What topic needs to be discussed most in the upcoming Governor's race?
Second Amendment
Transportation
Education
Abortion/life issues
COVID response
Northwest Observer
Subscribe for Free Email Updates
Name:
Email:
Search Articles
       
Tone Deaf: Forced Vaccinations
Parents should be able to choose the health care for their children

Editor's note: this is the seventh of a multi-part series recounting how the party in power is thwarting the will of the people. There is also a downloadable companion brochure

Oregon’s leadership wanted to end all exemptions to vaccinations other than very narrowly defined and nearly impossible-to-get medical exemptions. Religious and Slavic communities saw it as a replay of the controls and persecution they escaped.

Legislative Fiscal Office said that “House Bill 3063 removes the ability of a parent to decline required immunizations against restrictable diseases as a condition of a child attending any Oregon school or children’s facility for reasons other than an indicated medical diagnosis.”

Testimony on Christian reasons to avoid vaccinations undersigned by 189 religious objectors gave details on the moral issue of cell lines taken from aborted babies: “Some of the most common vaccines are only licensed in America in forms that include live attenuated viruses cultured in aborted fetal cell lines. At least eighty abortions, likely more, took place in order to create simply that one vaccine.”

There are inherent dangers for certain children. A child today is to receive many times the doses recommended just two generations ago. Testing of some vaccines has been substandard, some children have been harmed and the pharmaceutical companies are shielded from liability. Parents shoulder the risk and should be able to choose the health care for their children.

A vaccine is in the works for the COVID-19 virus, which is to be optional according to President Trump. In Oregon, Democrats still want to add vaccinations as a mandate -- without exemptions -- for every child to attend school. They want complete medical control including single-payer healthcare. Is one more vaccine added to the 72 already required such a big deal?. The only reassurance to keep vaccinations as an opt-out is a change in the majority party.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-22 13:56:14Last Update: 2020-08-08 14:45:59



Lawmaker Asks for Flags to be Lowered
Requests a tribute to fallen marines from Oregon

Representative Bill Post (R-Keizer) formally requested that Governor Kate Brown order all flags in Oregon be lowered to half-staff in honor of two Oregon Marines who were among nine servicemen who lost their lives in an accident near San Clemente Island earlier this month. He as released the following statement:

“Private First Class Jack Ryan Ostrovsky from Bend, and Lance Corporal Chase D. Sweetwood of Portland, deserve our honor and gratitude. These two young men gave their lives in service to our country, and Oregon must not forget the sacrifice they made. I have asked the Governor to do the least she can do, and order all flags lowered to half-staff in their memory. My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of these two young men.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-22 10:47:11



Recall Sheets Must Be Numbered Sequentially
This is not a new rule. It has been in place for years.

As the Oregon Republican Party's recall attempt against Governor Kate Brown nears the end of the signature gathering process, supporters are claiming that the Secretary of State Elections Division is changing the rules on numbering the sheets. For example, this post has been circulating on social media:

The Elections Division has just notified us they are changing the rules of the game at the 11th hour. As one example, they are requiring us to spend many, many hours reorganizing and renumbering the petitions, when such action is neither necessary or required by law...

We believe these last minute changes are meant to burden us with frivolous tasks and avoid accountability if they decide to reject our petition as inadequate.


However, the State Initiative and Referendum Manual requires that “Chief petitioners or authorized agents number each signature sheet sequentially in the space provided.”



The signature validation process used by the Secretary of State uses sampling, which depends on referencing pages by sheet number. That's why it's necessary that the pages be numbered sequentially. The Oregon Republican Party pre-numbered the sheets and now is having to go back and sequentially number them.

This is not a new rule. The current State Initiative and Referendum Manual was adopted by administrative rule in March of 2020 and the section on numbering the sheets sequentially is not new.

The deadline to sign the recall is fast approaching. You can find out more by going to www.KateBrownRecall.org


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-22 08:29:24Last Update: 2020-08-22 10:47:11



Governor Fails to Apply for Fed Money
Leaves $300 grant on the table

Governor Brown is so busy trying to outwit President Trump, she is ignoring his executive order to made available an additional $300 dollar a week grant program for unemployed families.

Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) calls on the Governor and Democrat super-majority to direct the Oregon Employment Department to apply for the additional federal $300 dollar a week Unemployment Grant Program that is available. “Oregon families continue to struggle to pay for basic needs, as Governor Brown’s Executive Orders in response to COVID have crippled Oregon’s economy and have left hundreds of thousands of Oregonians unemployed,” said Rep. Brock Smith. “Although the Legislature has taken steps to increase the UI benefits for Oregonians, the failure of the Governor and super-majority to direct the Employment Department to apply for the available additional federal grants to assist these same struggling working families is deplorable,” he said. “The Oregonian recently reported, ‘Oregon could also apply for the $300 weekly grant, but opt not to pay the extra $100 boost,’ and I call on the Governor to forgo the additional $100 from the state and immediately act on the additional federal benefits to get them in the hands of Oregonians as soon as possible.”

As the Governor rolls back on further opening up the state by Executive Order 20-30, she extends her powers under a state of emergency, and she rolls back support. The federal CARES Act of $600 weekly bonus to unemployment expired the end of July, putting families in a dire situation. Instead of passing through a $300 extension, she sits on it.

Instead of passing on $300 weekly for all unemployed, The Governor chooses to pay out a $500 one-time payment to lower income people. Speaker Tina Kotek said. “We have to get more money to help people.” What is she waiting for? Playing games with the President’s Executive Order does nothing to boost the economy, because families that had a modest income don’t qualify. Instead it depresses the economy by allowing those refusing to return to work another month. Restaurant owners are begging their employees to come back to work – this will not help them.

Governor Brown extended Executive Order 20-06 and 20-15 on abnormal market disruption regarding price gouging. However, by refusing to pass along the $300 extension to the unemployed, she is found guilty of her own order gouging people in need of relief.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-22 08:03:15Last Update: 2020-08-22 08:29:24



Opinion: Why I Empathize with the Rioters
Against whom are our protestors really protesting ?

In Oregon today, our Political Establishment is trapped in an unresolvable dilemma: The status quo which has given them absolute control over Oregon Government can survive only so long as the resentments of those who are the source of that power are inflamed without boiling over.

All persons of good will are appalled by what appears to have been the unlawful use of deadly force against Mr. George Floyd, as well as so many other catastrophic deaths at the hands of our police. I certainly am.

But against whom are our protestors really protesting and our rioters really rioting?

The Oregon Democratic Party has dominated Oregon for decades. In those decades, Oregon Democrats keep promising social justice…yet, according to a November 25, 2019 Oregonian article, a black Oregonian is 830% more likely to be in jail than a white one. Worse than Mississippi. Worse than Alabama. Worse than Louisiana. In fact, worse than anywhere else in America.

No reasonable Oregonian is against peaceful protestors exercising their inalienable right to demand positive change. But centuries of experience have taught us that rage rarely leads there. And, as we see nightly, the rioters are enraged.

The rioters are losers and malcontents, which is why it isn’t easy for me to admit...They’re right.

The rioters grasp a truth that those protesting peacefully shy away from: Those in power -- “Progressive” Democrats who ritually say all of the right things -- never had any intention of delivering on any of their promises.

Ted Wheeler believes in...Ted Wheeler. Those who elevated him are counting on that.

You don’t get the support of the racketeers who wield actual power in Oregon Government by rocking the boat. And, like the Mafia in New York City in the 1980s, our racketeers intend to keep laughing all the way to the bank. Forever.

Oregonians aren’t idiots. We know that the raging torrents threaten to carry us away, but most would rather drown on the floundering horse we’re on than jump -- mid-stream -- onto a piebald nag that’s already drowned.

I hate to burst your bubble, but very few of the people I’ve met in politics on either side are inherently honest or wise. Like children, most politicians need strictly enforced boundaries.

Which brings us to the Oregon Attorney General, the one person who should be keeping the politicians and the rioters honest and on side. (And keeping the police off the peaceful protestors).

Tragically, our incumbent Attorney General wasn’t put into that job by John Kitzhaber because of her willingness to rock the boat. Ellen’s re-election slogan is, “I’ve done nothing, and it’s not working!”

Do I sympathize with the anger and resentment of the scruffy, ill-informed, easily-manipulated adolescents who are undermining our protests?

Sympathize? No. As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., teaches us, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.” But I do empathize. Because I understand what it feels like to be used by cynical politicians who will promise you anything to preserve their own power.

It hurts.

Dan Crowe is from Mount Angel. He was the 2016 Republican candidate for Attorney General.


--Dan Crowe

Post Date: 2020-08-21 19:30:34Last Update: 2020-08-17 20:23:39



Vote By Mail in Oregon
Most voters vote at a ballot collection box, not by mail

Pundits have been busy alternately hounding and reporting the results of said hounding of the United States Postal Service. Oregon has had vote by mail for a couple of decades now and we're pretty much used to the timelines and deadlines, so we know that it's not going to put any undue stress on the postal service and won't impact elections in Oregon -- at least any more than any other election.

In 2019, the Oregon Legislature did pass a law that provides for free postage on election ballot returns, so that is one thing that may impact elections and returns. Oregonians can still return their ballots via mail or by dropping them off at a ballot collection site.

Oregon Secretary of State Director of Elections Steve Trout was asked about how ballots are returned and said, "For the past few election cycles it has been 60% Dropbox and 40% through the mail. For this year's May primary it changed to 50/50. We are not sure if that was due to COVID or prepaid postage but probably a little of both."

State Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath County) said, “One of the good things about Oregon’s Vote By Mail is you don’t have use the postal service. Voters can personally drop off their ballots at an official Drop Box up until 8pm on Election Night. If the USPS shut down tomorrow, Oregon’s voting system wouldn’t miss a beat.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-21 14:25:16Last Update: 2020-08-21 21:03:15



Oregon Agriculture Department Rebranded
$54,000 price tag for new logo, brand

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is proud to announce a new look for the department. The new brand is the result of a redesign effort intended to mirror the growth and transformation of ODA. The previous logo, created more than 30 years ago, is not representative of the many services ODA provides nor does it reflect the department’s updated strategic plan, mission, and vision.

The new logo, colors, and tagline represent agriculture throughout the state of Oregon and ODA’s commitment to the industry. The raising yellow sun represents the vast livestock lands in eastern Oregon, fields of wheat, and optimism as we move into the future. The green leaves illustrate Oregon’s fertile valleys, diversity of crops, growth, and renewal. And blue is tied to a continuous cycle of transformation, Oregon’s oceans, rivers, rain, and commercial fishing. The elements form an “O” for Oregon symbolizing wholeness and timelessness. The tagline reinforces ODA’s dedication to protecting, promoting, and working to help Oregon agriculture, businesses, and communities prosper—today and tomorrow.

ODA began the process of updating its brand in the fall of 2019. The previous logo was nearly 30 years old. The department is thankful for the time stakeholders and employees dedicated to helping create the new brand which represents all of ODA’s work. While the work was completed in March 2020, the release was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recognition of the state’s budget constraints, ODA is focused first on updating its digital presence with minimal or no cost. The department will wait to order new letterhead, business cards, and other collateral until we run out of the old. As a result, the public may see a bit of the old logo along with the new for some time as the department makes this transition.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-21 14:15:57Last Update: 2020-08-21 14:25:16



I Feel Your Pain
“I hate this pandemic”

The Governor held a press conference today where she gave lip service to the social and economic hardships we're facing because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Ultimately, she thinks that these hardships are a fair exchange for the restrictions she thinks are necessary to combat an outbreak that has killed 400 in a state with 4 million.

State Senator Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis) is having a hard time because of these hardships. Though she doesn't give a great deal of detail -- which is fine -- she's entitled to some privacy, even as an elected official -- her public communications can't help but make a feeling person empathize. Maybe the Governor needs to have a conversation with Senator Gelser. Both Brown and Gelser draw secure paychecks that can't be touched by the economic downturn, unlike many, many other Oregonians.


Anyone familiar with Senator Gelser and her work, knows that she's not a weak person and she doesn't get beat down easily. But if the political elites are starting to feel the pain, maybe they could extrapolate that to the rest of us and give a little bit as far as opening the state goes. If Senator Gelser is crying out on social media, surely the rest of Oregon is feeling the hurt.

We wish the Senator the best.

--Editor

Post Date: 2020-08-21 13:43:31Last Update: 2020-08-21 14:07:27



Tone Deaf: They Want Your Guns
What part of “shall not be infringed” do you not understand?

Editor's note: this is the sixth of a multi-part series recounting how the party in power is thwarting the will of the people. There is also a downloadable companion brochure

The Second Amendment prevents the government from infringing on U.S. citizens' inalienable right to self-defense. The right to bear arms “shall not be infringed” was ratified in 1791. The controversy comes from fear and that many people believe it to be extremely dangerous enabling mass shootings. When gun restrictions failed at the national level in 2013, the gun prohibitionists coordinated and ramped up events at the state level in many states and Oregon was no exception. Oregon may have been a target because we have been a solid gun-rights state.

The approach has been to nibble at the edges and claim it is not really infringement. Gun rights are something people have beyond the government and the government is there to protect - similar to freedoms of speech and religion.

Every session more gun control bills are introduced, no matter how many have passed before and regardless of the lack of evidence that any previous law affected any crime rate. In the wake of Portland riots, Portland reports a 327% increase in arson based on June’s report compared to a year ago, a 63% increase in vandalism, and 46% increase in burglary. Even before the riots, Oregon State Police conducted 40,000 background checks in March, nearly doubled from 2018 and 2019. What probably disturbs lawmakers is that in the U.S. only 6,058,390 guns are registered out of 393 million owned. These were broken down by state with Oregon ranking 33rd having 74,722 registered guns in 2019. That’s an estimated 40,500 unregister guns in Oregon that are targets for legislation.

Universal background checks were the Holy Grail, and that passed in Oregon in 2014 despite overwhelming opposition. A “Red flag law” passed in 2017, allowing reporting of dangerous gun owners, again under massive opposition and in an undercover move they held a hearing and committee vote on short notice on Monday July 3, when everyone was away for the weekend and couldn’t show opposition.

Now Democrats propose to end statewide preemption, which would allow local restrictions and thus make it difficult or impossible to know if you conceal carry legally. Citizens and law enforcement overwhelmingly opposed all of these, supporting Second Amendment rights. Cities and counties are already free to limit public possession of loaded firearms by individuals who do not have an Oregon Concealed Handgun License, and the cities of Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, Oregon City, Salem, and Independence, as well as Multnomah County have banned loaded firearms in all public places for those without a license.

Oregon gun laws focus on the sale and background checks of those purchasing through legal means, and requires a concealed carry permit if not carrying openly. A gun owner can be held liable in civil court if a firearm injury is caused by negligence, and can be held responsible for damages in a wrongful death claim if the firearm is used to kill someone. I n 2011, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that public universities cannot prohibit firearms on their grounds; however, they may prohibit them inside buildings.

There were four initiatives that failed to gather enough signatures this year, but set the stage for the 2021 legislature.

Does expanding regulations on gun controls really help in reducing gun related crimes? Think about this, “There is no First Amendment without a Second Amendment.”


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-08-21 13:03:13Last Update: 2020-08-08 16:16:58



Portland is Famous. Even in Pennsylvania.
Candidate’s message in the keystone state: “Good luck, Portland”

It's not surprising that “law-and-order” politicians are using the nightly riots in Portland as a backdrop for their messaging, but from 3,000 miles away in NE Pennsylvania? That's exactly the strategy of Jim Bognet, a candidate for Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District -- a clear signal that even in a swing state like Pennsylvania, Portland's lack of attention to street violence.

Of course, locals like Alek Skarlatos, running in Oregon's 4th Congressional district against Peter DeFazio, have capitalized on the same message.



Calls to “defund the police” have been backed away from by many over-zealous liberal politicians, fearful that such a stance may not serve them well in the upcoming election. Oregon and Oregon's largest city, Portland, have long been a destination based on the perception of a progressive and vital culture. What we're leaving people with is an image of a dumpster fire.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-21 12:33:28Last Update: 2020-08-21 12:51:40



Brown Calls for Local Enforcement to “Step Up”
Despite “one of the lowest COVID-19 mortality rates”

“Today, Oregon has one of the lowest COVID-19 mortality rates in the entire country,” was announced by Governor Brown in a press conference today, perhaps signaling the relaxing of shutdown regulations on society, education and commerce. Seated a little more than six feet away was Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen, in front of a graph entitled “Positive case counts have stabilized,” again, maybe providing some hope for those who want to open up the state. It was not to be.

Instead, the Governor doubled down on shutdowns.

“Our infection rate is still too high to get all of our kids safely back into the classrooms in most of our schools this fall. To keep students, teachers and staff safe in our schools across the state we need to see a much more rapid decline in case numbers and we need to see it quickly.

“There are basically two ways to do this.

“One option, local community leaders county officials and businesses and all Oregonians can step their efforts to implement and enforce out existing guidelines: Face coverings, physical distancing, sanitation, contact tracing and compliance with isolation and quarantine.

“The other option: We can implement further business restrictions and travel restrictions fro people entering Oregon or returning from trips outside the state.”


In what many may regard as a thinly veiled threat, the Governor seems to be directing local enforcement to crackdown, lest she implement further business restrictions and the constitutionally dubious step of travel restrictions.

She concluded her remarks by further cheerleading local enforcement:

Local officials need to get creative about enforcing rules against large social gatherings, big house parties, pool parties, and so forth. Too many cases over this summer have come from these informal social get-togethers. I'm here to deliver a message to local elected officials, local community leaders and business leaders and to every single Oregonian. Now is the time to step up even further.


As COVID-19 outbreak statistics improve, certain local governments are starting to go rogue and the Governor may be fighting to keep the genie in the bottle.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-08-21 11:33:05



Kate Brown Wants to Raise Tobacco Prices
Also wants special licensing required to sell

Governor Kate Brown today received recommendations from the Vaping Public Health Work Group to address the epidemic of vaping-related illness and youth vaping in Oregon. According to the Oregon Health Authority, youth e-cigarette use jumped 80 percent between 2017 and 2019.

The work group’s membership includes doctors and experts in pulmonology, pediatrics, and public health, as well as state legislators and state agency representatives. Over the course of the last eight months, they met to discuss the health risks of vaping and making public policy recommendations for long-term solutions.

“In the middle of a worldwide pandemic, it might be easy to forget that less than a year ago, we faced a nationwide epidemic of vaping-related illness,” said Governor Brown. “Now, though, as we are facing the spread of a disease that attacks our respiratory systems, it’s even more important that we take steps to protect the health and safety of Oregon’s youth, who have been using vaping products at increasingly high rates.”

“I would like to thank the members of this work group for continuing this important work even as many of them were also on the front lines responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on these recommendations, we can take long-term steps to ensure that we do not see another outbreak of vaping-related illnesses and deaths, as we did last summer.”

Among the health experts on the Vaping Public Health Work Group is Dr. Brian Druker of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, a pioneer in the field of precision medicine whose research has helped to revolutionize cancer treatment. Dr. Mary McKenzie, the Director of Pulmonology at Legacy Health, also brought her direct experience working with patients with vaping-related lung injuries to the panel.

The recommendations of the Vaping Public Health Work Group include:

Banning the use of flavored e-cigarettes and other flavored vaping tobacco products

Flavored products disproportionately target Oregon youth, young adults, and communities of color. Banning these products is an evidenced-based approach to prevent Oregonians from becoming addicted at a young age. Flavored products are market-entry products, with 75% of Oregon youth choosing flavored products, compared to only 18% of adults over the age of 25. For decades, the tobacco industry has also targeted people with low incomes and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities with marketing campaigns, leading to harmful health impacts for those communities.

Banning harmful additives, requiring ingredient disclosure for cannabis vaping products, and establishing standards for documentation and verification

Because cannabis is a new industry, additional regulations are needed to ban harmful additives, such as vitamin E acetate, which were strongly linked to the outbreak of vaping-related illness last summer. Many illnesses were linked to products purchased at licensed retailers. Other additives may also be harmful. Ingredient disclosure will help consumers and regulators verify what additives are in cannabis vaping products. In addition, there are not yet established federal or state safety standards for the safety of additives when combusted or vaporized.

Increasing the price of tobacco and nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, through tax and non-tax approaches

As youth have less spending money than adults, they are generally price-sensitive consumers. Raising the price of tobacco products has shown to be the most effective way to reduce youth use, reducing overall tobacco-related health care costs and deaths. In general, For every 10% increase in the price of e-cigarettes, use can drop by as much as 20%, depending upon the type of e-cigarette. E-cigarettes and other inhalant delivery systems are not currently taxed in Oregon.

Banning online and phone sales of e-cigarettes and other vaping products

Requiring in-person sales of vaping products will help prevent the sale of vaping products to underage Oregonians. While state and federal law prevent the online sale of cigarettes, there is no federal law prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes and other inhalant delivery systems.

Tobacco retail licensing

Only eight states, including Oregon, do not have a tobacco retail licensing system. Licensure would create a mechanism to help ensure that tobacco laws can be enforced effectively, including laws prohibiting the sale of vaping products to underage Oregonians. Licensure fees would help to cover the costs of vaping-awareness education and enforcement.

CBD device regulations

The CBD market is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the cannabis industry. Because they do not contain THC, CBD vaping products are not subject to the same regulations as other cannabis vaping products. As such, no regulations currently prevent youth access to these products.

Audit testing of cannabis products

A state lab to conduct audit testing of marijuana products would help to prevent the sale of prohibited substances and verify ingredients and additives. Recognizing that a state lab would be a significant expenditure, the work group recommends that the state utilize private, licensed labs to conduct audit testing in the near term.

Cessation supports

Nicotine is a powerfully-addictive drug, and making cessation supports like medications and counseling available through health care providers and insurers would remove barriers to patients receiving the help and support they need to quit.

Public relations campaign

Public education efforts have helped to decrease youth smoking and smoking rates generally in the United States, and would also be effective to decrease youth vaping rates. This would save future health care costs over the long term.


--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-08-20 22:35:20Last Update: 2020-08-21 19:12:01



Read More Articles