SoCS: How?

“How is this going to turn out?” may be one of the most frequently asked questions in the United States these days.

Most often the answer is “I don’t know.”

There is a certain comfort in routine and predictability. but DT is proving to be about as predictable as a two-year-old.

I wake up in the morning and put on the news and am relieved if there isn’t a “Breaking News” caption splashed across the bottom of the screen.

It’s so confusing that every time DT says or does something, the Vice-President or a Cabinet Secretary or spokesperson explains that isn’t really what he meant.

It’s even worse with the tweets.

I can’t keep this level of adrenaline or cortisol flooding my body for the next four years.

We’ll manage, I guess, but I’m not sure how.
Join us for Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. The prompt this week is “how.” Find out more here:



dread and alarm

It is with an increasing sense of dread and alarm that I approach January 20th.

January 20th is the date on which Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States.

It is not a secret that I was a Bernie Sanders supporter who went on to support Secretary Clinton in the general election.  If our electoral system went by popular vote, she would be assuming the presidency and I would have at least some hope of helpful and reasonable legislation making it through Congress.

As it stands with DT, though, I believe that our country – and the world – are in danger.

That sounds very dramatic, but it is, unfortunately, true.

Early in the primaries, before it was clear that DT would be nominated, I had thought that, if he were to be elected, it would get the Congressional  Republicans to finally cooperate with the Democrats and Independents to pass reasonable, bipartisan legislation, as it was obvious that DT’s ideas were often unconstitutional, impractical, unethical, or some combination thereof. DT was also campaigning against both the Democratic and Republican establishment.

For reasons that I cannot fathom, once DT won, the Congressional Republicans suddenly think they have a mandate to do all kinds of things, such as privatize Medicare, that the majority of the public oppose (and DT used to oppose, although it is often hard to tell where he stands).

DT keeps telling us how smart he is and how he hires great people, but the nominees for staff and Cabinet positions are downright – I know I keep using this word – scary.  Several Cabinet nominees are on record as opposing the existence of the departments they are slated to head. Several have espoused outlandish conspiracy theories, which is even more pathetic when DT and his team are downplaying the very real role that Russia played in influencing the presidential election. The vetting that the Trump transition team did on background and conflicts of interest was sparse and the Senate Republican leadership is trying to rush through hearings and votes, even though the Ethics Office hasn’t been able to evaluate the candidates, some of whom haven’t even sent in their full information.

It is particularly galling because Mitch McConnell, when he was Senate Minority leader, made a huge deal about having extensive background information on President Obama’s appointees. He sent a letter detailing his requirements to then Senate Majority Leader Reid.   Recently, the new Senate Minority Leader and my Senator Chuck Schumer sent that same letter to Mitch McConnell, crossing out his name and signing it himself. It isn’t likely to do much good. Unfortunately, there looks as though there will be massive conflicts of interest with Cabinet secretaries, as well as totally unresolved conflicts with DT himself.

Because the US is so powerful on the world stage, our developing troubles here can affect other countries, too. There are the obvious problems of diplomacy, war, alliances, and trade. I am especially concerned with science and climate issues. Researchers and tech specialists have been rushing to back up data outside the country, in case DT’s departments try to limit or erase content. There is the threat that Congressional Republicans may reduce the pay for some posts, for example, those researching climate change, to $1 in the budget, effectively eliminating those jobs in a way that the Democrats could not block. The prospect just makes me sick. I am also worried that DT may try to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement, which would be terrible, although many private businesses will continue to participate even if the government tries to renege on its promises.

In many areas, there is a danger that DT and the Republicans are making end runs around the laws that were set up to establish separation of powers and checks and balances. The Congressional Democrats are gearing up to fight, as well as some of the governors and attorneys general. Particularly important will be New York and California.

Everything is unsure, but many ordinary citizens are also gearing up to fight. My inbox is filled with action items on various appointees and policies, including the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act without replacement legislation in place.

It is all terrifying.

And a work in progress.

Stay tuned.

Update January 11:  Not long after I posted this, additional allegations of Russian intelligence against Donald Trump surfaced, raising fears of possible future blackmail. This just adds to the unease over his impending inauguration. DT is scheduled to hold his first news conference in six months today. Should be…interesting.
Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January!  Prompts are provided but any post counts. I usually choose not to use prompts, but today’s from Matthew is “danger” – which fed into how I was feeling after watching the news. Find out more about it all here:


Open letter to the electors

Dear Members of the Electoral College,

On December 19th, you will meet to perform your Constitutional duty and elect the next president of the United States.

Your duty is to cast a vote for someone who is equipped to lead the country and ready to uphold and defend the Constitution, a person who has the support of the plurality of the electorate.

That person should be Hillary Clinton.

Clinton won the popular vote in the country by two percentage points, over two and a half million more votes than Donald Trump. The current electoral college system gives more weight to the votes cast in less populous states, as well as disregarding the votes for anyone but the winner in all states. This distorts the will of the people as a whole, which is why there has been a movement for electors to agree to vote for the winner of the national popular vote, even if their state voted for an opponent.

Even if you don’t believe that the largest number of votes should determine the winner of the presidency, electors have always been called upon to exercise judgment in their choice, to vote for a candidate who is qualified for office and who will put the country and its interests above party, personal gain, or foreign influence.

Consider this quote from the Federalist Papers (No. 68):

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention. They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men [and women] who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment.

Electors are to cast their votes to protect the country from candidates who have been compromised by corruption, which, sadly, Donald Trump has exhibited in recent weeks.

I was already alarmed by Russia’s interfering with the campaign process, but it has become clear that Russia intervened specifically to elect Donald Trump. Trump’s refusal to acknowledge this, or even to pledge to investigate further, is not worthy of the presidency, which needs to remain vigilant against undue foreign influence. Equally appalling is the fact that some of the Republican Congressional leadership opposed informing the American people about the level of threat of Russian interference in our election before the vote took place. These members of Congress put their party above the security and integrity of the American people and our electoral process. Trump is rewarding Senator McConnell by appointing his spouse to a Cabinet post. It also appears likely that Trump will choose Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, as Secretary of State, whose main qualification seems to be his cozy relationship with Russia and Putin, centered around oil drilling.

Even for those who don’t respect or believe the assessments of the intelligence agencies of the United States, Trump’s staff and Cabinet appointments have been alarming. Despite running his campaign as a populist who understands working class concerns, he is stuffing the Cabinet with insiders and billionaires, some who have records of profiting from illegal or unethical business dealings. In a nation that prides itself on civilian leadership, there are three recently retired generals in major posts, including his pick for Defense Secretary who is ineligible to serve under current law because he has only been retired for three years.

Some staff and Cabinet appointees have exhibited extreme views. Steve Bannon comes to mind immediately. Several are antagonistic to the departments for which they are assigned, for example, an education secretary who is not a great supporter of public schools and a head of the EPA who has filed suit multiple times against the EPA on behalf of Oklahoma fossil fuel interests. Others just seem spectacularly unqualified for the posts to which they are nominated. Dr. Ben Carson is a good brain surgeon, but even he admits that he is not a trained administrator and has no expertise in public housing policy.

Beyond all of these issues, there is the problem of Trump’s refusal to disconnect himself from his business, setting up myriad conflicts of interest. Trump used his campaign to promote his business ventures and to enrich himself by renting space, his airplane, etc. to the campaign. Since the election, he has continued to mix business with his duties to the nation, even allowing his daughter and business partner to meet with a foreign dignitary.  Foreign governments and organizations have been using Trump properties in hopes of currying favor with the president-elect; prospects for projects for the Trump brand abroad have been smoothed. Even if Trump doesn’t let his business interests affect his decisions, his connection to his business and brand will affect business and government decisions made by others, both domestically and internationally.

Donald Trump also has a long history of legal problems. He has been sued countless times and been connected with wage theft, hiring of undocumented workers, and housing discrimination. He threatens to sue others frequently. He has flaunted his sexual behavior, including his infidelities, showing over and over that he abuses his power and position to ogle, touch, and assault women, as well as rate them on their looks, overlooking all their other attributes as people.

He has espoused clearly unconstitutional views, including discrimination on the basis of religion and the denial of birthright citizenship.

He has also lied – a lot. Some in his circle have even said that facts don’t matter and that whatever the president does is legal by virtue of the fact that the president is the one doing it.

All of this illustrates why Donald Trump is unfit to be president of the United States.

An elector from Texas has publicly said he will not vote for Trump and suggests another Republican such as Gov. Kasich.  I applaud him for using his judgment as an elector to protect the country from Trump, but humbly suggest that he use his vote to reflect the winner of the national popular vote, including 3.8 million Texans, Hillary Clinton.

I realize there would be backlash if the electors choose Clinton on December 19th – and that her transition period would be very short, although she is well-prepared with policy positions and would be able to use the preparatory work that was done during her campaign to quickly put the major nominations in place – but it would save the country from the prospect of four years of corruption and interference from Russia that a Trump presidency would almost surely bring.

The electoral college was designed to prevent just such an occurrence, with the electors using their judgment and conscience to choose the most qualified candidate. In this instance, the electors have the backing of the popular vote count.

Please, Electors, for the good of the country, cast your votes for Hillary Clinton on December 19th.

Your fellow American,
Joanne Corey

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