Stuck In The Swamp

Can you stand one more diatribe about Betsy DeVos?

According to Gail Collins at the New York Times, DeVos isn’t just devoting herself to the destruction of public elementary and high schools. She’s after public universities too.

DeVos is the superrich Republican donor who once led a crusade to reform troubled Michigan public schools by turning them into truly terrible private ones. Now she’s in the Trump cabinet, and she seems to be dedicating a lot of her time to, um, lowering higher education.

When no one was watching she hired a lot of people that come from the for-profit colleges,” complained Senator Patty Murray of Washington, who feels the additions are far more interested in protecting their old associates than in overseeing them. Murray is the top Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, otherwise known as HELP. These days it’s hard to tell whether that’s a promise of assistance or a cry of distress.

To oversee the critical issue of fraud in higher education, DeVos picked Julian Schmoke Jr., whose former job was a dean of — yes! — a for-profit university. Specifically a school named DeVry. Last year, under fire from state prosecutors and the Federal Trade Commission, DeVry agreed to pay $100 million to students who complained that they had been misled by its recruitment pitch.

Over the past several years, we have learned that students attending these for-profit institutions pay far more, and get far less, than they would at a public college. They have huge dropout rates, and even larger rates of default on the government grants that almost all of them take out. (On the other hand, they have very low rates of employment, despite the rosy promises made by these institutions.)

Although there are some legitimate private colleges, the statistics are pretty devastating.

“The outcomes for people who take out loans at for-profits are abysmal,” said Ben Miller of the Center for American Progress. He added that almost all the students borrow, for courses they could sometimes get for one sixth the price at a community college. And about half the people who borrow default.

As the stories about deceitful for-profits mounted, the Obama administration came up with regulations making it easier for students to refuse to pay their loans if a school had misrepresented their chances of graduating and getting a lucrative career. The rules were supposed to go into effect in July, but DeVos has delayed their implementation.

Not only has DeVos “delayed” implementation of the new regulations, under her management the Department of Education has stopped approving new fraud claims against for-profits, leaving a backlog of more than 87,000.

Give her credit for one educational advance, though: Betsy DeVos is giving us all a lesson on what happens when big political contributions buy a cabinet position for a theocratic ignoramus.


  1. Slip-up here: “Although there are some legitimate private colleges” should be clear the discussion is about for-profit private colleges.

    Otherwise, another informative blog. Thanks

  2. She was chosen for the position for her theocratic beliefs backed by her very deep pockets to buy the post. The fact remains that there is little if any outcry from the party in power at the corruption and graft not seen at this level since the golden era of robber barons and Teapot Dome.

    In one superlative DT is right. He is the most corrupt politician in the history of our country and that is saying something.

    I wonder how much longer the Congress will let him go in trying to use the Justice Department and the FBI for political gain against his opponents before they move to impeach.

  3. I have always categorized the education “reformers” into categories based on their ideology. There are the Mitch Daniels and Rahm Emanuel types that hate teacher unions; there are the Jeb Bush and John Kasich types that want to let people make money off of education through Charter Schools; and the Mike Pence type that believes all schools should be private, white and Christian. Since DeVos became Ed secretary I have added a new category of just bat shit crazy. Is her ideology based on money, race, religion? What ever it is, it isn’t working, which could be he goal.

  4. Reagan tried the same thing. He appointed a guy to be Secretary of Education who was supposed to eliminate the position. Well, he got there and decided the agency was necessary, so he didn’t make waves.

    Unfortunately, Trump found a true believer. Instead of eliminating the agency, she is eliminating the public school system.

  5. We’re not containing this Monster. He has no shame. He’s like a SPREADING GLOB. In a few months, or maybe even less, there’s not going to be anything left for us to fight for.

    glob (glab) n. [prob. < GLOBULE] a rounded mass or lump, as of jelly.

  6. JD; DeVos was also chosen by Trump to provide fast and easy access to her brother’s Blackwater Troops to supply manpower with no regulations for the war he fully intends to start..with someone.

    Student loan providers began requiring co-signers a few years ago; no jobs for the college graduates holding those huge loan amounts but another source for repayment was provided, putting middle-income and low-income families deeper in debt.

  7. Marv Kramer – Add to definition of “glob”:

    glob (glab) n. [prob. < GLOBULE] a rounded mass or lump, as of jelly.
    or, as Donald Trump.

  8. There’s an old term that I think describes Ms. DeVos perfectly: blithering idiot! As part of this current administration that also makes her very dangerous.

  9. another alec,another treason by congress to rule with money, did anyone ever notice that chinas goverment has a princible of controling the money, everywhere to their advantage. maybe we should be looking at what these money hogs have in mind, im sure their sorority is well informed,and plans made to control the currency in America. what kind of seminars do they attend,and why,and what is the ultimate plan? obviously the republicans and some dems support such a move. then fold up goverment,and then rule? theres alot of decent journalist who enjoy digging, maybe some real time investigation in to matters we cant attend.

  10. It is not only Trump but his ideological surrogates who wish to privatize everything in sight, or even out of sight. Let’s expand the blame game to include Republican senators who approved such as Pruitt and DeVos to their high positions and vow to remove such aiders and abettors of the Bannon-inspired deconstruction of the American administrative state (also known as the destruction of our democracy). Let’s also vow to remove Wall Street from this takeover, a Wall Street bent on securitization of anything that wiggles while simultaneously assessing and distributing risk in our “market economy,” a market already privatized and highly resistant to regulation and desperately needed corporate governance.
    So whatever happened to Lincoln’s description of “that government of the people, by the people and for the people?” The of, by and for is now reserved for the rich and corporate class. We the People are ATMs for the greedy and powerful, hardly what Lincoln had in mind at Gettysburg with thousands of bodies on a battlefield fighting for an end to treason and slavery. What to do? Unelect these ideologues, restore our tattered democratic values and follow Lincoln’s credo to the letter.

  11. I’m not sure what all of the fuss is about, clearly education is no longer necessary for a country to be successful and there is a mountain of data that says that educated people are also unruly people. They’ve learned not only facts, which in themselves are troublesome, but they’ve also learned to think for themselves. Consider that some of them believe in science and aren’t Christian and consider sexism and racism dysfunctional and have read the Constitution and don’t worship guns. Who needs people like that?

    Not to be sexist or anything but let me just say barefoot and pregnant is Godly.

  12. OMG,

    This morning I will be researching MONSTER MOVIES on the internet. I believe I’ve seen the SPREADING GLOB before in a monster movie when I was a kid. The monsters are always DEFEATED in the movies after causing much grief. It comes to mind that society’s answer was MELTING THE GLOB.

    I’m excited, the answer to our problems might be found in that GENRE.

    If I’m right, I’ll share my SPECIAL MONSTER REPORT with you.

  13. This whole Trump administration is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. If it isn’t the Russia probe, it’s the AG being caught in lies. If it isn’t some little turd from Oklahoma destroying our environmental controls one bribe at a time, it’s some ideological idiot like DeVos ripping apart the very fabric of our society.

    The Congressional Republicans are mostly the whores of corporate/banking America and they want Trump to sign their draconian legislation to further the cause of the oligarchs who lust for power and even more wealth. The point is that it’s not just Trump or one of his minions of destruction, it’s a systemic problem the United States is wallowing in.

    Racism and bigotry are destroying our communities one murder at a time, and nobody with any power or influence seems willing to step up and lead a movement to return us to some sort of sanity. The Democratic Party is in shambles and continue to in-fight to its own demise.

    Who or what is going to coalesce sanity for our recovery? The current situation is as bad as history has ever seen in our great land. Betsy DeVos is merely a noticeable symptom of our sickness.

  14. Marv; you are probably thinking of “The Blob”, Steve McQueen’s first starring roll. I remember it well.

  15. eek! I cannot believe I misspelled the word “role” as “roll”, I need another cup of coffee

  16. Marv, any thoughts?

    Rand Paul v. Rene Boucher- Which one said “Sorry, not my cup of tea”?
    If they are neighbors, is this the first time the romance went sour or south?
    Is this a sign that Trump’s groping is contagious among the GOP?

    Did you see “Pete” today at 8:22am? Brilliant satire.

  17. JoAnn,

    Thanks. Like you pointed out, I must be thinking about “The Blob” with Steve McQueen. I didn’t realize it was released in 1958, it goes back to when I was in college. A few minutes ago, I found a poster from the movie, it’s a SPREADING GLOB with Steve McQueen trying to stop it with what looks like a torch.

    A “glob” is also used in an anti-Nazi poster, I’m familiar with, showing the spread of Nazism throughout Europe.

  18. OMG,

    “Did you see “Pete” today at 8:22am? Brilliant satire.”

    I agree. Also thought Gerald and Vernon’s thoughts were right on target.

    We’re ALL finally getting on the same page. The answer to a WEBWAR attack is to isolate the VITAL NODES and then create a SWARM. It’s about individuals, with their own unique abilities, attacking from the same squadron, like our pilots achieved against the Japanese aircraft carriers at the Battle of Midway, during the first months of World War II. It changed the direction of the war in the Pacific.

  19. Vernon Turner at 8:25am
    I am too old and infirm at 92 but you could be the energetic young liberal who could lead us Dems to drain the swamp starting now with the Congress and in 2020, if I endure, with the presidency.
    Sounds like you could be our savior.

  20. OMG,

    Thank you for the compliment. But, I am 75 and past those days. If I was 55, I would be running for something. What I CAN and DO do is write for blogs, write books (4 on and be active in Progressive Democrats of America in Denver. As a former educator, I see my contribution in training new candidates with reframing the whole narrative in order to defeat Republicans with their own lies.

    Ultimately, the point is to to keep fighting the good fight until we can fight no longer.

    I hope you will buy and read my books. Thanks again.

  21. OMG,

    The Democratic Party is not going to be in a position to win anything that is significant until we are capable of TACKLING the GLOB. So far, we’ve missed every chance.

  22. Vernon Turner – I searched Amazon but can’t identify your work. What is the moniker you use on Amazon?

  23. Betsy will be lucky to last six more months in Washington. She can’t find knowledgeable people who will work for her in Washington.

    Tick tock tick tock…

  24. I am too old to run for office, but I can still speak out when I am on my daily rounds, whether it be the grocery, gas station, drug store, dry cleaners, FedEx store, hair dresser or barber – use every chance you get. I have talked to many perfect strangers who are sick about our country’s downward spiral. Pester your representatives in Congress; don’t forget your local State Legislature.

    The trickle UP effect: don’t forget water can seep UP as well as DOWN!

  25. I’m with you, Carole. Contrary to belittlers, the Democratic Party is far from crashing. We are only in a state of mild disarray with organizational catfights, all of which will evaporate in 2018 when faced with the alternatives of Pruitts, De Voses and other Trumpists who are doing their best to “deconstruct” the administrative state (aka our democracy) via the advice of a self-professed Leninist adviser (though not currently in residence), one Bannon. We need to spread the word at every opportunity that our democracy is at stake and to resist those who would remove our democracy in favor of some hazy description of a new authoritarian state. In such connection, I hear this morning that Trump intends to talk with Putin while on his trip to the Orient. Perhaps, as I have noted elsewhere, and note here in passing, Putin can give him some tips on how to shoot reporters and poison one’s political opponents, programs which have had considerable success in Moscow. In all events, keep on talking, Carole.

  26. OMG,

    Vernon Turner or Vern Turner. The books you’ll be interested in are:
    “A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools”
    “Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third-World Status”
    “Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism”

  27. OMG…or anyone interested in a good read:
    Product Details
    Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and CapitalismFeb 5, 2015
    by Vernon Turner III
    $16.95 $ 16 95 Prime
    Get it by Tuesday, Nov 7
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  28. We need all the education we can get. I would suggest this TRIPLE FEATURE HORROR SHOW for a deeper understanding of America’s BODY POLITIC and where some of the NUTTY IDEAS are coming from.


    THE BLOG-1958


    When I was in high school I worked at the restaurant on the St. Johns River which was the location in the movie where the MONSTER FROM THE BLACK LAGOON came ashore. The owner of The Lobster House was my next door neighbor. The movie was shot at Silver Springs and in Jacksonville.

    As I have mentioned previously, in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I was an officer and General Counsel of the McLendon Corporation who controlled Cielo Studios where THE KILLER SHREWS was made. The DNA of our body politic has been altered the same as it was in the movie, where Gordon McLendon plays the role of the mad scientist, whose mistake destroyed the island.

    Not only was McLendon investigated by the Warren Commission for the JFK assassination but also was one of the founders of the CIA Alumni Club which I’m sure GEORGE BUSH must also be a member. As an intelligence officer in W.W. II, McLendon was an expert in PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE.

    When he committed suicide in 1988, Bunker Hunt the most influential force in the Southern Baptist Convention, headquartered in Dallas, identified McLendon’s body. That relationship has always been covered-up. The massive anti-Semitism and racism we are now facing goes back to the MACHINATIONS of those two starting in the late 60’s with the creation of Robert Strauss as a SECRET FRONT MAN for the Religious Right/Radical Right. This is the same Robert Strauss, who operated both for the Democrats and the Republicans at the highest level.

    Is it any wonder we’re now “up Shit’s Creek without a paddle?”

  29. As our president starts his trip in Asia here is an opinion that I believe is of importance to Liberals.  A few quotes to get you to read then a link to the article.  

    “It’s not that I’m a Trump supporter. It’s just that you, my friend, are actively undermining the very foundations of everything you purport to defend.”  

    “It’s about our shared values,” my friends might say to me. “Trump is attacking them. Liberal democracy is at stake. This is existential.”
    “Democracy is just fine,” I might answer. “Liberalism, however, is slitting its own throat.”

    For someone who had previously bought into that liberal consensus, these are disorienting times, to be sure. But the truth is, democracy is not only working, it’s working quite well. Popular discontent with an overweening and increasingly ossified ideology is finding its voice across Europe, and has found a (deeply flawed) tribune in the United States. The future of liberalism depends on smart politicians getting the message loud and clear, and then working out a path forward that preserves all the elements of the philosophical tradition that are worth preserving. The shrill screeching of the high priests of the liberal clerisy are not helping things at all.

  30. According to Bill Clinton’s memoirs, he met with Robert Strauss to work out his TRIANGULATION [surrender] STRATEGY. Strauss’s roommate at the University of Texas was John Connolly, later a Republican Governor of Texas who, as I remember, was convicted of bribery. In 1938, they sent a joint congratulatory telegram to Hitler for his annexation of the Sudetenland. It probably was only a prank. Or was it? All of this has been in print for some time and never has been denied by the participants.

    As a matter of fact, I discussed the Strauss/Connolly connection on Dallas television in the late 80’s.

  31. Anthony,

    “Democracy is just fine,” I might answer. “Liberalism, however, is slitting its own throat.”

    Liberalism might be “slitting its own throat,” but the author doesn’t know what he is talking about when he makes the statement: “Democracy is just fine.”

  32. correction: “Strauss’s roommate at the University of Texas was John Connolly, later a Republican Governor of Texas who, as I remember, was CONVICTED of bribery”

    I remembered wrongly. He wasn’t convicted, he was ACQUITTED.

    The indictment, trial and acquittal from Wikipedia:

    In July 1974, Connally was indicted for allegedly pocketing $10,000 for influencing a milk price decision by Texas lawyer Jake Jacobsen. At his April 1975 trial, he called as character witnesses former First Ladies Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Texas Senator Barbara Jordan (the first female, black state senator in Texas history), Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, and BILLY GRAHAM. According to a November 1979 profile by Paul Burka in Texas Monthly magazine, “The case turned first on whether Connally would simultaneously be tried for perjury—some embarrassing inconsistencies had crept into his pretrial testimony—but his lawyer was able to prevent it, and then the issue came down to whether John Connally or Jake Jacobsen was telling the truth.” On the strength of the defense’s prominent character witnesses, Connally was acquitted.

  33. I agree that DeVos is only a symptom of the whole mess we have going on right now. Another mass shooting (at a CHURCH!!!!), more corruption and lies from #45’s administration, another trip to visit ole Vlad and surely, more embarrassing words will come out the orange ignoramus’ fish lips. Surely! I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m so outraged fatigued by politics that I’m not even surprised that the DNC had to put in their 2 cents worth. WTF is going on in this country? It’s coming from all sides.

    Some of you mentioned that if they were only 55, they would be running for something. Well, that makes me feel awful. I would love to put this 58 yr old passion into political office but it’s totally corrupt. Every single cabinet member and congress critter all of the way to the top is nothing but corruption. I thought Italy was bad with the mafia! We have to figure out a way to clean up this mess! We MUST get money out of politics. We must stop this funneling of our tax dollars into the millionaires and billionaires pockets and get this straight again. Or was it ever?

    I don’t have the patience to read these books that are mentioned. I have the attention span of a gnat lately.

    /rant over. Carry on. sigh

  34. Imagine Jesus Christ being elected to Congress: perfect intentions, wisdom in spades, all the manipulatory tools well honed; and yet not a single bill the holy guy tries to write and pass can get the necessary majority among assholes to become law. To me that impossible scenario says a lot about the pickle Uncle Sam is in. And it suggests that maybe Christ’s decision to kick some money lender’s ass is another lesson that has found its second necessity.

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