We the People Petitions

Written April 16, 2017 by Winston Crockett Fredrickson

We the People Petitions were created in 2011 by the Obama Administration as a way for people to express their concerns to the president. Although the Trump administration did keep this part of the White House website going, they have yet to respond to a single petition. As of this writing, they have a total on nine petitions that have crossed the threshold of 100,000 “signatures” needed to receive some sort of official response. The top petition, called Immediately release Donald Trump’s full tax returns, with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance received a total of 1,090,439 electronic signatures, more that ten times the threshold required within the time limit between its creation on January 20th and the deadline of February 19th. Several others have received numbers far higher than this threshold also, such as the second most popular with more than 300,000 supporters demanding that the president divest his financial assets or put them in a blind trust, which he has not done of yet. Three more have over twice the required number: Repeal the NFA, Preserve the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and #ChineseLivesMatters Calling a federal investigation into the United Airlines incident on 10th April 2017 which was started and received all of its votes within just the last week. The NFA is the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the petition says it is to remove regulations on 2ndamendment rights, among other things. Others that have exceeded the threshold also request that the president not defund the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, resign from office, release tax returns, lift a ban on growing hemp as a material for use in products such as cloth and rope, and officially name the sea between Japan and Korea both the “East Sea” as it is known in Korea, and the “Sea of Japan” as it is known in Japan.

It should be noted that the Obama administration also sometimes took quite a while to come out with a response to petitions from the website. According to Wikipedia, who cited the White House website (which has been reset), as of October 16, 2016 the Obama administration had answered 321 petitions with an average response time of 117 days. Currently, according to the White House website, the waiting time on average is 39 days.
Sources:

We the People Petitions site: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov Accessed 16th of April, 2017
Information on petitions past the threshold: http://whpetitions.info Accessed 16th of April, 2017
Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_the_People_%28petitioning_system%29 Accessed 16th of April, 2017

photo credit: Geoff Livingston <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/9397412@N06/32567287266″>A Fence Divides Us</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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Donald’s Border Wall Sticks in My Craw

I came across an article in The Hill about how Democrats are perhaps winning the fight against the wall Trump wants to build. It’s nice to have a bit of good news. 

While I realize the need for border security, this wall thing really sticks in my craw, as my Texas Gram used to say. Expensive, ugly, unnecessary. Just another thing that the Donald wants to pin to his chest and show us how great he is.

I tend to agree with what Senator John McCain said in this article about the wall just making the Mexicans very angry at US. It would be nice if we could reach out hands out to our neighbors with some aid and friendship instead of installing a barrier. We could find a friendly solution to the illegal border crossings if we were of a mind to do it.

photo credit: acase1968 Plaza de Mexiamora via photopin (license)

Empowerment Scholarships for Students: What Does That Even Mean?

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Arizona now has passed legislation that will begin the destruction of public education. If you haven’t already heard, the so called empowerment scholarships program will take money from public schools and allow parents to use it for whatever school, be it public, private, charter, or home school they choose.

It’s being touted as giving “choice” to parents as to where they send their children, but parents could already choose where to send their children. This bill takes money from public schools, and doesn’t provide enough money to lower or middle class people to allow them to choose anything better than what they’ve chosen before.

Essentially, this law will give a little extra money to wealthy people who we’re already going to pay to send their children to expensive private schools.

The people at the very conservative Center for Policy Arizona are thrilled as well as Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Secretary of Education, who tweeted Thursday night calling it a “big win for students and parents in Arizona.” And here is our Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s news release. He’s just proud as a peacock of the beautiful egg he has layed.


Here’s an interesting article about school choice from a parent’s perspective that a friend of mine shared with me today .

We Don’t Need Vouchers for Education

IMPORTANT EDUCATION ACTION from AZ Senator Steve Farley’s Facebook page today.
URGENT: Governor Ducey is pushing hard on House and Senate Republicans to support the ESA voucher bill to give away $5,400 debit cards per student from our public schools to partially pay for their private school or homeschool, and make all 1.1 millions students eligible. This would destroy our public education system.

Start today, and do not stop until this session ends: Please contact all House and Senate Republicans and urge them politely to hold firm and reject any ESA voucher program bill. We cannot allow this to happen. Share this widely!

Senator Worsley could be the deciding vote:

(602)926-5700

bworsley@az.leg.gov

Change the Nominee, Not the Rules

I clipped the following directly from an indivisibleguide.com email I received this morning. —

After their embarrassing failure on TrumpCare, Republicans really want a win. Their plan? To get an extreme, unpopular nominee confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court this Friday, before they have to answer to you over the upcoming recess. But there are a couple of flaws in this scheme: first, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is short on the votes he needs, and second, you’re going to use recess to hold them accountable, no matter what happens this week (just ask Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)).

Change the nominee, not the rules

Nuclear is not an option 

Gorsuch’s extreme record has left him short of the 60 votes traditionally required to close debate and vote on a Supreme Court nominee. Instead of admitting defeat and requesting a more mainstream nominee, McConnell is now threatening to invoke the incredibly unpopular “nuclear option” and change 230 years of Senate precedent to eliminate the filibuster and ram Gorsuch through with fewer than 60 votes.

Many Republicans are very nervous about blowing up the rules over this one vote—and they should be. If you have Democratic senators, tell them to stand strong, and if you have Republican senators, tell them to back away from the nuclear option. The message is simple: if your Supreme Court nominee is so extreme that he can’t get to 60 votes, you don’t change the rules, you change the nominee!

Does your Senator work for you or Mitch McConnell?

Despite McConnell’s best efforts to rally his Republican caucus behind the “nuclear option” ahead of recess, many Republican senators have deep reservations about permanently altering one of our branches of government to ram Gorsuch through. Some have expressed reservations publicly; some are questioning McConnell’s leadership behind closed doors. Word travels fast in D.C., and by now it is an open secret that the ten senators below are feeling nervous. Do any of them represent you? If so, your calls this week matter now more than ever.

Dean Heller (R-NV), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Bob Corker (R-TN), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelley Capito (R-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Letter to Senator Sylvia Allen

Senator Allen

As an Arizonan for my entire life I’m asking you not to restrict our voter rights. Say NO to these three bills:

HCR2002 HCR2007 HB2320

You might like to pretend these are reasonable changes to the Voter Protection Act, but in actuality this is another example of government overreach, something you are against, right?

Would love to hear from you.

Previous Blog; More Information

Update: Senator Allen actually wrote me back! Well, knock me down with a feather! Was her response encouraging or useful in any way? You be the judge. Feel free to comment or send me a message with your comments.

From Sylvia Allen

Mo 3. Apr 09:48

To Me

RE: Voter Protection

.  When laws are passed at the legislature we have the ability to go back and rectify any unseen consequences.  We do this many times.  When the referendum process was put into our state constitution there was a check provide that the state legislature could rectify any unseen consequences.  However, we no longer have the ability to do so.  Once a law is created by the referendum process we are stuck with it even when there are huge problems with the law.  Only way to fix is to put those changes back on the ballot which cost thousands of tax dollars.  Because there is no check or balance then the process must be above reproach.  Making laws is a serious business and the unseen consequences can’t be seen until after the law is in place.  

There has been fraud over the years in the signatures gathered and in who is putting these initiatives on the ballot.  Most are from out of state with money to manipulate the public and the vote.

So I support being sure that the process is followed correctly.

Thanks,

Senator Allen

Net Neutrality: Trump’s Next Target?

Net Neutrality Is Trump’s Next Target Here’s an article in the New York Times.

I guess I should have expected this. Drumpf isn’t satisfied with giving the rights of your browsing habits to your own internet provider. Now he wants to let companies run the whole internet.

The internet just isn’t capitalist enough for them, so they are going to “fix” it.

Please get upset, protest, yell, call, write. Do something! Don’t just sit there.

Making Abortion Closer to Illegal in AZ

Ain’t it grand a New Anti-Choice Bill is about to become law. This Arizona Bill, SB1367, has now passed the house and senate of our state legislature and goes to Governor Ducey’s desk, where he will surely sign it into law taking us just a little further toward making abortion illegal. This law will require doctors to perform extreme life saving measures on all fetuses and to make a report. Really the whole idea is to frighten and horrify women. Don’t you think?

Here’s another article. This one is from the Arizona Daily Sun

Update: Governor Ducey signed the bill into law on Friday March 31, 2017.