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Get Real About Climate Change

A recent Letter to the Editor in The Observer betrayed a fundamental misconception about climate change. 

The writer claimed that since there were heavy snow storms occuring in the US it must mean that global warming is a bunch of baloney.  She painted an amusing picture:  Al Gore, Nobel Peace prize winner for raising global warming awareness, is stuck in a snowstorm, denying the reality of the blizzard all around him.

The misconception is that our local weather today is an indicator of global weather long term.  It is not.  Weather is a complex, dynamic system.  Distant, unseen climate forces can have widespread and persistent consequences.

Because of this misconception the letter writer simply brushes aside decades of scientific research as "baloney".   As a result, she is denying the reality of climate change around her. 

The picture that the scientific evidence paints is not so amusing.  Greenhouse gasses are at the highest levels in history.  These gasses cause steadily rising air and ocean temperatures.  Human activity, particularly burning fossil fuels, is mostly to blame.  If this decades-long trend continues unchecked, the environmental impact will be widespread and devastating.

The evidence is overwhelming and no reputable climate researchers dispute it.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), NASA, and the NOAA - to name but a few organizations - have mountains of peer-reviewed research documenting the facts of climate change.  Even the Pentagon and the CIA now consider global warming a grave national security threat.

The Republican Assault on Social Security

The Republican assault on Social Security is driven by a conscious campaign of misinformation and disinformation. 

Social Security is perhaps the most successful and popular program ever enacted by our federal govenrment.  It has protected millions of workers and their covered family members against loss of income from the retirement, disability, or death of the wage earner. 

The insurance program is funded by payroll taxes and does NOT impact the deficit.  In fact, the Social Security trust fund can pay full benefits through 2037.  Even with NO changes, the program can still pay about 80% of all expected benefits going forward.

But deliberate misrepresentation of Social Security is allowing calls for severe cuts in benefits and raising the retirement age to gain traction.

For example, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama recently proposed increasing the Social Security retirement age "every several years" because "deficit reduction" is the top priority on the congressional agenda.

This fear-mongering about deficits is a favorite tool of Republicans to justify attacks on vital social programs they oppose.  They exploit the perception of crisis to strip funding from education, health care, nutrition, unemployment, assistance to families in poverty -- the list is endless. 

As citizens we must educate ourselves about Social Security.  You can start by reading an excellent fact-based response to Sen. Shelby at http://bit.ly/i16zSP.

An Introduction and an Invitation

Hello!  My name is Glen Scheele and I am honored to serve as the new Chair of the Union County Democrats.

 

My wife and I have lived and worked in Oregon for more than 30 years, mostly right here in the Grande Ronde Valley.  We feel privileged to have raised our three children in this wonderful community.

 

I’ve always been a Democrat and active in politics.  But in recent years I decided to take an even more active role in light of the grave challenges we face.

 

Our nation has been at war for a decade.  We are in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  Millions of our fellow citizens are unemployed.  Millions have lost their homes.  Reckless gambling by Wall Street and banks has decimated the modest savings of our working families.

 

Decades of relentless, well-financed conservative attacks have eroded faith in a common purpose.  As a result, Republican themes – Privatize! Deregulate! Shrink Government! Cut Taxes! -- have gained traction. 

 

Yet these policies are failures.  For proof we only need to look at how much more precarious life has become for ourselves and for millions of our fellow citizens after decades of pursuing these policies.

 

There is a saying: “In crisis is opportunity.”  Unfortunately for some it’s an opportunity to enrich themselves or cynically grab for political power.  Corporations are earning unprecedented profits, yet continue to ship jobs and investments overseas.  Wall Street and Big Banks are earning unprecedented profits, yet refuse to ease access to credit or help struggling home owners.  Republicans have decided that to win the next election they must make Democrats fail, no matter the cost to average Americans. 

 

I believe Democrats see different opportunities.  Tough times mean a chance to leverage smart public spending to rebuild, to modernize, and to jump-start our economy.  A reckless financial economy can be reined in once again serve the real economy.  Corporate excesses can be addressed with sensible regulations that benefit workers, consumers, and our environment.  The many families being saved from impoverishment by Social Security, Medicare, and the new health care reform will make the case to further strengthen those programs.

 

At times, I’ve been overwhelmed by the challenges and felt powerless to address them.  I found that by teaming up with my fellow Democrats I no longer felt powerless or overwhelmed.  Democrats are ready to stand up, to speak out, to work, and to fight for what is right. 

 

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”  Won’t you please join us to hasten that day?

Come and get 'em - lawn signs, rally signs and bumper stickers

Union County Democrats have lawn signs, rally signs and bumper stickers for...

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden
-- lawn signs, rally signs--nifty to put in your home or office window, bumper stickers and literature

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
-- lawn signs and bumper stickers

Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler
-- bumper stickers and campaign literature

Contact the Union County Democrats. Let us know what you materials you need to show your support.

2010 Fair Booth Straw Poll Results

We conducted an opinion poll of visitors to the Democrat's booth at the Union County Fair. Here are the results:

2010 Fair Booth Poll Results

Platform of the Democratic Party of Oregon 2010

The Democratic Party of Oregon has released the 2010 platform.

You may read the Platform, Resolutions and Agenda here:
http://www.oregondemocrats.org/platform

COMMUNITY EVENT - Union County Book Club


New Union County book club studies Huck Finn

Carole Halvorson announces the "Books You Should Have Read in School, but missed" book club, beginning July 27, 6 p.m. at the Bohenkamp/Community Workshop Bldg in La Grande.  The Workshop is located at 1301 Adams Ave, La Grande, and the book club is open to all.


The first book to be discussed is Mark Twain's classic 
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  This book has been widely discussed and sometimes censored for its frank and uncomfortable treatment of race and status in our nation's recent past. 

Morning Meet-up with John A. Kitzhaber

Oregon's nominee for Governor in 2010, John A. Kitzhaber

La Grande residents came together to meet with Oregon's nominee for Governor in 2010, John A. Kitzhaber. The event was very well attended even though the meeting was added to the former Governors' schedule at the last minute. The meet-up took place at Foley Station in downtown La Grande on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.

Former Governor Kitzhaber fielded questions about taxation, local USDA meat certification, health insurance costs. education costs and more.

He was very comfortable with the crowd, offered direct answers to questions, and had a good grip on all the issues addressed.

For more information on the Kitzhaber campaign visit http://www.johnkitzhaber.com/.

Three pre-platform documents

As we start work on the Democratic Party of Oregon's 2010 Platform we must reference these documents from the Platform and Resolutions Committee

Documents in PDF format:

Click here to download an Adobe Acrobat version of the following documents:
2010 DPO LAI First Major Draft PDF
2010 DPO Platform First Major Draft PDF
LAI Pre Convention Inclusion Process PDF

Don't have Acrobat Reader?

Click on this Adobe icon Download Adobe Reader so you can read the Acrobat version of this file to get the Adobe Reader.

The Benefits of Health Care Reform In the 2nd Congressional District of Oregon

March 2010
The Benefits of Health Care Reform
In the 2nd Congressional District of Oregon
Committee on Energy and Commerce

The U.S. House of Representatives will soon vote on health care reform legislation. This legislation will make health care affordable for the middle class, provide security for seniors, and guarantee access to health insurance for the uninsured – while reducing the federal deficit by over $100 billion over the next decade. This analysis examines the benefits of the legislation in the 2nd Congressional District of Oregon, which is represented by Rep. Greg Walden.

In Rep. Walden’s district, the health care reform bill will:
  • Improve coverage for 417,000 residents with health insurance.
  • Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 217,000 families and 22,100 small businesses to help them afford coverage.
  • Improve Medicare for 142,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole.
  • Extend coverage to 94,000 uninsured residents.
  • Guarantee that 17,800 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.
  • Protect 1,400 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.
  • Allow 57,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans.
  • Provide millions of dollars in new funding for 39 community health centers.
  • Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $83 million annually.

Read the full pdf file for a few examples:

Click here to download an Adobe Acrobat version of the Benefits of Health Care Reform In the 2nd Congressional District PDF

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