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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 06:58 PM
Number of posts: 39,405

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SIROTA: Joe Biden Backed Bills To Make It Harder For Americans To Reduce Their Student Debt

Another reason to be glad this guy didn't run for president.

Joe, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out--or better yet, do.

As a senator from Delaware -- a corporate tax haven where the financial industry is one of the state’s largest employers -- Biden was one of the key proponents of the 2005 legislation that is now bearing down on students like Ryan. That bill effectively prevents the $150 billion worth of private student debt from being discharged, rescheduled or renegotiated as other debt can be in bankruptcy court.

Biden's efforts in 2005 were no anomaly. Though the vice president has long portrayed himself as a champion of the struggling middle class -- a man who famously commutes on Amtrak and mixes enthusiastically with blue-collar workers -- the Delaware lawmaker has played a consistent and pivotal role in the financial industry's four-decade campaign to make it harder for students to shield themselves and their families from creditors, according to an IBT review of bankruptcy legislation going back to the 1970s.

Biden's political fortunes rose in tandem with the financial industry's. At 29, he won the first of seven elections to the U.S. Senate, rising to chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee, which vets bankruptcy legislation. On that committee, Biden helped lenders make it more difficult for Americans to reduce debt through bankruptcy -- a trend that experts say encouraged banks to loan more freely with less fear that courts could erase their customers’ repayment obligations. At the same time, with more debtors barred from bankruptcy protections, the average American’s debt load went up by two-thirds over the last 40 years. Today, there is more than $10,000 of personal debt for every person in the country, as compared to roughly $6,000 in the early 1970s.

That increase -- and its attendant interest payments -- have generated huge profits for a financial industry that delivered more than $1.9 million of campaign contributions to Biden over his career, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.


AFT Hillary email and my response:

So I got this email from my union:

If you could ask Hillary Clinton one question, what would you ask?

We asked our endorsed candidate for the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton, to meet with AFT members in the trenches to discuss public education—the issues, challenges and aspirations they are seeing and feeling in schools and communities right now—and have a conversation about what's needed to help our students thrive.
We will be bringing in AFT members from around the country to attend the event (on us!) and ask Hillary one question they have always wanted to ask. That could be you!

Would you like to join some of your colleagues in this conversation with Hillary Clinton?
Submit your question here for a chance to win.

Oddly, nobody asked me who I wanted my union to endorse, and I don't know what criteria they used to select Hillary, who will doubtless do exactly what Wall Street tells her to do on public education and everything else.

Therefore, this is the question I told them I would like to ask:

Will you stop Wall Street's efforts to privatize public education and dictate education policy for their own financial gain? If yes, what in your record would make us believe you would actually do so?

Both Bernie AND Hillary said no to privatized prison money: why not privatized public ed money?

The privatized prison industry is an engine for political corruption and diverts taxpayer dollars into private profits.

Arguably, efforts to privatize K-12 public spending is having far more disastrous results, with hedge fund managers and billionaires dictating education policy instead of educators and academics.

These are not misguided philanthropists. They are wealthy individuals who see taxpayer dollars spent on education as rightfully belonging in their pockets and have said so at their business conferences.

Politicians love this movement because a company that profits from government contracts can funnel money into campaign donations and when the politician leaves office, they can get jobs with these donors as lobbyists, consultants, CEO's, and do-nothing board members, much like their relationship with defense contractors, Wall Street, and oil companies.

When was the last time you heard of a retiring congressman or senator going to work for teachers' union? Or any public employee union?

Teachers just want to make a decent middle class living and not be punished for wanting to teach kids.

The education reformers public education as a way to add to the billions of the already wealthy.

Frankly, any time a politician expresses any support for this agenda, that should be proof enough of corruption and that they are unworthy of our donations and votes.

For proof, see this recent report:

A stunning new report on the myriad ways that public charter school operators have squandered or stolen millions of taxpayer dollars and how government education officials have failed to track or report this burgeoning privatization scandal has been released by the Center for Media and Democracy, a nationwide investigative reporting group.

“For years, no reporters or citizens could readily examine where their federal tax dollars had been spent on charters, which have a higher failure rate than [traditional] public schools and have been plagued by numerous fraud indictments of charter school operators,” said the introduction to the report, Charter School Black Hole: CMD Special Investigation Reveals Hugh Gaps in Public Info on Taxpayer Money Spent.


“Nearly 200 charters have closed in California, nearly one of every five that have opened,” CMD said, beginning its report on the state with the most charter schools, where one-fifth of U.S.’s charter students resiee. “Their failures have included stunning tales of financial fraud, skimming of retirement funds, and financial mismanagement, material violations of the law, massive debt, unsafe school conditions, lack of teacher credentials, fairlure to conduct backgroud checks, terrible academic performance and test results, and insufficient enrollment.”


CMD cites examples of failed California schools such as “Renew Virtual Academy #1” in San Joaquin, where “CEO Ellen Ringer hired her son, Deputy Executive Director of Business Services Christopher Walenta, at an annual salary of nearly $100,000 and paid other relatives without disclosing relationships.” He telecommuted from “his Lone Tree, Colorado home” for “two weeks each month” and received full benefits and expenses. Such nepotism is typical of the many instances where school founders turn charters into a quick ticket to enrichment despite their industry’s polished rhetoric of doing a better job to lift up underserved and inpoverished communities.


Pharma terrorist Shkreli’s public temper tantrum: “I would destroy Bernie Sanders in a debate”

I want to thank this punk sociopath Shkreli for reminding me again that the very wealthy didn't necessarily get that way by working harder, being smarter or more creative, and certainly not more moral than the rest of us, much the way the morally and intellectually bankrupt inbred trust fund babies of the GOP have like Mitt, W, Jeb, Forbes, and most recently, Trump.

As Jim Hightower said of Baby Bush, Shkreli and these other entitled assholes were born on third base and think they hit a triple.

Turing Pharmaceutical founder Martin Shkreli appeared on Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria” Friday and declared that potential Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders — who publicly rejected a campaign donation from the disgraced CEO earlier this month — is “a demagogue” who’s “afraid of the issues.”

“I think I’d destroy him in a debate about pharmaceuticals,” said the man who’s spent weeks being repeatedly humiliated in every debate he’s participated in, be they about pharmaceuticals or otherwise. He later challenged “any other CEO in Big Pharma” to “a debate contest about science.”

Shkreli claimed that Sanders “doesn’t understand pharmaceuticals at all,” then boasted that while the Vermont senator “donated on my behalf” the $2,700 that the CEO tried to give to the Sanders campaign, he was willing to donate $50,000 to the same HIV/AIDS charity if they would take his money.

Host Maria Bartiromo asked Shkreli what it felt like “to be basically ostracized for this?” He replied that “I think you’d be surprised at the amount of support I’ve got — there’s a lot of people who support free markets.”


Did Biden say anything in that speech that made you say "damn, I wish he ran now?"

It had the exact opposite effect on me.

Particularly, his take on gridlock which seemed to echo Obama's "don't blame Republicans" shtick.

I doubt that Hillary's policies will be any different from Biden's would have been, but maybe she would be less like the wife of a wife beater who claims she fell down the stairs instead of got punched by her husband like Obama and apparently Biden prefer to do.

Jake Tapper stuns Jeb Bush: If your brother is blameless for 9/11 why is Hillary Clinton responsible


This is such an obvious question, and if Democratic politicians had any spine, they would have asked this a hell of a long time ago, and some variation of it well before Benghazi.

This one question and a couple of aggressive follow up ones, could drive a stake in the heart of any GOP claim to "tough" on defense, and should kill them as a party.

They are not tough on defense. They are "tough" on killing people in other countries to get what they're corporate masters want.

And if their masters are happy with how a country does business with them, why they will look the other way (or worse), just as they did with the Saudi government involvement in 9/11.

That Democrats in and running for political office don't pursue this shows it's just one other area where they don't want any daylight between themselves and the GOP.

But if they aren't on the right side when enough people aren't afraid to ask these questions out loud, they could end up with the GOP as a footnote in history.

TAPPER: Obviously Al Qaeda was responsible for the terrorist attack of 9/11, but how do you respond to critics who ask, if your brother and his administration bear no responsibility at all, how do you then make the jump that President Obama and Secretary Clinton are responsible for what happened at Benghazi?

JEB BUSH: Well I — the question on Benghazi which, is hopefully we’ll now finally get the truth to, is was the place secure? They had a responsibility, the Department of State, to have proper security. There were calls for security, it looks like they didn’t get it. And how was the response in the aftermath of the attack, was there a chance that these four American lives could have been saved? That’s what the investigation is about, it’s not a political issue. It’s not about the broad policy issue, is were we doing the job of protecting our embassies and our consulates and during the period, those hours after the attack started, could they have been saved?

TAPPER: Well that’s, that’s kind of proving the point of the critics I was just asking about, because you don’t want to have your brother bear responsibility for 9/11 and I understand that argument and Al Qaeda’s responsible, but why are the terrorists not the ones who are responsible for these attacks in Libya?

BUSH: They are, of course they are but — of course they are, but if the ambassador was asking for additional security and didn’t get it, that’s a proper point and if it’s proven that the security was adequate compared to other embassies, fine, we’ll move on.



What is the stupidest question that WILL be asked tonight?

One of my all time favorites was a horse race question Ted Koppel asked in 2004: "If Governor Dean wins the nomination, how many of you think he could win the general election in November?"

That put all the candidates in an awkward position because if they raised their hands, it would be a tacit endorsement of Dean, and if they didn't, it would be used against Dean in the fall campaign if he had won.

It also put Dean in the awkward position of raising his hand for himself, which looked like tooting his own horn in the lamest way possible (but not raising would be worse).

All of which had nothing to do with which candidate would serve the interests of the American people, as Dennis Kucinich pointed out to Koppel.

What questions SHOULD be asked at the debate tonight?

Some of mine I've tweeted:

#CNNDebate #DemDebate Sanders said end privatized prisons, but isn't all privatization of gov't corporate welfare & political corruption?

Will you declassify Saudi pages of Congress 9/11 Report? Should Saudi gov't have been punished for role in 9/11?

Where has our regime changes produced positive results in the Middle East?

Will you back the overthrow of democratically elected leaders of countries that don't obey banks and corporations?

Will you continue using religious extremists to undermine secular regimes like we did in Libya & are doing in Syria?

I'll send a couple more and post them in replies.

TWEETED questions for upcoming Democratic Debate

#CNNDebate #DemDebate Sanders said end privatized prisons, but isn't all privatization of gov't corporate welfare & political corruption?

Will you declassify Saudi pages of Congress 9/11 Report? Should Saudi gov't have been punished for role in 9/11?

Where has our regime changes produced positive results in the Middle East?

Will you back the overthrow of democratically elected leaders of countries that don't obey banks and corporations?

Will you continue using religious extremists to undermine secular regimes like we did in Libya & are doing in Syria?

More to follow. I gotta go to class.
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