Dark Money, Betsy DeVos, Blackwater, Lamar Alexander, Erik Prince and our children

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CONNECT THE DOTS.

Jane Mayer in her 2016 New York Times bestseller, Dark Money, intersperses the DeVos family scandals from page 15 to page 360. Yes, Betsy Prince DeVos, the prospective Secretary of Education, is the sister of Erik Prince of Blackwater mercenary infamy.

Senator Lamar Alexander, the elderly republican Chairman of the Health, Eduction and Pension Committee, is pulling DeVos through the cogs of the Congressional Confirmation Hearings. The senior senator’s ultra-right wing history and his connections with the Military Industrial Complex and the Corporate Education Industrial Complex are legion; it would take most of a day to google his background and connections. Sen Alexander is cheating in as many ways as he can get away with in order to skate through the spectacle.

Betsy’s brother, Erik Prince, has garnered hundreds of millions of dollars per contract for his mercenary Blackwater (later renamed XE Services and then Academi) corporation which was and is involved in one deadly and scandalous operation after another.

At this moment, Prince has been exposed as the adviser to the Trump transition team, the same team that vets Cabinet choices, one of which just happens to be his billionaire sister who just revealed that Betsy DeVos has been listed as a director of her mother’s super-right-wing foundation due to a “clerical error.” The Elsa and Edgar Prince Foundation, of which she is officially the director of , happens to channel funds to organizations declared as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Hate groups are one thing; this death squad for public education is worse yet. Our children’s fates are in their hands, their greedy and corrupting hands.

The fact is that Betsy Prince DeVos and Erik Prince should both be thoroughly investigated, tried and jailed. Why will this never happen? Because they are billionaires in a country that does not have “liberty and justice for all.” With their lawyers, money and connections they are truly above the law since they finance the lawmakers, such as Sen. Lamar Alexander through campaign contributions filtered through corporations and foundations interlinked to PACs and Super PACs which are currently considered legal by many lawyers and legislators.

Would you trust your child’s fate with any of these people?

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What are you and your children worth? What are DeVos, Ross, Viola, etc. worth?

You, me and our children are mere collateral damage to billionaires who garner immense personal wealth and power by legalizing their own agendas. The middle class and semi-affluence are shriveling. Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross, Vincent Viola, etc. are billionaires who still refuse to divulge their financial worth or the legally required ethics paperwork. Ten years ago Kurt Vonnegut predicted this.

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“Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage.”

Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (2007)

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Kurt Vonnegut predicted Betsy DeVos

Kurt Vonnegut predicted Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump and the presidential cabinet nominees.

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“And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun.”

Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

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“It is NOT your right to despair.”

The despair we are experiencing with a sociopath billionaire as the unelected President of the United States who is declared President by the Electoral College is palpable. Naming sociopaths of his ilk to his Cabinet is also enough to throw us into despair.

Bernie Sanders gives us all his sage advice, advice which is not for wimps.

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Find others in your area. Unite.

Organize. Refuse to accept what we know is wrong. Get into the streets. Unite.

Never, ever be a willing victim. Unite.

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America’s Public Education for All and America’s Foreign Wars

While the USA rebuilds war torn foreign countries with the aim of helping them flourish independently, the establishment of decent public schools for all is deemed a necessity.

What are our taxes paying for in the foreign countries we have bombed?

Not expensive and unproven high stakes testing of various brand names, not profitable privatization via charter schools, not a labor pool of cheap and uncertified replaceable instructors called teachers, not substituting online learning for actual human and humane teaching, not pretending that data is both knowledge and wisdom, not allowing billionaire’s with so-called philanthropic foundations and propaganda laden think tanks that actually make billions of dollars of tax free money to decide what children must do.

Decent public education for all is a mainstay for peace and prosperity, and everybody knows it. American tax money pays for this – in the foreign countries we bomb.

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The September 2016 issue of Harper’s Magazine has a superb and lengthy account of a panel forum titled Tearing Up the Map. Its focus is on international relations. Of necessity America’s war endgames and rebuilding policies include decent public education for all. Access for all.

“Look at northern Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, which was a hugely successful example of American intervention. Iraqis in the northern third of the country had assisted in what we wanted to do…

We viewed it as a long-term mission where you didn’t have people living in tents. You built long-tern housing for people. You had schools. You grew [what you hoped to be] a generation of political leadership…

We created a safe space for ordinary politics to achieve the legitimate aims of the people.”

Specifically, what thinking and planning preceded this?

“There are societies that are governed by the rule of law by the consent of their people, with freedom of expression. Where these things exist… you see stability, and prosperity, and innovation. Where there are deficits in the rule of law, consensual government, and freedom of expression is where we see problems burgeoning around the international order…

Those of us who enjoy these privileges are losing confidence that these values are universal or that we need to fight to advance them in the world.”

Once we doubt that we need these values, or that we need to fight to maintain these values, we risk stability, prosperity and more among the multiplicity of attributes that America displays before the world.

Who would sell us out?

Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott, Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois’ Gov. Bruce Rauner, Connecticut’s Gov. Dan Malloy, New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie, and every Democratic and Republican elected official whose “ideologies” are in actuality financial profit for themselves and their campaign donors.

The insane financial waste of America’s unending foreign wars robs us and our children of a decent standard of living while slaughtering our own members of the armed forces along with hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings around the earth.

Dismantling public schools for all and supporting the agenda of the powerful and wealthy Educational Industrial Complex owners and investors equate to national suicide. Big Pharma, Big Agra, Big Oil, and Big EduReform investors and money managers are destroying us for their own short term profits.

Corruption as government must end – or we as individuals will end.

Civil disobedience is necessary.

Please do what you can, where you can, and when you can. Organize locally and join together statewide and nationally.

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THERE WAS NO SECOND DEBATE. (Did you hear two separate public education policies?)

Did you hear two separate public education policies?

Neither did I.

The event has been hyped as a spectacle. The world cannot believe what a spectacle we are making of ourselves.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 01: Two fans are seen wearing masks of 2016 presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Kentucky Wildcats at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

TUSCALOOSA, AL – OCTOBER 01: Two fans are seen wearing masks of 2016 presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Kentucky Wildcats at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Please stop calling the TV money-making Theater of the Absurd a debate.
What IS an actual debate?

Every public school in America teaches debate at one level or another. Many high schools and colleges have superb debate teams. The candidates and their handlers know this.

Here are the Rules of Debate.

“Each person has two or three constructive speeches, and two to three rebuttal speeches. The affirmative gives the first constructive speech, and the rebuttals alternate: negative, affirmative, negative, affirmative. The affirmative has both the first and last speeches of the debate.
When worded as a proposition of policy, the topic requires the affirmative to support some specified action by some particular individual or group. The affirmative has the right to make any reasonable definition of each of the terms of the proposition. If the negative challenges the reasonableness of a definition by the affirmative, the judge must accept the definition of the team that shows better grounds for its interpretation of the term.”

See more complete Rules of Debate on this site.

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“Words have meaning.” Imagine the world’s reaction to the so-called Presidential debate.

Having taught Language Arts at the high school level for over a quarter of a century, my students all understood that words have meaning. Being aware of this basic fact is important in all relationships.

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Perhaps that needed to be considered as the world watched the stage for the so-called debate which was a performance to be considered. Words have meaning! What was truly debated regarding public education or dozens of other vital issues?

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Is it actually possible to have a true debate that considers issues and the positions of Presidential candidates?

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Dismantling Public Education: 1926 insight into 2016 corporate education reform programs and tests

Teacher, historian and philosopher Will Durant cut through the ideological propaganda of his era and ours. We must do the same, or we and our children will suffer and die in well indoctrinated semi-ignorance and poverty. Civil disobedience and the dissemination of truth are necessary.

“Perspective was lost. ‘Facts’ replaced understanding; and knowledge , split into a thousand isolated fragments, no longer generated wisdom.”

Just prior to the Great Depression of 1929, this corporate designed caste system was exposed for what it actually was. The brilliant Will Durant pointed out the main social/corporate schism of that time and predicted what is occurring today.

“The gap between life and knowledge grew wider and wider; those who governed could not understand those who thought; and those who wanted to know could not understand those who knew. In the midst of unprecedented learning, popular ignorance flourished and chose its exemplars to rule the great cities of the world; in the midst of sciences endowed and enthroned as never before, new religions [ideologies] were born every day, and old superstitions recaptured the ground they had lost.”

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We are continually lied to and propagandized via corporate controlled media into believing that dehumanized corporate education reform and state mandated standardized high stakes testing are somehow magically transformed into individualized learning via standardized computer programs. The politico/corporate euphemism is “competency based education” which is machine-made profit for the multinational Education Industrial Complex. CBE is a spiffy brand name for mere conformity disguised as formal education.

“Individualized” and “standardized” do not belong in the same sentence. This is illogical logic.

The Industrial Education Complex promises fewer doses of their poison as a “compromise” to their data (fact?) based and highly profitable indoctrination disguised as education.

Our children have become mere consumers and data gatherers/producers. Our children, not the children of the super wealthy,  are being dehumanized and their personal learning and emotional needs are becoming either mechanized or ignored.

Why is all of this being inflicted upon our children as “advanced technology and progress”?

“For if knowledge became too great for communication, it would degenerate into scholasticism and the weak acceptance of authority; mankind would slip into a new age of faith [ideology], worshiping at a respectful distance its new priests [ideological leaders]; and civilization, which had hoped to raise itself upon education disseminated far and wide, would be left precariously based upon a technical erudition that had become the monopoly of an esoteric class… No wonder that all the world applauded when… [people] sounded the call for the removal of these barriers and the humanization of modern knowledge.”

* Will Durant – in the 1933 preface to the second edition of his 1926 book, The Story of Philosophy.

The old enemy of 1926 is the same greed in new 2016 corporate packages. Please do whatever you can do to halt this present assault against our children, the assault that is  dismantling public education. Competency based education and daily online instruction and testing along with the federal guidelines of ESSA are private-profit driven programs that harm our children and diminish their futures.

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“O say can you see… ?” – Are our children being well educated or merely indoctrinated and trained?

“O say can you see… ?”

Are our children in school being indoctrinated rather than well educated? Merely job trained for control and obedience?

“It took 117 years from the time ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ was written in 1814 until it was legally enshrined as the American national anthem in 1931.”

This occurred under President Herbert Hoover (R), he of Great Depression infamy, who also claimed he was a conservative progressive and a reformer while he openly opposed anti-lynching laws, lynchings of blacks in primarily Southern states that might vote for him. He waved the flag, jingoed some jingoisms and put a band-aid on unregulated corporate economic greed. He set himself up for re-election and lost.

“By the time Key wrote these words, the British military included a regiment of former slaves called the Colonial Marines, whom the British had encouraged to escape and then trained and armed.
In fact, just weeks before on August 24, 1814, the Colonial Marines had participated in the Battle of Bladensburg outside Washington, D.C. The Bladensburg fight was a quick, embarrassing defeat for American troops — something Key knew because he’d witnessed it close up as a volunteer aide to an U.S. general. The British forces, including the Colonial Marines, had then continued to Washington the same day, infamously occupying and torching the White House.”

The White House was captured and burned by Black Americans who were freed and recruited by our enemy, the British. How many textbooks today even mention this stark fact?

“Tellingly, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. felt if the song were to belong to the North it would need a new stanza — one he provided, invoking ‘the millions unchained who our birthright have gained.’ By contrast, supporters in the South did not believe it required any changes. ‘Let us never surrender to the North the noble song…’ the Richmond Examiner editorialized in 1861 in the capital of the Confederacy. ‘It is Southern in origin, in sentiments, in poetry, and song. In its association with chivalrous deeds, it is ours.'”

“In the subsequent decades the ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ continued to be contested territory and the subject of what we’d now term a culture war. By the early 1900s, versions of the song that included Holmes’ words were found in schoolbooks in New York, Indiana, Louisiana, and elsewhere.”

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How was this accepted in the textbooks of the time?

“When Confederate veterans realized this, they quickly organized to force state governments, including that of New York, to withdraw the textbooks. The New York Times declared that Holmes’ words were a ‘monstrous perversion’ and Holmes himself was a ‘presumptuous ass.’ (The extra stanza has since largely evaporated and is not part of the anthem’s official lyrics.)”

What does this mean to us and our children in grade school through college? Must the spin of the culture wars and textbook slant for political purposes continue? What do multinational and highly profitable testing corporations choose to teach as reality? Feel good memorization versus critical thinking skills? Propaganda is the controlled lie.

“Our current difficulty in facing our past honestly and soberly strongly suggests that we are still a long way from laying it to rest.”

Adults and children must not be denied the truth. What can and must be done?

Read the full excellent article written by Jefferson Morley and Jon Schwarz in The Intercept. All of the excerpts above are from the article.
MORE PROOF THAT THE U.S. NATIONAL ANTHEM HAS ALWAYS BEEN TAINTED WITH RACISM.”

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What does North Dakota have to do with public school children, veterans with PTSD, and more?

What is American racism in 2016?

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Imagine white men and women being attacked by dark skinned multinational mercenaries with savage dogs trained to mutilate and kill. The police do nothing to stop them. Neither does the federal government.

That would not happen to white people today.


Or could it?

Attack dogs and paid mercenaries were used against union members and those forming unions in the past.

What makes anyone think that this could not happen during a teachers strike in Chicago?

Or a Walmart strike in Georgia?

Or activists in the State of Washington?

If this insanity is allowed to continue as one minority is selected at one event, what makes any of us believe in “liberty and justice for all”?

One minority at a time. One cause or event at a time.

We are human beings. We are all in this together. Our public school children, our veterans with PTSD, our homeless, our minimum wage earners, our special needs children and adults, our ailing parents and grandparents, and more – many more.

North Dakota is the place to stop this insanity – for the good of us all.

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