Trump’s Tax Return Petition on WHITEHOUSE.GOV Website 

​Just after Trump was sworn in, every petition on the Whitehouse.gov website was stripped.

 Eighteen hours after the “installment” ceremony, thete were five petitions posted. They deal with a call for

  1. Trump to release his tax forms;
  2. Trump to place all of his businesses in a true blind trust,
  3. Trump to resign immediately due to violation of the emoluments clause; 
  4. To have the government repeal the National Firearms Act (a gun rights,  2nd amendment petition); and
  5. To have the government allow American farmers to grow hemp again to “create jobs and rebuild the rural economy.”

This first one went up soon after every pettion to President Obama disappeared. It was the one on Trump’s tax returns. Here’s what it says:

Immediately release Donald Trump’s full tax returns, with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance.

Created by A.D. on January 20, 2017

The unprecedented economic conflicts of this administration need to be visible to the American people, including any pertinent documentation which can reveal the foreign influences and financial interests which may put Donald Trump in conflict with the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

As you can see in the quote, it has already received  111,624 signatures by 8:15 am on January 20, 2017. That’s a little over 20 hours after Trump took the oath of office. 

I had heard about this petition about 7 pm EST on January 19. I signed it then. I was near the 25,000 point in the signatures.  Now it’s moving exponentially. 

For those who haven’t signed these petitions in the past,  the White House agreement for these petitions is that when the petition receives more than a hundred thousand signatures,  the president will give a response. 

Let’s make it a groundswell and keep pushing. If we get millions of signatures, Trump may realize that this call for releasing his taxes is not just a journalistic concern. It’s a concern of, for, and by the entire nation.

Do it now. Sign and then share. Thanks

picture of the words "peace" and "justice" with arrow pointing from one to the other in a circular manner.

The Dos and Don’ts for Bystanders in Situations of Danger and Intimidation

picture of the words "peace" and "justice" with arrow pointing from one to the other in a circular manner.

Peace to Justice to Peace; meme courtesy of Word Clip Art

In December, after the increase in hate crimes, intimidation, and interpersonal violence across the United States, the American Friends Service Committee put out a statement on how you, as a bystander, can help without escalating these types of dangerous situations.

As a person who believes that all peoples are and should be welcome, I think these do’s and don’ts are something that all of us should take heed of and act on when we come across these intimidating situations.

Help make your town a welcoming community. Here are the general Do’s and Don’ts when you witness these potentially dangerous activities.  For more on each “Do” and “Don’t,” click here to download and read the details.

Do:

  • Do make your presence as a witness known.
  • Do take cues from the individual being harassed.
  • Do keep both of you safe.

Don’t:

  • Don’t call the police.
  • Don’t escalate the situation.
  • Don’t do nothing.

NAACP Report in Opposition to the Nomination of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to Be Attorney General of the United States

Read and then call your US Senators to tell them to oppose Jeff Sessions for US Attorney General. Do it today!

Central Oregon Coast NOW

Read the entire, shocking report.  Call your Senator now with opposition.  This man cannot be Attorney General of the United States

“From his actions as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama in the 1980s, to his actions as Attorney General of Alabama in the 1990s, to his twenty-year career as a United States Senator, Sessions’ record demonstrates hostility to principles of equality and justice, and to the core civil rights statutes and legal principles that as Attorney General he would be charged with enforcing.    For this reason, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) strongly opposes the confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as the 84th Attorney General of the United States….

In sum, any fair and objective assessment of Sessions’ record demonstrates that he is neither qualified nor prepared to vigorously enforce the nation’s civil rights laws. ”

ldf-jefferson-sessions-report-in-opposition-final-1-9-2017

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picture of Courtney Dickman

New Bellefonte Council Member and New President ProTempore

Just a quick announcement.  Two weeks ago, Paul DeCusati resigned from Bellefonte Borough Council due to time constraints with his work.  As a result, council needed to make two administrative decisions at our meeting on Monday, January 17.

picture of Courtney Dickman

Courtney Dickman

The first administrative item was to appoint a new member of council to replace Paul.  There were four people interested in the position.  After interviewing them and hearing from the public, Courtney Dickman was selected by a 4-3 vote as the third and newest representative of the third ward.  When she is sworn in on February 7, there will be 5 women (3 Democrats and 2 Republicans) serving on a 9-member council. And for the third ward, 100% of the representatives are women. Which, FYI, is where I was elected in 2015. Congratulations Courtney.

picture of Joanne Tosti-Vasey

Joanne Tosti-Vasey

The second administrative item was to elect a new President ProTempore of the council to replace Paul. I was elected unanimously.  That means that in the rare instances when both the President (Gay Dunne) and Vice-President (Randy Brachbill) are absent, I will be leading the meeting.

 

black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words, "Democracy is Dissent."

What to Do This Week of Jan 8, 2017: Actions for Democrats, Independents, & Republicans of Conscience

black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words,

Democracy is Dissent. A statement declaring that we have a 1st Amendment constitutional right “of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress.”

As promised, I am once again reblogging Jennifer Hofman’s weekly “To Do” list.  This week’s actions focus on more Cabinet-level nominees. These include

  • Ben Carson for Health and Human Development
  • General John Kelly for Homeland Security
  • Scott Pruitt for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Former Texas Governor Rick Perry for Energy
  • Wilbur Ross for Commerce
  • General James Mattis for Defense
  • Mike Pompeo for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

After making your calls, read the links at the end of the blog to see the good news she lists.  As a teaser, here’s some of the good news she includes:

  • President Obama bans drilling in the Atlantic and the Artic Oceans (for as long as this can last under the new administration).
  • Several senators introduces legislation that would ban discriminatory registries.
  • Charles Feeney, the “James Bond of Philanthropy” gives the last $7,000,000 of his multi-billion dollar fortune to Cornell University to support students doing community service. Other donations over the years have spanned the fields of education, human rights, peace, scientific research, and public health
  • and more…

So read on, make your calls, and enjoy the good news.

What to Do This Week of Jan 8, 2017

Actions for Democrats, Independents, & Republicans of Conscience

The intention of this weekly document is to make clear suggestions for action backed with well-considered research. Although these actions are intended to be helpful, they are still subject to human error. Please do your own research!

If you’d like to subscribe to this weekly action list, please go here:

http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

The most important thing this week: Senate confirmation hearings

This is a second dense action list in a row, but I promise you a ton of good news at the end as your reward.

In yet another unprecedented action, most of djt’s cabinet appointment hearings are stacked together starting Tuesday this week. Some will have hearings without a completed ethics review from the Office of Government Ethics. Even if you don’t think this is evasive and creepy, this schedule will make it hard for the OGE, the press, and the American public to understand who the new cabinet leaders are and assess their conflicts of interest.

What you can do is put pressure on the Senate committees so they know we’re paying attention.Yes, making calls can be stressful, but it’s working. Staffers are telling us they’re hearing from lots of people. Never underestimate the power of your voice.

Edited: If you oppose djt skipping the ethics process for the first time in four decades, go to Wall of Us for very clear instructions on how to protest this creepiness.

Here’s their link (and I suggest following them too!) Today (Sunday) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said no votes would be permitted until ethics paperwork is filed. It is good new, however, depending on when they’re filed, it doesn’t allow committees review the materials before hearings (the way Obama’s administration did eight years ago).

Your voice matters

For each cabinet appointee you feel is unfit to serve, take two specific actions:

  1. Tell the Senate committee chair (Republican) you oppose the nominee.
  2. Tell the Senate ranking member (Democrat) you oppose the nominee.
  3. Optional: Call your own two senators to oppose–especially if you are a Republican.

Note: Do leave a message if you get voicemail or call after hours/weekend.

Make the calls

  1. Oppose Housing and Urban Development Secretary appointee, Ben Carson.

Committee: Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

Call: Chair Richard Shelby 202-224-5744

Call: Ranking member Sherrod Brown 202-224-2315 (may be full?)

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. I would like him to know I oppose Ben Carson for HUD Secretary. I’m concerned about Carson’s lack of experience and opposition to this department. (source)

  1. Oppose Homeland Security Secretary appointee, Gen. John Kelly.

Committee: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Call: Chair Ron Johnson 202-224-5323

Call: Incoming ranking member Claire McKaskill 202-224-6154

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his/her role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. I would like him/her to know I oppose General John Kelly for Secretary of Homeland Security. Not because he is unqualified, but I oppose militarizing the US cabinet. (source source)

  1. Oppose Environmental Protection Agency appointee, Scott Pruitt.

Committee: Senate Environment and Public Works

Call: Chair John Barrasso 202-224-6441

Call: Incoming ranking member Tom Carper 202-224-2441

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. I would like him to know I oppose Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator. I’m concerned about his climate denial, anti-EPA lawsuit, and ties to the energy industry. (source)

  1. Oppose Energy Secretary appointee, Rick Perry.

Committee: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Call: Chair Lisa Murkowski 202-224-6665

Call: Ranking member Maria Cantwell 202-224-3441

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in her role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee. I would like her to know I oppose Rick Perry for Energy Secretary. I’m concerned about his ties to oil, climate denial, and history of opposition to this agency. (source)

Only three more! You can do it!

  1. Oppose Commerce Secretary appointee, Wilbur Ross.

Committee: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Call: Chair John Thune 202-224-2321

Call: Ranking member Bill Nelson 202-224-5274

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee. I would like him to know I oppose Wilbur Ross for Commerce Secretary. I’m concerned about his deep financial ties to Russia. (source)

  1. Oppose Defense Secretary nominee, Gen. James Mattis.

Committee: Senate Armed Services

Call: Chair John McCain 202-224-2235

Call: Ranking member Jack Reed 202-224-4642

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the Chair/ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I would like him to know I oppose General James Mattis for Secretary of Homeland Security. He may be qualified, but we at a dangerous precedent when militarizing civilian cabinet posts. (source source)

  1. Oppose CIA Director appointment, Mike Pompeo.

Committee: Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Call: Chair Richard Burr 202-224-3154

Call: Vice chair Mark Warner 202-224-2023

Script: I am calling Sen ____ in his role as the chair/vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I would like him to know I oppose Mike Pompeo for CIA director. I’m concerned about someone who supports government surveillance, torture, and religious oppression leading this vital agency. (source)

Still have time?

Last week’s email had seven additional cabinet appointees to oppose–some of whom will have a hearing this week. If you haven’t yet called to oppose them, here’s the link to last week’s document.

Good news

You did it! Here’s your reward: news of actual humans being kind, supporting each other, and standing up for what’s right. We are still a fantastic, diverse country (in case you needed a reminder).

  1. Some Rockettes choose to sit out on inauguration (story from Rolling Stone)
  2. Vermont governor pardons 192 non-violent marijuana convictions (story from NYT)
  3. A&E cancels plans for Escaping the KKK documentary (story from WaPo)
  4. Obama vaporizes anti-Muslim NSEERS program (story from Vox)
  5. A bunch of awesome senators introduce legislation blocking discriminatory registries (press release)
  6. Obama bans drilling in Arctic and Atlantic oceans (story from The Guardian)
  7. Adorable reaction of bystander to lesbian wedding proposal (from HuffPo)
  8. Billionaire donates the last of his fortune to charity (story from NYT)
  9. This will make you tear up. There are GOOD people in the world. (from newsner)

TOLD you there was good news!

Final action

  • Please share any or all content in this message today (no attribution needed).
  • Tweet: Oppose djt’s cabinet appointments before hearings start Tues! Deets:
  • Facebook: Cabinet hearings start on Tuesday and this list makes it easy to oppose them. Take action today!

Housekeeping

  • If you’d like to subscribe to this weekly message, please visit this link.
  • To see archives of What To Do checklists, click here (and scroll to the bottom)
  • If you’d like to contribute, click here.

We’re stronger together!

 

black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words, "Democracy is Dissent."

Nominee Hearings: Make America Corrupt Again

black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words, "Democracy is Dissent."

Democracy is Dissent. A statement declaring that we have a 1st Amendment constitutional right “of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress.”

Some cabinet-level hearings have started. Several others are scheduled over the next two weeks before the presidential inauguration. Most are problematic. Here’s what Nel has to say about these next two weeks.

Check out my other blogs (click here and here) to find the Senate Committee chairs’ phone numbers where you can call to raise your opposition to the problematic cabinet-level nominations.

Meanwhile, here’s what Nel has to say about these next two weeks.

 

Nel's New Day

Writing about the timing for Senate confirmation hearings—at least accurately!—has become almost impossible. A few days, I was bemoaning how Cabinet members are being rushed through without deliberation, but every hour seems to change the GOP game plan. Originally, six Cabinet-level confirmations were scheduled on the same day that the chamber works on the budget (that one that grows the deficit by $10 trillion in the next decade) and Donald Trump (DT) gives his first press conference in six months to divert attention from his nominees. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said, “There is a whole lot of: ‘Don’t watch what we’re doing here.” Watchers now, however, can see how the GOP is failing at its job.

The inability of Betsy DeVos (Department of Education) put off her hearing until next Tuesday in the hopes that she can finished her required ethics paperwork. Her investment in a for-profit charter school would…

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black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words, "Democracy is Dissent."

What to Do This Week of Jan 1, 2017

black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words, "Democracy is Dissent."

Democracy is Dissent. A statement declaring that we have a 1st Amendment constitutional right “of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress.”

This morning I received an email copy of a blog from one of the bloggers that I follow. She had reblogged a posting from another blogger (Jennifer Hofman). Ms. Hofman has created a weekly to-do/action list on what you can do to support our brothers/sisters/cis-gender friends, neighbors, and colleagues against the right-wing backlash we have seen with the incoming presidency of Donald Trump.  Actions dealing with “free speech, the right to practice a religion, the new right to be married to my wife, to dissent, and privacy” are just some of the areas on which this weekly to-do list focuses.

This week she suggests we all contact the chairs of the US Senate Committees that are tasked with processing and holding the confirmation hearings on Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees for the Departments of State, Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury as well as the Office of Management and Budget.  All of these departments have an effect on the civil rights, safety, and daily lives of people here in the US as well as for people around the world.

Ms. Hofman states that these nominees create a significant risk of our lives.  She says,

“[We] will have a president… whose incoming cabinet has deep ties to foreign leaders, big oil, and racist ideology. For anyone who isn’t white, straight, male, and worth more than a million dollars our, incoming leadership appears to care little about you.

But this is not who we are. We still have a voice. “If you feel hopeless, it’s because you’re not doing enough.” When I wake up filled with dread, these words remind me– don’t fret, just do more.

Do something.“

I agree!  Make these calls today!

So here is this week’s TO-DO List.

What to Do This Week of Jan 1, 2017

Actions for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of conscience

There are two weeks until DJT takes office

The intention of this weekly document is to make clear suggestions for action backed with well-considered research. You don’t need to do them all–just the ones that align with your values and abilities. If an issue doesn’t affect you, consider whether you would support this issue on behalf of other Americans and act accordingly.

Although these topics have been well researched and are intended to be helpful, they are still subject to human error. Please do your own research!

If you’d like to subscribe to this weekly action list, please go here:

http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

Happy New Year

This is a long one. But we’ll start with good news and end with a whole slew of more good news, okay?

The power of our voices

First of all, with less than 24 hours notice, the people opposed an effort to gut the independent congressional ethics committee in favor of self-policing and–get this–it WORKED. Although most news sources are crediting djt’s statement with the abrupt change of course, insiders are saying it was public outrage that did it, specifically phone calls.

Congresswo/men want to be reelected. When you speak up, they listen.

The risks ahead of us

On Jan 20, we will have a president who doesn’t respect the constitution, whose advisers deal in conspiracy theories and fear mongering, and whose incoming cabinet has deep ties to foreign leaders, big oil, and racist ideology. For anyone who isn’t white, straight, male, and worth more than a million dollars our, incoming leadership appears to care little about you.

But this is not who we are. We still have a voice. “If you feel hopeless, it’s because you’re not doing enough.” When I wake up filled with dread, these words remind me– don’t fret, just do more.

Do something.

How to act strategically

Which brings us to this week’s action checklist. As Americans of conscience, the most important issue for action is the senate’s cabinet confirmation hearings.

We must oppose djt’s many nominees who have unprecedented conflicts of interest that risk the integrity of our democracy. The good news? Speaking up might effect change since the senate needs 51 votes to confirm, and Republicans hold only 52 spots. Don’t assume your senators will make the right choice for our country. Be clear and unyielding.

Make calls. It works. Based on the advice of my own senator’s staff, make these calls before hearings begin on Jan 10. This means right now, for each cabinet appointee you feel is unfit to serve, there are two specific actions to take:

  1. Tell the Senate committee chair (Republican) you oppose the nominee.
  2. Tell the Senate ranking member (Democrat) you oppose the nominee.
  1. Optional: You can also call your own two senators to let them know.

Note: Do leave a message if you get voicemail or call after hours.

The following seven people are the Senate Democrats’ official “oppose” list. I’ll be suggesting more in next week’s email. Appointments with an asterisk* were major donors to djt campaign and/or PACs.

  1. Oppose Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson for ties to Exxon and Russia (source)

Committee: Foreign Relations Committee (more deets)

Call: Chair Bob Corker (R-TN) 202-224-3344

Call: Ranking member Ben Cardin (D-MD) 202-224-4524

Script: I am calling to oppose Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. His ties to Russia and Exxon are a risk to our nation’s integrity and security.

  1. Oppose Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions for racial bias and opposition to LGBT rights (source)

Committee: Senate Judiciary Committee (deets) hearings on Jan 10 and 11

Call: Chair Chuck Grassley 202-224-3744

Call: Ranking member Patrick Leahy 202-224-4242

Script: I am calling to oppose Jeff Sessions for Attorney General because I believe in the rights of gays and lesbians and people of color.

3. Oppose Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Price for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). (source)

Committee: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (deets) Note: this is the same committee as for Betsy DeVos and Andy Puzder (below), so combine them if you wish.

Call: Chairman Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944

Call: Ranking member Patty Murray 202-224-2621

Script: I am calling to oppose Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human services. I believe we should be expanding health care coverage for Americans, not making it more difficult to access and afford.

4. Oppose Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos* for her support of diverting tax dollars to private schools. (source)

Committee: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (deets)

Call: Chairman Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944

Call: Ranking member Patty Murray 202-224-2621

Script: I am calling to oppose Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. I believe my tax dollars should fund a robust and free primary education to all Americans. Her plans would leave public schools even more underfunded.

5. Oppose Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder* for his opposition to workers rights and fair wages (source) (implications)

Committee: Hearing on Jan 12 (deets) Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

Call: Chairman Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944

Call: Ranking member Patty Murray 202-224-2621

Script: I am calling to oppose Andy Puzder for Labor Secretary. I value fair wages and worker’s rights, and Mr. Puzder seeks to weaken both.

  1. Oppose Mick Mulvaney’s appointment to Director of Management and Budget Office. (source) (opinion)

Committee 1: Senate Budget Committee (deets)

            Call: Chairman Mike Enzi 202-224-3424

            Call: Ranking member Bernie Sanders 202-224-5141

Committee 2: Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (deets)

Call: Chairman Ron Johnson 202-224-5323

Call: Incoming ranking member Claire McCaskill 202-224-6154

Script: I am calling to oppose Mick Mulvaney’s appointment. I believe in honoring our country’s financial obligations and supporting affordable healthcare.

7. Oppose Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin for his history of predatory business practices (source)

Committee: Senate Finance Committee (deets)

Call: Chairman Orrin Hatch 202-224-5251

Call: Ranking member Ron Wyden 202-224-5244

Script: I am calling to oppose Steven Mnuchin (m’NOO-chin) for Treasury Secretary. I believe someone in this role needs to have a history of solid ethics and integrity.

Edit: I got an email from someone asking for clarification [on why we should be calling Senators who do not directly represent us]. Normally senators don’t want to hear from non-constituents. Here’s my reply:

Yes, that is absolutely 100% normally the case. However, we’re contacting them specifically in their role as leaders of the senate committee that will be vetting a cabinet member. Because of this, they absolutely need to hear from all constituents. It is also useful to contact one’s own senators about who you’re opposing, but for cabinet positions, we’ve got to tell the committee leaders how we feel and what we value.

Recommended reading

Not normal

Good news

At last! I promised a whole slew of good news, so here is your reward for making all those phone calls. You did make those calls, right?

Housekeeping

  • If you’d like to subscribe for this weekly message, please visit this link.
  • To see archives of What To Do checklists, click here (and scroll to the bottom)
  • If you’d like to contribute, click here.

Final action

Spread the word! Please share any or all content in this message today (no attribution needed).

Tweet: Seriously awesome action checklist for this week! https://goo.gl/UTwsEH

Facebook: This is a seriously awesome way to take action! Sign up for the What To Do action checklist and make positive change today! https://goo.gl/UTwsEH

We’re stronger together!

 

 

Semi-relevant photos: They're not holly berries, but they're red. And whatever they are, they're around in the winter.

Christmas carols as folk music

Here’s an interesting blog from a Jewish woman who grew up in the US and now lives in Cornwall, England explaining her like of and iffiness with Christmas carols.

Here’s a list of some of the  holidays that people from around the world celebrate during December:

  • Tuesday, December 6 St. Nicholas Day Austria
  • Tuesday, December 6 Feast of St. Nicholas (Bari) Italy
  • Wednesday, December 7 Feast of St. Ambrose (Milan) Italy
  • Monday, December 12 Day of the Virgin Guadalupe Mexico
  • Monday, December 12 Poinsettia Day
  • Wednesday, December 14 Full Moon Lunar
  • Wednesday, December 21 Winter Solstice (GMT) Solar and China
  • Friday, December 23 Festivus
  • Saturday, December 24 Christmas Eve General
  • Sunday, December 25 Christmas General
  • Sunday, December 25 Hanukkah Jewish
  • Monday, December 26 St. Stephan’s Day Christian & Austria
  • Monday, December 26 Boxing Day Canada
  • Monday, December 26 Second Christmas Germany
  • Monday, December 26 – Sunday, January 1 Kwanzaa
  • Saturday, December 31 New Years Eve

I agree with her general statement about this Holiday season.

“Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, or celebrated if I’m late, I wish you a good one. And if you don’t celebrate anything, I wish you a moment of quiet amid all the aggressive celebrating.”

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Notes from the U.K.

Christmas carols, according to one source I found, weren’t originally Christian. They were solstice songs. Then the country was Christianized and it took the songs along with it, but they didn’t become church songs, they stayed outside, in people’s homes, as well as out of doors and in whatever the period’s equivalent of the pub was. They were seasonal folk songs.

Fast forward more than a few hundred years and Oliver Cromwell came to power, with his humorless version of Protestantism. He didn’t approve of fun, and he tried to stamp the songs out but they went underground and survived.

In the Victorian era they were rediscovered and became respectable (I think) and new carols were added.

End of history lesson. I won’t swear that it’s entirely accurate, but it seems to be somewhere in the neighborhood of accuracy. Close enough (as they say of guitar tuning) for folk music.

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 The Return of the Coat Hanger: The State of Abortion Rights

We must Resist this backlash against women and their bodily integrity!

Resist! Show your support for women and reproductive justice. Many years ago, I was given a gold hanger pendant to show my support for abortion rights and reproductive justice. I’m going to start wearing it again. Every day. This is only a small statement. It’s a beginning.

Meanwhile…Resist! Resist! Resist!Take action! Start by being aware of what your state legislature is planning on legislating about your body and your personal medical decisions. We are in for a very bumpy ride.

Take action! Start by being aware of what your state legislature is planning on legislating about your body and your personal medical decisions. We are in for a very bumpy ride.

Nel's New Day

coat-hanger

When Gov. John Kasich vetoed the infamous “heartbeat” bill, people across the nation breathed a sigh of relief. If signed, the ensuing law would have made abortion illegal in Ohio after the sixth week when some women didn’t even know they were pregnant. The bill he did sign into law, making abortion in the state illegal after 20 weeks, seemed mild by comparison. The 1972 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade made abortions legal until 24 weeks, 4 weeks later than Ohio, yet the Ohio’s restriction to 20 weeks initially seemed much better than the alternative.

The new Ohio law is dangerous, however, on many levels. Not only does it attempt to break Roe v. Wade, but it also puts doctors in prison. Performing an abortion after 20 weeks is a fourth-degree felony, carrying a sentence of up to 18 months in prison. A 2013 Ohio law…

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Graphic of a government building saying that the Electoral College member should not be bound by party but by voting of the candidate who is qualified.

Letter to Electoral College Members

 

Graphic of a government building saying that the Electoral College member should not be bound by party but by voting of the candidate who is qualified.

The Electors need to join the 156 “faithless” electors in our nation’s history by putting country above party.

 

 

I received an email asking me to write to some or all of the electors across the country in the 2017 Electoral College. I decided to just focus on the 21 Trump electors here in Pennsylvania.

I took their letter and did some customization.  If you want to do the same, you can go to http://directelection.org to get the instructions and letter to customize and send out yourself.  Note, these letters MUST get to the recipients before Monday, November 19 before they vote.

Here’s what I said  in the letters I just put into the mail:

I am writing to you in your capacity as a presidential elector. I don’t envy the responsibility that you bear during these difficult times when we face a new split between the popular and apparent electoral votes. While I believe that Hillary Clinton’s popular margin of victory, over 2.5 million votes nationwide, ought to convince the electors to vote for her, I am writing to ask you to choose her for a different reason: that the Electoral College was designed specifically to bar people like Donald Trump from the presidency.

Our presidential system, conceived in 1787 and not amended since 1804, empowers the electors to use their wise judgment to choose our president. Whatever we may think of this system now, there were sound reasons for it at the time.

Among these reasons for the Electoral College is to ensure that the incoming president has the requisite qualifications, abilities, skills and ethics to do the job. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Paper 68:

“The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

Donald Trump continues to demonstrate that he lacks the necessary qualifications and skills for the presidency.

There are many reasons to reject Donald Trump as unfit to be president. I will name just one: he will pervert our standards of law and ethics by using the presidency to enrich himself and his family. He has been sued more than any candidate in our history. On November 18, he agreed to pay $25 million to settle lawsuits alleging fraud at his “Trump University.” Since the election, he and his children have continued to pursue their business interests with foreign leaders.

And now Mr. Trump has stated that he will not announce how he will handle this conflict until after the Electoral College meets. This, IMHO, is a major concern because you, as my elector, have limited, if any, information to make a qualified vote on this grave ethical and constitutional issue.

As Richard Painter, President George W. Bush’s chief ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007, has pointed out, Donald Trump’s hotel in D.C. would violate Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution, which bars officers from receiving profit or gain from foreign powers. We don’t even know the range of his interests because he has refused to release his tax returns or place his companies in a true blind trust. Let’s not inaugurate a president whose greed destines him for impeachment.

I am grateful for your service to our nation as an elector. You may, in fact, believe that Donald Trump would make a better president than Hillary Clinton or anyone else. But if you share my fear that Trump would weaken and shame our country, then I encourage you to exercise the power granted you by the Constitution and join the 156 “faithless” electors in our nation’s history by putting country above party and blocking Donald Trump from the presidency.

Hamilton would have wanted you to do so.

So would I.

Thank you!