Links 8/28/18

Scientists find corals in deeper waters under stress too

NASA map shows glowing particle clouds over Earth from wildfires and hurricanes USA Today (DL).

Abandoning quarterly reporting would increase the cost of capital FT

German antitrust watchdog plans action on Facebook this year Reuters

‘Fortnite’ developer had sharp words for Google after a scary Android exploit was discovered Mashable

Boeing reveals single-pilot planes could soon be a reality thanks to autonomous technology Daily Mail. What could go wrong?

Partisanship’s a Helluva Drug — And It’s Reshaping the Economy Politico. Could account for the continuing split between surveys and data in economic statistics.


Theresa May’s Brexit problem isn’t Boris Johnson. It’s maths New Statesman

Theresa May says a no-deal Brexit ‘wouldn’t be the end of the world’ Guardian

Theresa May to pledge Africa investment boost after Brexit BBC

France to make contingency plans for no-deal Brexit Reuters

Corporate Japan despairs at UK’s lack of clarity over Brexit FT

Jeremy Corbyn and the English Fetishization of Irony The New Yorker. Tory/PLP smear metastatizes across the Pond. The sleight of hand is right out in the open: “Zionists” are conflated with “British Jews” in the space of two paragraphs.

North Korea

Trump called off Pompeo’s North Korea visit after belligerent letter: report Reuters

Old Rivals, New Allies? Modern Age


What Does a Chinese Superpower Look Like? Nothing Like the U.S. Bloomberg

Class Conflict Intensifies in China as it Heads into Uncertain Times (video) TRNN

Criticism of China by Malaysia’s Mahathir resonates around East Asia, and with Beijing South China Morning Post

The Epistemology of Surveillance China Channel

Contested waters: Conflict on Africa’s Great Lakes Deutsche Welle

New Cold War

Lanny Davis Says He Was A Source For CNN’s Trump Tower Story CNN. The deck: “Davis, Cohen’s lawyer and spokesperson, said he also regrets lying about his involvement in the story on CNN’s air last week.” Reporters should call out sources who lie to them more often.

Think Trump Is Doomed? Not So Fast. Politico

Russia Wants a Deal with the United States on Cyber Issues. Why Does Washington Keep Saying No? Council on Foreign Relations

Trump Transition

Kushner Cos. fined $210,000 by New York for false documents CNBC

Nation’s top student loan official resigns AP

Secret message board drives ‘pizzagate’-style harassment campaign of small businesses NBC

We Saw Nuns Kill Children: The Ghosts of St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage Buzzfeed

The Priesthood of The Big Crazy Gary Wills, NYRB


US and Mexico reach breakthrough with Nafta revamp FT

Preliminary US-Mexico trade deal leaves trail of uncertainty AP

Peak McCain (1):

“Luminaries” is good. (Spy Magazine’s sobriquet for Henry Kissinger: “Socialite war criminal.”)

Peak McCain (2):

Looks like it’s Google doing A/B testing. This is the screen I get:

I’m so old I remember when Google was just a search engine. Back when Google seemed… neutral.

Democrats in Disarray

Why the Blue Wave Missed Missouri’s 1st CD Black Agenda Report. Must-read. (Personally, I don’t put Justice Democrats at al. in the “Blue Wave” bucket, but that’s a quibble compared to the meat of the post.)

What on Earth is Obama doing? The Week. What he always does!

Every August 28 primary election you should know about, briefly explained Vox. AZ, FL, OK.

North Carolina congressional districts unconstitutionally gerrymandered to aid Republicans, court rules Los Angeles Times

Health Care

A Jolt To The Jugular! You’re Insured But Still Owe $109K For Your Heart Attack KHN. After the story broke, the hospital backed off. Telling you the billing — all billing — is bullshit to begin with, right?

Red-State Voters Take Medicaid Expansion Into Their Own Hands The Nation

Our Famously Free Press

Bloomberg News reassigned reporter after Wells Fargo CEO called to complain Bloomberg

Sources: Baylor used ‘mole’ to aid comms during sexual assault crisis PR Week

Class Warfare

Pets and Financial Distress Credit Slips. “What have been your experiences regarding pets and financial distress, both pre-bankruptcy and in bankruptcy?”

Walt Disney World Union Workers Win Deal for $15 Minimum Wage Fortune

Amazon has launched a new program that encourages some of its fulfillment-center employees to go on Twitter and talk about their experiences working there. Business Insider

Happy older people live longer Science Daily

Brave New Park This Land Press. Tulsa.

Making things is now a global movement. But is the U.S. making enough? Recode

Dams and reservoirs can’t save us. This is the new future of water infrastructure. Quartz. Paging Michael Burry….

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Roland Chrisjohn

    The story on nuns killing children has a bad link. The proper on is:

    All this, and more, was all testified to in Canada, with respect to Indian residential schooling (I wrote a book on this 24 years ago for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples; it was suppressed by them); supposedly, this was all cleared up by the expedient of merely saying it was “regrettable.” The supposed Truth and Reconciliation report neither provided truth or obtained reconciliation. It’s all good up here in Canada; we were only Indians, after all. Now that white folks are talking about this, there will be no need to revisit what the churches did to us.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Sir, is your book some place where you can post it in public, so people can learn what was done and by whom? Can this be a time to do an end run around official suppression by publishing it on the net?

      Your comment led me to do a search on “abuse by nuns and women in orders.” A whole lot of unremarked ugliness popped up, this is just the first link: “Abuse by Women Religious (nuns and sisters),” So per the reports and articles, there are nuns who abuse nuns, physically, sexually and emotionally. There are nuns who abuse children in their charge, in many ways, apparently including killing them. There are nuns who are serially sexually abused, as in raped, by priests and higher ranked “holier than thous,” and other nuns too.

      I am missing some variations here, all to be excused, I guess, by the notion that God allows temptation and sin, but as long as one sincerely repents, and does some kind of penance, dispensation and grace are to be granted. And the Thin Black Line of cassocks closes around the activities and practices and damages, and the beat goes on…

      The tight-a$$ed buttoned-down Chicago-bedroom-community Presbyterian church I attended up through high school used grape juice for communion, because of the large number of alcoholics in the congregation (lots of Mad Men, corporate executives, lawyers and such. The Director of Christian Education, the tightest of the tight, it turns out, was allegedly having his holy way with young people in his spiritual charge.

      I guess the best one can say is that humans, with their limbic-system drives, are “only human,” and prove pretty widely to be “any-opportunity fornicators.” Any place you can stick it or get it stuck, with anyone or anything that provides the necessary structure, people do it. And then break out the hypocrisy paint and whitewash and eyewash, to obscure it and protect the opportunities to get more of the same. Institutionally and individually.

      What can anyone believe in, in the way of purity and decency and trust and responsibility, any more? I guess that kind of thinking is ridiculously jejune, neh?


          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Two thumbs up for your use of the word “jejeune”.
            If my kids are any guide, language is dying, replaced by texting abbreviations. Another beautiful thing about the human experience being killed off by technology.

            Eventually, the only remaining sentient beings on our troubled orb will communicate as follows:

            Being A: 101100110010101001110010110
            Being B: 001101011001100101010010010

            1. Wukchumni

              I find it hilarious that youngsters are quite willingly taking up Gregg shorthand so as to enable them to converse with others.

    2. voteforno6

      I’ve reached the point that I think that the Catholic church needs to be burned down to the ground. That many people still view it as holding moral authority (and I know a couple) is astounding to me. These sorts of things would’ve been unfathomable in the Protestant church in which I was raised.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        . These sorts of things would’ve been unfathomable in the Protestant church in which I was raised.

        That you know of. Its largely no different than the Democratic Party loyalists who expected every crass statement would crush Trump while they applauded every inane action of the Clinton campaign. Jim Bakker is still preaching. Penn State. The star athletes who were such nice kids. And on and on it goes.

        The problem is deference to authority and institutions rots minds. You see it with Versaille’s reaction to Trump. Outwardly, Trump is Versailles. Joe Scarborough, a long time conservative, who has voted to brutalize blacks, cut welfare, lower taxes, supported every conflict he could find, and even had a mistress wind up dead is lamenting the loss of civility around our institutions partially because Trump is Scarborough and his friends.

        Your church might not have had a problem worth covering up, but you had probably had congregants who have polished jackboots ready to go.

        1. voteforno6

          Yeah, that church had its share of busybodies…maybe they would’ve become jack-booted fascists, if given the opportunity. The church itself, though, was too decentralized to allow for the sort of institutionalized cruelty that’s present in the Catholic church. When the congregation has much more input on the status of the pastor, it’s more difficult for the church hierarchy (such as it existed) to keep a lid on systemic abuse.

          1. JTMcPhee

            OTOH, look at all the evangelical televangelists who are not only false prophets larding themselves with money guilted and defrauded out of the teleflocks, but have not only feet of clay, but all the way up. And these folks do have a kind of “mystical faith union,” and cover for each other pretty well. See Jimmy Swaggart and The Reverng Angley and Tedd “that beautiful young man was just carrying my bags” Haggard, who in the face of overwhelming evidence, admits he’s Bi (so gets community support) and snorts meth, and like so manny other men, God forgives them all, of course, is a wanker…

            I guess when Armageddon comes and these people get Raptured Up, all the dross will be burned away? And they will rise up golden into the presence of Jaysus Chari-est Himself?

            All is forgiven. If one only repents, repents, repents…Like Cersei…

            1. foghorn longhorn

              Oh yeah
              Southern Baptists
              Drink with ya on Saturday, talk about ya on Sunday
              They don’t seem to be raping the kiddos tho
              For the most part, there are exceptions in every class.

      2. CanCyn

        I commented yesterday on my absolute wonder that anyone darkens the door of a Catholic church to worship but I don’t think Protestant churches are innocent when it comes to abuse. A quick google found this 2015 Guardian article about the Methodist church in England (2015):
        Search online using the Protestant denomination of your choice and the word abuse and see what comes up. It ain’t pretty.

        1. Donna

          I recently watched an ordination on video – a family member was ordained. It was an uncomfortable experience for me. During the ceremony, the 100 or so priests who sat on the dais on three separate occasions lined up to touch the men being ordained. The first time as I recall it was hands on shoulders or head, the next time it was a kiss on the cheeks or head, the final time it was a hug. I would imagine the faithful saw it as a beautiful act of support and inclusion. Not me. Maybe that’s my problem but it seemed a little touchy- feelly for a public ceremony that was youtubed.

        2. Amfortas the Hippie

          It ain’t confined to Catholics, by any means.
          one of our local preachers has a kid…little $hi! by all accounts…who sexted some lewd pics of himself to a few high school girls.
          the girls were poor…and/or hispanic…and their mom’s took too facebook to raise hell, knowing that nothing would be done.
          The sheriff’s office therefore undertook a show of “looking into it” and it turned out it wasn’t the son…but the preacher father,lol.
          drunk and horny with his kid’s cell phone.
          the story quickly died away…nobody was punished…or even put in stocks. preacher still preaches, son is still a little $hi!.
          nowhere near as egregious as what apparently goes on in the ROC, but still…
          as for the Pope…my wife’s familia is all mostly Catholic, and she is visibly shaken by all that evil…and has been for years.
          the rest of her bunch apparently can look the other way. whether that’s a godly praxis or the avoidance of a lot of soul searching and otherwise rummaging around in their Faith, is still up in the air.
          Regardless, I hope that too many of them don’t become apostates and join the Pentacostal juggernaut rolling through Hispanicland. ROC folks are a lot easier to have thanksgiving with, in my experience.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Looking at the Wikipedia article on celibacy yesterday, I questioned if we should also look at other religions, like Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Jainism, etc.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Like we find out as we wander through life, there’s what we are told about how things are and are supposed to be, and how they really are. So many of us refuse to believe it ain’t so. Hypocrisy is rampant and wonderful. E.g., Buddhism,, and of course Judaism and Christianity float on pools of blood. Check the Old Testament for verification.

            The hope of the mopes is that somehow the belief structure they are fed and told to belieeeeeve in, might actually rein in the worst behaviors of the $hits that always, under the Law of Hierarchy, end up on top. Though of course many of the mopes are doing all kinds of dirty, too, looking for the main chance. It’s what we are.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Hey, there are no good guys in this movie!

              Shocked, shocked, to find that is what is going on here, Ricky.

      3. polecat

        If I were the religious type, I would hold to the pantheon of pre-christian gods .. and their demis .. They seemed more real, and down-to-earth kind of beings, less apt to condesend to mere mortals.

        1. Wukchumni

          For whatever reason, a good many Greek & Roman Gods, now are names for perfume & cologne and/or luxury goods.

          1. Unna

            Yes, the Greeks deified their practice of ephebophilia. Unlike catholic priests they were upfront and honest about their desires and mutual behavior. “Pagans” as more honest than priests. Who would have thought?

      4. Donna

        I recently watched an ordination on video – a family member was ordained. It was an uncomfortable experience for me. During the ceremony, the 100 or so priests who sat on the dais on three separate occasions lined up to touch the men being ordained. The first time as I recall it was hands on shoulders or head, the next time it was a kiss on the cheeks or head, the final time it was a hug. I would imagine the faithful saw it as a beautiful act of support and inclusion. Not me. Maybe that’s my problem but it seemed a little touchy- feelly for a public ceremony that was youtubed.

      5. Unna

        Spare me the Protestant self rightousness. Many of the Canadian residential schools were run by protestant churches and they were evey bit as brutal and deadly to the children as the Catholic ones were. Something about forcing Indian children to practice christianity as I remember. And beating, starving, and terrorizing salvation into them, because you know, that was the will of the christian god, catholic and protestant.

    3. boz

      Thanks for the link Roland.

      It’s taken me a couple of attempts and most of the day to read to the end of the Buzzfeed article. It’s a commendable piece of journalism.

      The contents though are horrific. If this all people see of the RCC, then I totally understand when people say it should be suppressed. There is almost nothing in those bleak stories that points toward Christian love, care for orphans, or servant leadership.

      I’ve been having conversations with others in my congregation, and I think some people still have blinkers on. I’ve also realised that you would never get that kind of reportage from an insider.

      All of these stories have only come to light with the help of outsiders. And that demonstrates what Rod Dreher has said is actual corruption: the inability to effectively investigate and correct wrongdoing within an organisation.

      For those of us who call ourselves Catholic, these are dark days. Our sins are being nailed to the cross for everyone to see. It is also, strangely, a time of hope – for much needed renewal.

        1. Unna

          Why should it boggle the mind? Given who you’re dealing with and what they see as their purpose in life. Auto-da-Fé was an Act of Faith. The consummation of belief that the rising flames would so shock the victim, as the premonition of the everlasting fires of hell, that he would pray to god for forgivness at the moment of death and thus save his soul. For the believers present at the execution, burning at the stake was a reaffirmation of their faith in god’s infinite love to forgive sin and to redeem a sinner from the grasp of his fallen nature no matter how sinful he had been. Thus, an Act of Faith.

          1. pretzelattack

            at least some of them were obvious hypocrites, like the priest that gave a stirring speech about the innocence of the nuns and was a serial pedophile himself. the kid didn’t sleep on her hands or whatever and gets tossed out a window? that’s just kicking down in a particularly vicious way, and covering it up with religion. and the powers that be covered it all up so they wouldn’t upset the golden applecart.

            1. Unna


              I remember reading about this awhile back. Don’t know what ever came of it. Reporting seems to have stopped in 2012.

              Indeed, maybe somebody should put the catholic church out of business, but I still find it interesting to figure out what myth-story about the world these people had in their heads that drove them to do such things that we’ve been reading about these past few days.

      1. Unna

        Boz, Like your comments on Am Conservative which is a go to resource in these matters. In a certain weird way, I admire Vigano. Looking at a picture of him he has, shall we say, a presence. Not to say he’d like me. I’m sure he wouldn’t. But that’s OK. The image of his person is of an aesthetic type which has a certain majestic purity of purpose. If I were in a fight I’d want him on my side. Not McCarrick. Of course, this being a purely aesthetic estimation of Vigano, it’s essentially made from a non Christian perspective. It is, never the less, from my perspective, a correct one. I believe we should always seek out those whom we admire.

      2. PerpetualWAR

        I experienced this article the same. Could only read bits here and there throughout the day because the article was too disturbing. The atrocities committed and swept under the rug are beyond belief. I thought I was callous to this because we hear horrible atrocities every day through the news, but this was very, very disturbing.

  2. fresno dan

    A Jolt To The Jugular! You’re Insured But Still Owe $109K For Your Heart Attack KHN. After the story broke, the hospital backed off. Telling you the billing — all billing — is bullshit to begin with, right?

    FROM THE ARTICLE: About 60 percent of people with employer health benefits are covered by self-insured plans, but many don’t even know it, since employers typically hire an insurer to administer the plan and employees carry a card bearing the name of Blue Cross Blue Shield or another major insurer.
    In a statement, St. David’s HealthCare defended its handling of Calver’s bill and sought to blame the school district and Aetna for offering such a narrow network.

    “While we did everything right in this particular situation, the structure of the patient’s insurance plan as a narrow network product placed a large portion of the financial responsibility directly on the patient because our hospital was not in-network,” the hospital said.

    This case also raises questions about the validity of the hospital’s charges.

    Industry analysts and consumer advocates say St. David’s has a reputation for exorbitant billing and for trying to collect big payouts as an out-of-network provider. “This is a well-known, problematic provider. We’ve seen multiple bills from them and they are always highly inflated,” said Dr. Merrit Quarum, chief executive of WellRithms, which scrutinizes medical bills for self-funded employers and other clients nationwide.
    Well, the only logical, rational, and sensible solution is to have the hospital, insurance, and school administers locked in a barbed wire cage death match with straight razors to slash out a solution.
    Simple, efficient, effective…

    1. Carl

      I’ve been paying attention to the US healthcare system since my appendectomy in 2005, and have watched as it has become even more exorbitant, dysfunctional and predatory every year. Now at 58, I have no trust in this system whatsoever to deliver care to my aging body. I will be leaving the US sometime in the next couple of years, to an unnamed country where healthcare is vastly cheaper and better(in fact, most countries offer much better and less expensive care, so there’s quite a good selection). While I appreciate and support the efforts of the left wing of the Democrat party for universal care, I can’t wait for the outcome of what seems to be an impossible struggle.

      1. Olga

        Ditto (except the appendectomy in 2005 – mine was much earlier, in a different world, thank G.).

      2. Jean

        Don’t forget the Pharma Terrorists as well.
        Heard a doctor mentioning one special pill for anti-fungals being billed at $90,000.

        Citizens need to take matters into their own hands in their own communities when dealing with these people. Unless, of course, the government does so first….

    2. Amateur Socialist

      I guess people can just start calling billing offices posing as reporters instead of bothering with the go-fund-my procedure campaigns.

    3. Pat

      God forbid that anyone point out that once again this network thing wouldn’t have been an issue in the real Swiss system because emergency care is covered….period. And that in any regulated market system it should be.

      Oops. I forgot, it wasn’t about providing health care, it was about forcing premiums for little or nothing on the public and ending any real pressure on health care costs as Big Medical/Insurance wrangle to place all costs on the public, either as the government or as individuals.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Or just do what The Netherlands did. Like the U.S. they had a massively powerful insurance industry they had to accommodate. So they said every insurer must provide a basic set of services for a fixed cost. This made them compete on, doncha know, customer service. What an idea. Then once you’re a customer they get to upsell all kinds of crap on top of the basic service.

        Single payer of course is infinitely superior. Given the trillions in grift $$$ that are at stake though this might be a way to triangulate to something better than the Insuro-hell we have today.

    4. Wukchumni

      Is it possible the insured patient accidentally opted for the ‘Sliver’ plan with essentially no coverage, when obtaining Obamacare?

          1. ambrit

            We can’t all be “auricles” of Obamacare. Or, more properly, “Hierophants of Heritage Foundation Care,” (the original ‘Leaden Latitudinarians.’)

    5. a different chris

      No no no the best solution, is, as always, a market based solution! Mr. Calver should have anticipated this (and any and all other possibilities, or course) and made sure that he had insurance on top of insurance on top of insurance for just all the possible things that could go wrong with a 44 year old man!

      I have no sympathy. People like this just suck up our health care dollars and what do we get in return? Swim coach and history teacher? Bah.

      /sarcasm for anybody here that doesn’t know me….

      1. fresno dan

        a different chris
        August 28, 2018 at 9:56 am

        what do you have against straight razor manufacturers? AND the manufacturers of of death cages, the stadiums that hold death matches, and the cable franchises that broadcast death cage matches, as well as all the beer and snackie purveyors that provide viewers with edibles during the events?
        Respectfully, I believe my plan turboblasts the market!

    6. FluffytheObeseCat

      Quotes in the article suggest the St David’s Hospital network regularly issues fraudulent bills. The cited example is their charge of $19,000 for stents that more commonly go for >$2000 apiece elsewhere. The article implies that other itemized charges are equally out-of-kilter.

      The St David’s hospital system should be investigated by the state, and key individual should probably be indicted over this. (Yes, ok. We can all stop laughing now. At one time this was the way things were done, even sometimes in Texas). This type of fraud is rampant in the US. In fact it’s normative. And no one in power is doing anything to end it.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          “The St. David’s hospital system should be investigated by the state”
          LOL that’s a knee-slapper! Do you also do standup comedy?

          We live in a post-consequence world for the 1%. A quick glance at a history book shows the only remedy that works, time after time, is a noose and a lamppost.

          “Those who make gradual change impossible make violent change inevitable” – John F. Kennedy

      1. Olga

        Unfortunately, St. David’s is taking over Austin. They have several hospitals here; soon to be a monopoly provider. Probably feel invincible … and notice the “St.” – supposed to be something like a charity; obviously not paying a cent in taxes. And with a CEO making well over a million bucks (well, someone has to cover that, don’t ya thank?).

        1. pretzelattack

          i remember going to breckenridge in the 70’s for a bad cut, cost me 20 bucks or so iirc.

  3. epynonymous

    I loved the NASA imagery.

    I found this interesting map today by accident, it lists major corporate and government power centers in the San Francisco area overlaid with both the scientific and legal flood status of the southern bay area.

    Also, the ‘nuns’ link didn’t work.

    I possibly found it on youtube (a nine minute video with testimonial) here

    a text article on the buzzfeed report is available here for those who don’t go for videos

    1. Carolinian

      That’s an interesting article–thanks for link. The second of the books he reviews is all about “safetyism.”

      Haslam found that since the 1980s key concepts in clinical and social psychology, including abuse, bullying, trauma and prejudice, have expanded both “downward” and “outward” to apply to less severe circumstances and to take in novel phenomena. “By the early 2000s,” Lukianoff and Haidt write, “the concept of ‘trauma’ within parts of the therapeutic community had crept down so far that it included anything ‘experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful.’”

      In other words blame it on social “science.” Along with “assume a can opener” there is now assume a trauma. And here’s the money quote:

      Where Egginton sees a threat to democracy in a polity insufficiently and unequally educated in the liberal tradition, Lukianoff and Haidt notice something unprecedented and a lot more frightening: a generation, including its most privileged and educated members — especially these members — that has been politically and socially “stunted” by a false and deepening belief in its own fragility. This is a generation engaged in a meritocratic “arms race” of epic proportions, that has racked up the most hours of homework (and screen time) in history but also the fewest ever of something so simple as unsupervised outdoor play. If that sounds trivial, it shouldn’t. “When adult-supervised activities crowd out free play, children are less likely to develop the art of association,” Lukianoff and Haidt write, along with other social skills central to the making of good citizens capable of healthy compromise. Worse, the consequences of a generation unable or disinclined to engage with ideas and interlocutors that make them uncomfortable are dire for society, and open the door — accessible from both the left and the right — to various forms of authoritarianism.

      The message is that people who have grown up overly protected make bad citizens because fear breeds hate. And one can be forgiven for thinking that the most rabid haters these days belong to The Resistance. Trump is a boob but for some that’s not enough. He has to be the Devil himself.

        1. Carolinian

          Oh there was plenty of covert, not so much overt, racial hostility including from our current WH resident but I don’t think they went around calling him Hitler. Surely even you must admit that the current hysteria is at a whole new level.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The anti-Christ, but that was expected behavior for the GOP.

            The shock is the depravity of Team Blue. I don’t know where the problem arises. If you look at the responses of Glen Greenwald tweet pointing out the msm’s continuing masquerade as anything other than a PR shop, there will be commenters complaining about hows its all FoxNews and he needs to write about them as if the comical nature of FoxNews wasn’t apparent to everyone with a memory superior to a goldfish.

            One of the greatest John McCain hits that is being shared is when he assured an elderly woman that Obama wasn’t a Muslim. Its being hailed as a moment of courage for some reason. I guess the old lady was at risk of attacking McCain or something. I don’t know. It gave him the veneer of civility that stories about him banging tables and going red in the face when asked about Palin don’t. That Ann Navarro’s story. She believes it was chivalry, but she was a long Newt associate.

            1. roxy

              Actually that woman said Obama was “an Arab”, to which McCain replied, “No, no, he’s a decent family man”. As pointed out at Automatic Earth, that answer says that an Arab man wouldn’t be described by that phrase. And they all let that go, saying look what a great guy he is.

          2. RUKidding

            Following are but a few of the multitude of incidents where Obama was hailed as the new Hitler. How quickly one forgets.





            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              The narrative for Obama too revolved around countering his “safe” black appearance going from Clinton linked materials with him in a tribal outfit to ones with darker skin than he had.

              The idea was to paint him as a sneaky immigrant to counter his relative banality, and the Birther element really embraced that narrative such as Trump. Long form and short form birth certificates…

              “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” -Biden Feb. 2008

              This is how a guy like Biden will speak in public, so its fair to imagine what was thrown in private.

            2. Beniamino

              Right, but the Hitler characterizations and/or analogies directed at Trump have the (at least tacit) approval of much of the corporate media / government apparatchiks / Hollywood so they get greater circulation. Certainly the “Trump as Hitler” meme is a lot more mainstream than the “Obama as Hitler” meme, to an extent that their respective foreign and domestic policy differences don’t seem to justify.

              1. Carolinian

                Exactly. You can always dig up some loon, including, perhaps especially, an out of the way congressperson to call almost anyone Hitler. But now we have people like Brennan on every channel denouncing Trump as a traitor to America and probable Russian agent. It just isn’t close to being the same.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  The current President used to hound the former President about his birth certificate while the current President worked for NBC which was probably still GE at the time and not Comcast.

                  1. Carolinian

                    Well I did say any loon although private citizen Trump may have been pretending to be a loon.

                    At any rate the establishment at that time including Obama himself made jokes about Trump’s CT. Now the establishment fully embraces any and all Trump as villain theories

                    1. NotTimothyGeithner

                      Imperial rot is setting in, so its getting more troublesome as the neoliberals hold slips. The Democratic Congressman, Crowley, who was measuring Pelosi’s office lost a primary that he could have easily walked to canvass. We are in a late stage decline, but the environment was out there.


                      This is how Team Clinton reacted to Obama winning 11 states in a row. They do exactly what they were doing. The story around McCain in South Carolina in 2000 was that he fathered a mixed child out of wedlock. The Bush and Clinton gangs do what they do.

                2. Wukchumni

                  The thing is, the reign of error is hardly as capable of a thinker as Adolf, so comparisons are always on the weak side.

                  Here’s a beaut of a quote from him, and dead-on in how religion exploits humans, a primer really.

                  Man has discovered in nature the wonderful notion of that all-mighty being whose law he worships. Fundamentally in everyone there is the feeling for this all-mighty, which we call God (that is to say, the dominion of natural laws throughout the whole universe). The priests, who have always succeeded in exploiting this feeling, threaten punishments for the man who refuses to accept the creed they impose. When one provokes in a child a fear of the dark, one awakens in him a feeling of atavistic dread. Thus this child will be ruled all his life by this dread, whereas another child, who has been intelligently brought up, will be free of it. It’s said that every man needs a refuge where he can find consolation and help in unhappiness. I don’t believe it! If humanity follows that path, it’s solely a matter of tradition and habit.

                3. danpaco

                  But it is the same thing. Its simply the continuing tactic of delegitimizing any sitting president by the opposite party. Problem is, White House felatio just doesn’t have the same stigma as it once did. We all need a stronger and stronger outrage fix.

                  1. Carolinian

                    No it isn’t. When Obama was elected the Republicans didn’t immediately launch into a search for some means of impeaching him.

                    The closest comparison would be the Republican reaction to Bill Clinton becoming president. But even then it took six years for impeachment fever to hit. The current situation–IMO–is quite unprecedented.

                    1. danpaco

                      Whats unprecedented is how much of this negative media reporting is self inflicted. He (Trump) has had plenty of opportunity to tamper down the Russia narrative but chooses not to. I get the sense that this “no news is bad news” strategy is simply an effort to control the media narrative (be the news story everyday). He can play the role of the victim vs the (MSM,IC,Deep whatever, insert acronym) to gin up support for whatever whim he has. It’s the ultimate reality show crossover, with social media and everything. Now how to monetize it?

                    2. RUKidding

                      I agree in part with a lot, but not all, of what you say. Certainly there was a prevailing and ongoing effort by the GOP, and their sugar daddies, to dis-empower Obama and the Democratic party at every possible turn.

                      It’s hardly true that the Hitler characterization came just from a few random loons. It came from politicians and other high ranking people. So that’s a bit disingenuous to say it wasn’t coming from top people. Granted having Brennan spouting off like he has been IS unprecedented, and it makes me super uncomfortable, to put it mildly.

                      Frankly I see it as a continuum that both parties have been playing for a long time. There was definitely talk about trying to find ways to impeach Obama, but the PTB couldn’t really pin something on him… or at least that’s the way it played out.

                      I, too, am VERY uncomfortable, to put it mildly, with the immediate stand taken by Democrats to impeach Trump. It is NOT GOOD, to put it mildly.

                      But I think it’s too easy to point fingers of blame mostly at Democrats and paint Republicans as not doing the same thing at all. Both are complicit and both have played big roles in this game.

                      Just saying.

                    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      Whats unprecedented is how much of this negative media reporting is self inflicted. He (Trump) has had plenty of opportunity to tamper down the Russia narrative but chooses not to. I get the sense that this “no news is bad news” strategy is simply an effort to control the media narrative (be the news story everyday). He can play the role of the victim vs the (MSM,IC,Deep whatever, insert acronym) to gin up support for whatever whim he has. It’s the ultimate reality show crossover, with social media and everything. Now how to monetize it?

                      To me, it clarifies a lot for Trump to confront, instead of tamping down, the Russia-gate directly.

                      Moreover, it seems that there are more revelations coming.

                  2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    We look for the government (including the White House) to enact Medicare-for-All.

                    In that sense, we hold government offices to be higher than corporate ones.

                    Clinton did it the White House. That’s different from Trump’s private affairs (what we know so far).

              2. Wukchumni

                The one similarity with Adolf that can’t be disputed, is how both are playing the religious card to the limit, despite neither being of faith.

                Do these quotes sound vaguely familiar?

                We are a people of different religions, but we are one. Which faith conquers the other is not the question; rather, the question is whether Christianity stands or falls… We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity … in fact our movement is Christian. We are filled with a desire for Catholics and Protestants to discover one another in the deep distress of our own people.

                The Government, being resolved to undertake the political and moral purification of our public life, are creating and securing the conditions necessary for a really profound revival of religious life.

                Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith.

                National Socialism has always affirmed that it is determined to take the Christian Churches under the protection of the State. For their part the churches cannot for a second doubt that they need the protection of the State, and that only through the State can they be enabled to fulfill their religious mission. Indeed, the churches demand this protection from the State. On the other hand, in consideration for this protection, the State must require from the Churches that they in their turn should render to it that support which it needs to secure its permanence. Churches which fail to render to the State any positive support in this sense are for the State just as worthless as is for a Church the State which is incapable of fulfilling its duties to the Church. The decisive factor which can justify the existence alike of Church and State is the maintenance of men’s spiritual and bodily health, for if that health were destroyed it would mean the end of the State and also the end of the Church.

                May therefore God give us the strength to continue to do our duty and with this prayer we bow in homage before our dead heroes, before those whom they have left behind in bereavement, and before all the other victims of this war.

                God the Almighty has made our nation. By defending its existence we are defending His work.

                These quotes are just the tip of the iceberg, I could give you oh so many more…

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Sounds not particularly like something Trump would say, but more like others would believe

                  1. The (Catholic) Church needs to be exposed of its wrong-doings (and rightly so), in order that

                  2. it may be abolished and be replaced by something from the State (who will protect the flock of the Church, if not the form itself)

                  3. or be taken the guidance (and protection) of the State…guidance in the form of court rulings.

                  And would either 2 or 3 not be a good thing?

                  1. Wukchumni

                    You’ve just disclosed the plot to A Handmaid’s Tale, but it’s early in the game, before the Catholics are hunted down and executed in public.

                  2. ambrit

                    Given the nature of humans, the State itself is imbued with the charisma of Deity. So, it’s right back to #1, every time.

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      You make a mistake, and you are gifted with new knowledge (about toys).

                      I hope to get those Kaplas in the next kalpa.

      1. kgw


        “When adult-supervised activities crowd out free play, children are less likely to develop the art of association,” Lukianoff and Haidt write, along with other social skills central to the making of good citizens capable of healthy compromise. Worse, the consequences of a generation unable or disinclined to engage with ideas and interlocutors that make them uncomfortable are dire for society, and open the door — accessible from both the left and the right — to various forms of authoritarianism.”

        Thankfully, any engagement that takes place outside such a machine CAN break it.
        Including seeing ones own nature.

      2. Swamp Yankee

        I grew up out in the woods with dogs, neighbor kids, playing, fishing, in the mid-1980s.

        I then in college and grad school was exposed to precisely this milieu of hyper-scheduled, hyper-competitive, children of the haute bourgeoisie. They’ve often literally had no down time in their lives. They are in crucial ways, by the lack of a normal childhood experience — testing, exploring, trying out, toughing it out, bucking up and making do with just being bored on hot summer days — afterwards incapable of functioning in heretofore normal adult ways, particularly when we talk about resiliency, the ability to improvise and rebound, etc — what the Royal Navy used to think of as the skills that midshipmen (who were typically 11-14 yrs old) learned.

        I really think the end of “free range” childhoods like my own in certain sectors of the privileged bourgeoisie has, as is said above, real consequences. Yes, the extended tantrum that is the #McResistance; but also things like throwaway material culture given an inability to tolerate any kind of discomfort. Notably, inability to tolerate discomfort, or a low tolerance, often correlates positively with addiction, which our society is rife with.

        1. Wukchumni

          I too was raised free range, and one thing missing from young people’s activities now, is the freedom to be bored.

          Boredom allows for creativity, and we had to make up as we went, there being no guide.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            Yes indeed! Time to daydream, to do nothing, to laze — it’s what makes us human. It also builds up intellectual powers, something people are trying to outsource to various computers these days.

            Try taking away a hyper-scheduled millennial or millennial-adjacent’s iPhone and make them navigate. They will often go into actual panic or hysteria. I remind them (and I am an older millennial by most definitions) that people, including us, navigated before iWhatevers existed. Read the road signs!

            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              I wonder if there’s a blurry line on the collective timeline where free range= normal ended. It’s still sort of a bourgeois thing, I think.
              I’m 49, and I think my cohort was one of the last ones. My brother is 3.5 years younger, and I noticed it among his classmates long ago….coinciding with Macintoshes and video games and big screens and giant satellite dishes.
              We were really the only non-PWT/Rednecks who ran around in the woods. Too, I remember when hand sanitizer started showing up in some of my more well off buddie’s houses. Maybe that—all of that–signaled a shift in the Force…that can only be recognised in hindsight.

              Of course, it also occurs to me that the generation before me were still hiding under desks, anticipating fiery oblivion…(I remember doing that in 1st grade, at a Lutheran school, but I think it had gone out of fashion by my time)

              1. Swamp Yankee

                Yeah, I’d say, or the historian in me says, Free-range childhood ends in different ways in different times in different places (the blurry line you speak of separating free range days from today). And while I am sure pockets of it still exists, it seems to be largely defeated.

                I’m in my mid-30s, and the free range vs. hyper-scheduled division in my childhood often mapped onto class-regional lines; that is, people who were working-class and actually from the corner of New England I grew up in tended to be free range; my better off peers, particularly corporate transplant families from No Place, USA (who, with their weird newscaster English, would make fun our eastern New England dialect — surely the mark of a colonial interloper! moving into the natives’ country then mocking the way they talk), tended to be hyper-scheduled.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I’d like to put in a word for free-range brains.

                  Brains that freely range from one -ism to another -ism, in my humble opinion, tend to be healthier.

                  When a brain is caged in, say, a progressive safe space all day long, during its whole life, one is not as strong.

                  1. ambrit

                    I strongly agree. It seems to be a social version of the evolutionary idea of “strength through diversity.” As the Potato Famine of midrange memory shows, monocrops of any substance lead to collapse or extinction events.

              2. foghorn longhorn

                Turning 60
                Stepmom kicked us out of the VW bug at 7 am on Huntington Beach and came back around 4 pm to retrieve our now quite tanned selves.
                Everybody had a dime for the payphone in case of emergency.
                At home back in Redneckville New Mexico it was normal practice to walk down the road with our 22s to go hunt rabbits out in the desert.
                Main rule was to be home when the streetlights came on.
                Later on in high school, it was be home before the street lights went off in the morn.

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    A link for the oldsters on the board–

    Jorma Kaukonen, former lead guitarist for the Jefferson Airplane and co-founder (with JA bassist Jack Casady) of Hot Tuna, has written an autobiography, Been So Long. The 77-year-old Kaukonen, who still plays 80 concert dates a year and rides a Harley, owns the Fur Peace Ranch in southeast Ohio where he runs a music camp for kids and old pals. The book includes Kaukonen’s accounts of the early days in San Fran with Kesey, Owsley, Jerry and Janis along with Balin, Kantner and, of course, Grace.

    Review and interview

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Thanks – I appreciate reading about 60’s rock pioneers who’ve managed to make it to old age and keep hip. Love the Airplane.

    2. voteforno6

      Jack Casady played on Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland. That fact alone should mean that he never buys a drink again.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        An interview with Casady about sitting in on “Voodoo Chile:”

        Casady 2010 Interview

        I saw the Airplane on both the “Crown of Creation” and “Volunteers” tours at old Memorial Hall in KCK. For “Volunteers,” it was from the first row,. That was possible for a 16 year-old farmboy back then when ticket sales were done on a first-come, first-served basis. Nowadays, the good tics are pre-sold to resellers and big shots. (It also happened to be my wife’s and my second date.) I also got to see Hendrix on the “Electric Ladyland” tour at the larger Municipal Auditorium in KCMo.

        I still love that music

  5. vlade

    Err, not entirely sure I get the complaint about the New Yorker article.
    The article has 8 para, of which only the initial 3 mention Jew/Zionist/(anti-)Semitism and even the third one only in the first sentence. The rest – and I would say the guts – of the article is on the English treatment of irony.

    The conflation of Zionism and British Jews occurs in the second para – but not by the reporter, but the PLP (and others). Since some of the complainer may well feel Zionist – like the Jewish MPs named, by implication – they may well be justified in Corbyn telling the British Zionist that they are not English enough :).

    Further, in the last para, the article says:

    “Corbyn, as his political record shows, is among the most earnestly committed politicians ever to lead a party in Britain”. So TBH, I don’t feel that the article slurs Corbyn – apart from saying that he might want to be more careful with his pronouncements )

    TBH, on the whole, if Corbyn can’t use the government incompetency over Brexit to move from the anti-Semitism stuff… Again, did he (or Momentum etc.) consider that the DT, Mail, The Times etc. (and even Guardian at least to some extent) will give him a free ride, or try to find the smallest possible thing to blow up? If I was really critical about it, it looks to me like part of Labour is already coming up with excuses of why in the next GE Corbyn will not get a majority – because of all those anti-Semitic allegations, nothing to do with Labour being as torn and unable to handle Brexit as Tories.

    1. Donald

      The first two paragraphs describe the situation as Corbyn’s critics see it and the final sentence in paragraph 2 essentially allows them the authoritative word on the subject. The bulk of the article is about English irony, but this is how propaganda often works — you slip in some assertions as undisputed facts in an article about something else. If they wanted to do a long article on the Labour antisemitism controversy, it would be hard to avoid the fact that much or most of it is about policing criticism of Israel.

      The beginning of paragraph 3 allows for the possibility that Corbyn might not be Hitler reincarnated, but with no supporting argument for this startling suggestion. Hey, look I am doing irony. Personally, I think Corbyn stuck his foot in his mouth with the suggestion that Zionists who have lived in England their whole lives don’t understand English irony, but if this is the worst thing they have on him, it’s not much. The thinking is supposed to be that subconsciously he sees English Jews as not fully English and sharing in English culture, but he was aiming the comment at specific Zionists and there is no way to know what prejudices are floating around in his subconscious. It’s one of those gotcha moments in politics, where you assume the absolute worst about your opponent’s hidden notions on weak evidence.

      1. Shane Mage

        Nobody has established that the Zionists in question were all or mainly Jews. In view of the fact that in anglo-saxon countries like UK and USA the majority of Zionists are evangelical Christians (there are a lot more evangelicals than there are Jews, and Zionism is part of evangelical ideology whereas it is highly controversial, to say the least, among Jews) why assume that his comment has anything to do with Jews (irony, British or other, is quite alien to evangelicals whereas it is rather common among Jews)?

    2. Donald

      My previous comment never went through. Short version. The second paragraph essentially lets Corbyn’s critics dictate how to interpret the story. There is a sentence in the third which allows he might be innocent, but no argument for this is given.

      Propaganda often works by presenting an issue in a biased or slanted way, in passing, in an article about something else. New Yorker readers will read this interesting piece on English irony— along the way they are told that Corbyn is considered an antisemite and his defense is absurd.

      1. Wukchumni

        I generally like American Jews and dislike Israeli Jews, so i’m more anti-asshole than anti-semite. Is that allowable should I run for public office in the future?

        1. Alex

          No worries, now it’s completely legit in most of the places (don’t know where you live). Just wondering, should you run for it, would it be with some kind of a left/progressive/socialist program?

          1. Wukchumni

            I’d run on lies so that the public would accept me as a politician, and then once elected, be as scrupulously honest as possible.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Wasn’t there an American President like that in the 19th century? I forget his name but he came from a very corrupt background and after taking office, cleaned out the place and ran a pretty strong admin for his time in office. Come to think of it, Truman owed his rise to a very corrupt political machine in Kansas but is supposed to have not taken that baggage into his Presidency.

              1. Wukchumni

                The only President that comes close is Andrew Jackson, and he’s a mixed bag at best, with as many bad aspects as good.

    3. Christopher Dale Rogers


      Corbyn is being eviscerated for calling out hecklers at a gathering he was attending, the hecklers he referred too, using some irony, are among the most ardent Israeli supporters found in the UK – we are discussing one: Jonathan Hoffman, one Richard Millett & one Harvey Garfield, all of whom have reputations that proceed them in the UK, all of whom behave like thugs – Mr Garfield is a bit of a Stalker and renowned liar, do check his name out on Google in association with the Jewish Chronicle, Jonathan Hoffman has been escorted by Police from Parliament on several occasions, whilst Richard Millett is banned from attending any Amnesty UK gatherings for his behaviour – so, to suggest that Corbyn should be more careful with any pronouncements with regards these three well known malcontents is breath taking. As for Brexit, I’m afraid to say Labour Activists are trying to fend off the Antisemitism rubbish, which is highly detracting, particularly given the CAA has a hateful Petition now being hosted on in the UK, which even the likes of Miko Peled are outraged by, never mind Prof. Norman Finkelstein. Alas, you expect the party to focus on brexit, which would be nice if only the MSM and Antisemitism Extremists would stop with their lies and total hysteria.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “‘Fortnite’ developer had sharp words for Google after a scary Android exploit was discovered”

    Google had better be worrying more about throwing bricks from their glass houses here. Epic Games could start reporting Android exploits with only short notice too. The worry for Google is that more and more games and the like will say the hell with it, they will just publish their software for download. Was it any different years ago when there was a wealth of software for Windows being made that did not go through Microsoft? Microsoft at the time welcomed it as it made their operating system more popular but nowadays the big companies want all software going through them alone while they take a cut of the action. Trouble too is that there is nothing stopping one of the big companies pulling your software from their Store just because. No wonder Epic bailed on that setup.

    1. Carolinian

      Was it any different years ago when there was a wealth of software for Windows being made that did not go through Microsoft?

      Yes. That golden age of Microsoft was before the internet was as much of a thing. If you installed a flaky program it might provoke “the blue screen of death” but wouldn’t quickly go world wide or steal your identity. Google has a legitimate concern about the reputation of its platform and yet has–to their credit I think–left it partly open and not completely walled off as Apple has done. It’s probably the Linux open source origin of Android that is one reason they have felt obliged to do so.

      1. False Solace

        “To their credit”? No. Google made a calculated decision to advertise its OS as open source and offer it literally for free, which enabled them to grab the most market share. They now have to live with certain unfortunate consequences, which they’re doing their best to machinate out of existence.

        1. Carolinian

          I have Android 7 and see no sign they are trying to “machinate” away the ability to avoid the Play store. The “apps from other sources” selector is still there. In fact I’m currently running the device with no Google account at all. You could make the case that for a mass market product that backdoor is a bad thing but the truth is that if you wall your garden some will still find a way to climb over it. On my laptop I use Linux.

    1. a different chris

      Um, Uber will have vaporized that 500mil well before Thanksgiving. Toyota knows that.. if they aren’t giving it enough money to save the company, then I suspect they are maneuvering for rights to pick over the scraps.

      And nobody here has ever said that driverless cars are not going to show up somewhere sometime, so what was that remark all about? On the wrong blog (navigational problem?? :))

  7. Pat

    Lambert, the Google addendum may have only been on Sunday. I noticed it then, and that is the date on Bruni’s tweet. I get the same addendum today that you captured.

    Doesn’t change their weasel nature, but it may have been less selective than you first thought.

  8. allan

    From “Boeing reveals single-pilot planes could soon be a reality”:

    ‘The technology to fly an aircraft on automatic is brilliant. The other driver in all this is that we’re really short of pilots. They’re a very expensive resource.’

    Unlike airline executives, who are worth every penny.

    1. Wukchumni

      When I was learning how to fly before the turn of the century, in class, our instructor would throw out bon mots, such as if we were diligent and got up to around a thousand flight hours, why we could then fly commercially for a regional carrier pulling in as much as $25-30k a year!

      …his sarcasm was quite lightly veiled

    2. LarryB

      Back when I worked for Boeing, we used to joke that the next generation of airliners would have a pilot and a dog in the cockpit. The “pilot’s” job would be to feed the dog. The dog’s job would be to bite the pilot if he touched anything. I guess we’ll see if the single pilot planes have room for a dog in the cockpit.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        I see at least *some* of that concept is finally being put in place – unfortunately, though the dog does its level best to carry out its duties faithfully….it is thwarted by the evil humans who are touching all *sorts* of controls in order to mess with gravity:

        Typical humans. Will be soooo glad once they are out of the loop and the ever-faithful pooch can be our primary safety measure. ;)

    3. Paid Minion

      I love the “automation can reduce error by eliminating the humans” BS.

      Who, pray tell, writes the software for this automation?

      And mentioned nowhere are some of the possible problems created by single pilot crews. Like bored out of their mind pilots dozing off. Or leaving their seat to take a pizz break.

      This could be addressed by shortening their duty time. Any bets on the chance of that happening?

      This a “cost reduction” scheme, not a safety enhancement scheme. They botch about “crew shortages, then out of the other side of their mouth say the crew really isn’t necessary.

      The pilot is there in case the automation fails. And it fails a bunch. But the failures are invisible to Joe Q Public, because the crew is there to do the work around.

      1. Jen

        Or the one pilot having a medical emergency, or a mental breakdown. On my most recent flight, another passenger asked one of the attendants why a flight attendant always went into the cockpit when one of the pilots came out for a bio break. Basically it was to make sure someone could always keep an eye on the other pilot and open the cockpit door if the pilot started acting crazy. She the related a tale about a pilot on another airline who was restrained from going back into the cockpit because he was behaving irrationally.

        I’m not a huge fan of airline travel to begin with, and if this ever comes to pass, I’m done.

        1. Wukchumni

          There’s also the potential of said pilot using a ‘trucker bomb’ (maybe that last word isn’t appropriate) and flinging the full-again Gatorade bottle out of the window?

  9. DJG

    Ryan Cooper marshals his facts about the Pritzkers and Obama:

    To quote:
    We see that in the pinch, Obama’s wretched class politics swamps all other considerations. Pritzker, his family, and now Obama are all part of the logrolling wealthy liberal elite, trading donations, jobs, and favors back and forth both in government and out. The politics of someone like Jealous would radically disrupt this comfortable arrangement, attacking corrupt insider privileges and hiking taxes to create a more egalitarian society. Thus he cannot be in the well-upholstered centrist liberal clubhouse.

    The Obama Center, which will not contains archives, but will contain a restaurant or three, is somehow going to make it into Jackson Park in Chicago. The Hyatt Hotels, being the source of the Pritzker money… I’m sure the Center will have nice restaurants.

  10. Pat

    Cynthia Nixon’s taxes have become the attack point here in NY. From the NY Post going on about her “tax hypocrisy” to seemingly even handed derision from the Daily News it is all about her being a millionaire that uses the tax system.

    Funnily enough, everything she did was legal (even the Post had to admit that) but she shouldn’t have used any of those methods because she advocates for greater taxes on the wealthy. Want to bet that she would be being called some version of naive and incompetent IF she hadn’t done what she could to lower her tax liability.

    I haven’t heard her response, but I’m really hoping that she points out that she is allowed far greater deductions than average working Americans, not just because of her business but because there are more loopholes the more you make AND you can afford an accountant who does nothing but look for those loopholes. The problem is not using them, the problem is having them there so they can be used.

    1. Lee

      She can use the Warren Buffet gambit: lamenting that the tax laws require his secretary to pay a higher percentage of her income in taxes than he does.

    2. False Solace

      It’s the standard anti-left playbook. Grill the rich for being hypocrites, grill the poor for being jealous.

  11. The Rev Kev

    McCain’s funeral-

    We are getting the full McCain-was-an-American-hero treatment down in the Antipodes as well even though most people would not be much familiar with his name here. After reading who is attending that funeral, all I can say is that you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than in Annapolis this Sunday. I take comfort in the knowledge that you cannot hide the truth forever and it will come out about who John McCain really was.
    What finished me with McCain years ago was his covering up of the hundreds of American left behind in Vietnam after the war was over and that were left to die ( and it gets real ugly in that story. And him being a former pow.
    The good news is that I am able to confirm that Sam and Dean Winchester will be in attendance after the funeral who will be bringing with them a shovel, a bag of salt, a fuel can and a box of matches.

    1. nyctransplant to sc

      Yesterday you and Wyoming asked if my father was with the 1st Division. Yes he was 116th Regiment. Wounded by shrapnel from a mortar in Tunisia and spent several months in hospital so missed the invasion of Sicily. Recycled back to England and rejoined the 1st but not his original company.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that. Just got curious if he had been in the same unit as Samuel Fuller who was with the 16th Infantry Regiment. Met some of the Big Red One in Normandy back in ’84 as they were visiting one of the war cemeteries. I wonder if they even recognized much of the area after forty years of changes.

    2. Julia Versau

      Thanks for the UNZ link. I just read the whole thing. Mostly because I had a weird experience this summer at a friend’s class reunion in Michigan. One of the attendees was talking to my friend [drafted during the Vietnam era but who served stateside] about a super secret project in D.C. that sounded like a mission to ditch records [he referred to “files” and “info”] of POWs/MIAs. He was purposely vague on specifics, but seemed bothered. He also doesn’t share his phone number or email address. I have been creeped out ever since.

    3. Plenue

      What really worries me isn’t the media and politicians praising McCain to high heaven. It’s normal people accepting the verdict and joining in the praise. Scroll through the comments section of this video and weep:

      Seems there really was widespread public perception of McCain as a ‘good Republican’. This country is screwed.

    4. Swamp Yankee

      Not sure if that POW/MIA cover-up notion holds water. Colonel Patrick Lang over at Sic Semper Tyrannis absolutely loathes McCain, but as one of the officers in charge of looking for POWs/MIAs back in the early 1990s, came to the conclusion that they just weren’t there.

      Don’t forget also that much of the POW/MIA stuff (you’ll see their distinctive black flags everywhere and anywhere in the States) originated as Nixon’s propaganda against antiwar forces.

      I will try to find the relevant links after lunch.

      1. Paid Minion

        Flight crews in Viet Nam learned the same lesson that flight crews in WWII and Korea found out.

        Baling out over people you just bombed and/or strafed is not a plan for living to a ripe old age.

        1. LifelongLib

          I saw an interview with a WW2 fighter pilot who said that if he had been shot down in Germany he would have prayed to be captured by the military, who would put him in a POW camp. Civilians would have killed him on the spot.

          1. Edward E

            There were some reported interviews with Lieutenant Colonel Yury Trushechkin in Russia before he passed away in 2009 saying that he shot down McCain’s plane and “Lieutenant Colonel Trushechkin recalls that he had to come to the rescue of the American pilot from being beaten”… How true that is still under debate due to his age and possible interviewer errors.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        After the war ended in 1945, many Imperial Japanese soldiers stayed behind in various jungles of Southeast Asia.

        Up till the 1970’s, you still read about the survivors coming out.

        As for American prisoners of war, didn’t some turn native and went to work for the Chinese or the Russians?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I prefer him over Bruce Lee, who seemed to take forever to defeat an opponent.

            With Seagal, usually, just one punch or one move is necessary, and it’s over. More movie time left for real acting…

            The internet debate equivalent would be for someone to win an argument with just one word, or one sentence.

            1. Wukchumni

              Seagal is like a one-man ‘me too’ crusade, have a read of all the lawsuits against him for sexual harassment, ye gads.

        1. The Rev Kev

          There was one ex-Green Beret they found a coupla years ago living in ‘Nam that had forgotten how to speak English and now had a Vietnamese name and was part of the community. I think his chopper crashed and he made it out.
          Puts me in mind of those Roman soldiers captured by the Parthians at the Battle of Carrhae that were found living there twenty years later by another Roman army. They had settled down, taken wives and had children and were part of their local communities.

      3. pretzelattack

        i’m not sure how to take colonel lang to be honest. he’s very informative and knowledgeable on some subjects, but says the u.s. has never been a racist nation? i mean, the slavery thing, jim crow, lynchings, separate bathrooms, separate schools, etc.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          Yes, I definitely know what you mean, pretzelattack. I have run afoul of Lang on these matters. I think of it like this: Lang is honest in the strictu sensu, military sense of — these are facts I see, this is what I report.

          I think he is wrong about many aspects of America and our common life to the point of delusion. But again, I don’t think this is dishonesty per se, so much as delusion.

          I generally take him at his word on things within his experiential sphere, and correct for his blinders on things where he is frankly somewhat crazy (i.e., the 1860s, etc.)

          1. Roger Bigod

            Lang banned me several years ago, for a reason I’ve never been clear about. In a discussion of military personalities I commented that Patton typified the Borderlands style of gruff aggressiveness, like Jackson, while Lee represented Gentry culture. I added that few Southerners know anything specific about Lee’s approach to strategy or tactics, so his popularity is something of a cult.

            Lang sent me a message that I had “abused the hospitality” of his blog and that I was persona non grata. I think it was the word “cult”, which I still consider accurate. But it may have been the implication that Patton wasn’t classy. He was so Old School about it that I was glad there are no challenges to a duel on the internet.

            I still read his blog, but I’ve never tried to re-join.

      4. The Rev Kev

        Actually I find that very likely. Consider the sequence of events. The US and Vietnam agrees to an end to the war. Part of the treaty is that Vietnam returns all POWs in return for economic aid because of the high level of destruction. The Vietnamese return most of the POWs but keeps back a coupla hundred as an insurance policy. After most POWs return, Nixon reneges on the agreement as Congress & the Senate will never authorize money to Vietnam. The Vietnamese do not want to acknowledge the American POWS as they were supposed to have returned all of them. The US is in a similar boat as they are not supposed to have left anybody behind. Yes, that sounds like a very likely scenario to me. So I guess that the cause of this was that the Congress & the Senate at the time were not agreement capable? The whole thing makes much more sense, now and in the present, when you think not in terms of soldiers but instead disposable assets.

  12. Wukchumni

    If a new vehicle on St. David’s Chevrolet dealership that had an MSRP of $21k, was sold to a customer for $109k, there would be more public outcry than when a hospital gouges somebody in a similar manner.

  13. Seth A Miller

    Re: Kushner fined $210,000.

    I’m a tenant-side lawyer in NYC, so I know this issue. When most landlords do exactly what Kushner did, nothing happens. In fact, here’s a story posted on the tenant-lawyer bulletin board by a colleague:

    “LL puts in DOB PW-1 application for “interior alterations to existing residential space” in the vacant apartments, representing that the building has no rent stabilized or rent controlled tenants, checking off “NO” in response to the question “The site of the building to be altered or demolished or the new building to be constructed, contains occupied housing subject to rent control or rent stabilization under Chapters 3 and 4 of Title 26 of the New York City Administrative Code” [emphasis added].
    This is the same thing Jared Kushner did with all those buildings that was such a big story. But apparent, as long as it doesn’t involve a Trump relative, it’s OK.
    I write a letter to DOB Borough Commissioner bringing this illegal misrepresentation on a DOB application to DOB’s attention.
    I then receive from DOB 2.5 months later, the following response, which I also attach: The application was perfectly fine because the tenants are” rent stabilized, not rent controlled.

    This is a system designed to maintain a symbiotic system between landlords, politicians, and government agencies. The landlords who donate, and who play the game, don’t get fined. Trump was one of them before he became a politician. This week’s NY Times story about Trump and Cuomo, as well as Trump’s own description, attests to the amount of room he was given to skirt the law, because he was a reliable donor.

    The only lesson of the $210,000 fine to Kushner is the message it sends to the landlords who don’t pony up. For most landlords, the Department of Buildings is perfectly okay with turning the building into a war zone to drive out rent stabilized tenants. The seemingly minor requirement that a permit application state whether there are regulated tenants is supposed to facilitate enforcement of the law against tenant harassment. There is no such enforcement.

  14. NotTimothyGeithner

    And him being a former pow.

    It just occurred to me this is Versailles simply using a veteran as a prop. Given the actual treatment of veterans by Versailles, this is to cover up their own behavior. McCain is a veteran who has enthusiastically supported their wars and may have once been in a position to prevent Iraq with his false “maverick” status and name ID. That he didn’t and then hugged Shrub in the midst of Katrina demonstrates he was a great prop for them all these years, and they don’t another one coming down the pipeline.

    1. Wukchumni

      He’s the perfect prop for the 99% of the country that didn’t enlist in our adventures in the ‘stan box, in that we’ve been taught that every last GI Joe or Jane that joins up is a hero, gawdamnit!

      This is the ultimate fawning, in that for once we get to celebrate the passing of a Vietnam Veteran, extra special ju-ju points…

    2. RUKidding


      Was he one of the ones who voted against increasing the pay of enlisted personnel about 8 or 9 years ago? Too lazy to do the research, but IMO, Johnny Mac was no friend to the enlisted ranks. And he never saw an opportunity for War, Inc, that he didn’t love. Despite his own trevails in VN, he had no hesitation to put other young people in danger… all so he could rack up some big buckeroo$ from War, Inc.

      Bah Humbug.

    3. Alex morfesis

      Three years from now even Cindy will begin to forget to visit his grave.. Like many before him…once the sod starts settling in…the only visitors he will get regularly will be the guy on the riding mower…he was a fragment of his infatuations…he won’t even get streets or buildings renamed for him…the ultimate swamp nothing burger…a useful genius whose sell by date has thankfully arrived…

  15. Wukchumni

    Walt Disney World Union Workers Win Deal for $15 Minimum Wage Fortune

    Wow, that catapults them into the wage ranks of fast food employees in more enlightened states.

  16. divadab

    Re: CFR article – here’s where I stopped reading:

    “In the last twenty-four months, Russia compromised and doxed the Democratic Party, launched a chaotic ransomware attack, tried to infiltrate U.S. electrical utilities with tools similar to those used to cause blackouts in Ukraine in 2015 and 2016, owned over 500,000 consumer-grade routers, sustained an active measures campaign on social media, and compromised voter databases in at least two states.”

    What a load of BS. This is all they’ve got? Repeating already exposed falsehoods?

    I suppose it’s not a surprise that an organization devoted to warmongering would spread such blatant lies but this stuff is so stupid and so obvious my only conclusion is that they are so infected with hubris and ignorance and unalloyed desire to dominate they have become demented.

    Or – their Board includes such moral examplars as Turbotax Timmy Geithner, tax cheat – so maybe they just lie as a matter of habit.

  17. The Rev Kev

    All right. I give up. Just what the hell are those lions doing in that tree in tonight’s Antidote du jour? I’m pretty sure that they were not blow up there by a trip mine so I can only assume that those lions find it much cooler in that tree than on the hot ground below.

    1. Wukchumni

      After dispatching bambi, it’s fairly common for a mountain lion around these parts, to feast on it’s organs, and then deposit the carcass in a tree for a midnight snack, later.

    2. polecat

      Maybe they’re doing a dress rehearsal for an extended arboreal stay up high, before descending on all two’s .. while the remaining humons seek relief in the seas .. rediscovering the wonders of blowholes, rear flukes, and all that comes with ‘evolvement’.

    3. Craig H.

      Cats like to explore for interesting stuff in trees by instinct. Also they enjoy the puzzle of figuring out how to get down without an excessively ridiculous crash landing.

  18. Wukchumni

    Would the axis of Trump, Cohen & Davis be more appropriate to the trio of monkeys that heard no evil, saw no evil, but boy could they speak evil?

    1. Wukchumni

      Our veteran who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
      Thy kingdom come and then be undone
      On earth as it is with the Columbian Cartels in DC

    2. polecat

      To paraphrase a celluloid lowly grunt, looking to save some juicy colonists .. “He’s on the Elevator to Hell” .. Goin Down !

  19. bruce wilder


    Matt Burchett, director of student activities at Baylor, whose job is to coordinate student pursuits such as picnics, parties, and demonstrations. The source said Burchett, acting as a liaison with university officials, played damage control on their behalf.

    Someone’s outrage organ is on overdrive.

  20. Jason Boxman

    I’ve been reading Perry’s My Journey on the Nuclear Brink, and he gives considerable weight to the value of Track 2 talks (unofficial diplomacy) in relationship building regarding nuclear issues.

    I wonder if a similar approach would be beneficial on ‘cyber security’ challenges? I’ve not read anything about it so far, just RussiaRussiaRussia.

  21. Bandit

    Secret message board drives ‘pizzagate’-style harassment campaign of small businesses

    This has the distinct smell of government trolls behind this assault against small businesses. Just another false flag propaganda piece. The perps could have chosen just about any small, defenseless entity. The victims do not matter as much as the hysteria created around “conspiracies”, the more outrageous the better.

    It is such an obvious ploy to sway public opinion by confusing legitimate conspiracy concerns with fringe extremists, until the public is practically begging the government to create an agency to control, counter, censor, regulate, eradicate misinformation, fake news, and anything that even suggests a conspiracy; in other words, anything that contradicts the government narrative.

    1. danpaco

      Is this a conspiracy within a conspiracy about conspiracies? Or perhaps it’s a conspiracy about conspiracies conspiracy.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    Abandoning quarterly reporting would increase the cost of capital FT

    More than 3 months —-> increase cost

    Would ‘less than 3 months’ lead to cheaper cost?

    Do we go to monthly reporting? Weekly reporting?

    Why every 3 months? Just because we are used to it?

    Why is reporting every 3 months just right – not too hot and not to cold, just like Greenspan’s Goldilocks utopia?

  23. Lorenzo

    Class Conflict Intensifies in China as it Heads into Uncertain Times (video) TRNN

    very, very interesting. might just get my hands on some of Mr. Li’s books.

    One thought that crossed my mind, though, during the second part of the interview (when they discussed geopolitics) is that the low-profile approach the Chinese have taken is very much calculated and possibly very much to do with traditional Chinese philosophy (The Art of War, probably some other school of thought that I don’t know very much about). I wonder if academia use this perspective to theorize and think about Chinese society, politics and foreign policy or if it’s like the story of the fish who hasn’t got a clue of what water is.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Boeing reveals single-pilot planes could soon be a reality thanks to autonomous technology Daily Mail. What could go wrong?


    Why don’t they ever work on individual escape pods for (all) passengers (not just those flying first class)?

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Happy older people live longer Science Daily

    And if you are not happy at all with the state of the world, particularly with wealth inequality, for example…if you’re not happy about that, and you don’t want to bury your head in the sand, so you
    keep up and you get more unhappy each and every day, you will not live as long as otherwise.

    Is that ground for legal class action?

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    What on Earth is Obama doing? The Week. What he always does!


    Soon, it will be ‘What on Mars is this or that billionaire doing?’

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    We Saw Nuns Kill Children: The Ghosts of St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage Buzzfeed

    I recall (vaguely) a movie called “The Nun,” about a girl who was forced to become one.

    Are some (many? most?) nuns victims themselves?

  28. Roger Smith

    Just finished the Buzzfeed, Orphanage Abuse article. A must read. Reminds me of a book a former professor of mine referenced, The Girls Who Went Away (pardon the link site, purchase elsewhere if possible), about the willing and unwilling surrendering of unplanned, out of wedlock pregnancies. One of the books on my unowned reading list… if only I could get a handle on the owned reading list backlog.

    1. wilroncanada

      Look for the book.. Butterbox Babies, about a “devout Christian” couple in Nova Scotia during the 1930s who began taking in single pregnant girls, but after coming under scrutiny as a result of the death of a mother and baby, began to sell the babies to childless wealthy couples. Author surname Cahill, coming out as a movie this year.

  29. Wukchumni

    It’s funny how we celebrate a as it turns out-not a very good pilot, whereas George McGovern, who flew 35 missions over Europe and was a genuine hero and also a defeated Presidential candidate, is forgotten.

    A quickie Wiki:

    He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Forces upon the country’s entry into World War II and as a B-24 Liberator pilot flew 35 missions over German-occupied Europe. Among the medals bestowed upon him was a Distinguished Flying Cross for making a hazardous emergency landing of his damaged plane and saving his crew.

    1. JTMcPhee

      The sorrow we all should feel is that we treat people who fly airplanes over other nations and drop bombs on them as part of the Great Game as “heroes.” To sucker young people (I was one of them, reading the many biographies and novels detailing the exploits of fighter aces and “Twelve O’Clock High” guys in their fling machines) into “taking the Imperial Shilling.” And as we who care to try to figure out how the whole mess got to where it is, including to the point of hair-trigger nuclear war, and global hegemony competition as the Game of Risk progresses and the planetary environment collapses, the jets fly over the stadiums at the football games, and impressionable young people, male and female, seeking a career or testosterone-poisoned excitement, the fun of killing “wogs” or “Hajjis” or “gooks,” go sign up to be the next bunch.

      1. Wukchumni

        Yeah, I get that. We make heroes out of military killers atypically.

        McCain was a failure largely-but it was just him, whereas look at what McGovern did in saving his crew of 10 or so, that’s valor.

        And yet, he’s a forgotten man, no global accolades or anything, he just slipped the bounds of this good earth 5 years ago, and nobody said jack.

        On a December 20 mission against the Škoda Works at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, McGovern’s plane had one engine out and another in flames after being hit by flak. Unable to return to Italy, McGovern flew to a British airfield on Vis, a small island in the Adriatic Sea off the Yugoslav coast that was controlled by Josip Broz Tito’s Partisans. The short field, normally used by small fighter planes, was so unforgiving to four-engined aircraft that many of the bomber crews who tried to make emergency landings there perished. But McGovern successfully landed, saving his crew, a feat for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. (Wiki)

  30. Wukchumni

    UFC #99

    Google versus the Donald

    2 distorters go into the ring, both come out claiming victory

    $49.99 PPV
    $59.99 PPV HD

  31. Wukchumni

    Dams and reservoirs can’t save us. This is the new future of water infrastructure. Quartz. Paging Michael Burry….

    All over the Central Valley now, the ‘Congress Caused Dust Bowl’ and other signs blaming the drought on politicians have gone away, only to be replaced by “Dams-not Trains” signs, despite there really being no places to put them that doesn’t replicate other dams. In fact the only good place for a dam was given it’s last rites by none other than Ronald Reagan in the early 1970’s when he put the kibosh to a proposed one on the Eel River.

    In the usual Fox fashion, there are many thousands of these new signs to be seen all over the CVBB, for in repetition there is truth.

  32. Brooklin Bridge

    Boeing reveals single-pilot planes could soon be a reality thanks to autonomous technology

    As to passenger confidence…, a picture of a pilot should do quite nicely.

    1. Whoa Molly!

      > Boeing reveals single-pilot planes could soon be a reality thanks to autonomous technology

      I predict that some Harvard MBA in the C-suite will soon propose fitting all passengers with parachutes upon boarding. (First class passengers get colorful parafoils.)

      This new cost saving safety measure will require changes in the pre-takeoff lecture, and a new jump door in the side of the plane. Perhaps replacing the ’emergency exit’ row?

      For safety sake, there will be a line down the center of the plane where passengers can clip the releases for their parachutes. Like the old WWII films of paratroopers jumping over occupied France.

      Stewards and stewardesses can learn the skills of jump masters. Waiting for the green light, then slapping passengers on the shoulder and saying “Go!” as they walk toward the door.

  33. JerryDenim

    Boeing single pilot commercial aircraft story:

    “..then the automation can and should stop that accident from happening…”

    In other words, theoretically, under carefully finessed laboratory conditions, barring any kind of equipment malfunction, this SHOULD (fingers crossed) work.

    The exact opposite of “WILL stop the accident from happening 99.9999999999% of the the time as has been proven in thousands of instances over millions upon millions of real-world flight hours conducted by two trained and certified human pilots.”

    “In recent years, there have been several devastating air crashes – many of which were found to have been caused in part by the pilot.”

    Notice the “in part” part. What they’re not saying is very few crashes in recent years are solely the fault of pilot error, increasingly it’s machine error that is to blame, and the plane actually crashes when the pilots are unable to overcome the machine failures. As an industry, airlines and pilots have become really, really good at the human factors stuff and are mind-bogglingly safe and successful at what they do. Although airline crashes are way down compared to a few decades ago, more and more crashes are being caused by aircraft systems and automation going completely batty. “Batty” instrumentation is not a technical term and instrument error alone will never cause a plane to fall out of the sky. The official causation would be erroneous instrumentation, which leads to the aircraft being in a dangerous flight state from which the crew is unable to recover with the now faulty and unreliable instrument indications. The ensuing crash is then blamed on the pilot’s atrophied hand-flying skills. Air France 447 and Air Asia 8501 would be recent examples of this type of crash. There is some truth in that ironic prognosis, but the irony is the automation was what atrophied the pilot’s skills in the first place (at least for the older, more-experienced generation of pilots) the truth is most of the better documented air disasters of recent memory were recoverable, IF the pilots were savvy and clear-headed enough to selectively disregard faulty information being relayed to their brains by the airplane and utilizing the most basic indications for pitch and power to re-establish a stable flight state. This actually happens too, more often than the crashes you do hear about, but you never hear about these successful outcomes because the airplane lands safely and no one except the pilots onboard and the airline’s safety department hear the story.

    These instances where the aircraft goes totally “batty” and the basic instruments, speed, altitude, etc. read incorrectly are confounding for humans, and sometimes fatal, but these instances which sometimes result in a crash with experienced humans at the controls would be 100% fatal with a machine in charge. The machine has already failed and there is no longer a human to save the day. Further more there are the countless little automation errors that human pilots catch and correct on a daily basis that aircraft engineers and marketing executives have no idea about. Think about the number of driver interventions the so-called autonomous Ubers in Tempe required not to crash. Modern jetliners seem much better than that, but “Hey why’s it doing this?” is a common question on flight decks and the right response is always the same – “Who cares, take control immediately, figure it out later.” These frequent little glitches which typically go unreported and un-noted have the potential to turn fatal in the blink of an eye without immediate human intervention. How long does it take for two planes on a parallel approach to smash together if one airplane fails to capture the inbound course and keeps flying towards the other aircraft? Seconds. Not an entirely uncommon scenario, and one that most airline pilots will probably encounter a few times each year, which means this potentially fatal automation glitch perhaps occurs a few hundred thousand times a year in the United States alone. Recognizing the danger the scenario presents, a good pilot anticipates a failure, monitors the aircraft closely, and will be ready to take control at a moment’s notice. If he or she does not, the other pilot sitting beside them hopefully is. Redundancy, awareness, proficiency equals safety.

    In a drone/autonomous remote pilot scenario; How is some real-world experience deprived drone pilot, with no skin in the game, (you don’t die sitting on the ground watching a screen) sitting on the ground in a remote location watching a screen, which in all likelihood will be a social media screen at the moment they are needed, this same person will presumably be responsible for supervising hundreds of flights at once, because Capitalism of course, how, how in the world is this person supposed to be notified of the impending disaster that will take place within milliseconds? How will they familiarize themselves with the rough details of the aircraft flight state in order to figure out the right reaction, and then how will they overcome the hard-wired, evolutionary physiology of the “Startle Effect” [] in time to prevent disaster? The truth is they won’t. They can’t, it’s impossible, and it’s total bullshit to pretend they could. I suspect the people marketing this multi-billion dollar snake-oil know this already, but don’t care. There is a huge sum of money to be made replacing airline pilots with automation. If the the aircraft is malfunctioning most of the time the airplane won’t even know it’s malfunctioning and as such cannot attempt to alert a remote “pilot” until the situation decays to a point it is too late.

    This is just one troubling aspect of autonomous passenger flight, but there are many more. Passengers lose the pilot as an advocate and there is no one left in charge to say no to airline management if one myopic branch of the operation demands a departure under unwise or unsafe circumstances. I have refused multiple orders to push back from a gate and depart with passengers because I felt the flight would be unsafe or too uncomfortable for the passengers on board. A machine will not defy the wishes of airline management, even when it’s in their own best interest, like preventing a customer service disaster or a potential crash. Trust me, the business school nit-wits in charge have no idea what an impending aviation disaster looks like and the public does not want them in charge of making final go/no-go decisions.

    1. lambert strether

      Thank you for this brilliant skewering of the stupid.

      Not to mention that the cost of a pilot must be a small part of the cost of running the aircraft. The drive to eliminate labor, I think, is primarily ideological in nature.

      1. JerryDenim

        Thank you for the forum and the link Lambert. Stupid of this caliber is all too easy to skewer. Seems like there’s a lot of it going around these days.

        Agreed concerning idealogy. The indoctrinated labor hostility is near unanimous among finance and management types.

    2. albert

      Well said!

      Automation is the next step in the evolution of Flight Control Systems, after fly-by-wire. Now the they want to try self-flying aircraft. This is the dumbest idea since self-driving cars. Although I have no aircraft experience, I do have a background in computerized machine control systems. In my study of crash investigations (the NTSB has a great website) I’ve found that in many cases, pilots were distracted by various, but in most cases, not life threatening (failure of one engine on a 4-engine aircraft) situations. So they forget their primary duty – flying the aircraft. Yes, it’s true that increased automation reduces the pilots workload. This can lead to complacency. There’s also the problem of the pilot/flight system interface. A pilot needs to know how the system works when it does, and what to do if it doesn’t. This is a lot of information to carry around in one’s head. Maybe pilots ought to be required to fly the airplane manually from takeoff to landing on a regular basis, and study what the FCS does, and what happens when it doesn’t.

      I don’t care if my flight is as smooth as sitting in my living room, but when things go south, I want a Sully at the controls.
      . .. . .. — ….

    3. The Rev Kev

      Hey, now I know where I saw something like this. In the 1973 film “Westworld” it started with the guests on a fast aircraft going to the resort. There was only one pilot and it was debatable who was really in control – the pilot or the tech crew in mission control. After it came in, it was the crew that got a “nice job” call. The sequence is in the first ten minutes at-

      Of course, if put into practice, such a ground control would have control of several flights at once. As to how it could all go wrong, consider this. Who needs twenty suicidal Jihadist hijackers semi trained in piloting when all you need is one good hacker.

  34. ChrisPacific

    Today’s sign of the apocalypse: the media are, apparently without irony, running a whole series of stories on how Trump is making McCain’s death all about Trump. It takes two to tango, guys.

  35. Wukchumni

    “According to a new analysis from, some of the nation’s most expensive markets have seen serious jumps in housing inventory. The biggest increase? That was in San Jose, California, where listings rose 44 percent over the year. Seattle — another pricey Western housing market — took second, with a 29 percent spike in listings year over year.”

    “Other areas that also saw big jumps in housing inventory include Providence, Rhode Island; Portland, Oregon; San Diego, Sacramento, Riverside and San Francisco, California; Dallas; and Jacksonville, Florida. ‘July inventory growth is in high-priced, competitive markets, and often at the pricier end of these markets,’ according to Danielle Hale,’s chief economist. ‘It’s not just California markets that have seen an increase in inventory, markets on both coasts and in the South reported inventory increases in July.’”


    Housing Bubble part deux looks to be coming apart, but will it happen in time to influence the November election?

    1. ewmayer

      Re. Silicon Valley housing inventory: I’m a renter but after seeing the rent on my SiVal apertment double in the last 8 years I finally had enough, pulled up stakes and relocated from the South to the North SF Bay last weekend. Old place was a 950sq-fter, admittedly in a rare-for-siVal nice greenspace-containing complex but had not been rehabbed or upgraded in at least 20 years (I moved in 19 yrs ago, merely saying it makes me feel really old). Did we get any kind of rent break based on the distinct non-modernity and ever-worsening shabbiness of the place? Hell no. New place is 35% larger, ultramodern appliances and w/d in the unit (as opposed to my previous shared laundry room with crappy washer/driers), huge panoramic windows and high-efficiency everything, rent is $500/mo less than I was paying in the old place. Looking forward to watching the coming DotCom-2.0-and-insane-RE-price-bubble crash from afar.

  36. ewmayer

    Still catching up on my NC reading post-move, so please excuse me as I mutter to myself in an empty room…

    o “Happy older people live longer | Science Daily” — Fine, but is the happiness responsible for the added years, or merely reflective of older folks who are on the healthier side physically/financially/socially, all of which are directly correlative with longevity?

    o “Pets and Financial Distress | Credit Slips” — Never having had a pet who went bankrupt, I’ve no data to contribute here.

Comments are closed.