Up to Republicans
As a long-time gun owner in favor of sensible gun safety laws, I cannot fathom the cynicism of the Republicans controlling our federal government. After every mass shooting we are lectured on the need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. Then it’s back to business, cutting the social safety net and eliminating the very services aimed at reducing crime and mental illness. President Trump’s 2018 budget proposes slashing spending for both mental health research and drug abuse prevention by 20 percent.
In 2016, the National Rifle Association spent over $52 million on federal elections, spending $30.3 million on the Trump campaign. Most of the rest went to six critical Senate races, five of which won. But virtually every Republican got a slice, and they faithfully implement the NRA’s agenda.
Last February, Congress voted to eliminate a rule requiring the Social Security Administration to report the names of mentally incapable recipients to the national Background Check System — the system that is supposed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. The resolution passed in the House of Representatives with support from 229 Republicans and six Democrats. In the Senate it was supported by all 50 Republicans.
Dan Newhouse co-sponsored the resolution.
Congress has not acted to regulate “bump” stocks — the device that allowed the shooter in Las Vegas to convert a semi-automatic weapon to essentially fully automatic, and spray a defenseless crowd with thousands of bullets. In the five years since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, no federal gun safety legislation has been passed. However, in December, the House, with the votes of 225 Republicans and six Democrats, did pass the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act,” requiring a permit issued in one state to be valid in all states with concealed carry permits. So much for states’ rights. Oh, and Dan Newhouse is a co-sponsor.
Already this year there have been 18 school shootings. Whatever happened to “This carnage stops now!” as promised in President Trump’s inaugural address? Republicans — it is on you to start coming up with solutions.
Gina McCoy, Winthrop
The cost of violence
There have been 18 school shootings so far this year, and 300 since 2013; why so much violence? Is it possible that we live in a violent society?
Our government spends a total of about $1 trillion a year on its military (including the many hidden costs), and it is constantly at war. Most of the victims of modern warfare are civilians. It is estimated that we killed a total of 5 million people in Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia, 1 million in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan, at least 30,000 in Libya. The Obama administration provided most of the money to arm the fundamentalists in Syria, where another 500,000 have been killed, and sold $100 billion worth of weapons to the Saudis that they are using to slaughter Yemenis.
Does that sound like violence to you?
Soldiers come home and people say, “Thank you for your service,” which means “Thank you for going to a far off land to kill people we know nothing about.” Many vets now say, “Please do not thank me for my service. I did not serve my country, I was used by my country.” Many vets kill themselves because of the horror of war; the suicide rate is 20 vets a day.
The U.S. national debt stands at $20 trillion, almost all of that spent on meaningless, imbecilic wars. This and our arsenal of 7,000 nuclear bombs is our legacy to our children. Does that sound like love to you?
Governments are always violent, but you, dear reader, could choose to create a different kind of world for (y)our children. But you would have to do what is ethical and loving, rather than what you are told to do by your government. If we want our children to live, we may have to stop killing other peoples’ children.
Dana Visalli, Twisp
Ski for Women a success
We would like to thank all the wonderful people who joined the fun at the fifth annual Methow Valley Ski for Women on Feb. 4, 2018. The participation exceeded our expectations by double from last year. As of the writing of this letter, $4,000 has been raised for Room One, with 100 percent of all donations going to the organization. This year’s theme of “Mythological Characters/Creatures” was well represented. Once again, the costumes were so creative: Greek goddesses, dragons, bats, dinosaurs, ravens, macaws, gnomes, jellyfish, and a Viking, to mention a few. Hand-crafted wooden spoons were awarded to categories such as Best Individual, Best Group, Best Mother/Child, Best Overall, as well as, special judges’ awards for Finest Feathered Friends, Best Gender Bender, Most Relevant, and Best Woman Warrior.
Thanks to Methow Trails, the Mazama Community Club, Kevin van Bueren at Methow Valley Ski School and Rentals, the Methow Valley News, Don Ashford at KTRT, and Room One and its board members for providing support. Special thanks goes to The Freestone Inn for serving an enjoyable free lunch and hot drinks to the participants and volunteers after the event. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like information sent to you about future Methow Valley Ski for Women events. Please save the date for next year’s Methow Valley Ski for Women on Feb. 3, 2019.
The Methow Valley Ski for Women Planning Committee: Jackie Hovis Jacquie Luke, Jojo Howard, Ken Rice, Midge Cross, Dee Christensen
We have begun to see the tip of the iceberg of what the Russians have done and are doing to meddle in our elections. They have started a cyberwar against our democracy. Because the investigation keeps getting closer and closer to the Oval Office, President Donald Trump continues to barely acknowledge it and our own Congressman Dan Newhouse has been deafeningly silent.
We have heard not one word of rebuke from Newhouse when the president refused to impose the sanctions against Russia that were approved in an almost unanimous vote of the House and Senate; not a word of outrage when the president gave top-secret information to Russians in an oval office meeting; not one word of criticism while Trump cozied up to Russian President Vladimir Putin in phone calls and meetings; no alarm when crazy Congressman Devin Nunes went off on another one of his tirades with a memo that disproved the point he thought he was making.
We know Newhouse has no backbone. He hasn’t faced his constituents in a town hall meeting in almost a year. But in failing to live up to his oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” he has gone from dereliction of duty to collusion to obstruct justice or worse.
Randy Slovic, Richland
Vote them out
According to the Washington Post, Feb. 15 2018, the following Washington lawmakers have accepted National Rifle Association donations: Rep. Dan Newhouse, Republican Congressman, 4th District, $4,000 including 2018; Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, Republican Congresswoman, 5th District, $2,500 in 2016; Rep. Dave Reichert, Republican Congressman, 8th District, $5,000 2006 – 2016. Start with them. Vote them out.
Carole Schroeder, Twisp
Editor’s note: Reichert is not seeking re-election.