consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"Thank you for your love and your support and your friendship and your knocking on doors, making phone calls, practically living in our campaign headquarters," Wasserman Schultz told supporters who gathered for her election night party at Sunrise Commissioner Joey Scuotto's pizza restaurant in Sunrise. Serving in Congress is "the greatest professional privilege of my life, the chance to be our community's voice, the chance to stand up for the principles and values that our community stands for."

image source

Fed up? If you are a progressive with a mindset against two party entrenchment's prosperity, you should be fed up.

Headline from here. Atlantic, here.

It's enough to make one vote for Trump. Almost enough. That'd be hardcore disappointment/disillusionment.

Too old for disillusionment, disapponment previals here. The Crabgrass prospered, and choked off sanity.

Moving on . . .

Colin Kaepernick, full statement, historical context.

It is only fair that people read all Kaepernick said. He is part of a history of athletes time-to-time choosing to be more than one dimensional, and what he is saying is not without precedent. King Day is a federal holiday; Malcolm Day is not.

Kaepernick's statement touched upon the meager choice the two duopoly parties offer us this election, a fact not widely reported, but in the transcript. My biggest complaint against the Clintons is absent from the Kapernick interview transcript - a family that has become obscenely wealthy as career politicians (and nothing else) raises questions in a time when the 99% see two 1%'ers handed them saying, "lesser evil" same old, same old.

The political process is obscene because of the two party dominance and the quality of those attracted to politics being winnowed as the Roberts court deems proper. Money talks. Most else is silenced. The pool of potential candidates within each party are being viewed by those financing the winnowing as suitable to be financed, or as less so and perhaps even problematic to play, and the winnowing process has thus been compromised. And corrupted. Jill Stein gets no press coverage, but her policies and mental capacity suggest she's exactly the kind of person suitable to be in high government decision making. Divide and conquer lives. Plato's allegory of the cave lives too. Money talks lives big time. The Clintons are purchased commodity goods. Little different from Orrin Hatch. This image, from an item that states:

You know what’s the best original idea in politics today? Making politicians wear suits like NASCAR drivers, which display their biggest corporate sponsors. Democrats and Republicans alike would be plastered with logos. So is it any wonder that many of these same businesses get massive favors from the government at taxpayers’ expense? DC spends upwards of $100 billion on corporate welfare annually, not to mention huge one-off expenditures like the bailouts.

It is a "conservative" site, but divide and conquer lives, as noted already. Tea Party disaffection is fomented; progressive disaffection is fomented; but don't EVER let those people assemble together and start talking to one another about solutions. A consensus toward getting the money out of politics might emerge; disagreement pending on other things; but Orrin Hatch and the Clintons are friends of neither of the juxtaposed segment pair. Neither are the Podesta brothers nor Vin Webber. People need to realize a few things, not many things, and simple honest explanations sometimes work better than spin. Infrequently, but sometimes. Kaepernick was not talking rocket science.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Three links, here, here, and for actual interesting info, here. For now that's it. Hopefully there will be UPDATE possibility.

As an example of how muddy the waters are, the first two links:

Same thing? Different? Affiliated? Wholly separate?

That first link states in part:

Not affiliated with any campaign or organization * Questions: (@4OurRevolution on Twitter)

As a curious person I have emailed to

I hope he does not blow off the inquiry, but instead helps shed light on the present dark matter.

a modest screen capture - click to enlarge

Not affiliated with any campaign; so why the three featured candidates; and state-by-state endorsement? Is endorsement affiliation; is Francis a Jesuit? I do hope to learn more. Not that I have a problem with any of the featured threesome. Just who are we dealing with? If not them, or their campaigns? Bernie's capitulation to the Clintons is part of the focus. DWS is gone from the DNC, but her miasma lingers.

websearch = shadow brokers equation group

Try the search. Follow whatever returned link appears most promising to you. Does it seem Skull and Bones has better security than NSA (the interesting question is the personnel overlap). What is absent from reporting is heads rolling. Behind the curtain it has to be happening. Shouldn't spies be smart? Having tons of intelligence is one thing. Being smart is another. Heller was the first author I've noticed to have distinctly made that characterization. Try a hypothetical: How many secret taxpayer dollars went into the debacle? Money spent. Not well spent. Another hypothetical: Does the story give you a warm feeling of privacy in your online life and interactions? Should you have expected one? Ever? From the start of the world wide web, the though of a spider web to entrap appeared to any questioning mind. The world is full of pluses and minuses. Today is judgement day for Debbie Wasserman Schultz; and for a lot more. For the national future. Surely more so than Trump-Clinton judges beyond making a show that mediocrity among the elite is desirable to the elite, in certain situations. Debbie Wasserman Schultz being one such situation. The presumption being "Who is Tim Canova" has an actual answer besides "No different really, than Debbie." Aren't Anthony and Huma an odd couple? Perhaps oddness is normal. With web privacy being what it is, what did that couple expect?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Military industrial complex. Any changes since Eisenhower left office?

Eisenhower warned of "the military industrial complex," so what has changed?


Who is surprised?

A reminder, there will be news from Florida, Tuesday.

A HuffPo reposting, by Canova, here. So, will the will of good people prevail?

Canova is stating a case, and KOS has posted a breakdown of the contest.

Ballotpedia, online here, notes the primary election is Aug. 30, a "closed primary:"

click the image or follow the link

Normally I discount endorsements to the point of usually ignoring them. However: Bernie enthusiastically endorses Canova. Obama is reported to have endorse Wasserman-Schultz. Canova's website posts of incumbent Wasserman-Schultz failing to secure the AFL-CIO endorsement in a membership vote, despite local insider favoritism. This item, "Canova Wins Endorsement of Both African American Newspapers in CD 23; By Nancy Smith; August 25, 2016 - 6:30pm."

It appears some media endorsements are being withheld until closer to election day. (Readers knowing of any endorsement news in that Florida race beyond what's posted here are urged to post a comment with a link.) Without a link to the original, the Miami Sun Sentinel is reported by The Hill to have endorsed Wasserman-Schultz:

The newspaper's editorial board wrote that while challenger Tim Canova is a smart, articulate and formidable candidate, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, despite the latest controversy, is a tenacious leader unafraid to ruffle feathers.

"She understands the levers of power and has built important relationships with people who matter," the editorial board wrote.

"Her colleagues say she's one of the smartest and hardest working members of Congress."

Wasserman Schultz resigned from the DNC last month after leaked emails showed party leaders apparently planning to undermine Bernie Sanders in his campaign against Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination.

Schultz is facing Canova in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.

In an interview, Wasserman Schultz said that her staff followed the rules and showed no favoritism toward Clinton, the board wrote.

She admitted that she and others at the DNC "made mistakes" and let their frustration get to them, saying Sanders used her as his "boogeywoman" "even after it became clear his campaign had lost to Clinton's."

"The bottom line is that on most of the issues, there's not much difference between Wasserman Schultz and Canova. Both are liberal, smart and work hard," the board wrote.

"But because of her political savvy, vast experience and command of the issues, Wasserman Schultz is the best choice."

The race might be closer than some Bernie backers may anticipate, given Wasserman-Schultz's extended incumbency.

District demographics: This websearch link. Interesting coverage; The Atalantic.

"Here we go again. Confronted with the inevitable, the Clintons are being forced, inch by inch, to acknowledge that perhaps taking millions of dollars from foreign governments and mega-corporations wasn’t such a good idea while Hillary Clinton was also deep into her pursuit of the presidency. That has put Clinton in a spot becoming all too familiar for her — on the defensive, attempting to explain away behavior that highlights her vulnerabilities and plays right into her opponent’s strategy to paint her as the symbol of an entrenched establishment that has lost its way."

The headline is a merger of the two opening paragraphs of the Strib's Editorial Board's Op-Ed, "It's past time to shut down the Clinton Foundation - The appearance of conflict of interest is both troubling and inevitable." And then some. It is cause for voter rebellion against the offered two choices; or for considering Trump, despite the whacking the press is giving him, as the lesser evil. Trump is saying we as a nation are no longer great because of how we have allowed things to turn. Clinton is saying Trump is unqualified. Taking money left, right and center is a qualification? Since when?

If declining the lesser evil game, (and with Trump having some positions that are questionable but no access peddling political history), voters have cause to look at the Green Party and the Libertarian Party. If the two party gridlock gives us Trump-Clinton, then the two-party gridlock is flawed beyond any right to survive in control of our national destiny. It sucks. We need stronger minor paties, given the abandonment of the people by the Clinton Democrats. The Clinton presidency was largely indistinguishable from the Bush and Obama presidencies - which all to some degree were better than Reagan years. Reagan and Thatcher live on in their legacies, unfortunately.

We can do better.

Speaking of doing better: Mike Pence. MIKE PENCE!

Former talk show host; MIKE PENCE! Would you want the likes of Rod Grams; or Jason "Galt Coins" Lewis a heartbeat away from being chief executive of the entire U.S. of A? Fear for the nation were it to be so.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

Colin Kapernick, AP Big Story, carried by Strib.

Good for him. More people of conscience are needed. It makes a better world.

No plunge into office seeking, no Colin Kapernick Foundation, just a man with conviction. No doing lunch with Blankfein.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Yes/no is not the problem. Maybe is. And what about more likely than not?

Access peddling? Image source, here.

UPDATE: An interesting link because of mention of the Justice Department's SDNY U.S. Attorney moving apart from Justice Department headquarters (under Lynch, with headquarters disinclined to act, apparently):

Multiple FBI investigations are underway involving potential corruption charges against the Clinton Foundation, according to a former senior law enforcement official.

The investigation centers on New York City where the Clinton Foundation has its main offices, according to the former official who has direct knowledge of the activities.

Prosecutorial support will come from various U.S. Attorneys Offices — a major departure from other centralized FBI investigations.

The New York-based probe is being led by Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. [...] Bharara is best known for securing convictions of prominent political figures, including former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Silver had a seemingly intractable grip on power in the state for decades. He was convicted of accepting $4 million in exchange for helping a cancer researcher and two real estate developers.

He also secured the conviction of New York Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was sentenced to five years in prison for corruption.

The former official said the investigation is being coordinated between bureau field offices and FBI managers at headquarters in Washington, D.C. The unusual process would ensure senior FBI supervisors, including Director James Comey, would be kept abreast of case progress and of significant developments.

The reliance on U.S. attorneys would be a significant departure from the centralized manner in which the FBI managed the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server and email addresses.

The Daily Caller is what it is, not neutral journalism, but it makes specific interesting claims. Note, however, the report is single sourced, a former official, . . .

FURTHER - MAYBE. AND MORE LIKELY THAN NOT. WaPo, here. In a way it would be cleaner for the FBI and the SDNY U.S. Attorney if there were the Ozzie Myers smoking gun ABSCAM phrasing of record, from the Clinton pack. A talk and walk saying, but not the more commonly used one. Yet a usage applicable in terms of likely Foundation-related circumstantial inference.

FURTHER: More, "go figure:" ABC online here. Ending of that item:

Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin said the emails released are a political attack on the Clintons. "Citizens United is a right-wing group that's been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s and, once again, is trying to make something out of nothing," Schwerin told ABC News.

How's that for a non sequitur? As if an inquiry were from one expecting an explanation of negative or questionable information would have a focus on Clinton allies and information they publicize? A "Never mind the message, nothing to see there, shoot the enemy messenger," response is less than reassuring. Indeed, it is artless and stupid.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Open access to scientific publications - down with the paywall profiteers, a step at a time.

The Monitor reports:

PubSpace has the potential to be a game-changer beyond NASA, however.

Traditionally, academic journal articles require subscriptions to access, which can cost potential viewers a lot. By allowing free, convenient online access, this research will be accessible to all sorts of people and institutions who couldn't afford it. Also, the consolidation of articles from multiple journals into one site will make it a good deal more convenient for those who wish to access the information.

[...] The new system is part of a greater trend of openness and accessibility in the scientific community. As the internet has grown in usage and sophistication over the past few decades, so has the demand for free, unencumbered access to information that was once the purview of only a select few members of government organizations or academics.

NASA is not the only scientific body to be affected by this trend. Earlier this month, the Smithsonian points out, the American Chemical Society announced that it is working on a similar public portal to research. Several prominent peer-reviewed journals, including Science and Nature, have launched separate open-access publications in the past few years. Still, legacy journals do not appear ready to give up paywalls entirely, however, and are willing to take legal action against those who breach that boundary. A researcher in Russia is currently facing a lawsuit for releasing 48 million pirated journal articles online in an attempt to make them freely accessible to the public.

Links from original omitted. Open the Monitor report to, for example, follow a link to learn more about ACS budging off the dime on lessening chemistry research publication proprietary access impediments.

Do you suppose during that new top sidebar lunch session, Bill and Lloyd talked about haircuts?

This link. The situation is explained in a video link given in that sidebar item's caption.

WHAT'S AN OCTOBER SUPRISE WITHOUT TIME TO SINK IN: "The State Department said Monday it was reviewing nearly 15,000 previously undisclosed emails recovered as part of the FBI's now-closed investigation into the handling of sensitive information that flowed through Hillary Clinton's private home server. Lawyers for the department told US District Court Judge James E. Boasberg on Monday that they anticipated processing and releasing the first batch of these new emails in mid-October, [...] Judicial Watch lawyer Lauren Burke told Boasberg that the proposed schedule was too slow and pressed for faster release of the emails from the first disk. The judge ordered the department to focus its efforts on processing the emails from the first disk and to report back to him on its progress by September 22."

BusinessInsider reporting, here. Gee. How about fifteen thousand emails the Clinton lawyers did not turn over to State because, clearly in good faith, their caption search algorithms simply were inadequate for the task of winnowing wheat from chaf. No smoking gun lost to public attention that way - no smoking gun intentionally withheld; just a simple mistake, simply made, simply approved by the lawyers' client as the right way to do things.

UPDATE: WaPo, same topic, saying 14,900 non-classified previously unreleased emails the FBI recovered once it had the Clinton server in its custody.

"Powell, who served as the nation's top diplomat under Republican president George W. Bush, told People magazine that while he did send Clinton a memo about his own email practices, Clinton had already chosen to use personal email rather than a government account while she had the job. [...] 'Her people have been trying to pin it on me ... The truth is, she was using [the private email server] for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did,' Powell told People on Saturday. Last week, the New York Times reported that Clinton told federal investigators probing the issue that Powell, who was secretary of state from 2001 to 2005, had suggested she use personal email for unclassified email when the two spoke over dinner."

Quoted headline text is from BusinessInsider, online here.

Larry Klayman is revolting.

Last sentence. This link. Earlier, Larry's item links here, disapprovingly. It seems as if Larry's item is a diatribe; the linked item, a gossip column - while mentioning Andrew's legacy and Andrew's mission. Petulance Unlimited seems a style these days, among disagreeing Republican party affiliates. Who do you believe if grounded on that far end of the political spectrum? Your mom? Okay. Who else? Dad? Siblings?

Saturday, August 20, 2016 -- Poor, pittiful DWS, she took one for the team; and it's okay.

Team DNC.
Her team, haaretz here, local Florida coverage, here, with varying details.

International news? You decide.

Not my team.

Some inner party's one-of-the-duopoly's team.

Billboards and French wines; and a liking for George W. Bush are parts of the personality of billionaire Stephen Adams.

Bio stuff, here (favorable), and here (Wikipedia). Image source, here (see also, homepage here). According to this Bloomberg link, Adams is the billboard king of diverse private holdings

Mr. Stephen Adams has been Chairman of Affinity Group Holding, LLC. since December 1988. Mr. Adams serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Affinity Group Inc. Mr. Adams has served as Chairman of privately owned banking, bottling, publishing, outdoor advertising, television and radio companies in which he holds a controlling ownership interest. Mr. Adams serves as the Controlling Shareholder of Adams Outdoor Advertising Inc., the managing general partner of Adams Outdoor Advertising Ltd. Partnership. Mr. Adams has been Chairman of Adams Outdoor Advertising Inc. since 1983 and serves as its Director. He serves as Director of Affinity Group Holding LLC.

Stephen Adams is of interest in Ramsey/Anoka County, because of the Adams Publishing Group LLC takeover of ECM Publihers, Inc., of Coon Rapids (reported by Strib, this link).

What might be an older image of Adams, this screen capture from here (no second source found online for story):

Item opening shown. Article continues ...

That image looks to be the same person, and the previously noted Bush supporter info squares with screen capture detail. Not to be confused with Steven Adams, a younger, taller man from New Zeland with different professional risks.

A closing blog screen capture, and hat tip, for initiating community notice that Stephen Adams is a person of local interest above and beyond his firm's purchase of a long-standing actual local newspaper outlet:

click image to read - this link for entire report

Will "newspaper wars" arise again, with the change in ownership likely to result in two right-wing publications?

Perhaps an entrepreneurial spirit may arise among moderates to enter low-budget into things much as was done via the insurgent entry of an operation without capital tied up in plant and equipment; where such a moderate entrepreneur might undercut both of the present two-some in pricing:

By now, if you’re still riding the turnip truck, you are asking, “Why in 2015, with everyone and their dog operating a website, is anyone paying taxpayer money to print this stuff?” Plenty of politicians have been saying the same thing since the dawn of the internet age, and every year someone throws up a bill to let cities and counties drop the print thing (and its cost) and do exactly that. But the 340-­member Minnesota Newspaper Association — which represents both Kysylyczyn and the Union in this little fight — has successfully lobbied against such proposals in order to protect what amounts to a tasty little sinecure.

“Ninety-nine point nine percent of the people don’t give a hoot about public notices,” says Anoka County commissioner Matt Look. “What was the last time you or anyone you know read one of them. We’ve gone before the legislature and argued to have the law changed, but the Newspaper Association has influence.”

Look says all that he and his six other Anoka board members did by turning the contract over to Kysylyczyn “is save some money.”

How much money? About $50,000 this year, according to Kysylyczyn. (He won the 2015 contract by bidding $15,000.)

[link in original] That price per annual contract could be ratcheted down to less than the 2015 quoted $15,000; although I'd bet a dog biscuit that the Anoka County Record would still plug along, even were it so undercut.

Diversity of content is key to local newspaper readers, not the leagal ad income dimension of local press issues, and ABC Newspapers - ECM Publishers do put out an actual paper newspaper, available at convenience stores, etc.

If Adams does not poison editorial local discretion, in imposing economies of scale, the local public can benefit. If Adams goes the other way to two right wing outfits in competition; a new market entrant could arise. I hope they keep Mandy and other staff, and keep their noses out of editorial concerns.

COMMENTARY - Woofing actually, and while interesting usages such as "the staff" and "this publication" among the woofings cast questions about the Anoka County Record control function - as Glen Taylor's ownership of Strib may effect editorial predilections, etc., and so forth apart from and in addition to colocation and deep pocket indicia. At any rate, this time, excerpting worth reading. Really. This time.

Apart from possibly debunking the image of a lone dog assiduously digging for moles and voles to expose and devour, read the excerpt [click it to enlarge and read].

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ramsey: The best and worse council members since I've been here.

Best. Easy. Jason Tossey. A skeptic who disliked waste, and one who grew so disenchanted he declined a second term. What's not to like? Terry Hendriksen was equally good, but not listened to enough and not reelected for which we continue to suffer. Margaret Connolly had good understanding and practical smarts. Terry and Margaret along with Jerry Zimmerman made up the best council majority I've seen.

Worse. Toss-up. Matt Look - Pattiann Kurak. Pick your poison. AND that includes the Bob Ramsey Mayor pack; Look being one of them in spirit and reach, even after having secured the bigger county board paycheck. All which has been worse about the Town Center adventure has much to relate back to that Kurak-Look pair. Nedegaard and the Town Center start, pin that tail to Kurak. Lazan and Landform, pin to Look in consultation with Mike Jungbauer who never even ever lived in Ramsey but for a time was close to Lazan/Landform.

Agree or disagree? That's what comments are for.

2:11 PM Sunday, August 21, 2016: Per comments here and here; participants in the Flaherty groundbreaking are pictured, Matt between Flaherty and Cronk, along with a bloc of the city council from then also in the photo op groundbreaking:

While not contradicting Matt's comment, it fleshes out a belief that he was amenable to decision making of the council, per the photo op of the Flaherty groundbreaking, then. Opinions differ on the wisdom of the Flaherty effort. It is rented out now, but buildings have multi-year histories where the tail-end life of it, and its place in the Town Center evolution ten or fifteen years from now, are to be determined. I think the final groundbreaking photo op participant, per the shovel on the right hand edge of the photo, was Dave Elvig. Neither Backous, nor Tossey, nor Strommen were a part of things there that day, if memory serves correctly.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
With Matt Look saying in his comment he disagreed with some of the Landform-Ramsey contracting, it is news to me, where contemporary reporting showed no qualified opinion or viewpoint; Strib Jan 2013, online here:

Landform did preparation work for a 230-unit apartment complex under construction and the planned construction of two SuperAmerica stations, a McDonald's restaurant and an assisted-living complex. Landform also "cleaned up" city-owned land, making it salable, said Ulrich.

By the time Landform's current two-year contract expires, the city will have paid the Minneapolis-based firm $1.51 million since August 2009, according to Diana Lund, Ramsey's finance director.

Lund says the city has been authorized by its HRA to pay the company a total of $617,518 for "incentives" relating to specific projects. Landform was already paid $374,439 for the apartment complex being built by Indianapolis developer Flaherty & Collins, and for another project that was discontinued. The city will pay another $80,000 to Landform when the complex is completed. The remainder owed Landform is related to the other deals, Lund said.

Landform is also paid a $15,000 monthly administrative fee -- $360,000 over two years.

Landform was hired to work on property, rebranded the COR, that was part of the Ramsey Town Center project, a quagmire of controversy for years. At $1.3 billion, the Town Center was supposed to transform acres of soybean fields and vacant land along Hwy. 10 into a bustling suburb with a downtown, small shops and parks and 2,800 nearby homes. But the project collapsed after developer Bruce Nedegaard went bankrupt and died in 2006, and three bank executives involved in the project were eventually convicted of federal fraud charges.

By 2009, Ramsey's council had changed. Newly elected Mayor Bob Ramsey and fellow Council Members Matt Look, Colin McGlone and Jeff Wise were the core of a group that recruited Landform. Mayor Ramsey, McGlone and Wise lost bids for re-election last year. Look is an Anoka County commissioner.

There's nothing in the reporting to suggest disapproval.

Also, "two SuperAmerica stations, a McDonald's restaurant and an assisted-living complex," is a bit different from still vacant land. I am glad Matt submitted his clarification comment. This image.

Misimpressions can be formed and kept in mind for years, only to learn differently after time passes.

RAMSEY - All politics is [are?] local. A town still needing a recovery from government past. Any reader guesses as to why it is presented as a story in four images? Who moved what, how?

- click each image to enlarge and weep -

One perp still holds local office.

The present city council, seats up this election, incumbents unopposed. History differed.

Good luck, Lino Lakes. Even a blind pig sometimes can sniff out a truffle.

________FURTHER UPDATE_________
You want images? More imaes? Here, here, here, here, here and here. Our town. On the upgrade.

"At any given time, according to Exodus Lending, around 30,000 Minnesotans are stuck in the cycle of vicious lending. Because of the ridiculous interest rates, it can take many borrowers a year or more to get out of the payday loan cycle. Founded in 2012, Exodus Lending was founded after a new business opened on Lake Street, just around the corner from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. The congregation learned that the building would soon be home to a payday loan service center and many were outraged at the prospect of having yet another financial predator move into their neighborhood."

Christians I can respect. Not those phony ones going to the legislature professing great embryo love, but hateful-to-indifferent toward alive real folks getting screwed. By payday lenders.

The headline is from mid-item. And it is not just a handful of folks who are irresponsible putting themselves into the grip of exploitative malefactors. It is thirty thousand decent people trying to survive, and being ignored by their legislators, be they DFL or GOP. It is shameful.

Yes it is nice that a church spawned a group having the heart and compassion to help.

But where are the legislators? One possible answer, bought. In that Daily Planet item:

In 2014, payday lending groups, including Burnsville-based Payday America, contributed a total of $59,743 in campaign contributions to state lawmakers, with Republicans accepting 75 percent of total contributions to the DFLers’ 25 percent, according to the Star Tribune.

[link in original, source of this screen capture]

It is a problem that did not start yesterday; MPR having noted per this screen capture (coincidentally from the same year, last presidential election cycle, that Exodux Lending was formed by real Christians):

- click image to read it -

What the problem is, is something that can be fixed today. If we had legislators with guts to do it. Lap cats belong elsewhere than the St. Paul hill top.

My BIG QUESTION, reader help requested via a comment giving detail; what, if any, is the overlap between this Brad Rixmann legislative donor guy, and Freedom Club? Any takers? Reader help on this would be most welcome.

Last, hat tip, Dan Burns, this link. His posting on the topic encouraged me to constructively pile-on. If anybody deserves piling on, it is these uncivil exploiters. Let's see legislative candidates, now, this very cycle, with the will to reach for a sounder status quo.

Politics in Minnesota, Capitol Reporter, online item:

Rixmann a growing force among political donors -- Pawnshop/payday lending CEO gains clout in GOP circles
By: Briana Bierschbach November 9, 2011

[...] Now Rixmann is a regular in Republican political circles. Rixmann has personally given more than $167,000 to political causes of all stripes, but the lion’s share has gone to Republicans in the last three years. While that figure pales in comparison with GOP uber-donors like reclusive businessman Bob Cummins — who has given millions, mainly to the House Republican caucus, over the last decade — Rixmann is a more recent fixture at the Capitol and has been openly involved in everything from door-knocking and distributing lawn signs across the state to hosting fundraisers and working on campaigns. Last fall he was the finance co-chairman for Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer’s campaign.

“He’s gained an enormous amount of clout in a short amount of time,” said one veteran Capitol political operative who preferred to remain anonymous. “He’s a Republican, no doubt, but even when Democrats were in control he managed to block [payday lending] bills. Now that Republicans are in control, you’re only going to see more of Brad Rixmann.”

[...] Ron Elwood, an attorney at the Legal Service Advocacy Project, has fought the issue for years. With the help of legislators like former DFL Sen. Kevin Dahle and current DFL Rep. Jim Davnie, he has pushed bills that would require payday lenders to work under the Minnesota Consumer Small Loan Act. Several of Minnesota’s biggest payday lenders — including Pawn America — have chosen in recent years to operate instead under the state’s industrial loan and thrift statute, which allows them to make bigger loans and charge higher fees.

“It’s not just the idea of, ‘Is payday lending good, bad or indifferent?’ His outfit has exploited an unintentional legal loophole to charge significantly higher fees for loans than others can,” Elwood said. “He is big enough to become qualified as an industrial loan and thrift banking organization, but he does none of that business, and he uses that law to charge more.”

Rixmann the donor

Rixmann has been able to fight off changes to the law, however, and some say that’s because of his burgeoning political presence.

[...] He has brought his business and employees and family into the political world. Many of his employees are also frequent political donors, and one lobbyist said he also helps organize massive door knocks through Chuck Armstrong, his community affairs director at Rixmann Cos. Rixmann is also a lawn sign enthusiast.

[bolding added] This link. Also, are we to expect reelecting Tom Emmer in CD6 has a likelihood of encouraging payday lending reform at the federal level?

So, reform of payday lending and excessive interest abuse will have to be local. By our legislature. Which candidates will publicly state a readiness to take on the challenge? What is needed is a comprehensive reform of usury law. Closing the loopholes and exceptions, be it pork for the credit card pack, or pork for payday lenders. Fix the law. Make the usury law of Minnesota a touchstone for other states to follow, instead of a shameful thing.

Between now and the November election, some of the better political candidates should step to the plate.

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Interesting data, online here. Not behind any login/paywall. NOT flagged as non-public data. An openly accessible github file. No hacking involved/needed.

Whelan, Abeler and Peggy Scott; not listed as Rixmann beneficiaries.

Kurt Daudt and Tom Bakk are listed; Bakk three times, Daudt twice.

Rybak four times. Thissen not listed.

Lucero not listed.

Looking up "Marty" and four hits. NOT JOHN. Marty Seifert.

Aplikowski, none. One listed Freedom Club State PAC item listed for Brad Rixmann.

The data there appears to reach to 2014; with 2015-16 Rixmann spending on politics/politicians not part of the *.csv file.

Here online, also not behind any login/paywall; also not flagged as non-public data; also online as an openly accessible github file; also no hacking involved/needed.

So I’ve asked the Joint Legislative Religious Coalition for this data and this is what they’ve provided. I can always go back and ask them for something more specific if what’s attached doesn’t work. Source: Minnesotans for Fair Lending, Commerce Department

List of key legislators:

n Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook
o Bakk also controls the DFL Senate Caucus campaign fund to which the Rixmanns made several donations to.
o He also received contributions by Rixmann to his food shelf (located in his district) and his personal campaign fund
o Bakk signed off on final legislative deal which included the defeat of the payday lending bill.
n Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka
o Voted “no” on the payday lending reform bill
n Sen. John Hoffman, DFL-Champlin
o Voted “no” on the payday lending reform bill
n House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown
o Daudt was Minority Leader in 2014 and negotiating on behalf of his caucus on the bonding bill.
n HRCC (House Republican Campaign Committee) – not a legislator, but it’s the campaign fund that helps elected Republicans to the MN House. Daudt would be in control of this fund.

Bakk is what has been said about him here before. Deserving of removal from his DFL Minnesota Senate leadership position. Today for that step is not soon enough.

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Routine websearh, "Brad Rixmann," hits, where readers can open one or two, and word-search "Rixmann."

Here, here, here, here, here and here. Two progressive blogs in the list. Republican bloggers do not seem to see a thing wrong with payday lending; much as they seldom blog about anything seen wrong by them of Tom Bakk. My favorite in there, the Dump John Kline one. Not that I have read anything there but the name, the intent and suggestion, it resonates even after the Col. has departed his for-profit-college seat in Congress. Just the mood and Gestalt of "Dump John Kline" is so needed. A need, not merely a want.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"The attendees, mostly from more right-leaning Jewish media, agreed with Hegseth that there was a weakening of support for Israel. One questioner admonished the speaker that Americans are tired of foreign wars, but Hegseth was insistent that Americans have to be willing to shoulder the burden. “Those like me went multiple times to confront realities of Islamic terror [but ended up with] outcomes in Iraq and Syria that we didn’t want them to be,” said Hegseth. He sees an emboldened Bashar Assad in Syria, Iranian influence in Baghdad and an Obama who is “allergic” to commitment to Iraq. “You have to utterly crush and defeat ISIS… ruthlessly wage war against it…you have to understand the ideological nature of the enemy.” "


What did he do while stationed at Guantanamo? Did he work counterinsurgency in Iraq with Col. Steele? Who is this guy to be Pontificating, when clearly he's nobody's Pontiff? Self appointed. Self anointed. Not that Roger Ailes made only this one mistake.

Pete's okay with me.
Ratings ring fine. No 'splaining due.

Crush ISIS with every fiber of the heart and soul of every aspect, bureau, and operative of Hegseth's True America?

Who is he kidding? Not enough fault to go around to reach the CIA? Just, some fault, and let him allocate.

Not Michael Moore's "Roger & Me."

__________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Telegraph, with a thought we'd wish of Hegseth:

Frank Wolf, a US congressman who represents the district that contains CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, is one of 150 members of Congress for a new investigation into the failures in Benghazi.

"I think it is a form of a cover-up, and I think it's an attempt to push it under the rug, and I think the American people are feeling the same way," he said. "We should have the people who were on the scene come in, testify under oath, do it publicly, and lay it out. And there really isn't any national security issue involved with regards to that."

Indeed. Would there really be any "national security issue" with Hegseth showing up somewhere to testify under oath about his background and service activities when he was gung ho, boots on ground? It would only help flesh out the character of the man to see that done.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

In hearings under oath, much can be opinion debate, some can be question and answer. [UPDATED]

This YouTube, Benghazi hearings. In the six and a quarter minute segment, there was questioning and answering. Little of the video segment was questioning and answering. Apparently this YouTube post is from PBS News Hour.

UPDATE: Checking the web, this from Rand Paul later, about his questioning.

While skepticism here is over the Clinton-Wall Street relationships, TPP likely passage once/if a Clinton/Kaine ticket reaches the White House, what TPP and trans-Atlantic trade comparable arrangements might look like, etc.; there are others still suggesting prosecutable criminality. WND here, saying emails show knowledge of arming ISIS out of Libya, related to the annex, and in the linked full Paul-Clinton part of the Benghazi hearings Clinton's glide and slide about having to ask the agency running the annex as if left and right hands somehow lacked expected coordination.

This item, some in DC with time on their hands; this item which raises unanswered questions about parking some donor as a favor where arguably he may have attained insider insights related to trading.

It is in flux, but October is weeks away.

Of speculative interest, the May 27, 2016, WND item is headlined, "Declassified docs: Hillary aided rise of ISIS -- Confirm reports of U.S. arming Middle East jihadists," with this procedural rather than substantive excerpt:

NEW YORK – More than 100 pages of previously classified Department of Defense and Department of State documents implicate the Obama administration in a cover-up to obscure the role Hillary Clinton and the State Department played in the rise of ISIS.

The documents were obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Washington watchdog Judicial Watch.

They confirm WND reporting over the past three years of evidence that U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was involved in shipping weapons from Benghazi to support the al-Qaida-affiliated militias fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, effectively arming the Sunni jihadists who morphed into ISIS.

[...] Judicial Watch also noted the DOD documents released this week contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria.

[...] The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons.

Another Defense Intelligence Agency report, written in August 2012, the same time period the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria, said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al-Qaida and other extremist Muslim groups: “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

Judicial Watch noted the sectarian direction of the war in Syria was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS.

The DIA document noted the following:

This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.

Judicial Watch commented that some of the “dire consequences” are blacked out but the DIA presciently warned one such consequence would be the “renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.”

What is most curious, this Judicial Watch FOIA litigation was hanging fire for years. "Recently declassefied" means somebody, in some position in the government that has classified the stuff decided to declassify. How that decision was reached, by whom, and the timing given it not being the Clinton family's thing to lift the curtain to show the wizard, should have been questioned with answers found by mainstream media. But they've left that about as short of growing legs as this favors-for-donors, park the dude somewhere, ABC news item, reported elsewhere earlier also failed to grow legs. A websearch of the man's name will show other web content, but not much mainstream. Raj Ferando reporting: here by blog (latter link, Aug. 10, 2016, a different individual accorded a favor), here (hardly mainstream, but with helpful factoid tie-in, "Sri Lankan Americans for Obama"), and here, stating:

Clinton Raises $450,000 at Fundraiser by Raj Fernando - News Dispatches Aug 12, 2015

Hillary Rodham Clinton is pushing an agenda that takes on Wall Street, going after financial investors for focusing too heavily on their own immediate profits. But she's also taking their money, targeting some of those same executives to fund her presidential campaign.

A day after proposing higher capital gains taxes on short-term investors, Clinton raised at least $450,000 July 21 at the Chicago home of Raj (Rajiv) Fernando, a longtime donor, according to an Associated Press report. His firm, Chopper Trading, specializes in high-frequency transactions and was recently purchased by Chicago-based competitor DRW.

Fernando personally gave the family charity between $500,001 and $1 million according to the foundation's contributor list, and his company donated between $100,001 and $250,000.

Fernando has helped raise money in the past, raising more than $500,000 for the President Barack Obama reelection campaign, [...]

Compare coverage here, dismissive of allegations of possible impropriety. The Wikipedia entry for Raj Fernando echos the defense of the appointment, but what rings a question is as soon as the appointment was questioned per, "who, what qualifications," the man's business interests pressed him for time to where he resigned days after inquiries were voiced, for such business-pressure independent reasons.

What was going on, other than being the placement of a high-speed commodity trader in a position to see (possibly to act on) insider information not generally known in the trading markets? Good question? Suggest an answer, none has come out of Dept. of State nor from the Clinton pack; beyond the stuff of that MediaMatters linked item and the Wikipedia ambivilence.

Questions of propriety exist, as well as allegations of perjury. We live in interesting times, October being several weeks away. The fundamental question of whether there was provable influence peddling out of the Clinton Foundation awaits possible growing of legs. Favors for cash/return favors - government actions rendered in return for something of value, by officials knowingly so, seems the core understanding of bribery as a crime.

___________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
Chopper Trading, online:

Founded in 2002 by Raj Fernando, Chopper Trading began as a small fixed-income trading company. From four employees in a small office to currently over 200 people in five locations, Chopper has experienced phenomenal growth throughout its lifetime. Our company is headquartered in the historic Chicago Board of Trade building in downtown Chicago with satellite offices in New York, London, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. We have substantially expanded the scope of our business to include every major asset class and a wide variety of strategies and holding periods.

In order to stay competitive we invest substantial time and resources into technology to ensure our traders have the fastest and most efficient tools at their disposal.

Chopper Tradings bio blurb for Fernando states:

In 2015, Chopper was sold to DRW – a global leader in the financial industry.

In 2016, Mr. Fernando launched™, an Internet start-up he developed to deliver the most trusted information to companies and individuals in order to increase corporate and professional growth and productivity.

With twenty-five years of experience and expertise in the international financial markets and over a decade of experience leading cyber security initiatives, Mr. Fernando provides exceptional insights and counsel for his own companies as well as the boards and organizations he serves.

Reliable insider information would be "trusted" information for "companies and individuals," but that Scoutahead venture was well after the brief intelligence/security panel stint per Dept. of State appointment discretion.

The bottom line looks to be the Fernando situation would fit the Comey criteria, unwise but no credible prosecutor would run with it [alone] to claim criminality happened.

But back to the Paul-Clinton exchange, what did the Secretary know of Syrian arms traffic, and when did she know it?

Did she testify correctly?

___________FURTHER UPDATE__________
National Review doing some crystal balling about Wikileaks' next major EMAIL RELEASE move.

__________FURTHER UPDATE___________
What about the Trump emails? Was there no hacking attempt against him and his business situations? Or is his systems security better than the government's and the DNC's? Unless somebody has a better explanation, there are no smoking gun emails to be rattled out of his closet. Just a bunch of collective talking heads on TV saying how unstable a threat he is compared to eight more years of the Clintons. Sure.

Trump seems quite loose and imprecise, but that's being allowed by questioners to be that, and it really is not a bad political strategy. Sure we do not know how he'd function if president, but who dares to step up and say what the Clintons would actually do, apart from what they say? Jill Stein, I trust what she says as what she'd work to do. Likely so with the Johnson-Weld ticket; only what they say likely being what you'd get involves differences between the Libertarian and Green present world views. Stein's promises and visions are more attractive to some. Opinions can differ. Some, in reported polling, even say they trust Trump or Clinton. Minorities I believe, yet whether growing or lessening as we approach November is a matter to be seen as events unfold.

One great analysis of the Trump enigma, Michale Moore, online here. Riding the tiger?

In hearings under oath, much can be opinion debate, some can be question and answer.

This YouTube, Benghazi hearings. In the six and a quarter minute segment, there was questioning and answering. Little of the video segment was questioning and answering. Apparently this YouTube post is from PBS News Hour.

UPDATE: Checking the web, this from Rand Paul later, about his questioning.

Reader help on whether there is online info about further hacking.

Specifically, comments are requested from any readers who might have seen posted info about:

Hacking of the FBI? Including of possible recovered deleted server contents?

Hacking of Obama-Lynch Justice Department files and records?

Hacking of the Clinton Foundation? The Clinton Global Initiative?

Hacking of communications of Doug Band? Of Teneo Holdings?

UPDATE: The Clinton Foundation of Sweden? Breitbart did post.

screencapture source

One of that firm's on-the-payroll at interesting times employees capable of being of material import to its touting: "experts analyze and forecast domestic and international political developments and their implications in order to anticipate events before they become action-forcing." In the context of the son-in-law's hedge fund investor haircuts, where there were counterparties who did better via trades building the hedge fund portfolio, the sentence intrigues, "In this way, political analysis can provide a look around the corner to alert investors and corporations to upcoming risks, and opportunities."

Add to the "Is there hacking news" list:

Hacking of Goldman Sachs? Of Blankfein?

Has the shut-down Hellenic hedge fund trading and communication data been suitably preserved? If so, is there any news of actual or attempted hacking?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Having been characterized as posting "stream of consciousness," I have company.

Down With Tyranny; here and here. Theme-wise company too.

Same site, more stream of consciousness, theme-wise differing from going with Jill Stein; here and here.

Paraphrasing the old "engineer" joke: Years ago I could not even spell conundrum; and now I face one.

Song for this election?


UPDATE: More song? And what is an election without a ballot proposition issue to believe in?

Aside from all else, absentee voting starts Sept. 23, and I intend to show up that day at Ramsey City Hall, get my vote for Jill Stein in, vote down ticket as noted on the side bar; Dems, the woman on the school board to also be on the county board, and then be done with it before the worse of the mud slinging intensifies. Might want to travel somewhere they've legalized it. Mountains and sunsets. Puget Sound. Lake Washington. Old growth tall trees where they still exist. Where the staged fifteen exists, and looks to work fine. Somebody has to set a trend. And that goes back to voting for Jill Stein, the greater good, not the lesser evil.

Chancellor Bubba.

powerlineblog image
Clinton spousal tax return for 2015 released publicly, apart from Foundation 2015 taxation/reporting. Chicago Tribune, here, carries the same AP feed as Strib, this excerpting:

The filing shows that the Clintons paid a federal tax rate of 34.2 percent in 2015. The bulk of their income — more than $6 million — came from speaking fees for appearances made largely before Hillary Clinton launched her campaign in April 2015. They gave more than $1,042,000 to charity, with $1 million going to the Clinton family foundation. That is the financial vehicle the family uses to give money to museums, schools, churches and other charitable causes. It is not the same organization as the better-known Clinton Foundation.
Hillary and Bill Clinton's 2015 tax return
Hillary and Bill Clinton's 2015 tax return

The Clintons' income puts them well within the ranks of the top 0.1 percent of Americans, though they pay a higher tax rate than many of their elite peers, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, based on 2013 data.

[...] In total, the Clintons earned than $139 million between 2007 and 2014, according to eight years of federal income tax returns released by her campaign last July.

The bulk of their income came from speeches delivered to corporate and interest groups, which paid Bill Clinton and later Hillary Clinton after she resigned as secretary of state in early 2013.

Clinton delivered six paid speeches in 2015, including one to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. She commanded her highest rate from eBay, which paid her $315,000 for a March 2015 address in San Jose, California.

Bill Clinton's consulting work for GEMS Education, a global network of for-profit schools based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, earned him more than $5.6 million in fees between 2010 and 2015, according to the tax returns.

He also earned more than $17 million over the same period for consulting work for Laureate Education Inc., a for-profit education system based in Baltimore that makes most of its profits from overseas operations. Several former students have sued a school operated by the company, alleging fraud.

Bill Clinton's office previously said he had ended his consulting work with Laureate last year. On Friday, his office confirmed that Clinton also halted his business dealings with GEMS Education last year. His office said he had "engaged with GEMS students and faculty around the world and assisted the Varkey GEMS Foundation in its efforts to increase access to education to underprivileged children."

RT online reports:

Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid put a big dent in the Clintons’ income, which went from $28 million in 2014 to just over $10 million in 2015, while the vast majority of charitable donations by the couple went to their own charity, their tax returns reveal.

Former President Bill Clinton and his wife file tax returns jointly. Their 2015 filings show an income of $10.6 million, far less than the $28 million reported in 2014. Speaking fees continued to make up two-thirds of the Clintons’ income, but dropped to $6.7 million from almost $20 million in the year prior.

The links to the 40 page 2015 filing and to the 44 page 2014 item are in the original. Continuing:

In 2015, the Clintons reported $1,042,000 in charitable donations. Of that number, however, $1 million went to their own Clinton Family Foundation, a separate endeavor from the Clinton Foundation. Only 4 percent of their contributions went to other charities, a fact that did not escape some observers.

RT notes that as "a whopping 0.4% of their income given to non-Clinton-run charities."

RT concludes:

After resigning from the State Department in February 2013, Clinton went on the speaking circuit, charging $225,000 or more per appearance. Among the hosting organizations named in the documents were the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, and the International Deli-Dairy Bakery Association, but the former top diplomat also gave three speeches to investment giant Goldman Sachs. Clinton has refused to release the transcripts of those speeches.

Politico reported in November 2015 about Foundation returns being amended and filed up to 2014, with no 2015 Foundation filing information found online; Politico reporting was thin on detail, but with the item ending:

The newly filed 2014 [Clinton Foundation] return and amended returns for the previous three years break out “speech revenue” on a separate line and categorize it as a payment for a service, not a donation.

The figures show speech-related payments to the foundation totaled about $1.1 million in 2010, dropped slightly to about $980,000 in 2011, before ticking up markedly to nearly $1.5 million in 2012 and $1.8 million in 2013--and then doubling in 2014.

However, those sums are still just a fraction of what the Clintons made personally on speeches in recent years. Hillary Clinton pulled in almost $10.5 million in speaking fees last year [2014], while her husband made $9.7 million, before expenses, according to tax returns that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign released in April.

Trump appears adamant about not releasing personal or closely held business entity tax returns. It is a fair point to raise, and much of the online coverage of Clinton filing releases was clucking over Trump not doing so, rather than analyzing much at all about the Clinton filings. The point here, given Trump reticence, and Clinton releasing, it is factually easier to look at the Clinton record.

So what's the Chancellor Bubba bit about? Recall the AP reporting noted:

Bill Clinton's consulting work for GEMS Education, a global network of for-profit schools based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, earned him more than $5.6 million in fees between 2010 and 2015, according to the tax returns.

He also earned more than $17 million over the same period for consulting work for Laureate Education Inc., a for-profit education system based in Baltimore that makes most of its profits from overseas operations. Several former students have sued a school operated by the company, alleging fraud.

Much has been published about "Trump University" and related litigation charging the operation with fraud and boilerroom and "free session" arm twisting to get pidgeons to sign up for highly priced, low value seminars, including an opportunity to be photographed next to a cardboard life sized full color image of The Donald.

Truly shabby stuff and one might wonder why the Clintons have not made more of the fiasco; wondering being in terms of whether they've skeletons of a like kind in their closet; possibly of a larger scale in terms of brought-in income.

Websearch for Gems Education seemed to suggest off-shore operations, and no questionable conduct uncovered; e.g. the GEMS Wikipedia entry, and the GEMS homesite:

Nor was it clear what Bill Clinton did for his GEMS compensation. The story differs regarding Laureate Education Inc., which does operate stateside.

The opening image, being from Powerline, is not neutral sourced. From neutral online reporting, CNBC, here, in Dec. 2015 reporting online, notes:

The for-profit education company targeting the whole world

With the reputation of U.S. for-profit colleges in tatters, one company has found a convenient way to circumvent regulation in this country: by operating primarily in overseas markets.

Baltimore-based Laureate Education, the world's largest for-profit higher-education company by enrollment (with about 1 million students now enrolled worldwide), operates in a sector plagued by government scrutiny in the U.S. and in which one major for-profit education company, Corinthian Colleges, declared bankruptcy earlier this year.

But Laureate gets 84 percent of its revenue from outside this country, most of it from Latin America. There, nations lack the infrastructure of established universities that the U.S. has, and their development means a steady demand for educated workers and training, the company argues in its IPO paperwork. (It filed for an IPO in October, but IPO watchdogs don't expect the deal to occur until next year.)

"The world embraces the power and importance of education and is seeking new ideas and technologies to deliver better education to more people at an affordable cost," Laureate founder and CEO Douglas L. Becker wrote in a letter in Laureate's IPO prospectus in the fall. "We believe we are uniquely positioned to meet this need through our unparalleled scale and resources, and our growing capacity to provide our intellectual property and services to other universities and governments."

[...] critics of Laureate's Walden University in Minnesota claimed professors were inaccessible and that continual delays stretched out the time — and thus money needed — to earn an advanced degree. Three students have filed a lawsuit against Walden, hoping to make it a class-action suit, alleging breach of contract, unjust enrichment, violations of state consumer protection and unfair competition laws.

n October, U.S. District Court Judge Marvin J. Garvis in Maryland dismissed four of the counts from the plaintiffs alleging breach of state consumer protection laws. The plaintiffs are seeking tuition refunds, payment of loan debt incurred while attending Walden and litigation costs.

In its prospectus, Laureate says: "We believe the claims in this case are without merit and intend to defend vigorously against the allegations."

[links in original omitted] While further excerpted below, the CNBC item is lengthy, with readers encouraged to toggle to it to read everything there. Details of that litigation exist online here, linking to a final terse stipulation of dismissal, it likely being the suit was settled with gag orders, terms non-public, which would make business sense with an IPO pending.

More from the CNBC reporting [links again omitted], with suggestions that the operation has fiscal isecurity:

As Laureate's Becker attempts an initial public offering, which would reverse a 2007 leveraged buyout led by KKR & Co., he has to convince the market how his company differs from the rest of the for-profit education industry. The industry has lost 42 percent of its value in the past year, according to Motif Investing data, amid mounting complaints about student loan defaults and courses of study that didn't help students get the jobs they wanted. It won't be easy.

Laureate has seen results in its bottom line: Revenue last year rose 13 percent to $4.41 billion, with a loss of $162.5 million driven completely by $385.8 million in interest payments on its $4.33 billion of long-term debt. The debt is left over from the 2007 deal that took Laureate private, as well as from acquisitions of universities and colleges.

Laureate, like many leveraged-buyout companies, isn't profitable. It has posted a net lost for the past three years (and every year going back to 2010), based on formal accounting standards. Based on EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), Laureate has posted profits, including a $754.2 million profit for the 12 months ending in June.

Laureate's backers are a who's who of the top ranks of capitalism, drawn to the idea of finding new, more efficient methods of schooling and professional training, particularly in emerging markets. Private-equity mogul Henry Kravis, George Soros and Point72 Asset Management's (formerly S.A.C. Capital) Steve Cohen, all have invested in the company, according to Bloomberg. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton served as honorary chancellor of Laureate's colleges and universities, collecting more than $16 million for his work and the reflected glow of his popularity, until his wife, Hillary Clinton, began her White House run.

Got that? Fiscal teetering, but Bubba clears a cool sixteen million as figurehead Chancellor. As in, "If we've got Bubba, we're legit." There appears little to distinguish the situation from Trump licensing his name/brand to others who actually did the day-to-day Trump University thing, such as it was done. Whether Trump cleared anywhere near to sixteen million from the fiasco is not known, publicly, at present.

And while Trump University without much doubt looked to have been a bad joke to be played on fools from the get go, CNBC has more to say about Laureate,

The criticism of Laureate, here and abroad, is similar to charges leveled at competitors from Apollo Education Group, owner of the University of Phoenix, to the now-bankrupt Corinthian Colleges. In April, Corinthian shut down after a series of investigations by federal agencies and state attorneys general.

Both at its U.S. and foreign schools, critics say, Laureate puts too much emphasis on marketing, advertising, executive salaries and recruitment of students and too little on quality education.

"At both public and private [nonprofit] institutions, we're based on quality — how highly ranked our program is, how good our faculty are," said Andrew Ainslie, a critic of for-profit schools who is dean of the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester.

He said generating that quality demands in-person instruction and small classes, and that's very expensive. [...]

As Laureate has bought universities, it has sometimes followed up by cutting faculty and staff and trying to boost enrollment through telemarketing and advertising. It has grown from about 245,000 students eight years ago and has come under fire in Latin America as it grows there, Bloomberg News reported from Brazil.

After Laureate took over Centro Universitario IBMR in 2010, the school's quality ranking among small colleges in Brazil plunged from 41st place to No. 132, the Brazilian government's National Institute of Studies and Educational Research says. Last year the Rio State Legislature criticized for-profit colleges for firing professors and cited Laureate's takeover of IBMR.

[...] Speaking of Laureate executives, Ainslie said: "They're compensated for revenue and getting students through the door. They're compensated purely for quantity."

Again, read the entire item. Even with extensive excerpting, the full report might ring better to readers.

Further neutral sourcing, Wikipedia, here gives the public taken private to IPO to go public again history, including acquisitions detail; then noting

Though former United States President Bill Clinton's role as a chancellor of Laureate was officially described as "honorary", from 2010 until early 2015, Bill Clinton was paid just short of $16.5 million for his role as honorary chancellor, including $2.5 million in 2011. These numbers were disclosed in his publicly released tax returns.

In April 2015, Clinton ended his ties with Laureate amidst ongoing financial problems at four of its six U.S.-based universities.

[...] According to the Washington Post, "Laureate is backed by several of the biggest names in finance, including Henry Kravis, George Soros, Steve Cohen and Paul Allen". [34] Laureate’s annual revenue is approximately $4 billion.[34] The company holds $3.5 billion [35] to $4.7 billion in debt.[9]

Laureate spends in excess of $200 million per year on advertising, including television commercials, online campaigns and billboards. There have been claims that "Laureate boosts revenue at struggling colleges by turbocharging enrollment, often without a parallel increase in academic investment."

[footnotes and links omitted] Again, read the full Wikipedia item for a better understanding.

Less neutral sourcing:

Jonathan Turley, here, writes in a judgmental but factually thorough manner. Worthwhile reading. WaPo writes of boiler room methods of soliciting students at IBMR, Brazil, segueing to:

Though Laureate isn’t well-known in the United States, it employs one of the country’s most recognizable figures: former president Bill Clinton. In 2010, the company hired Clinton to serve as its honorary chancellor. In this paid position, Clinton has trekked to Laureate’s campuses in countries such as Malaysia, Peru and Spain, making more than a dozen appearances on its behalf.

Laureate is backed by several of the biggest names in finance, including Henry Kravis, George Soros, Steve Cohen and Paul Allen. When Laureate’s founder and chief executive, Doug Becker, persuaded these investors’ firms to take his company private in a deal worth $3.8 billion, Kravis’s firm, KKR, took a $487.5 million stake.

By 2010, according to a KKR memo to investors, its investment had increased in value to $710.8 million.

Laureate has thrived by exporting many of the practices that for-profit colleges adopted in the United States, such as offering career-oriented courses and spending heavily on marketing. Such strategies helped build what was a booming industry until 2010, when recruiting abuses and mounting student debt spurred a regulatory crackdown by the Obama administration.

As a result, the Bloomberg U.S. For-Profit Education Index has fallen 54 percent since its 2010 peak. Enrollment at Apollo Education Group’s University of Phoenix has declined 44 percent to 269,000, according to regulatory filings.

Laureate’s supporters say the company performs an important service by expanding access to education in emerging markets. In January 2013, the World Bank’s investment arm, the International Finance Corp., invested $150 million in Laureate.

“Many universities, after Laureate has invested, have been able to put their houses in order, apply financial discipline and really grow,” says Atul Mehta, a director at Washington-based IFC.

That growth may come at a cost. While some of Laureate’s colleges rank high in private surveys, including Universidad Andrés Bello in Santiago, Chile, and Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Bluche, Switzerland, others have drawn criticism from teachers, students and government officials.

They say Laureate boosts revenue at struggling colleges by turbocharging enrollment, often without a parallel increase in academic investment. Since Laureate took over IBMR in 2010, its quality ranking among small colleges in Brazil has dropped to 132 from 41, according to the government’s National Institute of Studies and Educational Research.

[...] Laureate counters that several of its schools in Brazil have improved in government rankings since 2009.

Laureate has stirred controversy throughout Latin America, where it derives two-thirds of its revenue. In October, Chile’s National Accreditation Commission voted to strip accreditation from one of the company’s schools, Santiago-based Universidad de Las Américas, or UDLA.

In its decision, the commission wrote that, since 2010, UDLA’s academic standards have suffered as it has added almost 10,000 students while reducing the number of full- and half-time teachers to 399 from 408. Graduation rates were as low as 15 percent in some majors.

[...] Laureate says the number of teachers at UDLA has grown since 2009. It has appealed the withdrawal of accreditation; if the appeal fails, new students will be unable to get government loans.

Laureate’s fiercest defender is its 47-year-old chief executive, Becker, an entrepreneur who started his first business as a teenager. He dismisses the complaints from government officials in Brazil and Chile. IBMR was almost bankrupt when Laureate bought it, he says.

“The choice was to be highly ranked or have a viable scale,” Becker says. “I feel we have done the right thing.” He says the Chilean commission misunderstood Laureate’s nontraditional approach to education.

Becker, who didn’t attend college, describes himself as deeply passionate about education. “You can be a serious educator with high standards and still think of the student as your customer,” he says at breakfast at a Manhattan hotel.

Becker’s peers in the education industry paint him as a tireless promoter, skilled at pitching Laureate to investors and persuading universities to sell to him.

“He’s a hustler, for sure,” says Michael Moe, the chief executive of GSV Capital, an investment fund that specializes in education. “Basically, he saw this gaping hole in the market and drove a truck through it.”

[...] As Laureate has pursued growth in developing countries, it has capitalized on demographic trends. More people in emerging markets are joining the middle class, but there aren’t enough colleges to meet the soaring demand.

In Latin America, for example, higher education has long been dominated by state-run schools and Catholic universities. Most of these schools are inexpensive or free but have limited space.

The supply shortfall has driven governments to embrace private operators. In Brazil, where just 17.4 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds attend college, President Dilma Rousseff has increased the number of government-backed student loans sevenfold and for-profit companies have flourished.

“Education is the industry of the future,” says Paulo Guedes, chairman of Rio-based Bozano Investimentos.

In the past three years, Guedes says, his $155 million investment in Brazilian education firms has tripled.

[...] Private operators have long dominated higher education in Chile, where just 23 percent of college students attend public institutions, according to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In 2011 and 2012, hundreds of thousands of Chilean students staged protests, demanding free college education and clashing with riot police armed with tear gas. President Sebastián Piñera responded by raising taxes to fund student loans.

Former president Michelle Bachelet won a landslide victory in December to succeed Piñera on promises of free college education for the poor and tighter regulation of tuition and profit at private schools.

For-profit education is technically illegal in Chile. Laureate has legally circumvented the ban, it says, by acquiring seats on the boards of colleges and then selling services such as building management and online courses to those schools.

The company used the same tactics to establish a presence in Turkey, where for-profit colleges are also banned. Since taking control of Istanbul Bilgi University, Laureate has boosted its enrollment by 44 percent, to more than 12,000 students, and raised its tuition by more than 50 percent to $14,000. A round of staff cuts in 2011 prompted protests from faculty holdovers, who unsuccessfully tried to form a union.

Becker says he started Laureate because traditional colleges weren’t serving their customers.

“I found that most universities were inward-looking and focused on the needs of the staff and faculty,” he said, “and not so much focused on the needs of the students.”

Though Becker’s glasses and dark suit make him look like a banker, he speaks in a gentle tone, like a kindergarten teacher. His only hobbies, he says, are spending time with his two young children and chairing nonprofits, such as the International Youth Foundation.

Much has been omitted by cutting off the already extended quote there. WaPo wrote a good report.

Shifting to the ever more judgmental Clinton foes; WND here, headlined, "Clinton for-profit education scandal dwarfs Trump U -- Bill and Hillary made millions while students racked up debt;" and here, headlined, "Students claim 'Clinton U' is a scam -- They 'got paid millions and I got stuck with $120,000 debt'." Trump supporter Roger Stone at

For a listing of the "18 companies that go by the name of Walden University, LLC," which is U.S. based Laureate branding; this link, showing nationwide reach.

For an international Laureate venture listing, Wikipedia, indicating other U.S. brands besides "Walden."

Clearly this is bigger than Trump U, with "$4 billion" having been noted in earlier excerpting. Trump U. looks like a latecomer effort to cash in on the private student loan generating cash flow potential hitting market at about the time the fan was loading up and Col. Kline might have been reevaluating, prior to not seeking one more term.

For a closer, a Walden page itself, make of its legalese proneness what you will. In fairness, the homepage; but no effort was made to research all that "Our Accreditations" stuff for veracity or gravitas (note that each image in the original lacks hotlinks just as this screen capture does; so anyone can invent a name and design a logo; but there might be more substance than that). Research would be needed for a determination.

click the image to enlarge it

UPDATE: Gary Trudeau/Doonesbury; who used the "Walden brand" earlier than Laureate, if memory serves correctly. Supplementing that "for profit" motif, Trudeau also noted the parallel "adjunct professor" motif/usage now afoot.

Here, linking here.

Why is there not MORE student unrest? Exploitation abounds, with "the adjuncts" taking their own hit.