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Category Archives: economics

A Day Without Immigrants

So apparently today was supposed to be some kind of statement – a “Day Without Immigrants.”

Washington, D.C., will experience a “Day Without Immigrants” along with a number of other major cities across the country on Thursday. The grassroots movement is calling for immigrants not to go to work or make purchases on Feb. 16 to show President Trump ho [sic.] much legal and illegal immigrants contribute to the economy.

2017-02-15-day-without-immigrants_0Let’s put aside the obvious economic ignorance exhibited here. One day without a fairly small percentage of the population working and making purchases will hurt no one except maybe their employers who seem more than happy to virtue signal their support for immigration, which no one has proposed to ban writ large, by giving their foreign-born workers a paid day off. Those same immigrants staging this protest and not buying anything, will purchase what they need tomorrow… or the next day. No harm, no foul. Any money “lost” from any sale today, will be made up tomorrow or the next day, because ultimately people need what they need.

Second, just how many illegal immigrants do we have working in the DC area? Do they really make such a huge impact on the local economy? And also, will it honestly impact the President, who I’m pretty sure isn’t going out to Bub & Pop’s to get a sandwich or picking up street food at a cart today.

I wouldn’t even have known this was going on if I hadn’t come across it in a news feed.

Local restaurants – if they support this “boycott” – closed. So what? This immigrant brings her own lunch to work.

The employees of those establishments that do not support this empty action and who decided not to show up for work today anyway, could find themselves shitcanned in favor of someone who will actually work. And if not, they’re simply not going to get paid for that day, unless they have earned leave. Who loses? They do.

Smoke & Barrel in Washington DC had the following up on their Facebook page two days ago.

As a Latino business owner I stand in solidarity with all of my immigrant staff. Therefore, we will close our kitchen this Thursday in support of our immigrant staff’s desire and right to protest the evolving state of immigration policies in our country. Our bars will remain open and our guests are welcome to BYOF (bring your own food.) -John Andrade, owner

OK, so they’ll still sell booze, and they’ll allow people to bring their own food, because they can’t possibly lose the profits! But yay, solidarity! No sacrifice. No business lost. So what is it, exactly, that they’re trying to impact?

Boycott school? Really? The one place that should educate and give them something of value, they’re encouraged to skip. What, exactly, will that do to the school? The teachers will continue teaching. The other students will continue learning. And the illegal immigrant kids who are skipping school are only shooting themselves in the foot.

Methinks these people have a much inflated view of their own value.

The flyer claims that without them the country is “paralyzed.”

Well, this immigrant is at work today, and for once, I didn’t experience metro fuckery. Correlation, of course, does not equal causation, but the 20 minute commute was pretty darn good today.

I bring my own lunch, and I don’t eat at the restaurants that are participating in this “boycott” anyway. (We ate at Pupatella in Arlington once, and the service was so shitty after an hour and a half wait, that I swore never to go there again. The food wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t even remotely worth it.)

I don’t plan on going shopping, because most days I work 10-11 hours, and I’m too tired to do anything but go home and go to sleep.

When I need to go shopping, it will be on a weekend, so the “boycott” ultimately means nothing to me.

If the purpose of this action was to “paralyze” the country, the organizers might want to learn economics first.

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Destroying the Enemy

OK, at first it was kind of amusing. Snowflakes nationwide were losing their collective shit over the election of someone they did not support, because they were so enamored with the idea that Queen Pantsuit would be crowned on January 20, 2017. Things didn’t quite pan out that way, and things got out of hand very quickly.

There were recount demands.

There were unhinged lectures by out-of-touch, billionaire Hollywood actors, ivory tower academics, and snotty artists demeaning and harassing their fellow Americans, as well as the President’s family.

There were protests… sometimes violent ones.

And then there were the boycotts.

Uber, Nordstrom, UnderArmour, Nieman Marcus, “grab your wallet,” hearings on Trump nominees, unhinged demands that Ivanka Trump take art she has purchased off her walls, deranged mommies soiling themselves because a toddler – A FOUR YEAR OLD CHILD – whose grandfather happens to be the President, is attending pre-school with their precious snowflakes…

I’m no longer amused. Frankly, I’m a bit disturbed by the concerted snowflake effort to literally destroy what they perceive to be “the enemy” at any cost.

wegmans1And in case you were wondering, the enemy is not just anyone who voted for Trump. The enemy is anyone who does business with him or his family. They can’t just walk away from the product and not buy it. They must destroy the entire business for selling it, and in the process impact jobs – work for the very people they claim to want to defend against those evil rich bastards who take advantage of them and keep them down. Because the little folks don’t matter if your overall strategic goal is to decimate the enemy.

So this week it’s Wegmans.

Believe it or not, I’ve only discovered Wegmans recently, but having seen the selection of cheese, wine, international foods, meat, teas, prepared foods… I’m a convert.

Of course to the demented prognazis, nothing is sacred. Not even Wegmans. The store’s “crime?” Selling wine produced by a winery Trump purchased in 2011.

The regional supermarket chain with a cult following is facing calls to remove Trump Winery products from its 10 Virginia stores. Over the weekend, about 300 members of the Prince William County chapter of the National Organization for Women made plans to pressure Wegmans to stop carrying products from the Charlottesville winery.

“Certainly if Wegmans is carrying Trump wines, I personally will not shop there,” said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, who was not present at the meeting. The nonprofit, which was founded 50 years ago, has more than 500,000 contributing members, making it the country’s largest feminist organization.

The Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans sells 237 Virginia wines from 58 wineries at its local stores. Among those wines are five varieties from the Trump Winery, including Trump Blanc de Blanc and Trump Winery Chardonnay. According to Jo Natale, vice president of media relations for Wegmans, the company has been selling wines from the Charlottesville winery since 2008, before it was owned by Donald Trump — and long before he campaigned for the White House.

You see, to the prognazis, choice is not an option. If they refuse to buy the product, no one should be able to purchase it! Conform, or face boycotts and hits to your bottom line. They don’t want you to even have the option of purchasing a wine from Trump’s Charlottesville winery, and they’re willing to impact the bottom line of a store — which, by the way, is committed to charitable giving and improving its communities, in addition to employing hundreds of workers, who I would guess make a fraction of what NOW president Terry O’Neill rakes in — to achieve their goal.

The prognazis, as usual, have a very tenuous grasp on economics. They don’t understand that if enough people simply refuse to purchase a product, the drop in sales will inevitably cause the store to stop carrying it. No boycott of the store needed. If the product is not profitable, it will go away.

But they’re not willing to wait that long. They don’t want you to have that choice. And they’re willing to work to destroy a business, rather than let economics take its course. They don’t want you to vote with your wallet. They simply want to force you and the store to conform to their desires.

And, not to Godwin myself out of the conversation, but there’s a certain familiar feeling to the prognazis’ actions of late.

On April 1, 1933, the Nazis carried out the first nationwide, planned action against Jews: a boycott targeting Jewish businesses and professionals. The boycott was both a reprisal and an act of revenge against Gruelpropaganda (atrocity stories) that German and foreign Jews, assisted by foreign journalists, were allegedly circulating in the international press to damage Nazi Germany’s reputation.

On the day of the boycott, Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilung; SA) stood menacingly in front of Jewish-owned department stores and retail establishments, and the offices of professionals such as doctors and lawyers. The Star of David was painted in yellow and black across thousands of doors and windows, with accompanying antisemitic slogans. Signs were posted saying “Don’t Buy from Jews” and “The Jews Are Our Misfortune.” Throughout Germany, acts of violence against individual Jews and Jewish property occurred; the police intervened only rarely.

Much like the Sturmabteilung troops refused to allow people to make a individual choices with their wallets, opting instead to forcibly prevent them from making that choice, the prognazis would rather force an entire store to close its doors, firing personnel and leaving the community of which they are a part – they would rather destroy a business – than allow people to make individual choices with their wallets.

Those who forget history and all that…

Or maybe they remember, which makes their actions all the more disturbing.

c2juvc0wqaaoh01PS: If this unhinged fuckstick really keeps his promise of snipping off his schlong in response to us building a wall, I’ll personally contribute money for that venture and will spend my vacation laying bricks! Anything to keep these freaks from reproducing!

Things pissing me off today

Those Tina Fey American Express commercials, where she goes on a massive impulse buying spree without a thought to the amount or to whether she needs the shit she’s gorge-buying in bulk.

 

Yeah, let’s encourage idiots in a country where overall household debt increased by 11 percent in the past decade, and where households owe $16,000 on the average in credit card debt, to buy shit they probably will never use, because a vapid celebrity who never has to worry about paying her debts or living paycheck to paycheck does so!

How many of us out there can go into a sports store, and buy hundreds of dollars worth of stuff we don’t even like or know how to use – all because IMPULSE BUY? I’d wager not a whole lot of us can say that, and yet tool stick over here is encouraging us to go out and buy shit anyway – shit you can’t afford, but hey… you have a credit card!

Yeah, let’s encourage that kind of behavior! Not.

And then there was this cock swizzle in the Metro station today. As I’m walking by, he says aggressively, while leaning toward passersby “Does anyone have a dollar? Anyone still remember those things?” As if it’s our fault that he’s a freeloading piece of detritus.

5d8c164701d56762061717b75ace60e4Dude, I work two jobs and am barely making ends meet. No one owes you a fucking dollar.

Job. Remember those things?

I’m usually pretty sympathetic. I’ve given food to the homeless, I’ve contributed thousands of dollars to charity, I’ve adopted two kids, and I’ve taken a homeless woman to a restaurant and bought her dinner.

But give me a fucktard who aggressively accosts me in the Metro station in an accusatory manner, because I won’t give him a dollar, and the only thing he’ll get is a throat punch.

Yeah, it’s Monday, and I’m in a mood.

Some straight talk on Russia’s cyber attacks

putinThe Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) on Russia’s cyber attacks was declassified recently, and of course, both sides – Republican and Democrat – are making political hay of it. Since I’m on neither Republican nor Democrat side, but rather on the side of America, let’s discuss, shall we?

First, let’s talk about what it did say, and not what the media says it says. I’m sick and tired of people citing the Washington Post and other media outlets in their efforts to promote “their side,” rather than actually reading the damn thing. In order to intelligently speak on the issue, we have to actually read the ICA – yes, all 25 pages of it.

  • It says that Russia’s recent activities demonstrate an escalation of activities that Russia has been engaged in for years.
  • It says Putin ordered the activities in the 2016 campaign.
  • It says Russia’s goals were to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system, as well as undermine Hillary Clinton in favor of Trump. I’ve said this before on this very blog. The declassified ICA confirms what I’ve said previously.

Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.

  • It says Russia’s cyber campaign was done in concert with its longer-term public relations/information warfare strategy.
  • It says Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were both part of Russia’s General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate’s (GRU)’s cyber campaign, and released information to WikiLeaks.
  • It says the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not – I repeat NOT – involved in vote tallying.
  • It says Russia will employ similar strategies in other countries’ elections processes.

Here’s what it does not say.

  • It does not say that the Russians helped Trump win.

We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.

  • It makes no assessment at all about the effectiveness of Russia’s efforts. As a matter of fact, I argued a few weeks ago on this site that their efforts to undermine confidence in the U.S. elections system was not successful.

Gallup polling in September indicated that only 62 percent of Americans had confidence in the accuracy of the vote count, but this number is similar to the polls conducted in 2008 – before revelations about active Russian meddling came to light. So it’s difficult to attribute the low confidence to the Russians.

  • It does not give away sources and methods. There are specific reasons for that. Know what the Russians do to sources who reveal information to their adversaries? They kill them. They are not big on due process. Their due process involves a bullet to the back of the head. If you doubt me, look up “smersh,” which stands for “smert’ shpionam” or “death to spies.” Believe it or not, we do care about human lives, and slimy detritus such as Robert Hansen and Aldrich Ames, who caused the deaths of numerous sources who had the unmitigated gall to betray the Soviet state and provide information to the United States, unfortunately are still allowed to draw breath.

There are also specific reasons to ensure that methods remain classified. Unlike certain morons in the DNC who failed to change their passwords or made them so ridiculously simple, that a teenager living in his mother’s basement could figure out a way in with his little Cheeto-stained fingers, the Russians will actually change their email addresses, beef up cyber security, and increase operational security, as well as make our collection platforms worthless once their existence is discovered.

  • It does not say the Russians wanted Trump from the start. It clearly says the Russian government “developed” a preference for Trump, and aspired to help his election chances.
  • It does not say that they in any way knew these efforts would succeed. As a matter of fact, it specifically says they developed a strategy to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidency when they thought it was likely that she was going to win.
  • It did not say Russia’s propaganda campaign was anything new and shocking. It wasn’t. It was part of a longstanding Russian strategy.
  • It did not say anything released by the Russians through WikiLeaks and other methods was false in any way.
  • It did not say that the Trump campaign had anything to do with these attacks or leaks.

It says the three major agencies agree with these assessments, although NSA makes the assessment that these operations were directed by Putin with moderate confidence, while FBI and CIA have high confidence assessments. The ICA explains what these assessments mean. High confidence means that the assessment is based on high-quality information from multiple, corroborative sources. Note that the ICA specifically says this does not preclude the possibility that the judgment could be wrong – only that the chance of it being erroneous is small, based on the quality and quantity of corroborative sources.

Moderate confidence in an assessment means the sources on which said judgment is based are plausible and credibly sourced, but there may not be a sufficient number of said sources or they may not be corroborated sufficiently to warrant a high confidence judgment. This does not mean the NSA disagrees with the assessment; it merely means that their confidence level is a bit lower. Confidence levels are kind of subjective. One analyst’s view of the sources could differ from another’s. But once again, moderate confidence assessment does not mean that there’s disagreement on the judgment itself.

The report talks about Russian state ownership and control of RT and other forms of media and that it conducts strategic messaging for the Russian government. There’s nothing surprising about this. Anyone who has been paying attention should know that Russian propaganda campaigns are well funded and well executed, as well as omnipresent and popular in the United States, especially given RT’s strategy of building its social media presence, in an effort to avoid broadcast regulations. Again, nothing new, and the IC had been making these assessments since at least 2012.

Additionally, the IC assesses that Russian efforts to gain information about U.S. elections, candidates, etc. are part of Russia’s efforts to gain intelligence about the adversary – to understand U.S. leaders and their motivations and vulnerabilities and to assess their future actions.

All of this isn’t new. It is intelligent, strategic information warfare. What is new is the extent to which the Russians were able to penetrate private servers, probe state elections systems for vulnerabilities, and disseminate their message using willing patsies such as WikiLeaks.

My view.

Conspiritards screeching that they deserve access to classified sources and methods, because EVIL, BAD GOVERNMENT are going to be sorely disappointed. You want access to classified? Get educated, get a clearance, get hired by the Intelligence Community, and work on cyber issues. But no, the IC is not going to disclose underlying reporting to some quasi-anarchist loon, who gives less than a shit about the lives disclosing such reporting could endanger and collections platforms it could compromise. Fuck off!

“But we do it!” “Obama interfered in Israeli elections!” “What about Radio Free Europe and Voice of America? They’re propaganda outlets!” and “We do it too.” Those are all cries of those who lack understanding of how pervasive Russia’s cyber intrusions were.

I will admit fully to being a hypocrite when it comes to us spying on other countries. I want information about them. I want to be able to determine what their leadership is up to, and to assess motivations and goals. That is what an intelligent nation does. It’s nothing they don’t attempt to do to us. That said, I don’t want to make it easy for them. I don’t want them to succeed. But I’m not going to apologize for doing exactly what they do, but better than they do. Fuck that.

And sorry, but using U.S. grants to fund a politically active group in hopes it would influence the Israeli election is much different than hacking into a private server, stealing information about a candidate and releasing it in hopes of influencing the election or discrediting the President-elect. The Obama Administration’s funding of propaganda and opposition movements is nothing new, especially given our actions during the Cold War to stop the spread of communism. But again, this is nothing compared to the Russians’ actions in this election.

The Kremlin’s campaign aimed at the US election featured disclosures of data obtained through Russian cyber operations; intrusions into US state and local electoral boards; and overt propaganda. Russian intelligence collection both informed and enabled the influence campaign.

Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties

We assess Russian intelligence services collected against the US primary campaigns, think tanks, and lobbying groups they viewed as likely to shape future US policies. In July 2015, Russian intelligence gained access to Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks and maintained that access until at least June 2016.

The FBI and DHS in a separate joint assessment provided some technical details about the tools and infrastructure used by the Russian civilian and military intelligence Services to steal information regarding the U.S. election, and target other political, and private sector entities.

The U.S. Government confirms that two different RIS actors participated in the intrusion into a U.S. political party. The first actor group, known as Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) 29, entered into the party’s systems in summer 2015, while the second, known as APT28, entered in spring 2016

Both groups have historically targeted government organizations, think tanks, universities, and corporations around the world. APT29 has been observed crafting targeted spearphishing campaigns leveraging web links to a malicious dropper; once executed, the code delivers Remote Access Tools (RATs) and evades detection using a range of techniques. APT28 is known for leveraging domains that closely mimic those of targeted organizations and tricking potential victims into entering legitimate credentials. APT28 actors relied heavily on shortened URLs in their spearphishing email campaigns. Once APT28 and APT29 have access to victims, both groups exfiltrate and analyze information to gain intelligence value. These groups use this information to craft highly targeted spearphishing campaigns. These actors set up operational infrastructure to obfuscate their source infrastructure, host domains and malware for targeting organizations, establish command and control nodes, and harvest credentials and other valuable information from their targets.

At least one targeted individual activated links to malware hosted on operational infrastructure of opened attachments containing malware. APT29 delivered malware to the political party’s systems, established persistence, escalated privileges, enumerated active directory accounts, and exfiltrated email from several accounts through encrypted connections back through operational infrastructure.

The assessment lists technical details, alternate names for these operations, and mitigation strategies.

hacks

If you think these operations are OK because we have a long history of funding opposition groups worldwide, you are an uber douche.

Again, I’ll admit to loving my country so much, that I believe it’s not OK, even though we’ve been known to fund opposition groups in foreign elections, and this level of intrusion far outstrips anything we’ve done in the past.

The ICA specifically assesses that Russia may have chosen WikiLeaks as its vehicle of delivering stolen information because it is known for its authenticity. It does not make any judgment that the information released to WikiLeaks is false. Julian Assange claims the Russians were not the ones who delivered the damaging information to him. I’m not claiming he’s lying, although he very well could be. I’m saying he wouldn’t know. At all. The Russian intelligence services aren’t known for sending files via the post office with large, flowery stickers on the package, saying “With love, from the Kremlin.” They would be several times removed from this information to ensure operational security. I also think the Russians chose WikiLeaks, because they accurately assess Assange to be an egomaniacal, arrogant asshole, who would feel important publishing this information, and who wouldn’t dig too deeply into its origins, because he wouldn’t give a shit – all for a higher cause.

So people pointing to Assange’s claims that it wasn’t the Russians who gave him the information as evidence contradicting the claims in the ICA are really unfamiliar with how the Russians work.

Do I think Trump won the election fair and square? Of course! There’s nothing to indicate otherwise.

Does this change the fact that the extent of Russian interference is a matter of national security? No, it doesn’t.

I’m once again listening to Kellyanne Conway in spin mode on CNN, claiming that had Hillary Clinton won, we wouldn’t even be talking about these hacks! AYFKM?

We had been talking about them since at least June of last year – when everyone, including me, thought Trump didn’t have a chance – even against someone as repugnant, corrupt, and unlikeable as she was!

We had been talking about them in September, when FBI disclosed that at least 20 state election systems had been hacked – likely by the Russians and Clinton was still ahead in the polls, albeit by a narrower margin. The fact that no one was paying attention because they were distracted by the latest pussy-grabbing scandal or another bright, shiny object does not change this fact.

electionThe President-elect needs to start focusing on what the Russians did and how they did it, rather than getting defensive about his perfectly legitimate election. Only delusional morons think these revelations have anything to do with the results of the election! But it’s time to start focusing on the actual threat, because, as the ICA stated, the Russians will continue to use these tactics to compromise other nations’ democratic election processes. It’s not like they haven’t done it before!

No foreign power should be able to gain access to our election systems, steal information, and use it in attempts to influence the outcome! THAT is the issue here.

 

A Study in Suck

Those who follow me on social media have been privy to my consistent griping about the Washington DC metro. Since ankle surgery, I’ve been able to take my car and park at work, but now that the ankle is healing, I will be back to taking the Metro next month.

You know it’s got to be bad when someone actually created a website entitled “Is Metro On Fire?” Accessing this site allows riders to know whether or not their metro line is actually ablaze. And if you want to know how often this happens…

metro…well, all you have to do is read this. Apparently metro was on fire 73 times in the first three months of 2016. SEVENTY-THREE times. This does include instances of smoke in the subway system, which apparently Metro officials protested as not being incidents of fire, such as malfunctioning train brakes that fill a station with smoke, or a third rail that is arcing so severely that the fire department is called, because apparently there are different definitions of “smoke” and “fire.” Regardless of the quibbling, can you imagine the second largest public transit system in the United States catching fire that many times in the first quarter of the calendar year?

Seriously? What in the everloving, rollerblading, couch-humping hell?

The press is freaking out about alleged Metro under funding. Congress won’t give metro more money, and is actually cutting funding for the ageing system! Metro doesn’t have a dedicated funding stream and has to go begging for money from the jurisdictions it services! Oh NOES!

For metro, it’s all about Mo’ Money! Mo’ Money! Mo’ Money! How can they be expected to run a busy transit system in the nation’s capital on a mere $2.8 billion (based on FY16 numbers)?

Oh, I dunno… perhaps not paying 70 percent of its budget to labor costs would be a good start?

Labor costs constitute over 70% of the 2014 WMATA budget, making it the single largest expenditure WMATA has to worry about. And it’s no wonder why it’s the largest bit. In 2011, during the middle of the recession, Amalgamated Local 689, the WMATA union, dragged a 3 percent annual raise out of management. The agency’s board declined to protect taxpayers and riders by not appealing the arbitration result. Naturally, riders were incensed—but WMATA paid no heed.

Now, I did a fair bit of analyzing of defense spending in my previous days. That’s a lot of labor costs! NATO, our biggest alliance, sets a benchmark that encourages its members to spend no more than 50 percent of their defense budgets on military and civilian personnel costs. There are reasons for that. While the biggest percentage of any budget is normally personnel costs, 70 percent is pretty outrageous and usually indicated bloated salaries – especially for high-ranking or connected personnel. It’s how much Greece spends as a percentage of its defense budget on salaries and benefits, and we know what an economic shit show that country is!

The average salary for a WMATA employee is $78,000 per year! And given the bloated personnel budget, that leaves precious little money for actual maintenance of the equipment that carries hundreds of thousands of passengers to their destinations. There are 488 station managers taking naps working inside glass kiosks at rail stations, and their base salaries are in the high $50,000s. However, given overtime, these guys take home closer to $70,000, and when you factor in overtime, at least 20 station managers took home a six-figure salary, according to a 2012 press report.

And you know what it takes to fire one of these tools? Apparently almost killing a whole lot of people! This douchebag was in such a hurry to get to his break at a location with some good places to stuff his face, that he decided “fuck the red signal!” And this wasn’t his first time being a reckless jackass with other people’s lives!

The operator was on his rail job less than a year after transferring from WMATA’s bus division. As a bus driver for about two years, he racked up three moving violations: two red light overruns and an illegal right turn on red. As a train operator, he added two unspecified safety violations before the potentially disastrous red signal overrun.

And while the system doesn’t have a dedicated funding stream, they do have a nearly guaranteed revenue source in this area – the federal government. Federal employees get transit benefits – $240 per month. You think they won’t use them? And there are quite a few of them. Why not use the benefit, if one can? And it allows the Metro to provide shitty service, because… well… they’re getting that money. It’s not like federal workers are spending their own money on the commute, so it doesn’t hit their wallet.

Thirty-five Metrorail stations serve federal facilities and 42 percent of Metrorail’s peak period commuters are federal employees. On Metrobus, 16 percent of peak period commuters are federal employees. The federal government contributes roughly 56 percent of the capital costs. Fares and other revenue currently fund 56 percent of the daily operations, while state and local governments fund the remaining 44 percent.

So a system that’s on fire so often, there’s a site dedicated to informing riders when they’re in danger of… you know… DYING, that brags its stations are oh so clean (Then why did I actually find a turd on the mezzanine of the Ballston metro station last year? Yes, a real piece of poop. On the floor.), that is running unreliably, or not at all, some days, and that is pissing off riders so badly, they’re losing ridership despite the government transit benefit, wants more money to… do what? It wants to raise fares. Again. It wants to cut service. Even more. And it expects people to just suck it up. At some point, the transit benefit isn’t worth it. It doesn’t matter if it’s free to get to work. When it takes you two hours to ride the orange line 10 stops, it’s just not worth it, and the feds are starting to realize it too, while Congress even tried to pass a bill giving federal employees the option to use the benefit for other options, like Uber.

Overall, Metro is just a study in FAIL.

Shitty employee training.

Preferential racial hiring.

Lack of required annual re-certifications.

Intentional sabotage of equipment.

Poor safety practices.

Political infighting.

Idiotic priorities – no, I don’t think riders care whether some Metro moron is wearing his uniform correctly. They care about getting to their destination in a reasonable amount of time!

Lack of accountability and planning for growth.

Crappy maintenance.

Do I need to go on? No.

If Metro was run like a business, rather than a cushy jobs program for barely literate, incompetent ass clowns, maybe then things would get fixed. But since funding is pretty much guaranteed, there’s no incentive to change.

metro

They can’t fit to allow the door to close. If the door can’t fully close, the train can’t move. If the train can’t move, you’re stuck at the station until several of these people step off the train to allow the door to close.

And it’s the taxpayers, who pay for the system whether they use it or not, and those who wind up stuck in a tunnel for 20 minutes in stifling heat with 1000 of their closest buds rubbing up against them in the summer, who suffer most.

I wouldn’t even mind a dedicated funding stream for metro, if we had any faith that the idiots who run the system would actually fix the long list of what’s wrong with it. But considering their track record (no pun intended), and the big, fat fail that has been their “safetrack” repair initiative so far, I can’t trust them to use the money wisely.

Rob says they should shut down the system, fire everyone, and start from scratch. I would be OK with driving to work or taking Uber until they got their shit together.

Maybe metro should stop wondering why riders are abandoning the system and take a long look at the mirror.

 

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