Wednesday, February 28, 2018

NEPOTISM


February 28, 2018 

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

Dear Congressman,

 It has been a while since you heard from me. My apologies. I do try to keep up, but sometimes life gets in the way of the best intentions.

Are you as displeased as I am by the shameless nepotism of our “president”? Qualified or not—and in fact, not, not at all—the Trump family strides across the globe with appalling arrogance and presumption. Trump Jr. shows up in India as an uncredentialed quasi-ambassador, accepting greetings as though he represented this country even as he promotes the family business. Ivanka Trump is dispatched to the most dangerous place in the world, charged, it seems, with disclosing official American policy to the President of South Korea.

Worse, to my mind, the ubiquitous and (forgive me) infinitely smarmy Jared, lacking even the most basic diplomatic credentials or experience, is supposedly not only overseeing our relations with Mexico but also brokering that peace in the Middle East that has eluded a host of skilled diplomats and negotiators before him. That he has finally been stripped of even the temporary security clearance that allowed him access to the most confidential information until now is surely evidence that he is not only unqualified, he is a security risk. Yet his father-in-law makes no attempt to replace him. 

Are you content, Congressman, with the United States becoming what’s close to a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump Inc.? Is it okay with you to see our nation’s international relations and international business conducted as a family fiefdom, by people who are, at best, rank amateurs and at worst, quite possibly, a criminal enterprise? 

How much longer will you and your fellow Republicans continue to tolerate an administration that violates every principle you once claimed to stand for? Are you not in the least bit troubled by this travesty? 

Respectfully, 


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Friday, February 23, 2018

TEACHERS WITH GUNS


February 23, 2018

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

Dear Congressman,

Re: Teachers with guns

From our balcony, we look down over Laguna Beach High School. The football field is immaculate, green, and well lit both in the early morning and the evening. The track surrounding it is state-of-the-art. I imagine there could be no better place in the world for a young person to get an education. Those of them who are raised in this most privileged of areas are fortunate indeed.

And yet… we now know that this school, along with every other school in this most privileged of countries, is vulnerable to the kind of mayhem that we saw last week in Florida. It is appalling to think that virtually anyone, with little effort and few questions asked, can lay his (yes, unfortunately, almost always “his”) hands on the kind of lethal weaponry that is designed exclusively to kill and maim as many human beings as possible on the field of battle. It is appalling to reflect on how many have acquired them, and have brought them into schools like ours, and have used them to inflict death and injury on a scale that should be unimaginable.

I want to ask you, Congressman: do you stand behind the appallingly simplistic, ignorant and dangerous words of your president on this issue? With his childish notion that the problem will be (so easily!) solved by arming teachers? Or by “hardening” every “target”—which is to say, every school in the country? Will you, as does the president, capitulate to the self-serving edicts of the NRA, and parrot the despicable words we heard from its leader yesterday?

I ask this because I value the school in my neighborhood and the lives of the young people who arrive there every day—with the expectation of returning home at night. I value the education it provides, and the teachers who provide it. I expect you, my representative, to share those values and oppose every effort to diminish or besmirch them. I expect you, my representative, to do what is necessary to protect them. And in today’s world it appears that the very least that can be done is to remove weapons of war from the equation. Entirely. Unequivocally. Immediately.

I expect and demand nothing less of you, as my representative, than a ban on all assault rifles. For a start.

Respectfully,

Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A PURPOSEFUL MISREADING


February 20, 2018


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

Dear Congressman,

Re: Your statement

I read the February 16 statement you put out regarding the Mueller indictment of 3 Russian agencies and 13 Russian individuals in connection with the attack on the integrity of our 2016 election. I believe that you distort the facts.

First, to suggest that the activities of the Russians support “both the Trump and the Clinton campaigns” is to purposely misread the indictment (I read it in full: did you?), which makes it perfectly clear that the support was in Trump’s favor. In cases where false flag rallies were staged, purportedly in Clinton’s favor, it was clear that the opposite was intended.

Further, to latch on to that single word, “unwitting,” is to ignore what I pointed out to you in an earlier letter, the allegation early in the document stating that “Defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States.” This is hardly an exclusion of the possibility of collusion. It is merely an opening of the door for future revelations.

In view of this, your statement’s assurance that “the ‘collusion’ theory will likely collapse, and soon” is clearly misguided. And to lay the blame for the Mueller investigation on Democrats, as your statement does, is to gloss over the very real threat that Russia poses to our democracy. You should instead place the blame squarely (and honestly) where it belongs: on your Russian friends. And you should be asking why the presumptive leader of our nation fails to respond in even the mildest way to a now unquestionable attack on our country and instead, like yourself, chooses to blame those who wish only to defend it.

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Monday, February 19, 2018

TWEETS


February 19, 2018

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

Dear Congressman,

Re: Tweets

In lieu of my usual letter, forgive me if I unabashedly quote myself, from my most recent post on Facebook.

What a pathetic thing is a "tweet"! It's aptly named, the word defined in the dictionary as "the chirp of a small or young bird." Yet that's what we get from the occupant of the Oval Office, in response to what is finally, openly, indisputably acknowledged as an act of "information war" against the United States: a series of tweets. A real man in that office would speak with the voice of a real man, a voice of integrity and authority, a voice of justified anger and resolve; I think of the voice of Roosevelt in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. He would not "tweet" from behind a puny cell phone, but speak out loud to the world from behind his desk, or from behind a lectern. But we lack the presence of a real man in the Oval Office. Instead, we have a small-minded, bird-brained creature who responds to a still-continuing attack on our country with nothing more than tweets.

To quote the inadequate expression of our Tweeter-in-Chief: Sad!

And you, Congressman, will you remain silent? Will you, through your silence and inaction, be guilty of collusion with your Russian friends, who attack this country with impunity? With not so much as a murmur of condemnation from the man who poses as our “president”?

Yours, in full-throated anger,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

THE MUELLER INDICTMENT


February 17, 2018

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

Dear Congressman,

Re: The Mueller indictment

Did you read the whole 37-page indictment of those Russians issued by Special Counsel Robert Mueller? I just finished it. It certainly puts paid to your Trump’s repeated assertion that the whole thing was a “hoax.” The meticulous, count-by-count detail makes distressingly clear the extent to which Russia involved itself in our election. And while it does not explicitly claim that their efforts were effective, it’s virtually impossible to believe otherwise. The indictment documents literally hundreds of thousands of social media posts denigrating one candidate and favoring another; how could these not have affected those few thousand votes that made the difference in the Electoral College?

And yet Trump and his enablers on Fox News and in the Republican congress absurdly claim this indictment as a “vindication,” proving the Trump campaign innocent of collusion. I beg to differ. There is no such exculpation offered in the indictment. To seize on the single word “unwitting” is to distort the implication of the whole. Indeed, right at the start the indictment declares that “Defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States.” Along with many others, I’m sure, I’m awaiting the revelation of those “persons known” to the Grand Jury.

Trump and his team return to that old (capitalized!) claim of NO COLLUSION, failing, apparently, to notice that the indictment is a devastating and persuasive account of an attack on the United States by a hostile foreign entity. The “normal” response of an American president would be to excoriate the attackers mercilessly and take bold retributive action.  Not Trump, who sees things only in his personal interest. Not the cowardly Republican leadership.

Shame on them all, Congressman. And shame on you if remain complicit in this treachery.

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Friday, February 16, 2018

MENTALLY DISTURBED


February 16, 2018

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

Dear Congressman,

Re: Mentally disturbed

I confess that I am weary and discouraged today, and not only because I am still suffering the aftereffects of what was billed as “very minor” surgery yesterday. I am weary and discouraged after viewing and reading news about the latest atrocity in America’s schools. Yesterday, in anger, I reposted that image of you mugging for the camera with heavy weaponry. It quite honestly disgusted me that you would choose to make sport of so dark a stain on our American culture.

I’ll be brief. I want to ask if you, too, are complicit in the latest Republican talking point about gun violence; it used to be clich├ęs like “guns don’t kill…”; now the words “mentally disturbed” are on everyone’s lips, including the president’s. It is as though the repetition this shibboleth could absolve lawmakers like yourself from the responsibility to take even the most minimal of actions in the face of the daily slaughter on American streets and even in its schoolrooms. It also conveniently skips over the fact that it was your Donald Trump whose (first?) act in the Oval Office was to sign a reversal of the directive signed by President Obama to make it harder for the “mentally disturbed” to have access to lethal weapons.

I believe that Trump’s budget also slashes funds to benefit the “mentally disturbed.” Is that something you support?

Awaiting your words and, more significantly, your actions on behalf of simple sanity, I remain,

Respectfully,



Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A WELL-REGULATED MILITIA?

I think this image speaks quite eloquently as to Congressman Rohrabacher's position on the availability of the kind of weapon used in yesterday's massacre at another American high school.


Is it not time--is it not well past time--for our congressional representatives to recognize the urgency to take action on sane gun regulation in this country? Yesterday's latest assault on school children, following so many others, makes a mockery of those who tout the Second Amendment's "right to bear arms." Are those who perpetrate such actions a part of that "well-regulated militia" deemed "necessary to the security of a free state"?

The victims are offered, instead of action commensurate with their appalling deaths, the "thoughts and prayers" of cowardly lawmakers who hide their fealty to the NRA behind pieties about the Second Amendment.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A CRUEL BUDGET PROPOSAL


February 14, 2018

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

Dear Congressman,

Re: Trump’s budget proposal

It’s not just the deficit that’s wrong with the budget proposal released on Monday, though if I understand the comments I’ve read from reliable economists, now is not the best time to be increasing it by trillions of dollars . No, it’s the values the proposal represents and the promises it breaks, slashing expenditures in Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and other essential social programs while making obscene and unneeded increases in military spending. Not to mention the elimination (again!) of the Affordable Care Act.

I thought to have heard promises from Trump not to make those cuts in Medicare and Medicaid. I thought to have heard the same from Republicans—including House Leader Paul Ryan—at the time those massive tax cuts for the wealthy were rushed through the legislative process. Now we see the true colors of your leaders and your colleagues: it was all a scam to promote the only real agenda you seem to have left, to further enrich the already wealthy and stick it to the poor.

I hope the “president’s” proposal will hit stiff opposition in both House and Senate and ask you, as my representative, to voice your opposition to what the New York Times called “Trump’s Nasty Budget Proposal.” Nasty, it seems to me, is the right word. Downright nasty. Even cruel. I'd like to think you're not a cruel man, Congressman. But then again... who knows?

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

LANGUAGE MATTERS

February 13, 2018

 Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Language

As one of my friends was saying recently, language matters. Words matter. Your president’s recent comments on the spousal abuse affair speak loudly as to his concern for the victimizer over the victim, the male over the female. They speak loudly as to his lack of concern for matters of national security, when it comes to his own team. So many in the White House, even key staff members—even his own son-in-law!—lack the proper security clearance. He was loud enough in his choice of words on this subject for his Democratic rival in 2016. But now?

But I started out to write about his budget announcement yesterday. Admittedly, I was unable to pay undivided attention—I happened to be on the elliptical walker at the gym—but I was frankly appalled by both the content of his comments and by the language he deployed to communicate it. The truth is, language and content are inseparable. You cannot convey complex, subtle ideas in impoverished language. You cannot even conceive of such an idea without the words and syntax in which to formulate them.

Trump lacks both words and syntax. His language is basic, primitive, ego-based. He spoke of his “great”—and to my mind quite unnecessary—restoration of the military; of the “great” infrastructure that would result from his paltry $200 billion in federal money (to be supplemented, magically, to the tune of $1.5 trillion by state and private contributions). The whole presentation was, to my mind, simplistic, predictable and calculated mainly to boost the ego of the deliverer—not to mention his financial interests. He is, after all, as he once more repeatedly affirmed in yesterday’s announcement, a “great” builder.

Honestly, Congressman, I despair of any significant progress for this country while that man occupies the Oval Office. His language confirms what his general behavior suggests: he remains, emotionally and intellectually, a child. Does it not feel somehow shameful to keep supporting him as you do?

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Friday, February 9, 2018

THE REPUBLICAN SPENDING BILL

Today, instead of my usual letter to Rohrabacher, I post this link to a fine, funny article by Richard Wolffe in The Guardian. Okay, well, maybe not so funny. Sarcasm is much maligned as the lowest form of humor, but... sometimes it works. Wolffe nails it in his critical response to the just-passed Republican spending bill. Something our Congressman should read and take to heart.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

THE POISON RING


February 8, 2018

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

Dear Congressman,

Re: Tillerson

Were you as appalled as I was when I heard Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent comments on the Russian hacking? Admitting—unlike his boss—that this was a reality, he weakly added, “once they decide to do it, it’s very difficult to pre-empt it.” And “It’s just important to say to Russia, ‘Look, if you think we don’t see what you’re doing, we do see it and you need to stop. If you don’t you’re just going to invite consequences for yourself.”

These are the words of the Secretary of State of what was once “the most powerful nation in the world”! How pathetic! But of course we must remember that Tillerson was a good friend to Putin when it came to oil deals; that your Trump has not a bad word to say about the Russian leader; and of course that you yourself have been referred to as Putin’s best friend in Congress. Perhaps you agree with Tillerson’s lame response?

Was a time—it seems long ago—when Republicans were the first to warn us against Soviet, and later Russian, skullduggery. When Republicans acted as though our country had an important role to play in the world and insisted we could not be intimidated. But that was before Trump arrived to “make America great again.” Before he, and his Republican enablers, and now his Secretary of State, made us look weak and powerless in the face of Russian aggression.

What say you, Congressman? Are you and your colleagues planning to persist in sabotaging every attempt to discover what Putin did in our last election? And in passively permitting his interference in the next? Are we to kiss Putin’s poison ring?

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

PARADE


Note: This is my 225th letter to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher since January 2017, all sent to his office in Huntington Beach via the US mail, all hand-signed, all hand-addressed. Each one has been individually conceived and written--no copy/pasting, except for the occasional quotation from another source. To date, I have received, via email, only four or five boilerplate position papers in response. There has been not one single personal response to a constituent, even though a critic, who is concerned enough to write that many letters. You would think that even as a matter of good manners... But then, no. I write them not in the expectation of a thoughtful response, however; I write them for this blog.

February 8, 2018

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

Dear Congressman,

Re: Parade

I write this morning to ask your opinion of Trump’s planned military parade, with tanks and ICBM’s roaring past the White House—and presumably with Trump saluting on the parade stand, a bit like, dare I say it?, St*l*n on Red Square or *d*lph H*tl*r at Nuremberg. Or Little K*m in Pyongyang.

I find the idea to be an abomination. A raw demonstration of bullying power, it is alien to everything America has stood for, and should stand for, in the world.

Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, told MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson: “ This is not about a dictatorship, this is about the president wanting to honor the military.” To which I say, Nonsense (or a word to that effect). This is about the president wanting the military to honor HIM.

Enough with the aggrandizement of this man’s pathetic ego. Don’t you agree?

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

NOVEMBER


February 7, 2018

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

Dear Congressman,

Re: November

I read an article yesterday in The Hill suggesting that you would be confronting problems this fall with voters who disapprove of Trump. Apparently 86% of those voters “are unlikely to vote to reelect” their congressman. Your chances of reelection in November are now rated a toss-up by the Cook Political Report.

What are the chances of Trump improving his image with those voters between now and election day? What are the chances that their number will increase? I suspect the latter. While even events of the past week have done little to impact the ardor of his loyalists, the majority of Americans can’t help but see him for what he is: a charlatan and a huckster who has less interest in the well-being of this country than that of himself and his family.

The latest news I’ve heard is that Trump is now announcing his enthusiasm for another shutdown—just what the country needs.

Will he sign off on the release of the Democratic memo responding to that of the Devin Nunes dud last week? I have no idea. Nor does anyone else, I suspect. The man is totally unpredictable—and not in a good way. But if he does not, there will surely be a political cost to such a blatantly partisan choice. If he does, well, the jig is up.

However this all turns out, you can count on me as one who will do everything he can to support your Democratic opponent. I am one of many who want to see a Democratic majority in Congress, and who want to remove Trump from an office for which he is still not fit in 2020.

Respectfully,


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

Monday, February 5, 2018

BALALAIKA

February 5, 2018

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

Dear Congressman,

Re: Balalaika?

I was amused to come across the Twitter thread that followed this Ed O’Keefe tweet last Wednesday:

SPOTTED: House & Senate GOP lawmakers boarding their train at Union Station en route to West Virginia, where they’ll be the next few days at the Greenbrier for their annual issues conference. Spouses and kids in tow. Rep. @DanaRohrabacher was carrying his guitar.

Most of the (long!) thread was in taunting reference to your fondness for the Russian regime, several tweeters speculating that the “guitar” was in fact a balalaika and that you’d be planning to regale the conferees with Russian folk songs.

But perhaps I shouldn’t joke about this. The train ride ended in that collision with a garbage truck. I was tempted to enjoy the irony of a trainload of Republicans ending up in the trash—until I learned that a man had died in the accident. No joking matter.

Anyway, I trust that you survived intact.

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...