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Posts published in “Day: September 26, 2016”

The Bates memorial

jorgensen

Legislators descended upon the capitol building in Salem last week for a series of interim committee meetings. But before conducting the peoples’ business, they convened in the Senate chamber to pay their respects to Sen. Alan Bates (D-Ashland), who passed away August 5.

Bates’ Tuesday, September 20 memorial service was attended by both former and current state lawmakers, staffers, lobbyists and members of the news media alike. Oregon Congressional delegation members Suzanne Bonamici and Kurt Schrader joined former governors Barbara Roberts and Ted Kulongoski, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, Governor Kate Brown and Salem oncologist and Republican gubernatorial nominee Bud Pierce in honoring Bates’ memory.

Soft piano music created appropriate ambiance as quotes about Bates from political heavyweights like Brown and House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) appeared on large screens, accompanied by similar remarks from citizens from throughout the state.

Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) banged the gavel to start the ceremony, as he’s accustomed to doing as that chamber’s presiding officer. Representatives from the military honored Bates’ service in the Army and as a veteran of the Vietnam War before Sen. Rod Monroe (D-Portland) gave the invocation.

Monroe told an anecdote about a time he was ill and his wife urged him to call Bates, who spent much of his professional career as a physician. Bates showed up five minutes later with his black doctor’s bag “and he never sent me a bill,” Monroe said, prompting quiet laughter from the audience.

Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) said that Bates served with “passion, integrity and honor.”

“As I look in this chamber, I see people Doc loved,” she said. “I see people he healed.”

Brown said that Bates left an “indelible mark” on the Legislature.

“In many ways, he was the heart of the Senate,” Brown said. “His heart was to help people.”

Kotek offered similar praise for Bates.

“Alan Bates was a lot more than a nice guy,” Kotek said. “He was considered a colleague and friend by so many.”

Bates’ daughter, Keri, said he was a “humble man” and a “master mediator” who brought people together to get things done.

“He would have hated all this fuss,” she said. “But he would have appreciated it, nonetheless.”

Sen. Jackie Winters (R-Salem) was one of many lawmakers Bates had assisted with health issues over the years.

“I did as he advised, and am healthier for it,” Winters said. “I wish I could have thanked him one more time for his care and his compassion.”

A video presentation of photos from Bates’ life showed him as a boy, as a Cub Scout, in military uniform, flyfishing, sitting pensively during a committee meeting and with his grandkids and other family members.

Courtney credited Bates for never backing away from difficult issues.

“He always took the tough vote,” Courtney said, and did it “over and over again.”

In closing, Courtney told a story about a day during last February’s legislative session when he was feeling under the weather. Bates left him some orange juice and insisted that he drink it. Courtney said he did, and was much better afterwards.

“Thank you for always being on call for us,” Courtney said. “What are we going to do without you?”

Trump 44: More nukes

trump

I'll return to the subject of Donald Trump and the usage of Amerian nuclear weapons - about which, his core attitude seems to be, if you have 'em, why not use 'em? - a little later. But that's not the only nuclear-related subject that ought to serve as a presidential disqualifier.

The other one is: Maybe a bunch of other countries ought to have them too.

A number of countries do, of course, and the spread of nuclear arsenals over the decades generally has been seen as a serious problem. The United States has been opposed to that expansion since the Truman Administration, back when the United States did have a nuclear monopoly. Most American presidents, including Barack Obama, have taken steps to try to control the further spread of nuclear weaponry, especially into the hands of terrorists.

Trump, who professes to a fascination (which sounds as if it borders on the unhealthy) with nuclear weapons, remarked, It’s not like, gee whiz, nobody has them."

He said that at an April 3 Fox News interview, and also said this: "In many ways, and I say this, in many ways, the world is changing. Right now, you have Pakistan and you have North Korea and you have China and you have Russia and you have India and you have the United States and many other countries have nukes."

Two months later, Trump told CNN this: "I am prepared to — if they’re not going to take care of us properly, we cannot afford to be the military and the police for the world. We are, right now, the police for the entire world. We are policing the entire world.

"You know, when people look at our military and they say, “Oh, wow, that’s fantastic,” they have many, many times — you know, we spend many times what any other country spends on the military. But it’s not really for us. We’re defending other countries.

"So all I’m saying is this: they have to pay. And you know what? I’m prepared to walk, and if they have to defend themselves against North Korea, where you have a maniac over there, in my opinion, if they don’t — if they don’t take care of us properly, if they don’t respect us enough to take care of us properly, then you know what’s going to have to happen, Wolf? It’s very simple. They’re going to have to defend themselves."

These are among the kind of comments that have led scores of Republican, not to say Democratic, foreign affairs and defense specialists to warn that under no circumstances can Donald Trump become president - lest this country face danger like it has not faces since the tensest times in the Cold War. - rs