Our present federal administration has restricted the U.S. Border Patrol from conducting workplace raids, their presence at transportation centers such as airports and bus terminals and inland checkpoints are often closed. Additionally, immigration and customs enforcement agents have sued over their perception that they have been hindered by this administration from performing their duties.
Until recently, border patrol agents were frequently called upon by local law enforcement agencies to provide interpretive assistance with subjects who spoke no English. Such encounters often resulted in identification of the subject as an illegal alien and deportation procedures were initiated. As a result, Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano recently issued an edict that border patrol agents were no longer allowed to provide interpretive services to local officers. The obvious message that this administration sends is that if you get across our sovereign border, you are home-free.
A bipartisan congressional committee recently proposed an immigration reform package with a prerequisite that our borders would be “sealed” prior to further concessions. Can any enlightened citizen expect that this administration would follow through on such an agreement?
Patrick J. Guimond
Saturday, February 23 marked 1,000 days in prison for 24-year-old Bradley Manning. Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst, has been indefinitely imprisoned for exposing war crimes.
Bradley is accused of releasing a video that shows the killing of unarmed citizens and two journalists in Iraq by a U.S. Apache helicopter crew as well as sharing U.S. diplomatic cables that were published by WikiLeaks.
Imprisoned without a hearing for over a year, he was placed in solitary confinement with sleep deprivation (if used for prolonged periods of time, sleep deprivation is considered torture and is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights).
President Bush and Obama have both detained citizens without a hearing and without trial under the National Defense Authorization Act. On Thursday, February 21, there was a hearing in Olympia regarding a new bill brought forth to protect citizens from indefinite detention in Washington state. Thank you representative Jason Overstreet for sponsoring this bill. The committee has not yet voted on the bill so there is time for everyone to contact their representatives and ask that they support protecting citizens from unconstitutional indefinite detention.
Bradley Manning is currently a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. To follow his story visit bradleymanning.org. Exposing war crimes should not be a crime!
In response to Mr. Starr’s letter … a few observations. First, I find it interesting that a “public official” told Mr. Starr, as soon as he came to Blaine, that Blaine attracted “every nut in the nation.” Think he was trying to tell you something?
Secondly, if you are going to make a public character assassination about someone, please at least have the decency to give a single specific example of how his or her behavior warrants your claim. Now, on to some truth. Mr. Overstreet is unwavering in making decisions based on his principles. At times this means standing up to his caucus. He is a staunch advocate for liberty, private property rights and the state constitution.
Mr. Overstreet has a young family, and is making tremendous personal sacrifices to serve us. He is transparent with his work in Olympia, and sends timely updates to keep those he represents informed as well as making sure we know he is accessible, and requests our thoughts, input and visits to the capital to be engaged in what is going on. If that is your definition of an embarrassment, then sir, I suggest you acquire a new dictionary.
For those of you who are still of sound mind, and want to know for yourself who this man is and what work he and others are doing on our behalf in Olympia, there will be a town hall meeting on Saturday, March 16 at 11 a.m. at the Ferndale High School auditorium with representatives Overstreet, Vincent Buys and senator Doug Ericksen. Liberty and justice for all.
I am greatly concerned that Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a critical component in providing our nation’s security, will be one of the federal agencies hit hardest because of the failure of Congress to avoid the severe budget cuts called for under sequestration.
CBP has dual vital missions. One is frontline security at ports of entry, including Blaine, Sumas, Lynden, Bellingham and Point Roberts – all within Whatcom County; the other is facilitating the trade so important to our economy. Both will be compromised by sequestration.
Because of sequestration, CBP has said it likely will furlough employees for up to 14 days. Reducing an already strained workforce will cause delays in the processing
of passengers and commercial traffic, as well as increased risk of contraband, criminals and potential terrorists entering the country. Not to mention, the impact on the employees who are facing nearly three weeks of lost pay.
As president of National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 164, representing CBP employees in ports from Victoria, B.C., to Metaline Falls, Washington, I find it frustrating that federal employees are among the first to be hit by sequestration’s severe budget cuts despite having already contributed more to deficit reduction and economic recovery than any other groups—$103 billion from a pay freeze and higher pension contributions. For the good of the country, sequestration should be cancelled and replaced by balanced deficit reduction measures.
Sean Albright, president, NTEU Chapter 164
In response to a letter published February 27 on your site alluding that Jason Overstreet is a nut, I would like to add the following comments: Our community and the state of Washington should be proud of Jason Overstreet. Overstreet’s principled stand for the individual rights and liberty of the citizens of Washington is what our country needs.
He doesn’t allow the party bosses or the lobbyists to push him or buy him away from his principles. He is a defender of our inalienable rights to our own possessions, our right to grow and produce local food without overbearing corporate or government regulation; he is against both the welfare and warfare statism, and is a breath of fresh air in Olympia. We need more like him who don’t bow to moneyed interests and will stand against overbearing bureaucracy.
He is not an embarassment. He represents what is right about the people of Washington state. With more legislators like him, this country might once again enjoy the freedom of the individual, which will energize the economy with artisans and entrepreneurs and allow us to regain the respect of the world as a bastion of opportunity and freedom. He may have an R by his name, but he certainly stands against the neocon/police state/warfare state proponents who seem to represent most of the party.
In reading Mr. Starr’s letter to the editor last week, I have some questions.
The Northern Light’s letter policy states, “Writers should avoid personal invective.” If Mr. Starr’s letter doesn’t exceed this requirement I would hate to see what does.
Mr. Starr states that Jason Overstreet is an “embarrassment” but fails to mention why he feels this way. There was no mention of any bills that Jason has sponsored or votes that Jason has made that he objects to.
Here are just a few of the bills representative Overstreet has prime sponsored. I would like to ask Mr. Starr if any one of these embarrass him?
1) Creating the Washington state preservation of liberty act condemning the unlawful detention of United States citizens and lawful resident aliens under the national defense authorization act.
2) Declaring that the right to life begins at the moment the individual comes into being.
3) Requiring compensation for government required actions on private property.
4) Repealing the state estate tax.
5) Enacting the regulatory fairness act of 2013.
Thank you Jason for continuing to stand on principle, for fighting for our liberties, and for siding with the Washington State Constitution.
(Publisher’s note: As an elected legislator, representative Overstreet is certain to get his fair share of brickbats thrown his way. Regarding personal invective, we have different criteria depending upon the position of the person getting criticized. We are more concerned with personal invective being used against a member of the general public. Due to the position that they have chosen, politicians and officials involved with public business have to expect that they will draw flack and some of it won’t be nice. That’s why politicians develop thick skins.)
Amazing and undignified was your decision to publish a letter demonizing a public servant! There is, currently, much complaint about the lowered and vitriolic level of discourse. Your publishing this invective has considerably added to the lowering of this bar.
I write this in response to the letter written by Don Starr, published on February 27. Jason Overstreet is a principled protector of state and federal constitutions in a time when they need protecting.
You want to talk about issues, Mr. Starr? Great. Voting record? Perfect.
I challenge you, Mr. Starr, to write a letter amounting to something more substantial than name calling, and I challenge the editor to think twice before publishing worthless personal attacks.
I quit reading The Bellingham Herald because of their personal attacks on our local conservative office holders.
Now it appears that The Northern Light must be added to that list when it prints such name-calling and personal attacks as it did in a letter to the editor by Don Starr on February 27.
Your editors should be ashamed of themselves for printing such trash!