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Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 02:55 AM
Number of posts: 12,232

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"Trudeau OKs expanding Trans Mountain oil pipeline to B.C.; foes vow to fight"


A major expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline that will nearly triple the capacity of an existing pipeline carrying oil from Alberta to a Vancouver-area harbor was approved by the Canadian government yesterday.

The project is opposed by many environmental groups, First Nations and tribes on both sides of the border because it would lead to a dramatic increase in tanker traffic on the Salish Sea — marine waters shared by British Columbia and Washington state — and increase the chance of spills, as well as stoke global warming.
The expansion will result in a sevenfold increase in the number of oil tankers in the Salish Sea from 120 per year to 816 per year. That also creates a significant increase in the chance of spills, according to a vessel-traffic risk assessment by George Washington University.

“I stand tall and firmly say that this pipeline is not going to be built, whatever it takes,” said Charlene Aleck, an elected councilor of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. “You don’t just need First Nations’ consultation, you need their consent. They have never had a meaningful consultation, let alone gotten to consent,” she said of Kinder Morgan.

Yes, and to retire, too. Her husband wants to remove pensions.


The fact is the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) is not broken. It won’t bankrupt our state – unless, perhaps, antagonists succeed in shutting it down. And the loss of a secure retirement safety net for school employees will only exacerbate teacher shortages already being felt in Michigan.

Rumors of a coming public pension fight had swirled in Lansing since summer, and they were confirmed with a speech in late September by Amway President Doug DeVos – who called restructuring of government employee pensions the top goal of the West Michigan Policy Forum.

That’s the same group behind the Legislature’s ramrodding of so-called right-to-work legislation in 2012 and corporate tax cuts before then.

In his speech, DeVos said the West Michigan Policy Forum’s vote to advocate moving public employees to a 401(k)-style retirement system “sends a message to all of our elected officials. And we take these (votes) very seriously; we move them forward with all of our might.”

Exactly. Her father was a founder of the Family Research Council and her husband

used Orwellian language to fight against unions in Michigan, labeling it "Freedom to work."


The pressure came largely from one man present at that fundraiser: Richard "Dick" DeVos Jr. The 58-year-old scion of the Amway Corporation, DeVos had arm-twisted Richardville repeatedly to support right-to-work. After six years of biding their time, DeVos and his allies believed the 2012 lame duck was the time to strike. They had formulated a single, all-encompassing strategy: They had a fusillade of TV, radio, and internet ads in the works. They'd crafted 15 pages of talking points to circulate to Republican lawmakers. They had even reserved the lawn around the state capitol for a month to keep protesters at bay.

A week after Richardville's early morning call to Jackson, it was all over. With a stroke of his pen on December 11, Gov. Rick Snyder—who'd previously said right-to-work was not a priority of his—now made Michigan the 24th state to enact it. The governor marked the occasion by reciting, nearly verbatim, talking points that DeVos and his allies had distributed. "Freedom-to-work," he said, is "pro-worker and pro-Michigan."
In late 1992, Dick succeeded his father as the president and CEO of Amway, aggressively expanding the company into Asian markets like China and Korea, which produce much of Amway's profits today. His wife, Betsy, an heiress to a Michigan auto parts fortune, hailed from a conservative dynasty of her own; her father, Edgar Prince, was a founder of the Family Research Council. (Betsy's brother is Erik Prince, the ex-Navy SEAL who founded the infamous private security company Blackwater.) Together, Dick and Betsy formed Michigan's new Republican power couple.

Betsy, who is 56, is the political junkie in the relationship. She got her start in politics as a "scatter-blitzer" for Gerald Ford's 1976 presidential campaign, which bused eager young volunteers to various cities so they could blanket them with campaign flyers. In the '80s and '90s, Betsy climbed the party ranks to become a Republican National Committeewoman, chair numerous US House and Senate campaigns in Michigan, lead statewide party fundraising, and serve two terms as chair of the Michigan Republican Party. In 2003, she returned at the request of the Bush White House to dig the party out of $1.2 million in debt. A major proponent of education reform, Betsy serves on the boards of the American Federation for Children, a leading advocate of school vouchers, and Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education, which supports online schools.

Trump picks billionaire Betsy DeVos, school voucher advocate, as Education Secretary

Source: Washington Post

President-elect Donald Trump intends to name Betsy DeVos, a conservative activist and billionaire philanthropist who has pushed forcefully for private school voucher programs nationwide, as his nominee for Education Secretary, according to a person close to DeVos.

Trump’s pick underlines his promises on the campaign trail to put “school choice” — the expansion of taxpayer-funded charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools — at the center of his efforts on education.

DeVos and her husband are major GOP donors who during the 2016 cycle gave a total of $2.7 million to the GOP and to Republican candidates and political action committees; they made no donations to Democrats, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

DeVos’s brother is Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, one of the most profitable private security firms during the Iraq War. Blackwater came under intense scrutiny after the company’s guards shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007; four guards were convicted on charges related to the massacre. Prince has since left the company, which is now called Academi.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/trump-picks-billionaire-betsy-devos-school-voucher-advocate-as-education-secretary/2016/11/23/c3d66b94-af96-11e6-840f-e3ebab6bcdd3_story.html

Trump was playing Kabuki theatre by meeting with Jerry Falwell, to make his real choice seem less threatening.

DeVos is for privatization and will now be in a position to oversee the dismantling of our public school system. Though less well known, she is just as dangerous, maybe more so.

Kabuki theatre, to make the radical choice of Betsy DeVos, sister of Blackwater founder

Erik Prince, seem less threatening by comparison.

We will now have a Secretary of Education who is for privatizing public schools and will be in a position of power to begin dismantling the public system.


Trump appoints Betsy DeVos to education secretary post


The Family That Gives Together
Across four decades and two generations, the DeVos family has poured more than $200 million into the key institutions of the Christian right and the conservative movement.

Members of the DeVos family rank among the most generous benefactors of the conservative movement and the Christian right, up there with the Bradleys, the Coorses, and the Kochs. Not only has billionaire Amway cofounder Richard DeVos Sr. cut checks to anti-union and anti-tax efforts, but these days he's also a fixture at the Koch brothers' invite-only donor summits. Name an organization—Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, David Koch's Americans for Prosperity, the arch-conservative Heritage Foundation—and odds are a DeVos family member has donated to it.

How extensive is the DeVos family's largesse? Below, we trace the family's many millions as they flow out of family foundations into the biggest-name think tanks and advocacy groups in American politics today. And for good measure, we've included Erik Prince, the founder of the private-security company Blackwater, who is the brother of Dick DeVos' wife, Betsy. What a small world.

Richard Engel bluntly assessed Trump catastrophic win from global perspective

On election night.

It was an all too rare moment of blunt truth. Yes, it's a difficult segment to watch, but all the more important now.

The NBC reporters had been yammering on, in the same tone and terms they generally use, in that chummy way they talk to each other and uttering terms and phrases they clearly have said so many times that they all just accept this news banter as the norm.

Then, they brought on their Chief Foreign Correspondent, Richard Engel, and in a scant few minutes, he brought up the shattering reality of what this means and just how disruptive it is. He noted how he has had reports of generals studying the Constitution to examine their obligations if Trump actually orders them to deport millions of people from the United States. He noted how people around the world have noticed the rise of right wing 'populists' around the world who are being elected to lead countries and the nationalist fervor that is sweeping so many countries now. And how the United Staes may become like a stalled ship in the ocean, looking only inward with nationalist infighting, and that other nations will dominate the world seas/stage.

There was a stunned silence followed by some slight bluster from most of them and even one attempt at understanding and conversation about repercussions. Their body language, especially Todd's speaks volumes.

Then they switched over to Andrea at the Clinton campaign's location, who at the time still had nothing to report on whether she was coming there (as was evident before they even switched to her). They had Engel on a bit longer though I can't find that part. If I recall, he called out media coverage that willingly provided Trump such a platform, noting that even 'bad' publicity still provided him with hours of publicity.

Shortly thereafter, Engels was gone, trundled off quickly after providing the most meaningful analysis of the night.


Did Alana Goodman time her Daily Mail story about Weiner for an October surprise?

This last week we have seen Comey insert the FBI into the end of the election by first issuing a cryptic statement about the 'possibility' of emails 'perhaps' associated with Hillary being discovered by the FBI in connection with its investigation into Weiner sexting with an under-aged girl from across state lines.

This week,the FBI released information about its 2001 investigation of President Bill Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich, stirring up new discussion and speculation over a 15 year old process and story.

The timing of both of these actions is suspect, especially since these aren't issues that have a resolution before Election Day, but instead are aimed at stirring up feelings of trust or distrust in voters.

As Obama has now said:
"I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations we don't operate on innuendo and we don't operate on incomplete information and we don't operate on leaks," Obama said in the interview, which was taped Tuesday. "We operate based on concrete decisions that are made. When this was investigated thoroughly last time the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was she had made some mistakes but that there wasn't anything there that was procecutable."


Yet, the information selectively put forth looks EXACTLY like the kind of innuendo that usually occurs in whisper campaigns and that type of information doesn't depend on accuracy for impact. The impact is in the focus being shifted to discussion of possibilities based on suspicion, rumor and distrust.

I've been wondering more about the story that started this whole chain of events, specifically about the timing of that story. So I went back for another look at it and then at the background of the reporter.

Alana Goodman broke the story for the Daily Mail on September 21, 2016. The story includes the information that the sexting began in January 2016 and went on for some time, "months-long" is what the article notes.

The article gives one clue as to how long the Daily Mail had the information and that it wasn't discovered by them but was delivered to them, stating that:

This raises questions about the timing, both in terms of whether the information was specifically given to the Daily Mail in early September to be released just before October and whether the Daily Mail further waited until late September when they already had the story in early September.

That got me curious about the reporter. It turns out she has quite the history in other very conservative media. Her bio from her previous position at the Washington Free Beacon states "Alana Goodman is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon, she was assistant online editor at Commentary. She has written for the Weekly Standard, the New York Post and the Washington Examiner. Goodman graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 2010, and lives in Washington, D.C." That page includes links to some of her stories there, which are predominantly anti-Clinton hit pieces.

She has also appeared on Fox for one of the stories about Clinton which she apparently broke.

Most interesting, in terms of the timing question, is that this is not the first time Goodman has launched an October surprise at a Democratic candidate.

Mother Jones magazine had a 2015 article about the Washington Free Beacon, noting its "success" at investigation and highlighting some of Goodman's work as an example.

In May 2014, reporter Lachlan Markay obtained a secret list of donors' pledges to the progressive Democracy Alliance—something akin to getting the Koch brothers' political ledgers. A month later, Goodman posted previously unreleased audio of Hillary Clinton candidly discussing her vigorous defense, as a young court-appointed attorney, of an accused child rapist. In October, she uncovered Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor's college thesis, in which he described school desegregation as a "figurative invasion." Two weeks later, the Democrat lost his reelection race. Like the Southern Avenger expose, each of these stories was picked up by the mainstream media, a rare accomplishment for a conservative outlet.


Timing, hmmmmm.
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