Betsy DeVos Confirmed, and IDEA Website Crashes.  Just a Coincidence? HMM!

Lawmakers are demanding answers from the U.S. Department of Education after a key government special education website went down.

Source: Senators Want Answers On IDEA Website Outage – Disability Scoop

Betsy DeVos Confirmed, and IDEA Website Crashes.  Just a Coincidence? HMM!

Even before Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education, despite protests from disability rights and education advocates, the link leading to information about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mysteriously crashed.  This begs the question, was the crash of this vital link, just a coincidence?  Or, was it a subtle message to the disability community that our needs are going to be giving no priority under the Trump administration?  Unfortunately, I suspect the latter option may be the answer.

One of the main reasons that such stiff opposition met the appointment of Betsy DeVos was that many people are concerned that her knowledge of disability issues, and other matters about public education, were sorely lacking.  When she was questioned during her confirmation hearings about the IDEA, she just drew a blank stare and tried to avoid the question.

It was very apparent to anyone who saw the confirmation hearing that Betsy DeVos was clueless about what the IDEA was, or its significance to people with disabilities.  When she was pressed on the question of the IDEA, Betsy DeVos tried to divert the questionnaire by saying, “these matters are best left to the States.”  This answer was ridiculous!

Anyone who knows anything about the IDEA knows that it was a federal mandate passed in 1974 that guarantees people with disabilities, an equal chance at an equal education.  To me personally, it was one of the primary reasons that I was able to attend college back in Pennsylvania in the late 70s.  She should’ve known that, especially since she is the person who will be in charge of educating this country’s children, even those with disabilities.

Betsy DeVos is nothing more than just another one of Donald Trump’s unqualified members of his cabinet.  She joins the ranks of quite a few others, in this respect.

 

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Jan 18, 2017 At her contentious confirmation hearing as Donald Trump’s nominee to be education secretary on Tuesday, Betsy DeVos was asked a question …
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Veterans Stand in Solidarity With Dakota Access Pipeline Protest

Most of the A group of U.S. military veterans has vowed to block the completion of the hotly disputed Dakota Access pipeline.

Source: Standing Rock: Dakota Access battle brews as US veterans, Sioux dig in

Veterans Stand in Solidarity With Dakota Access Pipeline Protest

A group of military veterans, named Veterans Stand,  is standing in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux, in their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.  The organization, known as Veterans Stand, is vowing to help the Standing Rock Sioux defend their tribal lands against the incursion of Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the builders of the very controversial pipeline which threatens the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux.

A couple of days ago, The Secretary of the Army granted the necessary easement to ETP so that they could continue building the Dakota Access Pipeline.  As if no one would notice, the secretary of the Army does not have the power or authority to order the US Army Corps of Engineers to do anything.  Previously, the US Army Corps of Engineers suggested that the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline could easily be rerouted to avoid going near the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux.

Before, when President Obama was still in power, ETP was denied the easement the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  At first, people thought that they had won their struggle against the pipeline.  However, all of that changed when Donald Trump became president. President Trump has reopened this entire mess.

Last week, President Donald Trump issued an executive order, saying that the Dakota Access Pipeline will continue to be built.  President Trump is guilty of a direct conflict of interest because it has been shown that Donald Trump owns a financial investment in ETP. This is one detail that the media has unfortunately failed to mention. If he had anything resembling a set of ethics, he would recuse himself from being involved. Even though spokespeople for the Trump administration say that he has divested himself of any interest in the pipeline, there is no proof of any divestment on the part of the POTUS.

I wish Veterans Stand all the best in their efforts to save the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux.  Veterans Stand has established a GoFundMe page at the following link.  Please contribute!

 

Understanding the Controversy Behind the Dakota Access Pipeline …

Sep 14, 2016 The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline continues to make headlines. Yesterday, Energy Transfer Partners, the developer behind the $3.8 …

Dakota Access Pipeline : NPR

Army Says It Is Expediting Review Of Dakota Access Pipeline Route. Protesters rally … Dakota Access Pipeline Foes: We Aren’t Done Fighting Yet. Hundreds of …

 

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Donald Trump: Who Wins?

Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Donald Trump:  Who Wins?

Even though I don’t think Arnold Schwarzenegger was a good, or even adequate, governor for the state of California, I think Donald Trump‘s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast were inappropriate. He chose to criticize Schwarzenegger over his ratings at this event, which I think was inappropriate given the nature of the event.

From the perspective of a person with a disability, I can say that Arnold Schwarzenegger was a terrible governor. During his term, he cut just about every service for the disabled (IHSS, Medi-Cal, the regional centers, etc.) that we depend on for our basic survival. I know because I was involved protesting his cuts. I even got arrested for committing civil disobedience at a protest against his cuts, in Sacramento in 2010.

Unfortunately, I think Donald Trump will be even worse when it comes to cutting services that the poor, disabled, and underprivileged depend on. I have a bad feeling that we are in for a very bad time.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback to Donald Trump’s insults was a classic. So I thought I would share it with you, if you haven’t seen this particular video.

 

Scott Pruitt Has Flip-Flopped About Climate Change

Scott Pruitt, president Donald Trump’s nominee for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has flip-flopped about the issue of climate change.

Scott Pruitt Has Flip-Flopped About Climate Change

 Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump’s nominee for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has flip-flopped about the issue of climate change. He has clearly demonstrated over the years and throughout his confirmation hearing that he is not the person who should be the head of the EPA.

Scott Pruitt is allegedly closely tied to the oil and gas industry. In 2014, Scott Pruitt was caught in a secret alliance with members of the oil and gas industry in trying to tear down air pollution standards, even to the point of helping them file lawsuits against federal regulators. Scott Pruitt himself has personally filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency to undermine President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. How can the citizens of the United States entrust the protection of our environment to someone who has sued the agency responsible for protecting it? The answer is, they cannot.

Scott Pruitt has even defended the practice of fracking, the extremely dangerous practice used by the oil and gas industry to extract oil and gas from the earth, despite that this method has been shown to increase the number of greenhouse gasses released into the environment. Greenhouse gasses are the reason behind global warming and climate change.

Scott Pruitt seems to have changed his tune about climate change during his confirmation hearing.  During his hearing, Scott Pruitt now admits that climate change is real, but refused to acknowledge that human activity causes it, to which Senator Bernie Sanders called him out and tried to get him to answer the question about what causes global warming. Scott Pruitt then tried to engage Senator Sanders in an argument about to what degree human activity has on climate change, even though 97% of the scientific community agrees that human activity causes climate change. All he did was make himself look stupid and less qualified to be the administrator of the EPA.

In Scott Pruitt’s 2013 reelection campaign for Attorney General of Oklahoma, his campaign manager just happened to be a man named Harold Hamm, who happened to be the CEO of one of the largest fracking companies in Oklahoma. Recently, Mr. Hamm became one of the biggest proponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline because his business will be doing most of the fracking in North Dakota. If this is the type of person that Scott Pruitt chooses to be his campaign manager, is he as big of a believer in climate change as he says? I doubt it!

 

What is Climate Change? What Causes Global Warming?

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Ban on Muslim Immigration Will Make Americans Less Safe

Ban on Muslim Immigration Will Make Americans Less Safe

On the CBS morning news, former Deputy Director of the CIA, Michael Morrell, says that Donald Trump’s ban on Muslim Immigration to the United States will put Americans in more danger from terrorists than they were before.  He makes some very valid points in this interview.

Mr. Morrell says that none of the terrorist attacks committed on US soil since 9/11, and including the attack on the World Trade Center, would have been addressed by a ban on Muslim Immigration.  He says that none of these attacks would have been stopped if this ban on Muslim Immigration had been in effect at that time.

He says that the ban on Muslim Immigration will be the perfect recruitment tool for Isis, and plays into their hands because it plays perfectly into their narrative about the United States.  Mr. Morrell says that this ban on Muslim Immigration will make Americans less safe than before because it will further inflame radical Islamic extremists and give them some credibility.

Mr. Morrell also says that this ban on Muslim Immigration will not address a serious problem that already exists;  85% of terrorist attacks on Muslim US soil were committed by American citizens.  He says that of nearly 100 people indicted for terrorism by the federal government, 85% were American citizens.  Mr. Morel says that this ban on Muslim Immigration would have no effect on that, and does not address this crucial issue.

During this interview, Mr. Morrell also addresses the appointment of Steve Bannon, White House advisor to Donald Trump, to the National Security Council, something which Mr. Morel considers to be unprecedented. It would stop the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from taking part in security briefings. He points out that this move would bring politics into a situation where it should not exist.

From a personal standpoint, the last thing I want is a white nationalist (a.k.a. white supremacist) be part of the security briefing. This change of protocol puts someone into a power position that should not even be part of the White House staff. Needless to say, Bannon will probably insert the same racist point of view against Muslims into these security briefings, that he did as editor-in-chief of Breitbart.

Bannon’s appointment to such an important position would be at the cost of the participation of the military because he would end the Joint Chiefs of Staff from having input into a situation where military expertise is crucial.  There is no way, members of the Trump administration should have this type of power that is unchecked by the military.

Since it is well-known that Steve Bannon has a racist point of view towards Muslims, he will most certainly tell President Trump that a ban on Muslim Immigration is a good idea, despite the fact that it has just the opposite effect that Donald Trump thinks it will.  Somewhere down the road, I would not be at all surprised if we were to find out that Steve Bannon was one of the chief proponents of the ban on Muslim Immigration to the United States.

At this crucial time, the last person that Trump needs to listen to is a white supremacist who has made no excuses for the fact that he hates Muslims.

 

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The Ridiculous Idea That Mexico Will Pay for the Wall

The idea that Mexico will pay for the wall on the Mexican border is one of the most ridiculous ideas that I have heard in quite a while.

The Ridiculous Idea That Mexico Will Pay for the Wall

The idea that Mexico will pay for the wall on the Mexican border is one of the ridiculous ideas that I have heard in quite a while. Donald Trump thinks he can force the Mexican people to pay for a wall along the Mexican border. That just goes to show how delusional the new POTUS is. He claims that this will solve the current immigration problem; something which I question is a real issue.

The reason I ask whether or not immigration is a problem is because of the way this country was created, and the way that we have always been taught that America was the “great melting pot.” The United States is made up of immigrants. Most people in this country had their origins in foreign countries. If it weren’t for immigration, we would not exist as a nation. I don’t look at it any differently for Mexican immigrants. They contribute their fair share of work and accomplishments, just like everyone else who is a member of our society.

Donald Trump seems to think that Mexican immigrants are taking away jobs from American workers. From my viewpoint, this is ridiculous and falsehood. Mexican immigrants are just like immigrants from everywhere else. They just want to come here to have a better life, just like my great-grandfather did when he came here from Denmark.

Mexican immigrants, at least from my viewpoint, seems to be doing the jobs that most American workers think they are “too good” to do. These people are the ones who do the farm labor, janitorial work, housekeeping, and childcare for people who work during the day. These types of menial jobs are not very sought after by most American workers.

Trump is just stirring up more trouble and inflaming whatever racist followers that he panders to. After all, he got elected to office because of the appeal to many people’s sense of racism and fear of Mexican immigrants. During his campaign, Trump angrily called Mexican immigrants killers and rapists. This tirade showed his racist feelings against Mexicans and pandered to the lowest common denominator that many people have racism.

The Mexican border won’t be any more secure with a wall built between the United States and Mexico. Also, the idea that Mexico will pay for a wall along the border with the United States is preposterous. What does Donald Trump think he can do to force them to pay? Is he delusional enough to think that he can just send an invoice to the Mexican government and that would just pay up?

 

More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S. | Pew Research …

Nov 19, 2015 Between 2009 and 2014, about 140000 more Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here, citing family …
Donald Trump’s false comments connecting Mexican immigrants …

Jul 8, 2015 Trump can defend his statement all he wants, but the facts are just not there.

 

 

Scott Pruitt: Ties to Oil Industry Make Him Unfit For EPA

Scott Pruitt: Ties to Oil Industry Make Him Unfit For EPA

Scott Pruitt’s ties to oil industry make him an unfit candidate to be head of the Environmental Protection Agency. We cannot have someone who has been in the pockets of the oil industry for years. Scott Pruitt is unfit to be the head of EPA. He cannot be entrusted with protecting the environment.

Over the years, Scott Pruitt has received many campaign contributions from various oil and gas producers, such as Exxon and Devon Energy. Even more disturbing is that Scott Pruitt has received over $175,000 from the Rule of Law Defense Fund, a front group for the Koch Brothers. It is a well-known fact that the Koch brothers, owners of the Valero and Tesoro chain at gas stations have tried to undermine air pollution standards for years. They are both heads of one of the largest toxic pollution companies in the United States. How can anyone like Scott Pruitt be entrusted to protect our environment while being in the pockets of some of the largest polluters in the United States? The entire idea is ludicrous!

Scott Pruitt has also bragged on many occasions about his many lawsuits against the EPA; the agency hopes to be in charge of. How can anyone be allowed to be head of the EPA when they have an extensive history of litigation against that agency and its regulations? The fact that he was even nominated for this position is an insult to everyone who cares about our environment.

He has worked tirelessly on behalf of Devon Energy, Oklahoma’s largest energy producer by writing letters in the name of that corporation, claiming that the EPA was guilty of “federal overreach,” and the accusation that means that the federal government has overstepped its boundaries in trying to regulate the oil and gas industry. Regulating these industries is a primary reason that the EPA was created in the first place. How can someone who is so anti-regulation be in charge of an agency that is supposed to set up and enforce regulations?

If Scott Pruitt is confirmed to be the head of the EPA, our environment will suffer as well as the people who live in it.

 

Senator Jeff Sessions Unfit to Be US Attorney General

One of the most controversial nominations made my President-elect Donald Trump is the nomination of Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General of the United States.

Senator Jeff Sessions Unfit to Be US Attorney General

One of the most controversial nominations made by President-elect Donald Trump is his nomination of Jeff Sessions to be US Attorney General.  Senator Sessions has nothing in his record that shows him as having what it takes to be head of the Justice Department of the United States.  To the contrary, there are a number of reasons why Jeff Sessions has shown himself to be unfit to be head of the Department of Justice.

The US Attorney General is supposed to be unbiased and able to make their decisions about a variety of matters including enforcing civil rights laws.  Senator Sessions has consistently been opposed to voting rights laws.  Last year, he voted to gut sections of the Civil Rights Law of 1965 that dealt primarily with voting rights.

If he were to become US Attorney General, could he be counted on to enforce laws dealing with voting discrimination?  I sincerely doubt it!  His voting record shows him to be consistently against voting rights for people of color.

Another controversial position taken by Senator Sessions are allegations that he has used racial slurs in the past, and some people consider him to be a racist.  His alleged support of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists has caused him to be imposed by the NAACP.  They recently staged a sit-in at his office in protest, where several of them were arrested.  Jeff Sessions Is also opposed by the U.S. Senate Black Caucus.  Since many of the cases handled by the US Attorney General are cases of racial discrimination, Jeff Sessions cannot be trusted to be unbiased, as he is supposed to be.

He has also classified the NAACP as being “un-American” and “communist-inspired.”  Can someone with this type of antiquated mentality which smacks of McCarthyism really be trusted to cancel make sure that every American citizen is granted the justice they deserve?

 

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Jeff Sessions Voting Record shows Him Unfit to be US Attorney General

Jeff sessions voting record clearly shows that he is unfit to be US Attorney General.

Jeff Sessions Voting Record Shows Him Unfit to be US Attorney General

Jeff Sessions voting record clearly shows that he is unfit to be US Attorney General. It demonstrates that he cannot be unbiased enough to make the necessary decisions that will face him. Donald Trump should never have designated him as the US Attorney General nominee. As head of the Department of Justice, the various positions he has taken over the years shows he will be incapable of being fair and unbiased; something that is crucial for a good US Attorney General.

A few examples of Jeff Sessions voting record that could prevent him from being unbiased are his stance on marijuana, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights. These are crucial issues that he will probably face if we are unlucky enough to have him as US Attorney General.

Jeff Sessions is against marijuana and thinks it’s dangerous, even though several states have legalized it. Advocates for marijuana legalization are afraid that Jeff Sessions will use his position as US Attorney General to go after and prosecute people involved in the marijuana industry, even though it may be illegal. This stance could bring about another controversial “states rights” issue. A “states rights” issue is one where a state maintains it has the to legislate a particular state instead of the federal government.

When it comes to women’s rights, Jeff Sessions is very much against abortion rights and has said that he doesn’t think that grouping a woman’s genitals are what he considers to be sexual assault. Apparently, he shares the opinions of Donald Trump, the person who chose him to be the US Attorney General nominee.

Since sexual assault is becoming an increasingly serious subject, is this the stance we want to see from a person who is going to be the head of the Justice Departme and nt? I think not!

Jeff Sessions voting record on LGBTQ rights are equally offensive to anyone who considers himself to be a civil libertarian, as I do. He is very anti-gay marriage and voted against ending the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy about gay and lesbian soldiers. Since many issues are constantly arising that involve gay rights, Jeff Sessions, if he becomes US Attorney General probably will not be one who is capable of making the necessary unbiased decisions when it comes to ensuring the rights of members of the LGBTQ community.

These are just three areas that show Jeff Sessions to be unfit as the US Attorney General nominee, let alone US Attorney General if he is confirmed.

 

Trump offers Jeff Sessions US Attorney General job | AL.com

Nov 18, 2016 Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., has been offered the Cabinet post of attorney general by President-elect Donald Trump, according to a report by …
Would Special Education Rights Be Safe With Jeff Sessions As U.S. …

Nov 29, 2016 Comments from Jeff Sessions, tapped for U.S. Attorney General, about special education worry education and disability advocates.

 

 

The Dakota Access Pipeline: Trump’s First Conflict of Interest?

Trump’s financial disclosure forms show he invested in Energy Transfer Partners, operators of the controversial pipeline, and its CEO donated to his campaign

Source: Dakota Access pipeline company and Donald Trump have close financial ties | US news | The Guardian

 

The Dakota Access Pipeline: Trump’s First Conflict of Interest?

The Dakota Access Pipeline is still endangering the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux, despite that the Obama administration has stopped it.  Conflict of interest should prevent Donald Trump, as president, from being involved in the ongoing dispute.  In this situation, he shows a great conflict of interest because he has a financial interest in this entire matter.

It could be the new president’s first conflict of interest because Donald Trump owns stock in Energy Transfer Partners, the builders of the pipeline. He and has received campaign contributions from that company’s CEO, Kelcy Warren.  The conflict of interest runs two ways.

Donald Trump’s financial disclosure statements show that he has invested between $500,000-$1 million in ETP stock.  In addition to this Investment in ETP, Trump’s financial disclosure statement indicates that he has also spent between $500,000-$1 million in Phillips 66.  That company has a 25% interest in ETP and stands to make a larger return on their investment if ETP is allowed to build the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Kelcy Warren, CEO of ETP has also invested a considerable amount of money to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.  On June 29, Warren made a $3000 campaign contribution to Trump, even though the legal limit for individual campaign contributions is $2700.  No one seems to know whether Donald Trump returned $3000 to Warren as required by law.  This irregularity in itself could be a scandal for the incoming president.

Also, Warren also made a $100,000 donation to the Trump Victory Fund, the Republican National Committee (RNC), and eleven state Republican parties. The day before that ETP made two donations to the RNC totaling $66,800. The reason why they chose to split the gifts into two parts is unknown, but it looks suspicious.

The big question is, how can Donald Trump ethically make any decision about the Dakota Access Pipeline? The answer is, he can’t! This conflict of interest by Donald Trump is so blatant it’s unbelievable.

If Donald Trump cares anything about ethics, which he probably doesn’t, he will step back away from this entire situation. To avoid this glaring conflict of interest, he has little choice other than to support the stance of the outgoing president, Barack Obama.

That decision, as we know, is to force ETP to take a different route for the Dakota Access Pipeline; something that they are trying very hard not to do.

 

Dakota Access Pipeline Facts

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is the safest and most environmentally sensitive way to transport crude oil from domestic wells to American consumers.
Could the Dakota Access Pipeline Still Happen Under Trump?

President Barack Obama’s administration is expected to push through long-delayed safety measures for the nation’s sprawling network of oil pipelines in its final days, despite resistanc… Source: Obama oil pipeline rules face uncertain future under Trump   Could The Dakota Access Pipeline Still Happen Under Trump? During the last days of his presidency, President …