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Letters to the editor for July 8, 2016

SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - A freight train donning placards indicating the tankers transported ethanol passes through Scappoose Thursday, June 30.

Railroad should better assess ethanol-by-rail for safety

Industry needs rail, but safety must be the top priority.

One hundred-plus tankers that carried ethanol to Port Westward made their way back through Columbia County towards Portland last Thursday. Many of the tank cars were old — not the safer, more recently built DOT111s.  

Global Partners LP, the transporting transloading provider, needs to  be directed to the upgraded DOT111 railcars for use to Port Westward, whether Global is shipping Bakken crude oil or ethanol.  

We insist.

I’ve been told, after years of asking, that Portland and Western Railroad have floated — as opposed to producing a document — that they carry $350 million in catastrophic insurance coverage. If true, this amount is still inadequate. The 2014 explosion of crude oil in the Quebec, Canada, town of Lac-Mégantic caused over $1 billion in damage, not counting the 47 dead.  

Rainier, Columbia City, St. Helens and Scappoose offer no less exposure to potential claims. Face amount of policy, if it even exists, should be produced and increased to $1 billion. Why should our county share the risk?

Wayne Mayo


Lead up to July 4 holiday remarkably tame

The editorial page of July 1 was an excellent one from the perspective of folks that actually care about the community (see “For the Fourth, consider fireworks' effect on neighbors, veterans,” A4). The message about not mistaking love of guns and bombs for patriotism was a very good one — in the past, the standard fare in my area for the week surrounding the Fourth of July has been to pump as many bullets into the forest as possible, and accompany them with whiskey bottles and drug paraphernalia. It has been common to use both dynamite and serious machine guns to express false support for America. (I am not just referring to assault rifles, which are ubiquitous — there are at least three people within two miles of our land that have 50-caliber heavy machine guns and typically use them in forestlands.)

As I write this on the Fourth of July, there will undoubtedly be some of the same this year, but the last few days have been remarkably sane — I think the Spotlight editorial may be one of the reasons. Recognition of the Fourth on just one day by people that do so with their guns seems to be a fair approach — I just make loud noises with my truck horn or guitar amplifier.

The previous Memorial Day letter you folks published deriding the usage of that sad day for “celebrations” also had an effect — the fellow that caused it has been shamed by his peer group. I talked with him about that.

There is no reason for Columbia County to be a lawless or stupid place; change is coming and already here, and either we change by our own intelligent volition or things will be changed without our input. Just look at Washington and Clackamas counties to see those results. I watched those areas become adjuncts of Portland, and it was not pretty.

Charles Bickford

Deer Island

Pollsters, elected officials are out of touch

A few days ago I was glued to the teley watching my English relatives vote on Brexit, staying in or getting out of the European Union; and, of course, the United States media immediately started comparing their election to our own presidential election. While there are some similarities, they were quickly dismissed by the folks in London.

Immigration problems there were created by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, Belgium, forcing countries in the EU to meet ever-changing quotas, telling them to expect 100,000 immigrants while shipping 350,000, for example. Immigration problems in the United States are American individuals, businesses and corporations giving jobs to undocumented residents, while the government does little or anything to come up with a solution, like a dependable, easy E-Verify program on a smart phone.

Countries in the EU are over regulated by those same unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, while in the United States, states are over-regulated by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., who are elected by the states themselves.Germany lost both the first and second World War, yet is at the center of EU control without firing a shot. Even though the U.S. won the Cold War with the Soviet Socialists Republic, after President Barack Obama was elected Ms. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was televised saying that the extreme left progressive liberal socialists had taken control of the Democratic Party, without firing a shot. One thing that Brexit has shown the world is that the pollsters and elected officials at all levels of government are out of touch with the regular working folk they have sworn to serve. And even, maybe, working folk are not buying the global progressive liberal socialist form of government.

Joseph Turner

Columbia City

Judging a judge on the Constitution

I recently read an article written by U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the 7th Circuit, Richard A Proser. In this article he is very articulate, but proves that not only does he have no working knowledge of the Constitution, he doesn’t care and seems to think no one else should, either. Here is part of the article: “And on another note about academia and practical law, I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation (across the centuries — well, just a little more than two centuries, and of course less for many of the amendments). Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century.”

Not only is he wrong, he is wrong in so many ways.

The Constitution is a compact, which is similar to a contract, but since it was between states, they called it a compact. On top of that, the Constitution was and still is the greatest human rights document ever to be produced. Under the Constitution, we became the greatest nation to ever exist and if the Oath Breakers would follow the Constitution per the oath they swore, there would be no doubt to anyone that we still are. 

If you don’t comprehend a Contract, or Compact, you go back to the meeting of the minds and see what they meant at the time, you don’t just say ... oh, I don’t like it because it checks my power, so it’s outdated. Using Prosers’ logic, freedom of speech could only be had with a quill pen. A deal is a deal and it must be followed; if you don’t like it, there is a way to change it, but it must be followed like every other contract.

By the way, virtue and morals don’t change, no matter how much time goes by, and neither do our rights or lust for liberty. There is nothing new under the sun, history repeats itself, and all of the usurpations we are seeing now have been done before, including judges who think

that they are smarter than our Founding Fathers.

The Constitution is not complicated, but you do have to read it and study it, the opposite of what the judge believes. The Constitution was written so that the voters would understand it, and it means what it says. Just listen to what the Supreme Court said in South Carolina vs. the United States (1905), page 199 U. S. 438. The Constitution is a written instrument, and, as such, its meaning does not alter. Its language, as a grant of power to the national government, is general and, as changes come in social and political life, it embraces all new conditions within the scope of the powers conferred. In interpreting the Constitution, recourse must be had to the common law and also to the position of the framers of the instrument and what they must have understood to be the meaning and scope of the grants of power contained therein must be considered.

So, we know that the federal government has powers that are few and defined; the Constitution means what it says, it means what our Founders meant at the time, and it embraces all new conditions within the powers that were loaned to the federal government. I see no problem ... unless you are a tyrant, or a power monger.

Judge Proser is part of the problem, like all of the other entitled elitists that think they know better how you should live, what you should think, etc. What really gets me is that this guy swore an oath to the very document he seems to despise and disgrace. According to Noah Webster’s dictionary of 1828; a violation of an Oath of Office is perjury and I believe that is reason for impeachment. I also believe, in my opinion, that a judge knowingly violating the Constitution is treason.

We now have a president who thinks he’s king, courts who interpret the Constitution by changing definitions of words to suit their ideology or by ignoring it altogether and writing legislation from the bench; a legislature that sits on their hands and allows both other branches to do as they please, while constantly attacking our rights, which they have no power to do; as apathy runs rampant through the land. Our poor children.

Chris Brumbles

Columbia County coordinator

Oath Keepers and OFF