NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, January 17th, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted on Donald Trump’s removal

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed on remov­ing Don­ald Trump dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 15th, 2021.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

IMPEACHING DONALD TRUMP FOR THE SECOND TIME: Vot­ing 232 for and 197 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 13th adopt­ed an arti­cle of impeach­ment (House Res­o­lu­tion 24) charg­ing Pres­i­dent Trump with “incite­ment of insur­rec­tion” for his role in prompt­ing a dead­ly assault on the Capi­tol on Jan­u­ary 6th by a vio­lent mob of his sup­port­ers. A Sen­ate tri­al on the arti­cle will be held after Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden takes office Jan­u­ary 20th.

The vote fol­lowed the House­’s impeach­ment of Trump in Decem­ber 2019 over his deal­ings with Ukraine, mak­ing him the only pres­i­dent to be impeached twice.

The arti­cle includ­ed word­ing from Sec­tion 3 of the post-Civ­il War 14th Amend­ment, which bars from future gov­ern­ment office any fed­er­al or state offi­cial who has “engaged in insur­rec­tion or rebel­lion” against the Unit­ed States or giv­en “aid or com­fort to the enemies.…”

All 222 Democ­rats in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives sup­port­ed the arti­cle and 197 of the 207 Repub­li­cans who vot­ed were opposed to it. The ten Repub­li­cans vot­ing for impeach­ment were Reps. David Val­adao of Cal­i­for­nia, Adam Kinzinger of Illi­nois, John Katko of New York, Peter Mei­jer and Fred Upton of Michi­gan, Antho­ny Gon­za­lez of Ohio, Tom Rice of South Car­oli­na, Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler and Dan New­house of Wash­ing­ton and Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

Dan New­house, R‑Washington, said: “There is no excuse for Pres­i­dent Trump’s actions. The pres­i­dent took an oath to defend the Con­sti­tu­tion against all ene­mies, for­eign and domes­tic. Last week, there was a domes­tic threat at the door of the Capi­tol, and he did noth­ing to stop it.”

Dan Bish­op, R‑North Car­oli­na, said the arti­cle dis­miss­es the pres­i­den­t’s right to free speech. “Con­gress can dis­ap­prove, revile, con­demn, even cen­sure, but you can­not, con­sis­tent with the rule of law, pun­ish that which the Con­sti­tu­tion’s 1st Amend­ment declares pro­tect­ed. If you do it, the vio­la­tors of duty to this Constitution…will be those who vote for this arti­cle of impeachment.”

A yes vote was to impeach the president.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (9): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler and Dan Newhouse

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 13 aye votes, 4 nay votes

REMOVING PRESIDENT TRUMP BY 25TH AMENDMENT: Vot­ing 223 for and 205 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 12th passed a non-bind­ing res­o­lu­tion (House Res­o­lu­tion 21) call­ing on Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence to invoke 25th Amend­ment pro­ceed­ings to remove Pres­i­dent Trump from office.

Pence had already announced he would not do so.

Under Sec­tion 4 of the amend­ment, if the vice pres­i­dent and a major­i­ty of Cab­i­net mem­bers declare in writ­ing to the pres­i­dent pro tem­pore of the Sen­ate and speak­er of the House that the pres­i­dent “is unable to dis­charge the pow­ers and duties of his office,” the vice pres­i­dent imme­di­ate­ly becomes act­ing pres­i­dent with full exec­u­tive duties and powers.

Mary Gay Scan­lon, D‑Pennsylvania, said:

“Any oth­er pres­i­dent with an ounce of char­ac­ter would have resigned after see­ing the bloody con­se­quences [at the Capitol].”

“Any oth­er admin­is­tra­tion would have invoked the 25th Amend­ment long ago. I don’t care if the pres­i­dent incites a riot against Con­gress on his first day or the last day of his or her pres­i­den­cy, such an act is a crime against our gov­ern­ment much less against the peo­ple who are par­a­lyzed or killed in the attack. If a pres­i­dent can refuse to acknowl­edge [this] to Amer­i­can vot­ers, then incite a coup to stay in pow­er with­out pun­ish­ment, then our democ­ra­cy is lost.”

Tom McClin­tock, R‑California, said:

“The 25th Amend­ment specif­i­cal­ly address­es the inca­pac­i­ty of the pres­i­dent to dis­charge the duties of his office. It was nev­er intend­ed as a polit­i­cal weapon when Con­gress does­n’t like the way he dis­charges those duties… Every act we take builds a prece­dent for future acts. Once Con­gress asserts this new role as arm­chair psy­chi­a­trists and a new pow­er to equate intem­per­ate speech with func­tion­al dis­abil­i­ty, the most impor­tant pil­lars of our gov­ern­ment — sta­bil­i­ty, the rule of law and the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers — will frac­ture. It won’t affect this pres­i­dent, but it will stop future pres­i­dents from this day forward.”

A yes vote was to use the 25th Amend­ment to remove the president.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The Sen­ate will debate the new admin­is­tra­tion’s nation­al secu­ri­ty nom­i­nees in the week of Jan­u­ary 18th, while the House sched­ule was to be announced.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Votera­ma in Con­gress, a ser­vice of Civic Impulse, LLC. All rights are reserved. Repro­duc­tion of this post is not per­mit­ted, not even with attri­bu­tion. Use the per­ma­nent link to this post to share it… thanks!

© 2021 Civic Impulse, LLC. 

Friday, January 15th, 2021

Loren Culp, Stephen Pidgeon scrap their absurd lawsuit against elections officials

Defeat­ed Wash­ing­ton State guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Loren Culp and his sad excuse for an attor­ney Stephen Pid­geon have pulled the plug on Culp’s mali­cious and base­less law­suit against the State of Wash­ing­ton alleg­ing that the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion was fraud­u­lent, Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son’s office says.

“Rather than con­cede grace­ful­ly, Mr. Culp has used this law­suit to dis­tract from the mag­ni­tude of his loss and to sow con­fu­sion. Mr. Culp also fundraised off his base­less alle­ga­tions, even as the coun­try has erupt­ed in vio­lence stoked by the types of reck­less alle­ga­tions made in this lit­i­ga­tion. This past week has put into stark relief the dam­age that has been wrought by such untruths,” the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office declared in a court filing.

Fer­gu­son warned Pid­geon — a racist and a con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist — that if he did not with­draw the suit, the state would move to seek sanc­tions against him.

The threat worked, and the suit was with­drawn with prej­u­dice, mean­ing that it can­not be refiled. Pid­geon was paid $50,000 by Culp to insti­gate the suit.

Stephen Pidgeon presenting oral argument

Stephen Pid­geon offers oral argu­ment at a Feb­ru­ary 2020 hear­ing in Garfield Coun­ty v. State (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

In addi­tion to his work with Culp, Pid­geon is also a long­time asso­ciate of Tim “Chair­man” Eyman. Eyman has repeat­ed­ly described Pid­geon “bril­liant” and likes to gush about his nonex­is­tent legal acu­men. Of course, in real­i­ty, in addi­tion to hold­ing a pletho­ra of un-Amer­i­can views, Pid­geon is a failed can­di­date for statewide office and a high­ly unsuc­cess­ful attor­ney who often los­es cases.

He and Eyman teamed up mul­ti­ple times in 2020 to file law­suits against the state regard­ing the emer­gency mea­sures tak­en to pre­vent the spread of COVID-19. Their law­suits did­n’t go any­where, but Eyman was nev­er­the­less suc­cess­ful in get­ting gullible reporters to show up and give him lots and lots of coverage.

In an attempt to explain their retreat, Culp and Pid­geon offered a pletho­ra of excus­es to their rabid fol­low­ers dur­ing a Face­book Live event.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp

Repub­li­can guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Loren Culp

Culp claimed the law­suit was being pulled because the path ahead was treach­er­ous… or, as he put it, a “mine­field”. That’s misleading.

Pid­geon said the law­suit was nixed due to “tech­ni­cal­i­ties”. That’s false.

In fact, Pid­geon was forced to with­draw the law­suit because it had no mer­it what­so­ev­er. It fraud­u­lent­ly alleged fraud. It would have been a waste of pub­lic resources for it to have been giv­en any con­sid­er­a­tion in any courtroom.

The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is tired of Pid­geon not being held account­able for his unac­cept­able, unpro­fes­sion­al con­duct. The par­ty announced today that a com­plaint has been filed against Pid­geon with the Wash­ing­ton State Bar Asso­ci­a­tion by attor­neys Dmitri Iglitzin and Gabe Frumkin.

“We can­not come back from this assault on our democ­ra­cy unless those involved in the degra­da­tion of our Con­sti­tu­tion and demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions under­stand that such rep­re­hen­si­ble behav­ior will have severe con­se­quences,” said Tina Pod­lodows­ki, Chair of the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party.

“When any pub­lic offi­cial or offi­cer of the court betrays their sacred oath to defend our Con­sti­tu­tion, account­abil­i­ty for those actions must be swift. Wash­ing­to­ni­ans will not tol­er­ate the use of our judi­cial sys­tem for shame­less self-pro­mo­tion at the expense of the rule of law.”

The com­plaint against Pid­geon can be read below.

Bar com­plaint against Stephen Pidgeon

We’re glad to see Pid­geon final­ly being held account­able for a change. We hope he’s dis­barred and is forced to leave the legal profession.

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

NPI again urges Washington State Legislature to embrace equity with a capital gains tax

This evening, the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate Ways & Means Com­mit­tee is hear­ing tes­ti­mo­ny on Sen­ate Bill 5096, which would levy a cap­i­tal gains tax at the state lev­el to fund essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices and make our upside down tax code more equi­table. Prime spon­sored by Sen­a­tor June Robin­son (D‑38th Dis­trict), SB 5096 would levy a nine per­cent cap­i­tal gains tax begin­ning Jan­u­ary 1st, 2022.

A short time ago, I tes­ti­fied in sup­port of the bill on NPI’s behalf, urg­ing that it be giv­en a “do pass rec­om­men­da­tion”, and explain­ing that our research has con­sis­tent­ly found sta­ble sup­port among Wash­ing­ton vot­ers for a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy for more than half a decade.

We first asked vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton how they feel about a cap­i­tal gains tax in 2015, and we have con­tin­ued to ask every year since then.

Our May 2020 respons­es are below.

Capital gains tax poll finding (May of 2020)

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose tax­ing the cap­i­tal gains of wealthy indi­vid­u­als to help pay for pub­lic schools, col­leges and universities?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 59% 
    • Strong­ly Sup­port: 42%
    • Some­what Sup­port: 17%
  • Oppose: 32%
    • Some­what Oppose: 11%
    • Strong­ly Oppose: 21%
  • Not Sure: 9%

Note that more respon­dents said they strong­ly sup­port a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy than the total num­ber who said they were opposed.

We also found in that same sur­vey about that an almost iden­ti­cal per­cent­age of vot­ers feel that schools in Wash­ing­ton are still under­fund­ed, despite the Leg­is­la­ture’s work to respond to the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.

School funding poll finding (May of 2020)

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose tax­ing the cap­i­tal gains of wealthy indi­vid­u­als to help pay for pub­lic schools, col­leges and universities?

ANSWERS:

  • Agree: 60%
    • Strong­ly agree: 35%
    • Some­what agree: 25%
  • Dis­agree: 31% 
    • Some­what dis­agree: 15%
    • Strong­ly dis­agree: 16%
  • Not Sure: 9%

Our May 2020 sur­vey of 1,070 like­ly 2020 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Tues­day, May 19th through Wednes­day, May 20th, 2020.

It uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines and text mes­sage answers from cell phone only respondents.

The poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.0% at the 95% con­fi­dence level.

As men­tioned, we’ve always found majori­ties in sup­port of ded­i­cat­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax on high earn­ers to edu­ca­tion. How­ev­er, there’s also strong sup­port among Wash­ing­to­ni­ans for a hybrid approach, with some rev­enue being ded­i­cat­ed to schools and some rev­enue being ded­i­cat­ed to low­er­ing tax­es for low and mid­dle income fam­i­lies who cur­rent­ly pay more than their fair share, as we can see from the respons­es to this ques­tion that we asked in Octo­ber of 2019.

Capital gains tax poll finding (October of 2019)

QUESTION: If Wash­ing­ton’s Leg­is­la­ture levies a state cap­i­tal gains tax on the sale of assets like stocks, bonds, or pre­cious met­als by the very wealthy, how should the rev­enue be used: do you think the mon­ey should go only to the Edu­ca­tion Lega­cy Trust account to fund ear­ly learn­ing, pub­lic schools, col­leges, and uni­ver­si­ties; should the mon­ey be used exclu­sive­ly to reduce tax­es for low income fam­i­lies and small busi­ness own­ers; or should the mon­ey be used for a com­bi­na­tion of edu­ca­tion fund­ing and reduc­tions in tax­es for low income fam­i­lies and small busi­ness owners?

ANSWERS:

  • Think rev­enue should go only to the Edu­ca­tion Lega­cy Trust account: 21%
  • Think it should be used exclu­sive­ly to reduce tax­es for low income fam­i­lies and small busi­ness own­ers: 12%
  • Think it should be used for a com­bi­na­tion of edu­ca­tion fund­ing and reduc­tions in tax­es: 48%
  • Not Sure: 19%

Our Octo­ber 2019 sur­vey of nine hun­dred like­ly 2019 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field Octo­ber 22nd-23rd, 2019.

The sur­vey used a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines and text mes­sages to cell phone only respondents.

As with the May 2020 sur­vey, this poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for NPI, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% con­fi­dence level.

Unlike Crosscut/Elway, when we ask about sup­port for a cap­i­tal gains tax in our statewide sur­veys, we always men­tion what it could hypo­thet­i­cal­ly pay for. That’s because you can­not accu­rate­ly gauge how vot­ers feel about a pro­posed rev­enue mea­sure unless you tell them how the rev­enue would be used. All bud­gets con­tain appro­pri­a­tions; oth­er­wise, they would not make any sense.

There are two sides to every math­e­mat­i­cal equa­tion, and leav­ing out the invest­ment side will yield flawed data every time. Tax­es have a pur­pose. Thy can and should be thought of as invest­ments. By pool­ing our resources togeth­er, accord­ing to our abil­i­ty to pay, we can afford great pub­lic ser­vices that allow us to lead more ful­fill­ing lives and be eco­nom­i­cal­ly secure.

One more note about our polling: In pub­lic opin­ion research, it’s impor­tant to have a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple. Oth­er­wise, the data could be flawed. Unlike the instant polls you some­times see on tele­vi­sion (Sin­clair’s KOMO is very fond of those), or polls on social net­works, our polls are sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly accurate.

Our poll­ster uses a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy to ensure that the sam­ple is rep­re­sen­ta­tive. Blend­ed means that respons­es are gath­ered through more than one medi­um. It’s not suf­fi­cient just to call peo­ple at their homes any­more because many peo­ple (and almost all young peo­ple) don’t have land­lines anymore.

The notion of account­ing for “cell­phone only vot­ers” has also become dat­ed. Nowa­days, an out­right major­i­ty of respon­dents to our peri­od­ic statewide sur­veys do so via text mes­sage. That was true for both our Octo­ber 2019 poll and our May 2020 poll, which the ques­tions above are from.

Our elec­toral polling serves as a mea­sur­ing stick to allow us to gauge how rep­re­sen­ta­tive our sam­ples are. In Octo­ber of 2020, we polled on every sin­gle statewide can­di­date elec­tion and released the results right here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate. In each race we polled, our research cor­rect­ly fore­shad­owed the win­ner, even in races where there were large num­bers of unde­cid­ed voters.

We are proud of our strong part­ner­ship with Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling and the work that we put into ensur­ing that our ques­tions are neu­tral­ly worded.

It has been over half a decade since Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee first pro­posed a cap­i­tal gains tax as part of his bud­get. Though much has changed dur­ing those six years, one thing has­n’t: vot­ers’ enthu­si­asm for mak­ing our tax code more equi­table with a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy. We’ve talked about doing this for long enough. Vot­ers have elect­ed strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic majori­ties for two cycles run­ning now. They want and expect results. It’s time for the Leg­is­la­ture to deliver.

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Republican lawmakers are still harping about building access, even after attack on Capitol

Hav­ing seem­ing­ly lost their enthu­si­asm for defend­ing Don­ald Trump and dis­put­ing the results of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Repub­li­cans at the fed­er­al and state lev­el have turned to grum­bling loud­ly about the secu­ri­ty mea­sures that have been put into place in our state and fed­er­al cap­i­tals, both to pre­vent the spread of COVID-19 and to stop domes­tic ter­ror­ists from hurt­ing and killing people.

In addi­tion to requir­ing the wear­ing of masks and prac­tic­ing phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing, Democ­rats at the fed­er­al lev­el have intro­duced new secu­ri­ty mea­sures, includ­ing screen­ings for weapons and dan­ger­ous objects out­side of the entrance to the House cham­ber. Thou­sands of Nation­al Guard troops are now sta­tioned in and around the Capi­tol, as well, to ensure the build­ing can­not be suc­cess­ful­ly attacked and ran­sacked again, and a new fence sur­rounds the Capitol.

Joe Flood The Capitol protected by the DC National Guard

After the failed coup attempt, a fence has gone up around the Capi­tol, pro­tect­ed by the DC Nation­al Guard. (Pho­to: Joe Flood, repro­duced under a Cre­ative Com­mons license)

So far, Repub­li­cans seem the most upset about the secu­ri­ty screenings.

For mem­bers of Con­gress to enter the floor of the U.S. House, we now have to go through intense secu­ri­ty mea­sures, on top of the secu­ri­ty we already go through. These new pro­vi­sions include search­es and being wand­ed like crim­i­nals. We now live in Pelosi’s com­mu­nist Amer­i­ca!” howled Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Deb­bie Lasko.

What’s the prob­lem, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lasko? if you haven’t done any­thing wrong, then you have absolute­ly noth­ing to wor­ry about… right? After all, that’s what Repub­li­cans like you have been telling the rest of us for years!

“You are cre­at­ing a prob­lem you do not under­stand the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of,” snarled a very upset Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steve Wom­ack to Capi­tol Police when he entered the House cham­ber ear­li­er this week.

Actu­al­ly, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Wom­ack, that’s a per­fect descrip­tion of what you and your col­leagues have been doing. By con­tin­u­al­ly enabling Don­ald Trump and his insur­rec­tion­ist fol­low­ers, you set the stage for all the changes that are now hap­pen­ing in our seat of gov­ern­ment, includ­ing these more strin­gent secu­ri­ty screen­ings out­side the House cham­ber that annoy you to no end.

So much for “Law and Order!” and respect­ing law enforcement.

Once again, Repub­li­cans have proven that they are whol­ly unwill­ing to accept the rules and stan­dards that they want to impose on every­body else.

Every time I enter a cour­t­house (local, state, fed­er­al), I go through a met­al detec­tor and send my belong­ings through an x‑ray machine. And often get wanded.

I wish it weren’t nec­es­sary, but I under­stand the wis­dom of ensur­ing that peo­ple don’t bring guns or oth­er weapons into courtrooms.

Why should the Capi­tol be any dif­fer­ent, espe­cial­ly giv­en the hor­ror of last week? And why should mem­bers of Con­gress be treat­ed any dif­fer­ent­ly than any­one else com­ing to the Capi­tol? As any secu­ri­ty expert knows, an insti­tu­tion is only as strong as its weak­est link. A trai­tor­ous law­mak­er allowed to bypass secu­ri­ty screen­ings could eas­i­ly cause may­hem. Dis­turbing­ly, many of the Repub­li­cans sent by vot­ers to Con­gress are Trump cult mem­bers who are more loy­al to him than the Con­sti­tu­tion, as today’s impeach­ment vote once again proved.

(It has also been report­ed that some Repub­li­can law­mak­ers were show­ing insur­rec­tion­ists around the Capi­tol in advance of the Jan­u­ary 6th attacks.)

If the goal is “Law and Order!”, then mak­ing sure that only trust­ed, trained police offi­cers are car­ry­ing guns in the Capi­tol seems like an extreme­ly pru­dent idea.

Here at the state lev­el, Repub­li­cans have com­plained bit­ter­ly that parts of the Capi­tol Cam­pus are off lim­its to the pub­lic and sur­round­ed by a chain-link fence with yel­low cau­tion tape, patrolled by the Wash­ing­ton Nation­al Guard.

They keep ask­ing, rhetor­i­cal­ly, why peo­ple can’t be allowed inside the Capi­tol to watch their gov­ern­ment at work. But they know why: it’s not safe.

The Wash­ing­ton Capi­tol Cam­pus is more than just the Ever­green State’s seat of gov­ern­ment. Like the U.S. Capi­tol, it’s also a work­place. Repub­li­cans may feel com­fort­able putting their lives at risk by ignor­ing pub­lic health guid­ance and rec­om­men­da­tions from secu­ri­ty experts in the wake of the Capi­tol attack, but they can­not be allowed to put oth­ers’ lives at risk with their absurd demands.

The argu­ment that the tem­po­rary clo­sure of some of our pub­lic build­ings is a trag­ic for­fei­ture of our God-giv­en lib­er­ties is ridicu­lous. These build­ing restric­tions have not caused peo­ple to lose their con­sti­tu­tion­al rights. For exam­ple, it’s still pos­si­ble to protest, even on the Capi­tol cam­pus, as unwise as that may be.

Giv­en the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s lega­cy, it’s odd they’re so bent out of shape about these build­ing clo­sures. Recall, for a few moments, all of the mea­sures they have pre­vi­ous­ly insist­ed on and defend­ed as nec­es­sary to wage a “War on Terror”.

Remem­ber the Boston Marathon bomb­ings? In the wake of those hor­ri­ble events, the author­i­ties effec­tive­ly shut down an entire city for sev­er­al days while they hunt­ed down the per­pe­tra­tors. I don’t remem­ber hear­ing any com­plaints from Repub­li­cans about that. Inde­fen­si­bly, many Repub­li­cans sim­ply do not regard white Chris­t­ian ter­ror­ists as a threat like they do Islam­ic ter­ror­ists, even though white Chris­t­ian ter­ror­ists are the big­ger threat accord­ing to secu­ri­ty assess­ments.

Hap­pi­ly, this isn’t 1921. It is not nec­es­sary to be phys­i­cal­ly present to observe one’s gov­ern­ment at work first­hand. Even before the pan­dem­ic and the recent rise in domes­tic ter­ror­ist activ­i­ty (includ­ing not only the attack on the Capi­tol, but the breach­ing of the gates to the Exec­u­tive Man­sion grounds in Olympia), watch­ing com­mit­tee meet­ings and floor activ­i­ty on TVW was a more advan­ta­geous way to mon­i­tor the goings-on in the state­house than observ­ing in person.

It’s so advan­ta­geous, in fact, that peo­ple who work on the Capi­tol Cam­pus, includ­ing reporters and leg­isla­tive assis­tants, use it exten­sive­ly, despite being in close phys­i­cal prox­im­i­ty to the rooms where the broad­casts are originating.

Why leave the office when TVW can bring the action to you?

That said, we agree that it is valu­able for peo­ple to be able to vis­it the seat of their gov­ern­ment and walk the same halls their elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives walk. Vis­it­ing the state capi­tol and the U.S. Capi­tol is an expe­ri­ence every­one ought to have. Accord­ing­ly, we ful­ly sup­port the restora­tion of phys­i­cal pub­lic access to these sacred build­ings when it is safe. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, right now, it isn’t.

You might think mem­bers of a par­ty that fer­vent­ly bran­dish­es the phrase “Law and Order!” as a ral­ly­ing cry would under­stand this, but sad­ly, you’d be wrong.

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

America’s wrong wing tries bevy of ploys to recover from the trashing of the U.S. Capitol

Don­ald Trump is on the ropes, rat­ings at Fox are down, cor­po­rate PACs are cut­ting off dead-ender defend­ers of the occu­pant of the Oval Office, major tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies have kicked Trump off their plat­forms, and Belt­way-based media have dis­cov­ered – big time – the ter­ror threat posed by mili­tia groups.

Our tele­vi­sion screens are filled with mug shots of guys who look like they were sired in the sex scene from the movie “Deliv­er­ance.”

How does the right — or, more accu­rate­ly, wrong — wing plan to regroup with Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden assum­ing office in a week, and Democ­rats tak­ing con­trol of the Unit­ed States Sen­ate the moment Kamala Har­ris becomes Vice President?

Sev­er­al approach­es are being sent up the flag­pole or sent out on the air­waves or in email fundrais­ing blasts. Which do you think will endure?

“Contrition is #$%&?@!”

The immor­tal words of Nixon press assis­tant Ron Ziegler appear to have been embraced by Trump. Texas-bound on Tues­day morn­ing, Trump claimed his remarks to a pre-insur­rec­tion riot were “total­ly appropriate.”

He also tried to equate the coup attempt at the U.S. Capi­tol with sum­mer demon­stra­tions at the East Precinct sta­tion in Seat­tle and the Mark O. Hat­field Fed­er­al Cour­t­house one hun­dred and eighty miles to the south.

In Trump’s words: “If you look at what oth­er peo­ple have said, politi­cians at a high lev­el about the riots dur­ing the sum­mer, the hor­ri­ble riots in Port­land and Seat­tle and var­i­ous oth­er places, that was the real problem.”

“The left is dividing America”

After two months of claim­ing the Novem­ber 3rd elec­tion was “stolen,” or indulging Trump’s fan­tasies, the incum­ben­t’s defend­ers are now wash­ing hands, Pilate-like, for their role in the insur­rec­tion. Their claim? Democ­rats are divid­ing America.

“Over fifty mil­lion Amer­i­cans believe the elec­tion was stolen,” Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim Jor­dan, R‑Ohio, recent Pres­i­den­tial Medal of Free­dom recip­i­ent, intoned on Decem­ber 4th. “I’ve nev­er said this elec­tion was stolen,” Jor­dan told col­leagues Tues­day in the House Rules Committee.

Deposed Fox News mouth Bill O’Reilly has tweet­ed: “The lat­est impeach­ment fias­co is hurt­ing the coun­try, caus­ing even more hatred, and Democ­rats don’t even care, do they?” Or, in the words of Newt Gin­grich: “The left has to learn that they can’t sup­press the voic­es of sev­en­ty-four mil­lion peo­ple,” refer­ring to the Trump vote in Novem­ber. Eighty-one mil­lion Amer­i­cans vot­ed for Joe Biden, folks rarely men­tioned on con­ser­v­a­tive media..

Round up the usual targets

Fox appears to be going into oppo­si­tion mode, as it did when Barack Oba­ma and Joe Biden were in office. Pro­gres­sive House mem­bers from “The Squad” are being depict­ed as the pow­ers behind Biden. When House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi sharply put down a hos­tile ques­tion, she was described as out of con­trol.

Of impeach­ment, says Gingrich:

“The will of the Amer­i­can peo­ple has to be sub­or­di­nat­ed to the will of Pelosi. Trump has to be impeached to stop him from run­ning again. Pelosi fears the Amer­i­can peo­ple might pick him if they were allowed to.”

Fox is relent­less­ly claim­ing that its com­pe­ti­tion – CNN in par­tic­u­lar – plans to go soft on the Biden admin­is­tra­tion, even as its host con­duct one soft­ball inter­view after anoth­er with Repub­li­can mem­bers of Congress.

The all-purpose word: Hypocrisy

The con­stant theme of right wing media, even when Trump was rid­ing high, is that we’re get­ting picked up. At the infa­mous Jan­u­ary 6th ral­ly, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mo Brooks, R‑Alabama, declared: “Today is the day Amer­i­can patri­ots are tak­ing down names and kick­ing ass.” Rudy Giu­liani called for “tri­al by combat.”

Brooks and Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Paul Gosar, R‑Arizona, tried to gin up atten­dance in advance of the ral­ly. Yet, Trump and his pilot fish are claim­ing that they are being per­se­cut­ed, as Big Tech is dous­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion and delet­ing death threats.

“Unre­strained Tech Titans Tar­get Con­ser­v­a­tives,” said a head­line this morn­ing on Fox News. Or Trump address­ing sus­pen­sion of his Twit­ter account, describ­ing it as “a con­tin­u­a­tion of the great­est witch hunt in the his­to­ry of politics.”

“I think it’s caus­ing tremen­dous anger,” added Trump.

When threats are made, blame the other side

From the Bill O’Reilly spin zone comes this expla­na­tion of the U.S. Capi­tol insur­rec­tion: “How the left’s hatred infect­ed the right.”

Sean Han­ni­ty and Tuck­er Carl­son have picked up the theme, that four years of attacks on Trump spared the fires on Capi­tol Hill last Wednesday.

The theme has also been picked up local­ly by KTTH pun­dit Rantz, who blames all vio­lence on the left, and by the Face­book page of State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jen­ny Gra­ham, R‑Spokane, who often makes unin­tel­li­gent state­ments. Gra­ham, who has linked to con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, has redou­bled her Seat­tle bashing.

Ersatz appeals for peace

House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy refused for two months to acknowl­edge that 81 mil­lion Amer­i­cans elect­ed Biden as President.

Even after the Capi­tol was trashed, he vot­ed against cer­ti­fy­ing the elec­toral votes from Ari­zona, along with more than half the House Repub­li­can caucus.

Yet, there was McCarthy, putting in a post-insur­rec­tion phone call to Biden appeal­ing for peace. The Rev­erend Franklin Gra­ham has been Trump’s lead­ing shill in the evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­ni­ty and depict­ed both Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­ate can­di­dates in Geor­gia as god­less baby-killers.

Graham’s reac­tion to the insur­rec­tion? With­out men­tion­ing the attacks on Capi­tol Police, he has cel­e­brat­ed Nation­al Law Enforce­ment Day.

He has called for a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion meet­ing between the Pres­i­dent-elect and the Pres­i­dent who still denies los­ing. “Thank you, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, for your con­cil­ia­to­ry words to the nation last night,” Gra­ham tweet­ed after Trump read a script more than a day after the trashing.

“Let’s come togeth­er… on our knees,” said Gra­ham, who has been run­ning late night tele­vi­sion ads invit­ing Seat­tleites to come to God.

What to make of this?

Repub­li­can offi­cials accept no respon­si­bil­i­ty for actions they helped trig­ger last week. They are retreat­ing behind test­ed themes, e.g. we’re being picked on, to ral­ly the believ­ers. They will quick­ly piv­ot to attacks on Biden and the com­pe­tent crew of peo­ple he has picked to staff the Exec­u­tive Branch.

“Those who sow the wind shall reap the whirl­wind,” Win­ston Churchill said mem­o­rably, halfway through World War II.

That cer­tain­ly seems to be happening.

Still, there are armed and dan­ger­ous peo­ple out there, and a for­mi­da­ble pro­pa­gan­da machine. The wrong will right itself. The dam­age it has caused to Amer­i­ca goes far beyond bro­ken win­dows and trashed U.S. Capi­tol offices.

And it is not going away.

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Donald Trump has become the first person holding the presidency to be impeached twice

For the sec­ond time in thir­teen months, Don­ald Trump has been impeached for high crimes and mis­de­meanors by the Unit­ed States House of Representatives.

Vot­ing two hun­dred and thir­ty-two to one hun­dred and nine­ty-sev­en, the House agreed to trans­mit a sin­gle new arti­cle of impeach­ment to the Sen­ate. Every Demo­c­rat who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the vote backed the arti­cle, along with ten Repub­li­cans who crossed over. Five mem­bers of the House did not vote.

Before today, no Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States had ever been impeached twice, and only two oth­er pres­i­dents had been impeached once (Andrew John­son and Bill Clin­ton; Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached by the House.)

NPI thanks the U.S. House for uphold­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States by impeach­ing Don­ald Trump for a sec­ond time. It had to be done, and it is done.

We are dis­ap­point­ed that only ten House Repub­li­cans found the courage to vote for impeach­ment after Trump incit­ed an attack on the Capitol.

Near­ly two hun­dred oth­er Repub­li­cans chose to stick with Trump despite that, includ­ing top House Repub­li­cans Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise.

For­tu­nate­ly, the Democ­rats held togeth­er and stood for the Constitution.

“We must think on what Lin­coln told us,” House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi told her col­leagues in floor remarks sup­port­ing impeach­ment.

“We, even here – even us here – hold the pow­er and bear the respon­si­bil­i­ty. We, you and I, hold in trust the pow­er that derives most direct­ly from the peo­ple of the Unit­ed States, and we bear the respon­si­bil­i­ty to ful­fill that oath that we all swear before God and before one anoth­er: the oath to defend the Con­sti­tu­tion against all ene­mies for­eign and domes­tic, so help us God.”

“We know that we face ene­mies of the Con­sti­tu­tion. We know we expe­ri­enced the insur­rec­tion that vio­lat­ed the sanc­ti­ty of the peo­ple’s Capi­tol and attempt­ed to over­turn the duly record­ed will of the Amer­i­can people. ”

“And we know that the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States incit­ed this insur­rec­tion, this armed rebel­lion, against our com­mon country.”

“He must go. He is a clear and present dan­ger to the nation that we all love. Since the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in Novem­ber – an elec­tion the Pres­i­dent lost – he has repeat­ed­ly held about – lied about the out­come, sowed self-serv­ing doubt about democ­ra­cy and uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly sought to influ­ence state offi­cials to repeal real­i­ty.  And, then, came that day of fire we all experienced.”

“The Pres­i­dent must be impeached, and, I believe, the Pres­i­dent must be con­vict­ed by the Sen­ate, a con­sti­tu­tion­al rem­e­dy that will ensure that the repub­lic will be safe from this man who is so res­olute­ly deter­mined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”

“It is indis­putable that Don­ald Trump incit­ed insur­rec­tion­ists to launch the most dead­ly and destruc­tive assault on the Unit­ed States Capi­tol since the War of 1812,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal in a state­ment fol­low­ing the vote.

“He told these domes­tic ter­ror­ists — many asso­ci­at­ed with white nation­al­ist groups — to ‘stand by.’ Then he urged them to ‘fight like hell.’ Next, he pro­claimed, ‘we are going to the Capitol.’ ”

“The insur­rec­tion­ists fol­lowed these orders from the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, and car­ried out a vio­lent attack on our coun­try with the intent of over­tak­ing Con­gress, over­turn­ing this elec­tion and under­min­ing our democracy.”

“We must urgent­ly remove Don­ald Trump from office to pro­tect our coun­try, our Con­sti­tu­tion and our very democ­ra­cy. We must send a clear mes­sage to the Pres­i­dent that the Unit­ed States Con­gress and the Amer­i­can peo­ple will not stand by and allow one man to turn our democ­ra­cy into an autoc­ra­cy; that we will not stand by while that man incites insur­rec­tion­ists to launch a dead­ly assault on our coun­try. We must hold him accountable.

“Just over a year ago, I vot­ed to impeach this pres­i­dent. My vote was for the Con­sti­tu­tion and for ‘We, the Peo­ple.’ The threat that Don­ald Trump posed to Amer­i­ca then has only con­tin­ued to escalate.”

“The Sen­ate must imme­di­ate­ly vote to con­vict Don­ald J. Trump for incite­ment of insur­rec­tion and remove him from office.”

“The assault by pro-Trump extrem­ists on Jan­u­ary 6 was not just an attack on the Unit­ed States Capi­tol but an attack on the Unit­ed States and our democ­ra­cy,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam Smith. “After Pres­i­dent Trump and his sup­port­ers spent months spread­ing lies and pro­pa­gan­da about the elec­tion, Pres­i­dent Trump’s sup­port­ers attempt­ed to stage a coup and over­turn the results of our free and fair pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and end our democ­ra­cy as we know it.”

“Every­one involved in this attack must be held account­able, includ­ing the Pres­i­dent. There is no ques­tion that Pres­i­dent Trump incit­ed this vio­lence start­ing with his per­pet­u­al lies about the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, encour­ag­ing his sup­port­ers the morn­ing of the attack, and utter­ly fail­ing to quell vio­lence and respond suf­fi­cient­ly after the attack had begun.”

“From the begin­ning, the lies about the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion stoked by Pres­i­dent Trump and his co-con­spir­a­tors, includ­ing many Repub­li­cans in Con­gress, are not about elec­tion fraud but a brazen attempt to hold onto pow­er by any means nec­es­sary, even at the cost of lives and our democracy.”

“With only sev­en days left in office, Trump has demon­strat­ed he is unfit to remain in office a sin­gle day longer. Incit­ing an insur­rec­tion in an attempt to main­tain pow­er war­rants the imme­di­ate impeach­ment of Pres­i­dent Trump, also ensur­ing his dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from hold­ing any pub­lic office in the future.”

“All Amer­i­cans who believe in the rule of law and our Con­sti­tu­tion must hold Pres­i­dent Trump account­able for his actions and I urge my Sen­ate col­leagues to con­vict and remove him.”

“A week ago, an armed mob assault­ed the very embod­i­ment of our democ­ra­cy, the U.S. Capi­tol, said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzan DelBene.

“This was more than just an assault on a build­ing. It was an insur­rec­tion per­pe­trat­ed against our gov­ern­ment to stop Con­gress from ful­fill­ing its con­sti­tu­tion­al duty to cer­ti­fy the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion results.

“The sit­ting Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States unde­ni­ably incit­ed the dead­ly events of Jan­u­ary 6. He sum­moned his sup­port­ers and urged them to attack.”

“Dur­ing his ral­ly­ing cry to them ear­li­er in the day, Pres­i­dent Trump false­ly said, ‘we won this elec­tion, and we won it by a land­slide.’ He made state­ments that encour­aged and fore­see­ably result­ed in the law­less assault on the Capi­tol, includ­ing ‘if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a coun­try any­more.’ He lat­er failed to imme­di­ate­ly call on his sup­port­ers to stop the attack.”

“As a result of these vio­lent actions, five Amer­i­cans died and fifty police offi­cers were seri­ous­ly injured, includ­ing fif­teen offi­cers who were hospitalized.”

“Today, with my sup­port, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed a bipar­ti­san arti­cle of impeach­ment against Pres­i­dent Trump. He vio­lat­ed his oath of office to pre­serve, pro­tect, and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States. He con­tin­ues to be a dan­ger to our nation­al secu­ri­ty as long as he remains the com­man­der-in-chief. He should be held account­able and barred from hold­ing fed­er­al office in the future.

“Some ask, why do this now, and to that I answer: How can we not?”

“It is crit­i­cal that we hold a pres­i­dent account­able for his dan­ger­ous actions. Inac­tion would be an abdi­ca­tion of Con­gress’ duty and a fail­ure to uphold our oath of office. We must be a coun­try where no one is above the law.”

“Last week Pres­i­dent Trump encour­aged an angry mob of his sup­port­ers to ‘walk down to the Capi­tol’ and ‘…fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a coun­try any­more.’ He fanned the flames, and then when giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to ask the vio­lent, sedi­tious mob storm­ing the Capi­tol to back off and go home, he said he loved them and con­tin­ued to spread the lies that the elec­tion was rigged and that he won,” added U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kim Schrier.

“The Pres­i­dent is a dan­ger to our coun­try and a threat to our nation­al secu­ri­ty. We had all hoped that Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence would step up and invoke the Twen­ty-Fifth Amend­ment. That would be the most expe­di­tious way to revoke the pow­er of the pres­i­den­cy from Don­ald Trump. Since Vice Pres­i­dent Pence has refused to do this, the House must do its duty and impeach the Pres­i­dent. We can­not allow him to hold this office any longer and endan­ger any more lives. That is why I vot­ed today to impeach Pres­i­dent Trump for incite­ment of insurrection.”

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Jaime Herrera Beutler will be one of the Republicans voting to impeach Donald Trump

In 2019, when the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives first act­ed to impeach Don­ald Trump, only Democ­rats and inde­pen­dents vot­ed to hold the cur­rent occu­pant of the Oval Office account­able for his high crimes and misdemeanors.

This time, impeach­ment will pass with bipar­ti­san sup­port. We still don’t know how many Repub­li­cans will vote to impeach. But we do know that at least one from our region will be among their num­ber, and that is Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, who rep­re­sents the 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, span­ning South­west Washington.

Here’s Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Her­rera Beut­ler’s state­ment on the mat­ter.

The Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States incit­ed a riot aim­ing to halt the peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er from one admin­is­tra­tion to the next. That riot led to five deaths. Peo­ple every­where watched in dis­be­lief as the cen­ter of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy was assault­ed. The vio­lent mob blud­geoned to death a Capi­tol police offi­cer as they defaced sym­bols of our free­dom. These ter­ror­ists roamed the Capi­tol, hunt­ing the Vice Pres­i­dent and the Speak­er of the House.

Hours went by before the Pres­i­dent did any­thing mean­ing­ful to stop the attack. Instead, he and his lawyer were busy mak­ing calls to sen­a­tors who were still in lock­down, seek­ing their sup­port to fur­ther delay the Elec­toral Col­lege cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. House Repub­li­can Leader Kevin McCarthy describes plead­ing with the Pres­i­dent to go on tele­vi­sion and call for an end to the may­hem, to no avail.

The Pres­i­dent attacked Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence on Twit­ter while Pence was in a secure room hav­ing fled from the mob that had breached the Sen­ate floor threat­en­ing to hang him.

Final­ly, the Pres­i­dent released a pathet­ic denounce­ment of the vio­lence that also served as a wink and a nod to those who per­pe­trat­ed it: “I love you,” he said to them, “you are special.”

More hours of destruc­tion and vio­lence ensued before law enforce­ment offi­cials were final­ly able to clear the Capitol.

The Pres­i­den­t’s offens­es, in my read­ing of the Con­sti­tu­tion, were impeach­able based on the indis­putable evi­dence we already have. I under­stand the argu­ment that the best course is not to fur­ther inflame the coun­try or alien­ate Repub­li­can voters.

But I am also a Repub­li­can vot­er. I believe in our Con­sti­tu­tion, indi­vid­ual lib­er­ty, free mar­kets, char­i­ty, life, jus­tice, peace and this excep­tion­al coun­try. I see that my own par­ty will be best served when those among us choose truth. I believe Pres­i­dent Trump act­ed against his oath of office, so I will vote to impeach him.

Thank you, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Her­rera Beut­ler, for uphold­ing your oath this time around. Your loy­al­ty to the Con­sti­tu­tion will sure­ly incur the wrath of a large num­ber of rabid Don­ald Trump fol­low­ers, some of whom we imag­ine may ille­gal­ly threat­en you. We’re sor­ry for what­ev­er anx­i­ety and stress may come your way as a result of tak­ing this vote. But it is the right thing to do. We believe one day you’ll look back and regard this as one of the finest deci­sions you ever made.

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

NPI calls on Pacific Northwest congressional delegation to impeach Donald Trump — again

Edi­tor’s Note: The fol­low­ing is the text of a let­ter sent by NPI today to the offices of the Pacif­ic North­west­’s Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Congress.

Dear Rep­re­sen­ta­tives:

I’m writ­ing on behalf of the board and staff of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute to ask that you vote to impeach Don­ald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors.

For much of his life, Don­ald Trump has stoked the fires of racism, xeno­pho­bia, and big­otry in our coun­try and around the world. He has lied inces­sant­ly – to the press, to the Amer­i­can pub­lic, and even his own fol­low­ers. And he has incit­ed, encour­aged, and abet­ted vio­lence against peo­ple opposed to him or his agenda.

Last week’s ter­ror­ist attack on the Capi­tol was hard­ly the first time Trump has exhort­ed peo­ple to resort to vio­lence. Dur­ing his first cam­paign for Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, in 2016, Trump encour­aged his rabid fol­low­ers to be vio­lent with any­one stag­ing a protest inside of his hate-filled rallies.

“If you see some­body get­ting ready to throw a toma­to, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seri­ous­ly, okay? Just knock the hell … I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise,” Trump said on Feb­ru­ary 1st, 2016 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

At a suc­ces­sive Las Vegas ral­ly, Trump said of a pro­test­er: “He’s walk­ing out with big high-fives, smil­ing, laugh­ing… I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you.” *

And at anoth­er ral­ly in War­ren, Michi­gan, that same month, Trump said: “Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court. Don’t wor­ry about it.”

The fol­low­ing year (2017), speak­ing to a gath­er­ing of law enforce­ment, Trump said: “When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a pad­dy wag­on, you just seen them thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’ When you guys put some­body in the car and you’re pro­tect­ing their head you know, the way you put their hand over [their head], like, ‘Don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed some­body, don’t hit their head.’ I said, ‘You can take the hand away, okay?’”

This destruc­tive behav­ior is unac­cept­able, but too many peo­ple have become desen­si­tized to it. Worse, a grow­ing num­ber of Amer­i­cans have become rad­i­cal­ized by this would-be fas­cist dic­ta­tor and his enablers.

Last year, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives impeached Don­ald Trump and pre­sent­ed the com­pelling case for his removal to the Unit­ed States Senate.

The Sen­ate unwise­ly did not remove Trump from office.

Sev­er­al Repub­li­can sen­a­tors who vot­ed against con­vict­ing Trump (like Susan Collins) incred­u­lous­ly sug­gest­ed after­ward that Trump had learned his lesson.

In fact, all that expe­ri­ence taught Trump was that he still com­mand­ed almost com­plete loy­al­ty from the Repub­li­can Par­ty, one of America’s old­est insti­tu­tions, and would not be held account­able for his wrongdoing.

For Trump, the out­come of the impeach­ment tri­al sim­ply rein­forced his belief that, in his words, when you’re a star, they let you do it… you can do anything.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, this time must be dif­fer­ent. Kind­ness and appease­ment do not work against bul­lies like Trump. Bul­lies must be con­front­ed and held account­able, or their destruc­tive behav­ior will con­tin­ue indefinitely.

Last week, Don­ald Trump and his most loy­al sur­ro­gates, includ­ing his chil­dren and Rudy Giu­liani, sent a vio­lent ter­ror­ist mob down Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue to attack the Unit­ed States Capi­tol and the Unit­ed States Con­gress, includ­ing Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, the Pres­i­dent of the Senate.

Not since British troops attacked our cap­i­tal city in 1814, dur­ing the War of 1812, has our seat of gov­ern­ment been defiled and des­e­crat­ed like this.

Then, while that vio­lent ter­ror­ist mob that he incit­ed was storm­ing the Capi­tol, Trump sat back and watched from the com­fort of the White House, under the pro­tec­tion of the Unit­ed States Secret Service.

These actions – like Trump’s attempts to pres­sure Ukraine into going after his oppo­nent, Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden – were a com­plete betray­al of every­thing the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca stands for.

Our Founders antic­i­pat­ed that a time might come when a dan­ger­ous, dis­loy­al, self­ish, nar­cis­sis­tic sociopath like Trump might hold the pres­i­den­cy or anoth­er fed­er­al office. That’s why the Con­sti­tu­tion pro­vides for impeachment.

As you know, the House has the sole pow­er to impeach.

You are mem­bers of the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives who have sworn and signed an oath to sup­port our Constitution.

We call on you to ful­fill your oath and defend our Con­sti­tu­tion against one of the great­est threats it has ever faced. Vote to impeach Don­ald Trump now so that the Sen­ate can rec­ti­fy the mis­take it made a year ago when it failed to pro­tect our repub­lic by remov­ing Trump from office.

Even if Trump is not removed before his term expires, he can still be con­vict­ed and dis­qual­i­fied from hold­ing or enjoy­ing “any Office of hon­or, Trust or Prof­it under the Unit­ed States”. This must happen.

This repub­lic was giv­en to us to keep, and keep it we must.

An ancient proverb holds that we do not inher­it the Earth from our ances­tors, but rather bor­row it from our chil­dren. The same could be said of our demo­c­ra­t­ic repub­lic. It is in our care now, but we are bor­row­ing it from our chil­dren and their chil­dren – and their chil­dren. For them and for us, we must put the val­ues our coun­try was found­ed upon above all else, includ­ing any polit­i­cal considerations.

We call on you to vote fear­less­ly to impeach Don­ald Trump, and assure the future of these Unit­ed States. 

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Progressive champion Representative Pramila Jayapal has tested positive for COVID-19

Sad news to share: our own Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal says that she has test­ed pos­i­tive for COVID-19, the nov­el coro­n­avirus. Here’s her full statement.

Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal (WA-07) received a pos­i­tive COVID-19 test result tonight after being locked down in a secured room at the U.S Capi­tol where numer­ous Repub­li­can law­mak­ers reck­less­ly refused to wear masks in the moments after the Jan­u­ary 6 attack. Dr. Bri­an Mon­a­han, the Attend­ing Physi­cian of the Unit­ed States Con­gress, advised rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Con­gres­sion­al staff on Sun­day that those in the secured room could have, “been exposed to anoth­er occu­pant with coro­n­avirus infec­tion.” The dura­tion in the room was mul­ti­ple hours and sev­er­al Repub­li­cans not only cru­el­ly refused to wear a mask but mocked col­leagues and staff who offered them one.

“Too many Repub­li­cans have refused to take this pan­dem­ic and virus seri­ous­ly, and in doing so, they endan­ger every­one around them. Only hours after Pres­i­dent Trump incit­ed a dead­ly assault on our Capi­tol, our coun­try, and our democ­ra­cy, many Repub­li­cans still refused to take the bare min­i­mum COVID-19 pre­cau­tion and sim­ply wear a damn mask in a crowd­ed room dur­ing a pan­dem­ic — cre­at­ing a super­spread­er event on top of a domes­tic ter­ror­ist attack,” said Con­gress­woman Jayapal.

“While I am iso­lat­ing per the Capi­tol Physician’s instruc­tions, I will con­tin­ue to work to the best of my abil­i­ty because the deep urgency of our many crises is paramount.”

“I share the out­rage and anger of my con­stituents and those across this coun­try who have watched Don­ald Trump fail to com­bat this rag­ing pan­dem­ic and refuse to take care of Amer­i­cans who are suf­fer­ing, dying, and dev­as­tat­ed. Now, we have also watched him open­ly fuel and incite these insur­rec­tion­ists who attacked the Capi­tol and our democ­ra­cy on Jan­u­ary 6—so I will not rest until I do every­thing in my pow­er to remove this Pres­i­dent from office.”

“I am also call­ing for seri­ous fines to be imme­di­ate­ly levied on every sin­gle Mem­ber who refus­es to wear a mask in the Capi­tol,” Jaya­pal con­tin­ued. “Addi­tion­al­ly, any Mem­ber who refus­es to wear a mask should be imme­di­ate­ly removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms. This is not a joke. Our lives and our liveli­hoods are at risk, and any­one who refus­es to wear a mask should be ful­ly held account­able for endan­ger­ing our lives because of their self­ish idiocy.”

Jaya­pal began quar­an­ti­ning imme­di­ate­ly after the attack on the U.S. Capi­tol, fear­ing and fore­see­ing exact­ly what would occur giv­en the num­ber of mask­less law­mak­ers sit­ting in the same room as her and her col­leagues. In an inter­view with The Cut on Thurs­day, she said, “I’m quar­an­ti­ning now because I am con­vinced that where we end­ed up, in the secured room — where there were over 100 peo­ple and many were Repub­li­cans not wear­ing masks — was a super­spread­er event.”

We have no fin­er rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Con­gress than Prami­la Jayapal.

Our hearts go out to our beloved Rep­re­sen­ta­tive. We wish her the best as she bat­tles this awful dis­ease. We’ll be pray­ing for her speedy recovery.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaya­pal pre­vi­ous­ly received one dose of a COVID-19 vac­cine. The Pfiz­er and Mod­er­na vac­cines require two dos­es for max­i­mum efficacy.

Monday, January 11th, 2021

2021 legislative session begins in Olympia with a series of defeats for pro-Trump forces

The 67th Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture is offi­cial­ly in session.

After months of plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion, Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­ers in the House and Sen­ate gaveled their respec­tive cham­bers to order ear­li­er today in Olympia and prompt­ly pro­ceed­ed to adopt rules pro­vid­ing for the first ever most­ly remote leg­isla­tive ses­sion, over the objec­tions of Republicans.

As a small gang of pro-Trump forces grum­bled and yelled out­side of the perime­ter set up around the Leg­isla­tive Build­ing (one was arrest­ed), pro-Trump Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors inside the build­ing tried unsuc­cess­ful­ly to alter the pro­posed rules for the ses­sion to relax phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing require­ments and per­mit Wash­ing­to­ni­ans to observe the work of the Leg­is­la­ture in per­son, which would be unsafe and against the guid­ance issued by pub­lic health experts to leg­isla­tive leaders.

Democ­rats defeat­ed the pro­posed rule changes in a suc­ces­sion of floor votes and the rules in each cham­ber were adopt­ed as drafted.

Sen­a­tor Andy Bil­lig not­ed in his floor speech sup­port­ing the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty’s rules pro­pos­al that the new rules, while not allow­ing the Leg­isla­tive Build­ing to be open to the pub­lic, would nev­er­the­less open up the leg­isla­tive process in sev­er­al impor­tant ways. For exam­ple, the rules will allow pro­ceed­ings of the Sen­ate Rules Com­mit­tee to be tele­vised for the first time ever. (In the past, to watch the pro­ceed­ings, it was nec­es­sary to be phys­i­cal­ly present in the room.)

The cham­bers also chose their offi­cers. The House reelect­ed Lau­rie Jink­ins as Speak­er and Tina Orwall and John Lovick as Speak­ers Pro Tem. The Sen­ate, mean­while, reelect­ed Karen Keis­er as Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore and elect­ed Steve Con­way and Steve Hobbs to be Vice Pres­i­dents Pro Tempore.

Bernard Dean remains the Chief Clerk of the House.

Brad Hen­drick­son remains the Sec­re­tary of the Senate.

Sen­ate Democ­rats wel­comed new Sen­a­tor T’wina Nobles to their cau­cus. House Democ­rats wel­comed new Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Ali­cia Rule, Tar­ra Sim­mons, April Berg, Jami­la Tay­lor, Liz Berry, Dan Bronoske, David Hack­ney, Kirsten Har­ris-Tal­ley, and Jes­si­ca Bate­man to their caucus.

Sen­ate Repub­li­cans wel­comed new Sen­a­tors Jeff Wil­son, Jim McCune, Per­ry Dozi­er, and Chris Gildon to their cau­cus. House Repub­li­cans wel­comed new Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Peter Abbarno, Greg Gil­day, Rob Chase, Mark Klick­er, Eric Robert­son, Joel McEn­tire, and Cyn­dy Jacob­sen to their caucus.

Upon con­clud­ing their open­ing cer­e­monies and adopt­ing rules for the ses­sions, both cham­bers adjourned for the day. Tomor­row, leg­isla­tive com­mit­tees will begin meet­ing in earnest for work ses­sions and to hear bills.

Sev­er­al mem­bers of the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court also began new terms today, and Jus­tice Steven Gon­za­lez assumed his new duties as Chief Jus­tice.

On Wednes­day, Jan­u­ary 13th, Gov­er­nor Inslee will deliv­er his third inau­gur­al address. New State Trea­sur­er Mike Pel­lic­ciot­ti and new Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Den­ny Heck will also be sworn in and assume their duties. Oth­er return­ing mem­bers of the exec­u­tive depart­ment (besides Inslee) will also swear or affirm new oaths to the Wash­ing­ton State Con­sti­tu­tion and U.S. Constitution.

“Today con­venes one of the most unique and chal­leng­ing leg­isla­tive ses­sions I can remem­ber for our state,” said Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee in a lengthy statement.

“As the pan­dem­ic era has forced us all to adapt our process­es, the Leg­is­la­ture is no excep­tion. At the same time, deci­sions await leg­is­la­tors that will impact our state for gen­er­a­tions going forward.”

Inslee added:

These are my pri­or­i­ties for this leg­isla­tive ses­sion: Relief, recov­ery and resilience. Relief for the here-and-now; a recov­ery plan to turn the cor­ner; and resilience for our long-term well­be­ing, includ­ing eco­nom­ic health, pub­lic health, a stronger edu­ca­tion sys­tem, and greater pre­pared­ness for future chal­lenges, includ­ing cli­mate change.

My agen­da calls for imme­di­ate action on $200 mil­lion more in aid for small busi­ness­es, and land­lords and ten­ants. My pri­or­i­ties also include get­ting more chil­dren back into the class­room in safe and healthy envi­ron­ments this year, as well as improv­ing the state’s pub­lic health sys­tem so more lives can be saved from this pandemic.

We must have more assis­tance to work­ers who have lost their jobs. We need to help every­one get back to a safe work envi­ron­ment. We need to keep peo­ple from los­ing their hous­ing and get more who are expe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness under a safe roof.

The pan­dem­ic era has made this inequity that much clear­er, as the con­cen­tra­tion of wealth at the top has only accel­er­at­ed while Main Street has suf­fered and more fam­i­lies won­der whether they can afford food and oth­er basic needs.

That’s why I want to fund the Work­ing Fam­i­lies Tax Cred­it. We can help fund it with a cap­i­tal gains tax; one that would impact less than 2% of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans. At the same time, we’re going to low­er unem­ploy­ment insur­ance tax­es for small busi­ness­es that unex­pect­ed­ly had to lay off record num­bers of employees.

When we do come through this emer­gency, we are not going back to nor­mal; we are going to cre­ate a bet­ter nor­mal, together.

This goes beyond COVID-19. We can’t just address eco­nom­ic dis­par­i­ties with­out acknowl­edg­ing racial disparities.

We think of one anoth­er as equal because it is one of this nation’s prin­ci­ples, but we can’t be equal until we live as equals.

My leg­isla­tive agen­da takes aim at these inequities in all of these areas, whether it’s reform­ing inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tions, envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice, improv­ing our health sys­tems, expand­ing job train­ing and ear­ly child­hood education.

I look for­ward to hon­est con­ver­sa­tions with the Leg­is­la­ture about these issues and action that will ben­e­fit all Washingtonians.

Our team at NPI con­grat­u­lates all the new state law­mak­ers who have tak­en office. As in past ses­sions, we will be work­ing to secure the pas­sage of leg­is­la­tion that would raise all Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ qual­i­ty of life.

We have launched the 2021 incar­na­tion of our State­house Bill Track­er on our Advo­ca­cy page, and we invite Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate read­ers to take advan­tage of this incred­i­bly use­ful resource, which is now in its tenth year.

Sunday, January 10th, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (January 4th-8th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 8th, 2021.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

OBJECTING TO ARIZONA’S ELECTORAL VOTES: Vot­ing 121 for and 303 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 6th defeat­ed a bid to reject Ari­zon­a’s eleven elec­toral votes won by Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden.

Oppo­nents of accept­ing, or cer­ti­fy­ing, the votes said Con­gress should appoint a com­mis­sion to audit the 2020 pres­i­den­tial bal­lot­ing in Ari­zona and five oth­er states Biden nar­row­ly car­ried. The objec­tion was brought by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Paul Gosar, R‑Arizona, and Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz, R‑Texas.

Near­ly six­ty per­cent of Repub­li­cans who vot­ed sup­port­ed the objec­tion, while Democ­rats vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly against it. The vote occurred about nine hours after a vio­lent, armed mob of Trump sup­port­ers streamed through the Capi­tol, destroy­ing prop­er­ty, defil­ing his­tor­i­cal spaces and forc­ing law­mak­ers to shel­ter in place for extend­ed peri­ods, many behind bar­ri­cad­ed doors.

Jim Jor­dan, R‑Ohio, argued that in sev­er­al states, Democ­rats “changed the elec­tion rules…in an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al fash­ion, and that’s what we’re going to show over the next sev­er­al hours of debate. The Con­sti­tu­tion is clear…only state leg­is­la­tures set elec­tion law. In Ari­zona, the law says vot­er reg­is­tra­tion ends on Oct. 5. Democ­rats said we don’t care what the law says. They went to a court, got an Oba­ma-appoint­ed judge to extend it eigh­teen days. No debate, no discussion.…They did an end run around the Con­sti­tu­tion in every state that Repub­li­cans will object to today.…It was a pat­tern, it was their tem­plate, they did it in [Ari­zona, Geor­gia, Michi­gan, Penn­syl­va­nia, Neva­da, Wis­con­sin] and yet some of our mem­bers say you should­n’t do any­thing about it, just let it go.”

Jamie Raskin, D‑Maryland, said: “The 2020 elec­tion is over and the peo­ple have spo­ken .…The pres­i­dent has not just had his day in court, he’s had more than two months in court look­ing for a judge to embrace these argu­ments. More than 50 cas­es. At least 88 dif­fer­ent judges includ­ing many appoint­ed by the pres­i­dent him­self have metic­u­lous­ly reject­ed the pres­i­den­t’s claim of fraud and corruption.…The plain­tiffs have lost every case on every issue on the most sweep­ing terms. There is no basis in fact or law to jus­ti­fy the unprece­dent­ed relief being request­ed in nul­li­fy­ing these elec­tions. We are here to count the votes, let us do our job.”

A yes vote was to reject Ari­zon­a’s elec­toral votes.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 1 aye vote, 16 nay votes

OBJECTING TO PENNSYLVANIA’S ELECTORAL VOTES: Vot­ing 138 for and 282 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 7th defeat­ed a bid to deny cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s twen­ty elec­toral votes won by Biden. About six­ty-eight per­cent of Repub­li­cans who vot­ed backed the move. All Democ­rats who vot­ed opposed it.

Lodged by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scott Per­ry, R‑Pennsylvania, and Sen. Josh Haw­ley, R‑Missouri, the objec­tion was part of an effort by con­gres­sion­al allies of Don­ald Trump to nul­li­fy Biden’s vic­to­ry based on unsub­stan­ti­at­ed claims of irreg­u­lar­i­ties that state and fed­er­al courts have uni­ver­sal­ly rejected.

Minor­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise, R‑Louisiana, argued that sev­er­al states “did not fol­low the con­sti­tu­tion­al require­ment for select­ing electors…”

“Nowhere in Arti­cle 2, Sec­tion 1 does it give the sec­re­tary of state of a state that abil­i­ty. Nowhere does it give the gov­er­nor that abil­i­ty. It exclu­sive­ly gives that abil­i­ty to the leg­is­la­tures… We’ve seen over and over again states where the ‘Demo­c­rat Par­ty’ [sic] has…  selec­tive­ly gone around this process… So Pres­i­dent Trump has stood up to it… Over 100 of my col­leagues asked the Supreme Court to address this prob­lem just a few weeks ago, and unfor­tu­nate­ly, the court chose to punt… We don’t have that lux­u­ry today. We have… to restore integri­ty to the elec­tion process which has been lost by so many mil­lions of Americans.”

Conor Lamb, D‑Pennsylvania, said: “These objec­tions don’t deserve an ounce of respect… A woman died out there (in the Capi­tol) tonight and you’re mak­ing these objec­tions. Let’s be clear about what hap­pened in this cham­ber today. Invaders came in for the first time since the War of 1812.”

“They des­e­crat­ed these halls and this cham­ber and prac­ti­cal­ly every inch of ground where we work… Enough has been done here today already to try to strip this Con­gress of its dig­ni­ty, and these objec­tors don’t need to do any more. We know that that attack today did­n’t mate­ri­al­ize out of nowhere.”

“It was inspired by lies, the same lies that you’re hear­ing in this room tonight, and the mem­bers who are repeat­ing those lies should be ashamed of them­selves and their con­stituents should be ashamed of them.”

A yes vote was to reject Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s elec­toral votes.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

Vot­ing Nay (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 aye votes, 15 nay votes

ADOPTING RULES FOR THE 117TH CONGRESS IN THE U.S. HOUSE: Vot­ing 217 for and 206 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 4th adopt­ed rules to gov­ern its oper­a­tions dur­ing the 117th Congress.

The pack­age (House Res­o­lu­tion 8) was added to a body of stand­ing rules that has con­trolled House pro­ceed­ings since the 1st Con­gress in 1789.

The new rules would require com­mit­tees to dis­close “truth in tes­ti­mo­ny” infor­ma­tion in real time about wit­ness­es at hear­ings. This would inform mem­bers and the pub­lic — before and dur­ing the ses­sions — about any finan­cial or fidu­cia­ry inter­est wit­ness­es have in the top­ic under dis­cus­sion. In addi­tion, the rules would:

  • Allow inves­tiga­tive com­mit­tees to imme­di­ate­ly issue or re-issue sub­poe­nas to for­mer pres­i­dents, vice pres­i­dents and White House staff in their per­son­al or pro­fes­sion­al capacities;
  • Estab­lish a select com­mit­tee on eco­nom­ic dis­par­i­ty, reau­tho­rize select com­mit­tees on cli­mate, Covid-19 and the mod­ern­iza­tion of Con­gress and make per­ma­nent an office pro­tect­ing whistle­blow­ers against retal­i­a­tion by their con­gres­sion­al superiors;
  • Require an ethics rule to pro­hib­it mem­bers from cir­cu­lat­ing by elec­tron­ic means any “deep fake” video, audio file or image “that has been dis­tort­ed or manip­u­lat­ed with the intent to mis­lead the public;”
  • Allow mem­bers to vote remote­ly, by proxy, on the House floor and per­mit com­mit­tees to con­duct busi­ness by video links;
  • Pro­mote trans­paren­cy in gov­ern­ment by broad­en­ing the avail­abil­i­ty of House doc­u­ments in machine-read­able for­mats and expand­ing pub­lic dig­i­tal access to com­mit­tee wit­ness dis­clo­sure forms and vot­ing records on amend­ments and markups;
  • Give per­ma­nent sta­tus a diver­si­ty office and require com­mit­tees to state plans for address­ing inequities in areas includ­ing gen­der, race and sex­u­al orientation;
  • Weak­en the role of the “motion to recom­mit” in enabling the minor­i­ty par­ty to force votes and shape leg­is­la­tion at the close of floor debates and pro­hib­it debate on such motions;
  • Require the House­’s offi­cial ter­mi­nol­o­gy to be gender-neutral;
  • Deny access to the House floor to for­mer mem­bers con­vict­ed of crimes relat­ed to their con­gres­sion­al ser­vice or elec­tion and grant floor priv­i­leges to the Dis­trict of Colum­bia mayor;
  • Bar access by reg­is­tered lob­by­ists and for­eign agents to recre­ation­al areas where mem­bers work out;
  • Exempt bills com­bat­ing the cli­mate cri­sis or the spread of COVID-19 from “pay as you go” bud­get rules;
  • Require mem­bers to per­son­al­ly cov­er the cost of set­tle­ments paid to resolve staff mem­bers’ charges of mis­con­duct includ­ing sex­u­al harass­ment and discrimination;
  • Make per­ma­nent a require­ment that bills con­sid­ered by the Rules Com­mit­tee for floor con­sid­er­a­tion must first receive a com­mit­tee hear­ing and markup;
  • Allow the major­i­ty par­ty to “deem” that a con­gres­sion­al bud­get res­o­lu­tion has been adopt­ed, rather than adopt one.

Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz, D‑Florida, approv­ing­ly not­ed that the rules “exempt cli­mate leg­is­la­tion from bud­getary restric­tions, clear­ing the way for ambi­tious fed­er­al invest­ments to com­bat cli­mate change.”

Tom Cole. R‑Oklahoma, said “this pack­age stinks. It is deeply cyn­i­cal and deeply short-sight­ed. It tram­ples on minor­i­ty rights and it ensures a pow­er grab by Demo­c­ra­t­ic leadership.”

A yes vote was to adopt the rules package.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

OBJECTING TO ARIZONA’S ELECTORAL VOTES: Vot­ing 6 for and 93 against, the Sen­ate on Jan­u­ary 6th defeat­ed a bid to deny cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Ari­zon­a’s eleven elec­toral votes (see House issue above).

The votes against cer­ti­fi­ca­tion were cast by Repub­li­cans Tom­my Tuberville of Alaba­ma, Roger Mar­shall of Kansas, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mis­sis­sip­pi, Josh Haw­ley of Mis­souri and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Cruz, a spon­sor of the objec­tion, said: “I want to speak to the Repub­li­cans who are con­sid­er­ing vot­ing against these objec­tions. I under­stand your con­cerns. But I urge you to pause and think, what does it say to near­ly half the coun­try that believes this elec­tion was rigged if we vote not even to con­sid­er the claims of ille­gal­i­ty and fraud in this election…I’m not argu­ing for set­ting aside this elec­tion” but to have it scru­ti­nized at by a con­gres­sion­al­ly appoint­ed commission.

Sen­a­tor Mitch McConnell, R‑Kentucky, said: “The Con­sti­tu­tion gives us here in Con­gress a lim­it­ed role. We can­not sim­ply declare our­selves a nation­al board of elec­tions on steroids. The vot­ers, the courts and the states have all spo­ken. If we over­rule them, it would dam­age our Repub­lic for­ev­er… If this elec­tion were over­turned by mere alle­ga­tions from the los­ing side, our democ­ra­cy would enter a death spi­ral… Every four years would be a scram­ble for pow­er at any cost.”

A yes vote was to reject Ari­zon­a’s elec­toral votes.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 nay votes

OBJECTING TO PENNSYLVANIA’S ELECTORAL VOTES: Vot­ing 7 for and 92 against, the Sen­ate on Jan­u­ary 7th turned back a chal­lenge to the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s twen­ty elec­toral votes in the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion (see House issue above). The sen­a­tors vot­ing to sus­tain the objec­tion, all Repub­li­cans, were Tom­my Tuberville of Alaba­ma, Rick Scott of Flori­da, Roger Mar­shall of Kansas, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mis­sis­sip­pi, Josh Haw­ley of Mis­souri, Ted Cruz of Texas and Cyn­thia Lum­mis of Wyoming. Haw­ley raised the objec­tion along with Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scott Per­ry, R‑Pennsylvania.

There was no debate on the Penn­syl­va­nia challenge.

Josh Haw­ley, R‑Missouri, said ear­li­er that Con­gress “is the place” to resolve elec­toral dis­putes. “In Penn­syl­va­nia, quite apart from alle­ga­tions of any fraud, you have a state con­sti­tu­tion that has been inter­pret­ed for over a cen­tu­ry to say there is no mail-in bal­lot­ing per­mit­ted except for in very nar­row cir­cum­stances, and yet last year, [state] elect­ed offi­cials passed a whole new law that allows uni­ver­sal mail-in bal­lot­ing and then when Penn­syl­va­nia cit­i­zens tried to be heard…before the [state] supreme court, they were dis­missed on grounds of pro­ce­dure and time­li­ness in vio­la­tion of that court’s own precedents.”

Com­ment­ing after the Capi­tol had been secured from the vio­lent mob that had stormed it, Mitt Rom­ney, R‑Utah, said: “What hap­pened here today was an insur­rec­tion incit­ed by the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. Those who choose to sup­port his dan­ger­ous gam­bit by object­ing to the results of a legit­i­mate demo­c­ra­t­ic elec­tion will for­ev­er be seen as… com­plic­it in an unprece­dent­ed attack against our democ­ra­cy. Fair­ly or not, they’ll be remem­bered for their role in this shame­ful episode in Amer­i­can his­to­ry. That will be their legacy.”

A yes vote was to reject Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s elec­toral votes.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The House and Sen­ate are sched­uled to be in recess dur­ing the week of Jan­u­ary 11th; how­ev­er, the House may con­sid­er a sec­ond impeach­ment of Don­ald Trump.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Votera­ma in Con­gress, a ser­vice of Civic Impulse, LLC. All rights are reserved. Repro­duc­tion of this post is not per­mit­ted, not even with attri­bu­tion. Use the per­ma­nent link to this post to share it… thanks!

© 2021 Civic Impulse, LLC. 

Friday, January 8th, 2021

Trump’s deplatforming accelerates as Twitter finally bans him and several of his associates

Don­ald Trump’s tweet­ing days are over. Finally.

This after­noon, Twit­ter announced it’s per­ma­nent­ly banned him from the ser­vice after con­clud­ing that his most recent tweets vio­late its pol­i­cy against glo­ri­fy­ing vio­lence. Trump howled back through the @POTUS account, but Twit­ter, show­ing it means busi­ness, delet­ed all of those tweets. Twit­ter like­wise took down the TeamTrump account after it tried to repost mes­sages from Trump.

The ban is against Trump as a per­son and not mere­ly his @realDonaldTrump account, the com­pa­ny con­firmed, which was Trump’s prin­ci­pal mega­phone, estab­lished long before he became a pres­i­den­tial candidate.

Trump is pro­hib­it­ed from return­ing to Twit­ter using anoth­er han­dle or an alias.

“In the con­text of hor­rif­ic events this week, we made it clear on Wednes­day that addi­tion­al vio­la­tions of the Twit­ter Rules would poten­tial­ly result in this very course of action,” the com­pa­ny said in a state­ment announc­ing its action.

“Our pub­lic inter­est frame­work [world lead­ers pol­i­cy] exists to enable the pub­lic to hear from elect­ed offi­cials and world lead­ers direct­ly. It is built on a prin­ci­ple that the peo­ple have a right to hold pow­er to account in the open. How­ev­er, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entire­ly and can­not use Twit­ter to incite vio­lence, among oth­er things.”

Twit­ter also banned Don­ald Trump’s asso­ciates Michael Fly­nn and Sid­ney Pow­ell as well as Ron Watkins, who is thought by some to be behind the dis­turb­ing and dis­gust­ing “QAnon” con­spir­a­cy movement.

Trump was “indef­i­nite­ly” sus­pend­ed from Face­book and Insta­gram ear­li­er this week, with Mark Zucker­berg say­ing that the sus­pen­sion would last at least through Jan­u­ary 20th. Ama­zon-owned Twitch has also sus­pend­ed Trump.

These actions are long, long overdue.

“For months — years, real­ly — peo­ple have asked what it would take for Face­book and Twit­ter to ban the pol­i­cy-vio­la­tor-in-chief from their plat­forms. Hate speech, dox­ing, and dan­ger­ous dis­in­for­ma­tion on Covid evi­dent­ly weren’t enough,” observed Wired’s Steven Levy. “Oh, they put (easy-to-ignore) warn­ing labels on some tweets and posts, and even took the stray one down. But exil­ing him from the plat­forms? No. He is the pres­i­dent, after all.”

“That changed this week, when Don­ald Trump dis­patched a cos­play mob of thugs and toy sol­diers to take the Capi­tol — and they actu­al­ly did.”

“While he gave the actu­al march­ing orders in per­son, the invaders who came to Wash­ing­ton were fed by Trump’s avalanche of false claims and incite­ments on social media, hard­ly mit­i­gat­ed by warn­ing labels or notices that oth­er, per­haps more reli­able sources were report­ing some­thing else.”

As Levy argues, the Trump bans won’t fix the ills that are plagu­ing social net­works like Face­book and Twit­ter, even if they will make it hard­er for Trump to incite vio­lence and spread mis­in­for­ma­tion or disinformation.

Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign YouTube chan­nel remains up as of press time, but it has not released any new videos recently.

Mean­while, Par­ler — the any­thing-goes social net­work that has become a haven for Trump fans and right wing extrem­ists — has been warned by Google and Apple to start polic­ing its plat­form and mod­er­ate con­tent. Google has already sus­pend­ed Par­ler from Google Play and Apple has threat­ened to remove Par­ler from the App Store if the com­pa­ny does­n’t respond to its demands with­in twen­ty-four hours.

Trump fans are furi­ous that Trump has been banned, as is to be expect­ed, with some false­ly assert­ing that it is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al or a vio­la­tion of the First Amend­ment for Twit­ter to ban Trump. They are incorrect.

The First Amend­ment con­strains the gov­ern­ment from restrict­ing free speech, not pri­vate­ly owned social net­works. Twit­ter is a cor­po­ra­tion that oper­ates a mas­sive online bul­letin board. For bet­ter or worse, Twit­ter and oth­er social net­works are allowed under our free enter­prise sys­tem to large­ly decide what their busi­ness prac­tices will be, and they have decid­ed Don­ald Trump is bad for business.

They have every right to give him the boot, and they have.

Friday, January 8th, 2021

Scramble for the Senate: Democrats finally prevail in their quest to regain a majority

Two months after the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, the scram­ble for con­trol of the Unit­ed States Sen­ate is final­ly over. Georgia’s Repub­li­cans played dirty, with cyn­i­cal vot­er sup­pres­sion, attempts by Don­ald Trump to sub­vert results across the coun­try, and relent­less neg­a­tive cam­paign­ing – but ulti­mate­ly, none of it was suc­cess­ful. Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff both beat their Repub­li­can oppo­nents – with large enough mar­gins to avoid a recount.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the news of vic­to­ry was over­shad­owed by events in the nation’s cap­i­tal, as a vio­lent far-right mob over­ran the Capi­tol build­ing in an attempt to over­turn November’s elec­tion results and keep Don­ald Trump in office.

Despite the dark events in D.C., the out­come in Geor­gia gives rea­son to hope for the future. Both sen­a­­tors-elect are ground­break­ing individuals.

Jon Ossoff will be the youngest mem­ber of the U.S. Sen­ate – as well as the Peach State’s first Jew­ish sen­a­tor – and rode to vic­to­ry on promis­es to bring youth­ful vig­or to the ossi­fied upper reach­es of nation­al politics.

Rev. Warnock addresses supporters

Rev. Warnock address­es sup­port­ers (Pho­to: Raphael Warnock, repro­duced under Cre­ative Com­mons license)

Warnock’s achieve­ment is even more impres­sive; he is the first Black Demo­c­rat from the South to be elect­ed to the U.S. Senate.

Despite Sen­a­tor Loeffler’s bla­tant­ly racial­ized neg­a­tive cam­paign­ing, Warnock (with the help of his bea­gle pup­py) craft­ed an inge­nious cam­paign strat­e­gy that over­came deeply root­ed stereo­types of aggres­sive Black men. In the end, most ana­lysts agreed that the white can­di­date (Ossoff) rode Warnock’s coat­tails into office. In a deli­cious­ly iron­ic twist, he tri­umphed in an elec­toral sys­tem that was explic­it­ly designed to exclude African Amer­i­cans from elect­ed office.

Nei­ther can­di­date could have made it as far as they did with­out decades of activism and orga­niz­ing by grass­roots pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tions, and plau­dits have flood­ed in for these groups in recent days – most notably for Stacey Abrams, the stan­dard bear­er of vot­ing rights in the South.

Warnock and Ossoff’s dou­ble vic­to­ry means that, once the Sen­ate is ful­ly sworn-in, the Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans will each hold pre­cise­ly fifty seats.

In prac­tice, this means Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol for the next two years, with Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Har­ris step­ping in to break tie votes.

It also means that Chuck Schumer will replace Mitch McConnell as the Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader, and will be able to con­trol which bills come up for a vote.

How­ev­er, many impe­di­ents still stand in the path of pro­gres­sive legislation.

For a start, the Repub­li­cans are guar­an­teed to use every pow­er they still pos­sess to thwart the Democ­rats agen­da. Any­one who doubts that should remem­ber the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. The first Black pres­i­dent swept into office with a far more resound­ing man­date than Joe Biden’s and was prac­ti­cal­ly jump­ing to find com­pro­mise with the oth­er side of the aisle. His cen­trist poli­cies (the Patient Protection­ Act was based on a Repub­li­can plan) were met with screams of “Com­mu­nism!” and an open com­mit­ment by McConnell to destroy his pres­i­den­cy.

Of course, with a slim major­i­ty and can­ny lead­er­ship, Democ­rats should be able to over­come some Repub­li­can road­blocks. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the party’s lead­er­ship has a record of incom­pe­tence and spine­less­ness going back years.

Sen­a­tor Schumer in par­tic­u­lar seems to have no con­cept of how to deal with his rabid­ly right-wing Repub­li­can col­leagues – hop­ing against hope that they will sud­den­ly return to the bipar­ti­san con­sen­sus of the 1980s, and utter­ly fail­ing to mar­shal resis­tance to the appoint­ment of yet anoth­er right-wing Supreme Court judge.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York

U.S. Sen­a­tor Chuck Schumer of New York, the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader (Pho­to: Third Way)

Per­haps more prob­lem­at­i­cal­ly, the new dynam­ics will give enor­mous pow­er to the most right-wing fig­ures in the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic caucus.

Sen­a­tors such as Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sine­ma, Chris Coons, and Diane Fein­stein pride them­selves on their abil­i­ty to reach out and find “com­pro­mis­es” with the Repub­li­can side of the cham­ber – which in prac­tice usu­al­ly means let­ting the right wing have what they want. At the same time, they hold unut­ter­able con­tempt for the grass­roots pro­gres­sives who move heav­en and earth to put them in their posi­tions of pow­er (if only for lack of a bet­ter option) year after year.

But hope springs eter­nal. Schumer has been evolv­ing into more of a pro­gres­sive sen­a­tor him­self, endors­ing ideas cham­pi­oned by Eliz­a­beth War­ren, Bernie Sanders, and Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez. And at least some pro­gres­sive ideas (though not Medicare For All) may be able to win the back­ing of a Repub­li­can sen­a­tor or two, like Susan Collins, Lisa Murkows­ki, or Mitt Romney.

Pro­gres­sives should not expect any­thing from this Sen­ate with­out lots of sus­tained lob­by­ing. Get­ting good leg­is­la­tion out of the cham­ber won’t be easy.

Still, hav­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol of the cham­ber will feel like the wel­come break­ing of a dawn after a depress­ing­ly long night. Democ­rats will wield the gavels and set the sched­ule. They’ll be able to con­firm Joe Biden’s nom­i­nees much more eas­i­ly, and adopt bud­gets through rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, the process that allows fis­cal-relat­ed bills to bypass the fil­i­buster and its ridicu­lous six­ty vote threshold.

Had Mitch McConnell stayed in charge, the Sen­ate would have con­tin­ued to be a grave­yard of progress. With Warnock and Ossof­f’s vic­to­ries, much of McConnel­l’s pow­er will be gone, and the Sen­ate will be far less dysfunctional.

For Sen­ate Democ­rats, Warnock and Ossof­f’s arrival will mark the begin­ning of a new era. And the com­ing midterms won’t be fraught with the same per­il as some past cycles were, like 2014, when the par­ty lost its major­i­ty to McConnell.

That’s because, aside from Warnock and Mark Kel­ly, the par­ty won’t have any vul­ner­a­ble incum­bents to defend. Every oth­er Sen­ate Demo­c­rat who is up in 2022 rep­re­sents a state that both Joe Biden and Hillary Clin­ton won.

Only hav­ing to play seri­ous defense in two out of four­teen races is very help­ful when you want to go on offense. Repub­li­cans, mean­while, have twen­ty total seats to defend, sev­er­al of which are in states Democ­rats can win, like Wisconsin.

Even bet­ter, the Repub­li­can incum­bents in Penn­syl­va­nia and North Car­oli­na (also swing states) have decid­ed to retire, which means the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty has an oppor­tu­ni­ty to recruit strong can­di­dates ear­ly for winnable open seats.

The par­ty has advan­ta­geous ter­rain on which to com­pete for a more com­fort­able work­ing major­i­ty in the next elec­tion. Will it take advantage?

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Militant right wing violence and intimidation is sadly as American as cherry pie

“Vio­lence is as Amer­i­can as cher­ry pie,” incar­cer­at­ed activist Jamil Abdul­lah Al-Amin intoned more than fifty-three years ago, pro­vok­ing out­rage from con­ser­v­a­tive com­men­ta­tors across the land. Al-Amin, for­mer­ly known as H. Rap Brown, should have drawn dis­tinc­tions in his rap. Right wing vio­lence in Amer­i­ca is endur­ing, intim­i­dat­ing and usu­al­ly goes unpunished.

Fresh mem­o­ries of the far right’s U.S. Capi­tol insur­rec­tion, occu­pa­tion and trash­ing caused me to flip back to a July 27th, 2020 tweet by Don­ald Trump:

“Anar­chists, Agi­ta­tors or Pro­tes­tors who van­dal­ize or dam­age our Fed­er­al Cour­t­house in Port­land, or any Fed­er­al Build­ings in any of our cities or states, will be pros­e­cut­ed under our recent­ly re-enact­ed Statutes & Mon­u­ments Act. Min­i­mum Ten Years In Prison. Don’t Do It!

Trump deployed fed­er­al agents who hunt­ed down demon­stra­tors far from the cour­t­house, mak­ing extra-legal arrests of folks off the street. When Black Lives Mat­ter protests came to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., last June, police from twen­ty states were mobi­lized. Prison guards from Arkansas were deployed. A pha­lanx of fuzz, in Nin­ja War­rior out­fits, stood guard on steps of the Lin­coln Memorial.

By con­trast, the U.S. Capi­tol on Wednes­day was sparse­ly defend­ed. The 45th Pres­i­dent egged on the mob. For­mer New York May­or (and fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor) Rudy Giu­liani called for “tri­al by com­bat.” Of the arrests even­tu­al­ly made, more than eighty per­cent were for cur­few vio­la­tion (although Face­book and Insta­gram pho­tos are being used to track down the worse occu­piers and trashers).

“I am shak­ing my head about the U.S. Capi­tol Police,” Heather Foley, wid­ow of the late House Speak­er Tom Foley, said in an email.

She used to run admin­is­tra­tion for the House.

Would the Capi­tol have been left unde­fend­ed in a Black Lives Mat­ter protest? Would pro­test­ers have been gen­tly escort­ed out? The answer, deliv­ered Thurs­day by Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden, was a resound­ing “No.”

It has been so for six­ty years of protests for civ­il rights and peace.

The recent death of Con­gress­man John Lewis revived films of Alaba­ma State Troop­ers bru­tal­ly attach­ing peace­ful marchers cross­ing the Edmund Pet­tis Bridge in Sel­ma Alaba­ma, named for a Con­fed­er­ate gen­er­al). Lewis would point to where his skull was cracked. He also saved a Herblock car­toon from the Wash­ing­ton Post, iden­ti­fy­ing his assailants as “Alaba­ma State Storm Troopers.”

Right wing vio­lence has not infre­quent­ly met with offi­cial approval.

A peace­ful post-Kent State 1970 anti­war protest head­ed for New York City’s finan­cial dis­trict. The marchers passed a con­struc­tion site. Hard­hat set upon them, beat­ing and injur­ing dozens. New York’s Finest stood watching.

A few days lat­er, Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon (who would lat­er resign in dis­grace) wel­comed the hard­hats’ lead­ers to the Oval Office. He had recent­ly described pro­test­ers against the ”incur­sion” of U.S. forces into Cam­bo­dia as “bums.”

The Nation­al Guard killing in cold blood of four stu­dents at Kent State, and killing of two Jack­son State Col­lege stu­dents by city and state police in Mis­sis­sip­pi, pro­duced zero prosecutions.

Dit­to for what a com­mis­sion report described as a “police riot” at the 1968 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­ven­tion in Chica­go. Instead, sev­en protest lead­ers were indicted.

The pat­tern of vio­lence has continued.

The nation’s most lethal and vicious ask of domes­tic ter­ror­ism, the 1994 fed­er­al build­ing bomb­ing in Okla­homa City, was per­pe­trat­ed by right-wing mili­tia types, one leader from Michi­gan. A quar­ter cen­tu­ry lat­er, Michi­gan mili­tia types plot­ted the kid­nap­ping, “tri­al” and exe­cu­tion of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Mili­tia folk have invad­ed the state capi­tol in East Lansing.

Out here, fol­low­ing pas­sage of gun safe­ty ini­tia­tives, they have packed heat – main­ly assault rifles – to protests at our capi­tol in Olympia.

At one protest, after hear­ing from Pam Roach and Matt Shea, armed Sec­ond Amend­ment enthu­si­asts invad­ed the State Sen­ate gallery.

For any­one cov­er­ing years of protest, the affin­i­ty between police and right-wing pro­test­ers can­not be ignored. The result is kid gloves treatment.

Going viral on Thurs­day were shots of cops mov­ing a bar­ri­er so demon­stra­tors could enter, and (lat­er) the pro­vi­sion for peace­ful departure.

All the while, Trump was watch­ing on tele­vi­sion and lik­ing what he saw.

Occa­sion­al­ly, crimes are so hor­ren­dous and pub­lic as to demand pun­ish­ment. Tim­o­thy McVeigh was exe­cut­ed after plan­ning a bomb that killed one hun­dred and six­ty-eight and injured more than six hundred.

The killer of repro­duc­tive health provider Dr. George Tiller was giv­en life after gun­ning down Tiller as he entered his Wichi­ta church. The alleged human who ran down a peace­ful demon­stra­tor in Char­lottesville was giv­en a long sentence.

The fas­cist gath­er­ing in Char­lottesville, with its torch­light parade and Nazi flags, was unde­ni­ably domes­tic terrorism.

Yet, we heard Trump say there were “very fine peo­ple on both sides.”

Trump lat­er defend­ed his dog whis­tle remark, say­ing: “If you look at what I said, you will see that that ques­tion was answered perfectly.”

The mili­tia move­ment spiked in the ear­ly 1990s, after the Waco con­fronta­tion. It had adher­ents here. A Chelan Coun­ty mili­tia group took up arms fear­ing that Unit­ed Nations infil­tra­tors were about to use the remote Nighthawk-Chopa­ka bor­der cross­ing west of Oroville.

Turned out it was an inter­a­gency anti-drug smug­gling exercise.

The vio­lent right is on the rise again, in this cor­ner of the country.

Wit­ness the pro­longed armed occu­pa­tion of the Mal­heur Nation­al Wildlife Refuge in East­ern Ore­gon. Its orga­niz­ers got off scot free.

The arson­ists who burned down Planned Parenthood’s clin­ic in Pull­man, after incen­di­ary remarks by Spokane politi­cians, have nev­er been brought to justice.

For anoth­er thir­teen days, it has offi­cial blessing.

After all, Trump gave Proud Boys the friend­ly advice to “stand back and stand by” dur­ing the first pres­i­den­tial debate of 2020 in September.

They deployed Wednes­day at the U.S. Capi­tol. In words of the Boys’ offi­cial Telegram chan­nel, “For sev­er­al hours our col­lec­tive strength had politi­cians in Wash­ing­ton in absolute ter­ror… The sys­tem would have you believe that you are alone. That’s why they want to ban all ‘rad­i­cals’ from social media. They want you to feel alone. But the truth is that you are not alone. We are everywhere.”

The Trump regime has not only winked at, but made use of right-wing intim­i­da­tion… all the while, with the Pres­i­dent and such allies as Fox News’ Tuck­er Carl­son warn­ing about and blam­ing all vio­lence on “anar­chists” and antifa.

The move­ment is tanned, rest­ed, ready and well-armed, as well as used to get­ting its way or get­ting away with what it does.

The Pres­i­dent-elect intro­duced his Jus­tice Depart­ment team on Thurs­day, with high empha­sis on the Civ­il Rights Division.

The Biden admin­is­tra­tion will also face a home-grown domes­tic ter­ror­ism prob­lem. It can be wit­nessed at state cap­i­tals and the U.S. Capitol.