‘Faithless electors’ explain their last-ditch attempt to stop Donald Trump

With the body poised to confirm Donald Trump as the next US president on Monday, a handful of faithless electors explain why theyre putting up a fight

On Monday, the 538 members of the electoral college will gather in state capitols across the country to cast their votes for the next president of the United States. With 306 electoral college votes under his belt to Hillary Clintons 232, that person will almost certainly be Donald Trump.

The iota of doubt that remains comes from an unprecedented eruption of discontent from electors, the body of 538 people chosen by the two main political parties to cast the electoral college vote. Under the peculiarities of the American system, the president is not chosen directly by a one person-one vote policy: indeed, Clinton won the popular vote on 8 November by some 2.9m ballots.

Instead, it is the indirect electoral college vote, parceled out by a complicated formula and awarded to the candidate who won each state, that is the final arbiter of who occupies the White House. This year, at least eight of the 538 have indicated that they intend to break ranks with modern tradition and vote against their party in a protest directed squarely against Trump.

All but one of those rebels are Democratic, which is not coincidental. Many of these Democrats see the electoral college as the last-ditch hope of stopping Trump the idea being that if their example can encourage their Republican fellow electors to follow suit and rally around a compromise alternative candidate, the Trump presidency can yet be abated.

The chances of that are exceptionally slim. The only Republican rebel to come out so far is Christopher Suprun, an elector from Texas. On the Republican side, nobody knows the extent, if any, of a potential uprising by electors beyond him. A survey by Associated Press found little enthusiasm among Republican electors for joining the rebellion.

Yet the Harvard law professor Larry Lessig said this week that at least 20 Republican electors were seriously considering defecting. No names of that elusive 20 have emerged and no one knows how many will actually carry through with the protest by voting for an alternative Republican to Trump.

All that we do know is that 2016 will go down in the history books as a seismic year for the electoral college. Here, six of the so-called faithless electors who intend to rebel on Monday explain in their own words what is driving their historic action.

Polly Baca, 75, Colorado

Polly Baca. Photograph: Facebook

In June 1968, I was in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles when Robert Kennedy, who I was working for as a campaign staffer, was assassinated. Kennedy was my hero and I was devastated by his death.

But the despair I had then doesnt even come close to how Im feeling now. Today Im afraid for my country. Im afraid that we will be propelled into another war. My fear of Donald Trump is that his intent is not to ensure that the US is solid and safe and a leader in the world, but to aggrandize himself and make money.

I had the privilege when I was younger of going twice to the Soviet Union as a guest of the American council of young political leaders. I learned there that the main factors that distinguish a dictatorship are efforts to destroy freedom of assembly and freedom of speech and the press. Those are precisely the same freedoms that Trump has been attacking relentlessly.

As electors, we have the responsibility to stop him. I would love to see 37 Republican electors vote for Hillary Clinton on Monday after all, she did win the popular vote. But if we cant get that, then I am willing to support a viable Republican alternative.

Christopher Suprun, 42, Texas

Though Donald Trump won my state of Texas, Im intending to write in a different Republican candidate when I come to vote. I havent decided yet who that will be.

I know that I am not alone. There are other Republican electors who are considering voting for a not-Trump candidate who have talked to me about it. I am very comfortable that I will not be the only Republican on Monday voting according to their conscience.

Christopher Suprun. Photograph: Evans Caglage/The Dallas Morning News

Donald Trump is a demagogue. He is not thinking about our national well-being or security. Rather he appears to be profiting from foreign connections that are forbidden under our constitution.

Our founding fathers specifically created the electoral college to protect smaller states from the tyranny of the majority. Electors should have a deliberative role otherwise, why not just use jelly beans or bricks to deliver the final decision?

Since I announced my intention to vote according to my conscience, I have received about half a dozen death threats against me and my family. More happily, a person Ive known for years who traces his ancestry back to the American revolution told me he thinks his forebears would have been proud of what Im doing, which made me feel pretty good.

Bret Chiafalo, 38, Washington state

Stopping Donald Trump is an emergency. Its a moral imperative we simply have to prevent a man like Trump from being elected to the presidency.

Theres thousands of reasons why I say that. He has shown himself repeatedly on Twitter, in his phone call to Taiwan that overturned decades of diplomacy, in his clear ability to hold a grudge about the smallest of slights, that he is incapable of controlling his feelings. Such hot-headedness can cause wars.

Bret Chiafalo. Photograph: Elaine Thompson/AP

Id also point to the way he seems to be influenced by foreign powers. The founding fathers specifically warned us about that when they framed the electoral college. Russia is only one such example of the conflicts of interest that stand between Trumps business holdings around the world and the countrys interests.

It is assumed that electors must just vote sheep-like for the party candidate who wins their state. But I believe in the rule of law. Between the constitution and Federalist 68 Alexander Hamiltons treatise that sets out the purpose of the electoral college it is clear that we have the duty to block anyone who is unfit for the presidency.

I stand to be fined up to $1,000 by the state of Washington. Thats a lot of money. But a thousand bucks versus a moral imperative no contest.

Levi Guerra, 19, Washington state

When I signed up to be an elector in May it was at a time of great conflict within the Democratic party between Hillary Clinton supporters and Bernie Sanders supporters. But we all managed to come together around one promise: no Trump. That was the pledge I made when I joined the electoral college that I would do everything I could to block Trump.

Levi Guerra. Photograph: Courtsey of Levi Guerra

This is the first time Ive been old enough to vote in a presidential election. I expect elected officials to keep their promises and I think it would be wrong not to hold myself to the same standard.

So Im doing everything in my power to keep that pledge. That means casting my electoral college ballot not for Clinton, who won my state of Washington, but for a compromise Republican candidate who other Republican electors can rally around to stop Trump getting elected. This is not about the Democratic or Republican party; it is about unifying us all for the benefit of the country.

For the longest time, the electoral college has been a mysterious thing for so many Americans. Since our action started, many more people have started to think about the system and debate how it could be used to protect what we hold dear.

Vinz Koller, 53, California

Ive been in DC this week and I went to look at the original Federalist Papers and in particular Federalist 68. Theres something about seeing the actual documents, realizing how prescient the founding fathers were. They certainly knew about the threat of foreign influence, about how foreign powers seek to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.

Hillary Clinton and Vinz Koller. Photograph: Barbara Kinney/Hillary for America

I leapt when I read that. Its what we have right now: a candidate who during the campaign invited the Russians to spy on us and use cyberwarfare against our country. Donald Trump encouraged that to happen, and the evidence that we have suggests thats precisely what Russia did. It strikes me as remarkable that documents that are more than 200 years old could have anticipated something like that happening.

The founding fathers also feared what they called the little arts of popularity. I take that to mean populism and demagoguery. They were afraid of a snake oil salesman running for the highest office and frankly, thats what we got.

Monday will be a test of what the electoral college was created for. If ever theres a moment in which we should be exercising our power to act in the face of danger, it is this one.

Micheal Baca, 24, Colorado

People have called me a faithless elector. I want to push back on that: Im a conscientious elector or faithful elector. I believe Im being faithful to the constitution by being true to my conscience, rather than just being a rubber stamp.

I believe Donald Trump to be a demagogue and that the majority of Americans would have a different Republican in the White House. Thats not overturning the result of the election that the Republicans won, but it is standing up to a clear and present danger.

Micheal Baca. Photograph: Courtesy of Michael Baca

So I am putting my country above my party and coming together with Republican electors. The hope is that we can unite around a more responsible Republican to lead this country.

When Bret Chiafalo and I came together over social media to form the Hamilton electors, some time around 3am on 9 November, we knew this would be a long shot. But since then the odds have moved considerably in our favor.

Weve sparked a national debate. People are starting to understand that electors are individuals, not just numbers on the map.

Whoever is inaugurated as president on 20 January, I will fully support them and respect the office they hold. Even if that person is Donald Trump. I want our country to be the greatest. But at least Ill know that I did everything I could, through sheer will and a heck of a lot of help.

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George A Romero: the zombie master whose ideas infected American cinema

With his satirical masterpiece Night of the Living Dead the director revolutionised low-budget film-making and inspired an epidemic of imitators, from World War Z to 28 Days Later

He was the film-maker who invented not merely a genre, but a whole grammar of can-do, low-budget American independent film-making. George A Romeros 1968 masterpiece Night of the Living Dead was a crisply shot monochrome horror made for less than $120,000 and loosely inspired by Richard Mathesons story I Am Legend; the movie is about a zombie uprising apparently caused by contamination from space. The virus brought back from a far-off planet has caused recently deceased people to return from the dead and prey upon the living. They need to eat flesh. The term used in the film is ghoul but zombie became universally used later to describe the phenomenon which Romero had created.

His lethally brilliant satirical nightmare behaved insouciantly, as if it was nothing more than a very effective shocker, scaring up big profits from thrill-seeking young moviegoers. But it succeeded in denouncing American consumerism, conformism, careerism and the countrys own secret fear of the future. The science age and the age of prosperity these were things that the US was theoretically embracing, but nurturing a puritan fear that something awful was on the way, some terrible punishment not included in the Book Of Revelations. The image that George A Romero conjured up in Night of the Living Dead was truly hellish: people driven to eat each other, never satisfied, always existing in a waking-catatonic state of hunger and thirst and bestial hostility. Americans wanted new stuff, and they were employed by corporations who needed to sell new stuff. Always the new car the new kitchen the new washing machine

Romero had taken the traditional image of the zombie and made of it a key contemporary image of horror and despair. Zombie-ism as a folk belief among African slaves in Haiti had long been thought to have a political dimension: the horrifying idea of a dead body rising from the grave is the one thing an oppressed people might have to scare the oppressor. Cases of reported zombie-ism became widely and excitably reported in the US during the American occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934. Romeros genius was to intuit a way of evolving this zombie-ism. First they were used in Haiti to scare America; now America was using them to scare itself.

Romeros wildly successful film brought with it a string of sequels including Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, as well as other microbial strains of epidemic horror, such as his The Crazies and his vampire film Martin. But Night of the Living Dead also inaugurated a new strain of low-budget horror, and a business model for exploitation film-making which was robustly profitable for decades. Generations of film-directors who wanted to make a scary movie knew that zombies were the easiest and most inexpensive to put on camera. You needed a lot of extras, and they could with relatively cheap-and-cheerful makeup be made to look grisly and gory. Then they had to shuffle along looking bestial. And they could be filmed in long-shot. An awful lot easier than werewolves or vampires. And these films could make money.

In the last 20 years, Romeros zombie genre was reinvented and gussied up in various ways. Danny Boyles 28 Days Later put zombies back on the map, making them scarier and more athletic able to run, in fact, which gave them a new edge on the uninfected. And Edgar Wrights madly successful Shaun of the Dead tapped explicitly into Romeros strain of black comedy. Then came the massive worldwide smash World War Z and the TV show The Walking Dead. George A Romero had very mixed feelings about these colossal hits; he described himself wistfully as someone who used to be the only guy in the zombie playground. But once the big names moved in, few were interested in his own new pitches for modestly budgeted zombie movies, in which the satire thrived by being left implicit. It now had to be a high-concept top-heavy blockbuster with the social commentary squeezed out. His zombie films were lean and mean; but Romero was worried that these flashy big-money zombie 2.0 and 3.0 spectaculars were just lumbering on without a beady eye on the state of the nation. Could it be that without Romero, the zombie genre was getting well zombiefied?

Increasingly, Romero can be seen as a brilliant satirist and I think his zombies arent so much like vampires or werewolves or the Frankenstein monster. They are the heirs of Jonathan Swifts Struldbrugs in Gullivers Travels, the grotesque human beings who cannot die, who are immortal, but without eternal youth, and just get older and more ravaged, and yet ever more malign and greedy in their unending old age. Both Swift and Romero had a brilliantly sharp and tactless sense of the hubris and arrogance in their own polite societies.

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How to Start a Blog and Make Money Within 6 Months – HuffPost


How to Start a Blog and Make Money Within 6 Months
Affiliate marketing: You can also make money blogging by promoting products you don't own. You can earn a commission when your visitors purchase a product by clicking on your special affiliate link. To find relevant products that you can promote on

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First impressions from Cowboys training camp: All good so far – Blogging The Boys (blog)

Blogging The Boys (blog)

First impressions from Cowboys training camp: All good so far
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Blogging The Boys Blogging The Boys, a Dallas Cowboys fan community. Log In or Sign Up · Log In · Sign Up · Fanposts · Fanshots · Sections; Library; Cowboys · Odds · Shop · About · Masthead · Community Guidelines · StubHub; More. All 319 blogs on.

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The Kardashian Khristmas Kard Was A Giant Plot Twist

So every year the Kardashian-Jenner-Disick-West klan releases a Christmas card. But which is the greater family tradition: the card or using their family to make money? Tbt to when they did a “girls only” card feat Bruce and Mason because Kanye DGAF, Lamar was a crack head, Scott was probs drunk, and Rob was in hiding. Ahhh family.

Well last year they skipped the card because they “ran out of time,” but this year they are back and better than ever. But instead of showing off Kim’s boobs and Kris’s latest plastic surgery, they decided to just include the grandchildren. It’s such a fine line between celebrating and exploiting the next generation.

North, Penelope, Mason, and Reign wear all black and our favorite SOS facial expressions. Penelope truly takes the cake in this pic. Her hair is curled, and she’s wearing a low-cut shirt. Did Kylie style this baby? If a picture is worth a thousand words, this was includes “WTF is happening” “Why are we here” “Where is my publicist” and “Who is paying for therapy this week?”

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We're live blogging WWE Battleground, last stop before SummerSlam – A.V. Club (blog)

A.V. Club (blog)

We're live blogging WWE Battleground, last stop before SummerSlam
A.V. Club (blog)
On anticipation alone, WWE Battleground feels like a placeholder show. The top four matches are reprises of previous bouts, so there's little novelty favor. But the show should yield some answers as we head into WWE's second biggest show of the year, …

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Where are the rest of the tech IPOs?

WhenSnap went public in early March, it opened up the floodgates after what had been a stagnant period for tech IPOs. The warm investor reception for the Snapchat parenthelped pave the way for MuleSoft, Alteryx, Elevate, Okta, Netshoes, Yext, Cloudera and Carvana, which all debuted in March or April.

But then in May we only had Appian.And June isnt expected to be a strong month either.

Considering the Nasdaqand S&P are at record highs and the latest batch of IPOs performed pretty well, every late-staged venture company thats ready should be trying to go public right now. Sowhere are they?

Experts say that more are coming, but it might not be the blockbuster year that some were hoping for.

We will see a few, but I believe the predictions of a very robust first half of the year will prove to have been way too optimistic, said Lise Buyer, an IPO consultant and partner at Class V Group. The combination of plenty of cash in the bank and a disconnect between last years private and comparable public valuations will, in my opinion, keep the market plodding, but not galloping along.

Shes referring to all the money thrown at unicorns over the past few years. While some investors have been more cautious over the last year or so, many of these late-stage startups still have enough runway to stay private for now.

Some companies are also dreading the possibility of a down round IPO, wheretheres a disconnect between the public market cap and the pre-IPO valuation. Early investors and employees still make money in this scenario, but the investors and employees who came along latercan get burned. The stigma of losing people money can be hard to recover from.

Butothers in the IPO community remain hopeful that 2017 will finish strong.

We talked all about this on our TechCrunchs Equity podcast this week (IPOs are a regular theme on the show). Rick Kline, a partner at Goodwin Procter, who has worked on recent IPOs including Okta and Snap, said that theres still a nice pipeline of companies that will come out.

He said thatpart of the reason for the pause isthat some of the upcoming IPOs werent expecting the window to open yet. Anybodywho saw the really good performance in Q1 or April, wouldnt be able to access the market in May, because it takes a few months to get ready.

Kline said he expects a few in June and then September, October is when you should look for the biggest bump in IPO activity.

Bob McCooey, senior vice president of Nasdaqs Listing Services, is also expecting the fall to be a great time. This post-Labor Day to Thanksgiving window could be one of the busiest that Ive seen in the decade that Ive been here. He said hes been getting a significant amount of inbound phone calls.

He believes, the window is now fully open.

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Don’t believe in Taylor Swift’s new relationship? Now you can make money off her eventual sadness

Taylor Swift’s new relationship with English actor Tom Hiddleston may be little more than a rumor, but you can already purchase very “real” relationship insurance from several retailers on Chinese website Taobao.

Taobao is China’s largest online market place. And it offers no shortage of unusual merchandise, including portable “pee sticks” for children.

Newest to the list of items that will make you scratch your head and ask, “Do I need this?” is insurance that pays out when Swift and Hiddleston call it splits.

Fans and haters alike can purchase relationship insurance for as little as 1 yuan, with 100 percent returns if, and when, Hiddleswift falls apart.

According to,some have spent as much as 400 yuan, hoping to capitalize on the “double your money” deal.

One buyer said: “If I bought a million, I would make a lot. These stars break up all the time which gives us the opportunity to earn a lot of money.” He wanted to buy more, but the seller refunded his money and advised him on a limit.

We have to admit, it does sound like a “too good to be true” deal. But it isn’t the first of its kind. Sellers have also offered breakup insurance packages for other celebrity couples such as Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom.

Hey, nothing mends a broken heart like a little retail therapy. So if you’re a devoted Swift fan, this insurance might just be a very wise move.

H/T Mashable

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How Martin Shkreli used social media to fuel his short-selling shenanigans – STAT


How Martin Shkreli used social media to fuel his short-selling shenanigans
This would allow stock speculators who were shorting the company's stock to profit if a decline took place. Shkreli often stated that he could or would short a company that he was exposing, and often bragged on Twitter about making money this way.

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SDCC '17: Live Blogging the Marvel Movie panel from Hall H – Comics Beat

Comics Beat

SDCC '17: Live Blogging the Marvel Movie panel from Hall H
Comics Beat
As opposed to this mornings' intimate view of Jason Momoa's bare feet, we're way in the back for the Marvel Studios panel. However we'll endeavor to bring you all the action. So far the action involves fire marshals. The room is absolutely packed. I

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