More on Nunes’ Spokane Revelations

Dear Group,

Here is a bit more background and consideration of the Nunes recording with McMorris Rodgers at the Spokane Club fundraiser. I wrote this around noon yesterday in response to the question, “Who is Rosenstein?” I later read an analysis in the Washington Post, that came to many of the same conclusions. 

Rosenstein is the United States Deputy Attorney General with jurisdiction over the Mueller investigation. (He has jurisdiction over Mueller because Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General of the United States (and Rosenstein’s boss), has recused himself from overseeing Mueller’s work on account of his (Sessions’) contact with some of the Russians under investigation. Trump has repeatedly criticized Mr. Sessions for choosing to recuse himself, and Trump has openly called for Rosenstein to step aside. Both Sessions and Rosenstein are lifelong Republicans appointed by Trump, and yet they have been the target of Trump’s wrath for thwarting his autocratic tendencies.

Rosenstein is the current obstacle in the way of the rabid Republican majority intent on silencing Mueller, as exemplified by Devin Nunes (and, apparently, Cathy McMorris Rodgers) in the recording. If they could impeach (and convict) Rosenstein, getting him out of the way, then Trump would presumably appoint someone to Rosenstein’s position who would end the Mueller investigation.

Nunes, who, we might presume, is likely privy to more information about Mueller’s investigation than we are, must be really, really worried about what Mueller knows. 

At one time, sober Americans discounted presentations like those of Nunes at the Spokane Club as political theater. Why? Well, with only a one vote majority in the Senate the Republicans in Congress have zero chance of actually removing Rosenstein. (Impeachment is only an indictment, the “trial” would be in the Senate. In the Senate a two thirds majority of those present is necessary to convict. [67 if all the Senators vote]) Nunes’ statement at the Spokane Club is absolutely correct that impeaching Rosenstein now would distract the Senate from the Republican/Libertarian’s most important goal of this entire administration: putting in place a youthful majority of oligarchy-friendly Supreme Court justices. This is the Holy Grail of the Republican/Libertarian revolution. This opportunity must not be missed, so any impeachment will have to wait.

Nunes at the Spokane Club holds out the idea that retaining a Republican majority in the House is essential to blocking the Mueller investigation. Without a House Republican majority the Republicans will be unable to impeach Rosenstein, he properly suggests. He then implies the whole Republican/Libertarian revolution, “all of this,” will collapse if Mueller is allowed to continue. Of course, Nunes is right that Mueller’s sober, methodical investigation is a major threat to the complete Republican takeover of government, but holding out the impeachment of Rosenstein as a way of silencing Mueller is Constitutional poppycock. Impeachment of Rosenstein is theatrics worthy of Trump. 

Nunes and McMorris Rodgers are banging the drum, rousing their base, preparing them for confrontation over whatever Mueller ultimately presents, actively working in support of the Trumpian takeover of the Republican Party and the U.S. government. 

Do not discount the power of Nunes and McMorris Rodgers’ closed door theatrics. We are now in the age of Trump. Trump is a throbbing embodiment of political theater and breathless antics, a man who actually could fire Rosenstein but won’t yet for fear of precipitating a Constitutional crisis or worse. Nunes, McMorris Rodgers and the rest of the Republicans are whipping up the political drama to make firing Rosenstein and silencing Mueller seem acceptable. 

I remember thinking during the Nixon Presidency that justice would prevail, that our institutions of government would weather the storm, that the rule of law would deal with Nixon’s corruption. Back then, though, the commitment to a full investigation was a bi-partisan enterprise. Now with Nunes and McMorris Rodgers and company trying to push justice to the curb I am losing my confidence that our institutions of government can withstand the onslaught. We are at a dangerous time. Vote these people out before it is too late.

Back on Monday. Have a restful weekend, but stay tuned.

Keep to the high ground,

Jerry 

Devin Nunes in Spokane/What He Said

Dear Group,

During Devin Nunes’ fundraiser for McMorris Rodgers held at the Spokane Club on July 30 the proceedings were recorded. Selected contents of that recording were presented last evening on the Rachel Maddow show. You can listen to all 20 minutes of the show here. What we know so far all comes from there, although by the time you read this there will be a story on every network and most newspapers.

Much of what is revealed is not really all that surprising. We have to assume that behind closed doors most Republican Representatives and Senators at times wish Trump weren’t Trump. Many undoubtedly wish they had achieved a Republican congressional majority with someone like Ted Cruz as President, someone who would not engage in daily political theater, someone a bit less flamboyant, someone whose actions did not so obviously merit legal scrutiny.

But Trump is what they have. The recording presented on the Maddow Show makes it clear Nunes, and, apparently, the Republican leadership are willing to do nearly anything to keep Trump where he is and their agenda rolling along. It seems it is a question of the order of things. No. No. It would be bad to impeach Rosenstein now. No, it is more important to get Kavanaugh confirmed first. Nunes does not say so in the recording I’ve heard, but it seems clear there are two reasons: 1) Even if the current Republican house of cards collapses at the midterms another staunchly conservative Supreme Court Justice will change the direction of the Court for decades to come. 2) Kavanaugh’s writing suggest he would tend to support a President against investigation, certainly something useful to have in place before attacking Rosenstein and then taking down the Mueller investigation. 

Implied in the Nunes recording is that the House leadership will proceed to a Rosenstein impeachment if it looks necessary to protect Trump from the Mueller investigation. After all, justice, it appears, isn’t important, what’s important is this chance to advance the Republican/Libertarian agenda at all costs, the “all of this” that “goes away” in the following Nunes quote.

If Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re [the House Republicans] the only ones. Which is really the danger, I mean we have to keep all these seats. We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away,

I suppose you could argue that Nunes is just trying to impress and strike fear in the hearts of the monied donors in the audience. After all, the plea he makes is to contribute to help us keep our seats because if we lose the House majority we will no longer be able to impeach Rosenstein and protect the President. Then, heaven help us, “all of this goes away.”

Isn’t it fascinating that McMorris Rodgers, nominally part of House Leadership herself, brings Nunes to Spokane to provide this closed-door briefing to her donors? Remember McMorris Rodgers is fond of telling her constituents she “supports” the Mueller investigation. Yet here she stands with Nunes, now revealed as planning to impeach Rosenstein if necessary in his quest to protect Trump (and the Republican agenda) from Mueller. I don’t see that as “support” for the Mueller investigation. 

Time for McMorris to think of packing her bags? This is not the way I want my Representative (and Spokane) in the national news. 

Keep to the high ground,

Jerry 

The Local GOP and the Alt-Right

Dear Group,

I do not willingly associate with white supremacists, anti-Semitics, John Birchers, or the “alt-right” (see the P.P.S. for a definition). I do not willingly suffer wild-eyed conspiracy theories. Much less do I attend small gatherings to listen quietly to invited speakers express such views. It is all I can do to read their material on the internet, but I do read it in order to be informed. I find its abundance on the internet and the glossiness of its presentation disturbing. When I attend any small group meeting I exercise enough diligence to know something of the background of the people to whom I will be listening. If I knew a video of the meeting were going to be posted on the internet I would pay even more attention. Ignorance is not a valid excuse for having attended and applauded at these events. Cecily Wright and Rob Chase are quoted in the Spokesman falling all over themselves feigning ignorance. Take a tour of northwest grassroots.com for a flavor of what they peddle and consume.

I support the First Amendment right to free speech (with at least the standard caveats about not shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater, of course). If some people feel the need to hold racist and/or anti-Semitic views and engage in wild conspiracy theories, then they are entitled to do so. Moreover, they are entitled to get together and discuss whatever festering ideas they wish. 

But here is where I draw the line: When a candidate or an elected official goes to the trouble of attending and applauding at Cecily Wright’s Northwest Grassroots’ hosting of James Allsup they demonstrate character and beliefs that should disqualify them for public office. Yes, it IS labelling. Labelling is absolutely the proper response. Consistent affiliation with a group like this should be widely noted. Rod Higgins, currently the mayor of the City of Spokane Valley, not only attended but took to the podium in the video (at 38:00 minutes) to demonstrate his scheming against and lack of respect for fellow elected council members. He acts like an autocrat, not the cooperative, thoughtful official voters have a right to expect. He shows a complete lack of respect for the people of Spokane Valley who voted these council members in. Rob Chase (current Spokane County Treasurer and candidate for Spokane County Commissioner) is a frequent attendee at NWGrassroots and a member of the audience appreciatively clapping Wright’s introduction of Allsup and Allsup’s speech. City of Spokane Valley council members Arne Woodard and Sam Wood and former council member “Pastor” Ed Pace are frequent attendees at the NW Grassroots meetings. 

Sheriff Knezovich speaks of a rift in the Spokane County Republican Party. Sheriff Knezovich is on one side and points to Matt Shea and Rob Chase on the other. I highly encourage you to read Daniel Walters’ coverage in the Inlander of Sheriff Knezovich calling out the far right ideology of Northwest Grassroots Knezovich says splits the local GOP. Now that the story broke his political instincts are nimble. He even coaxed a few young red-shirted McMorris Rodgers supporters to come with him to the anti-hate rally in front of the Court House last Thursday. I have a little sympathy for him, but not much. Where was he when the local GOP was showing all kinds of rot before this story broke, and how does he still support a president who panders to racists, a president dependent for his election on the votes from the alt-right that Steve Bannon stirred up?

McMorris Rodgers is not an overt racist or white supremacist, herself, but she sticks like glue to a Republican Party led by a man who cannot bring himself to condemn the alt-right, a man who thinks Alex Jones is a hero instead of a deranged conspiracy theorist, a man who continues to preach “It’s all working out. Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” – Donald Trump (7-24-2018)

The Spokesman on Sunday broke the news McMorris Rodgers accepted the endorsement of Matt Shea (R-LD4), a vigorous promoter of the sort of belief system exemplified (according to Sheriff Knezovich) by Northwest Grassroots. A least Ozzie is clear about whose endorsement he doesn’t want. He said he would “never consider asking for an endorsement from the Spokane Valley Republican [Shea].”

A few evenings ago I was told of educated people in the Northwest with a crystal clear understanding of history and a vivid cultural memory of 1930s Europe who have put together emergency “go-bags,” the things they would need, like a passport, to flee in case of emergency. They know the signs. For them a “go-bag” is a prudent investment. We need to pay attention.

I know of many and I hope for many more good, moderate, reasonable Republicans who will vote for Democrats this election in the hope of saving their Party from what it is fast becoming. Heaven knows there are a lot of good, skilled, dedicated Democrats running this fall, many of whom bring a lifetime of expertise from outside of politics. In the context of what I’ve written here, Ted Cummings, running against Matt Shea and Mary May running against McCaslin Jr. come quickly to mind, both for Representative seats in Legislative District 4 (Spokane Valley and a bit north). So do David Green for Treasurer and Michael Kirk for Clerk. 

I have met and talked with nearly every Democratic legislative candidate in Eastern Washington and every Democratic candidate running for office in Spokane County. I am confident that every one of the them is a decent, hard-working citizen with the best interests of the people they serve in mind. Never before in my life have I recommended voting a straight Democratic ticket, but I fervently do so now. It is time to clean house.

Keep to the high ground,

Jerry

P.S. On my ballot there are two positions for which no Democrat is running, Spokane County Sheriff and Spokane County Commissioner. Mary Kuney for Commissioner is my overwhelming favorite over Mr. Chase. I have one of her signs in my yard. I also cast a somewhat reluctant vote for Ozzie Knezovich. He is preferable to this year’s competition.

P.P.S So we’re clear about what I mean, the alt-right or alternative right, is a loosely-connected and somewhat ill-defined grouping of white supremacists/white nationalists, neo-Nazis, neo-fascists, neo-Confederates, Holocaust deniers, and other far-right fringe hate groups. (wikipedia)

Followup on Spokane County GOP’s NWGrassroots

Dear Group,

The Spokesman reported yesterday that Cecily Wright, Chairwoman of the Spokane County Republican Party, resigned in response to her exposure on a youtube video warmly welcoming James Allsup at a NWGrassroots gathering on July 11. Earlier, she had repudiated Allsup’s views for the purposes of a press interview. Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins and Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase (currently running for County Commissioner against Mary Kuney) were also in attendance at the tight little gathering of about fifty. The virtues of filling positions in the Republican Party to advance white supremacist doctrine were discussed and applauded. Higgins and Chase ought to consider resigning, too. 

Cecily Wright (not Stephanie Cates as I previously reported) was also the Chairwoman of the Spokane County Republican Party at the time of the Lincoln Day Dinner on June 2 where McMorris Rodgers and Jason Chaffetz spoke and an assault weapon was auctioned off. That contradicted the promise of the previous Chairwoman, Stephanie Cates, that they would not auction off “an AR-15.” (“AR-15” is common parlance for an assault rifle. The  M&P®15 SPORT™ II they auctioned is just an “AR-15” by another name.)

What has the local Republican Party become? It is certainly not the Republican Party of my parents. Abraham Lincoln, the founder of something then called the “Republican Party,” would weep to see what we have here. That the locals appropriate his name for their “Lincoln Day” Dinner mades me a bit ill to contemplate. What would the man who issued the Emancipation Proclamation think of NWGrassroots?

On that note, let us turn away and enjoy the weekend. There is much to do, much to enjoy. Be sure to vote. We still have that…

Keep to the high ground,

Jerry

Republican Bedfellows/Rally This Evening (8/2/18)

Dear Group,

If you had any doubts as to what the Republican Party, even the local Spokane County Republican Party, has become and what it stands for, look no further than the video links in the following article. By the time you read this some of these videos posted on youtube by NWGrassroots may have been pulled. I watched enough on youtube to make me very nearly physically ill. Cecily Wright of Green Bluff is not only the new chair (since this spring when Stephanie Cates resigned) of the Spokane County Republican Party, she is also the Cecily prominent on the NWGrassroots webpage (scroll to page bottom). 

It is worth your while to check out the videos. You’ll see Cecily praising and welcoming James Allsup. On the longer one you see Rod Higgins, Mayor of the City of Spokane Valley, (around 41:00) candidly and nastily discussing his grip on the City Council. The contrast between the bland public statements of Cecily Wright disavowing James Allsup’s politics and videoed praise of him should make you ill. That any Republican candidate allows themselves to be associated this party apparatus taints any respect I had left for them. Remember the years it took to rid the northwest of the Aryan Nations? It feels as though the Aryan Nations has been resuscitated in the form of the local Republican Party. Chad Sokol of the Spokesman posted an article Tuesday evening on this topic. After you watch the video you will find laughable Wright’s, Higgin’s, and Chase’s pleadings of innocence and/or ignorance of James Allsup’s history and racist rants. Read also Shawn Vestal.

If you think you can stomach watching James Allsup’s self-congratulatory video documentation of his actions in Charlottesville it has been preserved here. He later deleted his post. 

Here’s the press release documenting all this:

 

#NoWhiteSupremacySpokaneCounty
Spokane County Courthouse
1100 West Mallon
Today, Thursday, 5:30PM
Facebook event here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/890479127742600/

Spokane County Republican Leaders Host White Nationalist James Allsup.

Local organizations are holding a rally to unite the Spokane community against white nationalism on Thursday at 5:30pm in front of the Spokane County Courthouse.

Organizations uniting to respond include the Spokane Community Against Racism, Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, the City of Spokane Human Rights Commission, Spokane NOW, Families Against Bigotry, Fuse Washington, Western States Center, Spokane Veterans for Peace, Raiz of Planned Parenthood, Greater Spokane Progress, and others.

An online video (archived here) shows key GOP leaders in Spokane County hosting hate group organizer James Allsup at a July event. Allsup is a prominent member of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa and participated in the deadly August 2017 Charlottesville, VA hate rally.

In June, Spokane County GOP Chairwoman Cecily Wright denied any affiliation with Allsup and stated that his “past statements, affiliations and actions are deeply out-of-step with the values of the Republican Party, as well as the values of the Spokane County GOP and our members.” However, the July 11th video shows Wright hosting — and praising — Allsup at a Northwest Grassroots gathering of conservative activists. City of Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins and Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase also participated in the event, as documented in this longer video (archived here).

“We cannot take for granted the integrity of our public officials when they denounce white nationalism in the press, while privately endorsing their leaders and values. We can’t reasonably assume public officials will uphold our rights when they applaud those who would harm us,” said Pastor Walter Kendricks, spokesman and co-founder of Spokane Community Against Racism.

“Our Spokane region has a strong track record of standing up against white nationalism. Together, we’ve defeated the Aryan Nations; we’ve defeated anti-immigrant, anti-gay, and anti-trans policies; and we’re committed to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with targeted communities to defeat this harmful ideology any time it tries to gain a foothold.” said Liz Moore, director of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane.

# # #

BACKGROUND ON ALLSUP AND KEY INFO FROM VIDEO HERE: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vEczsQMIBik0YwAheBTrjNyFb47TSLe9a-HJMigsUsw/edit?usp=sharing

Liz Moore

pronouns: she/her

Director

Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane

509-838-7870 | lmoore@pjals.org

Sign up for PJALS Action Alerts

Donation | Facebook |  Group  | Twitter  | Instagram

Everyday people building a just and nonviolent world

See you at the rally.

Keep to the high ground,

Jerry

Matt Shea and the Red Pill

Dear Group,

Many of you recognize the name Matt Shea, fewer know he has been the the State Representative from Spokane Valley, Legislative District 4, since 2008, and even fewer know how far out on the flapping fringes of conspiracy theory his ideas really are. 

Let’s start with this premise: If most voters actually spent the time necessary to get to know the candidates rather than voting based on name recognition or not voting at all, legislators like Matt Shea would be voted out. If I didn’t believe that I would fall into a fit of despair. 

Which brings me to Matt Shea and the Red Pill. The Red Pill Expo runs June 21-23, this Thursday afternoon through Saturday evening, at the Spokane Convention Center. For a mere $470.25 you can still get an all inclusive (apart from lodging) general admission ticket online. The only mention in the Spokesman Review occurred on June 10 and identifies the gathering as “Freedom Force Red Pill Expo Conference – Freedom Force International, June 17-26, Spokane Convention Center, 100 attendees.” If you visit the Freedom Force International website you find this whole thing is the brainchild of G. Edward Griffin, a now 86 year old conspiracy theorist who has pushed his views through books, films, and conferences. He is also the lead speaker among twenty-eight speakers at the Spokane Red Pill Expo. For much of his life Mr. Griffin has been a member and officer of the John Birch Society.

The term “Red Pill” comes from a scene in the film The Matrix, in which the protagonist is offered the choice of a red pill, representing truth and self-knowledge, or a blue pill representing a return to blissful ignorance. I invite you to explore the Red Pill Expo website and decide if any of their tripe represents the “truth and knowledge” they claim to offer.

Check out the twenty-seven Speakers. Copy and paste a name or two into wikipedia.org. You won’t be disappointed. My personal favorite is Lord Christopher Monckton, “Internationally known expert on climate change.” He has zero education or credentials in science, unless a British lordship qualifies. His education includes a degree in Classics and a diploma in journalism. His many other bizarre views byond vociferous climate denial are detailed and referenced in his wikipedia article.

In the second row of speakers at Red Pill is Washington State’s very own Matt Shea. His bio includes the statement: “As the ranking Republican on the House Environment Committee, Matt insists legislative decisions are based on sound, peer-reviewed science that protects both the state’s environment and jobs that preserve Washington’s quality of life.” Really?? A man without a single scientific credential who shares the podium with a cast of conspiracy theorists?? Sorry, if these are the peers to whom he looks for review…

To round out your acquaintance with this man I encourage a visit to his wikipedia.org entry. Look under Personal Life and Controversy. Check out the links to articles detailing allegations made by his ex-wife and his experience threatening a motorist with an illegally carried pistol. Visit his Facebook page. Sample his leadership qualities expressed on his bi-weekly show on Patriot Radio broadcast on the American Christian Network. 

I still have hope that the average oblivious voter, even a standard fiscal conservative Republican voter, if they took the time to check out Red Pill might think twice about casting a vote for this man. 

I’ve met and talked with Matt Shea’s Democratic challenger in Legislative District 4, Ted Cummings. He’s the real deal. Visit his website, tedforwashington.com. Make a donation. 

If you’ve followed some of the links in this article you will have confirmed a disturbing truth about the Republican Party in general. The Party may have the same name. It may claim descent from Abraham Lincoln. But today’s Republican Party is not even the Republican Party of the Bushes. Today’s Republican Party is well on the way down the road to right wing extremism. The election of Donald J. Trump has just shined a spotlight on the takeover. Leave them in office at your peril.

Keep to the high ground,

Jerry

P.S. Several of Mr.Griffin’s books were published through the John Birch Society, a far right fringe group whose founder list includes Fred C. Koch, father of Charles and David Koch, current instigators of the Koch donor group detailed by Jane Mayer in Dark Money. William F. Buckley, Jr., for many years the intellectual underpinning of American conservatism and founder of The National Review, kept the John Birch Society identified as a fringe element of the conservative movement. With Buckley’s death in 2008 many would argue the Birchers have taken over the Republican Party with the help of the Koch brothers. This New Yorker article chronicles Buckley’s resistance to the JBS and the subsequent rise of the Tea Party. Written in 2010 the article foreshadows things that have now come to pass.

P.P.S. In case you missed it on the Red Pill website, a featured speaker at the Spokane Red Pill is the widow of LaVoy Finicum, the man who guaranteed his own death by pulling a gun on the law enforcement officers who pulled over his vehicle outside the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Matt Shea visited the illegal occupation of Malheur in support of the occupiers…

Civics: Primaries

Dear Group,

The WA State Primary Election is Tuesday, August 7. That’s only 7.5 weeks away. You wouldn’t know it from the local media, but the ballots are set and the Voters Guide is already available on line. It is time to put your “all politics is local” hat on and get informed. Spend a few minutes right now for orientation. Go to MyVote.wa.gov, put in your name and birthdate. Explore. 

1) Check your Registration Details. Update as needed. Have you been a regular voter? Click the Voting History button.

2) Be Proactive. Do your homework. Write down on a piece of paper to display on your refrigerator what positions you get to vote for, who the incumbent is, and the names of candidates. (Obviously, you don’t need to write down the names of all twenty-nine primary contenders for the U.S. Senate Seat currently held by Maria Cantwell.)

3) When you see a yard sign or a news article quiz yourself: Is this person among my choices or is this a different District from mine? Who is this person? Your vote is a good tool. Use it wisely.

 

4) Figure out for whom you want to vote and why. Engage other voters in conversation about your choice. There is nothing quite like a suggestion from a friend or a respected acquaintance to influence voting behavior. 

For races for which you’re not already sure for whom you want to vote there are links to basic information about each candidate at the MyVote.wa.gov webpage. Talk with friends who might be familiar with the candidate you’re interested in. Go to a campaign event. Consider making a donation to the campaign. Visit the candidate’s Facebook page(s). You’ll be surprised how revealing THAT can be. 

Not already a registered voter in Washington State? The deadline for registration that will allow you to vote in the Primary is July 9. That is also the deadline to change the address to which your ballot will be sent. (Under the “Voter Registration Details” button, you can have your ballot sent to where you’ll be and still keep your official Residence Address–just remember to change it back!) It even looks as though you can use MyVote.wa.gov to fill out, print, and then send in that ballot.

Then take your newly oriented self out to a canvass. Spokane Indivisible is running one on Monday (see the box above). There are multiple other opportunities with the Lisa Brown Campaign and with the Spokane County Democrats. Come on out. Every time I find it hard to get started I remember the last time I went and how rewarding the conversations felt. These are great days to take a walk and meet new people!

Keep to the high ground,

Jerry

P.S. For more orientation check out the Reference section below for links to Spokane County and WA State voting district maps. Know your turf!