Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Full List of Donald Trump's Rapidly Changing Policy Positions

NBC News

After a year of campaigning, hundreds of interviews, stadium rallies, and press conferences, it is still difficult to glean a platform from the Republican nominee's powerfully incoherent rhetoric and constantly evolving views.

Donald Trump changes his mind so frequently and so dramatically that a compilation of his current policies would not tell the whole story, nor would it be up to date for very long — he once offered up three different views on abortion in eight hours. By mixing fact with many exaggerations and outright falsehoods in hundreds of interviews while simultaneously refusing to offer specifics — insisting that unpredictability is an advantage he'll use to cut better deals — Trump and the Republican Party that's nominated him are putting forward the most elusive presidential platform in modern history.

Go HERE for a list that was complete as of early this morning.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Trump – Putin’s Pawn In The Oval Office

Ken O'Brien

Is it plausible that a self-centered egotist who has only shown interest in his business concerns and in letting no personal slight go unnoticed would suddenly embrace a campaign for the benefit of so many people he has long considered beneath him?

Lithuanian wall mural
Thirty-five years ago Republicans claimed credit for the collapse of the Soviet Union under Ronald Reagan.

Now that same party has nominated a candidate for President of the United States who is financially and emotionally beholden to Russian oligarchs. 

Donald Trump’s candidacy is driven by the goal of securing a position that will allow him to trade American interests for the benefit of his dreams of an international real estate empire.

Throughout his career Trump has viewed his relationship with politicians as little more than a means to an end. The end is the favorable treatment of his real estate interests. The means has been financial contributions.

Trump’s goals have been coupled with a character dominated by the view that all things are personal – both compliments and slights. And those personal interactions are to be reciprocated – by any means possible.

So what motivates a person consumed by a passion for his business goals to suddenly seem to forsake those interests to pursue a political agenda? 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trump Stiffs Small Business – Gets Nailed for $300K in Fees

The Miami Herald reported Friday that “Circuit Court Judge Jorge Cueto, presiding over a lawsuit related to unpaid bills brought by a local paint store against the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort, ordered the billionaire politician’s company to pay the Doral-based mom-and-pop shop nearly $300,000 in attorney’s fees.”

Yes. Another example of Donald Trump stiffing those who do work for him. Not paying his debts. You know, managing money – the thing of which he says he is the master. 

Unions Mean Better Teachers

You know all that stuff you hear about how teachers unions protect bad teachers through the evils of due process and their general badness? A new study for the National Bureau of Economic Research puts the lie to that myth.

The National Bureau of Economic Research is the largest economics research organization in the United States. Many of the American winners of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences were NBER Research Associates. Many of the Chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisers have also been NBER Research Associates. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Reagan Was The Real Villain

Ken O’Brien

The whole basis for the rise of the racist right led by Donald Trump has its foundation in economic grievances.

Underlying all the inflammatory rhetoric against minorities, immigrants and trade is the perception by the middle class that they have lost any prospect for economic stability and growth.

While Trump has seized upon the time-worn themes of demagoguery that blames today’s problems on “those people”, the reality is far simpler. 

He's Back!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

GOP Platform Proposes To Get Rid Of National Parks And National Forests

In this Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, rancher
Cliven Bundy stands along the road near his ranch in Bunkerville, Nev.
The Republican platform committee met this week to draft the document that defines the party’s official principles and policies. Along with provisions on pornography and LGBT “conversion therapy” is an amendment calling for the indiscriminate and immediate disposal of national public lands.

The inclusion of this provision in the Republican Party’s platform reflects the growing influence of and ideological alliance between several anti-park members of the GOP and anti-government extremists, led by Cliven Bundy, who dispute the federal government’s authority over national public lands. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Elizabeth Warren - Native American?

Back in 2012 then Senator Scott Brown made a big issue regarding claims made in the past by his competitor, Elizabeth Warren, to Native American ancestry.

Recently the same issue has arisen with presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump referring to her as “Pocahontas”.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Southbridge Town Council Agenda - July 11, 2016

Town Council Meeting

MacKinnon Council Chambers

July 11, 2016

Immediately Following Swearing-In of Newly Elected Councilors


Friday, July 8, 2016

The Reality Of Southbridge's Pension Commitments

Ken O'Brien

Recent discussions on this site have related to issues confronting Southbridge's finances in the context of real estate taxes.

One area of concern is the town's commitment to financing the long-term costs associated with its retirement obligations to town employees.

This area is frequently overlooked when addressing the town budget. In large part this is a function of the fact that the complexity of the issue is beyond the grasp of many.

As I pointed out in a comment on an earlier post:

 According to the town’s most recent bond offering “The total actuarial liability applicable to the entire system [Southbridge’s retirement plan] at January 1, 2014, was $67,505,108; the unfunded liability of the system was $33,179,035."
In addition other post-employment benefits amounted to $47,599,891 based on the latest actuarial analysis completed July 1, 2013. “As of June 30, 2015, the balance in the OPEB Trust was $513,606.”

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The 9% Factor

Ken O’Brien

Congratulations Southbridge! The results are in.

You’ve officially given up on your town.

I can remember when a good friend of mine lost his race for school committee. At the time he got over 1,100 votes – and he lost.

In our most recent town election the winners got 900 votes or less.

Less than 10% of the town’s registered voters bothered to turn out to vote. 

Apathy has triumphed.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Remember The Line About Chickens Coming Home To Roost?

Just imagine what'll happen if you succeed in your efforts to close the landfill!
(Maybe you should have listened to me a year ago. 
See Reset The Tax Levy Limit)

How Massachusetts Became Ground-Zero for Corporate Education Privatization

What happens when charter schools begin to proliferate in traditional public school districts? In Massachusetts, where K-12 alternatives have had more than two decades to metastasize, it means millions less in annual funding for traditional institutions, and an all-out war in every budget season.

In the Commonwealth’s largest city and state capital, the impact of proposed cuts to Boston Public Schools for next year is already causing stress and anguish. Individual schools are bracing to lose beloved programs, as well as teachers and tutors, and, in some cases, resources for the most vulnerable special needs students. As charter allies boast about their high success rates and sophisticated, wired buildings, those stuck in the ailing BPS systems are in an uproar. And they’re pointing fingers at boosters of what they label corporate education reform. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Charter Boosters Plan To Swift Boat Massachusetts Education

Massachusetts voters will face the choice in November whether to lift a cap on the number of charter schools in the state, and the big money is already rolling in, with some notorious names attached:
Public Charter Schools for MA, the group supporting a referendum to lift the state’s charter school cap, has reserved $6.5 million in advertising for the seven weeks before election day, according to The Tracking Firm, a service that tracks TV advertising spending.
The ads will be produced by DC-based SRCP Media, the same firm behind the infamous “Swift Boat Veterans For Truth” campaign against John Kerry in 2004. The ads will begin airing on Sept. 20.