Bernie Sanders asks Betsy Devos – Would You Be Sitting Here Today if You Were Not a Billionaire?

Betsy Devos – Secretary of Education, Nominee


I found myself in one of those rare moments of screaming at my smart phone, “Have you, Bernie Sanders, ever seen a dying 7-year-old at the Helen Devos Children’s Hospital? What would that 7-year-old sitting in heaven, be thinking of you sitting here today, and how would she answer your question posed to Betsy Devos.


Nominated as Education Secretary, Betsy Devos had to face the music from an elite group of Senators. “How much have you donated to the Republicans over the years. Will you commit that you will not work to privatize, or cut funding” for public schools, “Guns, do they have any place in or around schools?”



With the rapidity of a machine gun, the questions kept coming, and with grace she answered politely. When Senator Elizabeth Warren asked, if she or any of her children had ever had to take out a student loan to help pay for college. “They have been fortunate not to,” DeVos stated humbly.


The elite attitude from a group of elite Senators was apparent today. Regardless of any position on school vouchers or gun control, the spirit of the questions, I think, were apparent and wrong. I hope that my thoughts are not skewed by my knowledge of the good Betsy Devos and her family have contributed to Michigan throughout the years, but there has to be a better way of asking questions apart from grandstanding.


Betsy’s biggest critics argue that she is for school vouchers. These are vouchers paid for by taxpayers, given to private companies, for public education. The detractors contend that taxpayer dollars should not be used for private companies, even it is for the intended public good. The greater fear of her opposers, perhaps, is that voucher policies will do away with public schools. It is a fair argument. Let’s have the discussion. The naysayers, also point to Michigan’s voucher policy implementation, utilized by charter schools, as an example of voucher’s inherent failures. Over forty percent, critics claim, of Michigan’s Charter schools are a dismal failure. Again, this is a fair argument. Let’s have the discussion.


I suspect further that many of her detractors are weary that she is a conservative Christian and is willing to force her views on others under the name of vouchers and private schools. Let’s have the discussion.


I am in no means advocating that the Senate shun their responsibilities as an advise and consent body, but it easy to be self-righteous, argumentative, and even fearful of another when you have not walked in their shoes. It is timely for the senators to be reminded of the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “People fail to get along because they fear each other; and they fear each other because they don’t know each other; and they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”


Well, I do know the Devos’s, and I suppose, like all of us, there is good at the very core. The good that I see coming from the core of Betsy Devos, I love.


Khalique-Vialva and Mom


The Dick and Betsy Devos website states, “Our faith motivates our giving; it is integral to who we are and what we do. Our giving is centered in cultivating leadership, accelerating transformation and leveraging support in five areas:


Justice: Fundamentally, we believe all people have the right and access to justice. We support organizations that help free, rescue, or provide access to the oppressed and the vulnerable.


Education: We strive to be a catalyst for positive change by expanding choices and improving access opportunities primarily in K-12 education.


Community: We endeavor to make West Michigan a desirable place to live by supporting efforts that lead to community transformation, improve community health and provide support for essential community needs.


Arts: Nationally and internationally, we build capacity in arts leaders and equip them to effectively manage and lead their organizations.


Leadership: With intention, we aim to train, equip, support and develop leaders.


Rather than screaming at grandstanding senators, that cannot hear me, it may be better for me to holler, and advocate until the words of Dick and Betsy Devos become reality.

Grand Rapids Police – Crime is Down – NFL Player Up

Officer Michael Harris addresses the audience at a ceremony for his 2016 Maytag Dependable Leader Award at the Goei Center in Grand Rapids on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Officer Harris is receiving a $20,000 grant for his work with the Boys & Girls Club Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth. (Allison Farrand |



Today, the front page of the Grand Rapids Press highlights “Community Policing” entitling it “The Spirit of the law.” The article infers that crime in Grand Rapids is linked to a $2.5M community policing effort.


It is evident that the Grand Rapids police department believes that Black Lives Matter. To affirm that black lives matter does not presuppose that other lives do not matter. Community Policing appears to be having a positive impact in Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids Police Department have embraced the community that they now serve.


The news report has as its centerpiece Dallas Cowboy safety, and Grand Rapids native Kavon Frazier, as a glowing example of the impact of community policing. Kavon raised by a single mother in a poverty stricken environment, was headed in the wrong direction until encountering officer Michael Harris and the community policing efforts of Grand Rapids police department.


“I grew up around officers and some were like father figures to me,” Frazier said. “Having a relationship with those officers was good, because all them bad stereotypes about police officers, especially in the black community, it basically shut them down.”


They never gave up on anyone, Kavon tells Justin Hicks, a reporter at MLive. “Not all officers are bad people, and it hurts that this stuff is going on, especially how I grew up” referring to the recent increase in violence against police officer. The officers in blue, have become more than uniforms to Kavon. This is the true value of community Policing.


It is my contention, from experience in law enforcement, that in every community there is a small and same recurrent element that is responsible for more than 90% of the crime. Further, elements responsible for crime are birth out of poverty and despair. Additionally, of the poverty stricken criminal elements responsible for violent crimes, 90% have great mental deficiencies. The deviant behaviors from this small minority is a known element to most police departments. Among this group, no amount of community policing will suffice. Deviant personalities we will have with us always.


At the heart of the community policing philosophy is the belief that not all person in a community are criminals, and non-deviant elements should not be treated as deviant elements. Community policing also puts forth the fact that insulating violent criminals from non-violent criminals, via officer and citizen training alike, is a way of reducing crime and stopping the growth thereof. Further, it is critical to understand that bias and unfair sentencing laws targeted at non-violent criminals does not add to the reduction in crimes, but rather adds to it, and furthers the bottom line of private prisons and the justice system cottage industry.


The main goal of community policing is the re-directing of “non-violent” criminal behavior, and familiarizing every body with every other body; this is a powerful means of projecting a truth that all lives matter.

I’m With Him – New Ghana President

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was on Saturday January 7 sworn in as the fifth president of Ghana under the Fourth Republic.


Another peaceful transition of power for this African Nation, Ghana. President Akufo-Addo, a human rights attorney, is largely responsible for much of the calm in this Nation. Nana who ran in the two previous elections, contested the presidential election in 2008, 2012, but called for a peaceful transition and calmed the voices of violent protest in each of those closely contested elections.


Other Africa nations can learn valuable lessons from this stellar person.


I’m with him. image

Obamacare – The Republican Conundrum – Repeal – Pretend – Replace


The repeal and replace drumbeat has persisted for so long that many low and middle class republican supporters have been deafened by the fact that they are benefiting from the very law that they are seeking to repeal. What is even more risky for these supporters is that their very life could eventually hinge upon Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) itself.


Thirty-million Americans are now protected against Insurance companies discriminating against preexisting medical condition persons. Children can now stay on their parents health insurance until age 26. Since the inception of Obamacare, healthcare spending has been on a downward spiral. Insurance companies are profiting and creating jobs. We are no longer an “employer based health insurance Nation.” Big business can no longer coerced employees to work under harsh conditions with the hanging threat of losing health insurance coverage.


A solid contra argument that Republican leaders use is that premiums of some Americans are rising. However, these premiums are not rising arbitrarily, they are being raised by these hugely profitable insurance companies. It is critical to note, that premium accelerations were happening prior to Obamacare and will continue to rise in a free market society, until the “invisible hand” of the market drives down and stabilizes prices. In any marketplace, prices are greasy going up and sticky coming down. So think it not strange that this occurs under Obamacare. These are the facts, not the hype.


Vice President-elect Mike Pence, center, joins House Republican leaders Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for a news conference following a GOP conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 4, 2017, in Washington, about discussing plans to repeal and replace Obamacare. (Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)


Let me hasten to add, Obamacare is far from perfect. What is being lost in the mayhem is that the health of the healthcare market is far better than what it was prior to the institution of the Affordable Care Act. Nonetheless, most “parking lot” literal constitutionalist argue that the mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. It is a fair argument. We can also argue that Medicare and Medicaid are mandates and unconstitutional. The current Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act and it did not strike down the legislation as unconstitutional. Insurance companies are taking advantage of Obamacare by finding loop holes to undermined the law, and increase  profits thereby. Markets always behave in such manners. We can contemplate instituting regulations to close loopholes, but it will be a temporary fixed until the market finds new loopholes in the new implemented regulations. No law is perfect. As mortals in a capitalistic society we must do the best we can in an imperfect democracy.


Inherently, health insurance is for people who cannot afford to pay for healthcare, therefore the risk is transfer to an insurance company to pay on the behalf of the wealth deprived persons. Billionaires and multimillionaires do not carry insurance. Trump and many of the inherited wealthy do not know what a healthcare card looks like. They don’t need it. When they get sick, or need a check up, they pay for it. Ninety percent of Americans are not so lucky. The constitutional argument is favorite of the privileged few, and they have employed healthcare carrying cardmembers to make their argument. Many of the working class faithful and strict constitutionalist are unaware of the true invisible hand in the insurance market.


It is fruitless to argue against healthcare insurance for yourself, unless you are one of the lucky wealthy not in need of insurance. Even more so, it is pointless and destructive to argue for the purity of a constitution that was created by impure mortals. We strive for a more perfect union, and it will always be a striving not a completion.


The Chicago Tribune


What are we to do with Obamacare? Fair-minded Democrats and Republicans alike both know that the Affordable Care Act needs care. The Republican Governor John Kasich rightfully stated “There’s room for improvement of Obamacare, but to repeal and not to replace?” he said Wednesday. “I just want to know what’s going to happen to all those people who find themselves out in the cold.”


So, Republican leaders, you now have Obamacare, you cannot pretend to repeal and replace, when you can only, at this point, rename and improve. To try anything more the working class pitchforks will be at your door.

Thousands of U.S. locales where the drinking water is worse than in Flint

REUTERS/Whitney Curtis


Welcome to America, but don’t drink the water. Mexico’s Government could promote to its citizens, “ Visit America, but don’t drink the water.” Promoting that slogan may be the best immigration policy for America.


Last year, the City of Flint, Michigan’s water troubles ruptured on to the world scene, after it was reported that the powerful, neglected at best and intentionally at worst, allowed it’s citizens to be exposed to high levels of lead drinking water. A report stated that 5 percent of the children screened there had high blood lead levels.


What we have since learned is that Flint is no freak City. In fact, a Reuters Report confirms that nearly 3,000 areas where lead poisoning rates at least double those in Flint during the height of that city’s water crisis. In addition, more than 1,100 of these communities had a rate of elevated blood tests at least four times higher.


It is time for American’s to wake up and smell the water. America’s drinking water is extremely contaminated. I argue again, that many of the sickness and diseases we face today are a direct consequence of our drinking water.


We should not for a moment, expect the big, powerful and the wealthy, who are profiting from our sicknesses and illnesses to change the situation. We, the people alone will do it. I am one voice crying in the wilderness, Don’t drink the water.” Know this, when you drink water from a faucet you are drinking contamination into your body. You are drinking not only lead, but feces and other highly toxic contaminants at unacceptable levels. It has become so dire in America, that a lot of our bottled water is contaminated. America’s water is in decline, and this may be indicative of America itself.

Graphic: Charlie Szymanski, Christine Chan, Matt Weber Source: State agencies or CDC. Some states did not include data for census tracts and zip codes if the testing numbers were small, usually below five, to protect patient privacy. These areas appear as if no one was tested.

The $200 Start Up – Start The New Year Out Happy – Fire Your Boss


Buy now on 


Buy now on I wrote the $200 Start Up because I wanted everyone to know the simple, easy principles of starting a business. This is the first booklet of a series of books that I believe will catapult a movement of people to becoming their own boss. This booklet and the series of booklets has secrets that I have learned over the years of doing business. I know it will take you to a greater dimension.


You can do it. If you can’t make it, nobody can. You are uniquely you. Your thoughts are uniquely your thoughts. Yes, we all think alike, except for the millions of variations in each of our thoughts.


The Business Idea you thought of, is your idea. If can you think of a business idea, you can be successful in that business idea. You thought of it. You can never think of an idea and then divorce success ability from it. They come together. If you can think of it, you can do it. If you can’t think of it, you can’t do it. But you can do it, but because you thought of it.


The plan and/or business idea that you thought of is your essence, not another’s. No two people can ever think of the same idea alike. There will at minimum minor deviations, and most often wide differences in the approaches. No one can duplicate you. Though your idea can be stolen, copy and forged, no one can steal and copy the thousands of variations in your head; its your idea.


Keep this simple principle in mind for 2017 and beyond. It’s your idea, not your partner’s, consultant, or agent. It’s your idea to develop and grow. This “Principle Understanding” is not selfishness, arrogance or haughtiness, for thence cometh a great fall. This “Principle Understanding” is an interdependent fact, not an independent truth.


All in a day’s work. Now Go and Start the Year Off Right.


This first booklet will show you how to:

Create an Alternate Credit File

Incorporation Certificate

Employee Identification Number (EIN)

Dun & Bradstreet Number (D-U-N-S)

FedEx Business Account

Government Contract Registration;

And more.

The booklet is not intended to be a scholarly academic discourse of literary brilliance, but rather a book that pinpoints and discloses rudimental elements of business start-up and business structure. It is a handbook for you to use throughout the success of your business. Like every subject in life, discovering elementary principles will give you fundamental intelligence that is capable of catapulting you the top. There are base rules established in the sphere of business that are universal and will work every time. The “80-20 principle” substantiates that 80% of business persons are unaware of the secrets to business success. On the other hand, it is just 20% of business people who know the fundamentals to business success. Even more complexing, is that most business people are not cognizant of the elementary principles for starting and sustaining a business.


The booklet reveals first principles of starting and structuring a business. A child, before he or she can write words, sentences and paragraphs have to know the alphabet. This is primary. It also natural that before you can start up and run a successful business you should know the alphabet of business. This too, is “Elementary, my dear Watson.”


This is a first principle handbook on how you can start any business on a low budget. I gave a speech many years ago entitled, “When naked truth walked in.” When “Naked Truth” walks into a room all subsequent truths salute. To understand any subject or discipline one must break the subject matter down to its elementary particle. Before teaching piano students how to play songs, they should first be taught the 7 notes in a scale. Before teaching students how to read, they should first be taught the alphabet. Before teaching students chemistry, they should first be taught the periodic table. It is likewise in business.


This first booklet in a series of booklets, uncovers business first principles, reveals elementary business truths and principal facts. First facts are foundational to universal understandings and principle knowledge.  The University of Chicago scientists, at the Argonne National laboratory in, Chicago, and scientist at the Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator, in Vienna, are both looking for and trying to establish the building blocks, the elementary particle of “everything” that is. Many are calling this scientific search the quest for the “God Particle.” Scientists are on the mark, in that ultimate success is dependent upon knowing the beginning of everything. When you discover naked truths you are tapping into the mind of the universe – God. When you tap into the mind of God you are tapping into truth. When you are tapping into truth you are tapping into success.

The $200 Start-up is a booklet that sets forth base building blocks that will position you for a successful start up. Mastering foundational principles is the answer to success. Know the principles in this handbook and you will know how to successfully Start Up, and for under $200.

Who Will Speak For Me?


I am a black rhinoceros. I lived in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. Poachers killed me for my horn. They shot me with high-caliber bullets. There are only 5000 of us left. I am dead because good men and women looked away. I am dead because of greed. I am dead because the powerful elite in every nation collaborate to succeed. I can speak no more, so will you kindly speak for me.

Ellington Ellis (2016)

Private Prison, Moral Hazard

This photo was originally published in “How Science Is Putting a New Face on Crime Solving,” in July 2016.



I am the vulnerable. I am a victim of silence. I am injustice’s creation. I am the norm of degradation. I am not an aberration. I am they that came out of great a tribulation. ~Ellington Ellis~

“Kirk Odom was convicted of rape after an expert testified that a hair on the victim’s nightgown matched his. He spent years in prison before DNA tests proved his innocence.” Greenwood, Veronique (2016, July) Retrieved from

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke

New Urban Practice – Changing City


Capital Magnet Fund Development

Grand Rapids Downtown

Today, I received an email from a friend that I have not spoken with in a while. Wes Emert owns and operates the successful CityWide Real Estate Services in the Grand Rapids, Michigan Metropolitan area. “brother, what are the human elements that go beyond just placing capital in a piece of brick and mortar. Why should we develop core objectives for investing. Let’s blow it open and discuss. ”I responded, “these are critical issues, lets take action.”

A first-time study of the impact investment market in Chicago points to a significant unmet need for capital and a growing opportunity for investors. Commissioned by MacArthur and the Chicago Community Trust, the report by Next Street urges intermediaries to help mobilize capital and connect it to promising ventures. The report focuses on Chicago, but it is applicable to any urban area in America

Cities are a natural place to try to reduce inequality. So trumpets Ben Hecht, president and CEO of Living Cities. This is what he calls the “New Urban Practice.” Hecht makes the point that Eighty percent of our population is in cities and metros,” Hecht said. “If we want to bring about change, that’s an important place to focus, especially when you have innovative leaders willing to take risks.

This week the Grand Rapids, Michigan Business Journal reported that a professional soccer franchise, a new downtown hotel and a convention center expansion are among a list of proposed projects that could be undertaken in Grand Rapids over the next several years.

Also helping to under-gird New Urban Practice and connectivity is the Seamless Accelerator. It is apparent that Rick Devos, founder of Seamless and Start Garden, has instituted an effort of impactful investments by bringing together a diversity of people and cultures within the Start Garden mentor-ship and investment ecosystem in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In Chicago, the Chicago Community Trust, MacArthur and Calvert Foundation announce Benefit Chicago, an innovative collaboration that aims to mobilize $100 million in impact investments for nonprofits and social enterprises in Chicago. It is this type of community effort and collaboration that will bring about equality and positive growth within Cities. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) are excellent vehicles to acquire funds and invest those dollars to vital businesses within the community. The CDFI Fund has a pivotal role in generating economic growth and opportunity in some of the nation’s most distressed communities. By delivering resources and innovative programs that invest federal dollars alongside private sector dollars, the CDFI Fund serves mission-driven financial institutions that take a market-based approach to supporting economically disadvantaged communities.

The CDFI Capital Magnet Fund offers competitively awarded grants to finance affordable housing solutions and community revitalization efforts that benefit low-income people and communities nationwide. This is the real change that communities recognize. From one $80 million award round in FY 2010, the Capital Magnet Fund has generated more than $1 billion of combined investments and has created over 9,000 affordable homes

Through the Capital Magnet Fund, the CDFI Fund provides competitively awarded grants to CDFIs and qualified non-profit housing organizations. These awards can be used to finance affordable housing activities, as well as related economic development activities and community service facilities, with the objective of revitalizing low-income communities and undeserved rural areas. Funding for the Capital Magnet Fund comes from allocations made by the Government-Sponsored Enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and varies from year to year.

As written on the Capital Magnet fund web page, “Each business financed, each job created, and each home built represents a critical step in the transformation of a life, a family, and a community.

This is real change.”

Politics Make For Strange Bedfellows — The Sarah Palin/Rachel Maddow Baby Is Born


Donald Trump campaigned that he was an outsider and that he would do things differently, if elected. America is now wakening to the warnings that I and many others have been writing about for months. I wrote in August 2016 that “Donald Trump would preside not as he campaigns but rather as he has lived.”

Trump campaigned and repeatedly preached at his rallies that he would be a different kind of president and that he would drain the swamp and that he would take money out of the process. To the vulnerable and hopeful backers, he promised that he would force Carrier, the mammoth air conditioning company, to keep jobs in Indiana by imposing a 30% import tax on the company for having jobs in Mexico. The crowd cheered in jubilation at the toughness of his words. Chanting in unison, “USA, USA.”

Sadly, and as predicted by yours truly, no sooner than elected by the “faithful hopeful,” he has reversed his words and has struck a deal with Carrier that even Hillary Clinton has to be thrilled.

The deal brokered by President-elect who is still governor of Indiana, takes $7 million from Indiana taxpayers and pays 1,100 workers, keeping jobs in Indiana. Howbeit, the deal sends another 1300 workers to Mexico. Former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic Party must be elated with the deal. On the other hand, the former Vice President candidate, Sarah Palin, cautions that Trump’s decision is a dangerous precedent. Palin, who was an early Trump supporter, said she is happy for the Carrier employees who will now keep their jobs, but she expressed concern about the precedent set by this agreement. “When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent,” she wrote. At the same time, Rachel Maddow, the noted CNBC TV host, gleefully rails against the blatant flip flop by President-elect Trump.

Trump warns other companies that if they are planning to move jobs from America they will face consequences. I predict that these companies, after seeing the Trump consequence meted to Carrier, are fast and vastly lining up to move jobs overseas. I further predict that this is the first of many many flip flops’ that the “faithful hopeful” will encounter with President Trump.

Niquette, Mark (2016, December 1) Retrieved from