Response to Senator Merkley

July 1, 2009

Bergel_Peter_letters[Note: OPW’s Director sent this reply to Sen. Merkley after receiving Merkley’s summary of his first 4 months.]

Dear Senator Merkley,

Thank you for this report on your first few months’ activities. It is helpful information that I look forward to sharing with the members of Oregon PeaceWorks.

I have a number of points to respond to, but first let me say that while I applaud a great deal of what you have written, I am deeply distressed to see no mention at all of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor any explanation as to why you supported the supplemental request for still more war funding. During your campaign you frequently avowed your opposition to the war and explained away your initial failure to oppose it in the Oregon Legislature. We took you at your word and are disappointed that you, along with the rest of Oregon’s Democrats, are helping President Obama make both these wars his own rather than ending them.

It is good to know you have been appointed to an important financial committee. We support ending the disastrous Wall Street practices that plunged us into the current financial crisis, of course, but ending these practices is not enough. Those whose greed and wrongdoing caused this situation should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and their stolen wealth confiscated, as much as that is possible. Allowing major criminals to get away with their crimes is not acceptable. We also support your efforts to prevent victimization of strapped citizens by credit card predators.

I congratulate you on your efforts to bring health insurance to all Americans, but see no mention of a single-payer system — which is Ad Oregon Peaceworker Pickles08.pdfwhat the majority of Americans want, despite its negative impact on large drug and insurance companies. We must end the huge transfer of wealth from the poor and middle classes to the corporate rich that our current health care system exists to facilitate. Indeed, the very term “health care system” is a misnomer. It is a disease management system being accomplished in perhaps the least efficient manner possible.

The best news in your letter is your involvement in efforts to address global warming. I believe this is the greatest threat currently facing us — eclipsing even the financial crisis, if one looks just a short distance ahead. Any and all efforts to reform our energy use patterns and to head off the resource wars that loom in our future because of global warming are both welcome and sorely needed. Let us know how we can best partner with you in this work.

Sincerely,

Peter Bergel
Director, Oregon PeaceWorks Φ

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