The Spokesman-Review from Spokane, Washington on December 29, 2017 · c3
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The Spokesman-Review from Spokane, Washington · c3

Spokane, Washington
Issue Date:
Friday, December 29, 2017
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who had heard from someone in the military that he was being targeted for assassination. He grabbed his vital documents and his son, Oscar, and fled to the U.S. After seven months in detention, he was released, pending a court ruling on his request for political asylum. Emilio and Oscar survived by operating a food truck in New Mexico until last July, when the judge ruled against him. They were taken to the immigration jail in handcuffs. From detention, Emilio appealed the decision. “If we are deported, that obviously implies death,” he told us. “If the [Mexican] government didn’t give its consent for criminal groups to work with impunity, certainly the conditions would be different. ... The government of Mexico is the most corrupt government in the hemisphere and obviously enjoys no credibility.” CPJ reported that Mexico is the country with the highest number of journalists killed explicitly in retaliation for their reporting. Just last week, journalist Gumaro Perez Aguinaldo was murdered in the southern state of Veracruz, gunned down while attending a Christmas pageant at his son’s school. He was at least the 12th journalist to be killed in Mexico so far this year. On the Friday before Christmas, Bill McCarren, the executive director of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and Texas Democratic congressman Beto O’Rourke met with Emilio and Oscar at the El Paso ICE detention center, and then met with William Joyce, acting field office director for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in El Paso, and ICE’s local chief counsel, Elias Gastelo, to request Emilio and Oscar’s release. In addition to the compelling proof that journalists are regularly killed in Mexico, McCarren brought a petition with 18,000 signatures from across the U.S., demanding Emilio’s and Oscar’s release. According to McCarren, chief counsel Gastelo told them to “tone it down.” McCarren took that to mean that they should be less public in their campaign to support Emilio: “We are here to shed light, when we believe someone is being arbitrarily detained. It is our job to ensure everyone knows his name.” On Wednesday, the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals granted Emilio and Oscar a full stay of their deportation order. The case will be moved from the Texas border region to Virginia, where his advocates hope Emilio’s dire situation will receive proper consideration. In addition, his legal team wants them released immediately pending appeal. Even in the U.S., where a free press is enshrined in the Constitution, the climate for reporting has gotten so bad that a coalition of organizations led by the Freedom of the Press Foundation has organized the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, “to provide reliable, easy-to-access information on the number of press freedom violations in the United States – from journalists facing charges to reporters stopped at the U.S. border or asked to hand over their electronics.” Journalism is an unacceptably dangerous profession the world over. Democracy depends on a vigorous free press, and it is up to all of us to demand it, and to defend it. Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour. THE FIGHT TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS For the 25th year in a row, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has released its annual survey of journalists killed around the world. The list includes 42 journalists and four media workers killed, some while covering war, others murdered in retaliation for their reporting. Another 20 were killed in circumstances that CPJ cannot confirm were related to their work. A record 262 journalists were imprisoned around the world, with Turkey, China and Egypt topping the list for the second year in a row. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump wages a relentless campaign to discredit journalism in the U.S., often with rhetoric that could potentially incite his followers to violence. Trump’s policy of ramping up mass deportations could even send one Mexican journalist, currently jailed in the U.S., back to Mexico, where he might be killed. Emilio Gutierrez Soto is being held in immigration detention in El Paso, Texas, along with his 24-year-old son, Oscar. They fled Mexico in 2008, seeking political asylum after Emilio received death threats for his work as a reporter. “I wrote some articles where I described how the military was acting in the northwest of Chihuahua,” Emilio told us, via telephone, on the “Democracy Now!” news hour, from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement prison. “This caused disgust at the Ministry of Defense, which sent the head of the 5th Military Zone in Chihuahua, General Garcia Vega, to threaten me, saying I had already written three articles noting corruption and assaults against the population by members of the military. He said, ‘You’ve written three articles, and there’s not going to be a fourth one.’ And, of course, there was a fourth article.” That was in 2005. In 2008, Emilio received an urgent message from a friend Letters policy The Spokesman-Review invites original letters of no more than 200 words on topics of public interest. Unfortunately, we don’t have space to publish all letters received, nor are we able to acknowledge their receipt. We accept no more than one letter a month from the same writer. Please include your daytime phone number and street address. The Spokesman-Review retains the nonexclusive right to archive and republish any material submitted for publication. Send letters to: Letters to the Editor The Spokesman-Review 999 W. Riverside Ave. Spokane, WA 99201 Email: Questions: (509) 459-5026 LISA BENSON OPINION FRIDAY, December29,2017 NORTHWEST3 Trump’s devastation As with many of you, I was disgruntled by the 2016 election results and the predictable incompetence, enmity and greed expected of a Trump administration. He did not disappoint, but the extent of the devastation has been unprecedented. Never in the history of this country has a chief executive waged an active war, often by Twitter, with the opposing political party, the press, ethnic minorities, immigrants, our LBGT citizens, our allies, anything reminiscent of the former administration, political and moral convention, the intelligence agencies and Justice Department and, frankly, the majority of the American people. His lies are legion and daily We have lost our hard-won international leadership position and have possibly been irreparably diminished in the process. We must not forget his gutting of regulatory agencies and packing the courts with persons of dubious qualifications. Compounding the situation is the active participation of the GOP whose representatives, almost to a person, have been willing or at best silent participants in the daily chaos. Russia is no doubt happy with the results of its efforts. Please don’t expect anyone to fix this for us. Get involved. Resist. Richard J. Roberts Spokane Sensationalizing death Regarding your recent article on Chuck Jungblum’s accidental death: I, in no way, condone what he did in the past, but he did serve his sentence and returned to his home to help his wife care for their only child, who was gravely ill from juvenile diabetes. At the time of the accident they were en route to help care for her as she fought for her life in an ICU unit. The fact that you sensationalized the story to sell news was heartless, hurting only the innocent family left. You were so engrossed in describing his past that you didn’t identify the correct driver. He had not driven since having a stroke many months ago. Thank goodness his wife was not injured. Shame on you for putting his wife and daughter through this ordeal again. At the time of your death, would you like your family to be reminded of the mistakes you made in your life? I think not! Have some compassion for the innocent ones left, get the facts straight and stop being a part of the sensationalizing “fake news” problem! Lorraine Green and Connie Sherman Riverside Why is Cathy smiling? Cathy McMorris Rodgers, why did you vote for the Trump tax scam? What is it that you don’t like about the majority of your constituents – the majority who aren’t millionaires? Do you enjoy watching what appears to be many of us going about in some sort of daze, oblivious to your actions, minding our own lives without a care about what you are doing in Washington, D.C.? You’re always smiling behind Paul Ryan during his press conferences, knowing your seat in Congress was safe. Note my choice of verb “was.” Once the voters in the 5th Congressional District really understand your support for the rich, the corporations and Trump, the majority who have been sitting on the sidelines and not voting will rise up and remove you from office. See what happened in Alabama? David Robinson Curlew LETTERS The following editorial is from the (Vancouver, Wash.) Columbian. It is a small victory for Union High School, but it provides a much-needed opportunity to discuss a larger issue. Unionhas been chosen as one of America’s Healthiest Schools. It is among 323 schools, including six in Washington, honored by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, based upon a series of criteria including serving healthy meals and snacks, getting students moving, and high-quality physical and health education. Such honors can be specious, especially when trying to delineate between thousands of schools throughout the country. But Union’s success should be highlighted as children and teenagers throughout the United States continue to deal with unhealthy choices and expanding incidences of obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of obese children in the country has more than tripled since the 1970s. Today, about 1 in 5 children from ages 6 to 19 is obese, a condition that can lead to lifelong health problems. The CDC notes that children with obesity are at higher risk for chronic ailments such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, Type 2 diabetes, and risk factors for heart disease. Such children also are more prone to suffer from social isolation, depression, and low self-esteem. Childhood obesity also is associated with having obesity as an adult, which is linked to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and several forms of cancer. As writes: “Obesity has become one of the greatest health scourges of our time. Around the world, it contributes to more than 3 million deaths each year.” That points out the necessity for schools to teach students about healthy choices while helping them to develop beneficial habits. The goal is not for all children to be thin; genetics have a lot to do with that. But by teaching and reinforcing lifelong habits, we can help students reach and maintain their optimum weight. For many adults in Washington, this is self-evident. Annual listings published by the United Health Foundation recently ranked this state as the ninth-healthiest in the country, citing Washington’s low prevalence of smoking, low rate of preventable hospitalizations, and small prevalence of low birth weights. Much of that can be attributed to the state’s well-educated population and this region’s embrace of active lifestyles. Meanwhile, it also should be pointed out that a growing body of research points to processed sugar –particularly in soft drinks – as a major cause of the nation’s obesity problem. As a policy paper from Harvard University’s School of Public Health notes: “In the 1970s, sugary drinks made up about 4 percent of U.S. daily calorie intake; by 2001, that had risen to about 9 percent.” Or as Vox writes: “First it was too many calories. Then it was too much fat. Now there’s a full-on war on sugar, our latest dietary enemy No. 1.” In truth, there are many factors and lifestyle choices that contribute to good health and prepare children for a healthy adulthood. Parents who understand those factors and schools that promote strong health- focused programs are key to ensuring that future generations are as healthy as they can be. OUTSIDE VIEW Schooling children on health SYNDICATED COLUMNIST AMY GOODMAN -C3Main

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