Secretary DeVos Contacts the Department of Justice about Diane Ravitch

Although I have now been retired from journalism for 18 months, I haven’t lost touch completely. Happily, some of my former contacts continue to reach out.  Yesterday I received this alarming memo in the mail in a plain white envelope.  While I have not been able to get a second source to confirm its authenticity, one source swears that it’s genuine.  Its contents are disturbing, to say the least.

Here’s the memo in its entirety



950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20530-0001

“Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur”


Memo Re Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Diane Ravitch

To Anthony B. Susan, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Community Understanding (AAAGCU)

From James B Kelly II, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Fundamental Understanding and Communication (ADAAGFUC)

As per your directive, I met privately with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a meeting held at her request.  Her stated goal was to find ways to muffle, counteract and otherwise minimize what she referred to as “the constant drumbeat of negativity” about her agenda to improve educational opportunities for all children.  The meeting lasted 2 hours and 35 minutes.

The Secretary is particularly upset with Diane Ravitch, the historian turned activist blogger who apparently has an audience of 30,000,000.  The Secretary insisted on exploring several strategies for curtailing Ravitch, which I will summarize below.

  1. Could Ravitch be turned?  As is well known, she was for many years a traditional Republican but is now a very left-leaning Democrat.  She once was straight but is now gay. She used to hate dogs but now is reputed to be an extreme dog lover who has invested thousands of dollars in psychiatric counseling for her dog. Given that “pillar to post” pattern, the Secretary wondered aloud what it would take to bring Ravitch back into the Republican camp.  She implied that money might do the trick because, she said, in her experience “everyone has a price.”  However, subsequent research reveals that Ravitch often donates her speaking fees, suggesting that she does not need money and therefore might not be able to be bought.
  2. I suggested a media campaign to paint Ravitch as a wacko who shouldn’t be listened to, based on her taking her dog for intensive counseling. I mean, who does that? Bad idea, I learned, because apparently the Secretary’s four cats and two parakeets have been in psychiatric counseling for years.  Who knew!
  3. The Secretary suggested invoking the Alien and Sedition Acts against Ravitch.  She feels strongly that the Sedition Act of 1798, which criminalized making false statements that were critical of the federal government, applies to Ravitch.  The Secretary expressed pride in her knowledge of history, pointing out that the Sedition Act resulted in the prosecution and conviction of many Jeffersonian newspaper owners who disagreed with the government.  She expressed the view that Attorney General Sessions ought to invoke the Sedition Act against Ravitch, and perhaps other leftist bloggers as well.  It fell to me to tell her that the Sedition Act was allowed to expire in 1800 and has not been law of the land for 117 years.   At that point, she muttered something (which I probably wasn’t supposed to hear) about “going back to the good old days,”
  4. I will say this, the Secretary doesn’t give up easily.  She brought up another old law, The Alien Enemies Act of 1798, which was designed to protect our young country from alien enemies in a time of severe danger. That particular act was never repealed and was codified into US law at the outset of the first World War.  It was used to lock up German-Americans during both World Wars and to justify incarcerating Japanese-Americans during the Second World War.  Why not use that to shut down Ravitch, the Secretary demanded?  Unfortunately for the Secretary, Ravitch is an American citizen, born in Texas in 1938.  Her parents, or perhaps it was her grandparents, were immigrants, but Ravitch herself cannot be touched under the Alien Enemies Act or its successors.
  5. What about her audience, the Secretary asked? Surely some of them are aliens and, now that the Trump Administration has relaxed the rules about internet privacy, can’t the Justice Department monitor her readers and threaten them about possible dire consequences?  That’s uncharted territory that might raise First Amendment issues, I told the Secretary. However, I was left with the distinct impression that she hopes to discuss this with POTUS or Steve Bannon at some point in the near future.
  6. At that point Secretary DeVos changed gears, asking if Ravitch’s platform for distributing her material could be shut down.  I said that the First Amendment protected Ravitch. The Secretary muttered something (and this I am rock-solid certain I was not supposed to hear) about contacting her brother. Erik Prince is a former Navy Seal and the founder of Blackwater, is a notorious black-ops guy.

While I don’t think this meeting’s outcomes warrant the attention of the AG at this point, I strongly suggest that we step up our monitoring of Secretary DeVos and Diane Ravitch, but particularly of the former.


April 1, 2017


17 thoughts on “Secretary DeVos Contacts the Department of Justice about Diane Ravitch

  1. John, please try and find out if this is legitimate, or if it’s from someone just doing a sick April Fools joke and trying to pull your chain. (I mean, look at the date.)
    Let us know what you find out.


    • Hee, hee!
      But you know, with this administration, anything like April Fool, the Onion, the Borowitz Report, etc, seem increasingly plausible, given the idiot Trumpistas.
      A lot of what they have done looks like it came from the Onion.
      Sad! 😉


  2. You are truly losing your mind

    Scott Pearson
    Executive Director
    DC Public Charter School Board
    Desk: 202-328-2662 l Cell: 202-495-8722
    Twitter: @sdpearson | Website:

    From: The Merrow Report
    Reply-To: The Merrow Report
    Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 4:13 PM
    To: Scott Pearson
    Subject: [New post] Secretary DeVos Contacts the Department of Justice about Diane Ravitch

    John Merrow posted: “Although I have now been retired from journalism for 18 months, I haven’t lost touch completely. Happily, some of my former contacts continue to reach out. Yesterday I received this alarming memo in the mail in a plain white envelope. While I have not b”


  3. John…you almost gave me a stroke. But then I remembered previous years of your SOH and realized that this was your April Fool’s offering.

    However, considering deVos and her brother just this week doing more dirty work, I would put nothing past them.

    So please get back to writing some exposes on the Trumpsters, and get your giggles satisfaction from being a great informant.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. John,
    It’s as if every day is April Fools Day in DC and one has only to wonder what foolish thing they will do next.
    BTW today was National Healthy Schools Day and I wrote a short tribute. It’s on my blog at


  5. This embodies who these people are and needs to be shouted from the mountaintops. Please begin a gofundme account to raise money for you defense! Count me in!

    Nevermind. I just read the whole thing and really do not appreciate this sick humor. I am canceling my status for now


  6. Very Good, John!

    Although I wondered about the Latin motto (but I wasn’t sure), the ‘Anthony B. Susan’ was pretty good (as well as the ADAAGFUC). From then on, it was a hoot!


  7. John,
    Very clever. I’ve always enjoyed your April 1 creativity.
    I’m glad your article concluded that the attention of AG Sessions was not required at this time. That should free up some time for his department to try to find out what Susan Rice was up to a few months ago.
    Marty B


  8. As a member of Diane Ravtich’s audience, I am sure I am an alien. After all, I was born in California and I’ve heard from many very, very, very reliable sources, I mean everyone is talking about it. that President Trump considers California an alien nation since the greatest, most loved man who ever lived, lost California by almost 3-million illegal votes.


  9. Would it be OK if I cross-posted this article to I’ll be sure to give you complete credit as the author. There is no fee4, I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for our community and I liked what you wrote. If “OK” please let me know via email.



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