’s attempted coup. I know that many of my conservative friends supported Mr. Bentz. I ask you now to denounce Mr. Bentz and his vote to support insurrection. Our allegiance must be to the constitution and the law, not to a individual.

Greg Chiodo

Ashland

Get a spine, Mr. Bentz

What a tough time to enter Congress. Right off, you have to opine on mob rule. A week into the job, Oregon’s new 2nd Dist. Rep. Cliff Bentz joins dissident GOP members in voting against certifying election results from Pennsylvania.

In a public statement on his web site, Bentz said, “My goal was to protect the integrity of our elections and to prompt all states to uphold election laws as determined by their state legislatures.”

The thing is, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court threw out a lower court’s order preventing the state from certifying election results. The Supreme Court said the lawsuit challenging ballots had been filed long after the deadline for challenges to the state’s mail-in voting law (bit.ly/3s6gLvO).

So, does Mr. Bentz believe deadlines don’t matter? Or does he believe post-election complaints about mail-in voting should be permitted — if, and only if, they prevent his preferred candidate from winning?

If Bentz doesn’t like mail-in ballots, maybe he would like to forfeit his own victory on Nov. 3, because Oregon’s mail-in ballots helped his supporters elect him?

It sounds like Mr. Bentz entered Congress at the wrong time — when a tide of illogic rallied to the defense of a seditious insurrectionist. I’ll cut Mr. Bentz some slack. He’s new. Still trying to figure out what size big boy pants he needs. Or if he qualifies.

Throwing out legitimately cast (or mailed) ballots just because you don’t like the results is about as undemocratic as can be.

After the riot at the capitol, Bentz told The Oregonian that he didn’t know if “stolen” was the right way to think about the election, or “whether it’s constitutional.” Here’s a question for Bentz: If Biden’s victory was stolen from Trump, maybe Bentz’s victory was stolen from Alex Spenser? I don’t think so.

I voted for Spenser. But I also think Bentz won, fair and square (with mail-in ballots). So did Biden.

Please, Mr. Bentz, get a spine and get to work for all of us in Dist. 2.

Stu Watson

Hood River

Ashamed of Bentz

Representative Bentz introduced himself on the national stage in the worst possible manner by supporting the unfounded objections to certifying the votes cast by almost 7 million Pennsylvanians.

While clouding his decision in language around changes to voting procedures, this farce is just part of a misguided attempt to overturn the free and fair elections for one reason only: Trump’s desire to stay in power.

In supporting this, Mr. Bentz must be held accountable for spreading misinformation and answer for his role in legitimizing the attacks on the U.S. Capitol. We witnessed this week that violent extremists attacked the Capitol, resulting in the death of five individuals. These violent acts were based on the provenly false narratives around the election results and the last-minute efforts to prevent the certification of votes. I am ashamed of such representation. Instead, we should have a representative — Republican or Democrat — who understands the values and ideals of democracy and the freedoms that come with those.

Patrick Hiller

Hood River

Fitting fate

Proudly floating below the I-95 bridge on the River Charles in Boston harbor sits a ship nicknamed “Old Ironsides”, the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned war ship is a three-masted heavy frigate.

She has strong yardarms and stands ready to do her duty once again ever since 1797. A fitting fate for those convicted of insurrection, sedition and treason in the takeover of our political holy of holies, the U.S. Capitol building.

Robert Brostoff

Cascade Locks

God bless America

My first instinct was to write a letter to the editor in anger over what is happening in our country; crime and violence is up, our government is imploding from within, we are literally coming apart at the seams, we blame our political parties, federal and state leaders.

But we have no one to blame but ourselves! We, the people, have allowed this to happen.

Over the years we’ve become so lax in our faith and moral standards and become a society where anything and everything goes, our leaders were able to remove God from our schools, businesses, courts, government declaring separation of church and state. Some churches have turned their backs on God for the same reasons.

A Democrat opened a session with prayer to every God as listed by each culture then ended it with an Amen and a woman. Does he not realize that Amen is not a pronoun but the words, “Let it be so?” In finding ourselves to be politically correct, we’ve lowered our identity to pronouns. Our morals are fleeing the scene and God has been replaced by political correctness, secularism and multiculturalism. We have been told that God is dead and His teachings do not count for so long, society is beginning to believe it!

Civility has turned to attacks and hatred, which the media and leaders on both sides support. We appoint leaders who believe in killing the unborn and call it choice. Our identity to the Almighty Creator has been lost, which therefore makes us no different from any other country or belief. Crime, violence, redirected morals, is lost because we’ve made everything about us! God is out!

In 1956 Russia’s Communist leader Nikita Khrushchev said, “We will take America without firing a shot. We do not have to invade the U.S. We will destroy you from within ...” I truly thought that would never happen to this free and beautiful America, but his words are coming true! Instead of saying God Bless America, we need to be on our knees and praying, God have mercy! We’re going to need it!

Jeri Rector

Parkdale

Mitch think?

Amazing! Mitch think? (Your Voice, Jan. 6.)

So 1,000 invalid letters from Trump’s officials who are responsible for their actions?

Are you serious? And to the Klickatat Republican Party chair, maybe you should look up the definition of sedition and treason! We have a democratic process which depends on a balance of power which your party has done everything to undermine! I was a Republican before Reagan!

Steve Carlson

White Salmon

Bentz culpable

Hours after Trump’s domestic terrorists stormed the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, recently elected Republican Rep. Cliff Bentz of Oregon’s Second Congressional District still voted against the certification of some of the Electoral College count and to overturn legitimate election results.

Bentz, along with dozens of other Republicans who voted with him, Donald Trump, and the terrorists are all culpable for what happened Jan. 6.

Remember that when and if Bentz runs for re-election in two years.

Tracie Hornung

Parkdale

Open letter to Bentz

What proof was it Rep. Bentz that you found that would render our citizens votes illegal or void in Pennsylvania? Almost 60 judges, including the Supreme Court, found no fraud of any consequence in our 2020 election. What was it, at the last minute, in the middle of the certification process of the Electoral College votes, that you and others found, that was missed by all those judges? What allowed you to possibly think you could throw out the Pennsylvania’s’ citizens votes?

I am asking for one of three things from you, Mr. Bentz ... 1) sign an open letter to all those judges and explain to them that they were wrong, or, 2) sign an open letter to the peoples of Oregon and Pennsylvania, telling them of what proof you found, that all those courts missed, that was so large and so egregious that you had to oppose peoples votes or, 3) say you are sorry and resign.

That was just craziness!

Widge Johnson

The Dalles

25th, or impeach

When I began as a new professor in 1972, Republican Dan Evans was governor, soon to become my friend and defender. Richard Nixon, with strong bipartisan support, had pushed through the creation of the EPA in 1970. The skinhead movement was already strong in the Pacific Northwest. People of color, the Jewish faith, and members of the LGBTQ community were regularly under attack, not infrequently being killed.

By the late 1980s, skinheads had disappeared, changing to look normal, but becoming the foundation of the modern far-right terrorist groups like Patriot’s Prayer. About one-third of them managed to go into law enforcement or the border patrol, where they could continue their activities without fear of the law, because they had become the law.

We need police. The world is full of criminals who would steal our money, property and lives. However, we need to acknowledge the threat that far right extremists pose to our democracy, our police departments, and our very lives.

Under Obama, the Department of Justice was investigating 25 police departments, many of which were under court orders to reform. Trump ordered every investigation canceled, every court order rescinded, and successfully set about to fan the flames of racial hatred. Is it any surprise that on Wednesday, June 6, there was very little police presence to stop the rampaging pro-Trump mob from ransacking the halls of Congress in contrast to the massive police presence at Black Lives Matter protests? Was it any surprise to see the police opening the gates for the protesters and posing for selfies with the armed protesters? Also, on Jan. 6, other members of the police in both Salem and Olympia high-fived the armed protestors there and took selfies with them.

Pence needs to immediately convene the cabinet and invoke Article 25 of the constitution. He will not do so. Impeachment takes too long to prevent the massive damage that Trump can still inflict on this country even though only a few days remain in his presidency. However, impeachment could block a future presidential run.

Michael W. Beug,

Professor Emeritus

The Evergreen State College

Dear Gov. Brown

I feel compelled to communicate to you about the present situation in Oregon and a major decision you have recently made.

Yes, we all know you and I have our differences, but I am struggling to understand why you have decided to open schools and not businesses. I have seen businesses bend over backward to install safety barriers and other measures and comply with social distancing. Businesses need to be open and employees need to go back to work. Most people are being, and will continue to be, very cautious as long as this epidemic lasts. Let’s give businesses the same opportunity you are giving schools.

I challenge you to now end the ban before people and private businesses go bankrupt.

Most sincerely,

Liz VanLeeuwen, State Representative 1981-1999

Halsey

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