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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 38,223

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If private ISP's want to sell our data, it's time to revive PUBLIC run internet

and put these assholes out of business.

Add the internet to the list of things the private sector can't be trusted with without them blackmail or screwing us.

How many places in America do this?

Borrowers 'Chilled to the Bone' as DOE Reneges on Student Loan Forgiveness

What if you took a low paying public sector job and arranged for lower payments on your student loans based on the promise of public service loan forgiveness, and a new administration breaks that promise?

This is an opportunity for Democrats to remind voters what they do better, and once back in power, we need to devote at least as much the time, money, and effort to bail out student loan borrowers and others crapped on by the financial sector as we do to bailing those who did the crapping.

In a troubling development for the countless people saddled with student debt, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) may be reneging on a promise made to over 550,000 such borrowers who were led to believe that their loans would be forgiven after ten years of work in the public service.

Responding to an ongoing lawsuit from four borrowers, the DOE has given no explanation but says that approval letters sent to individuals who signed up for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program are not in fact "binding," the New York Times reported Thursday.

Times reporter Stacy Cowley wrote:

In a legal filing submitted last week, the Education Department suggested that borrowers could not rely on the program's administrator to say accurately whether they qualify for debt forgiveness. The thousands of approval letters that have been sent by the administrator, FedLoan Servicing, are not binding and can be rescinded at any time, the agency said.

The filing adds to questions and concerns about the program just as the first potential beneficiaries reach the end of their 10-year commitment—and the clocks start ticking on the remainder of their debts


TOON: Trump gets behind GOP elephant

Props to http://caglecartoons.com/

Democrats Exploring Deal With McConnell On Gorsuch Nomination

I hope this story isn't true because

A) They have no reason to believe McConnell will keep his word

B) The truck case alone shows that Democrats should oppose him as an anti-worker extremist.

Democrats might lose anyway if they filibuster Gorsuch, but at least they will have stood for something, which might inspire more people to stand in line to vote for them.

WASHINGTON ― Democratic senators are quietly contemplating cutting a deal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): giving him an up-or-down vote on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch if he restores the 60-vote requirement for advancing district and circuit court nominees.

That’s just one proposal being floated as part of ongoing conversations between more than half a dozen Senate Democrats, according to two Democratic aides familiar with the talks. Another proposal is offering to confirm Gorsuch in exchange for a commitment from McConnell to preserve the 60-vote threshold just for future Supreme Court nominees, a source told The Huffington Post, and which Politico also reported on Wednesday.

So far, the talks remain very preliminary. Leadership isn’t a part of the group exploring such an arrangement, and there haven’t been any conversations with McConnell himself or other GOP senators. Instead, it is more of an organic dialogue among rank-and-file Democrats looking ahead to Gorsuch’s confirmation vote in the next two weeks.

But the objective among these Democrats is to preserve the filibuster ― the party’s only real leverage while in the minority, with the fear being that McConnell will remove it if Gorsuch’s nomination is blocked. The thinking among the group is that McConnell will end up just shy of the 60 votes he needs to advance the Gorsuch nomination, with all 52 Republicans likely to vote for him and a handful of moderate Democrats likely to join. McConnell has hinted that he’s prepared to nix the filibuster rule altogether if he can’t hit 60 votes. That would mean that going forward, it would only take 51 votes to advance a Supreme Court nominee.


a thought on surveillance state & mind of financial elites

Whites in the South in the Jim Crow era feared black men raping white women because they had raped black women with impunity for centuries and expected retribution.

Likewise, as Wall Street tries to take over public education, they think they can win over teachers with competition and "merit pay." A variation of this was just proposed in California, with tax relief for teachers to prevent them from taking jobs in other states.

In both instances, the very wealthy imagine the rest of us think and act exactly as they do.

So it is with the surveillance state that we find out more and more about with each new leak.

The intent of the mass surveillance is likely as much to catch us plebes plotting to storm the castle and take over through elaborate secret machinations because that is exactly what they would do.

However, the vast majority of us, even those who want change, don't want to take the place of the wealthiest individuals in the country and have no secret plans.

We would like to have a decent standard of living, a safe place to live, education and health care for ourselves and our kids, and a reasonable chance of decent world for our descendants to live in.

That aint no secret, and most of us don't have the time or means to plot to disrupt the Bilderburgers or whatever.

What will happen is what is already happening. People are refusing to cooperate here and there in increasing numbers, including the middle managers for the financial elite, both in and out of government. And those middle managers are the ones leaking the stuff that is ruining things for the ruling class.

What those at the top should really be worried about is all that surveillance infrastructure being turned on them.

If they cannot plot, and threaten, and buy politicians out of public view, much of their power is gone--especially if they depend on the rest of us buying stuff their company makes or borrowing money from them.

And I say, the sooner we turn the cameras and bugs the other way, the better.

Republican Senator Sends Cease-and-Desist Letter to Constituent for Calling Too Much

What a change one election has made.

If more politicians had this problem more of the time, we would have a better country.

WISCONSIN GOP SENATOR RON JOHNSON has been avoiding his constituents lately. Last week, a group of constituents even held a town hall about health care without him, after he declined to attend. (He held a telephone town hall instead).

Now one of Johnson’s constituents has received a cease-and-desist letter from the senator’s office, demanding that he stop calling the senator and stop trying to meet with his staff. The letter to Earl Good of Milwaukee instructs him to only contact the office in writing from now on.

Good is a Vietnam veteran and attentive constituent who, in an interview with his local CBS station, acknowledged that he has been very persistent in his attempts to get through to the office and talk to the senator’s staff about issues that concern him, including the possible privatization of the Veterans Administration.

He acknowledged that he once called 83 times before someone picked up the phone.


Trump's increase in the Defense budget is almost as much as cost for free public college for all

who want to go.

One study put the cost of free public university education at around $62 billion a year (IF we stopped public funding of for profit Trump Universities).

We already spend more on our military than nearly all of the rest of the world combined, have bases in more countries than everyone else combine, and in several categories of weapons, we have no peers.

We have twice as many aircraft carriers as the rest of the world combined.

Only Russia has thousands of nukes like we do.

The UK, France, China, India, and Pakistan around 100-300 each.

Estimates about Israel's stockpile vary, but like four of the five above, they are our allies.

Russia and China are primarily threats to us if we go to them. Apart from Russia's nukes, both countries' military might shrinks exponentially the farther they get outside their own borders.

I think there's near zero chance of Trump proposing or signing off on free public higher education.

But this needs to be said.

On Trump & Russia: divide & conquer

If those in DC are more concerned about the Trump half of the Trump/Russia relationship, I wonder if Russia wouldn't be willing to throw Trump under the bus in return for a written non-aggression pact that includes covert and overt means of destabilizing Russia's immediate neighbors (by us and them) and guarantees not to interfere in elections covertly or overtly by Russia in the US and vice versa.

To the degree that Russia meddled in our election, they were likely reacting to some of the belligerent actions we have taken since the end of the Cold War and Hillary's rhetoric and record seemed like it would lead to armed conflict between us and them at least in Syria.

Of course if Russia is the primary target and Trump is just a pawn for BOTH sides, then it wouldn't matter if Putin was willing to do this.

Poll question: who do DC insiders want to punish more, Trump or Russia?

Note: average Americans who oppose Trump care about the Russia stuff, but attacks on minorities and civil rights, cutting crucial government programs, and open corruption probably loom larger.

It aint a "purity test," it's a job evaluation

If the people with modest houses hire the same landscaper to take care of their yard as the massive mansions across the street, and notice that the landscaper hardly ever works on their yard, and half the time he shows up, he throws the trimmings from the big house on their lawn, it is not a purity test to say they are doing a shitty job.

It's a job evaluation.

Likewise, it is not a defense of the shitty job to say they are doing more for us than a gang of con men, who sometimes convince some neighbors to pay for lawn care, and then never deliver at all, or "take care of" their lawn with a flame thrower.

If elected Democrats and party operatives don't take criticism from the base of voters seriously--DEMOCRATIC PARTY voters, not swing or Republican voters, they will continue to struggle and just barely win.

Also, if you are not loyal to those working and middle class people who are members of your own party, why would swing and conservative voters expect you to take care of them?

The New Dem/DLC/Third Way wing of the party does push for some progressive change. The problem is, too often the progressive change is structured to give the financial sector or some other corporate interest a big chunk of the money that was supposed to go a program to help the rest of us, when the government itself could deliver the program more cheaply and effectively.

A good example is Obamacare. Many aspects of the private insurance part were huge improvements. But the Medicare portion is more efficient and costs are driven up by the avarice of spoiled trust fund babies. Those insurance companies don't even seem grateful that Democrats delivered tens of millions of new customers to them, and keep jacking up prices to pad their profits.

If the only consideration was delivering healthcare at a good price to average Americans, there should have been a timetable for all health insurance companies to rein in their overhead or Medicare would start expanding until it covered everyone.

That kind of accountability would make giving the private sector a role more palatable because it would make it clear that in "public private partnerships," the public part was in the driver's seat.

RALL: Long Before Trump, News Media Wallowed in Alternative Facts

I would add one more comment to the "fake news" analysis of Iraq War excuses: anyone old enough to remember the Cold War knew that we and the Soviet Union had THOUSANDS of nukes AND the means to deliver them and destroy the whole world several times over. But neither side did because it wouldn't matter who fired the first shot: both side would be wiped off the map.

Why then would a medium small country with a handful of nukes launch one at us, when the best that they could hope for was to take out a city or two before we turned their entire country into glass and a footnote in history?

Some in Congress did ask such questions, but if the media ever covered it, they didn't do it very often.

For the better part of a decade, American citizens paid good money for newspapers that purported to bring them the news from Vietnam. What those papers never told them was that the reason LBJ gave for entering the war, a 1964 attack on American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin, never happened. This isn’t controversial; liberal and conservative historians alike agree the war was sold on fake news.

Imagine if the media had begun every story about Vietnam with a Trump-era-ish reference to Johnson’s big lie? “Continuing Unprovoked Attack on North Vietnam, U.S. B-52s Rain Death on Hanoi Without Reason.” Significantly less than 58,000 Americans and 2 million Vietnamese might have died.


Afghanistan’s Taliban government had nothing to do with 9/11, but few Americans know that. Even the soldiers sent to fight, kill and die there thought they were avenging the attack on the World Trade Center — and why not? Thanks to the Bush-era fake news purveyors, few of even the best read and most informed Americans know that Osama bin Laden was already in Pakistan on 9/11, that the Taliban offered to arrest him and turn him over if the U.S. showed some evidence of his guilt, that Al Qaeda had fewer than 100 members in Afghanistan (the vast majority were in Pakistan, as were the infamous training camps), and that there wasn’t a single Afghan among the 19 hijackers.


That the media fell down on the job during the build-up to the Iraq War is well-documented. Yet, even after the WMDs failed to turn up in that country after we destroyed it, the media never applied the standard they now stick on Trump, e.g. “Continuing Unjustified Assault on Innocent Iraq, Marines Prepare For Battle in Fallujah.” Talk about fake news — even if Saddam Hussein had had WMDs, Iraq’s lack of long-range ballistic missiles meant it never could have posed a threat to the United States.


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