While Weasels Gnaw Our Flesh

Just a quick hit to remind everyone that while the criminal investigation of Trump and co. widens, they’re still pissing on us at every opportunity, and calling it rain.

So how’s this: it’s going to be legal again/stay OK for profit-making higher ed to rip off their students/protect the banksters:

The U.S. Department of Education is hitting pause on two of the Obama administration’s primary rules aimed at reining in for-profit colleges.

Department officials said they will block a rule, set to take effect next month, that clarifies how student borrowers can have their loans forgiven if they were defrauded or misled by their college. The plan was first reported by Inside Higher Ed Wednesday.

The Trump administration will pursue a do-over of the rule-making process that produced that regulation, known as borrower defense to repayment, as well as the gainful-employment rule. The latter holds vocational programs at all institutions and all programs at for-profits accountable when they produce graduates with burdensome student loan debt.

Given that college debt is one of the most iron-clad ways to crush upward mobility, this is another move by Trump and the grotesque DeVos to ensure that the current class structure in the United States remains intact.

Putting this in the long view:  the GI Bill, followed by the prioritization of public higher education in the 60s by leaders like Governor Pat Brown of California and Governor George Romney of Michigan, put first class advanced education and training within reach of an unprecedented amount of Americans.  The retreat from that ideal led by (mostly but not exclusively) Republican state governments, beginning with Reagan in California and then in the White House, have incrementally narrowed that opportunity.  Now, the combinatio of cost and constraints on access meant that the debt involved makes higher education as much or more a burden as it is the engine of a better life.

Today’s Republican party is just fine with that.  DeVos is not an outlier; this isn’t on Trump, or only on him.  The idea that higher ed (or education in general) is a business in which students are the product on whom to make a profit is utterly destructive of either a democratic ideal or any plausible concept of social justice.  And it is the core tenet of today’s radical conservatives calling themselves members of the Party of Lincoln.

One last thought:  I had dinner last week with a Democratic Party senior statesman.  He told me that in his view we’ve made the mistake of thinking better policies are argument enough for elections.  They’re not; we surely know that now, right?

Instead we have to convey something more, the framework in which specific good policies can work.  DeVos’ current obscenity gives us a hint as to what that might be. Republicans throw obstacles in the way of Americans making better lives.  Democrats are — and we should say so as loud as we can — the party of opportunity.

At least that’s my take.  I know it’s hardly original.  But whatever the particular frame you may favor, I think one of our biggest needs right now is to find a way to both describe and be (ever more) the party that can lay claim to affirmative allegiance, and not just the true fact that we are better than the other side.  Your feeling?

(Oh — and happy Father’s Day, all.  This thread should be open enough to tell us your plans, completed or still in prospect, for the day.  Mine? Pick up one of the rib-eyes on sale at Whole Paycheck today, and smoke it in the Weber egg.)

Image: Winslow Homer, The Country School 1871



Open Thread: Shakespeare in the KULCHA! Wars

As reported in the Washington Post:

Two right-wing activists interrupted the Friday evening performance of a controversial production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in New York’s Central Park, causing a stir on social media — where numerous videos of the protest proliferated — and resulting in one woman’s arrest.

In the videos, a woman identified as Laura Loomer, an employee of the far-right website Rebel Media, can be seen storming the stage during the scene of the title character’s assassination, shouting “Stop the normalization of political violence against the right! This is unacceptable!”…

Within the commotion, a second pro-Trump protester, Jack Posobiec, can be seen standing and yelling in the audience, “You are all Goebbels!” and “The blood of Steve Scalise is on your hands!”…

In a string of tweets, the Public Theater confirmed the interruption at its Friday show and said it had been “part of a paid strategy driven by social media.”…

Posobiec, a Washington-based Trump supporter who formerly also worked for Rebel Media, told The Washington Post on Saturday that, contrary to some media reports, he and Loomer did not coordinate their protests. Rather, he had attended the performance at the encouragement of alt-right personality Mike Cernovich, who posted a “challenge” on Periscope last week offering a $1,000 prize for anyone who could get tickets to the play and interrupt the show….

Cash Rules Everything Around Them — dolla-dolla, get tha monee…


(John Wilkes Booth)
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Late Night Open Thread: A Violent and Paranoid People


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It’s Scoop O’Clock

And it looks like little Donald won’t get what he wants for his birthday.

The president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.

Tonight’s Washington Post:

The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.

It was pretty much inevitable, if you’ve read his tweets or listened to James Comey’s testimony or watched Preet Bharara’s tweets.

Five people briefed on the requests, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Adm. Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’ recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators as early as this week. The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy and it’s unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI.

I love the way the reporters tell us exactly how many sources they have for these stories.



Hopefully random violence instead motivated violence

Hopefully this is random violence and not politically motivated violence.

Let’s wait for more information to come in before speculating too much.

Cheryl makes the very important point:



Late Night Open Thread: You Poor Naive Child…

(Ted Rall’s website)
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Back when kree8iv baby names were still a celebrity novelty, the joke was that a kid named ‘Chastity’ or ‘Purity’ was gonna end up on a stripper pole. Possibly the elder Winners should’ve picked a less Trickster-God-tempting name for their little girl…

Sure, he’ll always have the Jacobin broflakes to defend him, but when Ted Rall gives Greenwald the hairy eyeball… truly, these are apocalyptic times.



Late Night Open Thread: “Empowering” Versus “Accomplishing”

More low-traffic-hours afterthoughts (that I heartily endorse) from last weekends’ BernieCon: