Silencing Voices

This is not a mandate.

Despite what the Trump Administration wants us to believe, Trump and the GOP do not have a mandate. Trump did not receive a majority of the votes. He lost the popular vote by over 2 million votes. Of the 136,628,459 voters in 2016, Trump received  62,979,363 votes ( (46% of the popular vote and 307 electoral college). There were an estimated 231,556,622 people eligible to vote in the 2016 election. Of those, 40% of eligible people did not even vote. This means that Trump received support of just over 25% of the eligible voters. The analyses around the election among them White supremacy,  Russian interference, and voter suppression have been written about elsewhere.

On Friday and Saturday, we witnessed millions of people demonstrating and marching in solidarity in the Festival of Resistance and  Women’s March. This type of action is important to democracy. The voices of the people must be heard. If not through the electoral process, then in the streets. Yet, we have a growing movement to silence voices of the people (especially those in opposition to the police and government).  Over the last several years, we have seen propaganda that frames political protests and demonstrations as riots. The media and government consistently frame Black Lives Matter and No Dakota Access Pipeline (#noDAPL) protests as riots. This serves to silence opposition and spark fear in citizens.

We are witnessing bills being introduced (and thankfully some defeated) that threaten protections and criminalize protests and acts of civil disobedience.

We are also reading about the censoring of federal agencies. The Environmental Protection Agency and Depts. of Agriculture and Interior have reportedly been told to cease communication with the public including the use of social media.

So, we have an Administration that refuses to acknowledge that it doesn’t have the support of a majority of voters and ruling through Executive Order and memoranda with law makers who are actively trying to silence and criminalize the voices of the people.

 

 

 

 

 

First Impressions

We are on the fourth day of the Trump Administration.

On Friday, hours after being sworn in, Trump suspended the interest rate reduction on FHA loans and signed his first Executive Order to assist in the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka ACA or Obamacare). These actions got me thinking about other Presidents and their first actions in office. I looked back through the records of The American Presidency Project to view the first Executive Orders. In just looking at Executive Orders from Eisenhower to Trump, some were in immediate response to a contemporary crisis—Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan —others were expansions or streamline of government—Eisenhower, Nixon, and G.W. Bush—still others were concerned with ethics and transparency—G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, and Obama.

Trump’s first acts threaten the health and well-being of people in the United States and beyond.  In addition to the actions above, in his first days in office, Trump and his Administration:

  • Waived federal law requiring Secretary of Defense be a civilian
  • Promoted lies about the size of his Inauguration crowd.
  • Signed first proclamation of his inaugural day at “National Day of Patriotic Devotion” this proclamation has yet to be released.
  • Removed White House web pages with Spanish language, climate change information, and LGBTQ related information.
  • Buried White House phone contact information (still available here) and replaced the Contact page with an online form with only four message type options.
  • Signed memorandum
    • Mexico City Policy (reinstating global gag rule)
    • Withdrawal of United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership
    • Federal hiring freeze except for military
  • Advanced construction on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline

I don’t think any of these actions demonstrate a commitment to transferring power to the people or helping struggling families as Trump declared in his Inaugural Address. In four days, we’ve witnessed Trump’s Administration prioritize their own egos and agenda without any regard or care of the people of the United States.

 

 

For-Profit Colleges aka Career Colleges

I’m liking all the attention for-profit colleges are getting from Washington. It’s an issue that has been bothering me for many years. Here’s a post I wrote back in 2007 at my other site:

Troubles Grow for a University Built on Profits

Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times. It’s about the rise in for-profit private colleges and the problems students are having. This is another subject that I am quite passionate about. As lower-skill jobs are being eliminated and dislocated workers need retraining, we are seeing a rise in these for-profit colleges that cater to adult learners. I think some of the recruiting tactics are borderline predatory because they mislead low-income individuals into believing they will obtain their degree and a high paying job. But the problem is that many of these “schools” are accredited to qualify students for financial aid and giving out degrees, but they are not accredited by a professional association. For example, my college is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education and/or some regional variation and the social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. This means that my degree is social work meets the quality standards set out by the CSWE. It also means that my degree is valid and accepted by employers and other colleges nationwide (and worldwide). Now, let’s take the the University of Phoenix (the subject of the Times article). They are accredited by the U.S. Dept. of Education and/or some regional variation, but not with Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business which is the accrediting agency for business schools. So, when a student leaves U of Phoenix with a bachelor’s degree that person may have a difficult time getting a job in business because their degree is not valid with the AACSB. They may also have difficulty in getting any of those credits transfered to a traditional college. So, then they are left with thousands of dollars in students loans and no high paying job. It’s sad. It’s worse when I know someone is enrolled in such a program and there isn’t anything I can do to help them. It goes back to the old adage that if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.