Opinion Columns

Byron York: Bernie Sanders is Hillary's leftward advance man

May 28, 2015 — 

Is Bernie Sanders pulling Hillary Clinton to the Left? No, for the same reason a canoe doesn’t pull an aircraft carrier.

The Vermont socialist running in the Democratic presidential race is currently at 7.4 percent in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, versus Clinton’s 64.2 percent. Clinton is in fact moving leftward on issues like immigration, gay marriage, inequality and more, but it’s not because she’s feeling the heat from a little-known competitor.

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Amy Goodman: The pre-charge punishment of Julian Assange

May 28, 2015 — 

Tucked away on a side street in one of London’s toniest neighborhoods, just across the street from the sprawling department store Harrods, sits a brick, Victorian-era apartment building that houses the Ecuadorean Embassy. Julian Assange, the founder and editor of the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, walked into this embassy on June 19, 2012, and hasn’t stepped foot outside since.

Ecuador granted him political asylum, but the United Kingdom refuses to grant him safe passage to leave the country. Instead, the U.K. wants to extradite him to Sweden to answer questions about allegations of sexual misconduct, although charges have never been filed. For close to three years, he has remained a prisoner in the embassy, denied even the hour of sunlight daily that most prisoners are guaranteed. For two years before that, he was either jailed or under strict house arrest in England, all without charge. When I went to London to interview him in the embassy this week, Assange asserted his belief that this pretrial phase is serving as both punishment and deterrent, and that Sweden is acting as a surrogate for the United States, which wants him jailed to stop the work of WikiLeaks.

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Willis McNeill: All about water

May 27, 2015 — 

In response to “Excessive water use by agriculture” and “Leadership means long-term solutions to deal with drought,” which recently appeared in The Union:

First an explanation is needed about the stated use of water by agriculture — is it 80 percent or 40 percent? The Union cites the Wall Street Journal “… 80 percent of developed water supply, yet this excludes the half swiped off the top for environmental purposes …”

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Nancy Garcia: Time to learn more about the State of Jefferson

May 27, 2015 — 

On May 12, the Board of Supervisors granted the State of Jefferson proponents a hearing, which was appreciated.

After presenting each supervisor with individual information in preparation for the meeting and numerous citizens speaking for and against the idea, we were very surprised that not a single question was posed about any of the information presented.

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Carrtoon: May 27, 2015

May 27, 2015 — 

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Bill Trzeciak: Bernie Sanders' multi-point plan

May 26, 2015 — 

Bernie’s plan is a progressive plan

For he’s a social democratic man.

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R. L. Crabb: It takes a village idiot

May 26, 2015 — 

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Chad Hanson: Large, intense fires are good for wildlife

May 23, 2015 — 

Norm Sauer’s opinion article expresses common fears and misconceptions about mixed-intensity fires (Other Voices, May 13).

In his disbelief about current science, Mr. Sauer claims that Christy Sherr’s article about the ecological benefits of higher-intensity fire patches (Other Voices, April 1) somehow must have involved “falsifying science,” yet he offers not a single example of a factual inaccuracy in her article.

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Manny Montes: Attorney general's office must fulfill its duty

May 23, 2015 — 

What are progressives alluding to when they say conservatives want to take us back to 1950? How does advocating for limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets conjure in the progressives’ mind 1950?

I would like to understand this. Also, the blatant condescension of the progressive’s attack on Fox News viewers, accusing the viewers of being empty headed dimwits. Or, the chronicling of past Republican convictions compared to Obama’s cascading (non)-scandals and no convictions, as if there is something in the Republican mind set predisposed to corruption, and progressives are pure as the driven snow.

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Jim Firth: Solving the problem

May 23, 2015 — 

Many of our friends and neighbors in Nevada County struggle every day to have enough to eat. This happens even though they work everyday, pay their taxes, donate time to their church or volunteer at their children’s or grand-children’s school.

Right now the California minimum wage is $9 per hour. It’s $1.75 higher than the national minimum, but still falls short of what is needed in California to provide for even the basic food, housing, medical care, or educational needs of our residents.

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Teresa Langness: Bessie Minor Swift grant gives farmworker families a fair chance

May 23, 2015 — 

The hands that fill the nation’s fruit basket had new resources to fill their own children’s needs this year, thanks to a grant from the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation. Formed by the owners of Swift Communications, the parent company of The Union newspaper, this foundation makes grants available that promote literacy and enrichment in the arts and sciences. In 2014, Nevada City-based Full-Circle Learning, a global nonprofit, received $2,220 for a bilingual reading program among parents and preschoolers at a HUD project for farmworkers.

The year has passed and the program has helped the constituents gain skills that will influence their community for a lifetime.

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R.L. Crabb: It takes a village idiot

May 23, 2015 — 

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Joyce Haire: Bring back my TV guide

May 22, 2015 — 

I am now beginning my second week without the TV Weekly that was part of The Union for so many years. I miss the TV Weekly. I want to express my severe dissatisfaction with your decision to drop it from The Union.

Publisher Jim Hemig’s editorial stated there are other ways to get the programming information. However, as a Comcast customer, Comcast only allows me to see what programs are scheduled a couple of hours ahead, and won’t allow me to see what is going to be “on” three days from now! It does not allow me to plan future activities around what is scheduled. This was a valuable part of the paper for me, and for others I’m sure.

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Amy Goodman: An act of protest, not sabotage, at the birthplace of the bomb

May 21, 2015 — 

There is a vast military complex deep in the hills of eastern Tennessee called “Y-12.” This is where all of the highly enriched uranium is produced and stored for the production of the U.S. nuclear-warhead arsenal. It is in Oak Ridge, the city that was created practically overnight during World War II, that produced the uranium for the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

Today, the facility, dubbed “The Fort Knox of Uranium,” holds enough of the radioactive element to make 10,000 nuclear bombs.

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Byron York: Iraq war history ensares both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush

May 21, 2015 — 

In January 2007, shortly after entering the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton traveled to Iowa, where one of the first questions she faced was about her vote to authorize the war in Iraq.

“If we had known then what we know now, there never would have been a vote,” Clinton said, “and I never would have voted to give (President George W. Bush) that authority.”

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Susan Pelican: Another view of vaccination

May 20, 2015 — 

I am a mother, grandmother, RN and former nurse-midwife who is skeptical of vaccinations. I am also a lifelong political activist who stands for freedom of choice in all things medical — including abortion, vaccination, and chemotherapy.

These matters are best resolved between a person — or her parent (who both have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) and her physician/caregiver — not by legislators in Sacramento or in D.C. who believe they know what is best for you and for our children.

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John Carr; Carrtoon

May 20, 2015 — 

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R.L. Crabb: It takes a village idiot

May 19, 2015 — 

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Julie Reaney: About that Dorsey Marketplace and Dollar General in Alta Sierra

May 18, 2015 — 

In response to George Boardman’s May 4 editorial, I’ve never understood issues that are seen as either black or white; when almost all are multifaceted.

Though not as presented by Boardman’s editorial, simply put, there is only one kind of “real world economics and Nevada County retail development.”

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James Butler: County code enforcement abuses its power

May 16, 2015 — 

After reading The Union’s article with regard to the abatement issue concerning the cabin that belongs to Chuck Frank, the county’s insistence on either moving or demolishing the building is beyond harassment.

By going forward with a vote to abate the structure, the supervisors who have taken an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution have violated basic property rights that are guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. In addition, Agenda 21, new international building codes, state mandates, code enforcement threats, coercion, intimidation, deception and lies are all part of Nevada County’s blueprint.

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Eric Christen: Honor our soldiers who 'stand ready in the night'

May 16, 2015 — 

For most of America, our armed forces are something they think about perhaps once a year on days like the upcoming Memorial Day, or when our country is attacked as it was on Sept. 11, 2001.

At these times, the men and women who serve rise in the consciousness of Americans if only for a temporary period of time.

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Elias Thomas: Stymied House Demos may give state a real Senate race

May 16, 2015 — 

THOMAS ELIAS

California Focus

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George Runner: Tax hikes look silly as state gets financial windfall

May 16, 2015 — 

It must be silly season in Sacramento. As the state receives billions in unanticipated revenues, liberal tax-and-spend lawmakers are proposing massive tax hikes, proving once again that they are out of touch with reality.

One key measure of reality ignored by liberal lawmakers is Tax Freedom Day. Calculated annually by the Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day is the day Americans have earned enough money to pay their annual tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels.

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R.L. Crabb: It takes a village idiot

May 16, 2015 — 

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Frederick Hall: America's endangered democracy

May 15, 2015 — 

He is coming to his senses? Hopefully. Last week Chief Justice John Roberts cast a surprising — and decisive — vote in a case testing whether it is constitutional to prevent judicial candidates from soliciting campaign donations. In his majority opinion Roberts wrote that, “The State may conclude that judges, charged with exercising strict neutrality and independence, cannot supplicate campaign donors without diminishing public confidence in judicial integrity.”

Hurray for that! It’s a big step for Roberts that hints at an awareness absent from the Court’s decisions in Citizens United and McCutcheon. In them, the Court discounted the reality that money does bias the political process. What gulf separated the political arena so far from the judicial that the same logic didn’t apply there?

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Byron York: GOP better get used to crazy-big 2016 field

May 14, 2015 — 

“As long as you’ve got enough money for gas, you can stay in the race,” says one veteran Iowa Republican operative of the sprawling 2016 presidential field. “It’s going to take a long time for this to play out.”

Yes, there are tons of stories in the press about this or that candidate raising zillions of dollars. But the truth is, a lot of Republican hopefuls — an unprecedented number — will have the wherewithal to run at least bare-bones campaigns for many months to come. And some of them could help shape the race and its top issues, even if they never climb into the top tier.

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Gene Lyons: Where freedom of expression meets bigotry

May 14, 2015 — 

It’s still a radical document, the U.S. Constitution, no part of it more so than the First Amendment. Almost everybody’s for freedom of speech — particularly for themselves and people who agree with them. However, the part about “no establishment of religion” vexes True Believers of every persuasion. How can government possibly remain neutral in matters of faith?

But what really confuses people is an episode like the recent failed terrorist attack in Garland, Texas. Does our commitment to freedom of expression require that we condemn Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, the two self-proclaimed ISIS jihadists who got themselves shot to death during an abortive attempt to massacre participants in a well-publicized contest to draw ugly cartoon caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad?

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D. Jeffrey Sheldon: This isn't what America wants

May 13, 2015 — 

On May 1, The New Yorker magazine published an article by Amy Davidson titled, “Freddie Gray’s Death Becomes a Murder Case.” The following are my thoughts as to the article, Ms. Davidson’s and others veiled allegations before the facts are known and concerns related to the future of our country.

Ms. Davidson’s article is just another typically liberal, conjecture filled piece, obviously written for a monetary need with little or no regard as to accuracy or literary honesty. Neither I, nor Ms. Davidson have any idea why Freddie Gray died.

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Carrtoon: May 13, 2015

May 13, 2015 — 

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Robert Wolaver: A closer look at the US Postal Service

May 12, 2015 — 

A recent letter to the editor revealed some startling facts concerning the United States Postal Service, which would certainly lead one to believe that we the taxpayers should not have to continue to bear the burden of such an inefficient government bureaucracy suggesting that it should instead be privatized to be run like FedEx or UPS.

I believe there are a few inaccuracies in the letter that I would like to address. Full disclosure, I am not an expert concerning the USPS, however, I have been involved in building, owning and leasing facilities to the USPS since the early ’60s.

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