Conservative Corner: The Two-Edged Sword

No matter what political or social belief you cling to, one thing for sure, we live in a country that gives its citizens special rights and privileges. We are fortunate enough in this nation that we can listen to liberal talkers like Norman Goldman, Ed Shultz, or Randi Rhodes, if one is so inclined to, or we are lucky enough to have the option to listen to great Conservative minds like Rush Limbaugh, Lars Larson, or Bill Post. The beautiful thing about all these choices is, weather you are a liberal progressive or a Tea Party Conservative, we all have a choice of people we can listen to and we all have the right to voice our opinions no matter how patriotic or terrible it sounds. This comes from the 1st Amendment.

            The First Amendment says, that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. This means any U.S. citizen can go anywhere in a public area and say nearly anything they wish, (within reason), and the 1st Amendment will protect their rights. These rights were tested or threatened this weekend by two different groups with very different views, but on the same side of the law.

            Last Saturday evening the group, Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment, Oregon Chapter, took to the Hwy 20 overpass at interstate 5 in Albany. They had American flags, signs, and banners expressing their dislike for the way the Federal Government is being run by Obama and calling for the impeachment of President Obama. The local traffic was very supportive of the protest; however, the I-5 traffic wasn’t as nice. The group did get many thumbs-up and horns from the freeway, but several gave thumbs-down or the infamous single-digit salute.

            It’s true that not everyone wants to see Obama impeached, however, exercising one’s rights of free speech is clearly American and Americans do it with pride. We see this with the anti-war protests of the 60’s, the protests during the time of the Bush presidency and with the more recent occupy movement. We as Americans seem to have no problem letting others know how we feel about our problems and the problems of the world.

            Unfortunately, our cherished freedom of speech can also be used for hate and evil sounding words. Amazingly enough, one thing that both conservatives and liberals in this county have in common is the dislike of the group who call themselves the Westborough Baptist Church. I don’t know of any Christian group, Baptist or not, who agree with them, but they do hold the attention of the nation with their protests and their disgustingly infamous signs, like “Thank God for dead soldiers”, and “God hates fags”. Last Sunday this hate group put their sights on Corvallis and the funeral of one of our local fallen heroes, U.S. Army Ranger Spc. Cody Patterson, and the community returned the favor.

            News of the protest of the WBC brought out the Oath Keepers, Patriot Guard Riders, and several Christian and non- affiliated Christian biker clubs from all over the area,( nearly all of which were veterans) to help protect the remains of Spc Patterson from whatever the WBC might try. Between 200 and 300 bikers, guards and supporters lined the street into the back of the LaSells Steward Center on the OSU campus to protect the remains from anyone who may try to dishonor the fallen hero. The support, however, didn’t stop there. Throughout the afternoon the bikers and well-wishers continued to pour in. According to www.katu.com more than 2500 people were there to help or just show support.

            The Westborough Baptist Church is, according to many, a vile and hateful group who should not be allowed to protest the way they do. I do not endorse the group by any means, however, as an American and a U.S. Army vet, I am sad to say I support their 1st Amendment right to free speech. After all, if they lose their right to free speech who would be next to loose theirs? We must exercise our rights carefully. After all, the 1st Amendment is a two-edged sword and someone could get hurt.

                                                       dkhummel.blogspot.com, dkhummel.com

 

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Conservative Corner: Save a Tree, Starve a Logger

Most of us have heard the phrase, “go paper-less” or “save a tree”.  For some time I have been puzzled by this term and what it means in its context. I understand how people would see the need for more up-to-date record keeping in a modern world, however, when I hear some say, “save a tree”, I have to say save a tree from what? Save them from fire, from insects, or perhaps from natural disaster. Whatever danger one may think Pacific Northwest trees are in, Oregon has had quite a prosperous history from this natural and renewable resource.

There was a time when Oregonians bathed in the wealth of the timber industry. There were homes built, businesses thrived, lumber was plentiful, there were plenty of jobs and towns prospered. There are and were towns in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest that were dependent on the success of the timber industry. Most every town in the region at some point owed its livelihood to harvesting of wood.

 The first lumber mill in the region was built in 1827 and by 1833 lumber had become a profitable export for the area. By the 1850s there were 4 lumber mills in Oregon and lumber was being traded with China, Hawaii, and Australia. By 1870 the number of mills in Oregon grew to 173, and by 1947 1,573 lumber mills turning out more than 7 billion board feet according to www.opb.org/programs/oregonstory/logging.

In 1973 Congress passed the Endangered Species Act and environmental groups made the Northern Spotted Owl the “poster child” for their assault on the logging industry and the regional economy. The environmentalist groups argued that the spotted owl could only survive in old-growth forest, but this was never accurately confirmed. Recently more accurate information about the owl has come to light in response to the anti-logging scandal from http://www.news.discovery.com. As it turns out, the spotted owl is still drastically declining in numbers, and it’s not due to logging. It is due to its natural predators like the bard owl and the golden eagle.

The logging continues to be stifled by radical environmental groups like ELF, Earth First, and The Earth Liberation Front in their attempt to remove all improvements to communities and the region. These domestic terrorist groups have already claimed responsibility for destroying company property and setting fire to logging trucks. “Destroying luxury homes, SUVs, and other private property thereby costing Americans millions of dollars in damages is their strategy”, according to www.targetofopportunity.com/elf.htm. I know these are extreme cases; however, whether it is one extreme case, or many minor problems, the effect is the same, the loss of jobs, money and security in a community.

Trees are also a renewable crop and they grow relevantly quickly in the Northwest region. The mild and damp winters and the warm and sunny summers practically guaranty healthy trees every year. The harvest of this “crop” also insures many people with livelihoods to keep communities and towns alive.

If you have ever taken a journey along Hwy 22 going east you will see the damage the environmental groups have done to the towns and communities in the area. Cold, quite mills, empty stores, and vacant houses are a sad reminder of what used to be a thriving community. Most of what’s left along that lonely stretch of highway is ghost towns and non-productive mills thanks to the environmental groups who seem to care more for a human-less planet than they do for the community from which they live. They seem to call the near death of these small towns a victory. These are the same people who choose to protest the logging industry using paper signs with wooden handles.

If you have sympathies towards the environmental groups, please remember where you get your lumber, plywood, paper, and other paper products. It does not come from thin air, someone has to cut, haul, process and sell the wood products in which we depend.

The next time you see a lumberjack or a logging truck please be thankful that someone is providing valuable products and helping to stimulate the economy with their lumber dollars. So before you go totally “paperless”, just remember; the next time you “save a tree” you may just starve a town.

               Dkhummel.com, dkhummel.blogspot.com

Conservative Corner: If a Tree Falls in the Woods

By Dale Hummel

            We have all heard the philosophical question, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?”, however, even if the statement is not familiar to you, a version of the same thing seems to be happening with our government. The shutdown of the U.S. Government may make big news on cable TV; however, locally is it making barely more than a ripple.

            The budget woes are due to Congress Republicans and Senate Democrats along with the Obama Administration not agreeing on the fate of the Affordable Health Care Act, or Obamacare. The Democrats say that the health care act is the law of the land and is as much a part of the government as anything else. The Republicans call Obamacare an overpriced, train wreck that will damage the country and the health care system. It is the hope of the Republicans that Obamacare will be defunded and help produce the first fiscal budget in nearly 8 years without wrecking our economy even more.

            With the disagreement of the budget, the government ran out of time and was forced to close down some of their offices. The shutdown of certain branches of the United States Government, depending on your view, has either been a travesty or a great way to reduce an already overbearing government and find out what services we really need and which ones we can do without.

            Some of the government services that have been affected by the “Battle of the Budget” are call centers, hotlines and regional offices that help veterans understand their benefits, all of America’s national parks and monuments are closed, new applications for small business loans and loan guarantees will stop, and research into life-threatening diseases and other areas will stop, according to www.usa.gov/shutdown.shtml.

            Some of those areas may affect the LBCC students, staff and faculty, but for the most part the hype seems confined to the East Coast and people directly connected to government jobs. For those students on campus who maybe worrying about financial aid, the LBCC Financial Aid Office tells us things are still going ok. Elaine Robinson of financial aid says, “It’s still business as usual. We are keeping a close eye for whatever happens. Until then, we don’t know and we keep on processing loans”.

            So for those of us not directly involved with the government in some way life goes on unscathed and without the doom and gloom cable TV and the Democrat law makers made it out to be. Actually many key government services still go on.

            People on social security will continue to receiving checks, postal service will continue, active military will continue to guard our country, air traffic controllers, prison guards, and border patrol agents will keep working and NASA will continue to monitor the Universal Space Station. If more information is needed on what government services are closed because of the shutdown, you can call toll-free at 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636). And yes, the number will be operational during the government shutdown.

            Whatever your opinion may be on Obamacare, one thing is for sure, the new health care act is the primary cause for the budget ailments. The Republicans try to pass bills to keep key services open for the public during this troubling time; however, Democrats seem to think it’s “all or nothing”. So for those who blame the Republicans for the shutdown, remember, not one single Republican voted for the law. It was passed with a Democrat majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

            No matter whom the blame falls on for the shutdown or whether or not you support Obamacare, I just have one question; does the government shutdown really affect you? If a government office in Washington D.C. closes and we here on the West Coast are not directly affected does it really matter?

Maybe this government shutdown is just what we need to weed out the worthless government offices and services that do nothing for the country but waist money.  Just think of how much money could be saved if we could “trim the fat” from our Federal Government and perhaps fix the economy.

 

                                                          Dkhummel.com, dkhummel.blogspot.com/