Constitution?
What I want to know is: When did they suspend the Constitution? The Eighth Amendment forbids torture.
 
Babies, toddlers, preschoolers and small children are being imprisoned in cages, being made to sleep in cold rooms on cement floors with tin foil blankets. The lights are on 24/7.
 
No showers, no clean clothes, for weeks on end. No soap or toothbrushes. Sick babies and toddlers with no one except small children taking care of them. Newborn premie infants in filthy conditions without even a blanket, wrapped in a dirty sweatshirt. Not enough food or water. No fruits or vegetables or milk for weeks on end.
 
This is torture!
 
What happened to “Liberty and Justice for All”? What happened to “No one is above the law”? That’s what is supposed to make our democracy different and better than all other forms of government.
 
Our Declaration of Independence  “holds these truths to be self-evident ...”
The Constitution cannot defend itself!
 
I want to know, from our Congressional representative, Greg Walden: What are you doing to uphold the Constitution that you swore to defend?
 
Kathy Mariah Carlson
Hood River
 
Censure Trump
An open letter to Congressman Greg Walden:
 
It is important that you and all Americans read the president’s tweets telling four congresswomen to go back to the countries they came from. The tweets crossed a line (in fact, multiple lines) that should trigger our collective outrage — regardless of political affiliation.
 
The congresswomen’s politics are generally left of my own thinking, but that is entirely irrelevant: I don’t need to agree with them to strongly defend their right (in fact, their obligation as elected officers) to have and express political positions. As I hope you agree, a president should know and honor this.
 
The four congresswomen are — by definition — American citizens. That one is a naturalized citizen does not matter. Except on the eligibility for president, place of birth does not restrict our citizen’s rights. As I hope you agree, a president should know and honor this.
 
Of the three congresswomen born in America, one had immigrant parents — much like the president.
 
What makes him superior? Being male? Being white? His parents being European? His religion? We live in 2019! Discrimination based on these (and other) factors is prohibited by law. As I hope you agree, the president should know and honor this.
 
The tweets were sent in an weekend when highly publicized ICE raids were scheduled, targeting illegal immigrants. The raids are viewed by many as political messaging more than law enforcement. The joint message of raids and these specific tweets can be terrifying for migrants (whether or not illegal) and non-whites in general.
 
The message will likely consolidate the support of the president among white supremacists. As I hope you agree, the president should know this, and be ashamed by it.
 
I ask that you acknowledge, in the strongest terms, that the president crossed uncrossable lines. That you ask the president to apologize to your four colleagues, and, in fact, to Congress as a co-equal branch of government. And that you work, within your party and across the aisle, to introduce a motion of censure to the president.
 
Antonio Baptista
Mt. Hood-Parkdale
 
Depose Trump
Trump’s assaults against Latin American immigrants has a lot in common with Hitler’s early assaults against Jews. His programs are racist and don’t seem to apply to white Canadians, Britons or Europeans.
 
Before Trump steps up his racist assaults on Hispanics and camouflages his domestic assaults by provoking a war with a Middle East country, he should be impeached and deposed.
 
Stephen M. Burdick
Hood River
 
Thanks, Greg
I want to thank Greg Walden for coming to Cascade Locks for a town hall on July 3. It was an honor for the community to be able to host this event. We had an opportunity to hear directly from our congressman about what he is working on in D.C. and to be able to share our needs with him.
 
Greg has been a good friend to our community and has been very responsive to our needs over the years he’s been in office. Whenever the port has sent a team to D.C. to lobby Capitol Hill, Greg and his staff have always made time for us and helped to make sure that our visits are successful. They listened to our needs, and responded with appropriate support in economic development, transportation, and other issues. Currently, Greg and his team are collaborating with Congressman DeFazio’s office on legislation that will make possible a bicycle and pedestrian lane addition to the Bridge of the Gods and connecting the Pacific Crest Trail across the river.
 
I know I speak for many in Cascade Locks when I say we appreciate Greg Walden’s service to our community and the entire Gorge region.
 
Jess Groves, president
Port of Cascade Locks
 
Fireworks accolades
The July 4 Fireworks show on the Hood River waterfront was, as usual, spectacular. Deserved thanks to the Hood River Lions Club for staging this celebration of community and national pride safely and well.
 
Others deserve our appreciation. Anyone monitoring a radio scanner knows the effective response by city police, county sheriff and the 911 Operations Center throughout a long day, responding to all manner of public safety issues. Port crews prepare the grounds, erect barricades, install signage, clean restrooms, empty trash receptacles, direct traffic and carry out extensive clean-up afterwards. This year, clean-up included two port-a-potties blown apart by explosives, a dismaying act of vandalism.
 
Several agencies provide outsize contributions that make the Fourth of July celebration safe and enjoyable. Many individuals give up that day with friends and family so that we can enjoy time with ours. These contributions also deserve this community’s thanks and appreciation.
 
Michael McElwee,
executive director
Port of Hood River
 
Immigration
I am aghast at both the Trump administration’s inhumane treatment of immigrants at the border, and at Congress providing $4.6 billion to Trump in new legislation last month to further fund it.
 
Mr. Walden stated repeatedly at his recent town hall in Cascade Locks that he is opposed to this cruelty at the border. That’s very nice. But for that sentiment to have any credibility and functionality at all, Walden needs to become a relentless, outspoken critic of these human rights violations and the people behind it. Continuing to be silent on the sidelines while children are being emotionally traumatized and scarred for life is the most despicable complicity.
 
I’m hoping that Mr. Walden will further embody his nice sentiment by working for a budget that contains no additional funding for DHS and that provides humanitarian aid for those suffering at the hands of ICE/CBP. Sending more of our tax money to private prison corporations to expand this cruel treatment of our immigrants’ brothers and sisters is not an acceptable answer.
 
Beth Flake
Hood River
 
Fascism warning signs
1. Powerful and continuing nationalism — Flags on everything; the demonization of those who don’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance; Trump hugging the flag; and of course, “make America great again.”
 
2. Disdain for human rights — Concentration camps on our southern border; children in cages, who are being sexually abused by government employees who joke about it on social media.
 
3. Identification of enemies as a unifying cause — The association of central American immigrants and asylum seekers with criminality and rape.
 
4. Rampant sexism — “Grab ‘em by the p—.” “Blood coming out of her wherever.” “I moved on her like a b—.”

5. Controlled mass media — The demonization of news critical of the Trump administration as “fake news,” and the metamorphosis of Fox News into a de-facto state channel surely qualifies.
 
6. Obsession with national security — This is exemplified by, “build the wall,” and the demonization of asylum-seekers as caravans of invaders.
 
7. Religion and government intertwined — This has, despite the contents of the Constitution, always been the case in the U.S.
 
8. Corporate power protected — The privatization of social services; corporate bailouts.
 
9. Labor power suppressed — This one is personal: The Trump administration, in an effort to hurt my union, SEIU, has changed the rules around how union dues are collected, with the effect of burdening home care workers with higher administrative costs. It’s a subtle change, but one that is entirely in line with Trump’s rhetoric on unions.
 
10. Disdain for intellectual and the arts — Obviously, an uneducated and ignorant voter base is preferable to those that want to dismantle democracy.
 
11. Obsession with crime and punishment — Threatening journalists with legal recourse while promising pardons to those faithful to him; encouraging police brutality.
 
12. Rampant cronyism and corruption — Nepotism; spending taxpayer dollars at Trump’s own properties; repeated attempts to fire anybody related to Russia investigations.
 
As you can see, we have arrived. We are at fascism.
 
Benjamin Sheppard
Hood River
 
Editor’s Note: Benjamin Sheppard works as a social worker.
 
True history
It seems some local readers have been mistakenly given incorrect facts about our country’s great history. Not much occurred on July 4, 1776, beside several colonial leaders signing a document known as The Declaration of Independence. The document pronounced independence from England while telling King George to “get bent.”
 
No armed militiamen won our freedom that day because history says no great battles took place. The Revolutionary War ended either in 1781 when General Cornwallis surrendered, or in 1783, when the Treaty of Paris document was signed. No one fought with, or had protection from the Constitution to bear arms because the document was written 10 years AFTER the Declaration was written, and several years AFTER the War was over.
 
I believe all Americans should know the true history of how we achieved the great freedoms we value today. July Fourth is a day for celebration, but only because some brave men signed a piece of paper. Nothing more.
 
Steve Kaplan
Hood River
 
Representing?
Since Sen. Chuck Thomsen’s recent disappearing stunt, I have seen a smattering of yard signs thanking him for “representing us.” I do not share the sign displayers’ low expectations for representations by our elected officials.
 
Sen. Thomsen and his 10 Republican colleagues walked out from their elected offices in order to prevent a vote on HB 2020, the Clean Energy Jobs bill. This is a costly subversion of our democratic process and should not be tolerated, let alone celebrated.
 
Mr. Thomsen took an oath of office affirming he would “faithfully discharge the duties of State Senator according to the best of [his] abilities.” Either he has such a low estimation of his abilities that it doesn’t matter whether he shows up to work or not, or he is quite willing to violate his oath of office when it suits his purposes. Not once, but twice, in the same session.
 
It was wrong the first time he walked out and he promised he would never do it again. He lied; dereliction of his sworn duty was wrong the second time too.
The walk-out “strategy” is to be condemned regardless of the issue/bill involved. Walking out is not legislating. Legislators need to show up like adults with real jobs, take their duties seriously, and work hard until the work is done.
 
“Representing us” means going to work, every day, and doing the best you can. Parents, teachers, and mentors teach this. Did you miss it?
 
Dave Michalek
Hood River
 
Costly tents
CNBC online lists the cost of incarcerating a child in a tent (or is that a cage in a tent?) at $775 per night. I’m talking about children incarcerated by ICE. 
On Vancouver Island is a resort rated as one of the top 50 in the world. It would cost you $600 per night. Is that a little high? How about the world famous Empress Hotel in Victoria, also on Vancouver Island, where they have a hotel inside their hotel — they call it “Gold,” a room overlooking the harbor that will cost you $450 American dollars, just over half of what it costs to keep a child in a tent. 
 
Rob Brostoff
Cascade Locks
 
Community loss
Have you enjoyed dinner at one of Hood River’s iconic restaurants or lunched at one of our many “world famous” brewpubs? Enjoyed the ambiance? The food? It’s part of Hood River, right. Part of who we are, who we want to be.
It’s likely your food was prepared by an acquaintance of mine. We got to know each other because we found ourselves standing on the same street corner. From then on, when we caught each other’s eye, we exchanged a friendly wave, eventually stopping and chatting for a quick catch-up about family, life, hopes, dreams. He would tell his family, “I have a new friend.” I would tell my wife, “I’ve met someone I’d like to know better.”
 
This past week, ICE came to Hood River in black, unmarked cars, stealthily trolling our streets. Multiple vehicles followed my friend from work, and I’m told turned on their sirens near the Heights car wash and pulled him over. Then, told him to get out of the car. He was handcuffed, loaded him into one of the ICE vehicles and taken away.
 
ICE’s vengeful act has put a family on a precipice, taken away the husband of an American citizen, denied a high school student the guiding presence of a caring father, and belied our community image, in the name of what? What has happened to him? What has happened to us?
 
The Lady in the Harbor was once our guiding light calling freedom to all with dreams, but little else. Now, Liberty’s image seems tarnished, hidden a world away from my immigrant Slovakian grandfather’s 1906 hopes.
 
And I, a citizen, and inheritor of America’s freedom, a neighbor, a friend, feel out-of-step, even lost.
 
Yes, I will write letters. Yes, I will march and protest. Yes, I will vote. But how shall I bring my friend home so that our community will be restored once more?
 
Gary Young
Hood River
 
Park neglect
I wonder why we are complaining about replacing an unused park for affordable housing in our community when we can’t even take care of the dying Tsuruta Sister City trees and grass in our beloved Children’s Park? Maybe we need to take care of the commitments we have to our community.
Dave Van Cott
Hood River

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