The Partial Solar Eclipse in San Francisco

August 21st, 2017 was the day of the “Great American Solar Eclipse,” the first in many years where the path of a total eclipse of the sun travelled across the United States. Its path swung from coast to coast – from Oregon on the west coast to South Carolina on the east coast before heading out to the Atlantic Ocean.

My town of San Francisco experienced a foggy, cloudy overcast day for what was only a partial eclipse here in California.   (I would love to have been able to travel for the “real thing” along the path of totality but didn’t want to face the traffic.)  Nevertheless, the intrepid local photographer (moi) persisted . . . and did what I could do here with photographing the partial eclipse in San Francisco with just my standard DSLR lens and a tripod.  So I walked down to Pier 14 on the San Francisco waterfront, where a small group of photographers, fishermen and eclipse-gawkers had assembled.

The moon started its transit over the sun at the top of the sun, travelled slightly left and down and exited its transit at the lower left of the sun. Here the sun was only 76% covered by the moon, no totality of darkness and no super-cool corona, but impressive all the same.

I hear that we will have a chance to view a total solar eclipse in California in the year 2045 on August 12th.  So if I can make it to age 90 or so, maybe I can try my hand at it again!  Here’s a sampling of the photos I took today:

Nine Phases of a Solar Eclipse

Nine Phases of a Solar Eclipse, by Bonnie Follett
Prints available on my Fine Art America profile.

 

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Trump Continues to Trash the USA’s Reputation in International Community

Our disgraceful and miserable U.S. President at NATO snubbed after his speech.

Our disgraceful and miserable U.S. President at NATO snubbed after his speech. Photo by NBC.

Today Trump made his announcement that the U.S. is pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. I listened to his speech but it didn’t really address climate change and he doesn’t seem to understand the nature of an international agreement that essentially is a voluntary and consensus-based agreement to internationally address the problem of global climate change. He talked instead mostly about economic nationalism, basically asserting American isolationism as a response to a problem that is global. In short, America is no longer a world leader of any importance.

Most people (including most Americans) don’t understand International Law because it tends to be a very esoteric subject. I studied it in law school but it actually took me awhile to understand how much of it, aside from imposing sanctions for bad behavior, is consensus-based – how punishments are often simply the lowering of your status in the international community, etc., etc., – there’s so much to it that it can take quite a bit of study to grasp.

I found a very good explanation at Snopes.com on the Paris Agreement and the complications of pulling out of the agreement:  Does Trump Have the Authority to Pull Out of the Paris Climate Agreement?

Another recent article (on ThinkProgress 5/31/17): Top European Union official says Trump doesn’t understand Paris climate accord.

@TeamPelosi tweeted this today:  Map of the Participants and Non-Participants of the Paris Climate Agreement   We are now right up there with Syria and Nicaragua as the only hold outs.

Nice  graphic using a golf-related theme (found on Twitter at Paris Climate Conf – @paris_climate) – 9 Holes in Trump’s Decision

By the terms of the Agreement itself, the U.S. cannot actually “pull out” until Nov. 2020. Many leaders at NATO and G7 tried to explain this to Trump, but he “didn’t get it.” Perhaps by Nov. 2020 we will have a new American president.

Combatting Trump Fake News on the Paris Agreement – Paris Agreement: What Experts Say vs. What the White House Says (ClimateNexus 6/1/17).

There’s lots of backlash being reported on the news as I write this. But for now, it just seems pretty hypocritical that the country that has been documented as the World’s second largest polluter is choosing to ignore any responsibility to help dial back the problems to which we so substantially contributed.

The best response I’ve heard so far today came from former Secretary of State John Kerry on CBS News tonight. Here’s some links for those interested:

Full CBS interview Transcript: John Kerry on Trump’s climate agreement decision (CBS News 6/1/17).

MSNBC video interview of Kerry.

Basically Trump is treating the rest of the world the way he treated his contractors on construction jobs where they were screwed out of payment: We (America) get to pollute if we want. You all do the work and pay for the cleanup, and we’ll contribute only if we (Trump) feel like it. He is making enemies for the U.S. left, right and center in every country on the planet (except maybe Russia). He is not asserting American “sovereignty”, he is dealing America completely OUT of any international participation or cooperative alliances, and this will hurt us in the long run. (Just watch “Survivor” for crap’s sake!! Alliances work! Right?)

Someone needs to educate the US president that the Earth is not flat, and that what happens in America does not stay in America.

It is just plain “Sad!” that so many Trumpers believe his fake news, and #trumpfakenews was smattered liberally in his speech today. The Paris Agreement did not “force” America to do anything. He could simply have ignored the agreement (or altered the U.S. commitments) and pretty much nothing would have happened. Instead he chose to badly damage the reputation of the United States as a participant on the world stage by what he said and did today.

There is and was no connection between the Paris agreement and Trump’s campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again” or even some kind of external stress on American jobs! This is Trump’s made up #trumpfakenews rhetoric that he spouts loudly because he knows it will be repeated endlessly by the media and thereby sink into the consciousness of intellectually-vulnerable Americans. Let’s not believe this jerk. Please.

Instead, as French President Emmanuel Macron said today: “Let’s Make Our Planet Great Again!”

What’s Next (since America’s abdication as a world leader):

A couple of contenders for the new World Leadership title (I have to include because they are both very cute!):

France's Macron and Canada's Trudeau at the G7 Summit in 2017.

France’s Macron and Canada’s Trudeau at the G7 Summit in 2017.

100 Days and I Still Feel Sick

Ok. So I really need to break the silence on this blog since I have not posted for roughly 100 days. So this is just an impromptu posting to make note of the fact that Le Grand Autocrat has made it 100 days in power without being impeached. Yippee! (I’m being sarcastic there.)

He is still not my president. He is still not the president of many millions of people. But we seem to be stuck with him. The first 30 to 60 days I continued my tirades on social media via FB posts or comments on FB or other people’s blogs. I signed tons of petitions. But I got more and more tired of it all.   I got tired of my day to day life being obliterated by watching for the news and trying to follow and digest all the BS coming out of D.C.  I got tired of watching many good people resisting hard and getting nowhere.  The craziness came so fast and consistently that no one could get a handle on one issue before another one popped up. It started to all feel futile and pointless.  We are stuck with this turd.

And the gaslighting of America by the administration and its supporters has been so relentless that truth no longer even seems like an option. I have watched as this administration has become normalized, the thing Resisters have feared most. We now simply expect things to be totally F’d. Even the media has backed off, wanting to appear more balanced or neutral after the relentless attacks on their tendency toward traditional investigative journalism. Unsubstantiated opinions are now truth and facts are just such an inconvenient irritant.

So they are talking about his first 100 days and whether he has accomplished anything. Sure he has. He’s accomplished setting up a nice pile of crap. He’s set the stage for all manner of nastiness to ensue in the coming months and years. I’m not going to detail it here. It all gives me a serious brain fog.  But if you are interested (assuming anyone reads this) here is The Track Trump link. They’ve been keeping tabs and have made an attempt at an unbiased summary.

But me? I’m just expecting the worst. It is now normal to do so. And I still feel sick in my heart and soul about where this country has ended up.  WW III here we come.

And last but not least – to all those Resistance people who are still out there fighting hard and marching – a big Thank You! That alone gives me some degree  of hope.

trump-profile-pic

Obligatory image of our Commander In Chief.  This is somewhat generic because I simply cannot stomach looking at his face anymore.

 

Obama’s Farewell as President

My first post for the New Year is just to commemorate our outgoing president after watching his farewell address last night.  Below is a FB post of my thoughts earlier today:

obama1-wave

Our current President’s Farewell Address to the Nation was one for the record books. I’m pretty sure every Democrat was glued to the TV on this one.  But I’m also pretty sure another 50% of the citizenry couldn’t be bothered with even watching it.

Anyway, all I wanted to say was I couldn’t help noticing the sincerity and love for country, coworkers, friends and family that this man displayed with such truth, dignity and intelligence. Sincerity!! That is what I am talking about. Not “playing” the media and the crowds, but sincerely caring about what happens with this country next. A lot of us are going to miss seeing that in our President going forward, and I haven’t seen anything of this level of quality coming out of the President-Elect or his anticipated appointments.

Maybe the new President will prove us wrong about him, maybe he will learn as he goes, maybe he will even evolve, but I have not seen any signs of that yet.  And so yes, I will continue to criticize him online when I feel moved to do so, and others may use a public setting or televised broadcast to do so, and the Right’s claim that there are “appropriate times” be damned – there is nothing like the present!

In my life I have found that when anyone claims there is an “appropriate” time to voice an opinion, the subtext is “Shut the hell up!” and never speak of this again! So let’s hope that Free Speech survives.

Obama hasn’t died, he will still be around and working. And to be reminded of the points made in his address last night, his success as our first non-white president was due to the participation of the American people and citizens.  And the success of the country going forward will remain just that, up to us and our participation.  If there is one good thing about the election of the new president, it is that it has woken up the American people and has brought forth increased participation.

That’s it from me today.  I am not all that dignified so yes I will still post my memes and articles of interest, etc., whether some people like it or not or think it’s “whiny” to notice what the compulsive Twitter-fingers is complaining about now.  I have serious doubts that he will ever rise to the dignity of our 44th president.

Is It Still November? – The Gurgling of the Trumperica Swamp

11/28/16 – Woke up this morning with that same old post-election hangover, feeling grumpy and dark and bubbling with PETD – Post Election Trauma Disorder. Gosh, when does this end?  Meanwhile the Trumperica swamp gurgles to life slowly but surely. And it is still November??? Yikes! It feels like 4 years should have gone by already.  Maybe I should have gone back to bed. At least until the recounts are over.

I mentioned Trumperica in a previous post but neglected to define the term – It’s my own coined term for the post-America period I feel is descending upon us. The dystopia we are becoming here in the U.S.A. (soon to be known as U.S.T.)  Trumperica is a place that will be covered with dark clouds and winter, like in some of those old movies where the land has been plagued by a dark force which must be overcome by valiant citizen warriors before Spring can return.

Now’s a good time to review my political blog posts disclaimer  especially if you suspect I may not be representing your own political views. I don’t intend to. This post also qualifies as a PBE under the disclaimer…

Trumperica Swamp Gurgle by Bonnie Follett

Trumperica Swamp Gurgle by Bonnie Follett

So to continue… The former America (that was at times troubled yet somehow hopeful, upbeat, attempting to be inclusive for marginalized groups, and attempting to be socially and environmentally responsible) is being gutted and replaced. Trumperica is a place that will roll back all that hope that apparently was only some liberal backlash against Trump-preferred white male nationalism, free racism, free misogyny, free xenophobia, free climate-change denial and just good old free capitalist greed – all those wonderful freedom things that had somehow been forced underground by liberal political correctness.

I thought I would get over this feeling, but it has plagued me every morning when I wake up. Some days are better than others, but today was not a good day. It was an angry day. So why not write a little blog post to whoosh those demons around…  The last days of America is truly an unnerving place to be.

We get to watch daily as Trump selects his posse and as he fart-tweets his usual stupid things spreading crap that’s already been proved false. After all, as he told a reporter, he gets his news from the internet and feels no need to fact-check or truth-check anything before re-spewing.  What an inspiring president-elect! And what a message – it’s ok to be dumb as a stump – you can still gurgle to the top of any swamp if you are rich enough and loud enough. He is definitely a role model for the joys of being a fake news celebrity. But you just maybe shouldn’t trust ANYTHING he says. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to stomach this transition or this upcoming administration.

I guess none of us really knows what to expect, and that brings out the darker side of my own depressive tendencies. I imagine a scary national landscape where the following takes place:

(a) social and civil rights will be undone and replaced by extremist right wing values forced on all of us through legislation and the Trump courts, and ideals of inclusiveness will be slowly compromised or banished,

(b) a rise in the white supremacy movement will be masked and checked only by a slightly disapproving wink and a nod, meanwhile “white males first” policies will re-emerge as standard operating procedure,

(c)* closet racists can still hold on to their racism unchecked by any self-examination of whether they might actually be just a little bit racist if they found it ok to vote for Trump in the first place – where they don’t need to admit they must be somewhere on that racist spectrum if they chose not to care about people targeted so blatantly in the campaign,

(d) where corporations will continue to rule with self-dealing aggression, now unimpeded by former legislation that tried to curb their tendencies to act irresponsibility,

(e)** where women are controlled and put back in their place as belonging only in  the bedrooms and the kitchens, where using birth control is illegal, and where they are forced by criminal punishment to have babies they can’t care for that will end up in the foster care system, or have illegal abortions for which they can be prosecuted as a murderer (because a zygote is more human than the woman),

(f) where climate change just doesn’t exist if you deny it enough and where conventions, treaties and legislation to limit and guard against climate change, global warming and toxic environmental degradation is undone,

(g) where the 1% holding all the wealth of this country will soon become the .5% holding all the wealth, as tax cuts for the rich replace everyone’s hopes that one day that 1% would start to pay their fair share,

(h) where rights of free speech will be squashed by Trump’s excessive inability to deal with criticism and where attacks on truthful, source and fact-based journalism increase,

(i) where net neutrality concepts will die out and access to online information will decrease as internet searches are restricted to state approved results,

(j) where social unrest will increase as various minority populations and people are targeted with contempt and violence by  right wing extremists,

(k) where Trump makes huge personal profits in his businesses by leveraging his position as president of the U.S.T. and ignores conflicts of interest,

(l) where that “Give me your tired, your poor… your huddled masses yearning to break free…” message on the Statue of Liberty will be scraped off and re-written to a Trump approved message,

(m) where the traditional White House residence of the president is viewed by the president himself as a dump unfit to live in (after all, where’s the nice polished fake marble, the gold leaf throne and the gold leaf plated toilets?), and

(n) where that Trump enemies list just keeps getting longer and longer, and those who refuse to “bow down” to Trump find themselves targets of revenge.

So yes, to me that all seems just a little like a damper of darkness covering the dystopic national landscape. For those that do not know what a dystopia is, it’s basically the opposite of a utopia. Or as my internet dictionary says:  an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. 

But, to look on the bright side, which many other more well-adjusted persons would remind me –  it can’t really be all that bad – the earth will still rotate and the sun will still come up each day, the seasons will still change (until increased global warming messes with that) and there will still be many, many good people in the world…  some hiding out with the Resistance no doubt. 🙂

So, even I admit that the Trumperica swamp can’t possibly be as bad as I paint it. People will go on being who they are, and living their lives the best they can. There will continue to be lots of good in the world despite those dark gurgles of negativity bubbling up, and people will band together and fight the worst of it.  Nevertheless, I can’t help residing in the camp of the skeptical. It’s where those feelings in my gut seem to have me.

Regarding *and ** above – see my below comments for further discussion.

__________

Recommended further reading:

Why I Left White Nationalism – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/26/opinion/sunday/why-i-left-white-nationalism.html

My Massive Disclaimer for Election Blog Post of 11/13/16 and any Political Blog Posts on this Blog

Even my disclaimer title has to be massive to accomodate the needs of the new America that I live in… Anyway, I woke up on 11/14/2016 with the first thought of “Wow the little disclaimer I put at the very end of my 11/13/16 blog post on “Trumperica Rising” is woefully insufficient!! Got to get to the internet presses fast!!!” Plus I pretty much failed to include everything going on out there in the world this past week! No way to possibly include it all!

Even though I have few followers anywhere on social media, there are trolls and others with extremely divergent viewpoints that might actually see my blog post and Attack!! So I have to explain myself to those that might be ready to spit on me with some varying amount of disdain and/or criticism by at least soothing their savage souls with a decent disclaimer!!  I am not a “professional” blogger!  It was just a Premature-Blogpost-Ejaculation!!! I suggest that you NEVER read my blog posts without reading my disclaimer first!

Disclaimer and Disclosures.

I wish to massively disclaim and disclose the following information regarding this blog, posts on this blog, comments I make on other people’s blogs or social media, and with special emphasis in regards to any politically-related blog posts:

  1. I am not a professional blogger.
  2. I am an amateur blogger and woefully inadequate even at that.
  3. I have not been hired or influenced by any one particular person or organization to write this blog or to express any political opinions.
  4. I am imperfect, not a totally evolved human being here.
  5. I am of above average intellectual capacity but not any type of a genius by a long shot.
  6. Nothing on this blog is so authoritative that it should be taken as absolutely the last word on any subject, or actually any type of word on any subject. Content may or may not be exhaustively or thoroughly researched or even researched at all to see if comports with your own viewpoint or a “complete picture.” Do your own research if needed.
  7. My blog posts are often written and posted on my blog before truly complete (which I refer to as Premature-Blogpost-Ejaculation or PBE). I then later go back and fix the “Oops” this or “Oops” that, or add or subtract at will, when and if I have the time.
  8. My blog is simply a place to occasionally dump my thoughts or post pictures, etc. So give me a break.
  9. The artwork of Trump on my 11/13/2016 post is also woefully inadequate – I was dabbling about while depressed and simply felt the tone and colors fit in well with a sunset or sunrise theme, it does not even attempt to reflect what Trump looks like today or at any time in the future.
  10. I suffer from depression and sometimes write or post to process or lift depression a bit. Not too much.  I don’t want to get too happy, unless there is a reason for it.
  11. The profile picture on my blog was taken in a photo booth, uhmmmm, about 30 years ago? It is not a true representation of what I look like today. I may modify or change my profile picture from time to time at will. I will give no warning should that occur.
  12. My 11/13/2016 Trumperica Rising post and other politically-related posts may not cover all issues and all viewpoints. If you want to bitch about my content, write your own blog post that covers all issues and all viewpoints and good luck with that!
  13. I suggest and request that if you post critical comments, you do so without being mean to me or lumping me in a category.
  14. I reserve the right to not bother to respond to snarky comments or any comments to this blog if I don’t feel like it.
  15. I suggest that you read my blog posts, especially politically-related blogposts, at your own peril. Your viewpoint may be different from mine.
  16. I am not responsible nor do I carry insurance for any health problems that occur to others while reading this blog, i.e. no coverage for high blood pressure, heart attacks, mental anguish, etc.
  17. This Disclaimer is a Premature-Blogpost-Ejaculation (PBE). It may be amended in the future.
  18. I am rapidly approaching “old-ladyhood” and dementia could set it at any time. Either ignore me or call 911 to send someone over if you think it’s serious.
  19. I may “fall and can’t get up” at any time.
  20. This Disclaimer is Imperfect. I may be forgetting or leaving things out.
  21. Let’s all try and get a sense of humor. I try, but I live alone and sometimes my attempts to have a split personality (so we can have a good laugh together) just don’t succeed at cheering me up much.

Trumperica Rising: The Dawn of Donald Trump’s Presidency

Trumperica Rising: The Dawn of Donald Trump's Presidency, digital art by Bonnie Follett

Trumperica Rising: The Dawn of Donald Trump’s Presidency, digital art by Bonnie Follett

Trumperica Rising

It is the dawning of the Age of Trumperica… Age of Trumperica… Yeah….!  Trump-e-ri-ca! (To be read with the music of the song Age of Aquarius made famous by the group 5th Dimension in 1969.)

Oh yeah. I have been trying to put together my first personal blog post regarding the subject of Donald Trump winning the 2016 presidential election. Where on earth to start? I have been quite speechless by the hullaballoo going on.

11/14/16: Please do not read the remainder of this blog post before reading the Massive Disclaimer that will be completed and posted by end of day 11/14/16.

Lots of people are quite happy and gloating about it. Others are quite afraid of what he’ll do with his presidency, some are acting out over the top here and there, others going back to daily business seemingly unscathed, and still others are engaging in public protests, some violent, some peaceful. The protests containing a violent component, blocking of traffic or property damage get far more media coverage than peaceful protests, because it’s just more fun for the media outlets.

Trumpsters feel vindicated and somehow superior because their candidate won a contest based on electoral votes, and some of them continue to blast liberal elitists (the latest catch-all label encompassing anyone that didn’t vote for Trump) as whiners for complaining and for noticing that Hillary Clinton won the direct vote of the people by over 600,000 votes and counting (update 11/19/16: her lead now at 1,265,379 of verified vote with ballots left to be counted and with Michigan to report at end of November.  Her popular vote lead is 48.0% of the vote to Trump’s 47.0%.) Trumpsters continue to blast me and others every time we post or comment on FB or Twitter, other blogs, videos, etc. Non-Trumpsters are complaining on social media about Trump, studying “what happened,” wearing safety pins to signal to people who may feel in danger that they are “safe” people, or joining together in “support” gatherings. Still others (not me) are going out to protest Trump’s election in the streets.

The electoral college does not make their formal vote until December 19th, and meanwhile Trump is considering and picking his likely candidates for the cabinet positions. Many have commented on his odd cast of characters so far, so divergently opposite to the last administration. For us liberal elitists (gee – I feel like I should at least be able to have a fancy car, a mansion in LA, or a penthouse apartment in NYC or something like that to go along with the label)… anyway – “liberal elitists” are starting to talk about forming a Resistance (as if this was a dystopian sci-fi movie) to keep putting pressure on the new president, new administration and this “right-wing” movement (I think there’s more catch-all labels for them now too but I forget) as they go about destroying and un-doing progress in America that took decades to put together: environmental regulations, climate change agreements, gay rights, women’s rights, health care for more of the people, etc. You can add to that brief list from wherever you are standing.

So if you hoped the political stress would all be over after the election, it is NOT. Deep divisions remain and may only get wider! The two factions squeak farther apart every time a right winger gets all snarky ordering non-Trump voters to go crawl under rocks, eat shit and die, dry their salty tears, and that sort of thing. The Democrats seem far more interested in engaging in discussion, but when all you get back is over-simplistic right-twisted “truths” asserting right extremist self-righteousness, attempts at discussion start to seem a little pointless.

Trump attempted humility and called for unity in his election speech and looked like a deer in the headlights on his first visit to the White House where he met with Obama. (I had to wonder what it is like for a man who knew very little about government or international issues to suddenly be thrust into a position of being in charge of these things and I think reality was starting to sink in.) Meanwhile he tweeted that the many protests of his upcoming presidency were “very unfair” and somehow pumped up with “professional” protesters. He has not yet learned or accepted that with the presidency comes very vocal criticism that will likely last as long as he does (4-8 years). And SNL skits too! So get working on that enemies list because there are millions to be put on it!

There’s also talk about this being a racially-based election, white guys wanting to “take back” America as if it had left them. I don’t bother too much with this issue because it obscures issues that are more important to me. And I do not think (I have to say this or somebody will accuse me of thinking this) – I do not think that everybody who voted for Trump is racist! They had other issues of importance to themselves that drove their votes. And I have spent time on trying to understand more about that too. But I will leave it to them to describe or justify why they voted as they did, and to detail out the horrible suffering they claim to have been enduring like martyrs for the past 8 years. Now it’s our turn to bitch about it all! 🙂

So do we give him a chance? It’s not my job to be gracious in the transition or after he’s sworn in. There is some degree of giving him a chance, but highly wired to thoughts of “I know he will F up” and “Now we find out if he really is evil-intentioned or just a rich boy in the White House candy store.” Or could he turn out to be a better president than we think, at least for some people on some issues? He certainly ran a dishonest, nasty, name-calling negative campaign. The strategy worked.  And certainly his camp was involved in much under-handed dealing (such as contacts with Russia they denied but Russia affirms).  I can’t imagine all of that just goes away now in order to “give him a chance” and a “free pass” to cancel out everything from the past.  So in short, he has to prove himself as someone who can actually be a leader for ALL Americans. I think he will prove to be a big ole mistake and that it will not be as easy as he thought it would be. But it still made some people somehow feel happy and vindicated that they got a Republican-in-name into office. That is so very nice for them, so they do need a honeymoon period. But for me…. see my response below.

My Response to the Trump Presidency

I took the initial deep depression and the feeling of a huge dark cloud over America and decided to be more vocal about stuff. I continued to remind people of Trumps crap from the election cycle, and becoming more vocal helped lift the depression and helped me to feel a little more patriotic as well, even though many right wingers have expressed many times in many ways that anyone who is a democrat or “liberal elitist” is not at all patriotic and for sure gets up in the morning to spit on the flag, etc. And they are very quick to complain about protests around the country with a “Get Over It!” , even though supposedly we still have a First Amendment Right to Free Speech. Is that over now too? I have no doubt that if the Popular Vote vs Electoral College wins were reversed that they would be shouting “Rigged!!!” and having their own protests in the streets and Trump would have already had his lawyers file a lawsuit for recounts and fraud and system rigging, and God know what else. Americans are a crazy people!!! I found a photo of a sign outside a pub in England that said: “All Americans must be accompanied by an Adult!” Kinda makes sense, doesn’t it?

Anyway, I early on signed a Petition to the Electors about Casting their Vote on December 19th for the winner of the popular vote (Clinton) and spread that around to others. I figured it couldn’t hurt and at least shows the dissatisfaction with the current system. I kept a watch on her lead on the NY Times election web page as her lead consistently went up every day. I continued my barbs at Trump, and I have often had to do a little research on areas of the civics lessons I had forgotten. I was reminded that the USA is a Democratic Republic not a straight-on Democracy and that each of these two types may have different consequences. Of course this came from a right wing meme that offered no citations for its accuracy, but I took the meme as a clue to look it up and learn more on it. I also had not thought much about the electoral college since 2000 when Gore lost to Bush, but it really is a clinker. Two elections now have clearly favored Republicans and eliminated the vote of half a million people even mattering. Do we really need this thing at all? I’ll put a link below on electoral college history, with some other links – related info, petitions and videos I came across in the last few days.

The Electoral College – Reform or Abolition?

Originating in 1787, and modified in 1803-1804 creating the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution, the Electoral College system was based in stacking the deck in favor of slave-holding states, so they could count their slaves (not able to vote) as part of their population and gain more electoral votes for their state: the election-rigging of the time clearly a factor. There was also a belief at that time that the electors were a little bit smarter than the rest of the population and might need a way to “correct” the popular vote if it went way off course and elected someone unqualified for the job. Democrats now see this as having a reverse effect in the 21st century (while of course Republicans see it differently as it favors them). There was another less important consideration in its creation too – that less populated states and territories might want some leg up on representation compared to more populated states, but that was not the main meat of the thing or the main intention for the changes to the 1787 electoral system. The intention was to rig the system a little to maintain power where power was wanted. The idea that it remains any kind of a safeguard placed on the popular vote has been an illusion. It has been rarely (if ever?) used to change an election, probably won’t with this one either, but who knows until December. Things have been pretty heated.

In closing this blog post out, I feel that since our state elections go by popular vote, and don’t need a fake electoral college type “safeguard”, and no irreparable harm has been suffered by using a direct vote system (impeachment is always an option when the need arises) then neither do we need an electoral college system in this century when we vote for president.

But even if we keep the system and feel we continue to need some type of safeguard in addition to impeachment, it is still time after 212 years of it to again study and evaluate the system to make it make more sense and truly be representative and fair. We don’t really need it, but if you want to keep this alleged safeguard, why don’t we make it count ONLY in elections that are excruciatingly close. My proposal – the national popular vote wins the presidency, but if that popular vote is within some expert-advised margin of questionability, then electors have a free option to go with the national popular vote or change their vote to correct a perceived injustice or split their votes to be representative of their state’s voters. Someone has got to have a better idea out there to make it more just and to make the vote of each American count for something.

Basically, we now live in a society where there is plenty of information (more than we want) available on each candidate for the presidency. The information is more accessible than ever before in history. There are Democrats and Republicans and Independents all over the length and breadth of this country. I believe in One Vote That Matters – one vote per person, the most votes win. The safeguard is impeachment proceedings.

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Disclaimer:
(I love disclaimers) The author of this blog post reserves the right to change her opinion at any time, based or not based on additional information becoming available, without being subjected to slanderous allegations that I am a liar , somehow untrustworthy, or am stupid (Of course I am! You are too!). I may refuse to respond to comments that make me feel like crawling under a rock for 4 years. Thank you.

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Notice: The artwork above is copyright of Bonnie Follett and is available for prints or licensing through Fine Art America/Pixels.com.

A few Related Links:

1.  2016 Presidential Election Results (New York Times): http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president

2. About the Media Coverage of Hillary Clinton during Election (11/11/2016 Newsweek): http://www.newsweek.com/neil-buchanan-cruel-crooked-caricature-doomed-clinton-520125

3. James Comey clears Hillary Clinton once again after second FBI email investigation (11/6/2016 Daily News): http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/comey-fbi-hasn-charged-conclusions-clinton-probe-article-1.2861086

4. President Trump. How and why? Jonathan Pie (11/10/2016 Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/JonathanPieReporter/?pnref=story

5. Stephen Colbert, Trump And Obama, Sitting In DC, A-W-K-W-A-R-D (11/11/2016 YouTube): https://youtu.be/YJDD9WCxYQI

6. Real Time with Bill Maher: November 11, 2016 (HBO): https://youtu.be/oMJvbP3yzMk

7. Michael Moore joins wide-ranging election talk, Morning Joe (11/11/2016 MSNBC): http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/michael-moore-joins-wide-ranging-election-talk-806604867876

8. The Troubling Reason the Electoral College Exists (11/10/2016 Time.com): http://time.com/4558510/electoral-college-history-slavery/

9. Petition to Electoral College re December 19, 2016: https://www.change.org/p/electoral-college-electors-electoral-college-make-hillary-clinton-president-on-december-19?recruiter=590957600&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_term=des-lg-petition_update-custom_msg

10. Petition to Abolish Electoral College: http://pac.petitions.moveon.org/keystoneprogress/sign/end-the-electoral-college-12?source=c.em&fb_test=0&r_by=16704163

11. Twelfth Amendment, Wikipedia info on 12th Amendment: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelfth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

12. Done. Over. He’s Here. Goodbye. Garrison Keillor (11/9/2016 S.F. Chronicle):
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/article/Garrison-Keillor-Done-Over-He-s-here-Goodbye-10604062.php?cmpid=fb-premium%3Fcmpid%3Dfb-premium#photo-11788974

13. Moscow had contacts with Trump team during campaign, Russian diplomat says (11/10/2016 The Washington Post):
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/moscow-had-contacts-with-trump-team-during-campaign-russian-diplomat-says/2016/11/10/28fb82fa-a73d-11e6-9bd6-184ab22d218e_story.html?tid=sm_tw_pw

14. President-Elect Trump: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (11/13/2016 HBO):

Thoughts on the Election Night Status

Wow! The Trumpster is doing better on this election night than I ever anticipated!! The reporters have been engaging in some interesting commentary too, but I just had to take a break from the TV! 

I made myself a chicken and baked potato dinner with some nice chilled white wine (lots of it going down about now!) to bulk up my constitution for the long haul tonight. Trump is well up on electoral college votes (222 to Hillary’s 209), which the reporters were unprepared for it seems. Me too. I thought it would be close but I never thought he would really come out ahead. So the reporters ask “Why is this happening?”  And the answers discussed so far:

  • White college-educated women (me) vote for Hillary Clinton
  • Urban areas vote for Clinton
  • Suburban and Rural areas vote for Donald Trump
  • White non-college-educated men vote for Trump
  • Minorities (but apparently not all) vote for Clinton, but again – maybe not as much of a landslide even in that area as might have been expected, so some have other reasons to be swayed over to Trump despite his nasty rhetoric

The reporters’ upshot on all this: The deep divide is very prevalent and shows the dissatisfaction of middle to low income Americans in what is going on right now in the country and the last administrations while technology and out-sourcing of jobs has left them in a big old severe limbo.

So it now appears people who feel they are suffering the most are voting for Trump in droves, along with non-college-educated people.  And this also is due in part to record voter turnout all over America.  People who may not have felt very invested in voting in prior elections are now voting, so my take is that this election will be a much truer barometer than perhaps was present in previous elections on how Americans are feeling. People are turning out more than ever before based on their deep fears about their own fate if the candidate they most revile actually gets elected.  The divide is so great after this election season, that some claim there are now two (2) Americas.

So OK. That’s what they are talking about now, as I write this.  But my own takes and commentary? See below.

Trump could win. I thought it would be close, but not this close, so if he does win, I will have to come to grips with that despite my feelings that those voting for him were blinded by his oft-repeated lies and simplistic rhetoric. My belief is that his slogan Make America Great Again really has really been code for Make America Hate Again.  His faults don’t disappear if he is elected. His slogan doesn’t become true just because he is elected.  He has not “won” and the American people have not “won” just because he could get elected.  My prediction is that the many people who have voted for him will find that their lives DO NOT become better just because he got elected. Then they will be disillusioned all over again.  (Meanwhile we have to listen to his B.S. for 4 years.)

My analysis is that Trump has done a great job of a smear campaign against his opponent and has done a great job of profiting off of the discord in America, but – but – but – we will find that if elected – he will not be changing things for the better for anyone but himself and people like him. (Most of you who voted for him are not like him, not millionaires or billionaires). People who so reveled in his vile rhetoric and lack of political correctness, and have felt refreshed by it, will find that they overlooked the fact that he was only trying to get your vote!!!  Once he has had that, and if he is successful on winning an election, boom!!  You will see a massive about face (after the honeymoon period) and he will treat the American people the way he treated his contractors on his construction projects and casinos.  You will get nothing! You are not worth it to him. You the people who thought he would somehow improve your life. You will be left bankrupted.

Anyway as I post this, he’s ahead, with a few major states remaining to report final stats.  This could turn out to be very much like the Bush-Gore election in 2000 where Al Gore won the popular vote but not the electoral votes. That one turned out (according to wikipedia):

George Bush

Al Gore

Electoral vote

271

266[2]

States carried

30

20 + DC

Popular vote

50,456,002

50,999,897

Percentage

47.9%

48.4%

This one is also very close! Yikes! I would rather have the next 4 years be with a Lady president quietly doing her job, than with an asshole president tweeting his every fart on the presidential Twitter account! 🙂  But lots of Americans prefer the latter. 

***Update on 11/10/2016:  The popular vote stats for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as of about 4:00 pm PT Thursday 11/10 (with 3 states left to complete reporting) were:

Hillary: 60,071,781   (a lead of 280,646 votes)

Trump: 59,043,017

This is according to the New York Times Election Results http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president

Pray for the USA

It’s the Presidential Election Day here in the U.S., so I’ve titled this post “Pray for the USA” because its been such a contentious election season here and nerves have become so frazzled, with tension and dissension very high, but everyone seems to feel the same today: “So glad it’s almost over!!” – I don’t know who won yet and won’t for several hours, but I did go out and cast my vote!

On election days I make a hike up a very steep hill up to California Street at meeting rooms of Grace Cathedral. There I usually am greeted by an old friend who always works the polls on election days. I was expecting a long, long line, but this time I did go late enough in the morning to thankfully miss the crowd of people voting before their work days. Lots of people vote by mail these days or drop off their ballots at City Hall, but I always like the challenge of getting up that hill! We had almost 3 dozen other ballot measures this year – a very long ballot.

Anyway, long story short, after voting I made a stop up in the Cathedral to cast my little prayer up north to the guy upstairs, you know who I mean… Let’s hope and pray that whoever gets in will do a great job, despite everyone’s fears in this election season. While there, I just had to get out my iPhone for some pics – the organist was practicing today and wonderful music, light and spirituality flowed in there today.

Anyway, sharing my church photos below!

Grace Cathedral, The Old Testament, stained glass, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral, The Old Testament, stained glass, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral, The New Testament, stained glass, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral, The New Testament, stained glass, San Francisco

Inside Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Inside Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral, The Labyrinth with light 1, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral, The Labyrinth with light 1, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral, The Labyrinth with light 2, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral, The Labyrinth with light 2, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral, The Labyrinth with light 3, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral, The Labyrinth with light 3, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral, The Labyrinth with light 4, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral, The Labyrinth with light 4, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral San Francisco

Grace Cathedral from Huntington Park, San Francisco

Grace Cathedral from Huntington Park, San Francisco

Wish us luck with the new president!

Six Things I’ve Learned from this Election Cycle

Six Things I’ve learned from this presidential election cycle:

1. People believe what they want to believe, often regardless of truth.
This malady can befall you whatever your political leaning, but some of us will question something we come across (to make sure it actually is based on facts that can support its truth, while others don’t bother at all with that. If it goes along with what they want to believe – then in their minds – boom! It’s true! This is sometimes hard for me to fathom in an election cycle that has thrived on falsehoods – but it turns out that denial is stronger than truth, and a lot easier.

2. If you say something loudly enough and with enough conviction there are always people who will believe what was said last (presumably loudly, with noteworthy conviction and indignation), despite evidence to the contrary, and especially if your opinion is “backed up” by a clever meme or the opinions of your friends.

3. A sizeable segment of our population are quite sheep-like in their behavior: Tell them “Believe me there’s a good reason I’m asking you to run over to that cliff and jump off! And I’ll tell you when you get there!” And all those sweet beautiful kind-hearted sheep start running towards the cliff and flying off.

4. There’s a huge problem with lack of education in this country on just what a democracy is and why our country was formed the way it was – for example, how many of you even know what separation of powers is, or why it is… or why the founders thought it important to provide for a separation of church and state… Instead we have turned our attention to cell phone games, texting trivia back and forth, working or maybe learning a skill to get a job, but nothing much is put forth to educate us about the country we live in or why its structure is what it is. And we don’t care if our presidential candidate knows nothing about it either! Maybe it would be easier to elect a would-be dictator…

5. No one is perfect, but we want to believe someone who wins the office of president should be perfect. Strangely this only applies to the candidate we have already decided NOT to vote for… based upon Things 1 through 4 above.

6. The American people will get what the majority deserves. What happens AFTER the election should be interesting. That’s when number 5 above kicks in on a different level if your candidate actually won. The entertainment factor and shock value of the election season then wraps up, and a few weeks or months later becomes “Oops! What the F did we just do?!”

Disclaimer: This blog post does not address, support, condemn or claim to solve post-election-season trauma. Good luck! You’re on your own!

The Good The Bad and The Ugly in the Race for President

The Good The Bad and The Ugly in the Race for President shows us some classic images of the Good and Bad Hillary Clinton and the Good and Bad Donald Trump