Trump’s commitment to private prisons looks like a reward to campaign donors

❝ In the barrage of news surrounding President Donald Trump, one of the things his administration quietly did over the past few months was reopen the federal prison system to private prison companies.

Some members of Congress, however, have noticed — and they want the Trump administration to explain itself.

❝ Today, Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Cory Booker (D-NJ)…sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking that the Justice Department explain why it reversed the Obama administration’s decision to stop contracting with some private prison operators…

❝ In 2016, the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General concluded, “in most key areas, contract prisons incurred more safety and security incidents per capita than comparable Bureau Of Prisons institutions.” In another example, a 2012 Justice Department investigation found that in the City of Walnut Grove, Mississippi, a private prison that held youth offenders, did not provide “constitutionally adequate care” and that staff routinely engaged in “systematic, egregious, and dangerous practices.” In fact the investigation concluded that the Walnut Grove private prison was “among the worst […] in any facility anywhere in the nation.”

❝ They also argued that the Trump administration’s decision “lends the appearance of rewarding campaign donors.”

“Corporations that manage private prisons — Civic Corp, GEO Group, and Management and Training Corporation — reportedly donated over $750,000 to super PACs that supported the President,” the senators wrote. “One private prison corporation donated $100,000 to pro-Trump PACS the day after former Attorney General Yates announced that the Bureau of Prisons would no longer renew their contracts with private prisons.”

Read the whole article. Useful details, even more convincing evidence that Trump cares nothing about the civil rights of prisoners and – more important – regardless of the crime, doing time is governed by the profit structure of his campaign bankroll.

The entire coal industry now has fewer jobs than Arby’s

Flanked by cabinet members and coal miners, President Trump introduced and signed an executive order on March 28, that revokes Obama-era climate regulations and puts “an end to the war on coal,” — he said…

Trump was announcing the rollback of several Obama-era environmental regulations that would have affected industries such as coal mining. Trump has repeatedly claimed that over-regulation has led to a decline in coal-industry jobs…

Experts in the industry have already pointed out, repeatedly, that the coal jobs are extremely unlikely to come back. The plight of the coal industry is more a function of changing energy markets and increased demand for natural gas than anything else.

Another largely overlooked point about coal jobs is that there just aren’t that many of them relative to other industries. There are various estimates of coal-sector employment, but according to the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns program, which allows for detailed comparisons with many other industries, the coal industry employed 76,572 people in 2014, the latest year for which data is available.

That number includes not just miners but also office workers, sales staff and all of the other individuals who work at coal-mining companies.

Although 76,000 might seem like a large number, consider that similar numbers of people are employed by, say, the bowling (69,088) and skiing (75,036) industries. Other dwindling industries, such as travel agencies (99,888 people), employ considerably more. Used-car dealerships provide 138,000 jobs. Theme parks provide nearly 144,000. Carwash employment tops 150,000…

If anything the numbers above over-estimate the jobs impact of coal relative to other industries. Since 2014 the coal industry has shrunk further according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to 50,300 employees as of February 2017.

The point isn’t that coal jobs don’t matter — they matter to the people who have them and to the communities they support, especially as they typically pay far more than do jobs in the retail and service industries, But if you’re looking to make a meaningful increase in the number of jobs available to U.S. workers, bringing back coal jobs isn’t going to do it…

Oh yeah. Arby’s has about 74,000 employees.