Are we still living in a merit based society?

San Francisco culture of mutual support helped create great opportunities for entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams.

Since before the formation of this country by great men like Benjamin Franklin one of the best parts of living on this continent is that everyone has a chance to create the life they want to have. Benjamin Franklin is a great example of someone who grew up in a modest home, ventured out on his own to become a very wealthy world leader. Self-educated Abe Lincoln is another example of a young half orphan who made his own way in the world, reaching great achievements as a lawyer and US president. Andrew Carnegie was born into a Scottish weaver’s family that shared a one room house with their neighbors. Yet, later in the US he became synonymous with the Gilded Age. John D. Rockefeller who as the son of a con man and a very religious mother started out as a bookkeeper built one of the greatest wealth an American family ever enjoyed. He is quoted as saying: “The growth of a large business is merely a survival of the fittest”. Even though he was a very tough and sometimes ruthless competitor he ended up donating more than $500 million to various philanthropic causes. Back in his days this was quite a lot of money.

In recent history we have Steve Jobs, the son of a Syrian refugee, was adopted and started his career in the warehouse. Ray Kroc started as an ambulance driver at 15 years old and later started McDonald’s corporation, considered one of the fastest growing companies. Sarah Breedlove, later known by one of her married names Madam C. J. Walker’s parents and siblings were slaves, yet she became the first known African American female Millionaire. Andy Grove spent part of his childhood in a Nazi concentration camp and came to the US penniless when he had to flee Hungary from Soviet Oppression at age 20. Later he became associated with the success of Intel, a company he led to international success as its CEO. Arthur Rock’s dad had a candy store and Arthur’s education was possible thanks to the G.I. bill. Arthur Rock founded one of the first investment firms in Silicon Valley, called Davis & Rock. He is considered one of the founders of Silicon Valley. Eric Hippeau received a wonderful education in France and chose to come to the US to achieve his fame and fortune. He came to the US as an ad sales manager for IDG, before becoming publisher of PC Magazine, CEO of Ziff-Davis, Softbank, and now runs a very successful venture firm, Lerer Hippeau.

In the US if you work hard and smart you can succeed. Yes, it is quite clear that in most cases being well educated or rather being able to educate yourself and re-educate yourself is a prerequisite for success. And yes, it possible to reach amazing success in the United States, regardless of background and family ties.

Is it easier to achieve success when you have a loving and supportive family that can afford to pay for a great education and make wonderful introductions? Of course, it is. Is it harder for children who have to overcome the long-term physiological and psychological challenges of ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences)? Yes, it is harder. However, it is possible. This is what is unique about the USA. Many businesses in the US are merit based, especially in California.

When communities, business leaders, and educational institutions come together to focus on helping kids become successful adults, entire cities and villages thrive. Providing education that provides students with the life-long ability to learn may be one of the top gifts we can give our local communities. Most thriving towns have benevolent leaders who care about all its inhabitants. Why not bring the leaders in your community together to facilitate a local plan to create a thriving and high-quality place to live and grow up in. Amazing success will be up to the individual, luck, hard work, lots of studying, and the willingness to put in the necessary effort. There are no shortcuts to wealth, short of inheriting it. And as every successful business leader knows making the first money is easier than to hold on to the money and growing the business. This takes management skills, knowledge, competitiveness and most importantly content and satisfied customers.

It is best if we remind ourselves and future generations that only because someone else inherited their wealth, doesn’t make them the only ones who can thrive. With a strong desire to succeed, great networking skills, and the willingness to learn, the road to success is open to everyone in the USA. For self-made people there are no short cuts to success. It takes work and diligence, and the willingness to try over and over until the necessary skills are perfected.

In China during the Han Dynasty in the 6th century BC, when Confucius has a strong impact on culture the society was merit-based. Education became the key for social mobility back then in China. Europe opened its mind to become a merit-based society in the 17th Century and is still waffling about it. The US is the only country that was founded on the principles of being merit based. The West Coast naturally has embraced being merit-based since it was founded by people from all walks of life who were seeking fame and fortune in the 19th century during the gold rush era. Life in the Wild West required that towns people were there for each other and pool resources. This spirit of collaboration has survived in California. This is the reason why living is pleasant and easy. There is a “live and let live” attitude, and openness to new and different ways of looking at things, and the willingness to create teams, tribes, mutually beneficial groups, and everyone who is a good fit and is willing to contribute to the overall good is welcome.

Towns who are willing to support their neighbors’ kids thrive more than towns who live in brutally hierarchical ways without caring about each other. Businesses that receive help from financiers are able to afford an educated workforce. These businesses thrive easier. Invest in educating all kids, invest in your towns future. The investment in lifting the overall level of education of a town pays off within 10 to 15 years. It cannot be accomplished within a quarter. However, if you don’t invest in your city, you wil lend up with a ghost town suffering from unhappy, often drugged and depressed workforce who doesn’t work effectively, nor purchase anything. Every town has a chance to adopt these logical and simple principles if leaders choose to come together for the benefit of the entire population. Check out Oakland, CA it is now safer than Kansas City!

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VigilintsHeart™ Launches “Shop, Save, Donate” helping parents save money while donating to schools and non-profits.

Vigilints Newsletter
Vigilints Newsletter
Working together to create a better world for our kids.
VigilintsHeart™ Launches “Shop, Save, Donate” helping parents save money while donating to schools and non-profits.

RioVida Networks is happy to announce the creation of the new VigilintsHeart program that will allow parents to shop online in over 1200 stores that offer special savings.  The portal which can be reached via a link on the VigilintsHeart tab or direct by visiting the store directly.

The customer signs up and receives the sales prizing from the overall stores directly, but because the shopping is done through the portal the customer an additional small savings.  And, more importantly this customer “VigilintsHeart” savings is matched and collected from the purchase of all the participants.   This collective affiliate fee is then donated to various school programs through Micro Donations addressing teachers concerns.

The VigilintsHeart™ “Shop, Save, Donate” community outreach program will provide micro donations to individual school teachers. Often these dedicated professionals reach into their own pocket to purchase school supplies for our kids.  The average teacher spends over $400 out of pocket each year and they really need pencils, paper, books, computer programs, chalk, rulers, glue, and many other items that they use during their instructions.  Many parents are either unable to financially assist the teacher or they “assume” that these supplies are provided by the schools. Unfortunately, school administrators often are burdened with safety needs, building maintenance, and salaries.

There are many wonderful people at the PTA that diligently raise money to help with the bigger issues, school trip, music lessons, art classes and new recess areas.  Often the “little things” – what the teacher actually needs to liven up their class room for the kids on a daily basis rescinds to the background.

Together we can help!   Just move your online shopping to the portal, get your friends and family to do it, and Vigilints will donate their portion of the  affiliate fee to teachers and non-profits.

The VigilintsHeart™ “Shop, Save, Donate” program is simple. Parents join the program FREE by signing up to shop online through the VigilintsHeart™ portal, they receive the discounts offered by the affiliates. The participating list of major stores includes nearly everyone’s favorite store, including Macy’s, Kohl’s, Sak’s Fifth Avenue, Best Buy, Old Navy, Disney’ and many other popular stores. Participants shop and save. The Loyalty Superstore receives 25% for licensing of the software platform, program managers, customer experience center, and maintenance team, and the rest of the affiliate commission will be donated to the VigilintsHeart™ program who will provide funds to the organizations.

Shop Save Donate

Click on picture to sign up for the shop, save and donate program

This program does not alter the other VigilintsHeart™ Educational Programs which provide product and donations to teacher’s class rooms and programs. We invite classrooms and teachers to submit their donation requests.

“We are excited to help schools, children and non-profits through VigilintsHeart™,” said Martin Berns, CEO of Loyalty Superstore. Mr. Berns continued, “Loyalty Superstore is dedicated to serving the needs of its affiliates, customers, and the community, and are proud to be a part of the VigilintsHeart.”

The VigilintsHeart™ “Shop, Save, Donate” program is reaching out to other companies who wish to participate or add funds through sponsorship. To sponsor or learn more about the American classroom’ needs and the donations VigilintsHeart™ make  by contacting Edie Okamoto to discuss how you may wish to participate as a co-sponsor.

About VigilintsHeart™

Vigilint Biosensors strives to provide fun and safe solutions to families with children: communications and learning for children and peace of mind for parents. The combination of the best location technologies (GPS, GNSS, A-GPS and sensors) will easily locate your child, anytime and anywhere. Vigilint Biosensors is dedicated to improving the quality of care that parents and senior caregivers provide through a complete 360º intelligent family care assistant, that connects family members together via smartwatches. Vigilint Biosensors provides the family/caregivers with a cloud infrastructure bringing devices and software services together, which strives to improve time management and reduce stress by improved non-intrusive care for kids, seniors, and other loved ones in need. This is achieved through the most modern application of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies to life data that provide alerts, if and when needed. “When those we care about are well, we can relax and focus on our day.” www.vigilint.store

Vigilint Biosensors

For introductions and appointments with the appropriate contact persons or to receive further Viglint Biosensors press materials, whitepaper links, or investor packages please contact Edie Okamoto at +1 510 693 0166 or edie.okamoto@riovida.net

Loyalty Superstore

The Loyalty Superstore Officers and Board have 50 years of successfully experience in the Loyalty and Rewards space. We have extensive experience in launching and operating public companies. Loyalty Superstore, Inc. (“LSS” or “the company”) began developing proprietary loyalty and rewards solutions in early 2013. The company has been servicing a niche market for mid-large brands that wanted a private branded, Value Add customizable online loyalty rewards platform, both nationally and locally. To learn more about the www.loyaltysuperstore.com

We love to learn more about your ideas on how we can grow this program. You may reach Edie Okamoto with your request or to learn how we could set up a school specific program for you.

And don’t forget to join our growing community of professionals and parents atTwitter & Facebook.

Attention writers and parents:  Please feel free to share your accomplishments, advice for other parents on the Vigilint Biosensor   blog

Feel free to reach out for an interview and for consideration of recommended products or services for review. We will be glad to consider featuring highly recommended products or services in our advice columns, as long as, we deem them to match well with our desire to support only high quality products that represent our core values and that we may consider reselling through our app(s) or store(s).

 

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A spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Thank you, Colbert.

Just in case …

On Oct. 24, 1945, the United Nations  was ratified by five permanent members of the Security Council which consisted – right after WWII – of the United States, Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the Republic of China and was able to secure  46 other members.   It was originally conceived in San Francisco and the charter was created in April and signed into being by the people who conceived it on June 26, 1945.

The United Nations charter back then was described as being created  to maintain international peace and security and to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems that are derived  from economic, social, cultural, issued or are the result of problems with  humanitarian character – namely it’s lack.  Hitler, and Mussolini to a lesser extent, had shown clearly how devastating the lack of humanity and a humanitarian culture that cared about social and economic issues of the mass population could be on the entire world.

The goals were noble and as always when dealing with large groups of people problems started immediately.  For instance:  May 14, 1948, the independent state of Israel was proclaimed as British rule in Palestine came to an end.  The next day NYT reported: “The declaration of the new state by David Ben-Gurion, chairman of the National Council and the first Premier of reborn Israel, was delivered during a simple and solemn ceremony at 4 p.m., and new life was instilled into his people, but from without there was the rumbling of guns, a flashback to other declarations of independence that had not been easily achieved.”  The goal was to give a sense of permanency to the many Jews who were transported to  or had fled to Palestine, while it was under British rule.  The  United Nations  partitioned Palestine into Arab and Jewish sections. in November 1947.  Naturally we all know about the many humanitarian issues that evolved from this decision and especially how it was implemented.  Arab Nations are still today upset about it and they often use it as an explanation for their own inhumane behavior.  Naturally Israelis now live in a nation that legitimately needs defend itself.  When they are ruled by someone who doesn’t really care about economic, social and humanitarian issues in the West Bank or Palestine ever more problems are created.

The original purpose of the United Nations was good.  The way it has been run since Kofi Annan tried to get fairness and attention for African Nations has been pretty awful.  He wanted justice for the African Nations since they often were used and abused by business interests who didn’t care about the population at large.  Unfortunately, a lot of the African leaders are incredibly corrupt and self serving, often killing entire villages to allow international business to “license” the right to excavate property stolen from these villages. Are there problems? Yes.

Does the current US administration help solve any of the issues?   According to the recent US speeches it seems they want to become one of the top problems in the world.  Declaring Nuclear War as an option is hardly in line with the UN Charter.  Perhaps it is a good thing.  Maybe now leaders will finally realize they are equal. Now we live in an equal opportunity world. The world needs leaders who want to create peace and social and economic justice for all in a democratic and humanitarian way.  Maybe now countries from all around the world will create their own versions of world peace.  Clearly at this moment in history, the US has lost its way as a peace loving nation.  Trump’s speech is undeniably and very clearly proof that there is no US commitment nor interest in world peace.  The truth is out.  It is time for new peace loving leaders. no matter where they come from.

It is most  heartening that more and more Americans who are listening to the current chosen American leaders like Pence,  Sessions,  Cruz, McConnell, McConnell,  who clearly want Americans to die in the street, and their chosen “education leader” DuBois – ever more people are wondering whether it is time to improve education in the US.  It is finally becoming clear to more and more people , that after 40 years of hoping the various States will educate kids on their own volition has left a country where there is much room for improvement. Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Charter School Fraud is rampant and proven and now we have dubious DeVos

Estimated Enrollment Trends in Full-Time Virtual Schools. (National Education Policy Center)
Estimated Enrollment Trends in Full-Time Virtual Schools. (National Education Policy Center)

The National Education Association expresses deep concerns

A recent study provided that only 41% of Cyber Schools were deemed “academically acceptable.”  The graduation rate on private Cyber Schools was less than half of that of brick & mortar public schools.  So why is the new head of education so interested in providing an easy platform of proven tax dollar theft?

This is not “liberal hysteria”  this is a genuine concern based on real facts.

California

Jessica Calefati of the San Jose Mercury News provided in-depth research about the for profit company K12 Inc. which lead to a $168.5 Million settlement with California. There are proven claims that the Virginia-based Charter School manipulated attendance records and overstated its students’ success.  The SJMN stated in its article: “Harris’ office found that K12 and the 14 California Virtual Academies used deceptive advertising to mislead families about students’ academic progress, parents’ satisfaction with the program and their graduates’ eligibility for University of California and California State University admission.”  Over a twelve year period the fraudster charged the State of California $310 Million dollars.

Despite these findings the Atlantic Monthly reports:

“DeVos invested in the online charter-school operator K12, which targeted the growing home school market. But K12’s overly expansive business model made it both significantly less profitable and more prone to regulatory and operating deficiencies than smaller, less ideologically driven competitors. K12 still trades below its IPO price from 2007. K12 was one of dozens of companies originally backed by Michael Milken’s ambitiously named Knowledge Universe, as part of an expansive effort to revolutionize education.”

Pennsylvania

Account Neal Prence, 61, admitted guilt in defrauding the government by helping with illegal accounting practices.  AP reported that Nicholas Trombetta, 61, acknowledged using the school’s money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including buying a Florida condominium, homes for his girlfriend and mother and a jet airplane, while socking most of the money away for retirement.  Trombetta used Avanti Management Group, the National Network of Digital Schools and other companies Trombetta also created to perpetrate the scheme.   The fraud was uncovered thanks to the tireless work of the FBI.

What seems surprising is that despite the fact that they absconded admittedly with $8 Million dollars the maximum sentence the law allows is:  “The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 100 years in prison, a fine of $3,250,000, or both for Trombetta and five years’ imprisonment, $250,000, or both for Prence. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Assistant United States Attorneys James R. Wilson, Robert S. Cessar and Stephen R. Kaufman are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.”    More

Ohio

Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow lost appeal to allow the state to audit the attendance of their online charter school.  The Columbia Dispatch reported on November 13, 2016:  “ECOT could not substantiate nearly 60 percent of full-time students were getting the minimum 920 hours of “learning opportunities” required by the state, meaning the state could ask the school to repay more than $60 million of the $106 million it received in state funding last year. Eight other smaller e-schools also were unable to justify their reported enrollment totals.”   It seems House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, was not worried about ECOT or Ohio’s other online schools potentially defrauding Ohio.  He simply excused their behavior by saying:  “There are always two sides to the story.”  His comment implies that there may be many more sides than that. Why would a House Speaker support Ohio citizens being defrauded?

These are only very few examples.  Now with DeVos and her side kick Jerry Fallwell Jr. in charge of “education” we can be sure there will be many more major thefts.  We are now in the era that US founders wanted to avoid:

It is 49 words in Article I of the Constitution.

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

And the Congress is working feverishly on abolishing the oversight office of ethics to aid the business interests of their now fellow leaders. Here is a great link to a speech Walter M. Shaub, Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics, gave at the Brookings Institute in January 2017.  LinkFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail