Deplorable DeVos is in

Betsy DeVos is unfit and incompetent; worse, the policies she champions destroy children’s opportunities. She’s a political hack who basically bought her position by donating $200 million to the Republicans.

She was just confirmed by a 50-50 vote in the Senate, with Pence as the tie-breaker. She is the new Secretary of Education.

Remember this: it was a straight party split, with only two Republicans voting against her nomination. Trump’s other nominees for other positions are just as, if not more, odious than DeVos, and aren’t getting as much protest — they’ll sail through, too. The Republicans will bear full responsibility for the nightmare scenario we’re locked into. We must resist even more, and tear them down.

They’re going to fight back, too, and we can already see what they’re up to. Someone infiltrated a pro-Trump meeting, and got a snapshot of their plans.

They have a team that monitors the public blogs and event postings of the Liberal groups (specifically mentioned Indivisible and MoveOn.) They laughed at the Indivisible Guide when one leader said “the Liberals will never get organized and carry any of this out, the snowflakes give up too easily, “a little heat and they melt.” They talked about the “visit your representatives office event” that was planned for earlier in the day which was posted on MoveOn and all over FB. They also were at their reps offices, and a handful admitted to going to the Democratic representatives office in their own district to have their voice counted.

They have a team who spies on FB posts. When the man who was with us asked how to do it, he was told that if he was a member of Pantsuit Nation it’s almost an automatic in into most closed groups, and then once you are in one, you can get invited to others. Someone on their team joins all the public and open groups. Their report included reading a few actual posts, in a mimic whining voice, where the members were posting their concerns and frustrations and why bother. They actually cheered this. One leader applauded the report and said, “we don’t care if they like what we have to say, we don’t need them to agree with us. We just need them to give up, shut up and stay out of our way.”

They’re organized and fanatical, and willing to engage in dirty tricks. We can’t just sit back and let it happen.

The Morris Indivisible group is meeting at the public library at 7pm tonight. If you’re local and you care, I expect you to be there.


  1. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Kick a NastyWomen see what happens NOW. Include me in #NastyWomen. Hear us roar. You aint seen nuthin yet!1!!1!1!1!!

    Shirt, Fork *vomit*

    Franken made good points against DeV.aldemort this morning which apparently sailed clear over the Rethuglican heads, so locked into party line they are. The only response I heard in her favor was a Sen blathering about “they asked her many more questions than any Obama nominee who was approved much more quickly than our current nom. Why are we covering her with such sludge?” [paraphrased that last sentence] No arguments FOR her; only offered arguments against voting NO.

    This swamp does need draining. Trump aint doin it korrectly. [sic’s on purpose]

  2. cartomancer says

    And I thought we had it bad when Michael Gove was Education Secretary under Cameron. This makes him look positively competent.

  3. says

    And now a generation of American kids will get the education I got. No evolution. Adam and Eve. The flood. Dinosaurs didn’t exist; they were made up by scientists. (Really! That’s what they told me. In public school. Times have changed, a bit; now the dinosaurs were on the ark.) The “curse”; on women, of course, because Eve.

    Some of them will go on to discover how they were lied to. Most won’t.

  4. secondtofirstworld says

    Though I’m not clairvoyant, I still “can see the future” as in I’ve already seen this happening 7 years ago.

    The actual irony is, that some of the people, even ones with influential pull behind the administration were jaded, and turned against them. As things stand now, the formerly pro-government newspaper and TV station became pariahs with the administration, but the only silver lining is, their bulldog mentality, previously only held for liberals works now against conservatives too. It’s not much, but it is a sign, that they too are as equally divided, especially when they’re led by opportunists.

    The weirdest, however, happened to me, when I debated the Plame Affair with some conservatives. They were, and still are convinced, that Scooter Libby is behind giving a bad name to the former administration. I still don’t understand their internal logic. Libby is an ardent conservative, he was pardoned by Bush, so he has zero reasons to attack them, he did not go broke after being fired.

  5. daulnay says

    DeVos is pushing the same agenda Grover Norquist laid out; “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

    Worth noting that the agenda isn’t to actually eliminate government. The agenda is to shift all governing activity into the hands of corporate leaders. The governing part of it continues, just by corporation owned by the wealthy. We’re in the middle of a titanic struggle between two forms of government, the civic state and the corporation.

  6. says

    This certainly puts to rest any lingering ideas that this country is a meritocracy.

    Yes, here in the land of opportunity you can be completely unqualified for a top level cabinet position in the USA but you can still claim it if you give enough money to the right people. It is a wonderful message to send to every school kid across the land because at least now they now they know the cost of admission ($200E6).

  7. unclefrogy says

    well this plays into the hands of the Chinese,
    we are not loosing the leadership of the world contest as much as forfeiting the game by not engaging in the competition for knowledge.

    uncle frogy

  8. Demeisen says

    @jimf (#8): The entire concept of “meritocracy” is incompatible with the American political system, as it exists in its current state, unless you define the word “merit” to mean “wealth.” Which, unfortunately, is exactly what many of the far-right churches have done with their “prosperity gospel” flavor of neo-Calvinism. If you’re rich, and you spout the right platitudes, you must have God’s favor and therefore deserve to dictate to the unwashed masses. This belief has become a point of faith for many, and will likely prove hard to dispel.

  9. lostbrit says

    It pains me to see this happening to the US but I take some nasty satisfaction in the fact it stops the UK looking like such fools on the world stage.

    However I am still waiting for all the “Anyone but Hillary” types to continue to justify why they feel this insane nightmare the world is enduring is so much better than the alternative. Not holding my breath though.

  10. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Countdown begins: When Trump welcomes Putin to relieve Trump of his duties, as Putin will take over the job and make us all GREAT again. Well done Drumph, handing over the poorly educated to a Russian overlord. *applause*
    T minus …
    oh sh~t (rather Putin than Bannor) F~~K

  11. unclefrogy says

    the whole concept only works here because the US is on top with all the power and wealth we have now because of the fortune of having conquered and settled an unexploited land and provided an education system that was easily accessed comparatively by anyone.
    I do not think those ideas that brought us to this particular juncture will fare so well when world leadership in science, in development and in trade passes to some one else like China.
    the bigoted leading the ignorant can’t lead to any place that is not going to be violent, with that prosperity will vanish. leaving the 1% and everyone else.
    the poor will be singing a different song
    uncle frogy

  12. says

    The sad part is that it is much easier and quicker to tear down something than to build something. In this case, quality public education. The damage wrought even in a single term will take decades to repair and rebuild… and there have already been considerable depredations even prior to this administration.

  13. tccc says

    If you have not read the tactics guide put out by current and former congressional staffers who saw the tea party have an outsized influence on congress, it is a must read:

    Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen.

    It is carried out by groups of 10-20 people coordinating their work.

    Read it. seriously. There is a podcast reading of it as well if you would prefer audiobook style

  14. secondtofirstworld says

    @Demeisen #10:

    I’ve found your point on Neo-Calvinism interesting, and within the faith itself, actually ironic. I was a Calvinist, and our churches were puritan in nature, it would have surprised me to hear of the accumulation of wealth, since Luther’s main tangent was for the split that rich people bought absolution. Pretty much what they taught in original Calvinism goes against this prosperity gospel.

    I don’t defend either view, or play their devil’s advocate, but to me this seems more like an American, than a Christian thing. Here in Europe, the 2 churches who ask/demand for a lot of donations are Catholics and Evangelicals (whom I call the more Catholic than the actual Catholics).

  15. raven says

    This is bad no doubt about it.
    They put someone in charge of public education who hates…public education.

    But maybe not that bad. The Dept. of Education doesn’t really have that much power.
    1. The constitution explicitly leaves education to the states and local.
    2. The Feds only supply 8% of public school budgets.
    Since all budgets are under stress, that still matters but 8% is 8%.
    3. Much of that money is already designated under various spending laws. DeVos can’t arbitrarily redirect that money.
    4. I doubt congress will give her much new money to play with. Spending money on children just isn’t a GOP thing.

    5. It does say though, if parents want their children to get a good education, they will have to watch closely and may well end up providing part of it.

    And oddly enough, America was Made Great under…public education. Another positive feature of our society that the GOP wants to destroy.

  16. Kreator says

    lostbrit @ #11:

    However I am still waiting for all the “Anyone but Hillary” types to continue to justify why they feel this insane nightmare the world is enduring is so much better than the alternative.

    Conspirational thinking. Remember, they are people who gorged on right-wing’s smear campaigns and propaganda with gusto. They can easily come up with alternative scenarios (and facts!) of doom.

  17. emergence says

    Note how they think that the “snowflakes” won’t be able to organise anything. The last election taught progressives that we can’t underestimate our enemies. It seems like the rethuglicans haven’t learned that lesson yet.

  18. fernando says

    The theocratic and plutocratic far right, started to really destroying your country when they made the, “In God We Trust”, a sectarian “motto”, of loyalty and trust to a particular deity, with a horrible history regarding human rights, the officail motto of the USA, and almost abandoned the unofficial “E pluribus unum”, probably the most beautiful, and true, “motto” for your country: “One out o many”.

    I really wish you all the best of luck and don’t give up, another day, a more sunny day, will rise again with your help and the others that – by means of civic resistance and lawful combat against evil laws and acts – will, really, make America great again: a country that is a beacon of Hope, of Democracy and Human Rights.

  19. Tethys says

    We are aware that the trolls like to spy on us. It isn’t as if we are making super secret plans to take over the world, and like all trolls, they tend to get kicked out the second they attempt to participate. They might even learn some feminism and how to fact-check, so we don’t worry about them knowing our plans. It is rather nice to have a horde of nearly 30,000 feminists available at the click of a few buttons.

  20. ck, the Irate Lump says

    raven wrote:

    2. The Feds only supply 8% of public school budgets.

    Her purpose is to privatize the school system. She will attempt to make that 8% contingent on accepting voucher and charter schools in the states they haven’t been able to crack into yet, and perhaps also on loosening the restrictions on religious schools.

    She can do a hell of a lot of damage with something as simple as that. Once the process of privatizing the public school system starts, it’s damn near impossible to reverse.

  21. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Also, this is what Betsy DeVos said in 1997 in Roll Call:

    My family is the biggest contributor of soft money to the Republican National Committee. I have decided to stop taking offense, at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment.

    I guess she started expecting a little more direct return on investment.

  22. gregmusings says

    So they’ve given us our marching orders: stay Involved, be loud, get in their way. That’s my plan.

  23. raven says

    She will attempt to make that 8% contingent on accepting voucher and charter schools in the states they haven’t been able to crack into yet, and perhaps also on loosening the restrictions on religious schools.

    I don’t think she has that power.

    That money was allocated by congress. To support specific programs such as The No Child Left Behind Act.
    I don’t see that she can redirect that money without further legislation.

  24. numerobis says

    Rob Grijanis:

    I was hoping John McCain and Lindsey Graham would pitch in. Crap.

    Those two love to talk tough maverick independent shit, but they always vote their party line. Don’t rely on them ever.

  25. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    my only hope is that, she being so ignorant of the system, will let all the underlings continue doing their habitual tasks and things will roll along, even as she tries to steer it into a ditch. Sometimes ruts are a good thing. Like Yes, Minister, Humphries says long term bureaucrats keep the government working despite the temporary, blustery, elected officials who just come and go short term; all sound and fury accomplishing nuthing.
    yeah i know. feint hope, yet only one. *sob*

  26. multitool says

    If there were only some way to make the White House less relevant, so even when they win it doesn’t hurt us as much.

  27. Mark Adams says

    Conservatives still outnumber liberals by about 50% in the USA.

    And although liberalism has been rising in the USA largely due to a drop in moderates, the global trend as far as politics is a rightward march in politics (Brexit, rise of European right-wing parties, etc.). In addition, Democrats lost of lot of seats in Congress during the Obama years.

    So the appointment of Betsy Devros is no surprise to anyone who has been following politics in recent years.

  28. cartomancer says

    It seems a touch churlish, and all too easy, to chalk this situation up as evidence that the British system of checks and balances – sharing powers between the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government – is superior to the American system – a rigorous division of powers. But this case is certainly a demonstration of one of the excesses the US system is more prone to (I don’t doubt that equivalent problems can be illustrated in our recent political history). Perhaps the system needs to be reconsidered?

    Most government ministers in the UK are chosen from the parliamentary party with the majority – the Prime Minister’s party. So they are elected MPs who have at least won a popular mandate, rather than any old idiots the PM wants to bring in. Occasionally the cabinet will include one or two non-MPs, usually political bigwigs who the PM owes favours to like Peter Mandelson or Baroness Warsi, but the majority are always MPs (who are answerable to their constituents). In theory the PM could appoint a cabinet of whoever he wanted, but since he relies on his party’s MPs (and, in the Labour party, grass roots members and unions) for his own position it’s never going to happen. If it did the MPs would soon withdraw their support and oust him, because their getting the top jobs is all part of the bargain.

    Not that having your Mitch McConnells and Paul Ryans and Newt Gingriches as ministers would be a huge improvement of course… but I can’t help but think it would be some improvement.

  29. birgerjohansson says

    Another difference between Britain and Merca is the dominant role of the BBC in the media (not that it is as objective as you would hope, as we saw during the invasion of Iraq).
    — — — — —

    To understand American politics, especially people on the far right who get their news only from Fox News and similar sources, it is worthwhile to get familiar with the term “epistemic closure” means;
    To believe only the news you want to believe, from sources that only tells you what you expect to learn, to only perceive that tiny slice of reality that confirms your biases and prejudices;
    To essentially become Homo Rupertmurdochis !
    Example from “Dispatches From The Culture wars:

    “Trump’s World of Epistemic Closure”

  30. jrkrideau says

    @32 cartomancer,

    I think another difference between the UK and USA government structures is the aforementioned Sir Humphrey and his equivalents. Much more minor but I think noticeable

    Some helpful American may correct me but I believe each new US President replaces a lot of the senior public service. I read not long after Trump’s election that he had to make 4,000 appointments, presumably at reasonably senior levels.

    Imagine trying to organize a new government, without single experienced Permanent Secretary—or as we would say here—Deputy Minister available.

  31. secondtofirstworld says

    @Mark Adams #31:

    Not all instances can be lumped together. Brexiters represent the part of society, which calls the rest of the EU the continent as if they have nothing in common with us. I also would make a strong distinction between right wing and far right. I can’t recall the name of the British PM (parliamentary member, not prime minister) who took part, or at least had knowledge of guns being shipped to the Gaza Strip under the guise of humanitarian aid. He has a wife, who has a conflict of interest, and he’s not the only one with a foreigner wife.

    That alone is no issue, except if one actively campaign against immigration, like Richard Spencer (banned from the EU), Trump’s first and third wife are Eastern and Southern European from a non-aligned socialist country, Farage has a foreign wife, and so on. These fringe right figures offer nothing new, just the exotic unknown in Islamophobia, that thanks to the refugee crisis, also got a face. That coupled with economic instability on a global scale gave rise to the populist right.

    Former socialist countries have a tad different parties for populism. They’re either openly or covertly supported financially by the Kremlin, and thus they all have a positive opinion about Putin. His long term goal is to take America out of the equation by convincing leaders of going into isolation, and to destroy the EU. Somebody said here even Putin is better, than Bannon, no, he’s worse.

    Of course this isn’t being done for sh*ts and giggles, the current endgame is to achieve global economic dominance. Once America implodes under the weight of the trade wars, and the EU cannot keep its integrity together, the only other players are already the allies of Russia. This kind of behavior isn’t different from the 1930s. People, like Lindbergh, instead of admitting what a treasonous stupid idea it was to court Nazi Germany, when they allied themselves with the Japanese, they only said, what happened at Pearl Harbor was horrible, but could have been avoided if they had listened to them.

    The only way to mend this and turn people toward moderates is to make people realize they give the lock of the henhouse to the fox.

  32. says

    One leader applauded the report and said, “we don’t care if they like what we have to say, we don’t need them to agree with us. We just need them to give up, shut up and stay out of our way.”

    This smacks of rape culture.

    So I protested this week in another part of the country. There was a Trump counter-protest – a new experience for me. The good news: even though the place had voted for Trump, the resistance far outnumbered the followers (in fact, from some of their comments, I got the impression that some of the resistance protesters had themselves voted for him). A few observations:

    – The gender divide was stark.
    – The police in my judgment were more sympathetic to the Trumpists, although they weren’t overtly hostile to the resistance demonstrators.
    – The pro-Trump people had no positive message. They weren’t pro anything that could be expressed in terms of any positive values. They have Trump and bigotry and a desperately claimed identity. I felt sorry for them. They were genuinely pathetic. (Their jingoism was especially pitiful in that their hero and his stooges have spent the past several days publicly trashing the US.)
    – Their primary purpose clearly wasn’t to put forward any positive message but to mock, insult, and intimidate the resistance protesters. So they were somewhat scary, but also, again, pretty sad. Their show of contemptuous glee wasn’t altogether convincing.

  33. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    There are quite a few elementary school teachers in my family. Overheard at a recent family gathering concerning Devos:

    “Delores Umbridge is taking over Hogwarts”

  34. thinkingman says

    So how long until repubs decide that school vouchers are a handout? As in, Family X has 3 kids and only paid $500 in school tax. They get $2000 per voucher times 3 kids for a total of $5500 more than they paid in. I’m just making up numbers based on some vouchers I saw online, but these are typically the people who complain about a minimum wage single parent getting a federal refund bigger than they paid in. I can’t believe they would be OK with this long term.
    I live in the deep red bible belt south and have heard the grumblings of older wealthier people complaining over paying school taxes when they have no children school age. It appears to me this is a backdoor way of doing just that. I really feel they are going to set vouchers up in a way that shifts the burden of education costs away from the wealthy and away from childless households, when as a society we decided a long time ago that education of our collective children was so important that we all bear some responsibility in it.