Education Secretary Arne Duncan Speaks At School Event Coinciding With MLK March Anniversary

If you haven’t heard the news yet, you should: the Obama administration has decided to reward a student loan company accused by federal prosecutors of cheating American troops with even more taxpayer largess.

According to the Huffington Post:

“The Obama administration plans to reward Navient Corp, the student loan specialist formerly owned by Sallie Mae, with new business some three months after federal prosecutors accused the company of intentionally cheating troops on their federal student loans, according to three sources familiar with the administration’s plans” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/29/obama-navient-student-loans_n_5736570.html).

In May, the Justice Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., a federal bank regulator, accused Navient of intentionally overcharging troops on their federal student loans and willfully obtaining default judgments against service members over an eight-year period, in violation of the Service members Civil Relief Act. The FDIC alleged the companies illegally told troops they had to be deployed to receive entitled benefits and improperly required them to meet other tests. Never mind any allegations of criminal activity, this is corporate America.

If there was any doubt about the Obama administration’s commitment to public education, one can certainly lay them to rest. Obama is the Chief Privatizer of education, working with Wall Street to turn the entire $650 billion dollar educational industry over to Wall Street and the criminal banks.

As the Post noted:

In May, Navient and its former parent, Sallie Mae, agreed to pay a combined $139 million to resolve Department of Justice allegations that the two companies had swindled up to 60,000 service members out of tens of millions of dollars and forced other borrowers to pay unfair fees on their student loans (ibid).

Navient was recently created out of whole cloth as a spin-off of the criminal Sallie Mae that works night and day to plunge students into debt purgatory for the rest of their lives in exchange for providing them with little education, save corporate propaganda and training.

According to the site for the Federal Student Aid Office of the US Department of Education, if Sallie Mae was the loan servicer for your William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program and the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Navient will manage those loans beginning in fall 2014 (https://studentaid.ed.gov/about/announcements/sallie-mae).

As a result of molly coddling criminal Wall Street, more taxpayer funds will be used to subsidize the criminal shylock organization, Navient, and more and more students will find they are in debt servitude for the rest of their lives while corporate hucksters and plutocrats get richer and richer.

Everything Obama supports is corporatized: from education, to health care, to privatized war rackets and the list goes on and on. Simply said, Obama is a scandal that works for Wall Street in the interests of profits and only profits.

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This is hardly surprising.

The Lumina Foundation and Navient

As I have written for some years now, the Department of Education and supplicant Arnie Duncan is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street and especially the Lumina Foundation. Readers might have seen some of my articles on the rancid state of higher education affairs promulgated by the Lumina Foundation in the interest of corporate America. Below are just some: you can google “Danny Weil AND the Lumina Foundation’ to find countless more.

http://www.susanohanian.org/outrage_fetch.php?id=1754

http://www.dailycensored.com/the-obama-2020-plan-for-education-chump-change-you-cant-believe-in/

http://open.salon.com/blog/stuartbramhall/2013/04/06/time_to_stop_community_college_privatization

http://open.salon.com/blog/stuartbramhall/2013/04/10/dont_look_at_the_man_behind_the_curtain

http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2013/04/community-college-presidents-team-up.html

Lumina was  created in 2000, when USA Group, then the largest administrator of private student loans, sold the bulk of its assets to Sallie Mae, and restructured the rest into a private foundation. The founding chairman of Sallie Mae became the founding chairman of the Lumina Foundation, and four directors of Lumina come from the Sallie Mae board.”

According to Lumina’s self-serving rhetoric, it’s goal is to increase the proportion of Americans with what it calls “high-quality” degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025 (http://www.luminafoundation.org/goal_2025.html).   Lumina goes on to state that they pursue this goal by identifying and supporting a proprietary definition of effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using communications and convenings to build public will for change (http://www.luminafoundation.org/newsroom/news_releases/2010-11-30.html).

These are all lies. Lumina has one goal: to privatize public education in the interest of Wall Street and they have been more than successful (http://www.dailycensored.com/the-obama-2020-plan-for-education-chump-change-you-cant-believe-in/).

U.S. Senator EWarren questions Federal Reserve Vice Chair Yellen during a Senate Banking Committee confirmation hearing in Washington

In June of this year Elizabeth Warren proposed a bill to  refinance previously issued student loans to current rates, which would save borrowers $55 billion over 10 years. Her biggest critic and the reason the bill did not pass, was Matthew Chingos of the Brookings Institution. The corporate media which opposes anything public did not reveal Chingos connections to Wall Street and the Lumina Foundation, but Chingo did.

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At his website Chingo lists eight research grants he has received, totaling $1.34 million in all, from several reactionary organizations. This includes $500,000 from the Lumina Foundation, which, as I have written has close ties to Sallie Mae, the corporation that stands to lose the most from Sen. Warren’s refinancing bill (http://www.alternet.org/economy/elizabeth-warren-faces-right-wing-stooge-heres-whos-quietly-funding-her-top-critic?page=0%2C0).

Lumina is also the corporate father of Navient. Navient is Lumina’s subsidiary, which might explain why the corrupt Department of Mis-Education under Arnie Duncan and Obama decided to reward the criminal enterprise.

Navient and Jack Remondi

remondi

In the case of criminal Navient, Jack Remondi runs the organized criminal syndicate. Remondi is president and CEO of Navient. He is also a member of the Navient board of directors and has as long, sordid history as a Wall Street operator and swindler. From May 2013 through April 2014, Remondi was president and Chief Executive Officer of Sallie Mae (https://www.navient.com/about/who-we-are/leadership/jack-remondi/).

Remondi, 52 years of age, accumulates $5,462,776 in compensation as the Chief capo of Navient. His per annum salary is $906,922 but he receives a whopping per annum $3,509,317 in various stock options. His total annual cash compensation is $1,785,262 and his short term compensation is $906,922 making him a very wealthy man (http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=752741&ticker=SLM).

So while students are tethered to the carpet loom of student debt, unable to find work, rent an apartment, pass a credit check or live an above ground life, Remondi is rewarded by Wall Street with an enormous compensation package paid for by student debt.

In a press conference after the news that Navient would be rewarded more tax payer funds in spite of their gaming of soldiers, Remondi was quick to apologize for what he termed ‘processing errors’ committed by Navient, thereby attempting to thwart any allegations of criminal behavior. Federal prosecutors, however, disagreed. ‘Processing errors’ and ‘accounting errors’ is the language of corrupt Wall Street when they are caught swindling Americans.

Gaming students on student loans in the interest of profit is simply too big to fail and their corporate executives, like Remondi, are too big to jail.

While Wall Street seeks to privatize every aspect of education their coin operated politicians like Obama and Duncan simply do the bidding for mega-Wall Street while purporting to serve students. The whole thing should be a prosecutable crime but in America Inc., it is business as usual.

A Higher Education Forum or a New Apalachin Meeting?

apalachin

On November 14, 1957 at the home of mobster Joseph “Joe the Barber” Barbara in Apalachin, New York there was a historic summit of the American Mafia. It was known as the Apalachin Meeting and it was held to discuss various topics including loansharking, narcotics trafficking and gambling. An estimated 100 Mafiosi members from the United States, Canada and Italy are thought to have been at this meeting (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/31/nyregion/for-sale-house-with-acreage-connections-extra-site-1957-gangland-raid-part.html?src=pm).

On the heels of the Obama decision to allow Navient to continue its criminal loan sharking activity, a gaggle of greedy, free market corporate criminals have announced a scheduled Higher Education forum they say is being held to discuss helping students with their higher education needs. This is another one of Lumina’s ‘convenings’ that resembles the notorious Mafia Apalachin summit.

Just take a look who will be attending: the list reads like the criminal whose who list of mafia figures present in the original Apalachin meeting held some 57 years ago. These corporate attendees will be getting together to discuss their seedy and undemocratic plans for further privatizing higher education while forcing students into bowels of debt purgatory.

Present at the ‘Forum’ will be the following dismantlers of public education, the usual suspects in favor or corporate education and education run for profit:

  • Ted Mitchell, Arne Duncan’s Undersecretary of Education;
  • Jack Remondi, from Navient;
  • William Pepicello, President Emeritus of the drive-by predatory university known as the University of Phoenix, owned by the Apollo Group along with the Carlyle Group;
  • Anant Agarwal, Chief Executive of edX, one of the new Massive Open Online Classes scams (MOOCS);
  • Edith Cooper, Global Head of Human Capital Management for criminal bank, Goldman Sachs;
  • Eric Spiegel, President and chief Executive of Siemens Corporation in the US;
  • James Merisotis, President and Chief Executive of the Lumina Foundation;
  • Richard Levin, Chief Executive of Coursera, another MOOC.

The ‘forum’ is being hosted by the right wing, market based propaganda media outlet, The Economist (http://www.economist.com/events-conferences/americas/education-2014/agenda).

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Among the topics at the new ‘Apalachin Meeting’ are the ‘state of education’, ‘funding higher education’, ‘creative solutions for connecting higher education to the workforce’, ‘disruptive teaching technologies’, ‘the rise of the globalized worker and standardizing global talent’, ‘community and technical education to solve the skills gap’, ‘the Economist-Lumina Foundation challenge’, ‘democratizing education through education and work’, ‘one-on-one interviews with corporate Wall Street figureheads’ and of course, networking opportunities for the one percent.

When the one percent tell you that organized labor is bad for America and a public government run for and by the people is corrupt and inefficient, remember they support organized crime and a government beholden to Wall Street criminals and the ruling elite. While they pat each other on their silk backed $4,000 suits and dine on profits derived from the decimation of public education and student debt, also remember they are adamantly against the promotion of critical thinking and an informed citizenry. Instead, they are beholden to abject greed and plutocracy hidden under the canopy of fake rhetoric about helping students, choice, and opportunity.

The only opportunity these gangsters are looking for is the chance to profit off the $650 billion dollar educational industry created with the help of the Department of Education and your taxpayer funds.

Summary

If you think that you can find time to attend the Higher Education Forum bring 20,000, 30,000, 50,000 or more people with you that are fighting for real public education for American students and the end of privatized, corporatized education. This is the only language these grifters and hustlers understand – the language of an organized working population in opposition to hucksterism and greed. Show the plutocrats and their subservient courtesans that you feel their pain and plan to do something about it.

And as we pass this ‘Labor Day’ (which was once celebrated in the US as the day of the worker, but is now simply an excuse for Black Friday retail sales) remember the last words of the great labor leader, Joe Hill, before he was led off to be executed by the US government: “”Don’t waste time mourning about me.  Organize!  Organize!  Organize!” It is the only chance we have.