Shame on Newhouse
I am appalled at U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse’s signature on an amicus brief supporting Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s suit to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn the presidential election in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Paxton’s suit is based on President Trump’s false claims that voting by mail is rife with fraud, and seeks to throw out the victories for President-elect Biden in those states where, because of the pandemic, many voters used mail-in ballots.
If Rep. Newhouse had any respect for democracy, the Constitution or the rule of law, or even any idea of consistent behavior, he should feel deeply ashamed of himself. He was last month elected by mail-in ballots, as was his colleague Cathy McMorris Rodgers, another amicus signatory. Paxton’s lawsuit is, in the words of the brief filed in opposition, “legally indefensible and is an affront to principles of constitutional democracy […] seditious abuse of legal process.”
By the time this letter is printed, I am confident that the Supreme Court will have thrown out Paxton’s lawsuit. However, the stain on all those who supported this craven attempt to curry favor with a bully lame-duck president will last forever. History will judge Dan Newhouse, the other Republican members of Congress and state Attorney Generals who rallied behind this “seditious use of legal process.” History will not be as kind to him as the mail-in voters in the last election.
Marian Exall, Winthrop/Bellingham
Last week a mentally disturbed person forced his way into the offices of the Spokane County Democrats claiming he had a bomb. He then proceeded to pour gasoline around the office and set it on fire. Fortunately, the two women in the office escaped safely.
Two days later, newly re-elected Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson hosted a Zoom meeting/fundraiser aiming to assist in repairing the damage. His goal was to raise $1,000. Joining Bob on line was Lt. Gov. elect Denny Heck and 75 other folks including our newly elected Okanogan County Chair, Katie Haven.
The Spokane chair described the scene of near-total destruction: melted phone banks and computers, tables and desks burned, election memorabilia dating back decades gone for good. After about 30 minutes of supportive messages from the attendees, the mood turned cheerful when we all reflected on the fact that no one was seriously injured and that they would be able to rebuild.
Totaling up the pledges received in the joyful half hour that followed, the AG was astounded to learn that just under $20,000 had been raised. It was truly moving for all of us to turn that scene of destruction into a positive resolve to rally together and move forward. That is how we “build back better.”
Michael Sarratt, Twisp
Has Rep. Newhouse no decency? His decision to be a signer of the absurd Texas lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the election of Biden to the presidency demands an answer to this question.
The most generous explanation for why Rep. Newhouse did so is because he is afraid of Trump. The other, more disturbing explanation is that he’s drunk the lemonade and actually believes the hallucinations Trump is spinning.
So Rep. Newhouse is either a coward or he is extraordinarily gullible. Either way, he should not be representing us in Washington.
Betsy Gross, Mazama
So long, Donald
Dear Donald Trump — It’s time I break up with you. This has been a dysfunctional relationship that I have learned a lot from. I have been trauma bonded and held hostage by your self-centered antics. But I am liberty and justice for all. This includes myself, for I am the spirit of democracy and the mother of a country that needs me healthy and whole.
I know that healthy relationships can seem boring at first compared to the drama of trauma. But, in time I’m hoping my children will see that a functional relationship provides mutual cooperation, creative ingenuity and a steady path forward. Over time, I hope to mend my relationship with this country and heal the abuse I have taken. It will take time, but I am strong and I have the support of many to endure.
And so Donald, I tell you that now and forever I am breaking up with you. Do not bother contacting me again. I am not available to you and I wish to have nothing more to do with you. I need to move on with a greater vision to support the next generations of this country. May God bless you, heal you and enlighten your tiny withered soul. Never yours again, Miss Liberty And Justice For All.
Melissa Raye-Hovee, Twisp
Time to resign?
If your family member or loved one is employed by Okanogan County, I would be seriously concerned due to the attitude of County Commissioner Jim DeTro, chairman of the Board of Commissioners and Board of Health, related to the recent positive COVID tests of 11 inmates and four staff, along with 23 exposures at the county jail (not to mention 16 recently confirmed COVID-related deaths at North Valley Extended Care.)
On Dec. 7, 2:21 p.m., the County Planning Department supervisor expressed her employees’ distress due to a recent unidentified positive test in the building. Other concerns included people inside the building walking around visiting while at least one employee has a compromised immune system. She came to the commissioners for guidance but received little support from the chairman.
When Commissioner Branch recommended abiding by COVID rules also in the commissioners’ meeting room, DeTro’s response was, “You’re not gonna get me to turn into an Inslee, I’ll tell you that.” When Branch stated he was just doing a reality check, DeTro responded: “Well, one reality check is that a little over 1 million people died of COVID worldwide, but over 8 million people starve to death each year, and nobody says nothing.” Branch’s suggestion went unaddressed by the other commissioners, who changed the subject.
My message to Jim DeTro is this: You are obviously unaware of the nonprofit organizations fighting tragic hunger worldwide and in the United States. You were also not elected to solve problems of world hunger, but you did sign the oath to “diligently and impartially perform the duties of County Commissioner.” If you can’t leave your personal politics and uninformed opinion out of public health issues, you should resign.
Isabelle Spohn, Twisp
Shocking and inexcusable
Last week, we were dismayed to learn that Congressman Newhouse was one of the 126 Republican House members who signed an amicus brief supporting the Texas Attorney General’s election lawsuit against the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia.
The four states responded to the lawsuit asserting that Texas sought to disenfranchise millions of voters for political gain, based on discredited allegations and conspiracy theories that had no factual basis. The Pennsylvania Attorney General argued that the Texas lawsuit was a “seditious abuse of the judicial process.”
The states’ counsel also asserted that the Texas Attorney General made these allegations after the elections in each state had been certified, and after U.S. Attorney General William Barr concluded that he had “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Texas request to sue the four states over how they conducted their elections. “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections,” the Court stated in its order.
The fact that Congressman Newhouse would be willing to sign on to an attempt to throw out millions of legally cast votes and shift the selection of electors to the states’ legislatures is shocking, appalling and inexcusable. The last state legislature to choose presidential electors was Colorado in 1876! His defense to constituents? He was simply “ensuring the American people have faith in our elections and our Constitution.”
But his words ring hollow as his actions actually undermine American’s faith in our constitutional right to free and fair elections. It is imperative that voters in Washington’s 4th Congressional District from Winthrop to Walla Walla — regardless of party affiliation — demand accountability for Congressman Newhouse’s decision to sell out the integrity of our elections in exchange for political currency.
Please make your voice heard at this important moment for democracy in our nation. Congressman Newhouse’s phone number is (202) 225-5816.
Tom Jones, Board Chair; Methow Valley Citizens Council Action Fund
What do you do about a fella like Dan Newhouse? find that I’ve misjudged him all these years: Whereas I’d always considered him to be a sort of replacement-level coward and lickspittle who could be relied on to change with the weather, he’s apparently developed into a full-fledged fire-breathing goofball, committing himself irrevocably, and, yes, I said “irrevocably,” to the Trumpist wing of the Republican Party, and, well, committing what all the real lawyers call “sedition.”
That would be an “oops,” Dan. See, you just told all your constituents and everybody else that, not only do you wholeheartedly support an elderly orange loser with more brain damage than a bucketful of sweetbreads, you consider the ultimate democratic principle to be “because I told you so.” Even Dick Cheney’s daughter, a colleague of yours who truly would make Attila look like a liberal, recognizes that, ultimately, her power comes from a combination of “the people” (sorry, that would be all of us) and a system of government that, at least on alternate Thursdays, operates more or less according to majority rule.
Did Q tell you to do it or is this just one more attempt to leverage a few bucks out of the poor folks who can’t seem to help voting for people like you? After all, that’s what Trump’s doing. And, well, the way you’ve managed to greatly increase your net worth over the past couple of years while theoretically working a day job that doesn’t pay all that much would seem to indicate that you’re wired the same way.
But I kind of think you won’t get away with it, at least not for long. To be honest, I think it would be only appropriate for you to resign, given that you have made it abundantly clear that you don’t believe in the system that elected you. But you won’t, and that’s fine, because it will be a lot of fun watching you try to wiggle out of this little act of sedition, and possibly even more fun exposing you as the wart on the body politic that you truly are.
Alan Fahnestock, Mazama
What were they thinking?
Dan and Cathy, what were you thinking?
Over the many years that our U.S. Representatives to Congress Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers have served our rural region here in eastern Washington, I have come to respect and appreciate their dedication and hard work. Both have often set aside partisan politics for the greater good of the people who live here. Her work to support our farmers, small business owners and veterans, and his work to advocate for adequate water supplies, support for the welfare of Native tribal members, and advocacy for sustainable energy resources are well-known.
Then, what I hope was completely out of character, they, along with 124 other House Representatives signed on to the recent Texas lawsuit aimed at overturning the election results of four of our United States. What if Washington was part of that lawsuit — would they have signed on to it then? Are the election workers in Wisconsin any less dedicated than our own county workers to ensure an accurate count of the votes? Do they disagree with the Constitution when it comes down to the right of states to carry out their own elections?
Over the last four years, our country has become more divided than ever. Our current President’s insistence, at any cost, to retain power and ignore the 200-year tradition in our country for a peaceful transfer of power, challenges the very core of our hard-won democracy. My wife and I raised our children to be honest, caring, respectful and as athletes be a bit humble in victory and gracious in defeat. A U.S. President should do no less. Representatives McMorris Rodgers and Newhouse, please be unifiers, and now focus on what is good for our country. Together we can move forward to deal with the pandemic and the other great challenges ahead.
Andy Jones, Tonasket
COVID needs our attention
These are trying times, for sure. Between the continued spike of COVID cases across our nation and the unwillingness of some to accept the outcome of the recent presidential election, so much uncertainty has taken a toll on our collective well-being. We’re all exhausted, no matter our political ties.
Full attention to addressing COVID — controlling the spread of the virus, the logistics of distributing the newly approved vaccines — seems to be stuck in a tug-of-war about the validity of the outcome of the election. The current administration has actively sought to overturn the will of the voters and has engaged in numerous frivolous lawsuits — actively threatening those (both Republicans and Democrats) who are champions of the democratic process.
Last week, the situation reached a new level of craziness when the state of Texas sued to challenge the election results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Even more bizarre, 126 Republicans in Congress, several states, and (for good measure) the Trump administration joined the lawsuit. Not surprisingly, the lawsuit made its way to the Supreme Court and, rightly, the justices chose not to take the case.
One of the 126 Republican members of Congress who signed on for this end-run was our own Dan Newhouse. In a recent piece in The Wenatchee World, Mr. Newhouse went to great lengths to defend his position. Newhouse said, “It was an entity outside of the Legislature that chose the electors.” And, as a friend of ours, an attorney who lives in Wisconsin, opined, “Yes, you dufus: it was the voters.” Our attorney friend continued, “…Texas has no standing to complain how other states run their elections. ‘Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…US Constitution, Article II, Section I.’”
Elected officials who agreed with Texas’s argument were attempting to overthrow the very basis of our system of government. Our representative, Mr. Newhouse, should go down in infamy for his blatant (and opportunistic) attempt to undermine our democracy. One cannot imagine Mr. Newhouse taking kindly to other states questioning the authenticity of the recent results of his re-election to Congress.
It’s time to give all of our attention to addressing the pandemic and its effects on our citizens’ livelihood.
Patti and Nick Ahlfs, Winthrop
Too much logging
I am writing to bring attention to the proposed Twisp River Restoration Project. As we grapple with the impacts of climate change on our community, it is more important than ever to maintain healthy forests. I recognize the importance of understory thinning and prescribed burning for forest health. Though it includes some provisions for these things, the Forest Service’s proposal to log 22,000 acres west of Twisp and Winthrop is a gross overreach.
The proposal includes opening the Twisp River watershed to ATVs, helicopter logging on slopes up to 80 degrees, and building miles of roads in designated roadless areas. It directly contradicts the Forest Service’s own management guidelines by suggesting the removal of trees up to 30 inches in diameter, a full 10 inches over the recommended maximum. The project would be a detriment to the community and the landscape, a boon only to the pockets of the logging industry. This is a timber sale, not a restoration project.
The Forest Service has rushed this project, slated to take three decades, with no public meetings. The public comment period ends on Dec. 18. To learn more about this project and for information on submitting a comment, visit http://www.methowcitizens.org/twisp-river-restoration-project.
Lazo Gitchos, Twisp