Rex Tillerson's hearings for Secretary of State started yesterday, while Mike Pompeo's hearing for CIA chief and Wilbur Ross's hearing for Secretary of Commerce start today, and you can express your opposition to all three nominees in one phone call to your Senators. Like yesterday, I urge you to keep it to one sentence per item: you can say you oppose Mr. Tillerson because of his obvious conflicts of interest as a corporate CEO, that you oppose Mr. Pompeo because he wants to put people who use email and internet encryption in jail, and that you oppose Mr. Ross because he'll hand over more and more of our economy to his fellow banksters. I had trouble getting through to my Senators yesterday (I even left a message at one's local office), which may be a good thing -- or it may not, if you suspect they're just not picking up the phone. But the country we love hasn't gone over to the dark side just yet: if we found out our Senators just weren't picking up the phone, one call to our local TV and radio stations would kill that behavior dead. And please do not tolerate any guff from your Senators about them "deferring to the President's prerogative to pick his own advisers" -- the only people they're supposed to "defer" to is us.
Speaking of Presidential "prerogatives," H.R. 371/S. 65, the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act, would require Presidents and Vice Presidents (who could very quickly become Presidents if tragedy strikes, after all!) to sell off any personal assets that might interfere with their ability to execute their duty to the American people, and also to put those personal assets in a true blind trust managed by someone independent. Gosh, could anything be happening to prompt some of our Congressfolk to propose such a thing? Does our incoming President (to be inaugurated in eight days) owe hundreds of millions of dollars to a German bank which just so happens to be staring down YUGE fines from our Justice Department? Has he been working the phones with world leaders to push the Trump brand? Has he refused to sell off his holdings, instead proposing that his children run his businesses? I kid, of course -- the answer to all of these questions is yes, and as Americans, we can do better, and we deserve better. Hence Demand Progress helps you tell your Reps and Senators to support the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act.
Finally, President Obama used his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to declare most of the Arctic Ocean and parts of the Atlantic Ocean off-limits to oil and gas drillers -- but Mr. Obama's successor, Donald Trump, has this YUGE hard-on to drill everywhere in America, clean air and clean water be damned. A President Trump very likely couldn't simply overturn the Obama bans, but two Alaska Congressfolk (Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young) are apparently contemplating legislation that would either rescind the Obama bans or limit the President's authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act generally. Of course, we know that gas and oil drilling in the Arctic won't be so easy to clean up as it was in the Gulf (or, ahem, as it would have been if BP had made the effort), and we also know that developing renewable energy sources is much better for us in the long run. So Penn Environment helps you tell your Congressfolk to keep protecting these Arctic and Atlantic Ocean areas from pollution.