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American troops deserve better: Column

Posted by on Jul 18, 2019

By Rep. Dan Newhouse One of Congress’ most important constitutional responsibilities is providing for our military and national defense. For the past 58 years, this has been a bipartisan affair. Members of the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle have come together to pass a bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that provides for our military and our troops who fight to protect and defend us. Last week, instead of voting on a bill that would ensure our troops have the resources they need and deserve, the House of Representatives voted on the Democrat’s NDAA legislation which undercuts the priorities of the American people – seemingly just because they do not like President Trump. While the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation by a vote of 86 to 8, Speaker Pelosi and her left-leaning colleagues brought a bill to the floor that would stifle our military’s ability to protect Americans and would negatively affect our military readiness. The National Defense Authorization Act that was passed out of the House cuts military personnel accounts by $1.2 billion. These are the accounts used to fund pay, benefits, and housing for our troops. The bill contained language that would ultimately close Guantanamo Bay and move the resident terrorists onto U.S. soil, and the legislation – not surprisingly – blocked the funding necessary to secure our southern border. House Democrats have made it very clear they do not support President Trump, but protesting by withholding support and resources from the brave men and women who fight to defend our country is not what they were elected to Congress to do. The bill they brought to the House floor plays to the far-left progressives of their party and did not take into account the historical bipartisanship of the NDAA. I am extremely disappointed they have decided to play politics with our national security. The United States military is the best in the world, and I, for one, would like to keep it that way. In order to do so, we must invest in key defense initiatives that strengthen our ability to deter foreign threats from countries like China and Russia. The House Democrats refuse to support the innovation of U.S. nuclear technology, while our adversaries are rapidly gathering nuclear weapons. If we are going to remain successful as superpowers of the world, we must modernize our military forces – not hinder our defenses. I did not vote for the House NDAA because I believe our troops and the American people deserve better. Senators from across the country were able to put aside their political differences to do what is right and provide for our military and service members. It is my hope that House Democrats can do the same. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., represents Washington’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. To send an email to Rep. Newhouse, go to...

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Morality and compassion in a postmodern world: Column

Posted by on Jul 13, 2019

By Rich Elfers A friend of mine challenged me about not defining morality and compassion in a recent column. I wrote about the lack of morality of the modern Republican Party. I also noted that today’s Democratic Party has compassion for some groups, but not morality or concern for all groups, especially conservatives. The definition of morality is “virtuous conduct” or “the quality of being in accord with the standards of right or good conduct.” Compassion is defined as, “Deep awareness of the suffering of another accompanied by the wish to relieve it. synonym: pity.” (Wordnik) We live in what has been called the postmodern world. Today, morality is what you as an individual decide is right or wrong. There is no universal truth. Or is there? Our western culture is based upon the premise of what Isaac Newton called natural law: gravity, motion, and the nature of light. The English philosopher John Locke took those natural laws and converted them into natural rights: That all men are created equal and whose rights include life, liberty, and property. Thomas Jefferson, taking and adapting Locke’s ideas, clearly defined those natural rights in the Declaration of Independence. But, instead of the right to property, we are guaranteed the right to pursue happiness. These standards of morality formed the foundation for our nation’s laws and the structure of our government found in the U.S. Constitution. The problem we have today is that when the Constitution was created, in the summer of 1787 in that hot and stuffy room in Carpenters’ Hall in Philadelphia, there was no one writing a glossary of terms for all the words that were used in that document. That was probably a good thing in the short run. Had there been a definition of terms, there might not have been a Constitution. People have a tendency to put their own meanings to words. When words are not defined, there is room for different interpretations. The ambiguity of the meaning of words allowed the Constitution to be passed by the 39 delegates and then ratified by the people of the 13 states. In the long term, because the Constitution has a lot of vagueness, we need nine justices to interpret what the words mean 232 years later. For those of us who have followed the recent decisions of the Supreme Court, there are strong differences of opinion over what those words actually mean. Those differences divided the decisions over the drawing of congressional districts. Compassion can and has been interpreted in different ways. Is it compassion for individuals, groups, or corporations? That depends on who decides, whether conservative or progressive justices. As you can see, defining what morality and compassion are is not so easy or simple. The answers are complex and depend on the context of the case. If I tell you someone murdered someone else, your first response might be that that person should be punished. But if I then tell you that person murdered someone to protect a child from being murdered by someone else, the answer changes. That’s the nature of law. It depends. While we like to believe our morality differs from another’s in our postmodern world, the reality is that there are natural laws and natural rights that govern human behavior. In actuality,...

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Intersection closure unexpected, but a smart move: Column

Posted by on Jul 12, 2019

By Dave Burgess The construction project at State Route 28 and 13th Avenue SW in Quincy got more inconvenient this week, when the intersection closed to traffic in all directions. For about two weeks, drivers will have to take a few extra minutes on routes around the intersection. This major project – construction of a roundabout – on the main entrance to the city from the west created a bottleneck in early April. Now, with the temporary complete closure, we can expect the project to be done sooner and traffic to move better. The concept of a roundabout in Quincy was controversial. Those who did not want a roundabout might think installation of stoplights would have been faster. A shorter period of construction certainly would have been easier on the businesses that have been so affected by the project. Road construction commonly does affect businesses, but as incoming city administrator Pat Haley told me recently, the success of the businesses in the commercial area to the south and west of the intersection had increased traffic at the intersection, thus contributing to the need for a solution. The city’s plan that kept two rough lanes open through the intersection didn’t work well enough for those businesses. Then the project stalled, extending the pain. What’s neat is that the business people then communicated to the city their preference to close the intersection altogether. It sounded counter-intuitive at first, but it will allow them to get back to normal sooner. Oddly, a large retailer in the same shopping area, Shopko Hometown, closed its doors in a companywide move, just as the intersection work got underway. That must have reduced traffic, but there were still backups in the intersection. There is a lot to look forward to later this summer, with the intersection done – not back to normal, with a new roundabout, but open. A Burger King is under construction right on the corner, and a pharmacy is to open in the commercial area there, too. Washington Valley Pharmacy had announced it would open in April. Following the closure of the Shopko pharmacy, lots of people needed to find another pharmacy. However, it looks like the intersection project might have delayed Washington Valley’s opening. Another bright side to this whole project is how the city responded to business people’s concerns and an idea to solve a problem. The City Council meeting at which the idea was presented was one of the longest in years, and it featured by far the most discussion among city staff and your elected representatives on the council. Business representatives attended and spoke in a straightforward manner. Ideas and analysis were given time, and discussed openly and civilly. And the council acted. This is an encouraging development or demonstration of what Quincy can do. It can take on complicated challenges and work out solutions with the most benefit. People’s concerns can be heard and opinions exchanged. The roundabout doesn’t please everyone, and the project hasn’t gone as quickly as it might have. But the response of the city to local people at this point is a good move. Dave Burgess is editor of The Quincy Valley Post-Register. He can be contacted at...

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Letter to the editor: What is her solution?

Posted by on Jul 11, 2019

What is her solution? Congresswoman Frederica Wilson was recently interviewed on CNN claiming that children in migrant detention centers were imprisoned. Among her complaints: beds were too close together and girls were housed immediately across the hall from the boys. She proposed no solutions, but her hair and makeup were perfect. Combined with the impressive cowboy hat, western attire and accessories, she couldn’t have been more impressive as she arrogantly declared that the facility needs to be shut down. Isn’t a Congress person supposed to serve their own district? According to Wikipedia, she’s supposed to be “representing” Florida’s 24th District, but when she’s on the news it sounds like the undocumented are her only constituents. Hmmm … is she “colluding” with Mexico and/or other Latin American countries? Ms. Wilson gave absolutely no suggestions as to what could/would or should be done if the facility were closed. It’s easy to find fault, but if those griping the loudest don’t present even one possible solution, do they really care about the matter or are they simply seizing the opportunity to stir up the masses? If Ms. Wilson wants to be proactive, she can start working across the aisle and help at the border. They need babysitters. Border Patrol agents are being stretched beyond the limit, and while the president’s been trying to bring help and solutions to the situation, his opponents refuse to work with him in any way, which is evidence that their dedication to opposing the president and fiscal soundness far supercedes any compassion they might have (do they really?) for those who are caught in the middle and how this is affecting you and I. Remember, the arrogant party and their multi-media servants all declaring in unison (until the crisis is now beyond a breaking point), that there was no crisis at the border? Even Jeh (pronounced “Jay”) Johnson, former Department of Homeland Security chief under Obama, has declared the immigration proposals of all of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates as unworkable and unwise. By the way, it’s no secret that along with other tax increases, seemingly welcoming illegal immigrants with no cap on their numbers, the “Jay” of our state (Inslee) wants to tax us for carbon emissions. Yet numerous stifled studies have shown that even if the climate fanatics’ goals were reached – at a cost of billions to Americans – the difference made would be insignificant. See Dwight Needens,...

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What to do when you don’t know what to do: Column

Posted by on Jul 9, 2019

By Rich Elfers “If You Don’t Know What to Do, Be Honest, Or At Least Don’t Lie.” These words are Rule No. 8 of Jordan Peterson’s bestseller, “12 Rules of Life: An Antidote to Chaos.” This axiom is helpful to me because I often find myself in situations where I don’t know what to say. Peterson’s solution is simple, and it usually works. Peterson gives a narrative of how he came to this concept. He was a young clinical psychologist at McGill University in Montreal. As part of his training, he and his classmates worked at Montreal’s Douglas Hospital where they came in contact with the mentally ill. In this instance, they were standing in line awaiting further instruction from their professor when one of the female students was confronted by a fragile long-term patient with schizophrenia. The patient, a woman, asked the student in a friendly way, “Why are you all standing here? What are you doing? Can I come along with you?” The student turned to Peterson and asked what she should say. Both were concerned that their answer might either be seen as a rejection or a reprimand. There were no set rules or cues to guide them. Peterson saw two options: the first a face-saving story, the other a truthful answer. To say, “We can only take eight people in our group” or “We are just leaving the hospital now” would fall into the first category. Peterson instead said that they were new students training to be psychologists, and the woman couldn’t join them for that reason. The patient’s reaction was at first crestfallen, and then accepting. It was all right. That was reality. On another occasion he was working with a dangerous paranoid patient. Paranoid people see conspiracies everywhere. They become hyper-alert and hyper-focused. Non-verbal cues are intensely observed way beyond normal human behavior. This patient began to tell hair-raising fantasies about flailing people for revenge. Peterson listened carefully and responded in a way to show how the patient’s words affected him. Peterson said that his words scared him and that his behavior was misguided and would get the patient in trouble. Peterson’s words calmed him. This open, honest response built a level of trust between the psychologist and his patient. To get a paranoid patient to open up to you, you need to speak carefully and truthfully. In another case, Peterson and his wife had a big, strong, ex-con alcoholic, French-Canadian biker landlord who was trying to stop drinking and would go on days-long binges. On some of those binges he would knock on their door at 2:00 or 4:00 in the morning, offering to sell his toaster or microwave so he could buy more liquor to drink. At first, Peterson bought the items. Finally, his wife convinced him he couldn’t do it anymore. When the biker landlord came again, Peterson carefully and thoughtfully reminded the landlord that he had told them he was trying to quit drinking. Giving him money for his housewares was not good for the landlord. Peterson also told the landlord that he frightened Peterson’s wife when he came over in the middle of the night to sell some appliance. The landlord was silent for 15 seconds, looking for any micro expression that revealed sarcasm, deceit or contempt. Then...

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Letter to the editor: If all else fails, reparations

Posted by on Jul 9, 2019

If all else fails, reparations Abraham Lincoln’s soldiers in the Union army fought and died fighting the Democrat-run Confederate army of the South. After the shedding of much blood, the Union gave some slaves the North fought so valiantly to free, 40 acres of land so they would have a place to call their own. Those freed slaves were later given a mule to help farm their lands. Much like affirmative action, the true intent of reparations by the Democratic Party is to further divide our nation by causing animosity among Americans. Many think the Rockefellers backed equal rights for women to lift women up in a fight for their equality among their peers. I’m sorry to say, though it seemed an honorable cause, the true intent of the Rockefellers was to divide families so children would be indoctrinated in public schools in an effort to sabotage crucial family values. A second benefit for the Rockefellers was to have the ability to tax both members of the household. Though seemingly courageous and honorable deeds, much of our government’s legislation has a hidden agenda that mirrors the teachings of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” and would not be approved by “we the people” if we could see the whole picture. If legislators truly want to help African Americans, they will provide a hand up rather than a hand out to keep them down swimming in the belief they are lesser of a human being and eternal victims. Another agenda of reparations is for Democrats to buy African Americans votes so they can continue to swindle our nation while continuing to deceive through mainstream media control. I love all my fellow Americans and would like my African American brothers and sisters to remember the words of a truly great man, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “In spite of its glowing talk about the welfare of the masses, Communism’s methods and philosophy strip man of his dignity and worth, leaving him as little more than a depersonalized cog in the ever-turning wheel of the state.” My African American brothers and sisters, don’t be a depersonalized cog in the ever-turning wheel of the state, but rise up knowing you’re more than just a minority, you are God’s children and you are the forgers of your destinies to stand proud upon what you have dared to build for yourselves. Kary Eaton,...

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Trade dispute could affect supplies Washington industries need

Posted by on Jul 8, 2019

By Don C. Brunell Hopefully, when American and Chinese leaders meet to resolve trade differences, talks won’t break down and result in a new round of tariffs or product restrictions. It is in both nations’ interests for presidents Trump and Xi Jinping to find common ground. Our state has lots riding on those negotiations. The Brookings Institute points out that Washington would be “the worst off” of any state because 154,000 people are employed in industries that would be affected by new Chinese countermeasures. Especially troublesome is the Chinese indicated they may cut off exports of rare earth metals to our country. They are important because of their unique magnetic, luminescent, and electrochemical properties that make many technologies perform with reduced weight, emissions, and energy consumption. The U.S. Geological Survey adds: “These special metals provide greater efficiency, performance, miniaturization, speed, durability, and thermal stability.” While the 17 elements classified as “rare earth” are not commonly known, they are critical components in products ranging from smartphones and laptop computers to batteries, electric vehicle and jet engines, wind turbines, LEDs and major weapons systems. The U.S. currently imports 80 percent of its rare earth metals from China. China sits on 40 percent of the global deposits and currently produces 80 percent (120,000 metric tons) of the world’s supply. Australia is second, making 20,000 metric tons. Our government has a “Critical Minerals List” consisting of 35 metals considered to be vital to our national economy and security. It includes all rare earth minerals. “For 14 of the 35, the U.S. is completely import-dependent, and in 10 of those 14 cases, China is the U.S.’s largest supplier or the world’s largest producer,” Larry Reaugh, American Manganese CEO, wrote in a recent Economic Standard editorial. The U.S. has one rare earth mine, which was closed in 2015 after the owner went bankrupt. The Mountain Pass open pit is located in southeastern California, 60 miles southwest of Las Vegas. When operational, the ore was sent to China for processing. Here’s the dilemma. Mining and processing rare earth metals is messy, and most countries don’t want to deal with the associated pollutants. Nowhere is the contamination more evident than in China itself. The giant Mongolian open pit mine in Bayan Obo is located 75 miles north of Baotou, a city with 2.4 million people. The mine produces the bulk of the world’s rare earths and does so as a byproduct of iron ore mining. The ore is transported to Bautou’s outskirts for processing. The rare earth minerals are separated and purified using hydro-metallurgical techniques and acid baths. The spent processing water is pumped into a six-mile-long tailing pond. Irrespective of the results of the latest U.S.-China talks, our country is heavily dependent on foreign nations for metals we need to propel our high-tech economy and military. The dilemma is no one wants a Bayan Obo mine or Bautou processing plant in their neighborhood. Part of the solution is to recycle and recover as many components as possible and not just send our used batteries, cellphones and electronics to the scrap yard or trash. Regardless, still we need to find ways to mine and process critical mineral ores in ways that protect workers, neighbors and our environment. Don C. Brunell can be contacted at...

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Democratic candidates seem out of touch with America: Column

Posted by on Jul 6, 2019

By the time this hits the newspaper we will all have experienced the 4th of July holiday. How many people did you see who were “suffering” from the horrors of living in the greatest country in the world? How many do you see every day who don’t enjoy A-C, flipping a switch and having the lights come on, potable water from the tap when they turn the handle? To listen to the Democrats debate, things are just not working for the masses. Only the elite rich have those amenities. We already had the “free” cellphones program (I think the ones walking around with the latest i-phone scraped up the money for it themselves); now we are assured to have internet for all. However, this is the “progressive” Democratic Party, and you know what “progressive” means. It just keeps growing demands, health care for all, but at least they are up front this time that you won’t be able to keep yours. Free college for all, plus we will be picking up the tab for those who have already gone … being the generous people they are and progressive, we will be paying for an “electric” car for everyone in the near future, too, I bet. They rant and rave about how much the elites make, yet the college professors who make hundreds of thousands of dollars are never mentioned. Universities with billions of dollars in assets are just fine. They talk like the average minority person is still in bondage. They go on and on about the people who ran around in white robes who beat the crap out of people but don’t mention they were Democrats. Now we have those running around wearing black ski masks and black clothes beating the crap out of people, but they don’t mention they are partial to the Democrats. The average American is supposed to accept this. If we don’t, we are racist, homophobes, etc., it just goes on and on. The Constitution and Bill of Rights, and some religious beliefs thrown in, are what made this country what it is over the last 200-plus years. It has done some things wrong, but it has done a lot more right. We have some great organizations that constantly work to help those in need. New shoes, backpacks, help with electric bills, school supplies, etc. How much will there be to go around when the influx of illegal immigrants who are overrunning our borders get here? And they will. We will foot the bill to teach them English, and maybe not, depending on whether they want to acclimate. Maybe they will turn the whole country into Minnesota and Michigan. The Pledge of Allegiance seems to be a hot topic now. Statues are “offending” people and must be removed as they make some people uncomfortable. Remember the word “progressive”? Finally, I didn’t hear one Democratic candidate mention how they were going to make our country more prosperous. Not one said they were going to get the GDP above 4 percent, get unemployment under 3 percent, make more jobs for anyone who wants to work. No, they just want “equality.” They want everyone to be in the same sinkhole. Kathie King is a resident of...

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Letter to the editor: Thanks for helping with Senior Center event

Posted by on Jul 5, 2019

Thanks for helping with Senior Center event Thank you to everyone who supported the Quincy Senior Center’s Taco Feed and Dessert Auction on June 22 by: • coming to the event to have dinner and bid on the desserts; • making monetary donations; • helping with advertising; • providing bidding invoices for the auction; • allowing us to borrow tablecloths. The bakers were very busy making desserts for the auction. Without you, this event would not have happened. We had over 40 desserts. We are extremely grateful for the time and effort you took to make this fundraiser a success. Once again, thank you for your support. This is just the beginning. Watch for more fundraising events at the Quincy Senior Center in the future. Stacia L. Soukup, Director, Quincy Senior Center...

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Let’s make our national parks great again: Column

Posted by on Jul 4, 2019

By Rep. Dan Newhouse This Fourth of July, America will celebrate its 243rd birthday. Our country has come a long way since 1776, and there is still more progress to be made. Our independence and our patriotism are what set the United States apart from the rest of the world, and we have a lot to be thankful for. As we gather with our family and friends to celebrate our freedom, we should also celebrate some of our nation’s finest treasures: our national parks and public lands. Washington state is fortunate to be home to 15 National Park Service (NPS) parks, which generated $507.8 million in revenue and provided for over 6,500 jobs in 2017. These parks serve a wide range of people, from the hikers and campers of the North Cascades National Park in Central Washington to the historically curious visitors at the Manhattan Project National Historical Site in Tri-Cities. Unfortunately, the state of these parks and NPS sites has steadily declined. The sites are loved and well-used, but they are in desperate need of maintenance. Historically inconsistent funding and increasing visitor rates have resulted in crumbling infrastructure, inaccessible trails, and aging water systems. It is estimated that our parks have accumulated nearly $12 billion in maintenance and repairs that are necessary to keep them open and flourishing. Millions of people have enjoyed our national parks, and it is our duty to ensure the same for future generations. I cosponsored the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act, which will enable NPS and other federal agencies to address the growing maintenance backlog at our national parks. This important legislation, which was co-introduced by Reps. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), empowers NPS, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Indian Education to preserve our parks and our nation’s history. Not only do these public lands provide opportunities for recreation like backpacking, boating, and cross-country skiing, they also provide economic benefits to surrounding cities and towns, also known as “gateway communities.” Park visitors support small and locally owned businesses, and visitor spending supports job creation. We can generate revenue and attract people from all over the world if we maintain our national parks at a level we can be proud of. Our national parks greatly contribute to our history, our culture, and our economy in the United States and in Central Washington. I will continue to work to preserve our public lands, so our children and grandchildren can enjoy them just as we have. Addressing this maintenance backlog is a strong first step. I look forward to the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act coming to the House floor for a vote. I wish you and your family a very happy Independence Day, and I hope you have the chance to get out and explore one of the many beautiful national parks in the Pacific Northwest sometime soon. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., represents Washington’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. To send an email to Rep. Newhouse, go to...

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