Betsy DeVos wins confirmation

As predicted, there was a 50-50 tie in the Senate over the confirmation of the rich and totally unqualified Betsy DeVos to be Trump’s education secretary. And also as predicted, Vice-President Pence broke the tie, confirming DeVos. If only a single additional Republican had some integrity! But that, I suppose, is too much to ask. This is the first time in the history of Cabinet nominations that the VP had to break a Senate tie.

Here’s a tw**t provided by Matthew Cobb, showing how much money Devos (who’s a billionaire) gave to all the Republicans who voted for her.  After all, they want to keep the dosh flowing. . .


  1. Grania Spingies
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    It’s a real screw you to people who have dedicated their lives to educating others.

    • Posted February 7, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, teachers, but you should’ve donated more money to politicians instead of earning your education degrees.

    • somer
      Posted February 8, 2017 at 4:02 am | Permalink

      Just another branch of Trump’s Sleeze Incorporated

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    This what Trump was talking about when he said he was going to drain the swamp. More like swamp the drain with money. So now the poor and not so poor who voted for this pathological liar can get their kids an even worse education. Step right up and get your vouchers.

  3. sgo
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Lisa Murkowski is on that list of those who received money, but according to the Washington Post, she and Susan Collins (of Maine) were the Republicans who voted against DeVos. Wish more Republicans were like that.

    Spicer is saying that Democrats are following ‘childish tactics’ with the confirmations. Seriously?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      As Molly Ivins used to quote Big Daddy Unruh, “[i]f you can’t take their money, eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women, and vote against ’em anyway, you’ve got no business bein’ in” Congress.

  4. Rick Graham
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Kinda surprised the NEA could only pull 50 senators out of their well greased pocket.

    The tears of her enemies are sweet beyond measure.

    • Rick Graham
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      2014-2015 Donations

      National Education Assn $21.2M
      American Federation of Teachers $11.8M
      California School Employees Assn $121,917

      Which party do you think the money went to?

      • Mack
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        Rick~ Great figures although I’m gong to guess their aggregate donations and have nothing to do with donations to individual Senator’s campaigns right? Since you like numbers you can go read this article: which makes it clear that the DeVos Family Foundation has in all likelihood donated many many many times the paltry $21.2M of the NEA…

        The NEA, by the way, is made up of thousands of middle-class educators – the DeVos Foundation is made up of a handful of billionaires. So if you like cooking up numbers, tell us what the $ per donor is?

        Maybe this is illustrative too – the DeVoss’ spent more in the 2014 Michigan elections than the UAW.

        Yay! Lets hear more equivalency between a handful of billionaires and thousands of working-class people!!!!!

        • Martin Knowles
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          Well said Mack!

        • largeswope
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

          Thank you! I am a teacher and a member of the NEA.

    • mikeyc
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      What a vile thing to say about those opposed to a wholly unqualified candidate.

      • David Coxill
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        Is she the one who thinks the Monroe doctrine is
        “Diamonds are a girls best friend”
        Yuk Yuk .

  5. Merilee
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Betsy’s college. Check out the Core Curriculum section.

    Typo ergo sum

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Developing a Christian Mind is a compulsory class! It apparently teaches you how to look at everything you learn with a “Christian mindset,” whatever that is. Scary.

      • Simon Hayward
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        She’ll fit right in with Fawell, from a couple of posts back

      • Posted February 8, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        Notice it isn’t just a service course like a “introduction to the computer lab” or whatever, it is domain-connected, so it seems that it will “corrupt” something else perhaps otherwise worthwhile.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 8, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink


  6. rickflick
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    The key here is the continuity of money flowing into the party. This vote is a signal to future donors that, yes, there will be a payoff time if you give generously. See, they’ll say, DeVos was simply a dreadful candidate and yet we got her a juicy plumb of a job shuffling papers. Just think what we could do for a wonderful, talented, person like you! An operative synonym for the way this works is good old crony capitalism. The only way around it is campaign finance reform.

  7. eric
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t Rubio an initial holdout? If so, it looks like he was just negotiating a better price for his vote.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      That certainly would fit Rubio’s background.

    • Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      thune might wanna pick up a few pointers from him. he’s too much of a steal.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        Thune’s campaign treasurer’s got a lot to answer for, selling his vote for such short money.

  8. Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    So, it seems clear. The price of a cabinet position is $1M, give or take.

    Yea verily, we doth hast the very best government money can buy.



    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      In the hearings Bernie Sanders suggested the family had donated over $200 million iirc. She said that could be correct. She was asked whether that had anything to do with her nomination. She said it hadn’t. The Washington Post called her answer “unconvincing”.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Makes ya wonder how her family accumulated such riches, spending $200 million to land a job that pays barely $200k per annum.

        • nicky
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

          The family is Amway, selling heavily overpriced household products, nutritional ‘supplements’ and the like under a pyramid scheme.

    • eric
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Buying yourself an office has always happened. For hundreds of years, under administrations both conservative and liberal. The qualitative difference here is, money used to buy you an Ambassadorship to Micronesia or something like that. With Trump it buys Secretary of Education.

      • busterggi
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        Hell, it bought the presidency so why not a cabinet post?

  9. eric
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    This is the first time in the history of Cabinet nominations that the VP had to break a Senate tie.

    My guess is that was somewhat artificial. There was probably some backroom deal amongst Republicans to the effect of “okay, we know lots of you oppose her, but we only have two “vote your conscience” spots available. So you folks wheel and deal amongst yourselves about who gets those spots and what they’re willing to politically pay to get them, and then we’ll have the official vote with Pence breaking the tie.”

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re probably right.

  10. Heather Hastie
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    It is a disgrace that someone so unqualified for the job has been entrusted with the future of the country.

    There are some good charter schools, but the ones in Michigan (where DeVos has been influencing the system for years) are amongst the worst in the country. They routinely get poorer results than state schools.

    And don’t forget Jerry Falwell. He was Trump’s first choice but didn’t want to move to Washington DC. He’s still going to have his hand in though as a top advisor.

    • Historian
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Trump has committed and will commit so many disgraces on a daily basis that the public may eventually become numb and resistance to the authoritarian will eventually wither away. This is why authoritarians tend to stay in power for long periods of time. Will it be any different in the United States? I hope so, but I am not particularly sanguine since almost half the voters supported him before he actually took power, when his positions were only verbal. Now he is implementing his promises and his supporters are pleased as punch. Through a combination of those who always supported him, the doubtfulness of sustained resistance, and the moral cowardice of the Republican Party, the authoritarian in the White House is in a good position to maintain power. To put it another way, the survival of the American Republic can no longer be taken for granted.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        I agree. I just look at myself. I’ve started writing several posts about things I consider particularly egregious since 20 Jan and most of them never got finished because the topic was taken over by something even worse. I just don’t have the physical capacity to keep up with even the worst in my own areas of interest.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          That’s how he survived the daily outrages of his primary campaign. Trump’s a total ignoramus on public policy and government, but he’s genius at changing the news cycle.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      I think we may have the reason Jerry Jr. didn’t want the job. He’s got a much sweeter deal from the federal government in play already. $347 million a year from the public coffers to fund the auto-bilking-machine daddy (may he rest in peace in his matchbox) left him, Liberty U.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Good point!

        Also, his image with his supporters is protected at Liberty U. People will be looking to expose him as a Secretary, and I bet there’s stuff to ferret out – there always is with people who set themselves up as moral authorities.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Grifter gonna grift; that’s how they do.

  11. Mark R.
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I hope she at least feels some shame that she barely got through. But a christian billionaire having shame? Yeah, right. And in that same vein, what about Gorsuch? Someone with integrity would say let Merrick Garland have a go at it first. Unfortunately for US citizens, integrity is not to be found in modern republicans. I’m truly baffled at how pathetic most representatives are; it’s beyond stunning.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      It is truly pathetic. Just where you need a preponderance of the best people society has to offer is precisely where you end up with a preponderance of the worst people. Judging by history it is simply a result of natural human behavior. We thought we might have had it beat with our little experiment here in the US, but right now it isn’t looking so good.

  12. ascanius
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I hope the Green Partiers and Bernie or Busters are proud of themselves.

    Far left icon Chomsky, who dislikes Hillary, explains why the left too righteous to vote for her made a very bad mistake.

    • FloM
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Seconded! They got their bust!

    • Posted February 7, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, there’s simply no way that you can pin Der Drumpfenfurher’s victory on anybody but him and Hilary.

      Hilary won the popular vote, remember?

      So, in what perversion of logic do you think that bulking up her popular vote margin by less than 1.5M votes (the number of people who voted nationally for Jill Stein) would have gotten her an Electoral College victory?

      You could try instead to direct your ire to the Libertarians. Gary Johnson’s ~4.5M votes was significantly larger than the ~2.6M difference between Señor Smallinpants (~63.0M) and Clinton (~65.9M). But, if you can understand why a Johnson voter wasn’t interested in voting for Clinton, you should have no trouble understanding why a Stein voter was equally unpersuaded.

      The big-picture view is that Mr. Tinyhands was the worst candidate the Republicans ever put forth and took office with the worst favorability ratings of any president, ever, period. Any even marginally competent Democratic candidate should have mopped the floor with somebody so horrifically unqualified…

      …and, yet, here we are, and it’s not Clinton’s fault?

      …how, exactly?

      I mean, we had live candid video of the dude bragging of sexual assault, and Clinton, the first major-party woman candidate, wasn’t able to ride that to victory? Never mind the rest of the non-stop showstopping flood of incomprehensible evil that spews forth from that vile creature?


      The truth of the matter is, Clinton’s utter incompetence in the campaign demonstrated that, as bad as Drumpf unquestionably and unambiguously and undoubtedly really truly is, she actually wouldn’t be an improvement.

      I mean, yeah, her ideology is marginally less repulsive, but she’s demonstrated herself perfectly incapable of the political skill necessary to get anything done, and to prevent bleedin’ obvious political and social upheaval and catastrophe. She had a cakewalk of a test to demonstrate her fitness for office, her ability to navigate modern politics, and she failed it spectacularly.

      Basically, we’re screwed, and we’ve been screwed since at least the time the parties picked those two incompetents — which means the damage goes back to however the parties themselves became so wildly dysfunctional as to pick them in the first place.

      Which brings us full circle.

      The Democrats and Republicans have both overwhelmingly demonstrated themselves inadequate or uninterested in the cause you wish of them…

      …and it’s the fault of the “none of the above” crowd for refusing to sponsor one godawful evil over another horrendous one?



      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        ” her ideology is marginally less repulsive”,
        no, it is a lot less repulsive.

        What do you think she should have done in the campaign that is so obvious?

        Everybody Trump Trumped failed to campaign properly given your criteria.

        It is only a guess as to whether anyone else would have done better.

        What should she have done? Not fallen over?
        Been more careful about emails.
        Trump had the women Bill Clinton allegedly had fun and games with sitting in the audience.
        What could she make of that?

        Hillary was by far the better candidate.

        “she actually wouldn’t be an improvement.”

        That is absurd, for all my worries about the creeping absurdities of the radical feminist led SJW type corruption of the left, Hillary would be a gazillion times better.

        • Mark R.
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          I concur…add in Russian tampering and FBI bullshit, and here we are.

        • Helen Hollis
          Posted February 8, 2017 at 2:07 am | Permalink

          I voted for Hillary as the devil one knows.

      • W.Benson
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Ben’s got it right. Trump, I trust, will eventually self-destruct, and the Clintons, I hope, are gone forever.

        • Helen Hollis
          Posted February 8, 2017 at 2:12 am | Permalink

          Did Hillary do anything to cause you harm? Why lump Bill and Hillary together as if they were a team? She most likely lost by not listening to his advice.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted February 8, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

            Bill’s barging onto AG Loretta Lynch’s plane on the tarmac of PHX is one of the key factors costing Hillary the election.

            That caused Lynch essentially to recuse herself from Hillary’s email investigation, which thrust FBI director James Comey to center stage, leading to his high-profile press conference last July and, thence, to his announcement 11 days before the election of the reopening of investigation.

            Thanks, Bill.

      • Historian
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

        One can make a strong case that Hillary ran an inept campaign. But to say that Hillary is an evil not much better than Trump is a variant of those arguments going back to at least the 1950s that there is no meaningful difference between the parties since they both support capitalism. This was a core ideological belief of the New Left of the 1960s. For them, if you did not agree that socialism was the only acceptable economic system then you were a capitalist toady. I did not accept the argument then and I do not now. A common belief in capitalism hardly makes the parties essentially the same, particularly since the Democrats starting with the Wilson presidency and coming to full force under FDR stood for substantial regulation of business, which was why the Republicans of the 1930s hated Roosevelt so much.

        If Hillary had been president, there would have been no threat to Medicare and Social Security. The ACA would not have been in jeopardy. The potential ruin of the environment, if not averted, would at least have been delayed. Right-wing religion would not have had an influence in the White House. A white nationalist would not have been the president’s primary advisors. Our allies across the world would not have been alienated. In other words, the country and the world would have been much safer than it currently is. Moreover, the continuance of the Republic would not have been a topic of conversation.

        • Helen Hollis
          Posted February 8, 2017 at 2:19 am | Permalink

          Why can’t people see this very clear point? I think America was not ready for a woman in charge. Finland did this so many years ago. Why are we so behind the times?

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 8, 2017 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

          Hear, hear!

      • jeremy pereira
        Posted February 8, 2017 at 5:40 am | Permalink

        What should Hillary have done differently to win then? In your answer, take account of the fact that she won the popular vote and she appeared to be winning throughout the campaign.

  13. busterggi
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Best Senate money can buy, which isn’t saying much.

  14. Mike Cracraft
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Every victory empowers Bannon and his puppet
    Trump to go from crime to crime. At some point there’s going to be a military provocation and then…boom… full blown war. Those of us who remember the mobilizations of the 60’s know that mass protests can lock up the system and bring down those who feel invincible.

  15. Limor Geisler
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m a public school teacher. This is bad news for all of us. I went to the twitter link you posted and one commenter equated the money donated to politicians by unions with the money donated by the DeVos family. I have heard this analogy many times and I don’t understand it. Doesn’t it matter that unions represent hundreds of thousands of members and wealthy government patrons represent only themselves? Am I missing something or are people just partisan asses on this issue?

  16. Veroxitatis
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    For how long will Kitzmiller survive?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Since Kitzmiller was a federal district (trial) court decision, it’s controlling only in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

      I don’t believe that the US Supreme Court decision holding the teaching of creationism unconstitutional, Edwards v. Aguillard (1987), is in any immediate danger. Unless that case is overruled, the president and/or congress cannot make creationism constitutional.

      • Veroxitatis
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for this insight.

  17. FloM
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    “rich and totally unqualified” not in this administration. There rich IS qualified.

  18. tubby
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Republicans don’t care about any kind of protest. They have no reason to. They want the voucher system to rob from public schools so they can point to problems with underfunded public schools in order to dismantle them. In the meantime, Representatives are safe in their gerrymandered districts for two more elections, and voter ID laws will further suppress turnout at the midterm elections further favoring Republican incumbents. We may even see new laws reforming voting districts designed to keep the Republicans in power.

    They’re counting on people getting worn out from protesting, people getting distracted, and on people forgetting by the midterm. And they’re probably right.

    • tubby
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      On the other hand, I just saw an ad touting trump’s winning and how he’s already turned the country around but he needs people to call their Congressmen to encourage them to approve his ‘winning team’. They’re worried enough about it they made ads about.

  19. Jackson
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Getting rid of filibuster was not a good idea.

  20. W.Benson
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Erik Prince, founder and (until 2009) chairman of Blackwater, is Betsy DeVos’s brother. There is a book about him: Robert Y. Pelton (2006) “License to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror.” Blackwater was the infamous security contractor that provided, during the Bush administration, services of up to (in 2005) $750 million a year to the US Govt. and, according to Pelton, had a profit margin of near 50%. They paid their workers $550 a day while charging Washington (CIA) $1500 a day. According to Wikipedia, Prince is a big donor to the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and Calvin College.

    • Posted February 8, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Is he really (brother)? I hadn’t noticed that. Yowza.

  21. Posted February 8, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    I think it would be a misconception to assume that most of these are Trump appointees. The GOP has been hell-bent on getting religion, big oil and war hawks into an administration.
    The same with the executive orders. We’re talking about a person (Trump) who is essentially illiterate. He doesn’t draft anything and he doesn’t pick cabinet members. The party does all of that….he just has to scribble his name at the bottom of it.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 8, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      I’ve rarely seen anything as pitiful as Trump at the signing ceremony attempting to read the text of an order. He reads at the level of a 3rd grader. Clearly struggling to interpret the letter patterns and pronounce them. I’m so embarrassed watching him I almost feel sorry for the old fart. But, then I reflect on the damage he’s doing to the country and I revert to contempt.

      • Posted February 8, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Can one impeach the President because he has an undiagnosed learning disability? (For example, maybe he’s dyslexic?)

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 8, 2017 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

          I certainly hope not.

          Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence.

          • Posted February 9, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

            Right – that was not my point – but rather an undiagnosed disability of some other kinds might be enough. If he were dyslexic and *received help*, then he’d be fit to serve, but if he has trouble reading …

  22. Harrison
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    It’s worth mentioning that the reason this is the first time the VP could cast the tiebreaker is that under the old rules confirmation required 60 votes, so it was impossible to HAVE a tie. Dems changed this to simple majority under Obama so they could get past obstructionists.

  23. Kun Lin
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    $8,000? I thought senators would value their dignity and integrity more than that!!! or do they just not exist for them?

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