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Letters to the Editor, June 23

The con is on

Corporate interests are running ads claiming Greg Walden is a “Champion of Health Care Innovation,” supposedly protecting seniors. As the No. 1 recipient of corporate health care dollars, he’s actually protecting Pharma and big medicine, not seniors.

His ads say he was awarded for “repealing IPAB to protect seniors.” This Independent Patient Advisory Board was supposed to find ways to control Medicare cost increases — without impacting patients. Repealing it protects ever-escalating corporate profits, not seniors.

The ads say he was awarded for “ensuring access to essential Medicare Part B coverage.” What he actually ensured was eliminating a program which was supposed to “ either reduce spending without reducing the quality of care or improve the quality of care without increasing spending to achieve the triple aim of better health, better care, and lower cost.”

Walden’s efforts to undermine Medicare, Medicaid and health care reforms deserve condemnation, not awards.

Gretchen Ousterhout Hunter

Eagle Point

Trump Human Rights Doctrine

How far Republicans have fallen:

Ronald Reagan: “Respect for human rights is not social work; it is not merely an act of compassion. It is the first obligation of government and the source of its legitimacy.”

Donald Trump (in response to a question about Kim Jong-Un’s oppression of his people): “Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things.”

Incredibly, Trump went on to reveal his admiration for the North Korean dictator:

“Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, with tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have. If you can do that at 27 years old. I mean, that’s one in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy, he’s a great negotiator. But I think we understand each other.”

The Trump Human Rights Doctrine: Any form of atrocity is excusable, because there are other examples of evil in the world.

Under this doctrine, the cruelty and inhumanity of separating young children from their parents became acceptable as a deterrent to illegal immigration. Shame on anyone who finds this acceptable.

Claude Aron


The richest man in the world

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and the richest man in the world, didn’t like it when the city of Seattle asked him to pay a tax to help the homeless. But with a little bullying and intimidation he got the city to back down. I guess he couldn’t spare any loose change.

Ironic that he made his money with the internet, which got its start with government-funded, i.e., taxpayer, dollars. In other words, with dollars from “we the people”. Some of whom now need a little help. C’mon Jeff, richest man in the world, how much money do you need?

I guess Seattle could raise the money by taxing the rest of us, i.e., “we the people,” more. It could even tax us so much that we can’t afford our homes or apartments anymore, thereby creating more homeless people. If that’s not a definition of insanity, I don’t know what is.

Barry Trowbridge


A victim culture?

American society is experiencing a major cultural shift. Social scientists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning call it “The Rise of Victimhood Culture” — the title of their new book. This new moral framework elevates “marginalized” people to a position of privilege and high status. Group identity, equity and diversity are its key ideas.

The authors note this is at odds with traditional American life, which is framed by ideas about individual rights, equal opportunity and personal dignity. Conflict between these two different ways of seeing the world creates polarization in our communities. Accusations about “microaggressions,” “hate speech,” “cultural appropriation,” and “white privilege” are made in earnest — concepts that most people don’t understand and many find demonstrably unfounded.

What do you think?

Does American culture need a major shift? Should we focus on “diversity,” “equity” and “victim” status? Is this an effective way to fight racism and promote inclusion? Or is it getting in the way?

Join us for an Independence Day edition of The Weekly Talk at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 1, at the Medford Library to explore “victim culture.” We’ll discover its features and consider its effectiveness at protecting the vulnerable.

Information: TheWeeklyTALK.com.

Rob Schlapfer


Another take on tax

I am a Jacksonville resident with no vested interest in any business directly affected by the proposed tax. The recent guest opinion on June 17 has proven a previous letter writer to be correct: The proponents of the meals tax want nothing more than to have non-residents pay the cost of essential services — in this case police protection — that almost entirely benefit residents.

By bringing up Ashland’s meals tax benefiting Lithia Park, the author of the column gives an example of when such a tax would be appropriate: when it is used to provide or enhance non-essential services that provide substantial benefit to visitors.

I can understand that some folks are not happy having services paid through a utility surcharge. However, ample opportunity was provided for public input prior to adoption of the surcharge and very few comments were received. It appears that the few vocal opponents of the surcharge have taken it upon themselves to push forward this grossly unfair funding mechanism.

Should the meals tax initiative get on the ballot, and pass in the fall election, it will be a black eye for Jacksonville as a whole, and should be opposed by all residents.

Tom Pratum


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