Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Hoeven Votes to Confirm Man Deemed to Racist to Be a Judge

As expected, Senator Hoeven voted to confirm Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions as United States Attorney General. Sessions was rejected by the Senate for a federal judgeship in 1986 as being too racist.

Needless to say Breitbart News and white nationalists are celebrating this on Twitter. David Duke, former Grand Dragon of the KKK chimed in:

David Duke
Mr. Trump’s appointment of Bannon, Flynn and Sessions are the first steps in the project of taking America back.

Senator Hoeven Votes to Silence Senator Warren

Senator Hoeven, in lockstep with his Republican brethren, voted to silence Senator Warren on the Senate floor.

Warren's crime? Reading from a letter that Coretta Scott King sent to judicial committee members when Jeff Sessions was being considered for a federal judgeship in 1986. Warren read: "Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge." A copy of the actual letter is below.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cried foul and invoked the little used senate rule #19, which forbids a senator from impugning another. How ridiculous is it that during a debate about the fitness of Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions for Attorney General that no criticism of him is allowed because Sessions is still a senator?

Sessions was rejected for the federal judgeship in 1986 because of his past history of racist comments and actions. Now the GOP and Senator Hoeven think he is just fine to lead the office which is in charge on enforcing laws for all Americans. How sad.

With Senator Hoeven's blessing, Sessions will become the next Attorney General of the United States. Expect to see voter suppression increase, and civil rights of American citizens decrease.

The only good to come from this debacle, besides the awakening of millions of people to the GOP's hypocrisy? The line McConnell uttered will now be used as a rallying cry for women:  "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Senator Hoeven and Rep. Cramer Vote to Eliminate "Disclosures of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers” Rule

It comes as no surprise that Senator Hoeven and Rep. Cramer voted yes to eliminate the rule which would require American energy companies to disclose any payments to foreign governments. Hoeven's biggest industry donors are the gas and oil companies. Source

Critics of the rule say  the rule may force companies to release "trade secrets."  If that is the case, why don't the Republicans add language to the rule which forbids that? I think it is a case of big oil companies not wanting transparency in their dealings with other countries. In this case, sunshine is a good thing.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Senator Hoeven Voted Yes on Plagiarising, Lying, Unqualified Charter School Advocate Betsy DeVos

It is now official. Senator Hoeven ignored the will of North Dakotans and voted to install Billionaire DeVos as Secretary of Education. Hoeven is now on record as endorsing plagiarism, lying to senators and party over North Dakota citizens.

I wrote North Dakota Senator Hoeven two weeks ago to ask him not to support DeVos, who has been a fierce critic of public schools. She also wants to use taxpayer money to fund religious schools.

DeVos also lied during about charter schools in her testimony. From NPR:

"There's just one problem with these numbers, Pallas points out.

They're wrong.

The Nevada Virtual Academy, for example. Its graduation rate for the class of 2015 wasn't 100 percent. It was 63 percent, according to Nevada's own school report card.

Ohio Virtual Academy's 92 percent graduation rate? Try 53 percent.

Utah Virtual Academy's 96 percent rate? Cut it in half.

You get the point."

Here was the response I received from Hoeven, with my comments in bold italics:

Thank you for contacting me regarding President Trump's nomination of Betsy DeVos to be the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.    I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
                    As a United States Senator, it is my duty to thoroughly review the record and qualifications of each nominee and vote on his or her confirmation accordingly.    I take this responsibility seriously and value having your input during the confirmation process.

Since the majority of North Dakotans are against her confirmation, I would say you don't give a hoot what your constituents say. You should put your state before party.
                    North Dakota has excellent public schools and teachers who work hard every day to provide our students with a quality education, which is why I have always strongly supported and will continue to support our public education system. When I met with Betsy DeVos, she told me she would not take away funding from public schools in North Dakota. I made a point to ask her if she supports public education   and state and local control. She assured me that she does   support both, and I have every intention of holding her to that commitment.

DeVos has been a vocal critic of public schools, although neither she nor her children have attended one. She has no experience with the system. DeVos is also a plagiarist. Is this a good example for our kids?

                    We   worked hard in the Senate during the last Congress to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act with strong bipartisan support. This legislation requires federal funding to go only to states, public school districts, and tribes. It provides both authority and funding for education at the state and local level to ensure that parents, students, and teachers determine how our children are educated. I have worked to make sure that North Dakotans, not the federal government, will make decisions about our children’s education.
If North Dakota wishes to make decisions on public schools without interference from the federal policies, they should not receive federal funds. Without federal standards, there is no accountability, such as with the charter schools DeVos pushed for in Michigan, and which have had poor performances.
                    Finally, DeVos has also committed to fully support the   Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding and implementation in written follow-up to her Senate testimony.    While it is true she is not a career educator, she does have significant business and administrative skills. I believe that over time North Dakota educators will see that she will be very supportive of them and their outstanding work.

How can Ms. DeVos support IDEA funding when she neither understands it, nor will support its implementation in charter schools?

What significant skills does she have that apply to educating our youth? It seems most of her experience has been in pushing for, and achieving, substandard charter schools.
                    Again, thank you for contacting me.    If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (202) 224-2551.
John Hoeven

Betsy DeVos and her family have donated tens of million to the Republican party. This is a classic example of pay to play. No one should be able to buy his or her way into a government position.

A good article to read on this subject is "Why Betsy Devos Is Riling Education Advocates."