Trump and the Republican ties to Russia front and center- Comments by Dan Rather

Dan Rather
Every once in a while in Washington, the fuse is lit for what seems to be a big scandal. Much more rarely does that fuse lead to an explosion of the magnitude we are seeing with Russia and the new Administration, and frankly the Republicans in Congress. How can anybody say, with all this billowing smoke and sights of actual flames, that there is no need to at least independently investigate whether a fire is burning down the very pillars of our democracy?

The pressure is obviously starting to mount as leading Republicans are now calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. This comes in the wake of serious and credible evidence reported by a vigilant press that the Attorney General, mind you the top law enforcement man in the United States, perjured himself in testimony to the Senate about meeting the Russian ambassador during the election. Sessions is but the latest person close to President Trump who seems to be ensnared in a story that is more worthy of Hollywood melodrama than the reality of the governance of our country. Democrats are calling for Sessions to resign, and this story could move very quickly.

We are well past the time for any political niceties or benefits of the doubt. We need an independent and thorough investigation of Russia’s meddling in our democracy and its ties to the President and his allies. We don’t know what we don’t know. Perhaps there are perfectly innocuous reasons for why Mr Trump won’t release his tax returns, why he has continued to speak admirably about President Putin and why his aides and advisors seem to be so close to Russia. That’s why we need an investigation. If the air is to be cleared, it needs to be cleared. And if there is deep rot, it needs to be exposed. And quickly.

The press is doing an admirable job. But there is only so much it can do without such things as subpoena powers. Let’s just make this clear. This is about a foreign and hostile power trying to influence our election while being in contact with close aides to the presidential campaign that the Kremlin wanted to win. Furthermore, there are serious questions about Mr Trump’s longstanding ties to Russian money and influence peddlers. We don’t know where this might go, but it isn’t going away.

Tacos and Politics: Saturday, February 25, Noon at Southside Grill

Taco and Politics: Everyone Deserves a Bite


Democratic Legislators will visit Valley County this Saturday, Feb. 25 !

The Idaho Democratic Party “Taco and Politics Tour” will be in McCall on Saturday , Feb. 25 at Noon at Southside Grill , 339 Deinhard Ln.,  McCall. Democratic Representative Melissa Wintrow and Representative Phylis King will discuss what’s going on in the Idaho Legislature this year.
Our Democratic Legislators want your input on the important issues facing Idahoans: education, job creation, and our economy to name just a few. Bring your questions, concerns and comments on the topics that matter most to you. The Legislators look forward to meeting and talking with Valley County residents.

Youth are especially encouraged to attend and have an opportunity to address their questions to these Democratic Legislators.

Taco bar will be available to purchase during the event if you wish. 

 Please RSVP 

For more information , contact:

John Schott, Secretary
Valley County Democratic Party
Phone 208-634-1955


People are getting organized to Resist the Trump and the Republican attacks. Over 40 people attended a letter writing event at Salmon River Brewery on Monday Feb. 6. A group is forming to continue to effort.

Another group Protect Our Care Valley County has formed out of a petition signed by a number of locals to fight the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and cuts in Medicaid. A event is scheduled for Thursday, March 23 at the McCall Library for those effected by the proposed changes and those interested in protecting health care for our fellow citizens.

We will keep posting activities to continue to resistance. Also check out Valley County Democrats Facebook page for events here and around the region.  

Women’s March on Idaho- Saturday, Jan. 21- 10 am- Boise

January 21, 2017 – 10:00am at the Idaho State Capitol

Women’s march starting at the Idaho State Capitol building. Our goal is to bring the Women’s March on Washington to Boise to provide Idaho women with an opportunity to participate and be heard. HEAR OUR VOICE!

10:00- Event start/Opening statement (Idaho State Capitol)
10:30- March Start
11:00- March End
11:10- Speakers Start
12:00- Closing/Music (Boise City Hall)


The Women’s March on Idaho has adopted the Women’s National March on Washington purpose statement below:

OFFICIAL STATEMENT, National Organizers:

On January 21, 2017 we will unite in Washington, DC for the Women’s March on Washington. We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us–women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all. HEAR OUR VOICE.


McCall Poster Sessions for March On Idaho

Thursday and Friday: Jan. 19-20, 5-7 pm

Mccall Super 8, 303 S. 3rd Street, McCall

This is an opportunity to meet each other, make posters, arrange carpools, etc for the People for Unity March on the Idaho State Capitol on January 21. Bring your extra poster making supplies, slogan ideas, and happy vibes to the conference room at Super 8. Don’t necessarily have to be a Democrat to participate, just have to be a supporter of inclusion, tolerance, diversity, justice, etc. Now more than ever let’s focus on the values we share. SANDEE DINGMAN


Local Health Care Professionals Stand Up Against Obamacare Repeal in Star News Editorial and Idaho Statesman Guest Editorial 


Revised for Idaho Statesmen
Health-care repeal would turn back the clock
BY Bill Thomas, LCSW, Edith Welty, M.D. and Thomas Welty, M.D.
If the Affordable Care Act (ACA)-Obamacare, is repealed this January by Congress, over 30 million people will lose health insurance. People right here in Valley County who get coverage from the Idaho Health Exchange could within a year have no health insurance.
Those who promote repeal of the ACA have had seven years to come up with a replacement plan, but they have no plan, just slogans.
Prior to the ACA, the private health care market was in a death spiral. Rates were going through the roof and fewer and fewer people were able to get private individual plans. If you had a pre-existing condition, you were denied insurance or were charged rates that were unaffordable.
Passage of Affordable Care Act did the following:
Reduced by 32% the uninsured rate in Idaho from 2008 to 2015 .
Guaranteed benefits – like maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health care . Removed higher premiums for women based solely on gender.
Protected 129 million people with pre-existing conditions like cancer, asthma, and diabetes from being denied coverage or charged higher premiums
Saved millions of dollars by providing no-cost preventive services like cancer screening and vaccines.
Removed lifetime caps on benefits for 105 million people.
Brought the uninsured back into the doctor’s office and away from costly hospital emergency departments. Enabled doctors to provide outpatient care before illness became an emergency.
Enrolled 100,000 Idahoans in the Idaho Health Exchange in 2015. Over 70 percent got subsidies to reduce their monthly premium payments. (However, those with income below 100 percent of poverty are not eligible for subsidies because the Idaho Legislature refused to implement Medicaid expansion, creating a gap in coverage for low income people.)
Made family planning services available for free, reducing unattended pregnancies and pregnancy complications.

The ACA is based on three basic principles, like a 3-legged stool.
Individual Mandate: Everyone must have insurance. You can not wait until you are sick to get insurance. Over 20 states prior to the ACA tried to set up a health exchange without an individual mandate, and the premiums in this “high risk pool” rose dramatically, because only sick people enrolled.
Premium subsidies based on income. If you take away the subsidies, many will be unable to afford health insurance.
People with pre-existing conditions are not charged more for their health insurance.
If you remove any one of these three legs, the stool will fall. If you set a grace period of a few years for repeal, the exchanges will crash long before the actual deadline. Insurance companies will start pulling out of the market. Millions will lose coverage.
Why should I support Obamacare, if I have employer-based or other private insurance? An increase in the numbers of uninsured will increase the costs to hospitals, and unpaid bills will be passed on to the insured customers. We are all in this together.
In spite of the rhetoric about ACA being repealed, we still recommend that individuals who do not have health insurance sign up during the current enrollment period that lasts until Jan. 31, 2017. Go to to sign up. Do your own research. A family of four, two parents in late 30s or early 40s with two children making $50,000 per year can get a good plan for around $315 per month.
With ACA, countless people have benefited by getting needed surgery they had put off and getting outpatient care for their diabetes, heart disease, or mental health issues, instead of getting so ill they require hospitalization.
If you have seen the benefits of the ACA in your own life, call Senator Crapo at (208) 224-6142, Senator Risch at (208) 224-2752, and let them know your experience, and ask them not to let Congress repeal the Affordable Care Act without first having a comparable replacement.

(Bill Thomas, LCSW, Clinical Social Worker, Edith Welty, MD, and Thomas Welty, MD, live in McCall.)


Hillary walking in Woods after election met by supporter

Hillary walking in Woods after election met by supporter


Letter to Hillary Supporters by my Son Jesse Thomas, Attorney in Boise. As a older person who has been in many struggles from civil rights to organizing unions, fighting for health care for all and against needless wars, it is very satisfying to see the younger generation standing up with such wisdom. I know he is my son but I think he nails it on the head. THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES. DON’T DESPAIR, ORGANIZE.

A Letter to Hillary Supporters

(1) Grief: You have Experienced a Loss. It is okay to cry and to feel angry. It is a normal part of grief to feel like you don’t belong, like nobody cares about you, like you’re living in an alternate reality or you feel helpless. These feelings are a part of grief and they will subside. One of the best things you can do is show support to those who are grieving and let them know they are not alone. And you are not alone. If your grief continues for an extended period of time or causes problems in your daily tasks, please see a grief counselor because you may be experiencing complicated grief.

(2) Take Care of Your Mental Health because we need you. You need to learn how to do some self-care and make sure now and in the future, that your mental health does not consume you in this hard fight. The next four years will be a marathon not a sprint. We need good people like you who care. But you must help yourself first foremost.

(3) Don’t Loose that Chip on your Shoulder. Move past the grief, but don’t forget it. For things to change in our country you have to be motivated and you have to work hard. After working forty hours at your job, going food shopping, doing laundry, running your kids to the soccer game, you’re not going to want to pull yourself off the couch on a Sunday morning to stand in the rain in front of the state Capital for another rally that seems to go unnoticed. This does not make you a bad person, this just makes you human. You need to remember this loss and you need to use it to motivate yourself. The best advocates I have had the pleasure to meet understand the hard work it takes to fight for equality and justice. Those advocates also seem to have a chip on their shoulder, and just won’t stop no matter how bad they lose, or how many people they piss off. This is not a time to “heal” or to “come together.” This is a time to get motivated and fight.

(4) This is not About the “Country,” or About Being a “Patriot,” or about Trump versus Hillary it’s about Equality and Justice. The next four years is about seeking equality and justice for all humanity here and abroad. Take solace in the fact that there are more people who voted for Hillary, for inclusion, for hope; then did not. Take solace in the fact that the poor, the disadvantaged and minority communities voted for Hillary, not for Trump. Don’t move, don’t give up, they need you now more than ever. This fight is not about the essence of America, whatever that means, this fight is about humanity. You may not like what this country “stands for”, you may not like this country at all. But, that does not matter at all. The United States is the most influential country in the world, and you, as a citizen, have a say in what the United States as a country does. Don’t turn your back on that right. No matter how little you may actually change U.S. policies here and abroad, it simply does not matter. Because, it will always be ethical to use that power to seek equality and justice for everyone.

(5) Don’t Do Anything Rash While You’re Grieving. Don’t make major life decisions right now. Don’t decide to move or put in for that job in New Zealand. We will have plenty of time in the future to act; to figure out what is right for us. It will take some time to organize, to figure out how to move forward politically. Don’t worry; there are some really amazing smart people in this country who know what to do. You may feel helpless, like you don’t know how to move forward. Don’t worry about this now, be patient. It will become clear in the coming weeks on how to move forward. For now, concentrate on your mental health and be patient as our progressive leaders figure out how to fight for equality and justice. If you want to march, if you want to organize right now, do it! But, if you don’t see a way forward and don’t know what to do with these feelings don’t worry it will become clear very soon. You may decide to make some major life changes, that is OK, but don’t do that right now.

(6) Progressives Should Not be Blaming Each Other or Themselves. We did not vote for Trump, and we did not support him. We did not give him money or time. Do not blame yourself that you did not do enough. You cannot control how other people vote, you can only control your own actions, and it is not your fault.

(7) You Don’t Have to do a lot in the Next Four Years, But You Have to do Something. Everybody has a role to play. Some people will make great organizers, or great candidates; and others will be good foot soldiers. It may feel like a daunting task. However, know that the work will be hard, but that you should not ask yourself to do something that you cannot do. The single mother with two kids will not be expected to show up at every rally. The older activists who are burnt out don’t have to lead the charge. All you will have to do is just show up when you are needed; contribute as much as you can. If everyone does just a little bit, it will be plenty, because we have the numbers on our side.

(8) Public Opinion is More Powerful Than the Government. Political scientist know this truth, activists know this truth, Gandhi knows this truth, Martin Luther King knows this truth, our allies fighting to stop the pipeline knows this truth, B.L.M. knows this truth. Trump cannot pass anything or make any changes without the support of public opinion. You have much more power than you realize. The only question is; will you decide to use it?




Three Weeks to Election: Few Hours of your time can make a Difference

After calling Valley County voters for Sean Gould

After calling Valley County voters for Sean Gould

Only three weeks left to election day and volunteers for Sean Gould are stepping up their efforts. A vote for Sean Gould for Valley County Commissioner is a vote to protect our public land and move our county forward not backwards.

You to can help:

Thursday October 20th at 5:30 pm we will be walking for Sean, door to door. Meet at the Hub, 1308 Roosevelt Ave. Mccall. Bring a smart phone with you.

Sunday, October 23rd at 5:30 pm phone bank for Sean at Hub. Bring smart phone and if you have a lap top for our calling voters.




Third Presidential Debate Party-

Wednesday, October 19th at 6:45 pm (Debate starts at 7 pm MDT) at Joan Edwards home, 127 Morgan Dr.  McCall. BYOB and snacks.


Important Election Dates

October 28 Last day for mail-in absentee ballot application
November 4 Last day for In-Person Absentee Voting and Early Voting
November 8 Election Day. Polls open 8 am to 8 pm. Last day to return absentee ballots to County Clerk by 8 pm

Your can same day register.



7 Weeks to Election Day: Volunteer for Sean Gould and Attend Presidential Debate Parties

Sean Gould, Valley County Commissioner Candidate

Sean Gould, Valley County Commissioner Candidate

Successful Door to Door Canvassing for Sean Gould has Started

A team of volunteers spread across McCall last weekend with Sean Gould who is running for Valley County Commissioner. Many voters we spoke to were supportive of Sean’s stand to protect our public lands. Voters see a need for new leadership in county government.

Only 7 weeks left to election day.
Sean needs volunteers

  • Monday Sept 19, 5 pm-8 pm Phone bank. Bring your cellphone. If you have a lap top or tablet please bring along. We will meet at the Hub, 1308 Roosevelt Ave, McCall (just past the Alpine Playhouse).
  • Saturday, Sept. 24, Sean will be walking neighborhoods and knocking doors.
    We will be walking McCall in two shifts. First shift 9:30 am- Noon and second shift 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Meet at the Hub. If you have a smart phone bring it along.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 28- 5 pm to 8 pm. Phone Bank at Hub.

The number of people we talk to will make a difference in the success of our effort. Please RSVP 208-339-4583 or email

Stay tuned for more Volunteer opportunities in October.



Presidential Debate Night Parties

Monday, Sept. 26, 1311 Ponderosa, McCall
Jackie and Jean -Claude’s Home
6:45 pm( Outside and Inside)
BYOB and Snacks

Sunday October 9- TBA

Wednesday, October 19- TBA

Debates start at 7 pm Mountain Time



Dems stepping out to Cleanup Highway 55 in earlier cleanup

Dems stepping out to Cleanup Highway 55 in earlier cleanup

Valley Counnty Dems Clean up- Sunday, October 2- 4:30 pm

Valley County Democrats and friends will hold their spring Adopt-A-Highway cleanup on Sunday, October 2, 2016 with a no-host social time to follow at Home Town Pizza.

Anyone willing to help should meet at 4:30 pm at the Elk Creek Church parking lot on Highway 55. Safety vests and trash bags will be provided. Participants should wear sturdy shoes and bring gloves.

Valley County Democrats clean up both sides of a 2 mile stretch of Highway 55 twice a year. For more information call Jim Arp at 634-583


2016 Valley County Democratic Picnic

Over 60 people attended our annual Valley County Democratic Picnic July 26 at Rivers’ Crossing Club House in McCall. Over $1500 dollars was raised. Speaking at the event was Sean Gould, candidate for Valley County Commissioner, James Piotrowski for Congress and Jerry Sturgill for U.S. Senate.  Our own Frank Eld did a great job of auctioning the great pies and other items. Bonnie and Jon Glick supplied the great music. Thanks to Jan and Mark Thorien was arranging the lovely club house for the gathering.

Star News takes a stand against privatizing our public lands