Federal Watchdog Issues Scathing Report On Ed Department’s Handling Of Student Loans

Federal Watchdog Issues Scathing Report On Ed Department’s Handling Of Student Loans

Hi high school teachers. I just distributed a 10-lesson investigative journalism curriculum to 23 interested teachers from 16 different states and Puerto Rico! If you didn’t sign up the first time, you still can. Send me an email: jessica.huseman@propublica.org.

Ed Dept failed to protect borrowers from companies that manage federal student loans, watchdog says in scathing report

https://www.npr.org/2019/02/14/694477547/federal-watchdog-issues-scathing-report-on-ed-departments-handling-of-student-lo

BLAME

BETSY DEVOS

Navient and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, better known as FedLoan.

The audit documents several common failures by the servicers, among them, not telling borrowers about all of their repayment options, or miscalculating what borrowers should have to pay through an income-driven repayment plan. According to the review, two loan servicing companies, Navient and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, better known as FedLoan, repeatedly placed borrowers into costly forbearance without offering them other, more beneficial options.

A critical new report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General finds the department’s student loan unit failed to adequately supervise the companies it pays to manage the nation’s trillion-dollar portfolio of federal student loans. The report also rebukes the department’s office of Federal Student Aid for rarely penalizing companies that failed to follow the rules.

Instead of safeguarding borrowers’ interests, the report says, FSA’s inconsistent oversight allowed these companies, known as loan servicers, to potentially hurt borrowers and pocket government dollars that should have been refunded because servicers weren’t meeting federal requirements.

“By not holding servicers accountable,” the report says, “FSA could give its servicers the impression that it is not concerned with servicer noncompliance with Federal loan servicing requirements, including protecting borrowers’ rights.”

“It’s hard to look at this as anything other than completely damning,” says Seth Frotman, a consumer advocate and former government, student loan watchdog who is now executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center. “This is the most damaging in a long line of investigations, audits, and reports that show the Department of Education is asleep at the switch when it is responsible for over a trillion dollars of student loan debt.”

K12 Department of Education #BetsyDevos Brother Founder Of Blackwater, Is Setting Up A Private Army For China

The controversial Blackwater founder says he is setting up two bases in China, but his company says “this does not involve armed personnel.”

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/aramroston/betsy-devoss-brother-is-setting-up-a-private-army-for-china

Erik Prince — founder of the private military company Blackwater, financial backer of President Donald Trump, brother to the new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and frequent Breitbart radio guest of White House power broker Stephen Bannon — has been offering his military expertise to support Chinese government objectives and setting up two Blackwater-style training camps in China, according to sources and his own company statements.

The move could put him at odds with Trump, who has often taken a hard line against China, and could also risk violating US law, which prohibits the export of military services or equipment to China.

Erik Prince.

Former associates of the 47-year-old Prince told BuzzFeed News that the controversial businessman envisions using the bases to train and deploy an army of Chinese retired soldiers who can protect Chinese corporate and government strategic interests around the world, without having to involve the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

The American mercenary behind Blackwater is helping China establish the new Silk Road

For years, China has groomed landlocked Yunnan province in its southwest to be the country’s strategic bridgehead into Southeast Asia, building highways and rail lines to its borders with Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar to one day weave them into a regional, and eventually, transcontinental transport network.

As China pushes ahead with president Xi Jinping’s ambitious $1 trillion One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative—which reimagines a historic trade network as an overland Silk Road Economic “Belt” and a Maritime Silk “Road”—protecting Chinese business executives and other personnel and their rapidly growing investments in the region is more important than ever.

Mueller evidence shows Blackwater founder held meeting to create Trump-Russia back channel: report

Special counsel Robert Mueller has evidence showing that a meeting in the Seychelles last year between the founder of a private security company and a Russian official was intended to set up a back channel between the Trump administration and the Kremlin.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that a witness cooperating with Mueller has told investigators that the meeting was set up in advance, apparently contradicting what Erik Prince, the founder of the security contractor formerly known as Blackwater, has told lawmakers about the meeting.

Prince had previously told lawmakers and the press that his meeting with Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian official close with Russian President Vladimir Putin, happened by chance and was not set up ahead of time.

But the witness, a Lebanese-American businessman named George Nader, has testified before a grand jury that the meeting, which took place shortly before President Trump’s inauguration, was, in fact, a planned effort.

‘Here’s the system; it sucks’: Meet the Hill staffers hired by Ocasio-Cortez to upend Washington

They will help shape how Ocasio-Cortez works as an activist hoping to refashion the Democratic Party, while she also tries to serve as a more typical member building coalitions and moving legislation.

“It needs to be pointed out how insanely greedy” it is to be a billionaire, Riffle said. “We have to comprehend the scale of $1 billion — just the amount of money we’re talking about. Five million dollars is a lifetime’s fortune; you can live off the interest of that and still be in the top 1 percent. Five million dollars, times 100, is still only halfway to $1 billion.
“It’s a systemic failure on society’s part. On one part of the city, we have people with helipads and yachts that they park inside of yachts, and on the other side we have thousands of people who are homeless and children without health care or food. Those things should not exist simultaneously in a society.”

MIT scientists created an AI-powered ‘psychopath’ named Norman

MIT scientists created an AI-powered ‘psychopath’ named Norman

This is Norman, an AI-powered “psychopath” developed by MIT researchers to make a point — AI is only as good as the data that it learns from.

Norman is an algorithm meant to show how the data behind AI matters deeply.

MIT researchers say they trained Norman using the written captions describing graphic images and video about death posted on the “darkest corners of Reddit,” a popular message board platform.

The team then examined Norman’s responses to inkblots used in a Rorschach psychological test. Norman’s responses were compared to the reaction of another algorithm that had standard training. That algorithm saw flowers and wedding cakes in the inkblots. Norman saw images of a man being fatally shot and a man killed by a speeding driver.

“Norman only observed horrifying image captions, so it sees death in whatever image it looks at,” the MIT researchers behind Norman told CNNMoney.

Real with fake profiles:

generate fake faces in one click – endless possibilities https://thispersondoesnotexist.com/ #Fake #MachineLearning A new A.I. generated photo on every refresh.

K12PlayGround.com tm combats propaganda spread by social platforms like Facebook.

Born digital the K12PlayGround.com relaunched in 2018 and is now 20 years old.

The Power of the K12PlayGround platform is to support the commons, for the  public good, and has  the power over the currency of democracy:  information.

Facebook, Twitter, and many other social platforms have sold out America’s national interests, and our own national common wealth.

Propaganda is any “information” that gets spread around through print, radio, TV, magazines, and digital social platforms that confuse the public, the purpose is to make people feel insecure about what is true.

These social monopolies made their money from stoking racial prejudice, and dividing society, with no antitrust oversight.

The Library of Congress, Folklorists, Teachers, and Students across America can combat digital platforms like Facebook and Twitter that spread propaganda.

We ask our Folklorists and the Library of Congress to lead civic projects in K12 schools and with the general public. Folklorists and invited to Submit and Share their own achievements and concerns with the nation.

To Legit To Quit

2018 STUDY REVIVES DEBATE ABOUT GOOGLE’S ROLE IN FILTER BUBBLES

Finding #1: Most people saw results unique to them, even when logged out and in private browsing mode.

Google Transparency

“We want Google to provide a “one-stop” site where users can opt out of tracking across the company’s platforms.”

2018 STUDY REVIVES DEBATE ABOUT GOOGLE’S ROLE IN FILTER BUBBLES

Finding #1: Most people saw results unique to them, even when logged out and in private browsing mode.
Finding #2: Google included links for some participants that it did not include for others.
Finding #3: We saw significant variation within the News and Videos infoboxes.
Finding #4: Private browsing mode and being logged out of Google offered almost zero filter bubble protection.

A new study from DuckDuckGo, a Google rival, found that users saw very different results when searching for terms such as “gun control,” “immigration,” and “vaccinations,” even after controlling for time and location. One participant saw a National Rifle Association video at the top of the results page for “gun control,” another saw Wikipedia at the top, while a third got the NRA video but no result from Wikipedia in any of the first 10 links.
Over the years, there has been considerable discussion of Google’s “filter bubble” problem. Put simply, it’s the manipulation of your search results based on your personal data. In practice this means links are moved up or down or added to your Google search results, necessitating the filtering of other search results altogether. These editorialized results are informed by the personal information Google has on you (like your search, browsing, and purchase history), and puts you in a bubble based on what Google’s algorithms think you’re most likely to click on. The filter bubble is particularly pernicious when searching for political topics. That’s because undecided and inquisitive voters turn to search engines to conduct basic research on candidates and issues in the critical time when they are forming their opinions on them.

"When they substitute their knowledge for ours, we grow angry because they have robbed us of our agency."

@weeklystandard @smarick
Trends in governing have eroded the beliefs, norms and processes by which we learn to be accommodating citizens in a pluralistic, deliberative democracy. By manufacturing rights that limit democratic decision-making, centralizing power in Washington far from citizens’ lives, and empowering unelected bureaucrats in federal regulatory agencies, we’ve obstructed Americans’ practice of self-government. From this perspective, it is no surprise that we are losing the disposition and skills for collegial, conciliatory collective action
https://www.weeklystandard.com/andy-smarick/the-conservative-supreme-court-could-remake-american-citizenship

The Panama Papers as a retaliatory move against Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Graph depicts the flow of what investor Bill Browder recently testified to be money stolen from the Russian people themselves.
Based on hacking that exfiltratrated 2.6 terabytes of financial data, the Panama Papers was the largest leak in a string of such “journalistic” endeavors kicked off by the Russian military intelligence front Wikileaks.
When the Panama Papers hit the news in April 2016, it wasn’t well understood that Vladimir Putin may have been the main target
This round of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism focused on a favorite of Russia’s.
https://web.archive.org/web/20180219001211/https://www.ericgarland.co/2017/08/01/panama-papers-putin-corruption/

Amnesty Demands Israel Revoke NSO's License After Haaretz Report on Firm's Negotiations With Saudis

Organization says cyber firm ‘out of control’ following revelation that it offered cyber-espionage system to Riyadh mere months before crown prince launched purge
Amnesty demands Israel revoke NSO’s license after Haaretz report on firm’s negotiations with Saudis
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/amnesty-demands-israel-revoke-nso-s-license-after-haaretz-report-on-cyber-firm-1.6695252
Snowden: Israeli Firm’s Spyware Was Used to Track Khashoggi
Former U.S. intel staffer claims one of the dissident’s contacts was bugged with NSO’s Pegasus spyware, blasts Israeli tech industry ■ In response, NSO denies selling its products
 

Khashoggi’s Friend Sues Israel’s NSO: Spyware That Hacked My Phone Had Major Role in Murder

Omar Abdulaziz files lawsuit in Israel after Haaretz investigation found that NSO negotiated with Saudi officials the sale of advanced cyber attack capabilities ■ Correspondence with Khashoggi reveals his plans to undermine MBS’ government

Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Merck & Co (MSD), and Abbott are cheating governments out taxes – millions.

According to a new report by Oxfam International it appears drug companies are stashing billions of dollars in profits offshore, and charging sky-high prices.

more https://actions.sumofus.org/a/big-pharma-stop-dodging-taxes

More information

Tim Cook to white supremacists: ‘You have no place on our platforms’

“At Apple, we believe technology needs to have a clear point of view. This is no time to get tied up in knots. We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, or violence: You have no place on our platforms. You have no home here. From the earliest days of iTunes to Apple Music today we have always prohibited music with a history of white supremacy. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. And as we showed this year, we won’t give a platform to violent conspiracy theorists. Why? Because it’s the right things to do.”
https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/3/18124416/tim-cook-apple-infowars-white-supremacy-podcasts-platform-adl