From here in SW Washington I have a bit of a rant about our Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (Republican). I got a call out of the blue last night asking if I wanted to join a virtual town hall she was doing. I'm not sure how they got my number, but I tuned in. My SO wanted to ask a question, but they never got to her. There were a couple of things that I'm sure are Republican talking points but had me ranting. The first question about about the whole thing with Russia. I think the guy asked if she was going to support an independent investigation into the whole Russian thing. She dodged the question and went off into a ramble about how Russia isn't our friend and she is concerned about Russian interference in our country, like their infiltration of environmental groups intent on making us dependent on foreign energy. WTF?! While I won't rule out the possibility that the Russians have some agents in environmental groups with the intention of getting us to shut down domestic production of oil, I think whatever they are doing there is waaaaay down the list of priorities! And any impact they might have is infinitesimally small. I'm skeptical that Russia has any agents among US environmentalists, but I'm open minded of the possibility. It must be conservative news bubble stuff that resistance to "drill baby drill" wouldn't exist without some kind of secondary agenda. It also completely ignores the revolution going on in renewable energy generation and electrifying the automotive industry. Secondly she defended the hydroelectric dams around here out of the blue (none of the questioners brought up anything about it) and claimed if it weren't for the dams we'd need x number of coal fired power plants to replace them. Nobody is building coal fired power plants in the US that I know of. Any new fossil fuel plants built in North America would be natural gas powered. It's cheaper and cleaner. Though most new electricity generation is coming from wind and solar these days. The third thing that had me thinking WTF was her pitch to allow logging in National Forests. She argued for removing dead fall trees (not cutting any down) claiming that the dead fall trees were hurting the environment and was contributing to decline in wildlife. Rotting dead fall is how forests regenerate the soil and if dead fall was so bad, wouldn't the forests have been devoid of animal life when humans showed up? Before humans came along the dead fall just rotted and returned to the soil. Along the way it provided shelter for a number of animals. Maybe a good argument could be made for recovering some dead fall from National Forests, but that is probably the lamest argument I've heard. I've figured since she got elected she was a lightweight back bencher. Her town hall didn't raise my opinion of her much.