White House confirms Jerry Falwell Jr. will participate in task force on education reform

Jun 12, 2017

By David Edwards

The White House affirmed over the weekend that Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. will participate in a task force on higher education.

In January, the son of televangelist Jerry Falwell revealed to The Chronicle that he would lead a White House group that will look at reforming regulations on higher education.

But it wasn’t until Sunday that the news was partially confirmed by a White House spokesperson — who was authorized to speak on the condition of anonymity.

“We are working on a task force that Jerry Falwell will be involved with,” the White House spokesperson told The Chronicle.

Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

45 comments on “White House confirms Jerry Falwell Jr. will participate in task force on education reform

  • @OP – The White House affirmed over the weekend that Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. will participate in a task force on higher education.

    At least Trump is consistent in his appointments.
    The whole of his team are winners in the race to the bottom – with scores well below zero when their levels competence in their designated areas of responsibility are evaluated using negative marking for wrong answers! !

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  • I was taking a walk tonight on Manhattans’ upper east side, where I live. I saw a couple waiting for the bus. They were hugging each other. I then noticed that the woman was deeply distraught, was crying. The man with her looked very upset too. I thought to myself (and this was just a fantasy): it’s America, it’s an age, the age of Trump. They are crying for this country – which is now in the hands of extremists and madmen, Plutocratic oligarchs, neo-fascists. The most reactionary elements have seized control and are setting about to destroy our country, a country that was the birthplace of jazz and blues, Herman Melville and Rod Serling (yes he is way up there, in my book), Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Nathaniel West, and the civil rights movement and the women’s movement. They are setting about to take us back to the gilded age and can only do this by feeding off the misery of the most vulnerable! They will, if left to their own devices, destroy our fragile democracy, our environment, our economy, our social and cultural programs, and everything that’s still good in American life. Already America has lost so much.

    Will we be Rome? Nations do fall. Let it not be so.

    Falwell, although I have only heard him speak a few times, strikes me as a sick, deluded, reactionary, religious freak. Just like his crazy father.

    Bannon is probably behind this. He is, I believe, a white supremacist, a bigot, a white nationalist. Trump appeals to the lowest common denominator, as Stephen Hawking said. So much talk. That brief comment says it all.

    Canada? Laurie, are you still keeping that option open? Alf, you okay? Arkrid, these new restrictions on Cuba is insane! Phil, this situation is out of control. We are seeing all kinds of terrible things unfold. I will use Mailer’s language and put it this way, because no other form of expression will satisfy me at the moment: Trump, throughout his life, “was overseen by a minion of the Devil for possible use by the devil in the future”!! And now he’s the president. (Read The Castle in the Forest.)


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  • Donald Trump trying to stage a coup and overthrow democracy is ‘inevitable’, says top US historian
    ‘There are certainly elements of his approach which are fascistic,’ says Professor Timothy Snyder.


    “My gut feeling is that Trump and his administration will try and that it won’t work”, he said. “Not so much because we are so great but because we have a little bit of time to prepare. I also think that there are enough people and enough agencies of the government who have also thought about this, and would not necessarily go along.”


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  • Dan

    Funny you mention the Canada option. We were just sitting on the porch having coffee and I launched off on my usual rant about the state of affairs and my intention to head for the northern border (6 hours drive) and throw myself at the mercy of the Canadian border guards. Two years of residency there and a citizenship that offers a bounty of benefits for myself and generations to come. What’s not to like?! It doesn’t hurt that thanks to my long dead Northern European ancestors, I am the beneficiary of the fortuitous gift of an array of genes that renders me impervious to cold and snow! My husband, being of Mediterranean origin, not so much…

    This administration can do a lot of damage in four years. Can it be undone?

    Check out the agenda of the evangelical snakes that this article above is reporting on. Falwell will enable the deluded idiot Devos to give free reign to the Christian “colleges” to fleece their ignorant students. Not just Christian colleges, also now I’m thinking of the Jewish college that Avi mentioned on the dirty panties thread. Can’t remember the name of it offhand. Are there Muslim colleges here yet? Just a matter of time I suppose.

    This from the link in the article:

    For-Profit CollegesStudentsLegalLeadershipThe Profession
    October 28, 2016 by Andy Thomason

    Education Dept. Details New Measures on How Defrauded Borrowers Can Seek Relief
    The U.S. Education Department has released its long-awaited defense-to-repayment rules, which codify how borrowers who are defrauded by predatory colleges can obtain relief from the federal government. The rules, released on Friday at 12 a.m., were spawned by the collapse of the for-profit Corinthian Colleges and the subsequent masses of students who petitioned the department for loan forgiveness.

    Among other things, the rules:

    Allow loan forgiveness to be granted to borrowers en masse, in cases where an institution made “widespread misrepresentations,” as opposed to granting petitions for relief one by one.

    Forbid institutions to bar students from pursuing class-action lawsuits against them.

    Affirm that there is no statute of limitations “for discharge of borrowers’ loan balances still owed or relief based on state or federal court judgments.”

    Establish that “a number of triggering and early-warning events” at an institution would require that institution to post a letter of credit with the department.

    Restore Pell Grant eligibility to students at colleges that have closed.

    Fraudulent for profit schools leave their unfortunate students and their families in deep debt with no job prospects and a “diploma” not worth the paper it’s printed on. Families who have a history of real University education are much less likely to fall for these schemes but young people and their families from the lower economic class are the victims of these super capitalist thieves. Also, the extremely religious families seem to be happy to send their children off to the religious schools of their own stripe for further indoctrination on a grand scale. For all of these groups, apparently their skeptical thinking toolbox is empty. Government regulations are needed to protect the vulnerable from a lifetime of massive debt and nothing to show for it. Of course Trump is on board for this strategy – Trump U. fleeced its students and that cost Trump a bundle of cash in penalties.

    The snake oil salesmen have been invited in to run the education show!

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  • Laurie

    A kleptocracy for sure. This is insane! Wow. Thanks for the information. I wasn’t that clear about that aspect of it, the “fleecing” angle, although I do remember reading that that is one of the controversial (i.e. nefarious) aspects of unaccountable corporate charter school chains. So in addition to seeking to defund our system of public education and using government vouchers to expand a system where schools will be run by the Christian Right they are also trying to fleece people. Nice.

    I am drinking coffee now too. I love coffee. I hope Trump doesn’t ban coffee! (Hee hee)

    Fleece. Nice word. Fleece, fleece… Sorry.

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  • …I launched off on my usual rant about the state of affairs and my
    intention to head for the northern border (6 hours drive) and throw
    myself at the mercy of the Canadian border guards.

    It’ll never happen. It is not in your nature to abandon your country just when she needs you the most.

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  • P.S. I forgot to answer the question: can it be undone?

    My answer: I wish I knew the answer. Let’s hope so.

    Hi, Vicki, long time no see. I’d like to see laurie and other disheartened and disgusted people (including myself) stay; but I think Laurie has every right to get the hell out of here if she wants to. The country is abandoning her. At a certain point one has to decide if it’s worth it; it’s analogous to a bad marriage, or better yet, living in a crummy place with a bad landlord. You live with it, with the mice and the noise and the no service and with a drunken and belligerent super, and you take the landlord to court and you try to get things to change although they never do; it just goes on and on; but it’s your place, and you have roots there and you are entitled to live in peace and comfort, etc. – Or, you say, finally: enough; I’m moving.

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  • Falwell, although I have only heard him speak a few times, strikes me
    as a sick, deluded, reactionary, religious freak. Just like his crazy

    While I agree with your assessment, Dan, I think that a big piece of his psyche is missing from your description. As a matter of fact, it is the missing piece to all this nonsense. Perhaps we (I) miss it because we (I) are not inherently “like” these people (the “cabinet” the “appointees”)… We overlook the role of GREED in all of their business paradigms. While the Falwell’s “believe” in “god”, they really don’t. They MAKE MONEY. Same with Trump, DeVos and all the other opportunists we see getting “power”. Because nothing is enough for any of them. They all have more tan anyone could want/need and yet…. they still gotta get that power over you and I.

    WE have the power to raise our middle finger and tell them to fuck off.

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  • Crookedshoes

    I like your comment.

    I have mentioned the element of greed in a number of my comments. Perhaps not enough.

    It is exceedingly difficult to establish with any degree of certainty a primary element in all this. Some, many, emphasize religious fanaticism, others emphasize (the will to) power, others speak of the deluded; and then there is the element of racism and elitism that cannot be denied by anyone. I have suggested that sheer wickedness (which is intimately related to greed – and to bigotry) might be a primary element. But I hesitate to use terms like “wickedness” as they suggest something metaphysical or something inexplicable (or unscientific) to many. It seems to beg the question: what is the cause of wickedness? But whether or not greed or wickedness (which can be understood in an entirely humanistic sense as extreme selfishness) is a primary trait or a symptom of something more primary, I think, as you do about greed, that both – whatever they are and whatever their natures are – are largely overlooked.

    Yes, the Falwells and the Pat Robertsons and all those evangelists — they aren’t religious. They are greedy. Or greedy first and religious second.

    It may actually be that Greed, like wickedness itself (as I have defined it), is final and irreducible. That’s what I like about Dante. In his Inferno there is a special place for those who were simply greedy. And their excuses and explanations avail them nothing. Their wailing is unheard.

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  • Greed is not it for me. It is not just consuming excessively. It is about an unwarranted sense of entitlement. A differential greed it you will.

    This is Selfishness.

    With personal salvations to the fore and libertarian thinking at all levels and a distrust of your neighbour, the hallowed status of the individual, it is the singular poison that marks out the USA.

    May I recommend. Inventing the Individual by Larry Siedentop?

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  • Phil

    I agree. Individualism has always been a double edge sword in American life. This current mystique of the individual and the belief in the primacy of the individual as held by libertarians is pernicious. The individualism as taught by the American transcendentalists (Emerson, for example), and the great 19th Century romanticists like Wilde and others (who emphasized the uniqueness of the individual and influenced the entire world) is wholesome and beneficial, and has faded. These two strains merged and the good kind was swallowed up by the bad kind (like a larger animal devouring a smaller animal) and something monstrous and extreme, a philosophy of selfishness and personal gain at the expense of any kind of collectivism, has emerged.

    The loss of individualism is what causes what you’ve called “groupism” and is relied upon by conservative politicians (and to a certain extent exists within leftist politics too). So we need self reliance, the ability to think for ourselves and to affirm and cultivate our own individuality. And we need to rid the country, the world, of the Ayn Rand brand of individualism.

    The irony is that by being of service to others and by seeing oneself as part of a human family, our individuality is enhanced. When we become individualistic as in too selfish and greedy, we lose our individuality and become, unwittingly, group members, Republicans, ideologues, and religious. It makes us all the more biddable. Individuality based on the cynical notion that people are all greedy and that we must accept that and seek more and more personal wealth (as if our happiness is contingent upon that) is a deception and an absurd and destructive notion. (It is true that many people are selfish, which is all the more reason why we need a controlled market and regulations.)

    Ayn Rand is the single most evil figure in modern intellectual history. Wittgenstein (although my verdict is not in yet) may be a close second. There’s a thread on computers being able in time to reason just like people. I am not up on all of that but I am deeply suspicious of (many of) the people who work closely with computers.

    This is where Wittgenstein has taken us. Perhaps it was inevitable. Nothing human that separates us from machines. Nothing at all. Except what we are, what we will, and what they are (automatons) – and that’s what Schopenhauer tried to lead us away from; and no one heard.

    The mechanization of man. The humanization of robots and computers.

    I can’t find the quote although I have my Schopenhauer in front of me and have been trying to find it for a half hour. I am sweating. Time to give up. I will paraphrase (poorly): humans are not defined by what they know, but by what they are.

    I will leave you with this. This is the antidote to Rand’s advocacy of clamoring after material gain.

    On inner wealth:

    “. . .The result of this mental dullness is that inner vacuity and emptiness that is stamped on innumerable faces and also betrays itself in a constant and lively attention to all events in the external world, even the most trivial. This vacuity is the real source of boredom and always craves for external excitement in order to set the mind and spirits in motion through something. Therefore in the choice thereof it is not fastidious, as is testified by the miserable and wretched pastimes to which people have recourse. … The principal result of this inner vacuity is the craze for society, diversion, amusement, and luxury of every kind which lead many to extravagance and so to misery. Nothing protects us so surely from this wrong turning as inner wealth, the wealth of the mind, for the more eminent it becomes, the less room does it leave for boredom. The inexhaustible activity of ideas, their constantly renewed play with the manifold phenomena of the inner and outer worlds, the power and urge always to make different combinations of them, all these put the eminent mind, apart from moments of relaxation, quite beyond the reach of boredom.” —A.S.

    [Emphasis added by me.]

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  • Hello Dan, Vicky, Laurie, Alan, George Carlin and all.
    I have been reading along. I try not to comment unless I have something serious to say.
    That said, I have been enjoying watching crazy in action. (embrace the horror?)
    This really brings some of the USA’s problem to the surface.

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  • Yes, yes, yes.

    S is bang on. For my children, for my students when I had them, growing that inner garden of sustaining delights was always the task.

    Groupism happens for two reasons. A defensive huddle of the anxious. For those on the right who don’t really like each other that much (they are other) making common fearful cause isn’t too difficult given a strong leader and a clear foe. (And this is where particular risk is given psychopathy.) On the left groupism, between folk likely to call you brother, its rather easier and made the more so by our natural (Russellian) laziness of thinking, letting others do it for us.

    There is, healthier than both, what I have termed mutualism, a simple recognition of our need, as individuals, for others on occasions, as individuals or collectively, and the flourishing that comes from it. Mutualism happens at all levels from the self to the state and beyond. Up until now we have written our history too often, as we have (in the west at least) learned to understand our minds, in terms of singular actors. This is far from a complete picture as other cultures know.

    W is orthogonal to all this. A true aspie, this isn’t on his radar, but his distance gives him a powerful vantage point to observe language and its achievements more objectively.

    But selfishness leveraged by justifying dogmas is the key to our current problem

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  • Dan #12
    Jun 19, 2017 at 1:56 am

    I agree. Individualism has always been a double edge sword in American life. This current mystique of the individual and the belief in the primacy of the individual as held by libertarians is pernicious.

    It is the basis of “Divide and rule”!

    Dan #8
    Jun 18, 2017 at 11:45 am

    At a certain point one has to decide if it’s worth it;
    it’s analogous to a bad marriage, or better yet, living in a crummy place with a bad landlord.
    You live with it, with the mice and the noise and the no service and with a drunken and belligerent super, and you take the landlord to court and you try to get things to change although they never do; it just goes on and on; but it’s your place, and you have roots there and you are entitled to live in peace and comfort, etc.

    The isolated individual fighting alone is in a very weak and financially disadvantaged position.

    You may be interested in the way to counter this!
    It is of course combined action by people who care about fair treatment of each other.

    There is at present a very similar issue to that in my area in a group of flats, where a rogue building management agent and freeholder, have been exploiting leaseholders and tenants for years, under the pretext of pretending they are legally entitled to do so.

    One of the lease holders (who sub-lets his flat to some good tenants) is my daughter’s partner, so she went along with him to a meeting where leaseholders were told THEY would have to pay for long neglected repairs, and then pay a higher price for extending their leases because of the added value of the repairs THEY had paid for!

    Meanwhile the rogue management agent sent out letter demanding fees from the leaseholders for him giving (illegal advice he was not competent or qualified to provide) and for collecting their money for failing to arrange the services and repairs they had been paying for years.

    My daughter had the group agree that she would reply to on behalf of everyone. She replied to the agent, pointing out that as the procedure for appointing him was illegal and invalid, AND the leasing agreement had no requirement for him to be paid by the people concerned, none of the recipients of his letter would be paying him anything! – Nobody has heard from him again!

    The freeholder who has been happily pocketing the money which should have been spent on maintenance and repairs for years, is now paying for some very extensive repair/refurbishing costs, and is fighting and losing a pathetically feeble, rearguard action, against the law firm my daughter works for – acting for the group of occupiers!

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  • The isolated individual fighting alone is in a very weak and financially disadvantaged position.

    Thanks, Alan. I was just using the bad landlord as an analogy. This is somewhat off topic, but not entirely, because it is an apt analogy and because Trump was a bad landlord himself and he is running the country like a bad landlord now. Same business model: “harassing” the disadvantaged, seeking profit at the expense of honesty and the well-being of his “tenants”, the American public; and it’s is a serious issue. The situation here in Manhattan is very bad. (It’s a problem across the pond too I see.) Tenants are forced to vacate all the time due to harassment.—It is a standard business model. I live in a nice building, in a nice, well managed building now; but prior to that I lived, for years, in a studio apt. owned by a bad landlord. Everyone in that converted brownstone was forced to vacate. So it was just me and one other guy at the end. I sought the help of various agencies: the dept. of buildings, for example. Nothing. I also sought the help of local politicians and their housing lawyers. Nothing. I was tenacious, and knew that, as you said, I couldn’t fight it on my own. I then hired a top-notch private lawyer ($350 an hour and he charged for everything. It might have been more. Can’t recall) and contacted another state agency and finally my neighbor and I had open harassment cases. It seemed promising but nothing happened. The attorney assigned to our two cases (not my private attorney) was unwilling to prosecute in spite of massive and incontrovertible evidence of ongoing harassment. I along with my neighbor kept sending her reports, and my attorney would appeal to her from time to time. Finally I was so fed up I accused her and her supervisor of colluding with the landlords and called her and her supervisor “either stupid, incompetent or biased.” They closed the case. So another year of misery went by.

    I eventually accepted a small buyout after my father died.

    My ex neighbor is still there, and I heard he’s going to be getting about two hundred thousand dollars to leave. He stuck it out and won but he suffered horribly for years at that place. Worse than me. (They dropped his case too and he is the soul of propriety.)

    The free market system is unsound. The rents go up and up. My neighborhood is starting to look like an outdoor mall. And the harassment, in keeping with Newton’s first law, stays in motion.

    There needs to be changes in this area. Some progress has been made. (By the way, whatever happened to that odd fellow Ben Carson? He’s in charge of Housing and Urban development, but went off the radar.)

    Taking the landlords to court is a waste of time. You never get to see a judge. My neighbor can tell you. Filing complaints is a joke. Tenants’ associations don’t work either. Not in most cases.

    Tenant harassment should be criminalized. And one shouldn’t have to fall down an elevator shaft to get that agency I mentioned to prosecute. Tenants should be allowed to call 911 if the hot water never works.

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  • Dan #16
    Jun 19, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Nothing. I was tenacious, and knew that, as you said, I couldn’t fight it on my own. I then hired a top-notch private lawyer ($350 an hour and he charged for everything. It might have been more. Can’t recall)

    Having initially just sat in on the meeting with her partner and the others, listening to the rubbish which was being proclaimed to be “law”, my daughter gave them several hours of her time for free – although her partner will eventually benefit, and her boss’s company will get the legal work of drawing up new leases.

    She has worked on the legal side of property deals for some years, and as the rogue agent had been involved in some she had previously handled, he knew he was outclassed on legal matters as soon as she stepped in, – so HE would have to hire expensive lawyers just to be advised on his position – which was hopeless anyway!

    In the mean time they are working from the top down – starting with the new roof!

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  • Alan

    Good story. Your daughter and her partner sound like fine people. But it’s unfortunate that so many people here and where you are aren’t as lucky, don’t have people like your daughter to take professional legal action on their behalf while avoiding the courts where it’s just one deferment after another. Seems like what you described is an exception rather than the rule, no?

    That managing agent sounds so familiar. They’re all cut from the same cloth.

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  • Hi, everyone,

    They are going to destroy healthcare, defund medicaid, defund Planned Parenthood. These republicans are sick. I hardly know what to say right now but feel the need to say something as I am now more certain than ever that we are in a full-blown crisis.

    (And the reporters on CNN and MSNBC are still smiling, like everything is normal. That is bad; it lulls people, tranquilizes them. And I am sick of a lot of these comedians now. Baldwin, stop! Trump is right; you aren’t funny. I understand that humor is salutary and curative, keeps us sane; but most of these these guys are just unencumbered, moneymaking little shits, and are part of the problem. Joking too much is a disease; you are blocking out reality. Fuck em. Stop with the stupid jokes. There is a decent limit to everything!! I love Maddow, and Maher, whose wit is of a higher order – and he really does care; she’s the best at what she does and he is the best at what he does, by far.)

    Trump is very sick, is a demagogue, a liar, our worst nightmare. This is the worst, most extreme, most corrupt administration in our history.

    Right-thinking men and women of all stripes must organize and protest.

    But what I’d really like to see is rebellion by those who are most vulnerable: the poor, the working poor, the dispossessed. But they never seem to rise up. Because they are not paying attention, are unable to become activists: such a struggle in the form of sustained and committed activism requires, I would think, some modicum of understanding of revolutionary theory, and an understanding of the historical conditions that define their own state of dispossession; but they are, in short, too busy being poor and downtrodden. Vicious circle. They are kept down and have been dumbed down and so they don’t know enough to become activists, and the conservative scum (Trump and his team, the Republicans in the House and Senate) love it.

    Where is Bernie’s revolution, Phil? Nowhere! That is what we need and it is premature and presumptuous, all talk at this point – although “all talk” is better than nothing).The lumpenproletariat and the poor and dispossessed are not revolting and they will not organize themselves. They can’t. Not yet. Bernie should quit the Senate and spend all his time leading and organizing like Dr. King. Mass action amongst the poor will not take place without leaders, in my opinion. Spontaneity has its place, but we can’t rely on that; mass action (in the form of strikes, boycotts, marches, civil disobedience), a mass rebellion that includes rebellion amongst the poor, requires “conscious leadership” (Antonio Gramsci), revolutionary leadership, moral and intellectual leadership.

    I am confident that many women and men and young people will be protesting. But mass action requires mass action. (Sorry for the redundant phrase. You know what I mean.) “Change comes from the bottom up.” How Obama really feels about that idea of his is hard to say; but it is still true.

    Trump is the ultimate status quo “leader.” They fooled too many of them this time, Mr. Lincoln.

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  • P.S. Watching the news now; apparently the bill isn’t quite cruel enough for some House Republicans and conservatives, like Cruz and Paul. Might not pass – this time.

    They represent the sickest and most loathsome and inhuman element in American life; and they worship two Gods: the free market and the free market. Possibly, in Cruz’s case and others, the mythic Christian God as well.

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  • Where is Bernie’s revolution, Phil?

    I’m booked to see him next year in Brighton.

    He needs money, Dan. How much have you sent? What time have you offered? You’re getting the newsletters, right? You’re talking to folk, right?

    My daughter and my friends worked to give T. May a bloody nose this election to make sure her opponents could feel the mandate for opposition. It worked.

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  • Allow me to express my negativity, as that is where my head is at right now.

    Money for what? MLK had no money. The anti-vietnam war movement had leaders. And no money. Women got the right to vote and much more. No money; but they organized and were effective.

    Sanders may not be as good as you think he is. He’s an orator, an effective speaker, and a senator. Senators do not lead revolutionary protest movements. (There may be some exceptions.) We thought Obama was progressive; he was on some issues and I wish he was still president; but he didn’t have a revolutionary bone in his body. “Change comes from the bottom up” was bullshit, frankly. Sanders is a notch above Obama politically; that is, more progressive and more sincere; not a true revolutionary, however. You don’t talk about revolutions that don’t exist. What he should say is: what we need is a revolution in this country. He has enough money and he has the internet. MLK didn’t have the internet, and had very little money.

    My late father gave shit loads of money away to various groups and individuals. Look where we are now. I myself have given small amounts of money to various groups and look where we are.

    Have fun in Brighton. Enjoy the performance. I’d rather see a play by Beckett or Shakespeare.

    We’re screwed, man. Unless there is mass action (with or without old Sanders’ leadership) we’re screwed. How can we combat the propaganda and manipulation? And there is pervasive ignorance out there.

    I talk to people a lot. I am very friendly and outgoing except when I am unfriendly and taciturn. I never accomplish anything. We usually agree or disagree and then the conversation’s over and nothing’s changed.

    What newsletters? Oh I see. He’s “especially interested” in the following issues! My fifty dollars is just what he needs.

    “Especially interested in the following issues”:

    Deficit Reduction
    The Economy and Jobs
    Wall Street and the Financial Sector
    Medicaid and Medicare
    Environmental Concerns
    Womens [sic] Issues
    Civil Rights
    GLBT Issues
    National Defense / Homeland Security
    Media, Internet, and Telecommunications
    Arts and Humanities
    Pharmaceuticals, Nutrition, and Food Safety
    Social Security
    Small Business
    Healthcare and Health Insurance
    Workers Rights, Unions, and International Trade Issues
    Foreign Policy
    Senior Issues
    Sportsmen Issues [?]
    Transportation and Infrastrcture [sic]
    Animal Rights

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  • You’re right, Democrat Dan. You are screwed.

    I myself have given small amounts of money to various groups and look where we are.

    If there is reason in here, I can’t find it.

    You do understand the mountain of money you need to fight against? Elections are bought with money and/or hard work. Dyspeptic passivity is none of those.

    Do something and earn the right to complain, or join all the other space wasting Democrats awaiting their saviour.

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  • Phil:

    Elections are not the ultimate solution to our problems as a society; that is naive – although this past election was extremely important, and the next one will be as well. Change comes through Mass Action. History has shown this. I am not as knowledgeable as my father was; but he did teach me a few things. I became aware of the vital importance of mass action (as opposed to elections), which may be the only thing that can bring about real change and liberation from oppression during times of great social crises, and I was told that the importance of elections is, in general, overestimated, that it is in fact deceptive, destructive even, reinforces the status quo, and may constitute a species of propaganda in itself.

    That may not be exactly how he put it, but I do remember him telling me with passion, over lunch, that when people say that elections are the most important part of the process of change he “can’t think of anything more untrue.”

    “What is the most important thing? I asked.

    “Mass action,” he said. That resonated with me.

    Analogous to this is the notion of recycling and giving money to various environmental groups. No good. That’s a deception. The problem is governmental. Saving paper bags won’t affect the timber industry. Do you see my point?

    I await no savior. Straw-man. I made the sensible remark that the people who should be up in arms and protesting their asses off are too goddamned stupid. And the conservatives made them that way. The subaltern need to be awakened and they need leadership.

    Money is not the answer, although it helps. Who can compete with the Koch brothers and the corporations? That fellow in Georgia lost and he had tons of money thrown at him.

    And what’s wrong with being a Democrat? I prefer the Democrats; and I like many of them quite a bit. Don’t you?

    Another thing about money. I gave to Planned Parenthood, as did many others. If that bill passes they are done. Funds can help an organization that is already doing well but needs more funds to keep doing well; funds cannot rescue an organization from being destroyed by an evil and Plutocratic Republican majority. It’s analogous to giving money to a healthy man in order to keep him healthy or to a sick man who is treatable. But a dying man cannot be rescued by money.

    I am not complaining; I am bellyaching; there’s a difference. Watch that, Mr. Precision. (LOL) Seriously, I am just expressing my thoughts and feelings.

    Funny. A friend of mine who is visiting me just told me that he finds it “interesting” that I get so worked up about stuff but am not an activist; I want to do my part, Phil, and to try to help change society – but through some form of artistic expression. (Literary expression is probably my best bet, but there are other forms of expression that I may be or become proficient at as well.) Best Wishes.—DR

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  • Analogous to this is the notion of recycling and giving money to various environmental groups. No good. That’s a deception. The problem is governmental. Saving paper bags won’t affect the timber industry. Do you see my point?

    No!!! I do it all and talk people into thinking about the cost of their thoughtlessness.

    I do this amongst many other things- blumelabsdotcom

    The problem is the number of people who don’t engage in anything positive.

    And what’s wrong with being a Democrat?

    Nothing. But those awaiting an MLK simply neutralise a single Republican. This is a low grade achievement.

    I want to do my part, Phil, and to try to help change society – but through some form of artistic expression.

    Well that’s very nice for you. And?

    If you can wheedle and cajole just a few other people to think more deeply about how they can use their vote more compassionately, say, then instead of being worth one Republican you could be worth two or five! Don’t fuss over the stupid and the cruel. They are quite beyond reach of argument. Seek to change the minds of the thoughtless. There are more than enough of them. Be POLITICAL in your actions. Work steadily and consistently.

    Many a mickle maks a muckle. Make it just two mickles each and we’re home free!

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  • Hi Dan and Phil

    I’m reading a pretty good book right now, which is making me realize how much of this political mess is actually due more to a dysfunctional Congress than our idiot president. It’s called Conservatives Without Conscience by John Dean (yes, that John Dean).

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  • Phil, I don’t often argue with angry Trump supporters as they are mostly your “stupid and cruel.” I don’t try to persuade them. I have tried. They are violent. I don’t want to get my throat cut. As for reaching the thoughtless; that’s a tall order. I’ll see what I can do.

    My point about contributing to organizations was not stated well. I do contribute. My point was that they may or may not be able to do anything. But I am sick of these organizations. Too fucking many. I walk outside and am accosted by this group and that. And the phone calls, every day. I don’t know what they do, who they are, or if they’re legitimate or not. I’m not letting them debit money from my account. Are you kidding? I just got my usual email from move on dot org. Sanders just “joined.” They need money now more than ever. I gave them some again. Not enough. Forty dollars is not enough and ten billion is not enough. But they can have my bi-annual forty odd dollars. And recycling doesn’t work! Neither will thinking that just voting will work. I am awaiting something, yes.

    “Neutralize a single republican”. Sentence made no sense.

    Vicki, is that his autobiography? That guy is a strange duck, seems to care about very little, judging by his affectless demeanor and that non-committal way about him. He probably hasn’t changed one bit; just no money in defending the boss now. Congress as an institution, is fine; what do you mean “dysfunctional”? In what way dysfunctional? It’s the Republicans, Vicki. It’s many, many, many things. Listen to Chomsky once in a while, while we still have him. It isn’t Congress itself.

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  • “Neutralize a single republican”. Sentence made no sense.

    A Democratic who only votes achieves only the neutralisation of a single Republican. A Democrat who votes and chats to his indifferent friends and changes a few minds may neutralise more Republicans than just one.

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  • That makes perfect sense. I agree completely.

    But my point was that a democrat who only votes and gets others to vote isn’t going to be accomplishing that much necessarily as voting is not as important as other forms of political action, or more radical forms of mass protest. Both JFK, Johnson, and Nixon agreed essentially about the war in Vietnam and they were all wrong. So voting did nothing to stop that atrocity.

    Today we have a situation where the differences between the two parties are more stark than ever so I will continue to encourage people to vote Democratic now, and have nothing but contempt for those who don’t, who think the two parties are the same and that we need a third party. I don’t think we need a third party. But we do need radical activism as well as voting – and not at the same time, if possible. The Republicans and the large companies are terrified of mass action, absolutely terrified. Every time there is any kind of protest, they try to say how violent and lawless we “liberals” are. They hate activism like they hate death. They would like us all remain passive and just vote although that scares them too as you can see by the repeated attempts to suppress voting. (Bannon wants to abolish voting except among property owners.) But mass protests and boycotts are far more threatening and effective; they take on a life of their own and We need that now I think, but not during an election, as I said; they have plants on the payroll, plant people in the crowds who start fights and break windows and destroy property. I am certain of it.

    Protests are not always effective, but without them we will be completely lost. If you study history you will see that my father was right; the abolitionists, the suffragists, the labor movements, the civil rights movement, the socialists, the anti-war activists in the 60s, were all able to “develop a critical mass and a militancy that forced the centers of power to respond.”

    My analogy repeated: elections are (almost literally) like the process of recycling paper. The long history of collusion between big business / big banks / corporations, and politicians (on both sides) is not affected by the former. The timber industry, which is governmental, is unaffected by the latter.

    The Democrats are better; but the difference between a McConnell and the average Democrat – Sanders and Warren and Franken are exceptions, are not average or typical – is quantitative and not as significant as I’d like to think it is; both, finally, are serving mom and pop: the Corporation. And that is taking us to hell.

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  • Phil, this off-topic, but is a science question (thermodynamics), and may help others. It is extremely humid right now in New York City. You’re a physicist. I have air conditioning in all rooms but one, the kitchen. It is extremely hot and humid in that room. I heard that one can use a fan to remove hot hair. Would you happen to know if that is true and where to properly place the fan?

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  • Dan #30
    Jun 24, 2017 at 5:46 am

    I have air conditioning in all rooms but one, the kitchen. It is extremely hot and humid in that room.
    I heard that one can use a fan to remove hot [h]air.

    Only an extractor fan which blows the air outside via a vent, can “remove hot air”!

    What an internal fan can do, is mix hot patches of air into cooler air to make a room more uniform.
    It can cool the skin by providing a breeze of moving air, or it could blow the air from the hot clammy room, into one of the other rooms where the air conditioning could process this through its intakes.

    Alternatively it could blow cool air from one of the other rooms into the kitchen, if the hot air could escape through a window. (The wind would need to be blowing in the right direction for this to work.)

    You would also have to be careful not to have strong draughts near any gas appliances.

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  • Thanks, Alan4D! I knew the info on that silly website sounded too good (and simple) to be true. I think I’ll place the fan on the dining table where it’s cool and blow the air into the kitchen where there is an open window. Does that sound reasonable?

    What do you think about strong, militant (yet non-violent) activism versus just voting, at this particular moment in the US?

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  • Dan #32
    Jun 24, 2017 at 6:44 am

    What do you think about strong, militant (yet non-violent) activism versus just voting, at this particular moment in the US?

    I don’t know enough about the diversity of systems in the states of the US, but I am vice-chair of a local political party and work on distributing information during UK elections.

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  • Alan4discussion #33

    Jun 24, 2017 at 6:50 am

    I am vice-chair of a local political party and work on distributing information during UK elections.

    Distribution of evidence-based information on a mass scale is just what we need here. We already have it but there is so much misinformation and propaganda and bias, no one knows how to tell the truth from lies and falsehoods anymore. It is truly approaching the Orwellian.

    Unless Reason and critical thinking can spread to “the masses” (a somewhat belligerent term , I suppose) we won’t survive; economic, social, and environmental equity will be completely lost. We will become monstrous – a “banana republic or worse – and then fall.

    The goal of this foundation is a worthwhile one; it’s life and death really.

    In a stereotypical banana republic, income inequality is dramatic: one finds an ultra-rich minority, a poor majority, a small or nonexistent middle class, and a lack of upward mobility for most of the population. And according to a recent study on income inequality conducted by four researchers (Emmanuel Saez, Facundo Alvaredo, Thomas Piketty and Anthony B. Atkinson), the U.S. is clearly moving in that direction in 2013 [!]


    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, [my italics] for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” –Joseph Goebbels

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  • Dan

    We used to fit extractor fans to outside walls to vent humidity but they are noisy. They have a sensor that stops the fan when humidity levels drop but they never seemed to work properly and the fans ran on and on. We then started fitting heat recovery systems which are virtually silent and cheap to run but it is a large unit and needs expert fitting. My advice would be to leave all doors open internally but close windows and let your air conditioning system create the right climate whilst set on humidity extraction. Leaving the window open will only make things worse by letting in even more humidity. If you have a cooker hood extractor, you can run that for a while but the idea is that your existing air conditioning system should suck the air out of your kitchen not the other way around. Hope that helps.


    If all else fails.

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  • The air conditioning is centralized, and there is no dehumidifier; the kitchen is not far from the living and dining areas, but the stubborn, elitist, cool air will not turn the corner and make its way into that kitchen. I had the window closed all night in there and it was like a steam bath while the rest of the apartment was fine. I think it’s better to leave the window open. Can’t decide.

    Alan? Open or closed?

    Such luxury problems; maybe Phil is right. I need to do more.

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  • Dan

    If the outside is already humid then you are allowing it in through an open window and your air conditioning system has to work harder. The idea is to create a micro climate in your home. All air conditioners remove moisture anyway and they might have confused by suggesting a moisture removal setting. Mine has that setting without the cooling to save a little energy. It does sound like there is not much air movement from your kitchen to other parts of your home. I would put the fan to blow into your kitchen from your other room and the hot damp air will have to move out where it can be dehumidified but opening the window when the whole city is already humid is the wrong way to go. Getting air moving is the key.

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  • Olgun #35
    Jun 24, 2017 at 7:50 am

    We used to fit extractor fans to outside walls to vent humidity but they are noisy.

    I have a portable electric plug-in dehumidifier which works like a fridge.
    You can just pour the extracted water down the drain – but it does add to the heat in the room!

    We originally bought it for my aunt when she had damp from a leaking roof, and it has been passed around family and friends since.

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  • Moderator message

    Hope that answers your question, Dan. The thread’s still quite young, though, so could we go back to OP-related subjects now, please? (Education, politics, activism, etc)


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  • Alan, Olgun:

    A compromise/experiment.

    Okay, I will try Alan’s alternative method: blow the cool air into the kitchen with a fan, but also take Olgun’s advice and close the kitchen window.

    Are we agreed?

    Thanks so much. (Science is astounding.)

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  • Alan

    I should have mentioned that I am in Cyprus at the moment and that is where we have installed air con. We only use it when my wife is getting ready to go out or when the nights are unbearably hot. Our bedroom has a filter also to help with my lung problems. I have one of those portable ones at home that my dad bought and never used. It works well but does add heat although dry air is easier to cool than damp air they have no cooling mechanism. My sisters flat was always damp and it was very useful for her. If I ever get to build my own home in Cyprus, when my wife retires, I hope to use more efficient ways to keep us cool.

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  • I have been thinking about protesting. I am all for voting and for protesting. If you can vote you can protest; if you can protest, you can most certainly vote. Too many people do neither. But talking to people about their vote or campaigning where I live (NYC) is (still) almost pointless. We always vote Democratic.

    (I think we should probably abolish the electoral college.)

    Protesting is always good as it creates disorder, controversy, generates thought, and generates fear amongst the conservatives; they are reminded of the volcanic aspect of the American character, in a collective sense.

    But at the same time, if, say, 70,000 people were to protest the healthcare bill and the defunding of Medicaid, the Senator or House member will not care if his constituency, the people in his or her district, don’t care.

    Heller of Nevada came out against the health bill. He’s a republican. Apparently his constituents know enough to get past their infernal loyalty. That’s good. But people are less easily fooled when it comes to their own health than they are about, say, the environment. That concerns them less as it is not a here and now issue for them, or so they think.

    The challenge is to get the messages out to everyone, but particularly to people in the red states who never vote, so they can, at last, either vote and/or rise up in protest en masse. South Carolina voted for Trump, but a great many people in that state didn’t vote for anyone. They are too poor and too poorly educated.

    So that is the solution: raise the consciousness of the poorest of the poor in the red states who either vote Republican or just stay home. I read that Sanders has tried to get his message out there. Well it didn’t work.

    This is interesting and pathetic.


    A meme circulating on Twitter and other social media recently caught our eye. Created by the liberal group Occupy Democrats, it said, “97 percent of the 100 poorest counties in America are in red states. But tell me again how Republican policies grow the economy?”

    This was a variation on a few memes we’ve checked previously — that nine out of the 10 poorest states are red states (we rated this Mostly True) and that Republican-leaning states get more in federal dollars than they pay in taxes (also Mostly True).

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  • South Carolina voted for Trump, but a great many people in that state
    didn’t vote for anyone. They are too poor and too poorly educated.

    Democrats are notoriously apathetic when it comes to voting. Conversely, Republicans are quite diligent about it.

    Add to that, the GOP’s voting restrictions, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/us/supreme-court-ruling.html and gerrymandering, https://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/12/29/1612730/-Here-s-what-South-Carolina-might-have-looked-like-in-2016-without-congressional-gerrymandering, and you have the perfect storm.

    To me, what is comes down to is our ‘representative’ government is not accurately representing its people.

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  • To me, what is comes down to is our ‘representative’ government is not accurately representing its people.

    No, that’s not it entirely. The Republicans are sick. Read Arkrid’s comment on the Damaging Comey thread.

    If the Democrats don’t vote enough that is unfortunate, but not entirely relevant to what I am saying. People who don’t vote should be voting. It is incredible that a man as nefarious as Trump won this election and that so many people vote against their own interests or don’t vote – which is equally against their own interests.

    The wealthy and semi-educated or well-educated Republicans vote diligently because they are either greedy, brainwashed, racist, religious, nationalistic, or insensitive; why would they vote for a party that wants to cut medicaid and lower taxes for the most wealthy if they weren’t one or all of those things? But I am talking about the poor. I know someone that lives in SC, and knows that state and its history and its politics. There are many poor people in these red states that either vote for Republicans or don’t vote at all. I’d like to see that change. There are many impoverished blacks (and whites) in South Carolina who would have benefited more with a democrat, any democrat, in office. They didn’t vote because they are low-information voters. It’s not apathy; why would someone feel apathetic about life and death issues, like healthcare and the environment? — It’s essentially a condition of pervasive ignorance created and brought upon them by the people that they ought to feel the need to vote out of office! The truth, the message, hasn’t reached them, hasn’t penetrated. It’s all just noise to them. They can’t process it or discriminate. (It is not stupidity.)

    (Our representatives in government shouldn’t all be put in one group, like they’re all the same.)

    In addition to gerrymandering there is this!

    “Republican-governed states have adopted cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations while slashing education budgets as a standard policy.”


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