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i wrote a piece not too long ago about taking the Delaware Department of Educations teacher’s survey. In it, I said that having an overwhelming response from Delaware’s teachers, one that could be corroborated by sending the same response also to he DSEA, would be the best policy.

I said it would do these things.

It would stop the current corporate trends that are harmful to our children.
It would create dialogue which could point the corporate resources ($$$) towards actually improving education.
It would stop the notion that “teaching to the test” was real educational improvement.
It could create the winning combination of being pro teacher and pro corporate which would make Delaware pro student.

(Disclaimer: Some may think I was the author because of this idea way back here.)

John Young countered with another opinion. Being part of corporate America myself, that criticism struck home….
As a corporation, we rely on surveys. Just as polls are used in campaigns to determine whether or not to throw money into a state’s campaign, or not, in the corporate world where everyone also has an opinion related to their paycheck, getting the correct read is vital. Surveys widen the market place. Which is why every cashier is “forced” to entreat you to fill out a survey for your visit… The more information, the better the decision.

That goes for employee’s surveys as well. In the corporate world there are good and bad corporate captains. The good ones want clear data and work hard to make sure the data they have coming in is real. They bad ones, are looking for snakes. Their intent is to find out who is their enemy, without even wondering what they are doing so wrong that they would be in that position. There are good firms out there who comprise these surveys, and their prime selling point is their confidentiality. They do not identify their callers because if they did, they would not be hired by other companies… Gallup is a trustworthy polling outfit for this reason.

Now in today’s age, when one takes a survey, one’s phone number, one’s computer ID, and all of one’s cookies are recorded at the time of the survey. It is possible for someone to determine the location, the time, and perhaps get an idea of whom is making the survey. They then can set them up to be fired.

That is the warning John was making, and it would be worth taking that into consideration.

it is probably best that you get both sides. It is as if two people at work gave you both sides, and you then have to choose which you want.

Considering both options I would argue continuing with the high turnout on the survey for this reason…. Your lives as a teacher are hell right now. For any change to ever occur, it will have to come from an overwhelming response to this survey. If there is no forceful push on this survey to explain the frustration being felt by every teacher in these trying times, things will continue as they are. If things continue as they have, you will probably quit in four years anyway out of sheer personal frustration. If the place is going to hell in a bucket, you are better off getting fired. So take the survey. Likewise if the place is seriously going to get better at some future point, it can only happen if you take the survey… So my advice is…. take the survey.

it will probably be the bravest act you could do. It will probably be one of the most selfless acts you could do. It could, be one of the most beneficial acts you could do… if the results are read, tabulated, analyzed and if it becomes apparent to those running the Race to The Top, that those who will actually be doing the running, need to be a big part of the program.

Which means, constant measuring has to go out the window. Keep the best parts and throw the rest away.

Which means firing teachers by test results has to go out the window. keep the best parts, and throw the rest away.

Which means that Common Core has to go out the window. keep what works, and throw the rest out the window.

Remember, it would be just as bad to lose the good aspects of these programs the corporatizing of America’s education has given us, as it would to lose the good aspects the teaching profession has given over the past centuries of public education.

Only a union of the best of both, can move us forward. And the only conceivable way I can see this happening, begins with step one: which is having an overwhelming response to the survey….

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One Sun Shines On Them AllCourtesy of Fine Art America; by Ed Welker

Robert Bianco’s poem enlisted and spoken at the inauguration was probably the high point, eclipsing the inauguration speech, and both the singing of Beyonce, and Carrie Underwood.

it was a poem of understatement. A simple description of the sun rising and shining over this nation on one day of its life. Bonding us all in the unity of experience we all undergo. No matter the differences of our upbringing, the differences of your heritage, the differences of our finances, we all wake up to one sun….

East or West, North, or South, one sun shines down on this country….

We are all Americans, based on the geography of where we live. Divisions do not becomes us. We all bask in the same sun.

New York and San Antonio, Miami and Seattle. All live and bask under the same sun. Different to be sure. But all Americans. All sharing the heat and warmth from the one sun, as the world turns underneath…..

It was the most emotional moment of the celebration. As camera’s panned the crowd one could see the emotion being experienced was not just inside ones self but in commoners and the elite as well…. Like it or not, we are all American. We have so much in common we probably take it too much for granted….

One, today.

One sun rose on us today,
Kindled over our shores,
Peeking over the Smokies,
Greeting the faces of the Great Lakes,
Spreading a simple truth across the Great Plains,
And Charging across the Rockies,
One Light.

Waking up rooftops,
Under each one a story,
Told by our silent gestures
Moving across windows,
My face,
Your face.
Millions of faces in morning’s mirrors.
Each one yawning to life,
Crescendoing into our day,
The pencil yellow school buses,
The rhythm of traffic lights,
Fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges,
Arrayed like rainbows, begging our praise.
Silver trucks, heavy with oil or paper, bricks or milk,
Teeming over highways
Along side us,
On our way,
To clean tables,
Read ledgers,
Or save lives,
To teach geometry,
Or ring up groceries,
As my mother did
For twenty years,
So I could write this poem for all us,
Today.

All of us,
As vital as the one light we move through,
The same light on blackboards with lessons for the
Day.
Equations to solve,
History to question,
Or atoms imagined.
The “I have a Dream”
We all keep dreaming,
The impossible vocabulary of sorrow,
That won’t explain the empty desks,
Of twenty children marked absent,
Today,
And forever.

Many prayers,
But one light,
Breathing color into stained glass windows,
Life into the faces of bronze statues,
Warmth onto the steps of our museums,
And park benches
As mothers watch children,
Slide
Into the
Day.

One ground,
Our ground.
Rooting us to every stalk of corn,
Every head of wheat,
Sown by sweat and hands,
Hands gleaning coal,
Or planting windmills,
In deserts and hilltops that keep us warm,
Hands digging trenches,
Routing pipes, and cables.
Hands,
As worn as my father’s,
Cutting sugarcane,
So my brother and I could have books,
And shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts,
Cities and plains,
Mingled by one wind,
Our breath.

Breathe.

Hear it through the days gorgeous din
Of honking cabs,
Buses launching down avenues,
The symphony of footsteps, guitars,
And screeching subways.
The unexpected songbird
On your clothesline.
Hear squeaky playground swings,
Trains whistling,
Or whispers across cafe tables.
Hear the doors we open,
Each day for each other.
Saying hello,
Shalom,
Bonjour-no,
Howdy,
Na me state,
Or, buenos dias
In the language my mother taught me,
In every language
Spoken into one wind,
Carrying our lives without prejudice,
As these words break from my lips.

One sky.
Since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed their majesty,
And the Mississippi and Colorado
Worked their way to the sea.
Thank the work of our hands,
Weaving steel into bridges,
Finishing one more report for the boss,
On time,
Stitching another wound, or uniform.
The first brush stroke on a portrait,
Or the last floor on the Freedom Tower,
Jutting into the sky,
That yields to our resilience.

One sky,
Toward which we sometimes lift our eyes,
Tired from work,
Some days guessing at the weather
Of our lives,
Some days giving thanks for a love,
That loves you back.
Sometimes praising a mother who knew how to give,
Or forgiving a father, who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head
Home,
Through the gloss of rain,
Or weight of snow.
Or the plum-blush of dusk,
But always,
Always
Home.
Always under one sky,
Our sky.
And always one moon,
Like a silent drum,
Tapping on every rooftop,
Of every window of one country,
All of us
Facing the stars,
Hope:
A new constellation,
Waiting for us to map it,
Waiting for us to name it,

Together.

This is going to my hard core Republican friends. Why are you still supporting Romney?

1) You know he is not going to win.
2) You know as the election heats up, his Bain Capital experience will make Republicans untouchable for decades.
3) You can’t pin down where Romney stands on anything.
4) He tied his dog to a car.
5) He stands with black people and says “Who let the dogs out, woof, woof.”

Most of you are telling me, “I certainly can’t vote for Obama. I guess I’m not voting for President this time.”

Let’s say, just for argument sakes there was a presidential candidate out there who says to have good government you need: …………………

1. Become reality driven. Don’t kid yourself or others.
Find out what’s what and base your decisions and actions
on that.

2. Always be honest and tell the truth. It’s extremely
difficult to do any damage to anybody when you are
willing to tell the truth–regardless of the
consequences.

3. Always do what’s right and fair. Remember, the more
you actually accomplish, the louder your critics become.
You’ve got to learn to ignore your critics. You’ve got to
continue to do what you think is right. You’ve got to
maintain your integrity.

4. Determine your goal, develop a plan to reach that
goal, and then act. Don’t procrastinate.

5. Make sure everybody who ought to know what you’re
doing knows what you’re doing. Communicate.

6. Don’t hesitate to deliver bad news. There is always
time to salvage things. There is always time to fix
things. Henry Kissinger said that anything that can be
revealed eventually should be revealed immediately.

7. Last, be willing to do whatever it takes to get your
job done. If you’ve got a job that you don’t love enough
to do what it takes to get your job done, then quit and
get one that you do love, and then make a difference.

Honesty. Integrity. Principal.

Sounds good so far. Let us say just for argument, he had chief executive experience. Let us say just or argument that he once ran a state, one of the fifty in this union. Let us say while governor, this is what he did…..

During his tenure, New Mexico experienced the longest period without a tax-increase in the state’s entire history.

1) He cut the rate of government growth in half,

2) Left the New Mexico state government with a budget surplus and 1000 fewer employees (without firing anyone),

3) Privatized half of the prisons in the state,

4) Brought a state-wide school voucher system to New Mexico.

5) Vetoed 750 bills (more than all the vetoes of the other 49 Governors in the country at that time, combined) with only 2 overrides, earning him the nickname Gary “Veto” Johnson.

6) In 1999, Johnson became the highest-ranking elected official in the United States to advocate the legalization of drugs.

7) Shifted Medicaid to managed care.

ISN’T THAT WHAT YOU WANT? ISN’T THAT WHAT WE NEED?

Can you not think of a better way to show your lack of enthusiasm over a wealthy capitalist buying his way to the top of your ticket, by voting for someone who has character, who does what you’ve always wanted, a doer, not a talker?

And to think…. you were simply just going to throw your vote away.

His name is Gary Johnson. He is the new party’s candidate for President.

Remember Republicans. It is your values that are important. If your party has given up and moved on from your values, don’t think you have to be loyal to the word…. “Republican”… What you have to be loyal too, is yourself. Always. Never lie to yourself.

You don’t need to waste your vote on Romney. You probably need to find more about this guy, Gary Johnson, and then throw your support behind him.

Don’t worry it is not one of the two parties on whose ticket he is running. Remember, at one point in time, the Republican Party was a once a third party too. One that went mainstream because of its core values, its principles resonated with everyday American People.

Today the White House issued this Executive Order.

“Should the debt ceiling not be lifted in time by May 16, in order to prevent the Treasury from running out of funds, I am hereby using the emergency powers given to the Chief Executive by the Constitution, to temporarily suspend the Bush Tax Cuts until: 1) either we can legally borrow the funds to continue paying on our commitments, or 2) we bring our debt down to the 2008 level by having much more tax revenue pour in.

This is in effect, immediately, and I have instructed the IRS to recalculate all 2010 tax forms over the level of $2 million dollars, and asses those individuals and companies, for the differences.

We must take this action because Republicans want to pay politics with your lives. As Chief Executive, I am responsible to you, not them. I won’t let that happen.

With these tax cuts out of the way, and with our austerity programs already in effect, that windfall of profit the Treasury will receive, will be entirely funneled towards the paying off our debt.

This policy will continue until Republicans can act reasonably and in a productive fashion.

Barack Obama.

Duffy is God’s answer to a prayer.. I miss the old days of blogging when we were debating principals instead of people… Duffy has stuck to the old line of debating principals with facts, and that is what makes him special in the eyes of bloggers everywhere…

Since the passing of Steve Newton, he has been the only one to challenge me in any argument, and usually some pretty good stuff comes out of both sides during the exchange… I have respected that.. Cause once again, opinions mean dick. Facts are what we steer by.. It is my hope that in responding to his challenge that an answer may make itself apparent.. Who knows? It may not come from me… But if I’m the catalyst for bringing it out in the open, then… none of this was in vain..

Why I like to debate Duffy is simple.. Neither side, he or I, is concretely set in their opinions… We accept it when the other side makes sense… I usually go into such debates having no idea where they’ll end up… I hope the rest of you enjoy the ride as welI….

That said..

Duffy leads: Wall Street’s problems were caused by Fannie and Freddie loaning money to people they knew couldn’t pay and moreover, forcing banks to lend money to people who couldn’t pay. That was not deregulation but misregulation

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate.

First off, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was developed for, and locked in on, urban developmental areas and had no part of the subprime boom, which primarily occurred out in western desert regions where owning 4 to 5 investment homes was normal… Those homes were overwhelmingly funded by loan originators NOT SUBJECT to the act… We all know the crises was not because people couldn’t afford a payment on their house. It came about, because with no occupants, people could not afford the payments of 4 to 5 houses….. Instead of one loan per borrower turning up in default; four to five were.
Investment Homes lead forclosures not inner city Residences

Second off, The housing bubble reached its point of maximum inflation in 2005.
The Housing Bubble Starts to Dive in 2005
Courtesy of NYT

Third off, During those exact same years, Fannie and Freddie were sidelined by Congressional pressure, and saw a sharp drop in their share of loans secured by the Feds… Follow the dotted line on the very bottom of the graph…
Freddie and Fannie on the lowest line
Courtesy of NYT

Fourth off; During those exact same years, private secures, like Delaware’s own AIG, grabbed the lions share of the market.
Private, not Public Insurers Caused the Crash
Courtesy of NYT

Remember these graphs for later on when I discuss the results of deregulation, versus regulation… But like it or not, these graphs conclusively show that private insurers, who thanks to Marie Evans, we now know were deregulated by Phil Gramm in the 2000 Omnibus Bill, were the primary cause of the worlds financial collapse.. Probably put best by these words of AIG’s spokesperson, who when asked why they didn’t have sufficient funds to cover losses, said point blank, “We were deregulated. We were no laws requiring us to keep any funds, ..so we spent it…”

Duffy leads: The loosely regulated hedge funds escaped this mess largely unscathed. Why? They can’t count on a bailout like the big banks. The Too Big To Fail banks were counting on a bailout (not unlike the S&L bailouts which started on the Republican’s watch) and they got them.

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. I agree that the hedge funds did survive better than the banks. Not because of bailouts, but because they sold short during the crises and made billions while firms closed and people got thrown out of work. There is nothing wrong with that; I did the same. In fact close readers may remember my warnings that the crises was impending almost a year earlier. Very close readers may remember my telling them exactly when to sell, and at what point the stock market would rebound… I must say: I called it rather well. 🙂

“Hedge funds were not in my understanding, at fault in the credit crisis,” said David Ruder, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “At the most what they did was to sell securities when some of their investments were declining and they needed to have liquid funds. They were not the architects of these problems.”

De regulated hedge funds are not the issue… De-regulated, excessively leveraged, mortgage securities, are a different story however… They, not the banks that held them, are the cause of the crises…Years from now, when academics search for causes of the stock market crash of 2008, they will focus on the pivotal role of mortgage-backed securities. These exotic financial instruments allowed a downturn in U.S. home prices to morph into a contagion that brought down Bear Stearns a year ago this month – and more recently have brought the global banking system to its knees.

Where you err is when you state that banks too big to fail, assumed they would be bailed out… By implication, you say imply they failed from squandering money, and wanted the bailouts.. But your tax dollars didn’t flow directly to the bottom line.

The roughly $200 billion the Treasury Department has handed out to battered banks was swapped for a special class of stock that pays a 5 percent dividend (rising to 9 percent after five years.) As of April 15, the Treasury had collected about $2.5 billion in dividend payments on its investment.

So in that sense, the bailout money represents an expense for banks. That’s one reason a number of banks have said they want to give the money back as soon as possible.

You say big banks were counting on a bailout, and they got them? That didn’t happen to these banks. New Mexico, Georgia, and Florida each lost a bank just last Friday. That brings to 8, the number of banks failed in June. Unfortunately if a bank is failing, it can’t bet on itself to fail, as can a hedge fund.

Duffy leads: Banks have successfully lobbied to get their losses absorbed by taxpayers and gains are kept private. How nice for them. They felt comfortable making insane gambles because they knew they’d be bailed out. Most of them were right. Also remember that it was Bill Clinton who tore down the wall between retail and investment banking. The idea was to give banks more stability as they typically perform as exact opposites in bull and bear markets. (FWIW, I think that was a good idea and I can tell you first hand that two of the Fortune 100 banks I worked for were carried by retail banking in bear years. They may not have had bonuses those years but they didn’t have layoffs either)

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. The idea is that the banks made bad decisions knowing taxpayers would bail them out is the issue that is inaccurate. For the record, I have no qualms that it was the Clinton legacy who tore down the wall between banks and investment banking. Like you, I feel it was a good idea to do so… Again the problem was not primarily with banks making loans to people who could not pay.. Although, it was as late as October 2009, when I was made aware of one private Bank in Denver still exaggerating income to make loans look good enough on paper to get approval of securitization. What caused the collapse was the leveraging of those loans as securities, so that as the housing market became overextended, and the ARM jumped past the low cost opening years, the damage was 100 times worse because of leveraging. What made the collapse criminal, was that the insurance most financial institutions had bought from AIG, to cover such an improbable event, had already spent by that companies executives, out on bonuses to themselves. What made it doubly criminal, was that when they received government dollars through a taxpayer bailout, those same executives assumed it was to first go towards paying their bonuses again. However, very recent events may give some cover to the argument that some collusion was implicit in the bailing out of Goldman Sacs and AIG… Basically, once bailed out, AIG paid Goldman Sacs for shares twice as much as they were worth. The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts.

Kevin Giannini wonderful interpretation of Delaware's beaches
Kevin Giannini copyright 2001-2007

Like the White House is prone to do, I wanted to slip this post in where it would go unnoticed for as long as possible. Sunday morning is a bloggers day to sleep in or go to church. I will probably (although I am not sure as of yet) put a bland title that most readers will pass over.

Why, because what I want to talk about is something I would personally feel more comfortable if no one knew.

What brought these debates within my soul, was the posting in Delaware Liberal that Castle broke with Bush on an important piece of legislation, and the sad news that Carper, did the opposite.

Many people think that politicians control their own destines. That is a very rare case. A better metaphor would be (I love this one) that they wheel, deal, or beg for any ride that looks to take them where they want to go, and then, once inside the car, they have to deal with what ever choice they’ve made……..sort of like groupies chasing after a string of Greatful Dead concerts scattered across the Great Midwest……….

When young and idealistic, most politicians make a choice and then spend the rest of their lives proving to others that they chose wisely…….That is why when an independent notion strikes a politician so hard that he chooses to switch parties, it is news indeed.

Some, perhaps even myself on rare occasions, have castigated Mike Castle for his support of a leader who is leading this country in the wrong direction. Since Mike Castle was enabling that same leader to continue down that same path fraught with danger, and was not speaking up,… I was holding him accountable for the failed results of that very policy…..

So now I am faced with a dilemma. Do I continue to lambaste someone who is “coming to Jesus” and punish him for his past sins?

My gut feeling says no. I should not. Of course those who have read me for a while know that I am heavily influenced by that story of the “adulteress who was condemned for stoning.”

“Who has condemned you?’

‘No one is left, Sire.”

“‘Nor do I condemn you. Arise and go home.”

Perhaps my writings too will just be scribbles in the sand, whose record will be forever lost to history. But then again, the effect of those words, may just influence one of you to rise to a higher plain of eloquence than I am capable, and in turn, fan the flames a smidgen higher. A historical change may be on the verge of occurring…….

So here is a man, similar to each of us, who has seen up close the effect of pursuing the Bush Policy. Like the pharisee Saul, who witnessed the stoning of Stephan, he is overdue for a change of heart.

So what do we do? Do we support him, and welcome him in as a blinded Saul, feed and nourish him and treat him as a brother? Hoping as we do so, that others will see our noble nature and realize that it really is safe to defect from the will of Bush over to the other side? Or do we humiliate, spit and crucify him and by doing so intimidate those very others who are debating whether or not to jump ship,… from doing so?

There are many shades and colors to this question. Is this defection real or is it just a feint? Is this move designed to flush out and focus the Cheney Eye of Mordor firmly upon those in Delaware who must be surreptitiously removed whenever Cheney is eventually crowned king?……..Perhaps this olive branch is a ruse, a Trojan horse, or a decoy to buy time and lull us into sleep, while the secret orc army is cultivated deep in the bowels or earth?

It could be. I don’t know, ……….and implications lie too far beyond my meager influence, to care.

For in the end of this argument, I am just one person, but as one person who made a choice, I hope my warnings will have at least caused some free thought to have occurred within each of you. With each new reader, as ever increasing free thought and independent thinking is generated, it is through such disclosures, comments, and discussions,…..that more and more information becomes placed upon the open table, and the more informed our leaders, lawmakers, and electorate will ultimately be……..

And when it comes down to how I feel, or partisanship, …part of me like many of you, has those strong feelings that want justice. But in my case at least, those feelings are overwhelmed by a strong love for this nation and the ideals this nation represents. If someone, especially after a deep cleansing soul search, reaches in and does that unthinkable thing for a politician, and emphatically surprises everyone and says to the driver: “STOP THIS VEHICLE NOW……I’M GETTING OFF HERE…………..

he will have my support. For it takes only a small breath, or a butterfly’s wing effect, to tumble a house of cards….. If Mike Castle wants to be that link in the chain of events that makes this happen, I will do what I can to help…………

As I said……..this is hard for me to write……..I hope it generates much controversy. Truly that is what is needed……in these dire times.

And if my endorsement of a former Saul, who may soon turn on a Castle quarter and regenerate into the apostle Paul……..stops this insane war of profit just a smidgen sooner, to save even one life that would have died had events continued differently; it will be worth the pain and embarrassment that is sure to come my way by many of my closest friends and colleagues.

I have made my choice. I have personally decided that this nation’s place in history, far outweighs my own.

May God continue to bless this great nation, the United States of America…….

Had the opportunity to watch the Health Care debate in Las Vegas. Here are some of the gems.

“We are looking at a system where people tell you the words you want to hear, but are less than forthcoming with plans to make it happen.”

“Half of the bankruptcies in this country are the result of people not being able to pay their hospital bills.”

“31% of the money in the insurance system goes toward the “for profit” system. Using that toward bringing down health costs would prevent financial insolvency.”

“Corporate profits, stock options, execuitive salarys takes 31% out of the healthcare dollar with no benefit to the health of anyone.”

“Doctors do testing to cover their backsides. do away with malpractice.”

“Take the profit out of medicine. Health care is a right, not a privelege,”

“Who has the courage and willingness to take a stand for the American people and take on the insurance companies who give us diminishing returns and insist on higher co-pays and higher deductibles.”

“How does Ameica plan to stay competitive against other countries with lower health care costs.”

“If Individuals hold on to more of their money, using only a fraction of the money to maintain the system. eliminate costs, purchase drugs by bulk, thereby passing the lower costs on to the economy”.

“Single pay, medicare option is the way to go. If people chose this option, this country could evolve. Competition among insurance companies is not the answer for competition drives up prices. Each company is cherry picking for the most lucrative health dollars, whereas the poor will get stuck on Walter Reed type government programs which will collapse under the strain, and a death spiral of the entire system will occur.”

“Some suggest that the government provide subsidies to insurance companies. Did it work for pharmeceuticals? Take insurance companies out of the picture. Health Care is a right.”

“The change will not happen through Congress. Are you kidding? They are beholden to too many lobbyists. Any attempt to change will be chopped up, water downed giving, no relief.”

“This country is literally bankrupt. Controlled by the military industrial complex, this country is whistling through the grave yard. You cannot trust a president. You can only trust the Amercan people. We need a plan where you chose the options. You know what is best for you. On this issue, you cannot trust the leadership. They have been screwing up for fifty years, have you had enough yet…..”

‘There is a role for the president. That is to change the culture. To energize the environment which sets a tone to demand from us the best that is in us. We diet all the time, but with a trainer we have a greater chance of success. The president is not an solution, the president is a tool, the people can use it.’

‘Lobbyists pay for the people who pay for the campaigns that pay for the candidates who pay for the marketers who manipulate you people to vote for those who have been told to suscribe to the view that was paid for originally.’ — Gravell