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Raul Labrador (Freedom Caucus Republican, Representing western Idaho) provided an Op Ed published (at least) in the Sandpoint Daily Bee Sunday, April 9, yesterday, entitled “HEALTH CARE BILL JUST WASN’T RIGHT FOR AMERICA”. It is breathtaking in its ignorance of the issue, and frightening in its pledge to pursue amendments that would make Trumpcare/Ryancare even worse. As we sharpen our pens and tongues for the two Recess weeks I encourage everyone to read this link, form up your thoughts, and, if you are a resident of Idaho, submit a letter to the editor for the paper edition in response. Read the first online comment, too, since in points out the most glaring mistake.
That a U.S. Congressional Representative would proudly submit something so anti-factual as this letter suggests to me that he either is poorly informed, inadequately supported by his staff, or fed misinformation by lobbyists and think tanks with vested interests. A one point he gives us a clue. He writes:
Those who say we must accept a government takeover of America’s health care system in order to cover the most vulnerable are creating a false choice. We can protect those who most need our help while lowering health care costs for all Americans.
What he cares about is “government takeover”. He is NOT stupid. He has a degree in Spanish from BYU, two years in Chile, and a degree in law from UWa. [note that “stupid” is an example of Lakoff’s “Elephant”]. His driving force, though, is downsizing government.
This gets me to wondering about the funding and lives of the folks who claim to represent us. It seems clear to me now they are just people, people with all the faults and biases as the rest of us, and maybe not as well-informed. Lois Strand found this illuminating document for us on the economics of being a MoC:
It explains a lot. Senators and Representatives receive a salary of $174,000. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It is, but consider: If they don’t have a working spouse that is the money with which they maintain two addresses, one in D.C. and one in their district, raise and educate their kids (CMR has three, one with Down Syndrome), put food on the table, and probably hire domestic help. Living in D.C. is expensive. Flying family to and from D.C. is pricey and on the personal dime.
Lois writes of our MoC’s professional money, “Free postage if mailing constituents. An additional nearly a $950,000 for staff salaries, travel, office supplies, and office rent. They may hire 18-22 staff. So probably that $950,000 doesn’t go very far. Would make those in districts far from DC tend to not travel home as much I would think….probably a good excuse for the bogus “telephone town halls.”
Let’s break that down a little. CMR maintains three offices (Spokane, Walla Walla, and Colville) and more than twenty staff. (I imagine that the D.C. office space is provided…I’d have to check.) She flies those staff to and from D.C. every once in a while and she pays them zoom around the district a bit. Even if every penny of the 950K went to staff salaries for 20 staff, they’d be paid on average, including benefits, $47,500 each. I’ll be it is closer to half that, considering that Andrew Engell hinted that his salary in Colville would qualify his family (wife and three kids) for Medicaid if he could bear the embarrassment of applying.
So let’s see…who can you hire to fill these twenty spots? Relatively young, relatively inexperienced people. You probably look for eager young folk, in CMR’s case, educated in institutions like Pensacola Christian College from which she graduated. These are the folk who do your outreach in your home district and provide you with background research in D.C. So who has your ear??? Well, young people who share your doctrine and who subscribe to like-minded think tank literature like funded by the Koch brothers. Conclusion: Our Members of Congress live and work in their own information bubble. They are fed and listen to what they want to hear.
Then check out “Bernie TV”, a not-well-advertised but VERY popular medium. (Thanks to Bob Elliott for turning me on to it.) Spend 24 minutes and listen to “Bernie Sits Down with Jane Mayer”. It will give you some insight into who has the ear of our Republican MoCs. Jane Mayer wrote “Dark Money” and the New Yorker article on Robert Mercer, the mega-rich fellow instrumental (with Bannon) in getting the Orange One elected.
Today: Read, contemplate, write a letter to the editor and plan to fit in at least one constituent-sponsored Town Hall, a visit to your MoC’s office, and attend a demonstration or two in the next two weeks of RECESS.
1) Spokane Town Hall: Moran Prairie Public Library, 6004 S Regal St, Spokane, WA 99223, Thursday, April 206-8PM. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was invited well in advance, but likely will not appear. Plan to come as a serious concerned constituent. Think about preparing a statement/question. Here’s the link:
2) For my Idaho Readers:
PUT SATURDAY APRIL 15 ON YOUR CALENDAR! SHOW UP FOR ONE OR BOTH EVENTS. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!
April 15, 11am at the Couer d’Alene Library’s Large Meeting Room (holds 200) Constituent Sponsored Town Hall
Themes: Russia Investigation and Releasing Trump’s Tax Returns
Allowed: Small signs that say “yes/no” or “agree/disagree”
Coffee and cookies will be provided (we are bringing cookies, please help if you can)
Suggestion: Please wear blue to show solidarity with the Indivisible groups
April 15, 1pm meeting outside the Coeur d’Alene Public Library Tax March
Allowed: Signs and Banners on the theme of Releasing Trump’s Tax Returns
Suggestion: Make signs with large lettering as the route will be along a main road with traffic moving quickly
Suggestion: Wear blue for solidarity with Indivisible groups
Suggestion: Come and make signs for the march on Tues, 4/18 at Eichard’s in Sandpoint
Keep to the high ground!
P.S. And MORE for the Calendar:
EARTH DAY SPOKANE 2017
Saturday, April 22 & 23, 2017
Riverfront Park, Pavilion
Tara Williamson/Lead Organizer
THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH
Nationwide, and even bigger than Earth Day.
Tribal Gathering Place (next to City Hall) at NOON.
SNAP, 3102 W. Fort George Wright Dr., Spokane, WA 99224
Friday evening and Saturday, May 5 and 6.
This is an in depth, mind-blowing, tour of our history, government, and social change.
- FREE SPEECH FRIDAYS (every Friday at 4pm at the South junction of Division and Ruby near Wendy’s),
- FIRST AMENDMENT SATURDAY. First Sat of Every Month. NOON. Lincoln Statue, Downtown Spokane
- RESIST TRUMP TUESDAYS. 11A. Peyton Building 10N Post St. Spokane, WA