The Electrical College had one job this election cycle and they failed; Donald Trump was inaugurated, America’s future left uncertain.
It was billed as sore loserdom calling for a recount of presidential election ballot tallies in crucial swing/battle ground states, the kind of thing republicans predictably would have done had they been on the losing end election night; scandalously asking can you imagine if we hand done anything close to that? Jill Stein’s spearheading recount efforts, receiving only an overall 1% of the vote, couched as even more ludicrous than the basic idea of a recount itself, considering there is no possible mathematical way she could be within a stone’s throw of the presidency. Realities costing her legal arguments in at least one state on those very grounds; conservative pundits, analysts doubling as TV talk show personalities mocking initiatives saying democrats were coming to understand you don’t get a second place trophy, juice box, or therapy dog; surrogates and supporters advising them to everything from get over it to grow the [expletive] up. Granted there was no more than a dreamer’s hope the Electoral College would actually defy voting results to elect someone other than Donald Trump our next president, kick it back to congress for them to make the ultimate decision, though there is perhaps ample evidence they should have. However easily wondered is if we missed the purpose of Stein’s fervent pushes and forgot the other half of the Electoral College’s mandate; because, equally smoothly argued is Jill Stein wasn’t attempting to contest election results rather verify them, take extra steps to certify their authenticity, accuracy in an uncertain and unprecedented election cycle, things to remain the same unless something was indeed mishandled, miscounted, untoward actions were exposed. Looking deeper into the Electoral College’s function, yes it is primarily there to solidify votes for the president elect, convening to have Electoral College representatives, delegates report how their state voted, a throwback to the days where getting across the country expediently, forget tallying votes in the thousands or millions was the definition of impossible. Yet the other, just as important, maybe more important in the early foundations of our country mirroring right now, job given the Electoral College members was to ensure, be the last stop gap, last firewall preventing someone unfit, unqualified or downright dangerous from achieving the presidency. Nor are the things uncovered this election cycle issues you blithely get over, forget about, put behind you casually hoping you win next time, vowing to put together a better game, better plan to win; they are the kind of problems warranting attention, conversation toward viable solutions versus proverbial rug sweeping, hoping out of sight translates to out of mind. And if there was ever any doubt Donald Trump represented a threat to the office of the president, represented a danger to democratic ideals, would take a country, any country, forget America in a decidedly wrong direction one merely has to look past the bombastic personality, his tumultuous history with women, media, his shady business deals/practices focusing instead on his detail-light, detail-less policy plans to ‘make America great again.’ Count how many are at odds with more than decency, professionalism, bare minimum decorum we would expect of a prominent businessman let alone a president, leader of a place known as, maintaining the moniker the free world, but our very constitution, model for all other constitutions in countries seeking democracy; proposing banning all persons of a particular religion (Islam) from a nation where freedom of religion is part of a collection of rights known as the first amendment, a group of amendments commonly referred to as the bill of rights giving core freedoms to every person within its borders, giving select entities like the press, only minimal restrictions. Suggesting surveillance on mosques, the houses of worship for that singular religion, a registry for Muslims, the followers of that faith, hinting at interment style camps for them too, used on the Japanese circa WWII representing a violation of the constitution leaders later apologized for decades after; 14th amendment, equal protection under the law not for people in bourkas and praising Allah. Gung ho to bring back water boarding, promising to torture not only terrorists, but crossing over into full dictator mode, going after their families as well; hey isn’t that what George W. Bush talked about preventing right before we went and invaded Iraq? His border wall to keep out illegal Mexican, Latino and Hispanic immigrants, which to finish, more than it already exists treacherous terrain providing adequate deterrence when paired with smaller fences, would mean invoking eminent domain, violating private property rights to name simply 1 problem surrounding this ‘immigration stance.’ Getting Mexico to pay for it amounts to bullying, even echoes extortion, ignites worries about civil rights abuses in boarder communities and immigrants themselves have said will be massively ineffective; because, the drive to provide for their families, garner jobs here they can’t get at home is stronger than any wall. Not to be dismissed on an ethical rather than constitutional level when examining a potential president as a voter during election season or a president elect graduating to the electoral college portion of the process, are those statements made alluding to character and impending direction he intends to take the country in; when you have a possible leader who downplays saying he can indiscriminately grab women by their genitals, disregards sexual assault, harassment allegations with comments about their unattractiveness, runs his businesses and his life in such a way as to have a meltdown over a scheduled lunchbreak during a deposition because it involved the female attorney representing the plaintiffs in a civil suit against Trump’s need to pump breast milk through said break, information disclosed only when the prearranged break was suddenly denied. When you have a guy surrounded by serious questions he could tweet us into nuclear war, his announcements, criticism and endless sudden commentary on the social media platform causing seen fluctuations in the stock, other business benchmarks of key U.S. companies; Boeing and Lockheed Martin over projected costs for updated air force one’s. Major companies, Pepsi co and Kellogg’s find themselves subject to citizen boycotts based off fake news, perceptions perpetuated by surrogates of the president elect still acting like a candidate; happening so often, so random and spontaneously corporations are now developing action plans to save their business in the event of a Trump internet onslaught. Chronicling the month and a half between Election Day and Electoral College certification of results alone saw Trump requesting names of energy staffers working on climate change initiatives, related data collection, collectors subsequently thrown into a panic trying to save said data for future use, posterity against an on record climate change denier, reasonably worried about their jobs and will they be allowed to continue said data collection for the good of the planet. 2 days post being officially declared president elect to be sworn in, making permanent his legitimacy as president, January 20 where he will take the oath of office, he did the exact same thing with state department personnel who worked to better gender equality, end gender based violence causing many to fear McCarthy era witch-hunts. There remain lingering questions about Trump’s health, specifically his mental health, does he suffer from an undiagnosed, untreated personality disorder, could his bombastic, hyperbolic behavior be signaling dementia or other organic brain disease; what does that then mean for America if our incoming president is somehow unhinged, unwell. And unlike salacious reports, speculation, relentless spin stories on Hillary Clinton, because we have no medical records, no comprehensive medical report on him compounded by the running joke of a letter written and released by his gastroenterologist, his spectacle of appearing on the Dr. Oz show, we likewise have no way to gage the president’s health, ways to refute dire claims he’s neither sane nor sound thus representing a danger to our nation; realities not at all helped by Dr. Bornstein’s (his gastroenterologist) recent interview bringing up when we knew what about the Alzheimer’s of former president Reagan, hinting at possibilities something could be devastatingly wrong with Donald Trump. Amidst all that are we surprised Jill Stein demanded a recount, seemed to be saying if it can’t be me in the Whitehouse, if it can’t be a fellow woman, a democrat with whom I share beliefs on some significant issues, let’s at least be sure the people are getting what they indeed voted for; make no mistake that was exactly the impetus behind recount efforts. Worth underscoring too is Jill Stein was the perfect person to demand recounts be undertaken in strategic areas chiefly because she wasn’t Hillary Clinton, wasn’t part of the Democratic Party machine, was the image of an individual without an agenda save electoral integrity for the American people. As mentioned recounts were only asked for in meaningful areas, not ridiculously say nationwide, pointing to someone who was being genuinely realistic about what they were asking to be done, what they could feasibly get done. Add in documented problems and irregularities surpassing detailed voter suppression, long lines, limited polling places, minorities unexpectedly dropped from voting rolls, voting roll name mix-ups, voting machine issues topped off with a good smattering of human error and Jill Stein had beyond a right to champion, see to a recount, but a mandate to do so.
Irregularities continuing to grow exponentially as time goes on, we learn more and more about issues running the gambit from Russian hacking, voter suppression, in new and different ways, to basic counting errors. Only after Americans cast their ballots on November 8th did we find out Russian targeted not just the DNC, select state entities related to voting, but also interfered with down ballot House races; worse it was all done at the explicit direction of Russian president Vladimir Putin, whose direct involvement went as far as personally deciding what to do with hacked information. It was the day after the election Russian officials confirmed connections, if not collusion between Trump campaign staff, likely even Trump himself, all throughout the election; they insist it was normal business, seeing Donald Trump is an international business man, but citizens are left with no real way of knowing and too many coincidences for comfort. Russia next pegged as the source for many fake news stories, apart from increasingly suspicious, in certain cases altered, WikiLeaks materials, constituting a propaganda war designed to choke off votes for Hillary Clinton in hopes of diverting impending sanctions should she come into office. Now there’s a dossier becoming the subject of high level presidential briefings alleging Russia stole gathered personally damaging, embarrassing evidence on Trump completed via a British spy originally commissioned by never Trump republicans, then democrats; that the crux of the information centers around sexual indiscretions engaged in by Trump while visiting Russia, not just Russian collusion in the Trump campaign, Russian interference should deem it less easy to dismiss noting the double digit number of American women accusing him of sexual assault, battery, harassment, most seriously rape. Foreign women from at least 2 countries, former Miss Universe pageant members also making twin allegations; one sexual assault accuser here countersuing Trump for defamation after he repeatedly called her a liar among other despicable things. Solidly substantiating Russian collusion claims minus the dossier, a timeline put together via the David Packman Show illustrating Trump’s U-turn language change on the soviet communist regime country, formal requests to the GOP to change language on Russia for which it appears Trump, his campaign received quid pro quo in the form of WikiLeaks releases damaging Hillary Clinton funneled to the rogue hacking organization through a currently discovered intermediary working on behalf of…Russia, the presence of Paul Manafort as campaign chair considering his pro-Russia work in Ukraine. Breaking, information Trump aides and Russian state liaisons were in constant contact while president Obama was expelling diplomats, response to hacking’s confirmation and its extent; national security advisor Michael Flynn texting them as they were being told to exit the country. Purely domestically there were the shots fired at a California polling place, scene out of a 3rd world country or bad movie, 27 states where the interstate crosschecking system purged minority voters on grounds they registered with intent to vote in multiple states, no proof they actually were and no definitive answer on whether or not 7 million eligible Americans were blocked from voting, but the winners want to balk at Jill Stein’s insistence we carefully count solid votes we do have? An odd instance people are repeatedly just finding out analyzing Election Day in hindsight; oddities followed closely by more votes than there are voters in the city of Detroit according to one tally indicating voting machine errors continuously showing up in such pockets of the country. Wisconsin’s vote margin in favor of Trump evaporated by 20% as the result of a discovered counting error, many places’ exit polling data doesn’t match electoral vote outcomes suggesting indeed the election was rigged, the opposite of what candidate, president elect, now full-fledged president Trump relentlessly insinuated, against Hillary Clinton not him. Discrepancies between voting machines and paper ballots, paper ballot utilizing areas overwhelmingly going to Clinton causing scientists to champion recounts; speaking of voting machines, the congressional organization created to certify voting equipment was, you guessed it, hacked, hacker trying to sell pilfered information to foreign countries, still think Jill Stein was out of her mind to ask votes be recounted? Heightening the need to be absolutely sure about electoral map math, tally calculations, key counties deciding make or break states, instrumental states in whether or not you win or lose an election at the presidential level went for their candidate, largely Trump, by a margin of only 100,000 votes or less, but somehow Jill Stein was way out of line so much as floating the idea election numbers be verified. Mounting evidence asserting something wrong with our democracy if not this specific election Hillary Clinton’s overwhelming popular vote win by almost 3 million votes, an historic record outpacing president Obama’s 2008 or ‘12 wins yet she will not be our next president; further enhanced by the fact you’d have to go back to 1876 directly post civil war reconstruction to see anything like it, when delegates to the Electoral College, each affiliated to an opposing party, showed up claiming their state voted for that party’s candidate, where in a final bizarre move southerners agreed to give the election to republicans provided they removed Yankee soldiers, meant as law enforcement, upholding a free system of government as had been in the north, from their states. 2016 presenting the reverse, the candidate who won the popular vote by a whopping 3 million votes shut out of the presidency by the Electoral College count; compounding that dysfunction is Donald Trump amassing less votes than either McCain circa 2008 or Romney in 2012 when both lost, Trump able to win thanks to a loophole. Then there’s James Comey, quoting video below, who every day we learn more ways he acted inappropriately, subject to DOJ investigation surrounding how he handled the Clinton e-mail probe: namely his decision, 11 days before an election, to announce its reopening, to 3 days before backtrack stating once again nothing here; surveys re-administered to Trump voters in key states spelling out he was the thing changing their minds, the unlooked for shift at the end of the campaign cycle. Stacked complications upon complications with the election process held up alongside his, our president elect’s, response to recount petitions, reaction to those attempting to verify election results—calling them a green party scam, touting they need to accept election results and move forward. Simultaneously alleging he won the popular vote if you deduct all the people who voted illegally, providing no proof that definitively happened, railing against 1.8 million dead people registered to vote, though no evidence they truly voted Election Day; then utterly illogically tweeting about ‘serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California,’ predictably states that went profoundly for Clinton. A judge soundly rejecting his claim polling stations in Nevada stayed open well past voting hours to admit illegitimate ballots; never mind as we learned from 2012’s long line mess if there is a line of persons waiting to vote, they must stay open until everyone has had an opportunity to cast a ballot, that is your right as a registered voter. Trump lawyers filing suit against the Michigan recount calling it a 1% temper tantrum that cannot go unchecked to the local elections board, once more defying logic countering Stein’s request with a lack of evidence signaling election fraud; begging the question if the vote was so legitimate, as to be beyond reproach or a request to confirm numbers, double check people’s math, you won so easily there is no need for a recount then what are you afraid of? Why not let them have their recount Mr. Trump, demonstrate a second time, once and for all you won fair and square, or at the very least come up with something that appears less like you are guilty of petulant whining of your own; cost to tax payers is a good one independent Stein raised millions in donations to mobilize recount proceedings, how about citing actions more apt to undermine election validity as opposed to it looking like you came up with statements off the top of your head, rather than chastising delegates who went through the legal system the right way to change their vote considering new information come to light? Reaching past Colorado, that went for Clinton, its elector laws prohibiting the practice, similar laws that could have impacted 29 states, laws’ punishing so called faithless electors that vote incongruent with their state results, usually on ethical, conscience grounds, imposing fines and civil penalties while 3 states allow criminal charges. Rightly guessed is that you won’t talk about the 50 Trump Electoral College delegates activist groups assert were seated illegally, but media and congress should unquestionably investigate claims put forth in a bipartisan legal brief given to them urging them not to ratify the college’s official vote since “More than 50 Electoral College members who voted for Donald Trump were ineligible to serve as presidential electors because they did not live in the congressional districts they represented or held elective office in states legally barring dual officeholders.” Salon author noting additionally “most states won by Trump improperly filed their Electoral College “Certificates of Vote” with Congress, is unprecedented.” Glaring case, a name we know, Pam Bondi, readers remember was the Florida attorney general given what sounded an awful lot like a bribe to cease and desist Trump University investigations in her state, later appointed elector for her state; except Florida law says you cannot hold 2 offices, Electoral College delegate deemed an office. Moreover suspicions as to how exactly she was placed in the position of elector, scandal ridden as she was, and who else was tapped an electoral delegate the same way? Twin to Trump campaign menacing promises of political reprisals to be visited upon faithless electors; experts remind, if carried out, aren’t legal. These cataloged events aren’t supposed to give us pause, doesn’t prompt the gravely sad, lingering question is there any way Donald Trump hasn’t danced the line between annoyingly unfair and criminal cheating, hasn’t conned, cajoled and propaganda-ed people into voting for him or had trickery laden , shady leg work to desired ends done for him by people who want to deal with him not his rivals, periphery members of government responsible for the checks and balances present in our democracy willing to turn a blind eye to obvious ethical violations, conflicts of interest and pending impeachable offenses if left unchecked. We aren’t supposed to stand up and say, the 3 million more of us who voted for someone else, this isn’t the democracy we want, that a liar, a con and a person possibly in cahoots with foreign powers is the textbook definition of unfit therefore we have a few processes by which to keep him from our highest office, recounts being one?
Impending threats, silly, serious or no, Electoral College delegates had an obligation, a responsibility to, in light of what they knew then, fulfill the lesser known portion of their mandate— keeping the unqualified from the presidency, from forever hobbling democracy; and, they responded the exact opposite of the way they should have, the way citizens desperately needed them to. Not because of threats, some death threats, rather due to loyalty holding almost sacred votes their state cast, an, anywhere else it would be viewed as admirable, sense of duty to administer their task the way voters declared they wanted it done, maybe defiance thumbing their nose at aforementioned death threats and implied pending retaliation against delegate family members detailed in individual anti or pro-Trump hate mail they received, clearly crossing the line. Nevertheless regardless their good intentions it was another profound let down piled on after speculation, sources were adding up possible Trump defections, double digit numbered electors demanding answers to their questions about Russia’s involvement, how deep their hacking plans went, what the impact might have been straining the endurance of democracy, again their not getting pleaded for reports from top government officials, agencies already inquiring at the behest of president Obama and/or congress, reports Electoral College delegates never got to see. Information withheld due to the intensely classified nature of some parts, in other instances its incompleteness up against the deadline for when Electoral College members were scheduled to meet ratifying election results, last step before Trump’s swearing in January 20. A big enough gap in democracy, in protecting the integrity of our country form hidden, unusual dangers to be sure, but a much more troubling problem came instead from Electrical College members who didn’t seem to have a rudimentary grasp of why they were there, what their function was. You had electors, surpassing ignoring who their state voted for, going against their state’s documented choice interested in serving the greater good, ‘defecting’ from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders and submitting names, putting forth votes for persons not on any ballot anywhere including Colin Powel and a Native American who thought the story was fake news when her name was called as a vote; John Kasich famously telling Ohio’s electors not to try and vote him to the presidency. Absolutely electors should be free to vote for whomever they choose, dissolving faithless elector laws precisely because of situations exposed by the 2016 election process; caveat, electors should know what they are doing, know ahead of time that selecting oddball, out there names of people who didn’t so much as run in the first place, have expressed no interest in the presidency, forget have made no preparation for stepping into it doesn’t get a candidate closer to 270, give us a firm answer on our next president, promote the peaceful transfer of power. Next logical candidate fulfilling those criteria, next in line, close to the presidency obviously Hillary Clinton; perhaps a delegate wide effort to get Bernie Sanders to that magic 270 feeling he was robbed of his chance, fervent belief in his ideas for moving our country forward after the positives of president Obama, even Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, considering the troubling things come to light about Trump since November 8, problems swirling around Hillary Clinton for decades not limited to her most recent campaign, people who felt they couldn’t morally vote for either lead candidate. Fundamental problems with this election cycle’s Electoral College convening apparently going far deeper, it wasn’t just what The Young Turks’ interviewed faithless elector said, viewing link 19 below, about why he wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, what he wanted from her before making his final decision that should be riveting our attention, his split vote lo and behold voting John Kasich for president and Time Kaine for vice president rendering it a virtually meaningless vote; however, the jaw dropping errors, maneuvering orchestrated to strong arm a singular, already probable outcome. Disputes over oaths electors must sign, a judge, deliberating, ruling right there the new oath chosen by the state official was unconstitutional, oaths signed under protest, duress, failure to separate ballots according to constitutional law for president and vice president; 23 out of 31 delegates for Trump guilty of this, out of that 31 only 8 abiding by constitutional 12th amendment law. Findings in the same report listing other laws actually broken top down throughout the process, beyond the unsavory appearance of Pam Bondi as an elector; returning to the duel office holding in states disallowing it, a whopping 34 tallied, not living in the districts they were called to represent a total of 16 tallied penitential for over 100 improperly selected delegates, improperly filed Certificates of Vote, 50 enough to change Electoral College final results. These are procedural errors seeming redundant from the outside but are key procedures that matter; not only because we’re talking about the constitution, federal law, operation of our democracy as opposed to city ordinances on residential street parking, mechanical work on your car done in your front yard, the thousand and one things we ask ourselves who came up with that, reality laws mean something or they don’t. But because they are all benefiting one candidate Donald Trump; devastated as Clinton supporters were, so named Bernie bros found themselves democrats sought out electors to vote legally, they managed to correctly file their paperwork and understand what they were there to do even if it meant going against their state to vote Sanders or Clinton. Ironically we didn’t even see this in the bizarre spectacle of strangeness constituting Bush Vs. Gore in 2000 hinging on Florida and its hanging chads, confusing ballots, a Supreme Court decision virtually giving it to president Bush again ignoring the popular vote; in another twist refreshing our central theme and the vital role of recounts, we didn’t see such Electoral College shenanigans as this in 2008 or ‘12 when Barack Obama was elected and reelected despite fervent shouts he was illegitimate by virtue of his ‘fake’ birth certificate, his middle name Hussain marking him forever a Muslim independent his stated faith being Christian and that religion’s belief in conversion, and his Muslim heritage making him a Manchurian candidate sent here to undermine American ideas. Yet the illegitimacy of Trump’s upcoming presidency based on evidence, tangible fact, trackable timelines is manufactured bologna from the other side who can’t cope with the fact they lost; terribly hypocritical coming from the man who single handedly fanned flames of president Obama’s illegitimacy, couldn’t stop talking his ‘dubious’ birth certificate even after a copy of the long form was posted on the Whitehouse website, launched his own investigation sending people to his home state Hawaii unearthing equally dubious evidence president Obama not a citizen and therefore illegally placed in office by nefarious means because no one in Hawaii his ‘alleged state of birth,’ his home town knew/remembers the guy, no one knew him until he went to Harvard. Further feeding conspiracy theories the president was a secret Muslim educated in madrasas (Islamic religious schools often haven for extremist radicals); landing on he doesn’t have an American experience response by rival politicians angry he reached out to the Arab, Muslim world saying if you are not radical, extremist or terrorist we have no problem with you, let’s work together in stabilizing the part of the world you live in, work together to make the globe safer for everyone instead of lumping all Muslims, people who look like Muslims, all Arabs under one banner terrorist threat. When those tactics wore thin, people stopped talking about it and thus Donald Trump too, it was a certificate of live birth is not a birth certificate, though individual states exact name for what we commonly shorten to birth certificate varies slightly; next he, president elect Trump long before actually running for office, wanted to see his college record, initially not his grades but what nationality, ethnicity he listed himself, purportedly identified with. Redundantly or predictably, take your pick, when that failed to gin up the attention he desired, he demanded to see president Obama’s college transcripts, grades planting innuendo something was fishy about how president Obama achieved his undergrad let alone got into Harvard relentlessly marveling ‘someone so stupid’ got into then graduated the Ivy League institution. Months into his campaign before he renounced his prior claims due to public pressure since president Obama produced his long form birth certificate years ago, which in turn sparked recurring tales it’s a fake; most recently revived by ousted Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio who, after losing his law enforcement position, apparently desperately needed something to do. While reviewing facts behind the illegitimacy assertions of Trump involves far more substantive information and serious implications; Russia has been definitively tied by 17 national intelligence agencies to hacks on the DNC, the Podesta e-mails and attempts on select state venues in Arizona and Illinois documents disseminated through WikiLeaks (read in full my post-election works, provided links at the end of this paragraph for greater understanding), Russia also behind the bulk of fake news prominent on Facebook, twitter exc. Russian officials bragging day after the election about constant communication with Trump staff, Michael Flynn texting Russian diplomats as president Obama was expelling them, a dossier alleging embarrassing sexual proclivities along with Russian connections he flatly denies, to decreasing credibility shored up via a pending rape case where Trump will have to appear in court, for a complete list refer back to paragraph 2. Trump’s own appointment of Rex Tillerson, awarded the medal of friendship by president Putin, his ready acceptance of Flynn despite a past of leaking sensitive material to foreign governments, the president elect’s statements he wants America to get along with Russia, doesn’t see it as a bad thing if we establish better relations though we are diametrically opposed on core values, issues—human rights to violating the only territorial treaty violated since WWII, trade relations smaller than any other trading partner, but recounts are frivolous and the Electoral College shouldn’t have so much as been asked to vote their conscience, in the best interest of America, not panicked, deluded, alternate reality believing voters shystered by a shyster.
If we want to talk about something wholly undemocratic look no further than North Carolina and what currently seated powers tried to do when the opposing party won; things deteriorating to such a degree democracy watchers, the EIP (electoral integrity project) internationally have named the state no longer a democracy. Receiving a failing score on par with developing, pseudo democracies in Cuba, lesser notoriety African continent nations, Indonesia; speculations justifying that score included their voter ID law struck down by the Supreme Court as deliberately discriminatory to minorities, their bathroom bill rightly depicted as something a democratic government shouldn’t do and the shameless power grab attempted when sitting powers lost. First there was soon to be outgoing Governor Pat McCrory who refused to concede his loss to democratic challenger Roy Cooper through a long, drawn out process over an election he had plainly performed poorly in. Swiftly trailed by the late night special session meetings, originally meant for crises like funding disaster relief, response to a 9-11 type event, and various state issues, of the North Carolina legislature designed to systematically strip power from the incoming governor, adding extra monotonous steps to basic local government processes. Forcing state senate confirmations for all cabinet appointees, merging election and ethics panels, adapting a rules change stipulating the governor’s party cannot hold the majority it does under existing law. A proposed 80% slash in the number of employees reporting to the governor doubtlessly impacting staff available to assist him in expediently, efficiently executing his duties, overseeing things in his state, even snatching away his power to appoint University of North Carolina board of trustee members. Things no one batted an eye at the governor doing before the election just passed, in sweet, sweet irony they do this; where 4 years prior, truly exposing republican intentions then and now, under McCrory lawmakers increased10-fold the number of state government, adjacent entity positions subject to his jurisdiction. As if middle of the night secret gatherings weren’t shady enough they didn’t try in the least to avoid suspicion, openly doing so without standard notice in the matter of a few hours, unabashed power grab called the most brazen career politicians sporting gray hair and wrinkles have seen in their lifetime, sans discussion, deliberation or consideration of consequences, hearing from effected parties. Activists thwarting attempts, before Cooper has so much as taken office, to pack their state Supreme Court by adding 2 slots slated to be filled by extremely conservative republicans, surprise, surprise done under the guise of flood relief provisions syncing up state and federal fund after North Carolina was hit with hurricane Mathew; an effort to combat the effectiveness of an African American who won his seat there by hundreds thousands more votes than his opponent rendering the court more progressive. Battles nothing out of the ordinary for forward thinking tar heel state residents pushing back against GOP spearheaded legal maneuvering to curtail voter initiated hikes to their minimum wage, denial of Medicaid to half a million persons, gutting social programs, protesting hate in the form of HB2 the state’s bathroom bill; supporters of current shenanigans blaming sharply divided government calling it what happens when you have a transfer of power between parties amidst such circumstances rattling off a list of years democrats supposedly did the same, insinuating it is the normal back and forth, ebb and flow as government changes hands. Worth asking, listening to that explanation, is why it must be done in secret, away from the light of day, constituents who can protest, absent hearing from people directly impacted why what you plan to do? Remembering North Carolinians voted out McCrory in favor of Cooper because national entities symbolizing business, tourism and economic growth voted with their feet, their capital exc. saying if you insist on anti-LGBT practices I won’t conduct concerts in your state, I won’t continue my business plans in your state, pro/college basketball franchises will find a more accepting place to play playoff games, tournaments. Revisiting too that HB2 commonly known as North Carolina’s bathroom bill forcing people to use the restroom, locker room, department store fitting room corresponding with the gender on their birth certificate, not their gender identity, wasn’t about rehearsed rhetoric on keeping children safe in public toilets, rec center showers/locker rooms, aforementioned store fitting rooms, shock to young children seeing opposite gender anatomy, upholding student safety in k-12 or college universities. Bill having exactly the reverse effect making things more dangerous for LGBT citizens, especially kids; it was expressly about preventing select municipalities, cities, counties from enacting LGBT protections. North Carolina mandated to hold local special elections post that discriminatory voting tactics ruling by the national Supreme Court, but we don’t need the voting rights act anymore, racial tensions in the south are things of the past and forcing them to be reviewed, get clearances before changing how their state is run in regard to crucial functions i.e. voting, according to things falling under states’ rights is to forever punish them for the past. What’s happening right now in North Carolina would beg to differ with that la, la land assessment. Going back to states no longer deemed democracies, receiving low scores on their scale determining strength of that democracy 11 other states fared worse; Wisconsin where privatization and school funding schemes have gutted one bright spot in education. Michigan where the Flint water crisis was caused by a business man republican and whose response to their own failing schools is an attorney who doesn’t believe literacy is a right. Ohio where governor Kasich many hoped would be the next president, radiating calm sanity during chaotic primary debates quietly, another word for sneakily, deliberately trying to fly under constituency forget national radar, banned voters from raising Cleveland’s minimum wage. Arizona once home to papers please immigration legislation, brain freeze governor Jan Brewer who used non-existent Mexican drug cartel beheadings on U.S. soil to justify said legislation, controversial sheriff Joe Arpiao who cost the state millions refusing to comply with federal orders on civil, human rights violations in his prisons, illegal, illegal immigration arrests, legal fights against those orders; the copper state’s score the absolute lowest. Kentucky joining a flurry of states passing abortion bills banning pregnancy termination after 20 weeks adding to legislation mandating the burial of fetal tissue either in cases of abortion or miscarriage. Seemingly oblivious to the devastating toll visited upon North Carolina for its anti-LGBT choice an equally growing group of states are pushing to replicate their disaster Virginia, Alabama and Texas among them. Contrast Jill Stein who merely asked for a recount, verification of election numbers, but we can’t possibly expect that to happen in a state undergoing what many are calling a legislative coup right here in America? Sane question, why not comprehending a requested recount is legal whereas what the outgoing legislature is doing isn’t, soon to be decided by the Supreme Court as activists plan to sue, the governor marshalling his own legal countermeasure. No, Jill Stein is not a sore loser, embodiment of sore loser syndrome on the left mockingly thrown at millennial and young first time voters, a distraction, representative of the liberal, progressive pipedream we could get out of our impending nightmare of business mogul, potential tyrant Donald Trump being president; Jill Stein is a citizen, a candidate and had every right to ask for the recount requested. North Carolina also glaringly shows who exactly needs to ‘get over it,’ who needs to accept election outcomes; reiterating for all the disappointed liberals, progressives and democrats are, all the vows to fight president elect Trump on his more audacious policies is about protecting America rather than partisan backbiting, personal revenge. Proposed polices that could devastate trade i.e. a trade war with China, avoiding a Muslim registry, a Muslim ban because it is A- discriminatory to innocent, non-radical Muslims and B- could spark another 9-11 like attack, pushing back against social media usage that could tweet us into a nuclear war. Confirmation battles, they are slowing down confirmation hearings to properly vet appointees the way they weren’t by Trump, standard procedural, disclosure paperwork yet to be submitted needing to be reviewed ideally before hearings take place, forced to question them thoroughly due to many nominees showing up to hearings vastly unprepared and unqualified for positions they’ve been asked to fill mandating in-depth scrutiny about fringe plans, ideas, past statements, financial holdings, issue stances. Weighty questions average persons are ignoring, can we bear the social costs of a possibly racist, poor record on race attorney general today in 2016 remembering Ferguson, Baltimore, investigation results in Chicago, can we afford, in a post 9-11 climate, an Islamaphobic national security advisor; voters who have family serving in the military do you want someone like ‘mad dog’ Mattis as secretary of defense maybe responsible for sending them to war under allegations he left troops to die? Is it ok with you we appoint a secretary of education who believes in school choice above all else calculating devastation in Kansas, Wisconsin, the Michigan attorney who doesn’t think literacy is a right, an education secretary who doesn’t know details surrounding the biggest debates right now about measuring achievement? Whose answer on firearms, do they have a place in schools, was to bring up Wyoming and potential grizzlies not answering Trumps plan to ban gun free school zones, preventing unauthorized persons from taking guns within X feet, yards or miles form a school zone, adjacently going to conceal and carry permits, debates, laws passed arming teachers, students who wish to be armed on college campuses in hopes of preventing a mass shooting event. Whose family has given large sums of money to religious organizations supporting, using the destructive practice known as reparative therapy on LGBT youth, practices select states banned on those under 18. None of which should be confused with the downright obstruction promised by republicans 8 years ago when president Obama took office, carried out through his entire presidency; guaranteed is if one of these nominees is express vetted, rushed through and causes an international incident, leads us to war, initiates a domestic crisis, harms Americans in a huge way the lingering question will be why didn’t you do you confirmation job, vet them properly? Largest problem how late the Trump transition got off the ground, constant staff changing and people who seem to be lost in how to do what they’re doing, blaming it on democrats par for the course.
We don’t have a democracy we can trust less because of outside interference whether it’s Russia, 4chan, Anonymous, WikiLeaks and more because we keep shutting out bigger and bigger swaths of the citizenry, the ordinary people, average public, making it harder for them to vote, purposefully marginalizing voters who don’t agree with, usually conservative, ideologies and ideals, making voters feel their voices are insignificant, forcing them to choose between the lesser of immoral, tainted, who cares candidates; sentiments Trump played into and amplified to win. We don’t possess continued faith in our democracy because people stopped paying attention to core issues that matter nationwide not limited to your backyard, town, state, stopped taking voting as seriously as they should, for some bothering to vote at all. People who prize emotion and what feels right over fundamental, concrete facts, who have spent years themselves or at the feet of persons who disparage and dismiss science, medicine, research, devalue education, knowledge, have no sense of the application of wisdom; now we’re all reaping the whirlwind begun, championed by a few. Parts of the electorate eligible to cast a ballot, registered to vote who don’t know, are so uninformed, ill-informed, misinformed they literally are in the dark that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Obamacare are the same thing who, when presented with facets of the ACA meant to benefit consumers, health insurance purchasers throughout the public, insure their families, their children they like them, support them, think them good polices to have; call it Obamacare and they instantly hate it. One man bragging on social media he got his healthcare from the ACA not Obamacare shocked he’s in public bashing his own insurance. One woman, Trump voter who had her home foreclosed on by a becoming familiar name, Steve Mnuchin, was horrified and felt betrayed to find him tapped to be Trump’s secretary of treasury after the president elect pledged to drain the swamp, vowed to stop letting Wall Street get away with murder; admitting she still wouldn’t have voted for Hillary, never elaborating on the paramount, why. Bigger than people who don’t possess the faintest idea about sources of their ‘news’, don’t vet it for satire, hyperbole or comedy, know if it’s conservative, liberal, progressive, independent, mainstream, geared toward young millennials, senior citizens, middle-aged persons, working class individuals, professionals exc., are those who don’t take time, think, putting it through their own internal logic filter asking does this make sense, is this real, is it plausible? No one seeing the ‘news story’ on Facebook about Pope Francis endorsing Donald Trump, allowing it to impact their voting decision the least little bit bothered to ask themselves why the pope would endorse a candidate for elections half a world away from him, utterly outside his political system; further seeing Pope Francis’ dedication to the poor, rectifying global income inequality, prescribing compassion and help for the most destitute and economically effected, even if he were inclined to endorse a candidate, make international public comment on America’s election, why would he choose Donald Trump, praise Donald Trump? Typical with all things Clinton involving sensation, something she’s supposedly done wrong, people jumped on the bandwagon her foundation bought arms from rich Arab countries disregarding the insanely goofy picture that should have been the first tipoff it was fake news, at minimum sarcasm a-la The Onion, current generation variations on Dave Barry. Pizza-gate, again total lack of stopping to think how would that even work running a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor, not in some foreign country, South Asia catering to American, western world tourist with sick proclivities, but in America? And even if every twisted, crazy thing ever said about Hillary Clinton was true, none of the 90’s BS files, purported scandals encompassed harming children, marketing pedophilia for cash, ‘her greedy motivation;’ continuing, why would her former campaign chair, already having lost the election, and the owner of the pizza place go along with it? Doesn’t the real story make much more sense, carrying much more probability that it was a possible campaign stop abandoned, e-mail correspondence supporting that conclusion? Or assuming there was allusion to a child sex trafficking ring, illegal activity, the thing to do would be call the police either in your home state, in D.C. where Comet Ping Pong operates, attempt to contact the FBI presenting them your evidence; not travel hundreds of miles with your AR15 rifle shooting in an open business potentially hurting bystanders for something that wasn’t remotely real, epic logic failure strike 3. You have to give it to the ‘it isn’t that Russia tried to influence our election so much as we let them’ article author in distilling the Hillary Clinton e-mail story, the DNC hacking story implicating DNC officials had their thumb on the scales against Bernie Sanders and for Hillary Clinton, the Podesta e-mail story as the scandal that wasn’t, putting comments down to private grousing not substantial proof of dirty politics, wrong doing. Her breakdown of what was and wasn’t uncovered, headlines versus story content had people bothered to read the content, finish pieces, understand all of what it was trying to tell readers, usually that what WikiLeaks tried to report them doing never happened, all the hoopla was for nothing. More than just finding out identical things from Colin Powell’s e-mails worst ever said was it made him sound like a juvenile busybody not an elder statesman, that that’s where it stopped, while DNC personnel submitted resignations, Debbie Wasserman Shultz was publicly humiliated and violence broke out at the Nevada DNC convention; grousing, another word for complaining, an accurate term for what was found in DNC correspondence, no proof of action, let alone proof of impact and noting Bernie bro ‘dead enders’ were the chief consumers of WikiLeaks materials should have had us all reaching for perspective. Greater diminishment of scandal as it was framed by everyone talking about across all media factions, they and the Podesta e-mail raised serious citizen questions, brought to the surface tangible unease about publication of things meant to be private, the innuendo generated for things meant to be private, concerns about media protocols broadcasting things meant to be private holding no bearing on the public interest, public interest issues; example, was it necessary to publish WikiLeaks documents advertising Mr. Podesta’s creamy risotto recipe or comments on Niki Minaj’s butt related to female empowerment boiled down to, at maximum, a bad joke, general consensus a resounding no. Other odd tidbits gleaned from pilfered e-mail accounts of world leaders Kim Jung Il really wanted Bill Clinton to vacation with him in North Korea; making an interesting footnote in historical records, filling it parts of the reclusive dictator’s personality to be sure but hardly earthshattering, least of all because Clinton never went. Similarly not only allegations millions of illegal immigrants voted, but voted because president Obama said they could; woman who brought that up to a CNN reporter couldn’t pass a basic litmus test of correctly identifying the network she heard it on, claiming the interviewer’s network had provided coverage on the story when they plainly had not. That story came from Info Wars news channel run and hosted by Alex Jones; identical Alex Jones who believes Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama smell like sulfur therefore are demons, conveniently without ever having been close enough to smell either person confirming the suspicion, relying on second and third hand accounts from individuals who think B.O. is an indication of spiritual standing, health. Forgetting there are logical people on the planet who don’t believe in the very existence of demons, if they did smell by virtue of medical problem, poor hygiene wouldn’t it have become mainstream media information, enfolded into exclusive interviews by news outlet X, not relegated to something solely hear on the internet? Illegals voting rumors simultaneously undergirded by an unethically edited interview chopped up by, surprise, surprise Fox Business, to make it seem like that’s what president Obama said, implied: undocumented persons could cast ballots without anyone watching the whole interview in its entirety. Developing a pattern, identical Fox News who weeks later totally misrepresented numbers of food stamp fraud, common theme beating up on the poor and destitute, naming them lazy welfare rats, who weeks before had an anchor on air talk about president Obama’s chances to serve prison time coming off an IM post and a producer who had vetted absolutely none of it. But Fox News should still be deemed mainstream media. Commenter on The Young Turks CNN analysis video hinting at a possibly deeper problem, “These are the kind of people that respond to emails and send checks overseas to cover taxes for the lottery they just won, but never participated in. And not only they can vote, but they could also be on a jury,” actions usually engaged in by older persons possibly suffering dementia, cognitive impairment pointing to potential senility, mental decline, mental confusion in the older electorate. Older Americans sporting gray hair, again indicators on their face and hands, AKA wrinkles, predominately older Americans drawn to Fox News, drawn to Info Wars sans comprehension yes Don Imus, Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and Alex Jones all do radio shows, comment on current events, political ‘news’, all of them also having been the center of scandals, harboring well-earned reputations in the negative, hardly seen as a reliable source of factual reporting, genuine analyses objective/expert opinion. Howard Stern is what’s known as a shock jock talk radio host who makes his living saying things in a deliberately offensive, provocative way, has done so for 30 odd years, Rush Limbaugh is a former pill popper always standing up for conservative, family values, and while it’s certainly positive, more productive to support addiction recovery, his average listeners don’t and his handling of his own situation was the height of hypocritical. Don Imus’ inability to find a functional razor or competent barber add to the impression of low intelligence, willful stupidity, deplorable use of black vernacular aside; Alex Jones’ pronouncements on demons, who he believes are demons should prompt loved ones to seek mental health treatment for him and have us scratching our collective heads rethinking other things he’s commented on. Instead aging voting blocs are eating it up as if it were candy, raging against what they voted for when candidate X dares do what they said, think Obamacare repeal protests, people believing bald face lies and voting a particular way because of them, no ‘democracy’ we want.
It’s time to change some laws in this country, few liked that independents were shut out of voting for Bernie Sanders in states with closed primaries, accused DNC officials of rigging things they actually didn’t, chaffed at voter roll mix-up’s in closed primary states putting people in the wrong party; even less liked, Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, his vague plans to detangle himself from his businesses if he achieved the presidency, that he got media circus weird on something as uncomplicated as releasing his medical records, a standard summary of major medical information about you. Populous failing to grasp you correct that using legal statutes, demanding the creation of new ones; starting with eliminating voter turnout diminishing caucuses and switching to all primaries, open primaries at that, allowing any registered voter to vote for any name on any ballot, only voting once in each category. Accessible polling place numbers need to be, by law, commiserate with the population in cities/counties based on available data; early voting, same day registration, Sunday voting and any popular voting choice that does not increase chances of fraud, abuse, misuse (none of the above do) should be mandatory options in all 50 states period, end of sentence, no exceptions. Gerrymandering laws must be acted upon and enforced, districts drawn according to dynamics found in the latest census data; steep legal penalties leveled against city, state, county lawmakers, officials who don’t prevent said gerrymandering, find new, clever ways to enact it under the radar. Voter ID laws: immediately disbanded, voter registration streamlined providing picture ID voter registration cards paralleling the DMV free of charge once per voting cycle to anyone who meets the requirements of an eligible voter, no excludable felonies, US citizen, proof of residency usually in the form of a utility bill, series of them going back so many months; easy special dispensations for older/elderly persons 70+ or on a case by case basis, Jim Crow era South members still living who may not have a social security card, ready access to their birth certificate, people who have a birth certificate in the state of X but cannot travel long distance and spend large sums of money for that proof. Eliminating 99% of what happened to a Wisconsin man both in getting his current state’s driver’s license and voting due to a clerical error in his original birth certificate despite his arduous attempts to correct it; ending the practice of excluding student ID’s as acceptable forms of voter identification so students can vote in the cities, counties, states where they attend college up to 4 years, uniform voter registration laws across all 50 states locking these parameters in place for all citizens. Efforts to inform prisoners, particularly those behind bars unable to afford bail, simply awaiting trial, of their rights another mandatory must alongside providing such persons means by way of pens, pencils, voter registration applications, voting ballots and educational materials on candidates and issues, to vote. Restorative justice initiatives to negate felony records garnered through overly harsh policies on illicit drugs, minorities, poor people who had the book thrown at them due to their inability to afford high priced attorneys, were brought up on more serious charges blatantly because of the color of their skin, their street address or employment at the time of arrest, indictment filing, long held stereotypes related to all of the above. Federal intervention, federal law must be brought to bear stating once you reach nominee status for any major political party, your name to be listed on ballots general election day you are required under legal penalty resulting in ineligibility to hold office, fines, limited jail time for noncompliance to release your tax returns for X number of years, coordinating with the IRS as not to interfere with audits, investigations, so that we don’t have repeats of Richard Nixon’s tax duplicities and do have a window into their character, ideally so we likewise don’t end up with anymore Donald Trump size ethical/presidential legal headaches. Tax returns also invaluable in determining business holdings, property assets, net worth; lining up with the next things presidents, presidents elect must be legally compelled to do, place all potential business conflicts of interest into a true blind trust or undergo a complete divestment from those suspect holdings. So that the American people know that the president’s trade, economic and domestic policy advisors and choices are made putting first the people’s interests not their own personal or business ventures. Final mandatory release necessitating crafting into law, medical records on all chronic, major diseases any/all candidates holding nominee status suffer from, disclosure of known extensive family histories involving major, debilitating, cognitive, judgment impairing diseases Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, MS, mental health disorders, significant heart problems, to avoid what could have happened under vice president Dick Cheney, but then we knew about his ailing heart and voted for George W. Bush twice. Hillary Clinton’s thyroid issue and documented medication publicly immaterial because it’s easily managed, her prescription consumption of a blood thinner less jarring because we were aware of her prior blood clot, know it’s standard preventative to more forming, developing more serious conditions or increasing chances of death. Versus Donald Trump whom we know nothing about medically other than he takes a statin, could lose a few pounds and sees at minimum unprofessional, bordering on incompetent doctors, doesn’t have general practitioner, primary care physician but does have a gastroenterologist, and inferred digestive issues, willing to write hyperbolic ‘medial’ statements in 5 minutes. None of this, no more of this: it’s not a law so I don’t have to mentality; no more relying on the strength of tradition to compel candidates into giving us need facts to make a properly informed decision. Addressing the dysfunctional Electoral College, original idea behind the Electoral College at the founding of our country was not singularly a compromise, not singularly geographic logistics, keeping unqualified people from the highest office, but that some citizens, before the days of mass public schools 80+ % literacy rates, might not be educated enough to fully understand election issues, ballot measures, complexities of what the president does especially in a country so new; the people choosing electors to make critical decisions for them then equals common sense. Now Electoral College members obviously don’t have their former acumen, thus if not removed entirely, moving to the direct, who wins the popular vote wins the presidency, then at the very least shoring up requirements for electors, tutorials presented to electors detailing their responsibilities in total; disbanding faithless elector laws rendering them completely free to exercise their voting choice fearing no reprisal. Enforcement of laws on the books currently governing what the president can and can’t do in terms of appointing cabinet members, in terms of who he can and can’t choose as staff not subject to senate confirmation, chiefly anti-nepotism laws preventing family from serving a sitting president born out of JFK’s appointment of RFK to attorney general, trickling to down ballot smaller offices, removing a large number of wives on payrolls during that time period. Enforcement of provisions like the Stock Act (stop trading on congressional knowledge act) preventing government officials from using their, only available to government information, to generate profit; why his meetings with foreign dignitaries and announcements of foreign real-estate projects raise red flags. Enforcement of the emoluments clause preventing profits being made from holding office via foreign gifts, investment made based on meetings with foreign dignitaries; paramount because of Trump’s extensive international business ties, companies and holdings, projects in the works. Legal clarification, possible constitutional amendment(s) on what the emoluments clause means; how it applies to someone like Trump, intertwined closely with conflict of interest laws likewise needing clarification, better molding. Strick penalties mirroring the ones proposed for failure to stop district gerrymandering also imposed for not investigating and enforcing such laws, moving forward with impeachment proceedings if appropriate. Framework incorporating federal law, constitutional amendments for what to do when it appears an election held, even on the national scale is invalid, when we find out after ballots were cast there was substantial interference, impropriety in swaying voter opinion, especially in the era of growing cyber threats, deliberately infiltrated propaganda, fake news; because as it stands now there are investigations into Trump’s involvement with Russia, Russian tapering with U.S. elections, James Comey’s irresponsible behavior at the FBI hurting Hillary Clinton, but analyst consensus is, what next you can’t redo and election. 2016 irrefutable proof that needs to change; law changes explored above implemented so we can have a democracy we trust, everyone’s voice is heard, each person’s vote matters and it’s significance can be seen, people again fell empowered to affect their government in ways that benefit them, their families.