Top Common Core Critics Stotsky, Milgram and Robbins on Fed Led Ed

MCKINNEY, Texas–Last week, Breitbart Texas sat at the education roundtable, so to speak, with three of the most prominent voices in the fight against Fed Led Ed — Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Dr. James Milgram, and Jane Robbins, JD. The trio spoke candidly about the ups and downs of Common Core, came up with a few solutions, and talked Texas education.

The conversation began with Stotsky’s back-to-back speaking engagements, traveling from Albany to Austin and addressing everything from parents’ rights to recounting her Common Core validation committee experiences in 2009-10. Previously, Stotsky developed one of the nation’s strongest sets of K-12 academic standards and licensure tests for prospective teachers during her tenure as Sr. Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education (1999-2003).

After refusing to sign off on the Common Core ELA standards, Stotsky became a lightening rod for Common Core critics across the nation. Tirelessly, she continues to speak out about the inferior Common Core State Standards in the contentious minefield of Fed Led Ed.

On June 17, Stotsky spoke at the Common Sense Lobby Day held in the New York State capitol. Two days later, she was in Austin, Texas with Dr. James Milgram as part of the #CANiSEE conference. Other notables speaking included Dr. Peg Luksik (Founded on Truth) who was slated to retell the history of Common Core and Frank Gaffney (Center for Security Policy), who addressed Fed Led Ed as a national security issue. Also present was American Principles Project Senior Fellow Jane Robbins whose five-part series “Stop the Common Core” was among the first to make the convoluted Common Core understandable.

Event organizers Women on the Wall billed the event as a counter-conference to the national PTA’s annual convention that was held concurrently. Breitbart Texas previously reported that 2014 marked PTA’s first visit to Texas in its 117 year history.

Interestingly, Stotsky and Milgram have direct links to the Texas education standards. Stotsky co-wrote the 2008 English Language Arts (ELA) standards with Susan Pimental, who Stotsky recalled as a consultant from StandardsWork. Two years later, Pimental resurfaced on the Student Achievement Partners team with fellow Common Core authors David Coleman and Jason Zimba.

Similarly, Milgram, the internationally acclaimed mathematician and professor of mathematics at Stanford University, also served on the Common Core validation committee. He refused to endorse the final version of the Common Core math standards. Then, in 2011, he testified before the Texas legislature on behalf of HB 2923, which was written to prevent Common Core from being adopted in Texas.

Milgram was a national reviewer and content expert for the first and second drafts of the Texas math standards. Hopeful that the early drafted versions held “every indication of being among the best, if not the best state standards in the country,” Milgram praised Texas for preparing students for the workforce and “the approaches to mathematics education that underlie the results in the high achieving countries.”

Unfortunately, the promise of those math standards never came to fruition. They were scrapped. Milgram told Breitbart Texas, “Standards could have been much better.”

Like in the Common Core states, Texas math standards drop off at Algebra II. The plain-spoken Milgram explained to Breitbart Texas that his frustration with math standards and math educators is far from Texas-centric. It’s coast-to-coast. Nor is this only about Algebra II, per say. Milgram’s math concerns are rooted in the economic survival of American society.

He explained that it’s about the principle of compound interest, a mathematical concept that hasn’t been taught in many years yet it’s vital to understanding money, according to Milgram.

“If you don’t understand the principle, what it is and how it works (it means) you don’t understand money and, at a minimum, when you go in with bankers to do a mortgage, you are just asking for trouble,” he emphasized.

“This was the only kind of defense we would have had against the mortgage crisis,” Milgram told Breitbart Texas, certain that the 2008 subprime home loan debacle would have been avoided if people understood how money worked before they signed on the dotted line.

Although he succeeded in briefly reinstating the principle of compound interest into California’s 7th grade math standards (1998), Milgram learned to his disappointment that “the teachers didn’t teach it.”

Math also matters to other knowledge areas including biology, physics and engineering. He told Breitbart Texas,  “Too many of those kids that go into (engineering) do not understand enough of the math to understand the engineering they do and they start to make mistakes.”

He cited incidences of US automobile manufacturer failures, the Mississippi River Bridge collapse in Minnesota, and even the destruction of the Oakland Bay Bridge in California during the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.

“Mistakes cost lives,” he said, emphasizing that the failure of our citizenry to do basic mathematics is extremely dangerous.

This raised the question of how Fed Led Ed may hurt America’s children in other ways. Stotsky warned that Common Core standards cheated students out of the education they should be having.  She said, “if your children are in grade 8 or 9, they are going to be the victims of Common Core.”

Robbins, who was scheduled discuss data-collection at the Austin event, told Breitbart Texas, “What may develop in states that are committed to Common Core is the rise of homeschooling and home school communities for families where both parents work.”

She believes the education establishment is “monolithically in favor” of Common Core and likens the fight ahead as “a hard flog.” Even with states like Oklahoma, South Carolina, Indiana and Louisiana working on exiting the federal mandate, Robbins recognizes that the strength is in the numbers.  More people need to open their eyes and see that what’s happening in public education is “recycled failure.”

“It’s like they said, let’s take all the things that didn’t work (for the last 50 years) and do more of it. Maybe it’ll work this time,” she told Breitbart Texas.

Perhaps most troubling for Robbins is the technology, not necessarily the “filing cabinet” data (i.e., names, addresses and test scores) but the “more fine grained data” culled when a child interacts with a digital learning platform.  She noted, “They can gather billions of pieces of evidence – what the child can do, how his mind is working – that is the brave new world of data collection.”

Robbins addressed these issues in the May 2014 Pioneer Institute white paper “Cogs in the Machine” which she authored with Emmett McGroarty, Esq., Executive Director of the Preserve Innocence Initiative at the American Principles Project and Joy Pullman, research fellow at the Heartland Institute.

“When it comes to getting the digital learning data, they can get that without the parents ever knowing they’ve got it. (Parents) just think this is a new, cutting edge 21st century learning technology and this is going to be great,” she stated.

Robbins also pointed to the importance of understanding the mindset of the education establishment and the ideologues behind the curtain. She said, “There’s a reason that the 1960’s radicals all went into education.  Look at what they’re doing now. So many of them are teaching at education schools.”

Milgram concurred. Although he loudly applauded Southern Methodist University in Dallas as one of the really exceptional schools in the nation, he told Breitbart Texas that it’s only one of three or four schools putting out quality math educators in America which is not enough to make an impact.

“I haven’t lost hope that Common Core is going to go away at some point,” Robbins admitted, adding, “Robert Scott, who was the Commissioner of Texas Education, has said all along that Common Core is going to fail because you cannot standardize education for 300 million people.”

It may not have to come down to an epic fail, though. Stotsky already introduced several savvy solutions during the Lobby Day press conference which she spoke to in greater detail with Breitbart Texas. The first of these ideas was optional “accelerated sequences.” It’s a simple premise. A school system would add multiple sets of secondary standards and no longer be solely based on Common Core which Stotsky called “baseline and inadequate.” 

Even if a state was “stuck with Common Core” because of a statute, Stotsky indicated that the beauty of these new pathways would be that they’d add “accelerated” levels of learning.  She said, “It’s got to be more than Common Core, different than Common Core and one can’t have the Common Core-based sequence unless a school district has all the others available.”

Stotsky envisioned that students would be able to apply for the optional accelerated level coursework in ELA, Math and US history after grade 5; they could change pathways at  any time until grade 12, with summer school classes available for missed work resulting from a switch.

It’s “something every state could be aiming for, including Texas,” she said.

“I know the Common Core is illegal in Texas,” she told Breitbart Texas, noting that even Texas “needs multiple sets of secondary standards for grades 6-12.”

She has a point.  There may be a Common Core shield law and an Attorney General opinion reiterating “no Common Core in Texas,” but there’s also a No Child Left Behind waiver, College and Career Readiness Standards, and Race to the Top winner Houston Independent School District.

The lone star legacy of the controversial curriculum management program CSCOPE rebranded as the Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills (TEKS) Resource System, Common Core materials seeping into schools, questionable teacher professional development, and curious intentions of the Texas Association of School Administrators’ (TASA) School Transformation Network fuel Texans increasing fears about Fed Led Ed in the classroom.  Adding accelerated Stotsky-styled sequences might just calm a lot of nerves.

Another thing Stotsky recommended changing is K-12 testing.  She told Breitbart Texas, “We’ve got to get rid of the testing framework from No Child Left Behind and Common Core.  There isn’t any need to test kids at every single grade level from (grade) 3 through 8. Maybe they can do it three different times like once at the end of grade 5, and at the end of grade 8 and then in high school.”

She saw no reason to have so many statewide tests consuming so much valuable learning time. “Teachers should not be teaching to the test,” Stotsky stated.

Under Stotsky’s recommendations, however, different levels of high school end-of-course and college entrance exams would be designed for different college pathways — community colleges, four-year and state universities. She told Breitbart Texas that the only way to ensure college-readiness is for the tests to be developed by teaching faculty at state institutes of higher learning. They are the ones who know what incoming freshman need to know.

As she continues to flesh out these education recommendations, Stotsky emphasized the importance of high school students taking a more proactive role in their educations. She told Breitbart Texas this could mean petitioning their schools for the kinds of courses they want to take, especially when it comes to “first rate courses in Math, English and other subjects.”

Most importantly, Stotsky stated that the battle to take back public education begins in everyone’s backyards.  Earlier in the week she said, “In moving forward, we need action at the local level because that is where there is still statutory authority for legally elected representatives of the people — your local school board. It’s a basic principle in American democracy that goes back to colonial times. It doesn’t exist in most other countries in the world but you have legally elected school board members.” 

It’s the power to push for change and it’s up to parents, teachers, school board members and legislators to “request and demand several different sets of secondary standards with an exam at the end of each one of them” because, as Stotsky told Breitbart Texas, this is what exists in most other countries.

Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.

Source: Breitbart Feed

Days Before NBA Draft, Marfan Syndrome Diagnosis Ends Baylor Basketball Star’s Career

Former Baylor star Isaiah Austin, 20, projected as a first-round pick in the upcoming NBA draft, has been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a life-threatening condition affecting his heart. He says he will not play basketball again.

Austin, who is 7’1″, had taken the standard physical as part of the routine at the NBA combine. The EKG showed his heart was abnormal. Doctors asserted that he should stop playing basketball immediately. The news was forwarded to Austin’s mother, Lisa Green, who drove through the night from Kansas to Dallas, where her son was, to tell him. She was joined by Baylor coach Scott Drew and Austin’s high school coaches.

Austin told ESPN, “They said I wouldn’t be able to play basketball anymore at a competitive level. They found the gene in my blood sample. They told me that my arteries in my heart are enlarged and that if I overwork myself and push too hard that my heart could rupture. The draft is four days away, and I had a dream that my name was going to be called.”

Austin was determinedly upbeat, saying, “For all of my supporters, I just want to tell them sorry. I’m sorry they couldn’t see me play in the NBA. But it’s not the end; it’s only the beginning.”

Drew released a statement, saying, “This is devastating news, but Isaiah has the best support system anyone could ask for, and he knows that all of Baylor Nation is behind him. His health is the most important thing, and while it’s extremely sad that he won’t be able to play in the NBA, our hope is that he’ll return to Baylor to complete his degree and serve as a coach in our program.”

Austin has shown enormous courage for years. He is blind in his right eye since he suffered through a retinal detachment and four eye surgeries staring when he was 16. He averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 28.9 minutes per game while playing for Baylor.

Marfan syndrome comes from mutations in genes that affect fibrillin, which helps connective tissue in the body keep its strength. Tissues in the body stretch, distort, and tear. The aorta may weaken, bulge, or tear; the eye’s lens or retina can separate from its normal attachments.

People who suffer with Marfan syndrome are taller than expected for their age and taller than their families. When their arm span is measured from fingertip to fingertip, it is greater than their height. It used to be that those diagnosed with Marfan syndrome died in their 30s, but by the late 1990s, most people with Marfan syndrome were able to live until their 60s because there was more success preventing aortic dissection and rupture.

Some famous athletes and celebrities have died from the disease, including the actor Vincent Schiavelli, Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman, the composer of Rent, Jonathan Larson, and Bradford Cox, the lead singer of the group Deerhunter.

Source: Breitbart Feed

UKIP Is the Most Internet-Savvy Party, Despite What Chuka Umunna Thinks

Chuka Umunna’s suggestion that people only vote Ukip because they are computer illiterate has caused an outbreak of mirth on the many Ukip social network sites and blogs.

A typical comment in a closed Facebook group reads “I’m undertaking a Degree in IT Networks and Security, I’ve worked for 2 different IT & telecommunication companies and I am currently on a placement as a network technician. However recently I voted for UKIP and I am having troubles sending and receiving emails, can you please help me?”

Another Facebook user pointed out that it was “Ironic that we’re called computer illiterate yet Chuka’s own automatic email response is completely coded wrong at the end.” – accompanied by a picture of Umunna’s incorrectly coded response.

Umunna’s suggestion has provoked mirth because it is, quite literally, laughable. Kippers have been well known for their keyboard activism for years now. Visit almost any page on the MSM news sites and political blogs and there will be comment after comment, often thoroughly evidenced, culminating in the two words “Vote Ukip”.

The comments section of the Conservative Home blog became so overrun with Ukip ‘trolls’ that some wondered aloud whether the site should defect to Ukip. Kippers compete amongst themselves to see who can get the most liked comment on the Mail’s website.

We have a thriving social network presence, and we’re starting to have more of a presence when it comes to blogging too (although I’d like to see us do more here). My own website, written entirely by grassroots members and councillors, has built up a decent following and attracted a number of regular contributors in the nine months that it has been running despite having no budget whatsoever and being spread entirely by word of mouth (or email, most likely).

I’m often impressed by the level of insight that our contributors are able to offer on their chosen subjects. These aren’t uneducated, disenfranchised people. They’re erudite, perceptive, informed. And they’ve gotten that way by looking beyond what the mainstream media have to tell them, getting online, and finding out for themselves.

In the Marr interview, Umunna said “There has been a lot of talk of communities that have been disconnected from our global economy, and those of course were a lot of those voting for Ukip in the local and European elections, and of that mass of people who can’t do the things that all of us take for granted, a very large number of them are from those communities. ”

If Umunna thinks that the Ukip supporter is characterised by being disconnected from the global economy, he clearly hasn’t met many Ukip supporters. To the contrary, it is their connection to the wider world, often via the internet, that has led so many people to understand that the EU does not work in Britain’s best interest – something that you would never guess from picking up a paper or watching BBC or Sky News.

That we are being lied to on climate change (Delingpole’s blogs and the Watts Up With That website are firm favourites amongst Kippers). That the wider Anglosphere, which on the whole has been far more responsible with its finances, is doing markedly better than much of Europe and would prove far better trading partners.

In fact, the mention of Ukip by Umunna here is pretty odd. Ukip isn’t discussed at all elsewhere in the interview, and hasn’t been referenced in the question. So why bring Ukip voters up at all? Because to Umanna and the rest of his multimillionaire Hampsted set, ‘voting Ukip’ is shorthand for ‘uneducated, inward looking, isolationist, bigoted’. They simply cannot fathom why any educated person would reject their liberal, multicultural, achingly middle class utopia.

But there’s good news for all those poor out-of-touch Ukip voters: paternalistic Labour is here to save them by ushering them into the enlightened world of the internet literate. A world where they too can angst about quinoa (“Good, evil, or just really complicated?”) and ask “can fois gras be produced ethically?”, or ponder the possibility that we have reached “peak beard”.

Incidentally, many of those recent Ukip voters have switched from Labour. I’m not sure that talking down at your voters is the best way to keep them, let alone woo them back. But then again, those of us on the right who come from the working classes have long known what Labour really thinks of us.

It sees the working classes as a group to be pitied and helped, and when we don’t want their help, insulted. Poor Gillian Duffy, called a bigot not once but twice for daring to suggest that an open door immigration policy was not in all of our best interests, has arguably taken the brunt of it. But Labour doesn’t reserve its ire just for Mrs Duffy. It pretty much thinks that anyone who isn’t gushingly grateful for being kept in their place by a paternalistic, monolithic government is an ungrateful, obstinate, bigoted, racist, homophobic, sexist… Ukip voter. The lowest of the low.

Which is why, for all their talk of helping the aspirational, Labour will utterly, resoundingly fail to do so. It just doesn’t understand aspirational people. Labour still thinks that ‘helping the aspirational’ means taxing people ’til the pips squeak and frittering the proceeds away on schemes run by local councils and quangos.

But aspirational people don’t want to be taught how to send emails by some bloke from the job centre. What they want is a decent education in the first place, and a thriving economy that provides good opportunities to get into work and then to progress up the career ladder. Or tax and regulatory systems that allows them to both start their own business, and then to keep the proceeds of their hard work. The aspirational are best helped when the government gets out of the way, not when it wades in.

What a pity that Labour are too busy trying to sort out their own social media fails (or should that be fowls?) to listen.

Source: Breitbart Feed

‘Slut’s Remorse’ Is Why Rape Suspects Should be Anonymised

Who among us has not rolled over, bleary-eyed and foul-smelling, to an unfamiliar bedfellow, and thought: oh God, what have I done this time? In such situations, most of us have the good grace to scold ourselves for one too many tequilas, order a cab home and get on with our lives. 

Some people, however, decide to exact revenge on their sexual partners, sometimes in retaliation for their own poor choices, sometimes for a variety of other, peculiar psychological reasons. It’s what I call “slut’s remorse,” and it’s the reason we need to keep the names of rape suspects a secret until they are charged. 

Two pertinent examples of bogus rape accusations have appeared in the press recently. 

The first was the case of Nigel Evans, a British Member of Parliament who was accused of behaving inappropriately toward a young man. Pretty blond boys in Westminster are the subject of relentlessly wandering hands and crudely camp innuendo from creepy, fat MPs; they put up with harassment considerably more outrageous than anything handed out to their female counterparts. The atmosphere is extraordinarily sexually charged. In other words, the fact that Nigel Evans got off means he must have been beyond reproach, because securing a conviction for sexual harassment in that place can’t be hard. But Evans had to resign as Deputy Speaker before the court found him innocent. Meanwhile, he watched in horror as his private life was examined by the newspapers. 

The second was that of former Oxford Union president Ben Sullivan, aged just 21. It is possible that some undergraduate might feel she had been taken advantage of, yet it was not so: no charges were brought. Fortunately, Sullivan and his parents have had the good sense to blitz the papers with interviews about his harrowing experience after these “poisonous” allegations. Had they not done so, Sullivan’s life could have been destroyed. 

Idiotic professional windbags such as feminist activist Caroline Criado-Perez must now be feeling a bit stupid about that defamatory letter they wrote, most likely in contempt of court, demanding Sullivan’s removal from the Oxford Union. Or maybe not, I don’t know; these people are so shameless. In any case, this situation cannot continue. For too long, men have been a silent class of victim in rape cases, unable to protect themselves from the consequences of victimless drunken fumbling and, yes, from vindictive bitches—whether male or female—lashing out in frustration about their own self-loathing. 

I should say, before I attract allegations of misogyny beyond the obviously unavoidable, that I am an equal opportunities slut-shamer, happy to condemn both slutty men and slutty women for getting pissed, having a shag and then crying rape—or the vile practice of malicious rape allegations, as I suppose I should call it. In 2010, I watched a friend’s life torn apart by claims from a former boyfriend that the former had repeatedly raped and beaten the latter. Photographs were circulated via email of bruising to the wrists. It seemed cut and dry. My friend was readying himself for life as a bitch in the slammer. 

But, just before the case was heard in court, a recording of a voicemail message surfaced in which the accuser was heard to say: “I love it when you use me, and beat me […] I want you to hurt me bad.” The whole thing collapsed; the boy admitted he had called the police out of spite after their break-up and he now regretted the matter had “gone too far.” And that was that. My friend, a public sector solicitor, had of course already lost his job. 

As the law currently stands, men can have their lives and reputations ruined before charges are even brought against them. Not everyone has the resources or nous of an MP or Oxford student, and all it takes is the word of a remorseful sexual partner—or, for that matter, anyone bearing a grudge. A rape allegation is uniquely toxic—far more personally damaging than tax evasion or theft for instance, as indeed it should be. But an arrest can be made merely on one person’s hearsay, so we need to think a lot more carefully before we throw innocent men like Evans and Sullivan to the wolves. 

Both men are now campaigning for a change in the law to protect men from specious claims. As yet, the only person in Parliament currently discussing anything similar is former culture secretary Maria Miller, who is on the warpath trying to make an obscure internet curiosity called “revenge porn” illegal. (Needless to say, it’s all about the men—not a word about women who, in today’s smartphone-saturated world, are surely just as likely to share compromising images and video of their ex-boyfriends.) 

Slut’s remorse, which is of course analogous to buyer’s remorse, is a specific sort of anxiety that probably indicates underlying psychological disquiet on the part of the supposedly injured party. But, unlike buyer’s remorse, which if left unchecked results merely in hefty credit card bills, slut’s remorse can ruin lives—particularly if the malicious accusations are made about men in public life, or men who are otherwise personally or professionally vulnerable to claims of sexual assault. Which makes sense, doesn’t it, when you consider the motivation behind the claims: self-loathing and spitefulness. 

I can’t account for why the young women who made insupportable claims about Ben Sullivan were moved to do something as serious as calling the police. What had he done to deserve such vengefulness? Perhaps someone better versed in the mysteries of the female psyche can tell me. Nor can I discern why poor Nigel Evans was singled out when there are so many predatory men in Parliament who do deserve to be hauled into a courtroom. (Ask anyone who works in Westminster and they’ll give you a few names.) But what seems obvious from all this is how desperately a change in the law is needed. 

It need not be the case that every allegation of rape would qualify for automatic anonymity: where children are involved, for example, it isn’t obvious why a suspect should not be drawn to his community’s attention. But it’s time to start protecting the men whose lives are destroyed because a misunderstanding turned into malice, because they forgot to text back, or because they simply moved on to someone else. We laugh about women scorned, but it’s no laughing matter when a man is burned so badly he spends a decade trying to put his life back together, all through no fault of his own.

Read me at Business Insider on Fridays, on technology and media, and at on Mondays, on U.K. politics. My first book, The Sociopaths of Silicon Valley, will be published in 2015.

Source: Breitbart Feed

Thad Cochran Enjoys Long and Profitable Relationship with Trustmark Bank

JACKSON, Mississippi — When a super PAC supporting Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) came under scrutiny for receiving what appeared to be an unsecured loan for $250,000, the bank that issued the loan came to Cochran’s rescue, publishing a high-profile letter clearing the super PAC, Mississippi Conservatives.

But a closer look at the bank reveals it has long maintained a close relationship with Cochran, including donations to Cochran from top officials and assistance to his close aide Kay Webber in purchasing her house.

A series of publicly available Washington, D.C., real estate and loan documents show that the Capitol Hill home that Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) resides in, owned by his executive assistant Webber, was purchased with help from a member of Trustmark’s board of directors.

The documents show that Webber purchased a 99 percent interest in the Capitol Hill home on April 25, 2001. A woman named Betty Shows cosigned with her, purchasing the other one percent of the home alongside Webber.

“She clearly needed a co-signer in order to qualify,” Ken Cummins, the president of CII Title, LLC, and a settlement agent and real estate expert in Washington, D.C., and Maryland, told Breitbart News in a phone interview. “That’s what a co-signer does. You get to use the co-signer’s financial background. She wouldn’t have qualified for the loan without Betty Shows.”

Shows’s husband, William T. Shows, served on the board of Trustmark Corporation at the time according to the company’s 2001 annual report. In one of the documents, signed April 18, 2001, William T. Shows signs over power of attorney to his wife Betty Shows in order to represent him “at settlement or closing to release any spousal interest in real property” at Kay Webber’s Capitol Hill home.

While a cosigner would be insignificant in the vast majority of cases of home purchases, Cummins says what’s unusual in this case is how subsequent real estate documents show that Shows was dropped from the deed and loan a mere year and a half later in October 2002 when Webber became the home’s sole owner and the only signer on a new mortgage.

“The question is what changed in her financial situation during that 18 months?” Cummins asked. “Something had to change.”

During that period, Webber’s taxpayer-paid salary increased from $73,000 to $91,000, public records show.

In 2003, Cochran himself moved into the basement apartment in Webber’s home—paying her rent and listing it on several documents, as previously reported by Breitbart News, as his address on a series of official documents including multiple statements of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

The D.C. government’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is currently investigating whether Webber filed the correct paperwork to rent the space commercially, according to an agency spokesman.

“It’s not unusual to see somebody cosign,” Cummins told Breitbart News. “If you can’t qualify, your options for a loan with your own financials—the option is to get somebody to co-sign for you and put your resources at risk. When Betty Shows was doing this for a million dollar property, she was doing it for only a one percent interest in it on the books.”


Kay Webber/Thad Cochran Home Purchase Documents

Beyond serving as Cochran’s landlord, Webber has accompanied him on dozens of taxpayer-funded trips overseas and often attends evening events in Washington, D.C., with him. Following one trip, a U.S. embassy listed Webber as Cochran’s “spouse” in captions to photos of the delegation’s overeseas trip. Cochran’s campaign has described her as a senior aide who performs essentially professional duties in his congressional office.

Trustmark Corporation is a Jackson, Mississippi-based nationally chartered bank whose officers have regularly financially supported Cochran’s political campaigns over the years. In 1989—a year before Cochran ran unopposed for re-election in 1990 for his third U.S. Senate term—Trustmark chairman Frank Day and president and CEO Robert Gaddis each donated $500 to Cochran’s campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Reuben V. Anderson, the first black Mississippi state Supreme Court justice who also served for a time as a director at Trustmark, donated $1,000 to Cochran when he served in that capacity for Trustmark. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Cochran is the only Republican he ever donated to—spending most of his money donating to Democrats like Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), now Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, and former Rep. Ronnie Shows (D-MS). Ronnie Shows is William T. Shows’s brother.

Richard Hickson, a CEO of Trustmark after Gaddis retired in 1996, has donated $3,000 to Cochran’s campaigns over three $1,000-per-piece donations in 2000, 2001, and 2007, respectively. The bank’s current CEO, Harry M. Walker, donated $1,000 to Cochran’s campaign in 2014, and back in 2000 he gave Cochran $250.

Adolphus Baker—who goes by Dolph Baker on FEC records— donated $1,000 to Cochran in January and is listed on Trustmark’s 2013 annual report as a director.

Fred Carl, now of Jackson-based Viking Range Corporation but previously a director at Trustmark, donated $1,000 to Cochran in March, and donated $2,000 to Cochran back in 2001 and 2002 over two other separate donations.

In January, Trustmark’s chairman Daniel Grafton donated $1,000 to Cochran’s campaign, too. Kenneth Williams has also donated $2,000 over two donations to Cochran’s campaigns over the years—one donation in January and another back in 2007. In both years, Williams has served in various leadership and board roles for Trustmark according to those years’ annual reports.

Trustmark received $215 million in bailout funding from TARP in 2008. While Cochran voted against the bank bailout’s final passage, in a statement he provided to press at the time he said, “I will work with the Administration to expedite the development of an acceptable and workable plan for recovery.” Even so, it’s unclear what specific role—if any—Cochran had in directing TARP funds to Trustmark.

At that time, Cochran was the ranking member of the full Senate Appropriations Committee.

Trustmark has become a key player in this 2014 GOP senate primary between Cochran and conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel. It is the bank alleged by conservative super lawyer Cleta Mitchell of the American Conservative Union (ACU) and of Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund (TPPCF) to have given an illegal loan to the pro-Cochran Super PAC Mississippi Conservatives. Both TPPCF and the ACU have endorsed McDaniel.

On Jan. 29—within days in either direction of many of these late January donations from current and former Trustmark executives to Cochran’s campaign—Trustmark made a $250,000 loan to the pro-Cochran Super PAC, which is run by former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s nephew Henry Barbour.

The PAC and the bank argue that the loan was secured by a Certificate of Deposit by a third party, though neither will divulge the identity of the CD’s owner.

Mitchell has alleged that whether or not it was secured by a deposit by a mysterious benefactor, the arrangement comprises an illegal in-kind donation.

Days after former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Facebook’s founding president Sean Parker—who still works closely with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg as a supporter of Zuckerberg’s on that organization’s board—each donated $250,000 to the Barbour-run Super PAC in mid-May, Mississippi Conservatives made, according to the FEC filings, a $220,150 payment to pay off the loan from Trustmark. It’s unclear at this time if the loan is paid in full, or if the Super PAC still owes Trustmark money.

That Super PAC, Mississippi Conservatives, is the group at the center of of efforts to drive black Democratic voters to the polls. The efforts are under increasing scrutiny after a series of allegations from officials in both political parties that illegal tactics are being used.

Cochran’s campaign spokesman did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

Source: Breitbart Feed