Privatization, Florida And Betsy DeVos

Monday was a big day for collusion watchers, and I am becoming more optimistic that this unhinged and unfit child-President won’t serve out his term. That said, the throwbacks, theocrats and corrupt wheeler-dealers who populate the Trump Administration are doing incalculable harm every day.

I know there’s a robust competition for Worst Cabinet Member Ever, but even though Scott Pruitt is a strong contender, I really have to cast my vote for Betsy DeVos. (Apparently, mine isn’t the only such vote; I read somewhere that more people know who she is than any current or previous cabinet secretary, and that her disapproval numbers are off the charts.)

Every day, it seems there’s a new assault on sanity coming from DeVos. I’m particularly enraged (and that’s not too strong a word) by her actions favoring for-profit rip-off colleges, but even her willingness to wink at the private-sector “entrepreneurs” making millions by cheating both government and aspiring students pales in comparison to her pro-voucher fixation.

Recently, the Orlando-Sentinal began an investigative series on Florida’s experience with school privatization; anyone who knows anything about DeVos knows that replacing public schools with private ones, preferably Christian, is her most cherished goal.

As Daily Kos described the report,

Writers Leslie Postal, Beth Kassab, and Annie Martin have put together the first part of what promises to be an infuriating look into the swamp of privatization in Florida’s education system. According to the investigation, private schools in Florida have received $1 billion dollars in scholarship money, while not having to promise much of anything—including hiring teachers with college degrees. And that’s just the tip of the rapidly-melting iceberg.

A few of the hair-raising findings:

The limited oversight of Florida’s scholarship programs allowed a principal under investigation for molesting a student at his Brevard County school to open another school under a new name and still receive the money, an Orlando Sentinel investigation found.

Another Central Florida school received millions of dollars in scholarships, sometimes called school vouchers, for nearly a decade even though it repeatedly violated program rules, including hiring staff with criminal convictions.

One Orlando school, which received $500,000 from the public programs last year, has a 24-year-old principal still studying at a community college.

Upset parents sometimes complain to the state, assuming it has some say over academic quality at these private schools. It does not. “They can conduct their schools in the manner they believe to be appropriate,” reads a typical response from the Florida Department of Education to a parent.

It seems that the Florida program doesn’t require private schools accepting vouchers to comply with those silly standards that public schools are expected to meet, including building codes. They need not show evidence that staff members have been trained to do the tasks the schools claim they can perform. They don’t even have to do background checks– although state law does require schools to do criminal background checks, the law doesn’t require the state to check to confirm that they were actually done.

In recent years, while investigating other problems, the education department caught at least eight schools with staff members who had criminal records. One Osceola school was forced to fire its P.E. teacher and coach when the state discovered his record. But the man now works about a mile away, at another private school that takes scholarship students.

Despite these problems, Florida is one of the states that DeVos is bragging about as she tries to destroy education as we know it. A significant percentage of Florida’s voucher schools must be religious, since DeVos has demonstrated an inability to distinguish between education and fundamentalist Christian indoctrination.

Actually, she has demonstrated an inability to do the job. Repeatedly.

48 thoughts on “Privatization, Florida And Betsy DeVos

  1. Let’s all pray for Florida…..because that will solve all of their problems. Right?

    Sorry, my sarcastic side took over.

  2. The harm done by other cabinet member can usually, eventually be undone legally if not prevented by Congress from being carried out and enacted as law. The proposed and scheduled DeVos “God’s Kingdom” of ending public education and the indoctrination (brainwashing) the youth of this entire country regarding creationism – HER views of creationism – cannot and will not be undone by electing the opposite party or changing a law. She has the support of Trump and Pence and Congress seems to be totally ignoring her insidious progress. We, as a country, are still trying to rid anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, religionism, etc., from the minds of generations of Americans, undoing the progress we gained during the civil rights movement and passing of civil rights laws. SCOTUS is already encroaching on and denying basic civil rights and put this government up for sale to the highest bidder – Betsy DeVos’ family and marital fortunes qualified her to bid for and win her position. She will instill the limited thinking processes of creationism in the minds of all school age children unless she is stopped before she can begin. This is one of the most dangerous actions going on “behind the scenes” of Trump’s daily dramas, traumas and Tweeting distracting and foolish comments as we deal with ongoing tragedies and natural disasters. Evidently Trump has never had an unspoken thought flit through his mind; he is a constant distraction.

    DeVos as his choice for Secretary of Education is one of his worst and most dangerous decisions since January 20, 2017, and is one of his decisions which is snaking its way through the process to be enacted as we scramble to keep up with seemingly insurmountdable daily traumas and wait for Congress to begin doing their job.

  3. She is preparing the future generation for theocracy and renewed segregation, either by race, religion or class.

    EdChoice, headquartered right here in Indianapolis, is the driving force behind vouchers. Indiana had well over 300 religious schools accepting vouchers last year. Those using them are more well-to-do and whiter than ever. The genesis of vouchers was to maintain racial segregation in the South. Its consequence is the death of public education everywhere.

    Rural schools in the state may have just started to feel the losses that urban schools have experienced. The loss of funds to a charter school and vouchers has forced the only elementary school in Stinesville, IN, to close. A new charter school opened in town last year, sponsored by Grace College. Over $600,000 went with the “choice” option to leave the public schools. With property tax caps in place, the town has no option to raise enough to offset that loss.

    DeVos’s stated aim is to destroy public education in favor of religious schools. The sad thing is that many of the remonstrators at Stinesville voted for the very people who have put them and their town in jeopardy of drying up. Daniels, Pence, Devos, Heaton, Hollingsworth have not only been voted into office by those effected, but likely will continue to be so in this heavily gerrymandered state. Read ’em and weep!

  4. Here is a link to a Chalk Beat Indiana story regarding how Indiana Virtual School is not providing any education to students, yet continues to receive millions of dollars in state money.

    https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/in/2017/10/31/as-students-signed-up-online-school-hired-barely-any-teachers-but-founders-company-charged-it-millions/

    Why hasn’t this been stopped? To allow this “school” to even exist seems like a crime against the innocent students.

  5. During jury selection a couple days ago two potential jurers stated that if they could not be sure of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt that they would pray about it to be able to come to their decision.

    Many of you might disagree with me, but I was uncomfortably shocked by their statements that they thought prayer would be able to answer any questions they might have about whether someone was guilty of a crime, or not.

    I am of the mind that you make your judgements based only upon the facts that are presented and that those facts must leave no doubt that someone committed the crime, if they are to be convicted. If there is any doubt that the crime took place, based upon the facts presented, then there is no question that jurers must rule Not Guilty. If you are not absolutely sure that a person is quilty of the crime they are charged with, then I do not believe prayer has any place at all in making a decision.

    Just wondering what others think on this matter.

    By the way those two people were not selected to be jurers.

  6. Nancy: I think you are spot on. If there were a god, I think she would be telling those jurors to use the brain and critical thinking skills that nature provided to its highest evolutionary achievement, instead of relying on a plea to a non-existent, omniscient super-power for clarification.

  7. The damage Pruitt is doing can be dealt with in the future. Reagan did the same thing to the E.P.A. But the damage DeVos is doing will last more than a generation, because she is doing her best to turn out a generation of adults who think the way she does.

  8. parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, adult cousins, neighbors should peacefully stage sit-ins at religious charter schools, shut them down, one by one, invoking the First Amendment. From the Boston Tea Party to Reverend Barber’s sit-ins at the NC legislature, Selma to the March on Washington we the people have fought for justice and the American way. Let us fill the jails with citizens fulfilling what the Founders wrote, “Congress shall make no…” Times demand advocates of public, secular education disrupt, peacefully and respectfully, government established religious education. The subterfuge and lie that tax money goes to parents has to end. Secularism must enforce public education. We need a leader.

  9. Nancy; wonder where they were educated and who they voted for in 2016? We don’t need to pray for that answer. Aren’t we supposed to “go into our closet and pray”? When I was sworn in to give my Victim Statement regarding my attack, injury and robbery; I swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth as did everyone sworn in before me. We swore on no Bible and “so help me God” was not part of our swearing-in.

    Remember when “our word is our bond” and deals were sealed with a handshake? The 1st Amendment freedom of speech doesn’t require our speech to be the truth and keeping government out of religion has not kept religion out of our government. Loopholes the current administration takes full advantage of; hence, the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education for the entire nation who plans to rule from her personal pulpit.

  10. The preoccupation with prayer is merely a self-indulgent excuse for not having any ideas or thought processes that accomplish anything in the secular world.

    Betsy DeVos, with her billionaire’s smile, is truly doing evil for the people of the country. Why isn’t anyone screaming about the separation of church and state? Why is public money being allowed to enter into religion-sponsored schools without any outcries from the courts?

    Of course, with the compliant Rick Scott as governor of Florida, anything the Trump-ites want, he is willing to go to his knees in compliance. What a nightmare for our education systems. Who will be next to come under the jaundiced eye of DeVos and her egregious agenda?

    Between her and Pruitt and Sessions and Mnuchin and Cohn and Pence and all the rest of the criminals is waiting, picking the worst is a truly daunting task. Then, that’s what 62 million voters wanted. We may be witnessing the true decline of a once-great civilization. Unless there is a real revolution or a palace coup, I think this cabal of greed and evil will indeed do more harm than we can recover from.

  11. Orlando is a VITAL NODE in the WEBWAR staged by the Religious Right/Far Right.

    Bill Bright [died in 2006] moved his Campus Crusade for Christ which was founded in California in 1951 as well as his Fellowship of Christian Athletes to Orlando around 25 years ago. Schools were one of his principal targets from the beginning.

    His organizations have had a profound effect on the state, especially Jacksonville and the rest of the smaller towns in both North Florida and South Georgia.

    By the way, his brother, who was known as “Bum” Bright, was a past owner of the NFL Dallas Cowboys and was disclosed by the Warren Commission as one of the two people responsible for the WANTED POSTER [targeting JFK] in “The Dallas Morning News” on the day the President was assassinated.

  12. Betsy DeVos is doing exactly the job she was hired to do. She was hired to bring an end to the Department of Education, just as Scott Pruitt was hired to put an end to the EPA. Both are succeeding beyond David Koch’s wildest dream.

  13. quality and training below a county jailer? thats another sad state also. if the devos structure is anything like the koch bros,endowlments, its also a scam to teach a conservitive agenda. though some will base it as christian, neither should not be taught,instead, teach choosing and making informed decisions. our education system lacks be cause of false ideals clobbering the present system. If i was to pick a school for my kids again,its public. they went to school with my thoughts of, never pick a group to hang with,meet everyone,make your decisions,and never spite anyone. smile alot,which was easy for them. and always help someone even if they wont ask.be a pal,and always call the bullys out. sure this is off subject,but,even the kids can prevent this travisty..

  14. The damage that is being done to this nation by the Religious Right is most likely beyond repair. No matter how many hours of civics education the supporters of DeVos’s agenda or Roy Moore may receive, there is an entire network of preachers and talk show radio hosts (not to mention Fox News) who tell the true believers to ignore what the rest of us are saying.

    I wish I could see a solution to the problem, but I fear there isn’t one (at least one that is permissible without unconstitutionally banning religion and certain speakers).

    I regret to say that this noble experiment in self-government appears headed toward failure.

  15. Walter,

    It sure looks that way. Religion, in its infinite capacity to screw up all of mankind over and over, once again rears its empty head to destroy freedom and liberty. The true evil of Betsy DeVos and her ideological ravings about “school choice” is the sucker game she has indeed been hired to perform. Her boss, the con man’s con man, must be thrilled with her work.

    That alone should tell us all we need to know. My positive hope is that he will be ousted very soon and the damage from DeVos and Pruitt limited.

    In 2010 I wrote a book titled: “A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools”. I discussed vouchers and charter schools back then, but had no idea about the horror of Betsy DeVos in Michigan. She just goes to show us all how misguided rich people can be and how they can use their obscene, and often ill-gotten wealth (Amway) in harmful ways.

  16. One thing to admire China for is their long-time ban on religion. Though a small percentage of China’s population are closet-religionistas, China’s important communal/state decisions have been largely untainted by religion. This condition alone may be the reason China is forging ahead of the U S and the rest of the world in so many categories. Perhaps the Chinese really are smarter.

  17. Great post as usual Sheila, thank you.

    And that is trump is an as important as it is to get him out of office soon as possible you’ve nailed the other aspect of this whole daily walking catastrophe. His cabinet is made up of people that are woefully, a word that I’m not sure he even accurately describes it, incompetent. He said he wanted to shake everything up and basically what he’s done is hired a wrecking crew. Whether it’s the environment, education, housing, or foreign relations, the people that he’s hired and that goofball Congress has confirmed are unraveling the underpinnings of our government every day. When you match that with what is being done in many states throughout the country, obviously including this one, you have the American people and their welfare and safety right on the chopping block.

    I’ve been nuts about politics since I was around six years old which was 58 years ago and I’ve never ever seen anything like this nor have I seen a situation where the countervailing party, the Democratic Party, or other supposedly thoughtful Americans, stand back and do and say nothing of any consequence. Our whole country is basically being run by a very small minority of Americans that do not read, do not listen, and do not reason. People like Betsy De Vos, Scott Pruitt, and the others, thrive in such an environment with them knowing that the vast majority of Americans are not adequately tuned into what they’re doing and that such a situation in this case is helped along by a foreign power intent on the stabilizing this country as it is tried to do with several European countries and other countries throughout the world.

    We’re dealing with a “perfect storm” of chaos with a President that encourages it and with people like Mrs. De Vos that are pleased as punch to be members of the wrecking crew he is created. They also have good old Steve Bannon out there trying to make things even worse by dragging every possible reprobate out to be a candidate from the far right to undermine any Republican Federal legislator that begins to wake up to what’s going on, even slightly. Meanwhile, with the countervailing political party in complete meltdown and leaderless essentially, all we’re doing is pissing and moaning about what is going on and with only a few brave exceptions nothing else. There has to be a way of rallying the majority of this country are appalled by what they’re seeing every day and wondering what new catastrophe has occurred when they wake up every morning or come home from work every day being out of contact with television or radio or the Internet and are slowly going crazy because of what they see and hear that they know is not right.

    As a people and as a nation we are better than this, or at least, I hope we still are because we’re going to have to be. God bless America!!!

  18. DeVos is a discrace to this country in so many ways, but she was not the architect of Florida’s corrupt public education system and their attempt to monetize it for profit. That honor rests with “low-energy” Jeb Bush who, as you’ll recall, hired a goon from Indiana named Tony Bennett.

  19. I get totally frustrated with the media that repeats one or two events over and over while ignoring these other issues that are so important to our future. Thanks, Sheila, for bringing these imporatant issues to our attention. I share as broadly as I can.

  20. Walter,

    “I wish I could see a solution to the problem, but I fear there isn’t one (at least one that is permissible without unconstitutionally banning religion and certain speakers).”

    Einstein was right. You can’t solve a problem at the same level that created it. Our only chance, if there is one, is to go DEEPER. Democracy here in America is at “death’s door.” We need to stop kidding ourselves. We can no longer save it by ourselves. We need help. The Germans tried to find it with the British in the 30’s, but the attempt failed.

    We need to succeed where the Germans failed. Donald Trump is not only destroying our democracy, he is also helping to undermine the body politic of other nations as well as the systems which support peace on our planet. Our only chance, at this point in time, is to successfully organize with those who have a worldwide perspective and understand the grave danger to Planet Earth created by the likes of Donald Trump and his supporters.

    The Germans waited too long before asking for help. When they did it was too late.

  21. Religion: the all time greatest con. Believe in my fairy tales, and I promise you will not die, so long as you (and this is the important part) give me your money.

    Democracy can not and will not survive a majority religious extremist populace. The people simply will not be rational, reasonable, or possess the critical thinking skills to make good decisions.

    They tell us religion in general is declining, but it is a very close race, isn’t it? It really comes down not to red and blue, but religious and rational. And unfortunately our founding fathers, infected with the sickness of another great con, slavery, developed a political system that once handed the power to the slavers but now hands the power to those who speak for our magic sky fairy. Can Civil War II be averted?

  22. Over it,

    Thanks for calling the spade that is burying our society a shovel. Everyone gets so touchy about their religion and religious freedom without realizing that adhering to the dogma of religion makes a person LESS free.

    Yes, fairy tales still rule. I think the sensitivity of many religious people is a function of their true lack of reality appreciation, and how humans have perverted any positive outcomes with their basic lust for power and control. DeVos and Pruitt are exploiting that ignorance and foolishness to our great harm.

    This is one of those times when I don’t mind saying I’m glad I’m old.

  23. What percentage of our Indiana tax revenue is used to support “private” schools? ACLU: Could there be a class action to demand a refund of public money not used for public education? Has the Indiana law been crafted to prevent such an action?

  24. A thought:

    It has always bugged me that many people when asked proudly proclaim to be “fiscally conservative”, as compared to what? Fiscally wasteful? Fiscally ambivalent? Fiscally profligate?

    We are all fiscally conservative except for those who have so much “fiscally” that throwing it away is meaningless. Money has no value to them.

    Because of that perspective plus other inputs (Sheila’s included) I see the sides now as those who believe in a better future which requires investment and those who believe that the end is in sight so every person for themselves in ransacking the neighborhood.

    Betsy could be either one who money has no value for or one selling the seed corn for personal profit because why not if there’s to be no future. The latter I think. She’s preparing to buy a seat at the head table after the Second Coming.

    Of course that’s a self fulfilling prophecy. People who see no future will have no future.

    So to me now the sides are “liberal” socially and fiscally meaning optimistic and willing to bet on the future or “pessimistic authoritarian “ which means grabbing both money and power with which to benefit as much as possible from the collapse.

    If we don’t win in 2020 or before the “we have no future” prophecy will be fulfilled.

  25. Kris Kobach gets some consideration. New Harvard.Yale study shows Kobach’s Crosscheck program designed to toss legal Dem voters off voter rolls is 99% inaccurate.

    Rick Perry says righteous fossil fuels can help stop sexual assaults.

    DeVos and others have no business in government except mischief and profiteering.

  26. The extreme depths of de-education, brain washing, rewriting or selective amnesia of American History was recently exemplified by White House chief of staff John Kelly. Kelly was a former Marine Corps general. He said on FOX News, > He viewed Confederate general Robert E. Lee as “an honorable man”. Kelly further said, “But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”

    Side Bar > Kelly’s comments were painfully to read. How anyone can say fighting for slavery was “honorable” requires the foundational belief that slavery was acceptable – there is no rational way around it.

    Historian Gregory Downs, the author of “After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War” and a professor at the University of California — Davis. He offered additional context for Kelly’s claims, saying they “reflect a regrettable but common way that Americans turn away from the centrality of slavery to the Civil War and the Confederate cause.”

    Kelly certainly proves the saying – The nut does not fall far from the tree. The Tree of Trump and Pence will bear bitter fruit.

  27. We are being trained in civic and scientific ignorance for sure but also obscured cultural anthropology.

    One of the things that defines a culture are our heroes.

    Rober E Lee? Steve Bannon? Trump/Pence/McConnell/Ryan? The Koch’s? Betsy DeVoss? Pruitt/Sessions/Perry? The Trump Family? Roger Aisles?

    God help us.

  28. To All,

    Our major problem is organization. The use of “wedge issues” have made us irrelevant. And thus have created INCOMPETENT leadership along the way. We need to take a strong look at what has happened to us and quickly re-organize before it is too late.

    The Civil War is a good example. Lincoln replaced his INCOMPETENT generals when they failed to deliver. How could he do otherwise. Everyone knew it was a war.

    What our so-called pro-democracy leaders have done from the beginning is to deny there is a war by denying the relevant facts in order to convince us there is no urgent reason to replace them. BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT!BULLSHIT!

    William has been right, all along, as much as he is upsetting to listen to him. This is a first. A WAR with only one side. How can you beat that? Explain to me where I’m wrong. You better do it fast. This phenomenon has been going on continually from at least 1970.

    Our #1 Problem: The RACIST OLIGARCHY is in control of both sides of the WAR.

  29. To me it’s obvious that the one accidental bit of Trumptelligence is that his instincts to hog the spotlight turn out to be politically functional. He is surviving by recognizing that we each get X minutes of news every day and the more he can occupy it the less is available for the news of his failures.

    The question is, given this find, what should opposition politicians do? What is the strategy to beat his strategy?

  30. Pete,

    The question is, given this find, what should opposition politicians do? What is the strategy to beat his strategy?

    Forget the politicians.

    We need equal time. A REVOLUTION might be just the answer. A REVOLUTION confined to the pro-democracy community. A REVOLUTION to throw out the CHARLATANS. I’ll volunteer to be the Chief Prosecutor.

    Let’s use the lessons learned from the saga of Harvey Weinstein to our advantage. Why not try the REAL TRUTH for once in politics. At least for a day or two.

  31. To borrow a phrase from Monotonous’ comments; “The extreme depths of de-education, brain washing, rewriting or selective amnesia of American History was recently exemplified by White House chief of staff John Kelly.”, we need to prepare for a new edition of American History in school books. How will DeVos work the Civil War into Bible verses; or will she, as I read was being done to (or considered for) the new Texas history books, it was described as bringing the Africans to this country where jobs, homes, food, clothing and medical care would be provided to one and all?

    “Recently, the Orlando-Sentinal began an investigative series on Florida’s experience with school privatization; anyone who knows anything about DeVos knows that replacing public schools with private ones, preferably Christian, is her most cherished goal.”

    Has she given any indication which cult of Christianity or which version of the Bible she will base her education system on? With Pence currently as Vice President, being readied to take Trump’s place when he at last implodes, Indiana has much more than Florida to worry about from DeVos as we are already the record holding state for voucher students.

  32. I’ll be glad to furnish my resume for examination. If qualified, others should do the same.

    Please, help me out. Who or where should we submit our resumes?

  33. Speaking of ethics: In an explosive and “deeply disturbing” piece for Politico Magazine on Thursday, former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Donna Brazile drew upon her brief experience at the organization’s helm to reveal the extent to which the 2016 nomination process was “rigged” in favor of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    In her account, Brazile details the deep “internal corruption” of the DNC, the role the ostensibly neutral governing body played as a “fundraising clearing house” for the Clinton team, and how those dynamics unfairly handicapped primary challenger Bernie Sanders. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/11/02/deeply-disturbing-bombshell-piece-exposes-unethical-clinton-dnc-fundraising-deal

    Just one more point – on 2/3/2013 Bill Clinton journeyed all the way to Osaka, Japan to deliver a speech. He was paid $700,000 by the Amway Corporation. Betsy DeVos is married to Dick DeVos, the former CEO of the multi-level marketing company Amway, and is the daughter-in-law of Amway’s billionaire co-founder, Richard DeVos.
    The political aristocracy is an interconnected web.

    We proles always have Orwell’s 1984 as guide to our futures.
    “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”
    ― George Orwell, 1984

  34. Religion – the opiate of the people who revel in self-subjugation.
    Humans have for millennia enslaved themselves to various mythologies by rejecting critical thinking.

  35. DeVos and Pruitt were deliberately nominated to destroy Education and the EPA. Their efforts to dismantle these two departments are succeeding all to well and too swiftly. It’s a shame our gutless , neutered (polite word!) GOP Senators chose not to do their elected job of denying confirmation to Devos and Pruitt, not to mention all the other misfit Cabinet appointments.

    Elsewhere, the destroyers are busily at work, dismantling and undoing every segment of our government: Justice, State, Ethics, HEW, Immigration, DACA , Women’s Rights – you name it. The destroyers are merrily doing their dirty deeds. Smoke screens hopefully will not cover them indefinitely if if we stir up enough wind to blow away the smoke – “…but the Emperor has no clothes!”

    As Americans and taxpayers, we should demand constructive, not destructive, action from our elected representatives. It is time for them (and us) to wake up and smell the coffee – it’s being brewed with acorns, NOT premium beans!

    My fervent hope every day is that Robert Mueller has started the domino effect and will continue his preogress up the line – one at a time – until he reachs the Donald.

    Isn’t it time to end this farce called the Trump Presidency?

  36. Marv – Let’s keep preaching REVOLUTION. It doesn’t have to be bloody. But it must somehow rescue us from the deleterious effects of the religious and political “wrong”.
    November 6, 2018, the notoriously neglected MIDTERM elections, our opportunity to exercise OUR political power. Support Bob Mueller and his team whose work may save us.

  37. Monotonous,

    “Just one more point – on 2/3/2013 Bill Clinton journeyed all the way to Osaka, Japan to deliver a speech. He was paid $700,000 by the Amway Corporation. Betsy DeVos is married to Dick DeVos, the former CEO of the multi-level marketing company Amway, and is the daughter-in-law of Amway’s billionaire co-founder, Richard DeVos.
    The political aristocracy is an interconnected web”

    All the facts we need. It’s an open and shut case. Forget the politicians for the time being.

    “Revolution Now” was a book by Bill Bright, founder of the Campus Crusade for Christ. It was instrumental in the revolution within conservative America. You can’t copyright words such as REVOLUTION NOW!

    It’s past time for a COUNTERVAILING REVOLUTION to save our DEMOCRACY. I believe Santa Claus Trump is bringing us a magnificent gift for Christmas….. AN ALARM CLOCK. PROBABLY A KNOCK-OFF. BUT WHO CARES.

    Who else could do it?

    REVOLUTION NOW! We need to start with the prosecution of our pro-democracy CHARLATANS. You don’t need a license to do that in the Court of Public Opinion. We don’t have to wait for Christmas.

  38. OMG,

    Thanks. You see what we need to do. First, recapture the Democratic Party for democracy. And second, to win the Mid Term elections. It’s a necessity. Both are doable.

  39. December 23, 1776

    “THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”

    ~Thomas Paine, “The Crisis”

  40. Vernon:

    As I think may have been noted here before, our courts, Indiana in particular for example, but virtually everywhere else across the Country as well, have bought the pernicious “fiction,” that there are no “church/state” constitutional implications in allowing parents to use voucher money from the government to send their kids to religious schools — which religious schools can then use for whatever purpose including promoting whatever brand of religion they are peddling — because the voucher money is being given to the parents, who can choose any private school they want.

    Therefore, according to these court decisions, the government isn’t giving money to religious schools. It’s a parent — using that same government money — if anyone, who is promoting religion. Which is just fine — according to the Indiana Supreme Court and other courts — just as long as the government doesn’t send public funds directly to a church or religious school, but instead uses a “middleman” to cleanse the public funds of its government “taint.” Ironic how the federal government doesn’t buy that same “fiction” in money laundering cases.

    And Nancy: Just a quibble. I agree with you 100% that praying for God to tell you whether someone charged with a crime is guilty or innocent is a travesty, and any such person proclaiming that they would do so, should automatically be disqualified from serving on a criminal jury. If there is a God, that God’s role is to decide that “soul’s” fate at the Pearly Gates, not whether a human being has committed a crime and should be punished here on Earth.

    The quibble is, there is no requirement, in order to properly find a defendant guilty of a crime, that a juror must first find or conclude that the defendant is guilty beyond “all” doubt (a fairly common misconception, BTW).

    The requirement is that the State must prove guilt beyond a “reasonable” doubt. Although courts and attorneys have often struggled to define and explain what constitutes a “reasonable” doubt in one’s mind, in the affairs of human beings and this world, there is little that can be proved “beyond” all doubt.

  41. Pruitt and DeVos are more than destroying our real and educational environments – they and their like-minded Trump cabinet members are destroying our future. Our time and space here is limited; our future is our children and theirs, and theirs, and theirs. . . .

    Are we leaving them a better America? Quite the contrary, and aside from damage to our future wrought by Pruitt, DeVos and other such vandals in the flesh, we had a tax bill submitted by the Republicans today which taxes the unborn (speaking of taxation without representation which sparked a revolution some 240 years ago). It gives away nearly two trillion dollars to big Wall Street banks, multinational corporations and rich foreign investors while cutting federal programs and initiatives vital to our continuation as a socially cohesive society, and all in order to ensure continuation of robust campaign contributions from rich libertarian nihilists such as the Kochs and Mercers, and all in the name of the pious claim of “paying for such tax cuts” to the rich and corporate class which, it is claimed, will (along with predicted economic growth) result in “ensuring budget neutrality.” To this and other such fairy tales I would add that the dish ran away with the spoon and that the moon is composed of green cheese.

    Query – why should the rest of us “pay” for tax cuts for today’s plutocrats? Well, we only pay for some of such cuts. The rest go on the bill for future generations to pay. Is the undergirding rationale for tax cuts taxation without representation? Apparently. Rule 23 class actions are not available to the unborn, and in my opinion those of us who are living are not resisting this monstrosity that was introduced today with sufficient zeal. It may pass, but even if amended, don’t hold your breath to see any substantial cuts in our giveaways to the big banks, multinationals and rich foreign investors (think Russian kleptocrats, oil-rich middle easterners et al.).

    I don’t think it a good idea to add impoverishment of our posterity to the list of bad air, water, and dumb-downed education we are leaving them. They deserve better. What to do? Change those who claim to represent your interests with those who represent your interests both now and for the future.

  42. David F – your statement that the state must prove guilt beyond anreasonable doubt is correct and exactly the reason why we jurors felt compelled to decide not guilty yesterday. in the case we served on. While we all beleived that he was guilty, the state’s case still left room for a tidbit of reasonable doubt. We all left the courthouse feeling that there was a LOT more to the story than we were being told. This was confirmed to us after the fact.

  43. why pick on DeVos? Usual lifers in the corrupt educational – governmental complex are devoted to securing their jobs and their buddies jobs, ALL public school hacks, keeping both lavish taxpayer spending increasng AND educational performance decreasing. DeVos is NOT part of the system, and has money of her own, so she can impartially try to improve things after the public systems have clearly failed. Most of American history we DID NOT have a Federal Dept. of Education, and clearly survived. So many people on here seem to have NO practical experience in this area, just reading Hillary’s memoirs for “true stories”

  44. Nancy:
    That is exactly how our criminal justice system is designed to work. When you want to use the truly awesome power of the State, including the police, prosecutors, and courts to lock up a fellow citizen and human being, it should be the Government’s responsibility and duty to prove to 12 fellow citizens in a court of law that the person is guilty to a reasonable moral certitude — one of the definitions often given for what constitutes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Sometimes you leave feeling that justice wasn’t done, but if the State can’t convince 12 jurors, after the police have investigated the case, and the prosecutor has decided what charges to file, then the system has worked as it is supposed to.

  45. “We all left the courthouse feeling that there was a LOT more to the story than we were being told. This was confirmed to us after the fact.”

    Nancy; there is a very simple explanation for your words copied pasted above. You may remember I was mugged, injured and robbed on my own driveway at 11:00 in the morning 3 1/2 years ago. I have permanent injuries and facial scars; my 2 credit cards were used 8 times near my home within a few hours of the attack. Displaced disc in neck, bone damage to left hip and knee causing pain day and night. The 90 year old victim was elbowed in the face, breaking her glasses causing several facial cuts and knocking one tooth out of her denture. I don’t know what all the other three victims lost but do know about cash and credit cards. The attacker and driver were each charged with 4 counts of robbery and 1 count of fraud for using one of the stolen cards.

    Each use of each credit card should have resulted in fraud and forgery charges. No battery charges were filed; the deputy prosecutor informed me, “The more charges we file, the more charges we have to prove.” That is why you did not have all pertinent information on which to base your decision; you probably didn’t learn the actual number of crimes committed because the defendant was never charged. The more charges they file, the more charges they have to prove…I made this information part of my Victim Impact Statement in court. There was no trial in my case; a plea bargain more than two years after the arrest; the second year the defendant wrote numerous letters to the deputy prosecutor offering to plead guilty and offering to serve more time with each letter. The defendant’s rights were also abused.

    The justice systems on all levels throughout this country is screwed up; think a new Justice Center here in Indianapolis will improve the situation? Vouchers, of course, do NOT go to the parents but to the chosen schools. The small town in the mid-west won their court battle to have the state pay for shredded tires to be used in one religious school’s playground. I believe the reasoning was that state education tax dollars are to be used for school improvements.

  46. JoAnn, I think you are correct. There were other charges against the defendent that we weren’t involved in. He is apparently wuite the repeat offender.

  47. Betsy Devos is a follower of Jeb Bush’s ‘education reforms’ which Mitch Daniels adopted wholesale. So did Mike Pence whose campaigns have depended on Devos financial contributions. It’s highly doubtful Devos would be in the cabinet without Pence’s efforts. The foxes are now in the educational hen house.

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