Category Archives: Politics

The Veil Comes off the DeVos’s $139 Million Philanthropy Project

Unquestionably, Dick and Betsy DeVos command a lot of attention—at the same time—criticism because of their ginormous political donations. However, even their political donations look like pocket change compared to the charitable contributions, which have amounted to $139 million total. Betsy DeVos, the US Education Secretary nominee of the Republicans, DeVos has championed the wonders of charter schools.

 

 

How the DeVos’s Contribute to Society

A glance at 2015 alone revealed $11.6 million in contributions to different charities, which doubles itself compared to the $5.3 million in campaign donations from the last five years. As a part of the vetting process for a Cabinet post, Betsy DeVos reported to the federal government. The DeVos family has remained a kingpin of Republican politics for years, which started with Dick’s dad, Rich DeVos, the co-founder of Amway. In 2015, the elder DeVos and four of his grown children gifted over $104 million to charitable organizations in 2015. Because of their philanthropy, the family landed in 24th place on the Forbes’ list called, “America’s Top Givers.” Learn more: http://enablediversity.com/2017/08/11/dick-devos-reveals-the-staggering-amounts-of-money-he-donated-to-charity/

 

 

Giving over a Lifetime

When we look at what the DeVos family gave over a lifetime, we see over $1.33 billion handed out. To put it into perspective, the family has given one-quarter of their $5.2 billion fortune. Betsy DeVos has actually come from a family, the Prince family, famous for their charitable donations, and she has only continued with that family characteristic. Their giving displays their values like education as a top priority. For example, in 2015, the family donated over $3 million to educational causes. It made up 26 percent of their total donations, and the family gave $357,000 to reform education groups. It shows how dedicated and unwavering the DeVos family remains to improve education.

 

 

Not Fulfilling the American Dream

As the DeVos’s looked at the current system of education. They could see a broken platform where many students fell through the cracks. Unfortunately, they didn’t like what they saw and made an attempt to improve education for Americans. DeVos states in an interview with MLive how the lack of education increasingly became a civil rights problem. If you grew up in the wrong zip code, you might not have access to the right resources to fulfill the American dream, and education becomes a prerequisite to have a fighting chance at living the American dream. Their goal is to address the problem of a “one-size-fits-all” public education platform.

How Education Secretary Betsy Devos Got Involved With Education Reform

Betsy Devos has always been a champion for education reform, but now that she has been appointed to be the Education Secretary, her education reform agenda is moving forward at an unprecedented pace. Learn more: http://woodtv.com/2017/08/01/ed-secretary-betsy-devos-reflects-on-6-months-in-office/

 

More and more states are starting to look into options when it comes to education reform and school choice. Betsy Devos’ strongly held belief is that the more choices there are for children, the better off they are. Not all public schools are a good fit for all children, and being able to choose from other options as well is beneficial for placing the child in the right school where they will achieve success. Children should have the choice of attending a charter school, a religious school, or even being homeschooled. There are even more options these days, with virtual schools becoming more and more of a reality.

 

In an interview, Betsy Devos was asked what got her into the education reform movement. Her reply was that there was no single incident, but that it was a series of events in her life and in the life of her husband. Both had attended religious schools, and as they went through life and got into education, they realized how beneficial it was for them to have that option. When their own children were ready to go to school, they realized that sending them to the local public school would not have been the best option. They themselves had the resources to send their kids to the best private schools. However, they thought of all the parents that were not as fortunate as they were. What would they do? What options did they really have?

 

At first, they decided to help other parents out by giving out grants. However, they realized that such a small scale operation would not do much when looking at the bigger picture. That is why they decided to start lobbying for additional support for private schools in the form of tax vouchers and similar programs. Supporting private schools will give many more children the opportunity to excel and succeed.

 

Betsy Devos is actively involved in the education reform movement. Besides donating millions of dollars towards education, she has always been involved with gathering grassroots support for her initiatives. Even as Secretary of Education, she actively visits private schools to encourage them and continues to lobby for more support for them.

Reasons Why The California Senate Race Is Not Interesting

California’s Senate race is not living up to voters’ expectations. The contest is a battle for the most coveted elective office in the state. The winning candidate is set to replace retiring Democrat Barbara Boxer. In the past, the state of California has had many memorable Senate face-offs. The most notable ones include the Dianne Feinstein-Mike Huffington and Jerry Brown-Pete Watson race. This year’s race to the Senate office is poised between Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez.

 

Harris is a former San Francisco district attorney. Sanchez is a two-decade Orange County congresswoman. Harris has been leading the race with an average of 13 percent points in every poll. The interesting fact is that both candidates are Democrats. A recent survey conducted among the state’s residents concluded that 42 percent of the Republicans would not bother to vote.

 

Harris and Sanchez held their general election debate last week at Cal State, Los Angeles. The debate was too regimented. The moderators were at fault for trying to cram in many questions. Therefore, the candidates had less time to reply to the issues raised. Many of the viewers were frustrated by the fact that the channel airing the debate was more concerned with keeping on schedule instead of drawing out substance from the candidates.

 

The debate was aired the same time as the San Francisco Giants wild-card playoff game. The unfortunate timing led to few people watching the debate. The contest was funny when Sanchez exhibited a hip hop “dab” move. The contest was boring because both candidates were boring. Sanchez is a nonconformist. Her counterpart is overly cautious. Both candidates had minor differences on policies because they are both Democrats. Another reason why the Senate debate did not sparkle is that the Presidential race is consuming all the political oxygen. Moreover, there are more serious propositions on the ballot that made the contest a shadow of what it should have been. One can conclude that the race for the California Senate office is dull because the national political parties are not interested. The winner will be a Democrat in the end.

 

Reasons Why The California Senate Race Is Not Interesting

California’s Senate race is not living up to voters’ expectations. The contest is a battle for the most coveted elective office in the state. The winning candidate is set to replace retiring Democrat Barbara Boxer. In the past, the state of California has had many memorable Senate face-offs. The most notable ones include the Dianne Feinstein-Mike Huffington and Jerry Brown-Pete Watson race. This year’s race to the Senate office is poised between Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez.

 

Harris is a former San Francisco district attorney. Sanchez is a two-decade Orange County congresswoman. Harris has been leading the race with an average of 13 percent points in every poll. The interesting fact is that both candidates are Democrats. A recent survey conducted among the state’s residents concluded that 42 percent of the Republicans would not bother to vote.

 

Harris and Sanchez held their general election debate last week at Cal State, Los Angeles. The debate was too regimented. The moderators were at fault for trying to cram in many questions. Therefore, the candidates had less time to reply to the issues raised. Many of the viewers were frustrated by the fact that the channel airing the debate was more concerned with keeping on schedule instead of drawing out substance from the candidates.

 

The debate was aired the same time as the San Francisco Giants wild-card playoff game. The unfortunate timing led to few people watching the debate. The contest was funny when Sanchez exhibited a hip hop “dab” move. The contest was boring because both candidates were boring. Sanchez is a nonconformist. Her counterpart is overly cautious. Both candidates had minor differences on policies because they are both Democrats. Another reason why the Senate debate did not sparkle is that the Presidential race is consuming all the political oxygen. Moreover, there are more serious propositions on the ballot that made the contest a shadow of what it should have been. One can conclude that the race for the California Senate office is dull because the national political parties are not interested. The winner will be a Democrat in the end.

 

Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City Closes Down

An article published by CNN confirms that the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey closed its doors as of Monday, October 10. This decision is expected to cost an estimated 3,000 workers at the casino their jobs. The casino is actually owned by financier Carl Icahn, and Donald Trump only has rights to the name itself.

 

Over the past few years, there has been a significant infusion of financing into the casino, but efforts to save the operation fell short of its losses in revenue. The casino first opened in 1990 and has weathered the economic turmoil that has plagued Atlantic City in the decades since. Several other casinos faced a similar fate, and two of the seven remaining casinos in Atlantic City have recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

 

The Trump Taj Mahal had previously filed for bankruptcy on several occasions. The state even provided funding assistance back in 1990 because of fears that if the casino industry left Atlantic City, the city would be economically decimated. After years of poor performance by the casino, Trump actually sued to be able to remove his namesake from the casino because he did not want to be linked with the poor financial performance of the casino. His efforts have remained ineffective so far. Even from its very first opening, the casino suffered from serious deficits and was unable to ever fully recover from its rocky financial start. In total, five casinos in Atlantic City have closed their doors since 2014.

 

Has Vice-Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine Trumped Himself?

Virginia and its capital city, Richmond, are not usually a center stage attraction for national political news; however, the upcoming Presidential Election 2016 provides some interestingly unique observations.

A recent Washington Post article:“Kaine Watch: Obscure Virginia Law Allows A Daring Move” is well worth anyone’s reading time. This August 9th news item contributed by Norman Leahy and Paul Goldman focuses on Tim Kaine and a lesser-known portion of Virginia’s election code. One sentence cited reads that “{n}o person shall have his name printed on the ballot for more than one office at any one election.”

In light of the aforementioned Virginia statute,it should be noted that Tim Kaine’s name will appear on Virginia voting machines as both a Democratic United States Senatorial candidate as well as for Vice-President of the United States.

While Tim Kaine is appearing with Hillary Clinton in cities and towns all across the USA as her vice-presidential running mate, he is still up for reelection to the United States Senate
from Virginia.

This leaves Virginia’s Governor Terry McAuliffe is in a rather precarious position. It appears that Kaine has never officially resigned from his US Senate seat. During a recent interview, Kaine implied that should the Democratic party lose the presidential election, returning to his senatorial duties would not be high on his bucket list. Without official sanction by Kaine, McAuliffe is not in a position to appoint someone in an interim capacity to assume Kaine’s responsibilities on Virginia’s behalf until after election day.

A second crux of this situation regards the “A Daring Move…” portion of the article’s title. In the court of public opinion, the jury is still out relative to whether or not Tim Kaine has knowingly used this obscure code to ensure that Virginia’s 13 electoral votes remain in the Democratic realm.

NYC Tears Down Naked Trump Statue

An artist in Union Square in NYC erected a statue of Donald Trump in the part on Thursday and it was quickly taken down by the New York City Parks Department on the same date just a few hours after it was created.

For a short time it served as a major selfie spot as students and other tourists took photos with the statute while they could.

The New York City Parks Department has a policy that no public erections of statutes can be made on park or city property, though exceptions have been made in the past, notably for the Wall Street Bull that has captured the hearts of many tourists and is now a destination in and of itself. The Trump statue does have a major twist; it is a naked statue of him and the artists indicated that they were trying to be as anatomically correct as possible when they created it.

The statute of Trump was created by an artist collective that is known as Indecline and these statutes were put in a variety of major cities around the country including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. On Youtube the artist collective also showed pictures of themselves creating the statute and what it involved to do so, personally bearing the cost for the project.

Indecline named the project “The Emperor Has No Balls”, which is a reference to the classic story “The Emperor Has No Clothes”. The Donald Trump statute may have a longer life in other cities around the country though and served as a playful statement on the Presidential Election cycle for 2016 which has been rather contentious

Thor Halvorssen: Head of NYC Human Rights Foundation

Thor Halvorssen heads up New York City-based Human Rights Foundation, an NGO that seeks to stamp out tyranny around the world. However, Halvorssen is not the typical human rights activist concerned primarily with the American and European political and military power and glossing over the crimes socialist regimes.

Thor Halvorssen, who is originally from Caracas, Venezuela, and comes from a long line of diplomats and statesmen, argues that there are plenty of people taking on the United States and other western countries on the human rights records. He reasons that his role should be to take on the major offenders, such as Cuba and Vietnam.  This article from The Atlantic mentions that Halvorssen, who has several family members who have stood up to the Chavez regime and has a cousin who is currently a political prisoner in Venezuela, has himself risked his life for his cause. On one occasion he traveled to Vietnam to interview a Buddhist leader whose church had been made illegal, and was detained by Vietnamese authorities.

Halvorssen, who is of Norwegian as well as Venezuelan descent, became involved in human rights full-time after his father was imprisoned by the Chavez regime. He founded HRF in 2004 and has since succeeded securing the release of seven political prisoners. In addition, he is the founder of Oslo Freedom Forum, which was described by The Economist as the human rights community’s answer to Davos.

Halvorssen began his career at the University of Pennsylvania, where he edited an alternative conservative student newspaper and was actively involved in politics, even helping a Venezuelan political candidate hire an American political consultant. He also joined human rights organizations in securing the release of his father, a Venezuelan political prisoner.

Many people characterize Halvorssen as a “conservative” activist, but he rejects this label. Rather, Halvorssen sees himself as a classical liberal who rejects despotism in all of its forms. He points out that he has condemned the crimes of the Pinochet regime just as he has those of left-wing regimes around the world.

 

Dr. Jill Stein Fights for Ballot Access in New London, CT

Already, this has been one of the craziest American election years in recent history. It’s normal to have two politicians that some people like and some people dislike but never has there been two candidates that Americans as a whole despise. With both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party nominating two candidates that are universally disliked, most Americans feel the time has come for a change in the two-party system and start thinking outside the box.

The young voters of America have begun to leave the Democratic Party in droves and migrate to the more progressive Green Party. Even though this independent party is a few years old, they are still required to deal with a lot of red tape to even get their people on ballots across the country. One of the biggest hurdles Green Party candidates face is being required to gather signatures for ballot access.

Instead of simply allowing parties to place their candidates on ballots, which would give the American people more choice in elections, most states require thousands of signatures. In an effort to help gain more ballot access, Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein was recently in New London, CT, speaking with people and showing why she deserves to be the first Madame President. During her recent appearance, Dr. Stein fielded some questions from the crowd and explained some of the major issues of her campaign, such as universal healthcare and cancelling all student loan debt.

Houston Hosting Green Party Convention with Dr. Jill Stein

There has been a lot of talk about two of the major political party conventions this year. First, we had the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Donald Trump, the now official nominee of the party, is so disliked that his party became even more split after the RNC and was home to protests. A short while later, we had the Democratic National Convention in Philly. Again, by nominating Hillary Clinton, the party continued to widen the divide that has been in the party for a long time, and again, more protests broke out through the entire week.

Thanks to the mess that has been our Primary Season, most Americans are searching for someplace new to go for trustworthy candidates. Dr. Jill Stein and the Green Party has been receiving a great deal of attention recently thanks to actions such as #DemExit and other political movements. Many American have never even heard of Dr. Stein and the Green Party and the upcoming Green Party Convention in Houston is a great way for people to come out and meet Dr. Stein and her running mate Ajamu Baraka, a human rights activist.

With Dr. Stein’s main supporters being younger voters, the internet is likely to light up with live streams, videos, and updates. If you’re in the Houston area, everyone is welcome to come out and join in the democratic process. Entry is free to be as inclusive as possible.