Letters to the editor
Call Congress; don't let Muslim ban stand
The Muslim ban does nothing to make our country safer — instead, it targets vulnerable populations to fulfill bigoted and unconstitutional campaign promises to discriminate based on religion. By allowing even part of this ban to stand, the Supreme Court is endorsing its basic premise, which is based solely on bigotry and intolerance toward Muslims.
Congress needs to step in and ensure that no part of this ban is allowed to stand, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides. The United States is a country that is supposed to stand for freedom and opportunity. We cannot let fear and hatred be used as excuses to abandon men, women and children to dangerous and even deadly circumstances. We must come together and tell our Congressional representatives that this order must be blocked once and for all.
Health Plan technology still isn't helping people
The deadline was June 30 to renew for coverage via Oregon Health Plan and those of U.S. still shut out of the allegedly revived sustainable job market desperately need this coverage.
After the tax-payer fortune transferred to Oracle LLP for a non-functioning health care enrollment website and our Gov. Brown and Attorney Gen. Rosenblum settling with Oracle by binding the state to only Oracle services and support for even more years, here is what the Oregon Health Plan website for renewing and registration said all week-end and on Monday morning:
"The Applicant Portal is currently unavailable due to system maintenance. Please check back soon to complete your application. We apologize for the inconvenience. Or call Monday through Friday 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. 1-800-699-9075."
Been on Muzak hold going on second hour this bright early Monday morning trying to meet renewal deadline. No coverage of this on any corporate-captured news or views broadcasts.
(Editor's note: Letter submitted on June 26)
State's 'sanctuary' vote puts politics above safety
The Oregon House just passed HB 3464, a law that attempts to subvert federal law. The law prohibits public employees from sharing information about those in the country illegally with federal immigration authorities.
The Oregon Senate will pass it as well, because Oregon is ruled by one-party. The supremacy of the U.S. government in defining and enforcing immigration law is not a matter of opinion. Every legislator voting for HB 3464 is abetting a crime against this country in general and their constituents in particular. They are also violating their oath of office, Section 31 of the OR Constitution, by which they swear to support the US Constitution.
One has to wonder how well they've thought this through. What will the consequence be for a public employee who decides to put country above state?
(Editor's note: House Bill 3464 was the topic of a work session in the Senate on Monday. It passed 3-2 out of Senate Rules and heads to the Senate Floor, with a "do pass" recommendation. The letter was written before these actions.)
Government must prioritize fight against HIV/AIDS
Recently, six expert members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS announced their resignation in an article that took the president to task on the administration's counterproductive approach to the fight against HIV/AIDS. "The Administration has no strategy to address the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and — most concerning — pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease."
It was not too long ago that an HIV/AIDS diagnosis put a life on a fast-running clock. However, advancements in medicines/treatments and programs dedicated to making those treatments available have caused HIV/AIDS death rates to fall by almost 80 percent since 1995.
These resignations are just the latest sign of an administration that is refusing to build upon the progress of advocates and policymakers who have been on the front lines in this public health crisis. You need look no further than the President's proposed budget where drastic cuts to Medicaid and other critical HIV/AIDS programs threaten to rollback progress being made against the disease today.
AIDS United said, "The president's budget would turn back the clock for years and years on progress to end the HIV epidemic. We call on Congress to keep the country moving forward."
Every Oregonian should echo that call and extend it beyond Congress as a challenge to elected officials at every level. Together we must support policies that lead to further medical innovations that will improve/save lives and we must ensure access to those innovative medical treatments especially for those under served populations where the disease is most prevalent. If leadership is absent from the White House, that just means that we must collectively fight all the harder. The stakes are simply too high not to.