What cutting costs means

I can see that people on the MBTAs Control Board don’t know how things work:

When the two cleaning companies contracted by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority cut costs this fall, they slashed the hours — and in the process, health insurance — for dozens of their employees, the agency’s general counsel said Monday.

For months, workers have protested the changes before the MBTA’s fiscal and management control board, saying many of their fellow employees have lost health benefits and don’t have enough cleaning supplies to do their job.

John Englander, general counsel for the MBTA and the state Transportation Department released figures confirming that close to 80 workers for the two companies, about 25 percent of the staff, were laid off or lost health insurance when their hours were reduced.

This came out of this:

Shortsleeve told Boston Public Radio Friday that he believes the administration of Charlie Baker’s predecessor, Deval Patrick, overpaid the companies the MBTA contracts with to clean its stations. He thinks the stations can be maintained for $36.5 million, instead of the $53.1 million that has actually been paid out.

“For the last three years, the prior administration, for a variety of reasons, had been overpaying against those contracts as opposed to enforcing them on a performance basis,” Shortsleeve said. “What we’ve done, and what we’ll start on August 31, is simply to enforce those contracts on a performance basis, which means those companies are on the hook.”

Shortsleeve said that the MBTA does not employ janitors directly, and so any resulting layoffs will be the decision of the cleaning companies the agency contracts with and their labor unions–not the MBTA’s.

The reason they added money to the contract the last time was the private companies made big cuts in pay and benefits last time. This means that Brian Shortsleeve agreed to these cuts knowing it would lead to layoffs and cuts in benefits and he didn’t care.

It also comes straight out of the attitude of one Charlie Baker:

“I don’t care if a service is provided publicly or privately. What I care about is performance, productivity,” and that public money is “well spent,” Baker said.

Notice there’s nothing about treating employees well. He doesn’t care.

What Trump believes about facts

It seems that Trump has made it official, he doesn’t think facts are facts (as told by Scottie Nell Hughes):

People that say facts are facts, they’re not really facts….There’s no such thing, unfortunately anymore, as facts. And so Mr. Trump’s tweet, amongst a certain crowd, a large part of the population, are truth. When he says that millions of people illegally voted, he has some facts amongst him and his supporters, and people believe they have facts to back that up. Those that do not like Mr. Trump, they say that those are lies and there’s no facts to back it up.

It’s a good thing there is no such thing as facts, because otherwise she would have to admit that Donald Trump is a big fat liar–Politifact has found that 70% of the statements that they look at are either ‘mostly false’, ‘false’, or ‘Pants on Fire’. But maybe they’re just not looking at most of his statements. Nope, still a big fat liar:

With the GOP front-runner scooping up delegates in a march toward the Republican nomination, POLITICO subjected a week’s worth of his words to our magazine’s fact-checking process. We chronicled 4.6 hours of stump speeches and press conferences, from a rally in Concord, N.C., on Monday to a rally on Friday in St. Louis.

The result: more than five dozen statements deemed mischaracterizations, exaggerations, or simply false – the kind of stuff that would have been stripped from one of our stories, or made the whole thing worthy of the spike. It equates to roughly one misstatement every five minutes on average.

Yup, he’s just a big old pathological liar … unless there is no such thing as facts anymore.

Donald Trump is too politically correct

Donald Trump makes a big deal about being politically correct but:

Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!

For the idiots out there, like one Donald Trump, not only is that unconstitutional, it’s political correctness. Of course it’s not what they mean, when they complain about political correctness, they’re complaining that they don’t get to call certain groups names anymore. If someone says something that offends them, they’re the first to complain.

By the way, what will Trump do with this (part of the US Flag code):

When a flag is so tattered that it no longer fits to serve as a symbol of the United States, it should be destroyed in a dignified manner, preferably by burning.

Corruption, Donald Trump style

This past week has been a showcase for how Donald Trump does business. He settled in the suit against Trump University:

Phony is right; one pillar of Schneiderman’s lawsuit was that Trump had not even bothered to get his “university” licensed by New York state as a bona fide educational institution.

Trump University, it will be recalled, was pitched to the unwary as an opportunity to learn “the Trump process for investing in today’s once-in-a-lifetime real estate market” from a cadre of Trump’s “hand-picked” instructors. Schneiderman alleged that this was false. Of the instructors, “not a single one was ‘handpicked’ by Donald Trump.” Some had little real-estate experience at all, and some actually had gone bankrupt in the business.

We also find that his ‘charity’ broke the law:

President-elect Donald Trump’s charity has admitted that it violated IRS regulations barring it from using its money or assets to benefit Trump, his family, his companies, or substantial contributors to the foundation.

The admissions by the Donald J. Trump Foundation were made in a 2015 tax filing made public after a presidential election in which it was revealed that Trump has used the charity to settle lawsuits, make a $25,000 political contribution and purchase items such as a painting of himself that was displayed at one of his properties.

We also find the Donald thinks that Presidents are allowed to be corrupt:

He declared that “the law’s totally on my side” when it comes to questions about conflict of interest and ethics laws. “The president can’t have a conflict of interest.”

He said it would be extremely difficult to sell off his businesses because they are real estate holdings. He said that he would “like to do something” to address ethics concerns, and he noted that he had turned over the management of the businesses to his children.

But he insisted that he could still have business partners into the White House for grip-and-grin photographs. He said that critics were pressuring him to go beyond what he was willing to do, including distancing himself from his children while they run his businesses.

“If it were up to some people,” he said, “I would never, ever see my daughter Ivanka again.”

Trump rejected the idea that he was bound by federal anti-nepotism laws against installing his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in a White House job.

And it seems that the people with him are following his lead:

Donald Trump’s chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon accepted $376,000 in pay over four years for working 30 hours a week at a tiny tax-exempt charity in Tallahassee while also serving as the hands-on executive chairman of Breitbart News Network.

During the same four-year period, the charity paid about $1.3 million in salaries to two other journalists who said they put in 40 hours a week there while also working for the politically conservative news outlet, according to publicly available documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

Donald Trump does corruption bigly.

Senator Shelby makes a funny

Given that Republicans now hold the Presidency, House, and Senate there will be talk about the use of filibusters by Democrats. Let’s see what Senator Shelby says:

Hanging over Democrats’ heads is a threat from some Republicans that they will seek to eliminate the filibuster, which they can do by changing the Senate rules. “We should not let the Democrats stifle the will of the people,” said Alabama Republican Richard Shelby.

That would be this Senator Shelby:

Regan Lachapelle, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, confirmed that Senator Shelby has put a hold on dozens of nominations made by Mr. Obama for various government posts. Those include Pentagon and State Department positions.

“Senator Shelby is holding all of the president’s nominees pending on the Executive Calendar,” Ms. Lachapelle said. “Regardless of his concern, Shelby shouldn’t have a hold on 70-plus nominees because of a parochial issue.”

Ha ha, Senator Shelby cares about the will of the people. That’s funny.

A conundrum

The conventional wisdom (which is often wrong, but I’m too lazy to look this up) is that Donald Trump did well among people who are worried about stagnant wages, loss of benefits, and the loss of jobs overseas. This is why he did better with union households than the last few Republican candidates.

There is one set of groups whose purpose is to protect workers–unions.

And Donald Trump and the newly ascendant Republican Party are anti-union:

Trump has expressed support for so-called right-to-work legislation, which allows workers to avoid paying union dues. Republican leaders in Congress have consistently sought such a change at the national level.

Among his concerns, he listed a Supreme Court case this year in which public-sector unions scored a victory related to funding organized labor – but only because the court deadlocked 4-4. The appointment of a new conservative judge by Trump to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia could change that.

in September the Obama administration finalized an executive order requiring federal contractors to provide sick leave to workers, as well as rules expanding the types of data employers are required to provide on pay. A separate Labor Department rule expanding which employees are eligible for overtime pay is scheduled to take effect next month.

Those actions drew criticism from business groups, and all could be reversed under a Trump administration.

Steven Bernstein, a partner at law firm Fisher Phillips, which represents employers, said the Trump administration and Congress may also target recent NLRB rulings that allowed workers to picket on private property, expanded the type of worker activity protected by federal labor law and gave graduate students the right to unionize.

“It’s also fair to assume that Trump will be inclined to repeal a host of executive orders supporting unions,” particularly rules that apply to federal contracts, Bernstein said in a statement.

I guess I don’t understand how these people think: they are worried about their jobs, benefits, and pay so they vote for someone who is against the groups that are fighting for workers? Do they think that businesses will just give them higher pay and better benefits out of the goodness of their hearts?

How could anyone have foreseen these things?

Donald Trump put xenophobia at the center of his campaign and was explicitly racist and sexist. If you voted for him, you voted for things like this:

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, reports of racist incidents are emerging from the nation’s schools and universities, including students who chanted ‘‘white power’’ and called black classmates ‘‘cotton pickers.’’

Reporting by The Associated Press and local media outlets has identified more than 20 such encounters beginning on Election Day, many involving people too young to cast a ballot.

Who could have guessed that many of Trump’s supporters were racists and xenophobes? I’m sure you’ll be surprised to learn that all of the senior executives on his transition team are white.

This is also in the category of the obvious:

The new inner circle at the transition offices will direct the activities of dozens of corporate consultants, lobbyists, and other specialists who will be responsible for recommending candidates for agency jobs across the breadth of the federal government. Some of those advisers come from industries for which they are now in charge of finding top regulators.

Go back to that list of people on the transition team:

Ms. Mercer, the daughter of hedge-fund executive Robert Mercer

Mr. Mnuchin, the chief executive of the Dune Capital Management fund, is a longtime banker and former Goldman Sachs executive who has since helped arrange billions in financing for studios in Hollywood.

Mr. Scaramucci is the founder of a hedge fund called SkyBridge Capital

Mr. Thiel is a Silicon Valley billionaire and co-founder of PayPal.

Now look at this:

A member of the Trump transition team told Reuters there were more than 100 people now involved in developing “white papers” on what regulations to roll back after Jan. 20. Some environmental measures and a rule requiring retirement advisers to act in their clients’ interests could be among the first on the chopping block, an industry lobbying source said.

People voted for Trump because he was anti-establishment and would go harder against the moneyed groups than Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump is PART of the moneyed establishment, so, of course, he’s going to help the moneyed establishment. People are such idiots.

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