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Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 84,200

About Me

Retired teacher who sees much harm to public education from the "reforms" being pushed by corporations. Privatizing education is the wrong way to go. Children can not be treated as products, thought of in terms of profit and loss.

Journal Archives

Sanders on Rachel tonight. Wants to debate GOPers to call them out on their words.

Published on Jun 2, 2015

Senator Bernie Sanders is trying to push for debates between the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates now, because, he says, the GOP is “getting away with murder” and they need to be called out on that.

Sanders is pushing for more Democratic debates, as well as cross-party debates, which would be unheard of in the modern era of presidential campaigning. Rachel Maddow asked Sanders tonight why he would want to do that.

Sanders explained, “In a sense, the Republicans get away with murder. They have an absolutely reactionary agenda.”

He argued that a cross-party debate would be a great opportunity to cut out the “political gossip” and honestly confront each other on the issues.

So will any Republicans actually go for this? (Spoiler: most likely no.)
Posted by madfloridian | Wed Jun 3, 2015, 12:16 AM (6 replies)

Voice told the "Family" founder to bust unions. And Jesus said minister to members of "elite:...

instead of to the down and out to minister to the up and out.

When I read these two paragraphs my very first thought was that this movement that started in the 1930s was relevant to how the 1% have come into power.

It appears to be relevant to the constant efforts to cut programs to the poor, needy, and elderly while all the while enriching the coffers of the very rich.

From The Week:

DC's 'invisible army' for Christ

What does the Family believe?

Its theology is vague, elastic, and focused on power. The basic precepts came to Vereide in a vision in 1935, according to the group’s literature. Living in Seattle, he came to believe that union organizing in the city was communist-inspired. Jesus appeared to him in the form of the president of U.S. Steel, who told him to gather “key men”—prominent businessmen and political leaders—to beat back the unions in His name. Vereide’s recruiting efforts spread eastward, and in 1941 he arrived in Washington, where he began cultivating friendships with powerful people and setting up prayer groups. By then, Vereide was convinced that conventional Christianity had it backwards: Instead of ministering to the down-and-out, Jesus wanted believers to tend to the “up-and-out”—members of America’s elite who lacked intimacy with Jesus. In Vereide’s worldview, free-market capitalism is divinely ordained, and unions and regulations are a form of blasphemy.

There's more from In These Times:

Scandal-linked “The Family” Says: Jesus Wants You to Bust Unions

One night, while lying in bed fretting about socialists, Wobblies, and a Swedish Communist who, he was sure, planned to bring Seattle under the control of Moscow, Vereide received a visitation: a voice, and a light in the dark, bright and blinding. The next day he met a friend, a wealthy businessman and former major, and the two men agreed upon a spiritual plan. They enlisted nineteen business executives in a weekly breakfast meeting and together they prayed, convinced that Jesus alone could redeem Seattle and crush the radical unions. They wanted to give Jesus a vessel, and so they asked God to raise up a leader. One of their number, a city councilman named Arthur Langlie, stood and said, “I am ready to let God use me.” Langlie was made first mayor and later governor, backed in both campaigns by money and muscle from his prayer-breakfast friends, whose number had rapidly multiplied.

Some shocking views of the group known as The Family or the Fellowship.

There are reasons why some have concerns about their goals.

Interestingly enough the group was founded as an anti-union movement.

While 700 plus policemen patrolled the 1934 union strikes, The Family founder prayed with the elite.

These are a couple of paragraphs I transcribed from Jeff Sharlet's book The Family.

This part showed a sharp contrast between the wealthy and the workers. They seemed to take the efforts of the unions to gain power very personally...or as Sharlet once said Abram Vereides considered it a challenge to God's sovereignty. From page 104 about the 1934 union strikes:

From page 104 about the 1934 union strikes:

Seven hundred policemen in dark blue patrolled the waterfront on foot and in black cars and on high chestnut horses. Twice that number and more picketed and searched for strikebreakers. The middle class began contemplating last minute vacations. The wives of the wealthy bunkered up at the Union Club, where Abram led prayer meetings for businessmen. As the blue tear gas sent tendrils up the hill, they must have felt frustrated by his optimistic lessons in biblical capitalism. Scripture has much to say about honest dealing and even more about handling the heathen, but not once does it mention organized labor.

From page 108:

The strike went on, but the shippers were defeated by the time the coffins went into the ground. Their old beliefs could not compete. Management-capital-would require a new faith if it was to survive.

The strike of 1934 scared Abram into launching the movement that would become the vanguard of elite fundamentalism, and elite fundamentalism took as its first challenge the destruction of militant labor. Destruction was not the word Christians used however. They called it cooperation.

Abram Vereides was given much power by the end of WW II.

In 1944, Vereide had foreseen what he called 'the new world order.' 'Upon the termination of the war there will be many men available to carry on,' Vereide wrote in a letter to his wife. 'Now the ground-work must be laid and our leadership brought to face God in humility, prayer and obedience.' He began organizing prayer meetings for delegates to the United Nations, at which he would instruct them in God's plan for rebuilding from the wreckage of the war. Donald Stone, a high-ranking administrator of the Marshall Plan, joined the directorship of Vereide's organization. In an undated letter, he wrote Vereide that he would 'soon begin a tour around the world for the (Marshall Plan), combining with this a spiritual mission.'

In 1946, Vereide, too, toured the world, traveling with letters of introduction from a half dozen senators and representatives, and from Paul G. Hoffman, the director of the Marshall Plan. He traveled also with a mandate from General John Hildring, assistant secretary of state, to oversee the creation of a list of good Germans of 'the predictable type' (many of whom, Vereide believed, were being held for having 'the faintest connection' with the Nazi regime), who could be released from prison 'to be used, according to their ability in the tremendous task of reconstruction.' Vereides met with Jewish survivors and listened to their stories, but he nevertheless considered ex-Nazis well suited for the demands of 'strong' government, so long as they were willing to worship Christ as they had Hitler.

More from a Salon article in 2009.

Sex and power inside “the C Street House”

The Family likes to call itself a “Christian Mafia,” but it began 74 years ago as an anti-New Deal coalition of businessmen convinced that organized labor was under the sway of Satan. The Great Depression, they believed, was a punishment from God for what they viewed as FDR’s socialism. The Family’s goal was the “consecration” of America to God, first through the repeal of New Deal reforms, then through the aggressive expansion of American power during the Cold War. They called this a “Worldwide Spiritual Offensive,” but in Washington, it amounted to the nation’s first fundamentalist lobby. Early participants included Southern Sens. Strom Thurmond, Herman Talmadge and Absalom Willis Robertson — Pat Robertson’s father. Membership lists stored in the Family’s archive at the Billy Graham Center at evangelical Wheaton College in Illinois show active participation at any given time over the years by dozens of congressmen.

Today’s roll call is just as impressive: Men under the Family’s religio-political counsel include, in addition to Ensign, Coburn and Pickering, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham, both R-S.C.; James Inhofe, R-Okla., John Thune, R-S.D., and recent senators and high officials such as John Ashcroft, Ed Meese, Pete Domenici and Don Nickles. Over in the House there’s Joe Pitts, R-Penn., Frank Wolf, R-Va., Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and John R. Carter, R-Texas. Historically, the Family has been strongly Republican, but it includes Democrats, too. There’s Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, for instance, a vocal defender of putting the Ten Commandments in public places, and Sen. Mark Pryor, the pro-war Arkansas Democrat responsible for scuttling Obama’s labor agenda. Sen. Pryor explained to me the meaning of bipartisanship he’d learned through the Family: “Jesus didn’t come to take sides. He came to take over.” And by Jesus, the Family means the Family.

In 2007 the Miami Herald quoted Grace Nelson, wife of Florida's Senator Bill Nelson.

Mother Jones, the progressive politics magazine, delves into Dem prez contender Hillary Clinton's religious and political life - and among the few in her inner circle who would talk for the story was Grace Nelson, wife of Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.

Nelson, the magazine notes, was one of Clinton's "cell mates" in the DC-based Fellowship, described by the magazine as "a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business and military leaders dedicated to 'spiritual war' on behalf of Christ."

The magazine quotes Nelson - whom it describes as "a piety broker in Florida politics" because of her role as organizer of the Governor's Prayer Breakfast - as cautioning that she's not "at liberty" to reveal much.

Here's what the story says:

"Clinton's prayer cell was tight-knit, according to Nelson, who recalled that one of her conservative prayer partners was at first loath to pray for the first lady, but learned to 'love Hillary as much as any of us love Hillary.' Cells like these, Nelson added, exist in 'parliaments all over the world,' with all welcome so long as they submit to 'the person of Jesus' as the source of their power."

There are two more shocking statements from the Salon article. The statement by the son of the present head of The Family is especially shocking in light of recent news stories.

But David Coe, Doug Coe’s son and heir apparent, calls himself simply a friend to men such as John Ensign, whom he guided through the coverup of his affair. I met the younger Coe when I lived for several weeks as a member of the Family. He’s a surprising source of counsel, spiritual or otherwise. Attempting to explain what it means to be chosen for leadership like King David was — or Mark Sanford, according to his own estimate — he asked a young man who’d put himself, body and soul, under the Family’s authority, “Let’s say I hear you raped three little girls. What would I think of you?” The man guessed that Coe would probably think that he was a monster. “No,” answered Coe, “I wouldn’t.” Why? Because, as a member of the Family, he’s among what Family leaders refer to as the “new chosen.” If you’re chosen, the normal rules don’t apply.

Their support of dictators around the world who commit atrocities is also a shocking stance, and it seems to prove the point about the group being about power....not about religion.

If the Family men who stood over John Ensign as he wrote a baldly insincere breakup letter to his mistress were naive about hearts that want what they want, they don’t claim ignorance about the strongmen with whom they build bonds of prayer and foreign aid. They admire them. Counseling Rep. Tiahrt, Doug Coe offered Pol Pot and Osama bin Laden as men whose commitment to their causes is to be emulated. Preaching on the meaning of Christ’s words, he says, “You know Jesus said ‘You got to put Him before mother-father-brother sister? Hitler, Lenin, Mao, that’s what they taught the kids. Mao even had the kids killing their own mother and father. But it wasn’t murder. It was for building the new nation. The new kingdom.”

Arguing with climate change deniers. Cartoon says it well.

I grew up Southern Baptist, and I must have been a really obnoxious teen. We had been made to believe we were right, everyone else was wrong.

As the saying still goes today among fundamentalists:

The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.

This cartoon reminded me.

When I hear Ray Comfort's name...I think of....


Been through some rough primary wars here. To me now, though, this one is different.

I guess life's perspectives change every few years. When there are losses of loved ones too close together it puts a different slant on life and events.

In 2004 my late hubby and I were way too passionate about a candidate. He was saying things we longed to hear about the direction we were heading in this country. None of us were prepared for the media takedown and the way our local and national parties perceived us when it was over. There was a condescension that was heartbreaking. We would never again feel part of the local Democratic community.

In 2008 we were less passionate, but we were hard workers locally for our candidate. We were a little more jaded, a little less enthusiastic. But we donated to our candidate, bought and distributed yard signs, and replaced them when they were stolen which was nearly all the time.

I am a strong supporter this time of Bernie Sanders. I think some Republicans locally are liking him also. They are the type of Republicans my family was, sensible and moderate. Still too many tea party types in my neighborhood, but a few are getting tired of the bigotry and ignorant statements.

It's different this time. It's so nice to see the support Bernie is getting from young people. I was a little surprised by that, but I guess I shouldn't have been. They are tired of trite and meaningless political talk. They sense it is different with Bernie Sanders.

The hard part now though is that our country is so much now under control of corporate money and power that it may not matter who wins. Huge amounts of money buy huge amounts of loyalty from politicians.

I'm for Bernie, but I will try to keep things positive.

I have fought hard like many other bloggers to make people aware of the great harm being done to education. It's hard to be hopeful that the privatization of schools can be stopped now after 7 years of steamrolling. So far Bernie Sanders seems pro public school, but he has not made it a major issue. His issue is the economic condition of our nation, and that's the biggie right now.

So I think this one is different, this primary. I believe I can sit back and read the vitriolic posts mostly without getting too upset.

I do think it matters who wins, but I have a fear it won't matter that much.

I think what really does matter so much right now is that there not be a wing of the party that puts those of us supporting Bernie in a different box so to speak with a different label...like we are not really actually part of it all.

A very important person here posted recently that they were not aware that so many Democrats hated the Democratic party. That really concerned me. That goes very deep into why there might be division. I have posted a lot about policies of this administration that bother me. But I don't hate the party, don't hate anyone in it. I want to support my candidate but I would like to still feel a part of it all.

Interesting conversation about Bernie Sanders. The "guy with the fly away hair".

Someone who regularly comes my home is Republican...as most here are. She's a moderate type, pretty open-minded. However we are careful when discussing political stuff.

She suddenly asked me to tell her more about the guy with the fly-away gray hair who is running for president. She said her family had been listening to him a couple of times on the news. She said they really liked what he was saying. Turns out her family is not impressed at all with the Republican candidates.

She was interested I was already donating to and supporting him.

If it's a good message people will listen.

Governor Abbott, what can I do for you today?

Found on Twitter at Twitter Feed of Miles Reed

Can't resist ad from 2004 campaign. Will they do the same thing to Vermonter Bernie Sanders?

New York, meet your new state education commissioner. Ties to Rick Scott, Michelle Rhee.

She was recently voted out as the school superintendent of Hillsborough County, Florida, which is the Tampa district.

She's apparently an ed reformer's reformer. But I gather she does listen and try to work with those who disagree.

From the Buffalo News:

Testing, teachers and failing schools will challenge Elia

Elia, however, is no stranger to divided boards or the politics that surround education. Earlier this year she became the subject of national attention when the Hillsborough County school board in Tampa voted 4-3 to terminate her contract.

Some of her supporters – including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan – and her work in Florida will likely draw criticism from those opposed to what is characterized as the school reform movement. She served as a transition advisor to Florida Gov. Rick Scott alongside former Washington, D.C., education Chancellor Michelle Rhee. She also designed and implemented a merit pay system for teachers.

At the same time, she acknowledged flaws with Florida’s implementation of the Common Core, including inadequate training for teachers, and worked to close several for-profit charter schools.

There is some concern about her strong support for charter schools, but she did attempt to close some which were run from out of town.

The debate around charter schools in Florida is very different than in New York, and the Sunshine State is considered very charter-friendly with one of the highest concentrations of such schools in the country. With more than 600 of them, the state has close to 10 percent of the nation’s charters.

Hillsborough County has 47 of them, and for the most part Elia said she supports their effort. But she also said they should be held accountable and to the same standards as traditional schools.

Last year, Elia received public criticism when she wanted to close three for-profit charter schools that served about 2,700 children in her district. In Florida, superintendents and local school boards have the authority to authorize and revoke charters. She argued that the schools were being run by an out-of-town management company, a violation of a district requirement they be locally operated.

Here is more about Elia and ties to Bill Gates and Michelle Rhee. Hillsborough County got over 100 million from Gates to put his policies into play.

From 2010:

Rhee in Tampa boasts about unpopularity. Head of schools there threatens tenured teachers.

Michelle Rhee, the outgoing chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools, speaks to urban school administrators during a panel on teacher evaluations at the Council of Great City Schools conference in Tampa on Thursday. (SKIP O’ROURKE | TIMES)

Rhee seems proud of her unpopularity.

"Be prepared to be Ms. or Mr. Unpopular," the outgoing chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools told an audience of urban school administrators here Thursday. "I am really good at this one right now."

Elia tells how many teachers she must fire.

On another panel in the adjoining room, Hillsborough County superintendent MaryEllen Elia was describing a kinder, gentler strategy to reach what is rapidly becoming a national goal: boosting teacher quality and winnowing out those who can't make the grade.

This does not sound kinder and gentler to me.

The district has told the Gates Foundation it might need to fire up to 5 percent or 425 of its 8,500 tenured teachers annually in the first years of the reforms, though officials say they hope intensive support for teachers will reduce that number substantially.

And that kinder, gentler approach? These are the words of the school superintendent to Arne Duncan who was also there.

"They're either going to leave or we're going to say, 'Let us help you leave,' " she said.

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