DOE sides with Predatory For Profit Schools

Picture of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

June 2016 the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) proposed the “Borrower Defense Regulation”. The proposed regulation was added to the Federal Register for public comments; overwhelmingly the public approved of the proposal, which removes mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses and class action waivers from enrollment agreements. The proposal makes it easier for students to have their loans discharged when fraud can be proven.

November 2016 the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program was amended to make the proposal the new policy. Other notable programs were also amended to include the discharge provisions for the Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) and the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant programs.

The aforementioned & other contractual student loan changes are severely overdue as student debt has doubled in the past decade, ballooning to over 1.3 trillion dollars. Loan delinquency is also on the rise, in fact one in ten borrowers are 90 or more days past due on their loans, while 20-30% of adults under age 30 have student loan debt with many working multiple jobs to survive while paying off their student loans.

Because of the large sums of money & federal guarantees the student loan market has become a target for honest and dishonest lenders and institutions. During this past decade administrators have steadily attacked laws giving borrowers protections from predatory lenders. In fact, institutions in the financial student loan business have seen profits soar while more students are falling behind on their debts. Which brings us to DOE Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has decided it’s time to undo these consumer borrower protection laws, dismayed at this turn of events Attorney General Maura Healey along with 19 states are suing Secretary DeVos & the DOE for rolling back these protections.

In a prepared speech Secretary DeVos told the press “I’m getting paid, the lobbyists, the institutions all pay well, this is America, there are no morals, only the haves and have nots. These students will have money someday, that’s why they endured getting their educations. But for now they must pay and if they play their cards right, they can exploit the next generation. After all we want tomorrow’s youth perpetually indebted, that way they’ll be easily controlled and will accept the status quo. Oh, yeah let’s not forget, throw in a sprinkling of partisan divide & they won’t know what hit them, isn’t life great, no further questions.

More can be found at http://www.mass.gov/ago/news-and-updates/press-releases/2017/2017-07-06-ag-healey-sues-education-secretary-betsy-devos.html and at http://www.mass.gov/ago/news-and-updates/press-releases/2017/2017-06-14-intervention-to-protect-students.html

News Flash link b/t Poverty & Food Insecurity

Picture of USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue

According to the  United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Economic Research Report (ERR-235) July 2017, there’s a “strong correlation between food security status and chronic health conditions among working age adults living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line”, you don’t say, who would of thought. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights ten chronic diseases that are often the result of food insecurity. The report names diabetes, hypertension, hepatitis, stroke, cancer, asthma, coronary heart disease and more as diseases of the poor.

CDC continues food insecurity is a predictor of health among working age adults in the US. If members of this food insecurity group are very poor, poor or just above the federal poverty threshold the health outcome is the same, poor health, chronic disease & inferior health outcomes result. USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will bolster the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) program with $16.8 million in funding which was obtained from thirty two grants. The impetus of the program is to push participants in SNAP to purchase more fruits and vegetables.

As funds were awarded to the poor, Sonny decided it was time to pay a visit to the poor, to witness how they were getting along with their fruits & vegetables. While driving in & around Poorville, Sonny noticed something odd, recipients of additional funding laid unconscious along the roadside. Sonny, traversed several streets, the picture was the same more unconscious recipients some with fruits & vegetables others with none. After gaining the courage to inquire with one of the half dead families, Sonny pulled over, got out of his car, nonchalantly strolled up to a family asking what’s wrong, what happened. The family said water please sir, Sonny smiled pulled out a case of Perrier & said drink as much as you’d like. They drank the case sat down & said how can we help you sir.

Sonny, casually asked why were you passed out along the road & why are all of those people some with groceries & others without passed out in the dirt? Just then both parents stood up saying we were told we must by fruits & vegetables or we won’t receive help with feeding our family, it’s the same for the other families strung out alongside the roads to and from town. Sonny intervened, that’s good right? They looked at Sonny with tears in their eyes saying we live in a food desert, we don’t have a car and there’s no public transportation, they say it’s not profitable to have it here. The only food for 20 miles is Burger King, McDonalds, Wendy’s and the fatback shack. We’re exhausted from the walk, those along the road with groceries are on their way back from the walk while those without are starting their second trip please help them.

More can be found at https://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/pub-details?pubid=84466 and at https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2017/08/07/secretary-perdue-announces-168-million-encourage-snap-participants and at https://www.fns.usda.gov/pressrelease/2017/006617

Big Business & Your Slowing Internet

Picture of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

In 2015 the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) required Internet Service Providers (ISPs) follow Title II regulations (Common Carrier Regulation) of the Communications Act of 1934. Moving ISP control under Title II regulations put a stop to ISPs slowing down internet speeds for some customers while speeding it up for other customers based on their willingness or ability to pay for the enhanced speeds. Putting an end to this practice of throttling up or down would become known as net neutrality.

In 2015 the Obama administration pushed for a net neutral internet and sought to make laws discouraging and/or preventing the removal of net neutral laws. Forward to now the Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Ajit Pai introduced a “Notice of Proposal Rulemaking (NPRM) if implemented would put an end to net neutrality laws and FCC controls. The NPRM would return regulation & policing authority to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) removing the internet from the umbrella of being a utility.

In his argument for removing net neutrality controls Chairman Pai argues competition helps consumers, free markets increase progress, spur creativity and delivers products consumers want. During a press conference when asked if consumers can’t afford to pay for competitive speeds what are they to do, chairman Pai replied “close shop, if you can’t compete in business you must close shop, competition isn’t for the weary or weak, it’s what keeps us strong. I acknowledge big business will have an advantage, they do now.

He continued, “Our laws have given big business unprecedented control over government & citizens, why should we stop now”. In an uncharacteristic diatribe Pai said “I won’t stop my bid for giving control to big corporations until the government is eliminated & all citizens are subjected to corporate rule”. He continued, “With the internet we can spy on you, control what you see & hear, feed you false stories & take advantage of naive patriotism. These are the tools of capitalism; our future looks to be great”.

More can be found https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-344614A1.pdf and at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AJR7 and at http://techtalk.seattle.gov/2017/07/12/day-of-action-to-save-net-neutrality/ and at https://www.markey.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2017-08-03-NetNeutrality-Letter-Pai-FCC-Senators.pdf and at http://www.mass.gov/ago/news-and-updates/press-releases/2017/2017-07-17-net-neutrality.html and at https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/10717283141719/2017.07.17%20Attorneys%20General%20Comments%20on%20Docket%20No.%2017-108.pdf

Little Marco wants to improve Terror Intelligence

Picture of Senator Marco Rubio R-FL

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) wants to improve terror intelligence for the nation’s law enforcement community & specifically for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Senator Rubio submitted S.151 a Bill requiring federal departments and/or agencies to disclose all and any information about a person or people who have been under some type of investigation for terrorism or terrorism related incidents within the past ten years. This broad definition could be stretched to include all citizens, allies, enemies & any other governmentally targeted groups.

By legislating and creating the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001” America greatly expanded government power while curtailing that of citizens and wood be terrorists.  This act otherwise known as the Patriot Act along with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) gave the government unprecedented power to spy on citizens, terrorists and grandma without any proof of wrong doing.

The Federal agency responsible for data mining innocent American’s data for possible transgressions is the National Security Agency (NSA), which presumes guilt before innocence as it unconstitutionally data mines citizen’s private records without cause & with little judiciary oversight.  With this additional granted power stemming from 9/11, little Marco accessed the situation (lucky for us) determining law enforcement agencies need more power (maybe we’re not so lucky).

During his Bill presentation to congress little Marco made a compassionate speech, hoping to rally his supporters and congress. As he spoke he asked who will stand with me on this bill, when his speech was concluded all of congress had left, the only company in the hall with Marco was crickets. Since its introduction the bill has not moved forward, there are no cosponsors and now little Marco is afraid to look up at fellow Senators as the giggles have given him a complex.

More can be found at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/151?r=1 and at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/151/text?r=1

Governor Scott Sticks it to Taxpayers Again

Picture Florida Governor Rick Scott

House Bill 155, better known as the “docs vs glocks” bill from 2011 prohibited doctors from talking to their patients about guns or gun safety. Medical privacy was one of the primary drivers for enacting HB 155 according to Floridian law makers. Under the terms of HB 155 a licensed health care facility or practitioner could not enter into a conversation discussing firearms, firearm safety, ammunition and more used by a patient or any relatives.

So, if a patient needs holes plugged from a firearm incident the doctors responsibility was only to plug the holes keeping the patient alive so that more holes could be made at a future date. Tired of bearing the brunt of this law Florida doctors and medical organizations sued to overturn HB 155. Through successful litigation HB 155 has finally been overturned (July 2017) with Florida Governor Rick Scott agreeing to reimbursing the doctor and medical organizations attorneys.

In his office talking to the press after the decision, the governor pointed to a bust of his cousins foot, saying I want to tell yawl a story. While out hunting my cousin accidentally shot his foot off. Upon feeling the searing pain he accidently released another round, hitting his wife, dislodging one of her breasts. Seeing, her breast flying away, she screamed in horror lost her balance & plunged face first into a strangers groin lodging two teeth in his private part.

Upon returning home the man’s wife shot him for loss of consortium. According to Governor Scott “had this law not been overturned everyone would of thought twice about their part in this tale, as they would of been shot for retribution not stupidity & for that the governor said this law needs to be overturned”.

More can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/phlp/news/current.html and at http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=_h0155er.docx&DocumentType=Bill&BillNumber=0155&Session=2011 and at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/us/florida-doctors-guns-lawsuit.html?module=WatchingPortal&region=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=thumb_square&state=standard&contentPlacement=1&version=internal&contentCollection=www.nytimes.com&contentId=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2017%2F07%2F24%2Fus%2Fflorida-doctors-guns-lawsuit.html&eventName=Watching-article-click&_r=0

More Abortion Laws Needed to Stop Citizens

Picture of Republican Senator Rex Rice

Lawmakers in South Carolina (Jr. Senators) just realized the July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence exists. In General Bill S.217 Senator Rex Rice, Cromer, Verdin, Davis, Peeler, Gambrell and others make startling revelations.  Article 5 of S.217 not only acknowledges the Declaration of Independence but it goes on to reveal other gems. Such as “all persons are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, who would of thought?

The geniuses go on to communicate personhood is God-given & that all men are created in the image of God, you don’t say, I wonder what side of the bed they got out of when they wrote this bill. While reading the senators revelations they definitively state “a human being vests at fertilization” I thought that was like a fish thing pickpocketing an egg, but ok maybe it is a person, who’s to say.

For a group that thinks the country has too many laws, republican senators seem to be at ease creating more laws. In H.R. 1192 Republican Representative Christopher Smith, aptly named his bill “Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act of 2017 which puts a stop to dismemberment abortion but doesn’t adequately define what it is, or maybe I missed that part. So, is it legal or not legal to dismember that swimming fish thing, inquiring minds want to know?

More can be found at http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess122_2017-2018/bills/217.htm and at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/7 and at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1192?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22anti+abortion%22%5D%7D&r=4

Cotton Quality to Improve, Public Pays, Corps Profit

Picture of USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue

For over a decade U.S. farmers have been looking for ways to level the field when it comes to cotton exporting and importing. From 2006 thru 2015 U.S. cotton exports decreased while imports increased coming from nations such as China, Vietnam and Bangladesh. U.S. farmers and the farming industry place the blame for this change on employees. They claim wages are too high to be competitive against foreign cotton imports.

Because of this perceived constraint, the farming industry has spent this past decade working on improving cottons environmental potency, by testing ways to improve its yield and to make it more resistant to environmental changes, easier to grow and easier to cultivate without human intervention by modifying its DNA. In a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Research, Education & Economics Information System (REEIS) document summary the responsibility of creating improved cotton should rest with public institutions.

Many politicians agree with this sentiment, publicize losses and privatize profits. This phenomenon was made clear during the great recession of 2008, when businesses were dubbed too big to fail requiring taxpayer bailouts to survive. Many politicians suggest this is how many industries have survived & grown thru pubic intervention, making America great. In a press conference USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said we sent the immigrants home, now we need cotton that’ll pick itself. Taxpayers should pay for this, because with further development the new cotton may wash itself saving them money.

More can be found at https://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2017/august/us-upland-cotton-exports-and-mill-use-projected-to-improve/ and at https://portal.nifa.usda.gov/web/crisprojectpages/1012279-development-of-genetically-improved-cotton-germplasmcultivars.html and at https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/cotton-wool/ and at https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us/

Government Sanctioned Worker Servitude

Picture of Utah Lawmakers Stuart-Adams-and-Mike-Schultz

The use of non-compete, post-employment restrictions, non-compete clauses, non-compete contracts, non-competition agreements, trade secret protection agreements, restrictive covenants and more have the same objective, to limit an employee’s future job opportunities. The stated employer goal is to limit exposure to the possible loss of trade secrets and to prevent employees from stealing customers only to begin new startups using those same customers. To curb this perceived problem employers increasingly require employees sign restrictive agreements that come into effect after an employee voluntarily or involuntarily leaves a company.

This corporate practice is a growing phenomenon in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury (DOT), this practice stagnates wages, forces employees to stay in unwanted jobs, limits entrepreneurial startups, and helps corporations profit from suing former employees who have broken the terms of the employment contract. Because of this growing trend (14% of U.S. workers) many jurisdictions and legislatures are creating laws to strengthen employee’s rights, however at the same time lawmakers across the country are reluctant to put forth legislation to end or curtail this practice.

Instead lawmakers are trying to walk the line of appeasing both employers and employees. This non stance will help to ensure employees are on the losing end of current & future litigious battles with previous employers. Utah Republicans Representative Mike Schultz and Senator Stuart Adams (Majority Whip) in a press conference moved to ensure constituents signing non-compete clauses wasn’t tantamount to servitude, they said “you’re already owned by government and corporations, you just don’t know it, now we’re making it obvious, just sign the agreements because you’re chattel, now get back to work losers, while you still have a job”.

More can be found at http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1967&Year=2017 and at http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bill%20Reports/House/1967%20HBA%20LAWS%2017.pdf and at https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/103/465 and at https://le.utah.gov/~2016/bills/static/HB0251.html and at http://www.oregon.gov/boli/TA/Pages/ta_faq_noncompete.aspx and at https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/economic-policy/Documents/UST%20Non-competes%20Report.pdf and at https://www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/Pages/The-Economic-Effects-of-Non-compete-Agreements-.aspx

More Government is Boon for Republican Senators

Picture of Rep Stuart-Adams-& Noman-Thurston

In an era when neither major political party can be seen as traditional, two Republican Senators move to lower the alcohol limit regarding driving under the influence laws. Junior Utah State Senators Norman Thurston and Stuart Adams cosponsored H.B. 155 “Driving Under the Influence and Public Safety Revisions” Bill. The proposed law will lower the blood or breath alcohol limit from .08 to .05 which if enacted will have a devastating financial impact on those that’ll be subject to this change.

Traditionally, Republicans are for repealing laws and getting the government out of its citizen’s lives. But this proposal gets the government more involved and will confiscate money mostly from citizens that won’t be able to afford legal representation. Statistics show American prisons are full of prisoners that couldn’t afford legal counsel, the issue of guilt is secondary to the accused being able to afford legal representation. Usually, if they can afford council – fines and penalties are dropped and/or greatly reduced and if council cannot be obtained, the accused is forced to plea bargain, resulting in jail time, massive fines and some form of recompense or restitution for alleged victims.

While in a press conference the two cosponsoring congressmen said now it’ll be practically illegal to have a glass of wine and drive, we want everyone in prison but our constituents, this way we’re sure to be reelected. With smirks the pair said we need to criminalize the population that way cronyism, vote rigging and kickbacks can continue to grow. The two continued we want all citizens to use Uber and lyft because it’ll make our roads safer, that’s why this bill is needed. When questioned how do they justify the increased financial burden on citizens the law makers said its better than a democrats new taxes, those can’t be avoided, but this expense can be, just don’t drink and there won’t be any financial penalties until we come up with one for thinking.

More can be found at https://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/HB0155.html