George W. Bush

Inside The Koch Empire: How The Brothers Plan To Reshape America–article and video

…”Charles’ many critics on the left–including the President of the United States–accuse him of accumulating too much power and using it to promote his own economic interests through a network of secretive organizations they call the “Kochtopus.” Ironically, the Koch brothers believe they’re fighting against power, at least in the political realm. For the Kochs the real power is central government, which can tax entire industries into oblivion, force a citizen to buy health insurance and bring mighty corporations like Koch Industries to heel.”

…”The November elections–which David, in a separate interview shortly after the results were finalized, termed “bitterly disappointing”–seem to confirm Charles’ last point. Not even the Koch brothers, who spent tens of millions of dollars during this election cycle (they won’t disclose the exact amount) funding direct political contributions and issue-driven “nonprofits,” could coerce voters to back their candidates. Mitt Romney’s loss was a huge blow to them, both in terms of likely policy outcomes and personal reputation.

“But those who think the brothers, older and chastened, will now fade away don’t understand the Kochs. Not a bit. Obama’s victory was just a blip on a master plan measured in decades, not election cycles. “We raised a lot of money and mobilized an awful lot of people, and we lost, plain and simple,” says David. “We’re going to study what worked, what didn’t work, and improve our efforts in the future. We’re not going to roll over and play dead.”

To read the entire expose at Forbes–A MUST READ–please click here.

To watch the video The Inside Story of the Koch Empire, where Forbes Magazine editor Randall Lane joins Martin Bashir to discuss his magazine’s latest cover story and interview with Charles and David Koch – and what the brothers may have up their sleeves for 2014, 2013, and beyond, please click here

ALEC Now Sponsoring Overtly Political Events with the RSC

GOP’s corporate front group

The revolving door between Capital Hill, the lobbying sector, and corporate jobs is out of control. Unaccountable corporate lobbyists write laws, draft budgets, and create policies that protect personal and business interests.

…But perhaps it is no surprise that the federal Republicans and ALEC have finally gotten a room, and that it’s at the Heritage Foundation. Republicans and ALEC have long held similar beliefs and worked together on the state level. President Bush and other top Republican leaders have spoken to ALEC. The group, which used to be a nonpartisan corporate front group, happy to advance legislation to either party, as long as it served its corporate backers, has increasingly become the state-based arm of the Republican Party’s progressively more conservative legislative agenda.

To read all of this extensive and in-depth report, please click here

For-Profit College Scams Involve Many ALEC Corporate Members

This is a difficult story to post.  Noted writer David Halperin has penned a number of articles detailing how many for-profit colleges are nothing more than taxpayer defrauding scams.

Here are some blurbs from these articles so that you may read up on this despicable subject.  The article titles, which are in blue, are the links to the articles themselves.

Sen. Harkin’s Report: For-Profit Colleges Leave Students With Debt But No DegreeJuly 29, 2012
For-profit colleges now account for about 10 percent of U.S. students but 25 percent for federal financial aid and nearly half of all student loan defaults. Many schools get 85-90 percent or more of their revenues from federal taxpayers, and they spend most of it on items like marketing, recruiting, and big executive salaries, rather than education and job placement. Not all for-profit colleges are that bad, but many, including most of the big ones, are.

Exclusive: Washington Post’s Kaplan and Other For-Profit Colleges Joined ALEC, Controversial Special Interest Lobby
For-profit colleges are the ultimate special interest. Many receive around 90 percent of their revenue from federal financial aid, more than $30 billion a year, and many charge students sky-high prices. In recent years, it has been fully documented that a large number of these schools have high dropouts rates and dismal job placement, and many have been caught engaging in highly coercive and deceptive recruiting practices. Yet when the bad actions of these predatory schools got publicly exposed, the schools simply used the enormous resources they’ve amassed to hire expensive lobbyists and consultants, and to make campaign contributions to politicians, in order to avoid accountability and keep taxpayer dollars pouring into their coffers.

4-Year Students At For-Profit Colleges Graduate Less Than Half As Often As Other Students, But Their Schools Do Create Jobs — For Lobbyists–April 2, 2012
The report underscores how expensive these for-profit schools are, despite their weak programs.  For full-time students attending four-year public colleges or universities, average price before financial aid grants was about $16,900 and $10,200 after; for nonprofit private schools, the average price before grant aid was about $32,700 and after aid $16,700; and for for-profit colleges, average price before grants was about $27,900 and $23,800 after – which, coupled with the high dropout rate, makes plain why so many for-profit college students are left with insurmountable debt.

Controversial For-Profit College Industry Gets Half of All The Funds From Vets Tuition Program–February 23, 2012
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) just released new Defense Department data showing that the troubled for-profit college sector — which has left many American deep in debt — received half of all military Tuition Assistance dollars last year — $280 million out of $563 million for college grants for active duty military.  During their decade of explosive growth, for-profit education companies have sent armies of high-pressure recruiters to military bases and set up makeshift campuses right nearby.  More recently, they have sent armies of lobbyists to convince the Obama Administration and Congress that they should not be held accountable.

George W. Bush To Speak At Vegas Convention Of For-Profit College Industry Enriched By His Administration–February 15, 2012
Bush is an appropriate speaker, in a sense, because his Administration’s deliberate actions made it easier for bad actors among for-profit schools to engage in a decade of waste, fraud, and abuse that earned them billions in profits but has left many former students deep in debt and without job prospects. Bush’s appearance is “presented” by Pearson, the education publishing company whose nonprofit foundation is now under investigation by the New York attorney general for allegedly seeking to improperly influence state education officials with free trips to destinations like London, Helsinki, Singapore and Rio de Janeiro.  I am happy to report that this event was Occupied by #Occupy LasVegas/#Occupy Together

Romney’s ‘Policy Fundraiser’ Tomorrow Reveals Reliance On Ed Advisor Who Set Stage for For-Profit College Abuses–February 8, 2012
Mitt Romney, who has declared his admiration for for-profit colleges while receiving donations from for-profit education executives, boasts as a top education advisor a former George Bush official whose decisions in government helped unleash a decade of waste, fraud, and abuse by the for-profit college industry.  Oh boy!  Look what we have to look forward to in a possible Romney Administration.

Bill Gates Praises CEO of Washington Post’s Kaplan Unit, Whose Profits Benefit Gates Foundation–February 3, 2012
The Washington Post Company seems on the verge of turning its flagship newspaper into a brochure for the company’s controversial, taxpayer-funded for-profit college division, Kaplan. The latest participant in this process is one of the world’s most accomplished men, Bill Gates. At a time when veterans groups, state attorneys general, and others are seeking reforms to prevent abuses by for-profit schools, Gates recently published — in the Post — an enthusiastic review of a book by Kaplan’s CEO. Gates failed to inform readers that the finances of his own Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are linked to the Post / Kaplan’s profits.

And then there is the article in the Washington Post that had to hurt them to publish in an expose about their own participation in these scams:
Report finds for-profit colleges serve shareholders over students-July 29, 2012
…for-profit colleges have failed to support those students, the report states, by prizing recruitment over retention. The colleges studied spent 23 percent of their revenue on marketing and recruiting, the report found, and 17 percent on instruction.  The publicly traded companies that operate for-profit colleges yielded an average profit margin of 20 percent in 2009 and paid an average $7.3 million to their chief executives, the report found.




Don’t Let Business Lobbyists Kill the Post Office

…But politics also plays a huge part in this. In 2006, in what looks like an attempt to bust the Postal Workers’ Union, George Bush signed into law the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. This law required the Postal Service to pre-fund 100 percent of its entire future obligations for 75 years of health benefits to its employees – and not only do it, but do it within ten years. No other organization, public or private, has to pre-fund 100 percent of its future health benefits.

The transparent purpose of this law, which was pushed heavily by industry lobbyists, was to break a public sector union and privatize the mail industry. Before the 2006 act, the postal service did one thing, did it well, and, minus the need to generate profits and bonuses for executives, did it cheaply. It paid for itself and was not a burden to taxpayers.

To read more of Matt Taibbi’s article, please click here

And please click here to go to our forum and discuss the USPS with others.  The Forum is moderated by Marty Townsend who is from a multi-generational USPS family.