Thursday, August 31, 2017

DISASTER

31 August, 2017


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Disaster

What a terrible ordeal for those poor folks in Texas! The human suffering is unimaginable. So many who have lost their homes and everything they likely worked so hard to acquire, to equip and furnish them! So many who now have no place to return to, now the storm has seemingly begun to clear. (I hear it had moved to Louisiana, where it is causing still more destruction).

Those who clamor for less government must now admit that government help is indispensible in such emergencies—and will, indeed, be required for many years to come, to enable disaster victims to re-establish their lives. I suspect, however, that the right wing of your party will be demanding great spending cuts in other essential areas, in order to compensate for the massive costs of the hurricane named Harvey. I wonder what essential services will suffer? Education? Welfare for the aged or the needy?

Have you by chance read Al Franken’s excellent new book, “Giant of the Senate”? I’m reading it now. He’s a generous man, I think, filled with a great human spirit that manifests only in part in his humor. With all good will in the world—and Franken has plenty of it!—the book confirms my worst suspicions: that the Republicans in Congress are a heartless, highly partisan, obstructionist bunch of people, whose prime objectives are to cut taxes for the rich and drastically reduce essential services for everyone else. This is a disaster of another order, and one that is clearly man-made. (And sadly, I use the word "man" advisedly).

What do you say to this charge, Congressman? I’d love for you to be able to prove me wrong!

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

HANNITY? REALLY?

30 August, 2017
  
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: So, interesting….

I read, in a report on your appearance on Sean Hannity, that “other parties” are “trying to arrange a rendezvous” between you and the president* for you to report to (sorry about this, but it’s proven, on hundreds of occasions) our liar-in-chief about your meeting with Assange—another notorious liar. You wish to impart information that will cause an “outrage among the American people that their time has been wasted” on the Russia scandal.

Alas, Congressman, the American people are already outraged enough by the daily demonstrations from this president* that he is dangerously ill-equipped, both intellectually and emotionally, to sit in the Oval Office. Aside from the relative handful of rowdy supporters he gins up at his (continuing!) campaign rallies, the vast majority of voters are appalled by the behavior and the actions of this man.

As to the information you received, from a source as unreliable as any I can imagine, it is far outweighed by the daily dribble of facts—yes, facts!—unearthed by enterprising investigative reporters; can you guess at the mountain of evidence being accumulated by the Special Counsel? The “attempt to negate” the ballot booth, as mentioned in your Hannity appearance, will surely be shown to have come from the Republican candidate himself and his associates in last year’s “election.”

And, oh…  Hannity? Spare me! As your constituent, I’m dismayed that you can find no other media interviewer to talk to than this right wing hack!

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?

29 August, 2017


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Evidence

The evidence of the covert support received by your president* from Russia during his campaign continues to pile up. There seems to be some new revelation almost every day. At this rate, it’s going to be death by a thousand cuts.

You, who have earned the nickname “Putin’s favorite Congressman,” should be able to cast some light on this growing scandal.

What is it about Trump and Putin? Why does the man so slavishly adore him, balking once again yesterday at the opportunity to simply say that Russia and its dictator have behaved in a reprehensible manner. That they are undermining the integrity of our elections and, by extension, our democracy. No, he avoids a reporter’s question and meanders off into a riff about how it would be great to be friends with Russia again.

It’s money. That’s clear, isn’t it, now? I’ve written before about my suspicion that Putin has been working to entrap Trump for decades, compromising him with big bank loans and money-laundering schemes.

So I guess it comes down to this, Congressman: whose side are you on? The America you profess to love; or the Russia that worked so hard to get your president elected? Your loyalty and your integrity are at stake.

Respectfully,



Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Monday, August 28, 2017

PARDON

28 August, 2017

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Pardon

Are you as appalled as I am by Trump’s unpardonable pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio? I suppose not. But the man exercised his power as a public official—a law enforcement officer, no less—to flout the law and terrorize the people he was supposed to protect. Did you happen to read the report of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division? I hope you did. If not, I offer this link to the report:


If you’re not horrified by the sheriff’s treatment of people of color in his jurisdiction, I can’t imagine that you read the report with anything like careful attention. It details his flagrant violation of the civil rights of American citizens, his disgraceful abuse of prisoners in his charge, and his discriminatory treatment of non-English speaking inmates. Not content with his blatant and arrogant violation of the civil rights provided by the Constitution, he persisted in his lawless behavior even after being judicially instructed to obey the law himself.

Pardon, in my view, is one of the most sacred responsibilities of a president. Trump’s pardon of this man is a demonstration of his own contempt for the basic principles on which this country was founded. That he announced his intention in a raucous political rally to a mob of unruly and ill-informed supporters before making it official is ample evidence that his action was more a matter of rabble-rousing than of restoring justice. As others have pointed out more eloquently than I, it also offers the prospect of a get-out-of-jail card for no matter the offense, so long as the perpetrator belongs to his personal tribe of acolytes.

Would you care to make a public statement of your views in this matter, Congressman? I hear the even the timid speaker, Paul Ryan, has spoken out. I believe you owe it to your constituents to make your position clear.

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.



Friday, August 25, 2017

BOONDOGGLE

25 August, 2017

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Assange

Well, it appears you have been busy traveling, as have I. I was in Idaho, witnessing for the first time the awesome spectacle of a total eclipse. You were in London at the Ecuadorian embassy, on a three-hour visit with Julian Assange. I think I had the better part of the deal.

Did you really say this, as quoted in The Hill: “Unbeknownst to me, I am the first member of Congress to visit there with Mr. Assange”? I hope not. What a weird assault on the English language! I gather, though, from reports in the Los Angeles Times as well as The Hill, that you were persuaded by your host (who must have been delighted with the attention!) that Russia was not involved in the infamous email dump that proved a serious setback to the Clinton campaign. Believe that, rather than the assessment of the entire US intelligence community, and… can I offer you a beautiful bridge in Brooklyn at a reasonable price?

It seems you returned with a proposal to bring to Trump, offering valuable exculpatory information on his Russia problem in exchange for not only a mere presidential pardon, but also for help in extricating the Wikileaks genius from his self-imposed exile in that London embassy—AND for getting Wikileaks a seat in the White House press room. Nice deal for Assange, if he can get it from the dealmaker-in-chief. Trouble is, I suspect the exculpatory information will be about as reliable as everything else that Assange touches.

Nice try, Congressman. I don’t think this boondoggle will earn you any points with your fellow Republicans, nor their affection. Will it curry favor with the great Orange One in the White House? If I were you, knowing how fickle that man is, I’d not count on it.

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

I'M BACK


24 August, 2017


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: I’m back!

You’ll be glad to hear that I just returned yesterday from my trip up north to Idaho to witness the total eclipse of the sun—a spectacular event about which I’ll be writing elsewhere.

My intention today is simply to let you know that your near-daily correspondent is back at the computer, and that I’ll be resuming my communications in the next couple of days. I understand that you have visited the notorious Julian Assange during my absence, and want to find out more about that visit and the reasons for it before I next write.

Respectfully, as ever,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.





Wednesday, August 16, 2017

FAREWELL (FOR NOW!)

15 August, 2017


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Farewell (for the time being!) Cruel World (of politics)!

My wife and I are excited to be leaving on a road trip to northern Idaho to witness the total eclipse of the sun—an event out of which we hope your Trump will not attempt to make political hay.  Though I can’t resist the analogy between the eclipse of the sun and the Trumpian eclipse of American values.

Anyway, you’ll likely not be hearing from me for another week or ten days! I’d be happy to think you might be relieved, but of course not. I’d be na├»ve to think my letters even come to your attention. They do, however, reach many other ears than yours via social media links on the Internet. This is my 128th letter to you since the inauguration, and most of them appear on my blog, The Rohrabacher Letters, which has a growing readership. My goal, not to put too fine a point on it, is to deprive you of your seat in Congress and replace you with a good Democrat.

Signing off, then, for the time being, I remain as ever,

Respectfully,



Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

THE OGRE

A most extraordinary experience last night--or rather, very early this morning. I thought to be awoken by a tap on the shoulder and, upon opening my eyes, to have been confronted, ultra close-up, with the huge, untidily bearded face of a hideous, angry ogre. The experience must have been a dream, of course, but it felt nothing like a dream--more like a three-dimensional hologram, disconnected from any dream narrative. It was so frightening that I yelled aloud, "Oh, my God," waking Ellie in the bed next to me.

What could be the explanation for this apparition? If not for the untidy beard and the scraggly grey hair, I might have said Trump--who is as scary an apparition as haunts the world right now. I think I share the persistent sense of impending doom with many of my fellow Americans. It's not necessarily the doom of nuclear war, though that is indeed a frightening possibility. It's more the sense of everything around us spinning out of control in the social-political world, in the incompetent hands of an ill-mannered, bellicose ogre.

It was perhaps this creature who came to visit me in the early hours.

RACISM

15 August, 2017


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Trump, again

It was grating to watch Trump mouth the words he had been virtually forced to say, yesterday, to include the neo-Nazis and the KKK explicitly in his indictment of violence. It was clear to anyone watching that this was simply an exercise in political expedience, not a sincere expression of his personal beliefs.

Besides, the correction—certainly not an apology, God forbid!—came two days too late. His message to the “alt-right” thugs in Charlottesville was already clear enough to them: what you did is okay with us. The Former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan said as much, publicly, on national television, claiming a kind of victory for the demonstrators in their support for his agenda; as did a prominent Nazi newsletter. These people embrace him as one of their own—and the man does not have the guts to disown them.

Speaking of which, I searched online to see if you had had anything to say about the events in Charlottesville, but I was unable to find a word. Nothing on Twitter, that I could see, nor even on Facebook, where you touted your visits with Boy Scouts and “Vietnamese friends” in the past few days. You also mentioned office visits with your constituents, but from your report they seemed to be all of a supportive nature. Your mentioned the dissatisfaction of some with progress on the health care issue, but reading between the lines I gathered the progress they wanted was on “repeal and replace,” not support for the ACA.

Anyway, I would like to hear you voice an opinion on Charlottesville. In these increasingly difficult times, we need to know that our Congressman stands with us against the ugliness of racism.

Respectfully,



Peter Clothier, Ph.D.


Monday, August 14, 2017

CHARLOTTESVILLE




11 August, 2017

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Charlottesville

This, unhappily, is your Republican base—certainly the Trump base. The base of the base, if you will. The “Make America Great Again” mob, which in Trump’s rhetoric was easily understood as “Make America White Again.” And was condoned as such by the then candidate. The violence yesterday in Charlottesville was surely nothing more than an eruption of the deep-seated emotions that he called forth—still calls forth—at his rallies for adoring fans. It’s called racism.

We here along the Pacific Rim in Orange County are for the most part safely white. For the most part, still, we have been protected from the growing masses of people of color. They come to our gleaming gated communities of luxury ocean-view homes and condominiums, to clean our houses and maintain our gardens during the day. At night, they return inland to places where we fear to tread. Thus far we have been privileged and protected in your district. Given the rise in the Latino population, however, it is important for us to prepare hearts and minds for the future. We are no longer alone, and must make space for our brothers and sisters of other creeds and colors. I urge you to remember this as you vote in Congress.

As for your Trump, what a disgrace. Charlottesville offered him the opportunity to bring words of healing to the nation, to acknowledge the white nationalist source of those tragic events of yesterday, and even—would that it were so!—admit his own part in inspiring and permitting that vile expression of racial hatred. He failed that test. Instead, refusing to call out the real perpetrators, he chose to skirt the issue of white nationalism and appease his base.

Could we at least hear words from you, our Congressman, explicitly rejecting the KKK, the reborn Nazis, and others of their ilk who gathered in Charlottesville?

Respectfully



Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Friday, August 11, 2017

WAR?

11 August, 2017

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: War?

The mindless bellicosity continues—from the golf course! I should say, it was not simply continued, but amplified yesterday, as Trump doubled down on his reckless rhetoric.

Who does this man think he is? A draft dodger playing war games with the lives of millions?

I hope you might by now have read former (Republican) Senator Gordon Humphrey's letter to his congressional representatives. It urges them passionately to support H.R. 1987, the bill currently in the House to empower a commission to evaluate the president's mental capacity to serve in the office to which he was elected. It is now past time. The evidence of the current president's incapacity accumulates daily. He is, quite simply, a danger to the country and the world.

If you are to represent your constituents and serve the interests of the country you, Congressman, must lend your voice to support this now urgent initiative. We cannot allow so grave a choice to depend on the judgment of this particular president*, a man of such questionable strength and steadiness of mind.

Respectfully,



Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

TRUMP


10 August, 2017


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Trump

I’ll be brief. The man is obviously irresponsible, intemperate in language and action, ignorant of world and national affairs, arrogant, and unpredictable to friends and enemies alike. His interests are limited to his family and himself. He is undeserving of the office to which he was rashly elected, and demonstrably incapable of effectively managing the affairs of a great nation.

So where are the Republicans? In a situation that becomes daily more chaotic and dangerous, where are the men and women, the grown-ups, to step up and take charge of this nursery of a White House?

Each one of you has the responsibility to speak out and stand firm. Why do you, Congressman, fail to accept this responsibility? It’s your job.

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

MORE BOILERPLATE


9 August, 2017

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Health Care, again

I received your boilerplate response to my most recent personal letter on the subject of the ACA. It was, I believe, the third or fourth response I’ve received to my now more than one hundred personally-written, hand-signed and hand-addressed letters. Even these few responses have been emailed boilerplate. I cannot believe that you, or anyone at your office, actually read my letters or gave them the attention and thought with which they are written. Too bad!

That aside, I find myself in disagreement with at least two of the points made in your boilerplate response. First, if the ACA is indeed “on the cusp of collapse” as you assert—a Republican talking point with which most serious analysts take issue—it is due to the spiteful neglect of Republican lawmakers and governors rather than the bill itself. We all agree that fixes are needed—we have all agreed on that from the very start—but Republicans have resisted every invitation from Democrats to collaborate on those fixes, choosing instead to vote persistently on “repeal.” Now that this option has been finally laid to rest, I would hope for a better resolve on the part of you and your colleagues to serve the interest of the American people.

Next, you insist—contrary to evidence—that the Republican alternative, the American Health Care act, provided adequately for those with pre-existing conditions. You praised the fact that it “would have initiated a more market-oriented, competition driven health insurance market.” Here, as you must know if my letters have been read, we have a fundamental disagreement: to properly serve the needs of all Americans, we need to think of health care as something other than a “market.” The provision of health care is not, by its very nature, profitable, for the simple reason that those most in need are likely the least able to meet the proportionately higher costs of insurance or care.

There are the points I have been trying to make in my letters on this subject. Rather than addressing my concerns, your response simply reaffirms your party’s known positions—which have already been rejected soundly by both public opinion and congressional vote.

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

ERITREA? REALLY?


8 August, 2017

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Eritrea? Really?

You do come up with some odd ideas. I read just now, in Newsweek, that you introduced an amendment to the US Department of Defense budget calling for the US to “re-establish military ties with Eritrea, an international pariah that has been accused of sponsoring Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia.”

The amendment was rejected by your colleagues, of course, but it seems you are intent on “not giving up the cause.” You plan, it seems, “to pursue it as a future amendment or standalone bill.”

I’m wondering why you choose these strangest of friends—Vladimir Putin’s Russia? And now Eritrea, “a mutant copy of North Korea”? A notorious human rights abuser and purchaser of military equipment from Kim Jong-Un? And you, an Orange County right-wing conservative? A self-proclaimed patriot?

I wonder, do you share this kind of information openly with your constituents? Or do they have to ferret it out from other news sources, as I did this morning? I think you’ll find most voters disagree both with your choice of friends, and with your abuse of your/our congressional time with such wild-eyed absurdities. They deserve to be kept informed.

Not so respectfully today, I fear,



Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Monday, August 7, 2017

LEAKS

4 August, 2017

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Leaks

I note that your president, with the assistance of his new Chief of Staff and his Attorney General, is attempting to crack down on leaks from his administration. If, as a US Congressman, you could grab his ear for half a second or even write him a letter he might read, please tell him that the answer is a very simple one: if he learns to tell the truth himself and insist on honest transparency in his administration, there will be no need for leaks.

It is no answer at all to attack the leakers and our cherished freedom of the press. These actions will only serve to make things worse. There are those, I’m sure, in his administration, who see it as their duty to serve the interests of the American people. When they see secrecy, cover-up, dishonesty, their public-spirited conscience will not allow them to be silent.  There are those in the media, who see it as their proper function to seek out the truth and make it known. They do their job to the best of their abilities

Instead of helping them in their work, as he rightly should, Trump puts every obstacle in their way and blusters absurdly about “fake news.”

Joe the Plumber (remember him?) will tell him—though Joe wasn’t really a plumber: leaks happen when the pressure builds up and there’s a weakness or corrosion in the lines. The thing about leaks, too, is that though they start with just a tiny seep or drip, they only get worse with increased pressure on them. Soon enough, the pipes will burst. Then comes the flood.

Will you tell him, please? Just tell him to relieve the pressure by letting the whole truth out, before it is too late.

Respectfully,



Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

SPEAK OUT!

June 9, 2018 Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, 101 Main Street #380 Huntington Beach, CA 92648 Dear Congressman, You may be surprise...