Shutdown, The Country Held Hostage

Dear Group,

From McMorris Rodgers’ website [the bold is mine]:

For bills to reach the president’s desk in a divided government, both parties must work together to responsibly govern. It’s time to make deals, and the deal to make here is to secure the border, keep Americans safe, and give certainty to DACA recipients. Unfortunately, Democrats signaled today they would rather waste time on bills the Senate won’t consider and the president won’t sign. When this partial shutdown started, I called on Democrats to negotiate in earnest to fund the government and secure our border. These are priorities of the American people and the responsibilities of Congress. Speaker Pelosi pledged today this Congress will be ‘bipartisan and unifying.’ Let’s do it.

We have a petulant child in the White House who is holding hostage more than a trillion (1000 billion) dollars of discretionary government spending (the part of federal government spending covered by the appropriations bills) necessary for the government to function. He is holding the government and the people of the U.S. hostage over his non-negotiable demand for 5.7 billion dollars (only a downpayment) to begin construction of his ill-conceived and ill-advised border wall, a wall that has become for him a symbol of his presidency. 

McMorris Rodgers calls Democrats to “negotiate.” She offers no call for her President, her “positive disruptor,” to negotiate. How do you negotiate over a non-negotiable demand, a demand so entrenched that she considers passing appropriations bills that do not include the 5.7 billion dollars a waste of time? There is a frustrating lack of logic here. Has she never heard of over-riding a presidential veto? 

If Trump holds to his word and vetoes any bill that concludes the shutdown without giving him his $5.7 billion eventually the pain of his hostage taking will grow, and Congress will take the heat from constituents. Congress’ only alternative will be a veto override. (That assumes McConnell can be forced to bring the individual House appropriations bills to the Senate floor and enough Senators defect from Trumpism to get the bills passed.)

You can feel their pain. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA, CD3) is one of two other Republicans in the Washington State delegation to the U.S. Congress (after CMR).. She is a protege of McMorris Rodgers. She held onto her seat last November with only a 52.7% majority. She voted Wednesday, January 8, along with seven other defecting House Republicans and all the Democrats for H.R. 264, an appropriations bill that would end part of the shutdown without border wall funding. Her press release expresses her discomfort with the effects of the shutdown. She writes, “Entering the third week of a federal government shutdown, it’s easy to see why Americans are disgusted with politicians.” Almost plaintively she adds, “While I will never call $5 billion a small amount of money, in the context of a $4.4 trillion federal budget it doesn’t seem like a deal-breaker.” (Notice she inflates the number she uses for the federal budget by including mandatory spending.)

I feel Herrera Beutler’s pain. Please, please make this stop! It’s killing us! And she’s right as far as she goes, including that $5 billion is not chump change. She does not mention she voted for the partial funding bill. Perhaps she would rather her Trumpian base did not know.

H.R. 264 passed 240-188. If McConnell is finally pressured to bring this bill up in the Senate and it passes the Senate (there are already Republican Senatorial defectors) and Trump vetoes it, the House only needs 45 more votes to override. It might look like a high bar right now, but after a few more weeks of shutdown more like Herrera Beutler will feel the squeeze. They will worry over their vulnerability at the ballot box in 2020 if they remain tied to Trump in his shutdown. 

You can bet the Trump devotees are calling their Senators and Representatives to encourage them to hold strong with their spoilt child in the White House. It is time for us to start telling our Representatives and Senators it is time to end this. This President thinks he has autocratic powers, and will, along with his Party, ruin the country if allowed to make good on his promise to extend the shutdown “for months.” The Republicans in Congress at some level have to know this shutdown must end before they lose all the voters outside of Trump’s fevered base. 

Call, email or write your Representative and Senators today and tell them how you feel. They need to hear from us that time is running out to act and we know they can override a veto (even if they pretend they’ve forgotten).


Spokane Office       (509) 353-2374

Colville Office         (509) 684-3481

Walla Walla Office  (509) 529-9358

D.C. Office              (202) 225-2006

Patty Murray (D-WA)

D.C. Office          (202) 224-2621

Spokane Office  (509) 624-9515

Yakima Office     (509) 453-7462

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

D.C. Office          (202) 224-3441

Spokane Office  (509) 353-2507

Richland Office  (509) 946-8106

Mike Crapo

D.C.  202-224-6142

North ID,  208–664-5490

James Risch

D.C. 202-224-2752

Coeur d’Alene  208-667-6130

Russ Fulcher (new R, ID)

(202) 225-6611 

Then call Call/Email Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and ask him to bring the House-passed bills to the Senate floor for a vote in order to end the shutdown! There is no veto to override if this ultimate partisan and Trump enabler cannot be convinced to bring bills to the Senate floor. Phone: (202) 224-2541.

Kept to the high ground,


P.S If you have five minutes Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), articulates this position on the Senate floor on January 10 better than I just did.

P.P.S. On Thursday, January 10, H.R. 265 and 267, two more partial funding bills passed the House with similar margins to H.R. 264. McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse (R-WA, CD-4) each voted first to send each bill back to committee “with instructions” and the voted against each bill. Herrera Beutler each time voted to send the bill back, but then turned around voted to pass the bill. How odd… 


The Republican “Final Solution”

Dear Group,

Last Monday I experienced a wave of recognition, then nausea, as I read the “1600 Daily,” an  email I receive from “The White House” every day and sometimes twice a day. I’ve copied the relevant piece for you to read at the end of this section. 

Many months ago I read an opinion piece in which the author asserted that deporting 11 million “illegal” aliens living among us just wasn’t practical; it could never happen; it was logistically impossible. At the time I concurred. I couldn’t imagine it: people taken into custody and summarily deported when they dropped off their citizen children at school, young children removed from their mother’s arms at the U.S. border, horror stories of youths who discover they’re not U.S. citizens only when they sign up at college, students who then face potential deportation. All that and more I couldn’t imagine. 11 million deportations? No way, thought I. Not practical. Couldn’t happen. Inhumane. Un-American. Unthinkable.

I have news. It is happening right now, it is creeping up on us. If we don’t pay attention now some of us will only recognize Trump’s and his Republican Party’s “Final Solution” too late and to our belated national shame. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative likely to win a seat from the Bronx in November is vilified by some as an extremist for calling to abolish ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). At first I thought Ocasio-Cortz’ stance against ICE was a politically bad move at best, but increasingly shrill emails defending ICE from the White House like the one I copied below have convinced me otherwise.

That “impossible” goal of deporting 11 million people living peacefully among us is exactly what is happening, and ICE is at the center. My thinking turned on reading How Trump Radicalized ICE in The Atlantic magazine. I strongly recommend you read it, too.

The Trump, Sessions, Miller, Bannon, Identity Evropa strategy is clear: First, demonize all immigrants as rapists, murderers, subhuman lowlife–exactly the same strategy used by Hitler against the Jews in the 1930s. Once dehumanized it is easy to justify inhumane treatment, easier for we citizens to look the other way, to believe it is “not our problem.” The vomit coming out the White House is clear: ICE’s “life-saving mission,” “saving victims,” “the heroes” who “save” us. Save us from what? The neighbors we’ve known for twenty years, people whose children are U.S. citizens, people who pay taxes, people with whom we break bread?

Surely most ICE agents are not monsters, neither was every member of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany. Trump, der Lider, tells us and the ICE agent theirs is an honorable job, a sometimes distasteful job, but a job that must be done, a job necessary to safeguard our wives and children from the threat of the illegals. 

That McMorris Rodgers wanly tries to carve out a narrow non-citizen safe place, a “renewable legal status,” for the Dreamers (the few who remind her of herself) in her failed compromise immigration bill is small comfort. That the Trump, Sessions, Miller policy of family separation at the border was stopped is small comfort. The overall strategy is clear: Instill terror in the immigrant community, get the citizens of U.S. to turn away from them, frighten immigrant and mixed immigrant families into self deportation. Praise ICE agents for doing “the hard work.” It’s hard and distasteful but someone has to tear parents from their citizen children. It’s the right thing to do! Use ICE to deport as many of the 11 million as possible who haven’t already succumbed to fear of the Trump government. Do it all before the voters understand they have become complicit in an inhumane policy worthy of Hitler himself.

This is Trump’s, his Republican Party’s, and by default McMorris Rodgers’ “Final Solution” to the immigrant “problem.” It doesn’t matter the motivation, whether it is racism or curbing the potential electoral power of immigrants become citizens. It doesn’t matter that McMorris Rodgers believes she’s sincerely not a racist. The inhumanity of this policy, the manifest parallels of this policy with those of 1930s Germany is there for all to see. I don’t know whether to weep or vomit–but I do know I will vote.

Keep to the high ground,


From the “1600 Daily” received from the White House August 20, 2018:

The Day Ahead

President Donald J. Trump hosts a Salute to the Heroes of ICE and CBP, recognizing the dangerous, important work of America’s border officers. Watch live at 3 p.m. ET.

The life-saving missions of ICE

From saving victims from human smugglers, drug cartels, and criminal gangs to protecting American citizens from crime spilling across our border, President Trump understands the dangerous conditions our border officers face each day. To show his appreciation for their service, the President will highlight the life-saving missions of these heroes today in an event at the White House.  

Even with widespread public support for ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), many Democrats have embraced the previously fringe position that the agency should be abolished. A recent POLITICO/Morning Consult poll revealed that even with the left’s recent push, only a quarter of Americans want ICE eliminated. 

The heroes who protect our borders are a vital piece of our national security. Getting rid of ICE would be devastating to the safety of American families, particularly those living in communities across the Southwestern United States. Our border officers are the first line of defense for these vulnerable Americans: During the 2017 fiscal year, ICE arrested more than 127,000 aliens with criminal convictions or charges. 

President Trump promised that he would secure our borders and keep our communities safe. Today, he is honoring the public servants who risk it all to help achieve that. 

Watch a Salute to the Heroes of ICE and CBP live at 3 p.m. ET.

The storiesPresident Trump stands with the victims of illegal alien crime

Immigration and Consolidation of Power

Dear Group,

Fundamentally, the immigration issue is about money and power. All Republican rhetoric to the contrary, there is no immigration emergency. While we can argue about the state of representative democracy in the USA, there is still power (economic and political) in voting, and power in controlling who gets to vote. The Republican Party has its hands on most of the levers of power and is busy grasping for more, but by raw votes it is still the minority party–and with the rise of Trump the Republican Party has sold its soul to nazis and white supremacists in order to build the minority it has. The purpose of all the breathless Republican rhetoric on immigration is retain the minority votes on which it governs.

This insight comes to me courtesy of analyzing the two immigration bills McMorris Rodgers and the Republicans constructed and then could not garner enough votes even to pass the House, H.R. 4760 and H.R. 6136. The bubbling, distracted media mostly failed to highlight two basic things about these bills:

1) Neither of these bills actually offers the Dreamers more than some limited form of legal status. McMorris Rodgers will tear up over the Dreamers stories, but then she returns to Congress, maneuvers to avoid a vote on a bill that would actually offer them citizenship, and “works hard” to craft alternative Republican bills that offer the Dreamers contingent, renewable legal status but no path to citizenship. She stood right in front of me at Green Bluff on May 29th and (in answer to a pointed question) admitted the Republican bill she was working on did not offer a path to citizenship. She wants it both ways. She wants credit for being sympathetic to the Dreamers, but her sympathy only extends to a select few…and keeps citizenship out of reach even for them. She knows she could have the votes of Democrats for a clean Dream Act at any time, but she will do anything to avoid such a vote. Her legislative actions betray her real values. 

2) The vast majority of the words in these two bills are about curtailing legal immigration. Have a look. These bills toss some money at border security (Trump’s wall, etc) and make a tiny nod toward doing something for the Dreamers. All that is to distract attention and inflame passion in the Republican base. The real intent is to further limit the already dwindling legal influx of brown people. All of Trump’s yelling about rapists, murderers, and MS-13 is aimed at imprinting fear and loathing of all immigrants in the minds of his listeners. Focus on this, not that.

Fundamental Fact: The Republican Party already represents only a minority of Americans, and a minority of American votes. I highly recommend you click and read Doug Muder’s “Minority Rule Snowballs.”

Do any of you remember the soul-searching the Republican Party was doing about ten years ago, the attempts of George W. Bush to speak Spanish and appeal to hispanic voters, the media articles noting America was destined to become less white, more brown and Asian, the hand-wringing over the demographic fate of the Republican Party if they didn’t find a way to attract votes from people of color?

The Republican/Libertarians faced a tough choice: either find a way to attract the votes of this growing electorate or fire up the flapping fringe of the Republican Party, the fringe that has always been there, the John Birchers, the Nazis, and the Klan, the fringe that William F. Buckley, Jr. (before his death in 2008) successfully fended off from respectable Republican mainstream involvement for decades. 

With Trump, aided by the evil genius of Steve Bannon, they chose to welcome and energize the flapping fringe. Trump gathered enough votes to become a minority president in part based on this strategy. 

Now Representatives in electoral jeopardy like McMorris Rodgers are busy disguising their sympathies with the flapping fringe that helped elect her “positive disruptor.” She may be a sympathetic mom with a tear in her eye for the Dreamers but she legislatively maneuvers to rob them of a chance at citizenship. Don’t let her get away with it. We are better than that.

Keep to the high ground,


“Walk a Mile in Our Shoes”–CMR and Family Separation Policy

Dear Group,

McMorris Rodgers has issued a statement disagreeing with the practice of family separation. It is worth a read, particularly the last paragraph which says:

Again, I don’t believe in tearing families apart, but I also believe that people need to be coming to America legally, which is why I support increased border security efforts so families aren’t put in this situation. The new Goodlatte bill that I helped negotiate, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, will fix this family separation problem and authorize funding for construction of the border wall, close enforcement loopholes, end catch and release, reform the legal immigration system, create a merit-based visa program, and provide the DACA population a bridge to the legal immigration system and earn legal status in our country.

Note what I have pointed out several times before: There is no mention of citizenship being offered to even the most innocent of the “DACA population” in this bill, only possibly renewable “legal status.” In exchange for that sop she wants to “reform” a legal immigration system that isn’t broken. She will happily tag along on the coattails of her “positive disruptor,” Donald Trump, as her excuse to ram it through. She does not “believe the government should separate children from parents,” but she is happy to use the Dreamers as hostages to further the Republican agenda while continuing to withhold from them any viable path to citizenship and voting.

McMorris Rodgers is complicit with Trump, Sessions, Miller and the lot of them as long as she is not directly, or though her staff, actively involved in re-uniting the 2300 families her government has torn apart. 

Keep to the high ground,


An Introduction to a Thoughtful Writer (You can’t compromise with bullshit”)

Dear Group,

Happy Fourth of July.

I concentrate on the local and regional politics of Congressional District 5, eastern Washington. I try to make sense out of national and regional news and relate that news to local and regional politics, politics in which we get to cast a vote on August 7th (Primaries) and November 6th (General Election). 

Today’s email I give over to a writer/blogger for whom I have the utmost respect, Doug Muder, an “ex-mathematician” (with a Ph.D.). Every Monday I look forward to three emails appearing in my inbox from Mr. Muder. His perspective on the news of the week always strikes  me as spot-on, the links he offers highly valuable. They are always a vast improvement on the bubbling froth of national daily news.

Furthermore, Mr. Muder often provides a context for my interpretation of the actions and statements of elected officials closer to home, people like McMorris Rodgers.

On June 25th, he wrote a post entitled “You can’t compromise with bullshit.” It is so pertinent I have re-read it three times and I take the liberty to paste it below in its entirety…but what I really want you to do is visit this post at his website, sign up for his weekly email (the link is in the left hand column if you’re reading on a computer), and look for his Monday emails with the same anticipation that I do. Here is the full link (so if it doesn’t work by just clicking it, you can copy and paste it into your browser):

What follows is his post:


For the second straight week, I start with a Paul Krugman column. This time it’s “Return of the Blood Libel” from Thursday. The key observation concerns the Trump administration’s family-separation policy, the one that has obsessed the country for the least two weeks.

What’s almost equally remarkable about this plunge into barbarism is that it’s not a response to any actual problem. The mass influx of murderers and rapists that Trump talks about, the wave of crime committed by immigrants here (and, in his mind, refugees in Germany), are things that simply aren’t happening. They’re just sick fantasies being used to justify real atrocities.

This observation isn’t new, and Krugman isn’t the first to point it out. Trump started his campaign by talking about Mexican rapists. His acceptance speech at the Republican Convention warned that “illegal immigrant families … are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources.” His inaugural address painted a picture of “American carnage” which he promised “stops right here and stops right now”. Yesterday he tweeted: “Strong Borders, No Crime!”, as if America had no indigenous criminals, but suffered only from rampaging gangsters that cross our borders.

And from the beginning, it’s all been bullshit. Violent crime is on a long-term downward trend in America, and very little of the remaining murder and mayhem is carried out by undocumented immigrants. If the US isn’t safe enough for you yet, neither the Muslim Ban nor the mistreatment of refugees from Central America going to make you safer. And if you ignore the nationwide stats and focus on a border town like Brownsville, Texas? “We’re doing fine,” says the mayor.

[Commenters have been confused by the “per 100,000 population”, so I’ll clarify. The question is: Is that per 100K of the state’s entire population, or per 100K of the named group? If it were the former, then the apparent pro-immigrant point is lost; there are more native-born people than immigrants, so of course they commit more crimes. But if you click through to the WaPo article I got the chart from, and then keep clicking until you get to their source, you wind up at a report from the Cato Institute, where the charts are labelled less ambiguously: “per 100,000 in each subpopulation”. So the chart is saying that immigrants commit fewer crimes per capita than native-born Americans.]

Lots of writers have making comparisons to the Nazis as they see the mindless cruelty of the family-separation policy, or the concentration camps that will be needed to hold all those waiting for immigration hearings, if they have to be held. (They don’t have to be held.) But Krugman points back to an even earlier era of anti-Semitism: the centuries of random riots and organized pogroms incited by the Blood Libel — the myth that secret Jewish Passover rituals required the sacrifice of Christian children. All it took was for a child to go missing at the wrong time, and mobs would descend on the local Jewish ghetto, seeking revenge for an imaginary horror.

Picture for a moment the helplessness you would feel if you were either a Jew or a sympathetic Christian hoping to prevent the upcoming Passover from ending in tragedy. You can’t get the Jews to stop sacrificing Christian children, because they were never doing that in the first place. The underlying cause of the looming riot is in a mythological realm you can’t access.

Same thing here. Both Presidents Bush and Obama imagined that they might be able to compromise with anti-immigration hardliners by strengthening enforcement. And so over the last 20 years we’ve had more and more fence built, more and more agents manning the border, more and more deportations. And what they’ve gotten in exchange is exactly nothing, because the border that matters, the one that murderers and rapists and drug mules are streaming across at will, isn’t in the real world at all. When the problem that motivates someone is imaginary, there’s nothing anybody else can do about it.

Some people, Andrew Sullivan for example, appear not to have learned this lesson. Just one more real-world effort, they think, and Trump’s irrationally fearful supporters will be satisfied:

So give him his fucking wall. He won the election. He is owed this. It may never be completed; it may not work, as hoped. But it is now the only way to reassure a critical mass of Americans that mass immigration is under control, and the only way to make any progress under this president. And until the white working and middle classes are reassured, we will get nowhere.

But why will they be reassured by a wall that doesn’t get completed and won’t work? Why will they be reassured by anything that happens in the real world? Won’t there still be examples of whites who get killed by undocumented immigrants? Won’t there still be unemployed whites who blame Hispanics with jobs? Won’t demagogues still tell them that subhuman vermin are streaming by the millions across our open borders? Build the wall, open concentration camps, start shooting illegal immigrants on sight — what changes?

You can’t compromise with bullshit. It isn’t just that it’s not smart; it simply doesn’t work.

This is an across-the-board problem with the Trump administration. Take Canada, for example. How is it going to shrink its trade surplus with the US when it doesn’t have a trade surplus with the US? What could possibly be done to end discrimination against Christians in America when there is no discrimination against Christians in America? How do we end the War on Coal when there is no War on Coal?

When claims are based on nothing, they can go on being based on nothing, no matter what you do to mollify the people who make those claims.

You can sympathize with people, even if they vote against you. And when they point to actual problems in the real world, you can offer them solutions, or at least concessions.

But the Jews of Prague and Warsaw had nothing to offer Christian parents who worried about their children being sacrificed and their blood baked into matzah. Their fear was quite real, but their problem lived in a mythic realm beyond any Jew’s influence.

Similarly, there is nothing we can offer those who worry about “American carnage” or the persecution of Christians or unfair Canadian trade.

Real-world solutions can’t touch imaginary problems. You can’t compromise with bullshit.

Have a Happy Fourth of July. Consider the good things this country has achieved…and what is now at risk.

Keep to the high ground,


CMR’s Immigration Duplicity

Dear Group,

As I pointed out in detail yesterday (and Shawn Vestal pointed out earlier), there is no legal immigration emergency. The only real emergency is what the Republicans, under the leadership of Trump, Miller, and Sessions are doing to the Dreamers, by rescinding the DACA program, and to families, by instituting the “zero tolerance” family separation program, an echo of concentration camps. 

How is McMorris Rodgers responding to all this? She has sympathy for the plight of the Dreamers, at least some of the Dreamers. She tears up hearing their stories. She makes a statement criticizing the family separation policy. It may surprise you to read this from me, but I believe she is sincere in her sympathy… but, as a legislative matter, her sympathy only extends to those with whom she can personally identify. The forum she attended at which she teared up featured DACA students, middle to upper middle class young folk who speak English as well as McMorris Rodgers, diligent students threatened with deportation through no fault of their own. McMorris Rodgers’ limited circle of sympathy for the Dreamers is on display in the legislation she crafts and supports. 

At Green Bluff on May 29th McMorris Rodgers said she “is working hard” to produce legislation to “protect” the Dreamers. The bill she crafted, H.R.6136: Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018, provides a very narrow opening through which a few select Dreamers might squeeze themselves to “legal status,” a new kind of limbo. “Citizenship” is never mentioned. The legislative story and McMorris Rodgers’ duplicitous involvement is detailed below. If time is short or attention limited, skip to the Take Home three paragraphs from the bottom.

McMorris Rodgers wants it both ways. She wants everyone to believe she wants the best for the Dreamers and for immigrant families. Simultaneously, she wants her Fox News watching, Trump supporting base to understand she is working hard to cut down on all forms of immigration, legal and illegal. Her base has bought the myth of the “immigration crisis,” the supposed hoards of rapists and gang members approaching our border in a conga line.

Her first act on returning to D.C. was an act of omission: She refused to sign the Discharge Petition on immigration that might have forced a vote on a standalone Dream Act. None of the Republicans really want to have to go on record as openly voting against the Dreamers. No, that would be too obvious.

What followed then was political theater. McMorris Rodgers and the Republican bloc know passage of immigration reform through the House is unlikely, and passage through the Senate is impossible without Democratic votes. They must keep a solution for the Dreamer’s plight as a bargaining chip, so there will be no up and down vote on the Dream Act.

On June 21st McMorris Rodgers voted against H.R. 4760: Securing America’s Future Act of 2018. This was an awful, draconian bill pushed by the Freedom Caucus. It offered almost nothing to the Dreamers (a three year “renewable” status) in exchange for a full re-do of immigration law. McMorris Rodgers voted against H.R. 4760. It failed 193 to 231 with every Democrat and forty-one Republicans voting against it. Along the way, though, McMorris Rodgers also voted with every other Republican against an amendment offered by Democrats. That proposal would have amended H.R. 4670 to afford a clear permanent legal status and a path to citizenship for the Dreamers. It failed on a totally party-line vote, 191-234. What was McMorris Rodgers thinking? Where were her teary eyes over the Dreamers’ stories? She sold out her sympathy (sympathy that was always very limited) in exchange for the Republican Party line. 

Having voted against the nastier of the Republican bills (H.R. 4760), McMorris Rodgers and the Republican leadership focused the next week on the “compromise” bill she had “worked hard” on, H.R.6136: Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018. (Keep remembering, though, she had to know these were all symbolic votes: the chance of being taken up and passed by the Senate were zero to none.) Her bill, H.R. 6136, offers little more to the Dreamers than did H.R. 4670, the bill she voted against. McMorris Rodgers’ preferred bill offers a six year “contingent nonimmigrant status” for a narrowly defined subset of Dreamers either enrolled in or graduated from U.S. schools,  Dreamers who also can manage to scrape together $1000 for a “border security fee.” You can read the legalize of H.R. 4670’s DIVISION B—IMMIGRATION REFORM, TITLE I—LAWFUL STATUS FOR CERTAIN CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS here, It suspends a few qualified Dreamers in a fresh new limbo without a clear path to citizenship and leaves most of them subject to deportation. 

McMorris Rodgers, understandably, voted “Aye” for her bill, H.R. 6136. Even so, it failed miserably, 121-301 with 112 Republicans voting “No.” (Only 41 Republicans voted “No” on H.R. 4760, the even nastier version.) 

Take Home: McMorris Rodgers may be sincerely sympathetic to some of the Dreamer’s stories. She recognizes among them some who are enough like her so she can identify with their plight. As an upper middle class mom, she tries to sell that sympathy to her constituents as though it were one of her core values and as though that value extended to Dreamers in general. Then she goes to Washington, crafts a narrow and partial solution for those few Dreamers and says she’s “working hard.” Almost no one notices that McMorris Rodgers’ bill would keep the few Dreamers it helped as a bargaining chip for another day. The Dreamers cannot be allowed to become citizens. No matter how deserving they must be kept in metaphoric legal cages to be trotted out another day. Such is McMorris Rodgers’ sympathy.

Meanwhile, she buys the Republican line that immigration is a huge and growing problem that justifies a total re-write of immigration law. Does she even know that, according to federal data, immigration is already at the lowest level it has been since 1971?

If the electorate is awake enough to pay some attention, McMorris Rodgers’ sellout of the human values she wants us to believe she possesses, a sellout demonstrated by the legislation she crafted and the votes she cast, ought to cost her seat.

Get the word out. 

Keep to the high ground,


P.S. The Spokesman refers to the proposed Amendment to the first bill, H.R. 4670, as the “Democratic ‘Dreamer’s’ Bill“. It was not a bill, but a amendment put forward by Democrats to provide real relief for the Dreamers.

Trumpian/Republican Immigration Overreach

Dear Group,

What just happened with DACA, immigration, and family separation? 

Trump campaigned on a platform of nationalism and xenophobia: Mexican rapists, drug dealers, Salvadoran gang members, MS-13 violence, “radical Islamic terrorism,” waves of dark skinned immigrants paying homage to suspect religions and threatening the jobs and values of Christian Americans, images of immigration disaster and unrest in Europe. You know the photos, the videos, and the stories Trump, Fox News, and the rest of the Republican/Libertarian propaganda machine used to push this narrative.

According to Trump and his handlers (Steven Miller and the provocateur, Steve Bannon) immigration is a “crisis.” The words “immigration crisis” are even parroted at times by otherwise respectable media. It is an exhortation for action, a call for drastic measures. 

But this immigration narrative is a lie. As Shawn Vestal points out there is no “immigration emergency.” Border Patrol staffing in the Spokane sector went from 34 to 230 from 2000 to 2017, while apprehensions went from 1324 to 208. The national figures are similar. Read Mr. Vestal’s article and ponder propaganda we’ve been fed, propaganda entirely designed to make us fearful of the “Other,” to justify Trump’s stupid wall and, more tellingly, to justify a huge overhaul of national policy around legal immigration. 

Here’s where we need some clear thinking. Trump and the propaganda machine of the Republican Party wants us to think of all immigrants as illegal and menacing, nasty people, the better to hate and fear them, the better to convince us to close our borders and scrap our values.

Trump, Bannon, Miller, and Jeff Sessions keep pushing their bogus narrative. But there is a glimmer of hope. The personal animus these men harbor for immigrants and all they see as foreign, may have driven them to overreach in the court of public opinion. First, Trump arbitrarily set a deadline disbanding DACA and threatened to deport the Dreamers if Congress didn’t “solve” the “problem” (on the flimsy excuse that Obama’s DACA was executive overreach). Then, with their “zero tolerance” policy, they crossed the line of human decency in their quest, children and even babies from their mothers, evoking images of concentration camps, ghastly images we retain in spite of seventy years separation and efforts by some to deny they happened.

Sadly, most people don’t form opinions based on the cold statistics like those Shawn Vestal put in front of us. Most of us form opinions from the constant drip, drip, drip of stories and images that assail us in the media and share among our friends and acquaintances. The faces of the Dreamers in the U.S. since before they can remember, faces speaking perfect English, facing of people striving to better themselves and contribute to society, the anguished faces of mothers separated from their children, all these faces are starting to lay bare the soulless inhumanity of what has become of the Republican Party  under Trump. 

We know the truth of this when Franklin Graham (the son of Billy Graham) finally speaks out against the family separation policy of Trump and Jeff Sessions. Franklin Graham, in order to further his concept of the “Christian” agenda, was willing to ignore or forgive all of what Trump is, but even Franklin Graham cannot stomach family separation. (His disapproval even aired on the Christian Broadcast Network.) 

Trump, Miller, Sessions, and Bannon want to slam shut the door on legal immigration. They are trying to accomplish their goal by pushing a false narrative of fear and emergency in the hope of cornering public opinion. Trump, with his hateful, disgusting, divisive rhetoric, has enlisted the opinions of some, but the family separation, “zero tolerance” policy has crossed the line of human decency. In the backlash we need to call out the lie that is their argument. 

Where does McMorris Rodgers fit in all of this? To be continued.

Keep to the high ground,


P.S. I am not big on conspiracy theories. I believe formation of our opinions is a very, very messy process. Assigning nefarious, underhanded motives to other people’s statements and actions is dangerous business. That said, I have to note shutting down the borders (and the fear, xenophobia, and (quite possibly) racism that underlies it) has a distinctly self-serving, Party-serving quality. After all, in general, immigrants, especially young immigrants, don’t vote Republican. Making any path to citizenship for the Dreamers as hard as possible and limiting legal immigration serves the same Republican purpose as purging voter roles and gerrymandering. 

Do I think this is at the top of Trump’s, Session’s, Miller’s, and Bannon’s minds in their push to overturn a half a century of immigration policy? I doubt it. At least Trump and Sessions have demonstrated enough xenophobic and racist tendencies over their lives to convince me those are their primary motivators. They do not need to be conscious of Party demographics to push for immigration policies to preserve the Republican base. Somewhere, though, some committed Republican demographer/strategist is rooting for an immigration policy revolution that will insulate the Party against demographic erosion of its base.